Tag Archives: Christmas

Our Weekend, Week 51 – Almost Christmas!

Not many days left until Christmas now, so I thought I would catch you all up with what we’ve done since last weekend, and what our plans are for Christmas.

Yesterday we had our annual Christmas party, but we made it a bit smaller this year, and made some proper vegetarian Christmas food and just one dessert. (The past two years we have had some sort of snacks available and lots of desserts!) We also made our delicious mulled wine and winter Pimm’s again, and I think everyone had a great time. 😀

Today we drove down to Sofi’s parents in Skåne with Lisa and Tommy, and stopped off for a nice lunch in Falkenberg on the way. We will be here for a few days and will celebrate an early Christmas on Tuesday with Sofi’s parents, brother, and Lisa & Tommy. On Wednesday we will fly to England to celebrate Christmas there.

It will be nice for Sofi to have Christmas food in both Sweden and England, because the food you get is very different, and I know she’ll love it. For me, so long as I get Brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes I am happy…otherwise I would rather eat more “normal” food than Christmas food…but what I am looking forward to though is having English Christmas desserts: minced pies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake. These are probably my favourite thing about Christmas in England, and my mum has already made the Christmas cake and will make a Christmas pudding for Christmas Day 😀

So with all that food going down (and probably some alcohol as well), how will we avoid going up in weight too much and also keep our training going? Well, we have taken our running and cycling gear with us. We are planning on having a couple of runs down here in Skåne (one short one tomorrow probably, and then one long one on Tuesday – there has been a lot of talk about doing about 20 km), then I will cycle in England and Sofi will run and cycle in England.

There is always a lot of free time around Christmas (if you’re not working), so there is definitely time for exercise! We’re not planning any intense sessions, more steady sessions just so we get out and don’t put pressure on ourselves to go fast in case our bodies are tired…and weighed down by all the food! I’m looking forward to our run on Tuesday and then getting some rides in while we’re in England.

 

So our week looks like this:
Monday – Christmas shopping, short run
Tuesday – Early Swedish Christmas, long run
Wednesday – Flight to England
Thursday – Christmas Eve party at my sister’s, long ride (hopefully)
Friday – Christmas Day, rest day
Saturday – Boxing Day, ___ ride
Sunday – Sale shopping, walking round shops

 

We hope you have a very merry Christmas, we’ll post something again soon!
/Jason

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Our Weekend, Week 50 – Lucia!

It’s Monday again, yay! Or not 🙂

We had a great weekend so that makes up for the fact that today it was cold and dark when you had to go up and go to work.

On Friday we both came home from work feeling a bit tired, like you usually do after a long week going up at 6 o’clock. We still decided (or I did) that a session on the turbo trainer and rollers for Jason would be a good idea to set the mood for the weekend. Sometimes physical exercise makes you relax so much better than to just go lie on the sofa.

We did an interval session with Sufferfest video. This was my first time this winter on the turbo trainer and it felt good! After the session we made a nice dinner and just relaxed.

On Saturday we got up early because my parents were coming to see us. When they arrived we had some coffee before going into town for lunch. After lunch Jason made a quick detour to go and get a signed copy of Fredrik Kessiakoff’s new book. He is a Swedish former professional cyclist. Jason then joined us at Liseberg.

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Liseberg is an amusement park here in Gothenburg and in December it turns into a Christmas landscape where you can see snowmen, snow covered Christmas trees and Santa Claus. It all feels a bit artificial since there has not been any real snow yet this year. But you do get into a nice Christmas feeling with all the Christmas music playing and the Christmas food that you can buy as well. There is an ice skating rink and they have real reindeer from Lapland (north of Sweden).

We walked around and looked at everything and bought a few things. My mum entered one of the many raffles they have and was lucky enough to win a large box of chocolate 🙂

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After a few hours we went back to town so that Jason could buy a Christmas outfit. In the afternoon after my parents had left, I went for my second running session of the week. I had decided to do 3 sessions this week and since there were only 2 days left it had to be done! 🙂 So, I went out with the intention to do an interval session. Unfortunately it had become very slippery on the roads so it was impossible to run fast and when it is dark you have to be extra careful since you can’t really see what you step on. The last thing I want is an injury so I decided to take it slow. It is better to finish the session in a different way than to skip it altogether.

