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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Snack attack

Snack attack

Accidentally nailed it. These are too good to keep in your office drawer.

Lemon meringue protein bites
1/3 C buckwheat kernels (oats or more cashews work too)
1/2 C cashews
8 medjool dates (soaked soft)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tbs of lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 C coconut shavings
1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil

  1. Use a food processor (or blender) to grind cashews and buckwheat. Add coconut. Mix until not fine but small pieces. Remove from the processor.
  2. Mix soft dates until mushy in the food processor.
  3. Add remaining incredients.
  4. Blend until even. Remove with spatula to a mixing bowl and add 1-3 tbs water until the mixture is sticky and easy to roll.
  5. Roll to balls. This makes 12-18 balls.
  6. Store in freezer or fridge.


Did someone say Pho?

Did someone say Pho?

When you make a water based vegan soup and your carnivore boyfriend ends up begging for more, you know you have done something right. This soup is a filling and warming and it definitely costs less than a trip to Ho Chi Minh.

Vegan Pho (For two)

Broth:
2 l water
1.5 cubes vegetable stock cubes
2 gloves of garlic
a piece of sliced fresh ginger
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stalk
1 onion
2 tbs tamari

4 portobello mushrooms (or smaller mushrooms, use more)
1 tsp coconut oil
a bunch of bok choy or Chinese cabbage
Fresh mint
Fresh coriander
Mung bean sprouts
Brown rice noodles/Mung bean noodles

  1. Slice garlic and ginger. Chop onion into quarters.
  2. Use a pot to heat the water. Add vegetable cubes, tamari garlic, ginger, onion, cinnamon and star anise. Bring to boil and reduce the heat. Let simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Chop mushrooms to thin slices. Stirfry in coconut oil until cooked through.
  4. Chop herbs.
  5. 3 minutes before serving, strain the broth. Add bok choy and let it simmer 3 more minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the noodles al dente and place in bowls.
  7. To serve. Pour the broth on top of noodles (with bok choy). Add mushrooms on top of the bowls, as well as the herbs and sprouts.

If there is leftover broth, heat it day after and enjoy all over again.

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Go away nasty flu

Go away nasty flu

I have been down with a flu for past three days, which sucks. See below my go for a flu healing smoothie bowl.

Immunity Booster Smoothie bowl

1-2 tsp of fresh minced ginger
1/2-1 tsp of fresh minced turmeric
2/3 C frozen cauliflower
1/2 frozen banana
2/3 C steamed pumpkin (cooled)
1 C almond mylk
2 tsp baobab
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
3 drops of orange essential oil

1. Blend everything. Add essential oil at the end and blend more.

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May all your hazelnut dreams come true

May all your hazelnut dreams come true

This is for you if you love Nutella, Ferrero Rocher, and Kinder Bueno. And coffee. Enjoy. Perfect way to start a slow weekend morning.

If you are not having an easter chocolate bender like we are at the moment, you can also use a tablespoon of cacao powder or spoonful of cacao nibs instead of melted chocolate. Or you can leave it out altogether, just hazelnuts, banana, and coffee are a divine combination.

Hazelnut Mocca Smoothie Bowl (for two)

3-4 frozen bananas
1/3 C almond mylk
double shot of espresso (or strong coffee)
1/3 C hazelnuts
1 tsp of vanilla beans (or extract)
20 g of dark chocolate (70% cacao)

  1. Roast hazelnuts fro 10-15 mins in 200 C. Let cool. (I roast these earlier and keep in a jar if I feel like this smoothie etc. They just taste richer after roasting). No oil needed.
  2. Make espresso and let it cool in the fridge.
  3. Blend 2/3 bananas and hazelnuts with almond mylk and coffee. Add remaining bananas and vanilla. Blend.
  4. Melt the chocolate on top of boiling water. use a spatula to pour the melted chocolate into a blender. Blend.
  5. Enjoy in a bowl topped with some crushed hazelnuts and more chocolate or berries.

//EDIT: I healthified the recipe for weekday mornings. I tried it today and it was still amazing. See below:

Healthified Hazelnut Mocca Smoothie Bowl (for one)

1.5 -2  frozen bananas
splash of almond mylk/any plant based milk
shot of espresso (or strong coffee)
1/4 C hazelnuts
1 heaped tbs of vanilla protein powder

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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.