December 22, 2012
Only this weekend for Christmas!!!
I couldn’t write much on the blog since my post about the Advent Calendar… life becomes quite hectic in the holidays season… right? ;)
Well… all I wanted today was to wish you very heartwarming Holidays and a Merry Happy Christmas (with my troop of silent snowmen >_<)!!
Hyvää joulua & onnellista uutta vuotta 2013 :)
November 29, 2012
Christmas is around the corner! And nothing is more exciting than counting down the days for Christmas with an Advent Calendar right?
Keeping the tradition I crafted a new one this year too, for something unique, special and interesting :).
Well, at a first glance, it looks complicated and without much resemblance to an Advent Calendar…
The idea started from those socks I made a couple of years ago (to refresh your memory: each day my daughters would find a paper with an image inside the mini socks showing where I placed the small gift-of-the-day). My oldest daughter is a a first grader now and husband suggested I could make some type of riddle for each day, to practice her reading and calculating skills (yea, we are such nerds…).
So how to do that in a sane way? Inventing a game of course! More like a letter puzzle (hangman anyone?).
2012 Advent Calendar – Letter Puzzle game
Each day my girls will receive one envelope (numbered from 1 to 24) containing a card with a question and a letter-sticker. Simple math problems or matching games to practice letters and words. I added couple of “easy” ones for my 5 yo daughter too.
“How many (snowflakes)?”
“Is the image a : skier, skater or runner?”
“How many syllables are in the word snowman?”
Solving the question of the day will show them where to glue the sticker-letter in the puzzle display board. By completing the diagram they will be capable to read the “mysterious sentence” : The present (the Advent Calendar big gift) is hidden at grandpa´s place (written in Finnish conveniently using 24 elements :)
We thought that getting a “big” gift instead of little small things each day is as well fun. Besides, a “pre” Christmas present is not that bad (stand the wait for Santa!!) and everyone can enjoy it together. The gift is a board game to be played on Christmas Eve ^_^.
- And! To deliver the envelopes, a Christmas mailbox I crafted using an empty cereal box and red card stock. Awesome isn´t it? The front door is attached with magnets (Oh… I am so happy with the result!). Maybe my daughters will find some treats there too… who knows? ;)
For now, fingers crossed the girls will enjoy this year´s Advent Calendar. Poor little ones to have such mad mad loony mother … >.<
Happy December friends!
PS. Isn’t that polka dot fabric tape the cutest? ha!
November 6, 2012
We got our oven door fixed today! Yay! (Hmmm…if you don’t already know, the glass door of our oven went into pieces a month ago. So weird. )
It took quite a while… The glass replacement had to be ordered and the repairing service was schedule for this morning, lunch time.
Knowing I couldn’t cook or use the kitchen properly, I prepared bentos for the whole family, wisely using some “extras” from last night´s dinner ^_^ (thumbs up for leftovers!)
Contents of the boxes (for my girls): lettuce, cucumber slices, mini plum tomato, mini carrots, steamed broccoli, strawberries, red grapes and pork schnitzel. Onigiri polar bear head with nori details, catchup ears and cheeks and a pack of furikake.
My husband´s bento: plain onigiri, pork schnitzel with tonkatsu sauce, steamed broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, kimchi and moyashi (bean sprouts) aemono (with ponzu sauce, lemon juice and sesame oil dressing). A juicy strawberry and grapes.
Hah! The onigiri needed to be rearranged so I could close the lid :P.
October 30, 2012
… and I am back!! (Well, sort of)
Yes. My writings on this blog are a bit random. Maybe I can get into the rhythm again? Perhaps not (my moods to blame!). Yea! Someday.
I am weird.
For now, let´s see what brings me here this time ;)
My daughter´s school is having a Halloween party this week and I committed myself to make something for the bake sale. To be sincere, this is our first Halloween party while living in Finland and I had no clue of what people eat there. The only thing I was sure is that there would be tons of cupcakes and tray bakes (bringing more’d be definitely boring!).
I decided for size-wise mini cheesecakes. No fuzz for cutting slices and just perfect to carry easily to the party.
BUT IT IS HALLOWEEN! Hello?
hmm… the decoration! Oh gosh, cupcakes are so much nicer to decorate with spooky touches! After brainstorming (uh, you certainly don’t want to see me doing that. Hubs says I have lightning clouds on top of my head. Every time) I came to an idea when I thought about the bilberry sauce that goes with the cheesecakes. Hmmm… yummy blood clots (eeeek)… topped with eyeballs. Just enough creepy!
Mini Baked Cheesecakes for Halloween
adapted from a recipe posted already here
Makes 24 individual cheesecakes
For the crust:
- 300 g Digestive biscuits, finely crumbled
- 140 g butter, melted (I used HYLA, low lactose)
For the cheese filling:
- 400 g cream cheese, full fat, softened
- 200 ml cream (I used HYLA, low lactose)
- 100 g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- bilberry jam (I used organic)
- round shaped white candies. I used sugar coated snowballs Toffee bonbons (toffee pallot / lumipallot)
- food decorating pens (edible markers): red, blue and green
- black marzipan
Line 24 holes of two muffin pans with muffin cases.
Finely crush the biscuits in a strong freezer plastic bag. Add the melted butter to the biscuit crumbs and “knead” until well combined. Note that you can use the plastic as a mixing vessel (no dirty dishes yet!). Alternatively, use a food processor to crush the biscuits and mix the butter.
