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14.9.2017

Pink Breakfast Pizza

You wanted recipes for lunch and dinner – I give you granola pizza!

 

What do you mean, that doesn’t look like your average everyday meal? My five-year-old ate that specific pizza as a dinner, straight from the photo background, after she’d came home from the kindergarten the other day. True story. That’s how we run things here at the Vanelja household.

 

Ok, to be honest (and boring), I have to admit that we do also eat so called normal food, every once in awhile, but that’s not on my blogging agenda today. Either. But, I give you a hint that in the near future I’m gonna launch something super exciting, that I know all you savory craving creatures will lovelovelove! So stay tuned!

 

And now back to this marvellous breakfast pizza. Such a whimsical weird creation it is. I always encourage people to play around with their food and experiment with familiar ingredients. And that is exactly what happens with this granola pizza. Your ol’ granola and yogurt breakfast, but in a new and refreshing form. Maybe not a totally new concept to all you trendy foodies out there, but something fun to try out, at least!

 

The crust is made from Vanelja’s Pink Granola (recipe below), but you can take the easy way and use whatever gluten free store-bought granola you like and stir in some berry powder or freeze dried berries to get that pretty pink hue. Then just top it with your favorite dairy free yogurt, berries, figs and flowers and cuteness overload and your favorite weekend brekkie is guaranteed. Although, I must say that this kind of a breakfast would give an extraordinary start also to a Monday morning, that’s when some extra magic and zest is usually needed the most.

 

Oh, before you run away after your granolas and yogurts, I just want to let you guys know that Vanelja is nominated at the Blog Awards Finland, in the food category – Yay! That would be my first award in my home counrty after 8 years (!) of blogging about health food. Phew – time really flies when you’re having a blast! So if you like what I’m doing, go click and leave a vote for me HERE. One more day time to vote. Only your email (Sähköposti) and your name (Nimi) is needed. Thank you, sugar – I mean, honey, raw and organic! haha!

 

V

(gluten-free, vegan, dairy free, naturally sweetened)

 

Crust:

2 cups Vanelja’s Pink Granola (recipe below) or granola of your choice with 3 tbsp pink berry powder or smashed freeze dried berries

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

¼ cup peanut butter (or tahini)

 

On top:

coconut yogurt or other dairy free yogurt

berries

figs

raw organic honey or syrup of your choice

edible flowers

 

Melt the coconut oil and peanut butter in a warm water bath. Pour all the crust ingredients into a bowl and stir well. Press the crust firmly into the bottom of a cake mold. (cover the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.) You can also press the crust firmly onto a freezer safe plate and make it about half inch thick round pizza. Freeze for about 30 minues until the crust gets solid. Remove from the freezer, spread some yogurt on and sprinkle on some berries and fig slices. Pour a bit of honey or syrup on top and finalize with edible flowers. Serve and enjoy right away. Store in a fridge.

 

Vanelja’s Pink Granola:

1 small raw beet, peeled and cut to pieces

handful of raspberries

5 fresh dates, pitted

5 tbsp coconut syrup or organic honey

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

1 ½ cup rolled oats

½ cup almonds, chopped

½ cup coconut flakes

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

¼ cup flax seeds

¼ cup hemp seeds

tiny pinch of salt

 

Preheat the oven to 175 Celsius / 350 Fahrenheit degrees. Blend the beets, raspberries, dates, coconut oil and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and pour in the beet raspberry mixture you just made. Mix until dry ingredients are evenly coated. Pour the mixture on a baking tray covered with a parchment paper and spread evenly. Bake for about 10 minutes. Stir the granola and bake for 5-10 minutes more. Take out from the oven and let cool completely.

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29.8.2017

Dreamy Blueberry Thyme Raw Cake

Hiya Honey! Look what I’ve got for you today – A dreamy and creamy blueberry thyme raw cake –  A cake that can also be found on the cover of the latest THRIVE magazine. That’s right, babe, my cake is an actual cover girl! So sooo amazing! There’s also a four page spread & a feature of me in the magazine in where I share some of my food secrets + many many other great features and recipes of super talented recipe creators.

I first created this blueberry raw cake in the spring with a collaboration with a Finnish salad and herb producer Järvikylä when I made an adaptation of their thyme blueberry cake and during the summer the cake photo has become easily one of my most shared and liked IG posts ever and it has been so much fun to see people making their own creations of it and posting them on their pages and sharing them with me. The beauty and magic of Instagram.

To celebrate my cover photo I thought to share the recipe here on my site too – So here you go, my friend, go and enjoy these blueberry filled dream bites!

V

(gluten free, dairy free, naturally sweetened)

Base:

100 g / 3,5 oz dried, soft apricots

1 cup pecan nuts

pinch of sea salt

 

Filling:

2 cups cashew nuts (soaked for 30 minutes & rinsed)

½ ripe banana

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

5-6 tbsp raw organic honey

¼ cup oat milk or almond milk, if needed

fresh lemon juice from ½ lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup blueberries

handful of fresh thyme leaves

 

On top:

blueberries

fresh thyme

 

Pan diameter: 18 cm / 7 inches

Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of a cake pan. Place all the base ingredients into a food processor or a high-speed blender and blend until moldable dough. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the cake pan. Prepare the filling.

