Bilberry Powder, Nordic Wild Foods

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I have always wanted to try bilberry powder and was lucky to receive a delivery, a couple weeks ago from a company called Nordic Wild Foods.

Elina and Hanna, the founders of the company are from Finland like I am and are currently living in Hong Kong. They are two very lovely individuals who really care for and are passionate about their products. Their berries are hand picked from the Northern parts of Finland, which is known to be one of the cleanest places on Earth.

So what’s the difference between normal blueberries and bilberries? They both are good for us but bilberries have more proven health benefits. I did some research on this and they are proven to help with eye conditions, diabetes, cancer and better functioning of the overall body.  Wild berries grow in the northern latitudes and they’re especially rich in vitamins, flavonoids, minerals and antioxidants. You can read more about this from their website Nordic Wild Foods. When you cut it in half, a bilberry is darker compared to a blueberry and has a bit stronger flavour to it.

This powder has nothing added, so you will just get the pure flavour and benefits from the Nordic berries. I have made smoothies, breakfast and some baking with their powder, normally using 1-2 tsp per time.

 

Bilberry Chia Breakfast Pudding

  • Cup of Oat Milk
  • 3 tbsp of Chia Seeds
  • 1 tbsp of Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp of Bilberry Powder
  • 2 tbsp of unsweetened Alpro Soy Yoghurt
  • Homemade granola

 

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Mini cheese cakes – makes two cakes with these measurements

For the base:
  • 50g / 4 Digestive vegan biscuits
  • 1 tbsp of Coconut oil
  • 40g Roasted Almonds
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
For the filling:
  • 175g Soy based cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp of Bilberry Powder
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup of Oat Milk
  • 1 tbsp of Agar Flakes to 2/4 cup of water

 

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Tropical Smoothie Bowl – This will be my personal favourite this summer!

  • Half a cup of Coconut water
  • 1 cup of Coconut Yogurt
  • 1 tsp of Bilberry powder
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 cups of frozen raspberries
  • 1 tbsp of Maple syrup

 

 

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Happy cookings with your bilberry powder ❤

thevegescandi x

Brighton weekend

I haven’t had nice chilled Brighton weekend for a while and last weekend was exactly what I needed – friends, bit of shopping and organising our house. Have to admit that often I overbook myself, so these chilled weekends are so precious! Brighton as a city is really chilled place, but also so vibrant – events, gigs and workshops happening all the time. If you haven’t been yet, time to book a train or a flight to come see this place.

We were planning to do a trip to Ikea the other weekend, but ended up staying in London for longer so that got cancelled, instead we went in last Friday… I’ve wanted to get couple of frames up for ages on our living room wall so was pretty excited about this. The idea was to have black and white photo collage. I bought that Finland city – poster from Helsinki last December and planning to build the collage around it. Where do you get your pictures framed? I’m still a newbie in this so all the advises welcome!

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After living in London for few years, it really made me appreciate nature and home. London life can be fabulous and great, but definitely not for everyone. I spent all my summers on the country side whilst growing up so probably this was one of the reasons why I fell in love with the beach in Brighton. 

For 3 years I have wanted to buy a professional camera and last week I did it!! If you’re looking into buying one I can really recommend Sony. My Camera is Sony a6000 with 50mm 1.8 Lens, great for food photography and great for anything really. Super happy with it 🙂 Had to take my camera for a test drive with a friend and actually ended up spending a lovely Saturday afternoon with her. If you’re looking for a nice cafe in Hove, The Flour Pot Bakery is awesome.

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Sunday we had more coffees and some vegan cakes at Sugar Dough, 18 Market St, Brighton. Really cute cafe in the South Lanes. I’ve never had a chocolate mud cake before, but this was ace! Favourite barista style coffee at the moment got to be oat milk Flat White, if you haven’t had one please do!!

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There is something about Sundays in Brighton, I don’t know how to explain or describe it other than having that feeling of Sunday – sounds silly but I’m sure people who live in this city feels the same. The feel of community, we all managed another week, charging batteries for the coming week. We often go to a pub on Sundays, have a couple of beers, see friends or family and eat Sunday roast. Everyone is super relaxed and just enjoying themselves. Long walks on the sea front.. The list goes on – living the best life possible and remembering to be grateful for it all, everything and everyone.

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Couple of shops we went in the North Laines, I fell in love with… And I know already where my next pay check goes haha! So one of them is this beautiful body and hair care shop called Aesop – check them out Aesop.com

Just the shop on it’s own has such a unique and beautiful look, you want to buy everything from there… Or maybe it’s just me?

