Holiday Treats and Surprises

Yet another holiday has come and about to pass. These annual rituals give the human life meaning, structure, creating connections, eat and laugh together.

Across three countries we share what we cooked and baked.

Surprise Christmas Eve dinner: crab legs!! why not surprise your guests with something non-conventional and oh so easy to make 😉
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Beet, Arugula, Orange… salad:
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Skinka! That’s Swedish ham:
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Klicha; a sweet bread very similar to Challah
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Mmmm… apple filled tart:
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Saffron cookies anyone???
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Zaatar bread, fresh out of the oven
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So enjoy yourself and the loved ones, life is about our connections and making memories. We wish everyone in the world peace, love and again PEACE!!

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Maldives: Komandoo island resort – full report!

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Komandoo is located north of Male and takes about 35-40 min by seaplane to get there. It is surrounded by couple other islands, some where locals live.

The resort is operated in partnership by a Swedish and Maldivian firm. It also operates the Kuredu island which is very nearby. The general manager is Patrick who greets everyone at arrival and he is Belgian. We were greeted by songs, cold coconut juice and homemade coconut ice cream. They know how to start your holiday on a positive note.
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We found the hospitality and level of service to be much better here than Gangehi. Also the beach front villas are better and cleaner. But we would advise to pick one not facing the local islands, the view is better. Our villa is nearly at the end tip of this 500 meter long island. Also the villas have outdoor bathroom, shower and jet tubs. Rooms are cleaned twice a day, but as a environment conscious island they won’t change sheets everyday unless you leave the cute wooden turtle on the bed. We love that they are eco friendly.

At first we were ambivalent about the half board but we love it now – the food is quality and lot of fresh fruits.

There is a bit of nightlife as well — last night we had a great cover band with a great variety of songs and sang some requests too.

The staff is better trained in hospitality and services in general. There are also women working at this island which we did not see at Gangehi except for the spa and the souvenir shop.

Water is fantastic – private beach with deafening quiet except of the sounds of ocean. The black tip sharks and stingrays go up and down the beach. So exciting to swim next to them and be in their presence. They are harmless and very cute (we think).
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While this is the rainy season we have had great weather on both Gangehi and Komandoo. Occasional rains in the evening or overnight have been welcome after the heat of the day.

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Now we are off to snorkeling – catch you later!!

Beat the Flue Naturally

Don’t be skeptical, if I can do it you can do it. So three days ago I woke up at 4:30am sweating, throat, and ears all throbbing, body aching like I ran a marathon. Knew I was in trouble.. had to decide if I was going to medicate or give my body a chance to fight naturally. Decided to give my body a chance.

Here is the regimen that naturally got me to a fully functional state by day 3:

Day 1:
Hydrate – lukewarm herbal teas that soothe the throat. I drank one cup to two every hour. Add lemon slices and spoons of good organic honey. What type of teas you say… ok mint, ginger, camomile, green and mixed teas. I happen to have a big stash of Kusmi teas and kept brewing and drinking. Stay away from the dark, hard, and dehydrating teas.
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Add humidity to the room you are in. I dislike humidifiers most are traps for bacteria and mold. Boiling a pot of water is just fine. Keeps your nasal passages soothed instead of the dry crackling air.

Every hour I did a 5 minute vapor session; throw a towel over your head and breathe in the vapors from boiling water. Adding a drop of organic mint oil is refreshing while relieving your nose and throat. Another amazing oil I used is oregano oil. Yes the vapor regimen will make your nose drip, it’s ok just wipe it. Put 3 drops in water and drink – not for the faint hearted this is strong stuff — but when you are fighting with flue you can surprise yourself with what you can drink.
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Light exercise is good; walk around in your home every couple hours to circulate blood.

Take a power nap – your body heals itself when you sleep. Had one coffee to fight the headache, worked temporarily but not enough.

Ate apples, carrots, salad greens, lentil soup spiked with garlic and paprika. Yes garlic is magical for colds and flue.

