Cardamom Bun Smoothiebowl

Cardamom Bun Smoothiebowl

If you are not Finnish – you may not know that every second weekend of February is dedicated for a sledding hill and cream buns! It’s the best feeling to spend all day out in the snow and afterwards have a hot drink and yummy Selma bun. Traditional Finnish cream bun, semlas, are cardamom spiced soft buns filled with whipped cream and either almond paste or rasberry jam, yum but not really in line with my gluten and sugar-free reality, at least not this year.

Also as it’s nice and summery here and I’m nowhere near snow and slides I started my day with this low sugar, nutritious smoothie bowl and it was creamy and yummy and filling and perrrrrfect way to start a Sunday.

Semla Smoothiebowl

1 tbs cashews

1 tbs chia seeds

1/3 C gluten-free oats

(Water)

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 C frozen zucchini

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cardamom

1 tbs vanilla protein powder

1/3 C oat mylk (or any plant-based mylk)

3 ice cubes + (1 cube of frozen coconut mylk or just ice)

  1. Place cashews, oats and chia seeds in a cup an fill with water until they are all covered. Let soak for an hour or overnight.
  2. Poor cashews, oats and chia mix (including the water) in a blender with banana, zucchini, protein, spices and oat mylk.
  3. When the smoothie is smooth add the ice/coconut mylk cubes and blend until smooth and thick.
  4. Enjoy with raspberry jam and chopped almonds (or brazil nuts) on top. 

Make the jam before and store in a jar in fridge for two weeks.

Raspberry Jam

2 C raspberries

1 tbs xylitol

3 tbs chia seed

3 tbs water

1 tbs vanilla extract

1. Bring all the ingredients boil in a small saucepan.
2. Mix until thickens.
3. Cool down and adjust the sweetness with more xylitol if desired.
4. Store in a air tight jar in the fridge.

For mind and body

For mind and body

Wow, it’s been a while. This blog has been an outlet of my eternal need to create all things yummy, healthy and cruelty-free. It’s my Sunday pleasure to spend hours in the kitchen baking and trying things out and I get the greatest fulfilment when I have a table full of friends who I can cook for. So simply enough – cooking and baking is my pastime, creative outlet, meditation and hobby. Last three months, life has gotten in the way and I have simply had no energy to even think of cooking, let alone take pretty pictures of food. My job has been demanding, health issues have occurred and I have found myself very stressed. I mean beyond ‘I will cook to chill out a little’-stressed, more like ‘I can’t go to bed because I’m too scared to go to work’-stressed.

I have realised that giving time to these sort of passions have an enormous impact on those stress levels, mental & physical health, and other things us corporate robots thread to say out loud at the office in fear of being considered weak and less capable (and let’s leave the female part out of this). I’m more than my job and my well-being is vital to be able to perform in any segment of my life. So hurrah for me getting back to the kitchen!

I will stop ranting now and I will share you the most brilliant dessert hack I have invented. I love desserts – love them. I could have something sweet every day. Because let’s be honest even vegan ice-cream and raw cakes are not for everyday consumption I have mastered few treats that have a nutritional level that makes them a perfect snack. I don’t usually track calories, but to demonstrate, I did it for this recipe.

So hear this out, if you enjoy this chocolate mousse as a dessert (makes four portions) one serve has 25 grams of protein, 215 calories and only 8g of sugar. If you have this as a breakfast/snack (makes two portions), you will have 50 grams of protein and 430 calories and 16 g of sugar. Also as a bonus almond butter has healthy fats to keep you full and cacao powder has great antioxidant benefits!

And that’s not even the best thing about this treat – it tastes ridiculously good and is so easy to make! I have not had one dinner party that people would not have asked the recipe before they leave our place (and they are always shocked to learn that it’s vegan, sugarfree and all in all not bad for you). It does not taste like some protein pudding but delicate chocolate mousse.

So see below a recipe to treat that smart mind of yours and to nourish that perfect body of yours!

