Spiced Gingerbread Loaf

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Gingerbread. A must in December, in our humble opinion, and one of the easiest treats to whip up, too – you get lots of holiday spirit for very little effort, one could say. What are some other musts? Well, you’re talking to Mr and Mrs Christmas so sit back, relax and listen to our long list. Saffron buns, of course. Gingersnaps, without a doubt. Chocolate truffles, definitely (and as ours use black beans in the batter, they technically count as vegetables). Fudge, thank you very much. And of course Brussels sprouts and saffron-spiked kale salads en masse, to balance things a bit.

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No-knead Whole Grain Sandwich Bread

bread underneath kitchen towel

Remember how we’ve set out to bake all of our own bread in 2020? Well – so far, so good! We’re a third (!) into the new year and haven’t even been the slightest bit tempted to buy any soft bread when at the store (crisp bread is “allowed” though).

The key has of course been to always stay one step ahead and have some in the freezer all the time, which in turn also means always keeping bread baking ingredients around the house. We even reorganized our kitchen cabinets so as to give all the different flours the space they deserve – now we have an entire shelf dedicated to those bags only!

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Swedish Flatbread (Tunnbröd)

Flatbread in a pan on a wooden table.

To us, flatbread equals the perfect lunch or on-the-go sandwich bread. Filling options are endless, the rolls are extremely packing-friendly and they typically hold you over for a good while afterwards (extra plus when you’re out cross-country skiing or hiking).

And for those who have never taken to baking their own – the level of satisfaction when seeing the stack of perfectly imperfect rounds grow next to the hot pan is sky high. Yes, the process takes a little while as you need to cook them individually on the stove, but we think it’s almost meditative. How often do we find ourselves with such a calming, harmonious activity as flipping flatbread? Making sure no stress is involved and setting aside an appropriate amount of time are keys to it turning out that way of course, and that’s something we’re slowly learning. What’s up with us humans and always trying to speed things up? Why do we always think we’re in such a rush?

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3 Easy Vegan Sandwich Wraps

3 vegan sandwich wraps on a white table.

In Sweden, we have one week off from school around late February, and this particular break is referred to as “Sports break”. Needless to say, it’s a break where everyone typically takes to the outdoors and goes skiing, ice skating etc.

My own sport breaks meant a loaded car, half a backpack full of tapes (my brother and I had a large collection to listen to during the ride) and everyone’s eyes set on a week up north. When finally there, we’d normally spend half the week downhill skiing and half the week cross-country skiing, and for breakfast, we were allowed to have as much store-bought, sweetened granola as we wanted. Dinners were wonderfully simple and widely popular among us kids – fish fingers and mashed potatoes, meatballs and pasta, and pancakes right, left and center. No prestige, no expectations. Instead, we popped into the local grocery store in colorful ski jackets and blushed cheeks every late afternoon to pick up whatever felt quick and easy after a full day outside.

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Easy Overnight Rise Bread Rolls

För recept på svenska, klicka här: Superenkla nattjästa frukostfrallor

Freshly baked bread on a weekend morning equals utopia for many, us included sometimes. This recipe, however, will swoop in and turn that dream into reality – we promise. This is a no-knead overnight rise bread roll recipe, which requires about 15 min of active work all together. That’s not bad at all, and should be doable to squeeze into even the most hectic schedule. (If you then also divide those 15 min over two days, we’re talking seriously practical.)

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Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread

För recept på svenska, klicka här: Zucchinibröd med choklad

Yes, yes, we’re going crazy with zucchini recipes here – but hey, the season is actually coming to an end soon! We said bye-bye to a bunch of zucchini plants a few weeks back and started spinach in that spot instead, but have kept a few for an extension to the summer. And while the production rate has dropped significantly compared to July and August, we’re still getting a few fruits every week. This keeps us more than satisfied, and it probably goes without saying that we’re pretty excited for the fall crops to ripen now, after a long summer of endless amounts of crispy cucumbers, said zucchini, chard etc. But before we welcome root veggie galore and go nuts for kale salads again, just one more way of using up the summer squash masses: zucchini bread.

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Dutch Oven Grain Bread

För recept på svenska, klicka här: Fullkornsbröd i gjutjärnsgryta

The smell of freshly baked bread is hard to beat, and with Mike seriously getting into baking, there’s no shortage of it right now. Few things are more satisfying to stockpile in the freezer and few things make better impromptu lunches, in our opinion. The seed and grain topping makes this bread feel a little special and tastes great, but is by no means necessary. You can also easily make up your own blend based on what you happen to have on hand! Baking the bread in a cast iron dutch oven gives it that “bakery touch” – it makes the bread look extra pretty, it preserves moisture and the crust comes out perfect. However, you can most likely bake it on an oven sheet as well so don’t let the absence of a dutch oven stop you from giving this recipe a try. And note that this is a cold rise bread, meaning it’ll sit in the fridge overnight. We find that cold rises seem easier, because the work is divided over two days and feels less overwhelming. We hope you’ll agree!

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Easy Squash and Nut Bread

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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Saffron Buns

There’s no other pastry, baked good or sweet treat that feels as quintessentially Swedish Christmas as the traditional saffron bun – at least in our opinion. They’re not only really pretty, with their golden yellow color and characteristic shape, but they’re delicious too. As in, you can eat at least a few in one sitting. Growing up here means every beginning of December, you bake a round of these at home. That’s just a fact. There will most likely be Christmas music playing in the background. There will most likely be dough eating to the point of bellies hurting. And it’ll be glorious. I LOVED the saffron bun baking day when I was little. I still do. SO much.

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Cranberry Nut Bread

We welcome bread with open arms in this house. Now, Michael was a little bit of a… bread-novice, if I may say so, when we first met. His idea of bread was a little different than mine, quite far away from the dark, rye-laden breads of the Nordic region that I grew up eating. Thankfully, he was not hard to turn. Neither was he – despite his Italian heritage – hard to convince butter is better on bread than olive oil (my apologies to my father-in-law, Tony). And now, almost six years later, Michael is the designated bread baker of this little family. His kneading outdoes mine any day of the week.

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