Author: Line West

Hygge and Mindfulness

In America people are often on the go. Americans are so busy and work so hard it never ceases to impress me. In Denmark people are also super busy and work hard but it is generally accepted to take a “coffee break” during the day where you actually sit down with your coffee/tea/cake, instead of walking around with it and only getting to drink it once it is cold. I think these little breaks help keep the Danes grounded and happier. It is really amazing how much new energy flows through you and from you after a relaxing break. You are ready to meet the world again. Hygge is as a form of mindfulness. A very pleasant one since it usually involves doing or eating something you like. Doing something nice or hyggeligt also makes it much more easy to be mindful – because who doesn’t want to fully enjoy every single bite of that delicious piece of pastry, every sip of that steamy brew of coffee or every moment in the company of a good …

Danish Children’s Carnival/Shrovetide Buns

Today is “Fastelavn”/Shrovetide in Denmark. It is a children’s carnival based on pre-lent carnival traditions of the Roman-Catholic church from before Denmark became a Protestant nation. Children dress up, beat a hanging barrel filled with candy (similar to a pinata), eat sweet buns (“fastelavnsboller”) and also get a so-called “fastelavnsris” (twigs decorated with candy, feathers, paper flowers and home crafted masks, see images here Fastelavnsris photos). A lot of this tradition has to do with getting rid of evil powers since the Danes say that “we beat the cat out of the barrel” and originally there was a poor black cat inside. Now there is just an image of a black cat on it. The children stand in line with a short wooden bat and take turns beating the hanging barrel. The child who beats the bottom out of the barrel becomes Cat Queen and the child who get the whole barrel down is the Cat King. Anyway, for adults the main thing is the sweet pastry buns which you can buy in bakeries all …

Healthy Hygge Foods and Natural Cold Remedies: An Interview with Superfoods on Main

If there is one place that always makes me feel great it is the Superfoods on Main cafe in Mount Airy, Maryland. And I do not mean the kind of “great” that lasts for about thirty minutes, I am talking about feeling great for days! Superfoods on Main is a cafe with a homey cozy atmosphere that reminds me of some cafes in Copenhagen. Meanwhile, their drinks and foods are mainly raw, organic and vegan which means you get both hygge and healthy energy there. Maybe even better is that my two young children love going there for a colorful smoothie and time in the play corner. So on this cold and snowy morning I decide to venture out to meet raw foods chef, Darlene Union, and nutritionist, Elina Jelena-Kopic Myers, co-owners of Superfoods on Main to talk about healthy hygge foods and how to be healthy in the Winter months. Darlene and Elina always seem happy and energetic – the living proof that a raw or vegan lifestyle really works and I am eager …

Happy Foods

Our January started off with constant colds and coughs and the Arctic blast with many snow days stuck inside. So my hope of kicking off the new year with a healthy and active lifestyle has been on hold. The result is that I feel like “a hanged cat” (a Danish expression) being dragged around from the kids wake up at 6:30 am till I crash on the couch as soon as they go to bed. Being a couch potato was not exactly my new years resolution and I am determined to find a better way to get through the cold Winter months. All the hygge foods I have been advocating on this blog, like cakes and hot chocolate, bring me a sweet momentary happiness. This is why I have decided to give me, my family and this blog a healthy vitamin shot with foods that provide the energy we need to be happy and active all day long. I will also discover healthy hygge foods that won’t send us on a sugar crash shortly after …

Danish Christmas Cookies and Mulled Wine / Glögg

To me, nothing tastes more like Christmas than Danish Christmas Cookies / Brunkager – a crisp, spiced cookie – and Glögg – a mulled hot wine. Here are my family’s recipes 🙂 Danish Christmas Cookies / Brunkager 7 ounces butter 7 ounces sugar 1/2 cup sirup 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 tbsp ginger 1 tsp ground cloves 12.5 ounces all-purpose flour or more 1 tsp baking soda 3.5 ounces chopped almond slivers (optional) 1.8 ounces grated organic orange peel How you do it: Mix butter, sugar, sirup and spices well. In a separate bowl mix the flour and baking soda well. Then mix this into the first mixture. Knead the dough together with almonds and orange peel. Add more flour if needed. Divide the dough into 2-3 equally big parts. Roll and shape them so you have 2-3 fat rolls. Then you wrap each of them in plastic foil and store them in the fridge overnight – or longer. Cut the rolls into 3-4 millimeter thick slices which you place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Leave …

Getting in the Mood for the Holidays

  What do you do if Christmas is just around the corner and you are too tired to even think of baking cookies, wrapping, shopping and decorating? You take a break. Christmas is about hygge, love and having a good time so why don’t you start with giving yourself a hygge break before you spread the hygge to those you love? Just like the oxygen mask on the airplane: put it on yourself before you help others. Love and hygge is very hard to spread if you cannot feel it. So give yourself a little love with a hygge break in the middle of all the to-do-lists. Like me right now. Nothing has been baked, lots of presents to wrap, there are two big baskets of laundry to fold right in front of me and the Christmas tree hasn’t even been decorated. Guests are coming Thursday. Yet, here I am. Enjoying a hot cup of chocolate out of my favorite hygge cup… After a little hygge break I will be ready to enjoy preparing for …

A Danish Christmas

Originally posted on Happy as a Dane:
Here is a little sample of my Danish Christmas. The old streets of Copenhagen decorated with garlands, lights, hearts and stars. White hyacints and pine cones are important too. But lets not forget the mouth watering marzipan (almond paste) and nougat on coffee tables all around the country… I know bicycles aren’t exactly a Christmas thing but only in Denmark will you see a baby chair that matches the color of the mother’s bicycle! Says so much about the importance of bicycles and design to the Danes. ?