Let’s Become Vegetarian

Being ill was not only bad! I had an idea while resting! I’ve told you I’d like to be vegetarian but I’ve had all these excuses: I don’t know how to prepare enough vegetarian meals, I’ve been tired with the twins and haven’t had the strength to look for new recipes and everyday meals.

I’ve been a master in inventing new excuses.

A week ago I watched the documentary ‘What the Health’. I’d watched Cowspiracy earlier. They are not entirely applicable to an EU country and they are not the only reason why I’d like to be vegetarian. But that documentary reminded me of this dream or goal of becoming vegetarian I’ve had for a long time. My family hasn’t eaten lots of meat but I’d like to leave it all.

So I decided. Enough with excuses. Now is as good time as any to try this out!

Since October is ‘meat free month’ I decided to take part and started this challenge already a week ago. I’ll try to be vegetarian until the end of October and then see how it went and how I want to continue.

Rules that I’ve set for myself:

  • Buy and prepare only vegetarian food at home. At this point eggs and dairy are ok. I’ll try leaving them later.
  • Vegetarian food only at home. My son and husband can eat whatever they want at daycare and work but I will only eat vegetarian dishes and prepare them at  home. They won’t eat meat at home either.
  • Seafood is ok occasionally. Just make sure that it’s msc certified.
  • I’ll continue until the end of October and then see how it went, and decide whether I want to continue.

What I have prepared during this first week:

  • Lentil soup
  • Tomato pasta with pulled oats
  • Vegetarian hamburgers
  • Spinach and feta cheese pie
  • Tomato and chevre pie
  • Pesto pasta

In a restaurant I’ve had

  • Sushi
  • Pan-fried noodles with tofu (this one was the only hard one! I almost chose beef and broke my challenge already but luckily went with tofu after all.)
  • Smoothie (a big, lunchy one)

My son hasn’t noticed anything different in my cooking and that’s also my goal. That the meals are so tasty he wouldn’t notice anything. This first week has been surprisingly easy. Now I’m trying to invent new ideas for the next week.

Please share your favorite vegetarian recipes! I really need all tips I can get.

And join me to this challenge if you want!

Mannamaria

Everyday meal ideas

It often seems that all blogs and cook books are full of ideas of what to eat during the weekend, or when friends come over or you’re having a party. In my opinion cooking is easy during the weekend when you have more time.

I’m always struggling with the everyday meals. I feel like I’m making the same dishes week after week. I don’t seem to find new ideas for dishes that wouldn’t take more that 30 minutes of my time preparing. With two babies that really is the maximum time I can spend on cooking in the evening.

My criteria for a good everyday meal are:

  • Shouldn’t take more that 30 minutes to make. Some days I can only use 10-15 minutes.
  • Preferably a big dish that we can eat two days in a row. Soups are always a good idea!
  • As healthy as possible.
  • Vegetarian dish is always a good idea. I’d be vegetarian if I knew how to cook more vegetarian dishes.

Yesterday I made Janssonin kiusaus or Jansson’s frästelse or Janssons Temptation. It’s one of those dishes I always forget that exists, then I make many of them in a short period of time and then I forget it again.

It is not healthy or vegetarian but it only takes about 5 minutes to put together and tastes delicious. My son loves it. The instructions are at the bottom of this post. Traditionally it’s served with beet root but since it’s quite heavy meal itself I like to make a green salad with it. Sometimes I don’t have time to put the salad together so I just chop some vegetables to the side.

What is your favorite everyday dinner? I welcome all ideas!

Mannamaria

 

I used a large lasagna pan for this one.

 

When I’m making this during the week I buy the ready made potato&onion mix from the freezer. During the week end, with more time, I peel and chop the potatoes to sticks myself.

Here are the instruction if you want to try. You can also check allrecipes.com though their recipe is a little different.

Jansson’s Temptation

You’ll need

1,2 kg potatoes and 2 yellow onions OR

1,5 kg peeled and chopped to sticks potatoes and onion mix from the freezer.

