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  1. Swedish Kringle

    Saturday, December 28, 2013


    It's a tradition in my family to have Swedish Kringle for breakfast on Christmas morning. My grandma is Swedish, so my mom got the tradition/recipe from her and this is the first Christmas I've made the same recipe. Not being able to be with family on Christmas is hard, but continuing family traditions definitely  makes it easier. 

    Swedish Kringle
    serves 4-6

    Bottom layer, crust
    - 1 cup flour
    - 1 stick butter, room temp.
    - 2 TB water

    Top layer, choux pastry
    - 1 stick butter
    - 1 cup water
    - 1 tsp almond extract
    - 1 cup flour
    - 3 eggs

    - 1 cup powdered sugar
    - 1/4 tsp almond extract
    - small amount of milk until desired consistency is reached
    - sliced almonds for topping

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Begin by preparing the choux pastry (top layer) of the Kringle. 
    Bring the water and butter to boil - in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat once boil is achieved and butter has melted completely. Add in almond extract. Whisk the flour in until it becomes a cohesive dough. Set it aside to cool.

    While the choux dough is cooling, prepare the crust (bottom layer). 
    Mix together the flour, butter and water like you would a pie crust, do not over-mix. Divide into two equal portions and pat into long strips next to each other on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Should be about 1/4 inch thick.

    Return to the choux dough and add in the eggs one at a time - taking care to mix in thoroughly and carefully so as not to scramble the eggs. Spread the choux dough evenly over the crust.
    Bake for at least 50 minutes, or until the pastry is a deep golden brown.

    Remove the Kringle from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the pan while you prepare the glaze. (The pastry will be puffy when taken out of the oven, but will deflate as it cools, this is normal.)

    Mix together the powdered sugar, almond extract and milk, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Spread/Drizzle on pastry while it is still slightly warm. Top with sliced almonds.

    Swedish Kringle is best eaten fresh, but it can keep in an airtight container for at least a week - although it won't stay as crisp as when it is fresh and warm.



  2. Merry Christmas!

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013


  3. Wedding Photos

    Monday, November 4, 2013

    Photo by Thomas Pham Photography

    I just put up a post on our wedding photos on my photography blog
    I also talk about how I did some of the DIY stuff for my wedding. 
    Head over there and check it out!

  4. Thai Basil Pesto

    Monday, September 16, 2013

    Yesterday and today I spent a couple hours making pesto! I made pesto out of italian basil and thai basil. This year I had a small herb and vegetable garden in my backyard, and I grew basil. My italian basil plant got huge! It grew into a "bush" nearly 4 feet tall! So once the weather turned colder I went outside and chopped down both plants. What to do with all that basil but to make pesto? :)

    In both pestos I used nearly the same ingredients. For the italian basil pesto I loosely followed this recipe from Simply Recipes. I substituted almonds for pine nuts because that's what I had. And for the thai basil pesto I just left out the cheese and used less garlic and nuts.

     Thai Basil Pesto
    adapted from here, makes about 1 cup of pesto
    (the recipe listed here is not the total amount that I made, which will be obvious in the pictures. Since I used an entire plant my pesto was made in several batches that produced quite a lot.)

    - about 2 cups thai basil leaves, packed
    - 1/4 cup almonds
    - 1 clove of garlic, chopped
    - extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
    - salt and pepper to taste
    - food processor (a blender would work, but not as well and might have to be done in even smaller batches.)

    Add almonds and basil to food processor. 
    Turn it on and let the ingredients whiz around until they are finely ground/blended. You may have to stop it to scrap down the sides with a spatula to make sure all the leaves get blended.

    ^^Thai basil flowers, Thai basil is most easily recognized by it's purple stems and flowers
    With the food processor running, add in the chopped garlic. Stream in the oil until the mixture forms a loose paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pulse to combine.

    ^^the larger bottle is full of the italian basil pesto, while the smaller jar has the thai basil pesto. There is a slight color difference between the two, due to the color of the leaves.

    If you're making a large amount like I am, store your pesto in a jar or bottle with a thin covering of oil at the top to preserve the pesto from going bad. The layer of oil keeps the pesto from air exposure which will discolor it. Every time you use some pesto, ensure that there is still a layer of oil at the top. It will keep this way in the fridge for up to a year.



