Sunday, August 31, 2014

50 Weeks // 50 Years

Today marks 50 weeks since I married my husband. Next weekend, we will celebrate our anniversary a  little bit early, and I can't wait to celebrate our love again. Whenever I think about our anniversary, and even today with 50 weeks, I can't help but be excited about our future. If the past 50 weeks have been this wonderful, I can't even imagine how great the next 50 years (and more!) will be. We have done so many things over the past year, and I know that there is so much more in store for us as our lives continue. Because I am aware that 50 weeks is not a "real" anniversary, I will likely save my anniversary post for our actual anniversary, so today I will end with this: Sweetheart, while the past 50 weeks have been amazing, I am confident they don't hold a candle to our next 50 years. I love you, and I love being your wife.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Recipe: Swedish Kladdkaker

Over the past year, I have learned a lot about Sweden and the people here. One of the things I have definitely learned about Swedish women: they know how to bake. Every time Nick and I go to a Swede's house for dinner, the food is always good and the dessert amazing. Today, I'm going to share a recipe for Swedish Kladdkaker, which is similar to a mud cake, or my personal favorite dessert- lava cake from restaurants. Yum!

mud cake recipe
my first kladdkaker!
2 äggs (eggs)
3 dL strosöcker (sugar)
5 mL vanillinsocker (vanilla sugar, or vanilla back in the US)
60 mL kakao (cocoa)
1.5 dL vetemjöl (flour)
1 mL salt
1 dL smält smör (melted butter)

Spread in a pie tin or 23x33 cm (9x13 in) pan, and bake in the oven at 175°C (350°F) for 30 minutes. The kladdkaker should be slightly 'jiggly' in the middle- it won't look 'finished', like brownies or cake do when they are completed.

To make my kladdkaker pretty, I dusted it with some powdered sugar. Then, serve it with ice cream & chocolate sauce and you've got a delicious kladdkaker!

kladdkaker recipe Swedish
Kladdkaker with ice cream and chocolate sauce
kladdkaker recipe
kladdkaker with ice cream, chocolate sauce, and caramel!
Thank you so much Jessica for the amazing recipe!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Flying Internationally with your Dog

flying internationally with a dog
Snuggles with my sweet girl
tips for flying with a dog
Lily as a puppy!
Happy (belated) International Dog Day! Back in the US, it was National Dog Day yesterday- based off the fact that we can't take Lily with us over here to Sweden, I have decided that automatically qualifies today as International Dog Day! In honor of the day, I'm going to write a quick post about things to consider and think about when you are moving abroad with your dog.

Firstly, you may be wondering, why can't Lily come to Sweden with us? The unfortunate truth in the matter is that commercial airlines have banned English Bulldogs from flying, due to their snub noses and breathing difficulties. This wasn't the case several years ago- Lily has actually lived in Germany for two hockey seasons with Nick. However, the last time he flew home with her, she just barely made the cut-off before most airlines banned English Bulldogs completely. Some bulldogs (typically French) may still fly in the cabins of planes as long as they are under a certain weight limit. While we would love to have Lily over here with us in our daily life, it is a better choice for her (and her health) to remain back in the US and not have to deal with the stress of flying.

Now, for those of you looking to move internationally with a dog, here are a couple of tips to help make the process a little bit easier for you!

1. Check the requirements of both the country you will be moving from, and the country you will be moving to. There may be different requirements for each country. Keep in mind as well, this may also depend on the country you are physically flying in to. For example, last year when Nick and I flew into Denmark, we would have ensured we abided by Denmark's regulations, as that is the country we were flying into and out of upon our departure at the end of the season. A great resource for requirements is Pet Relocation. Some common requirements:

  • Microchipping (when flying to the EU, need a universal microchip)
  • Updated shots (rabies, vaccinations) 
  • Recent vet check and completed paperwork

2. Make sure your dog will be comfortable flying. Give them plenty of time to get used to the kennel they will be spending the flight in- shorter times, as well as nights in the kennel. In addition to spending lots of the time in their kennel, you can help ease their potential anxiety by leaving a t-shirt/blanket that smells like you with them (sleep with it a couple of times!). As long as your pet will be comfortable in their kennel, they should be good to go!