2 cans of sprat/ European anchovy fillets (2x125g/80g)

2 dl double cream

2 dl whole milk

Directions 

  • Preheat the oven to around 200C/400F/Gas 6
  • Layer 500 g of potato and onion mix in the bottom of the ovenproof dish. Then top with the first can of anchovy, the next layer is 500 g potato and onion mix again and then the second can of anchovy fillets. Top with the last 500 g of potatoes and onions.
  • Mix cream, milk and the sprat juice from one of the anchovy cans and pour it over the dish.
  • Bake for about an hour. After one hour the dish is cooked but it’s not mushy as I like it. I like to keep it in the oven for 2 or even 3 hours but turn off the oven at some point. If I’m busy and I usually am… I take the dish out after one hour, give everyone a portion and then put it back to oven.

Ooh, Shiny!

I shared some of these photos before but here’s a story behind them. Sea view is something that always caughts my eyes. Commuting to work I see the sunrise over the sea every morning and I never get bored to that. I have taken hundreds of similar photos of the sea from the same bus stop. I get excited about the sea and the sunrise, take photos and then realize that I have taken the same photos over and over again. 😀

Jotkut näistä kuvista jaoinkin jo aiemmin mutta nyt tulee myös stoori niiden takaa. Tykkään merestä. Jään aina tuijottamaan merinäköalaa, jos sellaisen huomaan. Työmatkallani ihailen merta ja vuodenajasta riippuen myös auringonnousua joka aamu enkä kyllästy siihen koskaan. Mulla on varmasti satoja samanlaisia kuvia siitä auringonnoususta siltä samalta bussipysäkiltä. Ensin mä innostun siitä, napsin kuvia ja hetken päästä tajuan, että mulla on jo niitä samoja kuvia vaikka kuinka paljon.

When I get to decide a place for a date night or a hangout with friends I always choose a place by the seaside.

Sillon kun on mun vuoro päättää paikka treffeille tai voin vaikuttaa ystävien illanviettopaikkaan, valitsen aina merenrantapaikan.

Little while back we had a date with my husband and I chose this place called Nokkalan Majakka in Espoo. First we had dinner and while we were finishing our drinks we saw a small ferry come to the pier. We asked if we could get to some island with the ferry but they said we would sure get to some island but he was going for his last circle around the islands so if we went to some island we wouldn’t get back.

Vähän aikaa sitten me oltiin miehen kanssa treffeillä Nokkalan Majakassa Espoossa. Ensin syötiin ja just kun oltiin lopettelemassa juomia, huomattiin että laituriin tuli sellainen pieni saaristovene. Me kysyttiin, että pääseekö sillä vielä jonnekin saareen ja saatiin vastaus, että pääsee toki mutta enää ei pääse pois, koska hän oli tekemässä viimeisen lenkkinsä.

Since it was a date, we were not busy and we had already had our dinner, so we hopped on to the ferry and got a sightseeing island tour for free. (Though that might have been an error)

Me oltiin treffeillä, joten kiirettä ei ollut, oltiin jo syöty, joten hyppäsimme lauttaan ja lähdimme saarikierrokselle. Se ei edes maksanut mitään. (Joskin siinä saattoi myös tapahtua virhe)

I love (and miss) that kind of small ex tempore things we used to do before kids. Here are some photos from our sightseen tour!

Mä niin tykkään (ja samalla ikävöin) tän tyyppisiä pieniä ex tempore juttuja, joita me tehtiin ennen lapsia usein. Tässä hieman kuvia meidän turistikierrokselta.

This is my take on to the weekly photo challenge.

Greetings! Terkuin

Mannamaria


Summer parties

This summer has been great. We have enjoyed it every day to the fullest. The weather has not been great every day but somehow we’ve managed to keep the atmosphere warm and happy. And luckily it hasn’t rained much. Maybe it’s the kids. They are always happy to play outside. No matter how the weather is.

