Grocery shopping, it’s my favourite thing to do in a new country. Some people go to museums and fairs, for me the best place to start understanding the landscape and psyche of a new place is found in the aisles of the supermarket. This is not easy to do with two kids, particularly if one of your children – the one with a vocabulary – is not a fan of the Peruse The Aisles Process (or waiting in line), but oh happy day, Stockholm’s grocery stores stay open until 9pm.

Two days ago after Husband and I ate dinner, I snatched the keys to our rental vehicle and darted off to our local ICA, which stands for something I have absolutely no knowledge of (and is pronounced eeeeeka). Normally driving in a new place would intimidate me to the point of not going anywhere, but after four days of being in a house with two children under the age of two and almost no time to myself, I would have driven on snow and ice during a blizzard in Russia.

Our ICA is two-minutes by car from our house and the parking lot was almost empty at 8:30pm. I ran inside and started looking. There wasn’t enough time to take it all in, but I’m sure I will be back. It’s a small one, our store, but still has a fresh seafood counter, and lots of fabulous products including a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that definitely went into my shopping bag. I think it’s a rule in the cultural adjustment process that we will gravitate to the things that are familiar.

My only major observation is that I adore Swedish packaging design – everything looks gorgeous and delightful. I have no idea if the products itself are of equal quality, but there is so much beauty just on the shelf.

I went without a list, but I knew I wanted the ingredients for one thing – a fruit smoothie. The Swedish sun has Little Boy up quite early, and the whole day begins in a pleasant way if he has something to eat that he loves. Smoothies are always a hit. I heard that Sweden has a fabulous berry crop, but I will probably have to wait until next year to sample fresh ones. If their frozen blueberries are any indication, it will be good. These were gigantic, plump blueberries, nothing like frozen blueberries I’ve seen elsewhere. While this isn’t a Swedish smoothie – I attempted to search for local coconut milk, but the Swedish coconut crop was not great this year, apparently – it is still a small homage to our new home and a smoothie is always a fabulous healthy, tasty way to start the day.

(Recipe after the photos)




Blueberry, Mango Coconut Milk Smoothie

  • 1 cup or more frozen fruit (I used blueberries and mango), 1 cup of warm water, 1 cup of coconut milk, top the blender with spinach
  • I try to get out of bed an hour before the kids do. I let the frozen fruit sit in the cup of warm water and the coconut milk to let the fruit melt a bit (it blends better for me this way). When Little Boy wakes up, he gets to come down and push the button, which he loves to do. This makes about four cups of smoothie, add water if you want

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