Olena’s Story Olena’s Story
October 14, 2020
by Olena

Olena’s Story


And welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I’m a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog.

I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. Many recipes are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

I now live on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. On that below.

olena osipov in her studio

In 2012, I ended up at home with 2 small kids, unemployed and a wee bit chubby. I started this blog thanks to Alex’s mad web design skills and in hopes to be able to work from home. Fast forward to 2020, I could have never imagined iFOODreal would grow into a business it is today! More on that below.

chicken burrito skillet

My food philosophy in short is – I don’t believe in diets (including Whole30 and Keto – yes, those are diets!). I tried them. Diets ruin healthy relationship with food because they are unsustainable in a long-term and short-term is not the solution. But you decide for yourself.

Nor do I think we were born to eat. This website reflects my healthy relationship with food to which took a while to arrive via diets.

instant pot white chicken chili

What You Will Find Here

  • Easy healthy recipes with simple ingredients.
  • I share mostly healthy dinner recipes because “What’s for Dinner?” is never going away.
  • We both are absolutely obsessed with Instant Pot – it makes weeknight dinner situation so much more bearable!
  • Like to prep ahead? Check out our zero pre-cooking healthy freezer meals.
  • Nutritional information with every recipe as a guideline – I don’t count calories.
  • Love to meal plan? We recently launched iFOODreal meal plans.
  • More importantly, I want to be upfront about my understanding of “family friendly” recipes. My kids eat “everything” thanks to my authority as a parent. Raised in Europe, I do believe that North American diet is out of control, especially kids’. Mainly thanks to adults. What every kid eats is completely up to his/her parent – 5 ways to make kids eat healthy.

So, there is that. Can we be friends?

olena osipov and her family

A Little More About Us

In my “previous life” I received a Business Degree, had a short career in accounting, and then a bit longer career in real estate.

In “a life even before that” I was raised by a single mom and grandma in Kiev, Ukraine until I came to Canada at the age of 19. We had little (very little) but we ate way healthier than majority of North America eats now with access to real food.

That’s why I believe anyone can eat healthy! I believe anyone can find money for a bag of potatoes, a head of cabbage and soup bones (and make cabbage soup🙂 ). I believe anyone can learn to cook, even the ones who don’t like it. Cooking is a life skill, not a choice. Eating healthy is all about choices. Anyone makes that decision every day with every $ they spent.

sunset over pacific ocean and people watching birds fly

Our Home and Business

In 2018, we took a leap of faith, sold our Vancouver suburban home and purchased an oceanfront fixer-upper on Vancouver Island.

We spent 2 years completely gutting and rebuilding the house. Which was a very painful experience and I say I would never do it again. But it was worth it because our over an acre backyard backs onto Pacific ocean. It is a dream!

ifoodreal studio

Above the garage we have iFOODreal studio. It is my office and that’s where I test and cook recipes for the blog.

Studio was one of the main reasons why we moved from mainland to the island. To be able to have that line between life and work. Balance. And it has been one of the best decisions ever!

Tearful, sweaty and painful but it is worth 100% to follow your dreams. Life is truly short and I know I’m too young to say that. But remember, I’m from Ukraine.:)

You can listen to my full interview on Dreaming Big with Bjork Ostrom of Food Blogger Pro.

Life on Vancouver Island

We are asked all the time “How is it to live on the island?”. Magical!

I had my reservations when moving but now 2 years later I am absolutely in awe of this nature paradise. Of course, island consists of 800,000 residents and has a few major cities like Victoria and Nanaimo. However, we live in a small community with Costco and Home Depot within a 15 minute drive.

Sky is loaded with stars and you can see a Milky Way. Ocean is breathtaking and swimmable May – Sept. Wildlife is abundant and variable. Mountains, lakes, beaches, smaller islands…

vancouver island beach

But more importantly life is simple! It feels like a time machine – living in the 80s. Outdoor lifestyle prevails among majority of residents year round – mountain biking, hiking, skiing, fishing, water sports etc. Unlike in Vancouver where we lived, majority of people are not in a rush and cook their own food at home. We now completely understand the term “island time”.

We are more mindful. We devote time to our inner spirit, happiness and health. We are less stressed and calm. We are more happy and grateful for what we have!

Comments in 2020

2020 has been a wild ride for every single one of us in one way or the other. And I believe we are not done just yet…

ifoodreal.com is receiving around 4 million visitors a month. 4 million people are interested in cooking and eating healthy – that’s amazing!!! I am so proud of every single one of you! And thank you for visiting and sharing my recipes!

It literally “takes a village” to run this website and offer it to you for free. We are a team of 5 people working full-time and part-time on grocery shopping, recipe development, clean up, photography, video, promoting recipes on social media and in a newsletter, replying to hundreds of comments a day and troubleshooting. It is a lot of work, not to mention expenses, and I know it is appreciated by most!

I try to reply to every comment and but please keep ifoodreal.com 2020 comment policy rules in mind:

  • My ultimate goal is to help you cook healthy, tasty and quick meals. That’s why we are here.
  • I am a home cook and am sharing my creations and recipes I enjoy. Not a professional chef but I kind of grew up around my grandma cooking in Ukraine from scratch. Anyone can be a chef of their own family.
  • Ads might be annoying sometimes but they make recipes possible free of charge to you. Like you, I can’t work for free and have kids to feed. If ads bother you, I think buying cookbooks would be the best solution.
  • I delete without reading and do not engage with negative, rude and inappropriate comments. We have a software installed that automatically detects and deletes negativity. You will be wasting your time if you are planning to unload your bad day or life on me. Life is too short and that is why I live on the island. 🙂
  • I do not engage in arguments of any kind because I can’t possibly make all 4 million people happy. It’s OK to keep having different opinions.
  • I can’t fulfill requests for any recipe changes due to cultural beliefs, diet or preferences because they are my recipes.
  • ifoodreal.com is a happy cooking place without judgement. If you feel like this place is not for you for whatever reason, please respect us by moving on just like we respect you for doing so.
  • We live in an age when anyone can be easily offended. Please see point above.
  • It takes a lot to put yourself out there. Please see point above.
  • My ultimate goal is to help you cook healthy, tasty and quick meals. That’s what matters!

Newsletter and Meal Plans

Are you a regular iFOODreal reader?

Sign up for weekly emails with recipes to make your cooking stress free, delicious and healthy.

Subscribe to Get Help with Dinner

Do you need more help with quick and healthy dinner?

We just launched iFOODreal healthy meal plans for as little as $7/month.

healthy meal plans

Featured In

It is always exciting to see my recipes featured by other publications.

Thank you so much for sharing!

I hope you stay safe, healthy and appreciate small things because I am convinced 2020 is here to teach us that.


Olena Osipov

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. You assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

This page may contain affiliate links. ifoodreal.com is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep iFOODreal recipes free. Thanks for your support!

639 comments on “Olena’s Story

Our “happiness” software deletes rude comments without publishing, so we can keep on happily cooking delicious recipes for you. Please see our full comment policy:).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Oh Olena!!! I SO love your healthy recipes and view on life! You have made a huge impact on my cooking and I appreciate you so much!! Your life and family look amazing and I am so happy for you! Virtual hugs Girl!!!

  2. Love your story . So looking forward to making the beet salad.
    I can relate how growing up with less makes you so resilient. Happy Thanksgiving and God bless our heritages.

  3. Hi Olena,
    I live in Northern Virginia and found your site on the web as a secondary link when I was just trying to find out quickly how long to roast boneless leg of lamb. Then your story engaged me and I spent some time viewing pictures of your lovely family and garage studio, browsing recipes, copy/printing some of them (with your copyright and URL) to remind me of dishes to try. I have found your incidental tips especially helpful re what can be prepared ahead and how to store leftovers. This is a fun website to which I’ll return again and again. Thank you for hosting it!

    P.S. and it always helps to have the reminder about why the ads are important! It keeps them from being annoying.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to browse my site and recipes and for leaving me feedback! I really appreciate it. Hope you like the recipes 😉

  4. Just sending a simple THANK YOU!!! Thanks for your openness and honesty. I haven’t tried your recipes yet, but your parmesan zucchini sticks are on my dinner menu tonight! 🙂

  5. Honest , love. It. Glad I found this site, just got an instant pot as it’s finally available down here in Australia. I grew up on Vancouver island it truely is a beautiful place

  6. Even without meeting you in person, I like you! If I were younger I might even move out there on the island. It looks beautiful! I am making your cauliflower rice cheese pizza tonight for the first time. I’m thinking of putting some sauteed onions and black olives on it for a little extra flavor. I am allergic to tomatoes and peppers so I often have to improvise. I make a ‘red’ sauce out of red plums and add the Italian seasoning. It’s not perfect but it lets me have some italian dishes I otherwise couldn’t have. I also believe that food should be cooked from scratch. I’m glad I found this website. Thanks!!!

  7. I have tried quite a few of your recipes, and have enjoyed all of them! Today I made your Chicken Wild Rice Soup.. delicious!
    I also love your freezer meals, such a great idea! I got my Instant pot for Xmas last year.. and I love it!!

    You definitely are living in Paradise on Vancouver Island!

    Salmon Arm, BC

    1. Hi Barbara! Thanks for taking the time to write such a wonderful review. I am so happy you are enjoying my recipes and your instant pot!

  8. I’m so grateful to found your website.
    My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer and is fixing to have his prostate removed. These healthy Soups should help him get well faster. I’ve always loved to fix Soups in the Fall and Winter, but didn’t have a good selection. I appreciate you for putting these available for all. 😇

  9. One more thing — I know you have nothing better to do! Do you have a recipe for cabbage rolls in the instant pot. Also, although not at all healthy, do you have a recipe for norwegian potato dumplings? I haven’t yet figured how to search your site. A suggestion?
    Thanks pretty, thin lady!

  10. I just found you through your black beans and rice menu in the instant pot which I love. I’m single. It’s quarantine time and every time I cook in the pot I have so much left over to freeze. I used to invite friends over. (Frown). I love your story too and you guys look so happy — and on the Pacific Ocean. Vancouver Island is beautiful. I retired from Silicon Valley to Mexico 24 years ago at age 52 -= you do the math! I’m going to try and eat healthier because of you. Although I did throw some smoked sausage into the beans and brown rice. I had to go to 3 stores here to find brown rice (arroz integral). I’m wondering how you and your husband met. I’ve had two consulting businesses of my own in younger days and I admire both of you for putting this together. I wish you both all the success and want your weekly newsletter. Also, you mentioned your cucumber and tomato salad on that page and the next time I’m at the store, I’m getting stuff to make it. My mom used to make some version of that with a vinegar and sugar dressing. It was yummy. I’m going to try the sour cream. This is the first excitement I’ve had today. Thank you!

  11. Hello,

    I just stumbled upon you today…. I’m headed to the store to pick up the ingredients I need for one of your recipes.

    I recently lost 100 pounds (135 now). Have stepped away from unhealthy fast food and sugar habits. I love to cook and instant pot now.

    I’m excited to try these balanced recipes out.

    1. Hi Rose! I am so pleased that you found my site. I would love to hear what you think of my recipes once your try them out 🙂

  12. Dear Olena,

    Thank you for rescuing me this evening ! Finding the store unexpectedly closed, my dinner plans were blown. Picked up a zucchini from a farm stand, and in cruising the internet, happily found your recipe for zucchini, tomato, garlic, & basil pasta. My husband who never takes a second helping, had two full servings and I am delighted.

    I am very interested in the Ukraine. My niece adopted two pre-teen brothers from there last year, and they are bright, charming and lovely young people. We feel so fortunate to have them in the family, and delighted that they are now citizens of the US. Perhaps your blog includes some Ukranian recipes ? I look forward to finding out.

    All the best to you and your family. Wishing you every success in your career !

    1. Hi Myra! I am so happy to read this. Many of my recipes are inspired by my Ukrainian upbringing. I hope you will enjoy many of the recipes on ifoodreal!

  13. I have tried a few of your recipes and my family loves them! I’m so glad that I found your site 🙂 Looking forward to trying everything!

  14. Thank you for sharing. I have successfully made a few of your recipes. My wife works full time so I am the house husband and head chef. I have to be sure to cook healthy as my wife is a dietician she now works in the elementary school system. You have made things easy and the recipes are terrific.

  15. I happened to ‘fall’ on your blog and reading your personal story is what attracted me to your site. Your sharing touched me and your principles appeal to mine. I too, like you, cook from scratch, am very careful about my spending but will prefer quality over quantity. I use simple ingredients, but enjoy discovering new flavors. Prep. time need to be quick. I can ‘stretch’ a piece of meat for several meals with lots of vegetables, cooked in varied ways to make it different. In spite of all my efforts to eat ‘healthy’, I’m still ‘chubby’ and I wouldn’t mind loosing a few pounds – if your recipes manage to accomplish that, I’ll be in heaven… even if I don’t live on the Pacific ocean!!!
    Very excited about this discovery and impatiently waiting for your emails.

    1. Hi Lise! Thank you so much for your kind comments. It does sound like we share a lot of the same cooking principles. I hope you enjoy my recipes.

  16. I can’t wait to try this recipe with cabbage and carrots – pulling both main ingredients from my garden tonight. Adore your positive attitude and just telling it how it is for you! Adore it!

  17. Dear Olena,I was very excited to find this. All my grandparents were born in Ukraine, my grandmother In a close town near Kiev. I was raised in Montreal but currently live in Connecticut. I look forward to following you and bringing back some of the traditional meals I so miss. Wishing you all the success in your endeavors

  18. I was looking for a healthy option for bananas gone ripe. Just found this. I will try your almond flour recipe in my blender and if it turns out good, you will be hearing from me again. I love baking, but me and my husband are diabetic and, we are not perfect in our eating habits, but it sure makes it easier when we can find recipes that work for a lower sugar diet.

  19. ifoodreal truly is the best food blog out there!!! Not sure how I recently came across your website but I’m so happy I did. I love that your recipes are healthy, practical, and delicious! Thank you so much Olena!!!

  20. Best food website. I use it nearly daily. My family thinks I am suddenly an amazing cook. Most of all, I now LOVE to cook. Great flavors, healthy and simple!

  21. I would like to thank you for your time and willingness to share with us. Thank you for being real and putting yourself out there. I love your philosophy on life, food and living 🙂

    I wish you were my friend next door….in a very un-creepy way!

    Thanks again 🙂

    1. I love your Bio especially the part about rejecting negativity. As a hospice worker when I was on the East Coast I visited a Ukrainian Family. They were an inspiration to me. So happy I happened on your Website. Many blessings

  22. The Chicken Tostada recipe looks great but I looked through it several times and didn’t see a recipe for the Tostada shells. Am I missing something?

    1. Hi Jessie!
      The instructions to make tostada shells is listed in the recipe write-up as well as in the recipe card (I double checked today). Just in case you can’t seem to find it. Here are my instructions!

      How to Make Tostada Shells
      You can use store-bought tostada shells but be aware they contain artificial colours, hydrogenated oils, and are impossible to find organic. You can, I mean not the end of the world, but if you have time I highly recommend to make your own – super easy!

      Line large baking sheet with silicone mat and arrange tortillas in a single layer. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt on both sides.
      Bake at 400 degrees for 6 minutes per each side. They come out so crunchy!


  23. I am venturing into Kombucha and had mold on top of my first batch. I read where I needed to just discard the whole batch and start over. Does that include the scoby? I am new to your site, after reading your intro I can tell you cook like my husband and I.

    1. Unfortunately you have to discard the scoby too as mold will just keep coming back.
      So happy you like what you see. Please let me know in comments which recipe you try. 🙂

  24. I just tried out my instant pot and googled and found your website to see how to cook my chicken. I love your simple approach and am looking forward to eating more healthy. Thanks for your help!

    1. Awe, you are so welcome, Rebecca! So happy to hear you are enjoying my recipes! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  25. I came across your blog this morning and enjoyed reading your story. You approach to food is the same as mine, and I am looking forward to following you and trying your recipes. Thanks for such great meal ideas!

    1. Awe, you are so welcome, Pat! So happy to hear you are enjoying my blog and recipes! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  26. So, I rarely ever post on anything, BUT I just found this site and am reading it while I am waiting for my frozen chicken to cook in my instant pot- thanks to your recipe. While I wait I happened upon your page that talks about how this blog got started and your food philosphy. I just want to say I am in LOVE and wish I had stumbled upon this 10 years ago!! Anyway, I still have kids at home to feed and grandchildren too who come around. I look forward to reading more and eating fabulous, delicious healthy foods!!