Place all the filling ingredients (except blueberries and thyme) into the food processor / blender and blend until smooth. Add some dairy free milk, if needed, to get a smooth texture, still keeping it as thick as possible. Pour about ⅓ of the mixture into the cake pan and smooth out the surface. Add blueberries and thyme to the food processor / blender and blend with the remaining mixture. Taste and add some of the spices, if needed. Spoon the filling into the cake pan and even the surface gently with a spoon so that you don’t mix the white and the purple filling. Top with blueberries. Place the cake pan into the freezer for about 2-3 hours or until the cake is solid. Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a serving dish. Sprinkle on some thyme leaves, serve and enjoy. Store in a fridge.

 

As seen on THRIVE magazine!

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18.5.2017

Deluxe Chocolate Nice Cream + Ebook news!

It is time, to get your nice cream balls rolling again, baby!

You probably remember the N’Ice Cream book by me and my co-author Tuulia Talvio that was launched exactly a year ago, first in Finland and in the US and then later in the year in 6 countries, like in France, German and Chroatia. The book has found it’s home in the arms of so many healthy ice cream lovers around the world that it is hard to even realize. So thank you! There is no better feeling than when your passion inspires people, makes an impact and is even a part of a cultural change (the ever so lovely ice cream culture), like now for example when we’ve been witnessing many big brands bringing out their vegan ice creams with better sweeteners after the last summer in Finland.

We have not been talking about an ice cream revolution for no reason! * raised fist emoji *

To give it even a stronger boost we have now launched this Deluxe Edition of the Finnish N’Ice Cream book – as an ebook – with 10 new bonus recipes in it, which means now over 90 recipes for lovely delicious vegan, gluten free and naturally sweetened ice creams. And you can get it only for 8,90 euros.

Note, that this Deluxe Edition is only available in Finnish and as an ebook and you can download it here. We’ll try to find a way to get these bonus recipes out also in English in some form asap!

But so that you international readers won’t have to return with empty hands, here’s one faaabulous nice cream flavor for you to exploit: Deluxe Chocolate Nice Cream with Peanut Butter Swirls and Raw Chocolate Cake Chunks! I came up with it by accident when I decided to blend together chocolate mousse (from my Chocolate Pizza Post) and frozen banana. So freakingly delicious. Then I also stirred in some raw chocolate cake chunks and peanut butter swirls and I honestly almost started to cry when tasting it. That’s what pure pleasures can do to you. 

When scooping balls from this nice cream a song by Barry White, Can’t get enough of your love, babe, started playing in my mind:

“I’ve heard people say that
Too much of anything is not good for you, baby
Oh no
But I don’t know about that
There’s many times that we’ve loved
We’ve shared love and made love
It doesn’t seem to me like it’s enough
There’s just not enough of it
There’s just not enough
Oh oh, babe
My darling I, can’t get enough of your love babe…”

 

That kind of sums up the whole essence of this nice cream. You just can’t get enough of it – And you don’t even have to. As good stuff makes good to you.

V

Serves 3

(vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free)

 

1/2 cup steamed sweet potato pieces

1/4 cup cashew nuts, soaked for about 1 hour

3 fresh dates, pitted

1/4 cup almond milk, or other dairy free milk

4 tbsp raw cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

 

3-4 frozen bananas

 

peanut butter

raw chocolate cake chunks

 

Place steamed sweet potato sliced, cashews, dates, almond milk, cocoa powder, vanilla ja coconut oil into a blender and blend until smooth mousse. Add frozen and sliced bananas. Blend until soft serve. If your blender is small you can do this in two or three portions. Por the soft serve in a big freezer safe container. Mix in the raw cake crumble and spoon on some peanut butter. Freeze for about 30 minutes or until the mixture gets a bit more harder. Serve and enjoy!

 

Raw Chocolate Cake Chunks:

½ cup gluten-free rolled oats

½ cup almonds

3 fresh dates, pitted

4 tbsp raw cocoa powder

pinch of sea salt
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until crumble. Taste and add sweetener, if needed. The dough should be quite dry but easily moldable. Roll into small chunks with your hand and sprinkle into the nice cream batter.

More Nice Cream recipes in the N’Ice Cream cookbook by Virpi Mikkonen & Tuulia Talvio

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13.4.2017

Wholesome Chocolate Pizza

When you combine the biggest food passions of our family into one creation, you get something like this:

Gluten-free and vegan chocolate pizza filled with sweet potato chocolate mousse, raspberries and peanutbutter.

Soooo heavenly. Won’t be missing the traditional Easter desserts this year!

Refreshing and luscious weekend to all you bunnies too!

 

V  

Vegan, gluten free, dairy free, naturally sweetened

 

Pizza crust:

2 tablespoons chia seeds + 1/2 cup water

1 cup almond meal

½ cup potato starch or tapioca flour

2 tablespoons psyllium husk

pinch of salt

½ cup olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 200 Celcius degrees. In a small bowl mix water and chia seeds and set aside for about 5 minutes. In the meantime put all the other ingredients into a bowl and mix. Add the chia gel and stir. For the dough into a ball and press or roll out on a parchment lined baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes or just until the crust starts to become a very light golden brown. Let it cool down a bit before adding the toppigs.

 

Chocolate Mousse:

1 cup steamed sweet potato pieces

½ cup cashew nuts, soaked for about 1 hour

5 fresh dates, pitted

½ cup almond milk, or other dairy free milk

4-6 tbsp raw cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

 

On top:

nut crust

raw chocolate

raspberries

peanut butter

 

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth mousse. Add a bit more liquid if needed, so that you get a smooth mixture, but keep the mousse as thick as possible. Spread evenly on the pizza crust. Add the rest of the toppings. Serve and enjoy!

