Sun dogs and squeaky cheese

The real winter has arrived. None of this sort-of-cold-weather, but a cold front had arrived from Siberia making our eyelashes all frosty white after being outside. It has been just beautiful and the sun has been almost blinding. In spite of the cold, the kids have been skiing in the yard, even the two-year old. But I have been concerned at times for our school children as they leave for school around 7.30 or 8.30 am, depending on their schedule that day and the temperature has at times been close to -30 C/-22 F. We try to drive them whenever possible in this weather, but sometimes that is not an option. So they bike and walk when the car is not available.

sun dogs haloilmiöWe had an incident last week, where our little Professor who is first grade had had skating in gym class right during his last period. He tends to get cold easier, unlike his older sister who didn’t start wearing gloves to school until right before Christmas. Older kids often help the little ones with tying their skates and his were in double knots. The teacher had another class scheduled in a different school and left these little ones on their own to take their skates off outside and leave for home. I know that my feet often get cold when I go skating and so I’m pretty sure his were a bit chilly, not to mention his hands as he was trying to undo the laces. Finally a bigger kid had noticed him and helped him out. Time had passed and I kept looking out of the window to see if he was coming home. I generally do give him an hour to come home from school, since he is the type of kid who stops and watches the swans as they feed on the field or swim in the river. Or once he told me after he had been late to school and I was interviewing him to see if he had taken some sort of a long-cut, “But, Mom. It is much slower to ride my bike on the grass than it is on the bike path.” He never did tell me if he had ridden his bike in the ditches the whole way to school. It may perhaps remain always a mystery as he seemed completelyand innocently surprised when the teacher told him that he has been late once again. I do believe though that he has made it to school on time recently as we haven’t received quite as many notes, but I suppose we will find out tomorrow at conferences.

But back to last week. An hour had passed. It just happened to be a day that I did not have a car to use and I was home with just the little ones. I was just at the point that perhaps I should go look for him as it was really windy day even though the temperatures where not quite so cold , when a pedestrian on a walk called me. He asked me if I was expecting a first-grader home. I certainly was. Our little one was cold and had been crying. It just so happened that a police car was driving by and as we were on the phone, he flagged it down. And so in the end our little Professor  got a ride home with the police. This was a first in our family.

ice crystals

So this week, I have been trying to walk to school at the end of the day to meet him and help him come home a bit quicker. Today I pulled our little one in a sled and Bella ran along side hopping on the sled every once in a while. We had made it almost to the school and I was beginning to wonder where he might be. Well, there he was not far from the school standing on the sidewalk, thinking about something someone had said at school that day, and school had ended an hour ago. Not that this would really matter, but the temperature was below -20C/-4F and there was a little over a mile to walk.

valokeidas metsässäWith a little encouragement, we made it home and had hot chocolate to warm our cold chocolateI thought I would share a recipe that has long traditions in Finland and will warm up any winter day. Leipäjuusto or Finnish squeaky cheese was traditionally made in the summer and fall when milk was available and the English name for it comes from the sound it makes when one eats it. The old way of enjoying leipäjuusto is with coffee. The dessert I will suggest is newer way of serving it and is perfect for these cold winter days.

My childhood piano teacher, Susan, grew up on a farm and with the tradition of squeaky cheese. I think her recipe on the video below is clear and my husband gave it a try before Christmas. It turned out perfect. If you don’t have farm fresh milk available, skim milk works as well. Low-fat or whole milk are not suggested. Click on the link below to see the whole process.

In Finland the cloudberry is very prized as it not the easiest berry to pick. It grows in the marshes, and one may need to cover a lot of ground when picking them. The marsh is a springy surface so it feels like walking on a wet mattress as your foot sinks in a bit with each step. Last summer when we were in northern Sweden and Norway, I was hoping to find some berries to photograph and to eat, of course. But the summer was late in coming and all I found was few late blooms and a few raw berries. The photo below is from wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, the cloudberry grows in all of the northern regions across Russia, the Nordic countries across Canada and Alaska.

cloudberry dessert

Cloudberry dessert with Finnish Leipäjuusto


Finnish leipäjuusto, cut into traditional diamond shapes or triangles
good quality cloudberry jam or preserves
100 g/3.5 oz white chocolate, melted

Heat a cast iron skillet so that it reaches a medium heat. Add the triangles to the heated pan and allow the pieces of cheese cook until the bottom is a golden brown and the top is slightly melted. Remove the pieces of cheese and place them on dessert plates or alternatively on pieces of thin crisp bread. Drizzle with white chocolate and add a teaspoon of cloudberry preserves on each serving. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon. Enjoy immediately.

spelttinäkkäri ja itsetehty leipäjuusto

spelttinäkkäri ja leipäjuustoa lakkahillolla


  1. When I was five years old and just starting kindergarten my Mum walked me to school the first day. But on the second day, even though it was a short distance, I got confused. I stood at the fork in the road to the park and cried. A lady saw me and came to help me and walked me across the park until we could see the school and then I was okay. I have never, ever been good at directions. That part of the genetic framework got left out of me! I think we are all so different, and perhaps your little professor is a dreamer who will find his way in life, but to school is another matter 🙂 The squeaky cheese reminds me of haloumi is it similar? A bit salty? Thank you Laila, the photos are lovely as always.