The Chocolate Mousse (for 4 as a dessert, for 2 as a snack)

1 packet of Silken Tofu (300g)
2 tbs almond butter
5 medjool dates (pitted and soaked if they aren’t soft)
3 tbs cacao powder
1 Scoop chocolate protein powder (optional, only use if you like the flavour of your protein powder – you can also substitute with a tablespoon of almond meal and maybe a little more cacao powder- I use Prana On Hazelnut Cacao)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional add-ins: vegan chocolate chips, chopped hazelnuts, a one drop of peppermint or orange essential oil.

  1. Drain the water out of the tofu.
  2. Blend pitted dates, tofu and almond butter until smooth.
  3. Add in rest of the ingredients and blend until sweet.
  4. Taste. Add maple syrup or sweetener of your choice if desired.
  5. Refrigerate four 30 minutes (or not if you inpatient).
  6. Serve with fresh raspberries or strawberries.

The mousse lasts up to two days in the fridge but it’s at its best to enjoy same day.

If you are completely sugar free opt for xylitol/stevia instead of dates and if you are cutting down calories half the amount of almond butter.

Liquorice Lemon Bites

Liquorice Lemon Bites

Here we go – yet another protein ball recipe. I know I post them a lot but it’s such an easy yummy snack to take with anywhere! And you can also serve them as a dessert with a cheeseboard and other nibbles. Fellow liquorice lovers – this is for you!

Liquorice Lemon Bites

1/3 C buckwheat kernels
1/3 C pepitas
1/3 C almonds
1 tsp liquorice root powder
5 medjool dates
4 dried figs
1 tbs of lemon peel (organic)
1/2 scoop (20g) of (vanilla) protein powder
1-2 tbs water

  1. First blend figs and dates in food processor until forms a paste. Remove the paste from the food processor.
  2. Blend almonds pepitas and buckwheat in the food processor until small pieces. About 30 s.
  3. Add rest of the ingredients and blend (including date&fig paste and water).
  4. Start balling.

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Donuts Part 1. Pumpkin Spice

Donuts Part 1. Pumpkin Spice

A month ago I bought a donut tray. Since then I have been obsessed to create a perfect recipe. I was reading some blogs and Minimalist Baker was using aquafaba to her vegan donuts, I tried and it turned out to be the perfect fluffying effect donuts needed. Guys these donuts, have nothing to do with those oily deep-fried ones – but you know those ones you buy from the supermarket – dense and sweet and fluffy? I have nailed it!

I will post a series of flavours, and I will start with the seasonal one. Ps, if you don’t need gluten free – just replace buckwheat, brown rice and tapioca flours with normal baker’s flour.

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (the liquid in a can of chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup oat milk 
  • 2 tbs  melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp gingerbread spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup  almond flour 
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch

Glaze

  • 1/3 C cashews (soaked for few hours)
  • 1 tbs coconut oil (melted)
  • 3 tbs coconut cream 
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 drop orange essential oil (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 190 Celcius and lightly grease a donut tray (mine is quite large and this recipe makes 6 big donuts but if you have a small one this makes 12).
  2. To a small mixing bowl, add aquafaba and use a mixer until it begins to foam, keep mixing few minutes until soft peaks form – about 3 minutes. Set aside. 
  3. To a large mixing bowl, add the melted coconut oil. Then add the coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt and whisk to combine. Then add pumpkin puree and oat milk and whisk to combine.
  4. Add baking powder, baking soda, almond flour, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour and tapioca starch and whisk to combine.
  5. Lastly, add the whipped aquafaba and gently stir in. If the batter appears too thin at this point, add 1 Tbsp each almond flour or gluten-free flour at a time until it thickens up (keep it scoopable not pourable).
  6. Divide batter evenly between donut tin.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Check at 18 minutes though, how they look.
  8. In the meantime, make the glaze by blending all the ingredients (add essential oil last). Tip: make a double dose and freeze for next time, it’s easier to blend larger amounts (opt out the orange essential oil in case you want to make another flavour… wait for the lemon & rose recipe next week!).
  9. Remove donuts from oven and let cool for few minutes. Then grab the tins with a towel and tap on the counter to loosen. Then gently invert onto an oven tray (metallic). Let cool.
  10. Spread the glaze when doughnuts are cool. Then top with crumbles of walnuts and orange peel.
  11. Best when fresh.  Keep in the fridge for up to three days or freezer for a month.

