Simple advice for a better life.

Cooking with rhubarb brings back sweet memories of my childhood.

My mom always grew rhubarb in her veggie garden, and used it in cooking and baking.

She would use it as a filling for varenyky (perogy), steamed dumplings, added it alongside other fruits to her  uzvar (kompot), a little bit went a long way in her Strawberry Soup , as well as a filling for cakes.

Today’s recipe is for an Upside-Down Rhubarb Cake, which is absolutely delicious, and I am sure you will agree, once you enjoy a piece.

Excellent to make ahead, and freeze.  (see TIP – below)

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter (keep refrigerated to use for pan bottom)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sour cream

Crumb Topping Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt

Rhubarb Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar


Rhubarb Filling Directions:

  1. Trim both ends of the rhubarb stalks.
  2. Peel the stalks, and cut up into 1 inch pieces, crosswise.
  3. Add brown sugar, toss gently.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Mix the rhubarb with sugar once again, before using it in the cake (the juice from the rhubarb will slightly melt the sugar by now).


Crumb Topping Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, add the softened butter, sugar, salt and flour.
  2. Using a fork, mix it all together, to create crumb mixture.
  3. Set aside.


Cake Directions:

  1. In a medium mixer bowl, add 1/2 cup of butter (room temperature), and 1 cup of sugar.
  2. Mix well, until a light and fluffy (about 15 minutes ), scraping sides frequently, for even mixing.
  3. Add lemon zest, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix to incorporate.
  5. Add one egg at a time, and mix well, after each addition.
  6. Mix in 1/2 of the sour cream.
  7. Mix the flour with salt and baking powder.
  8. Mix in 1/2 of the flour, into the butter mixture.
  9. Add the rest of the sour cream, mix gently, then add the rest of the flour.
  10. Mix just to incorporate.
  11. Use parchment paper, trace the bottom of a springform baking pan onto it, and cut out the circle.
  12. Grease the sides of the pan, and dab few spots of the bottom.
  13. Place the parchment circle on the bottom of the pan.
  14. Grease lightly.
  15. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  16. Use the 4Tbs. of refrigerated butter, set aside previously, cut it up into small chunks
  17. Drop butter chunks all over the parchment lined pan bottom.
  18. Spoon the rhubarb/sugar mixture over the butter chunks, and press down firmly with a back of a spoon, to form the bottom for the cake.
  19. Spoon the batter onto the rhubarb, and using the back of a spoon, press down gently, and smooth it evenly all over the filling.
  20. Sprinkle the Crumb Topping all over the top of the batter.
  21. Place the springform pan on a large piece of aluminum foil, roll up all the edges to form a rectangular pan (this will prevent messing up your oven, by the rhubarb juices dripping out of the pan during baking).
  22. Place the cake pan with the foil lining, on the middle oven rack.
  23. Bake for 65-70 minutes.
  24. The topping will be lightly browned.
  25. Remove the cake from the oven, and cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  26. Use a knife to separate the cake from the sides of the springform.
  27. Remove the sides of the springform.
  28. Set the cake, still on the springform bottom, onto a wire rack, to cool for at least 20 minutes.  Invert it onto a cake stand (with the crumbs at the bottom).
  29. Gently peel off the parchment paper from the top of the cake (this used to be the bottom of the cake), and let it cool completely.
  30. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, or serve it with a dollop of whipped cream.


Please share your comments, and tips.

TIP:  I wrapped a piece of this cake in aluminum foil, and froze it for 30 days.  After thawing it at room temperature for about 1 hour, the cake was AWESOME!!  It tasted as if I just baked it. 

June – Traditional Wedding Month

Many weddings take place in June, maybe because lots of engagements occur before Christmas, and after New Year (close to Valentine’s Day).

I have not been attending any weddings lately, so I don’t have any new pictures to share, but if your did not get a chance to check out my previous wedding posts, you can enjoy them now, by clicking on the links below.


Traditional Ukrainian Wedding.



Ukrainian-Irish Wedding Traditions.




Ukrainian-Jewish Wedding Traditions.





Ukrainian-Greek Wedding Traditions.





Assamese style Hindu Wedding Traditions.



Traditional American Wedding.

If you are in the beginning stages of your wedding plans, and searching for ideas, you might want to check these out:

Rustic Wedding cakes

Wedding cakes ideas your guests will love

Tips on buying bridal jewelry

Hair styles for weddings

Tips on tons of savings on wedding expenses

Wedding gift ideas

Do it yourself Wedding Centerpieces

There is a bunch more to read about, so have fun searching.


