Winter is a fantastic season.
Yes, it is cold, but it is also so beautiful. The best of course is when the sun is out, the ground is covered with glistening snow and you have a day off to enjoy it. As soon as there is a sunny day, we love to take advantage of every little sunny second. These would be the days we would go on a winter picnic. We would fill up a thermos of hot chocolate and/or one with hot blueberry soup, make some sandwiches and pack some other snacks. If we felt like dragging it along, we would also pack a lamb skin to sit on. When finding the right picnic spot, we would dig out a little “seat” in the snow and put the lambskin down. It has been a few years since I went on a winter picnic, but this winter we finally did it. It was just so nice to be out in the snow on a sunny winter day. It is highly recommended. If you have kids, this could be a great tradition, to go on “off-season” picnics. Try it…
The tradition of drinking hot blueberry soup is very Scandinavian. It is a great way to stay warm and it also gives you energy.
Once a year, there is a huge cross-country skiing competition taking place in Sweden. It is called “Vasaloppet”. There are blueberry soup stations along the way. The skiers gets a cup of hot blueberry soup to heat them up and to give them continued energy. The race is 90 km long, so it is well needed.
“Vasaloppet” is taking place this weekend.
Chicken salad in a Pita pocket.
1 baked/boiled or grilled chicken.
2-4 small pita breads.
1 c. seedless grapes, cut into halves.
1/2 c. lightly crushed walnuts.
1/2 c. mayo.
3-4 tbsp. ranch dressing powder (or 1/2 c. of ranch dressing, store-bought).
Splash of hot sauce.
Black pepper to taste.
Cook the chicken (or you can even buy a rotisserie chicken in the store if you are short of time). Let cool down slightly. Take off all the meat from the bones. Add the mayo, ranch powder (or the just the ranch dressing), crushed walnuts, hot sauce and pepper into a mixing bowl. Mix well. Taste it. If you would like more ranch dressing or mayo, add some but be careful not to add too much. Pour in the chicken pieces & grapes. Mix again. Take a last taste and make sure it is to your satisfaction. Let sit in the fridge covered for a few hours or even over night if you make this ahead of time.
This chicken salad gets better and better after a few days when all the tastes has “married”.
Place a little lettuce in half a pita bread. Add some chicken salad. You can add any vegetable of your choice or just skip that.
2 c. blueberries.
A few tbsp. of sugar (I use brown sugar. It is up to you how sweet you want the soup. I recommend it not to be too sweet though. It should be nice and fresh with a “true” blueberry taste).
3 c. water.
1- 1 1/2 tbsp. potato starch.
Let blueberries, sugar and water come to a boil and cook on medium heat for a 5-10 minutes. Make sure the right amount of sugar is added by tasting the soup. Mix the blueberry soup with a hand mixer or in a blender until nice and silky. Whisk in the potato starch into some cold water. Add little by little into the blueberry soup. Let it come to a boil and then take it off the heat. The blueberry soup is ready.
You can drink it hot as it is or eat it totally cold with a splash of milk. I drink hot soup in the winter and cold soup in the summer. It is perfect as a night “snack”.
Vasaloppet (literally, The Vasa race) is an annual long distance (90 km) cross-country ski race (ski marathon) held on the first Sunday of March in northwestern Dalarna, Sweden between the village of Sälen and town of Mora. It is the oldest, the longest, and the biggest (in terms of participants) cross-country ski race in the world.In the 80th race, held on 7 March 2004, some 15,500 skiers competed in the main event. More than 40,000 participated in one of the seven different races held during the first week of March. The race was first run in 1922, inspired by a run by King Gustav Vasa in 1520. The winner of the first race was Ernst Alm from Norsjö, 22 years old, who is also the youngest ever winner of the race. Vasaloppet is one of the races in the long distance cup Ski Classics.