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Vegan & gluten-free gingerbread cookies

Hello love! Check this out – One thing I’m really proud of is that I get such an amazing feedback about my recipes from you guys. I also get a lot of wishes on what kind of recipes you want me to create and share. And I always listen to them very carefully, so that I can serve in the best way possible. 

Upon your wishes, I have now created a luscious collection of wholesome and delish feel-good Christmas recipes, most of them suitable for the whole winter season, not only for the Holidays.

Dreamy Season ebook

My brand new ebook is called Dreamy Season and it contains 62 recipes and 141 pages, all made with love by Yours Truly. In this book I have gathered my all-time favourite winter recipes and treats – the ones I love to pamper myself & my family during the Holidays. I have to say that this has been truly a passion project for me, as I’m a crazy Christmas lady who could eat Christmas-spirited food the whole winter. 

Dreamy Season ebook serves wholesome & delish recipes for breakfasts, dinners, desserts and drinks, all perfect for the Holiday season – or for those moments when you just feel like enjoying some deliciously comforting winter food magic.

How about for example a bowl of Pink Morning Kiss Porridge or Golden Oatmeal, a piece of Christmas Toffee, selection of plant-based Cheeses and some Christmas Wreath Pizza? Or maybe a slice of Tofu Ham, goodies from the Christmas Platter, a piece of Chai Banana Bread or few mouth-watering Gingerbread Fudge or Snickers Moon Balls with a sip of Cloudy Apple Drink? All plant-based, naturally sweetened and gluten-free, all good for your body as well as to your soul and perfect for those comfy winter moments.

You can read more about the book from here and check out also the Dreamy Season menu. Note that this ebook is in English and it has some of the same recipes that can be found from my Finnish cookbook Joulukirja.

Vegan hot chocolate

plant-based tofu ham

What’s in the ebook?

* 62 recipes

* All plant-based

* Gluten free

* Dairy free

* Refined sugar free

* Beautiful colourful images

* Breakfasts, dinners, lunches, drinks, dips/basics, treats

* Simple & easy recipes + some more challenging ones

* Book full of comfort and pleasure

Dreamy Season ebook - Plant-based Christmas platter

How can you use this ebook?

  1. Click the PURCHASE button.
  2. Apply the discount code at the checkout.
  3. Pay for the ebook safely with PayPal of with your credit card.
  4. Wait for your page to redirect you to a page with a downloadable link.
  5. Download the ebook onto your laptop, iPhone or iPad. (NOTE! the download link will be available to you for 24 hrs and then it will expire.)
  6. Open it with your preferred program such as Preview on Mac, Adobe Reader or iBooks
  7. Go and make your Christmas dreamy!

Snickers Bliss Balls

And for the celebration of the launch I’m giving a big discount for you guys. During this week you will get the Dreamy Season only for €5,90 with the code DREAMY. (Normal price is €9,90.) So if feel good Christmas food resonates, apply the code DREAMY here and get your copy.

I really hope you will enjoy the ebook as much as I enjoyed – LOVED – creating it. And when sharing your creations from the book, remember to tag me @vanelja in so that I can see them.

Wishing you the dreamiest season, friend. 

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Vanelja's healthy, easy, gluten-free and plant'based pancakes

Hello, Sunshine! So happy to see you here as I’ve got some real nice goodies waiting for you. Something I’ve created with loads of love and care and something that I hope will bring plenty of good vibes and inspiration to your mornings.

May I introduce: In Bed with Vanelja.

In Bed with Vanelja free ebook

In Bed with Vanelja – Comfy Breakfasts and Dream Food for Eternal Sundays is my brand new ebook I’ve created for all you dear followers of mine. As a thank you for your ongoing support and love. The ebook is now available for you to download – FOR FREE. 15 wholesome, plant-based, gluten free & naturally sweetened healthy breakfast recipes to make your mornings taste and feel oh-so-good.

In this ebook I share some of my all time favorite healthy breakfast recipes, like for example my go-to green juice, comfy granola, brekkie apple pie, Insta-famous blueberry crepes, pumpkin seed bread rolls, dreamy cream cheese, mocha soft serve and my updated weekend pancakes. Sooo many goodies waiting there for you!

I made this ebook as a handcraft by myself as I wanted to learn more about doing layouts an all that jazz. I got so excited about this project that in the end I had to shrink the book as it was about to become enormous. But I took it as a sign that I might be again ready for a new book project. So we’ll see if I’ll end up expanding this ebook to a bigger title or what will happen. The author in me is anyways purring again. 

Virpi Mikkonen In Bed with VaneljaEasy plant-based cream cheese recipe

In the ebook I was happy to team up with two beautiful Finnish brands, Kaslink Aito Oat Drink and Balmuir Home Textiles. Both known for their high-quality products. Kaslink’s organic oat drink, or oat milk as I say, is present in many of my recipes as I adore the mildly sweet and subtle taste of it and the fact that the oat in it is organic and locally produced here in Finland. And the luxurious linen beddings and kitchen towels and blankets by Balmuir just take the breakfast in bed experience to another level. People who follow me know that I love to eat (and shoot my food) in bed so pretty and comfy beddings are really a must in Vanelja household. Especially crazy for these sand tones linen duvet covers.