    1. So great to read this! It is my goal to have my children and grandkids around to feed and help them raise their families. You are blessed. Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  27. I am so happy i stumbled upon your site looking for instant pot all in one pot recipes. I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments and I have always struggled with getting the weight off /keeping it off. I am looking forward to following you and learning some quick easy meals with real food!! I love real food..

  28. Hi Olena,
    I stumbled upon your site from a search for Ukrainian potato pancakes. I wanted to see if there were different variations to the recipe I have. My husband’s grandparents as well as my grandparents are from the ukraine and my daughter’s name is Oleyna. We added the “y” to be unique and someone also told me that oleyna is a sunflower oil brand name in the Ukraine. 😄 I live in Canada too! All your recipes look great and can’t wait to try them especially the time saving 30 minute ones. I will be following your blog more now!

    1. Welcome, Jane. Yes, I remember smth about the oil brand. Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great weekend!

  29. I’ve just discovered your blog (🤭)… and love it! My husband and I own a small but old vegetable farm in Palmer, Alaska. 56 years now. I agree with all of your outlooks. We too, promote healthy, local food intake. The soil is miraculous and provides wonderful gifts. No excuse to not eat healthy!

  30. Hi. I found your blog by searching for an instant pot chicken recipe and I’m glad I did. Looking forward to the healthy recipes.

  31. Hello from Topeka, KS!

    You won me over with your Instant Pot Lentil soup! I am a new subscriber. 🙂


  32. I found your recipes on Pinterest and as I kept looking at your website realized you live near me! I’m in chilliwack. So excited to start using your recipes!

  33. Olena, I LOVE your story. When I grow up I want to be like you. I am 68 years old.😀 I love your philosophies of life and cooking, etc. Keep doing what you are doing and keep sharing. I know people who can’t cook, don’t cook and hate cooking but they don’t know you. I have been cooking for over 60 years and I check out other recipes all the time to see what is new and different. Keep sharing and inspiring.

  34. Hello! Finding your website feels like I’ve been saved. I have been searching for a website that could provide truly healthy family friendly meals, and not just the latest fad. Coming from a non-American upbringing myself (while in America) I am happy to see real food again! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Do you have any suggestions for lunches (school packed lunch specifically) for kids? My kids are now being homeschooled thanks to COVID, but they still love, and look forward to their packed lunches. Sandwiches specifically. Thank you so much in advance!

    1. So happy to hear!!! To be honest, lunches are sandwiches my husband makes and they are easy. Plus fruit and cheese and nuts for snacks. We eat dinner leftovers because we work from home. So I am not creative for lunch ideas haha.

  35. I am so thrilled that I just stumbled upon your website by searching Costco healthy food items Canada. Then I see your from Vancouver island and so am I! I am excited to have finally found a food blogger within the same area because I find all the American ones post certain foods we don’t have in Canada yet. I really love Costco haul updates is that something you share when you find a new item you love? What Costco do you shop at? We are in qualicum so go to comox or Nanaimo 🙂

    1. Hi Chantelle! So happy that you found my site and are finding it useful/helpful. Vancouver Island is amazing! We shop in Nanaimo.

  36. Hi Olena, I just came across your recipe of almond flour banana bread. It’s my first time on your site and I simply love how passionate you are about cooking healthy. I’m a mother of 2 hungry teenage boys and am always on the lookout for healthy recipes. Would surely try the banana bread and let you know. Thanks.

    1. So glad you found ifoodreal.com! Hope you enjoy my recipes. Don’t be shy to leave a review of the almond flour banana bread.

  37. Aloha from the Big Island, Hawai’i! I just discovered you while reading about lemon water, something I’ve used off and on over the years, for health reasons and also to use whatever nature has provided at the time! I like to use local ingredients so if there are lots limes to be had, I use limes instead of lemons. What do think about substituting limes for lemons?

  38. Hi Olena
    Thanks so much for your recipes and info on instant pots. Have tried a bunch and am always pleased with the yummy results. Just had lemon chicken for supper with a few tweaks . It was a hit. Thanks again. Happy cooking.

  39. Oh Olena, I find your blog, recipes & your wonderful personality to be a bright spot in my life! Because of you, I went out and bought another Instant Pot, as I did have one when they first came out, but only used it once, then thought, naw, this isn’t for me😉 you have changed my opinion on it and I love trying out the recipes!!
    Love watching your videos, & having your husband Alex, and your boys come in & test them every now and then🤗
    Keep up the great work, and I’m so happy you found your little piece of paradise here on Vancouver Island! I’ve lived here since 1969, and think we are the luckiest people in the world to live in such a beautiful place!!
    I think I used to see more of your emails…not sure now why I don’t~ do I need to do something, or subscribe to it??
    Look forward to more of your recipes!! Thanks again, keep safe with your family💫🙋‍♀️

    1. Thanks so much, Patti. Yes, I agree our island is magical. I just checked and I see you are receiving and opening and even clicking my Instant Pot recipes. They go out about 1-2 times a week. If you want I can add you to another list – regular recipes, not Instant Pot.

  40. I’m looking forward to trying more recipes from you. I agree with your philosophy on food and culture. My husband is French and we raised our two boys to eat the healthy food we cooked for them.

  41. So happy to have found you. I was just scrolling the Internet looking for healthy recipes for my Insta pot, and I came across your black beans and rice which I plan to prepare for dinner tonight.
    I’ve always called myself a seeker rather than a dieter. I am a registered nurse and for years have believed Hippocrates words of wisdom, let food be thy medicine. I truly believe that we were all Much healthier when we were poor and mama cooked our meals at home. I am 67 years old live and in Alabama I want to stay as active and healthy as possible ! Look forward to following your blog and your recipes. Best wishes!

  42. I have just found you while searching for chicken Instant Pot recipes. I have only had my pot a short while, and already adore it for soups and chili, but haven’t yet tried everyday recipes. Yours is cooking as we speak!
    I too live on magical Vancouver Island. I can’t imagine living anywhere else! I love your philosophy on life and food! Can’t wait to explore more of your recipes and posts. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Imi! Thank you for your message. I hope you enjoy my recipes and cooking with your instant pot. And yes, Vancouver Island is so magical 🙂

      1. So I made your Chicken and Potatoes dish, and it was marvelous! We had it with fresh bread from the breadmaker, and between prep and cleanup I don’t think it took more than 15 minutes. Love having these lovely modern appliances. Thanks again for the delicious recipe, can’t wait to make something else.

  43. I just made this tonight! It turned out great but my ring in the instant pot got all stained :(. Any tips on what will get it out?? Thanks!!

      1. I don’t think you can get smells and stains out of the ring, but it doesn’t really transfer to the food. My cousin lent me her Instant Pot to try before I bought my own, and her ring had a strong curry smell, but I never noticed it in anything that I cooked. (It did make me crave Indian food every time I used it though…)

        Even so, I bought an extra set of color-coded rings, so we have a red one that we use for strong flavors, a blue one for average smells, and a white one for rice and desserts.

  44. I just found you via searching for instant pot recipes. You sound like a person I would like to know – positive, enthusiastic and energetic (I’m not very energetic, but I sure do admire it!). I will bookmark your site and look forward to your blog posts. Congratulations on taking life by the horns and showing it you’re the boss!!

    1. So glad you found my site! Please don’t be shy to let me know what you think of the recipes you try!

  45. I just wanna thank you so much because you have made my evening’s better and my family is always looking forward To see what I have prepared for dinner , right now I’m loving you and thanks for making my evenings less stressful 😘

  46. I googled ground turkey and broccoli and your recipe popped up! I like your principles about food and hope this recipe is good!

  47. Are there any Ukrainian recipes specifically on your site? I just found you on Pinterest when looking for chia pudding recipes. I am alone and cook for one as I am a 67 yrs old man desiring to eat healthy. I also own an Instant Pot. I also am on a weight reduction journey. Any suggestions?

  48. Thank you for sending your recipes. I am also an immigrant from Hungary. Pre diabetic. I am not a cook so I am trying to develop good eating habits and prepare easy meals for each day.
    Thanks again.

  49. Thank you, Olena. I am so glad I came across your blog today, on my search for healthy Bran Muffins.
    I made your recipe and they are delicious and guilt free!
    Please sign me up for your news letter

  50. You have a great website and YouTube channel. I discovered it looking for Instant Pot recipes. I share the same beliefs with food and cooking. Im very intrigued with recipes adding garlic and dill at the end. Sounds good!

    1. Welcome to ifoodreal Leah! Please don’t be shy to leave a comment and star review on any recipes that you try or YouTube videos that you watch 🙂

  51. Hi Olena,
    I just bought an instant pot and am loving it!! Thank you for frozen chicken – so nice to know I can cook frozen meat! 😊
    I am also Ukrainian ( half) my family live in Victoria on Vancouver Island… sooo beautiful here! Blessings, Dana🌷

  52. Hi Olena this is so crazy . At first I came across your blog about insta pot than I find out that you are from Ukraine and grow up on home made food just like I am 🙂 but when I read that you are from Vancouver Island where my family currently live I realize how much we have in common. Nice to meet you. Keep doing great job.

  53. Hi Olena;
    I was looking for a recipe and randomly came across one of yours. I made chicken breast which came out great.Then I noticed your name and realized you must be Eastern European.My parents immigrated from
    the Ukraine. I try to keep the tradition and flavors in what I cook. I really look forward to reading your blog.

  54. Hi Olena,

    I just bought an instant pot and googled “how to cook frozen chicken breasts” and you popped up. While my chicken is cooking (and they already smell delicious) I enjoyed reading your story and I’ve subscribed to your channel. I’m hoping you will be my guide to all things Instapot. I have a two-year-old son, work full-time as well as teach fitness classes part time. Looking for anyway I could spend more time with my family and less time cooking and still provide healthy meals. Thank you for doing what you do!

    1. So nice to hear from you Amanda and welcome to ifoodreal and instant pot cooking. I bet you will love it 🙂

  55. Hi! Olena,
    What a JOY for me to have found you today while searching for frozen chicken.
    I know we are going to become great friends because I have only just now had the courage
    to open my Instant Pot box and then to look at it and smile and talk to it and say , ” Someday
    Pot, Someday “. Well my poor pot sat in dread for several months. Then one day a Miracle
    Happened. My dear sister who gave me the Pot as a Beautiful Gift called from CA. and for
    the 50th time asked me if I had pulled it out of the box. She already knew that I talked to
    it. I said no. She asked what’s for dinner. I said Beef Stew. She said get my son and get it out.
    She walked me through Beef Stew. I have NEVER in my Life had stew meat melt in my mouth.
    So, like you Olena, I fell in Love with my Pot. And tonight it’s frozen chicken thanks to you!

  56. Olena, I look forward to your recipes, your chit-chat about family life, your “no nonsense” attitude and your healthy and enjoyable food choices. I laugh with your humor and am so happy you are who you are! Don’t change!

  57. Hi Olena,
    I loved your healthy carrot cake and of course my little son and husband loved it too. So I made your healthy carrot muffins later on and it was a big hit! And I was wondering if you have more baking recipes, so I am here now. I also believe in that what you eat makes who you are. Thank you so much for sharing your healthy recipes! 🙂

    1. Hi Kina! So glad you enjoyed the carrot cake recipe. When you log into my website, you will see a big section that says “Baking”. Click on that and voila! All my baking recipes!

  58. I made the Buffalo Chicken Chili and it was truly delicious. Thank you so much for your blog. You are an inspiration. I’m on the journey of losing wait and being more healthy and I thank you for sharing your healthy recipes.

  59. Hi Olena! I’m trying your yogurt recipe, (for the first time ever)! I also grew up cleaning my plate. Can’t wait to taste the yogurt!

  60. Hello there!
    I just found your site by googling chicken casserole & I’m so glad I did 🙂
    Today I have made your healthy Chicken & Rice Casserole.
    Wow whats not to love!
    I always have chicken thighs in the freezer, i love brown rice & also a big fan of natural/greek yogurt, oh & cheese of course lol
    I added in a few other vegies at the saute stage (broccoli stalks, red capsicum, celery, carrots & garlic cloves)
    We havnt eaten it as yet because i’m at the melt the cheese stage but oh wow, the taste tester was amazing!
    I cant wait for dinner, thank you for your recipe 🙂
    Kind regards Leslie from South Australia

      1. Yes, we definitely enjoyed the final product. So tasty, delicious & fulfilling.
        I have also recommended the recipe to my friends.
        Thanks so much!

  61. I normally find food/recipe blogs boring or obnoxious and often unattainable.

    But yours i am a fan of. Your ideas around food and snobbish ness align with what I believe.
    I grew up rather poor. We ate what was un front or we didnt eat, there was no room to be picky.
    So thank you. Off to try some canned salmon recipes

  62. Hi Olena,

    Good Morning from New Zealand 🙂

    I started reading your blog recently. Your Instant pot recipes are amazing.

    Could you please advise which instant pot is best to use and from where I can buy.


  63. Oh Olena you are living my dream life. I so agree with your positive outlook on life and food. Glad I found your banana bread recipe and hence found you. I will let you know how the banana bread comes out. Due to a recent diagnosis of coronary disease I am looking for low fat and low sugar recipes, leaning more toward less meat and more vegetables. Keep smiling.

  64. Hello Olena,
    My name is Leona. So I’m hoping since we share the same letters in our names, I too can become a good cook. I just found your blog today. Thank You for saving my sanity. As I have a Husband with heart, kidney disease and is type 2 diabetic. I have been beating my head trying to find HEALTHY recipes for he and I. Will definitely be making lots of these recipes. Please if you don’t mind subscribe me to your site. Wish me luck!

    1. Hi Leona! You are signed up! Happy cooking and please don’t be shy to leave a comment and star review once you try a recipe 🙂

  65. Hello To all of your family! I enjoyed your wonderful story! My wife and I also live on an Island in Maine, USA. There are about 50 year-round people here. I was very interested in your recipes, but mostly your waffles. I have twin boys (both married now) and I always made sure they had a healthy breakfast to start the day. I also can make (killer) waffles, but thats another story! My wife Olena, is from Ukraine also. Once a year we bring back Kasha because there, it is still “real grain”. Mark

  66. I relate to your philosophy on relationship with real fooo food. Refreshing.
    I love the sugar free cookies. Look forward to more recipe discoveries in your site.
    I would like to mention the cookies on my insta @carrie_cooks_ where I will give you credit for the inspiration.
    Thank you for your good work.
    To health,

  67. Hi Olena,
    My husband recently had a heart attack and I was looking online for some healthy recipes and came across your turkey, broccoli and pasta recipe.
    I made it and my husband absolutely loved it. The only change I made was I used veggie spaghetti broken into pieces.
    Your recipe has so much flavor, it’s no wonder your kids love it too.
    Thanks so much!

  68. Hi From Florida…..I just bought a Pressure cooker ( not instant pot) and was looking for recipes and came across you and Alex on You Tube. You are too cute! My husband and I were laughing when , not once….but twice, you dug into a just cooked meal…and realized just how hot it was…lol.

    Also, when you cut up an onion…you cried…as is natural. Here’s a hint..,.if you whistle while you cut an onion…..you don’t cry. I read it, I tried it…it’s true!
    Happy cooking. God bless.

    1. Haha thanks for the tips Patty! So happy to hear that you found our youtube videos and recipes! Happy cooking!

  69. Hi Olena, Found your blog looking for avocado recipes and really liked your story, philosophy and positivity.
    Me, going on 70 and moved to Washington state 5 years ago with my wife to be closer to grandchildren. Vegetarian past 43 years, but not always making best food and nutrition choices. Recently learned about intermittent fasting following YouTube (Thomas Delauer and others) and more about food and nutrition shopping (Bobby Parrish). During the past 4 months have lost 30 pounds and back to weight I was in my 40’s and blood pressure back down to normal. Also cut out sugar as completely as possible. Guess the message is healthy eating definitely works, never too late to change even at my age.
    Also, starting to enjoy making meals for my wife and I, especially simple ones (since I’m not very skilled 😉 but can whip together salads and use a slow cooker.
    Thanks for sharing your recipes and look forward to trying those out.
    BTW, one visit to Vancouver a couple of years ago and spectacularly beautiful as is most of the PNW in Canada and US.
    Please keep up the great work.

