Weekend Coffee Share – Christmas traditions in the making

Swedish Christmas Coffee

Welcome to the weekend coffee share. Can I get you a cup of coffee? Or tea? There is even Swedish Christmas beer, if you’d like to try. 

Swedish Christmas Beer

How is your week? It’s been an extremely intense week at work, with several co-workers down with a bad cold, meaning that the rest of us have been working even harder than we usually do to maintain the quality our school is known for (that we are very proud of). Two members of my team (half the team,) worked at a different department four days this week. Despite that it has been a great week with a Lucia celebration on Monday (some of the children at work compared their lucia celebration to the lucia celebration that the Swedish television showcased, and said that theirs were better,) Christmas party on Thursday (traditional Swedish Christmas food enjoyed in a dining area decorated for Christmas,) and a Christmas dance yesterday. We’ve been sledding, and crafting Christmas crafts every day. The kids had a great week.

Gorgeous sunset last night (or afternoon..it was 3pm.) The location is Källviksbacken, Falun. I posted a different photo of the same ski slope last week.

I worked my last day before Christmas yesterday, and now I am going to enjoy three (well deserved) weeks of holiday celebrations with my family. My kids have two more days of school before they start their Christmas break. We are actually going to have our big Christmas dinner tomorrow, since my son is going to spend Christmas with his dad. We are not going to exchange gifts of course, that would be a little weird to do this early, but we are going to enjoy a fabulous meal together. The only Swedish items at our Christmas dinner is meatballs, julmust (a Christmas soft drink,) julöl (The Christmas beer in the photo above,) gingerbread, and knäck.

Knäck, a Swedish version of butterscotch/hard toffee.

We made the knäck last night. Susanne mentioned making Knäck as a part of her Christmas tradition. It’s a Swedish version of butterscotch/hard toffee. In my recipe you boil equal amounts of sugar, heavy whipping cream, and a syrup made out of beet sugar (similar to molasses,) for about 15-20 min. Boil vigorously, and be sure to stir at all times with a wooden spoon, or similar. To see if it’s ready take a table spoon of the knäck and put the spoon in a glass of cold water, if the knäck sticks together it’s ready. I usually try to make a small “marble” with my fingers to see if it stick together. Or you can use a thermometer 120-140C/250-285F depending on how firm you want it to be, higher temperature = harder knäck. (290F is stick to your teeth hard.) Pour it into tiny baking forms, that you store in the fridge (at least to begin with.) 2cups of each ingredients is a doable size of the recipe to begin with, it turns into about 50 pieces of knäck. Some add chopped almond at the end, I like to make it with almonds, but my daughter doesn’t like that. Some add whisky or other hard liquor at the end. I have never tried that. I have tried different types of spices, like gingerbread spices and saffron. Yesterday we made it plain. Knäck is a fabulous candy. It is very sweet, and personally I only eat 1-2 pieces and it is very satisfying. When you eat knäck it’s like your tongue is curling itself due to the sweetness. It is a great, and very easy to make gift. It is commonly gifted in beautiful jars around Christmas time. Made right temperature wise, it does not have to be refrigerated after the initial cooling process.

Knäck is the perfect Christmas snack.

Other items at our Christmas dinner tomorrow will be turkey, sweet potato pie, rice, a green salad, fermented red cabbage, a Christmas rye bread (julvört,) and pumpkin pie. I’m going to have a busy day today preparing everything I can in advance. Including baking the gingerbread. I believe I’m going to start my day with a long walk to maximise my energy levels. What are you up to this weekend? I can’t wait to finally have plenty of time to catch up with all of you! Don’t hesitate to leave a link to your weekend coffee share post in your comment, (I’ve noticed that many bloggers don’t have a working link to their blog in their avatar.)

Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share

A beautiful fall day

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea? There is a beautiful fall day outside 57F/14C and partly sunny. My children are feeling much better, and I managed to get some me time earlier today. I walked around a lake, and stopped to meditate at a beautiful spot. The sun was reflecting in the water, there was a gentle breeze, and the air was filled with the scent of the surrounding pine trees = a perfect fall day. 

Rowan tree

The rowan trees have tons of berries this year, there is an old saying that if the rowan trees have lots of berries there is going to be lots of snow the coming winter. We’ll see 🙂 I like snow.

My homemade soup mix; red lentils, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and black beans.

I had some times on my hands this week and among the things I did was preparing my favourite soup mix, just perfect for cold winter days. When I lived in Las Vegas I had Sprouts Farmers Market around the corner. I loved shopping healthy food there, and one of my favourite things was their soup mix, that you can buy in the bulk section. I later started making the mix myself, I use red lentils, garbanzo beans, black beans, and kidney beans. I believe it’s green lentils as well in Sprouts mix. It’s so easy having all these goodies in a beautiful glass jar. The shelf life if properly sealed, and stored in a dark place, is very long, I’d say several years. It would never last that long at our house, but I did prepare several jars of the soup mix. When I make the soup I take 1/4 of a jar in a big bowl, add water and soak overnight. The next day I mince one garlic (not one clove, I like garlic,) I fry the garlic in olive oil, add the soaked soup mix and new water to cover the mix and then some. I let everything boil for a couple minutes, and after that simmer for 1-2 hours. I always add salt and pepper. I sometimes add any fresh herb that I happened to have at home, I often add chili. If I have vegetables that should be used soon I’ll add them to the soup. Sometimes I switch the garlic for freshly grated ginger. The variation you can make are endless. Legumes are a rich source of B vitamins, various minerals, protein and fiber. It’s a very healthy, hearty, and inexpensive soup.

How are you doing? I feel at peace. I deep cleaned my home this morning, and I’ve spent time alone in nature. I have nothing I need to do this weekend. Life is good. Next week is going to be a busy week at work, and a relaxing weekend is perfect. I might go on a longer bike ride tomorrow. Even during a relaxing weekend with no particular plans, I like to get out and get some exercise. My son told me about a lake that I have not seen, I might check it out tomorrow. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while. 

Have a refill on your beverage and tell me about your weekend plans! 

Thank you so much for the lovely company, and an extra thanks to Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria