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Author: Sara

Dracula

Dracula

Keep the garlic, and a silver crucifix if you have one, near you when reading this.

Another 1800-book tip for you guys, this one it more on the creepy side rather than the cute and loving side. If you ever have watched a scary movie or a show, chances are that there have been a vampire in these, sucking all the blood, killing all the people or just sparkling like glitter nail polish. The vampire in this book is unlike any one you have seen before, unless you already have read the book :-P. This 1897 horror book is very creepy and scary, at the same time as it is interesting and exciting. While reading it, I felt afraid but I still could not put the book down.

Just keep reading…

The story starts with Jonathan who is traveling to meet with the Count, Dracula, to talk about business. We get to follow Jonathan’s journey and meet Dracula for the first time in his home. From there the story moves on, we get to follow and get to know other characters. The story is divided into parts where each character gets a portion of the story told from there point of view. By writing in this style the author keeps the story interesting and the characters tolerable, otherwise one could get tired of only following one storyline or missing other aspects of the adventure.

Don’t you just love the art on this book? 🙂

As you may already know, Dracula is the Father of all vampires, both in the fantasy world and in real life. This book is the reason why vampires exist in todays popular culture, before Bram Stoker wrote this book vampires and Dracula were only found in old myths and folklore, and for that we are thankful. Just like any other book or text written in that time, this books feels like a time capsule that takes you back to a place where sexist remarks and behaviors were ok, a place where women could not take care of themselves and had to be protected by strong men. But that did not bother me, not that much anyway, since it made the story more realistic for its time and therefore even scarier. Even if you do not like the horror genre or feel that this might not be the book for you, give it a try anyway you will be happy that you did. It is one of the best written books I have read so far.

 

Toffee

Toffee

These toffees are so much better than the ones you would buy from the store, and I am not saying this because its is my recipe and my blog, I am saying it because you will be able to have fresh toffee, unlike the stale ones from the supermarket, and you will also get to adjust them to however you like. This might sound like a tiny dream come true for some (me :-)), but this really is the ultimate christmas and holiday treat. Your friends and family will flock, and demand that you make more, and more (or maybe that’s just my family :-)) Give this a go, you will love it, and its not as hard as you might think.

The cutting and wrapping game is strong here 🙂

The regular toffee, as I like to call it, is a toffee made with my basic toffee recipe (see below). This toffee is sweet, with a rich taste of cream and butter and has a soft chewy texture. The rest of the toffees listed below can all be made from the basic toffee recipe with some added spices or oils. Don’t exchange the cream or the butter for less fat or even a “healthy” options, the toffee will not come out as good as it can, and you should allow yourself some holiday treats. This recipe can be halved and doubled without any problems, the cooking time might becomes longer or shorter depending on the amount of the mixture you that have in your pot.

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This is a gingerbread toffee that I added some pink sea salt on top, so tasty.

You can make them as they are, and they are amazing, or you can add spices, oils and colors to make them taste or look a different way. Below I will list the recipe for the basic toffee, and after that you can find other fun and tasty varieties. They can be kept in an airtight container for weeks, if they last. 🙂


 

Toffee

Preparation time: 5 min       Cook time: 20-30 min      Total time: 4-6 hours

Makes: 50-60 Toffees

 

Basic Toffee Recipe:

The cupcake tray was realy easy to use, they cooled faster and the cutting process was smoother.
  • 3 dl sugar
  • 100 g butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 dl light sirape
  • 2 dl cream (36 % fat or more)
  • Cooking/candy thermometer (if you dont have one, check out step 3)

 

How to make it:

  1. Place parchment paper in a pan for the toffees to cool in later, you can use sizes like 20-30 cm, 30-10 cm or the round ones that are a medium size. I also tried to make it easier by using a cupcake oven tray and poured the toffee in cupcake paper. Use what you have, a small-medium size in any shape will work fine.
  2. Put all of the ingredients in a large pot on medium-high heat. Place the thermometer in the pot, make sure it does not “hit” the bottom of the pot. The tip of the thermometer is in the middle of the toffee mixture to get the right readings.
  3. Mix well and keep stiring, the toffee will starts to bubble, after about 15-20 min on the stove. When the temperature reaches 115 C, and you can see the mixture pulling away from the pot, take it of the heat. If you do not have a thermometer, try the toffee-test: take a teaspoon of the hot mixture and drop it in a glass of very cold water. Wait a minute, fish out the toffee from the water and try to form it into a ball. If it holds the shape, then you toffee is ready.
  4. Take to mixture of the heat, keep stiring to get rid of all the bubbles that has formed. Do that for about 30 seconds.
  5. Pour the mixture in a pan. Let it cool, until it comes to room temperature.
  6. Once chilled, put the pan in the freezer for about 5-10 min, so it gets firm. Take it out and start cutting with a sharp knife.
  7. Cut into rectangles or any shape you wish. Wrap in pieces of parchment paper that fits the size of your candy.

 

When I poured the toffee mixture in the cupcakepapers, they got this really nice fan shape. You can keep that, or re-shape them, they are soft but will keep the form.


Gingerbead Toffe:

So sweet and perfect for christmas time, this toffee is made with basic toffee recipe and I added some gingerbread spice to create this amazing mix of my favorite holiday treats. If you don’t know, gingerbread spice is a mixture of different spices that are used when making gingerbread cookies. You can buy this mixture ready in large stores this time of year, but you could also make your own. You find the recipe for both the toffees and the spice-mix below.

What you need: 

  • 1 recipe of the basic toffee
  • 2 teaspoons of gingerbread spice mix

Gingerbeard spice:

  • 2 tablespoons Ground Ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cardamon

Mix well and keep in a jar.

How to make the Toffee:

  1. Just follow the same instructions for the basic toffee. When adding all the other ingredients, also add the spice.
  2. Enjoy.
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You can use different types of parchment paper for the different toffees, that will make it easier to know what is what.

Peppermint toffee.

I made this recipe just for fun, my boyfriend loves mint and even though this flavour is not typically christmasy, I found it quite refreshing. You can use other flavored oils instead of the peppermint.

What you need: 

  • 1 recipe of the basic toffee
  • 2 teaspoons of peppermint oil (make sure its the type used in cooking)
  •  Green Gel food coloring ( or yellow and blue gel colors)

How to make it:

  1. Follow the instructions from the basic toffee. When the mixture has come to 115 C and you remove it from the heat, add the peppermint oil and mix well, then add the food color, as much color as you like. Do not use water based food colors, since they will change the consistency of the toffee. Gel colors are very concentrated and very little is needed to give a vibrant and beautiful color.
  2. You could skip the food color, the toffee will in it self have a nice caramel color.

 

I hope that you do try this, comment if you do or if you have any questions

Green peppermint toffees 🙂
Fold the toffee in a rectangular piece of parchment paper.
Twist the edge carefully. Do that on both sides.
You can be creative and wrap them however you like
Pulled beef burger

Pulled beef burger

A gimg_735666reat midweek recipe that is both easy and quick to make, for all the days where you just don’t have the time or the energy to make food but still want to have something good to eat. By buying almost ready pulled beef, pulled pork or even pulled turkey you can save yourself a lot of time to enjoy your evening with something more relaxing. This burger is just amazing, the juicy meat together with the crunchy and sour apples, the pickled onions and this tender bread will feel like heaven. And the fact that you can make it yourself, fast, easy and cheap will make that feeling even better.

