Saturday, March 28, 2015


  The first full week of work is behind now. It´s mostly been about learning new routines and timing them correctly. No biggie.
  I´ve also come up with a new recipe for quick fix munchies, when coming home after work with a growling stomach; nori popcorn.

Home popped corn with sea salt and dried nori sprinkle! A surprising combination I craved one evening, and found addictive. This stuff is actually healthy too!
The recipe (yields approx. 3/4 gallons/3liters):

a snug cup (2dl) dried corn kernels
4 Tbsp cold pressed sunflower oil (nice and mild tasting)
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp green nori flakes

+ Pour the oil in a big kettle/pot with a lid. Heat up on the stove until it steams lightly, then add the corn and immediately close the lid! Once the corn begins to pop, lower the temperature slightly and keep popping until there´s a couple of seconds silence between the pops in the end. (It will only take a few minutes altogether.) Remove from the stove and let sit with the lid on for a few minutes. Remove the lid and sprinkle in the salt and nori. Toss and serve!

  The popcorn stays well in room temperature for days, but naturally it is at it´s best freshly eaten.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


  I love baked flour foods, but am not a miraculous baker. Probably so because I don´t have the patience to knead and wait for the dough to rise many times over, and I like mine healthy, not loaded with white flour and extracted added gluten.

  These coconut cookies were a big hit at my daughter´s birthday party recently. Since I made them for others, and to be served in a party, I made them with regular white wheat flour. But when I make them just for myself and my daughter (the rest of my family can´t/won´t eat them), I use freshly home ground whole spelt flour.

The cookies are formed into balls, so there is no need to roll the dough even once!

The dough itself is not super sweet, but the cookies are dipped in powdered sugar once baked. It adds both, appeal and apparel. I personally found it hard to stop eating them... luckily the recipe makes about seventy cookies. =)
 The recipe (makes approx. 70 pieces):

250g room temperature vegan margarine
1,5 dl + 2 dl powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
5 dl wheat flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
5 dl dried shredded coconut
(small splash of soymilk if needed)

+ Preheat oven to 175 C. Whip up margarine and 1,5 dl powdered sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla sugar, flour and salt. Stir carefully. Add in the coconut and stir once more, adding a bit of soymilk if the dough is too dry.
  Roll out little balls, about 2 cm by diameter, and place onto a baking sheet layered oven tray. Leave some room for the cookies to spread in the oven. Bake until the balls have become only slightly tanned, about 10 min. Be careful not to burn them.
  Dip the cookies in powdered sugar once cooled down. Serve cold and store air-tight.

 (Original recipe called "Snowballs" from the awesome Raisa Kettunen´s party food book "Puputyton Juhlakirja".)

Saturday, March 21, 2015


  Wow, it´s been a while since I´ve sewn for my Freedom Collection, but it is still alive and kicking!

  This dress is brand new, and I even wore it to work yesterday, on my very first day back after maternity leave.

The fabric is super comfortable and quite stretchy viscose-like material that drapes well. The pattern I used to make the dress is the same I used for the light blue one for Imbolc, but now I added an inch wide elastic band to the waist for some definition.

The print is so dominating that the outfit does not need further accessories. The shoes give it a more sporty and relaxed touch.

Makeup is natural and fresh. Matte off-white and medium grey eyeshadow, warm pink blush, and sheer nude beige lipgloss polish off the look.
  Funny thing is that while my Freedom Collection was initially designed for off-duty days, now I strongly felt like wearing this dress to work. Perhaps it is out of humbleness. When I was a kid, we moved a lot, from one city to the next. When I was nine, I went to three different schools, all in different places. It was tough, but it taught me an invaluable lesson of what it feels like to be an outsider, the new kid. And back then I learned it´s best to cultivate some humbleness in the beginning. You know, sort of check out the mood and situation of the place before really letting myself loose. Like they say "you gotta know the rules before you can break them".

Thursday, March 19, 2015


  This plan leans on whole grains, veggies and legumes. The baseline drawn from macrobiotics, but including less salty foods, as they tend to make me retain water. Also noticeable is that I´m returning back to work (tomorrow!), so speed is another important factor here.

8am Breakfast: 
2 cups (1/2 liter) kukicha tea with soymilk
3 big rice cakes with coconut butter and honey

Pasta and bolognese cooking up for on Monday. Two kettles, one for whole wheat pasta and the other for gluten-free kind for my son.