    1. Don! Thank you for sharing your story and your journey to healthy eating. I hope you enjoy the recipes! You’ve got this;)

  70. Dear Olena ..!
    Its heartening and ‘am almost delighted to see you cooking your Chicken Curry just like the way I cook (since I dont have chicken ) my big fish Head curry ..
    I live in Guwahati, India , a retired teacher , blessed with two grown- up daughters …?
    Iam a very positive person full of optimism ….in life , under any circumstances …perhaps , thats the reason why I could relate to whatever you said about yourself, your attitude towards Life as well as Food , the vive that you created ..?

    1. You are the sweetest man on Earth with the sweetest comment ever. I wish you were my dad I never had! Stay healthy and your daughters are so lucky to have you!

  71. Hello you have been a great help to me and my instant pot. Thank You so much. I have a frozen chicken in the instant pot right now. Your you tube channel is very up beat and fun, but the real deal is i did not know what button to push or how to work the venting ot sealing. It helped me so much when you said it is a heating element with a computer, it seemed less scary from that point on I was fearless.
    Hugs to you and your family i use your site every time i start to cook in my instant pot.

    1. Barbara! Your message made my day. So happy that my site and youtube channel are helping you out with your instant pot!

  72. This is very refreshing indeed. My Ethnic background is Ukrainian, I grew up in Edmonton, but we as a family lived in many places and countries. I also lived and worked in Asia , so I have a love for real ethnic food and I personally love diversity . I live and have raised my family in California and could never understand when food is trendy until I lived here. Thank you for common sense. You are appreciated!

  73. OMG the stew is delish! different from my regular stew with turnips, green beans BUT this is a keeper everyone enjoyed this stew!

    Thanks Olena

  74. Am trying the Beef Stew it is cooking right now. I love your “Instant Pot” tips and tricks I’ve only used my pot twice so am still learning to not be afraid. So many recipes I want to try

    1. Hi Patricia! Please don’t be shy to leave comments, questions and a star review when you try any of my recipes. Happy cooking with your instant pot. I love it 🙂

  75. Hi Olena

    I am a mom of 2 small children and I suffer from Fibromyalgia which makes life a little more challenging. I came across your site right this moment and I am feeling so excited and inspired to try your recipes. It feels like you have come to me out of the darkness and thrown a lifeline of hope. I can’t tell you what this moment means to me. Thank you so much xxx

  76. Hi Olena, Husband to a pregnant wife and 2 year old terror sorry beautiful daughter,
    I work from home or interstate about 1/4 time and I have always enjoyed cooking – my wife admits I cook way better than her – and I guess I do a lot of typical mom duties like taking daughter to daycare, getting my partner out the door on time with a cooked portable breakfast and a healthy lunch. I was getting bored with my usual recipes and my work day can be rather longer than most even though I work from home a lot (yes very time poor despite no commute these days). I also needed freezable recipes as I found when I was away my wife was getting pizza and other unhealthy take out and eating out on lunch breaks without a stock of frozen meals – your website has given me many more healthy and quick ideas in my arsenal saving us money and eating more vegetables. Thank you so much!!

  77. Accidentally fell upon your blog and so glad I did. Was searching for a healthy, quick mac and cheese and wow did I find it. It was so delicious and one pan only. Loved the idea of using vegetable broth instead of water and making the sauce first and adding the macaroni last. Looking forward to using my instapot and using your recipes.

    1. Janice! Thank you for your message! Please don’t be shy to leave a comment and a star review for any of the recipes that you try!

  78. Hi Olena,

    I’m going to try making your frozen whole chicken for dinner, and hoping it turns out as great as yours! I want to be sure it comes out just right though, so I have a couple of questions. Here in Calgary our elevation is over 4000 ft (1250m)… how do I adjust for this with my instant pot? I have a 4lb frozen chicken, and an 8qt InstantPot. Thanks for your assistance, and i’m looking forward to trying your other recipes too – i love you philosophy on cooking and eating real food! 🙂

      1. Thanks so much for your quick reply – that means so much that you really do show up here to give great advice and answer questions! 🙂 I’ve seen a couple of other food bloggers that aren’t very responsive at all, and that’s such a disappointment. For sure I’ll be checking out your other recipes now!! 🙂

          1. I made the frozen whole chicken on Friday, and it was so easy! However, I set it for 45 minutes, and still found it was a little too overdone for my liking, so I’ll definitely try this again, but I’ll reduce the cook time to perhaps 40 minutes and see if that’s better 🙂 Can’t wait to try your other recipes too! 🙂

  79. I made your Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe tonight. It was super easy and delicious. It passed the test of my very picky 15 year old son. He asked me to put it on the family meal plan list. I used 2 lbs of top sirloin, omitted the potatoes, and portioned it into 6 servings. Each serving was only 4 WW points on Blue. There are 3 of us eating tonight and no leftovers. (I ate one portion.) I served it over a brown rice and quinoa medley.

    I also appreciated the advice to vent the steam outside. Brilliant. I’ll use this for other IP recipes.



  81. Came upon your site by accident. Soooo happy I did. Been cooking for years and now children are no longer home. Need tasty, smaller and easy meals for hubby and myself. I completely agree with Suzanne.


    1. Hi and welcome, Connie. So happy to have you here. Then please cut recipes in half because I am feeding an army here. Or freeze the ones that are freezable. Instructions in the recipe. Enjoy! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  82. I would like to follow you and your ideas on eating. I do not have children at home anymore, so I am cooking for two and don’t have an insta pot. What would Ben the best way to keep up with your posts?

  83. Love these burritos!!! So good and having them ready to pull out of the freezer to eat for same day – I pulled one out in the morning to defrost, then heated it and ate it early afternoon. So yummy and so convenient… Convenient to prep & to eat a healthy home cooked meal. Thank you Olena!

  84. Your approach to food and cooking reminds me of my mother- your simple, healthy delicious meals have been a life saver! As a newly wed who works full time, finding balance and inspiration for meals has been exhausting. Dare I say this blog has saved my sanity and marriage? Thank you so much, Olena! I look forward to many happy years in the kitchen with you!

  85. Thanks for sharing your story! glad I found your Instant Pot page! The Pacific NW is a beautiful place. If you get a chance, visit Cannon Beach Oregon, my first Beach love

    1. So happy you found me, Kate. And welcome. Would love to hear which IP recipe you try first. Yes been to Cannon beach years ago and it is breathtaking!!! All west coast has so many special places.

  86. Looking for Instant Pot recipes and became an Instant Fan lol. My daughter and son-in-law are in the process of moving to Vancouver Island!

  87. Your recipes remind me of our recent trip to
    Lviv and Ternopil, UA where we have family. The recipes are simple but delicious like the cucumber tomato salad. Tasty fresh vegetables and dill … lots of dill,!!!

    We live in Winnipeg Manitoba.


  88. Hi Olena,
    I am thrilled that I found your page. I was looking for a lentil soup recipe when I came accross your page. I read your story and I am totally in with your views on real food and family meals. Can’t wait to try more recipes! (The soup was to die for! We added cilantro and some jarred jalapenos on top for extra spice. Yuuuuuuuum)

  89. Yah so glad to know your story Olena and finally to look at recipes with happiness and enthusiasm and a British Columbia resident !!!!! I have not tried the recipes but truly enjoy reading and the tips are good too……I’ m a senior and the other half….need good food and I need new ideas you display a lot of wonderful every day and easy dishes…….so keep them coming I will comment. Pat.

  90. Hi Olena, I don’t subscribe to many blogs, just a couple. I’m going to subscribe to yours, being a fan of the black beans and brown rice recipe you blogged, made it several times, shared it and appreciate the simplicity and taste…I don’t have much extra time but knew I’d enjoy your site and recipes.

  91. I just finished reading your article, loved it. Do you also cook Ukraine food? My mother is Ukrainian and I would love to use my insta pot for some dishes.

  92. I just stumbled on your cauliflower mash recipe and read your story. Love it and I will for sure begin following you. Good luck to you and your family. Kudos for following your dream and yes you can be my friend.??❤️

  93. Hi Olena:
    Just wanted to say thank you for your ifoofreal recipe it has helped my husband how to eat well and Lower he’s cholesterol. Please continue the good work and keep sharing your recipe and your ideas much love. Mrs TQ from Oregon

  94. Your the bomb. Love love love the recipes. I’m 63 and never enjoyed cooking until I found you. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

  95. Hi, Olena! First, I would like to say that am sincerely happy that you have turned your hobby into successful business! You are – molodets!
    I am also from Ukraine (Odessa) and currently live in beautiful California. I cook every single day for my American husband and myself. Every time I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, he answers: ‘FOOD!’. It drives me nuts and I have to be pretty resourceful trying to find a balance between his preferences, my preferences and his food limitations (he has pretty severe GERD and other stomach issues that means no spicy, garlicky, acidic food etc). In addition, he is a picky eater!
    Quite often I run out of ideas what to cook so, I hope your recipes will be a source of inspiration and help me to make our diet more diverse. I like to combine Ukrainian and American cooking traditions. My husband looooooooves vareniky so, last Christmas we made a batch of cherry vareniky (Ukrainian traditional) and a batch of lemon curd (!) vareniky (seems very American to me).
    Tonight I am going to try your Ground Turkey Pasta Bake. Any ideas on what I can substitute tomato paste/sauce with? (tomatoes are very acidic). Usually, I use sun dried tomatoes instead of fresh ones but I always struggle with tomato sauces.
    Anyway, thank you for your recipes and I wish you good luck in everything you do!!!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words. We always made cherry pierogies and for Christmas we made pelmeni with the kids. Never tried lemon curd before. Maybe roasted red peppers from a jar puréed? Let me know how it turns out or what else you try. To feed men is a job I know haha. Good luck!

  96. Hi Olena! I’ve made a couple recipes from you and loved them. Somehow got away from your website and found my way back today. My Brother in the Lord broke his ankle and has appreciated some home cooked food. He is a much better cook than I am and I’ve run out of ideas. You are a lifesaver!!!! I will cook tomorrow from your recipes! I’ll let you know what I made and I know he will love it! (He’s pickier than I am.). Thank you for sharing all you do with us. Your place looks beautiful!!! Blessings to you and your family, Val

  97. I have to tell you I am so happy to find your website. I was looking for one-pot Instant Pot meals (having just got my Pot) and now I don’t have to look any farther. You are down to earth and real, relatable for me in a way so many other cooking bloggers aren’t, And it helps so much that your Instant Pot (and other) recipes fit perfectly with the way I like to cook- simple, additive and white sugar free, whole foods. I agree with what you’ve said about North American children being too picky and eating too many snacks, I’m guilty of it with my own 3 kids, though I do cook healthy meals most nights. Anyway, I will be making your recipes and just wanted to say thank you!

    1. Hi Natalie. I’m glad you found my website helpful.
      Welcome and please let me know which recipe you try. 🙂 It all can be done and shouldn’t be very painful to feed our kids healthy. Good luck!

  98. Hello, Olena….I am so happy I have found your site….I was looking for a recipe for leg of lamb…It has been quite a while since I had lamb…I bought a whole lamb and just yesterday, I put it all away in the freezer…except for one leg…It weighs 8lbs. I, too, am Ukrainian…My grandmother immigrated here from Ternople at the turn of the century…It is an amazing story about her journey…I do have Italian blood, as my father was Italian and Polish…I love the food…too much…I also am over weight..trying to do low carb and not very successful..Yesterday I made what I call “Lazy Helupki”…just layer everything in the crockpot chopped and loose….Low and slow with spaghetti sauce..My Baba never used sauce, but I can’t remember what she cooked them in..Some sort of broth?? I also make “Lazy Pierogie”, which is a big hit with my family…Looking forward to your posts…Sincerely,

  99. I am so excited to have found your site! For a few reasons. 1. My husband is all about eating real food, where as I have gotten sucked into diets…and I’m ready to be done with that now and follow his lead. 2. I do not like cooking and my husband does most of the dinners but I know I should step up. 3. And I’m just excited because I love it when I accidentally find sites via Pinterest recipes ( how I found yours) of people who are basically my neighbours…We live in North Vancouver.
    I’m just about to have our fourth boy and I’m excited about getting back to running and eating well. I haven’t even been past the “about me” section but I know I’m going to frequent your site often.

    1. Thanks so much, Natalie, and welcome! 4th boy? You have 3 more boys? You are a hero. We used to live on Mainland.:) Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great weekend! And sorry for late reply – was on vacation. 🙂

  100. I just received an Instant Pot for Christmas and have been looking at many different recipes using it. I purchased a set of accessories to use in the pot and wondered just what could be made in the “egg bites” container. Your blog came up and your recipes sounded so good that I watched the entire video! Thank you for making your recipes available to many of us “oldies, but goodies” folks! I have used a manual pressure cooker since I was old enough to learn how to use it as a teen. I am now in my 70’s and have already learned just how terrific the new electronic version is! I’ll be trying the breakfast ideas starting tomorrow morning.

    1. You are very welcome, Carol. I have many more ideas coming out for those moulds next month. Stay tuned on YouTube.:) And please let me know which recipe you try. 🙂

  101. Thanks for your story!
    My husband and I are also immigrants from Italy. We also love real food! Your recipes are fabulous!
    My good friends, Leon and Colleen live in Victoria too!
    It is beautiful, to say the least!
    He just phoned to tell me you all had snow.
    Living in Woodbridge, it’s above Toronto, it had been
    very mild ( +15 ) and then very cold, like today (-15C).
    Such is life in Ontario.
    Keep well and stay warm!
    Luisa from Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada

    1. Awe. Yes, it is currently snowing right now which is a novelty on Vancouver island. Kids are happy. We had extreme wind storm yesterday with minor beach damages like firepit, lot of new logs and loss of power, so quiet snowy day is a welcome change today. 🙂 Neighbour’s boat got untied and hammered on the rocks though. So snow is good haha.

  102. Your site is so exciting to me. I struggle with weight, sugar, etc. and am trying to get off of it. Your recipes look delicious and I love your story. Just so I understand, is this a free website to the reader? Or is there a membership involved? Thanks so much for your wonderful ideas!

    1. Hi Karin. And welcome! ifoodreal.com is absolutely free for you to use on your healthy journey. You just have to bare with ads and sometimes we make commission through amazon links. Please enjoy!

  103. Thanq Olena

    Your “Lettuce Salad” was a real eye-opener for me 🙂

    I “Localised / Indianised” it a bit (with whatever I have), as I am a “family man (1 wife, 2 daughters) living as a bachelor by circumstances”, and…due to binge eating rcntly I had put on weight (and was feeling mighty guilty about it 😉 )

    Also, I was really HAPPY, and impressed, reading ur life’s journey in brief. It is a real motivator, and an inspiring story

    If u ever come to India, and to Bengaluru, I wd love to be ur host

    U my reach me on +919620693859


    K “Vijay” Gupta

  104. Hello Olena

    I want to try this awesome banana muffin recipe, but I have not got any apple sauce. Can I make them without?

    1. Hi Mira. Not without but you can replace it with yogurt that is not non-fat. Or other fruit puree. Like if you have frozen mango, can thaw it and blend.

  105. I soo enjoyed your video with the roast & potatoes & carrots..I need a henry…I’m so glad I found you..I love cooking & ready to learn how to cook healthy & eat healthy. I’m wanting to loss at least 60 pds this year ..Happy New Year to you & your family

    1. Hi Rose. Thank you! Totally doable! Food is medicine, not diets. Just nutritious food. You can get Henry on Amazon https://amzn.to/2mu2TOu . I need to buy Donald. 🙂 Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  106. That was great reading Olena, I’m about to embark on a healthy eating journey as I have high cholesterol and blood pressure.
    Purchased a bag of black chia seeds while buying my fruit an veg for making healthy juices. Searched for recipes and your chia pudding came up and it sounds yum, so here I go with my first healthy eating journey recipe. ?

    1. I am eating chocolate pudding while reading your comment. Funny. Enjoy and please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  107. Please subscribe me; I am not sure I found the correct link.
    Looking forward to trying several of your recipes. I am new to the Instant Pot but I think it will be great for my busy family.
    Have a great day!

