Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Recipe: Perfect Mashed Rutabaga (with Carrots)

We recently ate the traditional Norwegian pinnekjøtt dinner, which we eat a week or so before Christmas (because we like to have something else on Christmas Day).  Every year we make mashed rutabegas (kålrotstappe) and every year they just don't work out.  Until this one.  I read several recipes and decided to try something a little new, that was (harhar) a mashup of several other recipes.  I started with one and a half rutabagas, 3 carrots, and a beef bouillion cube in a pot:

This boiled happily away until the veggies were soft, about 45 minutes or so.  I then drained them and dumped the lot into my KitchenAid, and added about 2 tablespoons of butter and about 150 milliliters of lactose-free cream.  And it was divine.  DIVINE!  I wish I had gotten a picture of the mash alone, but I forgot so here is the whole dinner with the mash off to the side.

We'll be making our mash this way from now on.  

Friday, 14 December 2012


Yesterday was St. Lucia's Day, or Lucia-dagen as it's called locally.  This is (as far as I know) primarily a Swedish celebration but, like Ikea and Volvo, it has trickled westwards into Norway and now most of the little kids here celebrate it too.  I, not even being of Scandinavian descent, know pretty close to nothing about the traditions, so I had to get help at all of the stores to be sure I got the right accessories for Henrik.  He ended up looking cute as a button (as always), but being a careful and rather timid boy, he was frightened by the commotion of  the older kids at the kindergarten and had to leave the assembly and parade to watch from the sidelines with me.  So without any further ado, here are some photos from Henrik's first Lucia-dagen:

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Holiday Crafting

Several years ago (2003), I got the idea to make an ornament wreath.  It was a beautiful disaster.  Like most of the blogs now recommend, I used hot glue, glass ornaments, and a foam form.  BIG MISTAKE.  Hot glue is good for exactly nothing at all.  I hate it.  All it does is get long stringy hot glue boogers all over the place without actually  doing a decent job of sticking Thing A to Thing B.  Here is a photo of it, while it lasted:

Every time I went outside I had to sweep up fallen ornaments.  After a week it looked like it had mange.  I was quite disappointed.

Having learned from my mistakes, and having a place big enough for plenty of decoration, I thought I would try again.  I was thinking of using a wire hanger as a basis, an idea that was confirmed by this site.  Then I went to Europris, which is a discount retailer that resembles a sort of cross between Dollar General and what KMart was like back when I was growing up: a good place to get stuff on a budget but not somewhere you want to get anything really important.  A good deal of their business is seasonal stuff which they sell really cheaply, even by Norwegian standards. So I loaded up on plastic ornaments, which only look plastic if you take a really close look at them.  From a distance they can be mistaken for glass, but if they pop off of the wreath, there is no mess, just a plasticky bounce and a splat of glitter.

About an hour later, I had this.  I filled in the gaps by using the red tinsel garland, rather than by gluing on any more ornaments; I didn't want to use glue at all, and I managed to avoid it.  I had about a half a tube of ornaments leftover plus most of the ornaments in the box to the left in the photo.  Those will be used for other projects; we might hang some from our trees or bushes, or from the patio railings.  Or stash them for further crafting.  

The other cool thing about this wreath is that, apart from the bow, it's reversible.  So the side that is against the wall (yes, that is a wall, not the floor; I live in a lumberyard) could easily have been the front.  So if you have a place to hang a free-hanging wreath, such as from a patio, this would work since both sides are the "right side"; you would just need to add a bow to both sides.

Henrik saw it for the first time this morning.  He pointed at it and said "Apples!"  So now it's the shiny apple wreath.