January 27, 2014

On the Ice

Last time I went on Sam's team rink, he proposed! This time I got a hello and a hug, and the chance to experience something beautiful.

Djurgården was having an event for a nearby hospital.  Children from the hospital and their family's were invited to go skating with the team.  It was so wonderful seeing all of the children's faces while they interacted with the boys on the ice.  The team wrote a little article on their website, I have the link here.  


Johan Sahlen was nice enought to take this photo of us three at the event!  

All of the girls from the team were invited to go skating. My friend Kirsten (visiting from the US) and I went together and meet up with Caroline and her two little brothers.  We got all laced up and ready to skate.  Once the time came for us to actually go on the ice we where feeling pretty hesitant about our decision to join!.  Fewer girls from the team had showed up than I had expected... But it was too late to turn back.  We made the best of it and had fun.


January 19, 2014

Macaron Night.

In my last post I mentioned that the next thing I wanted to make was French Macarons. Well this thought was just burning in my mind, so I decided that is what I was going to do tonight.  I watched some online videos and read a few recipes and blogs about baking them and gave it my best shot. I was determined to learn how to make these beautiful, colorful, gluten-free, european delights!



Keep in mind I have pretty limited kitchen supplies.  By limited kitchen supplies I mean we only buy things that we really need or that we won't mind possibly loosing and replacing year to year.  It is hard to know what to buy and what to live without while here in Sweden.  We have been lucky enough to know what team Sam would be playing for the next season before leaving the previous year .  This allowed us to bring our boxes of 'stuff' to the proper city/storage.  Many times players do not sign until long after the season is over going pretty far into summer.  If this happens and you move to a different country or city many hours away, you may never see any of the things that you left behind again.  Also you never know how long you will be in Europe and you know that most of the things you buy here are really only interim.  So of the required 'tools' for making macarons, I have a hand mixer.  I do not have a food processor or sifter or a piping bag.  I have learned how to make due and improvise.

I wanted to make pink macarons, and Sam wanted to make lemon macarons.  So it was settled, I would be making pink and yellow-lemon macarons.

First batch, the pink went very smoothly.  Well I thought so, the dough seemed a little thick and chunky (this is when I was wishing I had that food processor).  In reality I had no way of knowing if it was going well or not.  I made a guide for the circle sizes I should be piping them onto.  Sam wanted them to be BIG and I wanted small.  So we made them an in-between size that I found to still be huge!  I threw them into the oven and out they came! They all had legs, a good sign.  Many of them had cracks on top.. I read this is a bad thing.. kind of like cracks on a cheesecake.  Really I don't get what is so bad about a few cracks, it all tastes the same! Ok, I get it, and I really was hoping I they would all come out perfectly and they didn't.



Almond meal, the 'flour' used


Pink Meringue 





My sweet helper


Out of the oven!





The finished product! 



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Next we got started on the lemon macarons.  I told Sam he was going to have to do the lemon part, he was not a happy lemon zester.  In fact I believe he said, "Next time we don't have to make lemon ones." That was all that he wanted to contribute and that was fine.  While mixing the dough on this one I was so pumped!! It was super smooth and looked just like the dough in the videos!  I repeated the process and put them into the oven.  What I pulled out was so sad.  They were very flat, brownish yellow, crispy-soft, things.  Yikes what a disappointment!  People were not kidding when they said macarons were difficult to make.  Sam came over to observe and told me they still tasted really good!  I used the rest of the dough and just altered the oven temperature and size of the cookies.  Thats what these ones were/are cookies with macaron texture and taste.  I will not be using the recipe again.  You could say these lemon macarons were in fact lemon macarons.



So promising! 


I thought, these are the ones. They will be prefect and have no cracks.


So disappointing. 




The finished product!


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The fillings were fun and easy to make and use.  The pink ones just had a vanilla buttercream frosting, and for the lemon ones I made lemon curd.

The final products are HUGE AND FILLING!

Me, the queen of sweets (self proclaimed, I just can usually not stop once I start) had trouble finishing just one of the finished products!

I am really happy I went ahead and tried making French Macarons.  I will most definitely be trying to make them again soon!  Does anybody have any tips or suggestions, possibly an amazing recipe?

Au revoir!