    1. Hi Vicki. Welcome and will subscribe you. 🙂 Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  108. Olena,
    I have 2 fabulous grown daughters and 2 amazing teenage sons; wife to my best friend in the whole world. It is so refreshing to read your introductory note. Thank you for experimenting, polishing and publishing successful recipes. I am still getting acquainted with my Instant Pot. I realize that my Instant Pot holds a myriad of possibilities. I am a perfectionist by heart and enjoy successful results when preparing meals for my family. Your blog gives me a plethora of ideas to try. Thank you.
    Laurel B.

    1. Hi Laurel and welcome. I am a perfectionist myself which hurts me more than helps sometimes. Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week! 🙂

  109. This is the best culinary blog. Cant wait to try your recipes. thank you. i am Ukrainian that lives in USA, so i love the way you live and cook. I can see myself in it.

  110. I just discovered your blog today while searching for gluten free, sugar free recipes. I live in Oklahoma and while I don’t have the ocean at my back door I do have 360 acres with trees and a five acre lake. We raise cattle and horses and love our country life. I enjoyed reading your story and will be checking in again soon–but right now I am away to my kitchen to try your almond flour banana muffin recipe!

    1. Hi Pam and welcome! That is a very good recipe to start with. 🙂 I have to say while I love my ocean and acreage I am getting used to this private life. City girl in me is still alive. 🙂 I need summer back. 🙂

  111. I really enjoy your videos and I particularly love your accent! 😉 I did notice, however, that most of your recipes seem to be “western” inspired. Do you ever post Ukrainian Instant Pot recipes as I didn’t see any on your YouTube channel. Thank you, Happy New Year and keep those videos coming!

    1. Hi Olena, like you, I’m an immigrant into North America and have recently turned Vegan. I made your Ukranian Lentil Soup two days ago and it was absolutely delicious. The whole family loved it, even my dairy and meat eating husband! My youngest son even asked me to make another batch for when school starts back, so that he can take it, in a thermos, for his lunch. Thanks for sharing it! Kate

  112. I was looking for a cauliflower pizza dough recipe today and found your website. Can’t wait to try this pizza dough recipe.
    I love to cook and always looking for healthy recipes for myself and hubby. I think your website will keep me busy. Thanks!

  113. I got a 5lb boneless leg of lamb and was looking for a simple recipe and found yours. It was just what I as loking for. Thanks. I can’t wait until tomorrow to bake the lamb. I will serve it with Basmati rice and asparagus. Happy New Year! Patricia Lauterborn Oxon Hill, MD USA

  114. Hi Olena, I very much appreciate your blog and agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of waste not want not! Thank you for teaching those who are lacking in skill and resources. We are over fed and starving at the same time! Absolutely nothing like Whole Foods, I love to cook culturally and am looking forward to partaking in your heritage cooking❤️

  115. I’m browsing for easy cheap healthy meals and come across you … after 3 minutes I am sucked in. You rock and I’d like to subscribe or join and keep up with your cooking and recipes.

    Thanks for making for day! 🙂

  116. Hi! I would love to subscribe to your site but I can’t see a place to subscribe..would you please let me know how I can follow you? Thank you!!

  117. My husband was USNavy and we had the wonderful blessing of being stationed at Esquimalt for 2 too short years. We loved it there and made lifelong friends!

    I’m so happy I found your sight! I can’t wait to hear your accent on YouTube. ?

  118. Good morning! Bought organic chicken thighs…on sale… yay…and thought now what to do with them! My sister is coming today and she is gluten free. Found your chicken thigh potato recipe….looks amazing and easy!! Added sweet potatoes, fresh green beans and brussel sprouts. Smells wonderful!! Will let you know how it goes… thank you!

  119. I just discovered your recipes online. Not sure how ?‍♀️ I’m printing some off now to try…. mashed cauliflower and a few salmon. They look delicious! We are also west coast people…. West Vancouver and newly purchased Saltspring island.

    1. Oh nice and welcome, Donna! Just skied the Cypress while visiting friends in Vancouver and we absolutely loved Salt Spring this summer. My favorite small island. It’s like Italy there in summer. Please leave me a comment and review on the recipe you try. Happy Holidays!

  120. My dear, thank you so much for this site, and for sharing your common sense and inspiration with us all. Tonight, my sister and I are trying your cauliflower pizza crust, as we are both getting older every minute and want to keep enjoying them. My husband is going to love love love this way of cooking. I’ll let you know how it comes out. Meanwhile, blessings on you, your Alex and your dear boys.

  121. I need your help. My guy is in the verge of a heart attack. now he needs to change his eating habits and I don’t know where to begin.
    Need help cooking healthy for him and for myself.

  122. Glad I found you! I just bought a Duo Instant pot and need recipes. Kind of nervous using it. Have your baked potatoe recipe and starting with that tonight.Thank you and hope to pull more recipes from you!!! Donna

  123. Was looking for a healthy alternative banana “bread” (muffins) and wanted to use almond flour(I too believe the North American diet is terrible, born here but my family is from Poland) and I stumbled upon your recipe in a quick google search. The fact that there was 0 sugar, easy to make (blended in my vitamix) and were delicious makes me want to try more recipes and will be going through your blog. Great muffins for my 3 year old, and easy enough that I can make them with my newborn and toddler in the room with minimal cleanup. THANK you!

  124. Thank you so much for sharing your quick and easy recipes for the family. We will be having the Instant Pot Chili tonight!? Blessings to you and your family!❤️

    Thank you once again,


  125. I have just bought a instant pot after visiting my sister in the UK and enjoying the food . She gave me your web address as she likes your recipes
    Kind Regards
    Brian Broughton

  126. Hi Olena,

    We just enjoyed the results of your Boneless Turkey Roast and Pan Gravy recipes! Everything went exactly as you described (which isn’t true for us for most recipes found online). We’re looking forward to trying more recipes and learning more about your healthy food ideas.

    We’re big fans of Vancouver Island and can’t wait to visit Victoria and Tofino again.


  127. You are Wonderful! Thank you sooo much for these healthy recipes! At 52, I’m starting to get into some serious health issues. I’ve been searching for recipes with easy to get ingredients and easy ti prepare instructions. Eating healthy usually means expensive, but you have helped this disabled low income lady to find a way to achieve her goal and doctors orders! Happy Holidays to you and your lovely Family!♡

  128. I had the great good fortune to visit Vancouver Island (Victoria, Ucluelet, Courtenay) last summer. Ukraine is in the news. I’m using Google to acquire new and healthy cooking information. Looking for healthy date balls I came to your website. Too many commonalities and coincidences! I’m almost persuaded to buy an instant pot. Since I’m a grandmother living alone maybe I’ll start with the freezer meals – after I whip up some healthy rum balls for Christmas visitors.
    Merry Christmas.

  129. Hello Elena,
    I like the idea of freezer meals for the instant pot. I am looking for recipes that I can prepare for one person (I am a senior). Any suggestions would be appreciated. There are probably lots of young people who might be interested in this as well.

  130. Good morning Olena, my name is Sharon. I have been on the paleo diet and did very well but yes it is hard to keep it up… I have had my mother living with me for the past five years. She is 95 and recently fell and fractured her hip.. I am extremely focused on her now but have been losing my life as it was a few years ago…. at this point I have been eating so much junk to try and find that feel good spot again but of course it is just making me feel worse…. so I am going to try your smoothies etc….. hopefully that will turn things around…..
    I am a believer in … Let food be thy medicine…..

    1. I sympathise you a lot! So sorry you and your mom going through this. It is hard to feel inspired when you are a caregiver, I get it. I think for you, you just have to eat “normal” food. Real food with simple and wholesome ingredients. That is easy to make. Soups and salads would last a few days for you and your mom, so you don’t have to cook every day since it’s only 2 of you. All the best! I think paleo and keto diets are so dangerous. They are so high in saturated fat, makes me scared of heart disease for all those people… My only hope is that they are not sustainable, so people drop them.

  131. hi! just found this recipe as I didn’t feel like cooking a lot today. Didn’t have spinach but put red and orange peppers, tastes really good thanks!

  132. Beautiful website inspirational story keep up the good work, I am inspired to run after my dream no matter the cost or sacrifice.

    From South Africa

  133. Thank you, so nice to find this current site!
    Dr. Oz Show recommended including more lentils in our diets. I googled lentil casserole recipes and chose yours! I look forward to making it and trying more of your healthy recipes!

  134. I like what you said about with every $1, you spend you have a choice. I have learned the hard way that eating healthier is better. I try hard to convince my husband that cheap eats now, can mean extra medical expenses later, when you are paying for medicine to get healthier. Certain things are better to buy organic, which is less pesticide.

    1. Yes, that’s one side. Another side is that eating processed food isn’t really cheaper. It’s not. Because real simple food isn’t that expensive, especially in the US. Like I said, a head of cabbage, a whole chicken and a bag of potatoes make A LOT of food for $25 tops!

  135. Oh you are so right about food and diets! If you fill up on healthy Vegs there is no need for junk. Children should eat what is put in front of them and learn healthy eating at home. I was raised by parents who were poor always hungry as children. They valued good as adults and taught us that. We ate soups, all leftovers and did not waste anything.

  136. Just found your site and love it! Your comments about the issues with N. American diets and how kids should eat are right on! I was raised by Dutch immigrant parents who had lived through the hunger of WWII, so nothing was wasted and we were grateful for what was prepared. I raised my kids with that same attitude to food, and they continue to eat pretty much any food as adults! They love to experiment with foods from different cultures, too, and all of them know how to cook well enough for themselves. I am going to make your IP Lentil Soup tonight. It looks delicious! And from one fellow Canadian to another, thanks for your no nonsense approach! (We are in S. Ontario, although one of our children is now living on Vancouver Island. ?)

    1. Hi and welcome, Yvonne. So many people from ON live on the island here.
      Yes, some might mistaken my approach as “judgemental” but it’s rather observational because I have lived outside of North America. But it’s fine. We are all responsible only for our own kids and families. I am here to share my story and recipes and not everyone has to agree with each other. We live in very different times with a lot of freedom now.:) Anyways, glad you found me and I hope you enjoy the soup. Would love to hear your feedback.:)

  137. I think you are just super, Olena.I am a physician with grown kids taking care of parents who think they are taking care of me.My hobby has to commute all over the place but is blessed with a great metabolism so far though we are both diabetics-family histories and, unfortunately-weight on my side.Had bariatric surgery 5 yrs ago when arthritis got worse and diet and exercise were not enough.Now am mainly vegetarian as my parents prefer it so.can you help please with a healthy weight losing diet?
    They say no snacking now so am going to try(lol)

    Ranjini(my instagram is ranjinipillai)

  138. Just found this blog, as I have gone “off and on” again with healthy eating. I need “on” to stay! I love your philosophy and story! Good luck to you and your sweet family! What a fun adventure! I will be using your recipes often for my family of 8. Thank you!

  139. This was kizmet finding your salmon recipe! I am try to use what I have left in my “pantry”— this recipe hit the spot. Thank you!
    I also got more and more interested in your site. You have a nother follower.
    By the way recipe was DELICIOUS!

  140. I accidentally created my cauliflower rice risotto using what I had in my fridge because, like you, a believer of not wasting food. It turned out so delicious that I posted it on my blog. But before I posted, I searched on WordPress to see if others had done something similar and found your site. I love your personal story and look forward to trying your recipes. Keep dreaming big!

  141. I just found your wonderful beef stew recipe in the instant pot group on face book. I have a Ukrainian daughter in law so have begun researching your recipes. The one thing she always says about food growing up in the Ukraine was “ it was always what we could get fresh.” Her cooking has been marvelous for my type l diabetic son! Thank you for your healthy recipes and I will be sharing your ifoodreal.Com with her.

  142. Looking Forward to many amazing recipes!! I was looking for a cauliflower pizza crust, and found yours. Cant wait to try it!!!

  143. I am on maternity leave (44 years old and just had healthy 3rd boy!) I have lost most of the weight and just want to get stronger and healthier. I eat well and enjoy new but simple healthy recipes. I recently went dairy and gluten free and wanted to try new breads. I spontaneously googled quinoa bread (bc I love quinoa) and found your recipe. I love how simple it is!! And I share your philosophy that everyone can eat healthy even with a few dollars. I’ll let you know how the bread came out when I make it.

    1. Welcome, Marsha. It is not that much to learn. You will do great! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  144. OMG Olena! I am in love with your blog. I am from Russia living in USA for 13 years. I started healthy eating journey recently and found your web site with Costco food recommendation. I got so much valuable information just reading the list. I love your writing style, your humor and honesty. Thank you so much! I want to try every single recipe from you. Спасибо, что я вас нашла ???????

    1. Hi Yulia! Welcome and I am happy you found me.:) Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. I appreciate it a lot! Have a great week!

  145. Olena I’m so glad I found your page, I was looking for a lentil soup instant pot recipe and yours was very good! I added kale instead of spinach because I love it. My husband and I went to Ukraine 20 years ago tomorrow, we left 9/11/1999 to adopt 2 little girls. They were 8 and 15 months old, now 20 and 21! What a blessing. I remember the kindness we found as we stayed in host apartments and the food was so delicious! We had amazing fruit and vegetables at every meal. I’ve never had grapes or melons as good since! We stayed in Kiev a couple of days, then went to Zaporizhzhia where the orphanage was located. Such wonderful memories of our trip. I look forward to following your recipes.

    1. I had goosebumps reading your story. I remember Ukrainian orphanages from documentaries and overall our quality of life back then…You saved 2 souls. Blessings to your family and so happy you found my website! Kids are a blessing, for sure. You found yours in Ukraine. Ah, so sweet.

  146. Loved the black bean brownies, which worked out well for brunch with 2 friends. Both asked for the recipe, so I forwarded them your link. One does not eat eggs, so I like that you had the substitutions. Also learned the difference between cocoa and cocao. ?

  147. Hi Olena!
    Just found your blog while searching for a cauliflower pizza recipe. I was put on the Mediterranean diet by my physician and am trying to make healthy meals with veggies. My grandparents were from Winnipeg Manitoba and I would love to visit you. I have family n Michigan and I live in Florida (for 33 years now). If you’ve written a cookbook, I would be most interested in purchasing one. God bless you and your family! The testimony of faith was very exciting to me!

  148. We adopted a 15 year old from Mariupol, Ukraine. He misses the food there. Do you have a borscht recipe? He says there were two different kinds. Any other traditional recipes would also be great.

  149. Hi Olena!
    I just wanted to thank you for all you do. I discovered your YouTube videos and then checked out your blog. Today I put together 3 of your freezer meals as I am going to be working every day for the next two weeks and wanted to be prepared and have a plan for good and fresh food on hand. I love your ideas. When I searched YouTube for freezer meals I found a lot of recipes with things like canned cream of whatever soup and canned biscuits… and many other processed foods. Not that I don’t love all of that, because sadly I do. But in the last year I have lost 135 pounds and I am changing my life. I don’t want to “diet” … I think that I can eat food that is satisfying and good that will help contribute to my health. Anyway, long-winded post, I know. I just wanted to say thank you. I love what you are doing!!

    1. Hi Cathey! 135 lbs? Good for you! You are so right about not dieting. You can totally do it – just eat real food and be healthy. I know, we all love our guilty things and it’s OK to indulge once in a while.
      So happy to hear you are enjoying my recipes! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great weekend and work weeks!

  150. Welcome to Canada, Olena! You are a great help to many Canadians – bringing back the real food we used to eat and sharing more healthy recipes. You are doing a lot of good in the world.
    I just made your beef stew in the Instant pot and it is delicious. No one else has told me it is better to pressure cook raw meat rather than sauté it first. I used to saute’ the vegetables too, to keep the flavour in. It is so much faster just to chop and add to the Instant pot.

    I like your blog and the efficient way you give instructions. You can tell your story without long, boring details that we find in so many blogs.
    Thank-you for your recipes.

    1. Hi Donna. Thank you for the warm welcome. Been in Canada for 20 years now but no bad time for warm welcome haha. Glad I could help! Would appreciate your comment and review on the beef stew recipe itself. Yes, I agree – what 95% of North America eats is terrifying. No other way to say it. We need all the help we can get. Thankfully more people are paying attention to what they put in their bodies. ENjpy and please let me know what else you try.

  151. Hello there,

    I want to try your recipe for healthy waffles, however, do you think I can use multigrain flour instead of whole wheat?

    Thank you,

  152. Hi Olena! My husband loves to cook and he especially loves your site. He used to make a dish that we loved and can no longer find. It was Oriental Zucchini Salmon Bowl. Sooo good. Have you taken it down? Is it possible to get it.

