Gingerbread spiced bliss balls for Christmas

Gingerbread spiced bliss balls for Christmas :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

I have made these healthy little gingerbread bliss balls around Christmas time a few years in a row now. And every time (before I make them) I think to myself; Are they really that good? Are they worth making again?

And, after making them, I realize every time that the answer is definitely YES! These are SO easy to make and SO good! And it’s a sweet that make you feel good afterwards too, since they are packed with nutrition and good energy.

Many bliss ball recipes call for dates, but for this recipe I like apricots better. They aren’t as sweet as dates and they have one of the lowest glycemic index of all dried fruit – only 31 in fact. So they won’t make your blood sugar rush as fast! Just make sure you go for sulfite free apricots (they are dark brown in color) and preferably organic.

I’ll be back again next week with a super delicious kale salad recipe for Christmas! Until then – I hope you try these. Please let me know what you think in the comments if you do!

Gingerbread bliss balls

makes about 20

1 cup + 1/4 cup (200 g) raw almonds
1 cup (200 g) dried apricots (sulfite free)
50 g raw cocoa nibs (can be omitted but they do add a nice crunch)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cinnamon
0,5 tsp sea salt
juice from 2 small clementines (or 1 orange)

finely chopped almonds, lingonberry powder, chia seeds or cinnamon to roll in

1) Place the almonds in a high speed blender or in a food processor and process until you have a grainy consistency. Add spices and cacao nibs and pulse a few times until well mixed. Add apricots and clementine (or orange) juice and process until everything is well mixed and a dough forms. You might need to stop and scrape the mix down the sides a few times during the process if your blender/food processor isn’t powerful enough.
2) When all ingredients are well mixed, use your hands to form 20 round balls. Roll them in chopped almonds, lingonberry powder, chia seeds or cinnamon and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving. Keeps for at least a week in an airtight container.

Gingerbread spiced bliss balls for Christmas :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

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Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory cabbage pancakes) – where have you been all my life?

Okonomiyaki with scallions and black sesame seeds :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Yes – where have this genius Japanese dish been all my life? I have always loved Japanese food and flavours. But I had never heard of Okonomiyaki until only a few months back, when I stumbled upon a recipe on the Internet while searching for other stuff. It instantly sparked my interest and it wasn’t long until I tried, and quickly adjusted the recipe to fit my own cooking style.

My take on this genious dish is gluten free, using buckwheat flour which is known to be a blood-building food that can help clean and strengthen intestines and lower blood pressure. Seems like a great idea instead of regular wheat flour right? My recipe has quite few ingredients involved (but you can always add more according to mood and current taste) and can be thrown together in less than 15 minutes.

To sum it up – this charming dish is almost too good to be true! At least if you love cabbage as much as I do. It is both fast, simple, healthy and delicious at the same time. Perfect everyday food when you crave something warm and comforting and you have very little time!

Please let me know in the comments if perhaps you have tried genuine Okonomiyaki in Japan, or if you have made other versions yourself!

Okonomiyaki with scallions and black sesame seeds

8 smaller pancakes (serves 2 hungry people as a main or 4 as a side)

400 g (about 4 cups) white cabbage, finely shredded (a mandolin is a great tool here)
a bunch of scallions (6-8 stalks), finely chopped
2 tbsp black sesame seeds

6 tbsp buckwheat flour
6 tbsp water
2 eggs
1/2 tsp sea salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch of chili flakes (optional)

sesame oil and coconut oil for frying
tamari or teriyaki sauce, coriander leaves + pickled red ginger to serve

1) In a medium to large bowl combine buckwheat flour and water and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs, salt, pepper and chili flakes (if using) and beat until you have a smooth batter.
2) Add the shredded cabbage, scallions and sesame seeds and mix throughly using a fork until everything is covered in the pancake batter.
3) Heat 1 tbsp each of sesame oil and coconut oil in a large frying pan. Using a spoon and a fork (I find this the easiest way) place four little heaps of the batter in the middle of the pan. I like mine a little “messy”. Fry 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. Repeat until you have used up all of the batter.
4) Serve immediately with tamari or teriyaki sauce, coriander leaves + pickled red ginger.

Filling add-ons suggestions:
• Arame, soaked 10-20 minutes and drained (absolutely delicious and adds valuable minerals and proteins)
• Cooked noodles, rice, quinoa etc. (a great way to use up leftovers and make the pancakes more filling)
• Grated potatoes, sweet potatoes or other roots
• Grated cheese
• Seafood

Please note: I do not claim to have a genuine Japanese recipe for you here. It is inspired by several basic recipes that I found during my research, but it is totally my personal take on the dish and it is probably a lot “simpler” than the original. This applies to the toppings as well. But like I said – I have adjusted the recipe to fit my personal cooking style and tastes. I hope you like it too!

