Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's Almost Christmas - Shopping, Cookies, and Fun!

As we rapidly approach Christmas, I am purposefully trying to focus on each day and the fun Christmas season, while avoiding the craziness and stress that seems all too easy to fall into at this time of year. Instead, I'm busy planning my shopping, making cookies, and planning on fun events!

I drove past the mall on Friday (Black Friday), took one look at the 3-block line to turn into the insanely full mall parking lot, and kept driving, despite being tempted by some of the ads in Thursday's paper. I figure there's plenty of time to go shopping. And I'll continue to make use of online shopping too!

I always enjoy Christmas. I've got my Christmas tree, lights, and decorations up in my house. There's even a gift for me under the tree already! I've got the outside lights brightening the outside of the house. And I've got my entire month planned out, to avoid being overly busy. The month is filled with parties and gatherings, which I intend to fully enjoy and appreciate.

I'll make cookies one day- I love making rosettes, krumkake, peanut butter blossoms, Chex mix, and more. What's your favorite Christmas cookie?

Every year, I make Christmas cookies to give to family and friends and share at parties. I make mostly Scandinavian cookies, since I grew up making many Scandinavian desserts and dishes with my mom. While I'm only part Swedish and Norwegian, I've always enjoyed this tradition.


Making Lefse- A traditional Scandinavian treat

I used to make lefse every year on a November weekend for many years with my mom, aunt, and cousin. It took us all day, even with many hands helping. The Christmas music would be playing, the snow was sometimes falling, and we would work diligently all day.

My mom and aunt would prepare the potato and flour mixture into balls, adding flour as necessary.

My cousin and I would roll the balls of dough very thin, turning them over regularly with a long stick. We would each try to make our round piece of lefse round as large as possible, without the dough breaking apart. When they broke apart, we'd take all the loose pieces, make a ball again, spread more flour on the bread roller and the cutting board, and start again.

After we had the largest lefse round possible, we'd carefully hand it over to my mom or aunt at the large round lefse grill (looks like a round pancake griddle). The lefse would brown, and they'd turn it over with a long stick to brown on the other side.

Then we'd fold the lefse and let it cool. We'd sample it to make sure it tasted good. We'd put butter and a little bit of brown sugar on a piece of lefse, roll it up, and eat it. Mmm, good.

We'd make as many as we could with the batch of potatoes and flour mixture. After several hours of work, we'd have enough lefse for my aunt to take home, and for my family, and for us to freeze some for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So next time you see the lefse in the refridgerated section of the grocery store (if you live in Minnesota), pick some up to bring home, put some butter and brown sugar on it, roll it up, warm it up for a few seconds, and enjoy!

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