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Happy Birthday Vanelja!

16.9.2015

It was exactly one year ago when I opened the doors of Vanelja and introduced it to the world for the first time. And in my very first blog post I then wrote:

“Nothing in Vanelja is permanent, no goals has been set. That makes it possible to grow to whatever direction life takes it to. It is exciting to see what kind of flowers will Vanelja bloom in when the fertilizers are freedom, passion and pleasure!”

And wow, what beautiful blossoms have I been able to witness during this first year! I have been just amazed by all the opportunities, connections and people life has sent through my blog.

During this year I have made great new friends from different parts of the world, I have also made 3 cook books (insane, I know! do not try at home), been featured in international media, websites and blogs, been picked by Instagram to their suggested users list, been nominated in the Saveur Food blog Award and actually winning the award in the Best-designed blog category. And then there are also some huge huge things I can’t yet talk about that have started to seed during this year.

So may I just say: Phew. And thank You. Thank you life, thank you dear You, thank you universe. I promise to continue following my dreams. And as Elsie De Wolfe said:

“I am going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life.”

And I’m also going to make lots of these delicious banoffee-muffins, which you should try also. They too taste like a dream.

V

BANOFFEE MUFFINS

Muffins:

  • 1 ½ ripe banana
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 3 organic, free range eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees / 175 C degrees. Grease the muffin cups. Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture in muffin cups and bake for about 15 minutes. In the meantime prepare the caramel sauce and frosting. When muffins are ready, take them out from the oven and let cool. Spoon some frosting on top and pour on some caramel sauce. Serve and enjoy!

Peanut butter frosting:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk (kept in a fridge)
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp organic honey
  • 1 ripe banana (sliced in small pieces)

Open the coconut milk can and scoop out the white thick paste in a bowl. Add peanut butter and honey. Whip until fluffy. Fold in the banana pieces.

Caramel sauce:

  • 7 tbsp coconut sugar
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of sea salt

Place the coconut sugar and coconut milk in a pan. Stir gently on a medium heat until the mixture is well mixed. Let the sauce simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Store in a glass jar in the fridge and use within two weeks.

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Cinnamon Bun Waffles from Gratitude

26.8.2015

One of the most traditional ways to celebrate something here in Finland is to make coffee and serve cinnamon buns. That old school serving suits all types of parties and in every occasion.

A baby is born – coffee and cinnamon buns, you win a lottery – coffee and cinnamon buns, someone dies – coffee and cinnamon buns, your blog is nominated in The Blog Awards Finland in the Health and Wellness category – coffee and cinn.. Wait, no. Actually then it’s not coffee nor cinnamon buns, but healthy cinnamon bun”ish” waffles! The exception proves the rule.

So here I am with my not-so-traditional but yet so-very-delicious cinnamon bun waffles as it indeed happened that my blog got nominated in the Blog Awards Finland in the Health and Wellness category. Yay!

The nomination in that specific category made me took a stroll down memory lane and look back to where I started, which was five years ago in my former Finnish health blog called Kiitos hyvää.

Kiitos hyvää was a blog mainly about well-being and “high quality life”. In that time I was very deeply into all kind of nutrition stuff, different methods of measuring health and gaining better health, raw food, superfood, super this and super that. I was truly and totally a health nerd. All that super health hype feels kind of funny to me nowadays, but it was an adventure I had to take in order to get here, into more peaceful and calmer place.

It is very relaxing when you realise that the purpose of your life is to serve only in a way that brings great joy to yourself and others. Not to battle and strive. That is the reason I nowadays post only easygoing inspiration and nice recipes and not try to convince anyone of what is the best diet or how should others live their lives. I don’t have clue, only a delicate and occasionally fading hunch on how to live my own.

But that’s how life, health and wellness are, delicate and constantly changing things that escape exact definitions and are not bound to one truth.

My truth today is happiness and gratitude for being nominated in the biggest Blog Award in my country. And from that happiness I channel these cinnamon bun waffles to you!

Thank you for being there, friend.

V

CINNAMON BUN WAFFLES

Gluten-free, paleo & dairy-free

1 cup almond flour

2 tbsp coconut flour

¼ cup tapioca flour/starch (or potato starch)

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp ceylon cinnamon

½ tsp cardamom

2 organic eggs or two flax eggs (great flax egg recipe here )

1 cup coconut milk or almond milk or oat milk

1 tbsp organic honey or coconut palm sugar

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Take another bowl and add eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract and whip gently until slightly foamy. Mix with the dry ingredients. Brush coconut oil into the surfaces of the waffle iron. Pour mixture onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown or prepare waffles following the instructions of the manufacture. Serve with coconut butter and cinnamon or with banana slices, peanut butter and whipped coconut cream.

