Christmas

Lussebullar- Swedish Saffron Rolls

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Most Swedish food I don’t like. All the fish stuff? No thank you! But I have some Swedish foods that I absolutely love, including Swedish Meatballs and these Saffron Rolls, or Lussebullar in Swedish. I have been begging my mom to make these for me for years and she never has (they do take quite a bit of time to make). This year my littlest sister was having a Christmas party and my mom decided that she would make these. That’s right- she made them for my little sister but not for me! But there were a lot left over so I have been enjoying them for the past few days :)

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These Lussebullar are so good! They remind me of my childhood. If you like the taste of saffron, you will love these rolls. They’re soft, flavorful, and a little bit sweet. I love the raisins on top because they add a bit of sweetness. These rolls aren’t sweet like cinnamon rolls, but they’re definitely sweeter than just plain rolls and like I said before, the saffron adds a great flavor!

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I definitely recommend that you make these! They are one of my all-time favorite foods. I will admit that I have never made these by myself before, but I certainly have eaten them! I love them for breakfast or a snack!

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Lussebullar (Swedish Saffron Rolls) Recipe

Note: This recipe is a European recipe, but I’ve tried to convert the measurements

Ingredients:
2 cups milk
1  gram saffron strands
50 g fresh yeast (I used 2 packets of dry, powdered yeast)
170 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
about 1 kg plain flour (I weighed it out on the scale, but I believe it’s about 7 cups)
250 g (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 and ¼ sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, divided
raisins or dried cranberries

*extra sugar and softened butter* (We added some extra butter and sugar to make them sweeter- see directions, Option 2, below)

Directions:

  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan until steaming. Remove from the heat, add saffron threads and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. You’ll need to cool the milk to about 37-38 C (about 100 degrees F). When the milk is lukewarm, then crumble in the yeast and stir, until dissolved. (The dry yeast doesn’t need to dissolve, really. Just mix it in.)
  2. Add salt, sugar and about half of the flour. Stir until combined, then add the cream cheese, butter, ONE egg (lightly whisked), and then gradually knead in the rest of the flour. The final yeast dough should be soft and supple.
  3. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm room for 30-60 minutes, until doubled in size.
  4. Knead the dough gently and turn onto a lightly floured work surface.
  5. OPTION 1- Twist small amounts of dough (about the size of a large egg or a tennis ball, depending on whether you’re making small or larger buns). Roll each piece of dough into a long “sausage”, then twist it from both ends to form a letter S.
    OPTION 2, Sweeter Rolls- Roll the dough out pretty flat and cover it with extra butter and sugar. Then cut the dough into strips, twist the dough, and then create the S-shape rolls.
  6. Place the shaped buns onto a baking sheet that’s been covered with a parchment paper. Leave to rise for another 10-15 minutes, then press a raisin or a craisin into each end.
  7. Brush with an egg wash (an egg whisked with a spoonful of water).
  8. Bake in a pre-heated 425 F oven for 12-15 minutes, until light golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven, transfer onto a metal rack to cool a little. If you want softer buns, then cover them with a clean tea towel when they’re cooling.
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How to Take Christmas Photos- Bokeh Tutorial

I love Christmas lights- they’re so pretty! And I also love taking photos with Christmas lights in the background when it creates beautiful bokeh (the circles that form behind the subject).

Here are some tips of how to take photos with gorgeous bokeh using Christmas lights!

