Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Swedish Christmas

This was my second Christmas in Sweden but the first one I celebrated like a Swede (the first was celebrated with other exchange students). I will just share a little about what we did and some traditions.

Rice pudding

First off, they celebrate Christmas on the 24th and then on the 25th people go out with friends and party. So on the 24th which is called Julafton, meaning Christmas Eve, we started the day with Tomtegröt which is rice pudding and it is to die for! There is a tradition that you put one almond in the pot of rice pudding and whoever gets the almond on Christmas Eve will be the first to marry or have good luck. In Daniel's family, it means you win a lot of candy. Works for me!

Melt in your mouth truffles

After this we finished up some chocolate truffles we started the day before by rolling them in cocoa powder, almonds, and walnuts.

Julbord and Daniel eating a plate

Julbord, Christmas dinner commonly includes a ham, beet salad, meatballs, and vörtbröd. At this table, we also had hard boiled eggs with a shrimp salad on top, brussel sprouts, home made crunchy bread, red cabbage salad, and ribs. Everything was amazing.

After dinner we ate candy, truffles, another rice pudding with orange wedges in it, and had some glögg, which is a red spiced beverage that you drink warm with almonds and raisins in it. Often it has some sort of alcohol. What is Christmas without alcohol.

Eggs with shrimp salad

All in all this was a very enjoyable Christmas. The dinner felt a lot less indulgent than America but the amount of candy these Swedes eat makes my stomach want to cry. I will probably be changing some of my American food traditions and exchanging them for some of these Swedish ones!

Hope you all are having a nice winter and staying warm!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Flygande Jakob (Flying Jacob)

Flygande Jakob

This wonderful dish is one of my favorite Swedish meals. You are going to have to trust me on this because the ingredients sound terrible. This meal includes bananas, chicken, peanuts, cream, and a few other things that don't seem to go well together.

 The first time I lived in Sweden my roommate (now my boyfriend) brought me a spoonful of this Flygande Jakob and when I asked what it was, he made me wish I hadn't. I took the bite and was so freaked out by the ingredients, I did not give it a chance. After we had been dating for a while he decided to make it again and I happily and reluctantly gave it a real chance. Boy am I glad I did!

I have also given a popular pizza a chance and it became my favorite pizza in the world! This pizza has tomato sauce, curry, chicken, bananas, cheese, and peanuts. SO GOOD!

Okay, back to Flygande Jakob! If you trust me enough to give this a try, here is the recipe :) (For more proof that this is tasty, I gave the recipe to a fellow American and she also liked it)


1.5 Cups Cream (you can used anything from whipping cream to full fat milk. I use half and half)
.5 Cup Asian Sweet Chili Sauce
2 Medium Bananas (sliced)
1 Small-Medium Rotisserie Chicken
1 Package Bacon 
1/3 Cup Salted Peanuts
Shredded cheese (optional)
Serve with your choice of rice or asian noodles! (I love noodles, so that is my choice)


Preheat the oven to 400 ° F.

Take the chicken off of the bones and place in a baking dish.

Fry the bacon in a frying pan until crisp. When done take out of the pan and place on paper towel to soak up some of the grease.

Mix together the cream and sweet chili sauce. Add the bananas and peanuts. When the bacon has cooled, crumble the bacon into the mixture. Stir gently and then pour into the baking dish over the chicken. If you choose to add the cheese, sprinkle on top. Place in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until it bubbles.

While it is in the oven, prepare the rice or noodles. When everything is finished, place the noodles or rice on a plate and spoon the Flygande Jacob on top. ENJOY!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Pink flower cake

I had a girl's night this weekend so I decided to make a very girly cake. I also wanted to try an easy cake recipe. I do not have a 'go to' vanilla cake recipe so I tried this one: which didn't have any strange ingredients and was one of those awesome time saving recipes where you just put everything in the bowl and mix. Very few steps are nice when you bake late at night like I have found myself doing lately.