Vanelja's healthy, easy, gluten-free and plant'based pancakes

Gluten-free and vegan seed bread rolls

So go collect your copy HERE and let me know how you like the ebook and my healthy plant-based breakfast recipes. If you are listed on my newsletter you can find the ebook on your email you have given while subscribing. Just in case you don’t find it, check out your junk mail, if it has slipped there accidentally. 

Feel free to share love and let your friends know about In Bed with Vanelja!

V

* In collaboration with Balmuir & Kaslink.

 

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Blueberry Dream Cake - Raw cake by Vanelja

Well hello, babes! Finally it’s happening, updated Vanelja.com has opened its doors and welcomes you to take a tour. Though it took quite some time to get this open, it has been heart-warming to notice how many of you regularly uses the recipes on my site, as I have got tons of messages from people asking when all the material will be returning. So sorry you’ve had to wait for them, but happy to know you’ve missed my treats!

Blueberry Dream Cake by Vanelja

And now when the new site is open I’m also beyond excited to launch my brand new grocery: Blueberry Dream Cake by Vanelja. It is a treat that I absolutely ah-dore and I’m just so super duper happy to start offering my all time favorite raw cake to people. I get asked almost weekly if I do catering or if I take orders for my dream cakes, and now I can finally say YES!

And this one is truly a raw cake of my dreams. If I should pick only one sweet treat to consume for the rest of my life, it would be my Blueberry Dream Cake, most def, no doubt about it. It has such a mouth-watering taste with the pecan based crust with a hint of cardamom and the rich blueberry filling. The texture is creamy and fluffy yet the cake is very fresh because of the white layer with some hints of lemon in it. I honestly start salivating even now when describing it to you, haha. And what’s lovely about this Blueberry Dream Cake is that there is no coconut flavor that pushes through, which I feel is a problem in many raw cakes.

Blueberry Dream Cake - Raw cake by Vanelja

I’ve made my Blueberry Dream Cake in collab with Green Street, a big-hearted Helsinki-based provider for raw cakes and other healthy food. The cake will be out very soon, at 15th of May to be exact, and you’ll be able to buy it from certain retailers, supermarkets and cafés in Helsinki and Stockholm. Gonna list down all the retailers here on my site soon! And if you want to have a whole cake, preordering is open NOW and the first deliveries start 15th of May. If you have some parties coming up this spring and summer, like graduation parties, family get-togethers, brunches for friends etc. you can preorder the cake HERE. It is a great thing to serve for a big bunch of people as it is vegan, gluten free and naturally sweetened, so it fits to most diets and most occasions. I prefer it as a weekend brekkie, as it is perfect for cozy slow mornings.

The decoration of these photos are not included in the cake, but it has a beautiful pattern on the surface (which you can see here) so it can be served as it is, or  you can finish it for example with some blueberries or edible flowers.

Blueberry dream Cake brekkie

At the moment the availability of my Blueberry Dream Cake is limited only to Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, but hopefully we’ll get the cake to wider reach too. Again, gonna be updating the retailers here on my site. And if you have a café and you’d think my Blueberry Dream Cake could match your selection, throw me a message!

But in the meantime, let me know how you like my cake and my new site! There are still some new features on their way + one surprise gift for you coming before the summer, so stay tuned – especially on Vanelja’s Instagram, as that is the place where I holler most often about my moves.

xo

V

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New year, fresh winds! A new edition of my very first cookbook, It’s a Pleasure – Sweet treats without gluten, dairy and refined sugar (in Finnish: Kiitos hyvää – Herkkuja ilman sokeria ja gluteenia) has just came out in Finland with new recipes in it. 

I’m really excited that I had an opportunity to design new stuff for this title, as I feel that although the book came out already two years ago here in Finland, the subject is still very topical.

Well, actually I can’t think of a time when healthy yet delicious sweet treats would go out of style. At least they are very much trending in our household all the time. And it was only 3 months ago when the book came out in the US, so it’s great to blow some new wind to these sails also in Finland! (I know there might not be that kind of idiom in English, but you get the point.)

So cake, muffins, donuts, cookies, chocolates, candies, ice creams and other heavenly goods, all without gluten, dairy and refined sugar. Gentle yet effective ease for sweet cravings with 86 recipes. Pretty luscious package, if I may say. And you’ll recognice the new Finnish edition by the green stamp it has on the cover. 

To celebrate the new edition I wanna give away one copy of the new Finnish title to one lucky reader. All you have to do is drop a comment and say hello here in the comment field and I will pick a winner (located in Finland) on Sunday 22nd at 22.00. (10 pm)

Of course I don’t wanna leave you guys from other counties with empty hands, so I’m giving away one copy of the English title, It’s a Pleasure too. So eeeveryone can join! And please do!

Here is also one of the new recipes from the new Finnish edition: my current No.1 favorite raw cake, Raw Licorice Chocolate Mousse Cake, with a super soft and tasty filling and crunchy truffles. Enjoy, babes!

