Techniques and Tricks

Cinnamon Coffee at Home

cinnamon coffee

 

This summer my grandma taught me an easy trick to having flavored coffee in a cheap and healthy way.

After adding your coffee to your coffee maker of choice, we use a French Press, sprinkle in some ground cinnamon. I am not sure the exact amount I use as I just sprinkle till I think it looks good! I then gently swirl the French Press to incorporate the cinnamon throughout the coffee. I know my grandmother keeps a jar of coffee that is mixed with cinnamon so it is all done ahead of time but since Mr. H is not a fan I do it per pot.

Then you just continue to make the coffee per usual method of your maker.

French Press and Cinnamon

I am currently using Santa Maria brand because it was on sale at Christmas time but before I was using the ICA brand and it worked just as well. Even though the cinnamon is fine it works with the French Press and I have never felt like the coffee was grainy.

Finished Cinnamon Coffee - Manchester Starbucks Mug

When you are finished you have a nice mug of flavored coffee that is all natural.

I have also heard of people adding chili flavor to their grounds which I have not tried but I think I am going to try a bit of vaniljsocker – Swedish baking must – and see how it goes.

What is your favorite way to drink coffee?

Upcycling at Christmastime

I am the sort of person that is always storing up odd and ends and swearing I am going to use them later for some purpose and then when I am do am immensely chuffed with myself and Mr. H gets to hear about it for at least a week!

O also I am really cheap so that is another reason that upcycling things like packing paper that I did not pay for makes me so very very happy.

So this year I gave myself the mission of wrapping all of Mr. H’s Christmas presents with things I already had rather than buying wrapping paper.

F presents

From the front left I used:

Gift bag I cut open

Amazon packing paper, rubber stamps from college, and ribbon I bought two summer ago

Gold tissue paper I bought sometime before our move in 2011, red ribbon that was the gift bag handle

Brown packing paper also from an Amazon order, same old ribbon

Red tissue paper I found in the gift bag, the candy can I glued on which was an old gift tag

dj fan man

Another thing that I like to do is make the gift giving a bit more fun and silly is instead of putting just putting Mr. H’s name on the presents I like to put some of his nicknames. This one DJ Fan Man is really dorky and has a very long backstory I will not bore you with but it will make Mr. H laugh which is what I was going for!

I also like to deter him from figuring out what is what so I will do things like put a small present in a big box or like that package in gold is a book which I wrapped in big bubble wrap that was from a glass my grandparents sent so all wrapped up it looks more like a shirt than a book!

What do you think would you reuse materials to wrap presents?

Embroidery Transfer How To: The Cheater Way

In my post yesterday I mentioned that I made a pattern myself for one of the embroidered bags. I am going to share how I did it as it was a bit unconventional but used the tools I had on hand.

step one

Once I came up with what I wanted to do I sketched it out on some plain white paper. I made hard and dark lines with a normal pencil so it could be seen from the other side.

step two

Once that was done I flipped the paper over and with a bright light behind me I took a transfer pencil and went over the lines. I also tried to make sure the lines were once again very dark and hard pressed.

Next I ironed the bag and while it was still warm I lined up the paper with the transfer pencil side down and ironed. I used the wool setting and was careful to keep the iron moving as to not burn the paper.

It would have been much easier if I would of had tracing paper but since I did not this method worked fine and will for you to in a pinch. One thing I think to keep in mind is that the paper I used was a good thick quality from a leather bound sketch book, I think if you used regular lined writing paper it might be a bit thin for the iron.

For a First Birthday

rach and dave

 

That there is my best friend and her now husband, then they were just barely engaged, who now have an adorable house and a baby so wonderful I might have wanted to kidnap her.

Now like I said that is my best friend, we were insta-best friends since camp in 7th grade when she was deciding if she should date the boy who is now her husband.

Totally the cutest story they have and since I have known her for like 17 yrs and her husband for 23 yrs I have decided that I am basically their daughters aunt (makes sense right?).

For her birth I cross stitched two bibs but for her first birthday I want to maker her something really special.