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Rum & Raisin Chocolate Ice Cream

11.6.2015

I have to say my life is super full at the moment. Actually even a little bit too packed for my taste. My calendar is full with work, meetings and photoshoots, my hands are full with things to do both in home and also in work field, and my head is crowded with stuff I need to remember and take care of. Surprisingly, even though it usually never goes together with a hectic life, my heart is full also – and it is just bursting with gratitude!

One reason for that is this unforgettable incident I had last week in New York at the Saveur Food Blog Awards where Vanelja was nominated as one of the finalist. And you can’t believe this – the craziest thing happened: Editor’s Choice for Best-designed Blog! As in Vanelja was picked to be the winner by the editors from the almighty Saveur magazine!

high-fives with my graphic designer friends Leena Oravainio & Lotta Niemien who helped to build this site and with all you followers, readers and lovely friends and supporters! You guys made this happen!

It is such a huge honor and such a recognized award that I am still totally overwhelmed and it is still hard for me to understand that it actually happened. The whole event, the award, all the amazing people and fellow bloggers I met. The whole experience was like from a dream. Especially when I was totally jet-lagged and was feeling quite surreal even in the first place.

So now, we need to party. Because that's what we people do when something big comes our way – we celebrate and throw a party to mark these big happenings and changes in our lives to somehow make them feel more real, right? First we ask someone to pinch ourselves and then we party.

And because it is summer and I’m just all about ice creams at the moment, as our e-book about healthy dairy-free & refined-sugar-free ice creams, Kind Ice Cream for You just got launched last week, I decided that we celebrate with ice cream. Yay!

This one is an adaptation of one “Instant Chocolate Ice Cream” recipe from our book which can be enjoyed as a soft serve or as a more solid ice cream. I chose to flavor it with a little bit of rum and raisins just to make it more festive. And because rum & raisin is my all time favorite ice cream flavor. And well, because alcohol just gives a nice boost to certain occasions. Though here the rum is first brought to a boil so there’s no change/risk of getting tipsy. …Although, you just might do it anyways because of the intoxicating raw chocolate and the super rich flavor!

So enjoy, live life to it’s fullest and celebrate all the big and small treasures life throws to you. For example now with these luxurious party ice cream balls flying your way!

V

Remember to follow me on Instagram and tag your ice cream photos with #kindicecreamforyou or #kindicecream!

RUM & RAISIN CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 5 tbsp rum
  • 2 tbsp almond liqueur
  • 3 tbsp organic raisins
  • 1,5 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp organic honey (or coconut syrup, stevia or sweetener of your choice)
  • 2-3 tbsp almond milk (or other milk), if needed
  • 3 rkl raw cacao nibs

Peel the bananas and cut them into small coins. Put the bananas into an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight. In the meantime pour the almond liqueur and rum into a small pot ja bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and add raisins to the alcohol mixture and let marinate until the bananas are frozen.

To make the ice cream, add bananas into a blender and pulse until a crumble forms. Keep on pulsing until the bananas start to form a smooth texture. You might have to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times. Add the marinated raisins, chocolate, vanilla and sweetener and keep on pulsing until you get a smooth and creamy ice cream texture. Mix in the raw cacao nibs and stir with a spoon. Scoop into a bowls, serve and enjoy! If the ice cream melts too much while you process it, you can freeze it a little bit before serving.

* More healthy, dairy free ice cream recipes in Kind Ice Cream for You e-book!

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Kind Ice Cream for You

2.6.2015

It has arrived! Our e-book about healthy ice creams is finally out! And I must say that I am deeply and utterly in LOVE with it. Hands down, it must be the loveliest cook book I have ever encountered. And that is my totally objective opinion. If me and my partner-in-crime Tuulia Talvio would have not made it I would still love it to pieces! Hahaa!

But the most amazing thing for me here is how this book took even myself by surprise. Because when we started making it this winter I would have never guessed that it would become so big, beautiful and comprehensive as it is.

First we planned to make just a nice small e-book about healthy, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free and gluten-free ice creams with few nice recipes with few nice pictures. But the project kept on growing and growing until one day we realised that we have a real book in our hands, well, on our computer screens – with 130 pages and over 60 recipes, great pictures – and last but not least, a beeeautiful layout, thanks to my dear friend, a super talented graphic designer Leena Oravainio.

So here I am now, super proud, deeply happy and a little bit teary over our kind and beautiful new-born book, Kind Ice Cream for You. And I really want you to meet her, so go ahead and
read more about it in the book’s official website: www.kindicecream.com.

You can buy the book through my SHOP or through www.kindicecream.com or by going straigh HERE. All the roads lead to the same destination. NOTE: E-BOOK IS TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK

So be free to share, download and spread the love! We have really poured our love and passion in this one, so we are very grateful for all the help you can give in spreading our kind ice cream message! #kindicecreamforyou #kindicecream

Take care, be Kind and have a lovely ice-cream-filled June, my friend!