January 18, 2014

Unusual things

Seems like we have been going out for meals more than usual lately.  This made me want to start cooking more 'unusual' things.  Or maybe I should say things that I have not made ever, or in a long time.

My favorite food being lobster, I decided to give it a go.  SUPER easy, 3 minutes in the oven.  Bought it pre-cooked so not sure if that counts as me cooking.  I could say I prepared the lobster and served it.  I did cook the sides (green beans and butter)... So steaming the green beans was the most difficult part of this meal.  I would say lobster is quite possibly one of the easiest meals to prepare, quite possibly easier than Mac & Cheese.  I recommend it for beginner trying to make something special who have little or no talent in the kitchen.  Thant being said, finding the proper 'tools' for picking and opening the  Lobster was a funny challenge.  We had two scissors, a small hammer, an even smaller pliers that bends every-which-way, and a Swedish cheese cutter.  Picking the lobster took some time and work, but tasted so wonderful! 


Our Two Lobsters


What we had for 'tools' 


Before we started the messy process.  I may have made a little too much butter...

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A close second for favorite food for me is Sushi.  I have made it at home (Minnesota) maybe twice, so at least it wasn't my first time.  We went to ICA (the grocery store) and picked up the essentials: sushi rice, bamboo mat, smoked salmon (not raw), wasabi, ginger, sushi nori, avocado, rice-vinegar, cream cheese, seaweed salad, etc.  I cooked the rice exactly how it said on the packaging and it was not working out, so I had to make another batch.  The rest of the rolling/creating of the rolls went smoothly and we had a delicious dinner!


Some of the rolls, I think these were the 'California-ish' ones..


As usual I made Sam take a picture mid-bite.  Forgot to mention we also had miso soup with the sushi.. another thing that is incredibly easy to make. 


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Today we had the day off and that meant we had time for a nice breakfast... brunch.  We don't exactly get up in time for breakfast on days off...  I made some gluten-free buckwheat pancakes: plain, raspberry, and blueberry.  These were served with freshly whipped cream, fresh berries, and maple syrup.  Sam and I both grew up with pure maple syrup, which makes the other stuff just taste gross.  So we were so happy when found some quality pure maple syrup imported from Canada at ICA.  This was just the cherry on top... delicious breakfast.. brunch... pancakes!   Lastly I made some extremely cheesy eggs to go with them for adequate protein.   Pretty sure we both ate too much.. actually I am positive. 


My raspberry one! Is it just me or is the buckwheat here just not as dark as back home? 


As you can see, I am a huge fan of whipped cream.


Sam doesn't eat fruit so I got all the berries! Lucky me!





I couldn't help myself.  She was sniffing like crazy and licking the air in front of her.  She couldn't find from where this wonderful smell was coming.  Occasionally she would get a little taste and become more eager to find the source.  (Couldn't have a whole post without at least one photo of the puppy!)





Originally we were looking for whole wheat flour and were unsuccessful.  Sam did find this and found the name rather amusing.  Maybe we were just tired, but Salta Dinkel Flingor?  Translation said, 'good for bread and granola'.  We almost always get one good laugh at ICA.

What should I make next?? Hmmm... maybe French Macarons? Just watched the video in this link here I think it will be a great next thing to try! I always have fun making sweets! 










January 13, 2014

Happy Puppy!

Just learned how to upload videos so I thought I would share this cute one from last week.  Recently Raylan has become infatuated with Sam's backpack.  This video shows her right after she found it in the front entry, dragged it down the hall and got so excited! Right after this video she tried to carry it up onto the couch but dropped it due to its heavy weight!


Water, Water Everywhere!



We had been having wonderful weather in the high forties low fifties.  Until a few days ago when the snow came falling on down, all day and all night.  By the time it was morning we had a winter wonderland outside! Raylan thought/thinks it is all one big toy/treat.  Anyone who knows Raylan knows her favorite thing is water, she loves to drink it, like REALLY REALLY loves to drink it! It is a bit of an obsession.  The snow is so great to her because she can eat it and lick it whenever she wants! Plus it is really fun to shove her head into and roll around.  Her beard becomes full of snow/ice and that allows her to continue eating it and licking it even after she is back in the house.  She has not had much experience with ice yet, but the little time she had on it was really cute.  Is it bad that I think it is so cute to watch her slip around and struggle to stand on all fours? 