1. Use a small aperture- to get really nice bokeh, you need a lens with an aperture (or f stop) that can go down to 1.8 or 2. For these photos I was using my Canon 50mm 1.4 lens. The aperture of your lens is how big the opening is to let in light- so when you have a low aperture like 1.8, the opening is really large and lets in a lot of light, and your background gets blurry. Because your aperture is letting in a lot of light, your shutter speed will have to be higher to compensate.

bokeh web12. Put your subject several feet away from the lights. For these photos I used our Christmas tree and my dog was a good 8ish feet away from the tree. Varying the distance between your subject and the lights will give you different looks- the closer you are to the lights the smaller they will be. If you get really close, they will just look like lights, not circles. The farther away you are, the bigger the circles, but if you get too far away, all the circles will start blurring together.

bokeh web43. Put your camera close to the subject- My dog was far away from the tree, but I was close to him. That made the frame tighter and made for better bokeh.

bokeh web34. Adjust your ISO- My ISO was at 400 for these photos- that’s in the middle as far as ISO goes. ISO is how sensitive to light your camera is- if your ISO is low (100 or 200) your camera is not as sensitive to light meaning that your aperture and shutter speed have to be lower to let in enough light. Low ISO is good for when you’re shooting in bright light and gives you the highest quality photos. Middle ISO from 400-800 will make your camera more sensitive to light which is good for when you’re shooting in a well-let room inside. ISO in this range will allow your camera to take in more light and won’t take down the quality of your photos too much. High ISO (800+ depending on your camera) will allow you to shoot in low-light situations, but will also produce granier photos. I always try to shoot at as low an ISO as possible so my photos will be of better quality. Your ISO in these photos is going to depend on how dark your environment is- my living room has windows so it was letting in quite a bit of light.

bokeh web25. Have fun and don’t hesitate to ask me questions in the comment section! I know Christmas is over, but keep your lights up and experiment with some bokeh holiday photos :)

And for those of you who are curious, my settings for these photos were: ISO- 400, Shutter Speed- 1/100, Aperture- f/1.8

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Christmas Cookie Ideas

Are you guys baking for Christmas yet? I love baking cookies around Christmas-time. Cookies are fun to make and also easy to give away! This post is filled with some of my favorite cookie (and bar) recipes that you can enjoy this holiday season!

First Up- I’ve made three different bars this year that are all quite possibly the best things that I have ever made. I am so excited to make these tasty bars again!

Gooey Nutella Bars!

I brought these to a Fourth of July Party and everyone loved them! I loved them too- they were sooo gooey and delicious.

 Gooey Peanut Butter Reece’s Bars

Another Gooey Bar! Oh it’s so good. I absolutely love Recces!

 S’mores Bars

While I know I sound like a broken record, these bars were amazing!

I honestly cannot choose my favorite between these three bars- and blogging about them now is making me excited to go home and do some baking! I’m thinking I’m going to make at least one of these bars, some zucchini or pumpkin bread, and a new cookie recipe (I already have one in mind :).

Speaking of cookies…. :) Here are a few of my favorite cookie recipes:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I absolutely loved these cookies! They’re big, soft, and fluffy, and I love the sweet and salty combination. Make them! :)

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I will confess that I will always choose chocolate over oatmeal raisin, but maybe not with these cookies! I made these for a teacher who really likes oatmeal raisin cookies, and I couldn’t believe how much I loved these! They’re so soft and have a great texture. Love them!

There are so many recipes I could post on this post, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you too much! Check out my Recipe Page to see all my bars, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and other desserts!

Do you have any desserts that you have to make every year around Christmas time?

 

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Dorm Room Decorations

Hey everyone! Yeah remember that post where I was all like “I’m totally going to be posting more now!” and then didn’t? Yeah sorry about that…BUT I will be going home in a few weeks and will hopefully have time to blog some more :) Thank you all for your patience with me.

So for this post I will show you a really neat thing you can do to decorate your dorm room! I think it’s added a lot of flair to our otherwise sort of drab room.

Woah! Isn’t it cool?

So what I did was ask my mom and sister to go to Home Depot and pick out a bunch of paint samples in different colors. I then used tape to attach them to the wall. This project is great because it’s pretty much free (besides the cost of tape), it’s easy to do, and it looks super impressive. Right now I have Christmas lights all over the room and I love how the colored lights look against the paint samples.

Here’s idea number two- displaying photos.

