Well hello 2018 & hello snow (again!)

We awoke to this!

The last hours of 2017 were not typical celebrations in this house. Some idiot let off fireworks early* on Saturday night and spooked poor Noa (and me a little, if truth be told). As the night wore he retreated to a cool dark corner. Perry joined him just before midnight also. So we three sat there in the dark as the fireworks exploded all around us…

This morning he didn’t want to leave the house at all, fortunately he did and by the time we returned he was quite sparky. Hopefully he’ll be back to normal in no time, although this breed have quite a long memory so we’ll just have to wait and see.

*Currently the law in Finland allows for personal use sale of fireworks which can be fired between the hours of 1800 – 0200 (? Need to check this!) on December 31st. The majority follow this… except for those few idiots who think its funny to fire rockets early…

What day is it?

Status

The calendar tells me that tomorrow is Wednesday.

My brain is telling me that tomorrow is Monday.

Anybody else suffering from this calendar confusion?

Mobile blogging

Whilst cleaning out my personal e-mail account this morning, I stumbled across a message imploring me to check out the new and improved “WordPress for Android”.

So I downloaded it and it’s already passed an unofficial test. I left a comment on a blog post earlier this morning and when Andy answered me, first came a little pling and then the WordPress logo was in my notifications area. 

Now apparently the photo / media posting is improved. Seeing as I wasn’t using the app earlier I’m not sure what will be better. 

Here goes!

Motonet spare parts guy

This happy guy is imploring me to buy jobs for Finland.

Certainly adding pictures seems to be easy enough… just not sure how to get the text under the picture easily.

Six Word Saturday: 25.2.2017

Status

We have a well travelled dog!

Perry making himself comfortable on the bench / luggage rack 😏

Doggy day out!

Image

This time we found a trail that Perry and Noa could come along too 👌

May I have this dance?

Status

It started with dance practice before Christmas. Built up to a tuxedo fitting in the new year, followed by an invite from the school. The final touches were a new pair of dress shoes, collecting the suit and coordinating proud parents to be at the dance hall at the right time.

Presenting wanhojentanssit! Mr. 17 is now a ‘senior’ even though his school year still has a few more months to go.

10 dances and a few speeches – it was all over very quickly! I will admit to feeling a little weepy as they all entered the hall. The girls all looked beautiful, the boys all looked handsome and they looked like they were having fun as they danced! Because the school space is not big enough, they have to dance in another school and even then had to split the class into two dances.

The class of 15

The class of 15 – well half of them!

There was a hakutanssi – where the students get to pull a parent or family member to the floor and so lucky me got to dance with my extremely tall son!

Then it was all over far too soon, although there will be a repeat tomorrow when Mr. 17’s school joins a few others for a giant dance. Stay tuned for pictures from the ice rink 😉

Fun times!

Fun times!

Monday mutterings # 04

More specifically – diet labels. I lost a bet whilst we were on holidays and the price I paid was cooking a week of vegan dinners.

I’ve managed to surprise myself and am now embracing eating less meat. My recipe bank is filling with new recipes – it’s so much more fun than following the same old recipes and just substituting the meat away. Summer will be more challenging I think, as we grill (meat) quite often. Maybe I can call myself a ‘winter vegan’. If you think such a thing could not exist, read on!

I was sitting in the hairdressers this afternoon flicking through one of January’s magazines when I came across an interesting article. Actually article is quite generous, it was more like a side bar. In it were listed three types of alternative vegans. Now, I didn’t realise that this was something you could turn on and off – apparently you can!

1st up – the home grown vegan. This version eats a vegan diet only at home and then resorts to eating meat / dairy etc. when out of the house. What’s the point? It doesn’t encourage the restaurant trade to cater to vegans and encourages the individual not to eat at home. Pass.

Milk alternative vegan is the next one – this is just swapping the milk in your coffee and cereal for a plant based alternative. Now I drink my coffee black, so that’s a fail right there, and I mix my breakfasts up – yoghurt and muesli one day, porridge another and then maybe toast. My impact on the dairy industry will be quite limited there.

The final alternative put forward is as ludicrous as the earlier options. You can be the 6 o’clock vegan! Six pm becomes a line in the sand. It’s either the time when you revert to a normal diet or you can only eat vegan after this time.

Why can’t people just eat in moderation (except for bacon, because you know – bacon. Or peanut butter or chocolate or oops… Side-tracked) and forget about the blinking labels.

Now that I am a winter vegan (i.e. only in winter time) here is the latest dinner: Vietnamese noodle soup (quite yummy and spicy it was).

Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Noodle Soup

 

Clear skies!

Image

Night photography is not something I’ve mastered yet, so please take my word for it when I say that we are enjoying cloudless skies night and day here.

Sunshine and snow make great partners and put a little zip into your step. For some this in an upside 🙂 others are not so excited. For me, I like it when the temperature drops to minus double digits, morning walks start to sound like excursions on top of polystyrene! The sea close to our home is starting to look safely frozen and good for walking on. I’ll put money on people skiing on the frozen sea tomorrow. While the ice fishermen have been out there for a while, I tend to wait until there have been many days of decent freezing weather before I venture out there. At least the dogs will have some decent free roaming time!

This week the temperature dropped once the cloud cover disappeared. From a balmy -2 (celsius) on Sunday to a brisk -13 (Celsius) tonight (Tuesday, February 7th at 21:15!). While it’s really nice for sledding and skiing, snowman construction at this temperature sucks – the snow is too powdery and no good. At least the natural skating rinks will stay in good shape while it’s so cold!

Instant ice rink - just add water

Instant ice rink – just add water

Night photography attempt # 1 (in a snow storm)

Night photography attempt # 1 (in a snow storm)

 

Six Word Saturday: 4.2.2017

Status

Rogue 1, followed by Japanese dinner

 

Tuesday Tastes 04/2017

or Creamy cauliflower soup (in 20 minutes!)

In August 2015, the food hall (Herkku) of Stockmann’s department store introduced their 20 minute meals *. The idea is pretty simple, 3 recipes per week and one dedicated refrigerator & shelf with ALL of the ingredients you need to make these three dishes.

The 20-minute meal section, Itis Stockmann

The 20-minute meal section, Itis Stockmann

The beauty of the recipes is that they really are ready in 20 minutes! One favourite that I have made on a few occasions is the creamy cauliflower soup with crispy bacon. Now as previously mentioned, we’ve taken a bit of a vegetarian / vegan turn in our diet. So some substitution is required. Following is the recipe with my substitutions in brackets!

INGREDIENTS – serves 3 nicely as a main meal, 4 or more as a starter
1 kg cauliflower
1 litre chicken (vegetable) stock
salt, black pepper
2 dl cream (oat cream)
1 pkt bacon (100 g nuts** – dry roasted if possible)
TO SERVE
Rye bread, cheese, tomato (paprika/pepper/capsicum to replace cheese)
RECIPE
1. Bring stock to boil. Cut cauliflower into florets, and add to stock. Cook until cauliflower is soft (about 12-15 minutes) and add cream.
2. Puree soup, season with salt and pepper.
3. Fry bacon to until crispy, remove from pan and use paper towel to dry bacon of any extra fat. (If nuts have not been roasted previously, heat fry pan to high, add nuts and turn heat down, tossing so they don’t burn!)
4. Serve with bacon bits (nuts), bread, tomato & cheese (paprika) slices.

Creamy cauliflower soup with nuts

Creamy cauliflower soup with nuts

* Link is in Finnish.
**Next time I use nuts I think I may chop them first, as they tended to sink in the bowl 🙂