Breakfast upgrade

Breakfast upgrade

See below a yummy recipe that I have healthified to be a perfect breakfast. Again there is a few fancier ingredients involved but if you like liquorice ice cream (like any Finnish kid) this one is for you!

Liquorice Smoothie Bowl

1.5-2 frozen bananas
1/3 C coconut water/water/almond mylk
1 tbs almond butter
1-2 dried figs
Handful of spinach (optional)
1-2 spirulina tablets (optional)
1 tbs of vegan vanilla protein powder
2 tsp of liquorice root powder

  1. Blend spinach with the liquid.
  2. Add bananas and chopped figs few at the time and keep blending.
  3. Add rest of the ingredients.
  4. Top with granola and berries (especially rasberries and blueberries go well).

TIP: If you need more protein top your bowl with seeds and nuts. This is, however, quite filling with almond butter and protein powder. Also, spirulina curves sweet cravings and is good to have with all the fructose in the bowl. However, if you prefer less fruit use avocado or zucchini instead of some banana.

Sauce for any night

Sauce for any night

This one of my go-to recipes that I like to cook on weekends to enjoy weeknights. I am not quite sure how I most prefer to eat it. It is just so tasty, easy and you can have it with anything, it is not your normal tomato sauce, it is so much more. It makes any meal taste little more luxurious. Tonight I just reheated it and throw in a bowl with zoodles, roasted Brussel sprouts, asparagus and some sweet potato.

I learned from the Smith & Daughters: A cookbook (that happens to be vegan) (by boss ladies behind the legendary Smith & Daughters, and my favourite sandwich heaven Smith & Deli) to use cherry vinegar when cooking rich tomato sauces and I love it now! This book is wonderful for inspiration and ideas!

Spanish Tomato Stew (4 sides or 2 mains)

1 red capsicum
2 stalks of celery
1 onion
3 garlic gloves
2 tbs of olive oil

8 ripe tomatoes
2/3 C water
1 tbs sweet paprika
1 tbs smoked paprika
1/2 tbs dried thyme
4 bay leaves
1 tbs of cherry vinegar
Salt & Pepper (generously)

  1. Cut capsicum, celery and onion cubes. Crush garlic gloves.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan.
  3. Add cut veggies and garlic. Let soften for five minutes over medium heat.
  4. Season with paprikas and dried thyme. Cook another 2 minutes.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, and water. Season with salt and pepper. Let cook 20 minutes. 
  6. Add the cherry vinegar and let cook until the sauce thickens, 20-30 mins.

Serving option 1:

As a pasta sauce with pan fried mushrooms. Pan fry mushrooms with olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper. Meanwhile, boil pasta (I eat brown rice pasta). Serve with parsley and nutritional yeast (or pecorino cheese). We eat this at least once a fortnight, so nice and hearty.

Serving option 2:

Steam broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus. Bake sweet potato chunks in the oven with salt and pepper. Chop basil. Eat in a bowl with fresh spinach. So nice and warming but healthy.

Serving option 3:

Poor in bowls. Sprinkle some parsley or basil on top. Cut some nice sourdough. Potentially open a nice cheese (I love Botanical Cuisine Persian Feta that is based on macadamia nuts). Use a piece of bread as a spoon and enjoy every last drop of the stew.

And yes I make this on Sunday and we eat it later during the week because the taste gets even better when reheated! Hope you like it. It is definitely a budget meal too and you can mix things up by adding mushrooms, olives, greens, carrots, you name it.

The photo below is taken just after adding tomatoes. They will continue to get stickier while cooking. I love to have this cooking and smelling amazing on the stove top while I relax.

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When truffle met mushroom and we made a pizza

When truffle met mushroom and we made a pizza

This one is the bomb. This pizza is a lovechild of the passion for truffled mushrooms and foodgasm after a few great white pizzas enjoyed in Melbourne and in Italy. It has taken some serious product development with different sauces,  toppings, and bases, but now I dare to write down the recipe. The flavor in this one is something to die for and worth the trip to the supermarket to get the few fancy ingredients. It’s definitely that Sunday dish to impress and make anyone at the dinner table to love you. And literally, it is covered with all the veggies. All the best ones. Did you hear I said mushrooms?

This is a recipe that you can start and finish in an hour and so worth the effort. Also, I highly encourage to do any pizza base that you love if you are not a fan of this more alternative one, which I guess would make any Italian nonna cry.