I also wanted to try some different frostings because I always jump to cream cheese frosting or chocolate frosting so I tried this Chai Frosting recipe:

I liked the cake but I did not love it. I would make the frosting again but put a little less cinnamon because it tasted a little too much like Big Red gum, which I am NOT a fan of. As for the cake, when it was baking it smelled so buttery and wonderful but the taste of the cake was lacking something. I think I will make that again too but alter some things. If I make these changes and it turns out good, I will definitely post them :)

But decorating this cake was fun. I could not find my bigger flower tip so I used a smaller one. It was the number 16 tip. I decorated it very similarly to a previous cake I did which you can read how here:

Monday, 5 November 2012

Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes (and delicious)

I have not been able to control my chocolate cravings the last 3 days so I decided to google 'low calorie chocolate cake' so maybe I could indulge without all the calories. Luckily I found this baby!:

Only 220 calories a cupcakes, WITH FROSTING. Which did I mention is chocolate peanut butter????!!!! What could be better? So if you are craving something sweet, chocolatey, and could get away with being healthy, check out this recipe.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Super Easy Cheesy Mac n cheese!

Everyone needs some good ol' Mac n cheese now and then. Since it is my all time favorite food, I would prefer to have in ALL THE TIME. Unfortunately, if I did that, I would be the size of an elephant. But now and then it's okay to splurge, and tonight was mac n cheese night. I stumbled upon this recipe and HAD to try it and I will definitely use it again!

Recipe here:

I used white cheese because over here in Sweden, there is no cheddar cheese. I also used nutmeg and left out the cayenne. I would not change anything!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Halloween Cakes!

Halloween in Sweden is very uneventful for an American. They celebrate Allhelgonadagen where they visit the graves of their loved ones. Some children dress up and go trick or treating down town. But it really does not feel like Halloween.
Halloween cakes

I have to say I have been extra down this week because the Giants won the world series (which made me very happy) but I really wish I could have been in San Francisco celebrating. Needless to say I am home sick for California. Then this Halloween came and there was nothing to do so I stayed home and watched 30 Days of Night all by myself.
Pumpkin spiderweb cake

To make myself feel a little better I baked some Halloween treats. I baked some pumpkin cookies and brought them to my SFI (Swedish for immigrants) class and also a Halloween cake.
Frankenstein Cake 

The cake is lemon sour cream cake with vanilla butter cream frosting and lemon butter cream filling. The cake was a little dense for my taste, but it made it easy to work with in the decorating process.

I hope you all had a nice Halloween, or whatever holiday you may celebrate this time of month!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Tonight I made my first cheesecake! It is fall, my favorite season, so I had to make pumpkin cheesecake. (See my previous blog for directions on how to make your own pumpkin puree!)

I used this recipe: Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake from I switched some of the sugar for stevia because I am trying to shed a couple of these jolly pounds I have gained. I will be making this again but I will DOUBLE the filling. Not enough cheesecake in my crust!

 I made my crust using this recipe: Graham Cracker Crust I also used some stevia in the crust.

Thanks to the people who shared these recipes on!

Now go make this cheesecake and enjoy! And if you can't wait the three hours it needs to chill in fridge, pop it in the freezer! :)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Make your own Pumpkin Puree!

I always wanted to make my own pumpkin puree for a few reasons: 1. Fall is pumpkin season, they are easy to find. 2. Support your local farmers and buy their pumpkins! 3. I always feel like I am cheating when I use store bought when I am perfectly capable of making it myself.

This fall I took advantage of my inability to buy pumpkin puree in a can (these silly Swedish people have yet to discover the deliciousness of these orange beauties). So I went to the downtown market, and luckily some of the farmers had pumpkins!

Here are the directions to make your own pumpkin puree. It is so easy!

1. Cut pumpkin in half. Remove the pulp and seeds. (keep seeds in you want to eat them later)

2. Cover pumpkin halves with foil and place on a cookie sheet.
3. Bake in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1-2 hours. This depends on the pumpkin's size. Remove from oven when pumpkin is tender/ the skin peels away pretty easily.

4. Let cool.
5. Peel away pumpkin from skin.

6. Put the pumpkin in blender or food processor and blend until there are no chunks.

7. Freeze or use, whatever you want :) I saved mine in the freezer in 850 gram boxes (the equivalent of two 15 oz cans)
8. Make something delicious like pumpkin bread or pumpkin cheesecake and ENJOY!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

German Chocolate Wedding Cake

German Chocolate Wedding Cake with edible sand and seashells

Well, another life goal accomplished. I made my first wedding cake! My dad and his lovely wife got married last week in southern California on the beach and had a beach themed wedding. I was given the honor of making the cake (and cupcakes)!

