Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Outfit!

Camp Patton

I'm playing along with this Easter outfit linkup. Linking my Easter outfit. I decided to forego the 2 second pause which lets me hide the little remote and just let the remote be visible in the photos. We all know I'm taking photos of myself with a remote. No need to hide it. Plus this allows for rapid fire photos which gives me so many more options of awkward photos of myself! Plus church is not until 6pm so I had plenty of time to even try on and review photos of multiple outfits. Why does clothing look differently to me if I look at myself in the mirror versus looking at a photo of me? And what if I take a photo of me looking at myself in the mirror?

Onward. These first two are from the outfit-choosing phase.


And it was decided upon, so shoes and a hat were added. Too bad I don't have an easter bonnet.


Pretty much all of my skirts are purchased only if they are delightful to contradance in, aka mighty twirly.

And is the image in the mirror actually better?


I'd argue that yes, yes it is.

:) Happy Easter all!

P.S. My friend Malory painted that orchid and mailed it to me in Sweden! Isn't she amazing?!

Happy Easter!

This is a post mainly about food. I hadn't done much cooking or baking lately, so I figured Easter was a good time for that. This is how Swedes decorate for Easter:
Photo on 3-28-13 at 5.52 PM
Colored feathers everywhere.

Last night for dinner I roasted a chicken and also roasted an assortment of root vegetables. It was incredibly delicious. I also made some paneer in preparation for tonight's dinner of saag paneer. I have to say, nothing says 'easter' like saag paneer. I plan to follow a different recipe than last time, so hopefully it turns out. But that is for later.

Here is a photo of my breakfast.
Yes, I ate all of those sausages; don't judge me. One of the items that was on my list of foods-to-eat-while-in-the-US was maple breakfast sausage. Unfortunately, that never happened. Even though they have a lot of sausage here, it just isn't like those maple breakfast sausages.

Fun fact: On the day after our wedding I cooked maybe a billion sausages for our 'wedding brunch.'
I even found proof on facebook. Here I am with Greg and his sister, as well as our classy brown'n'serve sausages. Also, I am always trying to convince Greg that I am actually taller than him, but the real reason this photo makes me look distinctly taller is the extreme lopsided flooring in the barn.

So anyhow. My breakfast (today) was super delicious. I tried to make an omelet like this one. It was pretty good, but I'm pretty sure it was not the best omelet I've ever had. Now I feel like I never have to wonder if those recipes actually are the 'best ever' so I'm glad I at least tried. I also bought some manchego, which I was going to open and have with my dinner last night, but I forgot about it. Breakfast cheese it is! I used my super fancy cheese cutter which is a favorite kitchen tool of Swedes and now I know why.

OH. I almost forgot about my dessert last night. I bought a finostkaka. Ta daa:
I always see people buying these and just recently I finally found where they were located in the store (near the deli meats?). They also have ones called 'ostkaka' which literally translates to cheese cake. I did some reading online and a page somewhere said that ostkaka was not the same as cheesecake, that the ostkaka had no layering. I don't have any idea what that meant, but I was prepared for this to not be like the cheesecake I know and love. Especially since there seemed to be the ostkaka, and then the dessert ostkaka: finostkaka. This is getting long, so to get to the point, it is Not the same as cheesecake but still quite tasty, and it sort of reminded me of the non-crust part of quiche only sweeter?

Back to breakfast. I also meant to make scones, but haven't done that yet. Those will be for lunch I think. I'm making the same ones I've made before. They are seriously delicious. I just realized that thanks to daylight savings finally coming to Sweden, it is well past noon. Scones for afternoon tea then.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday takes

I missed quick takes last week. So here I go, with five quick takes on a Wednesday.

- 1 -

Saw this on pinterest.

Does that mean a meeting with cake is a party? If so, my colleagues love to party.

- 2 -

There is now a giant egg filled with easter candy in the office kitchen. Let me clarify that there is a giant egg filled with Swedish easter candy. Because apparently it is different.

Photo on 3-27-13 at 11.06 AM

That little white egg-shaped one? I spit that one out.

- 3 -

I am getting really excited for bike-riding season! For Swedes, no season is Not bike-riding season, but for me, I'll wait for the ice to melt. There is noticeable progress every day though. Not too much longer now.

- 4 -

A few days ago when I was still sick, my nose was SO sore from abundant tissue-using. And I got this really smart plan to put neosporin on my nose. It worked like a charm. Made my nose feel so much better than any lotion ever did.

- 5 -

Luckily I am feeling nearly 100% healthy now. I went from walking at least 30 km per week to not ever leaving the couch for several days while I was so sick. My legs weren't too happy with the change, and they were pretty achy, but now I am back to walking and my legs feel normal again. I bet you are so glad I included that info here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

as of late

This post is alternately titled Evergreen Sunday.

Photo on 3-24-13 at 11.28 PM

In an incredible display of cuteness, I got this tiny bit of a branch of an evergreen tree today for 'Palm' Sunday. I mean honestly, why would we import palms when we've got loads of evergreens that we could distribute?

I keep thinking of all these great things I should write in my blog, but then somehow they never make it there. Luckily the Swedish palm was all the encouragement I needed. And now that I am started I'll add a few more things.