V

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Life has had quite hectic twists and turns lately. Sometimes I wonder how it is even possible for me as one human being to cope with all these projects I have managed to gather in my life. But in some weird way person kind of multiplies herself, expands time or makes other magic tricks when stuff just needs to be done. And there is no time to sit around when a revolution awaits! A food revolution, you know, in which I try to take part with my work.

A part of my revolution dream has now become reality as my very first cookbook about healthy sweet treats, that came out in Finland some time ago has now been released in the US and it goes by the name It’s a Pleasure. I’m so happy about the outcome – the book looks and feels super pretty and nice and I hope it can help to transform globally the way people feel about sweets with it’s over 80 recipes for cakes, candies, cookies, muffins, ice creams, chocolates and other sweet treats – all without guten, dairy and refined sugar. Because there is just no better way to indulge than to savor with treats that left you feeling light, healthy and satisfied!

Try for example these overwhelming pralines. I have prepared big batches of them lately and people have LOVED them. And no wonder. The best pralines combine many elements: a soft filling, a texture that snaps nicely and something crunchy. Also, a hint of saltiness is a big plus. These chocolates are all of the above and can be created with very simple and wholesome ingredients.

Please, just try them! And if you wish to have a copy of It’s a Pleasure, throw me a message here below before Oct 10th and I’ll pick two winners to whom I’ll post the book next week – in Finnish or in English, you choose!

Until then – Viva la revolucion!

V

NUT CARAMEL CHOCOLATES

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The time has come!! The N’Ice Cream book about healthy vegan ice creams by me and Tuulia has come out today in the US. And I’m over the moon excited! The Finnish version of the book got sold out in a week here in Finland and I hope the international audience will love the English version just as much.

Several people have now said to me that the N’Ice Cream book feels like the ultimate summer saver for them, and that makes me sooo happy. Because that is exactly what this book was designed to be. To enable a feel-good summer with healthy, naturally sweetened and gluten-free vegan ice creams, ice pops, sorbets, soft serves, instant ice creams, ice cream cakes & cookies, waffle cones, sauces, jams and all that jazz. And also our very best tips on how to prepare delicious ice cream easily without an ice cream maker.

You can now buy the book from:

If you like to have more n’ice cream inspiration, come and follow our Instagram: @nicecreambook where we share pics & tips and give shout-outs to peoples beautiful nice cream creations. Be sure to tag your n’ice cream photos #nicecreambook and @nicecreambook so that we can see them!

And now, ladies and gents, I'm happy to introduce these treats I have for you: Lovely lovely Vanilla Chocolate N’ice cream Sandwiches that I made inspired by a couple of recipes from the N’Ice Cream book. They just might be the perfect summer snack. And the perfect way to celebrate the launch of our book. Note that you can always just skip the cookies and make the instant ice cream base and enjoy it with this super quick chocolate sauce, if your ice cream cravings won’t wait!

And then there’s still one more thing: A giveaway! I’m giving away one copy of the N’Ice Cream book. Just write a short hello and why you would like this book to the comments below and you’re in! You’ve got time to participate until midnight Sunday the 22nd of May. And the giveaway is this time open to US, Canada & Finland. Good luck, my friends!

V

VANILLA N'ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

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Hello, Love!

I have been waiting so eagerly to tell this to you. And now I can finally announce:
The hottest – or should I say the coolest cookbook of the summer is now available for PRE-ORDER! And – there is a magnificant pre-order gift, too!

Hooray, it is really happening, my friends! I’m so happy to launch this!

So as I mentioned in my previous post, N'Ice Cream – the healthy vegan ice cream cookbook by me and Tuulia Talvio will be out May 17 by Avery Publishing, Penguin US. There’s gonna be over 80 delicious recipes for healthy vegan ice creams without gluten, dairy and refined sugar. …Creamy ice creams, ice pops and sorbets, instant ice creams, ice cream cakes & cookies, waffles, sauces and jams, you name it. THIS BOOK covers it all when it comes to wholesome ice creams!

And as a thank you we wanted to make you something special. So when you pre-order N'Ice Cream cookbook now, you'll get this delicious gift:

GATHER e-book with over 30 recipes for your wholesome, easygoing, plant-based summer parties.

Oh yes, baby, it is true! By pre-ordering N'Ice Cream now you'll get this luxurious digital cookbook totally FREE. (Or if you’ve already pre-ordered the book – Thank you! – the offer includes you too.) Gather is not available in any other places so pre-ordering is really the only way to get your hands on this summery piece. And note also that the gift book comes as a pre-order gift only with the N'Ice Cream cookbook, so it is not included with the Finnish version, Hyvän olon jäätelökirja, which will be out in stores in Finland already in about 2 weeks.

GATHER E-BOOK OFFERS:

  • More than 30 original healthy plant based recipes for your summer get-togethers

  • All recipes are vegan, free from gluten, dairy & refined sugar

  • Recipes for savory snacks, sweet desserts and fresh drinks

  • Tips for organizing a stress-free party

  • A full-size color image for every recipe

The book includes recipes such as Falafels & Cashew Sour Cream, The Vegan Party Platter, Flaxseed chips & Creamy Dip, Sweet Potato Mini Pizzas, Nut-free Blueberry Pie, Divine Raw Chocolate Cake (presented below!), Apricot Cookies and Nut Fudge, Summer Pancake Cake, Brazilian Lemonade, Melon & Lime Aqua Fresca and many many more! And note, that all these recipes are totally new and original, not posted anywhere else before.