In the evening we made a nice dinner and an apple pie! We love apple pie and it was delicious. There will be a recipe up shortly.

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On Sunday it was Lucia and time for Jason to use his Santa outfit. He was doing a cyclocross race here in Gothenburg. I came to see the race just as they were starting. Many cyclists had shown up but Jason had the best outfit 🙂 The sun was shining and I really enjoyed standing there in the sunshine watching them get muddy.

Jason had a few problems with his Santa outfit. I don’t think it’s the best cycling outfit (at least not if you want to win). However, that was not what he was after. He just wanted to have fun, and so he did. He won a prize for best outfit in the race so I think he was pleased 🙂

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Very amusing for me to watch and before going home I went past town to buy a few things. When I came home Jason was already home again and washing his bike on the balcony. I made us some lunch and after eating I decided to go for my last running session of the week. The plan for the final session this week was a distance run. I will try to do one every week now and a distance between 10-15 km. I knew there was about 1 hour of daylight left and so it was perfect for an hour’s run. The sun was still shining and it was the perfect temperature. It had become a little bit icy on the roads again so I had to take it carefully on Sunday as well. That didn’t matter though since I did not want to push too hard and keep the average pace to 5.20-5.40 min/km. In the end I ran 11 km with an average pace of 5.25 min/km so it was perfect.

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We then did our weekly shopping and ended the evening with a Christmas movie and the left-over apple pie!

This week is a bit hectic but I will really try to get my training sessions done no matter what.
I hope you will all have a great week!

/Sofi

Our Weekend, Week 52 and Week 1 – Christmas and New Year

What a busy Christmas period we have had, but so enjoyable too! We were fortunate enough to spend Christmas at Sofi’s parents in Skåne in the south of Sweden. It is very quiet and peaceful there, and meant we were able to just relax and enjoy the nature. Sofi’s parents live on a lake, which gives very varied nature.

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When we arrived before Christmas, the lake was liquid, but after a few days with temperatures below zero, there was a layer of ice more than 3-cm thick on the lake. The roads were also clear when we came, but there was a little bit of snow after Christmas. When we got back to Gothenburg, we were confronted by more snow and ice underneath (it had rained and then snowed on top of the frozen water).

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We managed to get in some exercise while in Skåne: Sofi had 2 runs and a ride, and Jason had 2 rides. One of Sofi’s runs was her normal loop around the lake, and the other run was a shorter run in the forest with her sister, Lisa. They ran through the forest on varied terrain and suffered in -10°C!

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The roads near Sofi’s parents are quite quiet and there is a nice 50 km loop that usually has very little traffic. Jason rode this loop (anti-clockwise) on Christmas Eve in the rain, and then the same loop (clockwise) on the Saturday after Christmas with Sofi in the snow.

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When we got back to Gothenburg and saw the state of the roads (ice and snow), we realised that we might have to take our training back indoors.

Gothenburg when we came home - a real winter wonderland.

Gothenburg when we came home – a real winter wonderland.

For New Year, Lisa and Tommy were coming up to Gothenburg to celebrate it with us. We had agreed to do a three-course meal, where we were responsible for the starter and dessert, and L&T were responsible for the main. We planned on having a wine with each course, and some cocktails thrown in as well!

We started with Bellinis and some baked camembert with black cherries. Then for the starter, we made bruschetta, which included the delicious pesto from our pesto pasta recipe. For the main course, we gave L&T a pasta making masterclass, as they were wanting to make pasta for the main course. This was served in a cream and truffle sauce with roasted “chicken” (Quorn fillets) with a parsley, butter, and parmesan crust, and a salad. For dessert, we kept it simple by reproducing a delicious dessert our friends Malin and Evan made for us, by layering flavoured quark with biscuit crumbs and fresh fruit.