Last week end we went to a birthday party. Little girl turned two years old. My son got to choose a present for her. We bought a firefighter’s helmet and a story book about rescue vehicles. 😀 She loved them.

The party was beautiful. They had done well with decorations and catering. Our kids enjoyed it. And the birthday girl enjoyed it. The kids played well together.

No we are at the countryside but I’ll write you more about that later.

Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

Rhubarb – opportunity or challenge?

This year the spring was so cold that the rhubarb stalks were ready for picking only last week. I made a big rhubarb pie with my favorite recipe and invited people for a coffee.


I love rhubarb pie. Rhubarb is the first thing to harvest from the garden in the spring and in a way it symbols the beginning of the summer, and garden work, for me. Reminds me that “hey, we’re growing here in the garden. Please remember to take care of us!”


This is only our second summer living in a house so gardening doesn’t come naturally to me. I really don’t have a green thumb. I’m trying but with twins I don’t have enough time to look after the garden. Maybe next year it will be better.

The only problem I have with rhubarb is that rhubarb pie is the only thing I can make of it. And I can’t make that many pies ’cause somebody has to eat them too.


We don’t use juices and rhubarb jam sounds peculiar. My mother-in-law recommended making a kissel but I’m not too excited about that either.


For one or two weeks I’m really excited about rhubarb but then I leave it to the corner of the garden to wait for the next summer. Poor little thing. It deserves better but I don’t know what to do with it.

Do you like rhubarb? What do you make of it?

Mannamaria

Starting The Baby Food Factory

The twins are 4 months old and it’s time to start thinking about solid food. With the older boy I waited until he was 6 months old but this time we’re ready earlier.

Stage 1 baby food is soft cooked and thinly puréed. This food is also lowest on the allergy scale and should be those veggies that are easiest digested by tiny tummies. You should start by introducing single ingredient at a time and 4 days apart with introducing new ingredients. (1)

This time I have started by making sweet potato and carrot purées. The babies will start tasting with such small amounts that I froze these self made purées as ice cubes. This way it’s easy to take one cube at a time and later I can mix and match different flavors.

Our girl is definitely ready for the purées. She seems excited to see the spoon and opens her mouth nicely. She doesn’t seem to get any stomach problems and is as happy as a baby can be.

Our boy on the other hand has always had problems with eating and he has had quite much stomach problems. I’m not sure if trying some solids has made it worse or not but with him I’ll take it slower. Trying even smaller amounts first and introducing new ingredients slower.

Next I think that I’ll try avocado (not frozen obviously!). Then maybe some fruit.. plum? I’m glad the summer is ahead and we have lots of fresh veggies available and even more to come. 🙂

Please share your tips and thoughts. 🙂

Have a nice week end!

Mannamaria

Salt in Children’s Food

On the other day our nanny had cooked us some meals while looking after the twins. On her way out she said “by the way, I didn’t add any salt hence the boy can eat this. It’s not good for him to have salt in his food”. 

And she really hadn’t added salt or any other spices. In my opinion the food lacked flavor.

I’m not sure if it’s good for the boy though.

On the positive side there is no risk of him getting too much salt. I know that eating lots of salt is not good for anyone. Especially not for children. And if I don’t add salt to the food I cook he won’t get used to using it later in his life. Right?

While cooking I try to keep the risks in mind. Salt is one of the main reasons why I don’t give the boy french fries for example. 

But I also want to make good food and I don’t want to make different versions for the kids and for the parents. Or different dishes for them and for us. And I would like to make our everyday dinners nice experiences for everyone. I do believe that salt and other spices are part of good food and therefore this experience.

So I added a pinch of salt and pepper to the food that the nanny had made before serving it to the family. I wasn’t sure I did the right thing though.

What do you think? Can a 2-year-old eat the same food as adults? Do you use less salt when cooking for the family?

Mannamaria