What’s Good This Week

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So my Christmas officially sucked. 

merry strep-mas to you

Santa served up a nasty case of strep throat, which hit both Paul and I (but neither of the kids!) a couple of days before Christmas. I had just a touch of a sore throat on Sunday but woke up Monday in absolute agony and with my uvula so swollen that I was basically choking on it. Paul also went from bad to worse super fast, so we booked appointments at the after hours clinic in our hood and went in one after the other, and sure enough, we both had strep.

The worst part is, I totally brought this on myself. I Secreted this shit, but in a bad way. This is an actual text exchange between my babysitter and I a little more than a month ago:

Within 12 hours of starting penicillin Paul was basically as good as new, but I kept going downhill. We had to cancel our Christmas eve dinner at our friend’s place (the one where there was going to be a real Santa coming to surprise the kids) and pull a Christmas dinner out of our asses. Luckily we’d made food to take over, so it was more supplementing what we’d already done than starting totally from scratch. 

We had a julbord (Swedish Christmas buffet) booked for the 25th but I woke up that morning still feeling absolutely awful and found swallowing food almost intolerable, so we ended up cancelling that dinner too.

This was the ONE Christmas in the ten years we’ve been in Sweden where the stars aligned and we were in town at the same time as our best Stockhomies, and I was so looking forward to sharing big, messy, family dinners and celebrations with them. Alas, it was not in the cards. Another year, hopefully. 

On the 26th I was asking the internet whether one could cut out their own uvula (it’s not recommended, though one can have a uvulectomy performed by an actual ENT doc) so I decided to go back to the doctor because I was still feeling awful, eating was so painful, and I was still gagging on my g-damn uvula.

They did some blood work which showed that my white blood cell count was slightly elevated, though not bonkers out of control, and the doctor (who was very sweet but also was at leat 100 years old, so not sure how good her vision was) said that it didn’t look abscessed although there were painful ulcers on my uvula. She prescribed some medicated mouthwash that basically just made my tongue go numb and sent me home.

During that process I also learned that the Swedish word for uvula is “gomspene” which translates directly to “throat udder” which is probably the only good thing that has come out of all of this. 

It’s still not better. My g-damn throat udder is still hanging down the back of my throat sort of like if you put your finger down your throat to try and throw up, but you haven’t quite pulled the trigger yet so your finger isn’t yet allllll the way in there. It’s been like that for a week now, and let me tell you, I am so over it. 

ANYWAYS. I hope you’ve enjoyed this visual, which is totally the kind of thing you come to your favourite food blog for. If anyone has any tips for dealing with an infected uvula / throat udder, please send them my way. We’re now in Tenerife (more on that later) and if it’s not better in another day I’m going to be visiting a doctor here and hoping that Spanish antibiotics are better than Swedish ones. 

our tiny tree was overwhelmed by presents

Other than all the throat drama, Santa made his way to our place and brought the kids a bunch of junk that I’ll be cleaning up until the end of time.

I actually gave Niko a box of office supplies because he loves making stuff and is constantly asking me for tape or paper clips or felt pens to work on his latest creation. I gave him a box of felt pens (his first, a big step up from the crayons and coloured pencils he’s been using), a note book, five colours of washi tape (dude is obsessed with tape) some string, post-it notes, and a set of stamps. 

Paul gave Niko a Nerf gun because he’s an insane person and is ok with a three-year-old shooting at us with foam pellets and cleaning up said pellets.

I gave Paul a big box of new socks and underwear, including is favourite Ice Breaker underwear which are insanely expensive (I mean, they’re underwear!) but are apparently a delight to wear.

Paul gave me a gift certificate to my go-to kitchen store which is specifically to be put towards new plates. Our plates are a disastrous mismatched collection that goes back to when we first moved in together 16 years ago and combined our two collections of shitty student budget plates. If we had even a small dinner party everyone would have a different plate, but not in a cool eclectic way.

More like in a dorm room way, which drives me insane since we are in fact gainfully employed people in our 40’s, but clearly not insane enough to actually do anything about it. Until now. New plates will be had. 

Once everything was open I made the kids tally up their presents, and then we went into their room and chose exactly the same amount of neglected toys to send to a charity shop. One in, one out is my new rule. 

And then there was the big ticket item that I bought for the whole family, and YES, it’s a robot vacuum! I ended up getting the Xiaomi Roborock S5 after doing a LOT of research and oh my gosh you guys I love him so much. 

He vacuums the entire apartment and then sends a message to my phone with a map of where he’s cleaned, and, you guys, HE ALSO MOPS. He is 100% my current favourite family member and although it was a wad of cash I’m just kicking myself for not taking the plunge sooner. 

At first I named him Randy the Robot, and then Paul started calling him Cookie Monster (since he eats up our crumbs) but I also kind of feel like his name might be Victor. I can’t decide. Anyways, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I can simply pick up the crap off the floor, tell him to start cleaning, and an hour later the whole place is done, including under the bed and other annoying places.

On Saturday morning we got up at half-past freaking early (that’s 3:30am for those who don’t know), threw jackets on over the kids’ pyjamas, and headed out the door to the airport. Swedish winters are dark and cold and crappy, so taking a mid-winter getaway is essential to survival. 

This year we chose Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, because it’s far enough away to be delightfully warm, but there’s only a one hour time change (which means no jet-lagged kids to deal with) and the flight is only 5.5 hours from Copenhagen, which is a 55 minute flight from Stockholm. Both of our kids are champion travellers, and in spite of us forgetting the iPad in a complete parenting fail, they were great on the flights. 

The lady who had been sitting behind us stopped me on the way off the flight to say how wonderfully behaved my children were, even though Niko had dumped half a bottle of water mostly on me but partly on her foot, which happened to be bare so we were in luck. I did pack a ton of games and activities and crafty type stuff that kept Niko occupied, and Odin just seemed to lean into it and wasn’t too difficult to entertain at all. 

We’re still just getting our bearings, but we have 9 days here to enjoy warm weather, sun that doesn’t set until 7pm (after a couple of months of 2:30pm sunsets, this is most welcome), and generally just relaxing together. 

finding his sand legs


Since many people score an Instant Pot for Christmas, I updated and re-published this collection of 14 Vegetarian Instant Pot Recipes this week. Time to bust that thing out of the box and get started!

photo collage of vegetarian instant pot recipes

And, since it is the season, I shared my take on Nutritionist Approved New Years Resolutions


Here’s a look at what’s trending according to Google Analytics:

1. Amazing Vegan Gravy. This recipe went through the roof just before Christmas!

2. Turmeric Latte Mix. I hope lots of you are sipping on this sweet little spicy mix.

3. Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos. I’m so bummed to not have a batch of these on hand right now.

4. Indonesian Black Rice Pudding. Make this in your new Instant Pot! 

5. Chia Fresca. This super hydrating recipe heated up out of nowhere this week!


Rachel left the following comment and 5-star review on my Spiced Sweet Potato Waffles recipe:

Delicious. My only complaint is that made a double batch to have some leftovers and I was only left with 4 after everyone was finished. Baby and toddler approved!

Wow! You guys really did love these!

sweet potato waffles on a white plate with a toaster in the background


icon of globe with text "what's good around the web" 1. The fake health news that went viral in 2019

2. What we learned in 2019 (Health and Medicine via the NYT).

3. The tasty virtue of leftovers

4. What you should know before you eat airplane food

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