    1. I think he will find his way in life, as he can explain to you how cells work and the theory of evolution and which prehistoric animals were so adaptable that they survived the dinosaur era and plate tectonics and the list could go on…but almost every morning I have to remind him to remember his backpack and if there is a note to give to the teacher I must remind him at least five times of his task…and then he just might remember it. 🙂 The cheese, is softer than haloumi and not as salty, but becomes nice and soft with a little heat similar to haloumi.

  2. Some little ones have daydreams that do interfere with time. 🙂 I’m sure that your little professor appreciated that you came for him with the sled and made him hot chocolate to warm his little body. Your squeaky cheese dish looks very appetizing, I know I would enjoy it.

    1. Yes, I do think he likes it when I meet him along the way as he was quite disappointed one day when I was not going to be home and we had agreed with the babysitter that his older sister would go find him if he was not home by a certain time. The trips to school go much slicker when he bikes, so as soon as the temps warm up just a bit I will be encouraging the use of the bike. 🙂 The squeaky cheese would be perfect in your old home, as it has so much history…although I’m sure it would taste just as good in your new home! Do you know of what nationality the people were who first built your New England home?

    1. We’re trying our best 🙂 Fortunately the house stays warm and if you dress right you can manage for quite some time if you just keep moving! Thank you Patty for stopping by!

  3. What an interesting post for an Australian.
    I can’t even imagine that sort of cold! I love your little professor, the hot chocolate makes me want one right now (even though it’s 28 C today), and squeaky cheese sounds delicious.

    1. Hello Juli! Yes, I suppose that Australia never really get quite that cold 🙂 The temps have warmed up quite a bit and hover right around freezing and slightly below. Removes a bit of the Worry-factor for the Mom as I know that they won’t freeze on the way to school if just dressed right. I really love the little professor as well even if he causes me a bit of stress every now and then! 😛

  4. Sorry to hear about your little one! I think we are having the opposite weather issue. It is so hot that all I can do is lie down and rest sometimes. I love Leipäjuusto and thanks for the video! I ate so much of it when I visited Finland.

  5. Everything is coming in time. My oldest daughter has experienced the same problem with her oldest son. Now he is twelve and everything is pretty much fine. Now another kid (youngest daughter of her) is on the same way. For that kind of kids the backpacks, jackets, shoes etc. are at the far end of the list of things what they are thinking about. They are too busy with their thoughts to pay attention to these unimportant things and to be organized.
    I hope it is only matter of time and age.
    Your Professor is gifted kid. I think he is going to be pretty good and successful in his life.

    1. Yes, you are probably right that this is just a phase that needs time and patience. His teacher has said the same thing. We now have a little system with small prizes if he makes it to school on time and home in a timely manner. He doesn’t need to be as fast coming home, but 1 hour and 40 minutes is too long as was the case one day last week 😛 …fortunately it was a fairly warm day and so there was no danger of freezing.

  6. I am glad to hear he got back ok. I used to walk a long distance home from school when I was very young. I always got distracted too! Nowadays people are a bit too paranoid in the UK to let their children walk back on their own. Which is a shame.

    1. Yes, I was relieved that we got him home safe and sound. But you are right, it is sad when we are not able to allow our children to move about with some degree of freedom. Of course it is always good to be careful…but too much hovering is not always a good thing!

    1. It fortunately warmed up a bit now. The cold lasted about three weeks and I wouldn’t mind if it is not that cold anymore. It makes dressing for the outdoors so much more challenging. And yes, cheese is always delicious in my books. 🙂

  7. Oh so glad your resourceful little one got home ok and how nice of the local police to help him. It’s very cold there, winter has arrived and the same here in NYC as well. It’s cold and we are getting our first major snow storm this winter. I love the photo of the cloudberries, I am going to seek out a jar of the jam so I can try it. Your dessert looks delicious,

    1. Hi Suzanne, Yes I was so relieved to have him back home and the police were ever so friendly. At first he was so cold and probably a bit frightened but a few hours later he came to me and said with a big smile, “Did you know that I am the only one in our family who has gotten a ride home in a police car?” Good luck with the cloudberry jam, hope you find some!

  8. Your cold puts our cold to shame! This is one competition, however, I’m happy to lose. If there had been swans to see on my way home, or at least the environment to support them, I think I’d have taken my time getting home, too, Watched the cheese-making video with interest. I really do like making cheese and this is one that I’m no experience with.

    1. It certainly is not a competition that I would need to win either! 🙂 Fortunately it has warmed up and the temperatures have been hovering right below the freezing point. Much easier on the kids when they play outside! I thought of you when I posted this cheese-making video. Someday I will try one of your cheese tutorials…it is on my bucket list of things to do!

  9. What a beautiful walk to school, but I can see how you would worry with the very very low temperatures. Glad your son got home safe and sound and had the added excitement of riding in a police car!

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