No choice to be made

It’s been a while again. I’ve had a period when I haven’t really felt like being in “activist mode”, and thereby not felt like I have much to say on the blog. I’ve been preoccupied with a lot of other things, both in a positive and negative way.

Sometimes we really let the wrong things take over, things that should not even be allowed into our lives in the first place. There’s been a lot of that lately, I’ve been fighting with myself the past months and it takes a lot of strength to do so. Not much is left for the things that really matter.

Sometimes we also need a break from the things that matter the most to us, just so that we will have the strength to keep on believing in them for the long haul. Even though I never stop being an activist – I am an activist by just being me and making the choices I make – I sometimes have to take a step back and focus on something else. I don’t think I’m the only one who needs to do this. It’s important to fight for what you believe in, but there’s no point fighting so hard that it kills you. No one will benefit from that – not you, and not the cause you are fighting for.

When I was younger I used to be afraid that I would lose my passion when I get older. That I would just settle for a simple, “mainstream” life. I used to think that I have to make a choice between to extremes – having an ordinary family life and being an activist – but I don’t. They can work together, actually they probably balance each other, the passion and fighting on one end and the ordinary, day-to-day life on the other.

There’s no choice to be made.

One person’s trash…

…another person’s treasures.

trash

You’d be amazed by what kind of things people throw away in this country. Perfectly usable things, often without a single scratch or easily repaired. The things in the picture above are some of what we have found standing in the recycling-area in our block lately. We found two identical small shelves that needed some re-painting, but now serve as our night-tables. The cute heart-shaped bowls are perfectly fine, and the glass one just has some minor scratches. Except the things in the picture we have found small storage boxes, a bag, a big vase etc. Not to mention all the things we’ve seen but not taken, since we just don’t have space, or use, for them.

All of this just lying around in the recycle area, considered trash by someone else. I love finding these things – even though I don’t dig around in containers looking for them – but I also feel sad about how much useful stuff people throw away. Stuff that someone else could use and love, so why not give it away? To a friend, a family member, or if you don’t know anyone who wants it, to a second-hand store. Here in Helsinki there are many second-hand stores that accept donations, bigger things like furniture they will even come and get from your home for free, and sometimes they fix things that are not in tip-top shape. Still people keep on throwing away things.

Are we just lazy? Or don’t we care? Do we have so much material things that they have totally lost their value?

A vegan Christmas

We had a great Christmas, even though it was a bit different from what we are used to. We talked to our families through phone and Skype, we met some of our friends at church, we got few but great gifts, and we had some great food.

The food is what this post is going to be about.

Here in Finland we have a bunch of typical Christmas dishes that people usually eat every year, such as different casseroles (“porkkanalaatikko”, “lanttulaatikko”), ham, different kind of salads, and so on. I have kind of found my way to make vegan versions of some of these, and have also added some other dishes that we didn’t necessarily have on the Christmas table when I grew up.

christmas table

So on our vegan Christmas table this year we had these dishes;

  • A vegan ham based on gluten, chickpea and soy flour
  • Porkkanalaatikko, or carrot casserole
  • Red beet salad with home-made mayonnaise
  • Marinated eggplant slices, a vegan version of herring (“silli”)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Mushroom sauce
  • “Ris á la Malta”, which is a dessert based on rice porridge, with vegan whipped cream, oranges and pomegranatesaladdessert

December update

This month has been packed with different events and happenings, so the blog has had to take a step back for, well… life. Now Christmas is almost here and for the first year ever me and R are celebrating it together, without any of our family members present. So it will be different, but also interesting. Kind of a chance to start creating our own Christmas traditions.

winter wonderland

I had almost given up the thought of a white Christmas this year, since the past month has been so rainy and dark, but over the past few days the scenery outside has turned from gloomy and depressing into a winter wonderland. Even though I’m not generally a winter person, the change is quite amazing and truly makes me happy.

Ever since I became vegetarian, planning and preparing the food for Christmas has been a special thing for me, something I love to do. It’s a day when I feel it’s ok to spend a little extra, both money and time, on the food. It’s also fun to find new dishes and to make vegan versions of the typical Finnish Christmas dishes. So I’ve spent this day preparing some of the dishes we will have for our Christmas table tomorrow (a post about these is coming up in a few days).

gingerbread house

This year we made our very first gingerbread house from scratch, which was not the easiest thing we have ever done, but in the end it turned out quite nice.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Tahdon, I do

Pride-Flag

A few hours ago the Finnish parliament accepted the citizen’s initiative for marriage equality. This means that in the near future people of the same sex will (hopefully) finally be able to get married here in Finland. It’s been a though fight for the organizations and individuals working for this change to happen, but now it has finally paid off. Today love has won. Amazing!

Is eating meat a personal choice?

I’m just popping in to share this short clip from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, which addresses the issue of personal choice when it comes to eating meat.

Is the decision to eat meat just a personal choice, or is there more to it than that? Is there bias in the choice to eat meat? Where do we draw the line between a personal choice and an ethical one?

Find out what Colleen thinks!

Baking without eggs and dairy

I might not generally be a big fan of PETA (more on why some other time), but I have to admit they do a lot of good things as well. I found this handy infographic on replacing eggs and dairy in baking and I wanted to share it with you guys. It gives a good overview of some easy ways to replace eggs or dairy in your favorite non-vegan recipes. So no more excuses not to bake some vegan goodies!

infographicVeganBaking_PETA_REVISED72

Click the picture to see the bigger version, or for the PDF, click here.