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4.4.2017

Almond Yogurt Berry Popsicles

It’s always so fun to watch how people have different ways of reacting to the first rays of spring sun here in the North. After a long and dark winter people get so cute with their excitement. Some switch immediately into their light jackets and start to trip along with their small spring shoes even though the ground is still completely frozen. (Ok, that was totally a granny thing to say, but I’m a person who just hates to freeze and keeps her pantyhoes on until June. So yeah, I’m a granny.) And some optimistic people, like my dear partner, switches the summer tires on. And then go travel with the tram or taxi when the snow suddenly decides to return. (Like it tends to happen and like it also happened last weekend.)

 

And then there are people like me, whose first thought is: Ice Cream! It really is some chemical reaction that happens in my brain: Sunrays –> Must make nice cream.

 

During the last week I have managed to make nice cream from many different kinds of ingredients, for example from purple yam aka Ube. The color was so amazing so it just yearned to be blended into a nice cream. Check it out from my Instagram

 

The same thing happened a few days ago when I received a box of smoothies and breakfast bars from Semper. Naturally they started a new life as a nice cream. Well, some of them. Most of the bars ended up in the “quick snack stash” in our car and the smoothies in our refrigerators “panic shelf”, which is our family’s life saver. We are just so bad in routines, meal planning and all that wise adult stuff and the mealtimes manage to surprise us almost every time. Plus we usually move with super short notices so everything that is healthy and easy to grab along is totally needed in our household.

 

One of our favorite snacks are nice creams that can always be found in our freezer. Either we make nice cream from frozen bananas with frozen berries or fruits or almond butter or then we enjoy smoothie popsicles. It’s fun to have the familiar breakfast/snack, as in yogurt with berries and granola, in a form of an ice cream. The kiddo loves it and I don’t have to feel guilty for giving her ice cream or two as a evening snack. Win/Win. 

 

Oh, and all the nice cream lovers in Finland – or people who understand Finnish – the Finnish version of the N’Ice Cream book by me and Tuulia Talvio is coming out as an ebook in a month with some new bonus recipes. So stay tuned, if you wish to download a huge package of nice cream recipes into your phone or computer. In the meantime you can start your Summer of N’Ice Cream with these popsicles!

 

V

 

In collaboration with Semper 

 

 

Almond Yogurt:

2 cups raw almonds (soaked overnight or 3 hours)

2,5 cups water

2 tbsp raw organic honey or maple syrup

1 probiotic capsule OR 1 package vegan yogurt starter OR 3 tbsp unflavored vegan yogurt with active bacterial culture

1 – 3 ts agar agar (if you want your yogurt to be thicker)

 

Blend the soaked and strained almonds, water, and sweetener in a blender until smooth. Strain the mixture with cheesecloth on top of a bowl, so that you get a nice white almond milk. You can use the leftover almond pulp for example in crackers or bread rolls. If you want your yogurt to be thicker, add agar agar and boil the almond milk in a pot carefully for about 5 – 7 minutes. Take the pot from the stove and let it cool  down (to a body temperature). Pour in the probiotics and mix. Pour the yogurt into a sealable clean (boiled or washed in a dish machine) and dry glass jar. Close the jar with a lid or cover with a cheesecloth and a rubber band. Turn the oven light on, but do not heat the oven. The oven light should keep the oven warm enough for the yogurt. Place the yogurt in the oven with the light on and leave the yogurt to set for about 8 – 12 hours. The longer you let the yogurt ferment, the stronger and more sour the flavor will be. Store the yogurt in an airtight container/jar in the refrigerator.

 

Berry mixture:

-Blueberries, apple, fresh mint leaves and rolled oats OR Semper Fruit & Oat Blueberry, Apple, Mint Smoothie 

-Raspberries, pear, rolled oats OR Semper Fuit & Oat Raspberry, Pear, Aronia Smoothie

 

Add a big handful of berries, handful of rolled oats and a sliced fruit into a blender and blend until thick and smooth smoothie. Add a drop of water, if needed.

 

Oat Crumble:

1 cup rolled oats

3 fresh dates or ¼ cup organic raisins (soft and moist, not dry and hard)

1 tsp dried berry powder

OR 2 Crumbeled Semper Soft Oat Bars 

 

Blend the rolled oats and dates or raisins in blender into a crumble or puree with a stick mixer.

 

Assembly:

Pour some almond yogurt into a bowl and add a few tablespoons of berry mixture. Stir few time gently so that you get nice swirls. Slice in some fresh berries if you like. Pour the mixture into a ice pop molds but leave a small space for the oat crumble. Fill the molds with the oat crumble or crumbled oat bars, add sticks and put into a freezer.

In collaboration with Semper.

 

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24.2.2017

Green Goddess Sweet Potato Pizza & One ingredient pizza crust

Hello, love! I have one pretty delicious weekend greeting here for you! And it comes in a form of a pizza. I hope you like sweet potato, because this pizza crust is all about it. I mean ALL about it. Totally and completely. Nothing else added.

One of the most popular everyday foods in our household are mini pizzas made on small sweet potato slices. We all love them. They are super easy to make and it takes less than 30 minutes to get them ready. The only thing that started bugging me in the whole mini pizza process was that I always have to add all the toppings separately on each and every slice. So, as a great optimizer as I am, I started to think how could I use the same idea but in a bigger pizza size.

After a few test batches I found out that when I slice the sweet potato lengthwise with a cheese slicer and place the slices overlapping on a baking tray in a form of a round pizza, it makes a great crust which cooks up quickly. And when I sprinkle on some organic mozzarella (and/or feta or vegan cheese) it works like a glue for the slices and makes the pizza easy to eat. Of course you won’t get it as firm as a normal pizza crust would be, but firm enough so you can eat it decently – and with a smile on your face, because it’s just so so tasty.

