Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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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.

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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:

Ingredients:

  • 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


Directions:

  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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book of august: middlesex

Don’t think I’m ahead of schedule here, this is actually my book of August from a while ago…So I’m little behind schedule, but here it is:

Middlesex

When I say a little behind schedule, apparently I mean three years behind schedule. *geeze* I am apparently a horrible friend. Okay, horrible might be a strong word, but I’ve definitely been slacking on my friend duties. My bad.

Let me explain. My friend Elizabeth and I (name obviously changed to protect identity) decided to do a book club. This book club consisted solely of the two of us. Meaning that we would both read the same book in a months time, and discuss it over Skype.

I did not read the book in a months time. Nor did we ever Skype about it. I mean I did finish the book just now, so we could theoretically Skype about it now…but I didn’t even tell Elizabeth that I’ve finished the book. This will be the first she is hearing of it. Alright I’ll say it. Horrible friend = me.

Let’s disregard that though and focus on the book. I don’t like to dwell.

Middlesex was on Oprah’s book list. Or recommendation list. Or some kind of list written by Oprah, you know the one:

Anyway, I think that is why Elizabeth suggested we read the book. Oprah knows her shit.

To be honest though, the book wasn’t exactly up my ally. Though you may have guessed that since it took me THREE YEARS to complete. I mean it’s not like I’ve been actively reading it for that long, there have been breaks….okay, nevermind.

It did get really good for the final third of the book. But it is really important you read the first two-thirds in order to understand the end…well the moral is, it may be a great book for you, but for me it was an exercise in discipline and determination to be a good friend.

I hope this makes up for it! … ?

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apple bran muffins

Number 21 on my 30 before 30 list is to cook 10 things off of this awesome blog. I chose to bake some apple bran muffins, and not just because this is the very first thing on the recipe index, but because they look this scrumptious on the blog:

Picture from eggton

Picture from eggton

These are listed as breakfast muffins, and I was pretty sceptical to begin with, to be honest. I was thinking we could just have them as dessert if they were too sweet. But they were not! They were savory and scrumptious, and just all around excellent. Not too sweet to eat for breakfast, and quite filling.

I followed the recipe exactly as written on eggton:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. wheat bran
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 small to medium apple, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes (about 1 c.)

Directions

  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine wheat bran and buttermilk in a medium bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • In a separate large bowl, mix the oil, egg, sugar and vanilla.
    In a separate small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • When the bran has soaked for ten minutes, scoop it into the bowl with the oil and egg mixture.  Stir until just combined.  Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.  Add the apple pieces and stir until just combined.   Using a melon baller, ice cream scoop or spoon, transfer the batter into a muffin tin lined with paper liners (fill the liners 3/4 or 4/5 of the way up).
  • Bake the muffins for 15-20 minutes, or until the middles have set and a tester inserted in the muffins comes out clean.
My muffins - yum!

My muffins – yum!

I ate the last of my muffins just the other day, and I’m ready to bake some more.

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lördagsgodis

The wait is over! Here it is! The post explaining all about lördagsgodis.

I’ll break it down for you lördag = Saturday, godis = candy. So lördagsgodis is Saturday candy. Here in Sweden there is a whole day for candy. The idea is that you tell your children that they are allowed to have candy on Saturday. That is to say only on Saturday, and lördagsgodisno other day. It’s pretty tricky really.

That means today I’ll be chowing down on this bag of deliciousness:

 

Until next Saturday!

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the 200th

Well here it is. Much sooner than I thought.

text graphic courtesy of WordPress

text graphic courtesy of WordPress

When I started out on this grand adventure, I never could have imagined what my blog would become. And now, only three months away from my three year anniversary, a lot has changed. Not only on the blog.

Since day one I’ve written 30 book of the month posts. (And read as many books!)

Since day one I’ve completed 17 things that I’ve always wanted to do. (Check out the 25 before 25 and 30 before 30 lists to read about them!)

Since day one some things have happened. I’ve learned a new language, I’ve travelled, I’ve made memories, and met people who are impossible to forget. I’ve used this blog to catalogue the great things. The adventures and smile bearing small moments.

There have been some bumps along the road, some that I’ve casually mentioned, but I try not to dwell. I do hope you fabulous readers do know that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. I do prefer to highlight the good though. Positivity builds on itself to create more good. So when I’m down I can pick myself back up by taking a little peek at my own corner of the internet. It usually works.

Let’s start a tradition then, and focus on the good, like how many different places in the world my blog has poked it’s nose into your lives.

Stats 200

statistics courtesy of WordPress

That’s 75 countries y’all. How many views does your country have?

I hope you enjoy what you see.