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New Year’s Day was a bit of a disappointment though. Sofi’s leg hasn’t healed yet (she injured it on her run in the forest), so that hampered her planned run with Lisa, and then Jason’s team (Chelsea) lost in the evening. Oh well, here’s to 2016! 😛

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We hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year, and we hope you all read our blog and enjoy our posts this coming year.

Take care,
Jason and Sofi

Kale, Walnut and Cheese Pie

For Christmas Eve dinner we made a vegetarian pie. Like we wrote in the previous post, Swedish Christmas food is a lot of meat and not many vegetables. We eat a lot of different types of cabbage in Sweden though and in this recipe we used kale. The pie is very quick and easy to make and we think that even meat eaters would love it on their Christmas table! 🙂 Continue reading

Merry Christmas!

We weren’t originally planning to do another “thoughts” post over Christmas, but we thought we would share a little more about our plans during Christmas and how we will celebrate Christmas in Sweden.

A few things first about Christmas in Sweden:

  • Swedes celebrate on Christmas Eve
  • Santa doesn’t leave gifts in stockings or under trees, but visits your house and gives you all your gifts (nothing technically comes from anyone else, not even your parents – it’s all from Santa, or Tomten as he’s called in Swedish)
  • Christmas dinner is a buffet with cold food (starters) and warm food (main course)
    • The cold food consists of fish, lots of smelly fish
    • The warm food consists of pork, lots of pork (and very few vegetables)
  • Swedes eat rice pudding as dessert

So what does this mean for us?
Well, it means Jason doesn’t eat anything…or nothing traditional anyway. Swedes tend to have a few different types of cabbage, but otherwise nothing is vegetarian friendly – not even the potato dish, which is called Jansson’s Temptation and has anchovies in it. But this always gives us the opportunity to try new dishes. So Sofi has made a pie with green cabbage, cheese, and walnuts, and there will be some roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts, to make it feel more like Christmas for Jason! 😀

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Other than eating, what do we plan to do?
Jason is planning on cycling a fair amount, and even went out and did 50 km this morning in the rain. Sofi is planning on running (and doing the odd bike ride). We are planning to do a half marathon on the 27th with Sofi’s sister, and hopefully that will burn off some of the extra calories we usually consume during Christmas.

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Jason leaving for his Christmas Eve ride in the rain.

Merry Christmas!
/Sofi and Jason

Our Weekend, Week 51

The last weekend before Christmas and we are both looking forward to some time off work which can be spent eating, exercising and just relaxing. I (Sofi) have actually already done my last day on Friday. The last few weeks of school have been hectic and nothing is better than getting a few weeks off from teaching before going into a new term and the stress that comes in the spring. Jason, unfortunately, has to work a few more days.

On Friday Jason played tennis again. Unlike the badminton last week he managed to win this time 😉 He also baked some lovely cupcakes for his colleagues, very appropriate for Christmas. I think they were very appreciated.

DSC05464In the evening we went to see Interstellar, which both of us really liked. It was a very good way to start the weekend,

On Saturday I decided to go for a run despite feeling tired. I was really not in the mood but I managed to get myself out and afterwards it felt great as always. I think that is one of the reasons why I love running so much, you can only depend on yourself to find the strength to go running when you feel like you have none. It is tough and hard when you stop running for a while and it is hard while you do it and the only way to improve is to just remember how strong you feel afterwards and keep running. This year I decided to run the Gothenburg half marathon to have a goal to train for, which makes it so much easier.

DSC05474After my run me and Jason just relaxed at home before we went into town for some last minute Christmas shopping. In the evening we met up with our friends Sanna and Srdan for some Indian food.