As a pizza topping I used loads of greens, lovely vegetables and fresh herbs, which made the whole thing look so generous and verdant, especially when I added some edible flowers on it, that I named it the Green Goddess Sweet Potato Pizza. Talk about life energy and abundance.

If you like it more hard core, go ahead and add some organic meat and cheeses on, if you feel you get your divine energies better that way. My kid loves her sweet potato pizza with some tomato puree, tuna (MSC certified, of course) and pineapple. And as she’s going through some picky state of life, I let her enjoy it that way and won’t push my greens on her pizza.

What I love most about this recipe is that it takes less than 30 minutes to make and you can use almost anything you happen to have in the fridge, as long as you have sweet potatoes. As a person who live is the moment, not planning too much her eatings and at the same time gets VERY hungry VERY quickly this kind of a dish is just priceless.

So, there you go! I hope this delivered you some inspiration for the weekend. May the pizza goddess light your way to the kitchen!

 

V

 

Makes 1 pizza

 

Crust:

2 medium sized sweet potatoes

olive oil

sea salt

black pepper

pizza spice mix

garlic clove, minced

 

Filling:

pesto sauce

125 g organic mozzarella (and/or feta or vegan cheese)

couple of handfuls baby spinach leaves

1 spring onion

4 stalks of sweet baby broccoli

artichoke hearts (cooked/from a jar)

3 slices of lemon

pine nuts

olives

fresh oregano

fresh basil

sunflower sprouts

 

Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius / 390 Fahrenheit degrees. Cover a baking tray with a parchment paper. Peel the sweet potatoes and slice them up with a cheese slicer or a mandolin vegetable slicer into very thin, almost transparent slices. Arrange the sweet potato slices on the baking tray so that they overlap each other and make a circle. Fill all holes and also the inner circle, so that you get a circle with no holes or see-through spots. Nos sprinkle on some olive oil, salt, black pepper and pizza spice mix. Add also the garlic. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the sweet potato slices get softened. Take out from the oven. Spread some pesto on the crust and add the cheese. Add also the spinach leaves. Cut the spring onion and broccoli into small pieces and sprinkle them on the pizza. Slice the artichoke hearts and add them with lemon slices, pine nuts and olives. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese melts and the filling get a nice tanned color. Take out of the oven and top with fresh oregano and basil + sprouts. Serve and enjoy!

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17.2.2017

In bed with the Quirky Quinoa

I just love homemade yogurts. Dairy free homemade yogurts. There’s something magical in the whole process, which is sort of an alchemy or some other mystical procedure where you play with the forces of nature. Living cultures of good bacteria, to be exact.

I also love the fact that only sky seems to be a limit to what different kinds of yogurts you can prepare: With what ingredients and spices you make it, how strong and sour you want it to be and so on.  

When I was creating the yogurt recipe for this blog post I noticed that I have actually tried out quite a big range of different kinds of ingredients for homemade vegan yogurts and also managed to get at least one vegan yogurt recipe in every single cookbook I’ve ever made, no matter what the subject has been.  

In It’s a Pleasure – Sweet treats without gluten, dairy and refined sugar there are recipes for Coconut Yogurt and Almond Yogurt. In my Healthy Fast Food book (Only in Finnish) there are Fruit Bomb Yogurt and Chia yogurt and in the Christmas book (Also only in Finnish) there is this Oven Apple Yogurt made with Oatmeal and Apples. And also from the N’Ice Cream book you can find a recipe for Breakfast popsicles made from homemade vegan yogurt.

So it looks like I have a bit of an obsession about this theme. But a good obsession, I must say!

Because without that obsession I would have not for example created this Blueberry Quinoa Yogurt. …I knooow, it sounds quite quirky – Quinoa Yogurt. (Maybe I should have named it a Quirky Quinoa Yogurt, ha!) But at least here in Finland one of the most popular vegan yogurts are based on oats and well, quinoa isn’t that much different. Just remember to add enough berries (other berries will do also!) and sweetener as the taste of quinoa alone can be a bit strong. 

I was actually quite surprised after my first test batch when I tried to google if someone else had made something similiar, but couldn’t find anything. Nada! No quinoa yogurts on the market or quinoa yogurt recipes in the whole world wide web! Really? Gotta get my Quirky Quinoa Yogurt Factory running asap! Who’s in? Throw me an email and we’ll start a yogurt revolution together!

But now, will you excuse me, I have to get back to my office aka my bed and make new inventions. I got these ah-mazingly fluffy and soft Feel blankets & pillows from Familon with crispy duvet covers made from percale cotton to our new home and since then it has felt a surprisingly good idea to have a home office – and a studio – and a dinning spot – in the my bed.

I wish you a cozy and yogurt-filled weekend, my love!

Oh, and if you feel you don’t have time nor the patience for the fermentation process, you can as well eat the yougurt straight from the blender, as it can be enjoyed as a whipped porridge as it is!