Our youngest grandson just turned ONE, hence a big celebration to honor this special occasion.

His mom chose a very appropriate theme for this Birthday Party, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, because our “little caterpillar” loooooves to eat.

It was a fun party for the kids, because they had a chance to listen to the story about the Very Hungry Caterpillar,

and snack on the different foods the caterpillar was eating each day.

I will be inserting a quoted section of the story from the book, and accompanying it with a corresponding party food served.

” In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf” 

Deviled Eggs - were served.



“On Monday he ate through one apple. But he was still hungry”


Platter of sliced apples, in a shape of a caterpillar, sprinkled with lemon juice.



“On Tuesday he ate through two pears, but he was still hungry”



On Wednesday he ate through three plums, but he was still hungry”

Plum tomatoes were used, in place of plums.


“On Thursday he ate through four strawberries, but he was still hungry”

Nice large bowl of farm fresh strawberries was served for everyone to enjoy.


“On Friday he ate through five oranges, but he was still hungry”

A bowl of juicy orange slices was part of the food selection.

“On Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone,”

We had delicious, homemade, low fat, chocolate cupcakes, prepared by the Birthday Boy’s Godmother.


 ” one pickle,”


” one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami”,




“one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie”,


” one sausage”,

The adults and the little “caterpillars”, enjoyed grilled sausages served on buns, with peppers and onions.

Nirchi’s Pizza , from upstate New York, is always a must in our family, plus a delicious Broccoli Salad.

….back to the story now….since on Saturday, the Very Hungry Caterpillar still was hungry for:

“once slice of watermelon.  That night he had a stomach ache!”



“The next day was Sunday again.  The caterpillar ate through one nice green leaf, and after that he felt much better.”

Tossed salad took the center stage, with an adorable caterpillar created out of cucumber slices,  and  a tomato.


“Now he wasn’t hungry any more – and he wasn’t a little caterpillar any more. He was a big, fat caterpillar.

He built a small house, called a cocoon, around himself.  He stayed inside for more than two weeks.

My daughter was very creative with the “cocoon”, as she baked little bundles made out of mini wieners, wrapped in pastry.  They looked cute, and tasted delicious.


Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out, and he was a beautiful butterfly!”


Hopefully you enjoyed the “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” story, and now I will show you the very special Birthday Cake my daughter put together for the Birthday Boy.

She baked individual cupcakes, used here to make up the body of the caterpillar, twizzler pieces became the legs, and the head was actually a personal “smash cake” for the little prince.

He enjoyed tasting the icing on his cake, then he turned the whole thing into a heap of mush, a mixture of cake and icing.


Last but not least, are the personalized bags with party favors for the kids, plus a story book to read, and M&M covered pretzels, as thank you favors for everyone.


Happy Birthday to our ” Little Caterpillar”!!!







Happy Father’s Day

Father’s Day was always a very special day in my life, because ever since I can remember, I had a Dad to honor on that day.

He was always there, when I needed someone to talk to, someone to sing me a song to cheer me up, someone whom I miss this Father’s Day, very much.

This Father’s Day only brings memories of all those days from the past.

If you still have a Dad in your life, consider yourself very lucky, and wish him HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, because life is short, and unpredictable.

To all Fathers, Fathers-in-Law, Godfathers, Grandfathers, Step-Fathers, and all Father Figures in our life, my best wishes, and



Laundry is one of those never- ending household chores that eventually catches up with you, if you ignore it for too long.

You all will agree that if your family includes small children, your laundry chore becomes a daily occurrence.

There is also cost associated with doing laundry, such as detergent, water, electric and/or gas.

Today I will share a tip from, on saving some serious money on your laundering chore.


Todays tipBe Cold-Hearted with Your Laundry


Save energy and money by washing your clothes in cold water.


Avoid using the hot or warm water modes unless it’s truly warranted, such when you need to disinfect something. Otherwise, leave the dial on “Cold.”


According to the EPA, approximately 90% of the total energy consumed by a standard top-load washing machine goes to heating the water.               

Did You Know?

The average American household does

392 loads of laundry per year.

That’s more than once a day.

No wonder using cold water 80% of the time

can save you

$60-100 per month!           


Here you have it!

I bet you can not believe the amount of money you can be saving by laundering with cold water.

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