Holiday Traditions

From Sweden to America…

Best things about Christmas and holidays are traditions that carry meaning and create memories for generations.

Baking with friends, watching carolers.. are some of our faves 😊 

Whipped up some matcha cookies!

Peanut butter chocolate melting snowmen. Trying to decorate these will definitely entertain you – try it!!

Mix was the easy part!


Klicha – our traditional spicy sweet for Christmas time made the whole house smell cozy and ‘love’! 

We kicked back after an entire day of baking — adoring the tree and magic of friendship, traditions, and holiday.  
Happy Holidays!!!

Lecce’s native son and artist Alberto Buttazzo!

One lazy afternoon while strolling the cute streets of Lecce, we entered an unassuming shop. It was hardly recognizable as a shop from the outside.  Inside Alberto and Dino were sitting and chattering away as if they have been waiting for our arrival all this while…

We did not know that we were looking at the portrait of an artist, until we started looking around the shop. I saw a print and immediately knew it would be mine. Maker turned out to be Alberto himself. 

 

When people like each other no matter what the languages they can communicate. Though we know some limited Italian it was easy to connect with him.  He told us about his art and showed us his books, prints, the printing machine and more. 

  

 This is Alberto’s passion!  He has been doing this since 1934, his father founded the La Teatrale typography shop in 1926.

 

Dino, his brother in law, and AnnaMaria, his sister – a soprano, joined our lively conversation.  Also we had the pleasure of meeting Antonio, Dino’s talented son.   

Hard not to fall in love with culture, art, passion… we felt lucky that we walked in on this history waiting to be told and heard.

 

If you are visiting Lecce, drop by and say hello to Alberto and family. The shop is located at Via dei Perroni, 21 Lecce.  If you are far away then follow him on Facebook at Tipografia Del Commercio Lecce.

Grazie Alberto!!!  

Cooking with Lecce’s best Chef Gianna !

We had been waiting for this cooking experience for weeks. It was important to us to make this travel a learning experience since we love to cook and eat. 

Chef Gianna and Giorgio gave us the full experience of cooking in traditional Lecce style.  We met in the early evening by Piazza del Duomo.  We strolled together to the market in a leisurely way while getting to know more about each other.  We all have a passion for cooking, eating, and enjoying good company as a common characteristic.   

Market experience was fun, we watched how Gianna and Giorgio selected cheese, tomatoes, and other ingredients. The market owner and staff were great.  This is an integral part of feeling and breathing the whole experience.  These are the kinds of memories that are priceless.  We loved it!! 

 

We arrived at the beautiful Cooking Experience kitchen. This is where they cook and entertain the guests.  

 

It is lovely, comfortable, fully equipped with anything needed for cooking a great meal.   

The menu was focaccia, orecchiette, stuffed eggplants, and pastacciotto , which is the local custard desert.  

   
 Drinking wine 🍷🍷 while we cooked made the whole process even more fun. Chef Gianna is full of great tips and lessons. We made the entire dinner from scratch!! 

  
 

Learning how to make the orecchiette was amazing. We made eggless pasta dough that could be used for any type of pasta. Chef Gianna showed us in detail how to make the pasta.
  

We tried our best to follow Chef Gianna’s instructions. Yes! she did use the pasta we made for dinner. She was gracious and kind to say we did well.  We think we need more practice 😉

The fully hand on experience was very satisfying. We made everything together. Giorgio assured us not to worry about taking notes since he send the precise recipes to all the students. This helped us relax, concentrate and have more fun. 

 

Voilà!!   the finished pasta… it was as delicious as it looks.  What’s remarkable is that time flew by, we had great laughs, and a great meal while learning without any strain or intimidation.  Giorgio and Chef Gianna have this easy going style that makes any level cook feel comfortable.  
While we did only one day, you can customize and book several sessions with Chef Gianna.  Start planning your cooking experience; contact Giorgio for details at cookingexperiencelecce@gmail.com 🇮🇹
 

Italy!  Puglia! – Let’s Cook

Can you tell we are counting days and how excited we are for our next adventure!

