A day for the loved and lost

Elsa

This is Elsa, our beloved baby kitten, who will move in with us in the near future. She is adorable, playful, happy, and loves cuddling. She hasn’t been around long in this life and because of geographical distance I haven’t been able to see her that much yet, but I still love her.

As most of my friends and family know, I also have a deep love for all life. I love and care for all animals. I cry for them, I pray for them, and I fight for them. The last time I ate meat was more than 11 years ago, and in a few weeks I have been vegan for 7 years. 7 beautiful years of living my truth, expressing my compassion and love for life every single day. 7 years of doing my best to not hurt anyone, human or non-human alike.

Today is World Animal Day, and I want this day to be a celebration, a tribute, to all animals loved and lost, as well as to those animals who never got to feel even the tiniest bit of love from anyone during their short lives, before they ended up on our plates, on our bodies or as part of our furniture. I want this day to be a happy day for our furry family members, like little Elsa, but I also want this day to be a remembrance of all those who have suffered to satisfy our selfish desires.

I want this to be a day of love for every non-human out there.

Fluffy egg-free cupcakes

Baking great looking, tasty cupcakes without dairy and eggs is – contrary to common belief – no problem at all! My favorite cupcake recipe at the moment is based on one by Kamomillan konditoria. Her original recipe yields only one cupcake, but I have made this recipe to yield 12, which is the amount that can fit into my muffin pan.

cupcakes

Vanilla cupcake

1,8 dl sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla powder
1,2 dl oil
3 dl oat milk (or other plant-based milk)
3 dl wheat flour
1,5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

1. Heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Line your muffin pan with muffin cups.
2. Mix sugar, salt, vanilla, oil and oat milk in a bowl.
3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and baking soda before adding it to the liquid. Mix all of the ingredients together quickly.
4. Pour the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Bake in the oven for about 18 minutes. They’re done when you can push a stick into the muffin without any batter sticking on it.
5. Let the cupcakes cool down before decorating and eating them.

This basic cupcake recipe can be made into pretty much any flavor of cupcake you like, some that I have made include chocolate (where you just add in grated dairy-free dark chocolate, or cocoa powder, into the batter), chocolate and coffee (where you substitute part of the oat milk with coffee and add either grated chocolate or cocoa powder), and orange (where you substitute the oat milk with orange juice). I’m sure you can also add in berries in the batter if you like, even though I haven’t tried it with this particular recipe. Only your imagination is the limit!

Then there’s of course the decoration part. It’s not my strong side, I’ve probably messed up more cupcakes that I’ve succeeded with, so I will not get into it at this point. However, the decoration on the cupcakes in the picture is based on soy cream (thickened by adding a little agar agar and boiling for a few minutes, then letting it cool over night before whipping it), in one I have mixed in melted dark chocolate, in the other a blueberry-raspberry jam.

Pie with tofu and broccoli

I want to share my recipe tofu and broccoli pie with you guys, it’s one of my favorites and quite easy to make. It’s great for when you have people over for a light dinner, and goes well with a fresh salad!

The original recipe for the crust comes from the book “Vegetariska kokboken” by Inga-Britta Sundqvist, which is one of my favorite books about vegetarian cooking (only in Swedish). I have an old version from 1984, so some things are of course outdated, but it has a lot of basic recipes and tons of information about vegetarian foods and how to cook them. Definitely a book worth checking out!

pie

For the crust you will need:

3 dl of flour, usually I mix two different ones half-half
a pinch of herb salt
75-100 grams of non-dairy margarine or oil
4 tbsp of water

For the filling you will need:

about ½ a pack of tofu (150 g)
a small size broccoli
a small onion
a little oil
2 dl of oat cream
a little non-dairy milk
1 tbsp potato or corn flour
paprika powder
herb salt
black pepper
(nutritional yeast)

Time to start baking:

1. Start with the crust. If possible, make it at least one hour before you will bake the pie, if it gets to rest in the fridge for a while after it has been made it gets easier to handle. If you don’t have time for that, it can also be used right away.
2. Mix the flour and the herb salt together. Add the margarine or the oil and mix them well together with the flour. At this point the dough will still be quite dry.
3. Add the water and mix the dough together quickly. It should become easy to form. If it still looks dry, add either more water or more margarine.
4. Put the dough in the fridge.
5. If you have time, take a break!
6. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
7. Start preparing the ingredients for the filling; chop the onion quite small, cut the tofu into small cubes and the broccoli into bite-size pieces.
8. Heat some oil in a pan. Add the onion and fry it until soft, then add the tofu and the paprika powder. Fry until the tofu is a little brown, then add the broccoli and lower the heat. Fry until the broccoli is a little cooked, it doesn’t have to be soft. Put the heat off and put aside for a while.
9. Mix oat cream, milk, the rest of the spices, potato or corn flour (and if you like, nutritional yeast) in a bowl until there are no clumps.
10. Once the oven is warm, spread the dough evenly in a pie form, bake it in the oven for 15 minutes without the filling.
11. Take out the crust and add the filling. Pour over the cream-mixture.
12. Bake the pie in the oven for 20 minutes.
13. Let the pie cool down for a while.
14. Enjoy!

