Alla Helgons Dag

Holger Motzkau 2010, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons

Holger Motzkau 2010, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons

Each family has its own unique culture, and for us, my Grandparents were instrumental in shaping that culture. I always looked forward to visiting them and hearing stories about their life in Sweden before they came to the Midwest. My imagination would stretch itself to Sweden; to forests with dim light pouring through them. Sure, they would tell the same stories over and over again, but each time they would add a little flourish that made it new again. Years later I found myself telling my kids these family tales. I’d see their faces, and  find myself exaggerating and adding my own twists. Eventually, I came to realize that my voice had become just as much a part of the telling as the voices of my Grandparents.

One of my favorite stories my Grandmother told me was that on Christmas she would bring wreaths and candles to the cemetery and put them on the graves of her Great Grandparents. She said that on that night the cemetery was washed in light, the flames from the candles cutting circles and shadows in the snow. This image has stayed with me throughout my life, and eventually I made it to her village. It was around this time of year, near Halloween (years after my Grandparents  moved to America, Alla Helgons Dag  or “All Soul’s Day” was moved to the Saturday following the 30th of October). When I got to the cemetery, I realized that although the day had changed the traditions continued. Being there was like stepping into my Grandmother’s memory, as I was surrounded by light.

In Sweden, the end of October marks the beginning of  the dark nights of winter. On Alla Helgons Dag we bring lanterns, candles and wreaths to loved ones who have passed on. We bring them these things, though more than anything they are gifts to ourselves. We are reminded that the love of those we have lost continues, despite the long days without them.

Sweets to the sweet…

Image courtesy of exclusivelyfood.com.au

As the season changes, so do my cravings. Mid-day snacks become sweeter, cookies abound, and I just can’t pass up making the most luscious, gooiest of desserts…Sticky Toffee Date Cake! It is an indisputable fact that any dessert that begins with “Sticky Toffee” is guaranteed to be delicious, but I found this recipe by Ina Garten to be particularly scrumptious. Enjoy!

Sticky Toffee Date Cake with Bourbon Glaze

For the cake:
¾ pound dates, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1½ tablespoons baking powder

For the sauce:
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons good bourbon, such as Maker’s Mark
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan.

Place the dates in a deep saucepan with 1¾ cups of water. Bring to boil, stirring a little to break up the dates. Allow to simmer 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the baking soda (it will bubble up!). Set aside.

Meanwhile, in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla, scraping down the mixing bowl. (It may look curdled.) Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer still on low, slowly add it to the batter. With the mixer on low, add the hot date mixture in two batches to the batter, scraping down the bowl. The batter will be runny but don’t worry! Stir in the baking powder, which will also bubble up. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, combine the butter, brown sugar, heavy cream and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the bourbon and vanilla and pour into a 2-cup heat-proof glass measuring cup. Set aside.

As soon as the cake is done, poke holes all over it with a toothpick. Pour three-quarters of the sauce evenly over the cake while still warm and allow it to soak in for 30 minutes. Turn the cake out bottom side up onto a flat serving plate and pour the remaining sauce on top. Cool completely.

Serve at room temperature with sweetened whipped cream.

Fall picks

Image courtesy of poorandpretty.com

As Autumn begins, I look forward to all of its simple pleasures. One of my favorite activities is visiting our local apple orchard. Our family has gone apple picking every year since I was a child, and every year I feel the same jolt of exhilaration stepping out of the car. While engaged in the simple act of gathering apples, I experience a rich sense of harvest. I breathe in the sweet, crisp, leafy combination of the morning and the orchard, and all the years come back to me.

When I get home and put the kids to bed I find myself leafing through old photos and recipes, I search for that elusive nineteenth century novel I swore I was going to finish last Fall, and I make myself a hot mug of apple cider with allspice. Apples, pumpkin pie, old books; scent memory and emotional memory are inextricably linked together. We all have little reminders of this at different moments in our lives, but for me Autumn and Winter are two of the most powerful seasons for these kinds of associations.

This fall, we introduced a new scent called Hearth which combines cedar wood, with sweet amber and leather. It conjures up that first cold evening curling up by the fireplace. Another new scent is our Vanilla Noir, which combines a creamy Madagascar Vanilla with soft woods and musk; this one always reminds me of baking with Mom in the kitchen. And last but not least, our Pumpkin candle with its warm notes of harvest pumpkin, spice and herbs always cheers me up after a long day.

BYO Candles?

Image courtesy of tumblr.com

In these final dog days of summer, I’m trying to take advantage of the next few weeks of wonderful weather. I thought the perfect way to enjoy a warm summer’s night would be to host a garden party for friends and family. This time around, I wanted to bring the scents I love so much while inside, outside, and thought our Garden Mint candle would be just the thing.

Garden Mint highlights the yard’s natural, welcoming perfume and is absolutely perfect for these final hot summer evenings. A perfect aroma to take the edge off summer’s fiery heat, watery notes of garden mint leaves mingle with cucumber, spearmint and hints of citrus. The scent is known for its therapeutic & cooling properties and has a gentle aroma that is never overwhelming. This an important thing to consider at an event revolving around dining;  you never want to compete with the aroma of a home cooked meal!

We love the balance of using our candles both inside and out, they’re multi-taskers just like us! As always and no matter where you’re enjoying your candles, just remember to always keep your eyes on a burning candle and never to leave one unattended. Candle safety comes first!