    1. Hi Darlene. Unfortunately we took that recipe down since it had no reviews or comments in a website cleanup. Sorry didn’t keep a copy either since who knew someone liked it. But I’m so happy to hear your husband is a fan. Sorry once again.

  153. Found you by accident,Have been looking for a almond Banana Bread for my grandaugther who is 14 months old she has Hirschsprung;s Disease she has to have a grain food high fiber diet…She has a ileostomy bag her food diet is very important it looks like your recipes will be good for our family..bread is in the oven now..;] Blessings

  154. Hi Olena,

    I used to make a recipe from your site quite often, but now when I go to the bookmark the recipe is no longer there and I can’t find it anywhere in your recipe archives. It was the Vegetarian Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with green peppers, onions, and cheese. When I go to the site I’ve always gone to it’s been replaced with parmesan stuff mushrooms. Can you help? I love this recipe!

  155. Hi! I’m very excited to come across your website/blog. I too have a passion for creating food. I LOVE finding new recipes! I think of myself as a “closet canner” as well. In the summer months I almost need to schedule vacation just so I can can stuff!
    My husband and I also relocated to vancouver island from Squamish in 2016. Best decision! I’m looking forward to trying your recipes especially the instant pot ones. I just purchased one. Thank you for your ideas and recipes. Happy cooking!

  156. I made these but added about one quarter cup of panko bread crumbs. These turkey meat balls are delicious! We Love them!

  157. I love your outlook on food for kids. I raised my 6 kids with the same outlook. Not a picky eater amongst them? I use to watch my friends kids (and my sister’s kids to be honest) and shake my head. Who’s the parent? Anyways, love your recipes, keep up the good work!

    1. Yes, Lori. That’s our reality unfortunately…Can be responsible only for your own I guess. But overall state of nation’s health and our tax bill with it is definitely horrendous just because of processed foods.

  158. I tried your almond flour banana bread and I added chocolate chips to the mix and IT CAME OUT PHENOMENAL!!! I couldn’t believe it was so good and no white flour!!! It was a hit at my house, the kiddos loved it! I and just picked up some more chocolate chips to do it again!

    I want to try more of your recipes. I’m super impressed! Well done.

  159. Do I subscribe to an email or do I just go on the site on my own? I found you looking for a lemon water recipe. I totally respect and admire your philosophy and try to do it at home. We have her own garden and we go to farmers market. Husband catches fresh fish for us on trips to the ocean that we freeze And eat until they run out and then it’s time for him to go fishing again!! He hunts venison in the winter but I don’t eat it. My daughter and I only eat fish so I hope there are some recipes that are vegetarian or pescatarian!! Your studio looks amazing and I love to see more photos!

    1. Thanks so much. You can go to site on your own or subscribe to a form you see below the post or in homepage. But for latest just check the website. Good for you!!!

  160. Hi Olena ~

    I came across your recipe when searching for a heart healthy casserole. My husband had a mild heart attack middle of June, so we have completely revamped our diet. I am a Canadian of Ukrainian heritage, so when I saw you were from Ukraine, that intrigued me. After cooking a specific way for 40+ years, this transition has been a learning experience! (I had tears in my eyes when I had to give away my sour cream!)
    I look forward to making your chicken & rice casserole tonight, and I am sure I’ll find some other recipes of yours we’ll enjoy!

    1. Hi Della. That is such a great change. You will do great! Buy 2% Greek yogurt and it will be fine. Please let me know if you have any questions or leave a comment what you try. I used to love sour cream and now I’m totally fine for over 15 years without it. Lots of health to you and and your husband.

  161. I love what you’re doing. I wish more people could do what you’re doing. I love healthy food that’s quick, easy and simple to prepare but really tasty.
    Well done for being true to yourself and your family.
    I’m a British woman who moved to Utah January 2018. Cooking at altitude is very different so I’ve had to adapt some recipes……..still trying to adapt the baking to perfection. Hopefully I’ll get there soon.
    Thank you for the inspirational recipes and blog. I look forward to trying them.

    1. Awe, you are so welcome! So happy to hear you are enjoying my recipes! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  162. Story for the first time and very in tuned with your message. I too believe children eat with their parents encourage them or discourage them to take part in. Seeing that I also have lived my first 49 years eating unhealthy and to becoming medically called obese. After being diagnosed with diabetes I decided I could change my life myself. I started eating as a DIABETIC and basically carb free. which I have found most people call the keto diet. I never liked the words diet either. I thought I had simply made a lifestyle change. I am very excited to follow your blog and get your recipes. The first one I’m going to look up is your crustless zucchini quiche thank you I look forward to our mornings together drinking coffee.

  163. Hi this is Shirley-Ann now seeing you site haven’t gone though your recipe as yet but just reading a little about you I’m already excited I love cooking and baking and are looking for more simple and healthy ways to eat i am from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean

  164. Hi Olena,
    I am a 78 year old male from New England where I was raised on a potato farm. I now live in Maryland where my wife is from. I came across your recipe for frozen Instant pot chicken which is cooking right now. Can’t wait. I have an old tried and true recipe for Apple Cake which is kind of labor intensive but would be glad to share with you. My wife can’t get enough of it and I even send it to my family in California and Texas. I will be making frequent trips to your site and I am sure I will be very busy with your recipes. thank you,

  165. Hi Olena, I loved reading your story. I am currently on the 310 shakes and healthy meals. I am a horrible cook and right now I have changed many bad habits into good. I am down one size and I have been eating healthier for a month. I also have very bad digestive tract so I can’t eat anything spicy, like tomatoes or spaghetti with sauce, so bad. If I do, than I have to drink aloe water to help. I truly look forward to seeing what recipes I can use!

  166. Cant wait to try your receipes….I am like you I don’t believe in these crazy diets….I eat real whole foods and exercise.

  167. thanks for sharing your sweet story. we too try to eat healthy in this fast pace world. we are now over 70 and are trying to do without so much meat and eat from the earth. we would love to receive your recipes

  168. Your poppyseed dressing is so tasty and guiltfree! Love it! I love to cook with “real” ingredients and from scratch. I’m following you on instagram and have already searched for new recipes on your website. Thank you! You are so refreshing and inspiring!

  169. Oh, Olena! What a joy to stumble across your page! At 63 years old, I have been cooking a LONG time, but it’s refreshing to see a young mom like yourself enjoying & sharing your discoveries. You & Alex are doing AWESOME parenting with your children, & they will thank you when they are adults! My mom’s roots were from Slovakia, my godmother (her sister) married into a Ukrainian family, complete with wonderful recipes that were deliciously “modified”. Thank you for speaking from your heart in all matters family related, because food is one part of how we care for our loved ones. Your recipes are simple, nutritious, tasty, & well thought out ~ I LOVE them! Dyakuyu! xo Deborah

    1. Thanks so much Deborah for your kind words and well wishes. “Young mom” was the best part haha. Enjoy and please let me know what you try.:)

  170. I am type 2 diabetic since July 2018 and lost 45 pounds since then by cutting sugar out of my life, except natural sugar from foods and occasional local honey in my green tea. I’m a healthy whole foods eater, active, 68 years young, and married almost 50 yrs.

    More people than I thought have diabetes. Your chia pudding has 23g sugar and it’s over a day’s worth for me. Can you concentrate on healthier no sugar added or low sugar recipes? I need more ideas.

    Your blog and your story inspires us. Thanks for sharing your life and successes.

    Jacksonville, Florida

    1. Hi Sheila. Super happy to hear that. I just checked the chia pudding recipe and there was a mistake in nutritional info calculation because sweetened almond milk was used in calculating numbers. Now it’s at 12 grams and if you don’t add honey or just 1 tsp you will be at almost noen sugar. It’s easy to control with this type of recipes. Be healthy!

  171. I have your banana muffins with almond flour in the ovenjust now and can’t wait to try them. Not sure I will be able to wait the 20 minutes though lol. Love, love Van Island. We are on the east coast. Good luck with renos. Looking for healthy gluten free meals as well.

  172. Hi Olena,
    My husband has severe heart problems and diabetes. I’m hoping your blog can help me come up with healthier meals for him that are low in sodium and carbohydrates. I saw your cauliflower recipe for pizza crust and was hooked!

    1. Hi Hope. Sorry to hear that. My mom’s husband is diabetic too and I know the struggle. Search the blog for “cauliflower” and “zucchini”. You should find some inspiration. xxx

  173. I just discovered your website and boy it is a game changer!! I love eating healthy, but I have only been boxed in with my meals. Thank you very much for creating this blog, now I can diversify my meals.

  174. HI Olena, I love your recipes! Thank you for becoming a stay at home Mom and for being chubby. hahahah! We wouldn’t be reading your wonderful blog otherwise! I am in complete agreement with your philsophy as well as your take on paleo and whole 30 being diets. Yes! Wholeheartedly agree. I am a Professional Hypnotist and have been helping women lose weight in my community (Mind Body Fit Club). My goal is always for my clients to create a better relationship with food and themselves. I’d love to recommend your blog for recipes and food wisdom. Here is my FB link http://www.Facebook.com/mindbodyfitclub and my website http://www.DeAnnaNunez.com

  175. I agree, so many kids are picky these days and are given too much power at the dinner table. Several parents have commented on my kids’ eating habits over the years (now teens) … about how my kids actually choose vegetables for their plate, they like fruits and veges, how did I do it, etc. It was simple. I have always cooked healthy meals “from scratch” (real food) and they ate what was given to them. There was not another option, or a favorite substitute if they didn’t like what I made. A meal is there for nutrition, eat as much or little as you like, but this is dinner. Never had a problem, they accepted it and tried new things without hesitation because “that’s what we do”.

    Of course now I WANT them to choose, I want them to tell me what’s for dinner! I’m happy to make it, but I get tired of deciding what to make.
    I was so happy to find ifoodreal!! This is how I cook, and many of the recipes are similar to ones I make already. But there are some new ideas here that I can’t wait to try. It’s always nice to add a new recipe to the regular line-up.

    Another favorite recipe site of mine is budgetbytes.com. My favorite recipe there is the Easy Oven Fajitas. Simple and delicious. Check it out.

    Thanks for your website!!

    1. True. It is very simple. There is no magic. I always am confused by this question. You just do it and do what you have to do as a parent for the good of your own kid. Not letting your kid choose and pick his food is just common sense like not letting your kid do what they want all day. Otherwise every single kid would be just glued to electronics. And that’s why 95% of kids’ diet is mainly junk food. Because they are allowed to.
      Yes, I know Budget Bytes. I will check out that post. Simple recipes. Not everything is healthy but you can pick a few for sure.
      You are very welcome and so glad I could help.:)

  176. I make your healthy waffles once a week for my kiddos. They are wonderful. I can’t figure out how to rate them, but absolutely 5 stars. Thank you so much!

    1. You are very welcome, Sara. So happy to hear your kids don’t eat Eggo.:) To rate any recipe, look for orange button Load Comments and that’s where stars will be.:) Thank you for taking time and letting me know.

  177. I have twice baked your chicken thighs recipe. My family of 7 raves about it each time. I bake 8-12 thighs and double the spices. Definitely 5 stars.

  178. Thank you for the heads up about Disney “Dole Whip” ingredients- I’ll be sure to skip those during my family’s first trip to Disneyland next month. I’m looking forward to using your recipes to make some satisfying and nutritious meals for my family.

    1. Well, I just thought it was pathetic. Disney is hard. I recommend to bring your own food otherwise there is nothing to eat for those who are money and health savvy lol. Sad truth not sure why I’m laughing. Through tears. Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment on recipe you try. Would love to hear your thoughts!!!

  179. Hello Olena! Came across your blog and wonderfull recipes. We are so proud of you and outstanding job you are doing! Your blog is one of the best I came across through my journey of healthy cooking. We came to Canada (Vancouver) 25 year ago with 2 small daughters from Siberia, but all my realtives from my dad’s side are from Ukraine and we consider ourselves as proud Ukranians an Russians, despite the modern day political climate. I do find your story very moving and personal. This really make your blog to stand out from many others. And of course your beautifull and tasty recepies are simply the best! We wish you all the best in your business and will be looking forward to many of your ideas and your delicious recepies! With love from Toronto! Elena K and family.

    1. Hello Lena. Thank you so much! Well, I naturally have advantage over other blogs by surviving on potatoes and eggs until 19 haha. Pretty unique diet. Kidding, we ate more than that. Pickles and canned meat haha. Let me know what you make. Would love to hear your comment. xoxo

  180. What an interesting story. I tried whole30 and I liked the journey but I’m not traditionally a meat eater so in the long run it wasn’t for me. I’ve been a Weight Watchers member for 2 years and I lost 15 pounds eating what I like. I’m a life time member now at WW because I reached my goal. I like your recipes so far, they do not have a lot of “points” so I’m all in. Looking forward to using your site, starting with califlower pizza and then Zucchini chicken recipe. People have lost the ability to cook, work schedules don’t help. Glad you’re re-inventing what is truly most important, learning how to cook. It is a life skill NOT A CHOICE !

  181. I. Found this ad by mistaken but I am interested in your recipes . I am going to try your Bananas muffins. Will let you know who they turn out. . I was born and rise on vancouver Inland a.very beautiful place to live. Wish you all the best. Sandra

  182. Hi Olena

    Congrats on a great website, I just found it a week ago and already it is the first place I look for any new ideas. Besides delicious foods, most (all?) of the recipes that I plan to try are good for low carb that I started about a month ago. I love(d) bread and potatoes, and you have many tasty alternatives.


  183. Yesterday I made the kid-friendly chicken broccoli, it was delicious! Tonight my husband made the beef and broccoli. It was a surprise to add maple syrup, but gave it just the right amount of sweetness. Th ginger/garlic combination was just right as well, it had a bright, fresh flavor!. We are SO impressed! It is absolutely wonderful! Even my 4 and 7 year old girls ate it, and said it was good. Thank you for posting awesome recipes! I certainly plan to try more of them.

    I enjoyed reading about your story! Congrats on your success! I am looking forward to more tasty food from your recipes!

    1. Hi Annie. That’s so awesome!!! ANd thank you for your sweet comment.
      I use maple syrup in place of sugar. believe it or not when I started cooking I was surprised too that dinner recipes call for some sugar. It offsets acidity and does wonders in many sauces. Like salt + sugar is a genius combo. Hope to hear more from you on recipes you tried and loved. Be healthy, wishing to all your family!

  184. Hello Olena,

    I would like to try your recipe for Instant Pot Butter Chicken but I do not have an Instant Pot.

    Could I make this recipe in a crockpot and if so would there be any change in your recipe.

    Thanks, Denise

  185. Just joined. Your recipes look delicious & not complicated for me. Do you have any low salt recipes for my son. Thanks & have a blessed day.

    1. 🙂 I personally leave websites with pop ups and slides from everywhere. So wouldn’t like this experience on my website. I still need to run ads though to feed my kids and pay the mortgage LOL. But there are lots of free recipes thanks to ads. Yay! Enjoy the blog!

  186. Tonight I made your Instant Pot Chicken and Rice from YouTube October 22, 2018.
    I got a 6 quart Instant Pot for Christmas and this was my first go at any kind of a recipe other than some simple reheating or potatoes and vegetables.
    Followed your instructions precisely and am blown away how great it turned out. What a fantastic recipe!
    I used the brown rice from Costco that is grown in Australia and it sometimes requires a little more cook time. I just let it sit for about 10 minutes after the 22 minute cook cycle.
    Thank you for the precise instructions.
    I am of Eastern European ancestry having my Great Grandfather emigrate from Humenne, Slovakia, while it was still referred to as Austral Hungary, in the 1870’s or 80’s. My Grandmother’s family came from Poland and I have many family members of Ukrainian descent. I grew up in a household with the wonderful foods of the Polish and Ukrainian cultures.
    Thank you for your wonderful story; I read it while the Instant Pot was doing it’s work…lol…
    My family obviously had no part of experiencing the communist era but nevertheless came from agricultural roots and experienced life in a time of subsistence and hardship. They thrived and appreciated every gift bestowed from our creator.
    I live in BC interior and have many relatives on the Island in Nanaimo and Victoria. I will share your site with them.
    Now subscribed and following. Will share on Facebook and wish you well in your success.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Todd! Great job on tackling the Instant Pot and thanks for sharing your story. BC is beautiful all around.:) I am getting settled on the island more and more and truly enjoy the simplicity of life. Had beach fire last night after a crazy weekend of driving kids around the island for hockey. Please let me know what other recipes you try in your new toy. Olena

  187. Me and my mom just started eating more healthy. I can tell that your blog will us. Thank you for making this blog. You are taking time away from your family to help people like me and my mom.

