Adventures await

Friends – I am still alive! Almost a year without writing here, since I have been (pretty inactively) writing elsewhere. But now it’s time to rise from my ashes and face new adventures! I have booked flights to my next destination, so I feel like I have something to share again. Not that life in Helsinki has been boring, no way! So much has happened during the previous 10 months, I am actually leaving this city with warm thoughts and feeling at home. Though I don’t have a home. So my home IS where my heart is, ha!

 

 

I'm trying my best.
I’m trying my best.

 

I have gotten rid of most of my material possessions; all I have left now is a lamp, Vitamix, coffee grinder and aeropress. Minimalism rules! I moved to my last temporary apartment last weekend, and I did it with a bike. 5 rounds back and forth, that’s all.

 

Taking my space. Kallio Block party.
Taking my space. Kallio Block party.

 

This summer has been weird, awesome, fast and hot, filled with laughter, baking, coffee and friends, just to name a few. I enjoyed a brief holiday at the cottage (!!), eating 15kg of strawberries, and went to Tallinn for lunch.

 

Stylish as ever, fipping the fish with my bff in the background
Stylish as ever, fipping the fish with my bff in the background

 

What else…lots of great things happened, I think I also learnt something, not yet quite sure what. Yesterday I learned that women can’t dunk in basketball. Go figure.

 

5 am in May, Katajannokka.
5 am in May, Katajannokka.

 

Oh, Helsinki. I will miss you (your people, at least!) during my Asian explorations. But no worries, I will come back.

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Lately

Bakery went to make sand cakes
Bakery went to make sand cakes

Somehow recently I have had other things in mind than posting here.

Coffee and hand-made raw treats in Johan&Nyström
Coffee and hand-made raw treats in Johan&Nyström

I visited Helsinki and spent some quality time with some quality friends

Essence of summer and Finnish design
Essence of summer and Finnish design

Besides Helsinki, I went to Kuopio and to our summer cottage, visited relatives and celebrated my cousin’s confirmation. Other than that, I’ve been pretty happily occupied with sweets.

Raw protein bars with and without chocolate frosting, banana chocolate cake and other raw treats
Raw protein bars with and without chocolate frosting, banana chocolate cake and other raw treats

Succeeding in “baking” and making people smile when they taste my creations is incredibly rewarding! Recently I have also enjoyed exercising (kettlebell, wohoo!) and berry picking. I keep on finding new spots with raspberries, yay! Still no blueberries in the freezer for the winter, though…

In the near future I will be in Helsinki, working in Flow Festival. After that, my future is pretty blank. There is an itch to move, but I am not sure about the destination. Any suggestions?

Smart cider
Smart cider

Mökki party

There are roughly half million summer cottages in Finland; I suppose we just can’t get enough of our nearly 200,000 lakes, plus we need some more space and privacy, and some time off from our neighbors. I am still learning how to love the cottage life in our family summer house near Kuopio, but sunny, warm weather and parties like the one last weekend certainly make it easier to go to the woods and listen to the mosquitos.

The "White House"
The “White House”

Vaajasalo, our cottage, hosted a summer party of 63 people: we even had a military tent in the yard to accommodate the residents, since the guests occupied all the indoor space! I didn’t know pretty much any of the guests (most of who were over 50), but it was still fun!

Muurinpohjalettu, flipping pancakes from a bucket
Muurinpohjalettu, flipping pancakes from a bucket

We had food including traditional summer dessert, “muurinpohjalettu” pancakes, followed by sauna and swimming in the lake…

 

Partying in sweatpants, cottage-style!
Partying in sweatpants, cottage-style!

3 sets from a 5 person band playing in our front porch, followed by a rave with popping champagne…

Who needs festivals when you can have your own
Who needs festivals when you can have your own?

All in all, not your typical a) weekend or b) summer party.

By the way, in case you are ever in Kuopio or in the near-by area: there’s a winery in the same island as our cottage (Vaajasalo). They have a smelly, huge pig, some peacocks and an ostrich. He (she?) Was a weird-looking fella.

Weird neck and bigger eyes than brains
Weird neck and bigger eyes than brains

Ostriches are the fastest 2-legged species. The kick of an ostrich can kill (not surprised). Usually they live in Africa. I wonder, if the one in Alahovi winery goes to Africa for winter holiday…

 

 

Midsummer festivities: How to Open a Watermelon

As I have posted before, Midsummer or Summer Soltice is one of Finland’s biggest celebrations. Last year in New York I missed all the traditions: summer cottage, new potatoes, dunk people and whatnot, so this year was my opportunity to take it all back!