Start by deciding what kind of meat you would like, if you are a vegetarian then use anything you like instead of the meat. You can use whatever you like, I picked the pulled beed since it is very juicy and it works very well with the rest of the condiments. You can use a regular patty och any type of burger, even leftover meat would work nice here. Give this a try and tell me what you think 🙂

 


Pulled Beef Burger 

           Preparation time: 5-15 min              Total time: 30-40 min (depending on the meat)

Makes: 2-4 Burgers

Ingredients:

  •  1 (500 g) package of ready pulled beef (or another type of your choice)
  • Burger buns
  • 1 green apple
  • Pickle onions (recipe here )
  • 2 dl of plain turkish yogurt
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper

How to make it:

  1. Follow the instructions on the package of your meat, most of them take about 20-30 minutes in the oven until ready.
  2. While the meat is getting ready, mix the yogurt with the lime juice, salt and pepper. Let it sit in the fridge until you need to use it.
  3. Slice the apple really thin, it’s is best if the apple is firm.
  4. When the meat is ready, break it apart with two forks then let the meat sit in the juice for 2-3 min.
  5. Now, lets put the burger together. Put as much meat as you like, remember to spoon some of the juice over the meat on the bun.
  6. Place the apple slices on top of the meat, then the pickles onions (you can find the recipe here)
  7. Spread a good amount of the yogurt on the top part of the bun, put the “lid” on top.
  8. Enjoy with fries, chili cheese or just a cold drink. 🙂

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Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

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This must be the cutest little thing ever, and it fits perfectly here.

A miniature winter wonderland that is so sweet, cozy and has a Swedish winter feeling. These porcelain houses and trees are to die for, the houses can hold candles inside and the different designs and shades of green and white is the perfect mixture of vintage and modern. The houses and the trees are from “Søstrene grene”, which is a store, if you are not familiar with it, that has a lot of nicknacks, simple furniture and other fun stuff. They had different houses, with candle holders, led-light or without, different shapes and designs to choose from for very good prices. This is not a sponsored post, just letting you know where I got everything.

If you are planing to try this DIY out, and please do because it’s so much fun, you should know that you can use what ever you have at hand. You might already have trees, houses or reindeers at home, use them, use whatever you thing looks best and yours will be more personal and unique. But remember, less is more. I choose to stay in the same color scheme, since I do tend to go crazy when colors are involved, and it turned out great. Don’t forget, you can make this as big, or small as you like, I made a small one, since I only had room on my windowsill. Feel free to adjust this and make it your own. 🙂

*Do not leave lit candles unattended. 


Winter Wonderland 

Preperation time: none       Total time: 20 min

What you need to make this:

  • Mini houses/ a castle/ a shed (whatever makes you happy)
  • Some trees
  • Status ( I used a small Santa and a cute reindeer)
  • Moss (both green and white)
  • Small light & candles
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Everything you need to make this.
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Sooo pretty 🙂

Moss can be found at any large store this time of the year, you could also bring some home from the garden or the woods. But I don’t want to the risk of insects in my house, so I bought both green and white to create some texture and dimension in my mini-land.

How you do it:

  1. Choose where you want to place your miniature land. Remember, it will be hard to move around, so give this some thought before deciding. If you want to have your moss right on the surface of the place you choose, then skip to step 2 now. If you are worried about your surface being ruined, then put down some plastic wrap, baking sheet och even a board on your surface before putting on the moss.
  2. Place the moss on your surface, and break it gently, the moss will be in one piece so when you break it apart a little it will look more like natural grass. By breaking it up, you also make the moss looks like a small hill area, stop when you are happy with the look.
  3. Now place the largest items you have, here I placed the houses, rearrange until you like the look. Make sure that the houses are stable on the moss, especially if you are using candles later.
  4. The trees and any other decoration can be placed now, mix it up a little and don’t forget to put the decorations everywhere, this creates more dimension in your cute little town.
  5. Place you lights now, light them up and rearrange until satisfied.
  6. Final touches, I had some dried flowers and some berries that I just placed and sprinkled over. I can’t say NO to color.
  7. Enjoy 🙂

Comment if you do try this out and tell me how it went, you are welcome to comment if you have any questions or tips 🙂

  More pictures: 

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Sweet, sweet reindeer 🙂
Pickled onions

Pickled onions

These onions are not just pretty with their pink color in this cute jar, they are also very verimg_7340satile and delicious. You can make this in advance and store it in the fridge for weeks. You can use these onions in salads, burgers, sandwiches, ramen and as a part of a side dish. They are sweet, crunchy with a citrus flavor that lifts everything you add them to and make most dishes taste better. There is no preparation time needed for this recipe, the total time for these onions is about 30 min, but during 15 min of that time the onions will be in the fridge. You can use any of the optional flavoring ingredients below to make this recipe your own, I use all the mentioned ingredients to make these crunchy treats. If you want, you can leave out the chili or/and the garlic if you don’t like the taste.