  188. Tried you cauliflower crust pizza recipe the other day – FANTASTIC version of pizza for my new Keto nutritional plan. Beautiful view too. I can totally see why you moved. Congrats for all you have built for yourself and your family!

  189. I love your recipes! Thank you so much for providing various cooking methods (slow cook, instant pot, freeze…). I just tried your lentil curry and my family loved it! I’m planning to be away from home for three weeks and was worried what to prepare/freeze for my husband and three boys to have tasty dinners while I’m away. I came across your your page and I am here to stay! Thank you so much! By the way, happy Ukrainian Christmas! I’m Ukrainian too! Христос Народився!

    1. Yay! 4 men to feed is a full-time job! I can’t keep up with my 3 cause everyone plays sports and works out. So happy I could be of help and Merry Christmas! xoxo

  190. Hi Olena. Fantastic site! I wanted to make the lazy cabbage rolls recipe for Ukrainian Christmas Eve, but obviously we don’t eat meat on that day. Can I just omit the ground turkey, or do I have to add other ingredients to make it tasty and meatless?

  191. Hi Olena,

    I recently purchased an Instant Pot and I found your site when searching for healthy IP recipes. So far I’ve tried and loved the IP Beef Stew, Pea Soup, Butternut Squash Soup and my favorite favorite favorite, IP Cabbage Rolls. I googled Instant Pot frozen chicken and guess what? I landed on your site again! So now I’ve subscribed and look forward to trying a lot more of your recipes. Chicken and Rice tonight! Thanks very much for sharing your philosophy and recipes.

    PS I’m single and cooking for myself so I resisted getting an Instant Pot. I took the plunge and now my freezer is full of healthy, yummy meals to fill my lunch box!

  192. There are far too many ads on your website. Your recipes enticed me, however I don’t want to sift through all the advertising:(

    1. These kind of comments make me smile. That’s “the price” to pay for free recipes. Otherwise there are many cookbooks you can buy. Nothing is for free in this world. I have a mortgage to pay and kids to feed like anyone else. Hopefully you can overcome that and enjoy healthy delicious recipes for free. No miracles. Just hard work. 😉

  193. Going to try the instantpot beef stew tonight. Sounds so easy. So glad you’re enjoying life on the Island. We’ve been here for 16 years and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Life is sweet.

  194. I just made the beef and broccoli recipe and absolutely loved it! The flavor of the ginger and garlic in the broccoli was amazing, and tasted so fresh. Thank you for the recipe!

  195. Good Morning 🙂

    I just found your site, read your story and have decided to subscribe. In need of a healthy banana bread recipe, I found yours and will be making this hopefully today! I was wondering if I can add pecans to the recipe and if so, do I need to adjust / add any ingredients? Many thanks. and Happy Sunday!!

  196. Hoy Olena, I came across your site whilst trying to find a simple but tasty summer salad and have settled for your Lettuce
    salad with cucumber , tomatoes with that home made toasted Sesame dressing.Thank you very much!

    BTW; came also across that photo of you and family in front of that outlandish futuristic looking flying machine, did it ever
    get off the ground 🙂 ? Cheers……Roy.

  197. Just popped into your interesting blog! We have visited V. Island a number of times. Love Sooke Harbour House…great food. Have rented a vaca house on San Juan de Fuca (sp?) and watched the whales from the hot tub on the deck.
    Also hosted a teacher once from Murmansk. I am looking forward to becoming one of your subscribers and delving into your recipes! Good luck from the Northern Rockies (N Idaho)!

  198. There are definitely some things about your life that I can really identify with! I am also a busy Mom with two boys and a love of food! So it’s so refreshing to find a woman who cares alot about the basics of eating wonderfully but healthy too!!! I absolutely love your recipes and blog! Keep up the great work! Looking forward to your newsletters!??

  199. I was very impressed with the salmon and sweet chili recipe. So simple and delicious. And I like that you focus on healthy meals.

    I look forward to trying your other recipes.

  200. Hi Olena, I just found your site while looking for a recipe for chicken and zucchini. I’ll be adding garlic and corn for our lunch today and already know it will be a weekly regular. I read your story and agree totally with your philosophy on food. My question: Do you garden for your own fresh, organic vegetables?

    1. Hi Ruth. Welcome, I’m so glad you found me.:) I didn’t because we didn’t have space. But we just sold our house and moving into new property and there I will for sure next spring.

  201. I made you chicken and rice last night and it was very delicious. Are used in brown and wild rice mixture from the the local food coop and Increased your herbs by about a half more. The increase was because I was lazy about measuring but it turned out really well because you could really taste them in the finish dish. Thanks so much for posting this delicious meal. Pam

  202. I work for an insurance firm that sends a monthly newsletter to our clients. In that newsletter, we like to include a healthy real-food recipe each month. I ran across your Chicken Zuccini Casserole recipe on the myFitnessPal website, and wondered if you would allow your recipe, with reference back to your website, to be used in such a way.

  203. Hi,Olena.Hope you and family are fine.I was searching for food recipe for fat burning.I clicked on link provided by google ,so, i visited your website.It’s a great website.Apart from fat burning,It provides many delicious recipes i ever have.I am pleased to visit your website.Please,keep uploading more delicious recipies.

    Olena,you have cute kids.You have lovely family.May God bless you and your family.Stay bless,happy and updated.


    Zohaib Khan Babar


  204. Hi Olena, I came across your blog via clean eating recipes in Pinterest and I’m hooked! I’m from Finland but we live in the Amazon basin in Brazil. I work as a teacher and have three kids so it gets busy most of the time. I really appreciate your recipes – my meal planning includes several of them for next week! Thanks!

  205. Olena, I ran across your website when I search for lemon water recipe. I really love what you said. I am a mom of two sons work as architect. I am constantly struggle between work and cooking for kids. My younger one has allergy to a lot of food especially processed food, so I have to cook at home mostly, which takes a lot of time. But it should be healthy for everyone. The older one eats a lot and love processed food. I am working on how to cook healthy with limited time and still make something they like to eat. I am glad to see your web site. I will learn a lot from it I believe. We live in Seattle. We go to Whistler to ski every year, we love Vancouver. It’s beautiful place.

    1. Hi Geng, my neighbour.:) I totally get it. We are working hard now on new website redesign which main focus will be “feeding your family healthy”. I think it will help you!
      From personal experience of a mom of two boys, I can tell you they eat a lot, they are two different human beings, so it’s a juggling act for sure (not to mention husband who eats like 3 boys). But isn’t life a juggling act overall?! Just the way boys are built – they eat, so it’s never ending flow of food, processed or home cooked. Our lives revolve around food, I wish we had to eat once a day, I know. Hopefully you find what you like here, look for slow cooker meals, soups and one pot meals. And some nights it is whole wheat spaghetti with organic ketchup, or organic cereal lower in sugar with organic milk – it’s possible to do our best to eat healthy by using common sense, there is really no diet or bible for it out there. Main reason why I do not follow diets and bash single real food ingredients – it’s unrealistic and unnecessary, confuses already confused people, and wastes money.
      And about junk food, I hear from my 6 year old all the time, how all his friends eat it, how it’s tasty, but he knows it’s unhealthy, but he says he loves it. Oh well, he is still eating what I give him, he can talk all he wants but he is not leaving the table until plate is empty. And he is fine, he listens while still complaining but eats my food (most of which he likes), he just loves to talk about his junk food he gets to taste sometimes LOL. So you know, let it affect you less. Here, in America, kids’ wishes are considered way too much, they don’t know what they need in many instances, and our job as parents is to guide them. xoxo

  206. Wow!! I am a recipe junkie. Most afternoons I troll for great recipes to make for dinner. Well the other day I had a craving for salmon and your recipe for honey garlic salmon. It was seriously. My husband and daughter devoured it. Perhaps the best we have had. And we make a lot of salmon. So today I went back in search of another dinner idea. I made the mango curry. Holy cow!! Another spectacular dish. You are my new go to. Thank you, thanks you!!

  207. Hi Olena, So, aside from a quick trip advisor rating I have never commented on a website. It’s Saturday morning, overslept for my 6 mile run (it’s already almost 90 degrees) and am sucking down my coffee looking at your chicken and peppers recipe. What a joy and inspiration to read your blog. And from the amount of comments I’m not the only one. You go girl! Love it and will continue to enjoy- I’m inspired because I love food, running, wine and family. You’re my hero!

    1. Awe, thank you, Stephanie! The fact that you can sip on coffee being kind of OK oversleeping for a run, makes us online friends.:) My husband did the same past weekend – lazy mornings are just too good to pause.:)

  208. Hi Olena! A few weeks ago I decided to start eating clean. I normally eat well but I noticed I ate a lot of processed sugar. I stumbled upon your website when looking for recipes and the fact that I am Ukrainian as well helped me keep coming back to this site! I loved the quinoa chicken pot pie. I am going to make some peanut butter chocolate cookies today and can’t wait to try them! Thanks for the great blog.

    1. Thank you, Adya, and please feel free to let me know what recipe you like or don’t. Hopefully now with all fresh berries and fruit popping up, you will be able to reduce your sugar consumption. And balance is totally fine.:) Welcome!

    1. That is a part in our virtual friendship where we would have to agree on our differences. I suck at gardening, I just don’t love the soil, bugs and worms. I feel like it is out of my control with weather and too much to know lol. Thank goodness for farmers market.

  209. So, basically I feel like we could be really great friends! So happy I found your blog… eating clean, local, in season, and organic where possible are my goals in life! My second child is 7 months old and I am working on fitting into my clothes pre baby! Eating healthier is huge for me right now… it’s not so much about the pounds, I just want to be a healthier person! Thanks for the inspiration! Will be sharing your double chocolate muffins at playgroup tomorrow!

    1. We could be!:) You will get there. After 2nd baby it takes a few years for everything to settle down in your body – skin, hormones, sleep etc. You will arrive to happy you self. Eating healthy is the key, weight will fall off eventually. I wish I didn’t do crazy diets but oh well. Thank you for sharing my recipes with other moms. There are many moms who need help to feed their families better.:)

  210. Hi Olena,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story on your blog. I have just popped my fudge into the freezer from your recipe I found on Pinterest using only 3 ingredients! I cannot wait to try it in 3 hours 🙂

    South Africa

  211. Olena, I just stumbled upon your blog while searching for healthy breakfasts on pinterest. I plan to make your vanilla Chia pudding for tomorrow morning.

    I’m a 28 yr old student, just went back to school for Dental Assisting. Going back to school as an adult has been so difficult and I’ve completely stopped taking care of myself. I really want to get back on track because I feel awful and have developed a very soft muffin top . However, I’m struggling because I’m so tired and busy ALL the time. If I’m not at school, I’m doing homework, cleaning my house, walking my dog or cooking for my hubby. Also, I’m on a major budget so have started to shop at no frills and they don’t have organic. Anyway, I’m going to start following your blog for inspiration because I do have a passion for nutrition and fitnes (I used to be obsessed with Tosca Reno’s eating clean books) I just need some motivation. PS my Jillian Michael’s DVDs at home are the best workouts I’ve ever had!

    1. Oh and I forgot to mention that I wrote that comment while indulgjng in my fave pizza from Costco and a glass of white wine.

      Like I said, I’m lacking motivation haha

    2. Hi Jody. You need to make large batches of soups, stews etc., that last 2-3 days. You can’t make chicken nuggets, burgers or tacos because that is one time meal without any leftovers. You need food ready sitting in a fridge waiting to be reheated. That is all you need. Good old grandma’s cooking. Try that, I have many recipes for one pot meals etc. Buy not organic but buy real food, organic will come after school. Good luck, you can do it!!!

  212. Hi Olena,
    I was just browsing the web looking for some pesto pasta recipes, and found one here. And then suddenly I noticed that you are Olena from Ukraine, and so am I 🙂 Normally I only look at the recipe and don’t bother reading the blog, bot not in this case as I was really excited to find a girl with the same name from my home country who also cooks healthy and tasty food. Will be following you from now on!
    Olena from Toronto

  213. Olena, I’ve stumbled on your blog a few times over the years and even pinned some recipes. But this January, I have (finally!) committed to a cleaner lifestyle and rediscovered your blog. Today, I’ve already spent a few hours going through your recipes and posts. I love your honestly in your new weekend series (I am also an unapologetic wine drinker) and your posts on your immigration are inspiring. I have a very good friend in Ohio who is also from Ukraine. You and she are “good people.” I will be making a few or your recipes this week. – Tracy

    1. Hi Tracy. Oh haha, I have learnt a few new things about myself – “an apologetic wine drinker” and “good people”. Interesting to hear an outside view on yourself. Good for you! You can do it! Let me know if you need any help and WIAW series will resume next Monday. In the meanwhile, you might find a post about balance and how not being afraid to eat useful.

  214. Hi,

    Just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love your recipes and have made the zucchini lasagna and I’m going to be making a few others this weekend and they’re just great!! I was wondering for the 2 ingredient crackers with rolled oats and mashed bananas could steel cut oats be a substitute for the rolled oats? I have a ton of them and figured it’d be convenient to just use those.

    I can’t wait to continue to try out your recipes:) i have recommended your site to family and friends because it encompasses the healthy eating we are striving for.

    1. Hi Rebecca. Thank you so much for everything!!!
      No, steel cut oats wouldn’t work as they haven’t been pre-cooked. Use the search bar on my blog and look what other recipes you can use them for. Or they make the best breakfast oatmeal.:)

  215. I read your about and “my home workout space”. They are both very good reads! Nicely said. And you look awesome. Embrace the mama pouch! You earned it. I also eat pretty clean and im trying to get my boyfriend on board. It is very difficult for him to stay on course when he is away from me. When i feed him, he eats well tho. How did you get Alex to be pro-whole foods with you?? I need that advice!!

    1. Hi Christy. Thank you so much! Yep, since I wrote those 2 posts I have kinda embraced my mama pouch. Almost there. I mean I realized that it ain’t going anywhere unless I remove it surgically which is not an option for me. Most women have a mama pouch, no matter how skinny they are. The skinnier, the bigger the mama pouch haha. It blends in with more belly fat. Mine does. At the end of the day I realized if taking into consideration average population and not Hollywood stars I look good. I can feel my biceps and barely have cellulite. Thank you for the reminder! And I have 2 kids which were worth any pouch.
      With Alex embracing eating what I eat was a simple process. We came back from a 2 week all inclusive trip to Jamaica and he happened to have pre-scheduled general exam at GP. His cholesterol was so high his doctor put him on Crestor. He took 3 pills and said “F*** it” and started running. Then joined me eating clean. Plus Alex can’t cook so he kinda has to eat what I eat LOL. Now Alex eats healthier than me LOL. He just kinda got scared and his personality is a go getter. He won’t be looking for excuses for sure. Plus he is competitive so he wants to be as healthy as me. He even orders food in a restaurant what I order haha. Then once you eat healthy for a while it is hard to eat junk when eating out. That is what we find. I hope you get him on board. Usually wisdom comes with age too for many men. How old is he? I found kids made us really change ourselves.
      Good luck to you both! He will come around.:)

  216. Shout out from a fellow Ukrainian with a same name and a same life situation 😀 I live in Copenhagen, Denmark now and blog about traveling. Enjoyed your website with Ukrainian – North American recipes. Good job, Olenka!

  217. Bonjour,

    I have been looking your blog for about a week now and I have to tell you that I LOVE IT! Recipes are easy and don’t require stuff that I never heard of! I too gained 55 lbs during pregnancy and working hard to loose that! Have to say love that you live in Canada, that simplifes ingredients/measurements and all! And you use sirop d’érable!!!!!!!! Finally I can mix flavor, good sugar and fun at the same time! Never stop doing what you do because you really make a difference in many home kitchen! Trust me, I recommend your website to EVERYONE! Thank you, thank you and a thousand times thank you!

    Maude, Robert et Constance!

    1. Hi Maude. Awe, thank you so much! You are very welcome!!! I won’t stop.:) Life is too short to eat crap and yet too short to diet. People ought to know that so we will keep fighting Skippy PB and Fruit Loops.

