Monday, 24 December 2018

Happy Christmas ♥

I'm working all through the Christmas and New Year season, so early nights, early mornings.. πŸŽ„πŸŽ…

Friday, 12 October 2018

Harvest pictures

I've been blogging in my Finnish blog, lately, so poor Stello Blog has been neglected a lot..

As I've been growing this and that, over the summer and autumn, I decided to post some harvest pictures πŸƒ

I got lots of peas, and had I replaced my flimsy yarn support, when the plants started getting too heavy, I probably would have gotten loads more.. Maybe next year - I've already bought stronger support string..

I never actually planted any spuds, but I've been getting lots of them as "compost surprises"

My favourite (=lots of flavour, and the least effort to make..) is to clean and chop the spuds, mix them with plenty of oil, and all kinds of seasonings (sweet chilli sauce is a must..), then spread them on the oven tray, and roast them for maybe 40 minutes or so..

I think, here I ate them with mayo and chives, although sour cream would be even nicer..

It's been a great bean year again - I've been eating them a lot, and my freezer is full..


Not a great year for herbs.. Mainly because I haven't had enough windowsill space, so most of my herbs have been on the kitchen counter where they don't really get enough sunshine.. But I have frozen a good bit of mint, and I think some basil and parsley as well..

Aaaand more beans...

My tomatoes never ripened outside as it got too cool while they were still green.. So, I picked them green, and wrapped them in paper to be ripened indoors..

I didn't have any brown paper (having just recycled it all), so I used baking paper..

Some beans again.. I made a big pot of soup with mainly beans, and whatever else.. Celery and onion, at least.. Leftover salsa, sweet chilli sauce, chilli powder, wasabi & sesame seasoning.. So, the soup had a nice kick to it! It was actually really good..

More compost surprises!

Some spuds had been "pre-eaten", so I just composted them again, to become new surprises..

Free food πŸ˜ƒ

First signs of ripening..

Again, oven roasted spicy spuds..

Sour cream with chives and herbs, and mixed lettuce, with spicy spuds..

The earliest bunch of tomatoes had finally ripened They were so good, I just ate most of them with a sprinkle of sea salt..

The rest of the tomatoes are still ripening..

I made an omelette with all kinds of leftovers and such.. Top: a thick slice of ham.. the last bits of Finnish Oltermanni cheese.. Bottom: red pepper.. semi-ripened tomato.. scallions..

Three eggs, some water, sea salt, white pepper, garlic powder, chilli powder, wasabi & sesame seasoning, oregano..

I had it with mixed lettuce and another homegrown tomato

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Ten year anniversary of my father's death

Jaakko Stenroos 1945 - 2008

My dad died ten years ago today - somehow it feels like it can't be ten years ago already, but on the other hand, thinking back to everything that has happened since, it also seems like it could have happened twenty years ago..

Below, a music video of one of my favourite songs, which started my dad's funeral;

Although my dad is dead, my parents are still alive, so I'm blessed in that way..

Sunday, 3 June 2018

REALLY good banana bread ♥ (recipe from Simply Recipes)

I've always liked banana bread, but I'd never actually baked any myself..

A few days ago, I had a few bananas that were almost black, so I thought I'd google for banana bread recipes, and see if I could find one that wouldn't require buying any ingredients that I didn't have already..

I found this one on Simply Recipes 🍌🍞 πŸ˜ƒ

2 to 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar (1/2 > less sweet, 1 cup > more sweet)
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
(I used Supervalu olive spread instead of butter, and vanilla essence instead of vanilla extract)
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), and butter a 4x8-inch loaf pan.
2 In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.
3 Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour.
4 Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 350°F (175°C), or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
5 Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then remove the banana bread from the pan and let cool completely before serving. Slice and serve. (A bread knife helps to make slices that aren't crumbly.)
If you go to the recipe page and read the comments, there are some other tweak ideas ♥ Apparently, it's the most popular recipe on that website, and that's no wonder - it's gorgeous..

My oven is fan assisted, so the bread was ready in 40 minutes - also, I kept checking on it while it was in the oven, and I noticed the top starting to get too dark too soon, so I put some baking paper on it, and it turned out perfect

I kept it on this oven rack, and later wrapped it in baking paper - it didn't last long, though as it was just sooo good.. πŸ˜‚

I've already bought more bananas, and I'm eagerly waiting for them to ripen, so that I can bake more..

Sunday, 27 May 2018

LiveLAGOM Grow Your Own workshop, and growing my own at home

We recently had a LiveLAGOM Grow Your Own workshop, at IKEA Carrickmines 🌿

I love Sunday morning workshops - guaranteed parking, wherever you like.. (Most shops at The Park open at 10am on Sundays.)

