The wonderfully smelly treat from France

Last weekend I flew off to Paris for a girls long weekend. Ah…what a city. I surely will go there again someday. I loved the atmosphere, the food, the people and the wine.

Of course I could not come back empty handed. The main thing was to get the girls something nice to bring back. I decided to visit the Disney Store and bought them Frozen wallets. The store was absolutely packed with people and I was glad I did not have the girls with me. It was even a struggle for me.

For the adults it’s always harder to buy something. I felt like candy from the airport was just a waist of money and even though I do love a glass of red wine during the weekends I was not going buy wine. I decided to buy cheese. Food is never a bad idea!

CamembertSo if you are not familiar with Camembert cheese than you are in for a surprise. The cheese is delicious but smelly. Especially when the cheese gets a big warm it smells a lot. So we did literally smell on the airplain back home. But when I got home I didn’t just let anyone eat the cheeses straight away. they first needed a trick.

Open the wooden box and take the wrapping off the cheese. Cut off the hat off the cheese.

camembert cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 180 celsius. Put the cheeses back into the wooden boxes. Then chop some garlic and cover the top of the cheese (the one without the hat). Also add some fresh rosemary. I was so happy that I actually had the chance to use my own rosemary for the first time from my own garden. Makes it always a bit more special. And then a splash of good olive oil on top.

Camembert cheese

 

Let the cheese melt in the oven. I had to take them out before 10 minutes were due and they were still a bit hard on the inside. The warm the up quickly is to pop them into the microwave. Did not harm them at all.

Melted camembert cheese

 

Then it was just time to take out the baguette and start dipping.

Camembert cheese

Trust me this was the perfect evening snack. The whole family gathered for this and it lasted very well amazingly for 4 adults and two kids.  Try it. There isn’t a easier treat!

Have a great weekend everyone!

– Alina

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DYI with the Kids: Soft Necklace

Since I do have a craft room full of things that I probably am not even aware of anymore I sometimes surprise myself delightfully with something that I find.

So these little fluffy balls popped up in a basket I had at the back of the shelf….

Fluffy balls

So the girls studied these for sometime while admiring their softness and colors. At some point it all got a little too out of hand and we had to have a search and rescue mission to save the balls all from disappearing. After the balls had been gathered once again into the basket we got down to business.

Making a necklace

1. Tie a knot to a jump ring.
2. String the soft balls.
3. Tie the second jump ring at the end of the balls.

Making a soft necklaceMaking a soft necklace

4. Tie a string to the jump rings. Remember to make sure to make it large enough.

Making a soft necklace

 

5. And you are done! Easy as that.

Making a soft necklace

This was a fun little craft moment for the kids. Especially my eldest liked it since she was given permission to use the needle which always needs a bit of patient and help at the start. Patients is a virtue they say and this is an important thing for all parents to remember.

I do believe that giving your children the opportunity to try new things is vital. That is the only way they will be able to master the skills. Let them sew, climb trees. jump, sing, ride a bike….the list goes on.

And have a craft moment.

– Alina

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Make my wrists beautiful

I love bracelets.  I could make them all day long. Here is a little peek into what I have done.

BraceletThis bracelet is made of these absolutely beautiful agate stones. The stones are 8 mm large and faceted. I also used sterling silver this time.

BraceletBracelet

This bracelet is also made of agate stone and faceted. This is a good example when you compare this to the first bracelet since both of them are made of the same stone. Agate can be found in large variety of colors and shapes. A great stones! This bracelet is also made using sterling silver. The large 12 mm ring with two twisted wires I did myself. I love to make them but it is a very time consuming process that isn’t easy to do with little kids.

BraceletBracelet
Bracelet

In this bracelet I used 1 mm leather cord and smoky quartz, green freshwater pearls, pyrite and charms. I really like the owl charm and I truly think that one cannot have too many charms. It is a fun way to express your ideas and thoughts.

Bracelet

This bracelet is made using red 10 mm coral stones. The great thing about coral is that even though it has been polished to a nice smooth round shape it still has little flaws. This makes it much more interesting. I also used sterling silver in this piece.

BraceletBraceletI used Picasso Jasper stones in this bracelet. The stone is quite beautiful with it’s soft earthly colors. I used sterling silver in this one.

Bracelet Bracelet

In this bralclet I used faceted botswana agate. The stones are quite big measuring from 10 to 14 mm. Once again I used sterling silver in this.

BraceletBraceletThat’s it for today. I just got back from my oh so wonderful trip from Paris and therefore it’s been quiet here. No worries I have not forgotten you readers.

– Alina

 

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May is here

We celebrate Spring in a big way here in Finland. The party starts on the 30th April and ends in the evening of 1st May. We call this Vappu which in english is May Day. It has become a celebration that brings together all ages. If you do happen to plan a trip here, you will surely have fun if you end up visiting us during these two days.

