Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blogger 411

I noticed this getting-to-know-other-bloggers-better kind of post idea on Kate's blog, Classy Living, and she had got it from Becky @ From Mrs to Mama. I thought it would be a fun idea to write about. When you read this post, I'm still on my trip and I scheduled this post to come up, so that my blog's not wholly deserted during the time of the trip. This whole thing is also a link-up, so I'm linking this up to Becky's blog. Becky answered all of the questions, but I'm going to choose a couple of them.

How long have you been blogging? And what got you started on blogging? Has your blog changed?

I've actually blogged quite long, first really on-off and later a little more. I started my first blog during my au pair year in Copenhagen in 2005. When I started university I got a new one and since then I've had at least a couple more. This newest blog I started only last year, and this one I've liked the most so far. I've changed both languages and topics during my years of blogging, but with this one I seem most at ease.

Did you go to college? If so where, and what did you study?

I went to the University of Jyväskylä and studied English language as my major and pedagogical studies and German language and culture as my minors. I graduated as a English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher in fall 2010.

Where have you traveled?

I've traveled in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, UK, Germany, France, the Czech Republic and Austria in Europe, visited Iceland only in the airport, and Eastern Canada as well as the USA (TX, WA, OR) on two occasions.

If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?

Most probably a house. On the lake and with a home movie theater. 

What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?

If I'm really just on my own, I really love reading books, knitting/crocheting, and watching my fave films or TV shows on DVD. I guess it also counts as me time, if I'm doing something with my girl friends, like shopping, doing facials or just having fun talking together :)

If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?

Difficult, so many places I'd love to see! I'd really like to go to Hawaii! I'm also interested in Australia & New Zealand.

So there you go! Hopefully you now know a little more about me! :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

High Five for Friday

Here again with my five favorite things since last Friday. I'm linking up with Lauren @ From My Grey Desk, whose come up this great idea!

1. Having friends over

We've had friends in our home on most of the days since last Friday and it's been wonderful! I love spending time with friends and having them over in our home. It also gives a good reason to make something yummy, when there's more than just the two of us eating it. Many people have said we have a huge dining table and it's true that it's a lot bigger than we need on day-to-day basis. But I love the idea of having friends around our table and serving them good food.

2. A fairly organized home

Another good thing about having friends over is that when you know you'll have guests you don't let yourself slip into the chaos mode and it's a lot easier to maintain a fairly good organization. Guests are always a very good motivator to clean up and when you have them often enough, the clean-up will also be quick and more effortless.

3. My chivalrous husband

We've been married five years and I'm so grateful for my amazing husband. Romance naturally changes a little from the times couples have just met to when they've been together for quite some time. My husband treated me like a princess in a very down-to-earth sort of way on Monday. We were out shopping and while at the stores, it started to rain. It absolutely poured down, there was no way we could have made it back to the car dry. Yet, I was practically dry when I reached the car - because my amazing husband ran to the car and drove next to the door, so that I wouldn't have to get wet. *happy sigh*

4. Strawberries

Now is the time for them, the tasty domestic strawberries! We were indecisive whether to stock them up this summer. We didn't last year, because we moved just when the time was best for strawberries. We thought it'd be nice to have them, but also knew that, if we wanted them, we would need to freeze them this week, because we're going away for a trip. My father-in-law solved the problem for us as he popped round with a 5 kg box full of strawberries! So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work and now we're very happy that we have some of the strawberry yumminess prepared for the coming winter months :)

5. The trip

I won't say where or for how long, but this is the summer trip we have been expecting this year. Now it's almost here! I will tell you more about it once I'm back :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Double chocolate rolls

I baked these on Saturday. We had the pleasure of expecting friends for several days on a row and I decided that it was the perfect excuse to try out a new recipe. This is from the Leivotaan magazine I mentioned in my last H54F post. These are kind of like cinnamon rolls, but with a chocolate filling instead. My version had about half and half semi-dark chocolate chips and grated white chocolate, the latter which was mixed in with the filling. The recipe called for vanilla sugar but I blissfully forgot to add it, although had some at home. It was delicious even without it.

Double chocolate rolls

20 pieces

150 g / 2/3 cups butter
500 ml / ½ quart milk
50 g / 1 3/4 oz fresh yeast
100 ml / a scant ½ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1400-1500 ml / 6 - 6 1/3 cups flour


100 g / 3.5 oz butter, at room temperature
200 ml / a scant cup confectioner's sugar
1 tbl vanilla sugar
200 g / approx ½ pound chocolate, grated

For decoration

1 egg
confectioner's sugar
50 g / 1 3/4 oz chocolate, melted

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the milk and heat up to 37 C / 99 F. Crumble the fresh yeast into a bowl. Pour the warm liquid on top and let the yeast dissolve into it. Add the sugar, salt and then the flour little by little. Knead until smooth. Let rise under a cloth for about 40 minutes.

