Monday, December 24, 2012

merry christmas

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

lille juleaften

happy little christmas eve

Friday, December 21, 2012

hanging out with anders


i had a great time hanging out with my nephew anders over thanksgiving
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

diy thursday: homemade natural all-purpose cleaner (part 2)

As I have mentioned before, I have been on a quest to make my own natural cleaners this year. The all-purpose cleaner I made earlier this year seemed to work well. I really liked it. The smell was great and it seemed to get things clean.
As I have been researching natural homemade cleaners, however,  I have learned that borax and washing soda can be somewhat harsh. I, therefore, decided I wanted to try to make a natural cleaner that didn't include borax and washing soda, but still gets things clean. While I think some cleaning jobs probably require borax and washing soda (and they are better alternatives to their toxic cleaning counterparts), I don't think I need them in an all-purpose cleaner. Researching natural homemade all-purpose cleaners I noticed that most of them include both castile soap and distilled white vinegar; which I thought sounded fine to me. BUT, after doing some further research I realized that since vinegar is an acid and castile soap is a base, they cancel each other out. Not cool. To read more about this go here.
Finding an all natural homemade all-purpose cleaner recipe without both castile soap and white vinegar proved very difficult. After much research and leaning on what I have learned thus far,  I finally settled on this concoction.

Natural Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner


1 cup distilled white vinegar
4 Tbs lemon juice
1 cup filtered warm water
20-30 drops tea tree essential oil

You will also need an empty spray bottle (do not use one that has housed toxic cleaners) and a funnel.

Using a funnel pour all the ingredients into the spray bottle. Shake the bottle to combine all the ingredients, and the cleaner is ready to use.
This cleaner is easy to make and doesn't include ingredients that cancel each other out or cause irritation. It includes my trusted distilled white vinegar which is effective in killing mold, bacteria, and germs.  Lemon juice is great degreaser and it smells good. Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial and antifungal essential oil. To me these are all components that are great to have in an all-purpose cleaner.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

wordless wednesday

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

sometimes you just have to point

to make sure people see what you are looking at
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Monday, December 17, 2012

milling mondays: danish christmas cookies (vanillekranse)

One of the cookies I always looked forward to eating during the Christmas season in Denmark was vanillekranse (vanilla wreaths). My mom would always bake these yummy crunchy cookies with a hint of vanilla. They are even yummy as a whole wheat cookie - the whole wheat flour does not compromise the lovely taste.
Whole Wheat Vanillekranse (Danish Christmas Cookie)

500 g whole wheat flour (2/3 soft wheat berries and 1/3 hard wheat berries)
1/4 tsp baking powder
75 g finely chopped blanched almonds
1 vanilla bean (or you can try using 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
375 g butter, sliced into smaller pieces
1 egg
250 g sugar

This recipe yields as many as 195 cookies. Yes, almost 200, so you can halve the recipe if you want. But trust me, they will be devoured.

First, if you mill your own flour, mill 375g soft wheat berries and 125g hard wheat berries (you may want to mill a little more wheat berries since you will be sifting the flour).  I use the pastry setting on my WonderMill.

If you milled your own flour, sift the flour twice to make the flour more light by removing some of the bran. Use a very fine sift to ensure as bran is left behind.  I use this one

Combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder and chopped blanched almonds in a bowl.

Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise from end to end. Scrape inside of the bean with the edge of a knife and pull out the seeds.

In a separate bowl add the vanilla bean seeds, sugar, and butter and mix it together. I use my Kitchen Aid on setting 2.

Then add the egg and mix again.

Finally, add in the flour, baking powder, almond mixture.

Mix everything together until combined. Don't over mix it.

Let the kneaded dough rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.

When you are ready to bake the cookies pre-heat the oven to 395F.

Now that the dough is cold and more firm roll it out into a thin rope. Cut the rope into 3-4 inch pieces. Shape the pieces into wreaths . Or if you have a meat grinder with a cookie attachment or cookie press you can skip the step of rolling it out yourself.

Place the cookie wreaths on a cookie sheet. Since I don't have a meat grinder or a cookie press I then use a fork with a little flour to make an impression on the cookie for it to look more like a wreath.

Bake the cookies for about 7 minutes. Be careful not to bake them too long. They are ready when the edges are light brown.
Take them out of the oven and place them on a cooling rack.

And enjoy. They are yummy and full of Christmas.
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Saturday, December 15, 2012


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Thursday, December 13, 2012

diy thursday: all natural homemade play dough (play-doh) and christmas candle

My grandfather gave us a Christmas calendar candle, kalenderlys, at Thanksgiving. We were excited to have one again this year. Burning the Christmas candle a little every day from December 1 through the 24th brings back many memories from my childhood. I always loved burning it (and still do). My brother and I would take turns lighting it - I had even days and he would light the uneven days. It isn't fully Chrismas without a kalenderlys.
The candle we received this year didn't fit the candle holders I usually use. I decided to still use one of my candle holders, but needed something to make the candle sit study in the holder. I immediately thought I would just use some white play-doh I had ... only to realize it was completely dried out. Bummer. It was December 1 and I didn't have time to go to a craft store or the like to get something to fix the candle holder. Then I remembered, my mom used to make my brother and I play dough from scratch. Making my own play dough hasn't been on the top of my list to try since I don't have children. But, hey, the situation called for it, so I set out to figure out how to make it. And it is SUPER easy.
Play Dough (Play-Doh)
1 cup flour (wheat berries)
1/2 cup salt
1 Tbs canola oil
1 cup boiling water
Since I mill my own flour when baking, I just milled some wheat berries in my WonderMill to give me one cup of whole wheat flour.
Combine flour, salt, canola oil, and boiling water and mix.

