It was really disheartening to see someone shaming Geoffrey Owens for working at Trader Joe’s. Sadly this happens to many famous or not. Life is challenging, sometimes unfair and despite hard work does not work out as one hopes. I have met many individuals over the years who fail to include their work experience at a coffee shop, retail store, gas station, construction site, etc because of what people say, think and perceive. We all gain practical life skills via every work experience. Sadly people who judge people for not holding what they consider a professional job says so much more about them than the individuals who are motivated to get up everyday, go to work to pay for rent or a mortgage, food, clothes, etc to just keep on the life journey. It is the people that will do anything that inspire me.
Irish 🍀 eyes are smiling. In this case my peas are smiling at me. These dried peas are the beginning step of Finnish pea soup which was a childhood staple made by my great-Mummi is prefect on a cold winter day followed by my absolutely favourite Finnish pancakes.
When serving Finnish pea soup always remember mustard. I am especially fond of the Finnish one made by Turun Sinappi. Luckily I am able to find it without a trip to Finland and love all three strengths – Mieto (Mild) – Green Cap, Väkevä (Strong) – Red Cap and Tulinen (Fiery) – Black Cap. For pea soup, the sweet mild one is the perfect compliment.
Since I do not have our family recipe, my first homemade attempt was with a recipe from a small and beautifully photographed Finnish cookbook called A Tasty Trip to Finland given to me by family in Helsinki when I visited a few years ago. For anyone who would like to attempt this Finnish food tradition, there are many recipes to be found online and likely on WordPress too.
A fun Finnish pea soup fact: it’s traditionally eaten on Thursdays, with Finnish pancakes for dessert and you will find it on the menu in many restaurants in Finland.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
In Finland: Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä which means Friend’s Day. The day has no romantic meaning. Instead it is a day that people send cards and gifts to their friends in celebration of their friendships. I love Finland’s idea of celebrating friends who bring so much joy, sunshine, laughter and love to our lives.
Hope everyone has a lovely Valentine’s Day with those you love. Please always remember there are many experiencing a tough time whether they have lost a loved one, a job, someone they love has been diagnosed with cancer or another illness, or they are simply heartbroken and just feeling alone. Be kind and spread love and light today, tomorrow and always.
I love all things Finnish. My entire life I have been surrounded by Finnish design at home including many beautiful iittala pieces. I absolutely adore every one of these timeless beauties. This year, iittala is re-thinking the table setting and asking their Instagram followers to share their table reset. Sunny spring days will be in bloom soon so I created this spring table setting with a few of my iittala, Arabia and Marimekko treasured pieces. A fresh take on my spring table.
Today is World Cancer Day. Thinking of all those currently battling this awful disease and the many loved ones that are sadly no longer with us. Talk to your Doctor about screening and when it should begin for you. Learn what symptoms to look for and listen to your body when things just don’t feel right. Early screening can save lives. Try to adopt healthy lifestyle changes. Little changes can make a big difference. Advocate for someone who can’t. If a family member, friend or someone you know has cancer, show up. Call, visit, drive them to their chemotherapy or radiation appointment and keep them company, drop off a home cooked meal, send them a card, a care package or do something that just brightens their day. Please don’t disappear because you are feeling uncomfortable and don’t know what to say.
“What Cancer Cannot Do – Cancer is so limited … It cannot cripple love, It cannot shatter hope, It cannot corrode faith, It cannot destroy peace, It cannot kill friendship, It cannot suppress memories, It cannot silence courage, It cannot invade the soul, It cannot steal eternal life, It cannot conquer the spirit.” Unknown
With hot and humid summer weather still in full swing, there is definitely still time to enjoy the opportunity to dine al fresco.
Here is some inspiration for a pretty table setting from my Dîner en Blanc Toronto table. Thank you to Metro Ontario on Front Street East for the surprise vases filled white hydrangeas that made our table perfect.
Dishes and chairs from IKEA Canada
Table from Canadian Tire
Champagne Flutes and candle holder from iittala
“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook – try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” ~ Julia Child
Since I was a child, I have loved all things food. I grew up with my great Mummi taking care of my brother and I during the workdays while our parents were at work. I always came home for lunch during my public school years and enjoyed all my meals being made scratch including the most amazing homemade deserts. I would often bake with my great Mummi and Mummi and learned to cook from both of them. I remember how we would spend the day baking Finnish pulla, cinnamon rolls and Christmas cookies. I always wanted to make my own cinnamon braids to compliment my great Mummi’s perfected ones. On Saturday evenings, our family would enjoy a homemade meal – often steak and ceasar salad – complete with dancing in the kitchen to the CHFI 98.1 Saturday Night Oldies. Amazing special family memories were made in the kitchen and around food.
In grade five, I went to after-school baking class to continue to learn more. With a Loblaws close to home, I truly believe Dave Nichol, the PC products and the Insider’s Report sparked an interest in international cuisine. I hosted decorate your own pizza birthday parties as a pre-teen. In junior high school, we had to select an afternoon activity to join for the last week before summer started. I signed up for the French Club all because we got to go on an outing to a French Restaurant. On a grade eight school trip to Quebec, we found ourselves in Ottawa on the final evening. Three friends and I thought it would be fun to go to a fancy hotel for coffee and desert. To me, it has always been exciting to figure out where to dine on family holidays. I enjoy searching recipes and planning ideas to entertain. I love indulging in cooking and television shows about food, cookbooks, magazines and following all things food on social media. I get excited about new grocery and food stores opening, attending cooking classes and have definitely adopted a European-style to food shopping. It is no surprise when I travel that I may find myself in a grocery store, kitchen shop, food hall or market to see what they stock that may be different from home. A great dinner party filled with good food, wine and conversation makes me happy.
Despite this interest and love of all things food, the busyness of our modern world sidetracked my enjoyment for cooking. For too many years, I have struggled to figure out what to cook for one so I would opt for unhealthy options or dining out to make life simpler. Last autumn, I committed to returning to the kitchen and get cooking again to ensure I stay healthy as I get older. I have enjoyed the mindfulness of escaping into the preparation process but still struggle after long and busy days to sometimes get motivated to cook. It is a definite ongoing journey but I am looking forward to continuing to learn and try new things. I hope to share a few of my food adventures and inspirations along the way.
Happy cooking to me!