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TREES, FREEZE, GOODIES
Whew! I have a moment to sit down and catch my breath in this whirlwind month and by gum, I'm going to post while doing it!

It's go go go right now, with work still being crazy, though I'd hoped it would've slown down by now. I just made up that word: slown. It's a good one, dont'cha think? (not really, I kid.)

We rushed madly around yesterday in the late afternoon, after Anders got home from his hockey bockey game. Karin and I had run to the store earlier to buy her a winter jacket and then I dropped her off in Södra Sandby to help her soccer team's fundraising efforts (by stuffing mailboxes), followed by soccer practice. Martin and I waited impatiently as the beautiful sunny day began to wane...and poor Anders was pounced upon when he arrived and forced back into the car to race off to Dalby to the tree farm before the sun set (at 4!!).

It's FREEZING again. Below freezing, actually, by several degrees. We've had weeks of below zero temps until suddenly on Saturday, it warmed up to 3 plus (celsius) and all the snow started melting like crazy and turning to slush and ice. It rained a bit too, and our tree chopping plans were foiled, but on Sunday, it dawned bright and clear and COLD again. By 3 p.m., we were at the tree farm, stepping down the ice-covered tractor ruts heading for the bigger trees at the back. It was blowing and I had no scarf and Martin had no mittens, and the trees were spindly and pathetic, but we finally found one that we thought would work and Anders got down on the frozen ground and sawed through the trunk while I held it still.

The guys up at the barn didn't think it would fit through their plastic-wrapper apparatus, but I made them try and of course, giant tree though it was, it fit. Anders and Martin went back out into the field for a little tree (for the play rec room) and got back just as the sun disappeared for good.

I wanted to get them into their stands but no doing...Anders had to make Christmas candy for work and I had to pick up Karin and hit the grocery store. And today, we had Martin's parent-teacher conference at 4 and then raced home to get Karin and off again to Holmby Church for Flyinge School's annual Lucia concert/pageant. Karin and about 40 other kids were dressed as Santas. There were several gingerbread men, a few bakers, starboys, a choir of angel girls, Lucia maidens and a gaggle of various animals: Christmas pigs (julskinka, haha!), and Christmas goats. The 6th graders were execrable, but the rest of the singing was cute and, mercifully, short.

When we got home, I had to run to the grocery store AGAIN. WTH? It's insane how often we have to go to the grocery store! I blame the milk, and I don't even drink the stuff! While I was gone, Anders put the trees up, and the one in the living room IS HUGE. Also lopsided, with a giant gaping hole in one side. It's now turned to the wall, and the top has been trimmed, but the lights and decorations will have to wait until tomorrow.

This afternoon, before all this running around, Karin came home from school with her friend Moa, and they made a confection from a recipe in the youth magazine that Karin subscribes to (KP, for you Swedes reading). She had 4 of them waiting on the table as a surprise for us. They were DELICIOUS!

Snabb kola (Quick Toffee/Caramel)

100 grams (1 stick) butter or margarine
2 dl (1 cup) sugar
4 Tb cocoa powder
4 Tb flour
1 dl (1/2 cup) syrup (light)

Melt the butter on low heat in a pot. Pour in the sugar, cocoa and flour, mixing all the while. Pour in the syrup and continue to stir for 3-5 minutes. Place baking paper on a cookie sheet and pour the toffee onto the paper. Let it cool and cut into pieces. Alternatively, you can pour the toffee into aluminum foil pastry forms.

Karin added a sifting of powdered sugar on top. NOM NOM NOM!
 busy
mood: busy
music: Karin singing Tomtarnas Julnatt


Comments

okay, i'm exhausted just reading that. :) i had no idea that "slown" wasn't a word...since i say it regularly. :) here's to putting your feet up and RELAXING, woman! xoxo

I was kidding, I didn't make it up :) But it FELT like a made-up word!

Okay, now I have tree-envy! I bet it will look gorgeous when you have a moment (ha! ;-)) to get the lights and decorations put on. Perhaps I can find time this evening to get out the balsam candles, so that at least our tree-less apartment will have a Christmas scent. :-)

And I am so going to try Karin's confection...as soon as I find a moment to run the metric/English conversion. (Really? It's just "low heat"? I don't need to pull out the candy thermometer?)

That's what the recipe said...no candy thermometers involved! It's an easy-peasy recipe that kids can do, so ought to be pretty simple! (BTW, I love that icon, I'm swiping it. Who's the artist??)

Easy-peasy is about my skill level when it comes to candy-making, so definitely will give this one a try. ;-)

The icon source art is an Edmund Dulac illustration (for Edgar Allen Poe's poem, "The Bells") -- I've always loved his work. I was adding a few icons to my LJ account yesterday, and this one just felt sort of Christmasy to me. I have a couple other versions of it, that I'll try to post today, but this one is my favorite. :-)

(Anonymous)

That's so cool that Karin made that! Good of her! (Wow is that magazine still coming out!)

