Saturday, March 28, 2015

NORI POPCORN

  The first full week of work is behind now. It´s mostly been about learning new routines and timing them correctly. No biggie.
  I´ve also come up with a new recipe for quick fix munchies, when coming home after work with a growling stomach; nori popcorn.

Home popped corn with sea salt and dried nori sprinkle! A surprising combination I craved one evening, and found addictive. This stuff is actually healthy too!
The recipe (yields approx. 3/4 gallons/3liters):

a snug cup (2dl) dried corn kernels
4 Tbsp cold pressed sunflower oil (nice and mild tasting)
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp green nori flakes

+ Pour the oil in a big kettle/pot with a lid. Heat up on the stove until it steams lightly, then add the corn and immediately close the lid! Once the corn begins to pop, lower the temperature slightly and keep popping until there´s a couple of seconds silence between the pops in the end. (It will only take a few minutes altogether.) Remove from the stove and let sit with the lid on for a few minutes. Remove the lid and sprinkle in the salt and nori. Toss and serve!

  The popcorn stays well in room temperature for days, but naturally it is at it´s best freshly eaten.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

EASY COCONUT COOKIE BALLS

  I love baked flour foods, but am not a miraculous baker. Probably so because I don´t have the patience to knead and wait for the dough to rise many times over, and I like mine healthy, not loaded with white flour and extracted added gluten.

  These coconut cookies were a big hit at my daughter´s birthday party recently. Since I made them for others, and to be served in a party, I made them with regular white wheat flour. But when I make them just for myself and my daughter (the rest of my family can´t/won´t eat them), I use freshly home ground whole spelt flour.

The cookies are formed into balls, so there is no need to roll the dough even once!

The dough itself is not super sweet, but the cookies are dipped in powdered sugar once baked. It adds both, appeal and apparel. I personally found it hard to stop eating them... luckily the recipe makes about seventy cookies. =)
 The recipe (makes approx. 70 pieces):

250g room temperature vegan margarine
1,5 dl + 2 dl powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
5 dl wheat flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
5 dl dried shredded coconut
(small splash of soymilk if needed)

+ Preheat oven to 175 C. Whip up margarine and 1,5 dl powdered sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla sugar, flour and salt. Stir carefully. Add in the coconut and stir once more, adding a bit of soymilk if the dough is too dry.
  Roll out little balls, about 2 cm by diameter, and place onto a baking sheet layered oven tray. Leave some room for the cookies to spread in the oven. Bake until the balls have become only slightly tanned, about 10 min. Be careful not to burn them.
  Dip the cookies in powdered sugar once cooled down. Serve cold and store air-tight.

 (Original recipe called "Snowballs" from the awesome Raisa Kettunen´s party food book "Puputyton Juhlakirja".)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

FREEDOM FASHION: DARK BLUE PRINT DRESS

  Wow, it´s been a while since I´ve sewn for my Freedom Collection, but it is still alive and kicking!

  This dress is brand new, and I even wore it to work yesterday, on my very first day back after maternity leave.

The fabric is super comfortable and quite stretchy viscose-like material that drapes well. The pattern I used to make the dress is the same I used for the light blue one for Imbolc, but now I added an inch wide elastic band to the waist for some definition.

The print is so dominating that the outfit does not need further accessories. The shoes give it a more sporty and relaxed touch.

Makeup is natural and fresh. Matte off-white and medium grey eyeshadow, warm pink blush, and sheer nude beige lipgloss polish off the look.
  Funny thing is that while my Freedom Collection was initially designed for off-duty days, now I strongly felt like wearing this dress to work. Perhaps it is out of humbleness. When I was a kid, we moved a lot, from one city to the next. When I was nine, I went to three different schools, all in different places. It was tough, but it taught me an invaluable lesson of what it feels like to be an outsider, the new kid. And back then I learned it´s best to cultivate some humbleness in the beginning. You know, sort of check out the mood and situation of the place before really letting myself loose. Like they say "you gotta know the rules before you can break them".

Thursday, March 19, 2015

EATING PLAN FOR OSTARA

  This plan leans on whole grains, veggies and legumes. The baseline drawn from macrobiotics, but including less salty foods, as they tend to make me retain water. Also noticeable is that I´m returning back to work (tomorrow!), so speed is another important factor here.

