I’m glad I spent it with you

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It’s been a great day. First I made chocolate chip cookies from a new recipe and they were delicious. Then Agnieszka and I went to a lake to do some swimming. It was lovely and warm enough in the water that we could stay in the water for much longer than usual. It’s the first time I’m swimming outdoors this summer and it was about time. One should do it at least once every summer as a remembrance later in the year when it’s cold and definitely not swim suit weather. Also, pushing 30 is a great age, you don’t care about other people on the beach and what they might think of you, that’s their problem, the people you love loves you back and that’s what’s important, not what the nineteen year old girl on the next blanket thinks. To be honest, I think she might be the one having the bigger problems. Nineteen can be a terrible age after all.

Then in the evening I went for a long run and it felt great. I felt strong and I think I could have gone on for quite some time – a very nice feeling.

I haven’t knit a single stitch but I have made some bobbin lace and that’s just as great. All in all, a great day.

To bake a cupcake

The heath continues. It’s lovely. We spent all of yesterday on the balcony together with friends. It’s simply lovely on the balcony, especially in the afternoon. Since we were having company I made cupcakes.

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Chocolate of course! Also, I got to break in my new cupcake oven tin. It just made the whole difference, it was great. From now on I’m only making cupcakes in this size and with this oven tin.

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The result was great but then again, what could go wrong now that I have my new oven tin.

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It looks pretty cozy, doesn’t it?

The Midsummer weekend in food

This past weekend was the Midsummer celebration in Sweden and as with all Swedish festivities, we celebrate with food. On Midsummer, strawberries are obligatory but also lots of other food as well. I feel like I’ve been eating for three days straight but that’s not entirely true even though it’s not too far off.

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First we had the making of all the food.

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Remember back in January when I said I was sure I would make another loaf of bread in my life, I just wasn’t sure when? It turned out that Thursday June 19 was the day. I made the bread I always make, one that you don’t have to knead, you just stir it. It’s also healthy and very good.

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Then there were quiches. I was so happy with my quiche Lorraine from the previous weekend that I made another one for Midsummer and also invented a broccoli quiche that turned out allright.

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Then there were cookies. Chocolate balls, a favourite in this house, and some other ones that my mum brought.

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And strawberries, on the pavlova I showed you Before. It was good but I wouldn’t have minded tha meringue to be a little more crispy. All in all it was a great Midsummer’s Eve but the weekend wasn’t done by that.

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On Saturday we had left over quiche, fruit salad and much, much more and on Sunday we were invited for dinner at my mum’s where we also had a lot of good food.

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And strawberries, this time on a chocolate cake.

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Mum and I discussed china and hand-embroidered table cloths, all the while enjoying cake and tea. So nice.

What have you all been eating this weekend? I’m sure it was something equally yummy.

 

Cookies and quiche

I’m still stealth knitting, I’m doing fine, but that’s not all I’ve done this weekend. Lately I’ve been thinking that there are not nearly enough cookies in my life and I’ve been a bit bummed about that. This weekend I decided to do something about this and Friday evening I whipped up both chocolate chip cookies and chocolate caramel cookies.

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It’s amazing what technique can do, Friday afternoon I shopped yarn in Boston through FaceTime and later in the evening, when I was baking with Oregon. I followed an American recipe which only quantifies butter in sticks so I sent a quick message to Lyndsey in Oregon to ask her if she happened to be close to a butter stick to see if there was any weight meassurements there. I happened to call her during nap time and Lyndsey helped me with my butter issues. Then we talked while I baked. I felt like I had some sort of a cooking show, it was quite fun.

For some reason I only seem to start baking late at night. I’ve always done this. I think it might come from when I was living in a student housing and shared a kitchen with seven other students, the only time the kitchen was free was late at night, after everyone had had dinner and gone off to parties or whatever. I’ve continued this habit even now that I’ve had my own kitchen for five years. On Friday I was wrapping up my baking when I heard people out on the street walking home from the pub and I was very tempted to lean out the window and offer them a cookie. I think that would have made them very surprised. I might do it next time.