Last week I was in NH for a short vacation. I had big plans to see a lot of friends there and do fun things and eat all of the foods I've missed, but mostly that never happened because I ended up getting sick. When I flew back here, I was still feeling very sick, and flying felt very awful. Then last night I slept 16 hours, and today I am feeling a bit better. sixteen. not a typo.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

7 things I wrote in the past week

- 1 -

I was pretty fascinated by this article I stumbled upon earlier this week.
"Sitting is so prevalent and so pervasive that we don't even question how much we're doing it. And, everyone else is doing it also, so it doesn't even occur to us that it's not okay."
- 2 -

There have been multiple occasions since this day where I have successfully responded, 'ya tack' to a cashier. It is basically the extent of my Swedish-speaking these days.

- 3 -

I read this in a scientific article recently:

"First, we need to eliminate the possibility that the FABs produce the SLAMS by comparing observations to theory [...]."
Indeed. We totes need to do that, and while we are at it let's create some more acronyms. Can I be a namesake for the newest one?

- 4 -

- 5 -

I had a super fun visit with Julie last weekend. We noticed that Swedes like to use the word 'practical' even in a situation where it might not be the most practical word choice.

- 6 -

Also, I've developed a new love for the Swedish royal family. They are totally awesome. Way better than that british one. Maybe next week's quick takes can be devoted to members of the royal family! Excitement!

- 7 -

I am so glad I followed this advice to not give up something for lent that makes you unbearable to others. Often, I compose emails in my head before I send them (this is a related thought, I promise). If I do this before a cup of coffee, they are ridden with frustration/annoyance and are completely harsh/unpleasant. It just takes one cup of coffee to make me a far more generous person.

Note to self: Don't send that email in the morning before you've had coffee. Just don't do it.

And the other quick takers.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A sushi hypocrite


This is what I got for dinner last night. And the night before that too. Both of these events occurred within one week of me saying something about how I'm just not that into sushi. Also, I specifically was lamenting the fact that the good* sushi place in town makes rolls that are three times the size of any I have ever seen before in my life. Normally I really am not a fan of sushi, especially not of those big raw fish bites. But somehow I got it in my head that nothing else could be more desirable for dinner. Twice.

For the record, it was completely delicious, but now that I took care of that I think I'll go back to being a not-huge fan of sushi:)

*according to the experts, aka a swede with a japanese wife

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March ten on ten

Last month I did a 'ten on ten,' a photo every hour for ten hours on the tenth of the month. It was a good way for me to be very intentional about taking photos. Then I sort of stopped taking so many photos, but this weekend I brought my camera out once again for a ten on ten. It also helped that Julie was in town, so we did a lot of touristy things that were worthy of photos.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

7 quick takes

- 1 - 
This is an example of my thought process in a grocery store in which I understand very little of the language on all of the packages.

Oh while I'm at this bigger store with a wider variety of items I should look for purple rice, because I haven't made purple sticky rice in so long.
Oh good the rice section!
Hmmm I don't know the word for purple. But here is rött ris, which is red rice, which might be similar?
Does uncooked rice of the 'sticky' variety somehow look different than regular rice?
Good thing no one else is trying to get access to this rice section. I better scan through all these rices one more time.
Oh the picture on this rice has cinnamon sprinkled on top!! That must be a dessert rice! Oh plus there is a recipe for sushi on the back!! Definitely found sticky rice!!!

And into the basket it went.

- 2 -

It is no secret that Sweden has one of the best (if not the best) maternity/paternity policies in the world. What was news to me was the equality bonus. That's right. Apparently, if the two parents split the time evenly to within a month, they get a bonus amount of money (something like $2,000). And if they split the time maybe like 1/3 and 2/3 then they get some fraction of the equality bonus.

- 3 -

I've been trying to tidy up my apartment a bit, because I have a visitor coming! My friend Julie (who was also a house-mate for several years and fully knows how not-tidy I actually am) had a job interview in the UK so she is coming to spend the weekend with me in Uppsala!

Luckily for me, I didn't come here with very many belongings, so it is just a matter of finding a place for the things I've acquired since coming here. It is probably time for my certificate for completing my six week Swedish course (from December) to no longer be sitting on the kitchen table. And the hair cutting kit we got to cut Greg's hair can go in the closet instead of hanging out on my side table.

- 4 -

And speaking of haircuts. I am also heading back to the states for a week very soon. I've been feeling kind of sick of my hair. And haircuts in Sweden can require taking out a loan. So I was thinking that maybe I'd schedule an appointment to get my haircut when I am back in NH. After a bit more thought, I realized that I don't particularly want super short hairs, I really just want some of my layering to go away. And really all that requires is chopping off the bottom.

- 5 -

So last night I gave myself a little bit of a haircut. I think it worked fine.

- 6 -

In April I go to a conference in Vienna and my hotel is next to St. Stephen's Cathedral. Swell!

- 7 -

A bit weird, but kind of awesome. A TED talk from the inventor of Dance your PhD.