We will report live from our cooking experience, but wanted to share our research with you.  Very important for any traveller to connect with their host chef and understand what they are signing up for. 

So here we go… 

                To find more Please visit 

cookingexperience.it.com

Special Valentines Semla

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A traditional Swedish recipe using little creativity could make difference like using different shaped cutters making them special for Valentines day or any day to share with loved ones of course if you live them organic shaped as they are it wont make them less delicious and bunny 🙂 so it's up to you to add more creativity or leave them as they are the goal is to make delicious dessert in most Enjoyable way!

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For 18 semla rolls
• 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
• 3 dl milk
• 50 g fresh yeast
• 1 dl granulated sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 150g soft butter
• 1 egg
• 11-12 dl flour special

 For Filling
• 400 g almond paste
• A dash of milk
• 8 dl whipped cream
• Egg for brushing
• Powdered sugar

 If you like to make homemade almond paste (1/2 kg)
• 250 g almonds
• 2 1/2 dl granulated sugar
1. crush and scale almonds .
2. Mix the almonds until smooth in household blender.
3. Add the powdered sugar OCH Blend for 5-7 minutes checkouts It Becomes smooth paste.

Semla
1. Crush cardamom seeds and heat the milk until you can hold your finger in, 37 degrees.
2. Crumble the yeast into a bowl and dissolve with milk, granulated sugar, salt, butter and eggs.
3. Add the flour a little at a time and work together to form a smooth dough .
4. Allow to rise the dough in a bowl covered with a cloth until doubled in size in 45-60 minutes.
5. Turn out dough onto a floured surface.
6. Divide the dough into 18 pieces and shape them into round buns.
7. Place the buns on baking trays with baking paper with the seam facing down.
1948. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
9. Allow to rise under a cloth for 45-60 minutes .
10. Brush the buns with beaten egg and bake them in the oven for 6-7 minutes . Allow to cool .
20311. Cut off the tops of the buns and scoop out the guts 
.20512. Stir the guts with grated almond paste and a dash of milk until creamy.
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13. Fill semla buns with marzipan, pipe the cream over and put the lid on. Dust with icing sugar.

You can make it more more exciting and modern way by adding sliced strawberries or other delicious healthy berries it's all up to you bring up your imagination and what you like best if it's chocolate for you try using chocolate chips or chocolate cream why not to try mix and match through your taste.  

Oil Pulling – an Ayurvedic Ritual

It has been 3 days since I started doing ‘oil pulling’ and since I decided to continue at least for 30 days want to share this experience with you. After hearing about this ancient Ayurvedic health technique and my recent flue I decided it is time to use it. Natural ways of healing are the best and been used for centuries.

How to do oil pulling?
Every morning right after I wake up, prior to eating or drinking anything – I take a spoonful of coconut oil and swish it around in my mouth for 20 minutes. As I do my morning routines, stretching/yoga 20 minutes fly by. You must do 20 minutes or 10 minutes in morning and 10 minutes in evening. Doing less is not effective.

Here is what my spoonful of coconut oil looks like:
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How does it work? What are the health benefits?

Prevents  bad breath

Strength gums, teeth, jaw prevents disease

Increases overall oral health

Relieves headaches

Supports kidney function

Whitens the teeth

Even at day 3 it is working for me; my sinuses feel better and my breath is very neutral – beats any mouthwash. Love using ancient methods to better my health. I will report back at the end of 30 days – stay tuned!!

UPDATE 3/18:
Yes I am still at it! every morning for 20 minutes. No my teeth are not whiter, at least that’s what I think, but my mouth has gotten healthier, and my skin is softer. The pulling has also consistently helped me clear my sinuses – at the end of 20 minutes, my sinuses release whatever is in there. Also the ritual has helped me do my morning yoga/stretches more consistently — nice to them at the same time. Will continue the practice, at least for 30 days and report back again. Let me know if you have any questions.