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Yesterday my aunt and uncle came over and I made my first quiche lorraine. I don’t like cooking and I wasn’t supposed to be the one making the quiche but circumstances made me the cook (it was either doing a quiche or vacuuming and I wasn’t really up for vacuuming). I must say it was actually quite fun. I felt like I was in control the whole time and it was a lot like baking, probably because I didn’t have to take care of several different pots, like potatoes, meat and gravy, it was only one thing to prepare, a run in the oven and then done.

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The best part is that it turned out really great. Beautiful and yummy. I think I might do more quiches in the future.

North West for East(er)

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So, this Easter we backed our bags with our hand-knit socks, filled the car with skis and yarn (mine) and turned the car North. We drove for many hours and when we stopped there was snow around us. We’ve been here in the summer, but this was my first time during spring. The landscape is so different when there is snow.

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We’ve spent a marvellous Easter in Härjedalen. We started out early the first morning by a snowmobile tour up on the mountain. With us was our friend, driver and excellent guide Frej who showed us all the nice places that are too far to walk, especially in the snow. Mum sat behind Frej on the snow mobile and Julle and I were in the sledge. We felt like we were at an amusement park, it was so fun.

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Sure, it doesn’t look like that much snow and you can even see some bare spots but let me tell you something about snow crust. Snow crust is a wonderful thing. At least till it gives up under your weight and you find yourself stuck in the snow up to your hip. Then it’s a treacherous thing. You never know which step will be okay and which will give in and on at least two occasions someone had to help me up because my leg was stuck so deep I couldn’t bend my knee and thus get up by myself. The second time we also had to dig a little in the snow because my boot threatened to come off my foot and stay there, far down in the hole.

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Later in the day we would go out skiing and I’m not a downhill skier, I’m a cross-country skier. And why shouldn’t I? Just look at the view!

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Every now and then we took off our skis and sat down in the sun to warm our faces. It’s not even imaginable how strong the sun is, and with the reflection in the snow you have to be careful not to get sun-burned.

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It was so warm you really didn’t need much clothes and instead it was a great opportunity to sunbathe.

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Snow is and interesting thing, both beautiful with great opportunities but it can also be dangerours. In this picture you can se a small snow bridge. They are developed over creeks and streams and you can find them in the spring time. The look like they are strong enough to walk on (not this little one obviously but there are much bigger ones too) and sometimes that’s true but after a few days in the sun they are fragile and you fall right trough and into the water if you try to cross.

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It wasn’t all snow, mostly I’d say it was food. Easter, like any festivals in Sweden, is mostly about food. Of course there are eggs but also pickled herring, salmon and lots of other good things.

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And as icing on the cake, literally, there was my Easter cake, creamy chocolate cake with chocolate and raspberry ganache, decorated with marzipan chickens and in the middle a marzipan Easter witch. In Sweden we don’t have a tradition of trick or treating on Halloween, even though there has been some of that in latter years, but instead we have Easter witches. On Thursday before Easter kids dress up as Easter witches. They don’t look at all like a Halloween witch, but are wearing dresses, aprons and a shawlette over their heads and they have make up consisting of big red cheeks with black freckles on them. They go from door to dorr and hand out Easter cards that they’ve made themselves and in exchange for a card they get candy.

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Speaking of eggs, I’ve become very interested in poultry

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sociology. We visited the poultry in the hen house and it was quite the thing (and very Easteresque). Two of the hens were sitting on eggs and in a week or so there might be chickens! I’m so excited I almost want to go back next week just so I can visit them. We used a special lamp to try to shine through the eggs to see if there are any chickens in there but we weren’t able to tell and I really hope there are chickens.

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This is Ella Fitzgerald – the hen. I managed to take a picture of her just as she opened her beak to sing (actually, she needs to work on here skills if she’s going to live up to her name, the sound she made was more like sawing in metal than actual singing).

If I wasn’t living in a condo in the city, and if I were more interested in getting my hands dirty (literally) I might consider having a hen house myself. Till that day arrives, (if it arrives, I’m pretty sure I will never be comfortable touching, or even be near, sticky and dirty things (I’m not saying that hens are neither sticky nor dirty but hen feces is)) I have to settle for visiting the hen house when I get the opportunity.

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The last morning of our stay we Went up on the mountaing by the snowmobile, to have breakfast. It was pretty Amazing. Can you imagine that’s the same bench that I sat on this past summer knitting (or trying to knit, it was a little windy).