Okonomiyaki with scallions and black sesame seeds :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

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Roasted Butternut Pumpkin Salad with Homemade Labneh and Savoury Granola

Roasted Butternut Pumpkin Salad with Homemade Labneh and Savoury Granola :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

To start this post I have to admit that I never used to be a big fan of pumpkins. I can’t remember that we ever had pumpkins when I grew up, and my first experiences with pumpkins when we lived as expats in China fifteen years ago wasn’t that great. We had many American friends there, and naturally we were introduced to pumpkin pie on their Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays. Let’s just say it wasn’t my cup of tea (sorry Mary – love you!)…

I don’t think I really learned to appreciate pumpkins, until many years later when I started experimenting and cooking with pumpkins myself. Then I realized that it actually has flavours that I like – especially when paired with smoky and hot spices. And I love it! But I still have a hard time eating sweet desserts with pumpkin.

Tell me about your relationship with pumpkins in the comments! I’d love to hear!

Savoury Walnut Granola with Lemon Zest :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Savoury Granola with Walnuts and Lemon zest

The recipe that I’m sharing today involves both roasted Butternut pumpkin, homemade Labneh and a savory granola. I know it sounds like many elements, but don’t worry – they are all super simple! And if you prepare the labneh and the granola one day ahead, you’ll put this salad on the table in an instant the next day!

The granola makes enough for many more meals – and it is SO good all on its own as a little snack, but it is also wonderful sprinkled into salads instead of croutons or over thick winter soups.

Now, let’s get started shall we? Start with the labneh and the granola, and then you’ll throw the salad together in a few minutes. Enjoy!

Labneh
1 cup Greek or Turkish yoghurt (I prefer Turkish)
1 garlic clove, grated
pinch of sea salt

1) Make the labneh the day before you want to serve the dish. Or in the morning, to serve it in the evening.
2) Line a sieve with a piece of muslin or cheese cloth and place it over a bowl. Mix the yoghurt with the garlic and salt. Tip into the cloth, tie it up and refrigerate.
3) The yoghurt looses more moisture the longer you store it like this. And you can help it along by giving it a squeeze every so often. The labneh is ready after 12-24 hours. Take it out of its cloth and store in a jar covered with olive oil.

Savoury Granola with Walnuts and Lemon zest
2 cups instant rolled oats
1 cup thick cut rolled oats
1 cup rolled rye flakes
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
6 tbsp sunflower seeds
6 tbsp white sesame seeds
6 tbsp black sesame seeds

1/2 cup unflavoured coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp water
juice from 1 organic orange
juice from 1 organic lemon
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp crushed black pepper

zest from 1 organic lemon
50 g walnuts, shelled

1) Preheat the oven to 120° C (250° F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2) Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together melted coconut oil, maple syrup, tamari, water, orange + lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and chili.
3) Combine all ingredients (except lemon zest and walnuts) and mix well with carefully washed hands or a wooden spoon to coat everything. Squeeze the grains a little between your fingers to get it more clustered.
4) Spread the granola mixture out evenly over the baking tray. Pop into the oven and roast for about 1,5 hours. Add the lemon zest + walnuts and stir to distribute evenly. Roast for 1 more hour, or until crunchy and completely dry.
5) Switch off the heat and leave the baking tray in the oven to dry completely while the oven cools.
6) When completely cool, store in an airtight jar for up to a month.

Roasted Butternut Pumpkin Salad with Homemade Labneh and Savoury Granola

serves 2 people as a main or 4 as a side

1 Butternut pumpkin, peeled deseeded and wedged
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cm (2 in) fresh ginger, peeled and grated
sea salt
black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon

10 Tuscan kale leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of sea salt
1 cup baby spinach leaves, packed
a handful of parsley, chopped

1) Preheat the oven to 200° C (390° F). In a small saucepan, gently heat the olive oil, cinnamon, cayenne and ginger. Put the pumpkin wedges into a roasting tin and pour the spicy mixture over them. Use your hands to make sure everything gets well coated. Season with salt and pepper.
2) Put into the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized. Take out of the oven and squeeze the lemon over.
3) In a large skillet gently heat the olive oil and stir fry the Tuscan kale for 5-6 minutes until slightly tender. Add the salt and stir again.
4) On a large serving dish, or on individual plates arrange the kale, baby spinach and roasted pumpkin. Top it with with parsley, small scoops of the labneh and the granola. Serve immediately!

Roasted Butternut Pumpkin Salad with Homemade Labneh and Savoury Granola :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

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Creamy Citrus and Turmeric Chia Pudding or Sunshine Pudding

This post is sponsored by Foodspring and as always, photos and words by me.

I have been working with Foodspring to create this recipe using some of their products. And I believe this little jar (or bowl) of sunshine is what many of us desperately need right now! At least if you live up North where days are rapidly getting shorter and the sun comes out a lot less frequently.