I, slightly older than Karin hrrm, made "knäck" for the first time yesterday, and it actually worked after a second try! What's English for knäck? (butter, syrup, cream, chopped almonds (however I made chokladknäck since one of my advent guests are allergic to nuts) boiled to 125 C )

Translation at tyda.se suggests toffee for knäck, like you used here too for kola. But kola is not knäck, and it's certainly not karamell (caramel?)?

*Confused!*

Anyway, Karin's kola really sounds yum!! :)

Mia

http://mias.blogg.se

I didn't think toffee was right, actually. It's more like a soft fudge. Caramel is maybe a better translation, but we usually use is a description of flavor, more than a KIND of confection. She's made knäck before, too, but this was yummier. :)

Brittle?
like peanut brittle?

No, it's not crunchy at all. Very soft, softer than fudge.

(Anonymous)

I LOVE toffee! Thanks Karin, I can't wait to try cooking this easy recipe. Although,I'm positive it would taste much better if you were here making it! Also wish I had a tree - now the 4th year in a row without! :( Love, Lizaardmom

That's so sad! You should come here then and one of our trees can be yours! :D

(Anonymous)

Yes I should....but...things in the way! I do have several small trees to look at anyway- and the ones outside covered in clumps of snow are way more beautiful! Thanks for changing the recipe amounts! Love, Lizardmom

(Anonymous)

Pshew!

-Heather

I know! *collapse*

(Anonymous)

Yay for the trees and double yay for the NOM NOM!!! send her my way please!!!All I have left is the cookie making and print and stuff the Christmas letter.
Love Seeseter

I've got more than you, dammit. Still have tree decorating, cookie-baking and the last few gifts to get. But I'm mailing the last 2 packages today!

Is there a conversion of dl to fractions of cups? This sounds delicious.... I think I could covert it to vegan and GF... quite easily actually.... Yum.
I have a tree in my bedroom this year, after several years of no tree. It is potted and about a foot high. I will plant it in my friend Jim's yard when he takes possession of his new home in mid January. I've gotten little white sparkly baubles for the tree. It's cute.

Oh! I should have thought to do the conversions for the measurements. I'll update the post to add them in a minute.

The little tree sounds very cute!

Trying... to... catch... my... breath... too. No matter how much I try to downgrade Decembers, they always sweep me away in a rolling tide of responsibilities. But! Even though I should be working on any one of a thousand other things, I finally read through your Italy entries, and they're lovely! I'm so sorry we couldn't meet up, but we WILL sometime. (My husband and I both dearly want to visit Sweden at some point.)

I STILL haven't put up the day in Pisa! It will be 2011 before I get to it at this rate, if I ever do. :( Will have to backdate it.

OH YUM! Was there a recipe where you found those??

Chocolate Sugar Cookies


From the VegNews Magazine's Recipe Club

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Hello, cookie time! When the holidays roll around, one of our all-time favorite traditions is baking roughly a bazillion cookies. While sugar cookies are a no-fail treat, sometimes you need a little something extra. This recipe from VN columnist Beverly Lynn Bennett is just a step above your regular sugar cookie—it has chocolate! Perfect for DIY decorating (or devouring immediately after cooling), you're sure to love these chocolaty cookies.



Makes 5 to 7 dozen

What You Need:

1-1/2 cups non-hydrogenated margarine
1 cup unbleached cane sugar
10 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vanilla
4-1/2 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder

What You Do:

1. In a large bowl, beat together the margarine, sugar, water, and vanilla until light and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to form a smooth dough. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until firm. Divide the dough in half, work with one half at a time, and keep the remaining dough covered.

2. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out to desired thickness (1/8-inch for crispy cookies or 1/4-inch for soft), cut into shapes with a knife or cookie cutters, and carefully transfer the cookies with a spatula to ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow cookies to cool slightly before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.

*For an extra-festive twist, cover the tops of the cookies with melted chocolate and crushed candy canes!

(Anonymous)
Joy here

A couple of words I think "I" made up!

Zanity... you know sanity with a little crazyness thrown in!

Brill... I will do this negative self-talk and say (sarcastically) that I am so brilliant but I cut the negative part mid word and leave it at brill. So, I am not brilliant but almost! Brill is a word but I have created it meaning not quite brilliant. That counts for something, doesn't it??

Re: Joy here

I think I LIVE in zanity! :D

(Anonymous)
Re: Joy here

Welcome to my world!! :S HEE Just made that crazy smile!!

(Anonymous)

"Slown" and "execrable" in the same post!

Webster's online dictionary doesn't know slown, but it does know execrable -- I'll bet you've just been dying to use it in a sentence. ;-) I like it -- I'll have to find a use for it soon, too.

Russell

Then maybe I DID make it up! :D

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