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It’s quite a difference when it’s snow all around. Much easier too, to get there by snowmobile rather than foot. I Think this just prooves that Härjedalen is an Amazing place all year round.

As I told you Before Easter, I hoped to have a lot of knitting time and even though we’ve done things all the time, I still managed to finish not just a hat but a baby cardigan and half of a toddler pullover. Not bad, if I may say so myself.

Chocolate and raspberries

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It’s just on the verge of Easter and I’ve been preparing all day. First of all I’ve done what I’ve could on my studying, we’ll see how it goes. Second, I’ve made the preparations for an Easter cake. A cake with chocolate and raspberries and marzipan decorations.

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I’ve made this cake many times before and it’s delicious. I’ll put it all together later, it’s easier to store this way. We have many plans for Easter so there won’t be much time for blogging but I will show you the finished cake and I’ll hopefully have a lot of knitting time. I have plans for two hats and two sweaters, we’ll see how far I get.

 

Mardis gras

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It’s Mardis gras today and in Sweden that means that you eat a lent bun, a bun filled with almond paste and topped with whipped cream. My mum makes the best lent buns and I invited myself over for dinner tonight so I could have one. Mardis gras means that Easter is not too far away and even though it is March, I don’t feel it. All of February was gray, gray, gray and March hasn’t been much better. I feel apathetic and tired. Nothing is fun and nothing gets done. It will be better, I know, but that doesn’t really help now.

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I’m doing what  I can though, I have my spring colored knitting and I’ve put it in a spring colored project bag and every time I knit a stitch it gets a little better. The medicin: knit more!

 

Oven

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I baked for the first time in my new kitchen today. It went okay, I like that I have a dishwasher now and it was nice to have a little more space. I have’t really become friends with my oven yet though, the recipe said to have the cake in the oven for 35 minutes, but already at 25 minutes it was more than done and it was a little too hard for my taste. But we’ll learn, the oven and I.

I might also have turned the oven on a little too high so it became a little too warm but let’s pretend that was not the case.

Nice

A lot of nice things has happened today, which is a good thing since today’s word is nice. #yarnpadc

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Sheep are a nice thing. They give wool of which you can knit. This particular sheep happens to be made out of marzipan which is another nice thing so this is sheep is double in niceness.

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Beside the sheep I have a very important thing to tell you. I am now officially done with the Christmas knitting. Yep, done. Not a single stitch left to make. Not a seam to sew, not an end to weave in. Done! Do you know what this means? This means it’s Ina time in the knitting department. I have one more project left to do for myself this year. Tomorrow I will wound a pair of skeins and cast on. I can’t wait. I also need to wrap presents.

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Tonight though, it’s Christmas baking time. So far there are two types of cookies and a candy done. Two types of candy to go, then it’s time for bed. I need that.

Flying creativity

This morning was a lazy one. Lazy Saturday mornings are the best. I can read, I can take my time and I can sit in my sweat pants and knit. The day continued and became quite creative though. It started not so creatively with me trying to make brownies but made a mistake so I had to make a different cake which I then accidentally burned in the oven so I proceeded with my original plan to make brownies.

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I still don’t have a square ovenware so I’m making square pieces of brownies in a circular ovenware. That makes for some triangular pieces too. It’s like a whole geometry class.

Then I made scones because tonight Heléne was coming over for scones and marmalade.  It was her apples to begin with so I really wanted her opinion on the marmalade.

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I don’t particularly like having to mix the ingredients with my hands, they get sticky which I find very appaling, but it’s kind of necessary when making most kinds of bread (that’s why I never make bread unless I can mix the dough with a wooden spoon) so did my best.

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It all resulted in quite a nice tea party with tea, scones, cream cheese and homemade marmalade. And there were some knitting there too of course. It seems as if Heléne’s and my mind connect in the most excellent way and we inspire each other into a flow of creativity with each idea better that the last one. In the end there was so much creativity flying around that we had to write down our ideas so we wouldn’t forget them. It might be the marmalade or the fact about great minds thinking, it doesn’t really matter, but I expect there will be some great deeds as a result of this tea party.