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Another one is called Lucy and Yak, selling ethical fashion. Their shop opened in Brighton few weeks ago and this was my first visit, but will be back there soon. Beautiful summer wear – just in time for the music festival season too! Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from there, but please go and check out their website, I want to buy all their designs – Lucy and Yak

And to finish off – this picture was taken just before I got soaking wet, can see that storm coming along the coast… Had a brilliant weekend, more of these please!

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Kleen Kitchen’s Raw Vegan Workshop

Happy Friday!

Sorry guys it’s been awhile, I have been busy with my day job and all other stuff happening. Something new and exciting I did last week, I went to this raw vegan cooking workshop with Kleen Kitchen and it was absolutely brilliant. We went in, not knowing a lot about raw cooking, but the only thing we really needed was a sweet tooth!

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That evening we learned to make energy balls, vegan cashew cheese (super excited about this!!) and a snickers style chocolate caramel tart. This was my first workshop that I have ever attended and really recommend you guys to try different ones you might have locally. You’ll get to meet different people with similar interest and learn to make something new, such a nice way to spend an evening. AC3E2617-93D5-4C43-8C24-E7D18F8CC10E

675D97C8-FE20-454C-8BF6-73ED39E68465The workshop was organised in this really cool little work space in central Brighton and everything was waiting us, ingredients, recipes and these goodie bags we got to take home in the end of the evening. I didn’t really have any expectations, but I’m so happy I went. I have previously made energy balls at home, but she used few more ingredients that I wouldn’t have thought about using so learnt something new anyway!

One of the sweet treats was this snickers style chocolate caramel tart. So good and easy to make! Did you know, that depending on if you place dates in cold or boiling water the flavour changes? If you’re trying to achieve caramelised flavour, add the dates in boiling water for 30 minutes and non-caramelised in cold water for 10 minutes. You make three layers – nut mix base, caramel filling with peanuts and chocolate topping. We decorated the tart with crushed peanuts, but you could use really anything on this. Next time when I am making one, I will want to try raspberries and pistachio – new vegan choco favourite. Look at this tart!! YUM.D6F8B87C-9D62-4E36-B011-E255F2A42B7CSo many people have asked me how to make vegan cheese and to be honest I haven’t had a clue! Still not a master on this, but will definitely know a bit about the whole process. I will need to make another post once I have tried this with the recipe I got from the workshop. We tasted loads of different ones, but the base in all of them was made with Cashews. The one thing that I didn’t know previously is, that you will need probiotic powder capsules to make your plant based cheese to get the right texture and flavour. 300D9C1B-CD93-4596-AE31-CA0B49381E28In the end of the workshop we had a little competition to decorate this beautiful chocolate orange cake and I won!! I got to take her homemade granola with me as a price. I have been having it with soya yogurt, almond butter and blueberries in the mornings – so good and healthy!79AC2111-15B3-463B-A2D3-8EA0D0F1C7C53A89F656-CC08-4A31-9D41-397444DF7FA5Do some research, go out and meet up with people in your area.

I was the happiest girl after the workshop and it made me realise, that this is what I want to be doing for living. Not sure what that will be yet, but it’s something related to food and making other people happy through great food.

thevegescandi x

 

 

 

Year of wellbeing

Did you make any promises to yourself on New Years? What I’ve learned from last year is to make realistic plans, and that life style changes take a lot of time. Last New Years Eve I said that I would drop my body fat down to 4-10%. This definitely didn’t happened and now I was a bit wiser and more realistic. I have set few fitness goals and also thinking ways to improve my general health, but don’t have any specific goals and it’s better this way.

Do you ever feel when you have a number or specific day that you have more pressure to achieve something? And are you more likely to fail? I definitely feel that way. Do your best and remember to enjoy life. Long term goals are the best and usually better for your health all together. There are so many diets for example where you lose 5-10 kg within X amount of time, but the thing is that if you’re not changing your lifestyle or bad habits, those kilograms are going to come back and all that hard work was for nothing.

“You are what you eat”, wouldn’t say this is entirely true but our food diet has the biggest impact on our health, how we feel physically and mentally, as well how we look. Easiest way to control my weight has been plant-based diet. I’m not saying that everyone should go vegan because it doesn’t work like that, but by eating more veg and cutting meat intake you will feel and see a difference in your body after few weeks. I went to see a doctor few weeks ago and she said well to “eat all the colours of the rainbow”, something we should all remember.