 


Pickled onions 

Preperation time: none              Total time: 30 min

Ingredients:

  • img_73421 medium / large onion. (depending on the size of your jar)
  • 1 medium-sized clean jar
  • 1/2 litter of white vinegar / or any light vinegar you like (we will not need it all)
  • I-2 chili, red, green or yellow (optional)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sugar or honey (use what you have at home)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of peppercorns, mixed colors of pepper to make it more fun
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 litter of boiling hot water

 

How to make it:

  1. Start by peeling and slicing the onion. Slice right through the onion to form rings, separate the rings gently and put them in a bowl/pot that is heat resistant. Pour the boiling hot water and let the onions sit there until you are ready with the rest. Do not put the pot on the stove, just leave it, the heat from the water is enough.
  2. Wash the jar and the lid in really hot water. You don’t need to dry the jar, just add a couple of tablespoons of the vinegar with the chopped chilies, garlic, sugar or honey, salt and the peppercorns. Mix well with a spoon until the honey or the sugar has dissolved.
  3. When the onions are soft, drain away the water, and put the onions in the jar. Push them in the jar, but not that much, to make room for all of the onion slices. Tap up with more vinegar , all the way to cover the onions. If you use a strong white vinegar, then read nr 4.
  4. If the vinegar you use is really strong, then you can balance it out with some water in the jar. I use a vinegar that i found at my local store, it was medium “strong” with a lemon flavor, so I did not have to tap up with some water at the end.
  5. Put the lid on the jar, and give it a gentle shake to mix everything together.
  6. Let it sit in the fridge for 10-15 min before you eat. You will notice that the vinegar will turn pink by that time, store in the fridge for 4-6 weeks. Just make sure that you store it well and that your jar was really clean when you used it.
  7. Enjoy 🙂
Caramel corn

Caramel corn

Forget regulimg_7363ar popcorn, chips with dip or even chocolate. This twist on the popcorn, with its sweet and salty flavor and the crispy texture, will make you ignore all the rest. So, whenever you are in the mood for something sweet or salty, something good to go on a snack table or just when watching a movie, just make this but make sure you have enough. I have to warn you before you do, this will make you obsessed, it is so good. If this recipe is done as follows, these caramel corns will be better than anything else you have on you “movie-night-snack-table”.

 

 

Besides being extremely addictive and oh so good, this recipe is truly easy to master. It takes very little effort and almost no preparation time, you only have to bring all the needed ingredients near your stove while you prepare your caramel to make your job easier. lets get started. 🙂


 Caramel Corn          

Preperation time: 5 min         Total time: 30-40 min         

Ingredients:

  • 200g Sugar
  • 30g Butter
  • A pinch of seasalt (you can use regular salt, just use 1/2 teaspoon.
  • 1 teaspoon Baking soda (don’t use baking powder)
  • 1 bag of popped microwave popcorn/ 1 medium bowl of popped popcorn

 

How to make it:

