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 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 dinner recipes are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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

You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube.

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 2021, I could have never imagined iFOODreal would grow into a business it is today! More on that below.

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.

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 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.
  • Also healthy desserts (of course!), salads and breakfast ideas.
  • 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?

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 borscht 🙂 ). 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.

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!

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’s 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 rural 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 through September. Eagles, orcas, owls, sea lions, seals, humpback whales and a lot-a lot of deer, like a lot! 🙂 Mountains, lakes, beaches, woods, more islands, storm watching… it never ends!

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 2021

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… 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 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.
  • Timeframe. We reserve the right to reply to comments within 48 hours.
  • Ingredient substitutions. Please refer to extensive recipe post and recipe card notes. Most recipes are written with answers, variations and tips for any possible scenario. If you don’t see an answer, you are welcome to try your substitution and let us know how it went as recipes are posted only as tested.
  • 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.

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.

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773 comments on “Olena’s Story

Our “happiness” software automatically deletes any comments of racial, politicial, religious or any offensive nature without publishing, so we can keep on happily cooking delicious recipes for you. For substitutions please refer to extensive recipe post and recipe card notes. If you don't see an answer, you are welcome to try your version and let us know how it went as recipes are posted only as tested. Comments may take up to 24-48 hours to reply. Please see our full comment policy.:).

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  1. Hi Olena,

    I accidently typed in my last name under comments.
    Please let me know how to delete it from your comments on the quinoa casserole.
    Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much, I came here for your healthy Costco items and I’m getting so much more!
    I’m on Vancouver Island too, in Victoria!
    Just wanted to ask if you have tried the Vegan Queso dip, It’s AMAZING! I highly recommend…not sure if it’s organic but yummy, clean ingredients.

  3. I found your site as I searched Make Ahead Frozen Dinners and saw the word “Healthy” as one of the site options….the other for the phrase Make Ahead Frozen Dinners wasn’t by any means healthy. In June, I will be having a partial knee replacement-I’m only 67. I used to think that was old until I reached that age. My husband can only “cook” coffee. I truly enjoy cooking/baking and the thought of restaurant or premade grocery food causes near panic (cost/health). I’ve printed your 5 recipes and will be signing up as a member (which I don’t normally do!). Your detail in print is awesome. What you shared on your family and building of your past/present/future enjoyable to read. I can’t help but say in capital letters THANK YOU. Your site is just “what the doctor ordered”. Keep those recipes coming, please. Blessings.

  4. I loved the Pacific North West and feel in love with Vancouver Island when I visited. My great-grandparents lived outside of Kiev before they moved to the United States! When I cook your recipes I feel my Ukrainian ancestors are happy 🙂

  5. Thanks you so much for your wonderful help with recipes and cooking assistance with my instant pot. It has been so much better than struggling thru the manual on my own. I’m 83 yrs. Also, thanks for sharing your family and life info with the public. It really is a personal feeling. Almost like a long distant friend. Keep up the good work you are doing!

  6. Hi Olena…I made your Baked Chicken Breast (Extra Juicy Healthy Recipe) for my family tonight. They’re very fussy about new recipes, but this was a home run. It was easy to make, very tasty and will definitely make again.

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes.
    Nancy Maria

    1. Thrilled that my baked chicken breast recipe was a hit with your family, Nancy Maria. Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  7. Hello from East Sooke, which I think must be quite close to you! Found you when looking for roast turkey breast ideas. We also “eat healthy”, cooking entirely at home (including bread, granola, etc.) No restaurant or processed foods for us. This way we meet low sodium diet requirements quite easily. Like you, my kids ate what was served. It isn’t that hard to convince them if the food is tasty, nutritious and the kids aren’t aleady full of empty calories.

    Wendy H

    1. Hi Wendy! Yes, Sooke is lovely and quite close to me. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story and “unpopular” approach with me. I appreciate anything not popular these days a lot lol.