V

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Spring break

20.4.2015

“I know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, nothing compares to this feeling of freedom.”

That is a quote from a surfer Colin Moran and those words lay in a picture upon my bed in my new crib, an airbnb flat in Los Angeles to where I came for a one month work/vacation trip.

So if you´re wondering why there is not coming new material and recipe innovations as often as usual it is because I´m giving space for fresh inspiration and sparkling new ideas. Setting myself free from the old and familiar and keeping a slight break from the routines. Even my personal blender I brought with me quit its deal in the very first day I tried to test out a new recipe here. A clear sign that I need to concentrate on other things now!

Although, I do have some un-published recipes up in my sleeve that I´m gonna share with you guys, so stay tuned! In the meantime you can jump in my travelling bag and follow me on Instagram!

Flying free kisses!

V

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Lovers Chocolates

13.2.2015

I had made something super sweet and cool to pamper you in this Valentine´s Day but some higher forces threw so many small obstacles on my way when I tried to release the post that I realised it is just better to lift my hands, leave it and post it some other day. When the stars align, wind blows from the right direction and the time is ready.

“If you gotta force it, just leave it alone. Relationships, friendships, ponytails. Just leave it.”

Said someone somewhere in some Pinterest picture.

I think it is a good thought especially now at Valentines. When you are at ease love comes and what is meant to happen happens. No need to stress, fuss and hustle. All is good.

Here are my 3 favorite clean chocolate treats for you to prove it. They´re all pure good. Make them to your loved one or show yourself some self loving and care.

Sweet Valentine´s Day, my friend.

V

CHOCOLATE CANDIES WITH SOFT CARAMEL CENTER

(raw, nut-free)

Chocolate:

  • ⅔ cups cocoa butter, melted
  • ¼ cup cold pressed coconut oil
  • ⅔ cups raw cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp organic honey (or coconut palm syrup)
  • a pinch of sea salt

OR Use about 2 dl of melted raw chocolate or sugar-free dark chocolate.

Soft caramel filling:

  • 10 soft dates
  • 2 tbsp cold pressed coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • Caramel Stevia drops (optional)

Melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil in a warm water bath until liquid. Add cocoa powder, honey and salt. Stir. Check the taste and add more sweetness if desired. Pour a little bit of the chocolate mixture in the bottom of chocolate molds or ice cube molds. Place the mold in the freezer and prepare the caramel filling in the meantime.

Soak the dates for about 15 minutes if they are not super soft. (This recipe will not work with completely dry dates ). Remove the stones from dates. Remove the skin of the date if you want your caramel to be very soft or if your blender is not super powerful. Add the dates and melted coconut oil into a blender and mix. Add enough water to get smooth picture, soft caramel-like purée.

Take the mold from the freezer and add a dab of caramel filling in each mold with a little spoon or a piping bag. Fill the molds with the remaining chocolate. Put the molds back into the freezer for about half an hour. Take out, serve and enjoy! Store in a refrigerator.

VANILLA STARS WITH CHOCOLATE HEART

15-20 pcs

Drops:

  • 1 ¼ cup cocoa butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp organic honey (or vanilla stevia drops)
  • 2 tbsp squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder

Chocolate Filling:

  • ½ cup chocolates almond butter or nut butter
  • 2 tbsp raw cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp organic honey
  • a pinch of sea salt

Melt the cocoa butter, coconut oil and honey in a warm water bath. Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Blend in a blender until smooth. Taste and add seasoning if desired.

Melt the almond butter in another bowl. Add cocoa powder, coconut oil, salt and sweetener and stir.

Pour a little bit of the white coconut mixture on the bottom of a mini cup cake tins/casseroles. Add a drop of chocolate filling. Fill the tins with the white mixture. Put the tins in the freezer for about an hour. Take out to room temperature, serve and enjoy! Store in a refrigerator in a resealable box.

MINT TRUFFLE BARS

  • ¼ cup cacao butter
  • ¼ cup raw cacao mass
  • 4 tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 5 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 4 tbsp organic honey (or coconut palm syrup)
  • a few drops chocolate flavored stevia (optional)
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • ½ cup almond meal

Chocolate coating:

  • ½ cup grated raw cacao mass
  • ¼ cup grated cacao butter
  • 2 tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 4 tbsp organic honey (or coconut palm syrup, or stevia)
  • ½ cup  tsp vanilla extract or few drops vanilla flavored stevia
  • a 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 spices if needed. Measure 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 sweeten if needed.

Take the chocolate mass from the freezer and from small chocolate bars. (If the mixture is still too loose put it in the freezer for a moment.) Glaze the bars with the chocolate coating. If the frosting is too runny, keep it in a cold water bath for a little while so that it thickens a bit. When all the bars have 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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