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!!!

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Park City – Utah!

Hello from… Park City, Utah! 

What a cute town this is, it stole our hearts during our week visit. Incredible mountains and views, nature…   

We knew it was very popular during winter for skiing but just realized how beautiful it is during summer.  Hiking at 8-10K altitude anyone?  

Horseback riding on mountain paths with a cowboy…   

We even paid a visit to the Olympic park and watched future Olympians practice – how inspiring!  

The town also has great restaurants and a cute Main Street filled with shops.  
So next time you want an extended weekend or weeklong quick getaway… think Park City!!

Farm to Table Dinner Event

End of Summer is on the horizon.  We try to celebrate the season in every way possible before the cold and snow hits the streets.

Campo Di Bella farm and winery hosted a wonderful vegetarian dinner event last night. We had the joy of attending it.  

What a fantastic way to support local farming community and artisans. 

29 guests, 7 courses, and a lot of joy…


Every course was light refreshing and made us taste the summer sunshine!


Zucchini tart or art?? 😍  

Get out there and celebrate the summer!!!

Day trip to Sundara Spa – Dells, WI

Took a friend for a belated birthday celebration to Sundara Spa. Was a rather positive experience and here is the synopsis — if and when you find yourself in WI its a place you can go.

Grounds of the spa are peaceful and there are 37 rooms I believe for overnight guests. We had a great day trip with Express Spa services and access to full facility.

The quiet room is a bit tired looking, could use an update but comfy, cozy overlooking the outdoor pool. Yes! even at 48 deg weather it is open. The outside floor is heated, pool is heated and there is hot tub next to it too. Now this is an impressive feature – makes me want to come back when it snows. IMG_2303.JPG
Express Spa package is perfect for a day trip. The practitioners are so good that 35 min are well done. Normally 35 min are never enough for me; barely get relaxing in 30 min. We had massage, facial, and pedi. They use fully vegan organic nail polish, and all of their treatment products are organic. IMG_2310.JPG
While spa services were great and reasonably priced – the food was meh!! Had lunch in between services and lounging; neither dish had much flavor. Later when chatting with other guests we learned people drive elsewhere to eat. We now know why 😉 They can improve this, and we recalled how amazing the food at Kohler Spa and Red Door Spa is. So this was a tiny let down.
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In any case… if you find yourself in WI and want a mid-level Spa experience Sundara will do great! Look at this… who can complain about huddling around an outdoor fire, cozy and brisk at the same time. IMG_2308.JPG

Summer Wild Cherry Jam

20130715-205440.jpgIf you have a bountiful wild cherry tree do what our friend Colleen did; share the fruit with friends. She showed up at the studio with bags of cherries. After filling my belly with the tart delicious wild things I wondered what was going to happen with the rest. Colleen told me I could take it all home. I did not ask twice! and took the bag home.

This delightful summer gift is what led to me making jam. So I am sharing the recipe with you all. Hope you enjoy it.

What you need:

  • 6 cups of wild cherries (these were tart mostly)
  • 2 cups of organic white sugar
  • A large pot and wooden spoon
  • Clean jars with good lids; I love using my recycled ones
  • Yes, this is it, no pectin or any other filler ingredient.
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    Step 1:
    Don’t do what I did!! Wash and let the fruit air-dry a little. Then take fruit and a cup for the pits to your COUCH so you can comfortably pit the million cherries. I stood for 2 hour at the sink – not quite sure why. Another good idea is to involve friends or kids in the process – sure to expedite the pitting.

    And do yourself a favor hand-pit the cherries, trying to use a knife — trust me, not such a good idea. I also recommend wearing an apron, in case the cherry juice splatters your clothing won’t get ruined.

    Step 2:
    After the pitting is done, add the sugar on the cherries, stir a bit to ensure they are thoroughly coated. If you are wondering why such little sugar… you don’t need more sugar, less sugar keeps the taste and flavor of the fruit come through.

    Let the mix marinate overnight. Best way is to let it marinate in the sun if you can, otherwise the fridge will do (cover well so other smells don’t taint jam mix. 20130715-210747.jpg
    Step 3:
    Pour the marinated wild cherries into the pot an put on high heat. Bring to boil, and keep boiling for 10 minutes.
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    After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. If you see that your jam is too liquid I would go for 30 minutes.
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    How to test the jam?
    Take a little of the juice and drop it to a plate so you can watch how it flows. The slower it flows the better and that indicates it is ready to be taken off the heat.
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    Mine actually turned out to be little more liquid than I like. Keep in mind that timing of how long to boil is a function of how much juice there is. Since there is no thickener in this recipe we use the reduction method.

