The sun came out, the snow was perfect for sledding. Creating memories with my little guy. Came inside to homemade hot chocolate to warm our bones. It’s been a great day.
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup half-and-half
Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.
Every year on December 13th, Santa Lucia is celebrated in Sweden… and also in Minneapolis. My husband is from Sweden and my boy is an EU passport carrying Swede as well! We try to celebrate all the Swedish traditions in our home so Elliott will know his cultural background. And because it’s fun!
Years ago, before Elliott was born, Patrik and I would go to the Santa Lucia celebration at the American Swedish Institute. It was so amazing. The kids all dressed in their Lucia gowns, singing the Swedish songs. We would dream of the day our own child would be up there too. And after many, many years of waiting, that day is finally here! Tonight our little Elliott will be involved with his very first Santa Lucia celebration at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. What is even more cool is that the gown he will be wearing is the same gown his farfar (grandfather) Olof wore when he was a stjärngosse (starboy) and his pappa Patrik also wore! Elliott will be the third generation starboy in this gown. The gown is somewhere around 80 years old and was impeccably preserved by Patrik’s mother. Making the starboy hat was tricky and took me three attempts but I finally got it! We are incredibly proud!
Yesterday my husband spent hours in the kitchen making Lussekatter which involved a lot of saffron and a lot of patience. But they are amazing and such a fun part of the Swedish tradition. Instead of me going on here about what Santa Lucia is to Swedes, take a few moments and watch this highly entertaining video what hits every note. Seriously perfect! I’m also posting a few pictures of the Lussekatter in the making and of our very own starboy! I hope you have a wonderful Santa Lucia day!
This past summer I got to do something really cool. I was a fly on the wall as Tina & the B-Sides recorded their new album! Music photography was my first love and it was so cool to be asked to capture the recording process. The band recorded their new album at Terrarium Recording Studios in Minneapolis. It was a family affair as my husband, Patrik Tanner (former B-Sider), produced the new album with Tina. A lot has changed in the last 12 years. Everyone has families! It was so refreshing to see the kids (including our Elliott!) come to the studio at dinner time and how important family is to all these rock and rollers. But don’t worry! I believe you will spot a bottle of Jack sitting around. The weeks in the studio were awesome. It was so fun to be able to see the inner workings of the new album. And let me tell you, you won’t be disappointed!
The new album is slated to be released in March, 2014. There will be a big release party and a whole lot of fun. Tina and the band will be releasing the new album independently which means they need YOUR help! They have set up their Pledge site and are offering some super cool swag at different pledge levels. Take note of “Dinner + Music”. It’s true. Tina IS an amazing chef. I have been lucky enough to have her cook for me in my own kitchen. I could die now. You need to have the same experience. Or what about being the 6th B-Side? Come on down and rock with me at the pre-show party!
Thank you. Thank you for supporting independent artists like me and like Tina & the B-Sides. The world would be so lonely without art and we need your support. And thank you, Tina, for allowing me to capture this amazing journey!