White Truffled Mushroom Pizza (vegan, GF)

White Truffle Sauce
1/2 C soaked cashews
1 heaped tbs of nutritional yeast
1 tsp truffle oil
1/2 C water
1 tbs lemon juice
1 garlic glove
Salt & Pepper

Mushrooms
4-8 portobello mushrooms (or any mushrooms, when chopped approximately 1 & 1/2 cups)
1 tsp truffle oil
1 tbs olive oil
Garlic clove

Other Fillings
1 C chopped pumpkin (any pumpkin will do, or sweet potato)
Olive oil
6-8 asparagus
1/2 radicchio
1 tbs of lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Pizza Base 
3 tbs chia seeds
2/5 C water
2/3 C coconut flour
1 tbs psyllium husk
1 tsp baking powder
salt
1/3 C olive oil
1 C water

  1. Heat the oven to 200 C and place the chopped pumpkin on an oven tray sprinkled with olive oil. By the way, always use the peel of the pumpkin, it gets soft in the oven and is good for you. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 mins or until golden. Put the pumpkin on the side. Increase the oven temperature to 225 C after removing pumpkin from the oven.
  2. While pumpkin is baking make the sauce. Blend all the ingredients. Let it sit in the fridge until using.
  3. Chop radicchio to strings. Put it in a bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice and dash of oil and salt. Leave on the side to marinade.
  4. Half each asparagus, keep them long.
  5. Make the base. Start by soaking chia seeds in the water. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Add chia mix. Let sit for a minute. The mixture is definitely strange because coconut flour acts different to any other flour, but trust me it works well. 
  6. Use your hands to press the dough to oven tray covered with baking paper. It should be easy to handle, but like I said, expect nothing like traditional pizza dough.
  7. Prebake for 8 minutes in 225 C.
  8. Next sautee mushrooms. Heat olive oil in a pan, add mushrooms and crushed garlic and a dash of water. Add truffle oil when mushrooms star to get some color. Put on the side after some 3 min of sauteing.
  9. After the base is prebaked, spread 2/3 of the sauce on the bottom. Sprinkle pumpkin, mushrooms, and asparagus on it. Add radicchio. Sprinkle rest of the sauce on top. Season generously with freshly grounded pepper. Bake for 10 minutes in 225 C.

Hope this makes you as happy as it makes me. Preferably enjoy with a glass of nice red wine and with someone, you want to make happy.

I do encourage to giving this base a go. As it is completely grain free it makes you feel satisfied but not heavy afterward. Also, it goes really well with the truffle sauce. I have adapted the recipe for the pizza base from the book Kiitos Hyvää Pikaruokaa, which is a great read by a talented author and blogger Virpi. As far as I know this book is published only in Finnish at the moment. It literally changed my pizza eating habits, I mean, chia seed pizza. But this sauce will be heaven on any base, spelt, buckwheat… You name it.

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Cool like Peppermint Sundae

Cool like Peppermint Sundae

We are still enjoying the warm late summer nights here in Melbourne and no one hears me complaining. I mean, you can take the girl out of Finland but not Finland out of the girl. I will never get used to warm dark nights and warm dry winds that make you feel like you are being blow dried – I love it! One of the best things is that you need to eat a lot of cold things. Like ice cream. Or ice cold rosé. You didn’t hear this from me.

Since I was a kid I have been obsessed with peppermint ice cream. I don’t think I ever picked anything else when we visited an ice cream van. It is just most divine thing ever! And now after testing for years (with fresh mint, with coconut cream and/or spinach) I have finally found a perfect combo to make an easy and delicious instant peppermint soft serve. There is some weird synergy between spirulina and peppermint, it makes the peppermint taste even better and brings some depth to the flavour. Apparently, peppermint essential oil is really good for you digestion system too. I literally have this all the time. Even for breakfast.

Peppermint Sundae

1 & 1/2 banana (frozen)
1/4 avocado (frozen) or more banana
1 tsp super greens powder (or wheat grass or spirulina powder/tablets)
1 medjool date
1 tsp vanilla vegan protein powder (optional, I use Prana)
1/3 C coconut water/water
2 drops of peppermint essential oil

1. Blend banana, date and avocado with coconut water/water.
2. Add green powder and protein powder
3. Add essential oil.
4. Add more liquid or banana if you are not happy with the texture. Every blender and each frozen banana act different, I have noticed.
5. Top with chopped raw chocolate or cacao nibs.

Because I am basically a big kid, I have this for breakfast at least twice a week. In the mornings I often play a grown up and leave the medjool date out, add spinach and more protein powder/silken tofu/chia seeds. Also, I may not eat it from a wine class.

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Girl talk

Girl talk

I whipped up this smoothie bowl last Saturday for lunch and I loved it so much I had it for breakfast twice this week. Trust me, it’s not your typical mixed berry and banana smoothie which you grew old back in 2009. Cranberries together with the sweetness of baobab and creaminess of almonds make it such a treat!

Cranberry Baobab Bowl

1/2-1 C frozen cranberries
1 frozen banana
1 small frozen plum (or any other frozen fruit)
1 tbs almond butter
1/2 orange (optional)
2 tsp baobab powder
1 tbs vegan vanilla protein powder (optional)
1/3 C almond mylk
1/2 tsp natural vanilla
2 ice cubes

  1. Start blending with liquids and cranberries and the non-frozen ingredients.
  2. Add banana.
  3. Add ice cubes at the end and blend until smooth.
  4. Top with your favourite stuff. I used fig, caramelized buckwheat, and sea buckthorn powder.

This is a perfect lady boost for your day. Red plums are high in natural estrogen which is something that I currently have to focus on eating. I always add flaxseeds or silken tofu to my smoothie as well to increase my daily estrogen intake. Almonds are a great source of estrogen too. I know that many people are opposite to me and have to avoid, for example, soy products, but even though you would not suffer from any hormonal dysfunction this amount of estrogen does not harm you.