When it begins to become difficult to stir, take the dough out on the counter and knead it together until it becomes the consistency of play dough.

And that is how easy it is to make play dough. If you are wanting to make it for children to play with then many recipes suggest you add cream of tartar for extra elasticity. It is also more fun for children if you add food coloring to make different color play dough. If we are blessed with children one day, I plan to make my own play dough since it is non-toxic and super cheap.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

the next big soccer player


anders showed us his mad soccer skills (or as we call it fodbold) over thanksgiving. he is a natural.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

milling mondays: layer cake (lagkage)

I grew up eating layer cake or as I grew up calling it, LAGKAGE, for my birthday.  Lagkage is a common type of birthday cake in Denmark. 
One year my mom surprised my brother and Michael with a lagkage to celebrate their birthdays (which is only a couple of weeks apart). This was Michael's first time tasting lagkage ... and he was hooked! He has talked about this lovely treat many times since then. I hadn't been brave enough to make the cake myself because I thought making the cake layers would be too difficult (in Denmark you can buy these layers pre-made).  Knowing how much my husband loves this cake, I requested that my mom make it for Michael over Thanksgiving as a delayed birthday cake. Instead, she and I made it together and I realized that it isn't actually as difficult as I had imagined. SO, maybe I will start making this layer cake for my husband on his birthdays to come after all:)

Whole Wheat Layer Cake (Lagkage)
print-email-text recipe


Cake Layers
3 eggs
150 g sugar
100 g whole wheat flour (2/3 soft wheat berries and 1/3 hard wheat berries)
50 g potato starch
2 tsp baking powder

this yields 3 layers

Cake Filling
Fruit Jam such as strawberry or apricot jam
Fruit such as bananas, pineapples, strawberries, and/or apple sauce
Chocolate chips and/or nuts
Half box vanilla pudding
Whipping cream or cool whip

These are only suggestions. You can put whatever you desire between the layers

Cake Frosting
100 g powdered sugar
30 g cocoa
Heavy whipping Cream


Preheat your oven to 437F.

Wisk together the eggs really well with a hand mixer. Add the sugar a little at a time. Mix it well until it is fluffy and light.

If you mill your own flour, mill 75g soft wheat berries and 25g hard wheat berries (you may want to mill a little extra wheat berries since you will lose some when you sift the flour).  I use the pastry setting on my WonderMill. Sift the freshly milled flour once to eliminate some of the bran to make the layers a little more light. Use a very fine sift to ensure as much of the bran as possible is left behind.  I use this one

Fold in the freshly milled flour, potato starch and baking powder to the egg and sugar mixture.
Pour the mixture into three round pans.
Bake the layers for about 5 min.

While they are baking get three sheets of parchment paper ready and drizzle some sugar on them. The sugar will keep the baked layer from sticking to the parchment paper.

When the layers are done, take them out of their pans and let them cool on the parchment paper.

Once the cake layers are done you are ready to add the filling. As mentioned above, you can add whatever you want as the filling. The suggestions you see in the ingredients list are ones we have used in the past.

Spread fruit jam on each layer (make sure to add the jam and toppings to the bottom side of the top layer so your top layer doesn't have anything on top side).

Then add fruit on top of the jam.

Mix together some vanilla pudding using the directions on the box. I only use half a box. Add some whipped heavy cream or cool whip to make the pudding mixture more fluffy and rich. Spread this mixture on each layer.

Finally add some chocolate chips and/or nuts.

Carefully lift each layer on top of each other.

This is one of those cakes that tastes better the longer it sits (well within reason:)) Cover the cake and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days for the jam and fruit to soak into the layers.

When you are ready to serve the layer cake add the frosting. Mix together the powdered sugar and cocoa using just a dash of water. Spread it over the layers.

Finally whip some heavy cream or use cool whip to decorate the sides of the cake however you see fit. We usually add some sprinkles and candles if it is for a birthday to make it even more festive.

And there you have it. A wonderful layer cake. Or as I call it lagkage and my husband calls it - the best birthday cake ever. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012



over thanksgiving we introduced michael and ashley to danish game bob. it was fun revisiting an old game.
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

diy thursday: natural shower head cleaner

We have hard water so after some time our shower heads get calcium buildup. The solution to get rid of it is super simple and of course involves distilled white vinegar.
In order to get rid of the nasty buildup, all I do is fill a little bag with some pure distilled white vinegar and fasten it around the shower head with a rubber band. As soon as the shower head comes in contact with the vinegar the calcium deposits start dissolving. I let it sit for several hours before I remove the bag with the vinegar and the shower head looks as good as new.
I told you - SUPER simple and no scrubbing or anything involved.
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