20 random facts about me (in case you’re curious)

I don’t like coffee, but I am a huge fan of teas and Caribou’s coffeeless coolers.

I have had 26 cats at once.

I’ve been to five different countries and most of the States.

I stood there in horror as my boyfriend picked a bat off the ceiling of a cave in the Amazon jungle.

I love Disney and Pixar movies.

Two of my high school teachers are still some of my best friends.

I worked in the fields detasseling, derouging, and/or pollinating for five stinkin’ years.

I’ve played the piano for fifteen years. (doesn’t mean I’m good though)

Never been to Florida or Hawaii. Someone please take me.

I can’t stand the feel of photograph paper or styrofoam.

My favorite books are “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, and “Outlaw” by Ted Dekker.

I love jr. mints and yorks.

If I was to have a completely different life I would be a professional ballerina and potter living in New York.

I sang my first solo when I was 4.

I dislike politics.

Out of 40-50 students at a puppet boot camp when I was 11, I won the first place trophy in puppet competitions plus many other awards.

I love Anne of Green Gables and I swore I wouldn’t marry anyone except Gilbert Blythe, and then a modern-day Gilbert came into my life and became my boyfriend.

I want to go to Sweden as a missionary.

I can write in Dwarvish.

There’s nothing in this world I love more than Jesus Christ, my Savior and King.

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Recipe 4: Apple Pie (Äppelpaj)

Recipe 4: Apple Pie (Äppelpaj)

Today was one of those days where I woke up and just really did not want to go for a run. But remembering I had apple pie downstairs having cooled from last night, here I am, consuming apple pie and toffee philosophy ice cream. I suppose now I have to run. But not until I finally write this post.

The apple pie was pretty easy to put together, just as the last three recipes have been. However, I was really confused by the crust; the recipe demanded that I “spoon batter over apples in pan.” And the word “batter” here is very accurate, because it wasn’t at all like the dough I anticipated roling out into cute pie crust designs. Made of butter, sugar, egg, flour, salt and baking powder, it definitely resembled a near cookie-dough consistency. But oh my gosh it was the best pie crust I’ve ever tasted. It was so sweet! It was basically like sugar cookie-covered apples.

Spooning the batter on top didn’t seem right, but I did my best anyway, and it got me really nervous that it would burn in weird, sharp and jagged places. But because it contained so much butter, the batter smoothed over and created a fluffy bread-roll appearance across the top of the pie.

Unfortunately, because I left it out overnight to cool, the fluffiness collapsed in on itself, so it doesn’t look quite as attractive in the picture. Regardless, I’m pleased with how it turned out.

In the actual apple mix, the option was to include either chopped pecans or walnuts. Walnuts are cheaper so that’s what I chose, even though they’re not my favorite. But I couldn’t really taste them, and I doubt my brothers even noticed they were there.

The recipe suggested serving the pie with whipped cream, but I was out of that, so toffee philosophy ice cream it was. The two didn’t go together too badly.

If it wasn’t for needing a rating, I probably wouldn’t have let my brothers also have apple pie for breakfast (because that’s so unhealthy), but I guess it ended up being a great decision because they rated it really well. (Though it took a bit to get it out of them because they wanted to rate it an R or a 10/10. They knew what I meant.)

Again, I totally forgot to track the total prep time. The thing was in the oven for 35 minutes, and I probably spent a half an hour putting it together.

My rating: ★★★★★

(This was again after 4.5 stars, but when I explained that I couldn’t do a half star, they told me to round up. I have very supportive brothers.)

 

Recipe 3: Baked Apple Dumplings (Drottning Äpplen)

Recipe 3: Baked Apple Dumplings (Drottning Äpplen)

The apple dumplings are supposed to be served with rum sauce, (the recipe for it is included below this recipe in the cookbook), but considering the age of my family and the fact that we have no rum in the house, and I was not about to go through the efforts to purchase some just for this recipe, I served the dumplings without the sauce. It made sense, then, that my siblings said it ought to include something else with it, and I like their suggestions a little better: cinnamon sugar on top, or sugar included in the dough. It could also be served with ice cream, as each of the apple dumplings are similar to what mini apple pies might taste like.

Recipe 3(2).JPG

After the last recipe, my family was pretty eager to try another one of the desserts I put together from this cookbook. And they were certainly not disappointed.

This recipe takes quite a bit of time to put together by yourself, but in the future I could easily throw together the dough and the cinnamon sugar for the inside of the cored apples and set them out as an apple dumpling bar for them to put their own together themselves.

Total prep time…I don’t have a clue. I kept getting distracted with other interesting things like Pinterest and how unacceptably cluttered the baking counter was. But I can imagine it took about 30-40 minutes, not including the 55 minutes the dumplings were in the oven.

Altogether, this was a fun and simple, (though time-consuming) recipe. It turned out really well and I would love to make it again.

My rating: ★★★★☆

My siblings told me I ought to put four and a half out of five stars, but I have no idea how to create a half-star.

Recipe 2: Apple Crisp (Äppelpudding)

Recipe 2: Apple Crisp (Äppelpudding)

This recipe was all rainbows and unicorns. The Apple Crisp was definitely a hit for my family, and they all immediately loved it.

