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Month: October 2014


31.10.2014

Peanut butter popcorn cake


 

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.

That was said by Oscar Wilde. And that argument I have been trying to proof today by making this ridiculous and fabulous chocolate covered peanut butter popcorn cake. Because there has been some frequent thoughts of chocolate, peanut butter and popcorn on my mind. Together. Combined.

And because it is Halloween.

So now, I can inform you all that Oscar Wilde was wrong. I did not get rid of the temptation. Actually it got worse. This morning I have had to yield to the temptation in every 15 minutes and go time and again back to the fridge and chip off “just one more piece” of this cake. But I don´t mind. I love it.

And warmly recommend it. To every pleasure seeker and peanut butter & popcorn & chocolate lover. This is a perfect movie night snack or halloween treat. If you don´t mind your hands getting all cluttered with chocolate and your temptations getting bigger by every bite.

V

PEANUT BUTTER POPCORN CAKE

Popcorncake:

  • 5 cups non-salted popcorn
  • 0,5 cup melted butter
  • 0,5 cup thick peanut butter
  • 2 tbls organic raw honey or coconut palm syrup + toffee stevia drops
  • 0,25 cup crushed peanuts
  • 0,25 cup crushed raw chocolate or cacao nibs

Chocolate frosting:

  • 4 tbls peanutbutter
  • 3 tbls coconut oil or butter
  • 3 tbls raw cacao powder
  • 4 tbls organic raw honey or coconut palm syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

On top:

  • crushed peanuts
  • crushed raw chocolate or cocoa nibs

Butter a bundt pan. Prepare the popcorn. Remove all unpopped grains from the crowd and put the popcorn in a bowl. Melt butter, peanut butter and honey in a warm water bath. Pour the mixture into a bowl with popcorns. Add in the nuts and chocolate chips and mix. Press the mixture firmly into the cake pan. Put the pan into the freezer for a couple of hours. Take the pan from the freezer and turn the cake out onto a plate and put in the fridge and prepare the frosting.

Melt peanut butter, coconut oil / butter and honey in a warm water bath. Add cocoa powder and vanilla. Check the taste and add more spice or sweetness if needed

Frost the cake and top with chopped nuts or grated raw chocolate. Put the cake into the freezer for about 15 – 30 minutes. Serve, chip off pieces with your hand or with a help of a knife and enjoy! Store in the fridge.

Note: This cake has to be served cold, otherwise it will lose it´s shape. You won´t get perfect cake slices but more like delicious blocks and chuncks!

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28.10.2014

The crunch gang


 

My man and daughter both love crisp bread, hard rye bread to be exact, and they both have a very devoted way to munch and crunch their bread at the mealtime. I feel always a little bit bystander with them because my stomach don´t like rye bread that much and gluten-free crisp breads that you can buy from the supermarket have been kinda disappointing to me. So I´m usually out of the crisp bread gang.

Now my situation looks brighter though! Risenta contacted me and asked if I would want to try out their new gluten-free seed crisp bread mixture and when I looked at the ingredient list I answered YES straightaway.

The mixture includes only nice quality seeds: Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seed, psyllium seeds and chia-seeds. And no weird additives. You just need to add some oil and water and bake the dough in the oven for a while, and before you know you have nice and tasty and gluten-free crispy bread in front of you!

You can of course use the same technique by mixing different kind of seeds, if you have tendency to collect seed assortments in your closets, like I do. But if not, this package is a easy way to make some crackers when you get an urge to crunch.

I also made some salty chips and crackers from the mixture and they came also out really nice.

My family liked them also. Mainly maybe because now we could all enjoy some nice crispy bread family time together, with no moms left outside.

V

Risenta Seed Crackers

  • 350 g of Risenta Seed Cracker Mix
  • 4 dl of boiled water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 175 celcius degrees. Mix the contents of the bag with 4 cup of boiled hot water in a bowl. Stir in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture onto two baking tarys coveres with baking sheets. Put another baking paper on top of the mixture. Press mixture with your hands until smooth flat plate. Remove the baking paper on top. Sprinkle on some salt and / or dried herbs.

Bake in the oven for about 55 minutes, until bread is dry and gets a beautiful brown color. Take out of the oven and cut to pieces. Store in a resealable jar or box.

