Summer Corn Chowder

I don’t usually make soup that much in the summer.  Soup is more of a winter thing for me and we get a loooooooot of winter in these parts!  So by the time summer comes, I tend to eat a lot more simply…i.e. lots of finger food like bell pepper and hummus, sandwiches, fruit, popcorn, nuts, etc.

I decided to make an exception because this just looked so yummy.  And it was!  I hope you enjoy this tasty plant-based recipe!

Summer Corn Chowder adapted from The Minimalist Baker



  • olive oil spray + water for cooking onion/garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 C.)
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • small red potatoes, quartered (I left the peels on, but you can peel them if you’d like.)
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1.5-2 cans of corn (or 3 ears with the kernels sliced off if corn is in season for you)
  • 2 C. veggie broth
  • 2 C. unsweetened plain almond milk* (or you can use regular milk if you aren’t eating plant-based)
  • optional: 1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor
  • 2 TBS. cornstarch/water to make a slurry


  1. Spray a medium-sized soup pot with olive oil spray.  Add onion and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes.  Add a little water to keep the onion and garlic from sticking to the pan if needed.
  2. Add potato, season with a little salt and pepper, and cover the pot with a lid for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1.5 cans of corn, reserving 1/2 a can for garnish, and stir.
  4. Add broth and almond milk, cover, and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
  5. Use a hand blender to blend the soup to desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky but still with some creaminess to it.  Do whatever you like!
  6. If using nutritional yeast, add now.  For plant-based cooking, nutritional yeast gives dishes a bit of a cheesy flavor.  To be honest, I haven’t been able to find nutritional yeast in Moscow, but I had some my mom had sent me in a package from Trader Joe’s, so I used it.  It will still be tasty without it!
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  8. Mix 2 TBS. cornstarch with a little water to make a thin paste and add this to the soup. (It’s called a slurry and it will help thicken that chowder right up!)  Simmer at least 10 minutes to let thicken. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will be.
  9. To serve, top a little more corn and black pepper. Add a sprinkle of paprika for color.  You carnivores, go wild and add some cheese or bacon. 🙂

Yummers! Enjoy!


The Bad Vegan

I almost did it.  I almost changed the name of my cooking blog to the bad vegan.  🙂  I mean, I’ve been following an 80% vegan diet for the last 2 months and I thought, well, why not make it blog official?  But the truth is, I ain’t here to teach no one about veganism.  Because I’m not a good vegan.  I’m a bad one.  I eat vegan about 80% of the time.  I cook mostly vegan, whole-food, plant-based meals at home, and I always look for vegan and vegetarian options when I’m out at restaurants.  I can make a mean soy iced latte.  I no longer use sugar in most of my baking and I don’t put it in my coffee.  I also don’t really bake with white, all-purpose four anymore.  Yeah, if you look around this site, I’ve made some changes!

But I’m a bad vegan, not a good one.  I eat eggs twice a week.  Gasp!  When I get invited over to friends’ houses for dinner, I eat what they make for me.  And I’m grateful!  I still love meat, let’s be totes honest here!

So what caused the shift to my bad veganism?  Well, about 3 months ago I started feeling exhausted ALL THE TIME.  And that got old really fast.  I went to the doctor, he checked all the usual suspects: thyroid, cholesterol, blood sugar, OH MY!  It turned out my blood sugar and triglycerides were super high, and if I didn’t change something, I was at a high risk of becoming diabetic.  NO THANKS.  “Try a plant based diet,” my doctor said.  “See what it does for you.”

All I can say is, my exhaustion is gone, I feel better, I have more energy, and I’ve lost 18 lbs. (So far). I ain’t here to preach about veganism.  You all know I love good food.  And that hasn’t changed.  I still live in Russia too, and it’s not the friendliest country for vegans, though it’s getting better.