Essentially, this dessert was very easy to pull together, and didn’t take any longer than about 20 minutes of prep time, (not including the 60 minutes the dessert was in the oven). I used six granny smith apples in an 8×8 inch glass cooking pan, and at first glance I thought it was far too full, but it ended up being the perfect amount. The crisp sprinkled  in a thick layer on top consisted of sugar, flour, baking powder, and butter. Over that was poured a cup of water. I figured that was too little, but not by any means. In fact, it may have been just a tad much. But in the end I think it worked out really well.

The recipe suggests using whipped cream when served, but, for future reference, if served warm (recommended), the whipped cream melts beside it. Plus, the serving is already so filling, the whipped cream in addition was almost too much.

My rating: ★★★★☆

The only reason I’m not giving it a five out of five is because all the rest of the seven members of my family said it was a four out of five. And that was explicitly because my mother is an excellent cook and she spoils us with her heavenly food 24/7.

Recipe 1: Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce (äppelkaka med vaniljäs)

Recipe 1: Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce (äppelkaka med vaniljäs)

“It tastes a lot better than it looks.” –Famous last words of some chef.

I started with desserts first because I’m a broke college student who can’t afford basic meats that are required for typical dishes. But my family certainly isn’t complaining about this predicament. Although, my brother was the first to try out my first creation and this was his comment:

“It’s interesting. Like, you get a different taste the more it goes through your mouth. I’m not really sure what to think of it. But it isn’t bad.”

This, for the record, was after I told him multiple times to be completely honest with me. He also agreed with me that it tasted like oatmeal pudding. Upon googling what Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce was supposed to look like, I found that everyone’s except mine was in actual cake form and not some sort of mush. The above photo is my attempt at making it look presentable.
In my logic, there was absolutely no reason according to the recipe for it to be able to come out hard enough to stand up by itself on a plate. The bottom of the 8 1/2 inch baking pan was covered with fine breadcrumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter, topped with 3 1/2 cups of sweetened applesauce, and another layer of the breadcrumb concoction on top, baked at 350º for 30 minutes.

Admittedly, I did use too much butter as the result of a complete blonde moment, but I managed to fix that, so I don’t think that would have had anything to do with the fact that it came out like an odd pudding.

Update: the rest of my family also enjoyed the dessert. (And for the record, my family has definitely always been my biggest critic, so I take their opinions fairly seriously.)

The vanilla sauce was a bit tricky with timing, but that was partially because it didn’t even enter my mind at the time that I could have made it during the 30 minutes that the main part was in the oven instead of the 10 minutes during which the first part of it baked. During that time, I had my sister stir the sauce (which didn’t thicken as the recipe said, even with the cornstarch, it just boiled over. But it essentially didn’t cause a problem in its effectiveness.) while I juggled separating eggs, removing the dish from the oven, removing the butter that didn’t melt (blonde moment repair time), and mixing into the breadcrumbs and butter the sugar and cinnamon that I’d also somehow overlooked. I was able to improvise pretty well, and it worked out as though I hadn’t made those errors. Still laughing about that though!

Another note: the sauce turned out especially yellow because the yolks I used were from farm fresh eggs, which are typically higher in carotene than eggs you’d buy at the store.

Overall, prep time was approximately an hour.

And in my opinion, the sauce was the tastiest part.

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

Introduction: my crazy idea

Introduction: my crazy idea

I’m pretty good at dreaming up random ideas. Making those random dreams a reality, on the other hand, is not so easy. As a college student on summer break, I reasoned that now would be the perfect time to start one of my crazy ideas: blogging my way through a cookbook.

A year and a half ago, I ran into my high school photography class teacher who was delivering bread to the local cafe where I’d been working. Somehow, our conversation melded together my passion for Sweden and my less-than-excellent cooking skills. He recalled a certain Swedish cookbook he’d picked up at a sale years ago. We agreed on a trade of one of my large photography prints for his cookbook and made it a deal. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen him since then to deliver to him that print, but somehow he was able to get the cookbook to me. If you’re reading this now, sir, forgive me; know I haven’t forgotten you.

Recently, I watched Julie & Julia, a film about a young woman who is inspired by the famous American cook, Julia Child, who lived in France. She worked her way through the cookook and blogged about everything she did. (The entire movie is quite cute and very realistic. I highly recommend it). I was inspired by this, and decided that it was time to make my desire to someday actually enjoy cooking a reality.

I have kind of  love/hate relationship with food, and I don’t really find cooking or baking altogether enjoyable, but I’m hoping that through these 180 pages of recipes I will be eased into more of a liking for making food, and simultaneously create a new hobby for me.

Disclaimer: unlike Julie in the aforementioned film, I will not be making this a daily post where I’ve conquered multiple recipes at a time. Rather, I will more than likely treat this as more of a casual, every-other-day trend with one recipe at a time.

Also disclaimer: my posts will not contain the entire recipes themselves, just the reviews of them.

Recipe book: Swedish Recipes Old and New. Chicago, IL: American Daughters of Sweden, 1955. Print.

Hope

Hope:

This isn’t the end.

This is just the beginning of just a chapter of your life.

This chapter could last two paragraphs or 60 pages.

This chapter could be the most exciting chapter in the book, it could be the climax.

This chapter could actually also be a low point in the novel of your life, and it could only get better.

Hope:

God is in control.

You can rely on Him to take care of your needs.

You are an imperfect decision maker, but God is a perfect decision maker.

You are imperfect at pursuing a thing, and God is the Master Perfecter of all plans, and WILL, He TRULY will fulfill them in the most perfect way there could ever be.