My Pregnancy Survival Guide

My Pregnancy Survival Guide

It’s been almost nine months since I gave birth to my little boy, but I thought I’d go back in time and talk a little about my pregnancy. I’ve actually been meaning to share this post a long time ago but only now got around to make it happen haha. So let’s dive in.

Pregnancy. It’s funny how it’s something so wonderful and I’d say even magical, but at the same time it can be absolutely awful. There are so many emotions you go through while growing another human inside of you, and so many physical changes too. It’s a lot to take in! I remember how scared I was at the beginning that something bad would happen, and then how excited I was when I felt the first kicks, but I also remember being so tired that I had to take two naps a day to make it till the evening (now those naps feel pretty luxurious though haha). In the end my pregnancy went quite well (me and my boy we’re healthy, which I’m forever grateful for), but still it wasn’t an easy one: the morning sickness, tiredness, anemia and different pains and aches made me feel pretty exhausted most days which lead me to try a lot of things in the hopes of improving my wellbeing. And now I finally got around to sharing all those things with you in the form of this post. So here’s a pretty extensive list of my tips and favorite things that helped me stay (pretty) healthy and get me through my pregnancy. So all you mothers-to-be out there, I hope you’ll find this post useful! :)

My Favorite Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy | tuulia blog

Let’s start with my least favorite thing in pregnancy, the morning sickness. First of all, it shouldn’t be called morning sickness, as it’s was more of an all day sickness, at least for me. I suffered from a pretty severe nausea and heartburn at least half of my pregnancy, and let’s just say that it wasn’t fun at all. I thought I’d be this glowing pregnant lady, but in reality I was more of a bread-eating sleepyhead with dark circles under my eyes. Besides trying a few different tricks (read them below!), one thing that made me feel better was to give myself the permission to just simply eat the foods that I was really craving for, and not to think too much about what I should be eating. Though I usually love salads, healthy treats, and am mostly plant-based, during my pregnancy that was not the case. I just wanted all the comfort foods! Cereal, pickles, mashed potatoes, fish fingers, pizza, and tons of bread were more like my thing. Even the smell of lentils got me puking, so I didn’t even try to eat them (sometimes even the smell of rice boiling made me ill…so weird!). Luckily I did love smoothies the whole time, so I added some greens in my smoothies so that I wasn’t completely living on potatoes and bread. And funnily enough just after I had given birth, I started to crave fresh food and all the healthy things! So just know, that you won’t be living on those weird cravings forever :)

My Pregnancy Survival Guide

My tips to relive morning sickness and nausea:

Eating small meals often: It might seem funny, but eating usually relieved my nausea and heartburn, so at some point I was eating every one to two hours. Small snacks throughout the day helped a lot, and I also made sure to eat a small snack just before going to bed and then again first thing waking up in the morning.

Citrus fruit: Luckily fruits were one of my cravings and especially citrus fruit relieved some of the morning sickness. I ate them as they were, squeezed some lemon to my water, and sometimes I even cut a lemon / lime / orange into half and just smelled the scent of citrus. It sounds weird but it works!

Acupuncture wrist bands: I read somewhere online about these acupuncture wrist bands and quickly went to buy a pair. They look like regular wristband but the point is that they press certain acupuncture points in your wrists, which is supposed to ease nausea pretty quickly. I’m not sure if they were super efficient, but I was ready for any help I could find. I wore my bands during the day when the nausea was at its worst and sometimes during the night too!

Fresh air: This is a such a simple, yet very efficient way to make yourself feel better. A short stroll outside in fresh air made me feel a lot better, the key was just to get myself out of bed to enjoy it.

Diffuser + essential oils: There were a lot (A LOT!) of smells that made me ill, but luckily a couple ones made me feel good too. We have a ZenSense diffuser in our bedroom and I used a lot of essential lemon oil in it. Sometimes I even added a couple drops of the lemon oil to my pillow before going to bed.

My Pregnancy Survival Guide

I usually have a pretty vast variety of superfoods in my cupboards but I stopped eating some of them while pregnant (you can read more about my favorite pregnancy superfoods in this post), and instead added some dietary supplements into my diet. Taking good quality probiotics daily was essential for me, as the pregnancy hormones messed up with my already sensitive stomach. Another important supplement for me was iron, as I was diagnosed with anemia after the first trimester and so I tried to be pretty diligent in taking  a good quality iron supplement daily.

My go-to nutritional supplements:

Probiotics: Vivomixx probiotics, Puhdas+ probiotics and Bioteekki Probiootti Plus.

Multivitamins: Terranova Prenatal Multivitamin Complex* and Wild Nutrition Food-Grown Pregnancy.

Vitamin D: Puhdas+ Vitamin D, D-Pearls Vitamin D and Wild Nutrition Food-Grown Vitamin D.

Magnesium: Terranova Magnesium Kalsium Complex* and Puhdas+ Magnesium.

Omega 3: Puhdas+ Premium Omega-3. Note: If you’re taking an omega 3 supplement while pregnant, it is recommended to quit taking it about a month before the due date.

Iron supplements: Futmed Natural Red Iron , Terranova Easy Iron*, Salus Floravital* and Wild Nutrition Food-Grown Iron Plus*.

When buying supplements, remember to always check that they can be taken while pregnant. If you use a lot of different supplements, it’s also good to check that you’re not taking too much of certain vitamins (for example a pregnancy multivitamin might have enough of folate so that you might not have to take it separately).

My favorite tips for a healthy pregnancy | tuulia blog

Cosmetics:

Pregnancy usually effects the skin at some level too, some might be lucky enough to glow for the most time, but others get acne, hormonal pimples, eczema, or something else as fun. Luckily for me it wasn’t that bad, but still my eczema got worse at times, and I got a bit more zits due to the hormones. Whenever my skin is acting up, I treat it with natural cosmetics, salt baths and scrubs, and sometimes with facials too. Here are a few ways I took care of my skin while pregnant!

Dry brushing: I’d been dry brushing my skin occasionally for a few years, but got really into it while I pregnant as I had read that it could prevent stretch marks. Dry brushing kept the skin of my legs and arms super soft, which was really nice, and it also relieved some of the swelling I got on my legs.

Oils: I started to oil my body regularly probably the minute I’d taken the pregnancy test to keep my skin well and to prevent stretch marks. And despite all of my good efforts, I did get stretch marks to my breasts but actually not any to my belly. So maybe some of that extensive moisturizing did really help! My favorite oils were this organic almond oil* and MÀDARA’s Infusion Vert Firming Antioxidant Body Oil*.

 Homemade Body Butter: In addition to the oils, I used my homemade body butter, which is super moisturizing. So it really did wonders for my belly, breasts, and legs.

Weleda Baby Derma Nappy Change Cream*: I’ve been battling eczema for years and this baby cream has been a favorite for years. The cream has zinc and it soothes irritated skin well, so it’s a nice natural option for cortisone.

My Pregnancy Survival Guide | tuulia blog

To read:

Since the early stages of my pregnancy, I remember wanting to read all the pregnancy articles out there. Because everything was so new, reading things was exciting and also made me feel more confident with the fact that maybe those weird feelings or strange physical symptoms I was experiencing were actually normal, and just belonged to certain stages of pregnancy. So I definitely recommend reading some stuff, but also know that it can be pretty overwhelming when there’s SO much information out there. So it’s good to also know when to stop and just be okay with the fact that you don’t have to know absolutely everything and also that there is no such thing as a perfect pregnancy. We are all different and have our own ways of fostering these tiny little humans inside us.

The Bump AppMy favorite pregnancy app to track baby development and read articles about pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding, and baby care.

Pregnancy books: I ended up getting Nurture and The Natural Pregnancy Book. I also recommend reading a book about baby sleep, as there are things you can do already when the baby is little so I maybe wouldn’t wait until you’re absolutely sleep-deprived to search for information (like I did!).

My Pregnancy Survival Guide | tuulia blog
Things to get:

I tried to buy as little as possible, as all the baby stuff took so much space already, but some things very really helpful already in the beginning of my pregnancy. I also recommend getting these second hand if possible!

Belly Armor Belly BlanketThis soft blanket is designed to protect your baby from wireless radiation from cell phones, laptops, wi-fi and other smart home devices. Maybe it’s not a must thing to get, but at least it didn’t do any harm! And later on it’s been a handy blanket to have around for the baby to lie on.

Doomoo nursing pillowThis has been great while breastfeeding, but I also used my nursing pillow a lot while pregnant too! It helped me to find a comfortable sleeping position especially in the final days when it was so hard to find a good position to sleep.

Exercise ball: This is originally meant for working out, but my exercise ball was a great helper to my back pains and for the contractions, as it’s a comfy spot to sit on and give some movement to the lower back and hips. Later on my exercise ball was also a great helper in soothing our baby, as he loved the bouncy movement and bouncing with it saved me from doing a thousand squats a day!

Belly Bandit Support Band: I got this band to relieve my back aches and used it while working out and also just for walks outside. It didn’t remove all of the pain, but it did help me to move around more easily. Belly Bandit also has a lot of other models too which are worth checking out!

My Pregnancy Survival Guide | tuulia blog

Exercising:

I had this image of myself being a super active pregnant women working out regularly, so that I’d be in a really good shape for the labor and upcoming baby life. But oh well, that turned out to be a total hallucination haha. At first my nausea was so strong that I couldn’t get out of bed and rather slept than did anything active. And it was actually a lot better that way! But as the weeks passed, I luckily started to feel better and more energized, and I really wanted to work out, so I started to go to the gym and to some exercise classes. In my third trimester I also went to prenatal pilates and yoga, and those classes focused more on gentle movement rather than getting a sweat on.

Piloxing: / Himo Club: Last year I got really into piloxing, which is a combination of pilates, dance, and boxing and I went to classes throughout my pregnancy too (meaning whenever I had the energy to do so). It was a great workout and totally adaptable to pregnancy.

Prenatal Pilates: / Kirppanat: A class designed to expecting mothers with simple yet efficient exercises.

Prenatal Yoga: / Manipura: These classes were super chill (sometimes a bit too chill for me), but the course also had two prenatal classes about labor in the end and I thought that they were useful. If you’re into prenatal yoga, there are other courses in Pihasali, Purna Yoga and Hamila too.

Mama Bear Bootcamp: / Helsinki Core Trainers: My friend Kanerva is a fabulous coach and this class uses weights and bodyweight workouts that are designed for pregnant women.

My Favorite Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy | tuulia blogMy Pregnancy Survival Guide

Pampering yourself:

Growing a tiny human inside of you is such a big transformation (both mentally and physically) that some self care and some pampering are definitely needed. Once the nausea was gone, I suffered from a super annoying sciatica, which made even walking painful at times. But luckily osteopathy, gentle exercise and the belly bandit I had bought gave some relief. Below are also a few other tips on how to show yourself some love!

Osteopathy / Mommy & Me: My go-to place for osteopathy and I can warmly recommend both Reetta and Laura.

Acupuncture and massage / Hoitola Onni: A lovely little place in the center of Helsinki where you can get a super nice massage (with hot stones which I love) and Maippi (the owner) is sure to make you feel comfortable even in the last stages of pregnancy. I also got acupuncture treatments here twice after my due date in the hopes of getting my labor going. I’m not sure if the acupuncture did the trick or not, but at least those treatments were relaxing! :)

Floating / Float Kallio: Floating in a sensory deprivation tank is a pretty funny experience but I was so relaxed after my treatment (and my skin loved the salt water. Floating is a great way to relax especially if you’re feeling heavy or swollen.

Facials / Charmonie Spa: I’ve been going to this lovely little beauty salon for a few years already and love all the treatments that Tiia offers. She uses only natural cosmetics and it was so nice to pamper myself with a fascial just before my due date.


