Little Gems

Broccoli quinoa salad
A protein rich salad that has broccoli, quinoa, fresh parsley and chives and dressed with a light lemon vinaigrette and garnished with roasted cashews. Perfect with grilled chicken or pork chops. Salad suitable for a vegetarian or gluten free diet.

I’m a thirty-something young woman and for the past several years I have been doing product development for coffee shops and bakeries. It really is my dream job. I decided to start this blog to share some of the little pleasant things in life. It partially is my job as well. Coffee shops are all about creating an atmosphere that is an extension to our living room. Coffee shops have the potential to realize the little jems in life. We can sit and enjoy a coffee and maybe a macaron and watch how people walk by wondering what makes each life unique. Or we might have our laptop with us. It is a great place to get some creative work done away from the traditional office. A coffee shop is a splendid place to meet others and a place for spontaneous conversation with a stranger.

I grew up in a bakery family which had an effect on me I’m sure. The Wuollet Bakery started in 1944 by Reino Wuollet, my Great Grandfather. It was a small shop that felt the effects of World War II. I remember hearing the story of the bakery making cakes once a week when the sugar rations were received. Today it has grown and is specialized in making custom order cakes that are like art work. For some in the family it has been a first job and for others it has been a career.

I came to Finland a little over ten years ago.  I landed a job at Wayne’s Coffee which is a contemporary style coffee shop franchise chain from Sweden. I also continued my study of Political Science at the University of Helsinki. Many have asked me how I can make use of my political science background when working with coffee shops. It really is quite easy. Political decisions, the economic situation and our standard of life dictate what we eat and where. Product development includes following and predicting global trends. This topic really deserves a blog post all to itself.

Life is busy but pleasant. I am a mother to five youngsters which means the word boredom has not belonged in my vocabulary for years. In Finland we have very distinct seasons and as I write it is late spring, almost summer. The bravest ones have gone swimming already. The kids will be out from school soon. The spring green is at its brightest now and will soon turn into a deeper summer green. In this northern dimension of the EU our light is distributed unevenly. Starting from May the sun is up nearly the entire day. It is a time of light, colors, new potatoes, fresh strawberries and filled cakes at graduation parties. The Dandelion, Lupin and Wild Chervil are in bloom bringing color to the roadside.


    1. When making it as a side for supper for my family I usually use:
      1 large or 2 small broccolis cut into bite size pieces
      3/4 c quinoa steamed in 1.5 c of water (follow box instructions)
      Toss the steamed quinoa with the broccoli and add fresh herbs. I like to use parsley, chives and sometimes cilantro.
      For the dressing I mix equal parts of lemon juice and oil, salt, pepper, and sometimes a little chili to taste. Garnish with toasted cashews.

  1. Just tried this with two tablespoons quinoa to four tablespoons water…steamed 15 minutes. I tossed it in the juice of one lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, pepper and salt, and served it over steamed veggies. I toasted 10 cashews in a pan. Great idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

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