V

In collaboration with: Familon 

2 cups quinoa (cooked)

2 cups oat milk (or some other dairy free milk)

½ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen and thawed)

2-4 tbsp raw organic honey or coconut syrup

 

2 capsules of probiotics

½ tsp vanilla powder

 

Cook the quinoa according to the instructions of the package. Let it cool. Pour the quinoa into a blender and add the oat milk, blueberries and the sweetener. Blend until very smooth. Add more liquid, if needed, so that you get the texture as smooth as possible. Taste and add more sweetener or blueberries, if you like. Open the probiotic capsules and pour the powder to the mixture. Mix gently. Pour the mixture into a sterilized and totally dry glass jar. You can sterilize the jar with boiling water in a big pot (for couple of minutes) or washing it in a dish machine. Beware of not to leave any water in the jar. Close the jar with a lid or cover with a cheesecloth and a rubber band. Turn the oven light on, but do not heat the oven. The oven light should keep the oven warm enough for the yogurt. Place the yogurt in the oven with the light on and leave the yogurt to set for about 8 – 12 hours. The longer you let the yogurt ferment, the stronger and more sour the flavor will be. Take the jar from the oven, stir in vanilla ja put the jar in the fridge and let it cool. Use within a week.
The swirls in the picture are made with a white Almond Yogurt – Get the recipe here!

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9.2.2017

Le Chick! Caramel Bars – Nut-free and vegan super treat

Time to fulfil your wishes. Your nut-free wishes! Nearly every time I post a new sweet recipe I get messages from my lovely readers with allergies asking if it would be possible for them to prepare the recipe without nuts or almonds. Most of the times I have to disappoint them because nuts and almonds play such a significant role in many raw/health recipes, and the recipe just wouldn’t be the same if you substitute them with something else.

But now, my babies – now I have something magnificent for you! Something that is nut-free, raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and naturally sweetened, all at the same time. And delicious too! This one is truly a crowd pleaser.

And it doesn’t lay on coconut! Many times nut-free treats use coconut to get the creamy rich texture, but I know that the taste of the coconut doesn’t please everyone. And I have to admit that I don’t prefer a strong coconut flavor either and nowadays I use coconut in my recipes in veeery subtle ways so that the strong hippie vibe doesn’t push through. (All my love to hippies ♡)

So, therefore I picked a more neutral ingredient here that still gives a nice wholesome consistency. I picked chickpeas – le chick! Those brilliant little creatures that are so versatile, nutrient-rich and lovely. Then I accompanied them with fresh organic dates. Because dates are my no. 1 favorite sweeteners and they also add a nice little bonus to the texture and taste. I really could not survive without fresh dates in my kitchen.

Which brings to mind another quoestion I get asked a lot – Which dates do I use? Well, the ones that you can always find from my kitchen are fresh organic dates by Fontana that are sold in cardboard boxes in fruit ja vegetable section in supermarkets – at least here in Finland. I like the texture, the taste and the fact that they are organic. They are also easy to find because they are available very widely in the supermarkets – at least here in Helsinki. So I was very happy to pair up with Fontana with this post, because I actually use their dates A LOT.

And here’s my hot tip for a natural date sweetener:

Buy a package of fresh dates. Preferably organic. Take about 20 dates, take out the stones and place the dates in a blender. Add about 1 cup water and 1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ tsp vanilla powder, if you like. Blend until creamy and smooth sauce. Add more water, if needed. And if you like your sauce to be extra smooth, remove the date skins under a running water. Then pour the sauce inside a sealable clean jar. Now you have a lovely sweetener that you can use when baking in breakfasts or in any way you want. Store the date paste sealed in a fridge and you can use it easily for 2 weeks.

Now there you have it. Go ahead and make this date caramel paste & my Le Chick! Caramel Bars and serve them for example to your Valentine next week. Moi moi!

V

In collaboration with: Fontana organic dates

(Nut free, Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Refined sugar free)

 

Base:

1 cup chickpeas (cooked / from a can)

10 fresh dates, pitted

5 tbsp coconut flakes / shredded coconut

½ tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

 

Caramel:

10 fresh dates

3 tbsp tahini (or your favorite nut/almond butter)

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

3 tbsp water

3 tbsp coconut syrup (or raw organic honey)

½ tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

tiny pinch of sea salt

 

Chocolate frosting:

6 tbsp raw cacao butter, melted

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

6 tbsp raw cacao powder

4 tbsp coconut syrup (or raw organic honey)

tiny pinch of sea salt

 

OR about ½ cup of your favorite raw chocolate melted

 

Tin size: 17 x 12 cm / 7 x 5 Inches

 

Base:

Cover the tin or freezer safe container with parchment paper. Add the chickpeas into the blender and blend. Add dates, coconut flakes and vanilla and mix until a thick sticky mass. You may have to scoop down the sides of the blender in between blending. Taste and add vanilla or sweetness, if you like, for example with coconut syrup. Spoon out the dough into the tin and even the surface with a spoon. Prepare the caramel sauce.

 

Caramel sauce:

Place all the ingredients into the blender and blend until sticky sauce. Add a drop of water, if needed, but try to keep the mixture as thick as possible. Spoon out the caramel sauce and spread onto the base mixture. Prepare the chocolate frosting.

 

Chocolate frosting:

Melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil in a warm water bath. Add cocoa powder, syrup and salt. Mix until a nice sauce. Taste and add some of the ingredients, if needed. Pour the chocolate mixture onto the caramel sauce. Place into the freezer and freeze for couple of hours or until solid. Take out of the freezer and cut into bars. Let thaw for about 15 minutes before serving. Store in the freezer or in the fridge.

 

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17.1.2017

Raw Licorice Chocolate Mousse Cake

New year, fresh winds! A new edition of my very first cookbook, It’s a Pleasure – Sweet treats without gluten, dairy and refined sugar (in Finnish: Kiitos hyvää – Herkkuja ilman sokeria ja gluteenia) has just came out in Finland with new recipes in it. 

