Balanced, Swedish, Fall Eating

Lately, my palate craves recipes that would allow me to experiment with seasonal flavors and reconnect with my Swedish roots.

I hunted around online for a dish that would suit the fall season and would be linked to my culture. Articles everywhere featured all kinds of autumn-inspired ingredients with rosemary, chili powder, carrots, apples, pumpkin, cinnamon and more. When I typed in “Swedish fall dishes,” I was excited to find something simple.

The recipe appeared on my scroll, introducing me to the history of Hasselback potatoes, a dish that dates back to the 17th century at a tavern in Stockholm that is now a high-end restaurant in a hotel.

Side note: this is one place I would love to visit someday! If not the restaurant, then definitely Stockholm.

I couldn’t help but to feel warm and fuzzy inside, remembering the story my mother told me about my great grandmother, Christine, which is my middle name. As the story goes, Christine traveled from Sweden to the United States through Ellis Island in New York City and then to Chicago where she married my great grandfather who also traveled from Sweden. My family and I know their travels to be true, because we visited Ellis Island when I was younger and found documents of their arrival.

My family history has inspired me to try out the Hasselback potatoes, but because I like to maintain a somewhat healthy eating regiment, I put my own spin on them with the ingredients below.

According to the recipe, Hasselbacks are traditionally baked with butter and breadcrumbs, but I decided to replace the butter with extra virgin olive oil and left out the breadcrumbs altogether. The recipe also called for using an oven to bake the potatoes, but because our oven is currently under repair, I used the stove to saute them and it worked just as well.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Connecting with my family history has been one part of my journey towards optimum living and wellness. There is nothing more satisfying than sharing a piece of my family history with others, and what better place to do that than at the dinner table?

Leave a comment:

Do you have any traditional family dishes you enjoy making? What fall flavors do you incorporate into your cooking? What healthier options do you turn to in the kitchen when your culture is notorious for its sweets, carbs and wine?!    


 

Amanda’s Autumn Swedish Chili Potatoes

Servings: 4

Preparation: 5 minutes

Cooking: 55 minutes

Total: 60 minutes

 

-1 tsp chili powder

-4 potatoes

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp pepper

-1 tsp rosemary

-2 crushed garlic cloves

-extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)

-4 carrots

-bacon bits (eyeball amount)

-(option to add meat of your choice; sliced pineapple and bacon flavored sausage links work really well)

Rinse and peel potatoes and carrots; slice into thin, round discs. Place potatoes and carrots into a bowl. Heat and coat oil in a large skillet. Top and mix all other ingredients with potatoes and carrots. Place potatoes and carrots (and any added meat) into skillet, mix all ingredients with oil, and let simmer for 45 minutes. Continue stirring to avoid the potatoes from burning and sticking to the pan. Potatoes and carrots should be slightly mushy, but firm.

Serve and smaklig spis!

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Remembering the Good Times

For those reading who have gone on deployments and have years of military experience under your belt, you should be forewarned that I’m about to talk about my baby Army moments in AIT.

As for my fellow comrades who suffered the stupidity with me – the strict TRADOC regulations of limited cell phone use, formations, curfew, never walking ANYWHERE alone, etc. – this one is for you.

I’m not gonna sugar coat it – Advanced Individual Training (AIT) had its tough moments. I think I sprouted more gray hairs and several wrinkles after trying to follow every damn rule at Fort Meade than I did in Basic Training. I feel so fortunate to be in a much better place now at Fort Lewis and out of TRADOC!

It warms my heart to know that I’m still connected with wonderful individuals who made the time in AIT fun and enjoyable. It’s also cool to look back at the things I did (like interviewing a NASA astronaut!) and learning some lessons (like turning up my ISO inside).

There are more of you out there in Social Media Land who aren’t mentioned below (this would be too long of a post). You know who are you, and know that I love you and I’m thankful for our friendship.

