Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden

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twice-baked potatoes

These are actually Rebekah’s twice-baked potatoes. I don’t actually know Rebekah, but she knows her potatoes! Eggton posted about these scrumptious spuds a while back, and as usual her pictures make me want to eat my computer screen.

I haven’t changed the instructions much, but definitely check out the original post here.


  • 3 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. of olive oil (or a little bacon grease, for the true Southern experience)
  • a few dashes of kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsp. butter (half a stick), cut into a bunch of smaller pats
  • 3 oz.+ whipped cream cheese spread (buy an 8-0z. container)
  • 1/4 c.+ heavy whipping cream (buy a half pint)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 c.  grated cheddar cheese
  • a dash of cayenne pepper



  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (Or 205 centigrade).
  2. Thoroughly scrub and dry the potatoes and poke a bunch of holes in each with a fork.  Rub olive oil into the skins, coating them thoroughly. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt. (I chose to generously sprinkle).
  3. Bake 45 minutes to an hour or more, until they give a little when handled with a potholder or they’re tender when pierced with a fork (it’ll depend on the size of your potatoes). Remove the potatoes from the oven and let them cool enough to handle (Eggton says you can just proceed here if you want, holding them in a towel or something – I was afraid of burning myself so I waited). In the mean time reduce the heat to 350 degrees (176 C).
  4. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the insides with a spoon and transfer the insides to a mixing bowl.  Be careful to leave a little potato flesh on the skins so that the potato skin stays up like a canoe.  (If you dig too much out from the side walls, the papery skins will tear or collapse inwards and it’ll be harder to fill.)
  5. Add the butter and the whipped cream cheese to the baked potato and beat in a mixer until smooth.  (If you don’t have a mixer, you could use a potato smasher.)  Beat in the cream and some salt and pepper. Taste it. Here’s where Eggton adds more whipped cream cheese and more cream because, you know, what the heck. Some people also throw in pieces of bacon, green onions, and some grated cheddar at this point.
  6. Mound the baked potato mixture into the potato skins you hollowed out. It’s okay if the filling rises above the brim of the skin. Sprinkle some of the grated cheddar cheese on top of each and then sprinkle with a dash of cayenne if you want. (You should want the cayenne).
  7. Place the potatoes back on the baking sheet and return them to the oven until they’re heated through and the cheese is melted.


I love me some potatoes, and I love me some cheese, so the combination is always a hit with me. I made some with less cheese for Evelina, promptly forgot which were which and we just ate them as they came. Try out the recipe, let me know what you think!



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dad’s day

Father’s Day in Sweden is in November. Father’s Day in the US is in June. So this blog post is clearly specific for my own father. Happy Birthday Dad!

When I told my father that he was going to be a grandfather, he was thrilled. When I asked him what his future grand child would call him, he said he’d have to get back to me. I hadn’t expected this to be a question requiring multiple days of pondering, but that was the reality.

After thorough internet research my father had decided. His future grand child would call him Tutu. Why Tutu? You may ask, as I certainly did, and I’ll tell you. The long (and apparently arduous) task of deciding one’s own name was aided by none other than Google herself. Google informed my father that, among many other possible names/words for grandfather, the term commonly used in Hawaii is “kuku kane” where the K’s in kuku are often replaced with T’s and shortened to just “tutu”. Of course, as a loving endearment.

So, Happy Birthday Tutu! From all of us across the Atlantic.


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get another pair of glasses

Now, I’m not instructing you to do this, but rather citing number 23 of my 30 before 30 list. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have completed another item off the wonderous list and gotten myself another pair of glasses. During my 25 before 25 list I purchased these bad boys, though now that I’m a little older, and a little wiser sillier I went and got a pair of glasses to make sure my outward appearance reflected my inner person.


That, or I got a wicked bad eye infection and was advised not to wear contact lenses for about two months. So I figured I’d take the chance to update my eyewear. I had actually been thinking about doing it for a while, getting new glasses that is, not getting an eye infection. The timing really couldn’t have been better.

The other up-side is I now resemble comical glasses/nose/mustache guy. You know the one:

This guy

All my life’s goals are being achieved here.


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what is fika?

Listen up! This is important. Open your eyes now, people, you’re about to gain some knowledge!

An immediate differentiation should be made, that fika and FICA are two very, very different things. The latter is a taxing system that funds Social Security and Mecicare. That’s definitely not what this is about. The former is what we’re here today to discuss.

Fika, with the all important “K”, is a Swedish tradition, incurred daily, which allows for the intake of caffeine and sugar. Some argue that this event should take place at 2:30 pm on the dot, but I’m not here to set the rules, I’m here to enjoy the party!

In this instance, when I say party, I mean an often quiet moment during the day where you sit down with co-workers, friends or family and take a second to enjoy their company. As well as the aforementioned sugar and caffeine. Not to be confused with the British tea-time, Swedish fika is a beast of its own.