Check out more about Gather e-book and how to pre-order and get your gift HERE.

Oh and hey, I recommend warmly to subscribe to Vanelja’s newsletter asap, as there is coming some great weekly giveaways, bonus recipes, playlists and everything wonderful to get you in summer vibes & ice cream mood!

Come and follow also our official Insagram page of N’Ice Cream. A really nice giveaway is coming in our IG page already today, so hurry. We are waiting for you! 🙂

N’ICE CREAM HOT LIST:

And before I leave you to enjoy the Divine Raw Chocolate Cake from Gather I have to say that we are AMAZED by all the support we have been getting from people to help to spread the news about this book. From people we know and from total strangers too! We are grateful for all the help we can get to spread the word of n’ice cream and healthy ice cream revolution.

If you feel like you would want to help in any way we would be so so happy! Like by sharing this post, the N’Ice Cream preorder gift, N’Ice Cream Instagram posts or anything else. Or if you are a blogger and would want to share some ice cream tips, some photos, bonus recipes or a small feature / interview, please send us an email to nicecreambook@gmail.com and we’ll got you covered!

And now, finally. The cake. The Divine Raw Chocolate cake. It is a-bliss. Please enjoy!

V

DIVINE RAW CHOCOLATE CAKE

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Ok, wow. Do I have some BIG news for you people. Big, creamy, delicious and heavenly news. And yes, it is about ice cream, and it is about books. As I bet you guessed already from the photo.

So, remember the e-book about healthy ice creams we did last summer with my friend Tuulia, that was called Kind Ice Cream for You? Yep, the cute little pink book that became surprisingly popular during the summer. Well, we thought that the e-book would have been just a nice little summer project for us, but life had bigger plans for it.

As it happened, one brilliant book agent found our e-book through my friend Jessie’s blog post (Jessie, you girl are pure gold! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing that post!) and asked if me and Tuulia were interested in making an actual book out of our e-book.

And oh-my-god, OF COURSE we were!

So one thing lead to another and now I am SO PROUD and SO HAPPY to announce that our cookbook about healthy vegan ice creams is gonna be out in the US in May 17th and it goes with a name N’Ice Cream. The publisher of the book is the ever so lovely Avery, part of Penguin Random House which is one of the biggest book publishers in the world.

So there we are now with our ice creams sharing the home with Nobel prize winners and biggest best-sellers in the world.

So crazy. So so crazy amazing! N’ice cream, I scream, everybody screeeam!

There you can see the cover of N'Ice Cream on the right hand side on the first photo. That one is gonne be seen in bookstores all around North America and Canada. The cover photo on the left hand side is from the Finnish edition called Hyvän olon jäätelökirja, that will be out in the middle of May in Finland through Cozy Pyblishing.

So it’s gonna be healthy, vegan and super easy ice creams for all the people around the world soon! And we are just so overly excited here and can’t wait them to come out. We feel we have done something revolutionary with this piece and that the recipes in the book have an actual potential to make this world a little better place. Maybe we’ll too get a Nobel nomination from it. Haha!

But really, as Don Kardong put it: "Without ice cream there would be darkness and chaos." So ice cream IS plain good, and healthy ice cream is even better.

And if you wanna join this ice cream parade beforehand, you can go and pre-oreder N'Ice Cream already from these places:

I can tell you that there is going to be a super duper nice gift for people who will pre-order the book and it will be the perfect companion to N’Ice Cream. But more about it next month!

Also, be sure to sign up to my NEWSLETTER because there’s gonna come some brilliant material to subscribers during this spring.

And finally, before I wrap this up, I want to thank deeply everyone who supported us with this project in any way, purchased our e-book back in the days and shared the love – there's some good karma coming your way!

So, we are living wonderful times, my friend, and the upcoming spring is gonna be filled with possibilities for all of us. Lets keep the light up!

V

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Baby, It is dark, rainy and cold outside but my heart is shining brightly!

The reason for this glow is that my book about healthy fast food can be now finally found in the bookstores in Finland!

And may I just say: Pheeeew.

I’m feeling SO relieved. And happy. But not at all super hyped like I was when my first book was released a year ago. Now the feeling is more trusting, confident, calm and collected. I can be proud about the outcome and I know that this book will be the most used cookbook in our household! My husband, who is quite a lazy cook, has been cooking from the book many times already. So my main mission here is accomplished: Get the guy to cook!

Small step for the humankind, big achievement for my family. Huge.

Hopefully other takeaway lovers and lazy cooks will also find the book inspiring!

The book offers over 80 recipes for healthy, easy and quick vegetarian dishes, all without gluten and refined sugars. Most of the recipes can be done totally vegan. And the best part here is that the dishes can all be done less than in 30 minutes and they come with super simple ingredient lists.