Guess what? I decided to stay in the city. Apparently I was not the only one, since there was (still is) a rather big city festival in Pyynikki. No summer cottage (though we do live next to a forest and have a nice view of the lake, which to me is the point of the whole thing), and no new potatoes with fish, but a lot of drunk people at the festival. It all evens out, right? The sun was shining, I even managed to  burn my back on the beach(!), and it was almost full moon, though still light outside at midnight. I “forgot” to collect 7 different flowers to dream of my future husband or the love of my life, nor did I do any other magic tricks and hocus pocus that is traditional to this feast ofthe inevitable: the days are getting shorter, and the winter is coming.

Midsummer midnight swim. Not me, though.
Midsummer midnight swim. Not me, though

With this long intro to the whole deal, I will now reveal to you how to deal with the uncomfortable situation of making a watermelon edible without a knife. A fast youtube search suggested banging your head to the fruit, which I was not that keen on trying (wonder why…) As smashing it to the ground would not have been cost-efficient, I wanted to find an alternative solution.

Battle of strenght
Battle of strength

At this point, you already have the solution. It is suggested to start off with the equipment.

The most beautiful melon
The most beautiful melon

To open a melon without a knife, you need a friend -or someone random- who just happens to carry around some nail scissors or a sewing kit. Just poke holes and cut around the whole damn thing, then start pulling with a friend. Or use karate moves on the cut line, which ever you fancy. The result is much greater than the boring triangles you get with cutting with a knife!

Getting at it
Getting at it

And as a bonus, after scooping the flesh out with your plastic forks and spoons (reserve few extra cause if you’re like me, you’re gonna break at least 4), there’s juice left for making punch drinking.

Sweet juice
Sweet juice

An idea: the left over bowls can be used as helmets, or hats.

So…that was yesterday, there still is today of everything-being-closed-and-drunk-people-wandering, we’ll see if I’ll get the courage to get out of the house and to the city! So far, I have just been devouring on chocolate sauce I made because I didn’t have enough patience to make actual chocolate. Recipe would be coming up in another post, but it’s ridiculously simple and I have no pictures of it besides my chocolatey mouth, so here goes: basically just mix melted coconut oil with cocoa powder and (raw chocolate) honey, then add some lechitin and toco (/other “superfood stuff” or just skip the powders, they’ll add creaminess and vitamins and stuff but who needs those, anyways) and bee pollen to the mix. No need to freeze, scoop it up (with sliced apple, for example) and smile!

The winter is coming, but who cares – it’s summer now!

Simply happy

Sometimes the special things in life make it, well, special. In most occasions, the small things and everyday luxury make me wake up every morning with a big smile on my face. Maybe it’s because I’ve been away for so long, and the city seems to offer old and new people and new flavors to savor day after day, but I am now more happy than I could have imagined! Sometimes I do have to push away the itch in the back of my head that makes me wonder and worry about my next destination, since I do have to admit that the image of Finland in October is not tempting at all, more the opposite.

But, living in the moment and enjoying right now, instead of worrying about the future:

2 am
2 am, I am home

It is never dark. The nature is at its’ best, and it is pretty gorgeous. Except when it’s raining like hell, like yesterday and most of today.

Armas cafe, near produced food in Tampere market hall
Armas cafe, near produced food in Tampere market hall

Seeing old friends and talking for hours in a nice environment. The market hall is definitely one of my favorite places in (any) city.

(Raw) chocolate, probably 2kg of it. OD, anyone?
(Raw) chocolate, probably 2kg of it. OD, anyone?

Damn Good (Nutrient Dense Super) Food. I have been pigging on a daily basis and eating my way towards bigger jeans ever since coming back. I guess there’s worse things to indulge in than antioxidant-rich Food of the Gods (aka cacao) and berries and nuts, just to name a few of my current staples, but I have to admit that together with increased snacking and general food consumption, my activity level has decreased significantly since leaving HK. Trying to find the balance with all the treats within my grasp and the lazyass lifestyle that my dog is teaching me is not that easy!

Life juice, some shrooms and new great friends
Life juice, some shrooms and new great friends

I have never tried sprouts in a juice, or used a juicer before now. I prefer to eat my vegetables, but I do have a thing for dehydrated crackers using the leftover pulp from juices. The shrooms here are slightly different than those I used in Asia, but there are some similarities, too. 😛 And the new friends are the best part of it all!

Other good things right now: The pink kettlebell I bought, the trimmed appearance of my dog, the job (in Finnish only, but ahh the food porn), the view from our balcony, July’s activities, upcoming strawberry picking season(!!), and the list continues.

 

Every morning, day and evening I get to look at this
Every morning, day and evening I get to look at this