  8. Olena,
    I am VERY pleased to have found your website, I would love to be friends, and we have some things in common.
    I have tried so many diets in my 60 years. I have lost and gained back so much weight, since age 12. I have come to terms with my body shape and that I will never fit in the same sizes that I did, before I had kids, and they were worth it! I have also found that excessive restriction, in foods, or calories, is short term, and not sustainable. My husband i both love to cook, and I also love to bake, and we use real, fresh ingredients. I do not like mixes for cakes, or anything, but that’s how I grew up, with convenience foods, so I am sure that put a lot of weight on me.
    Side note- my husband is 100% Ukrainian! His parents met in a primarily Ukrainian area of Minnesota, and both of their sets of parents came over from Ukraine.
    We have visited Vancouver Island, I have been twice with my husband, and once with a girlfriend. The last time Matthew and I went, in July 2017 we stayed a week, after spending 2 weeks in Alaska. We stayed in a lovely house in Nanaimo, and also in Victoria. We explored and enjoyed parts of your gorgeous island from there. We liked the wild places best.
    Back to the diets, I have several health issues, and will probably be having hip replacement surgery soon. I face each challenge with mostly optimism, as I want to keep exploring and enjoying this Earth, while I can, so I must keep fixing these issues. And someday, I hope to have grandkids to enjoy, too.
    I just made your Almond Flour Banana Muffins, and love them! Thank you so much! I cannot wait to try more recipes.
    Best wishes, Nancy Paine, from Gilbert, Arizona

    1. Hi Nancy! Sorry for delayed reply. We visited Gilbert last year, friends and work. Unfortunately seems like a dream right now. It is beautiful and sunny! We used to see cruise ships to Alaska from our backyard. Like many other things, that is gone too…Thank you for sharing your story, I enjoyed “meeting” you. And good luck with your surgery!!!

  9. Hi!! Just found you on Pinterest then went to your blog. Great recipes, but not a fan of almond flour. Do you have recipes for coconut flour? I just personally think it tastes better. Thank you!

  10. Wow. I just got here, looking for almond flour banana bread, and read about you after reading your remarkably communicated recipe. Brava to you! For what you have survived and for what you offer others in order to thrive. Beautiful site!

  11. I’m so glad I found your blog! My family is Chaldean (Iraqi Christian); we cook at home mostly but it’s been difficult with work demands. I’d like to have healthier and simpler recipes available to my family. I’ve started to make a point to cook more to focus on my family’s optimal health and wellness. Thank you for sharing your recipes!

  12. I have never followed anyone on line but I have to say after I read some of your recipes I decided to start to cook again after being widowed twice I decided no more cooking.
    I have tried a few of your recipes and I’m hooked.
    Thank you so much

    1. I am SO-SO happy to inspire you, Barbara!!! Cooking and walking are my true antidepressants and I am so happy to share it with others to help inspire and enjoy life. xxx

  13. I have been working from home for ayear…so happy I came upon this blog…I have been eating terrible …live evenings…need to get back on track….looking forward to seeing how this blog will help …..looks great so far!

  14. Hello Olena: I am so happy to found your food blog , i am an avid healthy recipi reader and i have a passion for cooking, love your story and admire your determination . I definitely will try many of your recipe
    Jennifer Balmas (daughter of Italian and colombian -South America- parents)love cooking foods from around the world on a healthy transformation

  15. You’re recipes take the stress out of what’s for dinner, which makes me happy! All your goals are achieved with me and greatly appreciated!! I’ve tried 3 of your recipes and have 2 others prepped for dinner this week. I’m amazed by how you always do provide all the possible scenarios. You have a great team! Thank you!

    Sarah R

    1. Hi Sarah! You don’t know how much I appreciate your positive and kind feedback. I am so happy that my recipes are being enjoyed 🙂

  16. I was calculating the nutritional information for your Healthy Waffle Recipe. I think you need to recheck your numbers. You list the Carb value for 2 waffles as 19 grams based on a 12 waffle recipe. I calculate a total of 199 Carbs for the entire recipe (20 for milk, 33 for syrup, and 146 for whole wheat flour). This divides down to 16.5 Carbs per waffle, or 33 Carbs for a 2 waffle serving. For someone with Type I diabetes, this differential of over 16 carbs per serving is very significant.

    1. That’s for 1 waffle, I corrected that. We switched from different recipe plugin which calculated differently so discrepancies will happen. However, as we are not a diet website or medical professionals we do have a disclaimer that nutritional info is provided as a courtesy. And if it is something of importance to you you should use trustable nutrition calculator to double check each recipe.

  17. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story! Thank you for sharing.I love your positivity, taking that leap of faith and the blood, sweat and tears that go you here. Absolutely amazing! I am a retired cook by trade and stumbled upon here and so happy I did. I get the equivalent to writer’s block in the kitchen. Every other week my 14 year old develops a menu for us. Then my week comes and lately, I have been stumped, as we are trying to eat healthier.