I don't mean to brag but isn't that just great?!

And because many of you have asked me about the English version, I can now say that I’m in the progress of getting the book translated into English, but it will be a project for the next year. Let’s see then in what form it will eventually come out!

But here's as a tasting, some examples from the menu of my book:

For breakfast:

  • 3 x Easy Pancakes
  • 3 x 3 Ingredient Smoothies
  • 3 x Energy Bars
  • Blueberry Ginger Porridge
  • Cinnamon Jar Porridge
  • Chocolate Oat Porridge
  • Coconut Oat Breakfast Rolls
  • Easy Dairy-free Cheeses
  • Fig Pear Crumble

For Lunch & Dinner:

  • Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Curry Peanut Butter Sauce
  • Asian Green Wraps
  • Nepalese dish with 3 ingredient Naan Bread
  • Quick Curry with Sweet Potato Noodles
  • Sunshine Pasta
  • Avocado Pasta
  • Shiitake Seed Risotto (rice-free)
  • Eggplant Pizzas
  • White Pizza
  • Beetroot Pizza
  • Sweet Potato Pizza
  • Burrito Bowl with Chili Sin Carne
  • 3 x Easy Mayo (egg-free)

For Dessert:

  • 3 Ingredient Chocolate Cake
  • 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cake
  • 3 Ingredient Apple Pie
  • Almond Soft Serve
  • 2 Ingredient Cookies
  • Wholesome Banana Muffins
  • 2 Ingredient Apple Donuts
  • Melon Cake for Kids

And lots and lots of more dishes and treats! A small introduction of the book can be found here.

Have a lovely week, Friend!

xxx

V

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One year ago I dreamed about a cookbook that would save our family meals.

My dream book would have recipes that would take less than 30 minutes to make, preferably only 15 minutes, ingredients lists should be nice and short, they would not include gluten, dairy or refined-sugars and most of the recipes should be vegan. The book should offer wholesome recipes for breakfasts, dinners, lunches, snacks and for sweet treats. Kid-friendly recipes would be a big plus and also if the book could also offer better alternatives for pizzas and burgers, my man’s favorite meals. All in all, the recipes in the book should be healthy, super easy and super delicious.

Too sad there wasn’t any book like that on the market. I went through a big bunch of cookbooks and waited for a hero that would fly into my arms and save those moments where the stomach is empty and the mind goes blank at the same time. There were nice recipes here and there but a book that would fulfil ALL my needs just didn’t seem to exist.

So, I had to make it myself. And I did.

Two weeks from here my next cookbook about healthy fast food is going to be released in Finland. The Finnish name is Kiitos hyvää Pikaruokaa, and I’m proud to say that the book offers EXACTLY everything I just described above!

I am so thrilled and I can’t wait to get it in my hands – For one since I actually cook the recipes from the book everyday, and I can’t remember all my recipes in detail, and I don’t wanna go on searching for them from my computer all the time, so I really need to get the book in my kitchen and in my hands – ASAP!

Gonna let you know more about the book later, but I’m sure you guys are going to appreciate it as well. Who would not love healthy and tasty fast food!

But now, to today’s meal! This vegan meatballs and pasta recipe is not actually from my upcoming cookbook, because I created it after the book had already gone to print, but it makes an excellent and simple everyday meal also. I’m just loving this easy pasta made from sweet potato and the rich taste and great texture of these vegetarian meatballs! If you ask me it's quite an excellent mimic of the Italian classic meal, with a healthy and fun twist.

V

VEGAN MEATBALLS AND SWEET POTATO PASTA

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One of the most traditional ways to celebrate something here in Finland is to make coffee and serve cinnamon buns. That old school serving suits all types of parties and in every occasion.

A baby is born – coffee and cinnamon buns, you win a lottery – coffee and cinnamon buns, someone dies – coffee and cinnamon buns, your blog is nominated in The Blog Awards Finland in the Health and Wellness category – coffee and cinn.. Wait, no. Actually then it’s not coffee nor cinnamon buns, but healthy cinnamon bun”ish” waffles! The exception proves the rule.

So here I am with my not-so-traditional but yet so-very-delicious cinnamon bun waffles as it indeed happened that my blog got nominated in the Blog Awards Finland in the Health and Wellness category. Yay!

The nomination in that specific category made me took a stroll down memory lane and look back to where I started, which was five years ago in my former Finnish health blog called Kiitos hyvää.

Kiitos hyvää was a blog mainly about well-being and “high quality life”. In that time I was very deeply into all kind of nutrition stuff, different methods of measuring health and gaining better health, raw food, superfood, super this and super that. I was truly and totally a health nerd. All that super health hype feels kind of funny to me nowadays, but it was an adventure I had to take in order to get here, into more peaceful and calmer place.

It is very relaxing when you realise that the purpose of your life is to serve only in a way that brings great joy to yourself and others. Not to battle and strive. That is the reason I nowadays post only easygoing inspiration and nice recipes and not try to convince anyone of what is the best diet or how should others live their lives. I don’t have clue, only a delicate and occasionally fading hunch on how to live my own.

But that’s how life, health and wellness are, delicate and constantly changing things that escape exact definitions and are not bound to one truth.