At first was thinking of embroidering a dress with a one on it, but then I was thinking maybe I should make something they can use each year on her birthday.

I wanted to start soon as her birthday is around Christmas and mailing packages can get crazy around that time but I am stuck on what to do.

So mothers out there, or you Rach if you are reading, what would be something useful but meaningful?

I can cross stitch and embroider so I was thinking something along those lines!

Thanks in advance for all of your awesome ideas!!

Blog Everyday in May – From the Kitchen of Life



Day 23, Thursday: Things you’ve learned that school won’t teach you

I often look at the prompt a day ahead so I can have time mulling it over and seeing where it leads me. Well with this one I guess I was being to philosophical but all my ideas were sounding so trite. So I took a step back and thought why not be practical.

So here are some things I have learned in the kitchen:

-When packing and you have sharp knives, use an empty Pringles can.

knives in pringles can

When you are unpacking you do not have to worry about getting cut by a runaway knife.

- If a recipe calls for BBQ sauce but you do not have any, you most likely have the ingredients to simulate the taste. Add some ketchup, soy sauce, worcester sauce, mustard, sugar and mix it will not be exact but it will do the job.

- It is better to give meat a little extra time to defrost and put in the fridge than having a hunk of frozen meat and be starving.

- Keeping a bag of frozen french fries on hand will always give you a quick and easy side dish.

- If time is running short sausages defrost fast and you can speed it up by simmering them in a pan with a lid and then frying them once they are soft.

- Use a food processor to shred the end bits of cheese and it will last about a week in an airtight container in the fridge.

- Always reheat pizza in the oven, it will get crispy and melty again. If you microwave it you will get horrible results.

- There is no need to own a microwave or toaster. All foods that are worth eating can be cooked and subsequently reheated on the stove or in the oven. Toasters solely make toast which can also be done on the stove or in the oven.

- When reheating leftovers on the stove do not preheat the pan, if you allow the pan and food to heat at the save time you will save from scorching the food.

- Cooking is forgiving and some cheese can usually salvage a meal.

- Baking is not forgiving and is best left to those that are not me.

What is your best kitchen tip?

Understanding and Developing Happiness

In a bid to get some easy credits in college I registered for a class at Orange Coast College called Understanding and Developing Happiness and out of all the classes I took in my five years of higher education it has impacted me the most. In the class we went over how happiness is not just something that we can wake up and just have, it is something that needs to be worked at and nurtured.

One example the professor gave that I always go back to is this:

A husband and wife decide to go on a hike one Saturday, they have an amazing time talking together and they exploring the trail. Since it was such a good time the next Saturday they decide to do the hike again, however the second hike does not live up to their expectations. They decide the second hike was just on an off day so they go a third time expecting once again the same results as the first hike. Once again the third hike does not meet their expectations so they give up and are frustrated they cannot capture that same happiness they had on their first hike. 

The teacher explained that this is where developing your happiness comes into play, as doing the same activity again and again will not excite us and leave us feeling lackluster. What the couple should have done to make the hiking experience a happy one each time is to introduce subtle changes. On hike number two they could have brought a picnic so now the hike is combined with the joy of eating, then on hike number three they could bring a pair of binoculars and a bird watching book. So the base activity that brought happiness stays the same but with each change the brain is newly excited extending and developing the happiness that will be achieved.

As I said I go back to this example and over the five years since I took this class I have seen it make a huge impact on my life. It is also something me and Mr. H always talk about in our life and have seen evident since our move to Sundsvall. As each aspect of living in a new climate with new challenges arises there is a joy and happiness that comes with conquering and partaking of the challenge. This week with the arrival of serious snow little things like walking to the store to get groceries or taking the bus to the mall like we have done many times before is new and exciting therefore creating happiness in our life.

bus view

 view from the central city bus station

This is also why kids lean towards happiness because so much of life is new and exciting to them where as adults see around the corners and know what is coming ahead. Knowing what is likely coming though should not hinder us from trying to find happiness in it though especially since as adults we are the ones in control of our futures.

