Holiday Treats

syLast week was a busy week indeed. I’ve baked some Christmas treats and celebrated our independence day. The week was great with perfect weather and tasty food, but not so great considering my weight loss. Nevertheless here I have recipes for somethings I made or baked. Like I’ve said before, Christmas is only once in a year.

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Earl Grey Truffles, about 25 pieces  Earl Grey truffles

You’ll need

  • 1,25 dl / 0,5 cups cream
  • 1 tbs loose Earl Grey
  • 150 g / 5,3 oz dark chocolate
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 25 g / 0,9 oz butter
  • cocoa powder (for decoration)

You do

  1. Mix chilled cream and loose Earl Grey together in a small pot. Cover with a lid and leave it in the fridge over night.
  2. Heat the mixture to the boiling point. Sieve the cream and measure it. You’ll need 0.9 dl cream. Add chopped chocolate and honey together with the cream and mix until chocolate has melted. Add butter to the mix.
  3. Cover the mix and let it set in the fridge over night
  4. Make ball shaped thingies from the mix. Turn the balls over cocoa powder.
  5. Preserve truffles in a fridge.

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Christmas Loaf  Joululimppu

You’ll need

  • 7,5 dl / 3,2 cups sour cream
  • 50 g / 1,8 oz yeast
  • 1 dl / 0,42 cups syrup
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1,5 ts fennel
  • 1,5 ts anise
  • 0,5 ts seville orange peel
  • about 8 dl / 3,4 cups rye flour
  • about 8 dl /3,4 cups wheat flour

And to brush loafs

  • about  0.25 dl / 0,1 cups syrup
  • about 0.25 dl / 0,1 cups water

You do

  1. Warm up the sour cream until it’s hand tempature. Dissolve yeast in the warm sour cream.
  2. Add syrup and seasonings to the sour cream (First crush the fennel and anis in the mortar).
  3. Put the flours in little by little. Put in a warm place, until dough have risen to double its size.
  4. Make 3 loafs. Let them rise well (about 30 to 40 min). Poke holes lightly through the loafs (I used knitting needle).
  5. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Bake about 30 min on lowest level in the oven.
  6. Brush the loafs with syrup-water mix at the end of the baking (about 10 min before they’re done) and right away after they are off the oven.

This bread/loaf is so good. You can eat the loaf for example with blue cheese or gravlax (raw salmon with salt, white pepper and let it stay in fridge 1-2 days). Also cranberry cheese is good with this too.

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Gingerbread Cookies

Internet is full with recipes for these cookies and you can also buy a dough from grocery store. I would say these cookies are made nearly every household in Finland and my family isn’t exception. With these dough you can also make ginger bread house. Someones like to decorate cookies with frosting/icing but I don’t like to do that now.

You’ll need  joulupiparit

  • 250 g / 8,8 oz margarine or butter
  • 2 dl / 1 cup sugar
  • 1,5 dl / 0,6 cups syrup
  • 1,5 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1,5 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp clove powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 tsp seville orange peel
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • about 9 dl / 3,8 cups wheat flour

You do

  1. Put margarine/butter, sugar, syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger and seville orange peel in a big pot. Heat it up to the boiling point.
  2. Put the pot in the kitchen sink and cool down the mix. There should be cold water in the sink, so it would cool down faster. Stir it up now and then while the mix is cooling. It should be just little bit colder than lukewarm.
  3. Whisk eggs one by one with a whisk to the mix.
  4. Mix salt, baking soda and flour together.
  5. Mix flour mix together with cool mix. Add flour mix carefully, little by little.
  6. Put the dough in the fridge and let set over night. I usually put the dough in a plastic container, ‘cos it’s fits better to the my fridge.
  7. Next day make cookies with cookie cutters. Or make up shapes, your imagination is the limit.
  8. Pre-heat  the oven 200°C / 392°F and bake cookies about 8 to 10 min.

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Have a absolutely fantastic time while waiting Christmas! At least I will! Feel free to copy these recipes (only recipes, not pictures ‘cos those are mine) and let me know if you going to do one of this treats or if you already done. It would be fun to know your thoughts after you made these.