My truth today is happiness and gratitude for being nominated in the biggest Blog Award in my country. And from that happiness I channel these cinnamon bun waffles to you!

Thank you for being there, friend.

V

CINNAMON BUN WAFFLES

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I have to say my life is super full at the moment. Actually even a little bit too packed for my taste. My calendar is full with work, meetings and photoshoots, my hands are full with things to do both in home and also in work field, and my head is crowded with stuff I need to remember and take care of. Surprisingly, even though it usually never goes together with a hectic life, my heart is full also – and it is just bursting with gratitude!

One reason for that is this unforgettable incident I had last week in New York at the Saveur Food Blog Awards where Vanelja was nominated as one of the finalist. And you can’t believe this – the craziest thing happened: Editor’s Choice for Best-designed Blog! As in Vanelja was picked to be the winner by the editors from the almighty Saveur magazine!

high-fives with my graphic designer friends Leena Oravainio & Lotta Niemien who helped to build this site and with all you followers, readers and lovely friends and supporters! You guys made this happen!

It is such a huge honor and such a recognized award that I am still totally overwhelmed and it is still hard for me to understand that it actually happened. The whole event, the award, all the amazing people and fellow bloggers I met. The whole experience was like from a dream. Especially when I was totally jet-lagged and was feeling quite surreal even in the first place.

So now, we need to party. Because that's what we people do when something big comes our way – we celebrate and throw a party to mark these big happenings and changes in our lives to somehow make them feel more real, right? First we ask someone to pinch ourselves and then we party.

And because it is summer and I’m just all about ice creams at the moment, as our e-book about healthy dairy-free & refined-sugar-free ice creams, Kind Ice Cream for You just got launched last week, I decided that we celebrate with ice cream. Yay!

This one is an adaptation of one “Instant Chocolate Ice Cream” recipe from our book which can be enjoyed as a soft serve or as a more solid ice cream. I chose to flavor it with a little bit of rum and raisins just to make it more festive. And because rum & raisin is my all time favorite ice cream flavor. And well, because alcohol just gives a nice boost to certain occasions. Though here the rum is first brought to a boil so there’s no change/risk of getting tipsy. …Although, you just might do it anyways because of the intoxicating raw chocolate and the super rich flavor!

So enjoy, live life to it’s fullest and celebrate all the big and small treasures life throws to you. For example now with these luxurious party ice cream balls flying your way!

V

Remember to follow me on Instagram and tag your ice cream photos with #kindicecreamforyou or #kindicecream!

RUM & RAISIN CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

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It has arrived! Our e-book about healthy ice creams is finally out! And I must say that I am deeply and utterly in LOVE with it. Hands down, it must be the loveliest cook book I have ever encountered. And that is my totally objective opinion. If me and my partner-in-crime Tuulia Talvio would have not made it I would still love it to pieces! Hahaa!

But the most amazing thing for me here is how this book took even myself by surprise. Because when we started making it this winter I would have never guessed that it would become so big, beautiful and comprehensive as it is.

First we planned to make just a nice small e-book about healthy, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free and gluten-free ice creams with few nice recipes with few nice pictures. But the project kept on growing and growing until one day we realised that we have a real book in our hands, well, on our computer screens – with 130 pages and over 60 recipes, great pictures – and last but not least, a beeeautiful layout, thanks to my dear friend, a super talented graphic designer Leena Oravainio.

So here I am now, super proud, deeply happy and a little bit teary over our kind and beautiful new-born book, Kind Ice Cream for You. And I really want you to meet her, so go ahead and
read more about it in the book’s official website: www.kindicecream.com.

You can buy the book through my SHOP or through www.kindicecream.com or by going straigh HERE. All the roads lead to the same destination. NOTE: E-BOOK IS TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK

So be free to share, download and spread the love! We have really poured our love and passion in this one, so we are very grateful for all the help you can give in spreading our kind ice cream message! #kindicecreamforyou #kindicecream

Take care, be Kind and have a lovely ice-cream-filled June, my friend!

V

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Ok, are you ready for the most delicious summer of our era? Have your taste buds and sweet teeth ready because an ultimate e-book about healthy and delicious homemade ice creams, KIND ICE CREAM FOR YOU is almost here!

This is a book that we have been preparing the whole spring with my lovely colleague & friend Tuulia and it is going to be published online in the beginning of June, meaning next week! Eeeek! This is so Exciting! It´s going to be the book of our dreams – and hopefully yours too!

KIND ICE CREAM FOR YOU serves over 60 recipes for homemade & healthy ice creams, all free from dairy, soy, gluten and refined sugar. Most of the recipes are raw and they can easily be done vegan. People with nut-allergies will find loads of goodies for them too!

The book is going to give you recipes for Creamy Ice Creams, Soft Serves, Sorbets & Ice Pops, Instant Ice Creams, Ice Cream Cakes & Cookies and Addings & Toppings + introduction to kind ice creams and to good quality ingredients. And because it is an e-book it can be easily read with a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. That way you can carry it with you to all of your summer adventures and make kind ice creams whenever you feel like indulging!

