Monday, April 25, 2016

milling mondays: whole wheat loaded cookies

For Esther's first birthday I thought it would be fun to use some personalized M&Ms I had saved from when we celebrated Esther's finalization. I thought this loaded cookie would be the perfect solution. Who doesn't like a cookie full of M&Ms, pretzels and coconut - yum!

Whole Wheat Loaded Cookies


2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (2/3 soft wheat berries and 1/3 hard wheat berries)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups pretzels, broken
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups M&Ms


Preheat oven to 350F.

If you mill your own flour, grind your soft and hard wheat berries. I use my WonderMill on the pastry setting. Sift the flour once to make the dough less dense.

Mix together the freshly milled flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Gradually blend the flour mixture into the creamed mixture.

Finally stir in the pretzels, coconut and M&Ms.

Shape about 1/4 cup of dough into balls and place them about 3 inches apart on a un-greased baking sheet or baking stone.

Let the cookies bake for about 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.

Let them cool on a wire rack.


Saturday, January 16, 2016


Last year we were able to join Michael's family for a day at Disneyland while they were vacationing there and Esther had a great time! We were not sure if she would be too young to enjoy the day and while she probably will have no recollection of that day she seemed to enjoy it. We saw lots of intrigue, pointing, clapping and smiling from Esther. So glad we were able to spend some time with family. Here are some snapshots from the day.

Monday, December 14, 2015

family memories

There are some moments in our lives that are so precious you don't want to forget them. These are the moments that you lock away in your heart to hold on to the memory.

I have been so blessed to have an amazing extended family. A family where both sides of the family like each other and don't mind vacationing together. And when one of the family units decides to move to a different country (my immediate family being that family unit:) they love us so well that when we are in town or on special occasions WE ALL come together. For example in 2004 when we came back to Denmark for visit over Christmas - both sides of our family came together and we rented a cabin and spent the Christmas holiday together and just enjoyed quality time together. Such a great memory. Pass forward to October 2015 and my parents decided to celebrate their 60th birthdays, Danish style - and their siblings, many of my cousins and their kids all made the trek from Denmark to help celebrate and make memories. What a great family! We all stayed together for a week leading up to the party - and just hung out, caught up, enjoyed each others' company, played games, went on excursions, ate together - and got to know each others' kids. I am so thankful for a family that chose to use their vacation and finances to make such a special week happen. Thank you! I miss family time in Denmark and am thankful when I get a chance to experience it once in a while. Here are a bunch of snapshots from the week.

enjoying life outside

meal time
enjoying life inside

out and about

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Today I am grateful.

Today we are celebrating Esther turning one. This year has flown by and I can't believe our daughter is now one. So much has happened this year - so many developments and milestones. I love and appreciate the little girl Esther is becoming. She brings so much joy to our day and I can't imagine life without her. Not a day goes by where she doesn't bring a smile to my face:) She is such a gift!

But today is about so much more. It is about how one year ago today a special woman made an incredible sacrifice. A sacrifice that enabled us to become parents. I am thankful for this woman every day. I have been so filled with gratitude as I look back upon this day in the hospital a year ago. Our hero carried and labored for us so that we could experience a glimpse of the love God has for us as we love Esther. When I look at Esther and how much Michael and I have gained by having her in our life, how much sweeter and blessed our life has become, I am so thankful and incredibly aware of the reality that this woman had to let go of so much at the same time. There are no words that can adequately describe how thankful and blessed we are. But the overwhelming feeling I have today is a feeling of gratitude. Gratitude for the woman that made it possible for us to have a daughter that is turning one today. What an amazing and selfless gift. God is so good!

Today I am grateful.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

diy thursday: homemade nutella

I love Nutella! I mean who doesn't love a hazelnut chocolate spread? I grew up with Nutella and loved spreading it on a piece of fresh bread from the bakery on special occasions. We don't usually keep Nutella on hand as it is a "dangerous" thing to have in the house:) But this summer I thought it would be nice to get some as a treat for Michael and me. I then made the mistake of reading the label and realized that palm oil and sugar were the main ingredients (not hazelnut and cocoa). Now this didn't shock me and I realize chocolate spread isn't good for you... but I thought I must be able to make a Nutella with at least a little better ingredients. And I found a recipe that is very easy to make and that tastes yummy!

Homemade Nutella (hazelnut chocolate spread)


2 cups hazelnuts
1 cup dark chocolate, melted
2 TBS cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1 TBS honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBS coconut oil
Sea salt


Preheat oven to 400F

Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast in oven for about 10 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure nuts don't burn.