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season’s ending

Not only does it feel like Spring in Sweden, but they hockey season is ending as well. As of my latest hockey update, around half way through our season, I discussed our team’s goals and expectations that we discussed last summer about what our expectations for the upcoming season were.

Looking back, I think we have had a successful season. Concerning the wordclouds I made, I would gladly say that we have found success in all categories…but one. Unfortunately this year we did not make it to AllEttan (take another look at the previous post for an explanation of AllEttan).
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Last year we were one win away from AllEttan. This year we were three wins away from AllEttan. But all was not a disappointment. We play in a tight league, and all the games this season were close competitions. So, really, when you look at the season over all it was certainly a good one.
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Not making it to AllEttan was a let down, but the continuance series was a success this year, as it was last year. As in the regular series we continued to play close games. The continuance series is six games, where the four teams who did not move on to AllEttan play each other twice. Of our six games four of them were taken to shoot outs, where we were able to take an extra point in two of them. Our team fought hard, and lead the continuance play in points throughout the series, unfortunately only up until the last game. The loss of the extra point gave us equal points with AIK, who had one extra point in goal differential and therefore won the series. Still an over all success for the team though.
photo 1 (3)
I’m proud of the work we have accomplished as a team, and look forward to start off ice training. (Accompanied by my marathon training of course.) I’m a little less proud of my personal statistics in the continuance series. photo 3 (3)I’m certainly glad I was able to score 2 shoot out goals, as well as another two goals and an assist in regular play, to land 4th over all in points. (First in decisive goals.) Decisive GoalsHowever, my penalty minutes are embarrassing. Before the game today I had 14 minutes in the box.
Penalty Minutes
Luckily I managed to get my act together for the final match up of the season, but as the most penalized player in the continuance series I can’t really count that as a win. In the off-season, as well as focusing on forward strides in my fitness, I’ll have to focus on clean play. I’ve yet to figure out how to work out for that, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.
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See you in the gym!
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rulltårta

That’s right! I made a rulltårta this evening. I’m gonna go ahead and call it a roll cake. Checking off number 2 on the 25 before 25 list!

I made a gingerbread and lingon berry roll cake. I’m gonna go ahead and directly translate the recipe I used from Arla. Of course, with my own helpful hints.

Ingredients:

Bottom:

  1. 2 dl flour
  2. 3 krydmått sodium bicarbonate
  3. 1 tablespoon Christmas spices, your own blend
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1.5 dl sugar
  6. 2 tablespoons sour milk

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Lingon and cream cheese frosting:

  1. 100 g butter, unsalted, at room temperature
  2. 300 g cream cheese
  3. 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  4. 1.5 dl icing sugar
  5. 2 teaspoons whipping cream
  6. 0.5 dl lingon jam

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Directions:

Bottom:

(Helpful hint 1: read all the directions before you start, it helps you make less mistakes). Set the oven to 250 degrees Celsius. Mix all dry ingredients. (Helpful hint 2: Not the sugar.)

01

Whip the eggs and sugar until fluffy and airy. (Don’t do what I did and later try to remove as much of the sugar as possible from the bowl with the flour and other dry ingredients. Sugar is a friggin’ dry ingredient.) Use a “potlicker” (that direct translation of a spatula is just too good not to include) to pour the whipped eggs & sugar into the dry ingredients.

02

Add the sour milk. Mix with a spoon.

04

Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet with baking paper. (Helpful hint 3: spread very thinly. Very. Seriously, super thin.)

05

Bake in the oven for 5-6 minutes. (Helpful hint 4: watch it, 5 minutes is on the long side, especially if you listened to helpful hint 3 – which I did not do, and it was on the thicker side.) When ready, take out and let cool.

07

While baking the bottom, mix the frosting.

Lingon and cream cheese frosting:

Whip butter and cream cheese until fluffy and white. (The picture got weird, it really was white. You’ll have to trust me.)

06

Whip in the vanilla sugar and baking sugar gradually. (Helpful hint 5: seriously read all the directions before baking, doing what I did and just dumping the sugar in just isn’t as good.) Whip until the frosting is formed. To finish off the frosting add the whipping cream and lingon berry jam. When prepared spread the frosting on the bottom.

08Spread the frosting evenly. Helpful hint 6: don’t eat a lot of the frosting, there is less for the cake if that happens. Now comes the hard part, rolling up the cake. I thought this would be tricky, but it actually wasn’t! Be sure the bottom isn’t stuck to the paper, peel it off a little and carefully roll your cake!

09

Helpful hint 7: If it doesn’t look super pretty, just put it on a super pretty cake dish. It’ll taste great, so it’s fine if it’s not the prettiest the first time around. That’s what I told myself.

10Try it out! I hope you like it!

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