I’m really excited that I had an opportunity to design new stuff for this title, as I feel that although the book came out already two years ago here in Finland, the subject is still very topical.

Well, actually I can’t think of a time when healthy yet delicious sweet treats would go out of style. At least they are very much trending in our household all the time. And it was only 3 months ago when the book came out in the US, so it’s great to blow some new wind to these sails also in Finland! (I know there might not be that kind of idiom in English, but you get the point.)

So cake, muffins, donuts, cookies, chocolates, candies, ice creams and other heavenly goods, all without gluten, dairy and refined sugar. Gentle yet effective ease for sweet cravings with 86 recipes. Pretty luscious package, if I may say. And you’ll recognice the new Finnish edition by the green stamp it has on the cover. 

To celebrate the new edition I wanna give away one copy of the new Finnish title to one lucky reader. All you have to do is drop a comment and say hello here in the comment field and I will pick a winner (located in Finland) on Sunday 22nd at 22.00. (10 pm)

Of course I don’t wanna leave you guys from other counties with empty hands, so I’m giving away one copy of the English title, It’s a Pleasure too. So eeeveryone can join! And please do!

Here is also one of the new recipes from the new Finnish edition: my current No.1 favorite raw cake, Raw Licorice Chocolate Mousse Cake, with a super soft and tasty filling and crunchy truffles. Enjoy, babes!

V

(raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free)

Crust:

1 cup almonds

½ cup pecan nuts

5 fresh dates

3 prunes

3 tsp licorice root powder / licorice root extract powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp anise powder

½ tsp sea salt

 

Filling:

1 cup cashew nuts (soaked for 1–3 hours)

1 cup coconut milk (room temperature)

6 tbsp coconut syrup or raw organic honey

1 tsp tamari soy sauce

1 cup raw cocoa powder

pinch of sea salt

5 tbsp cocoa butter (melted)

5 tbsp coconut oil (melted)

 

Chocolate Licorice Sauce:

2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)

2 tbsp raw cocoa powder

2 tbsp licorice root powder or licorice root extract powder

½ tsp vanilla powder

2 tbsp coconut syrup (or maple syrup)

tiny pinch of sea salt

 

On top:

Small truffles made from the crust dough + black sesame seeds

raw cocoa powder

 

Tin/Cake mould size: 17 cm / 7 inches

 

Crust:

Cover the bottom of the cake mould with a parchment paper so that it is easier to remove later. Add the almonds and nuts into a blender and blend until fine crust. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until a thick and sticky dough. Check the taste and add more seasoning, if you like. Spoon out the dough out to a bowl and take aside about 4-6 tablespoons of the dough, from which you’ll later make the truffles. Press the rest of the dough firmly onto the bottom of the cake mould. Prepare the filling.

 

Filling:

Toss out the soaking liquid of the nuts and rinse the cashews in a cold water. Place the nuts into the blender and add the coconut oil. Add also the syrup and tamari. Blend. Add the raw cocoa powder and salt. Pour in also the cocoa butter and coconut oil. Blend until a smooth thick mass. Pour the mass into the cake mould. Even the surface with a spoon. Place the cake mold into a freezer for about 2 hours or until it’s totally firm. In the meantime prepare the truffles and the sauce. When the cake is firm, take it out of the freezer, remove from the mould, dizzle some shosola sauce on and decorate with the truffles you’ve made. Serve and enjoy. Store in the fridge.

 

Truffles:

Prepare small balls from the dough crust you had set aside. Roll the truffles on black sesame seeds pressing them firmly but gently so that the seeds stick and cover the balls evenly.

 

Chocolate Licorice Sauce:

Add the raw cocoa powder, licorice powder, syrup an salt into the melted coconut oil. Mix well so that you get a nice chocolate sauce.

More healthy sweet treats: It’s a Pleasure cookbook

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21.12.2016

Gluten-free & Vegan Carrot Cake

Before starting my Christmas zen, that I preached about in my last post, I just had to come and share one more Christmas treat with you guys! I know I already threw my Holiday greetings and all but when this recipe popped out of my computer I just couldn’t resist myself.

So I just drop this looovely carrot cake on your gentle hands without further introduction, because before I can start enjoying my Holidays I have to run and get couple of small presents and arrange our new home, to where we just moved – because my soul is yearning for a Christmas tree and one really can’t bring such a guest of honour into a chaotic environment, right? And you can also do the Christmas cleaning with a laid-back attitude, like listening to good old Christmas tunes from Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald while eating this carrot cake with the other hand and swiping the dust with the other. That’s quite yin & yang to me.

Well, anyways, this gluten-free and vegan Carror Cake is found from our Christmas book “Joulukirja” and it just so nice, moist and tasty and the spices are PERFECT for the Holidays. It is good to prepare the cake the day before, so that the texture gets just right overnight.

Enjoy, my loved ones & have a lovely Christmas! (Lets see if I will come back still one more time with some new recipe for the Holidays before the Christmas Eve.)

