All my seven lovelies

The last time I posted was just a few days before our little Jasmin Yvonne arrived. She has been the most perfect baby, making eye contact and smiling at us those real baby smiles at day four. A week before she turned two months, she rolled over on her belly and now is trying hard to swim forward on the floor. She has slept perfectly every night. We haven’t had to walk with her at night, retracing our footsteps and hoping for sleep like with some of the others. Really feels like there has been a higher power that has steered the coarse for us. This spring has been so full, I don’t know how we could have managed if the baby would have been lovelies6

seven lovelies4
The traditional pose was just not happening that day…so I decided that a photo of my seven lovelies showing their personalities was perhaps more accurate and maybe even more memorable.

Just a few weeks after Jasmin was born we opened the new coffee shop concept store, Cabana de Empanadas, right in the heart of Helsinki in the Forum shopping mall(2nd floor). The original plan was that it would have opened already a couple of months earlier. But life often does not follow our plans and big happenings often are all heaped in a cluster.

cabana de empanadas avajaiset
Grand opening. Guitarist Oliver Palm entertained us with melodies from Spain and South America.
Help us reach our goal of 500 followers on our Cabana de Empanadas facebook page! We will be drawing one lucky winner to win an Empanada picnic basket for 4 after we reach the goal and deliver it straight to your picnic blanket (Helsinki area only)

empanadas for sale

cabana de empanadas punajuuri watermelon salad kombucha

All winter we had stayed healthy. Nobody had more than a runny nose. Maybe it was the superfood smoothies I had been feeding them all winter, or just basic hand washing with soap or just good luck. When we arrived home from the hospital with little Jasmin, most of the kids were coughing and some were running temps. Within a few days Jasmin started showing signs that she might have caught something. When she was eleven days old, I noticed that I was following her every move, checking to see if she was breathing fine and debating whether I should take her in to get checked. In the afternoon she took a long nap and seemed to be breathing peacefully. I thought, perhaps we had gotten over the worst of it. In the evening as clock inched closer to midnight and I was trying to get her asleep, she seemed to have a hard time finding a comfortable position. It felt like her breathing was getting more labored and that was when I decided to take her in. Why is it that until the very end, one wonders if a trip to the doctor is a waste and if I’m acting like a Newbie Mom bringing their kid in for every little scratch or scrape.

I was reassured that it was very good that I brought little Jasmin in, as we were whisked away to another hospital that has a children’s ward. On the first day, the doctor informed us that we must be prepared for a stay of an undefinite amount of days. I was supposed to have been baking at the bakery that morning, doing our second run through with the product. In the end, it all went as it was supposed to, as I probably had RSV as well and felt quite crummy. We spent a week in that hospital room getting better together.

hospital stay2

I am by no means complaining. Afterall, I have always wanted to have a business, to work through the challenges and maybe even experience the rewards at some point. I have wanted to be a businesswoman since I was…like five. And this past spring has been life at its best and most challenging. It has been genuine life, with sometimes round the clock work. But fortunately our baby has been the perfect baby.

butternut squash avocado brownies
Avocado Sweet potato Brownies sweetened with maple syrup

Yes, I have been baking all sorts of sweet and savory empanadas and perhaps someday I will be able to share a recipe with you. But here is a recipe to a brownie made with butternut squash and avocado and sweetended with maple syrup. The texture was just what like a brownie should be, moist and rich. The brownie is not very sweet like they traditionally are and so if you are craving a bit of sweetness, they could be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Avocado Sweet potato brownies (Gluten-free and dairy-free)

The original recipe was found her from the Satokausi kalenteri blogi.


For the brownie:

300g/10.5 oz sweet potato
1 large avocado
1.2 dl/1/2 c maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla extract or the seeds from a half of a vanilla bean.
4 eggs
1 dl/ 1/2 c coconut flour
1 tbsp almond flour
1.2 dl/ 1/2 c quality cocoa powder
dash of sea salt
1 tsp baking soda


1 avocado
0.5 dl/ 1/4 c maple syrup
0.5 dl/ 1/4 cocoa powder
1 generous tablespoon coconut oil
0.5 tsp vanilla sugar or extract or the seeds from a half of a vanilla bean.

