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

Our favorite everyday food

Our most often made everyday food is macaroni casserole. I think it’s probably the most often made food in any Finnish family. The boy loves it, it’s easy and fast to make and it’s cheap. The only problem I have with this dish is that it’s not very nutritious. I usually make a side salad with it.

The only thing that can go wrong with this dish is that you don’t add enough salt. Just remember to add salt and other spices and you have a perfect everyday food here.

Writing this post I looked for some help from food.com though the recipe itself is mine.

Ingredients:

1 onion
400 g ground beef
1 tbs oil (for frying)
400 g macaroni (uncooked)
7 dl milk
3 eggs
Spices (salt, pepper, herbs, nutmeg, curry, paprika, whatever you like)

Instructions

  1. Cook the macaroni. (remember to add enough salt to the boiling water)

  2. Heat oil in skillet and brown the ground beef with the chopped onion. Add spices that you like. I usually go with salt, black pepper and some dried herbs.

  3. Preheat oven to 200 c and grease an oven proof casserole dish.

  4. Add the macaroni and meat/onion mixture.

  5. Whisk together milk and eggs. Add spices that you like. I usually use salt, black pepper and curry. Pour this mixture over the macaroni and meat in the casserole. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until the casserole is heated throughout.

Tips!

  • You can add grated cheddar cheese in the casserole before baking it if you like.
  • Sometimes I add grated carrot or chopped zucchini to the meat/onion mixture in skillet but that’s not the traditional way of doing this dish. It’s just my way of adding vegetables.
  • If it lacks taste add more salt and spices next time.
  • My grand mother adds small pieces of butter on top of this dish before putting it in the oven. That adds for taste but makes it less healthy.
  • Serve with ketchup.
  • Traditionally there is grated carrot as a side salad.

 

What we ate at the party

The week before the party was busy. We had invited only 20 guests but with the nanny we made two salmon quiches, spinach and feta quiche, quiche Lorraine, cinnamon rolls, two different kind of cookies and a layer cake. At the table we also had a sandwich cake that my sister made, brownies that my husband (!!) made, a mousse cake from a bakery and carelian pies with spread made of butter and hard boiled eggs.
We actually made two layer cakes but the other one is still in the freezer since we had toooo much everything to eat.
Here are some photos from the party!

Mannamaria

Sauteéd Reindeer for Tuesday evening

I have been eating lots of vegetarian food lately. So much so that it seems like my body is craving for some meat. Today I was going to make spinach pancakes for dinner but when I was starting to make them all I could think of was meat. I looked into the freezer and found a little piece of reindeer meat.

I made sauteéd reindeer, mashed potatoes and lingonberries for dinner. Maybe a bit strange for a Tuesday evening but it was so good and easy to make. I think that I’ve never made reindeer during the week before. Sometimes it’s good to break habits and do what you want. I’m such a rebel.

Mannamaria

Weird cravings

This is mämmi. Mämmi is weird, brown and thick, and before I agreed with most people that the looks and the taste of it are pretty much in line. It’s a seasonal delicacy. You can find it in stores only during Easter time. It’s not sweet nor salty but it has a very strong taste. You have to put lots of sugar and cream on it to be able to eat it.

Some people like to give mämmi to their foreign guests and then laugh when one can see the disgust on the guests’ faces while they’re eating it. I don’t find that funny (I like to give my guests something that I hope they would like) but who am I to judge.

When I was younger I couldn’t eat mämmi. My mother and grand-mother bought it every year and my face turned when I even saw them eating it. Then I grew little older and started to take a couple of spoonfuls if someone put it in front of me. I still said politely no if they asked if I wanted it.

Only a couple of years ago I hadn’t finished a whole portion. Then one year me and my husband bought one small cup to home and shared it. Next year we bought those cups to each of us and the following year a family sized box. This year we have bought already two of those big boxes and Easter is over a month away. It’s weird that I like it so much these days.

Have you changed your mind about some food?

love,

Mannamaria