Day 2:
Ok started the morning badly; as I could not sleep well from the splitting headache. This is where I cheated with using a homeopathic sinus pressure and headache relieving dissolving tablets – evidence in exhibit A:
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Then I continued to do Day 1 regimen. Added some protein like yogurt, and a robust green smoothie with a strong shot of ginger – zing!!!! Think that alone killed about a whole colony of viruses immediately.

Changed sheets and PJs… call me crazy but esp when sick anything that can keep germs around longer goes… You are wondering about the toothbrush right??? Yes, I keep it under boiling water to disinfect so I don’t keep putting the same viruses in my mouth.

Took two power naps. Ate dark organic chocolate – yes I went through a whole bar in 2 days. Neti pot you say??? If I had one handy I would have used it… it is great for cleansing the sinuses and helping you breathe again. In fact I am buying one this weekend just to have it handy.

Notice in two days I did not eat breads, rice, carbs even though I love them – but somehow my body was telling me to stay away. Another thing to note is I stayed home for two days – did not leave even once. Totally tried to relax and give my body the stress free experience of just taking care of itself. Yes, this means you don’t work or you work little and mostly rest. Work never ends but your health does.

Day 3:
Had to take the homeopathic for headache in the morning again. Strong green smoothie with ginger again. Same tea regimen to keep hydration going all day. Was a normal day, went out, worked, went to grocery store etc.

Our minds and bodies are very powerful. They can heal us with little help from us. Our mindset is also a factor: I kept thinking feeling great despite moments of agony, stuffy nose to degree of only breathing from mouth, cold sweating and joint aches that kept on going.

Result: almost healed, slight nasal drip and sinus pressure but body, ear, throat completely healed. I expect to feel even better tomorrow.

A friend asked me ‘why put yourself through this just take a flue medicine or the flue shot. This is crazy.’ Well I said my body needs to naturally fight diseases to stay strong. I have never had a flue shot and rarely get this sick in any given winter. I believe in the Swedish healthcare motto – let the body rest and heal instead of immediately medicating everything and overusing antibiotics etc. Now remember, we are only talking about flue. I am not suggesting cure any ailment without medicine — that is a whole other story for another time.

Live well, Eat well, Be well !!

Holiday Treats: Mandel Bollar

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Mandel Bollar, a Swedish favorite cookie is perfect for this time of year. So easy to make, delicious to eat, and looks great. Reminds me of snow and represents the magic of the season (pictured above the peanut butter cups). Here is the recipe – make it and enjoy it with your loved ones!

  • 200 grams mandelmasa (sweet almond paste
  • 200 grams butter (room temperature, soft)
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg white to brush on top
  • almond flakes to roll the balls in
  • Mash the butter until it is smooth. Grate the almond paste (medium sized side of grate). Mix the two ingredients, add the flour and mix further. Roll the dough as a log – chill in the fridge for an hour. Cut the log into 40 equal pieces – roll into balls. Brush the tops with egg yolk, and roll in almond flakes.

    Preheat oven to 175 degrees and bake the almond balls for only 10 minutes. Do not overcook.

    Bon Appetit!

    Organic Liquorice anyone!

    I would like to share new tastes that surprised me!

    This is yummiest liquorice I have ever had and I was very surprised that it was also organic; this is for sure healthy. I can’t stop eating and eating. Knowing that it’s organic makes me feel ‘guilt free’ or at least it sounds better. I wish I could visit Oliv & Te Delikatesser shop in Sweden — it’s little heaven for organic, fair trade delicious things but I will share more delicious things that I had from this nice Delikatesser.

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    Surprise – This is a multi-lingual blog

    By now you probably noticed we blog in other languages too.  At times our entries will include Turkish and Swedish in addition to English.  After all we want to surprise you, delight you, and share with you our broad experiences.

    Surprise us — we welcome your comments in any language!

    (Oh yes, we are wearing @toryburch flip flops)

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