Sending you lots of love and health! And if you’ve got any questions related to pregnancy, labor, or anything, write me a comment below! ♡

My Pregnancy Survival Guide | tuulia blog

Photos of me at home by Susanna Nordvall
Green silk trousers by R-Collection
Black top with lace detail by Pura Finland


This post contains affiliate links (they are marked with a *), meaning, at no additional cost to you, I get a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you for your love and support.

Winter Overnight Oats + My Pantry Must-Haves

Winter Overnight Oats + My Pantry Must-Haves

this post is sponsored by Food Market Herkku & Asennemedia

As I’ve probably told a million times, I love food shopping. Especially when we travel I tend to visit all the food shops and markets (you can bet that I loved LA for this) but I’m pretty good at it back home too. Now that we’re back to our everyday life (my hubby’s back at work and I’m at home), our routines have become pretty important again. We like to get groceries delivered at home a couple times a month and then in between we try to be pretty efficient when going to the store. Our meals are more planned nowadays and our grocery list is pretty detailed, which makes life a lot easier. When planning our meals I like to keep a couple things in mind: get things in bulk rather than in small quantities, buy seasonal, and make sure I have all the basic ingredients in our cupboards. So I was pretty happy when Food Market Herkku wanted to collaborate with me, as it means I get to talk about my favorite food products and finally share my pantry must-haves with you!

In season now: all the citrus fruit!

Winter Overnight Oats with Orange, Date & Coconut | tuulia blog

My go-to breakfast lately: Winter Overnight Oats.

My Must Have Pantry Itmes

Sometimes I wish I was a minimalist, but when I’m in the kitchen, I like to have a bunch of ingredients around so that it’s easy to start baking or prepping a meal. I like to try new products but I also like knowing that I have my go-to ingredients. So here’s a list of my must-have ingredients and tips on what you should be getting on your next visit at Food Market Herkku!

Fruits: Fruits are my jam. I always have to have some fresh fruits at home as they’re such an easy snack and a great add on top of porridge, to smoothies, baked goods or even salads. I buy bananas and apples (mostly organic) around the year but otherwise try to stick to what’s in season. Like now I’ve been eating all the citrus fruit! Food Market Herkku always has seasonal veggies and fruits beautifully presented, which makes shopping a lot easier.

Frozen berries: I make sure we never run out of frozen berries, as they’re probably my favorite ingredient ever. I buy them in bulk, as I want them to last for a while and they tend to be cheaper that way (plus it’s less plastic!). So I usually go for the huge bags by Marjex, as almost all of their berries (except the sea buckthorn and cranberries) are from Finland.

Nuts and seeds: I usually have a few different nuts and seeds at home, as they’re a great snack and I like to use them as toppings for salads or porridges, or add them to baked goods. I like to toast nuts before serving, as it makes them a lot more delicious! I store nuts in the fridge and seeds in the cupboard.

Flakes and flour: I like to bake a couple times a week, so it’s nice to have a few different grains at hand. I cook porridge and pancakes with oat, millet and buckwheat flakes, and make my baked goods usually with rice, buckwheat and almond flour. There’s a really nice selection of gluten-free grains, flakes, and flours at Herkku, so it’s easy to get all the things you need at once.

My favorite oils to add on foods: avocado lemon oil, pumpkin seed oil and olive oil.

Karelian pies are a Finnish classic and one of my favorite snacks. I found these gluten and dairy free ones by Vuohelan Herkku from Food Market Herkku.

Rice and pasta: We eat a lot of rice and pasta during weeknights and my favorites are wild rice and brown rice pasta. Lately I’ve been loving lentil pasta too, as it’s very nutritional and my 8-month old boy loves it too.

Oils: I use oils daily for frying, baking, to salads or spreads or just on top of veggies. My favorite oils are olive oil, coconut oil, avocado lemon oil (the Olivado one from Herkku), pumpkin seed oil, and sesame oil.

Lentils: Lentils are such a great ingredient and I use them a lot as I stomach them much better than beans. I use them for stews, bolognese or on top of soup.

Plant milks: I know I should probably make these myself but haven’t just gotten into a good routine, so I tend to buy plant milks from the store. We use them daily in smoothies, porridges, coffee and matcha, and baking. I like the gluten free oat milk by Juustoportti, Santa Maria’s creamy coconut milk, and the unsweetened organic almond milk by Almond Dream.

+ Bonus tip! Even though I try to be pretty organized and love to cook, sometimes you need a night off and get takeout or buy something from a deli. I like to get some of the salads from Herkku as they have a pretty wide selection, and now they also have a bunch of new options at their Meals & Bites section. There’s a lot of vegan options too, which is great!

My Must Have Pantry Items | tuulia blog

I like to store nuts and seeds in glass containers so that it’s easy to add them on top of foods.

winter smoothie with blood orange and cashews

My winter smoothie with banana, blood orange juice, lingonberries, mango, and cashew nuts.

With all the ingredients in the cupboards, there’s one food I keep making all the time. Overnight oats. The ayuverdic side in me knows that I should really have warm foods, but the tired mom in me knows that overnight oats is a super easy breakfast, and it keeps my belly full until lunch (and at least my matcha is warm!). With all the citrus fruits in season, I’ve been adding oranges to my overnight oats and really loving it. With coconut milk and chopped dates, this tastes almost like a dessert but in a way that’s totally appropriate for breakfast. Hope you guys enjoy it too!

xo’s!

Winter Overnight Oats with Orange, Date & Coconut | tuulia blog


Winter Overnight Oats with Orange and Coconut

gluten-free + vegan

notes: if you’re in the mood for an even deeper orange flavor, add a bit of grated orange zest to the porridge!

serves two

1 1/4 cup | 300 ml gluten-free rolled oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 orange
1 to 2 dates, pitted
1/2 cup | 100 ml full-fat coconut milk
1 2/3 cup | 400 ml unsweetened almond milk (or other plant milk)
orange and granola for serving

METHOD:

1. Measure the oats and chia seeds into a large bowl. Peel the orange and chop it into small pieces. Chop also the dates into smaller pieces. Add the orange, dates, and coconut and almond milk to the bowl and mix well. Cover the bowl and place to the fridge for at least for hours, or overnight.