  218. I am just starting on the quest of “clean eating.” I’ve been doing cross fit for a while, but have not lost a lot. I like you am not eating fast food, but I got plantar fasciitis last year and it caused me to gain 25 pounds. I was not active and all i did was eat. I’m looking forward to making the garlic chicken and corn. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    1. Hi Amanda. Sorry to hear that.:( I learnt it is mostly about food. You can work out like crazy but food gotta be right to see results. I used to eat way more protein and was leaner. Now with more healthy but carbs I have gained weight but still look proportionate. Just more meat on me. And I work out but can’t get to super lean because of food. But I don’t want to eat too much protein because it is unhealthy.

  219. Hello Olena, my niece’s name was Elena but she was Irish and Greek mostly. I’m trying to get healthier, but it’s challenging at my age of fifty eight and living with chronic pain for over ten years . But hoping if I lose weight maybe it might help my pain. So I’m going to try some of your recipes hoping my husband will like them, he’s a diabetic, and so will I. I’m a creator of habit with my cooking so it will be a challenge for me, but it’s time for my husband and I both. Looking forward to trying you recipes. Thanks for giving me a ray of hope!

    1. Hi Trish. Elena is Greek goddess’s name I believe. In Russian, my full name is Elena, short Lena and in Ukrainian it is Olena.:)
      I won’t lie that any habits are harder to break as we get older. BUT it is a habit that still can be changed at any age, especially if you are in pain.
      One of my readers, Kit, has done just that. She is in her 60s. Look around my posts for her comments (she writes a lot which makes me love her even more) where she shares her experience. She was very sick. Now she eats very healthy.
      Good luck!

  220. Hi Olena, just came to your blog today from a link from BudgetBytes for your Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. Maple syrup is my sweetener of choice, so was thrilled to see your recipe and will be making it soon! Was reading through the comments to this post and noticed that you asked why someone would choose a gluten-free diet. I eat gluten-free, not because I have an intolerance to gluten, but because my doctor suggested that going to a gluten-free diet might alleviate some of the inflammation/pain I was experiencing due to an orthopedic issue. I’ve since had surgery and no longer have any pain associated with that condition; however I have chosen to continue eating gluten-free because it just makes my digestive system feel better. And I feel good too, because I know that I’m eating healthier, even though not totally organic or clean-eating, because most of my food is fresh and not refined or processed. I have absolutely no desire or cravings to return to a diet that includes gluten. Hope this makes sense! And now I’ll be checking out other posts on your blog!

    1. Hi Georgia! Congratulations on your recovery and choosing to eat clean. That is awesome!:) You will love this sauce!
      Over the years I have learnt that everybody has their own understanding of eating healthy. For me gluten is not a culprit but rather conventionally raised and processed food is a big NO. So you can eat gluten and not eat gluten, it also matters what else you eat that makes you healthy or unhealthy. The bottom line is it is not gluten, meat, dairy etc. that are absolute evils. It is a combination of various factors. I question why would someone eat gluten free without medical condition. I am not from here, I am from Europe where food is taken by people absolutely differently than in North America. And Europe is much healthier. That is why you won’t see me going gluten free, paleo, vegan etc.

      1. I completely agree with you. I also do not understand how people can think that just eating gluten-free is healthier. When I started on my new “diet”, I compared a lot of the processed foods that are “gluten-free” and found that actually they can contain more calories and fat plus unhealthy chemical ingredients. That is why I concentrate on eating fresh and clean whenever possible and even though I have no medical reasons to continue on a gluten-free diet, I’m used to eating that way and so that’s my personal choice. Avoiding gluten doesn’t automatically make my diet healthy, it’s avoiding foods (with out without gluten) that are unhealthy that make me feel my diet is healthy. By the way – I worked at a university with a graduate student named Olena – but she went by the name of Helen. She was from Ukraine. You are not her, are you???

        1. That is correct. A few generations of North Americans are SO confused what to eat as a result of marketing. It is all about money here and everyone is trying to make a few bucks anywhere they can. So, if people go for fads why not throw more of them at them and make more $$$?! And people go for it because human nature is lazy! Sad truth. I’m not sure it will get better to be honest. I do feel terrified who my healthy children will marry and how healthy their kids will be. Sometimes I question whether living in America is better health wise to be honest. But where to go??? Yes we have more than we need but look how many people are sick and dying?!
          I used to go by Helen when I first moved here. I went to university but was undergrad.

          1. Olena, I just made your Thai Sweet Chili Sauce and licked the pan! It’s delicious! I will be making a simple stir fry of chicken, cabbage, carrots and onion and serving rice on the side. Will drizzle the sauce on top. Kind of like an unstuffed eggroll 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

          2. See, awesome!!! I like your dinner. This is how we eat too. It is a balance of lots of veggies, healthy fats and a bit of meat and seafood. If you eat like that naturally you do not eat much gluten. The gluten problem comes from processed crap mostly. So, eating whole wheat pizza or wrap I wouldn’t say no. My men eat way more bread than me because they are men and still there are no issues. However, I have to say if we eat out and I eat for example non organic wrap or pasta I DO feel a bit of bloating. But at home with organic stuff I don’t. I just thought to add to our conversation.:)

  221. Hi, Olena! I’m Oksana, and I’m from Ukraine as well, so I just couldn’t walk by without saying hi, found out we’re fellow countrywomen 😉
    I’ve just cooked cauliflower based pizza following your recipe, and it tasted amazing! Thanks for that. I’m also into clean and healthy eating and can’t understand HOW I haven’t come across your blog earlier… Anyway, now I’ll be your frequent visitor.
    Have a nice day 🙂

    1. Hi Oksana. Awe, you are welcome. Well there are so many blogs right now, it is easy to get lost. I checked out your blog and it looks lovely.:) I admire your writing ,especially in Russian.;)

  222. I just want you to know how much I appreciate and love your blog and recipes. I found your blog and delicious recipes on pinterest over the summer and have been hooked ever since. I too started my kids early eating healthy and am proud to say that there are not many vegetables that they won’t eat. My family loves your recipes. Keep up the good work and I will continue to scour your blog for new and exciting recipes to try on my willing family.

    1. Awe, thank you! Merry Christmas, Elizabeth!!! Now I’m pumped to keep producing.:) Definitely starting kids early in veggies is a huge advantage. I honestly do not know how to switch them later. I mean I do not have advice in that since my kids pretty much anything. Lately even stuffed eggplant was a hit!!!

  223. Olena, thank you for your great recipes! I just made the cauliflower pizza crust today and I immediately had to make another one because my boys finished it and demanded more! My younger son is gluten free, so this was great! Also, both my grandparents are from Odessa and immigrated as children to Brooklyn.

    1. Awesome, Randi! Yes I make two at a time otherwise it is not enough. I wonder if you grandparents were Jewish?! There was a lot of Russian speaking Jews in Odessa back then. Not many Ukrainians, more Russians and Jews. My husband is Jewish with a Russian last name.

  224. Hi Olena! I just wanted to say that reading your “about” page really touched me! Thanks for being so real! I just found your site but am thankful that you have nutrition info on your recipe so please keep that up! I have tried one and will try more and possibly buy your book. Thanks for your hard work!
    Blessed in all you do!

  225. Dear Oleana, You might be a minority as you said, yet I truly think that lots of people would prefer to consume organic foods only if only the cost of both basic ingredients like veggies and fruits and condiments etc’ would be lower or cheaper and if other ingredients from around the world, like whole fat coconut milk or young coonut etc’ would be available everywhere around the world all year round (for a reasonable price). The reality is not like that and people who consume organic food whether in the U.S where I used to live or in Israel where I live now and I am sure it is mostly the same every where around the world, are people who make a very good living and they can certainly afford those high cost foods.
    Indeed many people would suffice with ready made foods, but many others could only dream to consume some organic items and integrate them in their daily diet as I have been trying doing.

    Anyway, thank you for your recipes, I will look into them and I will also appreciate if you could develop some that do not include sugars like honey, maple syrop and similar ingredients only, but maybe you could also give sweetener alternatives like stevia powder, coconut sugar, Agave syrop, etc’.

    Thank you for your time and for sharing your experience and flavors. Oree.

    1. Hi Oree. Yes, I mean people who can afford food. In fact, once you stop buying processed food and stick only to real food eating organic IS NOT much more expensive in North America for sure. That is such a huge misconception that drives me crazy in conversations with friends. I do not mean to buy frozen organic pizza that costs an arm and a leg. Instead, I mean have boiled potatoes with kale salad and avocado for dinner. Takes 30 minutes to make. Majority of people just don’t care, could care less to find out more about food they eat or what harm to the environment they do by buying GMOS and processed food. That is until they get sick and if they are smart enough not to jump onto unnecessary pills and find excuses. Our society is so screwed up these days mostly thankfully to huge money making corporations and human nature – laziness. Life is too easy and comfortable, don’t have to hunt and fish for fish with a stick. Plus GMOs make food so cheap. Blunt but it is true.
      Agave used to be known good for you until recently it has been declared as bad as high fructose corn syrup. 100% pure maple syrup and raw honey are MUCH healthier and better for us. Coconut sugar is OK too but still honey rules. So, I recommend to stick to those.

      1. Hi, Olena, I am so happy to have found your website. I love the Overnight Mango Chia seeds Pudding! I try to eat mostly vegetarian foods and I try to avoid dairy products from cow’s milk, I also try to avoid sugary foods, so this makes it very difficult for me to find any good deserts! This one is perfect for me, as I always have a big jar of chia seeds at home and I love mango and coconut milk. By the way, I was born in Russia but lived in the US for almost 25 years, and I have a 14 year old daughter who I adopted from Ukraine back in 2011 (she was 10 years old then).
        It is funny because my daughter used to be “meat and potato” person and used to love sugary foods and she thought that my food was weird and won’t even touch it, but now she has changed her eating habits and she is cooking delicious foods for me sometimes. She just recently made the best vegetarian Ukrainian borsh (борщ) I have ever tasted. Thank you again for your blog and your recipes! Lana

        1. Hi Lana. Oh, then you eat like me.:) I bake with honey and maple syrup but mostly for my boys.
          Ukrainian girls are amazing in the kitchen, I know LOL. That is so wonderful what you did! I have seen Ukrainian foster homes and it is so sad…You gave her a big chance in life! I was lucky to immigrate as a teenager and feel like I have won a lottery and a second chance in life. Blessings to you and your family!!!

  226. I just discovered your blog and have already added a couple recipes to my files to make very soon. I am a mature woman of 60, have raised 4 children and never carried extra weight until I hit menopause. Now I am looking for ways to shed pounds and I have already removed all while products from my pantry, cook all my own foods and desserts, use only coconut sugar but not all my purchases are organic. We live on a very small budget so I buy the best I can with my what I have. I need more exercise, but you have given me hope that more effort on my part will help me rid the muffin top I carry around now. Thanks

    1. Hi Shelly! Koodos to you for raising 4 kids! But organic as much as you can. Or Non GMO Project verified at least. Also buy organic produce on Dirty Dozen list and save money on Clean Fifteen. Just do your best. Google those lists, I’m on my phone so hard to insert links. Also limited sugar, clean eating and moderate exercise will keep you in shape. I feel extra sugar right away lol. Good luck and let me know recipes you try!!!

  227. I’m cracking up, Olena! You are too darn cute. I’m 59, raised two daughters and one daughter has twins in the hopper! I just discovered you through Yummly and your chia pudding. I agree with everything you have to say about eating habits. I already eat pretty much as you suggest but still carry 10lbs more than I’d like, which arrived after menopause as with Shelly above. I look forward to reading your blog and trying your recipes. I love your attitude! I have the same feelings about exercise. I have a gym membership with mold on it. I’m an outdoor gal with a horse and a mule and my husband and golf. I’ll look at your suggested DVDs for home workouts.
    You look absolutely awesome! Thank you for sharing your lovely family as well! Happy cooking!

    1. Hi Lisa! Thank you! Hormones are responsible for so many functions in our body. Your attitude is absolutely spot on. America is so hung up on gyms and exercises, how boring! Just get outdoors, get moving, enjoy it and stop eating crap! The last 10 lbs are the hardest and usually it’s too much sugar and not enough vegetables.:) I’m sure you can do it. I yo-yo sometimes too, even with honey and maple syrup extra lbs can add up fast. I love to work out in my clean home when I feel like it. Good luck with your grand babies, tell your kids to eat like you and raise healthy children! Let me know which recipes you try.:) P.S. You originally left me a comment on my old About Me page I have removed now but you can see the list of DVDs there if you would like.

  228. Hello!

    I am from Germany. I am interested in Clean Eating, because I love food, I love to cook and after gaining some weight in the last years (because I am an emotional eater when I am stressed) I decided that I want to start over again with good food. In the last days I tried three of your recipies and it was very delicious, easy to cook and my husband was very happy about the good tasting food. I really like your website and I am looking forward to try more of your tipps and recipies! Greetings from Germany 🙂 Severine

  229. Olena! Oh girl, I feel you about this weight gain post pregnancy. I am a few months short of a year since I gave birth and haven’t made much progress in the weight loss department. But this mean sweet tooth awoke after birth that I’ve never seen the likes of. So I am trying to tackle that issue and get back into the healthy, organic, natural choices that I know and have made in the past.

    I, too, need to loose 20 pounds or so and I start my Walking for Losers on Monday (going to rain next few days and I’ll be walking with the baby) so I am hoping with that and some of your yum recipes I can fit into the bags of clothes that lay around useless at the moment.

    I love your creativity, your meticulous lay out of the site, and the seemingly beautiful ebooks. It truly shows you love what you do here and I look forward (with your permission, of course) to sharing you with my readers. I have a feeling they will love you as much as I do.

    1. Thank you so much! If you are breastfeeding sweet tooth is normal. But overall exercise and more importantly whole foods is the key to weight loss. Sugar is number one enemy!!! I would be honoured if you shared my ️recipes! More healthy people is good for all of us!!!

  230. Your site is very inspiring…I am a culinary arts graduate and have been “rewriting” my collection of recipes to use whole grains (that I mill at home) no refined sugar, no unhealthy fats and oil, etc. Looking forward to trying out some of your recipes!

  231. Hi Olena!
    It’s funny how things work. I’m just about to start on a weight loss plan and I literally stumbled onto your blog through Pinterest! I love your sincerity and your story! I’m sure your recipes will help me (: Thank you!

  232. Olena, I stumbled upon your site looking for a good chia pudding site, and couldn’t believe when I saw your photo! Do you remember me from eva.ru forum? Lena from Colorado :). You look amazing, and I’ll give your recipe a try. Hope everyone is well!

    1. OMG, this is unbelievable!!! Of course I do! Funny enough I was thinking about you the other day LOL. I will drop you an email.:) I still can’t believe it…What a small world. Thank you, Pinterest!

  233. Absolutely love your site. Especially am appreciative of all the advice for new bloggers. THANK YOU. THANK YOU!!… I too am from Ukraine and starting in the world of blogging..:)

  234. Hi Olena, your website looks perfect for my new journey into clean and lean eating. I saw some on your recipes posted on Pininterest and they looked exactly what I was looking for. Thank you and I look forward to learning from your journey.

  235. HI Olena,

    I am from Australia, and I have just started Clean Eating, and stumbled upon your website when trying to find recipes. I am very excited to try some of the things you have posted, Can’t wait to start cooking 🙂

  236. Hello, just wanted to mention how I am enjoying reading your content. Your recipes look so appetizing and the blogging information is right up my alley as a new blogger. Thanks for sharing the knowledge, Lisa

  237. Hi!!!!
    I`m from Belarus, and currently am living in the USA (studying at college in south jersey).
    I`ve just started a fitness blog, where I write about living a healthy lifestyle on a budget. I know exactly what you mean by abundance of food in America. In my first year or so here, I just ate everything processed. How can you not eat a snickers/reeses/nutella sundae?? I grew up in post-soviet Belarus, so tried a lot of American foods… but this…
    So yeah, now that I finally tried just about everything unhealthy, I`m trying to eat as clean as possible. 🙂 As a broke college student sometimes I struggle with staying within my budget when eating healthy, and I know that many people do. So hence my Fit, Not Broke blog 🙂
    I`m so excited to find a Slavic fitness blogger 🙂
    Have a great day!