8am Breakfast: 
2 cups (1/2 liter) kukicha tea with soymilk
3 big rice cakes with coconut butter and honey

Pasta and bolognese cooking up for on Monday. Two kettles, one for whole wheat pasta and the other for gluten-free kind for my son.

12pm Lunch:
2 cups (1/2 liter) bancha tea plain
Mon: pasta bolognese (with tvp=textured vegetable protein crumble, not meat)
Tue: vegetable-flat breads
Wed: tofu stir-fry & brown rice
Thu: tortillas with beans
Fri: pizza (vegan & low fat without cheese)
Sat: pancakes (including finely grated veggie like carrots)
Sun: miso soup with tofu

Creamy oat porridge with raisins and mulberries.


4pm Dinner:
2 cups (1/2 liter) kukicha tea with soymilk
oat porridge with raisins/honey/jam

7pm Supper:
apples

  The times given are merely approximate, and need to be adjusted to each day´s needs. This eating plan acts as a strong stem when planning my grocery shopping list. If I want to improvise, so be it, but with this in mind I won´t have to do the daily pondering of "what shall we eat today".


Monday, March 16, 2015

OSTARA EARRINGS

  These are the latest additions to the selection of my aromatherapy earrings. Designed and hand made by me, of pure wool, metal and glass, these earrings upgrade any look with a touch of sophistication. Pastel colors suit Ostara/spring perfectly, while white and blue suit any season.

  
  All available online on NellandBoutique, only 20 euro/pair (including shipping + handling worldwide).
  Needless to say, a pair of aromatherapy earrings make an excellent and unique gift idea!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

NETI YOUR NOSE

  Neti is a sort of a bottle or a pot designed for rinsing your nose, on the inside that is. Now that the pollen season has started, it is an excellent time to pick up this refreshing method of cleaning your body more thoroughly. It clears out the nose internally from small particles we inhale daily, like dust, mold, tiny flakes of skin, pollen and other type of allergens floating in the air.

All you need is a pot and a measuring spoon for salt (which are sold together).

Unraffinated seasalt is recommended, and lukewarm tap water. Mix them up, and off you go!
 I bought my neti pot nearly ten years ago, and am a bit ashamed to admit I have not used it regularly, not even annually... =(  But now I dug it up, and have been using it every single evening for a week. I can tell a difference, it really cleans the nostrils, and makes them feel more open. Ever since my childhood I remember having more or less of a stuffed nose, with one side or the other always somewhat swollen/clogged. Using the neti pot has relieved those symptoms, and it feels good knowing I´m doing something good for my body.
  Here you can watch a demonstration of how it´s done.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

INSIDE MY GROCERY BAG

  A friend of mine once took part in a survey, which collected data from individuals´ grocery shopping. What they purchased, when, and on how many days a week, for one year. In exchange for keeping record of her shopping, she got data of her behavior and habits compared to the mass average in the survey. Quite interesting.

  One day after returning home from grocery store I pulled out these from my shopping bags:

Cucumber (especially for my kids), cabbage, small piece of smoked white-meat fish (I eat it maybe once a month, when my body craves for it), rutabaga (trying to learn liking it...), scallions, root celery, Honey Crunch apples (not available organic here, but they are the best brand), whipped soy cream, tamari soy sauce, tofu, carrots and dried tarragon.
  This pretty well rounds up my eating habits these days. What´s not in the picture, but a major part of my diet, is whole grains. I buy most of them, especially spelt and rye and barley, in bulk from a nearby organic farmer, and use them mostly for baking bread. Other grains I favor are oat, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat (in small quantities in baking, as I don´t like the taste, but do like to add it´s nutrients into my diet), and millet.
  If I was perfect, that would be it, but since I´m not, I often eat some milk chocolate for dessert in the evening... =) Before my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I preferred dark chocolate. But then I studied the sugar content of foods, and discovered that dark chocolates include as much sugar as milk chocolates do, although they don´t taste as sweet. And I like it sweet! So I ditched the supposedly more healthy option for the real deal. In addition to fulfilling our energy and nutritional needs, feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction are also important in eating!