2. Once the porridge is done, divide it into two bowls and top with more orange and some granola. Serve and enjoy!

Carrot and Zucchini Pancakes (GF)

Carrot and Zucchini Pancakes (GF)

Before we even realized it, our little boy turned 8 months and is now sitting with us at our kitchen table. He might be small but the way he eats leaves a pretty gigantic mess. He is big on eating by himself, which makes me ever so happy when I’m on the floor cleaning all the spilled food for the fifth time of the day. No but really, I do enjoy the fact that he is eating real foods and making the funniest expressions when trying new things. And what’s great is that while he’s examining his food, mashing it to his seat, or massaging it onto his hair, I have some time to eat my own meal too!

Maybe because he’s just so into eating by himself, our boy is not a fan of all the great organic baby foods I got from the store just to give myself a break and make my life easier. Nope, do not even think about getting that spoon near his mouth as it.will.stay.closed. Things he loves: porridge, avocado, baked sweet potato, pancakes, and muffins. So basically all the things that I love too. Karma? Maybe. So to keep my little fella fed and satisfied, I’ve been making all sorts of baby-friendly snacks lately and one of my favorite things are definitely these carrot and zucchini pancakes. They come together super easily and require only five ingredients (!). I made these when I wanted to sneak in some veggies to my boy’s diet and since then I’ve been eating them as a snack too. They’re yummy as they are but I really love them with some avocado and lingonberries, as they just make things a bit fancier :)

Sending you all good vibes + good health to this new year!

Baby food ideas: Carrot and Zucchini Pancakes! (gluten and dairy free)


Carrot & Zucchini Pancakes (GF)

notes:if you’re making these just for yourself, you can add a pinch of salt to the dough too. when you’re frying things for babies, I recommend using an oil that tolerates high heat well. I usually go for coconut oil, avocado oil, or ghee. 

makes 12 to 14 small pancakes

2 carrots
about an 10 cm / 4-inch piece of zucchini
2 eggs
2/3 cup / 150 ml gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 cup / 50 ml gluten-free oat milk
oil for frying

METHOD:

1. Peel the carrots and zucchini and cut them into small pieces. Add the vegetables to a blender and pulse until a coarsely grated.

2. Add the eggs, rolled oats, and oat milk to the blender and blend until smooth.

3. Heat a frying pan and add a bit of oil to the pan. Add a few tablespoons of dough to the pan and fry on medium heat for about a minute, then flip and fry the other side. Allow to cool for a moment before serving. Serve for example with sliced avocado and lingonberries, and enjoy!

Lingonberry & Coconut Bundt Cake with Caramel Frosting

Lingonberry & Coconut Bundt Cake with Caramel Frosting

Every year it takes me by surprise: Christmas is here! And even my jetlagged brain has realised that we are at the end of this year too (yaaay for Spring! little early? haha maybe). If we’re being honest here, I have found myself getting less and less excited about Christmas every year. I might even call myself now an anti-christmas person. Whoa. The amount of Christmas decoration we have at home: zero. Gifts bought: zero. Gifts on my wishlist: just one. A sleeping baby. (We do believe in the miracle of Christmas). Luckily kids start to remember things when they’re about three, so I still have plenty of time before that. *Sighs for a relief*

One thing I love no matter the day or the time of the year: food! And baking. It’s relaxing, joyful, and a lovely time to spend time together. I’ve posted some Christmas bakings here in the past years (like this date bundt cake, raw vegan gingerbread cake, and roll cake with plum jam & coconut cream) and now I felt like adding a new cake to the mix. Enter: a really lovely Lingonberry and Coconut Bundt Cake with Caramel Frosting.

Lingonberry & Coconut Bundt Cake w/ Caramel Frosting (gluten-free + naturally sweetened) | tuulia blog

I love my super healthy, raw, and vegan goodies, but now I felt like making something a little more traditional. Hence the bundt cake. The cake has coconut in a few different forms – there’s coconut sugar, shredded coconut, and coconut milk – but the flavors don’t come out as too strong, so if you’re not a coco lover, don’t be too frightened to try this one out. Lingonberries are one of my favorite berries during winter, but you could totally go with cranberries too, if they’re more accessible to where you live. But really, the best part of the cake is that date-based sweet caramel frosting, that you’ll just want to eat by the spoonful. Mmm, hello lover.

With caramel frosting in the corner’s of my mouth and a baby in my arms, I wish you all the loveliest Christmas. Eat well and stay cozy! ♡

Lingonberry & Coconut Bundt Cake w/ Caramel Frosting (gluten-free + naturally sweetened) | tuulia blog


Lingonberry & Coconut Bundt Cake with Caramel Frosting

notes: my favorite gluten-free flours for baking are almond and rice flour as they make a nice texture, but if you want to try another flour, I’d go with gluten-free oat or buckwheat flour. 

into an 8-inch / 22 cm bundt pan

3 organic eggs
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 1/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup rice flour
1/3 cup shredded coconut
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup lingonberries

Caramel frosting:
8 fresh dates
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
a pinch of vanilla powder
a tiny pinch of salt

METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F degrees. Break the eggs into a large bowl and add coconut sugar. Whisk eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for a few minutes until you get a fluffy foam (coconut sugar doesn’t foam as well as white sugar but you should still get a pretty nice foam).

2. Measure almond flour, rice flour, shredded coconut, baking powder, vanilla, and salt into another bowl and mix well. Add coconut oil and coconut milk. Mix in the egg foam. And finally, fold in the lingonberries carefully.

3. Grease the cake tin with coconut oil and sprinkle a bit of flour to the bottom to prevent sticking. Pour the batter to the cake tin and bake for about 50 minutes. The cake is ready when it has a golden brown color and a toothpick comes out nearly clean. Take the cake from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before turning the cake pan upside down. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.