Divide the crust mixture evenly among cases pressing firmly down with your finger or the back of a spoon. Set the pans aside while making the filling.
Beat the cream cheese and sugar in an electric mixer until it gets smooth and creamy. Don´t overdo it otherwise you will incorporate too much air into the mixture and it will “puff” in the oven. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Add lemon juice and cream and mix again.
Pour the filling evenly among cases.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before storing in the fridge.
Cheesecakes are ready to serve when they are completely set and cold.
Making the “eyes”:
Simply draw/paint the white candy balls with the edible pens to depict eyes (green/blue for the iris and red for the arteries/veins) . For the pupil I used a tiny ball made with black marzipan, mostly because my black edible pen ended (*lol*)
Horrific? Eye popping! (yuck)
Before taking the cheesecakes to the school I added about one teaspoon of bilberry jam to each cheesecake and decorated with one toffee “eye”.
June 25, 2012
Yet another month almost to its end… Summer is going so fast!!
I usually make pancakes every Sunday for brunch but last weekend I was feeling a bit bored about the regular ones and decided for something more “sophisticated” : waffles! (HA! Not that chic but hey, they are more troublesome to make.. right?)
And for the toppings… I generously covered them with fresh juicy strawberries and syrup, just in time for June´s #twitterfoodparty ! This month´s theme is our beloved all-time-favorite-summer-fruit: strawberry ^_^ (Finnish strawberries are delicious!)
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, similar to this recipe
Yield 8-12 servings, according to your waffle iron
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar (the recipe calls for two tbsp but I put less)
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, yolks separated
- 1 3/4 cups milk (I used without lactose)
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
In another bowl or jug, mix the milk, egg yolks, butter and vanilla.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Combine the milk mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened (the batter should still be slightly lumpy). Fold the egg whites to the batter gently.
Pour 1 cup of batter onto grids of a preheated, lightly greased waffle iron machine. Bake according to manufacturers directions.
When done (golden and crispy), lift waffle off grid (I use chopsticks ^_^)
Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with your favorite jam, fresh fruits and syrup
Check my friends´ contribution for this virtual potluck by looking for the hashtags #twitterfoodparty #twitterstrawberryparty on twitter and visiting the Flickr pool dedicated to this happening. Join us too, it is fun!
Summer time here, yay! That means… my kids are home 24-7… trying to keep the girls busy and entertained is driving this mama crazy ;)
Oh well… I am trying to enjoy the vacations too (ahahah, *lol*)… not much time/subject for blogging…
Aren´t these two friends lovely? I crafted them for a very sweet friend of mine (and her BFF <3). The big teddy bear is crocheted with my own pattern and I added a little Swarovski heart crystal pendant to his ribbon lace. The little buddy was needle felted with wool felt and I built a little charm from it (and forgot to take a picture!).
Must say… I was obsessed with needle felting a month ago after making my daughter´s preschool staff thank-you gifts. The results are always so fuzzy! Uncontrollable wool wanting to go against the shape I want! Grrrrrrr.
(Little thank-you gifts: mobile charm with bear faces)
I was very happy to create all of these and it was double joyful to hear my sweet friend liked the teddy bear I sent her :).
(wish I could be as tall as you!! =^o^= )
Hope you are having happy Summer days!
June 1, 2012
The #bacontwitterparty was last monday and I was so busy this week I couldn’t post the recipe of my entry… as usually, you can check everyone´s contribution for this virtual potluck by checking the hashtags #twitterfoodparty #twitterbaconparty on twitter and taking a look at the Flickr pool dedicated to this fun happening!
This is a very easy recipe to make if you have everything at home, I had some frozen puff pastry and I thought it´d be a good idea to use it in this savory recipe.
Egg and bacon little pasties – Muna-pekonipasteijat
Recipe from the Finnish cooking magazine Maku 4/2003
Yields 12 little pasties
- 1 package (500g) ready puff pastry, thawed if from freezer
- 120g back bacon (fileepekonia , use streaky bacon if you don’t have it)
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 50 g chive cream cheese
- 1 tsp chopped thyme (I added chopped fresh oregano too)
- cracked black pepper
- 1 beaten egg to brush the pasties before baking
- poppy seeds
Heat oven to 225C. Fry the bacon in a non-stick pan over a medium heat until it gets crispy. Drain the excess fat on kitchen paper towels and chop into small pieces.
Chop roughly the boiled eggs inside a medium bowl using a knife or a fork. Add the cream cheese, bacon, thyme and mix well. Season with black pepper.
Unroll the pastry and with a rolling pin, roll out until it’s large enough to cut out 12 square pieces of pastry ( approximately 10cmx10cm). My puff pastry comes already in rectangular shapes, needing only to divide in the middle to achieve equal square shapes. Lift onto a baking sheet.
Spoon the filling into the middle of each square. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg wash, then bring them up to the middle, pinching with the back of a fork to make a triangular pasty. Brush the surfaces with the egg, sprinkle poppy seeds, then bake for 15 mins or until golden.
Leave to cool on a rack and serve.
The pasties can be eaten as appetizers, snacks, brunch/breakfast or a quick lunch with salad. Complemented by a fresh fruit portion it makes a neat filling for a bento box ^_^. Delicious even cold!