I got so many plans for this year, but haven’t taken the time to sit down and write them down. Sometimes it’s good to write things down, they feel more real for some reason. Have you thought about yours yet, what would you like to achieve 2019?

I want to make this year the best one yet.

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One of those rainy winter weekends in Brighton – I wanted to go for a run this morning despite the rain and 5 degrees celsius… I still sometimes make excuses to myself so that I wouldn’t go, but that’s ok we all do that. You would much rather stay in bed with your morning coffee and watch your favourite show right? And you know sometimes you need to do that as well, I love my coffee and Gilmore Girls on a Saturday morning!

 

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Anyways I went for run and really happy I did. My mind felt so much clearer and body energised. It’s really hard to describe the feeling – you have to go and experience it yourself. My new favourite thing to listen on my run is a nutrition podcasts. It takes my mind out of the physical performance and teaches me stuff at the same time. So I learn and improve my fitness, how great is this!

 

After my run and a smoothie we went to grab some brekkie with my boyfriend’s family and I was happily surprised about the place! The cafe is in Brighton and it was called the Edendum. Great coffee and food – if you know me you know how much I drink and love coffee. Will need to go back to do some more research on this… Delicious food and really friendly staff. Perfect lunch.

 

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This place is not far from my day job so they’re gonna see me soon hehe!

I also wanted to show you guys what I posted on Instagram yesterday. For the first time I tried these sweet potato slices and they turned out great. Sliced sweet potato with olive oil, coconut cheese, jalapeno, and herbs – yum! If you’re vegetarian, option to have them with cheddar instead of coconut cheese. Perfect party snack!

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I am currently doing a dry Jan, that is pretty boring btw! But if you are too, or just not into drinking that much this SeedLip non-alcoholic spirit tastes like Gin – great alternative. Go and check out their website https://seedlipdrinks.com/

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

thevegescandi x

 

Christmas in Finland

This year was really special for me, I had the opportunity to spent Christmas eve with my family and this weekend have another Christmas in the UK with my boyfriend’s family. In Finland everything was covered in snow and the coldest we experienced this year was -19 degrees!! So cold… It was so beautiful and special as unfortunately you forget after living abroad for so long. When I was younger and still living back home I didn’t appreciate things like I do now. A very good friend of mine said a few days ago, “you need to look very far to be able to see very close”.

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I was planning to write and post pictures whilst I was in Finland but we didn’t have good internet so I decided to just enjoy the time off, not worry about social media and share bits with you later. I am sitting in a plane back to London right now. Flying makes me really nervous so this is a great way to distract from it.

We started our holiday from Gatwick last Saturday. If you are looking for a bigger snack, lunch or dinner and you are a veggie eater, they have got great options for vegans and vegetarians at Wagamama’s. I had Vegan Pad Thai with tofu and a pineapple & spinach smoothie. So tasty and 100% plant-based!

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After landing on Saturday we drove to Lahti, which is a small skiing town where I’m from, about 150km North from Helsinki. I went to see some old friends the next morning and had the best homemade ginger bread cookies! My friend’s daughters baked these a few nights before, the cutest little girls! I’m really looking forward to having a Christmas one day with my own kids, it will be really special in a different way. It’s always so nice to see old friends happy and well. I think it was -12 degrees on that Sunday and I felt like that 10-year-old again. Walking around in the same neighbourhood where I grew up, listening the snow crunching underneath my feet and feeling the cold air in my lungs.

The older I get, the more I’ve realised how important it’s to have those little moments on your own. Don’t get me wrong it’s so lovely to share moments with your other half or your best friend but sometimes it’s good to do things on your own, not talk to anyone or be on your phone, just experience what’s around you and live in the moment.

Before heading out to Hartola for Christmas Eve, we decided to visit the harbour in Lahti. It was freezing cold, but so beautiful. It feels so special to be able to share things like this with my boyfriend for the first time, temperatures and places where I spent most of my time growing up.

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We got to the cottage later on that evening. At this time of the year, our little cottage in Hartola is surrounded by deep forest and a frozen river. I have needed a holiday for a long time so it was really nice to get there. Our Christmases are about spending time with the family, Sauna, Disney classics and eating great food.

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Christmas Eve was an absolute gem!

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Where did you spent your Christmas this year?

thevegescandi x

Motivation or Discipline?

Happy weekend everyone! Just having my morning coffee in my pyjamas, favourite bit of the week. No need to rush anywhere and I can start planning what we’ll have for breakfast. Our Saturdays are all about food, chilling and occasionally going out with friends.