For example this Saturday Mr. H has to go to the hospital for tests, mandatory ones for nursing students, and rather then just write of Saturday as a waste I am going to take the bus into town with him and then when he is done we are going to get coffee while he studies and I read. It would have been so easy to be annoyed at having to pay for the bus, being jabbed at on a Saturday, and the fact that it is at 10 AM but it was even easier to create it into a small part of the day with more exciting things to look forward to.

What do you think, is happiness something that just falls into your lap or something to develop and nurture?

Bookcase Breakdown

Hello, here is the breakdown of our totally affordable and easy bookcases!

This is a pure IKEA creation which means you, wherever you are, can do it and afford it!

Billy Bookcase in white: $69.99/ 395 kr *

Benno DVD/CD Tower in white: $39.99 /249 kr *

Total: $299.94 + tax / 1786 kr

We started with two Benno DVD towers. This is how it looked with just two:

I think the key point to these is decorating them. I mean I am no professional decorator but if you compare the picture above with the one below you can see how added knick-knacks and basically filling out the shelves elevates them above basic white IKEA bookcases.

I am constantly changing the shelves, with the addition of new books (thanks Pal and Grandma!), seasons, and things from the china cabinet. I like that it is a permanent place in the house but with a few tweaks it can be refreshed.

And yes on the top right shelf there is a picture of James Hetfield, I am sure you can guess which family member contributed that piece to the bookshelves!

*Prices per ikea.com and ikea.se

Replay: So do I have no Manners or is it Cultural?

With settling into our place and an unknown internet situation I decided to do a replay of some old posts.

I hope you enjoy them and should be back to normal blogging soon!

This post I think has created the most varied comments and receives the most search hits I think of any other post!

So Do I Have No Manners or Is It Cultural?

Originally posted: March 27, 2012

 

Last Friday night we met up with friends for happy hour, or after work as it is called in Sweden, at the new hot spot in town Satan i Gatan. We were only having drinks but many people were ordering food and while I was lusting after the burgers the three guys next to us ordered I noticed something that I found strange. Being the nice person I am I leaned over and whispered to my friend in my quietest but meaningful voice “Look they are eating their hamburgers with a fork and knife, how weird”. She leaned around me looked at them and responded “I think that is perfectly normal and do it myself” in her I sound very fancy British accent.

I first blanched at the thought I was being rude and then quickly thought no eating a hamburger with a fork and knife is just plain old weird so I started to defend myself. I first asked my husband and he said he agreeded that hamburgers are just pick up and eat food and then he asked the table if they used a fork and knife at McDonalds. Everyone, it was the British girl and two Swedish guys, said no they do not but at a bar like we were at it would be rude. Their reasoning was what if you got food on your face it would be revolting to those around you and I said that is what napkins are for, you would not just sit there with food on your face the whole night.

Then the British women/Swedish man couple said they went to a restaurant once with a British man/Swedish women couple and the man ordered ribs and they were disgusted that he picked them up and ate them with his hands at the restaurant. This left me even more confused for two reasons, one being how else do you eat ribs and two that it must not be a universal British thing then so was it just her Swedish immersion that she now thought this was wrong. So I then asked how she ate ribs and she said well obviously with a fork and knife and further more she would even eat chicken wings with a fork and knife!

Ok please tell me how you eat wings with a fork and knife because I am pretty sure it cannot be done!

After that I started to feel that the general consensus with them was that I was just a rude American eating in public with my hands and did not want to push the topic further lest I get angry and give them real reason to raise their eyebrows at me.

I just cannot stop thinking about it though, I would obviously not eat pasta or salad with my hands but I think some foods wether in public or not you have full license to use your hands.

So tell me do I just not have any manners or is it a cultural thing?

(The whole time I was writing this post this picture kept popping into my head)

Replay: Fun Facts Friday – My Top 5 Read Over & Over Books

With settling into our place and an unknown internet situation I decided to do a replay of some old posts.

I hope you enjoy them and should be back to normal blogging soon!