With Love SonyaBlue       XOX

My Motherland

Me on Koli (National Park)

Me on Koli, one of Finland’s national parks

 I planned to post this yesterday, but my computer and/or internet connection didn’t want to co-operate with me. And also I’ve been very busy, for example I had to go to three different grocery stores until I found the seasoning I needed to bake bread. I’ll tell you about these Christmas things in another post. This post is about Finland.

Flag of Finland

Flag of Finland. Pic was taken in a cruise one of Finland’s lakes, Saimaa.

Yesterday, the 6th of  December, was Finland’s independence day. So I decided to write something about Finland.

Little history

So happy birthday to Finland. Finland is now 95 years old. Of course people of Finland have existed long before that. Finland was a part of Sweden from the 12th century until the start of the 19th century. After that Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire until the Russian Revolution and Russia’s withdrawal from World War I in 1917. The right-wing government declared independence on 6 December 1917.

Although Finland is a small country, we have also had our own civil war in 1918. It wasn’t long. Pro-conservative “Whites” was supported by German Empire and they won over pro-Bolshevik “Reds”. Finland was planned to be a monarchy and a German King, Friedrich Karl, was chosen to be Finland’s king. But after German lost the first World War on November 1918, it was was established that Finland was to be a presidential republic. K. J. Ståhlberg was elected as the first president in 1919. In beginning of the 2012 Sauli Niinistö was elected Finland’s 12th president.

Finland took part in World War II. The Winter War took place from 1939 to 1949 and the Continuation War took place from 1941 to 1944 against the Soviet Union.  The Lapland War happened from 1944 to 1945 against Nazi Germany. Finland forced the Germans out of northern Finland. The treaties were signed in 1947 and 1948 with Soviet Union. Finland was forced to cede, for example most of Finnish Karelia.

Little Facts

Finland is in Northern Europe. Finland has land border with three different countries: Sweden on the west, Norway on the north and Russia on the east. There’s Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden and Gulf of Finland on the south between Finland and Estonia.

Suomen Kartta Alueellinen Kaupunki

Map of Finland

Finland is about 1157 km (781 miles) long, at least it’s distance between Finland’s most southern city Hanko and the most northern city Utsjoki.

Capital city is Helsinki and it’s located in the south of Finland. Euro is the currency we’ve used since the beginning of 2002.

Finland is a bilingual country. Official languages are Finnish and Swedish.  My mother tongue is Finnish, but I speak Swedish too. We have to learn Swedish at school and also English. My English is still way better than Swedish.

There are about 5,4 million residents In Finland. The Largest city is Helsinki, second largest is Espoo. I live in Turku and it’s the 5th largest city in Finland.

We have free education. In high school, polytechnic and college students have to buy studying material (books and stuff).

Suomen Leijonat, Lions of Finland!

Finland has won World Championship in ice hockey two times, first time in 1995 winning over Sweden 4-1 and second time in 2011 again winning over Sweden 6-1.

Finland has over 188000 lakes with 98000 islands.

Santa Claus has his office in the North of Finland.

Independence Day Party

I have an assumption about the way people celebrate Independence Day in USA. I know it’s on the 4th of July on summertime. I’ve made my assumptions via TV (how else). I have this image that in USA people have parties with family and friends. They have picnics and barbeques and I know that big fire works is a huge part of the celebrations in USA.

President Sauli Niinistö and his wife Jenni Haukio

Here in Finland we don’t celebrate our independence like Americans. Firstly it’s in middle of winter, so if we have good weather there’s snow on the ground and it’ll be freezing. If there isn’t snow or it isn’t snowing it would probably rain. So no parties by the beach or barbeques. In Finland we like to stay indoors and enjoy the company of our loved ones in the candle light.

Presidentinlinna itsenäisyyspäivän valaistuksessa vuonna 2011.

President residence or Presidentin Linna. Direct translation would be Castle of the president.

The president of Finland throws an Independence Day Reception party which takes place in the presidential residence. Nowadays the presidents don’t live there anymore. About 1800 persons, celebrities, athletes, diplomats, and members of Parliament and Government gets invited to the party every year. The president or the president couple can choose who they want to invite and they can also invite their friends and family.