  1. Start by popping the popcorn. I choose popcorn that you pop in the img_7365microwave, because it is faster and easier. You can do as you like, it you enjoy the taste of micro-popcorn then try that. If you like the popcorn that you pop on the stove then of course you should do what you like most. Make sure that you only leave the popped popcorns in the bowl, remove any un-popped corns and even the halvpopped that might be to hard to eat.
  2. Put all of you ingredients, even the popcorn, near your stove on a table or the sink. Use a large pot, non-stick if you have that, and pour your sugar in it, put on medium/high heat. Never leave the pot unwatched, and do not stir the sugar.
  3. Once the sugar starts to bubble or turn a gold-brown color, do not stri, just lift the pot and give it a gentle shake to move the sugar around a little, then put it back on.
  4. When the sugar has melted and it still looks gold-brown, put the salt and butter in. You can move and stir the mixture around now, until the butter has melted and you have mixed everything together. Now ad the Baking soda- the mixture will bubble and you have to stir fast. Remember, this is really hot so be careful.
  5. Take to pot of the heat, keep the mixture moving by stiring. Now, put in the poped popcorn, use a large wooden spoon or a something similar to move the popcorn around the pot, make sure all the corns are covered. keep moving around and don’t forget the caramel that might be stuck on the bottom of the pot.
  6. Lay the popcorn of a flat surface, like a baking tray or a table, with a parchment paper underneath. Try to separate the popcorn if you seen that you have some lumps or balls of stuck popcorn. Leave it until firm and chilled.
  7. Enjoy with a nice cold drink and a really good movie. 🙂
Little Women

Little Women

If you are looking for a good read this thursday, then Little Women is the book for you. A classic that is just right for this cold fall and these dark days, this book has beautiful moments, lively characters and a feel good story. Little women is written in 1868 by Louisa May Alcott, which might feel like a very long time ago, but still many of the feelings and thoughts that the characters experience are very relevant today. The story centers around a family in the USA during the civil war, the father has gone to the war and we get to follow his four daughters, their mother as well as close friends and neighbors. All the girls have different personalities and interests, they have hopes and dreams about the future. We get to follow them during a hard but exciting time of their lives, we learn about them but also about family, friendship and values of that time. I enjoy novels written during this period of time because the stories feel like a time capsule that takes you back in time to a place where tea-time is the highlight of the day, and where a lady never leaves the house without her gloves.

This book has been made into a movie several times, the latest one from 1994 is very good. With stars like Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst and Christian Bale, it does feel like a most watch movie anyway even if you are not reading the book. But before watching the movie, you should read the second book “good wives”. Some copies of the book “Little Women” does have both books as one, but the one I have is just the first. The 1994 movie covers both books. If you want to find out more about the book, the author or the movie, just click on the underlined parts of this text. I hope you enjoy the book and the movie as much as I have.

Sweet Mango pudding

Sweet Mango pudding

This pudding is sweet, easy and delicious. I found this recipe and I just hade to try it right away. Preparation time is less than 5 min, depending on if you are using canned or fresh mango. If you are using fresh mango, then slice the mango and follow the steps below. For a vegan, or vegetarian, option use agar agar powder instead of the gelatin. Just follow the steps below and tell me how it went.

Ingredients

  • 1 can, 230 g, of mango, with the syrup (1 & 1/2 fresh mangos).
  • 1 & 1/2 dl sugar.
  • Juice from 1 lime.
  • 1 dl of yoghurt.
  • 2 & 1/2 tablespoons of gelatin.
  • Gel-food colors (optional).

Step by step: 

  1. Mix the gelatin into a 1/2 dl of boiling hot water. Make sure that everything has dissolved. Let the gelatin sit until the other steps are complete.
  2. Blend the mango, some of the syrup and the yoghurt into a smooth mixture, in a blender.
  3. Add the sugar and the lime juice. Taste until you feel happy with how sweet the mixture is.
  4. Pour the mango-mixture into a bowl.
  5. Once the gelatin is firm, but not solid, add it to the rest of the pudding.
  6. If you want to create different colors with the pudding, remove some of the mixture into a bowl and add gel-food coloring, blend well and repeat in other colors. Create waves of different patterns into the bowls that you want to serve the pudding from.
  7. Pour the pudding into small bowls, glasses or molds.
  8. Let the pudding sit in the fridge until it is firm (approx. 2 hours).
  9. Serve alone or with yoghurt mixed with some cinnamon and honey.
  10. Enjoy. 🙂
Mango pudding with cinnamon yoghurt.
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Everything that is needed for this dessert.