My dad's favorite cake is german chocolate and his mom (whom is no longer with us) used to make it for him. Also, the traditional coconut pecan frosting that goes on german chocolate cake kinda looks like sand. In honor of my grandma we decided to go with german chocolate cake. For the cupcakes we went with a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and a carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting.

My new stepmom ordered lots of chocolate seashells. There were milk chocolate, white chocolate, and swirl. I felt like they needed some color so I painted them with luster dust. If you have not tried luster dust, let me tell you, I am extremely sad that I did not discover this wonderful product until just now! It gave the shells depth, shine, and color. I loved it!

After 4 days of baking, mixing, dishwashing, piping, luster dusting, and finding cake batter in strange places, this was what came of all the madness...

And we all ate cake and drank champagne and were married! Congratulations to my dad and his wife! It was a wonderful trip to CA, I loved seeing my family :)

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Spanish Bulgur Chicken Stuffed Peppers

I have been craving my mom's stuffed peppers for weeks. Finally I decided I would make some myself. But I did not want the typical ground meat and rice variety so I chose to use chicken and bulgur instead.  Then I thought I would try Spanish/Mexican flavors. 

So I basically made Spanish Bulgur (instead of spanish rice). Then I cooked some chicken in taco seasoning. Added in some of my favorite mexican add ins and stuffed some peppers!

They turned out beautiful and delicious. Also, very low in calories. Approximately 200 per pepper half.

I love things that have lots of veggies and cheese and grains. The stuffing for this is actually something I would eat even outside of the pepper. In fact, there was some 'stuffing' left over that I plan to have for lunch tomorrow.

Here is the recipe: (I cut some of the ingredients in half because I had so much left over)

Spanish Bulgur Chicken Stuffed Peppers:


3 large bell peppers (which ever color you prefer)
1 white onion chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
1/2 cup bulgur
1 chicken bouillon cube
1.5 cup water
1 can crushed tomatoes
Half red bell pepper cubed
1/2 can black beans
1/2 can corn
1 avocado cubed
1 large chicken breast cubed, small pieces
Taco seasoning
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
Red chili flake
Black pepper
3/4 cup Shredded cheese of your choice (jack or cheddar would be great)
Optional: Salsa and sour cream


1. Set oven to 400 degrees F. Coat baking pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Cut the 3 large bell peppers in half, remove seeds and place in pan. Set aside.

2. In a large frying pan add a tablespoon of oil and cook the onion until translucent, (about 5 minutes) Add the garlic and bulgur and stir while cooking for about 5 minutes. Then add water, bullion cube, red bell pepper and crushed tomato. Stir well and leave to simmer about 15 minutes or until bulgur is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed. (Note: if the liquid is absorbed before the bulgur is cooked, add some water and continue to simmer)

3. Transfer bulgur to bowl. Fry the chicken with taco seasoning until cooked all the way. Add chicken to bowl of bulgur.

 4. Add avocado, beans, corn, and feta. Season with salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste. Mix everything and add to the halved bell peppers.

5. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes or until bell peppers are cooked (soft). Then remove foil, sprinkle on shredded cheese and return to the over for five minutes. Serve.

Optional: Serve with salsa and sour cream. ( I would have but I did not have any on hand)


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Homemade Fro-Yo, NO ice cream maker!

I have been experimenting with healthy/low calorie dessert. This may have to do with a. I have a sweet tooth the size of Russia and b. My metabolism has abandoned me. Also, I like health and nutrition. 

So I made some low calorie vanilla ice cream two days ago and today I made some Raspberry Blueberry Cheese Cake Frozen Yogurt. That's right. And a generous portion was only 237 calories. Take that Dreyers 1/2 fat ice cream (which is delicious, but much higher in calories). I think I will leave the berries out tomorrow (yes I will be making more fro-yo tomorrow) and add some cinnamon and walnuts and of course the mashed cookies like the ones in the batch I made tonight. That was my favorite part!

I have included the recipe for this below but know that it is a work in progress/experiment but if you want my notes, to make your own experiment, keep reading. Actually keep reading either way....

I am also making mental notes of other flavors of ice cream and fro-yo I can make. Any ideas????
Leave a comment!