*IN CO-OPERATION VANELJA & RISENTA*

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24.10.2014

Sunday in bed


 

What happens when two ultimate breakfast lovers and foodies meet? Answer is: Sunday in Bed breakfast menu. Which means foods that make you stay with your breakfast long, keep your pajamas on the whole day, crumble on sheets, leave food and dishes here and there so that you can return eating after a small nap.

We created the menu together with super lovely Tuulia from Uusia Tuulia blog (that you can read also in english now!) We two share the same food visions, we love good and delicious food, clean flavors, fresh ingredients, and most of all, good breakfasts.

Sunday in Bed breakfast menu includes:

  • Almond yogurt

  • Berry almond granola

  • Lemon pancake

  • Orange blossom jam

  • Hemp bread rolls

  • Kiwi Spinach Apple juice

I could go on and on about how amazing all these dishes are eaten together or alone, but instead I just recommend you, very warmly, to write down all these ingredients and get them for your slow weekend mornings.

The recipes for almond yogurt, jam and bread rolls you can find here below and the recipes for granola, pancake and juice you can get from Tuulia´s blog.( Just switch the language to english from the upper bar on her page!)

Have lazy and lovely weekend!

V

ALMOND YOGURT

(dairy-free)

  • 2 cups raw almonds (soaked overnight)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tbl honey
  • 1 probiotic capsule or 1 package vegan yogurt starter 3 tbls natural yogurt/ unflavored vegan yogurt with active bacterial culture
  • 1 – 3 ts agar agar (if you want your yogurt to be thicker)

blend soaked and strained almonds, water, and sweetener and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture with cheese cloth on top of a bowl, so that you get a nice white almond milk. You can use the left over almond pulp for example with crackers or bread rolls.
Pour the almond milk into a pot and warm it so that it almost boils. If you want your yogurt to be thicker, add agar agar and boil carefully for about 5 – 7 minutes and add probiotic powder after that. Allow the mixture to cool. Stir in the brobiotic powder / yogurt. Pour yogurt into a sealable clean glass jar. Allow the mixture to incubate for about 6 – 12 hours. Store the yogurt in an air-tight container/jar in the refridgerator.
Try different lengths of time yogurt cultures and amount of culture you use so that you find the best way to make the perfect yogurt for your taste!

HEMP BREAD ROLLS

  • 1 tablespoon of chia-seed + 0,5 cup water
  • 1,5 cup almond flour (you can substitute part of this with the almond pulp left over from making the almond yogurt)
  • 0,5 cup oatmeal
  • 0,25 cup potato flour
  • 0,5 cup hemp seeds
  • 0,25 cup of linen seeds
  • 1,5 tsp psyllium fiber husk
  • 1,5 tsp baking powder

  • 1,5 cups of water (or some dairy-free milk)

  • 0,25 cup melt butter (or coconut oil)
  • 2 tablespoons hemp oil
  • 1 tsp local honey
  • 0,5 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200 celcius degrees. Mix chia seeds and oat milk in a small bowl and let it sit for about 15 minutes until you get a gel-like mixture. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add water, melted butter/oil, chia gel, honey, apple vinegar and salt. Allow the dough to swell for a couple of minutes. The dough should be soft, plump, like a yeast dough – not dry. If necessary, add some flour or liquid.

Take pieces of dough and roll them into balls and put them on a baking tray covered with a baking sheet. Sprinkle some poppy seeds on top. Bake the buns for about 30 minutes in center of the oven until they are nice and golden. Take out of the oven, let them cool a bit, serve and enjoy!

ORANGE BLOSSOM CHIA-JAM

  • 3 oranges
  • 3 tablespoons local raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower water
  • 3 tablespoons chia-seeds

Puree the oranges in the blender until the mixture is smooth. Add the honey and orange blossom water and stir. Taste and add sweetness, if you will. Pour the mixture into a clean, sealable glass jar and stir in the chia-seeds. Leave to thicken, stir after 15 minutes and put the jar in the fridge for about 1 to 5 hours. Use with pancakes or other goodies! Store in a refrigerator in closed jar. Use within a week.

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22.10.2014

A true charmer


 

In Finland we have this one delicious small chocolate covered mint truffle bar with a hint of vanilla called Pätkis. Pätkis and I have quite a strong and long lasted love relationship. Actually at one point it was an almost unhealthy addiction, from my part, I have to admit. Being together felt always such a good idea and it tickled all my senses, but afterwards I felt always used and empty.