The reception is aired on national TV. Most of the program consists of the president and the president’s spouse shaking hands with everyone invited. It’s always the most watched TV program. It’s fun to watch and criticize how the women dress themselves. It’s also a tradition have a couple of candles on the side table. We usually have some snacks too.

Our family’s tradition is to bake Christmas cookies on independence day. We eat fancy dinner and of course watch independence day reception on TV. So we don’t celebrate our Independence Day the same way as people in the USA, but this is our way and I like it.

So this post was late and my sister is coming to visit us this weekend and I just wonder if I have time to write anything else here this week. Well, we will see. On Monday I will be back for sure. Have a great weekend!

With Love SonyaBlue 

Naked Truth

I’ve been walking around my neighborhood everyday. Of course different kind of people pass me by or I pass them, either way. They all look different. They are tall, short, skinny, chubby, normal weight or even really fat. They have blond, brown, black, red, violet or blue hairs. They skin color isn’t always same as mine nor eye color. And they don’t have same kind of cloths.

The other day (actually about 4 to 5 days already) it’s n been about -10°/14°F. So quite cold. I’m wearing pants over tights, sweater and quilted jacket. To me the most important pieces are woolen scarf, woolly hat and mittens. Other ways I would freeze. Towards me was coming group of teenagers, couple boys and about 6 to 8 girls. The boys was wearing woolly hats, but none of the girls weren’t. Girls had they make-up on and cloths like in fashion magazine. But no woolly hats. And it was cold.

Well it’s ok to wear latest fashion styles and it’s ok to wear make-up. But why wouldn’t they wear woolly hat? Does that mess their hairs so badly that they choose to freeze their brains? And I also thought woolly hats are in fashion right now. Or in fashion in here. At least during summertime I saw lots of woolly hats on teenagers. Or did their braisn melted during summer, so they don’t need to protect their brains anymore? Why teenage girls won’t wear woolly hats on winter? Maybe the right answer is somewhere between  peer pressure and messy hair. I don’t really know. Actually I do remember when I was teenager I didn’t wear a woolly hat on wintertime either. But then fashion was different and I just couldn’t wear a woolly hat, ‘cos none of my friends did neither.

Why everybody have to do like in fashion magazine. Those are filled up with perfect pictures of perfect models. And still those pictures are usually photoshopped. And everybody wants to be like those underweight models. Fashion magazines have too much power over us. Famous people have a lot of pressure to look good, cause once we seen them without make up or doing some daily thing and they don’t look their best, we just have to say it. And if someone has gain little bit weight and wear a tight dress or shirt someone have to tell that to a person always. Why?

Last week I came across a dare called “Naked Truth”. Veera Korhonen, who has a fashion blog,  was upsetting about comment made of a picture of her friend wearing custom made dress.  Someone was suggesting that the dress would look better on skinnier person. She was inspired and decided to take picture of herself without any make-up and no use of any photosopping or retouching the picture. She made A DARE out of it and asked the bloggers to do the same. A picture without make-up, photoshopping and retouching.

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So this is me. Just me, nothing added. With my little rash, with my light eye brows, with my hair after shower. I decided to take part on this dare. Do you dare do the same?

Here’s the link to original post of Veera, but I have to warn you, it is in Finnish.

With Love SonyaBlue

Jingle Bell Rock

It’s already second of December. Christmas is almost here. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. Usually I drive my family crazy, ‘cos I could start planning Christmas things after Midsummer Day. Yes, I know it’s a bit early, but I love planning things. And Christmas is just ONCE a year and New Year Parties is every year =).

To my mom it’s tradition to watch from tv or attend church service at first advent (which is today), ‘cos Hosanna, Son Of David is been sang always. The song Hosanna, Son Of David (Hoosianna in Finnish) has been sung ever since 19th century at First Advent service. So I watched it too. I’m not really religious, but I attend church about couple of times on a year (wedding, funeral, christening). Not so much because of God. On my religious beliefs I’m Lutheran. Our national church is The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The church professes the Lutheran branch of Christianity, and is a member of the Porvoo Communion.