 

V

Gluten-free, Vegan

 

6–8 pieces

 

1 ½ cups full fat almond flour/almond meal

½ cup coconut flakes / shredded coconut

7 tbsp flax meal

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ceylon cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg powder

½ tsp ginger powder

¼ tsp cardamom

½ cup coconut sugar

pinch of sea salt

½ cup grated carrots

2 tbsp orange zest (from organic oranges)

½ un-sweetened applesauce

1 cup water

½ coconut oil, melted

 

Frosting:

1 cup cashew nuts (soaked for 30 minutes)

5 tbsp full-fat coconut milk (the thick white paste from a coconut milk can kept in a fridge)

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tbsp orange juice

3 tbsp xylitol or coconut sugar

½ tsp vanilla powder

 

On top:

orange zest

ceylon cinnamon

nut crust

 

the pan: 2 l / 0,5 gallons foil casserole

 

The cake:

Preheat the oven to 175 Celcius / 350 Fahrenheit degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Grate the peeled carrot with a small/fine blade into another bowl. Add the orange zest. Add also the applesauce, water and melted coconut oil. Mix. Add the dry ingredients from another bowl and mix well. Pour the batter into the casserole and bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the surface has a nice tanned colour. Take the cake from the oven and let cool completely. The cake is very soft when taken out from the oven, but it will get firm while it cools. In the meantime prepare the frosting.

 

Frosting:

Take the soaked cashews, toss the water and rinse the nuts. Place the nuts into a blender. Take the coconut milk can from the fridge and scoop out 5 tbsp of the white thick mass from the can and add to blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Add a drop of coconut milk do that you’ll get the mixture very smooth, but still keeping it as thick as possible. The texture should resemble thick greek yogurt. Check the taste and add some spices or sweetness, if you like.

 

Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake. Place the cake into the fridge and let it thickend overnight.  On the next day add some orange zest and sprinkle some cinnamon and/or nut crust on top of the cake. Serve and enjoy! Store in the fridge and use within 3 days.



19.12.2016

Gingerbread porridge

And so has the week before Christmas started. The perfect time to start fueling up hard core with all the lovely christmas flavors, spices and Holiday treats and taking the Christmas in with all your cells and taste buds. Showering with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, anise and ginger. Living the Christmas to the fullest! Like they say. Or like I say, at least.

Although I have a strong tendency to flip into the Christmas insanity, my passion is mainly focused on the food & the mood, not so much on the material stuff. Well okay, I have installed a small set of fairy lights (aprox. 8 meters long) on the balcony and a humble (only a half meter big) star on the window, but otherwise I mainly believe in peace & love kind of Christmas. Because when you just stop, breathe deep and be present then you are in the very essence of Christmas.

And it is just so much more romantic just to burn candles and enjoy small dishes and treats with christmas flavors all around the christmas time than to go bonkers with decoration and to stress over huge Holiday dinners that take insanely long time to prepare. 

“You get the most beautiful Christmas by returning back to basics: To the simple and tasty food that makes you feel good and to small handmade ornaments and gifts that touch the heart.”  Like we say in our new Christmas book that I made with my ever-so-lovely friend Riikka Kantinkoski. The book is all about a low-key Christmas with easy, natural and rustic interior ideas and healthy (gluten-free, dairy-free, naturally sweetened and mainly vegan) recipes for the Holidays and for the whole winter time. The book, called Joulukirja (“The Christmas book”) came out a few weeks ago and I’m super proud of it. Go check it out, if you happen to be in Finland and hang around bookstores!

The Gingerbread Porridge in this post didn’t make it into the book, but it most certainly would have if I just would have came up with it a bit earlier than last week. But hey, luckily I can share it with you guys now!

I got to use lovely Gluten-free & Deluxe products of Lidl in it, for example Gluten-free Rolled Oats, Walnut oil, Dates and Clove & Cardamom Mills. Those spice mills are especially my favorites because you can just go ahead and grind lovely christmas flavors on just about everything with them! On your porridge, on stews and casseroles, on cakes and other treats – or even on your cranky neighbour that needs to get into Christmas mood.

…I bet Lidl wouldn’t sign the last recommendation for use, but you get my permission.

Or even better, go ahead and prepare this Gingerbread oatmeal to the Grinch of your life and I bet you’ll see a warm light start shining through his/her eyes. I mean, this stuff really brings the Christmas. 

Be good, my friend & eat a lot of porridge.

V

(In collaboration with LIDL)

Serves 4

 

2 cups oat milk

2 cups water

1,4 cups gluten-free oatmeal

1,5 teaspoon gingerbread spice mix

pinch of sea salt

3 fresh dates

1 tablespoon walnut oil (or almond butter)

 

Top with:

apple bites

crushed walnuts or almond flakes

ceylon cinnamon

crushed clove

crushed cardamom

ginger bread pieces

raw organic honey or maple syrup or coconut syrup

oat milk

 

Pour the oat milk and the water into a pan and bring to boil. Add oatmeal, salt and spices. Cut the dates into small pieces and add into the pan. Cook in a medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the porridge is done. Stir in the walnut oil or almond butter.

Dose the porridge into serving bowls. Top with apple pieces, crushed ginger breads and almond flakes. Sprinkle on the spices and a drop of honey or syrup. Pour some oat milk on, if you like. Serve and enjoy!

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3.10.2016

It’s a Pleasure – Nut Caramel Candies

Life has had quite hectic twists and turns lately. Sometimes I wonder how it is even possible for me as one human being to cope with all these projects I have managed to gather in my life. But in some weird way person kind of multiplies herself, expands time or makes other magic tricks when stuff just needs to be done. And there is no time to sit around when a revolution awaits! A food revolution, you know, in which I try to take part with my work.

A part of my revolution dream has now become reality as my very first cookbook about healthy sweet treats, that came out in Finland some time ago has now been released in the US and it goes by the name It’s a Pleasure. I’m so happy about the outcome – the book looks and feels super pretty and nice and I hope it can help to transform globally the way people feel about sweets with it’s over 80 recipes for cakes, candies, cookies, muffins, ice creams, chocolates and other sweet treats – all without guten, dairy and refined sugar. Because there is just no better way to indulge than to savor with treats that left you feeling light, healthy and satisfied!