And I'm really not the only missus this small charmer has. Actually, almost all my female friends have a small or big crush on him. One friend of mine thought that her relationship with Pätkis wasn't doing her any good, so she threw me a challenge and asked if I could make a healthy version of her favourite chocolate lover. I sympathised her pain, so I rolled up my sleeves and got into action.

And I did quite well, I have to say. Of course you can never totally copy the charm of a true Casanova, but for me this does the trick.

Chocolate truffle on the inside, a hint of peppermint and vanilla, and a chocolate coat on top. Everything is raw, unprocessed, no white sugar, no additives, no e-codes or other gimmicks.

This lover is a true lover. No exploiting of women. He leaves a girl smiling and feeling good about herself. And I'm happy to pass the love!

V

RAW MINT TRUFFLE CHOCOLATE BARS

About 8 pieces

Raw Mint Truffle Bars:

  • 0,5 dl cacao butter
  • 0,5 dl raw cacao mass
  • 4 tbls cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 5 tbls raw cacao powder
  • 4 tbls organic honey (or coconut palm syrup)
  • 2 tbls almond butter (or some salt free nut butter)
  • a few drops chocolate flavored stevia (optional)
  • 0,5 tsp vanilla powder
  • 0,5 tsp peppermint extract
  • a mini pinch of sea salt
  • 1 dl of almond meal

Chocolate coating:

  • 1 dl grated raw cacao mass
  • 0,5 dl grated cacao butter
  • 2 tbls cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 4 tbls raw cacao powder
  • 4 tbls organic honey (or coconut palm syrup, or stevia)
  • 0,5 tsp vanilla extract or a few drops of vanilla flavored stevia
  • a mini pinch of sea salt

Mint truffle bars:

Melt the cacao butter, cacao mass and coconut oil in a warm water bath until liquid. Add raw cacao powder, honey, stevia, vanilla and peppermint extract and sea salt. Stir. Check the taste and add more spice if needed. Mesure the almond flour into a blender and add the chocolate mass. Mix until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and put it into the freezer for about 15 minutes. Prepare the chocolate coating in the meantime.

Chocolate coating:

Melt the cacao butter and coconut oil in a warm water bath until liquid. Add cacao powder, honey, and salt and mix. Check the taste and add sweeteners if needed.

Take the chocolate mass from the freezer and form small chocolate bars. (If the mixture is still too loose put it back in the freezer for a moment.) Glaze the bars with the chocolate coating. If the frosting is too runny, keep it a little while in a cold water bath so that it thickens a little bit. When all the bars have their coating, put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy! Store in a refrigerator. Best when kept in a room temperature for a while before serving!

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15.10.2014

Heavenly bread


 

There was a time when I avoided all bread. It made me feel bloated and annoyed. Then came the time when I realised that the villain was gluten in breads, the reason for my misery. So I switched to gluten-free breads that you can buy from supermarkets. They tasted horrible. AND caused unpleasant feelings in my stomach. What followed was an ecstatic time period with raw foods and raw crackers. I felt awesome, but as time went by, the dry crackers started to stuck into my throat, metaphorically speaking.

From crackers I switched to home made gluten-free nut and seed breads that gave some ease to my bread-hunger. But hey, they don't compare to fluffy, tasty white bread. If anyone says anything other than that, they are fooling themselves and other people.

So what happened then, you might wonder. Well, as it usually goes in these kinds of stories, I had an enlightenment. I found the world of gluten-free and grain-free flours, powders and other natural additives. And after then, gluten-free baking felt like a dance!

My latest dance moves in that field happened last weekend: I baked these amazing heavenly fluffy poppy seed buns with chia seed gel and psyllium husk as the main binders. If you´re looking for a totally vegan recipe, you can switch the butter into coconut oil or some other oil you prefer!

This is an enter to a bread heaven. Especially enjoyed with this strawberry butter.

Btw, After the recipe, check out my best gluten-free baking tips!

