Things that happened when I got my own place~

Things that happened when I got my own* place~

*meaning without family or roommates or any shared common areas but still with Phong. What can I say, I didn’t exactly move to Sweden to NOT live with him.

1) Became obsessed with the whereabouts of my keys.

2) I immediately realized that we own nothing useful. I still don’t have a garlic press though I did finally get an egg slicer. We own one bowl, otherwise we use large mugs. And for at least half a year we only had two sets of silverware and chopsticks. Phong was more than a little bummed when I brought home a full set.

3) I started drinking from the carton. Juice, milk, doesn’t matter. I stand in the glow of my fridge and drink from the carton because the only beverage I need to drink in quantities large enough to warrant a glass is water. The exception to this is, of course, tea. I have too many teacups not to use them AND I have not yet thought up a reasonable way to make and drink tea from a kettle. Oh, and the occasion milk in a teacup for dunking cookies. Yes. I am an adult who on occasion needs to dunk a cookie.

4) During a blackout I discovered that I have never had to figure out what to do in a blackout. Sure. I owned matches and candles. But where were they? And don’t I have a little flashlight somewhere? Was I supposed to call someone? Don’t these things usually just fix themselves? After calling the landlord we opened a window, managed not to die from natural light, made some sandwiches and played boardgames. Turns out, adulthood is not so difficult after all.

5) Developed feuds with my neighbors. Yes, alright, so these feuds exist entirely in my head but somehow I’m certain that the nosy lady and the guy that leaves cigarette butts everywhere know they’re on my list.

6) For the first time in my life, I’m person that has to worry about whether or not we closed all the windows before leaving town. Gotta say, it’s not a great feeling BUT coming home and finding that you haven’t been robbed or invaded by rats is a strangely satisfying one.

-cheryl

Continue Reading

How to make a smörgåstårta!

blog20150801_144934

Turns out, smörgåstårtas are not so hard to make! I know, I know, from the pictures online you’d think it would be, but not so much. You don’t even have to bake anything!

We tried a few different things and it all turned out tasty and pretty easy.

smörbanner

That’s right, you just use loaf bread. You can use large unsliced loaves and cut them into thicker wedges if you want. You can also make them heart shaped or round and keep stacking them together long ways as well if you want a rectangle or a larger square cake. We did ours as “personal sized” so we could each try different things and decorate them. (Spoiler. Mine came out soooo much prettier.)

We cut the crust off because that was how all of the instructions I read did it, but I might not bother next time. It all gets coated in the end anyway.

We used a couple of fillings. One was egg salad. The other was cottage cheese with creme fraiche and apple shavings. It was pretty good. We did ours vegetarian but you can make the fillings however you like. Tuna salad. Chicken salad. Get experimental!

smörbanner2

Ours were three breads high and then we coated the whole thing in a mixture of mayo, heavy cream (whipped together to be thick), chopped onions and chives. This is one of those things you make to taste. Mix and try and mix some more until you love it!

blog20150801_144256

blog20150801_144410

 

I put cucumber slices (sliced with a cheese slicer) on the sides of mine and then cheddar, tomato wedges and brie on top!

Phong’s was topped in ground up doritos, tomato wedges and brie.

 

Another smörgåstårta you could try out would be the mini.

blog20150728_193809

Phong made this one for me as a birthday surprise. He toasted two pieces of bread and then used a cup to cut out circles. The creamy mix is the same as above that we coated the sandwich cakes in but this time he used it as filling too, and then covered it in ground up doritos (he knows me so well!). It was amazing!

blog20150728_194054

Really amazing. We tore up the leftover bread into another bowl and then poured on the leftover sauce and dorito crumbs because we couldn’t get enough.

As you can see, once you break down how one of these is made, you can pretty much do anything with it. Now, if only it was healthy…

 

Continue Reading

Riding Trains in Sweden

IMG_20140720_170230

I’ve taken the trains up and down Sweden, from Skåne to Umeå and Umeå to Kiruna and a number of stops in between. Usually they’re pretty great but every so often there’s a mishap with delays, power outages (which can get pretty chilly in the winter) or that time we had to stop for reindeer on the tracks.

IMG_20140720_113202

Not all trains are created equal. Above is a picture of one of my all time favorites! It was a Norrtåg going from Umeå to Boden. No assigned seats but super new, tall backed chairs, space for luggage and a little tv that kept you updated on news and the time. This one had such a great vibe that I actually wrote the train number down somewhere in hopes of taking it again.

