Always and Never about Sweden

I very rarely ever blog about Sweden directly. The reason is that I know if I say in Sweden x,y, and z happen and this is why it is really only the Sweden I know I am blogging about.

The Sweden I know is tainted with having a husband from a certain area, Skåne, and his ideas about life and the fact that he lived in America for 2 1/2 years.

The Sweden I know is tainted with my Americanness, my education, and my ideas about life.

The Sweden I know is also tainted by the place we currently live and the people I have known in my time here.

So it is not the Sweden you know from your life, or TV, or looking up pictures of Alexander Skårsgard online.

The Sweden I know is a deep and personal thing to me and one that I often keep to myself as I even after three years am still very protective about it and it is in a fragile state at times.

However I am always blogging about Sweden as this is my life.

Every part of my life is now infused with Sweden.

My memories now have a filter of that was America and this is Sweden. My tastes in food and clothing have altered with the growing of myself in a new place. My interest about politics and public policy have been heightened.

Then all of that filters down into when I blog about our meal plan and our anniversary.

So yes this is a blog about Sweden even without posts about the joys of cheap fast internet and the headache that is CSN.

Meals of the Week – Ranchero Rice

I am happy we have been stocking up the freezer lately since this weeks ad was rather weak in terms of good meat deals, however the onions and cabbage are on mega discount! They are 2.90 kr per kg which works out to something like $0.20 per lb, they often go on sale like that in the fall and winter here and provide some great vitamins and heartiness when the other vegetables skyrocket in price.

Monday – Kassler Pasta Bake

Tuesday – Shepards Pie

Wednesday – Thai Red Curry

Thursday – BBQ Pork Loin and Spicy Slaw Wraps

Friday – Deluxe Sausage Dogs and Fries

Saturday – Chicken Broccoli Puff Pastry Pockets

Sunday – Beef Roast with Mash and Honey Bacon Brussel Sprouts – We never did them last week so this week I am getting them done!


Ranchero Rice

This is a great side dish for bbq chicken, as a main with various toppings like salsa and lettuce, or as a base for burritos. The recipe makes enough for me to use it for a dinner side and lunch usually which is great for such cheap ingredients and can be easily adapted to be vegetarian by switching out the broth.


1 cup rice

1/2 large onion diced or one small onion

1-2 garlic cloves diced

1 cup salsa

2 cups chicken broth

1 carton beans drained of liquid – I usually use kidney beans but I am sure any type would work

50 grams butter or margarine


What to Do:

In a large skillet gently cook the onion and garlic in the melted margarine

When soft add in the rice and cook stirring often till the rice begins to change color and is coated in the margarine about 5 minutes

Add in the salsa and then beans thoroughly incorporating

Pour in the broth gently stirring and bring to a boil

Put the lid on the pan, turn down the heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes

Check to make sure the pan still has some liquid and the rice is just about cooked

Cover with cheese and recover, letting the steam melt the cheese about 5 minutes

From Then to Now

Six years ago Mr. H and I sat on a lumpy couch in the midst of a the chaotic hostel I was living in and decided that the past two weeks were amazing and we became a couple.

then 2008

It did not matter to us that he was going back to Sweden the next day and I was on a short term visa in England. We had plans and we were together in them so we set out on a journey that very few people thought would work.

then 2009 us

Here we are though all these years later happier than we ever thought possible.

2010 then us

I could say it has not always been easy, and waiting for visa paperwork to come through is always stressful, but being together has been the easiest thing I have ever done in my life.

2011 then us

Everything else I can think of to say sounds like a huge cliche but those phrases are around for a reason so we fit together and complete each other and all that malarkey.

2012 then us

The truth is though that we make our relationship number one in our lives. We listen to each other, we look out for each other, and we are always making sure that we are the top priority and are moving forward in life together.

then 2013 us

We celebrated on Saturday with a fancy dinner out and drinks, today is all about normal life with work and grocery shopping but I cannot help and wonder what the next six years will bring us and where we will be celebrating 12 years.

now 2014

Sunday Currently – Vitamin C Boosted

Sunday Currently 9-14

Thank you so much for all the well wishes! I am back to normal and by that I mean a bit hungover on Sunday. Last night Mr. H and I went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate being together for 6 years. So not surprising I woke up walking a bit slow this morning, a good greasy breakfast with coffee and orange juice seems to be doing the trick though!

Reading: I am not really into reading while sick but I did manage a few short stories from an Agatha Christie book I am reading and the last 50 pages of a Janet Evanovich but today I am hoping to make some real progress in ‘salems Lot. I have such a stack of to read books at the moment I am feeling a bit overwhelmed but Mr. H reminded me this morning that I should just read what I want and renew the other library books.

Listening: I am having such a mega Martha Wainwright love at the moment, I am sure my neighbors really loved my listening to Proserpina on repeat while I cooked dinner the other night and did my best to sing along!