    My husband, daughter and I recently moved to 3.5 acres from the big city. We love it, however, have had our challenges. More recently with this winter storm in Texas.

    1. Hi Laura! Thank you for your reaching out. I hope you are doing okay and staying safe through the storm in Texas. I hope you enjoy my recipes and please don’t hesitate to let me know which ones you try!
      I love that your 14 year old is meal planning and cooking too!

  18. I was just searching for a gluten free muffin recipe and found you. I am a single working mom and am trying hard to make all of my daughters food. So inspired by your story and am excited to explore your recipes

  19. Thanks for sharing your story!! I love your positive attitude and I love your recipes! You, your story and your recipes are an inspiration ❤


  20. Thank you for all do. Your life story is inspiring. I like to cook simple healthy, delicious meal, I found out that your site is very helpful when I’m looking for a certain recipes. I tell you a little bit about myself I’m from the country of the Philippines, so I like Asian food as well as different kind of food from other countries, my husband like mexican food & my one daugther & her husband like Italian food. I really like your healthy zucchini bread recipe and I always come back to your site so please continue what you do and may God bless you.

    Since rely,
    Liza Armitage

  21. I appreciate you sharing these recipes…its hard for me to find easy to make food that my family will eat (and stay within my budget) and every one of your recipes I’ve tried so far helps me do all of that!

  22. Hey Olena! I have began the project of creating a family cookbook! One of your recipes is a fan-favorite in the Willoughby household. It’s the Zucchini Tex Mex. I am creating the cookbook for my/our own benefit but I do plan to put it up for sale to see what happens. I was wondering what the situation is for that?

  23. Good morning! Today I am food prepping and I was looking to do so with a bit of flavour and I saw your chicken with smoked paprika and will be doing that this morning! I to and from this majestically Vancouver island And I’m so grateful to have found your website! Well done!

  24. Hello, I have recently found your site after I purchased an Instant Pot. I am in love with so many of your recipes. Also I am in awe of your approach to life, so true. Thank you for sharing your recipes and thoughts. Blessings to you and your family. From a very grateful Instant Pot newbie. Sue

  25. 5 stars
    today I came across your blog , and decide to try one of your recipes for dinner Taco Skillet .was an easy recipe and was delicious , was a big success with my 12-year-old grandson . That’s a winner in my book.
    thank you
    I will be checking your blog weekly.

    By the way, I live in the state of NH US

  26. Fabulous read and phenomenal food tips. I recently found your moist juicy chicken breast recipe and loved it. The breakdown of tips from prepping, cooking, storing and reheating are great and took the stressful guessing game or follow up questions right out. Love the healthier aspect of it all. Thank you.

  27. Hello Olena. So glad I found your website. I put out a monthly newsletter for my senior community and always include a recipe or two, and they are sure enjoying yours. It’s difficult to come up with recipes every month that are easy to make, no weird or outrageously expensive ingredients AND healthy. You are also clear on what freezes well, how long things will keep, and so on. Just so you know, every recipe I use lists the source website, so people can go to your website themselves and see all the riches to be had there. I hope that is OK. You are a gift to us all!

    1. Hi Deb. Usually it is a copyright violation to copy a recipe entirely BUT what a harm it can be if a few seniors eat healthy and yummy food in these mentally trying times. All we have left is food and outdoors to enjoy. I do appreciate you including my source and telling them iFOODreal is the best healthy website! 🙂

      1. Oh gosh. I didn’t mean to break any rules, and I’m grateful you are generously understanding. And by “community” I did not mean an on-line community. I live in a small seniors-only subsidized housing complex. The newsletter goes only to them. They are my friends and neighbors here and I try to help keep them cheered up, healthy, and socializing with each other– harder to do just now. They are all on tight budgets, so food that isn’t expensive to fix, that can be frozen, etc., and is healthy is what they need. All things that you provide. Thanks again.

        1. That is exactly what I thought and please don’t worry about it!!! Warms my heart you are sharing my recipes with these people. Please tell them all to enjoy! xxx

  28. I have tried a few of your recipe’s and my husband and i really like them Our favorite so far is the Shrimp taco’s. They are easy and don’t require much time to make and with being a working mom its a game changer. Thank you for sharing your recipe’s, I will definitely continue checking out your meal ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Hi.I am a 12 year old girl.And i have two little brothers my mom is always at work so sometimes i make dinner and this website is a great help and healthy. My father is mostly painting and asks me to make the dinner. I think this type of dinner should be everywhere,and when this pandimic is over you should build a dinner for your food or a place to sell it. But i am thankful for these dishes you have created.