I have never been a big fan of the ever so popular chia seed puddings. Probably because I just can’t stand the consistency and the look of the jelly-like swollen up seeds. So I decided to use chia seeds to make something similar to a pudding, but at the same time smooth as a smoothie. I used Foodspring’s Organic White Chia Seeds for the pudding, and topped it with their Crunchy Fruits (pineapple & strawberry) + Nuts & Berries – yum! Perfect for breakfast, snack or after a workout.

Orange, lemon, ginger and honey is also a classic combo to prevent or fight flu. And turmeric has, as you’ve probably heard, anti-inflammatory properties. Great stuff!

You can serve the pudding either in a bowl, in little jars or in a bigger bottle and bring it to the gym to have handy after your workout.

Please check my Instagram for more details on the campaign (including a discount code and a giveaway). Recipe below. Enjoy!

Creamy Citrus and Turmeric Chia Pudding aka. Sunshine Pudding

serves 2 hungry people, or 4 less hungry as a snack

1/3 cup organic white chia seeds
1 cup water
1/4 cup cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours (longer if you don’t have a high speed blender) and drained
2 organic oranges, peeled and roughly chopped
2 organic lemons, juice and zest
1 banana, preferably frozen in slices
a big piece of fresh ginger, chopped or grated (grate if you don’t have a high speed blender)
1-2 tsp turmeric powder (or a piece of fresh turmeric)
1 tbsp raw honey

Sliced banana + Crunchy Fruits + Nuts & Berries for topping

1) In a small bowl, combine the water and chia seeds and whisk vigorously until well mixed. Set aside until the mixture forms a gel, about 20 minutes or longer.
2) In a high speed blender, combine the chia gel with the cashews, oranges, lemon juice + zest, banana, ginger, turmeric and honey. Blend until completely smooth. If your pudding gets warm in the process, you’ll need to chill it until cool.
3) Serve individual portions of pudding in bowls or jars. Top with Crunchy fruits + Nuts & Berries.

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A slow roasted ginger and orange spiced granola for Trendenser autumn dinner

A slow roasted ginger and orange spiced granola :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Last week I was invited by Frida of Trendenser to a magical evening with 40 other bloggers, instagrammers and stylists. It was held at Lilla Spinneret Restaurant, and in addition to all the nice conversations and all the inspiration, you can imagine we had some really good food too right?

Trendenser Autumn Dinner :: Photo by: Anna Roström/SmallpigartTrendenser Autumn Dinner :: Photo by: Anna Roström/SmallpigartTrendenser Autumn Dinner :: Photo by: Anna Roström/SmallpigartTrendenser Autumn Dinner :: Photo by: Anna Roström/SmallpigartTrendenser Autumn Dinner :: Photo by: Anna Roström/SmallpigartTrendenser Autumn Dinner :: Photo by: Anna Roström/Smallpigart

Photos from Spinneriet by Anna Roström of Smallpigart

Naturally I wanted to bring a little gift for Frida, and I thought of something personal that reflects who I am and what I like. Something with an autumnal spirit that she would hopefully appreciate too. It had to be a slow roasted granola – my favorite!

A slow roasted ginger and orange spiced granola :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

This is a variation on this recipe – a staple in our house. I added both ginger and orange (juice and zest) for a cozy autumnal flavour. The pistachios are of course optional (or may be replaced by other nuts), but they do add to the luxurious feel!

Happy cozy autumn!

Slowroasted ginger and orange spiced granola

4 cups instant rolled oats
1 cup thick cut rolled oats
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
4 tbsp melon or sunflower seeds
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds

6 tbsp unflavoured coconut oil (or olive oil), melted
6 tbsp maple syrup
juice from 1 organic orange
3/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp powdered vanilla

zest from 2 organic oranges
50 g raw pistachios (or other nuts), shelled

1) Preheat the oven to 95° C (200° F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2) Mix oats, buckwheat flour and seeds in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together melted coconut oil, maple syrup, orange juice, sea salt, ginger and vanilla.
3) Combine all ingredients and mix well with carefully washed hands or a wooden spoon to coat everything. Squeeze the grains a little between your fingers to get it more clustered.
4) Spread the granola mixture out evenly over the baking tray. Pop into the oven and roast for about 2 hours. Add the orange zest + pistachios and stir to distribute evenly. Roast for 2 more hours.
5) Switch off the heat and leave the baking tray in the oven to dry completely while the oven cools.
6) When completely cool, store in an airtight jar for up to a month.

NOTE! Slow roasting is in my opinion the one and only way to get perfectly crunchy granola every time. It does take a few hours, but since the temperature is so low you can easily leave the house for an hour or so and the granola won’t burn. You don’t even have to stir during roasting – you will still get perfectly roasted and clustered granola without burning. But please check after an hour or two the first time you make it, since the temperature in your oven may vary slightly from the oven I use.

A slow roasted ginger and orange spiced granola :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

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