4. While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting. Remove the stones from the dates. Add all the frosting ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Spoon the frosting over the cake. Serve and enjoy! If you end up with leftovers,  store the cake in the fridge up to 2 to 3 days.

Creamy Vegan Tomato Pasta

Creamy Vegan Tomato Pasta

this post is sponsored by Urtekram & Asennemedia

Hey from LA! It’s been almost two weeks since we took a long flight here in order to spend some time in the sunshine, see some friends, and just to hang out together with our little family of three. As my husband took time off from work, I’ve been getting some much-needed alone time to exercise and work a bit. I just took a spin class at SoulCycle this morning (so hard and sweaty! but I’m hooked already) and now I’m sitting in a cafe sipping on an iced tea and finally having a little time to blog! I’ve really missed this and it feels so good to work on something of my own in between baby duty, everyday chores, and even family time. So let’s hang out and talk about pasta!

Creamy Vegan Tomato Pasta | tuulia blog Creamy Vegan Tomato Pasta | tuulia blog

We make pasta all the time. It’s my husband absolute favorite food and I find to be easy and quick to make, so it’s become one of our staple weeknight meals. I think pasta has a bit of a bad reputation and a lot of ‘healthy diets’ always advise on giving up on pasta or eating zucchini noodles instead. I get that and really like all the veggie- and bean-based pastas, but I still see pasta as a balanced meal even if you wanna be a healthy eater, as there are so many great ways you can make pasta! When it comes to gluten-free pastas, I’m a fan of brown rice pasta. It has texture, a bit of flavor, and a more wholesome vibe than corn pasta. I also like my pastas sauce-heavy so that I’m not eating just pasta, but a lot of other ingredients too. And I love my pastas creamy too. Creamy pastas are my absolute comfort food and creamy tomato sauce has been my favorite for years. But since we don’t use a lot of dairy, I’ve found other ways to make my pastas creamy: I either add some coconut milk to the sauce (like in this lentil bolognese), use a plant-based cream like oat cream, or add some soaked cashews to the sauce, blend it, and what comes up is a super creamy, oh so good, thick ‘n creamy sauce.

To get you on board with this cashew cream thing, I wanted to create a really simple recipe. These are the kind of foods that photos don’t do justice because trust me, this was one the best meals I’ve made in a while. It was so good that I found myself eating straight from the pan and literally could not stop. And the recipe is really easy, so you have a 100% chance of making a killer meal.

The pasta that I used here is an organic brown rice spagetti from Urtekram (a staple in our kitchen), but you could definitely go with other forms of brown rice pasta, like fusilli or penne. The creamy tomato sauce is simply made with soaked cashews, Urtekram’s organic pasta sauce with basil, fresh basil, and a little salt and black pepper. You could just leave it at that but I also added some cherry tomatoes and baby spinach to make my pasta a bit more photogenic :) I really recommend checking out Urtekram’s products if you haven yet, as I’ve been using them for years and I love that the brand is 100% organic and 80% vegan. So I’m really happy to work with them and bring this pasta for all of you!
I wish you enjoy the recipe as much as we do. Sending love and light ♡

Creamy Vegan Tomato Pasta | tuulia blog


Creamy Vegan Tomato Pasta

notes: if you feel like having more veggies, you could definitely add some zucchini or eggplant to the pan while frying the tomatoes. the pasta is really nice as it is, but I like to serve this with a green salad too. 

serves 2 to 3

Creamy tomato sauce:
2/3 cup cashew nuts, preferably soaked
1 jar (350 g) Urtekram pasta sauce
a few basil leaves
salt & black pepper

250 g Urtekram gluten-free spagetti
250 g cherry tomatoes
a couple handfuls baby spinach
olive oil

METHOD:

1. If possible, soak the cashew nuts in plenty of water for at least four hours. Rinse and drain.

2. Start by making the tomato sauce. Add the nuts, pasta sauce, fresh basil, and a pinch of salt and black pepper to a blender and blend until smooth. Add a bit of water if needed to make the sauce as smooth as possible. Taste and add spices if needed.

3. Boil the pasta and prep the rest of the ingredients in the meanwhile. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and rinse the spinach. Heat a large frying pan and add a a couple spoonfuls of oil to the pan. Sauté the cherry tomatoes on medium heat for a few minutes until they are nicely softened. Add the spinach to the pan and sauté for another minute or so.

4. Turn off the heat and add the pasta and the prepped tomato sauce to the pan. Mix all the ingredients together. Serve warm and enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto

I’m not sure what has been up lately, but I feel like since the days started to get darker, a lot of other things started to go awry as well. Our baby was awake at night all the time, there were some minor nervous breakdowns thanks to sleep deprivation, my blender broke (my dear Vitamix!), I was constantly spilling/breaking/dropping things and it just felt like NOTHING IS WORKING AND EVERYTHING IS WRONG. I felt like curling up into a ball, hiding under a blanket, and taking a looong nap. See you later, said this mama bear and fell asleep.

If disappearing is not an option, going back to basics usually seems to ease things out in these chaotic times. Instead of doing a hundred things at a time (oh hello me), I tell myself to focus on one thing only (sounds so easy right?). DO LESS (so do not start going through your wardrobe while avoiding your to-do list like I did last night). Take a shower, wash your hair (there’s something therapeutic in it for me), take a couple deep breaths, and do something useless for a moment (love love love my chick-lit tv shows for this). And after a night of better sleep, your mood and vibe is like from a totally other planet. 