Thinking: This week is going to be interesting. Mr. H has an odd schedule for a healthcare worker but what most people consider normal. He will be working M-F 7-4 when he normally has breaks in the week or like this past week was only three days since two of them were 9:45-9 shifts. I am happy to have him home for every dinner though!

Smelling: Orange resorb, I just had one to help not get dehydrated. I really prefer the blackcurrant one though.

Wishing: I would have worn sensible shoes last night, I wore these super cute black and gold flats but it has been ages since I wore them and my pinkie toes have blisters now.

Wearing: So many prints, I have one tri-color polka dot socks with a leopard print maxi skirt, green tank top and black velour pull over. I call it Sunday comfy chic hahaha honestly it was one of those pull out all your favorites and wear them at once since you are not leaving the house type outfits.

Loving: Coupons, yesterday we were able to use a coupon for a free coffee at Espresso House and then with Mr. H’s student ID we got 10% off the other drink meaning we were able to get two large fancy coffee drinks for 38 kr!!!

Wanting: To buy every candle I see, normally I am fine with the mega pack of tealights from IKEA but this year I am wanting every candle I see for some reason.

Needing: To work on a cross stitch pattern I started, it is a Halloween one so I have a bit of time but doing cross stitch takes so much more time than embroidering.

Feeling: Not sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Watching: I started Last Tango in Halifax and am hooked on the storyline. I am not usually one for a more drama type show but this one has me hooked and I am so excited it is on Netflix.

Challenge Accepted

A Very Small woo Friday

the sick corner

Well we made it to Friday folks. I am happy because Mr. H has Saturday and Sunday off but today he is working a 12 hour shift so it is mellow lands around here.

Also last night our very rude neighbors sat on their patio being loud and drunk from 2:30-4 am so not what a sick person and one that has to work 12 hrs wants. We finally put on some music and fell asleep but this morning we emailed our property management company and found out they have a 24 hr number we can call in the future and that they are going to be contacting him via phone and mail.

I am also going to try to move away from my sick corner a bit. I have been snuggled in there for most of Wednesday and Thursday so today I am being wild and sitting at the desk in the kitchen and just might sort some laundry and do a few dishes.

Ok that will be the extent of my rebelliousness today as I really really want to go to town for coffee and a hamburger tomorrow.

Hmmm that was one run on thought so yeah happy Friday and be holly and jolly and all that ok!

A Bit of Sunshine


A large part of me wants to wallow in being sick but the other part says get over yourself it is just a little asthma attack. To combat the wallowing side I decided to do a list that of things that bring me a bit of sunshine.

1. Netflix – As a kid I was happy with my VHS copies of Wizard of Oz and Parent Trap (the original, only ever the original) when I was sick but now I love all the options available to me on Netflix. So far today I have watched The Iron Lady and Frasier reruns, not sure what will come next but it will be exciting.

2. iPad games – While sitting on the couch iPad games make the time go so much faster.

3. Regular Coke – Normally I do not drink it but when I am sick the combination of sugar, caffeine, and carbonation really perk me up and Mr. H bought me a giant bottle last night.

4. No dish doing – I am meant to stay on the couch so I am out of all house duties, most importantly dishes!

5. Tights as pants – That pretty much explains it all.

6. Snack time – According to less than a year away from being a nurse Mr. H says when you are sick snacks are key. I am not one to complain about that.

What brings you a smile when you are sick?

Meals of the Week – Garlicky Mustard Green Beans

I started this post last week but never go around to publishing so I am just adding on this weeks meals and going along with it!

Monday – BBQ Chicken and Ranchero Rice

Tuesday – Cobb Salad

Wednesday – Tuna Noodle Casserole

Thursday – Teriyaki Meatballs with Rice

Friday – Chicken Strips and Fries – Never did this one last week

Saturday – Sloppy Joe Puff Pastry Pockets with Carrot Sticks and Dip

Sunday – Sunday Roast Beef with Potatoes, Peas, and Gravy – We are going to try and do a roast each Sunday this fall


Monday – Chicken Stroganoff

Tuesday – Pork Loin, Rice and Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Honey

Wednesday – Chicken Noodle Soup

Thursday – Kassler and Veggie Pot Pie Potato Bake

Friday – Pizza

Saturday – Cheese and Bacon Sausages and French Fries (or we might eat out)

Sunday – Roasted Chicken, Mash, and Garlicky Mustard Green Beans


Garlicky Mustard Green Beans

Lately I have been trying to have one vegetable side dish at dinner and this is one that Mr. H keeps requesting which is great as it is easy peasy! Now I do not have exact measurements but taste as you go along and cater to your particular taste buds.