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Pumpkin all day everyday

One of the reasons that Australia is such a great place to live is the pumpkin culture. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a restaurant or coffee shop without a pumpkin salad option (other one is beetroot). It is all-year everyday vegetable – unlike in Europe where pumpkins are available for autumn only. Just saying, missing out… So this is me justifying my new spring favorite breakfast – pumpkin pie overnight oats (just kidding an hour will do)!

This is not only the most delicious thing ever but also now my everyday saver. I make a batch of this and have it a t work after my run or barre class (hence the ugly photos). Most convenient thing ever! I used to make oatmeal and have it with banana and PB – but as spring is coming this is more fresh but still as filling and delicious and creamy. Nothing like some slimy overnight chia puddings, yuk.

Btw, if you want to go crazy – add some sultanas and chopped walnuts as well as a small crated carrot – and you got yourself pumpkin pie – carrot cake hybrid oats.

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

½ – 1 C butternut or kent pumpkin 
1/3 C oats
1t tbs chia
¼ C oat mylk
(1 tbs vanilla protein)
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp gingerbread spice
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp turmeric

  1. Dry roast or steam pumpkin (25-30 minutes in 200 C will do for a half pumpkin as a whole – with peel on). Let cool and chop to pieces. You can do this when ever and use the pumpkin later (one should always have roasted pumpkin in fridge to add to salads, pasta sauces, pizza toppings, smoothie bowls or sandwiches). 
  2. Blend pumpkin, banana and oat mylk until smooth (also the pumpkin peel, it’s good for you).
  3. Add rest of the ingredients in blender and pulse to mix everything. 
  4. Potentially add a dash of more mylk if too sticky.
  5. Put in a container and let sit in fridge for at least an hour.
  6. Eat with vanilla coconut yogurt.


Making friends with salad

Making friends with salad

Something fresh, yet filling, satisfying and warming? Here is a Moroccan spiced salad for any occasion – in my case for dinner. I have a feeling I will be making this a lot this summer to bring with me to barbeques!

Moroccan Salad (for two as main or four as a side)

1 fennel
4 carrots
1 can of chickpeas
Spinach (150 g)
Orange
Cumin
Turmeric
Himalayan Salt
Pepper
2 tbs Tahini
Lemon
1/2 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
Olive oil
Bunch of Coriander

  1. Heat the oven to 200 Celcius.
  2. Cut the fennel (Trim off the fennel stalks. Cut the bulb in half. Cut the halves into quarters. Peel off any wilted outer layers. Slice the fennel crosswise. Fronds can be used as a garnish later). Season fennel with cumin, salt and 1 tbs of olive oil. Move to an oven dish.
  3. Cut carrots to sticks. Season with 1 tbs of olive oil, turmeric and cumin. Place in the oven in a dish.
  4. Wash and drain chickpeas. Season with Himalayan salt & cumin. Place into the oven.
  5. Meanwhile, peel the orange and chop to pieces.
  6. Wash the spinach.
  7. Cut the orange into bites.
  8. Make the sauce by mixing tahini, 1/2 tbs of olive oil, 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar, juice of 1/2 lemon and salt&pepper.
  9. Mix sauce with spinach and orange.
  10. Let the roasted vegetables and chickpeas cool.
  11. Mix vegetables to the spinach mix. Add coriander.

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Not-ella

Not-ella

Because I love all things hazelnut and eating Nutella on daily basis is probably not a great idea, I gave a homemade notella a go. I saw a few recipes online but ended up just looking in my cupboard and improvising. The end result was delightful! Not too nutty but creamy and sweet with that amazing silky roasted hazelnut flavour. This is borderline dangerous to have in your fridge!

Notella

1/2 C hazelnuts
1/2 C almonds (or more hazelnuts)
7 dates
3/4 C coconut cream
1/4 C cacao
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

  1. Roast hazelnuts in the oven for 10-15 minutes (175 degrees).
  2. Put all the ingredients in a food processor.
  3. Mix until smooth. Add more coconut cream if needed.
  4. Store in the fridge up to 10 days.