    1. Hi Kimberly! I really appreciate that you took the time to write me a message. I am glad that you are liking my recipes. Take care!

  30. I’m so excited I came across you! Can’t believe I hadn’t seen your site before. I have severe rheumatoid arthritis & am an AK amputee for 27 years and have gained weight over the past 10 months. I try my best to cook & eat healthy but have gotten SO tired of my same old recipes. So thankful I found you!

  31. Thank you for the healthy spinach dip recipe….it is a lot cheaper to make it , rather than buy some from Thrifty Foods…I know you don’t worry about calories, but I would like to know the serving size of the healthy spinach dip, so I can compare the calorie count to the store bought dip I have been buying until I found your great recipe….Thank you …Joan Van Schaik. PS: I also have the privilege of living on Vancouver Island……

    1. Hello fellow Vancouver Islander! I am so glad that you like my spinach dip recipe. I would say a serving size is ~ 2 tbsps. Hope that helps!

  32. As I looked at the recipes I couldn’t believe how simple it is to change some ingredients and eat healthy. 2020 was not a good year for me and my husband weight wise. So I have tried the meal delivery and it was okay but expensive. And counting and watching the carbs, calories, etc is exhausting. I have printed off some recipes that look so good and I’m ready to try.

    1. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be time consuming, complicated or expensive. I hope you enjoy my recipes. Report back and let me know which recipes you have tried! Happy cooking, Sandy!

  33. I agree 100% with you that diets don’t work! I lost weight and kept most of it off when I ditched the diets.
    I’m on my second batch of your almond flour chocolate chip cookies. Love them and so easy too.

    1. You are so so cool awesome honest. And I would live there too!
      Maybe one day I can visit Canada!
      I’m in Orange County born Los Angeles third generation Eastern Europe some from Ellis island!
      What a great. Fantastic life you have created!
      And i Found you by googling. Baked chicken! Still trying to make it right🙏🏻🙋🏻‍♀️
      Thank you

  34. I absolutely love this website! I’m not quite sure how I landed on it but I just clicked on Olena’s Story and Wow! What a wealth of information but spoken with very simple words. Thanks so much❤️

  35. Just found your site today randomly looking for new muffin recipe, so glad that I did, as your site if full of beautiful food ideas I am excited to try out. We also gave up big city life (NYC) and relocated to a small but exquisite island off the coast of Italy. I can definitely relate to all of the pros and cons of living the relatively chill and self-sustaining life, instead of battling endlessly in an urban jungle with little room for calm. Good luck and keep up the great work 🙂

    1. That’s awesome location and life change, Gina! Being from Europe I have always struggled with lack of meaning to North American race living in the city. Yes, I think now is the most calm I have ever experienced in my life. All life happens outdoors year round and there is no race. Enjoy the recipes!

  36. I am so very glad to have discovered your website and blog. As an “old” fan of slowcookers and new owner of a small InstantPot, I am always motivated to make healthy, delicious food for we two seniors and one shut-in friend.

  37. Thank you for the recipes. I enjoyed reading your story. I was wondering if you had a recipe for varenikis. I know they’re not exactly healthy, but my great grandmother was Ukrainian and made them every Sunday. “Babcha” never told anyone how to make them and i only saw her make them once🙁. Since she died I haven’t been able to find a recipe that is close to what I remember.
    Thank you and please keep these delicious recipes coming

  38. Thank you so much for all the recipes. I came across your site a few years ago looking for instant pot recipes. Then I kept visiting because you have several gluten free recipes such as the almond flour banana muffins. I have celiac disease and am gluten free for life ( not a diet… its for my best life). I can use many of your baking recipes so thank you for making such a huge variety of recipes!

  39. What a beautiful life you have! Thanks for the inspirational recipes and your outlook on life and parenting. I just found your site yesterday and have a shopping list ready to go for today. I love how simple, healthy, and family-friendly your recipes are!

  40. I am so excited to check out your site and make ahead some healthy meals for my family. I am getting so tired of dreaming up meals and I am finding that it is important to plan ahead. I own an instant pot that I have yet to use and I am also eager to try out your healthy recipes in it.

    1. You have to pull your instant pot and start using it! I promise, you will love it 🙂 I hope you find my recipes and videos helpful!