500 grams frozen green beans


2-3 garlic cloves minced

approx. 3 tbsp oil

approx. 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar – I have used both white wine and apple cider

approx. 1 tbsp mustard – I prefer using a dijon but will use any on hand besides the yellow American kind

salt and pepper

optional red pepper flakes

What to Do:

Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside to let the flavors meld together

Set out your green beans to get to room temperature

If using as a side to stove top cooked meat:

In the hot pan you just cooked your meat in add the green beans and let them steam for a few minutes in the residual cooking fat then add in dressing mixing well and then cover letting the beans finish cooking and the dressing to fully incorporate

If you using for a vegetarian side or non stove topped cook meat:

In a large skillet or dutch oven heat a small knob of margarine/butter and then proceed as above


Green beans lose heat rapidly so timing can be key and I often cook mine as the meat is resting and I am finishing up any other odds and ends for the other dishes of the meal

You could also add some bacon, parmesan, or lemon zest for a bit more richness

(Sunday) Currently – Punctually Late

bar selfie polaroid style


Mr. H’s first week of school turned out to be very mellow so we used it as an excuse to do all sorts of things we never got around to before like going to the mall and stocking up at the big grocery store and walking to town for lunch. It was so much fun and I managed to only turn on the computer twice but am happy to get back to thee old blog this week!

Reading: I have a giant stack of library books and should be getting two new ones in the mail today so it is more of like what am I not reading right now. I am mainly reading ‘salems Lot but Stephen King, my first of his books, but decided to keep that to day time reading only so as to be able to not have horrible nightmares!

Listening: At this very moment The National as I double triple chocolate love them and they are a nice break from the more hard music that Mr. H is always sneaking in when he is home.

Writing: Today Jade posted the guest post I did for her: Accountability in the Modern Age if you want to check it out!

Thinking: About Christmas, I cannot help it as I keep thinking of more and more things I want to do when we go to California and I cannot wait to squeeze my brothers and see my parents and grandparents and aunts.

Smelling: Peanut butter, we decided to try a new brand we came across at Willy’s and it is so good and creamy on some wheat toast. Well I think it is wheat as the Swedish package calls it fiber but ahhh it is brown and healthy looking.

Wishing: All goes smooth for Mr. H today, he is starting a new practique at a place that could be really challenging so I hope he is paired with a good nurse and it all comes together for a good four weeks of learning.

Hoping: All the mail I want to come comes and I can tear open packages!

Wearing: My one and only sundress, sometimes it is just easier to throw it on when I get out of the shower and then pick out a proper outfit later. I guess you could say I use it as my dressing gown.

Loving: Candles, when we went to the mall I bought some fun candles at IKEA and they really make it feel so cozy at night when we are watching TV.

Wanting: To go watch the Timra vs Rögle game on Friday at the sports bar in town. The first team is the one from up here and the second is from Mr. H’s hometown so it is a perfect match for us!

Needing: To figure out some meals for this week and rest, my whole life September has been an asthma trigger month so I am trying to keep it in mind and rest when I need to.

Feeling: Contented, it has been so wonderful to have Mr. H home these past two weeks and be able to spend time together and go out doing couple things that we were not really able to do over the summer.

Watching: Midsomer Murders, we have seriously watched one and half seasons this past week!!!

Challenge Accepted

Wishing, Hoping, and Planning – The Summer Follow Up

weekly wishes june 2014

In June I created this list of things I was wishing, planning, and hoping to get done. I wanted to do a follow up and see how I did and hopefully get an idea of what I should plan for fall/winter.

1. Wash makeup brushes  7/7

2. Wash cloth ipad cover  6/25

3. Paint my nails once a week – I did pretty good with this as it was a great way to spend some time when I was home alone at night.

4. Read at least one book a week – Since posting the original post I have read 26 books so I did double my goal!

5. Mail my brother a list of songs I think he will love – No but sitting in the kitchen is a padded mailer with a CD we made him ready to be mailed!

6. Mail my other brother a list of books I think he will love – No but we have been emailing eachother which in a way accomplishes this as I just wanted to create some sort of contact as he gets older.

7. Workout 5 times a week – Hmmmmm not so much, I have worked out though but with my hip bothering me it has been more sporadic than I would like.

8. Blog at least 4 times a week – Not exactly but I kept up the blog over summer much more than I have in the past.

9. Embroider July and August’s patterns – Yes and as of today I am 99% done with Septembers!

10. Try out one new recipe a week – This started out strong but when the heat wave came I could care less about cooking and went into easy basic mode!

11. Learn a new card game – No again but Mr. H and I did have a 7 day canasta challenge which was really fun.

12. Record at least two vlogs – Yes!!! My grandparents really liked them so now I am trying to come up with some new topics to do.

13. Lastly follow myself and do what makes me happy and one day if it means watch tons of TV do it! – O yeah I did this! Overall I had a really great summer and am now really looking forward to fall and Mr. H starting his last year of nursing school.

The Nectar Collective