Herby Potato and Rutabaga Gratin

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We buy potatoes in a 5 kg (10 lbs) bag from the store. It’s the best. We store it our pantry, and can dip in there whenever we feel up for a quick and easy, yet filling, dinner. Boiled or roasted potatoes with veggie patties and a dipping sauce on the side is a hit any day of the week, and we’ve come to like it as the meal we eat the night before a long run. Definitely proudly fueled by potatoes, over here! Eating “regular” potatoes has been an ingrained part of my life since, well, forever – here in Sweden, most people have it at least a few times a week. But with the wave of low carb diets and whatnot that swept in some years ago, potatoes have gotten themselves a bad rap (and an unbelievably unfair such). Sweet potatoes are being adored left and right, thought of as something much “healthier” (oh we’re so sick of that word!) and overall ranked as a wiser dietary choice than regular spuds. Poor regular potatoes! We won’t give in to the potato-discriminators by giving space for a side-by-side comparison, but let’s just get a few things cleared out. Regular potatoes contain a touch more protein than sweet ones, but the latter has a little more fiber. They’re fairly equal as far as caloric value, and they contain a range of vitamins and minerals (although different ones) respectively. If sweet potatoes can be called a “superfood”, then regular potatoes can too – but we’d prefer it if we just eat nourishing food without labeling everything something. Ok?

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Quick and Crunchy White Bean Salad

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In all honesty, this wasn’t meant to become a share-worthy recipe. We were making dinner a few weeks ago, and the scene was really a whole mishmash of leftovers, summer veggies pulled from the freezer and some potatoes from the pantry. We were lacking sufficient protein, so I decided to whip up a side salad with beans as the main ingredient, while Mike was managing the rest of the pots and pans. The outcome exceeded our expectations, reminded us of a dish we used to cook often back in New York, and left us if not hungry for more that day, as least interested in making it again. So we did. And then a third time. And after that, we deemed it recipe-worthy, so… here it is.

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Easy Squash and Nut Bread

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We mentioned a month or so ago that we had been hit by a big storm, which knocked out our power for a week and left 30+ giant trees down just in and around our immediate property. Now, we’re busy cleaning up the mess Alfrida (as she was named) created, which involves a lot of schlepping, pushing, lifting, dragging, moving, hauling and chopping, as well as a decent amount of grunting – but that’s of course just for show. We had a neighbor help us sort out the situation initially, when the scene looked quite treacherous – some trees were fallen but resting on others still (sort of caught halfway), some had roots attached, holding a dangerous amount of tension. And some were simply too wide for our chainsaw to work through, so these trunks we got help sawing up into the 30 cm/1 ft pieces (or round blocks) we’ll eventually chop into firewood. Needless to say, the amount of stuff we have to take care of is… mind-blowing (at least for just two people). In order to not get overwhelmed, we’re tapping into “a little bit at a time”-mode. Yes, we’re all like “Rome wasn’t built in a day” out there, as we’re moving the blocks, one by one, and creating a giant brush pile with all the branches. By glancing at the pile of blocks we’ve currently moved into one and the same place though… we have firewood for 15 years to come.

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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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