  41. I love your recipes AND your attitude about life, parenting, and food! Olena, thanks for sharing your life story. You’re an inspiration for eating healthy and having a good attitude about life. ❤

  42. Can you opt out of meal planning at any time? I am intrigued by it and would like to try it. However due to my age, I’m not sure I would want it long term. By the way, I just found your site yesterday, and it is by far, the best I’ve seen!!!

  43. Olena,
    I just joined. Love your story, you are inspirational! Our family loves your “Vegetarian Quesadillas”, that is how I found you. You seem to cook everything my family loves! And giving alternatives along with freezing options is so smart! Thank you. Can’t wait to try more things. Tonight is the “Teriyaki Chicken and Cauliflower”…

  44. Hi Olena,
    Your story is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing! I stumbled into your website looking for healthy, quick dinner recipes and I realized that what I really need to make my life easier is to have meal plans and having a shopping list is a BIG plus. Whit that being said, I’m excited to join in and subscribe to one of your weekly Meal Plans. I’m excited in knowing that this will take a big stress out of my daily routine 🙂

    Here is to a Heatlthy 2021!!

  45. Hi Olena,

    Thank you, I read your story this morning after performing a Google search for “Healthy Ground Beef Recipes” and we are trying one of your recipes tonight. I appreciate your attitude, approach to life and would like to share that with you. We love visiting Vancouver and esp. Vancouver Island (we live in Seattle) and hope you enjoy a life of happiness there with your family. I try my best to seek out the positive in life and your story and approach has been the happiest story about healthy living I have read today and plan to share your story and blog with others. We have also completely remodeled our home (for 15 years now and it has taken up a lot of our time, cash and spare time b/c we’ve done most of the work ourselves). It was truly nice to read about your positive attitude and approach to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. Happy New Year! We have a lot to look forward to in 2021. All the best to you and your family.

    1. Hi Victoria! It was a pleasure to read your kind and positive words today. Thank you so much for your kindness and support of my blog. Happy New Year!

  46. 5 stars
    My wife and I just bought our Instant Pot and came across your website looking for recipes. Our very first meal with it (yesterday) was your chicken and rice – AMAZING!! Looking forward to trying many more of your recipes.

  47. Hi Olena and family!
    I stumbled onto your site researching kombucha “trouble shooting “ for my son who is just getting started with this( I’ve made kombucha on & off for years).
    I want to say this site is a joy to read including you sharing personally about you and your family’s story. I will be visiting often and God Bless you Olena!!

    1. Hi Yvonne! Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate it. Happy New Year…and happy kombucha making 🙂

  48. I’m a senior who’s been cooking for taste for a number of years. It’s the end of 2020 now…actually hailing in the new year tomorrow night. With resolutions to change some hard-core habits, today I Googled “light eating recipes” and I found your “45 Easy Healthy Dinner Ideas”. I was completely blown away.
    These recipes are impressive. Easy, common-ingredients, great flavors; I recognized immediately they are exactly what I needed to tone down comfort eating, and shift to healthy, w/o losing calorie-rich flavors. So…I spent time to copy them…ALL 45 of them…into my Recipe Pro keeper (Microsoft). Through the next couple months of 2021, I’ll work through them; one by one and hope to get the shift I need (2021 resolution or not) to eat light, eat more vegetables, and come back to eating fresh, light and flavorful. Keep up the good work, Olena! Best to you and yours for a healthy 2021!!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I would love to hear how you like the recipes as you make them. Sounds like you are all ready for 2021!

  49. Hi Olena,
    I came upon your site by accident and am loving it! I showed my daughter some recipes and she saw your name and said “I think I went to school with her son”. Before you moved to the Island did you live in Maple Ridge by chance?

  50. Hi. I’m trying your turkey breast roast , I’m glad to see it being cooked from thawed. It doesn’t make sense to bake a frozen chunk of meat I also have my own rosemary and garlic. Should be yummy Keep up the good work. Be kind Be safe.

  51. Dear Olena,

    thank you very much for posting your recipes. I wander, if any of your recipes are suitable for FREEZING? I like to cook (relatively) healthy recipes in batch and then freeze some of it. For example I found this recipe to taste the same after defrosting ( and also carbonara sauce mixture taste the same after defrosting. If you have any recipes like this, I will be grateful to hear about those. Thank you very much in advance for your answer, have a great Christmas, Miroslav.