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto

What I just wrote doesn’t really have anything to do with this pumpkin risotto, but sometimes it’s just nice to write down my thoughts here and pass them forward. Gives some space to my clogged mind too :) But now, let’s talk a bit about this risotto. I made this a few weeks ago and felt like sharing it here too, since pumpkin is in season right now and I think we all need some cozy dinners to our rotation. Risotto is usually my go-to meal in italian restaurants, as it’s a safe bet for a celiac, and sometimes I like to make it at home too. Pumpkin risotto is probably familiar to some of you, but I wanted to give this one a twist and make it vegan by replacing the parmigiana with nut parmesan! I was on a pretty strict breastfeeding diet this summer and early autumn to resolve our boy’s tummy problems and thus gave up all dairy products for a few months. After introducing dairy back into my diet, we’ve been eating a lot less of it actually and haven’t really been using any cheese at home (we used to be obsessed with feta cheese). So it’s been fun to come up with ways to replace cheese in recipes and figure out new ways of cooking!

I think risottos are a great comfort food, but they’re also really easy to prep. Once you’ve peeled and cut your pumpkin into pieces, this recipe is very simple and comes together quickly. I like to serve this as a main course, but you could definitely serve it as a side too if you’re making a bigger dinner. And since you’ve opened up that bottle of wine for the risotto, I think it’s nice to set a pretty table, take a few deep breaths, have a small glass of wine, and enjoy the moment (and the food too). Sometimes just being in the moment with no pressure to be anywhere else or do anything else is a great cure for our busy minds.

Sending love and light ♡

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto

serves 4

about 800 g of butternut squash
1 yellow onion
1 2/3 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
3 1/3 -3 2/3 cups vegetable broth
olive oil
salt & black pepper
1/2 cup cashew parmesan
3 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

Nut parmesan:
1/2 cup cashews
¼ tsp garlic powder
1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
a pinch of salt

METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 175F / 350C degrees. Peel the pumpkin and cut it into small cubes. Mix the pumpkin cubes with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Roast the pumpkin in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pieces have softened.

2. Prepare the nut parmesan in the meantime. Measure all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until a fine crumb forms. Pour the nut parmesan in a bowl and set aside for a moment.

3. Peel and chop the onion finely. Prepare the vegetable broth. When the pumpkin is, take about 1/3 of the pieces to the side. Add the remaining 2/3 of the pumpkin to a blender, add a bit of vegetable broth and blend until smooth. You can also use a hand mixer for this step.

4. Heat a large frying pan, add a bit of olive oil to the pan, and sauté the onion for a couple minutes. Add the rice to the pan and fry for a short moment. Now add the white wine. Once the wine has absorbed, add about 1/2 to 1 cup of vegetable broth at a time. Cook slowly for about 15 minutes and then add the pumpkin puree and the remaining baked pumpkin. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes until the rice feels cooked but has some texture left.

5. Finally add the nut parmesan, fresh thyme, and season with salt and black pepper. Serve warm and enjoy!

Feel Better Noodle Soup with Tofu & Broccoli

Feel Better Noodle Soup with Tofu & Broccoli

this post is sponsored by Risenta & Asennemedia

And so the flu finally got us. First me, then our baby bear. (Fun fact: my husband likes to call himself big bear, our boy baby bear, and me as mama bear. In Finnish they sound maybe a but cooler? Our boy also has nicknames such as the poop monster, rascal, and night terrorist. These are all humorist names obviously :))
After spending a couple days in pajamas, I thought we had passed it, but now my boy is a poor little creature with the runniest nose. The positive thing is that flu will pass and it’s not that serious, even though the sore throat at the beginning always feels like the most awful thing there is. Luckily I’ve gathered rather an arsenal of home remedies over the years and as usual, I went for my usual treatments this time too: zinc, carmolis tincture, grape seed oil extract, sage throat spray, chaga tea, raw chocolate, sea buckthorn juice, and turmeric. Besides taking my drops and tinctures and munching on some chocolate, I always get a craving for something warm and savory, which pretty much means soups, stews, or other comforting foods. This time my cravings led me to making this simple, yet super flavorful noodle soup, that I hope you guys will love too.

Vegan Noodle Soup with Tofu & Broccoli | tuulia blog

I’ve had the chance to work with Risenta quite a lot over the years, and this time I got my hands on their bean pasta and black sesame seeds. We use black sesame seeds pretty often at home, as they make so many foods look pretty (I love them on top of my avocado toast + smoothies) and they taste really good too. Different kinds of bean and lentil based pastas have been popping up a lot lately and I think they’re really great for quick and nourishing weeknight meals. I find Risenta’s soy bean fettucine to be a lot like noodles, which makes them a fun replacement for regular noodles, especially if you’re looking for some extra protein.

I like my soups simple (and my food, especially when down with the flu!), so this one is made just with noodles a.k.a bean pasta, pan fried tofu, broccoli, and a few toppings. The soup base has a lot of ginger and garlic, and it’s really easy and quick to prepare. If you’re into spicy foods, it’s super easy to add some volume to this recipe by increasing the amount of chili flakes in the soup base and / or adding some more fresh chili tot the soup. I, in turn, am the one who picks up her chilis from the soup before taking a spoonful, so the flavors here fall more towards warming than hot. If you’d like to add some more vegetables, I bet corn, sprouts, pak choi or aubergine would be really nice. And as a last tip, I’ll just say that I also added some coconut cream and turmeric to the soup base once I was reheating it and it was a killer combo, so that’s another way you could with this one. So many ways with these kinds of recipes :)

Eat well and stay cozy, friends!

Vegan Noodle Soup with Tofu & Broccoli | tuulia blog


Feel Better Noodle Soup with Tofu & Broccoli

notes: if you wish to make the soup a bit more ‘creamy’, you can add some coconut cream to the broth! also a teaspoon of turmeric is a great add, if you’re in need of some extra boost. 

serves 3 to 4

1 pack (about 270 g) firm tofu
1-2 tbsp sesame oil
1-2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1 head of broccoli
1 pack Risenta yellow bean pasta
1 lime
chili
spring onion
Risenta black sesame seeds

Soup base:
a thumb of ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp sesame oil
about 3 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1/4 tsp chili flakes

METHOD:

1. Start by preparing the tofu. Drain the tofu and wrap it into a kitchen towl and set to a plate. Put another plate on top of the tofu and add some weight on top of the second plate on order to remove any excess liquid from the tofu.