  5. Blueberry-Coconut Ice Cream (Vegan)

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013

    I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, although sometimes I eat like one. Especially when it's just me and my daughter, my husband usually demands some sort of protein for every main meal. I'm less picky. My midday meals tend to be a bit odd. Kale/Swiss Chard salads, Roasted sweet potatoes, easy pasta dishes, almonds, soups, etc. :) Of course a lot of midday meals are catered to Aria, so it's whatever's easiest and nutritious for her. I made this recipe as a combination of two that I found online. 

    I had been seeing different recipes for Blueberry-Buttermilk ice cream circling on Pinterest and that made me want to make some sort of blueberry ice cream - but buttermilk ice cream just doesn't sound appetizing, however delicious it may be. My cupboard is always full of coconut milk, so I decided that the rich and creamy flavor of coconut would be much better. And it was AMAZING! Definitely making again. Although with slightly less sugar, it was slightly too sweet and the coconut flavor was definitely more prominent because of that.

    Please pardon the wonky colors in the photos, I had to use Picmonkey to edit these since my Photoshop wasn't working. This image ^^^ is the closest color match.

    Blueberry-Coconut Ice Cream
    makes 3/4 loaf pan
    adapted from here and here

    - 1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries (about 3 cups)
     - 1 cup sugar (I think next time I'll lower it to 3/4 or a 1/2 cup, so feel free to make it as sweet as you like)
    - 2 cans full fat coconut milk
    - Zest and juice from one or two lemons

    Puree blueberries and sugar in a blender until smooth.
    Pour through a fine sieve over a bowl and discard solids. You will still have tiny flecks of blueberry throughout the ice cream, as you can see in my pictures.
    Whisk in the coconut milk, lemon zest and juice. Taste and add more lemon juice or sugar if needed.

    Pour mixture into your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. While your mixture is churning, place a loaf pan in the freezer to chill it. When the ice cream is finished, transfer to the chilled pan and freeze until hardened; at least 2 hours.



  6. Camping with the Family

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    I know, I know... Another long gap in blog posts. 
    This month has just felt rather hectic. Next month will be too.
    My family is here this summer for their furlough from Cambodia. They only get to come every other summer, so everyone's trying to cram in as much time as possible with each other. However, my sister is now going to be going to school about an hour out of Chicago! Super exciting. So I'll be able to see her much more often now. 

    Before my family moved to Cambodia, we would go camping every summer to Peninsula State Park in Door County, WI. Now my family goes for 2 weeks every other summer when they are back in the States. This year I got to join them for one week! It was just me and Aria this time because my husband had to work. We had a great time! I hadn't gone for 4 years, so I was really excited. It turned out to be a super muggy and hot week, but we still had fun. And Aria and I came back a couple shades darker (yay).

    Fair warning, there are A LOT of photos.

    ^^Above is a hammock that my family takes with every time they go camping, and I learned something new about it this year. It is 37 years old! My mom bought it on a trip to Venezuela when she was younger. As my dad puts it, "Mom has known this hammock longer than she's known me!" Wow.


    ^^ Every 3-4 years these fish come close to the shores around the peninsula to breed, but due to the heat of the shallow water, many of them die. So all the beaches we visited had a lot of these little dead fish everywhere. Not too bad, but kind of smelly.


    ^^ We rented a bike cart to take Aria on a bike ride with us. She was so excited to wear her "hat". She only slept for about half an hour, but of course that was when we stopped to take a photo, courtesy of my sister who happened to be jogging past.

    ^^We stopped at a Farmers Market in Jacksonport on our way to The Farm. We bought some homemade strawberry fruit roll-ups, which were delicious. Unfortunately when we got back to the campsite later that day we forgot to take them out of the ice chest at night and a raccoon family ate them all. :(

    ^^Aria loved the goats. I thought she was going to love the kittens best, we always did when we were younger, but she loved following the goats around more. Probably because they were an animal she had never seen before and she could feed them out of her hand. Much more exciting than sleepy kittens.



    ^^Climbing up Eagle tower. We attempted to fly my dad's kite like we usually do, but there really wasn't enough wind.

    ^^Aria woke up at about 6am every morning we were gone camping, so I had to find something to occupy her until everyone else got up... So here we are at about 7am, beach to ourselves.

    We had a great time at Peninsula State Park, and I highly recommend it. I may put up more photos later after I get the ones off my mom's camera. :)