Puppy love bento

February 7, 2012

Puppy love bento

February has arrived! And inspired by a sweet Valentine´s card my girls received today from their great-grandparents, I made a bento with the love theme ^_^.

Contents: Iri-dofu (tofu scramble), mini plum tomato, steamed broccoli, nectarine slices, mandarine orange and a cute cup (ありがとう M!) with carrot sticks and red grapes. The brown puppy is made with rice mixed with shoyu and the white one is a plain onigiri with nori details. *SMOOOOOCH*

Puppy love bento

Pikkusiili said I should have put more ketchup on the puppy´s cheek, because it was too “pale”. Did she mean no blushing enough? XD


Taikataikina - no cook salt play dough

Ah yes… some friends have been asking how are we doing with all the news about the severe winter in Europe. We are doing fine :), there is indeed plenty of snow and some very cold days… I guess we are used, it doesn’t bother us so much.

When the girls can’t go outside to play we try to do some activities at home. They got mini baking equipment toys on Christmas from my in-laws and grandmother taught them to make salt play dough to use with the stuff.

I made the dough again, it is a very easy no-cook recipe. So simple but surely delivered a few hours of entertainment to my daughters! Our “fake bakery” was a success then ^_^.

Taikataikina / no cook salt play dough

adapted from here . Taikataikina means “magic dough” also called suolataikina in Finnish (suola=salt, taikina=dough)

  • 6 dl wheat flour (about 3 cups)
  • 3 dl salt (11/2 cup)
  • 3 dl warm water (300ml , warm enough to dissolve the salt)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • food coloring if desired

Combine the salt and flour in a mixing bowl. The coarser the salt, the more the granulous effect.

Make a well in the dry mixture and gradually add the water, kneading until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Add the vegetable oil and combine everything again.

For the colored dough, I divided the neutral dough into 4 pieces and added food coloring (red, blue and yellow) to each, kneading until getting an even color. For the other colors, I just let the girls mix the basic balls and have fun with the discoveries.

While playing I recommend covering the unused dough with plastic because it tends to dry very fast.

The salt dough can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Taikataikina - no cook salt play dough

Happy week friends!

This post was written by karaimame exclusively for Acquiring Taste. All writing, images and other materials in this blog remain the property of Acquiring Taste and cannot be used without permission.



Chicken stir fry bento

I made these speedy bentos for the girls today. Not much cuteness factor but they were happy to see the little tomato ladybugs. I must admit you, results are not so good when you are in a hurry…

Thanks everyone who had asked about our flu/cough/sickness. We really appreciated the well wishes ^^. Girls are much better, coughing once and a while, so I (almost) consider them all healthy again.

As we got better, I could finally go out and check the fruits and veggies nearby. Happy to find good clementines… they were juicy and sweet… my last purchase was a total failure (dry with that yuck-flavor). Looking forward to Spring and the fresh produce it brings…

The contents of the boxes: chicken stir fry with mixed vegetables and noodles (I usually put a handful of cashew nuts but I forgot this time :/. Pikkusiili is a huge fan of nuts ^_^ ),  lettuce, raw baby-carrots, cherry tomato ladybugs with nori details, dark grapes and clementines.

AHA! So you thought I don´t “obento” anymore ;). I can surprise you sometimes :P.

Talking about bentos…

As I mentioned before, me and my friends in the bento community all over the world have come together to establish a fundraising event for the Japanese quake victims, what we call “Bento4Japan“.

In 9 days of its operations we managed to raise $2000 (so far), which makes me extremely happy and thankful to all people involved. Contributions and bids on our bento auctions have been exceptionally good and we still keep going on. For european friends who cannot bid for the gorgeous bento gear offered on ebay, we have a raffle available for you to participate. Please take a look if you have time ^^.

Another thing…

Actually… it is a favor I ask. Everyone knows I´ve been following the news about the earthquake in Japan and the devastating results that came after it.

I try to get as much information as I can, reading news mostly (I am not much a tv-person anyways) and I noticed there have been many absurd articles, here and there. Some texts tend to emphasize topics in such way that lead to terrible misunderstandings.

Maki from Just Hungry/Just Bento wrote a very good message to the bento community, pointing out ways how we can help Japan, not only by donating… but also, by keeping our minds open for learning and educating ourselves. I explain… with so much doubtful perspectives and sensationalism, it is quite easy to fall on hysteria and misinformation.

Please head to her blog and read the message. It serves not only to the bento community, but for everyone. We need to keep rational (and reasonable, right?)  ;)


This post was written by karaimame exclusively for Acquiring Taste. All writing, images and other materials in this blog remain the property of Acquiring Taste and cannot be used without permission.



Red lentils and carrots soup

September 23, 2010

Red lentils and carrots soup

Thursday is the pea soup day in Finland, habit inherited from our neighbor Sweden when the country still belonged to the Swedish Realm. The tradition might have come in the Christian era, as a preparation for fasting on Friday.

I wanted to make pea soup today but I wasn’t feeling so well ( I am having this upset stomach since yesterday night ).  Due to the heaviness of the pea soup meal I thought it is a better idea to skip it and have a lighter soup instead.

This soup I made today was a success. Mr. mies liked a lot and the girls gobbled two portions of it. Pure vegetables only ^_^  ( score! )

Red lentils and carrots soup

Finnish ingredients I used in parentheses.

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5 medium carrots, chopped
  • one big onion, chopped
  • one garlic clove,  peeled
  • 1 l vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 dl dried red lentils ( dl is the standard measure used in Finland. About 3/4 cup )
  • salt and white pepper – as per taste
  • 2 dl cream ( ruokakerma ) – 1 dl for the soup and 1 dl to serve
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • chopped parsley to serve

Soak the lentils before chopping the vegetables. Heat oil in a big pan, add the carrots, onion and cook until lightly browned and tender.  Drain the lentils and let dry in a sieve.

Add the vegetable broth, the garlic ( yes, the whole garlic, it will be removed in the end ) and let the carrots cook , about 5 minutes. Add the lentils and cook 10 minutes until soft.

Remove the garlic and discard. Puree the soup using a blender ( I used a hand blender straight to the pan ), add 1 dl of cream and let heat (but not boil ). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add few drops of lemon juice to the remaining cream ( it won’t curd, just get a bit tangy ).

Before serving , pour a swirl of the lemon cream and sprinkle parsley on top. ( I used dried parsley but the fresher the better )

Red lentils and carrots soup

My notes about the recipe:

Since my stomach is sensitive at the moment, I didn’t add much of any spices. I suggest to add grated ginger or cumin for a flavor kick. Plain yogurt is a good substitute for the cream on top but I didn’t have it home.

You can omit the cream from the whole recipe. I added because I had it in fridge and I wanted to “smooth” the taste to make the soup appealing to the kids too.