And hey, it is in English so all you quality ice cream lovers all around the world can read it!

All in all, I honestly think this book includes everything a perfect ice cream book should. I am feeling SO happy and proud.

AND NOW A WARM RECOMMENDATION: Right now would be a perfect time to sign-up to my newsletter, because all the subscribers who have signed up before 1.6. will be getting a 20 % discount from the KIND ICE CREAM FOR YOU e-book immediately when it´s released, which makes it then only 9,50 euros! And you´ll be also getting a free Smoothie Guide delivered straight to your e-mail right away!

Sign-up HERE

Last week we asked you guys in our social media channels to give us your helping hand and to tell us your favorite ice cream flavors. We received over 200 mouth-watering ideas and happily noticed that many of them were already covered in the book, for example, blueberry pie, mango melon, matcha white chocolate, licorice, cherry garcia, salted caramel and so on.

Still, we managed to pick two winners who will win free copies of our e-book and whose favorite ice cream will be included in the book. The other winner is Salla, who wished for a healthier version of Snickers Ice Cream and the other one is Minna whose favorite ice cream is Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches. Both recipes will be now found in the book, and in our web sites too, as tastings. The recipe for the super amazing Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches is found at my co-author Tuulia´s page, and the recipe for Snickers ice cream will be presented here – in a cake form!

This chocolate covered caramel peanut butter ice cream cake is just a perfect treat for summer parties. People who love peanut butter and caramel will adore it!

And don´t be frightened if this recipe seems to have a little too many steps for your taste – 90 % of the recipes in our book will be super easy, because we think both summer and this book should be merely for lazy pleasures. But in some occasions you just need to have a few extra layers to make it festive – like now when announcing this super cool ice cream news!

V

SNICKERS ICE CREAM CAKE

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“I know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, nothing compares to this feeling of freedom.”

That is a quote from a surfer Colin Moran and those words lay in a picture upon my bed in my new crib, an airbnb flat in Los Angeles to where I came for a one month work/vacation trip.

So if you´re wondering why there is not coming new material and recipe innovations as often as usual it is because I´m giving space for fresh inspiration and sparkling new ideas. Setting myself free from the old and familiar and keeping a slight break from the routines. Even my personal blender I brought with me quit its deal in the very first day I tried to test out a new recipe here. A clear sign that I need to concentrate on other things now!

Although, I do have some un-published recipes up in my sleeve that I´m gonna share with you guys, so stay tuned! In the meantime you can jump in my travelling bag and follow me on Instagram!

Flying free kisses!

V

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I have a huge spring time crush happening here. The target of my affection is oh-so creamy and dreamy home-made pistachio milk. What a charmer. The color of this heavenly nectar is so beautiful that I could just sit and watch it´s tones through my drinking glass forever. …If I would not be so eager to gulp it down in a heartbeat.

Pistachio milk is perfect for example in making raw cakes and ice creams and it´s a loveliest base for smoothies too! In today´s smoothie recipe I connected pistachio milk with figs. And boy did it turn out delicious!

I warmly recommend you try it out on some lovely spring day. And also a bunch of other delicious and fresh smoothie recipes from my free e-book, Creamy Smoothie Guide!

And hey, while you´re here could I ask you to take a minute (or more like 30 seconds) and vote for VANELJA in Saveur Food Blog Awards in the best-designed blog category, as my blog is one of the finalists. Your vote would mean a world to me! As this whole being-in-the-finals already did. You need to registrate first but it only takes a second and you won´t get any junk mail.

So Click & Vote for VANELJA and pure pleasures! Thank you darling, I send you loads of love in return!

V

PISTACHIO FIG SMOOTHIE

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“She´s a smooth operator, smooooth operator…”

I am so happy to announce that I have created something really cool for you guys. I have been a real “smooth operator” and collected my all time favorite smoothie recipes and best smoothie tips inside of virtual covers of an e-book. The Creamy Smoothie Guide includes 34 pages packed with delicious recipes, mouth-watering photos and hot tips + a formula for a perfect green smoothie. This e-book is a gift from VANELJA to you! You can now download it from HERE.

At the same time you´ll be able to subscribe to VANELJA mailing list which means that you´ll be privileged to get more pure pleasures, recipes, news and quality content, such as this smoothie guide, to your email about once in a month. No non-sense spamming, I promise. Just diamonds.

So go ahead and download your Creamy Smoothie Guide and make your blender buzz! I hope the guide can channel even a drop of that inspiration and energy to you that these liquid lovers give to me! Feel free to share love and tell about VANELJA and The Creamy Smoothie Guide to your friends in your channels:

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TWEETABLE: A LOVER OF SMOOTHIE? GET THIS FREE CREAMY SMOOTHIE GUIDE WITH 34 PAGES FULL OF MOUTH-WATERING RECIPES, PICS & TIPS!

Thank you!

V

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I have always found it very interesting to observe how different people react on new things, when they hear great news, new opportunities arises or something good happens. Some go openly bonkers screaming and jumping from happiness, some start panicing and turn the good thing into something scary and intimidating and some swallow their joy and let just a slight smile escape through their lips even though they are dancing and moshing inside.