Make the filling. Mix together the butter, confectioner's sugar and vanilla sugar (and I mixed the grated white chocolate). 

Pour the dough into a lightly floured surface and knead. Divide in two. Roll both pieces into a rectangular sheet. Spread the filling on to the sheets (and I sprinkled the chocolate chips on top.) Roll the sheets of dough. Cut both rolls into 10 pieces and place them on a paper covered baking sheet the cutted side up. Let rise under a cloth for about 30 minutes. Set the oven on 200 C / 390 F.

Brush the rolls with egg and bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes until they gain a nice color.

Let cool. Melt the chocolate. Sieve confectioner's sugar on top of the rolls and decorate with the melted chocolate.

For my Finnish-speaking readers:

Pulla suklaalla & vaniljalla

20 kpl

150 g voita
5 dl maitoa
50 g hiivaa
1 dl sokeria
½ tl suolaa
14-15 dl venhäjauhoja

100 g voita, huoneenlämpöisenä
2 dl tomusokeria
1 rkl vaniljasokeria
200 g tummaa tai vaaleaa suklaata rouhittuna

1 muna
50 g tummaa suklaata sulatettuna

Sulata voi kattilassa. Lisää joukkoon maito ja lämmitä 37-asteiseksi. Murenna hiiva kulhoon. Kaada päälle lämmin neste ja liota hiiva siihen. Lisää sokeri, suola ja vähän kerrallaan jauhot. Alusta taikina tasaiseksi. Anna kohota leivinlinan alla noin 40 minuuttia.

Tee täyte. Sekoita yhteen voi, tomusokeri ja vaniljasokeri (ja minä sekoitin myös valkosuklaamurskan).

Kaada taikina jauhotetulla leivinpöydälle ja alusta. Jaa taikina kahteen osaan. Kauli kumpikin osa suorakaiteen muotoiseksi levyksi. Levitä täyte taikinalevyjen päälle (ja minä ripottelin myös chocolate chipsit). Kääri taikinalevyt rullaksi kääretortun tapaan. Leikkaa molemmat rullat 10 palaksi ja nosta ne leikkauspinta ylöspäin leivinpaperilla päällystetylle uunipellille. Anna kohota leivinliinan alla noin 30 minuuttia. Laita uuni lämpenemään 200 asteeseen.

Voitele pullat munalla ja paista keskitasolla 15-20 minuuttia, kunnes pullat saavat kauniin värin.

Anna jäähtyä. Sulata suklaa. Siivilöi pullien päälle tomusokeria ja kuorruta suklaalla.

Friday, July 13, 2012

High Five for Friday

It's again Friday (how can't it be?!) so it's time for another link-up post with Lauren from From My Frey Desk. The five top things since last Friday were...

1. Blueberry cake with rye crisp crust

Photo from here
My word, this was some good cake! It definitely deserves to be on my list to be made again (and again!).

2. Visiting my home town and family

We spent a couple of days in Raahe, where I grew up. We got to meet some of my family and had a really nice time. My mom gave me some pieces from her fabric reserve, yay! Hopefully I manage to make something wearable out of them.

3. The dress

Photo from here
I'm kind of repeating my blog posts here, but... I really do rank this dress as one of the best things since last H54F! I really hope the weather brightens and warms up a little again, so I can wear it without freezing... (and that to happen preferably before NEXT summer...) I really like the casual style and that it can be worn alone and with a pair of leggings.

4. Leivotaan magazine

Someone in Finland has finally realized there hasn't been a magazine dedicated just to baking. Leivotaan (Let's bake) is now on its fourth issue ever and has been coming out every couple of months since last November. Every issue features 75 recipes, both sweet and savory, and other baking related info and articles. I have bought all of the four issues and consider placing a subscription. The newest issue came to the markets last week and I bought it on Sunday to be read in the car while traveling north. I baked a focaccia bread with potatoes in the dough and cherry tomatoes on top with mom and it was delicious as well as the experience being one of my favorite on our visit.

5. BisBis licorice

We also bought this kind of box of BisBis filled licorice on Sunday. We usually don't get these bigger boxes in stores, mostly only the tax-free shops on cruise ships have them. So we jumped at the chance! This is a very good filled licorice. Luckily, there's still plenty of them left!

That's it for this week's high fives!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New dress

Yay, a new dress! I used the remaining 5.10 € of my gift card to buy this dress that was reduced to 10 €. So I paid only 4.90 €! I really liked the other prints as well. I had it on at the birthday party on Saturday with white short leggings just under the knee and the white crocheted waistcoat I made myself. If the weather stays nice, I have a feeling I will be wearing this a lot :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cake, wonderful cake!