I love this for displaying photos. All you do is buy some Jute string ($2-$4 at Home Depot), some clothes pins, and have your photos printed. I have two of these strands in my room and I love them! They’re easy to put up, cheap to make, and look super awesome. Since it’s Christmas season, I have added some green tinsel.

You can also see that I have a bunch of other things on my wall. I love my pink white board, black chalkboard, and little cork board. They’re great for notes, hanging cards, letters, and photos, and for Christmas countdowns!

Ahh Christmas countdowns…one is days until Christmas and one is days until Christmas break! Woohoo! You may also notice that I hung some pretty little snowflakes on the wall- $1 at the Dollar Tree. I love that store around Christmas time!

As you can tell, I am very excited about Christmas and got pretty into decorating my room. Here is a collage of my room decorations (I have actually added more since I took the photo ;). I actually just won a contest for best decorated dorm room!

I hope you got some fun ideas for decorating your room- whether it’s a dorm room or just in your house! Let me know if you have any questions or if you try any of these ideas!

 

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Swedish Meatballs

If anyone offered you blood pudding, would you try it? My answer is most definitely NO. Blood pudding? Oh my gosh who wants to eat congealed blood? Well apparently I used to when I was little. I know. I find it disturbing, too.

I grew up in Sweden, the place of seafood and blood pudding, both of which I will not eat now. Seafood I just don’t like and who knows if I’d like blood pudding anymore but I am not going to try it again!

There are some Swedish foods I do love, though, and Swedish Meatballs are definitely one of them. My mom makes these for Christmas and Easter and I think they are just the most amazing thing ever. And they’re authentic Swedish Meatballs since, you know, we lived there and all. I took step-by-step photos of my mom making them this past Christmas so I would know how to make them in the future! These are tasty with anything…I enjoy them with mashed potatoes, sandwiches, or just by themselves :)

First, whisk together the cream and breadcrumbs.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then add in the seasonings.

Add the egg mixture to the ground beef.

Add the cream/breadcrumb mixture to the meat.

Umm yeah…just use your hand to mix it all together. This is why my mom makes these hehe :)

Use a cookie scoop to make the meatballs a uniform size.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Pick up the meatballs, roll them in your hands so they become spheres, and drop them in the water, about 10 at a time. Boil them until they float. This almost completely cooks them so that when you brown them in the frying pan, you don’t dry them out trying to cook them through.

Use a slotted spoon to bring the meatballs out of the water and into the frying pan (that you’ve coated with a nice layer of butter :)

Fry them up until they’re nice and golden brown! I love eating them when they’re hot out of the pan :)

We eat the meatballs with the meal, but I know some people make meatballs for appetizers. They’re good anytime and for any occasion, in my opinion :)

What are the strangest foods you’ve eaten?

Mine would have to be the blood pudding and chocolate covered cricket. Don’t judge me. I was young and naive for the first one, and the second one was for extra credit in science…and peer pressure just might have played a huge tiny roll in that ;)

Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 egg

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and breadcrumbs. Let it sit so that the breadcrumbs absorb the cream and becomes like a thick paste.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the spices and whisk it up a little more.
  3. Place the ground beef in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the cream and egg mixtures. Use your hand (or I suppose you could use a wooden spoon) to combine everything up.
  4. Use a medium cookie scoop to measure out the beef mixture into uniform meatballs.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When the water is boiling, pick up a meatball and roll it in your hands until it forms a nice little sphere and drop it in the water. Repeat this with about 10 meatballs and leave them in the water for a couple minutes until they float.
  6. When the meatballs are done cooking in the water, use a slotted spoon to put the meatballs in a skillet where you’ve melted a tablespoon or two of butter. Cook the meatballs in the skillet until they’re nice and brown.
  7. Transfer the done meatballs to a container and repeat with the rest of the meatballs :)

I hope you enjoy one of my favorite foods ever!

Makes about 24 meatballs.

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