My best advice when it comes to moving internationally with your dog (or any pet, really)? Talk only with certified, knowledgeable people. Call your veterinarian well in advance, call your airline for their specific requirements, and get in touch with people who can give you the correct information. For many of us, our dogs/pets are a part of our family- and I know when traveling and making a big move, the last thing anybody wants is stress over making sure your entire family can make the move all at once.

Have you ever moved, or flown, internationally with a pet? What is your advice to making the journey as smooth as possible?
tips for flying internationally with a dog
A couple puppy pics of our sweet girl sleeping!
tips for flying internationally with a dog
Our sweet girl sleeping!

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Favorite European City

Last week, I hopped aboard the train from Västerås and headed to Stockholm for the day. I'd been there last October with Nick, and in January with my family. This was my first solo trip into the city, and confirmed for me that without a doubt Stockholm is my favorite European city. Not only is the city beautiful, but it is clean. Not only are there tons of things to do, but you can walk to nearly all of them. Not only is there great shopping, but great history. Below are just a few reasons that I love Stockholm!

Part of the Gamla Stan
Each trip into Stockholm, I have spent time in the Gamla Stan (the old city), just walking around and enjoying the sights. One of my personal favorite activities to do, not only in Stockholm but throughout Sweden, is try and spot the fake windows. You may be wondering, fake windows? Below is a great example:

pretty easy to spot this "window"!
See, back when much of Stockholm- and many buildings throughout Sweden were built- glass was very expensive. Because of this, often the first floor would have real windows, and then throughout the rest of the buildings, or portions of them, windows would simply be painted on to the exterior of the building in order to give a uniform appearance of windows. Now it is just a fun item to try and spot as you explore cities throughout Sweden! I have seen "fake" windows in Stockholm and Karlskrona- have not yet spotted them in Västerås!

at the Culture Festival in Stockholm
Every time I have been to Stockholm, there has always been something new and exciting that I have discovered. This past time, the Culture Festival was going on for the week. As I walked past, I noticed that the "Castellers De Sants" was performing. Castellers de Sants is a Catalonia human tower group- essentially, groups of people whom form human towers and perform throughout the world. Above is just one quick snapshot-six layers of people high!

narrow streets of Stockholm
 Throughout much of Stockholm, but especially in the Gamla Stan, you will notice the very narrow streets. This one is just slightly bigger than my arms length. The streets are built this narrow because much of the city was planned out hundreds of years ago, before things like cars were even a thought.

Beautiful shot of Stockholm on the water
 People say that Stockholm is the Venice of the North- and although I've never been to Venice, I can agree with this. Stockholm is a city built on and around the archipelago, comprised of islands, tunnels, and bridges connecting it. You are never (slight exaggeration) more than a stone's throw away from the water. Stockholm is one of the few major European cities never to be bombed during the wars, and because of this has retained much of the history and beauty surrounding it.

Sverige Riksdag 
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. One of the features in Stockholm you can visit is the Sverige Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) building that is located near the Gamla Stan. Also close by is the Stockholm Royal Palace, which is guarded by the Swedish royal guard. 

Stockholm basement pubs
With my family in a basement pub
Another of my favorite things to do while in Stockholm is just pop into various pubs. Many of them have super cool, old, dark basement areas. 

Nick in October 2014

August 2014
October 2013
January 2014
 The last thing I will conclude with about why Stockholm is my favorite city is the vintage telephone booths found throughout the city. On my first trip to Stockholm with Nick in October 2013, we both snapped a picture in the same booth. Now, every time I go back to Stockholm, I have to get a picture in there to send to him!

In case you haven't completely fell in love with Stockholm yet, here are other posts about Stockholm on my blog:

What is your favorite city, and why does it claim that top spot for you? I'd love to hear your responses!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Today is a Good Day

Good morning! And what a wonderful morning it is. As I'm sipping my coffee (well, cappuccino- haven't graduated to full-on coffee yet), I am reflecting about what a wonderful day yesterday was, what a great past couple weeks I have had, and how much I have to look forward to in the coming month or so. The highlights of my day yesterday:

Munich Oktoberfest 2013
Oktoberfest 2013
I have finally booked my Oktoberfest trip for this year! I had such an amazing time last year with my older brother, two of our friends, and all of the wonderful people we met I knew I had to return. This year, I will be headed back with that same brother, my Mom, and perhaps a few other people- get on booking your trips! Oktoberfest really is one of the happiest places in the world, and I cannot say enough good things about my trip there last fall. Can't wait to return for Oktoberfest München 2014!

