Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

New Year's is often the time of year when we all take stock of the year that's passed. It's also the time when we evaluate our expectations for the coming year.
It's been a busy and eventful year around here. Many positive things have happened and even more are on their way for 2013. Throughout most of 2012 we've been working on finding new suppliers, among other things. This is starting to pay off through lots of exciting new items – and we can't wait to present them all to you! The first ones have already started trickling into our warehouse and will be ready for delivery to the stores by January. These include the most amazing Tibetan lambskins.

Keep an eye on our website – it's going to be anything but boring!
Our first issue of the magazine for 2013 will be in stores just before New Year.
Here's a sneak peek:

Wishing you a Happy New Year – We look forward to writing more in 2013... /Vivian

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas

We often receive various types of communications from you, the readers of our magazine. We are delighted each and every time that you take the time to write to us.
Sometimes you send us good ideas for articles or DIY projects. Sometimes you have questions regarding some practical matter or perhaps something that's got you puzzled. Other times you have suggestions for changes which you feel should be made.
No matter the reason behind your communications, we really, really appreciate them all! Every one of them. They make us happy, make us think and sometimes we get to see things in another light. We learn a lot from that... It makes us do our best at all times.

Certain communications leave a particular imprint in our memory.
A few months ago we received an email from a German boy – Marcel. He's just 16 years old and a big fan of what we do. That in itself is a bit extraordinary. But not only that...

With inspiration from our work, he makes the loveliest arrangements and then photographs them. Some of them were posted on our Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. We have to say that there's a natural talent!
A few days ago he sent us a short Christmas greeting, which included this photograph among others.

Don't you find this amazing? We do!

With this pretty picture, all of us here at JDL wish you a very Merry Christmas!/Vivian

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Time flies... and before we know it, Christmas is here!

Did you get everything done that you had planned for this month of December?

I'll go ahead and be honest and admit that I did not...

When the time approaches in November and December, I begin to look forward to all the things I plan to do this year. In fact I start to get excited while working on the articles for our Christmas issues in September and October.

There's no limit to how many Christmas crafts and how much candy and 10 different kinds of cookies the family and I are going to make. I'll also have friends and family over for both homemade gløgg – of course, made from good ingredients – and homemade æbleskiver, Christmas brunch and walks in the woods to gather supplies for decorations. We're also going to cozy up with Christmas movies and presents – they should be at least partly homemade and beautifully wrapped of course!

There's so much time and I frequently misjudge how much I can realistically accomplish.

Now Christmas is only about a week away and, well, there's a lot that I haven't gotten to... BUT – when I think about it, it doesn't really matter either. So far we've had an amazing November and December anyway.

Since we got snow here in Denmark a few weeks ago, we've made it a priority each day to take the kids out for an evening walk and a bit of sledding. Some days we've only been out for about 30 minutes, but at least we got out there – together! And back home with rosy cheeks and feeling wonderful because we were able to share laughs and enjoy each other's company.

I've participated in several cozy events with my lovely colleagues where we've made Christmas crafts and decorations together - although we did use STORE-BOUGHT greens this year because we didn't find the time to make it to the woods. But the decorations actually turned out great anyway, even though the greens and cones weren't gathered in the woods!

I've also managed to go shopping with my sisters, including a café break, without our husbands and children – something we've been wanting to do for a long time but never get around to. THAT has to become a tradition from now on!

So then this weekend I got to thinking about that whole thing about Christmas baking – it is really fun and cozy. Buying cookies from the baker's just isn't quite the same. The kids have baked pepper cookies with their grandmother as well as various other small cookies cut out with cookie cutters and decorated with green frosting. They're all made from the same dough... so maybe a bit boring in the long run.

My nephew is brilliant at making burnt sugar almonds, and my sister is great at making brown sugar cookies. One of my neighbors, who is also a good friend, makes the best crullers...

So it occurred to be that I'd be happy to give up some of our pepper cookies with green frosting in exchange for a small bag of each of their specialties.

Our cookie exchange is now a reality. It's all so much easier when you only have to make one kind.

Decorated Cinnamon Cookies

This recipe will make
about 40 cookies.
You’ll need:
1 3/4 stick (200 g) Butter
1 3/4 C (350 g) Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla Sugar
• 1/3 C (85 g) Sugar
• 1 Egg

Crumble the butter with the flour and add cinnamon, vanilla sugar and the egg. Knead the dough until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Meanwhile, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes using whatever cutters you have on hand. We used a star-shaped cookie cutter for this recipe, but you could use a glass or the like if you don’t have any cutters. Once the cookies are cut, transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 °F (200 °C) for 6-8 minutes. The cookies are done once the edges are golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, decorate with icing.