    Step 4:
    Let the jam cool; enough so there is no steam coming off it anymore. Use a big spoon or ladle to fill up the jars. Make sure to put on the lids tightly.
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    Tip: you can store this in a cool dark cabinet, but if you are having a hot and humid summer like we are I recommend storing them upside down in the fridge.

    Make this a jamming summer! Thank you Colleen for the wild cherries, you made my day.

    Fathers

    Spent most of the day today contemplating… my father. I am blessed to have a great father whose warm smile and never failing encouragement has made me what I am today. None is perfect neither is my dad and we have some disagreements too – but at the end of day the good outweighs the negative.

    Today was Father’s Day. Most Father’s Day have been filled with laughter, phone calls and cheer. Not living on the same continent is rough but our hearts know how to connect. This Father’s Day was somber; he was just diagnosed with cancer recently and the news did cast a shadow. For a fairly very healthy person it came as a shock to all of the family.

    Just as in many things we never think we will loose things and people we love. Things have a way of seeming to be forever and maybe that is just how it seems to me. My mind keeps slipping back to my childhood and memories of my dad. I am a daddy’s girl – always wanted to hang out with him and be like him. A clear memory from past says a lot and has set a tone in my life. I was a child maybe 8 or 9 yrs old. That summer I recall visiting villages in rural Turkey. Dad seemed to knew everyone… holding his hand tightly, keeping up with his life filled fast pace, and saying hello to strangers was fascinating. We made a stop at a dirt floor home where my dad was smiling, greeted, and hugged his friend, strangers to me. They brought us tea as it is custom. I quietly asked him why were we here. I was a brat and I was uncomfortable sitting on just a carpet on the floor, did not want to drink the tea. He gently said ‘they lost a family member. we love all beings, no matter rich or poor, or whatever religion. drink the tea.‘. This is how he set his mark in my mind and heart. Best parents show you how to live and BE.

    This Father’s Day all I wish for is to have my father live to an old ripe age. I maybe too old to sit on his lap now, but want to sit in his presence and listen to his stories as long as I can.

    Please send a positive thought, a warm smile, and healing thoughts towards a good man, a stranger to you, a great dad to me, and a friend to many in need and otherwise.
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    T-8 days to vacation!

    We are super excited about our trip. Packing and planning is mixed in with our expectations about all the amazing seafood we want to eat, visiting temples, and snorkeling we might do. None of us speak the language where we are going – so exciting. Can you guess our destination yet??

    Travel packing is an art; we have travelled a lot and still trying to get it right. So here is our breakdown and tips:

    B @USA: limiting shoes to 3 is my personal goal. Sticking to it!! taking 2 small suitcases (one is a cabin size). My packing obsession is ‘rolling’ – yes I roll everything, it has transformed how I pack. Less wrinkles and makes better use of space. Still trying to decide: 1 or 2 bikinis??

    Y @SWEDEN: Every where is white in snow and no sun. We have just few days left to our trip to the sun. This is a “must have” when you live in such a climate. Just now excited, nervous, and very busy with my studies. Can’t wait to de-stress with my sisters on the beach.

    Girls, to tell the truth I haven´t started packing yet but in a little side of my mind I´ve packed everything. I love your packing style “rolling” its just perfect… and definitely two bikinis.

    Excited about what we might find at our destination; organic lotions, hand crafted fabrics, who knows what else. Last requests please! I can bring some snow if you didn´t get any this winter.

    G @TURKEY: I try to be very minimalist when it comes to pack for beach vacation; for this beach and relaxation vacation my goal is traveling with cabin size suitcase and big handbag only. I just bring my fancy Tory Burch flip flops, my bikini and 3 casual dresses 1 cover up for beach,1 t-shirt and short, my sunglasses <– this is very important!

    For the long flights, I will wear my Keen sandals and leggings t-shirt and cardigan and 1 shawl which I can re-use when we visit the temples. I only need a big handbag to put all of these clothes in and few gifts for my sisters in my cabin size lagguage. Since I learned from my sister to roll the clothes I can’t stop, it’s very useful – I swear by it.

    Almost all rolled up…
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