Beyond booking Oktoberfest, I wasn't feeling that great in the morning yesterday, so my amazing hubby knew just how to cheer me up- a trip to Pizza Hut for their lunch buffet! Now, this may seem like a crazy thing- but over here in Sweden, the pizza just isn't…like back home. So a trip to Pizza Hut is a miraculous cure. Then, while I took a nap, he went out to run a few errands and came back with some gorgeous roses for me! Talk about a great husband.

This week, we bought a bike for me- just needs a few touchups in the shop- so I will be getting that tomorrow and able to roll around town! We live about halfway between the hockey rink and downtown Västerås, so having a bike will make going anywhere a nice quick trip- even easier than driving and having to find & pay for parking!

Last night, I also met up with my hockey team for the year and had a good workout at the gym. It was definitely a tough workout, and I am feeling it today- but it feels so great to get back in the groove! We have another ice practice Friday, and then a preseason game on Sunday- so excited to get back on the ice!

This year is already starting off so much different than last year. I am much more settled, and feel more comfortable here in Sweden- especially now that I know my way around, I can understand the road signs and drive on my own, I can go grocery shopping on my own and pick out things. Being more comfortable and at ease has helped us to settle in a lot more quickly this year. I have already gotten our apartment set up and looking like home by hanging pictures and doing some crafts to make it more homelike. VIK should have a great season, and a really good team this year. Preseason has been great so far! There is a great group of North American gals here as well, and all the Swedish girls I've met have been really friendly and outgoing. I'm excited for the upcoming season- both Nick's, and my own!

Now, time for me to finish up my final paper for my class and get ready for a little wine night while watching Nick's game! How about yourself- what is the best thing that has happened to you today?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Medieval Festival in Arboga, Sweden

Last weekend, Nick and I headed out to Arboga, Sweden for the day to check out the medieval festival (medeltidsdagar). The very first European hockey team Nick played for was Arboga, so it was fun to head to and check out the city where he spent his first year! Upon arriving, we got fairly lucky and found a parking spot right away near the hockey rink. From there, it was off to see medeltidsfest and visit with some of Nick's friends from previous years.

Nick Angell Arboga, Sweden
looking back on his early days!
crew race in Arboga, Sweden
One of the activities going on for the Medieval Festival was a crew (rowing) competition. We checked out a couple of the races with an old friend of Nick's. After the race, we headed back towards the centrum for more of the day's activities.

walking towards the centrum
I got to pet the pretty horse!

Puppet show at Medeltidsdagar
Puppet show
In one area of the city, they had several booths selling medieval-themed items, as well as an area to pet horses and watch the live puppet show.

traditional Medieval dance & dress

During our time at the Medieval Festival, we were able to see several traditional Medieval dances; as well as tons of people dressed up in traditional garb. If I had known about this previously, I for sure would have dressed up! One of my favorite parts about going to different events like this throughout the world is getting into it and embracing the customs. I will say, the most interesting outfit I saw was on a 5-year-old boy: traditional medieval dress and a flat-brimmed NY Yankees hat. Quite an interesting combo!

Medeltids Fest was a great way to spend the day, and I enjoyed checking out the city of Arboga. Have you ever been to a medieval-themed event?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Easy Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan

Easy oven baked chicken parmesan breading
Chicken Parmesan breading
It's game day here in the Angell household! As a professional athlete, what Nick eats on a day-to-day basis, but especially prior to game days is very important. With this in mind, yesterday I made chicken parmesan with spaghetti for dinner. Here is my recipe for easy, oven baked chicken parmesan! 

-2.5 dL cracker crumbs
-2.5 mL italian seasoning
-1.5 mL garlic salt
-4-6 chicken breast halves (about .8 kg)
-1 egg, beaten
-1 jar pasta sauce (600 mL)
-1 dL shredded parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 200° C. Mix together cracker crumbs, italian seasoning, and garlic salt. Prep chicken and pound into equal pieces about 1.5 cm thick. Dip chicken in egg, then crumb mixture, turning to coat evenly. 
2. Arrange chicken in baking dish and cook for 25 minutes. 
3. Take chicken out of oven, pour sauce on top and garnish with parmesan cheese. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is prepared.