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After church service I started to listen Christmas song in Finnish and English. And because I also love lists, I decided to list one of my favorites Christmas songs. They aren’t any order, cos I can’t choose which one is better. And order will change every other day depending on my mood. Today I just listed songs that are in English. If I would been considering Finnish songs too, I wouldn’t never finish. Here is TOP 12 of Christmas Songs I like. And which I could recall today. It’s TOP 12 ‘cos I can’t take anything of there. These songs I have to listen every year.

Best Christmas Song (in English) – TOP 12


1. Do They Know It’s Christmas
2. Last Christmas
3. Mary’s Boy Child or Marian Poika in Finnish
4. Jingle Bells or Kulkuset in Finnish. Although I prefer English version . Maybe because this is the song I’ve been hearing since I can remember, so English version is little bit different ‘cos it’s in English. Do you get my point?
5. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing or Kuului Laulu Enkelten in Finnish
6. If It Does Not Snow On Christmas or Jollei Jouluna Ole Lunta in Finnish
7. Happy Christmas (War Is Over). There’s Finnish version of this song too (there’re Finnish versions of almost every song if it’s a hit)  Joulun Rauhaa. Hardly ever I listen to Finnish version. Original is better, way better!
8. Sleigh Ride or Rekiretki in Finnish
9. Deck the Halls                           
10. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer or Petteri Punakuono In Finnish
11. Jingle Bell Rock
12. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

If there’s Finnish song, it’s probably the song I’ve been listening, ‘ cos I’ve been listening those songs since I was a kid. Nowadays some songs are better in English than Finnish. I really don’t know why. Maybe I’m just fed up with those Finnish lyrics or something, ‘cos song is still the same. But of course some songs are way better in Finnish. Usually those ones are connected with some kind of memory.

If you have Spotify just click the song you want to listen. Enjoy Christmas music and feel free to comment. Let me know your favorite Christmas song. Maybe I get new ideas for my playlist. Which Christmas song you listening year after year?

Anxious waiting for Christmas, With Love SonyaBlue                         

I’ve Been Craving For…

,… A HAMBURGER.       

All week long I’ve been craving for a meal in some fast food restaurants. But those aren’t good for me, ‘cos those meals are some much fat, salt and sugar and I’m trying to lose weight.  Although I would choose Coca-Cola Zero, ‘cos it’s tastes much better to me than regular Coca-Cola. Zero isn’t so sweet compare to regular or even light/diet version. By the way, I did you know that in Finland it’s forbidden to use word “diet” e.g in groceries, that’s why I put word “light” in there too.

Back to the point. Craving for a hamburger. Then I realized I could make it by myself. Yay!

RECIPE

This is what you need for making hamburger steak:

600 g / 21 oz Minced meat

2 dl / 0.85 cups  sour cream, low fat

2 tbsp Breadcrumbs

About 1 – 1,5 dl / 0.65 cups Flour

1 Egg

1-2 Onion

About 1 dl / 0.42 cups Milk

Seasonings: Salt, White pepper, Paprika powder, Chili powder, Black pepper. Add seasoning to your own flavor.

1. Take a bowl and combine sour cream and breadcrumb. Let breadcrumb swollen.

2. Sweat chopped onion on a pan.

3. Combine sour cream-breadcrumb -mix together with minced meat, onions and seasonings.

4. Mix egg there too.

5. Also add  milk and flour. Add flour little bit at a time to make paste perfect. Remember you don’t have to use all flour or maybe you have to add little bit more.

6. Wet your hands in cold water and make steaks.

7. Fry steaks on a hot pan or in the oven (200°C/392°F about 10-15 min.) I made about 14 steaks.

I bought buns, but it would be fantastic to bake buns by oneself too. Then I just add lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion rings, one slice cheddar cheese, pickled cucumber, some bell pepper and little bit ketchup and hamburger sauce.

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French fries was from freezer’ cos I was lazy to chop and shred potatoes. Meal was great and just what I was craving for.

And of course there was left overs, so I made another meal next day. I boiled potatoes, carrots and broccoli. Heated up those left over minced meat steaks.   Clearly this one was healthier than the hamburger meal. And also so good!

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Have great weekend and feel free to try these meals too. Also feel free to comment and tell which foods you’re craving for.

With Love SonyaBlue