  52. Thank you so much for delicious iPot recipes!! I love reading about your life starting in Ukraine and now living in Canada. I had a dear friend whom grew up in Ukraine later moved US. She taught me a lot about turning plain food into delicious food with simple cooking. I grew up particularly opening up canned food because my mom worked so much on the farm. Thanks again for sharing your recipes and free!!

  53. You and your husband are a true inspiration to my wife and I. We have been married for 52 years and wish we were friends with your family. It is so hard now days to find happy wholesome married couples. I now know why you always seem so happy. Having a wonderful family, living in one of the most beautiful places on earth can do nothing but make you happy. I wish you and your family nothing but the best in life for many, many, more years.

    D. Winicki

    1. You are so sweet, thank you! We would love to be friends with you too! Unfortunately I agree with you about it being hard to connect with happy people BUT I assure you they still exist and we have a few families who are dear to us! I assure you our life is far from perfect haha! We have same problems like everyone else but I think we try hard to live a healthy balanced lifestyle, work on our mental health (like living in present moment), concentrate on big picture and enjoy little things, and be grateful for everything we have!!! We all have so many things to be grateful for, it’s just I think many people get caught up in wanting more mentality and electronic devices. I assure you there are still many unhappy and unhappily married people where I live haha. Happy Holidays to you!!!

  54. Olena, I’ve made 3 or 4 dishes of yours now. Every single one of them have been the best thing. They all taste so fresh and good. I love them all and I thank you for sharing. I’m making it my mission to go through every recipe I can of yours now. Because nothing has tasted anything less than amazing.

  55. 5 stars
    Just made your beef stew. Delicious. My parents were from Eastern Europe and it tasted exactly as you said, (only better than what I grew up with). This was my first recipe in the Instant Pot.
    Thank you so much, and good luck in your much appreciated venture.

  56. Hi Olena…I just made your cauliflower pizza crust…game changer 🙂
    It turned out exactly as you illustrated. It made one pizza about the size of my dinner plate..and yes I ate the whole pizza. Fabulous.
    Because of this I decided to look at your site and read your story. I discovered that your food philosophy is in line with my food views. And…I recently started using an instapot! What a relief to see you have decent healthful recipes for this too!
    I shall be trying many more recipes.

    Thank you and I wish you continued success.

    Oh also I’m thrilled you are Canadian and equally thrilled we share the same heritage at least in part 🙂 (1/2 German 1/4 Dutch 1/4 Ukraine)

    1. Hi Chrissy! Thanks for reaching out to me. I am so happy that you find my site helpful and you enjoyed the cauliflower pizza crust recipe (it is one of my favourites too!)

  57. Hi, Olena!

    We really love your recipes! Thank you for such cool advices and healthy gluten free, vegetarian, low carb options for perfect lunches and dinners!

    We with my team are working on fitness apps for App Store and Google Play market and we are eager to use you recipes in our Apps.
    Is it possible?
    Could you contact me for details please? [email protected]

    Our Apps are developed specifically for people who care about their health and want to slim down and get in shape but don’t have enough time to go to the gym.

    Thank you in advance!

    Have a good day 😉

    Best regards,

    1. Hi there. No, that would not be possible, and I do not grant you copyright rights. You can direct your readers to my website and that way they can stay healthy. I work hard to develop my recipes!

  58. 5 stars
    I just love you! I found your website about a week ago and I finally took a sigh of RELIEF! For years I have been cooking with simple ingredients but running out of ideas for how to continue putting them together in new ways. I somehow find your blog and I yell “FINALLY!” as I read ingredient lists on your recipes! Things I am used to using and cooking but NEW WAYS to cook and use them! New spices to try! New tips to use! And we are so excited to eventually buy an Instant Pot! I’m so thankful for you! I’m so happy for your life on the island! All of these exclamation points, I am obviously excited LOL

  59. 5 stars
    Hi Olena,
    Your recipe and tips for cooking rice in the Instant Pot was awesome. You answered my exact question about the cooking time for rice and the ratio of rice to liquid.

  60. You are for real! Absolutely enchanting, and so refreshing! I’m delighted to have found you when looking for chicken breast recipe. I’m now a follower!