Try for example these overwhelming pralines. I have prepared big batches of them lately and people have LOVED them. And no wonder. The best pralines combine many elements: a soft filling, a texture that snaps nicely and something crunchy. Also, a hint of saltiness is a big plus. These chocolates are all of the above and can be created with very simple and wholesome ingredients.

Please, just try them! And if you wish to have a copy of It’s a Pleasure, throw me a message here below before Oct 10th and I’ll pick two winners to whom I’ll post the book next week – in Finnish or in English, you choose!

Until then – Viva la revolucion!

V

NUT CARAMEL CHOCOLATES

Makes 15-20 pieces

Caramels:

  • 15 fresh dates

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1-2 tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • pinch of sea salt

  • 15-20 pecans

  • 4-5 tablespoons unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter

Icing:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened dark or raw chocolate, or ½ cup Basic Chocolate from the It’s a Pleasure book.

On top:

  • flaky sea salt

Pit the dates. Combine the dates, coconut oil, water vanilla extract and salt in the blender and purée. Caramel should be thick and smooth. Spoon the caramel in a freezer-safe container and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes so that it thickens a bit and is easier to handle.

Line a small baking sheet with a parchment paper. When the caramel sauce has thicken take about a teaspoon-size dollops of the caramel and place onto the prepared baking sheet and mold the caramel into balls. Press a pecan into each ball. And then about half a teaspoon of peanut butter on each pecan nut and bring then the tray into a freezer. Freeze for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler / warm water bath. Take the pralines out of the freezer and dip each of them into the chocolate icing. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and return them to the freezer just to set. Bring out, serve and indluge. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Recipe from the book IT'S A PLEASURE by Virpi Mikkonen

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17.5.2016

Vanilla N’ice cream sandwiches & Giveaway

The time has come!! The N’Ice Cream book about healthy vegan ice creams by me and Tuulia has come out today in the US. And I’m over the moon excited! The Finnish version of the book got sold out in a week here in Finland and I hope the international audience will love the English version just as much.

Several people have now said to me that the N’Ice Cream book feels like the ultimate summer saver for them, and that makes me sooo happy. Because that is exactly what this book was designed to be. To enable a feel-good summer with healthy, naturally sweetened and gluten-free vegan ice creams, ice pops, sorbets, soft serves, instant ice creams, ice cream cakes & cookies, waffle cones, sauces, jams and all that jazz. And also our very best tips on how to prepare delicious ice cream easily without an ice cream maker.

You can now buy the book from:

If you like to have more n’ice cream inspiration, come and follow our Instagram: @nicecreambook where we share pics & tips and give shout-outs to peoples beautiful nice cream creations. Be sure to tag your n’ice cream photos #nicecreambook and @nicecreambook so that we can see them!

And now, ladies and gents, I'm happy to introduce these treats I have for you: Lovely lovely Vanilla Chocolate N’ice cream Sandwiches that I made inspired by a couple of recipes from the N’Ice Cream book. They just might be the perfect summer snack. And the perfect way to celebrate the launch of our book. Note that you can always just skip the cookies and make the instant ice cream base and enjoy it with this super quick chocolate sauce, if your ice cream cravings won’t wait!

And then there’s still one more thing: A giveaway! I’m giving away one copy of the N’Ice Cream book. Just write a short hello and why you would like this book to the comments below and you’re in! You’ve got time to participate until midnight Sunday the 22nd of May. And the giveaway is this time open to US, Canada & Finland. Good luck, my friends!

V

VANILLA N'ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

About 4 big or 6 small pieces

Vanilla n’ice cream:

  • 3 ripe bananas (frozen)

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (kept in a fridge overnight)

  • ½ tsp vanilla powder

Place the bananas in small pieces into a blender. Open a coconut milk can and scoop the white thick paste (about 2/3 cup) into the blender with bananas. Add vanilla. Mix until smooth. If your blender is not very powerful prepare the ice cream in two sections. Pour the ice cream mixture in a large freezer-safe tin and let sit for about 15-30 minutes. In the meantime prepare the cookies.

Chocolate Cookies:

  • 1 cup almond flour

  • 1 cup oat flour

  • 4 tbsp raw cocoa powder

  • 3 tbsp flax meal

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • ½ tsp vanilla powder

  • 8 tbsp water

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

  • 4 tbsp maple syrup or coconut syrup

Preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add water and melted coconut oil and syrup. Mix. The dough should be now easily moldable. Add a bit more water or flour, if needed. You should be able to make a big ball out of the dough with your hands.

Place a dough ball between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll out to ½ inch thickness. Cut the dough into rectangles with aknife or use a cookie mold. Place the cookies gently on a baking tray covered with a baking sheet. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely. The cookies can be a bit soft when you take them from the oven but they will get crispier as they cool.

Chocolate frosting:

  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted

  • 3 tbsp raw cocoa powder

  • 2 tbsp coconut syrup

Mix the melted coconut oil, cocoa powder and coconut syrup in a small bowl.

Assembly:
Scoop about two spoonfuls of the ice cream and place it on the back side of one cookie. Place anothercookie on top of the ice cream and press down gently. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Drip some chocolate frosting on top on the sandwiches and sprinkle some shredded coconut on. Freeze for 30-60 minutes. Enjoy!

MORE HEALTHY VEGAN ICE CREAM RECIPES FROM THE N'ICE CREAM BOOK

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