From Iceland with love

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Enjoy this Risallamande recipe. It has a lovely story.
Substitute coconut cream and any kind of nut milk if you like.
Hiking with REI in December the young guide, Pokey, was away from his family for the first time over Christmas. When I asked him what he missed it was Risallamande. (Rice with Almonds and Cherry Sauce). The chef at the Inn (www.hotelborealis.is) where we stayed lovingly made it for him on Christmas night. His family usually has a huge portion for Christmas Eve dinner and then has the rest for dessert on Christmas.
Well, I have been eating it every day since I got back home. That’s like three weeks or so. I know, I have to stop at some point! Anyhow, it is delicious. Here’s my adaptation and a website for more fun reading…http://nordicfoodliving.com/risalamande-danish-rice-dessert/
Risallamande
Recipe for Homemade Risalamande - Danish Rice Dessert for Christmas
Prepare Rice Pudding, Cherry Sauce, Almonds and Whipped Cream
Rice Pudding
1 c  Organic short grain rice (Arborio)
4 c WHOLE Organic milk
1/8 t sea salt +/-
5 T Organic sugar
1 T Organic butter
1 vanilla bean
1 t vanilla (I use Penzey’s double strength)
Place rice, salt, sugar, and scrapings from vanilla bean and the bean in a saucepan. Add 2 cups of the milk and bring to a low simmer. DO NOT BOIL fully or the milk will scald. The trick here is to stir every 3 minutes or so to be sure it’s not sticking to the bottom. Add the additional milk as the rice absorbs the first liquids. Cook for about 35 minutes, Remove vanilla bean hull. Add butter and vanilla. Place plastic wrap directly over the top of the pudding and let cool to room temperature. The plastic wrap keeps a “skin” from forming on the top. (You can put in a shallow container to do this if you wish to cool faster.) This can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated.
Cherry Sauce
2 c frozen Bing/Sweet cherries – I like Whole Foods brand – Organic or what you can find
4 T filtered water in 2 equal portions
2 T Organic butter
1/8 t sea salt +/-
2 T sugar
2 t cornstarch
1/4 t almond extract
While you stir the rice pudding, make the sauce. In small saucepan, place all ingredients (2 T of the water) except cornstarch and extract. Bring to simmer. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 T water. Add to saucepan and stir to thicken and cook through. remove from heat; add almond extract. Serve barely warm over pudding.
Almonds
1 c +/- Organic almonds
Place almonds in ceramic bowl; cover with boiling water. Let sit 1 minute., Pour off water and recover with boiling water. Let sit 1 minute. Run cool water over and pop off the almond skins. (You can buy blanched almonds if you like.) Coarsely chop the almonds and set aside.
Whipped Cream
2 c Organic Whipping cream
2 T confectioners Sugar – I skip this added sugar but you might want to add according to the rice pudding sweetness and your own taste preference.
Whip cream until firm peaks form.
Assembly
Fold whipped cream into cool rice pudding.
I literally take the rice pudding in my hands and break it into smaller chunks so the whipped cream stays fluffier as you fold it in.
Traditionally the almonds are stirred into the pudding and one whole almond is included. Whomever gets the whole almond wins…you know that Christmas/King Cake/3 Kings Cake/Hide It tradition.
I like to place the pudding in a dish, top with cherry sauce and then add almonds on top according to my guests’ preference for nuts or not.
So pretty! It’s lovely in tiny little single Asian spoons or crystal shot glasses.
It will be a new holiday tradition – and well maybe a weekly tradition — at our home!
Enjoy!
Oh and Iceland is SOOOO worth a visit. Iceland Air offers free stopovers on the way to Europe.
Gleðileg jól

PLASTIC MATTERS?

Okay so this is “save my plastic week.” It also is Christmas Gift wrapping week. It is so interesting because on one side of my personality I want less and on the other side I really want PAPER — the French pink glitter wrap and the one with the poodles and…. More news to come concerning the fight between my wants and my needs. Meanwhile, a few easy old habits I reinstated — THIS WEEK – I take my own drink container with me – that can be one for both hot and cold (Target has some lovely colors on an end cap of these.) or two. (One of mine is an outmoded plastic one and one is a ceramic Starbucks cup.) I am taking my own FORK, SPOON and KNIFE or SPORK. If I forget my fabric shopping bags, I carry my items out to the car in the cart and transfer them into a bag there. Pretty soon I WILL stop forgetting.

I have a real entitlement bug in my personality that says,”You deserve it fast, now and easy.” I think it is the same bug that just encouraged me to eat the ENTIRE chocolate mousse (that was in a plastic cup with a plastic lid). And so, I am meditating and taking an extra hike around the block. I love that stuff too – the healthy stuff.

In my own personal melt down of my plastic addiction I hope to inspire you to be a little inconvenienced to better preserve the world for the amazing bright-eyed children. For the creatures who are humbled into fenced animal preserves and pastures and contaminated seas by our extreme greed for more. They show up trusting that we invited them to enjoy a world that is healthy and safe. The tiniest thought before you toss might save a breath of air or even a life.

My entitled personality is thinking, ” Oh pooh. It makes no difference!” My good heart, the angel one, replies, “Let’s just see. One piece of plastic at a time.”

Happy Mother’s Life!

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This morning I was greeted with this card and this book.  Well, and a lick from Lucy, our lover dog. The card is filled with laughter – little bits of Matti’s and my life together these days. Her original illustrations color it and on the back are the words to “Summertime.”  (Last week she asked me my favorite song.) BUT, here’s the big surprise, she has learned to play the song on her Baby Taylor guitar that she just began playing three weeks ago! And so we sing together this morning. And we sing together again. Like we will sing every day of our lives. Thank you God for blessing me with motherhood. (3 daughters 3 grandchildren) This Life.

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Now about THIS book! Take one tiny step to experience the life of a yogi. The last line of the opening is “…build community around mindful living.” Being gentle with our selves and our world. Remembering each other in kindness and laughter and well, song. Happy Mother’s Day!