Traditional Aprakh (Wraps)

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Before we start to this traditional family recipe I want to give you a great tip that I learned it from my aunt during summer I collect the fresh grape leaves and just line them on top of each other then wrap them with aluminum foil and put them in freezer bag and freeze them when I took them from freezer I have to be very careful because when they freeze they are very fragile so when you touch them you have to be very careful! and after you de-freeze them they are ready to use &  enjoy sunny summer taste!

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 Are you ready to enjoy?

Organic grape leaves

1 cup organic rice

1/2 cup organic coarsely ground wheat

1 or 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbs organic butter or ghee or olive oil
1 tsp pressed organic garlic
1 tsp sea salt
2-3 cups boiling water (you will need more or less water it depends of what type of rice and leaves you use)
For Top ( for 1 person)

1 large organic egg (optional)

1 tbs organic butter, ghee or olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup water

2 tbs fresh green garlic leaves diced very thin I don’t have fresh green garlic leaves so I used normal garlic cloves crushed.

You can use just rice or just wheat or as I do you can mix them.

Rinse rice and wheat.

Mix melted butter, yogurt, garlic and salt to rice and wheat mix them well.( I didn’t have enough yogurt at home so my mixture looks dry but normally should be runny and wet yogurt gives special flavor and character which is the specialty of this recipe.

Then as below you see the photos put some rice and wrap the leaves.

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Line up them in pot the closure side should be faced down.

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When you reach the last row if you have left over leaves you can cover the top of wraps or if you don’t have that’s fine.

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Put pot on high heat.

Very slowly add boiling water.

Cover the lid bring to boil 20-30 min. or until the rice and wheat cooked well.
If you are using very big leaves yo can dived them into 2 pieces or just make big wraps my leaves were very small.

Now our Aprakh is ready carefully take each Aprakh and line it in plate.

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For top
Put butter in pan until heated pour scrambled egg and stir fry put the crushed garlic and salt stir-fry then add boiling water boil it 1-2 min. it should be little water left when you put it over the
aprakh wraps.

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Okay I know its worth it but isn’t it enough we wait… aaawww it smells garlicious!
Give me a moment please! I have to eat and sweep this I stand to much.

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organic abu-annuch

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This eggplant recipe was made a day after when I made eggplant mazza so you can grill your eggplants a day before but as you can see they get brown this time because I didn’t soak them in lemon juice and use them immediately anyway the taste is same just the color is darker. If as me you like to eat it simply with bread and yogurt with fresh mint or you can eat it with meat or rice as how you like. Just use your creativity!

What you need to get started is

1/2 cup organic eggplant (2 small or 1 big)

1 egg (optional)

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves of garlic

1 tsp sea salt

some parsley to decorate

Prepare the eggplants as same as eggplant mazza but don’t soak them into lemon juice use them directly.

Dice them finely or mash them (sometimes I like to cut them in small cubes you can do if you like).

If you use the egg first scramble the egg.

Heat the olive oil.

Put the eggs when they start to take shape stir them to create  small  pieces of eggs. (Like stir fried eggs)

Add eggplants cook them for 5 min.

Add salt and garlic cook 5 min. more.

That’s it it’s ready! it’s easy and quick for a delicious dish isn’t it?

Give it a nice shape decorate it with some parsley or herbs and enjoy!

Traditional Organic Melon Seed Soup

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This soup is amazing we need just 3 ingredients melon seeds, coarsely ground wheat and water that’s it! very easy to make at the same time very healthy I think this recipe is created when the people were short of food and using everything instead of throwing it away it is recycle recipe I love using every part of food not throwing it it’s very good habit to cultivate ( I usually collect the melon seeds by myself after cutting and eating the flesh of melon remove the seeds and wash them with help of a strainer then put them on plate and sun dry them) and especially buying and cooking small amount of food is better than buying and cooking a lot and then throw it to the garbage please buy and cook with awareness  don’t forget there is many people who can’t even find what you throw to the garbage!

Less is more and healthier, cheaper and better.

2 cups organic sun dried water melon seeds unsalted

2 cups coarsely ground wheat

1- 1/2  lt water

cinnamon, sugar, salt optional

Rinse the coarsely ground wheat

Add 1 lt water soak it 30 min.