We took her on quite a long walk that first evening in the snow and she had so much fun playing around in it! These pictures are from that walk.  Wish I could have taken more, but my memory is always full... so frustrating! 












Raylan enjoying licking the snow on the balcony

The boys had a great game the other night.  They beat Bjorkloven 7 to 0! It is so nice to see the team doing so well and to see how much the fans love it!  It is also nice to have Sam extra happy after the game.  Who doesn't like a nice dinner at O'Leary's with friends after the game?  I think we should win 7 to 0 more often! 








January 8, 2014

Happy New Year!

I do not know where the past couple of weeks have gone.  Seems we have been busy ever since we got back from our Christmas trip.  We arrived home late and it was well after midnight by the time we actually got inside... due to a missing key situation.  Isn't that everyones dream on Christmas night to be sitting outside of your apartment, alone, in the cold, with a bunch of suitcases after midnight?  Its one of those things that sounds a lot worse than it was, Sam just had to go to the rink and get our spare key.  Every single part of our trip exceeded our expectations by tenfold, so I really shouldn't be complaining.  

The first day we were back Sam had practice and I started preparing for our guests that were coming the next day.  Nothing like that to speed along the unpacking, cleaning, and after trip slump! We jumped right back into things.  Helge and Anki (Sam's relatives from Charlottenberg) were such wonderful guests! While Sam was busy with hockey we went to the Town Hall.  I had never been there before but now it is on my list of things people must see when they come to Stockholm! It was such grand beauty executed in a simple way.  We also had a wonderful tour guide so that helped.  Anki went on the English tour with me so I wouldn't be alone.  The guide asked the group to try to pronounce some VERY Swedish name (none of us even came close) but Anki loudly and perfectly said it.  The guide looked shocked and told her "Very good!"... couldn't help but giggle at that one.  Helge and Anki also got to see one of Sam's hockey games against Almtuna, they lost in a shootout.  The next day we had a wonderful time shopping, ate delicious Sushi and had to say goodbye.  Anki bought me the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books, she said that I simply must read them because they are the best books from Sweden.  

The gold room at the Town Hall 

Love my sushi! 

After that we had one peaceful day.  Then I got really sick.  A very bad stomach flu that left me very weak, hungry and thirsty.  The whole thing lasted about 5 days.  The worst day was New Years Eve, I watched the fireworks out the window.  Sam stayed home too and took very good care of me.  Really quite a crappy New Years Eve, but I am sure we will not forget it.  By the time I was better and felling well enough to go do anything we were well into our new year.  

Picture from last years New Years Eve! 

While Sam was at an away game last week I booked us tickets to see The Nutcracker ballet, as it only had 3 more shows in Stockholm.  Three very much close to sold out shows.  I bought the best seats available... but they were not good.  We were still enjoying the show and having a great time.  After the second act a very nice man named August (who works for the opera house) came up to us and said, "Sam, would you like better seats?" of course we said yes.  I began to think... how does someone know Sam's name? The tickets were in my name...  it only took a few moments before Djurgarden hockey came up and then I knew that August was a fan of the hockey team and recognized Sam.  He took us down, down, down, and right into a beautiful gold and red velvet lined box that allowed us to see everything!  We really enjoyed act 2.  

The beautiful opera house! 

The best picture we managed at the ballet. 

Since then we have been getting back into the routine of our lives here.  Sam goes to practice.  I go to the gym and take Raylan on long walks.  I also have been putting in some hours on Wedding planning which is quite fun! We watch our TV shows that just started back up again, the ones we were most anticipating.. Justified and the Bachelor.  We go to the dog park, coffee shops, the mall, the grocery store & mix in a hockey game every once in a while.  It is quite nice not having anything pressing to do most days.  


Raylan being brave and going into the freezing cold water! 

Coming up we have another guest coming to visit! My dear friend Kirsten will be arriving on my sisters birthday (The 23rd) we already have so many fun things planned to do, including a trip somewhere we have yet to determine! That will be so much fun! I have known her since early high school and we always have fun together.  When people start getting 'real jobs' or moving 'across the pond' It is hard to get this much time to spend together, so I feel very very blessed to be having her come all the way here to visit us.