I arrived early, and hadn't had any breakfast at home, so I took a little walk to McD's (which was the only place already open) for toasties..

Everyone got a little gardening kit - ceramic pot, watering jug, garden gloves, compressed coconut mulch, seeds, and an ice cube tray..

These were previously started samples.. Like a miniature landscape

We put some mulch on the ice cube tray, and then planted a selection of seeds..

Then, it was fika time, with a hilarious rap video πŸ˜‚ Swedish Fika - Go Royal


Next, we had a flower pot decoration contest! πŸ˜ƒ

And I won it!!! πŸ˜ƒ

I created some Threefingermen..

I think it was Charlotta the Green Cat who won it, really.. Our judge was a cat person πŸ˜ƒ

I absolutely LOVE my prize! Socker greenhouse ♥♥♥♥♥

I used these markers for the pot decoration..

Some beautiful pots - these were decorated with paints.. I think I was the only one to use markers..

We had been asked to bring any household stuff that we might not need or want anymore, should anyone else find some use for it.. I didn't bring anything as I still have a lot of my stuff in Bray, and anything I have at home that I don't need, belongs to the house, so I can't get rid of it.

However, I got this third hand George Foreman grill! I almost didn't grab it as it's quite big, and I don't really have any counter space left in the kitchen, but having since tried it, I am so glad that I DID take it! I just need to clear some space for it, whenever I use it.

The lot! πŸ˜ƒ That's the garden kit from the workshop, my pot decoration prize (the greenhouse), and some workshop leftovers - extra mulch, and an opened pack of starter plugs.. Oh, and a spray bottle that was added to our kit, during the workshop.

The seeds that I planted at the workshop, had shifted a bit on my way home, but I'd placed the tray in a mulch bag, so none were lost πŸ˜‚

Cara was also happy with a new cardboard box..

I put my newly planted ice cube tray in the greenhouse where it was safe from the cats, but then I had to put the greenhouse on the kitchen window sill as it's the only spot with enough natural light, and where the cats can't knock it down..

It was difficult, trying to cram my other plants around it.. But it was also great motivation to finally bury the dead basil trees that didn't survive the winter, but were still on the windowsill.. (Yes, they started from one supermarket pot of basil, and actually grew so big that I classified them as trees, heh..) I also re-potted the avocado twins, and trimmed my oldest bonsai..

With so many nice days, lately (Thank GOD!!! Finally!!!), my gardening mood reached outdoors, too..

I cleared the parts of the collapsed cat run (it went down under heavy snow in March..), did my best to secure the wobbly fence (which had collapsed this way and that way, in many storms, and again under that heavy snow..), put up some fresh netting, wrapped some cosmetic netting around the cat hut, etc.. Oh, and I took down all the ivy from the back fence as that fence was about to collapse under the weight of the ivy jungle..

I bought and re-potted basil again - hopefully, it will thrive just as it did before as I love fresh basil

I bought some seeds as well, and got some free LIDL seed pots 🌿

These seed pots are lovely - there's a little pot, compressed mulch, a tissue sheet of seeds, a little marker, and instructions..

I got parsley, and lemon balm..

Tomato seeds.. πŸ…πŸ…πŸ…

I put new mulch on top of my mini compost.. I think I planted some pumpkin seeds here as the bag said that they would like that sort of soil..

Before and after.. I'm using old cat run bits here πŸ˜ƒ

Trying to keep the outdoor cats off my newly planted runner beans.. No, this is NOT a new litter tray for you.. πŸ˜‚

Pumpkin and scarlet runner bean.. I got tons of beans, in 2015 (I think), all the way up to October / November! I planted some again, last year, but I planted them too late (due to almost having moved back to Bray, which would have been hell), so there wasn't much growth in the first place, and then it was all eaten by slugs or such - no beans at all..

Scottish Widows look, with my raincoat.. πŸ˜‚

The following morning, Little Mami was already chillin' on the protective netting....

My workshop stuff has started to grow

I've moved them into the mulch bag, which I keep turning every day, because the plants lean towards natural light..

My plants have taken over parts of my counter as there's no room on the window sill..

I actually had to remove the greenhouse as it was taking too much space.. I can now cram more plants on the window sill, and I'm still thinking of a new spot for the greenhouse..

I wish it was summer, all the time..

I wanted to plant more stuff outside, so I made another spot and planted peas - with protective netting..

I'd started to think that my tomatoes might not happen at all, but after ten days, there were some signs of life - so tiny that I nearly missed them!

Lemon balm is popping up new life as well, and one day later, there were more baby tomatoes.. πŸ…

I love my kitchen jungle 🌿

I really don't think I would have had all this motivation, had we not had that workshop!

I'd love to plant more stuff out in the garden, but I can't afford to get enough compost, right now, so maybe next year..