Mimosa: gluten free vegan vanilla cream for a month of celebration

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March 8th is the women day in many countries. We are so lucky to live in a part of the world were women are free and treated with respect, and that day usually was a chance for a girls night out, a dinner and a good talk. This year I had a month of celebration and I had the opportunity to think much more about what being a woman means – and to enjoy it. It started with a dinner with an italian friend who lives here in Norway and came visit (and eat a mimosa cake tha was eaten too fast to be able to take a picture 🙂 ). I loved it, but there was more to come!

Last thursday night, a group of women in a city called Moss, Norway, met to celebrate an anniversary. So did hundreds of thousand of other women all over the world, in a day of this month. We celebrated the anniversary of the oldest women organization in the world, called Relief Society. It was founded in Nauvoo, Illinois, the 17th of march 1842 for women 18 years of age and older, with the purpose to built faith and personal righteousness, strenghten families and homes and help those in needs. Here you can find the story of how that happened:  https://www.lds.org/relief-society/daughters-in-my-kingdom/manual/something-better-the-female-relief-society-of-nauvoo?lang=eng

The same week, but saturday, the same hundreds of thousand women met in the Conference Center auditorium, meetinghouses and families to participate to the semiannual Women’s Meeting, in a spirit of worldwide sisterhood, to receive messages from the general presidency. (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/watch/2014/04?lang=eng&vid=3408781210001) It’s been touching and inspiring.

Finally yesterday, the last day of the month, I was helping a friend who just started a business: she and her husband inherited a farm, but decided to turn it into a place for cultural events, ceremonies, concerts, conferences. Yesterday they were hosting a group of women called “Klart vi kan” (Sure we can), sharing their experiences in starting a business, supporting each other and listening to beautiful irish music (and yes, food was involved, that’s why I was helping). There were so many talented ladies of all ages! I admire norwegian women. They’re so capable and strong, but with lovely manners, they can manage many things at the same time and smiling, and I never hear them complaining. I have a lot to learn.

I’m so grateful for all the women I met, for my mother and sister, my mother in law who always read me (but I would write it anyway, Margarethe) and the rest of my big in laws family here, for all of my friends around the world (I wish the world was smaller, so often) and for the ones I don’t know so well but who are good exemples to me. It makes me feel stronger and supported, because women need each other.

I made this vanilla cream months ago to fill a cake, made many times since then and enjoyed last time while watching the broadcast for Women’s general meeting, so I decided to call it Mimosa 🙂

 

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Ingredients:

  • Rice milk with vanilla 300 ml
  • Oat cream 100 ml
  • Organic sugar 3 Tsp
  • Rice flour 2 Tsp
  • Lemon zest of 1/2 lemon
  • turmeric 172 tsp

 

Mix rice flour, sugar, lemon zest and turmeric. Add milk and put to boil, always stirring. Let it boil a couple of minutes for the flour to cook, and that’s ready! You can add more flour if you want a thicker consistancy, to fill a cake for exemple, or add cinnamon, orange, it’s good with everything. I made it at work for the thursday lunch together and they all wanted the recipe! And it’s super simple, like everything I make!

 

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I drove my friend’s daughter to her riding course yesterday and I couldn’t help taking a picture… there were baby horses jumping everywere!

 

Mediterranean old bread focaccia

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I was thought to never throw away food. My grandmother had her own strategy- she bought just a little everyday. I remember going together with a straw bag, first to the “Belletti” bakery, and then home. Then to the fruits and vegetables store, owned by a woman called Olga, and then home. And then, walking a bit longer in the nice town of Santarcangelo to go to Picci, the lady who owned the grocery store. Everyday. It wasn’t just grocery shopping, ity was social life, news learning, good exercise (the bags were heavy, here’s the reason for so many going out), and all in all italian little town life. They all knew each other very well, lived close, went to the same church, doctor and hairdresser.

Our life is different. My fridge is also very different from the one my grandmother had. We have a busy life, we work, we buy once a week, often travelling to Sweden, always using the car, and we bring home a lot. Sometimes the week is not perfectly planned, or for some reasons not everyone eats at home, and it’s easy to have leftovers. In one thing I’m not different from my grandmother – and I’m proud of that. I just can’t throw away any type of food. I believe a respectful life means also to be grateful for what we have and treasure it. Luckily, there are many ways to re-use bread, and that’s what I did this morning. I wanted to make a cake, but the bread was a little salty , so I went for a salty recipe instead and was very satisfied with the result!

Ingredients:

  • a couple of days old bread (I had a half loaf, glutenfree bread can be used of course)
  • vegetable milk
  • 2Tsp flour (or cornstarch for glutenfree option)
  • sundried tomatoes
  • olives
  • spring onion
  • origano
  • basil

Break the bread into pieces and pour milk, not too much because you want the bread to become soft but not too wet. Let it soak for half an hour, while you cut sundriend tomatoes, olives and the spring onion, this last one very thin and in a quantity according to your tastes. Add the flour and the vegetables, origano and basil, then put in a cake pan covered with baking paper.  Make it not too thick (mine was about 2,5 cm), so that it will cook well inside.