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Yesterday I finished work at 11am. Fridays I only work for three hours so I can get other things done. I’m feeling really happy that it worked out so well as I think it’s so important to have the right work personal life balance and my own time to be creative.

After having lunch at home, I ended up watching The Holiday (great christmas film if you haven’t seen it yet, put it on your list). In the morning I was planning to come home after work, eat, go for a run, cook food that I can share here with you – do all these things, be productive, but after coming home I started feeling super lazy. Thinking, it’s just not happening. These days we all are busy with different stuff and I think it’s so important to take that time to yourself when ever you can, for me that was a movie on my own. Get up earlier when everyone else is still sleeping so you have the time just for yourself or be on your own for an hour in the evening. Do a face mask, eat something you love, do yoga, whatever suits you the best and makes you feel good about yourself. Take the time to recharge.

I ate, watched the movie and thought I should go for a run, because I will feel better if I do it. This is when I started thinking about the word “motivation”, what is motivation? If I think about exercising, it makes me feel great but it all comes down to self-discipline not being motivated to be fit. Fitness and other benefits happens way later. I have days, almost everyday when I feel like I have to push myself to go for a run or to the gym, but I do it to feel healthier and to release the endorphins, that make you feel the best! Exercise effects so much on your physical and mental health, and it took me years to realise it.

So many people judge, if you share how exercising makes you feel and this probably comes down to the fact that these people can’t be arsed to exercise themselves. But you should never feel bad about being healthier and going through all that hard work. Exercising is really hard some days, fun other days. Remember that most of us would love to sleep in, or go to the pub instead of the gym. We are all human, no one’s perfect.

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I felt really lucky yesterday to run with these views. Absolutely love living on the coast. We have been here almost two years now, hard to imagine living anywhere else. If you ever ask yourself, should I go and exercise, just do it!  Do it for yourself. It has taken me two years to fall in love with exercise and still find it hard some days.

Motivation or discipline, definitely self-discipline!

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thevegescandi

 

Makaroonilaatikko – Pasta bake

One of my first memories growing up must be my grandma’s cooking, the smells, radio playing quietly in the background and her smiling at me. Food has always been such a happy subject in our family, something to looking forward to and I will always thank my grandma for that. One of the first recipes I learned from her is famous Finnish pasta bake called Makaroonilaatikko, in English this dish is called macaroni casserole.

Makaroonilaatikko is still to this day a very popular dish in Finland. It’s a pasta bake originally made with macaroni pasta, beef mince, eggs and cream or milk depending on what you might have in the fridge that day. This dish is really heavy, so grandma always used to cut me few slices of cucumber as a side dish, her idea of a salad haha! And of course you would drizzle ketchup all over….

I wanted to take on the challenge to replace the meat and dairy, and make it as delicious as I remember from my childhood. Creating similar flavours, saltines and the right texture. Food is not just about the flavour, its colours and textures too.

You will need a large tray for this dish and a fan oven.

INGREDIENTS:

PASTA SAUCE

350 g Soya Protein

2 Garlic

1 White Onion

8 Sun-dried Tomatoes 

400 – 500 g Tomato Passata

1 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar

Handful of Fresh Basil

Pinch of Black Pepper and Salt

OTHER INGREDIENTS FOR MAKAROONILAATIKKO

350g Pasta

200g Vegan cheese

250ml Single Soya Cream

Half a cup of Water

Breadcrumbs

3 Tomatoes

METHOD:

Start by adding some olive oil into your baking dish, you can also use any butter substitute as this is to prevent Makaroonilaatikko sticking once it’s cooked. I would add little bit of oil into a kitchen towel to spread it around, nice and easy.

Cook the diced onion until brown, then add garlic, your soya protein and other sauce ingredients together in a saucepan.

Boil your pasta al dente , this is not crucial as you will bake the pasta as well later on, just how I prefer to do it. Make sure you don’t over cook your pasta.

Once your sauce has the right flavour and pasta is ready, place both of them into your large baking tray and mix well together. Add soya cream, water and vegan cheese into the mix.

Slice tomatoes on top of your dish to add flavour and breadcrumbs to give the needed crispness. If you have any vegan cheese left, sprinkle the rest on top of your dish.

Bake your pasta bake at 175 Celsius for 30 minutes. You will see the top turning golden brown and this is a sign that is ready to take out.  Let it cool down before serving.

PS. Don’t forget the cucumber!

thevegescandi