    1. Hi Nadya. That’s true, there are not many Slavic fit bloggers.:) In fact, I never met any Slavic person interested in fitness or clean eating.;) Anyways, good luck with your studies and blog. I will be checking it out for some tips.:)

  238. I just want to say THANK YOU for sharing all your recipes!!! It definitely makes clean eating easier and more enjoyable. My family loves it when I make your Turkey Quinoa Spinach recipe. I will definitely be cooking more of your recipes. So glad I found your website!!!!

  239. I just want to say that I am new to your blog and am loving it! I’m mostly reading many of your blogging tips and and income reports. They are the most helpful tips I have come across. I also have recently learned about clean eating and am starting a “no sugar challenge” to jump start myself to being aware what’s in my food. Can’t wait to start digging into your recipes!

  240. Hi Olena! I’m so glad I found your website 🙂 I have also Ukrainian heritage and just recently started my blog.

    I love your positivity and drive to move forward. And the fact that you share income, traffic and tips is really valuable to the blogging community and I think if more people do this, it would change the secretive nature of this industry 🙂 Keep it uP!!!!!

  241. Your writing is a joy to read; your photos, beautiful. Best of all is your positive attitude and determination. Love it! Thank you for introducing me to the cauliflower breadsticks and marinara tried-and-true recipes. You actually changed my mood back to good today! 🙂

    1. Oh, thank you, Caroline! The world and life is beautiful. What not to like, right?! We all make our own. Happy I could put a smile in your face today.:)

  242. Dear Olena,

    I follow your blog for a while! I really admire the progress you made with your food photography! Can you get me any advice? What equipment and lighting do you use!

    Keep yor fabulous work!


    1. Hi Vera. Thank you for your kind words. You can see my equipment on a Blogger Resources page. I use only natural light. Advice? Shoot on manual mode, figure the light in your house, do not shoot in direct sun, use tripod if too dark of a room, white dishes are best for props but main focus is your food – make it tasty and beautiful. And keep shooting. Practice is the only way to learn. Good luck.:)

  243. Enjoyed all your cooking experience. I am sorry your countrypeople are having such a hard time now. Your husband and kids are luck they have a super mom. You are another attractive woman from Ukraine. Why so many beautiful women? Must be the good food.

    1. Haha, thank you, Michael. Just lucky genes and good food, that’s true. It is really heart breaking what’s going on in my homeland. Heart goes out to all those wonderful Ukrainian people. Truly amazing people. Just unfortunate the situation right now.

  244. Hi Olena,
    Wow! I am sooooooooo happy that my sister found you! When she did, she told me that this was a must blog that I should follow. Lol 🙂 and I agree with her. I am so excited to try out your recipes. I am always on the verge of trying out new recipes that are 100%organic, from scratch, healthy and delicious! I love that you are so straight forward about everything. I actually took the time and read “about me” part and I love love love how you said “•I do not believe in diets.
    •I do not count calories.
    •My kids eat the same food as me.”
    I am with you on that. I want to make food for the whole familiy not just myself. So , this is a good resource of ideas . Even though I am a full time working mamma, when I get home…I LOVE LOVE to cook from scratch and something delicious. I will be posting feedbacks on whatever I do try from your list of recipes. Thanks again for taking your time and sharing your passion here with us. Bon Appetite 🙂

    1. You and your sister are so sweet! Thank you for your kind words! I see both of you on Instagram a lot and sometimes we chat. Now I know who is who.:)

  245. Dear Olena,

    I have discovered your blog yesterday and since then I keep reading and reading. 🙂 I found it very inspiring – like you, i love to cook/bake, I am preoccupied with healthy food (even I have a sweet tooth!) and I prefer to workout at home rather then going to a fitness room. Thank you for sharing the info on how to create your own blog – maybe this will give me real bust to start mine as well. By the way, I am writing you from a place close to your home country, Ukraine – I live in the “old Europe”, in Romania. Keep up the good work, you have gained a new follower! 🙂

  246. Hi Olena! I found you through your clean chili recipe on Pinterest. I’m going to make it really soon…just got to hunt down some organic ground turkey. I too live in the mainland, was a realtor and my grandparents immigrated from the Ukraine! I’m a Grandmother in her early 50’s who lost 35 pounds last year using Jenny Craig and working my ass off at the gym. I still want to lose another 20 pounds and am looking to go it alone. You told us what you are “not” but can you specifically tell me what “clean” eating is? Is it basically, not cooking with pre packaged junk, as organic as possible and low fat? I am thinking this might just be the way for me to proceed. Your weight loss and fitness is VERY impressive. I have to battle age, crappy knees, menopause and hypothyroidism but I’m half way there so I look forward to reading more of your recipes and getting more inspired for this next phase of my journey to health!

    1. Hi Lesly! So you are basically a version of me, just a tiny bit older.:) Good for you! That’s amazing what you are doing! Congrats on New You! Clean eating is eating food as close to it’s natural state as possible. Here you can read more. I love Clean Eating magazine btw! Yes, no processed foods, preferably organic and healthy fats, also lots of water.
      Thank you for your sweet words.:)
      Costco in Bellingham carries affordable organic meat, including ground turkey. I usually stock up. Also once in a while I buy regular ground turkey. It’s life.:) Enjoy the sunshine!xxx

  247. So what if I want to copy-paste your photo/recipe disclaimer?? 😉 Kidding but seriously there is such a problem with people thinking that just because it’s on the internet, it’s a free-for-all! Drives me nuts seeing all of the recipes copy-pasted onto Facebook!!

    Found your blog through Lee at Fit Foodie Finds and am adding you to bloglovin’! 🙂

      1. So glad I found you on Pinterest, Olena! I love your recipes and appreciate your outlook towards food, dieting, exercise and life in general. I don’t post recipes to FB, but re-pin on Pinterest, as well as share with friends and family via email. I hope to be compliant about reposting and will gracefully receive correction if necessary. May God bless you with many years of creative, healthy recipes, and wisdom you share with others!

        1. Hi Nancy. I should update my refreshed outlook on life. It changes as I get older LOL. Thank you and I’m sure your sharing is fine and thank you again!!!

  248. Olena, so glad to find your blog or should I say your recipes on Pinterest. I have a lot of interests in Vegatarian & Gluten free meals so you are just what I needed. I am going to purchase your ebook, it looks great. Since I just retired, I plan on making supper for my wife and I, Very Healthy. Thank you for your great recipes and sharing.

    1. Congratulations on your retirement, David! I’ve been cooking a lot of vegetarian meals lately as well. Enjoy and thank you for your kind words.:)

  249. Hi Olena, I finally found the time to post a comment on your blog. I came across your website by accident while searching for healthy recipes online. I’m so glad I did! I love your recipes, ideas, and your positive attitude. I’m already sharing your blog with friends and family. I tried a few of your recipes and they’re great! My life is as hectic as yours and I totally identify with your story. I’m also a stay at home mom of two with a part time job on the side, trying to do it all but most of all live healthy and feed my family as healthy as possible. Congrats on the success of your blog! Can’t wait to try all the recipes.

    1. Hi, Patricia. Life of a work from home mom is like nothing else.:) It’s fabulous and mind blowing at same time. Right now, I’m sitting on a couch working, with a sick child on iPhone next to me, pot of soup simmering on a stove, and laundry piled up upstairs. And I have to work out some time today.
      Thank you so much for all your sweet words and please come back.:) I used to be in real estate as well.:) All the best to you!

  250. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my
    blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite
    some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with
    something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    1. Thank you, Terrie! I honestly don’t know of any. I used one long time ago but don’t remember which one. Have you tried looking in WordPress plugins? Any with good reviews and at least 4 stars?

      1. My husband’s name is Kris… But my younger son’s name is Alex:) I live in Saskatchewan province, just moved here in the beginning of December from Chicago.

  251. Hi Olena,
    I discovered your website via Facebook post of another food blogger and i must say i love it! 🙂 Your recipes and complimenting photography is amazing. I am also into healthy lifestyle and always on the look for new cooking ideas. I am a newlywed- my hubby is Serbian and I am Russian so we try to balance cleat eating and occasional splurges from Eastern European cuisines 🙂 Which is not always easy but i can’t give up good ol’ family dishes! Anyways, thanks for sharing your passion and looking forward to new recipes!

    1. Thank you, Margarita! You must have found me through My Whole Food Life. Occasional splurges are fine. I must say we barely ever eat Eastern European dishes but when we do it’s mostly soups and some treats. No mayo salads though.:) I tried to find out where in Canada you are located. Cool story you got there and congrats on your marriage!

  252. You know what’s funny, my story almost sounds identical to yours. MY hubby proposed t o me only after a month of knowing me. I have two boys and gained over 60lb at pregnancy 🙂 I dont eat as clean as you do but try to stick to portion control. My weakness is bylochki and other carbs 🙂

  253. Hi Olena,

    Just wanted to stop by and congratulate you on this website. I first heard about from my co-worker Kellie who met your husband on the West Coast Express and tried some of your granola. I also live in Maple Ridge and am a single mother of two little, wonderful, crazy boys. I work downtown almost full time and but love all the stuff that you are about in my spare time. Just wanted to thank you for this site, wonderful ideas and yummy recipes. I haven’t tried any of them yet but will. Keep up the good work and if I see you anywhere in Maple Ridge I’ll come and say hi!

    1. Hi, Zuzana. Thank you so much! Oh, Alex, Alex. He is feeding commuters with my food and then tells the whole world about my blog. What if people don’t like my food?!:) Yes, he told me about Kellie. So niiiice you stopped by. How old are your boys? Definitely say “Hi” when you see me. You can usually find me in grocery stores, Langley Farm Market, Value Village and Homesense. LOL.
      And koodos to you, single mom of 2 boys. No idea how amazing women do it?! No idea! Respect.

  254. Hi Olena, Thanks for your simple & delicious
    recipes. I’m currently back in school and trying to eat healthy on
    a budget, so your real food recipes with no crazy ingredients are a
    great help! All the best to you and your family, -Mari

  255. I want to start a Indian Recipe Blog on indeliciousway.com , I’m new and just starting this, may I ask for some of tips from you how can I earn good with this blog ? waiting for your response. Thanks Pankaj Giri

      1. Hi Olena, Thank you so much for your lovely support, And I will do follow the mentioned things… also I want your favour when I will setup these all things….. Hope you will help mine…. 🙂 Thanks again

  256. Olena,
    Your blog is godsent- you are Ukrainian like me and are all about clean eating! I am at that point in my life where I feel like I need to make a change and do it now. Like you, with each pregnancy I gain 50+ pounds, and it seems like after this one (my 3rd) it is much harder to drop the weight. Of course it doesn’t help that at most of out Ukrainian functions the food is delicious, but not always health concious 🙂 Thank you for you r recipes and your story!


    1. Haha. Yeah, Ukrainian food is far away from clean eating although has many tasty dishes. Well, I’m glad I could offer you some dinner ideas.:) I hope you are reading Clean Eating Magazine. They have many great recipes. Or Tosca Reno books are awesome too! Our children are precious, I know.:) It’s harder to lose weight with each kid but totally up to you. I look better now than before kids. More toned and lean. So good luck!

  257. I have just started to get into this kind of cooking – mostly baking so far – I have lost weight (about 20 lbs) and feel great too – now 122lbs and 5′ 3″ – I will definately try some of your recipes for main meals (I have four kids). We are not vegetarian/vegan or anything but I was getting bored with my old recipes and fancied trying new things so I thought it might as well be a healthy change. Your photos are really great, I know how hard/time consuming it is as I have a blog too but mine is less focused and not as slick! – knitting/crochet, travel and baking – are my three loves. I will check in when I need inspiration. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Jakki. Thanks for stopping by and your kind words and I always could use a fellow’s blogger appreciation.:) Your proportions sound great!!! 4 kids, wow!!! You must be busy!!! I can only handle 2!!! I will check out your blog! Cheers and see you soon! Olena.

  258. I think I just feel in love with your blog! I love following healthy cooking blogs! I have a blog with some healthy dishes on it but I really enjoy seeing the creativity that people with very healthy lifestyle create. I too feel bad about the cruelty done towards animals and I am leaning toward no meat all. I get more affirmed in that everyday. Slowly but surely my desire, if its there, for meat just keeps going away. I love meatless based companies like Boca and Gardein because they make it easier for me to get away from meat, but I also heard that Whole Foods meat isn’t from animal cruelty and it contains no antibodies or hormones that us humans don’t need. Anyway, I will continue to browse your blog for new recipes. Thanks for all you do!

    1. Hi Nicole. Thank you very much for your kind words. You are welcome and glad to hear more and more people are trying to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. It’s not easy but possible. Ideally, I would love to eat meat only twice a week. I was always questioning the ingredients in Gardein and alike products because of GMO soy and other additives but never really looked into it. Have you?

  259. Hi Olena,

    Just found you today while searching for some chia seed recipes and so glad I did. I look forward to trying to make your Protein Chia Coconut Macaroons. Any thoughts or suggestions on a substitution for the almonds though? My husband has a severe tree nut allergy so we have to avoid them in our house. But he can have peanuts, so I was thinking maybe that would work? Would love to hear what you think.
    Love the blog and and can’t wait to explore your site even further. Thanks.

    1. Hi Kathy. Glad you found me.:) I’m looking for friends too.:) Yep, you can easily substitute almond meal with coarsely ground peanuts (do not over process because they will turn into peanut butter) or coconut flour. Anything reasonable would work as long as your dough reaches the consistency in photos. You can even try to substitute almond with equivalent or more of coconut flakes. Let me know and come back please.:) Cheers, Olena.

  260. Hi Olena,
    I love your blog, the content and the pictures! I like mostly your energy and candidness in expressing how hard things were for you losing baby weight and taking the pictures (I know for real11).
    My idea of food is just like yours: I am not vegan, vegetarian, etc. I like to eat healthy and now I am moving slowly to gluten free because I need it for some health reasons.
    Wishing you and your family the best!!

    1. Hi Sara. Thank you very much for your kind words and wishes.:) Means a lot to me that women actually read my story and can relate. Means I’m not alone in my struggles. I’m quite blunt and a straight shooter when it comes to weightloss and body. Unless you have a health condition that is not caused by what you put in your body, then you are solely responsible for the way you look and there is no excuses.
      I was always wondering what makes people to switch to gluten free diet?! Just curiosity. Thank you for stopping by and see you soon!

  261. Hi Olena,
    I found your blog through NatashasKitchen, and just wanted to stop by and say hello! I too strive to live a healthy lifestyle, so I’m excited to try out some of your recipes and tips. Keep up the great posts! 🙂

    1. Hi again.:) Thank you very much for your kind words. Nice to meet you too. Stop by more often for a chat, blogging can be lonely sometimes.:) Nice to see fellow Eastern Europeans appreciating healthy cooking. Cheers.:)

  262. I was thinking of buying BioTrustprotein cookies because they sent one with my protein powder. However, looking at the price figured I could do some of my own and while searching stumbled upon your recipes. Needless to say I printed them off and after my TOPS (Take off pounds sensibly) class tomorrow I’m going to bake. Thanks and I love your site!

  263. Thank you for being here when I needed to find you today! You sound wonderful and I am starting with you and your receips! My boyfriend and I are going to do the 5-2 new fasting plan and all yor receips are exactly what we need!
    Thank you so much!

  264. Hi Olena!

    I just made the protein bars, they are delish! I just needed to say hello to a fellow health Momma AND you have the same name as my grandma, Ive never heard or seen any one else with that name 🙂 She is Icelandic, so we are fellow blue eyed blondies. I too workout at home, and live in Northwestern Ontario, very snowy here. anyways, have a great day and I look forward to following you on here, feel free to follow me on Pinterest, @ Julishka30 and im on instagram too take care

    1. Hi Julia. Glad you liked my protein bars.:) OMG, what a coincidence?! Was your grandmother Ukrainian? My name is a Ukrainian version of a very common slavic name Elena.
      We used to live in Calgary and had super long winters too, so I know what you mean about ON. Hang in there, it’s almost over! Here, in Vancouver, spring is in a full swing and it’s +15 today.
      Koodos to you for being healthy and working out at home. It’s challenging at times. Talk to you later and thanks for taking time to leave a positive comment.:)

      1. Duje dyakyu for the awesome site, Olena! Just made your blueberry muffins! My mom and I are looking forward to more of your recipes!