  61. Olena, I enjoyed reading your website also revisiting it to share my story:
    I am of Polish & Russian heritage, 2nd generation American born. My parents were born during the depression, WWII veterans, hard working survivors, never throwing out food.
    I learned to cook inherently, w/out realizing it. Cooking from scratch, w/ available ingredients & substitutions from memory as well as necessity became a healthy staple diet. Many college friends didn’t even know the basics of eggs; proteins, emulsifiers or breakfast pancakes. I taught many of the basics of roux for cooking Soup that you can Live on. ALL of your recipes that combine this simple task w/easy directions. I will highly recommend your site b/c your base soups are also continental, something for any appetite. Bravo Lady Olena! And thank you from the future generations for sharing your Simply Delicious Recipes.

  62. I just read your article on quitting wine for 30 days. Somehow I became a nightly wine drinker. I laid in bed and prayed one night and really asked God to help me. The next day on the Internet I found a website that talked about the book, “The Naked mind“ by Annie Grace. I read the book through and have never picked up a glass of wine since. It was the most remarkable thing that has ever happened to me. It gave me a completely new idea of alcohol. What is so wonderful is that I do not have any desire to drink anymore. That is miraculous. The mind struggle is gone, too. To me, it is a miracle! God helped me.

  63. 5 stars
    I just find out about your website last week and made 6 recipes so far. All of them were amazing. Thank you for sharing.

  64. Olena, I never sign up for anything on line anymore but I am so impressed by your attention to detail ( I believe that is the key to success in life), your creative recipes,your caring to share healthy meals, and our Kiev roots that I had to make this exception . Thank you for all that you do!!

  65. I just ran across your website and you are amazing. I like your recipes and your philosophy. I too grew up with home cooked meals and over time I have sucumed to laziness.I look forward to hearing from you and learning new recipies.

  66. 5 stars
    So glad I found you!!! I couldn’t find my borscht recipe today and you saved me!! It was great!! Reminds me of eating at my Babas!!! ?
    Glad you enjoy the island! I left there in 1987… I do miss it!! ?

  67. 5 stars
    I am so happy I found your web site, have made lots of your recipe’s and enjoyed them all. Thank you so much for all your hard work and sharing it with all of us.

  68. 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!!!

  69. 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.

  70. I love your Parmesan pumpkin and spinach quinoa recipe, but the link is broken! Can you please repost it? Thank you!

  71. 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 😉

  72. 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! 🙂

  73. 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

  74. 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!!!

  75. 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!

  76. 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. ?

  77. 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!

  78. 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!

  79. 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 🙂

  80. 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!

  81. 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!

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. 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!

  85. 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

  86. 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.

  87. 5 stars
    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!!!

  88. 5 stars
    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!

  89. 5 stars
    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. 5 stars
      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

  90. 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!

  91. 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. 🙂

  92. 5 stars
    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!

  93. 5 stars
    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!

  94. 5 stars
    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!

  95. 5 stars
    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..

  96. 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!

  97. 5 stars
    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!

  98. 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.

  99. 5 stars
    Hello from Topeka, KS!

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


  100. 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!

  101. 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.

  102. 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.

  103. 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.

  104. 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! Hope you enjoy my recipes. Don’t be shy to leave a review of the almond flour banana bread.

  105. 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?

  106. 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.

  107. 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.

  108. 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.

  109. 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!

  110. 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.

  111. 5 stars
    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.

  112. 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!

  113. 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 ?

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

  115. 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?

  116. 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.

  117. 5 stars
    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

  118. 5 stars
    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 🙂

  119. 5 stars
    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?

  120. 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.

  121. 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.

  122. 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 🙂

  123. 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!

    1. You have a good sister, Pam. And I am glad you found me. Can you write me stories like this oen every day please?! haha. Enjoy your pot!!!

  124. 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!

  125. 5 stars
    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!

  126. 5 stars
    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.

  127. 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!

  128. 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!

  129. 5 stars
    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

  130. 5 stars
    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.


  131. 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.

  132. 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 🙂

  133. 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

  134. 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,

  135. 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!

  136. 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… 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!

  137. 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;)

  138. 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!

  139. 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!

  140. 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!

  141. 5 stars
    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

  142. 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 🙂

  143. 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

  144. 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!!

  145. 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!

  146. 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. 5 stars
            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! 🙂

  147. 5 stars
    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.



  149. 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!

  150. 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?

  151. 5 stars
    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!

  152. 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!

  153. 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.

  154. 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!

  155. 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.

  156. 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)

  157. 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.

  158. 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.

  159. 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.

  160. 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.??❤️

  161. 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

  162. 5 stars
    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.

  163. 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!

  164. 5 stars
    I just tried your healthy tuna salad. No lettuce needed. Ate it as is with a fork. So delicious! Thanks!