2. Then move onto making the soup base. Slice ​​or grate the ginger and garlic finely. Heat a saucepan, add the sesame oil to the pan and fry the ginger and garlic on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the vegetable broth, tamari, and chili flakes. Let simmer on low heat while you prep the rest of the soup.

3. Remove the tofu from the kitchen towel and cut it into squares. Heat a frying pan and fry the tofu in a hot pan for a few minutes until browned. Turn the heat off and add the sesame oil and tamari to the pan. Set the tofu aside for a moment.

4. Cut the broccoli into florets. In another saucepan, heat plenty of water and cook the bean pasta for 3 to 4 minutes until ready. You can cook the broccoli in the same pan with the pasta, or steam or cook it in another pan.

5. Once you’ve got everything ready, assemble the bowls by placing the bean pasta, broccoli, and tofu to the bowls. Pour enough broth to cover the noodles. Finish with some chili, lime, spring onion, and black sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Bread (GF + V)

Chocolate Banana Bread (GF + V)

Heyyy friends.

It’s been a while. To be exact, the last time I blogged was about six months ago. Phew, time flies by so fast. However, being a new parent, you could tell me that it’s May and I’d believe you. Some days I don’t even know how to spell my name so it’s a miracle that I knew how to use WordPress after such a long break.

Raising a baby has been a lot more intense than I could have imagined and there are a lot of things I feel like writing about and sharing, but I can barely function after we get our little monkey down for the night, so I better keep this short and sweet and focus on this little treat that I’ve got you.

I had lunch with a friend + our babies at El Fant last week, and after surviving our kiddos throwing all their toys, sweat dripping down my back, and all the hurdle that comes up when out on the town with a small human being (at some point I noticed my boy eating one of the hanging plants on the wall…), we decided to share a piece of their chocolate banana bread. It was so good, that I decided to bake some at home too. I have a recipe for banana bread on the archives but this time I wanted to make the bread vegan and add some good chunks of chocolate to the batter. And it really was a genius combination. I always think banana bread is at its best on the next day and once the flavors have had time to ‘set’, I like to cut a huge slice and enjoy it with some plant milk. And then maybe get another slice. But what I really think is genius, is to freeze a few slices so that I have a go to treat whenever I need a moment of pampering just for myself without hanging plants eaten :)

Sending you all love and light and beautiful Autumn days ♡


Chocolate Banana Bread (GF + V)

notes: for a non-vegan version, you can replace the flaxseed meal with two organic eggs. gluten-free oat flour or buckwheat flour work well instead of the almond flour too. 

makes a 24×10 cm loaf

2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 6 tbsp water
3 big ripe bananas
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup almond flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of vanilla powder
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp ceylon cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used these)

METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F. In a small bowl, mix the flaxseed meal and water and let thicken for a few minutes.

2. Add the bananas, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and almond milk to a blender and blend until smooth.

3. Measure the flour, baking powder, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon to a large bowl. Pour in the banana mixture and mix well. Gently fold in the chocolate chips (leave some for topping).

4. Cover the loaf pan with baking paper and if necessary, grease the sides lightly with coconut oil. Pour in the batter and add some chocolate chips on top.

4. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm, and enjoy! For storing I recommend keepin the the bread in the fridge. You can also freeze some slices of the bread and then just pop them to the toaster when a craving for banana bread hits!

Healthier Oven Baked Donuts (GF)

Healthier Oven Baked Donuts (GF)

Hey friends! Here I am, still in one piece and waiting for the baby to arrive. These last weeks of being pregnant have definitely been filled with nervousness, anxiety, and excitement, but most of all they have been a huge exercise of patience for someone who’s rather impatient and loves to control things. Yep, that’s me. I have this image of some kind of birth gods sitting on a cloud and laughing compassionately at me, as I get super nervous every night before going to bed and think if this night is the night it all begins and then go through our action plan in case the labor begins. Lately, my biggest concern has been that if I go into labor during the night, my man won’t be able to go to the grocery store to get all the snacks I’ve told him to get (believe me, there’s a lot). So in the big picture, I think we’re starting to be ready to welcome the little fella to our family :)

After organizing pretty much all the closets in our apartment, deep-cleaning the fridge and freezer, and folding diapers and all the baby stuff, I thought I might distract myself from the baby stuff and bake something good just for the sake that I love baking. And also, I had been dreaming of these sugar-coated fried donuts (in Finnish we call them “munkki” and they’re something between a fritter and a donut) for a few days but had no idea where to find gluten-free ones (if you know a place, do share!), so I decided to make my own version of the classic treat. And before I try to convince you that these would be like the traditional ones, I’ll admit that they’re not. But for me, they were close enough to fill my cravings and since they’re baked in the oven and sweetened only with coconut sugar, they’re a healthier treat too. And healthy treats are my jam.

Healthier Oven Baked Donuts w/ Coconut Sugar (GF) | tuulia blog Oven Baked Donuts (gluten-free + naturally sweetened) | tuulia blog

Instead of frying, I always prefer a baked version whether we’re talking about falafels or donuts, as even the thought of frying things brings back all the memories of my morning sickness. And I also like the simple process of making baked donuts: you simply mix together all the ingredients, pour the dough into a donut pan, bake in the oven, and then if you’re in the mood for it, add a topping to make things a bit fancier. This time I just coated the donuts generously with coconut sugar, but if you’re more into to the traditional toppings, you can whip up an easy caramel topping from nut butter, honey / maple syrup, and plant milk. Or you could melt some chocolate on top of these…or make three kinds of donuts and have a total donut fiesta! You choose :)

Hoping you guys enjoy the donuts and sending you lots of love and sunshine for the upcoming Spring and Summer! It might be a little quiet in here for a while once the baby comes, but I think I’ll come back at some point to chat about food :) And I’ll probably be posting at times on Instagram, so you can follow me there too!

