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Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

The Arctic winds were hitting many parts of the world this winter. In New York, we have had lot’s of snow and it has been freezing cold. We even had 10F/-11C at times, that is cold. For days it has been colder than in Sweden.  And on top of that during the same time a friend in Australia said that they were hit with the highest registered temperature ever at this one part of Sydney. I believe it was 120F/49C. Something like that. Isn’t it just crazy how the climate is changing??

As if we don’t have enough of the cold, we love visiting the Ice Hotel up in the north of Sweden or the Ice Bar in Stockholm. Or the Ice Hotel in Canada. Cold as ….
I went to the Ice Hotel with a friend just before I moved to the US. I wanted to do something very Swedish as a last hurrah.

It was fantastic. We drove a reindeer sled, fed the reindeer, went cross-country skiing. And of course we slept at the Ice Hotel itself. It was such an experience. What a nice thing to do. If you ever have a chance to go there, do it. You sleep in a sleeping bag, with just your underwear. Your clothes are neatly rolled up and put at the bottom of your sleeping bag. They wake you up in the morning bringing a glass of hot lingon berry juice. You can choose between rooms or suits. The bed is a wooden frame with a mattress and lined with reindeer hides. The whole hotel is built out of ice blocks cut out from the river. And every spring the river takes the hotel right back. All rooms, furniture, light fixtures such as chandeliers, the little church, the art installations all are made of snow and ice. It really is amazing that one can build this giant hotel made of just snow and ice. I would say going to the Ice Hotel is a bucket list thing to do.

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The glasses are made of ice. The stack of empty glasses is almost looking like an art installation.

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Flavored Alcohol.

You can make your own flavored alcohol. I usually make flavored vodka and rum. The best way is to make a small essence that you dilute into the vodka itself. There are so many version. When I was in my 20’s we used to make candy shots by adding lot’s of different kinds of candy into the bottles of vodka, liquorice, “Kola shoestrings, peppermint, sours candy….a.s.o. You will see how the dye/colors in the candy dyes the vodka. The liquorice becomes light grey for example. Just throw that out after a few days. You can also strain the vodka in a sieve with some cheese cloth if your candy fell apart.

My favorite flavored vodkas are;

* Cinnamon & orange. 

* Saffron, cinnamon & cloves.

* Ginger & apples.

* Lemon (use a Buddhas hand if possible. Regular lemons tend to get slightly bitter. Let the peal only sit in the vodka for a day or so).

* Raspberries or other berries.

* A typical Swedish taste would be herbal such as Fennel seeds or dill. 

The varieties are endless.

Add a little sugar, about 1 tbsp, so that the tastes marry better.

This is also the way I make my essence. I use a 50% alcohol and let it sit in a glass jar for months in my basement. I never buy my vanilla essence I make it from vanilla beans. It tastes really good.

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Let’s hope we soon go from snow and ice to a nice warm spring.

Happy spring to all of us!!!

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4th of July must be one of, if not the biggest BBQ weekends in the US.

Obviously not everybody knows what the reason for the celebration is, since I have been asked many times if we celebrate 4th of July in Sweden. What does one answer to that???

Anyway, So, I have not been celebrating this holiday more than in the sense of it being a day off from work, a bonus day.

I never liked fireworks. I know someone who blew off a couple of fingers as a kid, trying to make fireworks himself. Really scary but it made a lot of us not really like fireworks. If one looks at the bright side of that, I never have to rush to get a great spot to watch it. I could stand way in the back. No problem.

As I am getting older, 4th of July means something else for me than just a celebration. It reminds me of what it took for this country (America) to become what it has become. When I became a citizen, we had to study the history of the country and it made me more aware of things. I feel very lucky. Lucky that I am here, lucky that I was born in Sweden, lucky that I live now and not way back when…

This 4th of July we are going to BBQ. Our neighbourhood goes bananas for any opportunity to be out in the backyard and get those grills going.

I am breaking the holy rule of this weekend. I am making salmon/Mango burgers. My husband said “No, we should have real burgers, ribs and hot dogs and things.” Lucky for me, he changed his mind. We are going with the Salmon/Mango burgers.

To make the whole thing very “4th’y” I am going all out with the stars and stripes…

A little overkill of red, white and blue doesn’t hurt.

So here it is, my healthy and really delicious salmon burger.

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Salmon/Mango Burgers with Stars & Stripes Fries:

About 6-8 burgers, depending on how big you make them.

About 2 lb. fresh salmon.

1 Mango, cut up into small pieces.

2 tbsp. of toasted pine nuts (optional)

2 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs. I used mint, thyme, dill, sage and chives.

1 hot pepper. Any kind. You can also use season pepper/ a mild pepper just to get that pepper taste.

Splash of hot sauce (optional)

1 egg. (to keep it all together since the mixture is very loose.)

Panko crumbs (or other kind of bread crumbs)

Salt & pepper to taste.

