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

Hi, and welcome to the weekend coffee share. Can I get you a cup of coffee? Or tea? I’ll let you decide if you want to sit inside, or out outside. How are you? Are you enjoying a great week?

My balcony garden/sunroom today, Nov 20th, 2021. It’s still enjoyable to have coffee here 🙂

This week have been a little out of the norm. On Monday, at our evening meeting at work, our principal told us that she isn’t going to be our principal for very much longer. That she is going to work for another private school. It came as a shock to all of us. I personally really like working for her. From the very beginning, when she hired me almost two years ago, I’ve felt that she understands me, and appreciate everything I do. Of course I’m wishing her good luck at her new job, but I will miss her for sure. Not knowing who the new boss is going to be, and what he/she is going to be like, has some uncertainty to it. I get along with everyone, but I don’t like everyone as much as I like my current boss. In the end it will work out, I know that. 

Last night’s sunset.

Last night when I got home the sunset was glorious! I took these photos standing in my apartment, looking out the window in my living room.

This morning one of my colleges, and I, went to a nearby ski resort that had a huge sale of last years ski equipment. We waited in line, outside, for almost two hours to get in. They helped everyone in separate rooms, there were no crowds inside. Both my college and I, got new (to us) Dynastar carving skis for a fraction of the cost of a new pair. I like snowboarding more than skiing, but when I take the kids at work to the ski slope it’s easier if I ski. Finding used, quality equipment to use when I go skiing with the kids works perfect for me. In USD I paid $35 for a quality pair of used skis, last years model (they only had smaller scratches on the top, the underneath and the edges were in great shape.) It checks many of the boxes in my world. I really like the thought of reusing perfectly good equipment/things. 

We had number 56 in the waiting line. People were really respectful keeping distances, even though there are no official restrictions like that anymore.

Can I give you a refill on your beverage? What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods? As you can see in the photo from this morning, our snow is gone. It’s been too warm. It’s starting to get colder again, and next week we are expecting snow for at least 3-4 days. Hopefully it stays this time.

What are you doing this weekend? I have some writing to do, an evaluation of my departments work this semester/end of the year report. It is time-consuming, but I actually enjoy writing this sort of things. I also promised my daughter to build a gingerbread house with her.

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

Love,

Maria 

Weekend Coffee Share

Can I offer you some coffee? Or tea? If you’d like we could bring it with us and enjoy the beautiful, sunny day outside, or we could sit at the balcony and chat. What do you prefer? How is your week?

I feel like I’m an old record player on repeat when I say that it’s been a great and busy week. We had our first snow on Tuesday, but it only lasted for a couple hours. When the snow stopped, it turned into a very cold rain. We had an evening meeting at work on Tuesday, and when I was riding my bike home in the dark the rain felt extremely cold on my hands. I had the wrong gloves so they got soaking wet (it was 28F and windy that evening.) The rest of the days this week offered perfectly, beautiful cool, but not cold days. We’ve seen the sun on many occasions this week. The sun has been shining all day today. The nights are freezing now. When I was riding my bike around Lake Varpan earlier today, as I usually do at some point in the weekend, it was 32F, and sunny. It was very beautiful! I have great tires on my mountainbike so I’m not worried about patches of ice on the road. I’ve been riding that way so many weekends in a row now that some people are starting to say hi when I ride by their house. I kind of like it! In fact I would love to live in that area, it’s reasonably close to the city, and my work, but still very much the countryside, surrounded by pine forest. I could see myself living in a small house there, with a big garden outside. There are several small farms with horses, sheep, and chickens that I pass by on my ride around the lake. To me it’s just so perfect.

An old stone bridge you have to cross while riding a bike around Lake Varpan. I often stop to admire it.

What else happened this week? My kids have a cold, I don’t. They are on the mend, and I hope they both are well enough to attend school on Monday. My son missed two days of school, my daughter only one. I’m happy they are feeling better. It’s awful to see them sick. 

I’ve spent a few hours finishing up a report about Children in social emotional difficulties, it’s almost done. It’s due on Monday, but I am planning on handing it in tomorrow. The class I am taking (with the same theme as this report,) is of outmost interest, and it inspires my work on a daily basis. I am so happy that I am taking this class. 

I tried to take a photo of the current state of my balcony garden on the 23rd of October, 2021.
In the middle of the photo there are several pots that from a distance looks empty. At a closer look you’ll see these little spikes coming up. It is garlic for next year, planted two weeks ago. I am going to cover the garlic with leaves, to protect them from the coldest cold this winter.
These are greens growing behind me, from where I took the first photo. Considering the nights are freezing now, things look good. My green dreams are alive!

Are you hungry? I have a lentil soup, with the last bell-peppers from the garden simmering on the stove. It’s almost ready to enjoy if you want to stay for a bit and tell me about your weekend. Thank you Natalie for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a fabulous weekend! 

Love,

Maria