T is for Truth




I often struggle whether or not certain things have to be voiced to the other person, but I do also believe in some circumstances we do need to hear the truth. And I absolutely agree that the truth must be given with love, that is for the betterment of the person and only with that in mind, not for the selfish reasons of righteousness or to hurt the other person.

I sometimes say “my fear of you getting angry with me is less than your need to hear the truth, and only out of love I want to say it so you can then make your own decisions or use it as a path for growth”. And, yes, some people did get angry at me, but the message was delivered, and even though the messenger was “shut” at the time, the information was incorporated and later used to make better choices, and I was actually thanked quite a few times.

Speak the truth only if it could lead to some potential progress but stay silent if it won’t solve or change anything and can possibly lead to hurt or misunderstanding. Choose wisely, but let your heart lead, it won’t ever betray you.






T is for truth and for making these tarts




Rustic Fruit Tarts


S is for Silence





In silence we receive answers to questions we didn’t even ask.

In silence we find out the true meaning of self.

In silence we see that the mind, heart and soul can actually all be in harmony.

In silence we can talk to other people without speaking when we are too afraid to say the words.

In silence we let the Universe manifest through us so then we can recreate all these things for ourselves.

Therefore I’m leaving you in silence to search for your own answers and create your own life weave.




S is for silence and for making these scones


Fresh Cranberries and Bourbon Scones


R is for Resilience




In my case, each sail adjustment was often preceded with a fight to stay on an old course and then with tears, sadness, sometimes tantrums or that “I can’t even scrape myself off the floor feeling”, before I had to get up yet again and work on adjusting those sails. I’ve had a “full life”, but the good thing I guess the sails are still up.

As a true Scorpio, I’ve had to regenerate and reinvent myself way too many times. There’s some description in astrology that compares Scorpios to a legend of Phoenix, a bright and colorful fire bird that lives a long life but at the end builds a nest and ignites itself on fire but only to be reborn out of the leftover ashes. Yes, sounds about right.

I can’t say every turning point was self generated, but it did literary feel I was rising myself again out of ashes.  Again, in some instances, literary. I think I had quite a few of those “I don’t know why I survived times”:

- I was born very premature, actually I was supposed to be born in the next year, in January, not in November, and given my grave condition and a state of neonatal medicine in the former Soviet Union, “I don’t know why I survived” and was not brain damaged or such (but I guess that point could be argued :)) My great-grandmother who helped my mom nurse me back not exactly into health but you can say into life used to say “a loaf of bread in besieged Leningrad weighed more than your baby” (I think I got my sharp sarcastic tongue from her).

- And then I almost drowned when I was 17, right after graduation, when my class went on a 3 day camping trip and I got tangled in an underwater tree and was swept away by a quick river current – “I don’t know why I survived”, but at some point I got a sudden release from the tree branches and was able to swim up. Thank you my Guardian Angels!

- And then I almost died during a medical emergency when I was barely out of my teens (internal bleeding), my blood pressure was just slightly better than a dead person’s when they finally wheeled me into OR – “I don’t know why I survived”, but I think the hospital used most of its blood supply on my transfusions after the surgery trying to keep me alive and later functional.

- And then in my 30s I got breast cancer (with no family history or other know reasons), and as with any cancer, it could’ve gone either way, but “I survived”.

And I’m sure there were other “near misses” like a really bad car accident 10 years ago, the car was totaled – we weren’t.

I kind of hope I’ve done enough “sail adjustments” for the health reasons in my life, and actually a lot of other personal and career adjustments also, so I hope “The Upstairs” are taking notice of my prayers and send me some positive sail winds for a change.







R is for resilience and for making this Ritzy recipe





Ritz Carlton Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake


Q is for Quest




Otherwise what’s the point of doing it at all?!

I know what makes me happy (no amount of time, energy spent or the complexity of the task) – cooking, baking, crating in the kitchen makes me the happiest. And then of course having guests in my home and sharing it all.

Today was a full day of Easter meal baking and cooking, 9 hours spent in the kitchen, I’m tired but happy. It’s all wort it!

6 years ago, right in the beginning of my gluten free lifestyle quest, I was questioning if I ever enjoy dessert again. Today it’s not even a question. And I don’t even have to schlep to a health food store or a fancy gluten free bakery. I can make anything I want gluten free, and I can make it so good that people won’t even question if it’s gluten free or gluten filled, they just enjoy it. You can say my mission is complete, and my quest is over, but quest assumes a journey. And I don’t want this one to be over, I want it to continue till the day I die. Or I guess till I can still stand and mix some things up in the kitchen.

There are still things to learn, desserts to make and sample, people to invite over (I can skip washing the dishes though).

Wishing you all a very Happy and Joyous Easter Celebration!




Q is for quest and for quality gluten free desserts created in my kitchen today.


Blueberry Upside Down Almond-Coconut Cake




Chocolate Tart with Berry Almond Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries


P is for Pink





I believe in everything Pink, as it’s not just the color, it’s an attitude!

I believe in girls who wear Pink and can kick your butt!

I believe you can put a flirty Pink dress on and still look classy, smart and sophisticated!

I believe that unconditional love is full of soft Pink light and shines through in a constant gentle wave towards others.

I believe that Pink strawberries and cream, if shared in bed with somebody significant, is still a far better dessert than any decadent culinary confection.

I believe a crisp cotton shirt in a pale Pink color will make any man look stylish and attractive.

I believe in bright red lipstick at night and soft Pink lips in the morning.

I believe in Pink diamonds and Pink roses, and a man who’ll take time to learn it, will forever have my heart.







P is for Pink and for making this pink recipe




Chocolate Tartlets with Strawberry Almond Whipped Cream and Berries


O is for OMG





OMG is exactly what I said when I read this article from USA Today (plus I laced it with a lot of heavy expletives, in both English and Russian).


The article talks about a leaflet that was published in the Eastern Ukraine that orders Jews to register their nationality/religion along with their property and other assets – “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated”.

This cannot be happening in the world! Not again! Have we not learned yet that some history absolutely cannot repeat itself?! I’m pretty sure some similar notes German Jews received in the 1930s right in the beginning of the Nazi regime. And I know these kind of notes were distributed in the 1940s when Kharkov (the city I was born in) and the whole Ukraine was occupied by the Nazi troops, when my great-grandparents were forced to register and my great-grandfather (a gentle soul and a very talented city jeweler) was subsequently tortured by the Nazi (luckily he survived).

I was raised in a country where antisemitism was widespread and covertly accepted (if not even encouraged), where every Soviet citizen had to register their ethnicity/nationality right in their passport (along with all the marriages, divorces and a number of children), along with the complete information for your parents (no matter your age), such privilege as private information simply didn’t exist in the Soviet Union. And now, in the middle of the country upheaval and restructuring, facing a possible Civil War between the pro-Russian and pro-Western regions and supporters, it seems like the very worst and disturbing facts of history that we thought are long gone and learned from are raising their disgusting head again.

I’ve spent my entire adult life in the US, and such ugly examples seem unthinkable by now. I can’t imagine of having to “register” for anything except maybe my desire to vote. I  come from a mixed family, my mother’s side is Jewish, and my father’s side is Orthodox Christian, it’d have been a “tough call”  for any registration as here in America a religion is simply a choice, and even if to go with strict religious rules, it’s still be questionable: in Judaism, your religion is determined by your mother’s side, and in Russian Orthodoxy, it’s determined by your father’s side. None of it would have mattered to the Soviets (and the Nazis), both adopted the mentality that even a drop of Jewish blood makes you Jewish. Including my son (who is Catholic). Plus I’m sure his Italian father would’ve been swept too – guilty by association.

Here in America though, we are right in the middle of Passover week, and as I’m snacking on some (gluten free) matzoh, planning this Sunday’s Easter meal (both Western and Eastern Easter are on the same day this year), I’m just happy I’m half across the world away from that antisemitic madness but also praying that somehow humanity and peace will once again prevail over hate and destruction.





O is for OMG and for something old and Russian and for making this recipe





Old Russian Summer Compote


N is for Nurturance




Did you think it’ll be one of my uplifting posts?

Sorry kids, I’m out of “fuzzies” today.

Plus we are half way through the blogging challenge, it’s kind of like a hump day (and it is Wednesday) so let’s get on my sarcastic side and talk about fails like killing a cactus.

- I did actually kill a cactus or two, and many other plants and living organisms, I have “black thumbs” instead of green, I just can’t take care of anything green and living. I did have a dog though, in my 20s, that lived into very old age. And we had fish and a turtle… But green things – no, they just die on me.

- I’m so directionally challenged, I’m surprised I don’t get lost in my own home. I get lost all the time, even with Google maps and GPS in my hand. And if you spin me around three times right in front of my home, I’ll get disoriented and lost too.

- I have more clothes and shoes than I actually remember, probably enough to sustain a small theater company. I still stand in front of a closet each morning whining “I have nothing to wear”.

- I’m so afraid of heights, I don’t even like living above the 2nd floor. Going to the Empire State Building many years ago was not fun at all!

- And I’m deathly afraid of snakes, even typing this word gives me the chills. Throughout my 20s and early 30s, I used to have almost daily nightmares about snakes. I don’t know how I survived and not developed a sleeping disorder.

- I’m NOT a morning person, at all! I wake up very grumpy and gradually work through the day to the point when I resemble and behave like a human, usually not before noon.

- One of those early grumpy morning several years ago, I decided that standing on a computer chair to reach something from the high closet shelf is just the thing to do, only to have the chair wheel away right under me, and flopping straight on my face, and having blood splashing all over… My bedroom looked like somebody was just murdered there, so did my face for two weeks, and I almost had a concussion. Did I not say I’m not a morning person?!

- As much as I’m skilled at cooking and baking, flops still happen. I just killed my food processor, I overworked it so the motor burned. I heard it was making these pathetic grinding sounds, and some smoke appeared, but I paid no attention. Now you know how most men in my life felt…



N is for nurturance (the sarcastic side of it too) and for making this recipe




Nutella wnd Strawberries Cupcakes