POPPY SEED BUNS

(gluten-free, yeast-free)

About 12 rolls

  • 2 tablespoons chia-seeds + 0,5 cup water
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 0,5 cup buckwheat flour
  • 0,5 cup potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1 cup oat milk (or other dairy-free milk or water)
  • 1/2 ts liquid honey
  • 0,5 cup melted butter or coconut oil, or half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • poppy seeds on top

Preheat the oven to 200 celcius degrees. Mix chia seeds and water in a small bowl and let it sit for about 15 minutes until you get a gel-like mixture. Mix almond flour, buckwheat, potato starch, baking powder and psyllium husk in a bowl. Add oat milk, melted butter and/or oil, chia gel, liquid honey and salt. Allow the dough to swell for a about 10 minutes. The dough should be soft, plump, like a yeast dough, not dry. If necessary, add some flour or liquid.

Take pieces of dough and roll them into balls and put them on a baking tray covered with a baking sheet. Sprinkle some poppy seeds on top. Bake the buns for about 25-30 minutes in center of the oven until they are slightly golden. Take out of the oven, serve and enjoy!

Check out our poppy deed bread rolls tutorial video HERE.

STRAWBERRY BUTTER

  • 5-7 fresh strawberries (or 0,5 cups of freeze dried strawberries)
  • 200 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • pinch of black pepper & sea salt

Melt the butter until soft. If you use freeze dried strawberries, put them into a blender and puree until powder. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth. Let the butter thicken a little bit in the fridge.

VEGAN STRAWBERRY FRESH CHEESE

  • 5-7 fresh strawberries (or 1 cup freeze dried strawberries)
  • 0,5 cup cashews (steeped for at least an hour)
  • 270 g plain tofu
  • 1 tablespoon juice of a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon coconut syrup
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil (or other mild vegetable oil)
  • 0,5 tsp bourbon vanilla
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk (or other dairy-free milk or water)

If you are using the freeze-dried strawberries, chop them first into a powder in a blender. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth thick paste. Line a small bowl with a plastic wrap and press the mixture tightly into a bowl with a spoon. Cover the bowl and let the cream cheese sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning make a ball or stick from the mass. Serve for example with breakfast buns. Store in the refrigerator in a sealable jar or wrapped with foil or plastic wrap.

GUIDE TO GLUTEN-FREE BAKING

Best flours, powders, tips and tricks to successful gluten-free baking!

FLOURS:

  • -Almond flour/almond meal:

Tasty and rich in fiber, just like many other gluten-free flours does not form starch by itself, so you´ll need to use some booster with it, for example baking powder and psyllium husk. Some almond meals/flours that you can find in stores are rougher and include almond shell. The rougher almond meals are full-fat, which means they do not bind as much moisture as the finer almond meals.

  • -Coconut Flour:

Slightly sweet coconut flour is one of my favorites. Coconut flour swells in liquids, so you need it less than half of so called normal flour.

  • -Nut/Almond flours:

Different kinds of nut flours can be used to provide a variety of taste nuances. They are mainly best used with other flours. You can prepare nut and almond flour yourself by grinding the nuts in an effective blender. Beware, however, not to blend too much so that the flour does not transform into nut butter, which, too, is certainly an excellent ingredient in baking!

  • -Oatmeal:

Gluten-free oat flour is created easily at home by grinding gluten-free oatmeal in a blender. Oatmeal has a great viscosity, but the dough can easily become too slimy. Use alongside with other flours, psyllium husk and xanthan.

  • -Buckwheat flour:

Versatile and easy flour, and works superbly on its own or mixed with other flours. Gives nice rye flavor to baked goods. For very sweet pastries use only with other flours.

Try also these gluten-free flours: Rice flour, corn flour, soy flour and potato flour!

STARCHES

  • -Psyllium seed husk:

The powder made of the ground seeds swells in liquid. It brings about thickness to gluten-free dough and facilitates processing. Perfect for almond or coconut flour, for example! When using psyllium, the amount of flour should be reduced about 10-30%. You should test different marks because the quality and thereby the result may vary a lot.

  • -Xanthan:

A polysaccharide powder derived from a bacteria called Xanthomonas Camestr is in a fermentation process gives thickness and fluffiness. Fits well with cakes and biscuits when mixed with flours.

  • -Tapioca powder/tapioca starch:

The mild-flavored tapioca powder is obtained from cassava root. It gives pastry lusciousness and structure, and can also be used to thicken.

  • -Flax or chia meal:

Flax meal or chia seeds used with liquid combine to a gel that works well as the binding agent in baking. Use flax meal or chia seeds as they are or finely chop the flax seeds, whisk about 1 tablespoon seeds/meal and 3 tablespoons water, and keep the mixture in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. This will give you the so-called flax egg, which can be used to replace the egg in many recipes.