DSC05477DSC05479After dinner we had a walk through Gothenburg and stopped to watch the show at Götaplatsen.
DSC05488DSC05490DSC05492On Sunday we just relaxed, baked a chocolate cake 🙂 and watched a few films. Jason was supposed to play a floorball match but he has injured his foot and needs to take it easy for a few days 😦

DSC05522On Tuesday we go down to Skåne and my parents, where we are going to celebrate Christmas. We are bringing our bikes and hope that the weather allows us to go for a bike ride/some bike rides 😀

We hope that you all have a lovely Christmas and that you spend it eating and exercising 😉

Merry Christmas!
/Sofi and Jason

Our Weekend, Week 50

So, another week and another weekend have passed. This has been an extremely fun and eventful weekend and we enjoyed a lot of time with our friends. However, being the active beans we are, we still managed to get some training in on Saturday. 🙂

On Friday morning both me and Jason watched Lucia “trains”. For me it is the beginning of the Christmas holiday and there is no better way to get into the Christmas spirit. I watched Lucia at my school where the students from the music program were performing. Jason watched Lucia at work, and that was the official Gothenburg Lucia, which people audition to enter and there is a voting process.

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On Friday Jason also played badminton at work. It is now their weekly activity and they alternate between playing badminton and tennis. It is actually a good idea that they get some exercising in because on Fridays Jason always has fika in the afternoon, so we don’t want him getting too fat. 🙂

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On Friday evening  I went out with my lovely colleagues. Everyone is in need of the Christmas holiday and it was nice to spend some time together outside the school where we usually have to focus on so many things and have less time to just hang out. I tried to leave early but that is difficult when you have so much fun. 🙂

On Saturday morning we got up quite early because we had much to do for our Lucia party in the evening and my (Sofi’s) friends were coming from Skåne. I was a bit tired from the night before but Jason still persuaded me to go for a 13 km run! It was a great way to get rid of the hangover though and afterwards we both felt great and energized. We ran our usual route across both big bridges here in Gothenburg (Älvsborgsbron and Götaälvsbron). My run. Jason’s run.

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When we came home we had a quick lunch and then we started baking. We wanted to make some snacks and drinks for our guests. We made Lucia buns, minced pies, bread, hard bread, cookies, Winter Pimm’s and mulled wine.

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Then my friends arrived and we talked a little before we continued with our cooking and they went into town for a little while. They were staying with us overnight, which was so much fun. 🙂 At 6 our guests were arriving and then we spent the rest of the evening eating, talking and having fun! 😀

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On Sunday we had a nice lie-in and then a long breakfast together. After breakfast we went into town and had a nice walk through Haga where we stopped for some fika and some shopping. In the afternoon my friends drove back to Skåne and me and Jason were two very tired people. 🙂 The rest of the evening was spent on the sofa with a film, trying not to use more energy.
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Now there is one whole week left of work and then we start our Christmas holiday, can’t wait! (I (Jason) don’t get a fixed Christmas holiday. 😦 ) Hopefully there we will share some nice vegetarian recipes for an alternative Christmas dinner.

Have a nice week!
/Sofi and Jason

Our Weekend, Week 49

This weekend was quite hectic and somewhat lazy, if that’s possible. On Thursday we went to IKEA and Mio to buy some new furniture, some of which we made up when we got back and the rest we did on Saturday. We bought a matching bookshelf (they only had one last time), and a new side board to replace the desk in the living room.

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On Friday, we had our friend Sanna over for dinner (dumplings and fried rice), followed by some glögg (Swedish mulled wine) and Lucia buns.

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I (Jason) have been ill most of the weekend; I’ve had what I suspect to be a tummy bug since Thursday. I woke up early on Saturday hoping to be better, and to go for a long ride with some friends (with a 09:00 start about 11 km from home), but I felt much worse than I did Friday evening. 😦 So after telling my friends I wouldn’t ride, me and Sofi made the final piece of furniture before Sofi went to spin (in her new Bianchi socks that she got in her advent calendar), and then my day was spent playing PlayStation and feeling sorry for myself (especially as it was such nice weather)!

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Once Sofi came home, we had a really fresh salad and then we prepared for my work’s Christmas party. The party is held not far from where we live (it is literally like Pocahontas said: just around the river bend), so we were able to get ready at a relaxed pace and then walk to the restaurant.