Stay cozy and eat well, friends! ♡

Oven Baked Donuts (gluten-free + naturally sweetened) | tuulia blog Healthier Oven Baked Donuts w/ Coconut Sugar (GF) | tuulia blog


Healthier Oven Baked Donuts w/ Coconut Sugar (GF)

notes: I wanted to keep these nut-free, so I went for gluten-free oat flour and white rice flour. but if you’d like, you can replace either of the flours for example with almond flour. also, a bit of cinnamon or cardamom would be really nice in these, or you could make a chocolate version by replacing 2 to 3 tablespoons of the flour with cacao powder. 

makes 12 donuts

3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
3/4 cup white rice flour
2 tbsp tapioka starch (or potato flour)
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
a tiny pinch of salt

2 organic eggs
1 ripe banana
4 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup gluten-free oat milk (or other plant milk)

+ plant-milk & coconut sugar for topping

METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F degrees. Measure all the dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

2. Break the eggs to a blender and add the banana, coconut oil, and oat milk. Mix until smooth. Combine the two mixtures and mix well.

3. Grease the donut pan lightly with coconut oil. Add about 2 tablespoons of the dough into the donut holes. Smooth the surface of each donut with a spoon. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes until the donuts have a beautiful golden-brown color. Remove from the oven and let cool for a moment in the pan before removing.

4. Pour a bit of plant milk to a small bowl and add about a 1/2 cup of coconut sugar to another bowl. Once the donuts have cooled a bit, dip them first lightly in plant milk and then roll in coconut sugar until covered. Repeat for each donut, serve, and enjoy!

5. The donuts are best straight on the baking day, but you can store them in airtight container in the fridge for a couple days.

TallennaTallenna

Sweet Potato Lentil Burgers w/ Halloumi

Sweet Potato Lentil Burgers w/ Halloumi

this post is sponsored by Asennemedia & Moilas Leipomo

I feel like I’ve been talking a lot about bread lately. And based on today’s post, there’s no end in sight. But what can you do when something major happens. You see, I have finally discovered The Perfect Gluten-free Hamburger Bun.

To make things clear, I have very high standards for hamburger buns. I’ve never liked the very white, very fluffy buns that most burger places tend to offer, as I think the bun should have structure and crunchiness, but not too much so that it doesn’t take out the attention from the actual food, as I’m a fan of having a lot toppings (which you can see from the photos I guess). So finding a good gluten-free burger bun is tricky, but finally a couple weeks ago I got my hands on The One. Which means I’ve been eating bread once again with great pleasure (have to enjoy this phase as long as it lasts!).

Sweet Potato Lentil Burger w/ Halloumi | tuulia blog Moilas Kuitusämpylä Sweet Potato Lentil Burger w/ Halloumi | tuulia blog

So what is this magic bun, you might be wondering? I got to choose my favorite from the new products that Moilas recently launched and this gluten-free seed bread roll caught my eye instantly. I envisioned a veggie-filled burger and knew I wanted to try it on homemade burgers. The buns are gluten-free, vegan, and nut-free and the structure is perfect for burgers: once you bake these in the oven, the crust becomes really crispy, but the insides are still soft. The buns also have a nice amount of fiber (which is not that common in gf buns) so that they’re not just like eating air, but not too filled with seeds either. Even though I like to make my own bread every now and then, I do appreciate the fact that I can pop something in the oven and not make everything from scratch. Especially when I’ve got a craving for burgers.

Naturally, burgers do need a patty and even though I eat meat sometimes, I’ve always been more of a veggie-burger loving gal. So I made a patch of sweet potato lentil burgers, fried some halloumi, and went for leafy greens, tomato, mashed avocado, and sprouts as my burger toppings. The end result was pure comfort food with fresh flavors, a.k.a. just the type of food that makes me veeeery happy. So I’m definitely gonna make a new patch of the sweet potato lentil burgers asap, put them in the freezer, and be prepared when the next craving for a burger hits. I can see the future me giving me a hug already. Gotta love food.

I hope you guys enjoy the burgers! Eat well and stay cozy! x

Sweet Potato Lentil Burger w/ Halloumi | tuulia blog


Sweet Potato Lentil Burgers w/ Halloumi

notes: feel free to add your favorite toppings, try other spreads or other types of cheese in these burgers!

makes 4 burgers

4 Moilas Seed Bread Rolls
sweet potato lentil patties (recipe below)
lettuce
1-2 avocados, mashed
2-3 tomatoes, sliced
1 pack of halloumi
sprouts or microgreens
dijon mustard / vegan mayo / other spread, if desired

METHOD:

1. Start by making the sweet potato lentil patties (recipe below). Prep the vegetables while the patties are in the oven.

2. Rinse the salad if necessary and smash the avocados with a fork in a small bowl. Slice the tomatoes and halloumi. Heat a frying pan and cook the halloumi for a few minutes from both sides until golden brown.

3. When the patties are ready, bake the bread rolls according to the instructions on the package (I like to bake them in the oven).

4. Slice the bread rolls in half and assemble the burgers by layering everything in between the bread. Serve and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Lentil Patties

notes: the recipe makes quite a lot of patties so you can easily freeze a part of them or store these in the fridge for a few days. also, you can try other flours instead of the oat flour, like chickpea flour. 

makes about 10 patties

1 small sweet potato
2 cans (á 285 g) cooked red lentils
1 organic egg (or 1 chia / flax egg)
3 sundried tomatoes
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
5 tbsp gluten-free oat flour (see notes above)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp herb salt
olive oil, for baking

METHOD:

1. Peel the sweet potato and cook or steam it until soft.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400 F  degrees. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and mix until smooth. You can also use a hand mixer for this stage.

3. Cover a baking sheet with baking paper and add some olive oil to the sheet. Scoop 1 to 2 tablespoons of the lentil mixture to the sheet. Press lightly with the back of the spoon to form a patty.

4. Bake for about 25 minutes until the patties are slightly browned. Let cool for a moment.

5. Serve as burgers and enjoy! The patties can be stored in the fridge for a few days but these freeze well too.

TallennaTallenna

TallennaTallenna

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