And spread it on everything! My favourite companions include toast, banana and porridge. But to be honest, I love just eating this from the jar.

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Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight

Hi there I am here to save you with your afternoon sweet cravings or mid morning blood sugar drops! Making these balls, along with my baobab and orange ones, are my every weekend routine for the coming week to make sure I stay away from naughty snacking at work. The problem is though that they are bit too good and I eat them already in the morning and end up hangry in the afternoon anyway haha!

Once again peppermint, but it’s just so delicious with nutty buckwheat and spirulina, try yourself!

Peppermint Power Balls (about 12)

  • 5 Medjool dates
  • 1/2 C buckwheat kernels
  • 1/2 C pepitas (or any seeds)
  • 3 tbs of almonds
  • 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder (I use Prana on Vanilla Creme)
  • 1 tbs of super greens powder (or spirulina powder)
  • 2 tbsp peppermint essential oil
  • 1-3 tbs blended oats (optionally more protein powder or almond meal or if you don’t want mat finishing just leave it out)
  1. Soak pitted dates for a minimum of 5 minutes in water. 
  2. Use a food processor to grind buckwheat, pepitas, and almonds to rough even flour.
  3. Add in five dates. Save the date infused water.
  4. Blend dates with the mixture in the food processor until it is evenly chopped.
  5. Add in protein powder and green powder.
  6. Infuse 2 drops of essential oil to one tablespoon of date water. Sparkle it around the mixture in food processor. 
  7. Blend one last time with a food processor. 
  8. If the texture is not sticking together add another tablespoon of date water. Careful though not to put too much water.
  9. Move mixture to a bowl and add a tablespoon of blended oats to mix and start rolling mixture into balls.

I used this product called Puhtikaura (which is basically powdered pre-cooked oats) to roll these balls to give them powdered finish. This is optional though and like I said before, you can use blended oats or almond meal or even cacao for this.

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Nordic Winter Food

Nordic Winter Food

I was raised and born in Finland but I have lived last four years in Australia. People often ask what the Finnish food is like and I mumble something about basic food, being embarrassed about Finnish cuisine not being known as an inventor of macarons, avo toast or poke bowls.

Truth is that Finnish food is traditionally survival food. For eight months of the year, the entire country is more or less covered in snow and nothing grows and can be harvested. For my ancestors, it was all about having root vegetables, pickled vegetables, grains, dried fish and meat stored to eat throughout the year. Leafy salads and fruits in Finland were luxuries that followed fridges and international trade. Obviously when I grew up our food was modern and plentiful but the everyday dishes we had were still practical, simple and inexpensive, yet still tasty.

This particular dish is something I never touched as a kid, because it looked ugly and I knew it had cabbage in it (which sounded yak). However, when I grew older I learned to love it. When I stopped eating meat, I stopped cooking it for a while, until I got inspired by few recipes that used TVP mince. However, I don’t like eating TVP, it makes my tummy ache and it seems artificial and dodgy so I made up my own recipe just with mushrooms, and it came out heavenly and has been loved by both, Finns and foreigners who I have fed with it.

Finnish Mushroom Cabbage Casserole (serves 6)

1 cabbage
1 onion

2 big carrots
500 g of mushrooms (any kind will do)
3 gloves of garlic
1 C of brown rice (uncooked)
rosemary (fresh preferred)
1 tbs of paprika
1.5 vegetable stock cubes
1 C almond mylk (or oat)
2 tbs o maple syrup
salt
pepper
2 tbs of balsamic vinegar
Olive oil

  1. Cook the rice following the instructions on the package.
  2. Chop onion, mushrooms, and carrots to small cubes. Crush garlic and rosemary.
  3. In a pan heat 2 tbs of olive oil and add onion and garlic. After 1 minute, add diced mushrooms and carrots. Add 1 dl of water and 1 stock cube, balsamic vinegar, paprika, and rosemary. Season with salt. Let cook for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Cut cabbage as small as you prefer (I do 2 cm x 2cm squares, roughly). 
  5. Heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a wok pan or big pot. Add the cabbage and keep mixing. When cabbage starts to soften, add maple syrup and 1/2 vegetable stock cube (potentially a 1-2 tbs water). Let cabbage soften about 10 minutes. 
  6. Add mushroom mix and rice in the pot with cooked cabbage and mix all together. Taste if you need more salt and add some pepper.
  7. Poor mix in an oven tray prepared with olive oil. 
  8. Pour 1 C of plant-based milk and 1/2 C of water on top of the dish.
  9. Cook in the oven in 175 C for about an hour.
  10. Traditionally enjoyed with lingonberries or lingonberry jam. But as an expat, I have it with pickled beetroot and fresh chopped parsley on top.  