Ready to go in the oven!
Chicken Parmesan after the first 20 minutes of baking
As I mentioned, I like to serve chicken parmesan on top of spaghetti noodles. Cooking both dishes at once generally works fairly well, and the pasta is done at just about the same time as the chicken. What is your favorite game-day meal? 

easy oven baked chicken parmesan recipe
The completed chicken parmesan dish!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Launching our Sky Lantern

One of the coolest things Nick and I did on our honeymoon was on our last night in Koh Samui. We had seen (and heard about) sky lanterns, or lucky balloons, throughout our trip in Thailand. I did some research on sky lanterns, and they are actually pretty cool!

Sky lanterns were originally used (it is believed) for military communications. The sky lanterns are made of paper and bamboo, and are launched into the sky by letting the fire catch and heat up the inside of the lantern until you can release it. Now, sky lanterns are used in festivals and by tourists. Many thai people believe that it is good luck to release a sky lantern, and that it symbolizes your problems and worries floating away. Our lantern was a Khom Loi, a floating sky lantern. There are four types, and the most popular is the Khom Loi.

One of the most popular sky lantern festivals is in Chang Mai every year (just google it) and the images are gorgeous! I would love to make it there one day.

As Nick and I had several weeks to spend in Koh Samui, of course we had tons of time to watch sky lanterns be lit off. We purchased one during our last week, and decided that it was a perfect way to say good-bye to Koh Samui, ending our honeymoon there- and a great way to bring luck to ourselves as we were in the process of signing a new contract for this upcoming season. (yep, you read that right- our honeymoon was spent in constant, daily communication with Nick's agent to work things out!)

sky lantern koh samui thailand
getting ready to launch our lucky balloon!
The process of launching sky lanterns, or lucky balloons, is actually pretty simple. First, you purchased one (we bought an XL-sized one for about $3…could have been cheaper, but I didn't care to barter that day!) We went out to dinner on the beach, and as the sky grew dark it was finally almost time to launch our sky lantern. We asked for assistance from the restaurant we were at, and after that we were off! First, we unwrapped the sky lantern and lit the fire on a bamboo-type cord underneath the paper lantern. Eventually, the fire began to heat up and really puff the balloon-after waiting a minute or two, it was time to let go!

launching our first sky lantern in Koh Samui
And our lantern is off!
After we let go, we got to watch our lantern carry off into the night sky. It was a great feeling to watch our lantern go, and after learning the history we really had some reflective moments- on our honeymoon, our life together, and the future!

Sky lantern Koh Samui Thailand
Our sky lantern in the night sky
For us, launching our sky lantern was the perfect way to say good-bye to our Koh Samui honeymoon and begin our journey to Bangkok and then back home. Have you ever been to Thailand, or somewhere you had the opportunity to launch a sky lantern? What is one of your favorite memories from your honeymoon (or most recent vacation)? 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: Jax Cafe Minneapolis

A few months ago, Nick and I joined some friends for a surprise birthday party at Jax Cafe. Jax has been around in some form since 1910, and was a great experience for us! One of the cool features of dining at Jax is that for special occasions, they make personalized matchbooks for that occasion.

Jax cafe Minneapolis review
birthday girl with her Jax matches!
Jax cafe Minneapolis review
personalized Jax matches
We dined on the patio, which was absolutely gorgeous and by far the highlight of being at Jax. They have flowers everywhere, as well as a live stream in which if you choose the fish special you can catch your own fish for dinner. Very interesting to watch!

Jax cafe review Minneapolis

Jax cafe Minneapolis review

Jax cafe Minneapolis

Jax cafe review

Jax cafe review
One guy was able to catch his dinner!
The food at Jax was very tasty. I started out with a simple caesar salad, while Nick enjoyed two crab cakes. Several people at our table ordered appetizers, and each of them looked tasty!

Jax Cafe Caesar salad
Jax cafe crab cakes
Overall, the food and environment at Jax was very good and enjoyable. The only negative part of our experience was actually one of the two servers we had. The server was not very friendly, and did not seem happy to have a large group of us out for dinner- it was almost as if we were an inconvenience. However, I am hopeful that she was just having a bad day and that the service is usually much better!

Part of the group after dinner at Jax!
We greatly enjoyed our evening at Jax. If you are looking for a fun neighborhood night out- especially in the summer- head on over to Jax and check out the gorgeous patio!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog! I truly appreciate and will take the time to respond to each of your comments. Please, do not post links unassociated with my content as they will be deleted.