Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This is my first winter home in 7 years, and it is a cold one! December as I remember it used to be mostly rain and slush, but not this year. Three days into my visit, the temperature has not yet been above freezing. Very pretty. And very cold. Maybe, maybe we'll get a white Christmas? 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I don't like to fly, and I particularly don't like to fly alone with three kids. I have been nervous about this trip for a long time. But we made it. Going through airport security is always a bit of a juggle, but mostly this has been one of those times when I notice myself how big the kids have gotten (as opposed to the hundreds of times other people point this out to parents). They were all real troopers! I love that Russ, as soon as we were seated on the plane asked me in all seriousness: "Mommy, am I a real pilot now?"

Anyways, flying in over a snow-covered Swedish west coast was just magical. And to get to see my family again. It has been tooo long. Today we went out shopping to add to our insufficient American winter wardrobes. Snow pants, boots, jackets. Now we are ready!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Candy cane Brownies

 I made these last week for our advent celebration, and then again for our dinner guests last night. I am not much of a candy cane person otherwise, but I do love the chocolate/mint combo in these.

Candy Cane Brownies (vegan)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 of a block of silken tofu (about 4 oz)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped chocolate (optional)

small amount chocolate icing or ganache
crushed candy cane

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. Blend the oil, sugar, tofu and vanilla extract in a large bowl until smooth (I use a stick blender). Add the flour mixture, and the chocolate, and mix until combined. If the mixture seems too thick I add a tbsp or two of coffee. Spread into a 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Once cool, spread a thin layer of icing evenly over the brownies. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane. It is not necessary, but I prefer to keep these in the fridge. The brownies are very rich, so a small piece will do. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lentil Soup

A large pot of a healthy meal for next to nothing. Even using organic ingredients from Whole Foods can't turn this into anything expensive. I like it!

Lentil Soup
1 small onion
a couple of celery stalks (and/or other veggies)
1 lb green lentils (no need to soak)
1 bay leaf
8 cups water
1 bouillon cube
1 large can diced tomatoes
dash of braggs or soy sauce

Saute the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the celery, lentils, bay leaf, water, and bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and simmer 10-15 minutes more, or until the lentils are completely cooked. Season with salt, pepper, and soy sauce.This makes a big pot, and it tastes even better the next day!

PS. Looking at the photo, I must have thrown some spinach in there as well. That would go in towards the end of cooking. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

First of Advent

I am about to venture out for some major traveling alone with all three kids. Wish me luck! For this reason we did our family gift giving on Sunday, the first of Advent, which marks the beginning of the Christmas season back home.
The first candle lit.

The extent of our holiday decorations this year.

The kids all insisted on wearing Santa hats.

Some of the loot: Legos, books, paints, and an electric toothbrush.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

For Me!

Speaking of Christmas gifts, we already exchanged gifts with Dave's family when we saw them in New York for Thanksgiving. I love these Toms wedges that my sister-in-law gave me! They work with just about any color dress, and if I don't slouch, they should put me at just about 6 feet!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

And the Hankies!

How can I write about gift ideas without mentioning handkerchiefs? They are one of my favorite things to give. Who wants to kill trees to survive the cold season?

boyfriend hankie -- embroider-it-yourself kit WITH HOOP
I love these embroider-yourself hankies from the Etsy shop Chez sucre chez. This shop is well worth a visit. Last year I ordered some super cute (and affordable) cross-stitch kits for my daughters from here.

Perhaps some fancy pocket squares? (By the way, very easy to make your own!)

Or just order a whole lot of vintage ones on Ebay. 

Spoiling Christmas For Him

All those targeted internet ads have pretty much spoiled my gift ideas for Dave already, so I thought I would share them here, just for fun. I guess people don't share computers much anymore. Now the surprise will have to be which one:

A new blazer for work?

Or this chambray collar rugby?

A handsome watch?

Or some delicious Royall fragrance?

Sorry, there are no Sanskrit books on the list.