Bake half an hour in convection oven and buon appetito! You’ll have a pizza smell around the kitchen and you’ll enjoy your leftovers! (no leftovers for this one)

 

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Time for gardening

 

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The sun wich appeared the last two weeks (together with a little snow) and the blossoming crocuses made me think about gardening… seeding time here in Knapstad! Norway has only one harvest season, and I can’t grow the same things than in Italy, so I’m trying to follow its timing and to find the vegetables that grow best here. Last year we started a bit too late, because it was too cold outside and we had no room inside. Seeing my determination, Hp’parents gave us a little green house. It seems to work well! It has only the sides, we put it on the ouside table to keep it away from the cold of the floor since it still freezes during the night. For seeding, I followed this tutorial: http://www.nwedible.com/2011/02/seed-starting-101-step-by-step-visual.html

And here’s the results after a week! (Muffin sure survives out of the green house, but since she was so interested, I thought you could have an idea about the dimensions of the green house)

 

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and here you can see the green house, very easy to place on a balcony too!

 

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Little house shelves diy

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Lately I fell in love with little houses and I had to make one. One. Then, I went to the hardware store and I found that I couldn’t buy just a small amount of medium. No problem! I just bought the whole board, thinking that I could make some to donate, or maybe to sell. I had no idea what a big job it would be to make so many, but I received an incredible support from my family, who had the patience to share with them the kitchen table, and especially from my father in law who helped me cut the board. Said that, it’s been easy and a lot of fun! Here’s the tutorial.

You will need:

  • medium thickness of 10 mm
  • wood glue
  • plaster
  • sand paper
  • paint in the color of your choice
  • washi paper, or scrapbook paper

Steps:

  • In the medium, cut 2 times 18 x 12.5 cm sides, 1 x 15 x 12.5 cm for the base and 2 times 12 x 12.5 cm for the roof.
    Trim the ends of the roof at an angle so that it fits.
    Glue and nail the pieces to form the house.
    Cut a background medium by taking the form and attach it to the back.
    If needed, fill the cracks with plaster. Let it dry and sand the rough edges.

 

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  •  Put 2 coats of paint, changing color between the outside bottom and inner sides if desired.
    Allow to dry.
    Decorate the background with the paper. Done!

 

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Aren’t they lovely? They’re ideal to display our best finds and to place in the entrance, the living room, the bedroom or to donate to someone special!

It starts to smell a lot like spring! Foliage heart diy.

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Yesterday, when we went back to school after the weekend, we found these. The kids were thrilled to see that the crocuses we planted in october actually are blooming!

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That’s the miracle that happens every spring. It all seems so dry and lifeless, and then a flower comes out. I love it, I love to know that it will happen, even if I still need warm clothes and the wind blows hard, spring is around the corner. I like to decorate the house according to the season, but I rarely use the same things. My husband lets me do, not totally understanding, and for a while I also thought that it was just a fun thing to do. Lately, though, I realized there’s something more.

I work at the Waldorf school and I’m a special education teacher. Now I’m working especially with a nine and ten years old with autism/asperger traits. They don’t get any medecin and go with a special diet that helps to reduce the restleness and improve the focus. We also created with the family a rewards and restrictions system that helps them to manage their behavior taking responsability for it. I’ve been able to see how much it has changed the daily routine. It’s still hard to keep the focus and fighting against the desire to just go out and run in the hall, but now I only need to say: “Look, this is the program. Now there’s one more exercise and then you can take a break. If you go out now, you’ll get two minutes just sitting, but if you finish your work, then we can play together”. It works, more and more everyday. They just love to mark as done every point on their schedule and enjoy the prize. I guess that’s what happens with spring, for me. Snow, done. Ice, done. Cold, done. Rain, grey sky, empty trees, done. Now, I’m ready to enjoy the reward! And since it will take some time to be in full bloom, I plant seeds, decorate and create. Plants and flowers add life in the house, but there’s always an angle where there’s not enough light for them to survive, so I made this green heart.

I had these artificial garlands a long time (payed maybe 10 kr for them both), and who doesn’t have a hanger? So, that’s what I did, three easy peasy steps:

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Put your heart in a vase, with sand, stone or oaper to keep it up. And here’s my first spring corner in the house, with little creatures of course. In the next post I’ll give a tutorial for the little houses on the shelf  😉

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Good habits that can save our life…lemon juice in the morning

 

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Years ago, a very health conscious friend advised me to drink lemon juice in the morning, half an hour befor breakfast. I could immediately appreciate its purifying effects, but now I learn that there’s so much more, so I want to share it with anyone who is interested… The article in in italian, so I’ll translate the most relevant parts. Here’s the link:  http://www.italiainweb.com/gli-avevano-dato-un-mese-dopo-7-anni-e-vivo-grazie-al-limone-perche-ci-nascondono-suoi-benefici/