Additionally, cranberries are very good for women’s body if you have a tendency to suffer from UTI or kidney infections, as they clean your kidneys and bladder being highly acidic. Baobab improves collagen creation (oh hello there!) and boosts immune system and energy levels.

This is just one of those treats that make you feel amazing.

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Outdoors & Oats

Outdoors & Oats

Camping food. Always a bit of a challenge. No fridge, no oven, in our case not even proper BBQ, just a gas heater. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and there is no way you see me eating a dry toast with vegemite or a bowl of cereal on a slow weekend morning.

On our most recent camping trip, I prepared my favorite Finnish winter warmer, the pimped up porridge! There are as many versions as there are days in a year. This one was filling and just enough sweet and crunchy and warming as a hug. It works well on cool winter mornings as well as on Autumn days camping on the ocean side. And most importantly, it is foolproof to make on the campsite.

Porridge  (for two)

3/4 C oats
3 tbs of chia seeds
1 C of water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of cardamom
pinch of salt
1/4 C almond mylk
1 banana
1 apple
(chopped dates/prunes)

Toppings:
Berries
Almond butter
Pumpkin seeds
Buckwheat

  1. Premake the dry mixture of oats, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and chia seeds. Store in a jar.
  2. In the campsite warm water in a pot. Add dry mix. Let cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Chop banana and apple. Add the fruit to the pot (save few pieces to garnish) 
  4. Add a splash of almond mylk to the porridge. Let cook for another few minutes until plating it to bowls.
  5. Top the bowls with all the berries and fruit and a massive spoonful of almond butter (don’t opt it out!)
  6. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds and buckwheat on top.
  7. Enjoy with steaming mug of stovetop coffee. 

So easy and yummy and affordable everyday brekky too! Oats are so good for you, they are gentle for tummy and as slow wholemeal carbs they give you just the right energy to start the day. They actually help with sleep too so this could be a light dinner too! Talking about cheap superfood.

I could write a few more camping recipes here, they are usually no-brainers, simple and wholesome. We often bring a selection of antipasto style food like dips, olives, nice bread and vegetables for lunch munchies and for nighttime I cook something warm. This time it was brown rice pasta with broccoli and homemade Spanish tomato sauce on the first night and Mushroom burgers on the second night. Everything just tastes so much better when it’s cooked outdoors!

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Treat me real good

Treat me real good

A few weeks back I baked a birthday cake for my boyfriend with this recipe and he absolutely loved it. It was so yummy, spongy and flavorsome – you know not “healthy tasting” at all! Today I tweaked the recipe a bit and baked some brownies – what a mission. I think brownie lovers are nowadays too often mistreated with some raw “brownies” (aka blended cacao, dates, and nuts – yum, but nothing to do with a brownie) or some sad chocolate -flavored protein powder bakes. This one is a real thing, though!

Also if you are not a fan of cacao – use vegan cocoa powder instead. If you are making a cake double the recipe and make double icing or coconut cream frosting.

I made these just because Sunday. They went down as a treat paired with some prosecco while enjoying the sunset on the balcony with a friend. The small things!

Brownies (GF, vegan)

2 flax eggs (2 tbs of ground flaxseed soaked in 6 tbs of water)
1/3 C almond mylk
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/3 C maple syrup
3 tbs coconut sugar (or more maple)
1 tsp vanilla bean extract
1 shot of espresso/strong coffee (or more almond mylk)

1 C of mixture of apple sauce + steamed pumpkin (I blended a raw apple and some steamed pumpkin and measured 1 C to the mixture, use the leftover sauce in a breakfast oatmeals or a smoothie)
1/4 C melted coconut oil (or sunflower oil)
1/3 tsp salt
1/3 C cacao powder
1/2 C almond meal
1/3 C buckwheat flour (blended oats work too)
2/3 brown rice flour

Icing
1/2 avocado
3 tbs maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla beans
1 tbs of cacao (adjust to your taste)

  1. Soak the flax seeds in water
  2. Mix almond milk with apple cider vinegar. Add baking soda, let sit for a minute.
  3. Meanwhile, blend steamed pumpkin and apple. You can also use ready apple sauce.
  4. Add coconut sugar, maple syrup, coffee, coconut oil, vanilla and apple-pumpkin mix to the bowl with flaxseeds. Mix and get rid of the lumps. 
  5. Add in almond mylk mixture. Mix.
  6. Add dry ingredients.
  7. Sprinkle some coconut oil to baking paper and set it in a square brownie tin.
  8. Pour mixture into the tin using a spatula to even the surface.
  9. Bake at 175 C for 30 min.
  10. Make the icing. Blend all the ingredients. Store in fridge until the brownies have cooled down. (Note: some blenders are impossible when blending only small amounts. In this case make a bit bigger portion of icing, using a whole avocado. You can use leftovers as a chocolate mousse snack or add it to a smoothie next morning or spread it on a toast with PB, you name it!)
  11. Spread icing on cooled brownies and cut. 

Trust me, this is a crowd pleaser!

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