Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2013! A new year is always exciting, full of the unknown, new opportunities and new adventures.

Between Christmas and New Year’s we were lucky to get a beautiful day. The three older girls tried downhill skiing for the first time. I was impressed with how quickly they learned. The little ones focused on sledding and eating snacks that they well knew we had along.
eating snacks
A tradition has slowly formed with our New Year’s celebration. It started four years ago when our son was born shortly after Christmas. He was a little sad this past year that his birthday is so close to Christmas until we told him that he gets to celebrate his birthday on the only day that firecrackers are allowed in Finland. They are allowed from 6 pm New Year’s Eve to 6 am New Year’s day. It has become a tradition to invite friends and family over for dinner, a little walk outside and firecrackers and later in the evening birthday cake for our little birthday boy.

For dinner we had a shoulder of a lamb and vegetables baked in the oven, a tossed green salad, mashed potatoes with butternut squash and my Gramma’s wild rice. As a child we would have this wild rice side dish at Thanksgiving and on Christmas day. Whenever I visit Minnesota, I always bring back wild rice which is native to the area. Wild rice is high in iron and protein and contains the amino acid lycine. I have recently found it sold here in Finland in a few select shops.


The following recipe is not quite identical to my Gramma’s version. I know that she uses sour cream and since I did not have it on hand I used a mixture of creme fraîche, Turkish yoghurt and a little cream. The final result was still quite similar and delicious.


Wild Rice

2 cups of wild rice cooked according to directions on the package

3 stalks celery

2 onion

mushrooms ( I used a handful of dried chanterelle mushroom that I rehydrated in some water)

200 g/7 oz creme fraîche

0.8 dl/ 1/3 c cream

200 g Turkish yoghurt


black pepper




2 tbsp butter

After the wild rice is cooked and set aside, chop the onion, celery and mushrooms until they are small. Sauté the vegetables in a little butter. When they are nearly done add the herbs. Mix the sautéed herbs with the rice. Add the creme fraîche to the rice and vegetable mixture. Check flavor.

This dish is easy to prepare in advance. At this point the wild rice can be refrigerated(if desired) and the final preparation can be done shortly before serving.

Before serving add the turkish yoghurt and cream and warm until steaming.

Happy Birthday Erik!
Happy Birthday Erik!
Wishing you all a prosperous New Year 2013!
Wishing you all a prosperous New Year 2013!

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference.


    1. Thank you Marijo, Happy New Year to you too! Erik loved his angry birds cake too. He ate the black “bomb” bird and a pig and I believe he didn’t eat too much actual cake after all the sweetness!

    1. We had a special evening, the only complaint that the birthday boy had when I carried him to bed and asked him if he had enjoyed his day was, “the party was too short!” Time flies when you are having fun!

  1. Firecrackers on his birthday! Erik is one lucky little boy! Wonderful picture of him preparing to blow out his candles. I’ve been to Minnesota a few times, returning with bags of wild rice for myself and friends each time. 🙂
    Happy New Year!

  2. Lovely photos…I’m sure the birthday boy loved his cake. Robert Frost’s farm is not farm from where I live in New Hampshire. I often think of that poem when I’m out on one of the back roads in my travels.

    1. Thank you! I happened to come across the poem and I thought it was perfect for New Year’s, a time when many make resolutions and think about the future and the road they might take.

  3. I love Robert Frost. What a beautiful birthday!! I love the wild rice. It sounds so wonderful with lamb.

    Happy New Year!

  4. I love the traditions you have there. I can feel the snow and the warmth from the fire place just by reading your post. I have not tasted wild rice before. Is it common in Finland? Over here they sell in little cans at a high price.

    1. Wild rice is not common in Finland and can be found in only a few select shops and the price is fairly high as well. But it can be found, which was not the case just a few years back! Maybe now I won’t have to carry big bags of it back with me when I visit the US. 🙂

  5. Happy New Year to you and your family, and I’m glad Erik had a good birthday. My daughter still complains about being born on Dec 29 and she’s 38!
    I like the sound of the lamb dish, and once again, the photos are lovely.

    1. Thank you so much! I’ve thought that maybe he can have his friends’ birthday party sometime in January when he gets a bit older if it seems like it is too close to Christmas 🙂

  6. Happy new year to you too! Your photos are gorgeous, especially of the fireworks.
    Is that an Angry Bird cake that I see on the table? Sounds like a lot of fun.
    And yeah- belated to your boy who has the honor of being able to celebrate his birthday with fireworks. That should make his day truly special. 🙂

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