  165. 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

  166. 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!

  167. 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,

  168. 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. 🙂

  169. 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. 🙂

  170. 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.

  171. 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! 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!

  172. 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

  173. 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.

  174. 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 . 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!

  175. 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!

  176. 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!

  177. 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! 🙂

  178. 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.

  179. 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. 🙂

  180. I am excited to try some of your recipes. But I don’t know how to subscribe. Is there a link I am missing?

  181. 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

  182. 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!

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

  183. 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

  184. 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❤️

  185. 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! 🙂

  186. Thank you, thoroughly enjoyed reading your story. Blessings on your journey to great meals, one recipe at a time.

  187. 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!!

  188. 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. ?

  189. 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!

  190. 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!

  191. 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.

  192. 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.

  193. 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

  194. 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!

  195. 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,


  196. 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

  197. 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.


  198. 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!♡

  199. 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.

  200. 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.

  201. 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.

  202. 5 stars
    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!

  203. 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

  204. 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!

    1. Awesome. Dr. Oz knows some stuff. Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  205. 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!

  206. 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.

  207. 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.:)

  208. 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)

  209. 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!

  210. 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!

  211. 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!

  212. 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.

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

  214. 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.

  215. I am glad to have found your blog and website. I am learning about Clean Eating.
    I have so much to learn.
    Thank you.

    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!

  216. 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!

  217. 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.

  218. 5 stars
    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. ?

  219. 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!

    1. Hello and welcome, Linda! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. And thanks for your kind words.

  220. 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.

  221. 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!

  222. 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.

  223. 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,

  224. 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.

  225. 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

  226. 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!

  227. 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!

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

  229. 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.

  230. 5 stars
    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.

  231. 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!!!

  232. 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.

  233. I love what you wrote about cooking being a life skill and not a choice.
    Thank you for these wonderful recipes!

  234. 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!

  235. 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.

  236. 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

  237. 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,

  238. 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!

  239. 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.

  240. 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

  241. 5 stars
    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!

  242. 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.:)

  243. 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!

  244. 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.

  245. 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

  246. 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.

    1. Love to hear that! Welcome, Annie! We all get stuck in a rut with meals. Even me lol. Enjoy and please let me know what you try.:)

  247. 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 and my website

    1. Hello DeAnna! Yes, isn’t it amazing how some things in life happen for a reason?!:) Thank you so much for sharing my blog.:)

  248. 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 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.:)

  249. 5 stars
    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.

  250. 5 stars
    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.

  251. 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!!!

  252. 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

  253. 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 !

  254. 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

  255. 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.


  256. 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!

  257. 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

  258. 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.

  259. Finally! A recipe blog without a ton of pop up and slide ads! Also interesting and well written with delicious recipes!

    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!

  260. 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

  261. 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.

  262. 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!

  263. 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

  264. 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?

  265. 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!

  266. 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. 😉

  267. 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.

  268. 5 stars
    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!

  269. 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!!

  270. 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.

  271. 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)!

  272. 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!??

  273. 5 stars
    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.

  274. 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.

  275. 5 stars
    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

    1. You are so welcome, Pam! In real life I do not measure herbs, it’s more as a guide in the recipe. So you did everything right.:)

  276. 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.

  277. 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


  278. 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!

    1. Welcome, Tuija. Awesome! I understand. I am going to start meal planning next week too, otherwise it’s a chaos with kids haha. All the best!:)

  279. 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

  280. 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!!

  281. 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.:)

  282. 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.

  283. 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.:)

  284. 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

  285. 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!!!

  286. 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

    1. Hi Olena. I always knew there must another similar Olena in Canada.:) Glad you found me and please let me know what you try. All the best!

  287. 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.

  288. 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.:)

  289. 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.:)

  290. 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!

    1. Thank you very much! Beautiful pictures you post. I will follow your blog now. Travel is my 2nd passion. Just need kids to grow up a bit.:)

  291. 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.

  292. 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.

  293. 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!

  294. 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. 5 stars
            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.:)

  295. 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.;)

  296. 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!!!

  297. 5 stars
    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.

  298. 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!

  299. 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!!!

  300. 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!!!

  301. 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.

  302. 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

  303. 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!!!

  304. 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!

  305. 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!

  306. 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 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!

  307. 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..:)

  308. 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.

  309. 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 🙂

  310. 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

  311. 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.:)

  312. 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!!!!