Winter Kale Salad

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Yes, yes. Another one. But what can you do, when your garden still produces armfuls of fresh kale, despite constant sub-freezing temperatures and a decent snow cover? We throw together kale salads all the time, and only rarely do we follow any kind of recipe (not even our own, to be honest). Because kale salads are almost like those I-need-to-clear-out-the-fridge-soups – you grab whatever needs to be used up and put it all in a bowl together with massaged kale and a dressing (preferably a simple, creamy one). We usually think like this: kale – legumes – starchy vegetables – onion – something sweet – something crunchy – dressing. Use that formula, and you’ll be golden! This time, the combination looks like this: kale – chickpeas – potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes – roasted red onion – crispy apple cubes – toasted sunflower seeds – rosemary tahini dressing. I can’t really think of any combinations that wouldn’t work… except maybe roasted carrots. Or am I crazy to say that? It might be good. Yes, it probably is (I apologize, carrots).

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Roasted Red Cabbage

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This recipe will (humbly) serve as the first one in our little ‘stay local’ challenge we hope you’ll join us in throughout the month of February. This time of the year – here in the north – it’s easy to think produce options are few and far between and that one simply HAS to rely on imported vegetables to survive. While we always eat this way, we wanted to draw some extra attention to the plethora of storage friendly, amazing veggies we actually do get to choose from this cold, snowy time of the year, and really try to inspire all of you to… well, ‘stay local’. So join in, and opt for sustainable vegetable super heroes the coming month – and leave the asparagus, avocados and snap peas from afar be for bit. Instead, cook with potatoes, parsnips, beets, sunchokes, carrots, rutabaga, celery root, cabbage, kale, onions, kohlrabi, daikon, salsify, winter squash… the list is so long!

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Granola Bars

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Making your own energy bars is a MUST if you’re on a tight budget. Store-bought ones are expensive, and making your own is as easy as it is cheap. We started making our own in 2016, when we had decided we were going to quit our jobs and move to Sweden. We were looking to save up as much money as we possibly could, and our little apartment quickly turned into a DIY studio as a result of that. Granola, yogurt, packed lunches… we had a whole operation going on.

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Morning Ginger Shot

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We’re a few days into the new year today, and us humans usually use this time to feel guilty for what didn’t happen last year and shame ourselves into promising we’ll adhere to a whole set of new ‘healthy’ habits this new year. Whether this sounds familiar to you or not, I want everyone to go into 2019 with a little more love and compassion – towards themselves, towards each other, towards this planet. Easier said than done, I know. And while I tend to stay away from typical ‘resolutions’, I do enjoy and find it useful to set intentions for the new year. I like to sit down and ponder what I want the coming year to hold – for me personally as well as on a more global scale. I find that dreams come true at a much higher rate if you verbalize them and put them in writing than if they’re just floating around in your head. What about you?

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Butternut Squash with Curried Chickpeas

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It happened again – the phenomenon where Mike disappears into the kitchen without really saying much, and then delicious food appears as if out of the blue. In all honesty though, this was the first time the end product was a savory dish and not something sweet (or a bread). He’s got his priorities straight, my husband!

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Warm Lentil Parsnip Salad

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As I’m typing this, it’s well below 0ºC (32ºF) outside and the ground is covered by snow. It’s 3pm… and the sun has already set. In other words, it’s (late) December. Salads might, therefore, seem a little off at first glance. But not this one. No, this unassuming yet perfect little winter salad has a lot of things going for it – seasonal vegetables, hearty lentils, flavorful dressing… and served warm or at room temperature, it feels just as grounding and nourishing as a bowl of soup. Nutritionally, it’s a bomb. Kale – as we all know by now – packs a wide range of micronutrients (and eaten raw, as in this recipe, it’s even better), and the heaping amount of lentils per serving guarantees plenty of both slow carbohydrates and protein. Parsnips bring – besides great flavor and texture – high levels of both potassium and folic acid, and the walnuts get us a quite the chunk of good fats (walnuts are a great source of omega 3), more protein, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc (among other goodies).

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Saffron Caramel Popcorn

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Mike pointed something out to me the other day – something fairly obvious but, you know, nothing I had really given much thought before. Popcorn is just a whole grain popped to deliciousness. Ha! In search for less refined and processed products, and maybe especially in the snacks department, popcorn is… a whole food. Pure and simple. It’s brilliant! It’s also one of our favorite snacks in front of a movie. And now, finally, we have them here in a Christmas edition (which might not qualify for a particularly healthy snack, but what can you do?). I love caramel flavor. Always has, always will. Salted caramel ice cream is my go-to during the warmer half of the year, and as I kid, I’d go for caramel sauce over chocolate sauce any day. Yes, it can be overly sweet. But boy, it’s good. And one of the good things about making your own caramel-flavored food items is that you can sweeten it to your liking. You get all the same flavors but just a little less of that tongue-rolling sweetness shock.

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Gingersnap Energy Balls

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Wherever you look, you see pictures of and recipes for bliss balls, energy balls, raw balls, raw bites etc. etc. There are so many names for (sort of) the same thing I feel utterly lost in what to use. In fact, there’s a quite lovely saying in Swedish that goes “Kärt barn har många namn”, which unfortunately lacks an English counterpart. However, it could be translated along the lines of “a highly loved child will have many different names”. It means that loving parents often have many nicknames for their beloved children, so whenever the expression is used, it’s supposed to show that there are various labels for the same (popular and well liked) thing. Given the first sentence, I think you know where I’m getting with this. There are many names for the energy-packed, naturally sweetened balls we see a lot of – and I’m not sure I know a) what I prefer calling them and b) if there’s any sort of difference between the names. Regardless, here’s another snack ball (oh boy, another name) – flavored in the spirit of Christmas and almost dangerously delicious.

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Slow Cooked Green Kale

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Slow cooked might not sound like the most appealing cooking method when you have a million things on your plate leading up to Christmas – there’s the decorations to put up, the Christmas cards to send out, the gifts to wrap… and the food to cook. I love Christmas with all my heart. Endlessly. But I’ve definitely come to learn that prioritizing tasks and letting go of all these ideas of how things should be the month of December a lot more like what I dream of and a lot less of what I fear. I want it to be a time full of lit candles, sweet treats, warming drinks and music. I want it to be about coming together, embracing the cold weather, wrapping up the year that’s been. And I want it to be about cooking and eating delicious food, at the expense of nothing and no one (except maybe your waistline but that’s ok too!). With that said, prioritize what matters to you. And know that even though this recipe is called “slow cooked”, it’s not going to require your attention for all that many minutes in total. Give it a spot on your stovetop and it’ll mostly take care of itself.

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Ginger-y Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts

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Falling in love with Brussels sprouts seems a lengthy task for some. Many have traumatizing experiences from the past, where the poor sprouts have been cooked beyond recognition and turned into a cabbage-y flavored mush. Others have never dared trying them. Some can’t get past the bitter flavor (and that’s fair – we can’t all love the same thing). But trust me when I say – the day we have a kid (!), I’ll do my very best to put him/her in Brussels sprouts training right away. We LOVE Brussels sprouts. They’re so versatile, almost comically nutritious and available locally grown here in the north. We didn’t attempt growing our own this season, but it’s on our list for next year.

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