Pick one up at Candles Off Main in time for your next dinner party.

Announcing our NEW Fall/Holiday 2012 Candles!

At Linnea’s Lights we put so much heart and time into each individual candle and the scent that accompanies it that it makes us so happy when we finally get to share our new creations with the public. We were thrilled to have the chance to tease our new candles at The Markoff Group’s Holidays in July preview event. This year we showcased our newest Fall/Holiday 2012 scents: Hearth, Holiday Spice, and Vanilla Noir.

Each candle is unique, and puts a fun twist on everyone’s favorite seasonal scents. The welcoming scent of Hearth entices you with its smoky and captivating cedar wood that is kindled with sweet amber and leather. Holiday Spice has a warming aroma that makes you want to spend your nights tucked beside the glow of its warm regal blend. We’re also introducing a spin on a classic vanilla with Vanilla Noir, a creamy and exotic Madagascar bourbon vanilla, intertwined with soft woods and musk.

We can’t wait till the holidays and hope you celebrate yours with a new Linnea’s Lights candle.

NEW! Hearth ~ For centuries, the hearth was considered an integral part of a home, often its central or most important feature. On brisk nights, find comfort in hearth and home.

NEW! Holiday Spice ~ Pomegranate, tart cranberry, spicy clove with a touch of warm cinnamon & white spices. Holiday Spice will also be available as part of the limited-edition Holiday Gift Set along with Forest Fir and Winter mini votives.

NEW! Vanilla Noir ~ Vanilla has long been one of western civilizations’ most essential flavors, first discovered by Central American Indians.

Stay tuned here and we’ll let you know just as soon as these become available for purchase. What do you think of the new scents and which ones will you be bringing home?

Splish Splash

Image courtesy of wdrb.com

The heat wave has not let up by us, so we’ve been trying to get to the local pool with the kids as much as possible. I’ve also been making ice-cold lemonade and keeping temps down indoors with A/C and a mix of my favorite Linnea’s Lights Summer-inspired White Coral, Ocean, & Sea Salt candles close at hand. Chill out at home with candles like these or for something clean & fresh, our Garden Mint candle is also a favorite. Available from Oliver’s Twist.

How are you all holding up in this heat?

To buy: http://www.oliverstwistllc.com/category/Candles/c57pg

Last Minute Father’s Day Inspiration

image courtesy of marthastewart.com

With Father’s Day coming up on Sunday, I always find myself scrambling for ideas up to the last minute. Does the same thing happen to you?

One sweet idea is giving him something homemade, made with love. For my husband, I love the idea of my daughter and I baking the cute sugar cookies pictured above together, and found this easy enough recipe from Martha Stewart.

Since you’re probably here though as a fan of ours (lucky us!), did you know we have a pretty new masculine candle, Vetiver? Earthy, rugged and altogether masculine with notes of vetiver, light musk and ozone. It’s actually one of my favorites as well, so now you can share your passion with the man in your life!

Check our site for a list local retailers if you want to pick this up near you, though we recommend calling first to make sure it’s in stock!

Here’s to a wonderful Father’s Day and spending a beautiful day with the ones we love.

Hostess Gift Ideas for a Beach House Getaway

Memorial Day house guests, take note: Linnea’s Lights Summer scents like Ocean, White Coral, new Sea Salt and our Cote d’Azur gift set (which includes  Lavender, Mimosa and White Coral mini votives) come in host gift-ready boxes, with matches tucked in. Just add a summery raffia ribbon, and it’s ready to go, perfect for your next beach house escape!

Do you have any travel plans for this Memorial Day weekend?

Happy “Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work” Day!



Image courtesy of our friends at MacKimmie Co. & Storied Lens

Linnea’s Lights is such a family affair with our tight-knit mother-daughter team, and our small staff is just like extended family to us here in Indiana. It seems only natural that we’d love celebrating Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day each year, and I always look forward to sharing my passion with my own daughter, Hannah.

I found out a bit more about the origin of this special day on the Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work foundation’s site and this recent article about how to make the most of the day, over on Forbes. Designed to be more than a career day, the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® program goes beyond the average “shadow” an adult. Exposing girls and boys to what a parent or mentor in their lives does during the work day is important, but showing them the value of their education, helping them discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life, and providing them an opportunity to share how they envision the future and begin steps toward their end goals in a hands-on and interactive environment is key to their achieving success. Each year, we develop new interactive activities and partnerships that will assist us in taking girls and boys to the future they dream of.

Do you have fond memories of joining your parents for a day at the office? Is this something you’ll participate in with your own children?

Featured Press

Image courtesty of pcmaconvene.blogspot.com

Things have been so busy around the studio with lots of new candle announcements just around the corner. I thought it would be fun to take a moment to look back and share some of the most recent press Linnea’s Lights has enjoyed, just in case you missed it!

Men’s Health Magazine knows what women want, like our soy candles in our romantic Spring scents. Check us out on Slide 6!

We were also thrilled to be included on Perez Hilton’s new site, Fit Perez, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Y, hablas español? If so, you’ll love this feature from Siempre Mujer (find us on Slide 5)!

Other generous write ups can be found at Number Four Eleven, and Savvy City Farmer, just to name a few. Thanks to everyone for all the love, and we hope you enjoy these fun clips.