You may also try ripe banana, peanut butter, soy protein and agar agar to give viscosity to your gluten-free dough!

Other tips:

– Golden rising tip: Add to the pattern a little more baking powder and something acidic, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This way you get beautifully risen pastries.

– Gluten-free doughs can easily glue to your hands. Oiling your hands will make them easier to process.

– Make your very own gluten-free flour mixture by mixing, for example, buckwheat flour, almond flour, psyllium fiber and xanthan.

– Experiment boldly a variety of gluten-free flours to find your favorite and to learn how different flours behave and what kind of recipes each isbest suited for.

V

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6.10.2014

Once you go black


 

There's some licorice mania going on here. All licorice related feels now tempting. All kinds of licorice and chocolate combinations in particular.

A few years ago, I fell in love with the Finnish Panda Duello candies that were these wonderful chocolate-coated licorice pieces. (For which, by the way, my husband directed a cute ad)

I got a little upset when I realized that these candies were no longer being manufactured, which was ultimately a good thing, because I panicked and developed my own substitute – a healthy licorice chocolate. The recipe is included in my upcoming Kiitos hyvää cookbook that will find its way to the Finnish shops in the first week of December.

Only it's terrible to have to hold back so wonderful a secret for such a long time!

So to ease the pain of keeping this secret and to help my licorice mania, I made a licorice smoothie parfait with a hint of chocolate.

I have once made a licorice smoothie for Four Sigma Foods back in the day that charmed many. This smoothie parfait is a lot like the FSF smoothie, except that this one contains a few different ingredients and is built in layers, which makes it more a dessert than a morning smoothie.

Licorice smoothie parfait

Chia pudding:

  • 5 rkl chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
  • ½ tl vanilla powder

Licorice smoothie:

  • ¼ cups almonds
  • 2 dried figs
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1-4 ts black licorice root extract powder (or grated licorice extract stick)

    • 1 banana

Chia pudding:
Make the chia pudding by adding chia seeds, almond milk and vanilla in a jar, stir after 30 minutes and let then sit 2 hours or overnight in a fridge. The longer you refrigerate the pudding, the thicker it will be.

Licorice smoothie:
Add all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. Add enough liquid to make it smooth but not too watery.

Assembly:
Add about ¼ cups of smoothie in a big glass. Spoon in chia pudding and add then sliced banana. Top with the licorice smoothie. Grate some licorice extract stick on top. Serve and enjoy!

Try, if you dare. You see, this might very easily lead to an addiction for licorice lovers. You know what they say, once you go black, you never go back.

V

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4.10.2014

Flowers make a weekend


 

I just stopped by to wish all you guys a beautiful weekend! Relax, enjoy, eat well and buy flowers. Flowers make a weekend, if you ask me.

And if there´s no flower market near, you can always watch our flower video.

Love!

V

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2.10.2014

Bomb your stress away


 

This week has passed among the most essentials. Even though it felt at times like -everything- was left undone. You see, I have spent the week at home taking care of my daughter who was feeling a little bit sick. Very effective pull back to basics. Good move, life.

Now that the girl has gotten better, it is time for this mother to hurry back to work and take care of "everything" left undone. No, wait a minute – first it´s time for this mother to pamper herself, for a chance. Because no good will be done with a tense mind. And at this moment I don’t know a better way to relax than a hot bath. Especially when accompanied by some charmers, such as these homemade bath bombs.

BOOM – a fizzy lavender scented fella in the same tube bombs your stress away in no time.

Lavender bath bomb

  • 150 g baking soda (sodium carbonate)
  • 70 g citric acid powder
  • 25 g corn flour or potato flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 tbls melted coconut oil to
  • lil bit water

Measure baking soda, citric acid and corn flour or potato flour into a bowl and stir. Add dried lavender flowers. Add essential oil and melt coconut oil, and squeeze the dough with your fingers. Add water one teaspoon at a time, and squeeze the dough with your fingers at the same time. Add water until the mixture resembles damp sand, and it retains its shape when you squeeze it in your hand. Press mixture firmly into molds as soon as possible. Allow to dry at room temperature overnight. Remove from molds.

To use, drop one or two bath bombs in a bath with warm running water.

V

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