Fika can actually happen anytime, anywhere. From meeting up with friends at a local café or in the comfort of your own home alone or with your favorite family members (let’s be honest, we all have favorites). Swedes can fika in public, from outdoors in a park with a homemade selection of sweets and a thermos of coffee to riding a SJ train from Malmo to Stockholm in the dining car. Fika isn’t only a daily break from the hustle and bustle that is our fast-paced lives, it’s a lifestyle of taking the time to stop and smell the coffee.

As previously mentioned there are no rules when it comes to fika, but one of my favorite treats to enjoy with my coffee are Swedish chocolate balls. (If you know anything about me you know how extrememly dificult it was for me to decide on just one treat). Here’s the recipe so you too can enjoy a moment of Swedish fika in your busy busy day:


  • 2 dl oats
  • 1 dl sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cold coffee
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 150g butter 
  • Coconut shavings or sprinkles or both


  1. Convert everything to cups if you don’t have a deciliter measuring device. I’ll help you get there by telling you that 1 dl is 0.42 cups.
  2. Mix all ingredients except the coconut/sprinkles in a bowl.
  3. Roll mixture into balls. Larger balls will be about 1.5 inches in diameter smaller balls can be about 1 inch in diameter.
  4. Pour a small amount of coconut (or sprinkles) on a plate, one or two handfuls will be enough to get started. Coat the balls with coconut or sprinkles by rolling them around the plate. As the coconut/sprinkles run out, add more to the plate. 
  5. Makes about 14 large balls or 20 small balls.

Side bar: For those of you who like words, I just had to check the etymology of the word “fika” and according to professor Lars-Gunnar Andersson at the University of Gothenburg the word fika comes from an alternate form of a Swedish word for coffee (kaffi). The word “kaffi” is cut in the middle and each side swapped, as a type of slang (since that just seems like the easiest kind of slang there is…) which results in “fika“!

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language arts

picture credit: itchy feet

Have you ever thought about this concept? For me the idea of language arts has gone somewhat unnoticed until my move to Sweden. We had a Language Arts building in high school. Let me explain that further, we had an open campus, which means multiple buildings and a nice little walk outdoors between each class. The outdoor time was especially appreciated during winters in New England. The Language Arts building is where students had their foreign language classes and some English classes (like Medieval literature – which I took senior year). Being the wonderfully cheerful teenager that I was I never put a lot of thought into the naming of the building, but it’s a concept I was reminded of during recent pondering.

What does Language Arts really mean, what about language is an art? Just as music is an art, where the reading and composing of notes creates the beautiful sounds that humans across the globe cannot get enough of, language is also an art. Though I never really understood the deep connections between say language and music (or painting, or what have you) until I really  learned my second language (and exited my moody teenage years).

When writing, and speaking, word composition is just as important as music composition, or the composition of a painting, et cetera. Just take that word “composition” in the previous sentence how it can be applied in so many contexts. What I’m getting at is the fact that I’ve recently been considering language, along with the other art forms, as a sincere form of expression. It takes skill and practice to be articulate. Even more skill and practice to be articulate in multiple tongues. Just as any art form takes skill and practice to perfect.

If language is a form of expression that begs the question: What do you mean? What is it that you really want to say? What is the best way of saying it? Are you going for clarity? Beauty? Irony? Melody?  I don’t think these questions need answers, I just think they’re worth considering. They are at least for me in my inner wonderings about self-expression, communication and how I use language to do it.

That being said, word choice is one of the most important aspects of language. I find saying what you mean to often be the goal of communicating, and I do think this is the essential purpose of language. All people across the globe use language as a way of finding one other and attempting to understand those around us. In that I see beauty.


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book of september: the remains of the day


This book is assigned reading in one of my upcoming ECE classes. (ECE = Early Childhood Education, for those not ITK). ((ITK = Informations- und TeleKommunikationsbranche)).

Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction authors in the English-speaking world, or so Wikipedia tells me. What I can tell me is that this book was a great read. Assigned reading can really be hit or miss, I’ve realized. But this one, luckily, was out of the park.

The Remains of the Day has even been made into a movie, so you know it’s good. It’s even a good movie, nominated for eight Academy Awards. Don’t be lazy and just watch the movie though! Always read the book first.


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moving day!

What fun one can have! Packing up all one’s belongings and lifting them from one place to another!

Moving Day 1

Though our mail will be forwarded, if you want to make a surprise visit to Sweden you’re just going to have to ask for our new address. Even though the older man who is moving into our old apartment seems very nice, he’s probably not as fun as us. Probably…

Moving Day 2

Things I learned from moving six months ago:

  • We have a lot of stuff
  • Babies are not a huge help in the moving process, baby K didn’t seem too interested in carrying anything
  • Large trucks are a huge help in the moving process
  • Our new place is slightly larger than the old. Which means we can buy more stuff! Evelina says we don’t need more stuff…
  • It takes exactly six months to unpack every one of your boxes. When I say your boxes, I mean my boxes…and only mine. Evelina was finished unpacking after two days.

As you can see from my last bullet point up there, I’m not the one to offer any moving advice, so I won’t. You’ll just have to ask someone else.