Raspberry Blueberry Cheese Cake Fro-Yo!:

NOTE: I am in Sweden so some of the ingredients do not exist or are different in America.

350 Grams Turkish Yogurt (I used 3.5% fat)
50 Grams Kesella vanilla (this is like vanilla creme fraiche)
.5 packet of artificial sweetener (like Stevia)
1 tsp vanilla extract
60 Grams frozen berries
about 25 Grams mashed cookies (Digestives or graham crackers are great)
.5 tsp cinnamon
Dash of artificial sweetener

Mix the yogurt, Kesella, sweetener, and vanilla until well blended with a whisk or electric mixer. Add frozen berries and stir in with spoon. (Or leave them off until the end and sprinkle on top when served) Put this in freezer. Whisk every 30 minutes until frozen and well blended. While the fro-yo is chilling, mash or grind the cookies and then mix in the cinnamon and sweetener. When frozen yogurt is ready to be served, pour the cookie crumbs in, give it a good mix and serve.

ENJOY! No really, it's only 237 calories... ENJOY!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Sweden Vs Switzerland (the difference)

When I tell an American something about Sweden, almost 100% of the time the person will ask me a question about Switzerland... A country I have never been to. For some reason, Americans have no idea there is a difference between the two countries and the fact is... they are two different countries! The American education system has failed us. Here is one geography lesson:


                          Where? Sweden is in Northern Europe between Norway and Flinland.     Sweden is Scandinavian.

      -Gothenburg (Göteborg)

Famous for: 
 Pippi Longstocking
 Nobel Prize
Sony Ericsson

Carl Linnaeus 


 Swedish meatballs
Lax (salmon)
 Lingonberry sauce
 Swedish Pancakes 
Pickled Herring 


                                  Where? Switzerland is right above Italy. It is pretty centrally located in Europe. It is surrounded by Germany, Austria, and France. 


Famous for: 
Swiss Army Knife
 Founded Red Cross

Albert Einstien


A lot of Italian, French, and German influence.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

Dreamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

Chocolate and peanut butter. These are two things I crave just about every minute I am awake. In a successful attempt to indulge my cravings, I decided to see if I could create a peanut butter coated chocolate truffle. 

The end result was as delicious as I had hoped, maybe a little dreamier. I took them to work and they were a hit. 


TRUFFLE: (Taken from Taste of Home)

I took the chocolate truffle recipe from the Taste of Home website: 

3 Cups              Semisweet chocolate chips
1 (14oz) Can    Sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp              Vanilla extract

-In microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk; stir until smooth. Add vanilla and stir. Chill the mixture for 2 hours or until it is easy to handle.
-Roll into 1-in balls (or bigger if you would like) and refrigerate. 

1/2 Cup       Peanut Butter Chips
1.5 Tbsp      Smooth peanut butter of choice (I am a Jiff fan)

Add the Peanut Butter Chips and peanut butter into a microwave safe bowl. Melt together in microwave, checking and stirring every 30 seconds until you can blend them together into a smooth creamy mixture. 

Take chilled truffles out of the fridge. Place one on a fork and dip into the peanut butter mix and roll around so that it is completely covered. Roll back onto the fork and lightly tap the truffle until the excess peanut butter has fallen off and truffle and place on wax paper. 

Repeat. (If you like the extra kick of salt, sprinkle salt on top of finished truffle while peanut butter mix is still wet or add some salt to the peanut butter mix before dropping in the truffle)
Keep in air tight container in refrigerator. 


Sunday, 19 August 2012

My New Home: Halmstad

Halmstad is a fun city. It has lots of active people, young and old. Although it is a modern city, there are still traces of when a former Danish king made this city his home. I walked around town and took some pictures. Maybe this will entice some visitors :)

This is the library and our neighborhood.
 This is the bridge that we cross to get downtown. We live to the left of this. 
 Old cool building downtown.
 Brewery. Delicious beer.
 More old stuff.

 Historic old street. 
 Boat in front of the castle.
 Bad picture of the castle.
 Picasso Park form far away.
 In Picasso Park. 
 Main street of downtown

 Jolly park between our apartment and downtown.

 Duck pond, sans ducks...
 Cute Cafe. 

 Proof that Sweden is better than the USA: Pipi hangs out in their trees!

 Homeless shelter for kitties!

Don't you want to come visit now??? You know you do!