This dish is perfect because it serves a household of two three times. So basically I cook it on Sunday and it saves many busy weeknights. This is also a great side for game or fish if you that is part of your diet. Believe me, it tastes much much better than it looks haha!

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Vegan Kimchi Korean way

Vegan Kimchi Korean way

I am obsessed with kimchi, I literally always order it if it’s on the menu and eat the entire serving. Seriously, I order two if people want to share. I sometimes have it on top of an avocado toast. Sometimes on top of brown rice as a meal. Told you, obsessed.

Ever since watching the Chef’s Table episode with Jeong Kwan I have wanted to make my own. I first attempted to make it with this health blog recipe and it turned out tasty fermented cabbage which had nothing to do with kimchi though. The second time, I decided to learn from the guru. Maangchi is an adorable Korean chef whose video taught me and my boyfriend ferment in Korean way. The first patch was not vegetarian (fish sauce) because we wanted to everything right. We followed her video and kimchi turned out amazing. Please do yourself a favor and watch her Kimchi making video, it is seriously heartwarming.

The third time I created my own version of traditional Korean kimchi but made it vegan. And it is seriously the best one I have had! I mean I even like the store bought ones, but this is ridiculously good. And it doesn’t lack any authentic flavor or texture because the methodology is same.

If you follow my recipe you can still follow Maangchi’s video, just use my measurements and ingredients.

Vegan Kimchi Traditional way

1 large napa cabbage
1/2 C sea salt (fine)

Kimchi Porridge
2/3 C water
2 tbsp brown rice flour
2 tsp coconut sugar/brown sugar

Kimchi Paste
2/3 C radish (chopped as thin sticks)
1 carrot (chopped as thin stick)
6-8 spring onions (chopped)
4 garlic gloves (minced)
1 tbs of minced ginger 
1/2 onion (minced)
2/3 Korean hot pepper flakes
Splash of water

2 x 1.5 -2-liter jars (or four smaller ones).
Bucket to suit the size of the cabbage. I used a rectangle one.

The recipe makes 2.2 kg of kimchi.

  1. Cut napa cabbage in half. Then cut each half into two pieces. You will end up with four pieces of cabbage cut lengthwise.
  2. Massage salt to the cabbage leaves all way through (also in between).
  3. Place the cabbage pieces into the bucket and let them sit for 2 hours. (I left mine for 6 and nothing happened). Every 30 minutes turn the pieces around.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the porridge. Heat the water and rice flour on a Teflon pot and when it start to look like a porridge add the sugar and bring the heat down the When porridge is even, cool it down.
  5. Cut the vegetables.
  6. Mix the kimchi paste ingredients into the porridge in a big mixing bowl. Splash some water to make it stickier.
  7. After two hours, wash the salt of cabbage pieces. Use paper towels or towel to dry them.
  8. Use boiling water (and apple cider vinegar) to sterilize jars.
  9. In the mixing bowl take one piece of cabbage at the time and use your hands to spread and massage the paste throughout each layer of cabbage. Once done put the cabbage in a jar. Repeat. Once one jar is full (I could fit half a cabbage in one 1.8 liter jar), use a wooden spatula to push cabbage on the bottom. This should bring the liquid above the cabbage. 
  10. When done place the sterilized lid on the jar. 
  11. Leave the jars on the kitchen bench for 36 hours to ferment. Then refrigerate. 

Enjoy it on top of a Buddha bowl like we did. Or inside a sushi roll. With tempeh and steamed vegetables and brown rice. Or on side of anything.

I bring this to work and have it every day with steamed vegetables and quinoa. It’s just so damn good for your guts and tastes amazing!

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