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Specialist Tricia Andriski, AKA “Driskis,” was the best battle buddy in the world! I don’t know what I would’ve done without her!
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Private “Vidro One-Thousand,” always ready to rock ‘n’ roll.
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Private Kirk, eating a pine cone, being weird and always making me laugh.
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Timothy L. Kopra, NASA astronaut who came to speak at DINFOS Sept. 13. I had the honor of interviewing him and getting an article published on the school’s website! (This is the photo I was referring to when I learned that I need to work on my ISO adjustments…)
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Specialist Claire Charles, a wonderful battle buddy who kept everyone in check and set an example for the young-uns.
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Private 1st Class Danyelle Thompson and Seaman Morrissey putting a smile on my face in the hallway at DINFOS when practicing with bounce flash.
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Our company commander’s puppy cheered me up after a long day!
*reflection
Private 1st Class Amanda Stock was an excellent Platoon Guide and awesome friend.
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Private Josh Weaver, a fantastic photographer and ruck march motivator.

My First Book

I was too impatient to find an agent, especially for my first book. The 51 page novelette is officially live as an eBook on Amazon! My first book. I’m super excited to share my story with the world. I hope my story inspires you and sheds some light on alternative forms of psychological, emotional and spiritual recovery from a traumatic event.

If you’d like to read a sample of the first few pages and see what it’s all about, here you go.

 

fighting through healing

Published in LA YOGA

 

Amanda Ridder Paratrooper Yoga

Breathe through Fear: Yoga for the Courage to Jump from a Plane

“The thunderous roar of the C-130 engines filled the inside of the huge aircraft that was in flight at an altitude 1,200 feet above ground. I stood with shaking legs behind three other jumpers. Every muscle in my body quivered in anticipation. What allowed me to stand strong in this moment was the clarity and focus I found in my ability to breathe through fear because of yoga….”

Read more of my story by clicking the link above in LA YOGA Magazine!

The Booksitter

It’s raining outside my window at the Iron Bank coffee shop on 11th and Broadway in Columbus, Georgia. I have missed this alone time so much. Oh, so much.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any new material for my book or creative pieces to offer at the moment. It has taken me over a week to squeeze in two hours of alone time, to enjoy a cup of espresso and be at peace with my keyboard.

Besides finding time to be alone, I have been searching for peaceful and calm thoughts in a stressful environment.

On my flight here from Maryland 10 days ago, I realized that the next time I would enter an aircraft, I would be exiting it 2,500 feet above the ground with a parachute strapped to my back.

You’re insane, Brain 1 said. Why would you volunteer to go airborne? 

The answers unraveled naturally, as if this entire conversation with myself was an argument I couldn’t win.

The promotion points, said Brain 2. Think about those 30 points! The exciting stories you could cover! The maroon beret and the badassery!

Brain 1 almost won a few days ago when I was cooped up in the barracks all day, thinking about the hazards of my choice. After speaking with a few other soldiers, Brain 2 kicked in and sucker punched Brain 1 to the ground.

So here I am, two days of training and five jumps to go before I graduate from airborne school in the army.

I don’t know what lies ahead in this next week. (Disclaimer: I am ditsy. I may just slip out of the freaking plane or let the jumpmaster push me.)

Besides the stress from my own thoughts mingling with the sight of countless injured soldiers from training, I am back to my main love.

My book.

The poor thing is collecting dust, suffocating inside the locker I store away my life in. My story is like a child tugging on my jacket for an ice cream cone. So badly do I want to pick it up and treat it to a freaking Dairy Queen, but airborne school is taking up so much of my time and energy that I must leave the child with a babysitter. Er, I mean my book… in the locker…

What I’m trying to say is that I haven’t given up on writing the book. It’s there, but to give it the attention it deserves means waiting until I have finished this chapter of my life in training.

I hate sounding selfish and steering away from my book to focus on myself, especially with this self-reflective post. But I cannot give my book the attention it deserves if I haven’t given myself some room to breathe.

I’m not certain if there will ever be a scene or character involving a paratrooper, but some things are bound to find their way into the story through avenues I haven’t even ventured down in my mind yet.

It’ll be exciting when that time comes. I predict that I’ll be celebrating with my two besties, Ben & Jerry.