Boil it 40 min or until cooked well and begin to get thick.

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Roast the melon seeds for 10 min or less they shouldn’t change their color.

After 10 min. grind them very well they should be powdered.IMG_0676

Boil 1/2 lt. of water add half of the water on powdered melon seeds and stir until it’s very white

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Take strainer over the well cooked coarsely ground wheat pour the melon seeds milk from strainer.

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Repeat the same thing with remaining water.

drain it well.

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Ready to sip!

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You can add any flavor you like salt,sugar or sugar and cinnamon which I hearted!

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New.Year.Words. Lessons. Life

These are the words that I love a lot saying what I can’t say sometimes when I confused or sad or mad or even happy  they teach me something that I didn’t think before THANKS a LOT for putting all the letters and words in this beautiful meanings.

I just would like to share them with anyone who finds something from itself.

Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

Be curious not judgmental.

Do small things with great LOVE.

Remember happiness is way of travel not a destination.

In life it’s not where you go it’s who you travel with.

Your children become who you are, so be who you want them to be.

Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.

Drop jealousy and envy, for they make you ugly, be loving be accepting and most of all be happy just the way you are.

Success doesn’t just come and find you you have to go out and get it.

If God shuts a door, stop bang on it! Trust that what ever is behind it is not meant for you.

You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to SMILE.

EGO take the E off and let it GO!

Life is far too short. To be sad. To be mad. To hold regret. To look back. To be depressed. To be unkind. Do the reverse of all these counted.

Be crazy. Be stupid. Be silly. Be weird. Be whatever. Because life is too short to be anything but HAPPY.

Maybe I’m crazy but all the best people are.

Think HAPPY Be HAPPY.

Have LESS. Do MORE. Be MORE.

Wherever you are be all there.

When the devil keeps on asking you to look at your past. There must be something good in the future that the devil doesn’t want to you to see.

I don’t want you to save me. I want you to stand by my side as I save myself.

Still time to change the road you are on.

I’ll choose HONESTY over Perfection every single time.

When someone is nasty or treats you poorly, don’t take it personally. It says nothing about you but a lot about them.

Live in the MOMENT.

The cure for anything is salt water SWEAT TEARS or the SEA.

Forget what it hurt you but never forget what it taught you.

No one ever get tired of loving. They got tired of waiting, assuming, hearing lies, saying sorry, and hurting.

When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food they call me communist.

Always trust your first gut instincts. If you genuinely feel in your heart and soul that something is wrong, it usually is.

Some of the most poisonous people come disguised as friends and family.

Spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself and a little less time trying to impress people.

Waiting for someone else to make you happy is the best way to be sad.

Honesty is an expensive gift; don’t expect it from cheap people.

If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.

LIVE LOVE like there is no tomorrow.

Respect your self enough to walk away from anyone or anything that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy.

Don’t hate what you don’t understand.

Different is beautiful.

A great relationship is about two things first find similarities second respect the differences.

I don’t like standard beauty there is no beauty without strangeness.

Old ways won’t open new doors.

Cultivate the habit of being grateful.

Being happy doesn’t mean that every thing is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.

I’m thankful to all those said no to me. it’s because of them I did it myself.

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.

No reason to stay is a good reason to go.

You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.

The greatest prison people live in, is the fear of what other people think.

Be with those who help your being.

Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to things and people that stress you out.

Don’t find fault find a remedy anybody can complain.

Never respond to rudeness. When people are rude to you, they reveal who they are, not who you are don’t take it personally be silent.

Before you react think.

Before you spend, earn.

Before you criticize, wait.

Before you pray, forgive.

Before you quit, try.

Many times we have to just stop and ask ourselves sincerely do I really happy on the way of life that I’m on? Or should I change my way my life and how? Or maybe you just  have to learn something new.

Hope coming near to the end of this year our worries, disappointments bad experiences and all sort of that we call bad or negative was in our life just to change us to be better person and to make us able to see the life with different perspectives to enlighten our minds and hearts to see what was missing from our lifes.