Variety of nuts for garnish

Peel and cut the sweet potato into cubes. Cook in boiling water until tender(about 20 minutes). Remove from water and drain and purée with a fork. Allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 175 C/350 F.

Mix the avocado, maple syrup, sweet potato and vanilla until smooth in a blender or food processor. Blend in the eggs. Mix the dry ingredients and fold into the batter.
Line a 18×25 cm or 7×10 inch pan with parchment paper and pour the batter into the pan. Smooth the surface of the batter and bake for about 20 minutes or so that a toothpick comes out clean and bottom of the brownie is just barely done. Allow to completely cool.

Make the frosting by blending all the ingredients either in a blender or with an imersion wand. Spread over the brownies and allow to chill in the refrigerator. These brownies freeze well and so can be made well in advance.


summer field finlandThis summer has been filled with family celebration, a baptism and a wedding and family visiting from America. But that all shall wait for another post. Happy Midsummer’s!


  1. So nice to see you, congratulations on the opening of your cafe it sounds amazing and I wish you much success. It’s also wonderful to see your 7 beautiful children, so very happy that baby Jasmin is doing well and is such a little love. Your brownies sound fantastic, they look moist and delicious and it’s so nice that they have such healthful ingredients. Best wishes for great success with your business.Followed you on facebook.

  2. Can’t imagine you didn’t have a post sooner…what HAVE you been doing!! teehee Love the pics and the brownies look yummy…we sure missed a lot, so it goes. Would have loved to visit the cafe too. Hugs…

  3. So happy for your lovely baby and now, healthy family as well! We had a terrible URV ourselves a few months ago so can only imagine how a baby would react to that virus. Congratulations on achieving the first leg of your dream. I always like that you post some gluten free recipes. Yesterday I baked a buckwheat double chocolate chip cookie recipe that is sweetened with maple syrup. They are not egg free but only have a small amount of butter so they are relatively healthy and hard to not eat!! So nice to see all seven of your lovelies, very best to you all. xx

    1. Thank you so much Ardys! Your buckwheat double chocolate chip cookies sound wonderful…might you be posting the recipe anytime soon. I would be so interested in trying it!

    1. Thank you Patty! I have certainly enjoyed keeping in touch with you via instagram especially during these past couple of months when my blog has been a bit quiet. But as you can imagine, I have a whole stockpile of materials that could be used for blogging and my fingers have literally been itching! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Am terribly excited to have just found your blog, from another person with a large family, we have five children and are living in France. So happy all turned out well with your baby. Looking forward to following along now, Susan

    1. Oh how fun to meet another large family here in the virtual blogging world! I’m following your blog now as well…and someday would definitely like to go to France!

  5. My… what a busy lady you are! Opening a new business and with a new baby. Laila, wish you and your lovely family all the best 🙂

  6. How lovely to see who is behind that café in Forum! I haven’t been yet but walked past one day and it looked lovely. I will be sure to visit.

    1. Thank you Mimi! I guess I didn’t really make a big deal about the pregnancy 😊 I think I did mention it in the previous post and there was a belly photo as well taken just a few days before our Jasmin was born.

  7. They are definitely lovelies, and wow, you have had a very challenging year…

    am online so rarely, but i kept this on the screen until i could say hi and best wishes and i hope that all of the problems are now behind and the rest of your year goes well.

    Strong hugs from Ecuador!


    1. Congratulations Michelle on your little one on the way! Guess what? I seriously think it was more challenging with three than with seven as there are bigger kids around to have the most interesting discussions with…and they are able to hold the baby if I run in the shower. And the can usually find a friend to play with amongst their siblings. (Of course they argue sometimes as well…natural part of growing up 😄) At the moment I do have a babysitter three days a week since I have so many work related things going on.
      I know you are being the best Mom you know how and that’s what counts ❤️ all the best and hope the brownies turn out for you!

  8. Oh my goodness – multiple congratulations – on baby Jasmin (so glad she is well now – my heart lurched when you were told you would have to prepare to stay in hospital) and on your beautiful new cafe – and on leading the life of your dreams. May you have the same success in business that you have with your beautiful family. I hope I get to Helsinki and if I do – I will visit your cafe!! ❤️

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