Remove the roasted hazelnuts and place them in a dishtowel and rub and shake to remove the skin. You shouldn't have to work too hard at this. It should for the most part come off easily. If all of the skin doesn't come off that is ok.

Place the peeled, roasted hazelnuts in a blender and mix until it becomes smooth as butter.

Add in the coconut oil, sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder and pinch of salt.

Blend it all together until smooth.

Melt the dark chocolate and add to the blender along with the honey.

Blend until smooth.

And VOILA you have homemade hazelnut chocolate spread.


Monday, September 14, 2015

milling mondays: whole wheat sister cake (soesterkage)

When my parents were in town last month I decided it was time for an old school danish cake. The original recipe dates back to the 1700s, but you can't go wrong with a tried and true recipe. And it was nice to bake something that is different than my usual go-to desserts.

Whole Wheat Soesterkage (Sister Cake)


400g whole wheat flour (2/3 soft wheat berries and 1/3 hard wheat berries)
1 tsp baking powder
1 TBS cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice
250g butter, softened
250g sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 dl (about 1 cup) buttermilk
100g raisins


Preheat the oven to 350F

If you mill your own flour, grind the soft and hard wheat berries. I of course use my WonderMill on the pastry setting. You may want to mill a little extra flour since you will need to sift the flour twice to make the cake less dense.

Combine the freshly milled whole wheat flour, baking powder and spices. Set aside.

In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar.

Add the eggs one at a time mixing in between.

Then add the flour mixture.

Add the buttermilk and mix until the dough is formed.

Stir in the raisins.

Pour the dough into a greased fluted cake pan.

Bake the cake for about 40 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Before serving you can sift powdered sugar over the cake.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

officially a carlson

A month ago today (yes, I am behind in blogging! but at this point in my life little miss e is more important than blogging;), Esther officially became a Carlson! We of course have known she was a Carlson since she was born - but it was such a wonderful and comforting feeling to have the Court confirm what we already knew. As I have said before, God has been so incredibly faithful on this adoption journey. God answered the prayers and doubts I had about adoption and gave us a daughter that I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to call mine (ours). Every day when I look at her I feel so blessed and privileged to be able to be her mor. Sometimes I just sit and stare at her and am overcome with joy and gratitude that she is our daughter. Esther has changed our lives forever in a perfect way. Even though the journey to parenthood was a long and difficult one, I wouldn't have it any other way. God has redeemed what seemed like a hopeless situation. In this process God showed His love and mercy for us - His adopted children!

I want to thank everyone who helped make this adoption possible - and most of all the woman who allowed us to become parents. She is the most selfless person I know. And I am grateful for her every day and I look forward to sharing that act of love with Esther as she grows in her understanding.

Esther was woken up from her nap in the court room and wasn't too thrilled about it so she wasn't in a smiley mood:)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

father's day

I realize father's day was over two weeks ago, but life happens and I still wanted to give my amazing husband a shout out on here! Happy FIRST Father's day, Michael! You are such a wonderful husband and now father. Thank you for being such a great father to sweet Esther. We love you!

Esther "made" her first homemade card for her daddy for father's day with the help of her mor:) I helped her hold the brush and then Esther showed her artistic ability by running her hands through the paint on her own -- adding a personal touch:)

Every day we thank God for the incredible blessing we have been given to be Esther's parents and because of that getting to celebrate days such as father's day:)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

faetter august

When we went to Texas we also got to meet our nephew August for the first time. What a cutie:) Esther's cousin (aka faetter), August, is only two months younger than Esther. It was fun seeing them interact. Esther was SUPER excited to meet him and screamed with excitement and joy into August's face the first couple of times she was near him. The raw emotion frightened August a little and he wasn't sure what he thought about his kusine Esther ... but soon enough they were friends. I am sure as they grow they will have lots of fun together ... and most likely get into trouble together as well;)

their expressions are so similar:)
what's up cuz!?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

and then there was a cousin

We were blessed to also travel to Texas to visit my family last month. My brother's children (aka my nephews:) have patiently been waiting for a cousin for years ... and now they finally have a cousin, and a girl cousin (aka kusine) at that! It was so fun to see them interact with each other.

This was also Esther's first time meeting her uncle (aka morbror) and auntie on my side and the first time my parents had all of their grandchildren together. What a special time of being together!

nephew selfies:)