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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This necklace needs only these beads

 

These beads have been with me since 2010. My mother brought them from her last trip to Thailand and since then I have not known what to do with them. That actually does not bother me since I know that I do not use every new bead instantly. It needs some time and some inspiration.

Long necklace

Even though the necklace is simple, I love hoe the colors from the beads pop against the silver and how the chain seems so frail compared to the  large massive beads.

Long necklace2015-01-04-107.54.17Long necklaceLong necklace

The beads themselves are so in harmony that I felt that the necklace was perfect without anything else. The peacefulness that the plain chain brings to these colorful pops of color makes the necklace work.

Long necklace

Hope you weeks bee good.

– Alina

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Brownie cake for the birthday boy

Who doesn’t like brownies? I love brownies and of course the best buddies of this scrumptious treat is vanilla ice cream. So my husband had his birthday a few weeks back and what a great excuse for me to make a cake from ice cream and brownies.

Brownie cake

So the cake turned out fun. I made 20 cm large brownie cakes and in between the cakes I put vanilla ice cream. I also did some brittle using almonds. If you haven’t made brittle yet I really hope you try it out. It is addictive. I then used some chocolate sauce on top.

The brittle is easy to make. This how I made it:

50 g butter
3/4 dl sugar
100g almond chips
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 tablespoons cream

1. Preheat the oven to 200 celsius.
2. Melt the butter in a pot.
3. Once the butter has melted add all the rest of the ingredients.
4. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet.
5. Bake the mixture in the oven for 10 mintues. Keep an eye on the brittle so it will not burn.
6. Once ready take out of the oven and let it cool.

Brownie cake

So the cake was ready but I was missing the candles. No worries. I actually used sparklers!

Brownie cake Brownie cakeThey did create a magical moment and the kids especially loved it. In the end we were left with extremely full tummies and beautiful (and interesting) tulips that reminded us that spring really is just around the corner.

tulips

– Alina

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It definitely required some bling

I had bought a sweatshirt which had these cute little diamond attached to it. So the day came when I had to wash it and after the washing machine was done all the diamonds had fallen off. I was actually quite annoyed but luckly I found a way to upgrade the shirt rather then just complain. This is what I was left with before updating: A glue drop flower.

IMG_0751

Just add bling (and doesn’t every 5 year old girl love a little bling). So I had some cord and sew-on diamonds lying around.

upgrade you sweatshirt

Bling sweatshirt

Bling sweatshirtBling sweatshirtMy girl did love it and I was not surprised. I did go over board a bit but actually I think that in this instance it works. the flashy pink with these diamonds is every little girls dream.

Have a great weekend everyone.

– Alina

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Learning shapes

A nice way to add a bit of secret learning to a fun craft session with the kids is this:

Learning shapes

I gave my daughters some scissors and colorful papers where I had drawn different shapes and let them cut them out.

Learning shapes I then gave them a picture I had drawn and told them to build this house using the shapes they had cut out and a glue stick.

Learning shapes

They managed well. The chimney caused a bit of confusion but no worries. During this cutting and gluing I kept talking about the shapes and sizes. Since my girls do not speak fluent English they were actually quite eager to learn these shapes in English as well. So in the end we used both languages.

When they had finished their houses I gave them some free play time with the left over papers and glue. I’m sure this was the part they enjoyed the most. Let their inner artist out.

Inner artist at play

 

This little craft session is easy to set up and quick to do. Everyone with kids usually has a glue stick, pen, scissors, plain white paper and colored paper at home, so there are no excuses to why we could not do this. So get up and go do some crafts with your kids. They will surely enjoy the moment.

– Alina

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Leather feather

As some of you may have noticed I like to use leather in my jewelry. Last week I was trying to arrange my craft room and I bumped into a large box full of scraps of leather. My mother (luckly) has always saved all kinds of craft materials. Even this box has been in my family for ages just waiting for it to be used.

Leather scraps

Feathers have been popping up everywhere and I really wanted to create some sort of leather feather. I know that the template that I used for these feathers is not the best but as the first leather template I was happy. I’m sure I would have gotten something better if I had not just cut free hand but I was really wanting to get something done quickly.

Leather feather

So these little feathers ended up in this necklace. I used botswana agate, jade and crystal quartz stone and a little cute charm.

Leather feather necklace Leather feather necklace Leather feather necklace

 

I have to sketch a bit next time to get exactly the right feather.

– Alina

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Ginger beer

I’ve only had bad ginger beer. I guess the reason for this is because it isn’t that common here in Finland and therefore the chances of getting good homemade ginger beer is small.

I was going through my recipes last week and I came across this ginger beer recipe. Seemed easy enough and I decide to see if it was just something that I did not like or had I just had bad ginger beer. Note that this includes lemon. I do not know if it is common to use it in ginger beer but I liked the outcome.

Ginger beerGinger beer with lemon

Approx. 3 litres

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 table spoon of grated ginger (I put 1 1/2)
  • 1 1/2 dl lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
  • 2 1/2 dl sugar
  • 3 raisins
  • 2 1/2 liter water
  • 10 g fresh yeast or 5 g dried yeast

1. Grate the lemon zest into a large pan. Peel the ginger and grate as much as you want into the pan. Add the lemon juice, sugar and raisins. Add 1 liter of hand warm water into the pan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the yeast and the rest of the water.

2. Cover the pan with cellophane and leave in the warm for 4-6 hours. Mix a couple of times.

3. When the raisins and the lees have risen the beer is ready to be sieved. Pour the beer through a sieve and a funnel into a clean bottle. If you do not own a funnel then pour the the beer first into a jug and then into the bottles. Fill the bottles so that there is approx. 7 cm space between the beer and the cork.

4. Add a raisin to each bottle. You can keep track of how the carbonic acid is forming by watching the raisins. When the raisin have risen then enough carbonic acid has formed. Screw the corks on tightly and leave them on the table over night.

5. In the morning screw open the corks so the excess acid gets out. Put the bottles into the fridge. The taste of the ginger beer will smooth out and the acidity  will be emphasized. It will be at it’s best after two days. It will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

And for you finnish readers….

WP_20150219_07_51_45_Pro

 

A few notes. they do say that you can watch the raisin raise. This did not happen to me and I thought the beer was ruined. I moved the bottles into the fridge and waited for two days. Still the raisin did not raise. Luckly I did not throw out the drink since the raisin rose when I opened up the bottles and it tasted just fine.

The other thing that I will do differently next time is to use fresh yeast. I’ve always been a bit skeptical of dry yeast and I think that if I had used fresh yeast I would have gotten a bit more acidity. Maybe…

But I’ll use this during out Mayday parties this year. It is a great partner with our trditional Sima drink which I’ll share with you when May arrives.

– Alina

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Spring colors in ceramic beads

I ordered some ceramic beads and I noticed that I was clearing waiting for spring. I left out all the autumn and winter colors.

Ceramic beadsCeramic beadsCeramic beads Ceramic beads Ceramic beadsI created a few bracelets from the beads. I did not get to the yellow yet but that will come soon. I used metal findings and nude colored waxed cotton cord with the ceramic beads.

Ceramic bead braceletCeramic bead bracelet Ceramic bead bracelet Ceramic bead braceletCeramic bead braceletCeramic bead braceletI think I’ll order some more of these beautiful beads after the yellow bracelet is done.

– Alina

 

 

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