And then there are people like me who´s natural reaction for something good is to bake a cake. (After the going-publicly-bonkers-phase.) For me a cake represents a deep and intense joy and something ultimately festive. The whole procedure including designing, cooking, eating, food styling and photographing a cake is something that my soul finds very relaxing, joyous and gratifying. For me creating a cake is art on it´s best.

This weekend I have been celebrating with this phenomenal Stracciatella Chocolate Cake that was my reaction to one magnificent news I received on friday. It is born from pure happiness and bliss. When I served the cake people were just chewing it in total silence for a while, then they took a deep sigh and bursted into a praise. Like music to my ears.

I´m not going to tell just yet what was the thing that inspired me to make this super tasty and creamy and luscious piece of work, that I will announce tomorrow on my social media channels (Instagram & Facebook). Now I just wanted to share my happiness in the form of this cake and wish it can pass on some of my great mood and love to all of you!

V

STRACCIATELLA CHOCOLATE CAKE

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What a relief. What happiness and love and bliss! My cook book baby has finally born. When I first got the book in my arms a week ago I bursted into tears – and in laughter at the same time!

It is surprisingly strong experience to see the whole journey you´ve made, all the work, joices, experiences that happened while making the book, all condensated to one piece.

Yes, the most pure and strong happiness you get is through you´re own passion and from the result of your hard work. And when you get to share it with good people. Like I did last week in my book launch party at my home.

That could have been one of my most memorable nights ever!

Only a small bunch of people were invited so that the atmosphere stayed intimate. There were lots of cakes, candies, candles, laughter – and flowers! So much flowers. As lovely Hennamari Asunta teached us about flower binding & flower arrangements. The night truly contained the best ingredients in life. I didn´t concentrate that much on taking photos, but you can catch a glimpse in Eeva´s blog to see some pictures of that evening. (the text is in Finnish).

I so much wish that I can get my book out also in english some day for all you non-finnish-speakers out there! I bet the world needs my book of healthy treats outside of Finland too!

In the meantime you can follow this site for more recipes – or learn some finnish and order my book from HERE! I won´t promise it will be easy – but I promise it will be worth it.

V

Follow Vanelja!

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I am sooo excited here right now. Butterfly disco in my stomach and a permanent crazy persons grin on my face. One reason is that it is the first day of December and I can finally and totally release all my christmas moves! Baking, decorating, dancing… Last night we already brought the christmas tree inside and I can see how it´s just praying for me to dance around it along with some good old Frank Sinatra tunes while munching ginger bread.

But, there is yet another and this time bigger reason for my hype and that is that my first cook book (!!!) Kiitos hyvää is gonna be released in Finland in this very week!

*more awkward dance moves here*

The book is about sweet treats with no white sugar or gluten. (or dairy or yeast or any shady stuff). The book is about pure pleasures – like this site. It´s available only in Finnish at this moment but let´s hope that we´ll get an english version of it later for all of you fellow pleasure seekers around the world!

Here´s a small sample of the sweet treasures of my book: Vanilla coconut stars with chocolate almond butter heart.

When you taste them you really feel like they´ve dropped on your tongue straight from the heaven.

V

VANILLA COCONUT DROPS WITH A CHOCOLATE HEART

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Yo! There has been some questions about how to follow Vanelja most easily, so here is a list of all the channels where you can tune in for the latest Vanelja news, and get all the goodies freshly from the oven:

Stay tuned!

V

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Wow. This is it. Vanelja is finally here. A webpage that combines all my favorite things in the world – genuine food, fresh beauty, flowers, drinks, cakes, children and movement.

Photos, recipes and other writings in Vanelja are mainly done by me, Virpi Mikkonen. Videos and othe media content is made and produced by Vanelja Media. Maybe someday the Vanelja team will grow but for now this is mainly my playground and an webpage build on my value an taste.

The story of Vanelja started already in September 2013, when I quit my wellness orientated Kiitos hyvää blog. It was right after then when I started to yearn for something more, dreaming of some bigger online project. Something that was not so much concerned about wellness, but more about pleasure. Then a word Vanelja popped in my head, and I knew that it had to be the name on my new webpage.

And a year later, after planning, visualizing, some resting, long needed quiet time, after many laughters, some tears and lot of help from my dear friends came Vanelja alive. A page for pure pleasures.

Nothing in Vanelja is permanent, no goals has been set. That makes it possible to grow to whatever direction life takes it to. It is exciting to see what kind of flowers will Vanelja bloom in when the fertilizers are freedom, passion and pleasure!

Words can´t describe how happy and relieved I now feel. And how grateful I am to all the people who helped this came true. Thank You All. Especially Lotta Nieminen, Leena Oravainio, two graphic designers and visual geniuses behind Vanelja´s layout and Antti Takalahti, a computer mastermind who encode this page from scratch. I´m also oh-so grateful to my husband, my daughter, my friends, parents, all who helped and encouraged me with this project.

Now I just welcome you all warmly and let you take a tour in Vanelja. I would love you also to leave a comment and let me here your thoughts.

Welcome to create and experience Vanelja!

V

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