Some mango ketchup (optional You boil 1 diced mango, 2 tbsp. of tomato paste, 4 tbsp. of water or pomegranate juice, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, salt pepper. Any other kind of herbs and spice you have in the kitchen. Boil it all down to a thicker paste. Taste and make sure you like it. Add anything you feel like. Blend with a hand mixer. Let cool.)

Directions;

Mix the salmon in a blender. Make it some what fine. You can leave a couple of “chunks” out and mix in them later, just to get a more interesting texture.

In a bowl, mix the mango that has been cut up into fine pieces, pine nuts, and all the other ingredients.

Pour Panko crumbs into a deep dish. Season with salt & pepper.

Shape the burgers. Dip into the crumbs. Turn and make sure they are well breaded. When done, place the burgers into the fridge to make them “settle” slightly before frying or bbq’ing.

Note that this mixture is very loose and you might want to fry on top of the stove unless you have a good grill.

Fry the burgers. Build the burgers on top of a good bun . I used an 8 grain bun from my bakery around the corner.

Add lettuce a little mayo if you like, the burger and some mango ketchup or regular ketchup. Top with a few slices of onions.Yum, Yum….

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The Stars & Stripes Fries are so easy to make.

If you have been following my blog, you know by now, that I think it is “wild and crazy” to use cookie cutters to do all sorts of things.

This time it is star-shaped fries and just regular cut fries, baked in the oven with a little salt, pepper and thyme on them.

To make sure for them not to be dried up due to the irregular shapes, I first boiled them for a few minutes.

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Varg tass (Wolf paw) is a very common drink at home. It is really yummy. You just take one part lingonberry juice concentrate (if you can’t find lingonberry juice use cranberry juice), 1 part vodka and fill up with seltzer water. I had to be a little particular for this drink, so I made my own shot glasses in ice. Now that is really overkill. I found these molds in a store and almost fell over of happiness. The Swedish “Ice hotel” serves their drinks in their “Absolute Ice bar” in ice shot glasses and I have always loved them. Now I can make my own. Lucky me.

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I was thinking of making this really crazy dessert, but I ended up making something I love and that is more of a summer thing. Frozen yoghurt. You could just as well make or buy ice cream, but I like to make it a little healthier (some times.)

Frozen Yoghurt with blueberries, strawberries and coconut.

A large container of vanilla yoghurt. I used Greek Vanilla yoghurt. You should use the kind you like best. Plain or Vanilla.

1 c. of mashed fresh Blueberries.

1/2 c. of mashed fresh Strawberries. 1 tbsp. of honey.

1 tbsp. of shredded coconut. I used large flakes that I soaked in water for an hour or so.

A couple of squares of dark chocolate.

Directions;

Use an ice cream maker or just mix it and freeze it.

Mix the yoghurt, berries, honey & coconut.

If you use an ice cream maker, follow the directions for the machine.

if you don’t have that, just put the mixture into the freezer. Keep stirring ever so often to make sure it freezes evenly.

You can make the frozen yoghurt ahead of time.

I used wafer cones from the grocery store. I just printed out an American flag on paper and cut out a “cover” for the cone. Very easy and it looks really cute.

Finally, I shredded a little dark chocolate over the top.

Enjoy and Happy 4th!!!!

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I know. Almost everybody knows how to make a smoothie.

But do you make one??  I love to make smoothies during the weekends. Either for breakfast or instead of lunch. You can really make this any way you want. It is smart to buy fruits and berries when they are in season or on sale. Wash and dry them well. Cut up and freeze in smoothie portions. We have tons of berries in our freezer. For me, blueberry is the power berry. There are no antioxidants lost by freezing them. They have so many great benefits.

Blueberries are ;

Packed with antioxidants.

High in dietary fibers.

Packed with vitamin C.

Good for lowering high blood pressure.

Great against urinary infections.

Great for an upset stomach. 

Has been said to help lower cholesterol.

 If  you can choose between wild or farmed, pick the wild ones. The flesh is blue all the way through, small and sweet.

If you are looking for a healthy good smoothie, this is how I do it.

Makes 2-3  glasses.

1/2 cup of Greek yogurt.

1/2 cup frozen blueberries.

1/2 cup of frozen raspberries.

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries.

4 tbsp of old fashion oats. (optional)

1 orange, squeezed. (optional)

Put the frozen berries in the fridge over night to de-frost.  Poor all into the blender. Blend well. If it is a little thick, pour more juice in or if you like milk, add a splash of milk. (Skim would be good.)

I don’t use any protein powders or sugars. The berries or fruits should do the job.

As they say, “Don’t drink your calories.” So why add sugar if you don’t need it. If you really “have” to have it a little sweeter, add a good honey into the smoothie before blending.

You could add a little cinnamon, banana or oats to make it a little “fuller” in taste. 

Honestly, a smoothie can be made in so many ways. This is just one version.

Enjoy.

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