“Umberto Veronesi (one of the leading oncologist in the world) said: “A lemonade acts as a shield against cancer. Research has shown that this fruit for a special role in the prevention, although no food alone can be an effective shield if it is added to a diet and healthy lifestyle. In lemons there are molecules with significant antioxidant properties, able to counteract the action of free radicals, which can alter the structure of cell membranes and genetic material (DNA), and then open the way for the formation processes of the tumor. They are the flavonoids, which are present at high concentrations, and limonoids (which are found mainly in the skin and help to provide the typical sour taste). In addition, they have the power to limit chronic inflammation , which in turn are the basis, often, of neoplastic transformation of tissues. The limonoids , for their part , show a direct ability to curb certain types of cancer cells , such as neuroblastoma : they occurred , for now only in the test tube , researchers from the Texas Agriculture Experiment Station in Chillicothe ( United States). The ideal is a juice of a lemon on the day. And a squeeze of lemon in the salad is a gesture that we should remember to do more often. ”

Additional research confirms that lemon is a proven remedy against virtually all types of cancer. Not only it is a anti- microbial spectrum against bacterial infections and fungi , it works as an antidepressant , useful against stress and nervous disorders, high pressure regulator , natural fighter of internal parasites and worms.

According to one U.S. study , limonene , a substance found in lemon, seems to be successfully used in the destruction of stones in the gallbladder, and in the treatment of tumors in the pancreas, stomach and intestines.

But back to the flavonoids: A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reveals that these substances are able to limit the action of specific molecules with high potential carcinogen. Another study, published in Current Cancer Drug Targets, says that flavonoids have the power to slow down the process of duplication of tumor cells.” (…)

“This is a brief summary of the many properties lemon has:

  • Hinders the onset of osteoporosis
  • It balances the pH of the body
  • Improves digestion
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Prevents colds and flus
  • Purifies the liver
  • Eliminates uric acid
  • Favors intestinal activity
  • Dissolves gallstones, kidney, and calcium deposits that accumulate in the kidneys
  • Prevents urinary stones
  • Fights free radicals
  • Prevents cell aging body
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • It helps digestion
  • It has antibacterial properties
  • Eliminates intestinal parasites
  • Strengthens blood vessels
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • It has anti-cancer properties
  • Promotes energy production”

 

 

 

Castagnole – a transgressively vegan italian carnival treat

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Last night my husband and I were thinking about all the good things that happened to us this week. A problema that has found a solution, someone in the family who is recovering from a serious health problem, a late night talk with a teenager that usually doesn’t say much, a 12 years old really enjoying spiritual experiences, aknoledgements at work, celebrating grand-mother’s birthday with the family, receiving great help from my father in law for one of my projects and a couple of friends from Italy that remind me a very important thing, it’s carnival!

I have never been so fond of carnival – except for the sweet part. So, let’s celebrate all the blessing with an italian classic: castagnole. They’re named after castagne (chestnuts, wich made HP turn up his nose), but only because of the shape. I tried to make them lighter and well…they’re made with yogurt and they’re vegan, I’ve used organic products, but they’re still deep fried. Carnival traditionally and historically is time for transgression 😉

Ingredient for about 40 castagnole:

  • 300 gr flour
  • 60 gr sugar
  • 1 Tsp oil (I use extra virgin for everything, but here the taste was too strong, so I’ve used mais instead)
  • 4 Tsp soy yogurt
  • 1 Tsp vinegar
  • 2 Tsb baking powder
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • rum flavoring (optional)
  • frying oil
  • powdered vanilla sugar

Mix flour, sugar, mais oil, yogurt, vinegar, baking powder, lemon zest and rum flavoring, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Make rolls of dough and the cut them to make balls, as you would do to make potato gnocchi. Deep fry, drain the excess oil on paper towels and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve cold to happy kids.

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Geometric necklace DIY

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When I was young, I had a friend who destroyed all of his toys. Especially the ones that produced sounds, or were moving (we’re talking of ages ago, I know). His parents were upset to see how he treated those toys, his friends didn’t understand why he had that need, because once opened, all the magic was gone, but I did. I knew that the pleasure of understanding, knowing how it worked and possibly reproduce it, was greater than just watching it. Despite the tear apart side effects, it was a good thing. I don’t know what he’s doing now, but I’m sure he had done good use of his capacity to observe the details and his desire to make something with his hands. I understood because I had the same disease – and still have it. One of my friend told me that when I look at something, I analyse it. She says I test and scan the poor thing and that she can see my brain making plans…I guess that’s a good reason that I like to go shopping by myself 😉

Without being a genius of any kind, I’ve seen so many geometric necklaces that I need to make one. That’s another aspect of the disease, before buying a thing you try to make it. I’ve been thinking about using Fimo, when a few days ago at the craft store I’ve seen these angles for books. Perfectly geometric! I bought them and a package of soft fimo and I came home.

I liked the idea of fimo and something more”precious looking” together, so I took out these findings that I had for several years. Maybe their time had come too!

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I just cut some triangles for the corners and a couple of shapes according to the findings. Remember, if you want to insert some hook, do it before baking!

I baked them according to the directions (15-30 min at 110-130 degrees), then varnished with a nail top coat. Then, I glued the different parts together and here’s the result:

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I’m very happy with the geometric necklace and wanted to share because those corners are a brilliant solution, don’t you think?