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Greetings friends!

As I poke my head out of my social media slumber, I’m reminded that yesterday was a crazy American (via German immigrants) holiday in the USA, Groundhog Day. What a silly holiday – where an actual groundhog, named Phil – I can’t make this stuff up, is roused from a tree stump to indicate whether winter will be short, or egads, longer. This is all depending upon whether Phil, the groundhog, sees his shadow or not. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, be glad. If you search for a recent video by Jimmy Kimmel where he does a segment about this holiday custom, you’d see how ridiculous this circus about Phil the groundhog actually is. WEIRD holiday – maybe just too ridiculous.

Thankfully, yesterday was just another regular day in Finland. We save crazy things here for the weather! Speaking of which, it’s been a mild winter…so far. I’m so afraid to say that too loudly in case I jinx everything and cause something horrendous to befall us. Maybe I should have tuned in yesterday to see what Phil had to say – hmm, on second thought, NO! hahah

January seems to drag on and on, once all the holiday fun is over (who had any?!) We typically, (all the time) don’t do anything special, nor have any particular plans for celebrating New Year’s Eve. Thankfully, the fireworks’ average people purchase and light to celebrate didn’t keep exploding too late into the early hours like some years. There are dedicated fireworks shows put on by municipalities – but fireworks are illegal the rest of the year, except on New Year’s Eve. So during this brief hiatus in illegality, people go nuts buying them. It turns out there’s big money in selling fireworks. Vendors pop up everywhere and flyers come in the mail advertising what will be available. Expensive, too, for something you’ll just destroy in a second. I’m both shades of impressed with the neighborhood display and irritated with the excessive noise. Thanks for the show. Not sorry when it’s all over!

After all that ado, the rest of the month seems to flow quite slowly back into a regular rhythm. By about the third week in, most people have already abandoned any well-intentioned plans/resolutions. One, I made several years ago and still practice daily is this one, Veganuary – the 31-day challenge to go meatless/go vegan. For me personally, this was a no-brainer and one of the simplest and easiest things to do. I neither found it difficult to find other food to eat, nor did I discover that it was cost-prohibitive. As it turned out, there were endless choices and varieties of options for people wanting to eat Vegan. I’d just never noticed! I don’t feel I’m missing anything. On the contrary, I feel immensely proud of myself. I wish more people would consider how their eating habits and daily life choices are contributing to, or resulting in, harm. It goes without saying, and I’m pretty sure all of us are against animal cruelty. Don’t let it being February stop you from trying Vegan! You can do this anytime!!!

One of the things I wasn’t able to get around with eating Vegan, was eggs. There aren’t readily available eggless options here you can just purchase to replace eggs. *I’m aware there are some syrups from beans and such that can be substituted for eggs.* I try, but in this one instance I feel a bit defeated as I reach for eggs to make recipes such as these gems.

In mid-January, I decided to throw my anxiety to the curb and thought it was high time I tried to tackle PASTRY. Sure, sure, I’ve made pie crust on too many occasions through the years to count. (still haven’t got it 😦 ) But I’m not talking about pie pastry. I’m talking about Danish pastries, pastry!

After looking at quite a few recipes and videos online – I settled on what I hoped would be a reliable recipe source, King Arthur Baking – here’s the recipe I chose, Danish Pastry There are lots of videos on how to implement the ‘lamination’ method. After several viewings of various videos online, I felt more assured this was something I could pull off. I purposely followed the King Arthur recipe EXACTLY. Taking no liberties or shortcuts. I wanted to get to the finish and have something that not only tasted good, but looked like it was supposed to. There have been occasions over the years when the end result of my baking adventure has been something that tasted good, but looked horrendous. Rarely the other way around!! hahaha

The batter/dough this recipe yields is enough to make for the next day, which I did, and also put a portion away in the freezer for another day. As it went, my total dough yield resulted in two dozen (24) finished Danish pastries, about 10-12 cm (4.5 inches) in diameter. Thank goodness I put half the dough in the freezer. Twelve pastries was more than enough for two people. Turns out they were so delicious and impressive, I devoured four, the first day! Can you say, oink, oink! I can!! 🙂 All the pastries from that first batch were gone on day two. I waited a couple of weeks before using the other half of the dough to make the final 12 pastries. They turned out nearly the same, but just slightly different. For some reason, with the same amount of dough and making 12, these pastries ended up larger in diameter than the original 12. But they tasted the same. I was both pleased and very satisfied with being able to pull this off. If you’ve ever wanted to try making pastries, I can wholeheartedly recommend the recipe above.

Here’s the result of my baking adventure

What a wonderful treat!

I have a few more pastry-making cravings to tackle in the kitchen. There are still several more months of winter, regardless of what Phil, the groundhog, had to say. Luckily, neither Pekka nor me appears to be fluffier than usual after this endeavor, so I’m pushing forward into the pastry-making universe! Hmm, what’s next you ask!? I would like to tackle and bake-CROISSANTS! So far, it’s me 0 – Croissants fail 1 – WISH ME LUCK!!

Hoping your January was a happy time. February is a short month – which has always been why I like it so much. 🙂

Stay well and we’ll see you again another time.

❤ Vanha Talo Suomi