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They served traditional Swedish julbord (which translates to “Christmas table”, but it is basically a buffet of mostly meat – they barely eat any vegetables at Christmas in Sweden!), with plenty of booze and entertainment. We stayed until about 1 a.m. as we were having a good time hanging out and dancing with my colleagues and friends 🙂

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On Sunday we both felt very tired, and my tummy felt as bad as it did Saturday morning, so it was another day resigned to playing PlayStation on the sofa for me, and a day spent napping for Sofi.

For dinner on Sunday we made a delicious tomato and basil soup with garlic bread. We also made some really nice white chocolate and cranberry cookies, which taste quite festive!

The cookies we really simple to make: 75 g unsalted butter, 150 g caster or light muscovado sugar, 1 egg, 150 g plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 150 g white chocolate, 75 g cranberries.

  1. Set the oven to 180°C.
  2. Chop the white chocolate and cranberries into small pieces/chunks.
  3. Whisk the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  4. Whisk in the egg.
  5. Whisk in the flour and baking powder.
  6. Fold the chocolate and cranberries in the mix.
  7. Roll into 16 balls and spread out on some baking paper on a baking tray.
  8. Place the cookies in the oven for about 10 mins, or until golden brown on top.
  9. Take out and leave the cookies to rest for a few minutes before placing them on a cooling rack.
  10. Enjoy!

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This week will be quite hectic again, and we will be preparing a few things for our Lucia party at the weekend. So hopefully we’ll have some nice recipes for mulled wine, Lucia buns, and more cookies next week.

Have a nice week,
/Jason and Sofi

Our Weekend, Week 48

December is here, and Christmas is almost upon us! In Sweden, the days are fairly short now, so making the most of the daylight is something we have to do, and this weekend we did it really well!

On Friday we both went to town after work to buy a few things: I, Jason, bought some bits for my bike, and we bought some Christmasy things for the flat as well! We then headed home and had some inspiration for what to make for dinner (we discussed it on the bus and it all came together as we went to the supermarket). In Sweden, it is very common to have “taco night” on a Friday, which actually means eating any sort of Mexican food. (I am not even sure Swedes know what tacos are, seeing as most people seem to eat fajitas and still call it taco night!) We never usually make Mexican food, but our inspiration on Friday was very Mexican: enchiladas! (Recipe coming soon!)

Enchiladas

Enchiladas

On Saturday, we both skipped our usual RPM (spinning) class in favour of exercising outside in some daylight and on an untypically-dry day. (Most of November the sun has been hidden behind clouds and most weekends we’ve had a bit of rain.) It wasn’t a warm day though: -1°C and breezy. I went for a 70 km bike ride, but Sofi went one better and ran a half marathon! She actually almost turned around after 2.5 km, but apparently the Strava challenge she signed up to was motivation enough to keep going a further 18.6 km!

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Jason wrapped up warm on his ride.

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Sofi collapsed on the floor after her run.

We also made some raw food energy bars and raw food cacao snack balls, both of which took very little time to make and were delicious! 😀 For dinner, we made pizzas with different toppings – I had potato on my pizza, among other things.

On Sunday we rewarded our hard work the day before with a lie in, followed by 90 mins of RPM…wait, that second part doesn’t sound like a reward… After struggling to walk home, we had a very simple soup, which we ate with our caraway bread (which we prepared on Saturday and baked on Sunday morning before RPM). We then made some traditional Swedish Lucia buns (saffron buns) to take to our friends’ for fika, along with the rawfood balls.

Lucia buns!

Lucia buns!

For dinner we enjoyed more of our bread, and lit the first of our advent candles. Today we opened our advent calendars as well. I’m not as manic as my sister is about Christmas, but now it’s December, I really can’t wait!

Another busy week ahead for us this week, but we promise to post more recipes, and get back into our blogging groove 😉

Have a nice week,

/Jason and Sofi