It is only in second place because of an SJ train we took from Stockholm to Umeå last summer. That one was not only a new train but it zipped along the rails, keeping us informed on the time, the upcoming stops and the speed at which we were traveling above each doorway. AND on that train I had booked us in first class. It’s not always an option but when it is I take it. It usually doesn’t cost much more but is so worth it! A lady came by with a trolley to offer coffee and tea and there was a kitchenette with fruits and tiny brownies to take. I am, admittedly, a sucker for free things- especially when those free things are sugary.

20150515_154629

Things to keep in mind.

Seats with tables. These are the ones where a row faces another row of passengers with a table in the middle. Unless you enjoy making conversation with strangers, other people’s legs in your space, or are traveling with a group large enough to book all (normally four but sometimes six) seats, I would avoid these. These are usually where we get stuck when we book late during a busy season.

Food. Bring your own! Why? Because you can! You can bring whatever food you want on a train. Phong and I usually make a date out of our train travels. We bring dinner and snacks, not to mention cards and sometimes the little laptop with headphones to watch movies. Many trains do have a “dining car” but in my experience they have not been impressive. The food is pretty much muffins and microwave dinners. And, most importantly, depending on when you’re traveling and where that car might be closed. So at the very least, always have a bottle of water and something to munch on in your bag.

If your seat is terrible, or the person next to you is. Find a new one! You could check out the dining car and take a seat in there if you want or  you could just hop into an open seat nearby. The only reason you have to sit in your assigned seat is if all of the other ones are filled. Of course, if someone arrives who has a ticket for the seat you’re now in, you should move. Just move. Don’t give me that pouty “but I’m sitting here” face because I’ll still make you move if that’s my seat and you would do the same to me if our roles were reversed.

 

20150515_155146

Most important tip? Travel with a friend because they do hilarious things like this and, if you’re two, you probably don’t have to sit by a stranger. Well, no stranger than you’re used to.

 

-cheryl

Continue Reading

Smörgåstårta = Swedish Sandwich Cake

20130804_171322Smörgåstårta = “sandwich cake”

It’s one of those foods that I enjoy so much that I almost have no pictures of it and only one, taken over the past five years of smörgastårtas, before it’s cut.

20131108_184008

It’s pretty much exactly what you’re imagining, a sandwich in the form of a cake. Bread layers with a variety of fillings and mayonnaise coating wrapped in cucumber and lettuce and topped with tomato wedges, cheese and caviar.

Ours are vegetarian and have a cottage cheese and pineapple filling between the bread and another of egg salad but they can be made however you like. I know they often have tuna salad between the bread on the meaty ones and rolls of ham on top.

IMG_2442

This might sound a little strange but if you ever have the chance to try it, go for it!

Continue Reading

Chandeliers – Drottninholm Castle

4chan2015_05_23_8176

After our visit to Drottningholm Castle in Stockholm, I realized that about half of my pictures were of chandeliers.

7chan2015_05_23_8219

It took me a while but I whittled it down to a large handful to share here. I have not gotten over how much fun it was to visit this castle or how incredibly delightful it was to find out that we were allowed to take pictures inside. The last castle I visited in Stockholm had a no pictures policy that was rather disappointing. There was a throne in that one that was breathtakingly dwarfed by the room in which it sat and I have no picture of that.

8chan2015_05_23_8224

You might notice that some of the pictures are dark. Drottningholm allowed picture taking but no flash using, although we totally saw a guy using flash anyway and gave him a stern glare for it.

1chan2015_05_23_8229

I’d really like to have a loft someday that looks like one of these rooms. Just a small apartment with crazy tall windows and doors, gilded everything and a chandelier.

2chan2015_05_23_8150

Or maybe a few chandeliers… How many chandeliers would be too many?

3chan2015_05_23_8170

All of these were from Drottningholm. Just about every room we visited had at least one and I’m sure I took a picture of nearly all of them.

chan2015_05_23_6702

The last picture of me was taken by my beloved travel buddy/favorite photographer, Linn.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and if you ever find yourself near Stockholm, you should definitely check out Drottningholm castle. All of these pictures are still only a handful of what we got to see here.

 

Continue Reading