pie2

Finding vegan food when traveling: HappyCow

When we are traveling to different places I usually like to look up the available vegan and vegetarian restaurants before we go. If I can eat in a vegetarian environment, why wouldn’t I? Plus I like to try out different kind of vegan foods in different places.

happycow logo

To find the restaurants I usually use the site happycow.net, where you easily can search for vegan, vegetarian and vegetarian friendly restaurants, as well as stores, in a city or area that you are interested in, pretty much anywhere in the world. You just type in the city you are looking for in the “search”-field and click the search button. The different alternatives will show up on a list as well as on a map, distinguishing between the different types of places (vegan, vegetarian etc.). You can also filter the results according to the type of restaurant, price class and distance.

When you click on the restaurant’s name it will show you a short description of the place, its address and opening hours and its price class. It will also show you where it is located on a map. Most places also have reviews and pictures from people who have been there, which can be really helpful in choosing if you want to visit the place or not.

I suggest you try it out for your next trip, or even for finding new places in your own city! I have found a lot of places here in Helsinki through HappyCow, that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Chickpea omelette

Just because vegans don’t consume eggs doesn’t mean we can’t have a great omelette; based on chickpeas!

Making a chickpea omelette is very, very simple, it just contains two basic ingredients: chickpea flour and water. In some places here in Finland chickpea flour might be a bit hard to find, but a lot of organic or whole food stores have it. I usually buy mine in Punnitse&Säästä.

Chickpea omelet

You will need:

1 part chickpea flour
1 part water
spices and filling of your choice

How to make it:

Pour one part chickpea flour (one deciliter is usually good for one omelette) in a bowl. Add one part of water and whisk them together until there are no clumps left. Add salt and spices of your choice. After this you can add whatever you want in your omelette, such as finely chopped spring onions, freshly chopped tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes, grated non-dairy cheese, etc. Mix all the ingredients together. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Fry the omelette on both sides until golden brown. Enjoy!

Kippo, Helsinki

One of the shopping centers in the center of Helsinki has this cute vegetarian café called Kippo. I’ve read some things about it, I’ve passed it tons of times, but it’s not before recently that I’ve been there actually trying out what they have to offer.

They serve sandwiches, juices, smoothies, coffee, tea and frozen yoghurt. All can be gotten either vegan or lacto-vegetarian, sandwiches for example can be gotten with either tofu or mozzarella, and smoothies/coffees with soy, almond or cow’s milk. They also sell some organic fruits.

kippo

Together with R we have been there for lunch twice, and tried four of their sandwiches and four of their juices (they have a meal offer including a sandwich and juice of your choice for 9,80 euros). It might be that it takes some time getting used to their kind of food, the first sandwich I tried had apple in it which was a bit weird for me, and some of the juices have interesting new blends. But it’s refreshing! Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to try out their soy-based frozen yoghurt yet, but I for sure will one of these days.

Where? 3rd floor of Forum in the center of Helsinki
When? Open Mon-Fri 10:30am- 8pm, Sat 11am- 6pm, Sun 12noon- 6pm

Vegetarian Awareness Month

Today is the kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month, a month centered on vegetarian food in all its glory. It starts off with today’s celebration of World Vegetarian Day. This is a great opportunity to take the pledge to go vegetarian for one month!

There’s a lot of different campaigns out there challenging people to ditch meat – or animal products all together – this month, and offering support (recipes, information etc) to you while doing so. Here in Finland we have for example Lihaton Lokakuu (“Meat-free October”) and Vegaanihaaste (“Vegan challenge”).

I also personally challenge you, try it out! It doesn’t have to be perfect, this is not a challenge that you can fail. It’s just a challenge for you to step out of your comfort zone, getting to know vegetarian food, making a change for the animals and the planet, and hopefully also having some fun in the process!

vegan bbq

Maybe you choose to go full-out vegan for a month, maybe you choose to only cut the meat out of your diet for a month, any way you decide to accept the challenge, it will still make a difference to the animals and to our planet, and probably most of all to you. When you are “forced” to look for alternatives of the foods you normally eat, a whole new world of food – food you never thought existed – will open up to you.

The Vegetarian Awareness Month will culminate on November 1, which is World Vegan Day (and coincidentally my anniversary as a vegan!). Then I suggest you eat some vegan cake! At least I will.