12pm Lunch:
2 cups (1/2 liter) bancha tea plain
Mon: pasta bolognese (with tvp=textured vegetable protein crumble, not meat)
Tue: vegetable-flat breads
Wed: tofu stir-fry & brown rice
Thu: tortillas with beans
Fri: pizza (vegan & low fat without cheese)
Sat: pancakes (including finely grated veggie like carrots)
Sun: miso soup with tofu

Creamy oat porridge with raisins and mulberries.

4pm Dinner:
2 cups (1/2 liter) kukicha tea with soymilk
oat porridge with raisins/honey/jam

7pm Supper:

  The times given are merely approximate, and need to be adjusted to each day´s needs. This eating plan acts as a strong stem when planning my grocery shopping list. If I want to improvise, so be it, but with this in mind I won´t have to do the daily pondering of "what shall we eat today".

Monday, March 16, 2015


  These are the latest additions to the selection of my aromatherapy earrings. Designed and hand made by me, of pure wool, metal and glass, these earrings upgrade any look with a touch of sophistication. Pastel colors suit Ostara/spring perfectly, while white and blue suit any season.

  All available online on NellandBoutique, only 20 euro/pair (including shipping + handling worldwide).
  Needless to say, a pair of aromatherapy earrings make an excellent and unique gift idea!

Saturday, March 14, 2015


  Neti is a sort of a bottle or a pot designed for rinsing your nose, on the inside that is. Now that the pollen season has started, it is an excellent time to pick up this refreshing method of cleaning your body more thoroughly. It clears out the nose internally from small particles we inhale daily, like dust, mold, tiny flakes of skin, pollen and other type of allergens floating in the air.

All you need is a pot and a measuring spoon for salt (which are sold together).

Unraffinated seasalt is recommended, and lukewarm tap water. Mix them up, and off you go!
 I bought my neti pot nearly ten years ago, and am a bit ashamed to admit I have not used it regularly, not even annually... =(  But now I dug it up, and have been using it every single evening for a week. I can tell a difference, it really cleans the nostrils, and makes them feel more open. Ever since my childhood I remember having more or less of a stuffed nose, with one side or the other always somewhat swollen/clogged. Using the neti pot has relieved those symptoms, and it feels good knowing I´m doing something good for my body.
  Here you can watch a demonstration of how it´s done.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


  A friend of mine once took part in a survey, which collected data from individuals´ grocery shopping. What they purchased, when, and on how many days a week, for one year. In exchange for keeping record of her shopping, she got data of her behavior and habits compared to the mass average in the survey. Quite interesting.

  One day after returning home from grocery store I pulled out these from my shopping bags:

Cucumber (especially for my kids), cabbage, small piece of smoked white-meat fish (I eat it maybe once a month, when my body craves for it), rutabaga (trying to learn liking it...), scallions, root celery, Honey Crunch apples (not available organic here, but they are the best brand), whipped soy cream, tamari soy sauce, tofu, carrots and dried tarragon.
  This pretty well rounds up my eating habits these days. What´s not in the picture, but a major part of my diet, is whole grains. I buy most of them, especially spelt and rye and barley, in bulk from a nearby organic farmer, and use them mostly for baking bread. Other grains I favor are oat, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat (in small quantities in baking, as I don´t like the taste, but do like to add it´s nutrients into my diet), and millet.
  If I was perfect, that would be it, but since I´m not, I often eat some milk chocolate for dessert in the evening... =) Before my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I preferred dark chocolate. But then I studied the sugar content of foods, and discovered that dark chocolates include as much sugar as milk chocolates do, although they don´t taste as sweet. And I like it sweet! So I ditched the supposedly more healthy option for the real deal. In addition to fulfilling our energy and nutritional needs, feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction are also important in eating!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


  This year I´ve put off switching from Imbolc to Ostara for a good reason: returning to work after being on maternity leave for three years.

 Ostara marks the beginning of my new life almost to the date, the spring equinox falls on the 21st this year. Now we´ve come so close to the peak of spring, that it is time to give in...

  Spring is the time of new hope after the dark winter. Ever thought of doing voluntary work for common good regularly, even daily? Neither have I, but by going back to work for only four days a week I get to do that!
  More on the subject on my column Nelland Living on! Sharing the wealth has never been easier or more gratifying!

Monday, March 9, 2015


  We celebrated our daughter´s third birthday with closest family and friends.