We have certain treats that are a mandatory part of the May Day celebrations and one is doughnuts. I think in the end we bought around 25 doughnuts.

doughnutThe other mandatory part of May Day is on the liquid side. You must have a embarrassing amount of sparkling wine and also the traditional ‘sima’ which is produced  like ginger beer. Underneath you can see a bottle of this sima. We ended up making 16 litres of sima so we’re actually still drinking it. The white hat also plays a important role since it is recieved after you gradute from high school and it is worn through out the May day celebrations.

Sima and sparkling wine

I also thought that I would make something new. Well I guess it really isn’t a new thing but I knew we hadn’t eaten during May Day. I decided to make a stuffed bread. The idea of this that you have a large bread that you can stuff with pretty much anything. I did a vegetable version since I knew that the May Day buffets, brunches etc. would all include a large amount of sausages .

Stuffed bread

This is what I put in:fresh spinach, basil, rocket, tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms, red onion and dijon mustard.

Ingrdients

After covering the bottom of the bread with dijon mustard I just started adding the ingredients. Here is a little peep into the making of the bread.

Stuffing of the bread Stuffing of the bread Stuffing of the breadStuffing of the breadStuffing of the breadStuffing of the bread

After the you have put the bread’s hat on wrap the bread tightly in foil and put something heavy on top. The weight must be around 2 kg at least for it to make a difference. This will help the bread to become compact before eating.

Let the bread sit for a while

You can let the bread sit in the warm for 4 hours or put into the fridge over night. You can then eat it cold or put it in the oven for 15 minutes. I tasted it both ways and I preferred the warm version.Inside of the stuffed bread

 

After May Day had been celebrated it was time to put down the hat and have a last glass of sparkling wine while going through the photos taken during the parties.

Buddha got the hat

Sparkling wine

Have a great day everyone!

– Alina

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Peas, pasta and bacon

Oh it actually doesn’t have to taste good. Just looking at the colors is enough. This pasta is oh so simple but actually I loved it. The idea of making a pesto like mixture from peas and all sorts of fresh herbs is great and it brought the basic pasta to another level with the interesting vibrant color it turn it into as well as the little extra texture it brought to it.

Pea pesto pasta and bacon

 

If you aren’t a fan of peas don’t worry. The crispy bacon and parmesan slices on top does help to make this pasta scrumptious.

RECIPE

400g pasta
170 g bacon

Pea pesto

200 g frozen peas
1-2 dl of fresh basil
1/2 dl grated parmesan
1 table spoon oil
2 table spoon lemon juice
1/2 tea spoon salt
black pepper
1 garlic clove
1/2 dl water where the pasta was cooked

Citrus oil

1/2 dl oil
2 table spoon lemon juice
1 lemon’s zest as slices
1/2 tea spoon sugar
pinch of salt

In addition
Slices of parmesan

  1. Puree the thawed peas, basil leaves, parmesan grate, oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Add the garlic clove. If the puree is too thick you can use the pasta water to dilute it. Remember to keep tasting all the time.
  2. Bake the bacon strips crispy under low heat.
  3. Cook the pasta.At the same time mix the citrus oil ingredients together.
  4. After the pasta has been cooked and drained add the citrus oil to it. Add the pea pesto and the bacon strips. Then add the parmesan slices.

That’s it. enjoy! Have a great weekend everyone. We’re off to the cabin to enjoy the spring!

– Alina

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A few necklaces

 

The past weeks have been quite busy with all little things and I have a feeling that it will only get busier. I’ve been doing all sorts of things but getting to the computer has been a job. I did though get a few long necklaces done.

This first necklace is created using dark blue faceted rondelle agate stones. I had such a hard time photographing the stones . The color of the stones is so eye catching but unfortunately in the end I was not able to photograph it for you.

NecklaceNecklaceNecklace

 

The second necklace is also agate. but the colors are this time different. This necklace surely reminds me of spring and summer.

NecklaceNecklaceNecklace

The last necklace is made of quite a few stones. I love the large stone which is a faceted goldstone. I also used some orange and white jade, carnelian and jasper.

NecklaceNecklaceI hope to write soon and not let all this busy life get to me.

– Alina

 

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Tutorial: Key chain

My key chain broke so I decided to make a new one. It was so fun to make so I must share it with everyone. I created the key chain using old wooden beads that I have a ton lying around.

This is what you are going to need. A cardboard box, string, wooden beads, paints and a paint brush.
Key chain

So you must be wondering what the cardboard box is used for. It is actually for painting the beads. This way you can string the beads and paint them without having to touch them with your fingers at all. Underneath you can see what I did. The length of the strings has to be so long that you can tie it around the box easily.