I’m still the cooking devushka, but just doesn’t really quite have that nice of a ring to it.  So you’ll be seeing more whole-food, plant-based recipes on here.  The old standards will stay on the site and I’m not sayin’ I’ll never post a sugar-laden treat ever again in my life.  But this shift, it’s been a good one for me.  And I hope you’ll enjoy some of my new tasty recipes!

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole

Hi friends!  I haven’t been blogging too much lately but I have some more recipes to share so I’ll be posting more often!  This post goes out to my new pals Miriam, Amanda, and Rikki!  They are just out of college and living in Moscow this year!  They reminded me of why I started this blog – to help people make yummy food when certain ingredients are harder to come by since we are living in a foreign country!  This recipe for Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole is is comfort food for me. And it is actually pretty healthy too as long as you don’t go too heavy on the cheese!    Enjoy!


Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Skinny Cheesy Chick Rice



  • 1 C. brown rice or white rice (I used brown)
  • 2 C. chicken broth
  • 2 C. frozen broccoli florets (can use fresh – about 1/2 head of broccoli)
  • 1 green onion
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. (225g) boneless skinless chicken breast, cut up into small pieces
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp. flour
  • 1 C. milk
  • dollop of sour cream
  • 4 oz. (113g) colby jack cheese (can use your favorite cheese), grated
  • more salt, pepper, and garlic powder



  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large pot then add rice. Cover then turn heat down to medium-low. When rice is almost done, add broccoli and green onions on top to steam them a bit.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then saute until done.  Remove to a plate and set aside.
  3. Whisk flour and 1/4 C. milk in a small bowl.  Turn skillet down to medium and pour milk mixture in it.  Stirring continually, slowly add remaining 3/4 C. milk. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened, 7-10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and add 3/4 of the grated cheese, as well as the sour cream, and more salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste.  Stir until smooth.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).  Combine cooked rice and broccoli mixture with cheese sauce, and add chicken back into the mixture.  Pour into an 8×8 casserole pan and top with remaining cheese.  Bake until cheese is melted.
  5. Serve the yummy cheesy goodness! 🙂


Banana Zucchini Flax Muffins

i have gotten so many positive comments about these muffins and they truly are wonderful! We had a 10 day project recently in Moscow and I knew I was going to busy from early in the morning until late at night, so I baked up some of these babies for a fast and healthy breakfast option. I literally couldn’t wait to eat breakfast everyday! My friend Kelly said they tasted like they were from a bakery and my friend Robi who l am living with in Hungary right now,  said a couple times, “You know you could bake those again, right?” Heehee. 

I hope YOU’LL bake some soon!

Banana Zucchini Flax Muffins from Martha


  • 1 & 3/4 cups flour 
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed (льняное семя)
  • 1 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar (if you don’t have or can’t find packed brown sugar, use regular brown sugar or white sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon honey or molasses to give it some moisture)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda       
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder       
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt       
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon       
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (from 1 large zucchini)       
  • 1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (from 1 large banana)       
  • 3/4 cup whole milk       
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten       
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or one small packet vanilla sugar)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat muffin pans with butter or margarine or a little oil or cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ground flaxseed, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add zucchini and banana and stir to combine. 

3. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined (do not overmix).                                                            

4. Divide batter among about 18 muffins cups in the pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until too thick or knife when inserted comes out clean from the muffins. 

Serve muffins warm or at room temperature.


Chinese Chicken & Broccoli

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

from A Teaspoon of Happiness

I really enjoyed this yummy Asian dish! I thought it tasted like what you would get in a restaurant! Enjoy!

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large head of broccoli or one package frozen broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon oil


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce


  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons water


1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a small bowl – pour oven chicken.

2. Marinate the chicken while preparing the sauce and broccoli. Steam broccoli for just 3 minutes (or defrost the  frozen broccoli), then set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add chicken with marinade and ¼ cup of the sauce mixture. Sauté until chicken is golden brown, stirring frequently.

4. Add remaining sauce and the steamed broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes to thicken sauce.

Serve with rice or on its own! Or be Russian like me and enjoy it with some buckwheat! 🙂