  Here´s the dress I made for her, just for the occasion:

The dress was paired with medium grey pants, alike the color of the sewn-in belt here, and topped off with a silver necklace she got from her godmother when she was born.
Besides being pretty, the fabric is also stretchy and comfy. The pattern is somehow pressed into the fabric. They can make neat things these days!

I trimmed the neckline with a strip of the same fabric, stretching it a bit when sewing to prevent neckline from drooping.

The belt continues all across the back too.
I could not resist making myself one too! I lined mine from waist down with nude fabric to prevent it from clinging to my legs when I walk. It shows through here slightly, but when I put the tunic on, and wear a nude bra, the color of bare skin will continue all the way down to the hem, and you can´t see the petticoat at all. I also wore grey pants with my tunic.

I asked my talented son if he knew how to make origami balloons. The answer was an immediate "yes", and he started folding paper right away without looking for instructions! I was impressed.

He first made some sort of a cube and then blew it puffy, just like you would a normal balloon. These look quite artistic actually. Really nice!
The most important part of any party, food! First we served a main course of vegan spaghetti bolognese with small veggie bites on cocktail sticks (a huge favorite among kids!). Then we tuck into this table of strawberries & cream, home made coconut cookies, popcorn, double chocolate cake, and marmalade.

I made gluten-free double chocolate cupcakes for my son and my sister. The recipe was vegan, so it was easy to just switch the regular wheat flour to gluten-free one.

Happy, happy birthday my love!!!
  Funny thing is that, initially I never even wanted kids. Boy am I so glad I thought out of my box and gave it a shot! My life would be so dull and empty without those two awesome individuals! They rock!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


  On busy mornings I don´t want to put any more time into making breakfast than is necessary. This meal follows the macrobiotic food recommendations, therefore being super healthy, but takes hardly any time to fix.

Big rice cakes topped with miso, cucumbers, nori sprinkle, and yeast flakes (my personal favorite, which tastes like cheese and contains lots of B vitamins) accompanied by 2 cups of bancha tea with soymilk.
  That´s a lot to eat but contains little calories. I can´t seem to cut down portion sizes, I rather cut down on calorie density. =)

Monday, March 2, 2015


  In the past I´ve tried several green/ecological store-bought brands of various cleansing potions for the home. I hate so say it, but none of them came to stay. They just aren´t as efficient as the toxic regular commercial brands.

  But now I tried something even more environmental-friendly: a diy cleansing spray for bathrooms made of all natural and common ingredients!

All it takes is white vinegar, water and essential oil.
I used it on the bathroom sink...
...the shower...

...and even on the toilet bowl, and it cleaned all of them with no trouble. This spray is merely for more frequent maintaining, rather than heavy scrubbing, but every step counts in making our homes less toxic!
  The recipe (for one spray bottle, about 2 cups):

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
10-15 drops of essential tea tree oil (or any oil you like the scent of)

+ Put all in a spray bottle, shake, and spray! Let sit for a couple of minutes and brush with your usual tool, then rinse. Voilá!

  The vinegar does not smell that bad at all, essential oil does a great job!

Sunday, March 1, 2015


  This is my absolute favorite baking recipe! I use it for everything, from pizza crust to cinnamon rolls, just varying ingredients accordingly.
  This time I made a gluten-free carrot bread for my son. Many eat gluten-free "for fun" nowadays,  but my son is lethally allergic to gliadin, a protein in wheat, rye and barley. So we´re talking about life-saving food here.

My ten-year-old son still doesn´t like his veggies, so I "hid" a pound of carrots in the breads. When grated finely, they seem to disappear, only improving moisture and adding a bit of sweetness.

I used millet, buckwheat, brown rice and corn flour to make the bread. I always buy whole groats and grind them in my own stone mill right before baking  minimize oxidation and maximize nutritional value.
   The recipe (makes 4 flatbreads):

1 3/4 cups (4 dl) gluten-free flour (no thickeners like psyllium included)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. carrots, grated finely (or any other veggie/combo and as much as you dare...)
about 1 cup (2,5 dl) water

+ Combine and mix the dry ingredients. Add the wet ones and mix. Stir in the veggies. Add water until you reach an easily spreadable  dough. Make four flat breads on a baking sheet layered oven tray, and bake at 440 F (225 C) for about 15-20 min.
  Best eaten straight away, but thanks to the carrots, preserves well and moist for a few days wrapped in the parchment paper in the fridge.

  These breads make an awesome takeaway food to work or trips, as they are a whole balanced meal, especially if you add cooked beans or lentils in the dough. A nice lunch with a cup of tea!