Key chain

To keep the strings in place I made little cuts to the edge of the box and put the strings to run through them. This way the strings to not move at any point.

Key chain

After painting the beads I left them to dry.

Key chain

After the beads have dried you can take the beads off the stings.

Key chain

Now you can gather your materials for the key chain. I did a very simple piece since this was something my girls could take part in. Well actually we also painted the beads together so that is a very possible craft thing to do with your kids.

For the key chain you’ll need some string (I used 1.5 mm white cotton cord), beads, charms and a lobster swivel clasps.

key chain

Cut approx. 25 cm piece of the cord and string the clasp and the charm.

Key chain

Make a loop after the clasp and the charm. I needed to make two loops on top of each other since the holes in the beads are large. So take that into account when doing this.

Key chain

String the beads.

Key chain

Tie a knot at the end of the beads. Remember to take into account again the size of the beads’ holes. I had to tie two knots.

Key chain

Cut off the excess string. I left a little tail in the end but that is up to you.

Key chain

That’s it. You are done. Oh so easy and fun. Key chainHope your Easter holiday was fun. Ours was at least full of chocolate eggs, bunnies and feathers.

– Alina

 

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Excuse me, but I have green lentils in my soup.

I like to use lentils but I’ve noticed that it needs some practice. They aren’t hard to use at all but remembering to use them is the key. The remembering part is only to do with the fact that it hasn’t been a everyday ingredient in our kitchen before.

green lentil soup

The Green Lentil Soup

A smart cook will soak the lentils over night in cold water. Put them into the fridge. This way the soup will be quick to make the next day.

For 4-5 people
200 g green lentils
1 large onion
1-2 table spoons oil
2-3 tea spoons paprika seasoning
1 liter water + 1-2 stock cubes
2-3 potatoes
1 can (400g) whole tomatoes
approx. 1/2 tea spoons salt
1 bay leaf
1-2 garlic cloves
1-2 table spoons honey
1-2 tea spoons lemon juice
chopped parsley

1. Soak the lentils over night or at least 3-4 hours.
2. Sweat the onions in oil in a big pan. Be careful not to burn them, the onions need to be only soft.
3. season with paprika seasoning.
4. Pour the water and the juice from the tomatoes into the pan. Not yet the tomatoes. add the lentils, seasonings and stock cubes. Do not add the salt yet.
5. Cut the peeled potatoes into cubes.
6. Cook the mixture for 30 minutes and then add the salt.
7. Add the roughly chopped up tomatoes and season the soup with salt, honey and lemon juice. Add some crushed garlic.
8. Keep tasting and seasoning until you are happy. Add the chopped up parsley on top before you serve.
green lentil soup

This soup went down also well with the kids even after they heard what the soup was made of. My eldest especially liked the lentils so don’t be afraid moms to try it out even though your kids might first say yuk!

green lentil soupNext time I’ll hopefully have some spring things coming up since Easter is also here. (Even though it started snowing today here.)

– Alina

 

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Cotton and leather weaved again

I’ve been looking into different weaving a braiding methods and I found this technique a few weeks back. It is easy to make but actually quite slow. The speed depends a lot on what material you are using and the thickness of the cords.

leather and cotton cord braclelets leather and cotton cord braclelets leather cord Cotton cord Cotton cord Cotton cord leather and cotton cord braclelets leather and cotton cord braclelets Cotton cord

Lovely I think. I’ll have try and slip in some metal beads as well next time.

– Alina

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Empty your freezers

Even though it does not yet feel like it summer is here soon and that means that soon our apple trees will be full of apples. A few weeks ago when the first rays of light  started peeping through the clouds i took a look inside our freezer.

Like very year I was faced with large amounts of mushrooms, fruits and berries that we had frozen from last summer and autumn. So this start of the spring will be dedicated to eating all those away so we can once again fill our freezer full of goodies.

So I started with apples…

Apple treat

 

This little easy and quick treat is oh so good. All you need is some apples (frozen or not), butter, butter sugar, whipped cream, cinnamon, white bread.

First some butter into the pan and let it melt. Throw in the copped apples and sugar. Let the apples soften up but not too much.

Divide the apples into serving portions and put the into the fridge to cool.

Crumble the white bread and put them into a hot dry pan. Add sugar and cinnamon. Keep stirring all the time. Once the ingredients have mixed well and it has gotten some color, let the bread crumble cool down. Now whip the cream

take the apples from the fridge and add whipped cream on the apples and then the bread crumble.

That’s it!

Apple treatThe crumble actually was the best part of this treat and if you have some leftovers then use it on some ice cream.

– Alina

 

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