Photo from here
Man, did this cake taste good! I made it for a friend's birthday party. I forgot to take a picture of it, but mine looked pretty much the same, except my top wasn't quite as smooth and my filling quite as thick (my vanilla sauce didn't whip well enough). And I didn't have berries on top. It still looked pretty good though. I've never used rye crisp bread in a crust before, but it worked like a dream and gave it a little edge. The quark used in the filling is also probably unfamiliar to many non-Finnish readers. After a little googling, I found various options to sub quark. Mine was by the Finnish brand Valio and their seasoned quark with raspberry and blueberry (or more precisely bilberry). So if you are using self-made or unseasoned quark, you can add blueberries/bilberries and raspberries in it. The jam made of this combination is called queen's jam, but don't ask my why... Maybe the color reminds of regality? Anyway, definitely give a thumbs up for this dessert! Here's the link of the recipe for Finnish speakers, and below is my attempt for translation.

Blueberry cake with rye crisp bread crust


75 g / 2/3 stick of butter
50 ml / 1/5 cups of brown sugar
100 g / 3½ oz rye crisp bread
2 tbl milk


5 sheets of gelatin
200 ml / a scant cup of whippable vanilla sauce or cream
400 g / 1 3/4 cup quark, seasoned with blueberries and raspberries
150 ml / 2/3  cup blueberry soup
50 ml / 1/5 cups of sugar
5 tbl lemon juice


200 ml / a scant cup of blueberry soup
sugar and pectin
I don't know the measurements, because I use a Finnish product that has both of them, so just follow the instructions in your pectin product, there probably are some for making a glaze.


Use cling wrap to protect the inside and bottom of your springform pan for colorization. Foil the bottom with baking paper as well.

Mix the brown sugar with the melted butter.  Grind the rye crisps into a powder. Mix all the crust ingredients together. Spread the mix onto the bottom of the springform pan. Don't press too hard.

Put the gelatin sheets into cold water to soften.

Whip the vanilla sauce/cream with a mixer. (If cream, season with some sugar and vanilla extract.)

Mix together the quark, berry soup and sugar.

Melt the gelatin in hot lemon juice. Pour into the quark mix slowly, mixing the filling at the same time.

Add the vanilla foam last in the mix.

Pour on top of the crust. Let set in the fridge overnight or at least 5 hours.

Sieve the seeds from the berry soup. Make the glaze according to the instructions on the pectin package. Spoon on top of the filling. Let set.

Friday, July 6, 2012

High Five for Friday

After skipping one time last week, I'm again posting my favorite five things from the past week. As mentioned before, this marvelous idea is from Lauren @ From My Grey Desk and I'm linking up with her.

This annual Christian summer fest held last weekend is a summer tradition for us. A long-standing for my husband, and I've attended since 2006 with one exception. Evankeliumijuhla is Finnish and means Gospel fest. It's always wonderful to get together with thousands of people to listen to the word of God and meet up with friends. This year we were in Turku.

2. A visit from a dear friend

Picture from here
I had a friend visiting me this friend, my very best girl friend. We used to live in the same place for a long while. We got to know in high school and went to the same university afterwards as well. But since then we've lived in different parts of Finland and haven't seen each other so often. But like the quote says, you don't always see good friends, but you know they are there and that's the case with my dear friend as well. It was amazing to have her visit us and we managed to have a lot of fun during those couple of days. Lovely memories!

I used the American Independence Day as a reason to go on at least one picnic this summer. I was so excited to wear red, white and blue for the occasion! The day turned out wonderful and I am really thinking about turning it into a tradition :)

4. Summer weather

I know it isn't a lot compared to some places, but these couple of days with around 24 C = mid-70 F degrees have been a welcome chance to a somewhat mild and rainy June.

5. Local landscape

Originally from Northern Ostrobothnia region, hills used to be a rare sight. Now living in Pirkanmaa, I take pleasure in visiting some of these landscape viewing towers in this area. Having that friend over also encouraged us to take her to a couple of them. It was wonderful standing up there marveling over God's creation.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July

Taken in WA in 2010
I'm not an American, but for a long while I have wanted to be in the USA during 4th of July to take in the fun associated with that holiday. No, it didn't happen this year, but I decided to celebrate it nevertheless. I wanted to bring out the red, white and blue as well as stars and stripes in my outfit and picnic decorations.

All set and ready to go! Wearing my wanted-to-be Socialite Skirt.

I know many Americans go on picnics on the Independence Day and so I hosted one yesterday. A friend hinted me a beautiful spot by the lake and that's where we set up our camp for the evening. The weather was gorgeous! The sun was shining the whole time and it finally felt like summer after a mild June.

I made some food to serve (I made the mudcake and the focaccias) and then some of my guests brought food with them as well. Everything was yummy!

I went for the first swim this summer, it was so refreshing. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and we had a nice time. Sooner than it seemed possible it was time to pack our stuff and head home after a wonderful summer evening with friends.

I was well satisfied with how everything went and plan to hopefully make a tradition out of my little 4th of July picnic!

The happy host