Over and out. Here is the link for more quick takes from others.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Soup season

So apparently, while most people are gearing up for springtime foods, I am getting really into soups? Last week I made lentil soup, recipe here. This is one of my all-time favorite soups, actually. It is delicious and simple plus it has a great name. Originally I was going to use the chicken stock that I had stored in the freezer, but since I didn't plan ahead and didn't want to wait for the stock to thaw, I just used water with powdered vegetable broth stuff? It is like bullion cubes, but not in cube form. Just a container with loose powder, which is quite nice for getting whatever proportion I choose.


Yesterday I had this great idea to make tortilla soup. This is another of my all-time favorite soups. This recipe comes from the friend of a friend.

Jenny's Famous Tortilla Soup

3 chicken breasts
1 onion
4 bullion cubes (or 6 cups of chicken broth in a box)
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp lemon pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 lime
2 cans tomatoes with green chilies
monterey jack cheese, grated
tortilla chips
1 avocado

cut raw chicken into bite-size pieces and cook on the stove.  set
aside chicken aside, leaving grease in pan.  chop celery, onions, and
carrots and saute in left-over chicken grease (mmm) and olive oil.
boil 6 cups water (or boil the chicken broth and skip the cubes). add
4 bullion cubes, chili powder, garlic powder, lemon pepper, cumin,
lime juice, and tomatoes w/ green chilies. add chicken and veggies.
simmer all 20 minutes.  crush tortilla chips in bottom of bowl.  add
soup, avocado slices, and cheese.

I absolutely love this soup. I actually love it even more if I use chicken from a roasted chicken, because I find that I always overcook chicken if I am cooking it on the stovetop, and then it is dry and just not so good. Plus I think buying three chicken breasts in Sweden would be twice the cost of buying a whole chicken (labor is expensive here?). So yesterday I had quite the cook-fest. First I roasted a chicken. Then I realized that I've only ever roasted a chicken when Greg was around to do the carving of said chicken. I think I was pretty successful with it though. I also just realized that I forgot to put lime juice into my soup. Bummer. Lucky for me, it was still completely delicious.

Today I've got the chicken carcass in a pot of water with carrots, celery, and an onion. I figured since I used my chicken stock supply it would be a good idea to replenish. I also like the idea of using the chicken to its fullest capacity. Also, broth has a bit of a cult following, similar to kale or apple cider vinegar. Basically, if you let it, it will provide all the answers to your problems. Here are a few articles I've read about the wonders of broth. This time I actually tried adding a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar (double the wonder?! broth + acv??) so we'll see how that goes.

Friday, March 1, 2013

7 quick takes, 1 track mind

- 1 - 
Last night there was a most amazing folk dance. There was a concert first, with the band Bjäran. They were tons of fun and very high energy. Then there was a small break and then dancing. And after they played the spelmanslag (large group of folk musicians) from the student nation where the dance was held played more dance tunes.

- 2 - 
The Swedish word for tune is låten.

sista låten = sad time of night

- 3 - 
And if you are a person who hates bananas, you can eat an avocado and get so much potassium! Potassium is a great post-workout thing. So there is that.

- 4 - 
I also asked my dance teacher to dance! I usually get pretty nervous dancing with people who I know are much better dancers (because if something doesn't go quite right, it is far more likely that I am the cause). In the class usually the two instructors dance with each other to demonstrate, or if they dance with us, it is with the people who need the most help. I am glad to not be the person needing the most help (especially since all the instruction is in Swedish, so then I'd feel really bad for slowing down the progress of the class) but at the same time, I'd also like the privilege of dancing with the pros (they don't actually get paid, and also, I have danced with the other instructor). Anyhow. I really enjoyed dancing with him. He knew a lot of good tricks:)

- 5 - 
There is one really big difference (to me) between contra dancing and Swedish folk dancing. In contra dancing, generally you change partners for every dance, and often you try to dance with a new person for each dance. In Swedish folk dance, this is not the case, and I can't quite figure out what the case actually is. Someone once told me that usually you dance two dances with a person before changing. And some bands will play two of the same type of tune (aka two waltzes in a row or whatever) to facilitate this. Whatever the case may be, I always feel a little awkward to be the one to decide that I'm not going to dance another one with the person I was just dancing with. So usually this means I dance many dances with only a few people throughout the night. Oh I wonder if the person who asks is supposed to be the person to call it quits?! Maybe this is where I am going wrong!

- 6 - 
In dancing I usually prefer to follow rather than lead, but lately I've been trying to not avoid leading. In our class on Monday I led a waltz for the first time, and it started out shaky, but it was a really valuable lesson for me.

- 7 -
I've been telling a friend of a friend who is interested in dance about these events. At the dance in January we were talking about the dancing that we each have done. And he asked me if I've ever thought about organizing a contra dance here. The answer is: Yes. I'm just a little hesitant because there is a lot that would need to go into that. Most importantly I'd have to do a lot of practice with calling. Because I'd hate for someone to get a negative opinion of contra dancing due to bad calling. I must admit, it would be pretty interesting to program an evening of dancing for a group of people who know folk dance, but not contra dance in particular.


And if you feel like reading quick takes from others who might talk about a wider variety of topics, head over here.