tableofcolors

Simple pleasures

Tag: All Saints’ Day

Little Angel

by tableofcolors

little angel

This weekend Halloween is here, but in many cultures in different areas of the world, All Saints’ Day and the Day of the Dead is celebrated. It is a day of remembrance of our loved ones who have passed before us. Even in Finland, traditional Halloween as known in the United States, has made its way into mainstream culture. Schools host Halloween parties and yesterday I had meeting in Helsinki and I had to quick come up with a costume plan for the party-goers, long-distance. We happened to have some cheap, white curtain fabric from Ikea that had sat in my cupboard for about 11 years, never serving the purpose they had been intended for. And so my husband used it to make the kids into mummies. Cheap, effiencient and I got another space in my cupboard cleaned out.

 

syysusva

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

excerpt from the poem, For the Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Tomorrow the stores will all be closed and so I just returned home from a quick last minute run to the grocery. The lines were long. I suppose everyone else had the same idea as well. As I drove to the grocery store that is close by, I drove by the large white church surrounded by cemetary. It was already dark and so the whole church yard twinkled with the lights of hundreds of candles. Such a calming sight.

As I was driving, the news was playing on the radio. We have had a very different October weather-wise. Traditionally in Finland, October and November are quite dreary and it might rain and the sky might be gray for weeks on end. Or that is how it feels. We have had more sunshine this month than ever has been previously recorded. Of course in between the sunny days there have been a few misty ones as well. Along with the coming of fall, it has felt good to eat and drink things that hold a bit of sunshine and are full of vitamins to help make it through the darkest time of year.

green smoothiesGreen smoothies for two

juice of two oranges
juice of one lemon
3 cm/1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into smaller pieces
1 or 2 leaves of kale, with the stems removed and ripped into bunches
1 banana
ice

(for a change in color, add some blueberries (frozen or fresh) to the mix above)

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.
kale smoothieenjoying green smoothies

little angel 2May your weekend be peaceful and may the angels accompany you.

I Heard your Voice in the Wind today -unkown

I heard your voice in the wind today
and I turned to see your face;
The warmth of the wind caressed me
as I stood silently in place.

I felt your touch in the sun today
as its warmth filled the sky;
I closed my eyes for your embrace
and my spirit soared high.

I saw your eyes in the window pane
as I watched the falling rain;
It seemed as each raindrop fell
it quietly said your name.

I held you close in my heart today
it made me feel complete;
You may have died…but you are not gone
you will always be a part of me.

As long as the sun shines…
the wind blows…
the rain falls…
You will live on inside of me forever
for that is all my heart knows.

little angels 3

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All Saints’ Day

by tableofcolors

Traditionally Halloween is not celebrated in Finland but in the past years it has been making an entrance. Costumes can be found in various stores and instead of Trick or Treating, some choose to host Halloween parties with their friends. Yesterday was All Saints’ day. We stopped at the cemetary before visiting friends. The photos were taken a bit before six o’clock in the evening and it was already completely dark. The cloud coverage added to the darkness. Last year we spent the evening at home with our own family and enjoyed tea bread after the visit to the cemetary.

While Halloween is all about ghosts and ghouls and all things scary, the atmosphere of the cemetary on All Saints’ Day is peaceful, calm and safe. The cemetary was full of people and as I was there the bells rang calling people to service. In Finland the cemetaries are usually cared for by loved ones as well as the church gardener. It often is in the center of town next to the church. The Valkeala Church in the photo below has been built in the early 1900’s and taken into use in 1927. It is not a very old church and in its current place there have been three previous churches with the first one being in the late 1600s. The first church became too small and was torn down to allow for a larger church. The next two churches were burned down with only the altar painting being saved.
cemetary
The cemetary was a sea of candles in memory of the loved ones that have gone before us. There is usually a place to place your candle if your loved ones are buried somewhere far away.

jerusalmen artichoke soup

I don’t think that the day is intended to be downcast, but it is full of emotion. I thought this soup was perfect for the day, not something too elaborate but something a bit special with a gentle flavor.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

350 g/12.3 oz Jerusalem artichoke, peeled and cut into cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 parsnip (about 100 g /3.5 oz) peeled and chopped
500-600 g/17-21 oz floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
olive oil
5 dl/ 2 c broth ( I used broth that had Spanish NOMU flavoring in it, which includes: paprika, chilli, oregano, cumin, basil and saffron)
fresh rosemary
freshly ground black pepper
fine sea salt
250 g/ 8.8 oz marscapone cheese
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
water

jerusalem artichokes2

Place the peeled and cut vegetables in a pot and sautée with the oil for a few minutes until the onions have become a bit transparent. Add the sprig of fresh rosemary, seasoning, broth and water and so that all of the vegetables are covered evenly. I usually have broth in the freezer ready to go. Whenever I make a roast in the Crock Pot I set aside some of the broth and freeze it for later use. Be careful to not over season so that the mild flavor of the Jerusalem artichoke is not completely covered up.

parsnip

Allow to simmer until the potatoes have become tender adding more water as needed. Take off heat, remove rosemary and purée with an immersion mixer until smooth. Return to the stove and add the white balsamic vinegar, more water or broth (if it is too thick for you) and marscapone cheese. Stir and allow to simmer until the cheese has been incorporated into the soup. Check the flavor and adjust with seasoning to your taste. Enjoy with fresh crusty bread.

valkeala church and cemetary

This post is a part of Tablescaper’s Seasonal Sundays. For an abundance of links to seasonal inpiration, check out her website.

All Saints’ Day, candles and family time

by tableofcolors

Today is All Saints’ Day. In Finland it is a day to remember all those loved ones that have passed. All afternoon and evening people bring candles to the cemetaries. November is the darkest of months in Finland and fittingly today it rained all day. The little snow we had last week melted away. We stopped shortly at the cemetary. It was a sea of candles and full of people walking quietly about. I tried to capture the peacefulness and the candles, but with the darkness and rain these are not ideal shots. I will however share them with you.

Candles


After returning home, we told the kids that we could have a family “pikku-joulu” which means a “little-Christmas” when directly translated. I believe it is one way Finns cope with the darkness in November. The kids were excited. We lighted candles, put Christmas music on, made hot chocolate with whipped cream and tea bread which is a favorite evening snack and played a few games.

Hot chocolate

We used Clipper hot chocolate. Bring milk almost to a boil. Spoon 3 teaspoons of chocolate in each cup (for the very small cups we used only 2 teaspoons), add the hot milk and stir until dissolved. Garnish with whipped cream.

Clipper’s Hot Chocolate

Ever since we were newlyweds (almost 14 years ago!) this tea bread or teeleipä, has been a favorite. The reason why it has been so popular in our family is due to its versatility. The recipe below is the plain version. But feel free to add any of the following: chopped apples, raisin, walnuts, maybe a little grated cheese, some cinnamon…the list could go on.

Tea bread

Teeleipä or Tea bread
7 dl/ 3 c old-fashioned oatmeal
7 dl/ 3 c flour
3 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
0.6 dl/ 1/4 c vegetable oil
1.8 dl / 3/4 c plain yoghurt
3.5 dl / 1.5 c milk

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Next mix in the oil, milk and yoghurt being careful to not overmix. Spread dough on a lined baking pan.
Bake at 225C/ 435 F for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a bit before cutting. Serve with butter and cheese.

Candles