Fun Facts Friday – My Top 5 Read Over & Over Books

Originally posted: March 2, 2012

Like most avid readers I like to read as many new books as I can but then there are some books that I find myself picking up off the shelf year after year. They range in subject matter and length but each time I read them I am engrossed and take away something different that I did not connect with the last read.

1. On the Road by Jack Kerouac – Judging by the underlining and note marked book mark I have read the book at least four times, once with a red pen, once with a pink pen, and twice with a black pen. Just this week I started it again making it the fifth time and I found a coupon tucked into from 2007 which cracked me up but I left it there to be found again one day. I keep going back to it to inspire my desire for adventure and to reclaim a little of that feeling I first read it in college where anything was possible. One side effect of reading it for me is the desire to drink lots of coffee and listen to Bob Dylan and The Doors which I have no problem with!

2. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis – I have read this book every June since buying it, which I think was in 2005/2006, and it always gets me in the mood for the beach and summer drinks. Funnily enough when I took it off the shelf to do this post I found a Disneyland Annual Pass parking pass also from 2007 so I guess that was a good year of reading for me. If you have never read this book, the movie does not count, and live in Southern California I highly suggest you do at the start of summer it will make you ready for appreciating it.

3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton – My copy of this book is a very worn paperback I got from The Huntington Library in Pasadena in 1994. My family had gone to tea and then looked at the exhibits then at the age of 9 what I wanted from the gift store was this book, it seemed to capture the mood of how I felt having tea and seeing amazing painting and statues from long ago. My grandma bought it for me and I now must have read it at least 10 times and I cry at the end every time.

4. Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein – I bought this book in 2006 after seeing it I think Vogue, I double checked the copyright date in the book when writing this and realized I have a first edition hard cover of it which is pretty cool. The setting of this book is a good mirror to The Age of Innocence as they are both upper class New York but almost a 100 years apart. I keep reading as it is a good escapism book to me and I can see how my ideas of life have changed since my first reading when I thought being upper class New York would be great and now I am happy in my little life in Sweden.

5. Shopgirl by Steve Martin – My great-aunt bought me this book, sadly I cannot remember when the copyright in the book is 2000 and it is a first edition paperback and the movie came out in 2005 so I think it is sometime between those years. The first time I read it I think it took me one night since I was so drawn to the lead character, which I think is why my aunt bought me the book, and I have kept reading it for the same reason. If you have not read it and only seen the movie I highly recommend it since without Jason Schwartzman, as good of an actor as he is, you can really focus on the poignancy of the story.

Replay: Learning New Things Everyday

With settling into our place and an unknown internet situation I decided to do a replay of some old posts.

I hope you enjoy them and should be back to normal blogging soon!

Learning New Things Everyday

Originally posted: April 15, 2011

Sometimes growing up, yes at 25 I still consider myself growing up not a grown up, is hard and damn funny. Yesterday morning I took out a whole chicken from the freezer to defrost for dinner. Made sense to me, it had all day to unfreeze and be ready for a gorgeous and easy Monday dinner.

I have always loved to cook  and really love now having my own kitchen and the funds to be able to try out new recipes. Mr. Hemborg has started to take an interest in cooking recently and we have a system where we either cook together or with a staple like roasted chicken I sit on one side of the island/table and direct him like our own little cooking school.

So last night I come home and Mr. Hemborg has the kitchen all ready to go for our cooking time. I took my position and am telling him how it is kinda messy and gross the first time you have to clean out the chicken insides and what not as he is struggling with the slippery chicken in the sink. Then I realize he is looking at my like I am crazy talking about a hole he is going to stick his hand in. I say yes I know it sounds dirty babe but trust me you just have to do it and he goes ummmm this hole? The hole in questions was about as big as my pinky.

It was then major fail and crack up time. The chicken was still frozen solid on the inside. So Mr. Hemborg while I was giving my spiel had been trying to dig essentially into the chicken cavity.

It was a lesson learned it takes more than 8 hrs to thaw a frozen chicken in our apartment!

So Mr. Hemborg ended up eating Jack in the Box and I made myself red wine mushroom pasta.

Fingers crossed for a better turn out today!