That's one more thing crossed off the list/ Vivian

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wellness – The Natural Way

Now that the cold has really set in throughout Denmark and the snow covers the landscape like a thick blanket, I can't wait to go away to our summer house for the weekend!

The woods are an amazing place for taking long walks, watching the snow fall quietly and feeling the frost nipping at your nose.
The quiet seems magnified when the snow muffles all sounds and the only thing your hear is the creaking sound under your boots.

 Photo from the January 2013 issue of Jeanne d'Arc Living Magazine

Before we head out, we get a fire going in the wood stove so the house will be nice and warm when we return with red cheeks and fresh forest air in our lungs.
This year we'll also be starting up our new outdoor bath, which heats the water to 100 °F.
We had it installed this summer and have already gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it.
It is especially amazing in the evenings when it's dark out and the stars are bright.
The subtle sounds from the woods are pleasant and relaxing.

But I'm also looking forward to experiencing it at wintertime – running through the snow and jumping into the steaming hot water.
It must be a really unique experience to sit there when it's freezing out...

  Photo from

Don't forget to enjoy the season and nature by going swimming og sledding or taking a walk in the woods... It's so beautiful out there!
Or how about grabbing a flashlight and heading out for some “after dark” sledding down a nearby hill? That's been our "evening walk" for the past few days – and the kids love it!
Then we're all happy and tired in a good way when we get back home and snuggle up on the couch to watch the Christmas special.

There will be plenty of time to accomplish all the practical tasks. Being together is what's most important this time of year...

Happy December / Vivian

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Didn't get around to making an Advent wreath yet? Then here's a couple of quick ideas!
Both are from the magazine, in which we visit Eva's beautiful home.

The really easy version is to make an arrangement like this one.
Find four candle holders – they can be different sizes and shapes but of the same material.

Place them together in a bowl with a bit of green and other decorations and 'voila' – you're ready for a cozy Advent time.

This next one takes a bit more effort but still comes together quickly.
Buy a lichen wreath at a farmers' market or from your local florist.
Place it on a nice platter or a display, like here. Decorate with Christmas balls, a ribbon and four candle holders. It doesn't take long, and the result is stunning.

The word 'Advent' comes from Latin 'adventus', which means 'coming'.
So Advent means that something is going to happen or come – the birth of Christ.

We light the candles in celebration of the approach of Christmas.

Happy Advent /Vivian

Monday, December 3, 2012

Snow flurries

Winter has found its way to JDL, and the Christmas spirit is spreading. Although we’ve been working on Christmas for the past 6 months in our workshop and the editorial office, it’s a very special time now that Christmas is getting close and snowflakes are falling from the sky.

Last Thursday some of us made beautiful Christmas decorations, wreaths and Advent decorations under Lonnie’s expert guidance. We also got the first snowfall of the season on that same day here at JDL. And we’ve gotten lots more since then! Love it :)

In our workshop, next year’s Easter collection is underway. There’s plenty to look forward to – everything looks beautiful. Dorte has done it again. She’s made the most amazing collection of Easter decorations for your home. You can already see most of the items on our website I hope you’ll show it a warm welcome when it arrives at your local retailer.

The perpetual calendar has arrived here at JDL as well. It’s already become a huge hit, and it’s sure to be found under many a Christmas tree in many homes. It’s the perfect place to keep track of all the important dates in your life – a treasured possession for a lifetime.

Snowy greetings from Jeanne d’Arc Living / Tina

Monday, November 26, 2012

Something for everyone

One of the things for which we often receive compliments regarding the magazine is the how we provide ideas and inspiration that our readers can actually use.
The fact that we're "regular people," most of us with no specific assumptions about "the right way" or “the wrong way" from a professional point of view, means that we're on a level that most people can relate to. Our food, bread and cakes aren't made by professional chefs, the photo shoots aren’t professionally styled, and although Susanne is a professional florist, her decorations are always at a level suitable for most.

Many of our featured items are easy to get a hold of. It's completely natural to us that this should be our focus at all times.

That's not to say that we don't occasionally "stray" in order to show you something fun and different like a home set up in a cave or a castle. Or lots of other fun, old odds and ends that are actually so hard to find that you might call them rare antiques.
We want to include those things as well. But we do aim to ensure that 80% of what we make is done with things and materials that are easy to find.

Thus the content of both this year's Christmas issues AND our Christmas book is a wonderful mix of new and old, DIY projects and easy and delicious recipes. There's something for every taste... And all three are in stores right now!
The December issue is just hitting the shelves these days. You can read about how to make wreaths and decorate with pretty, little lady apples.
Get in your creative mode and make some new Christmas ornaments with plaster. We give you a look back on everyday food from the old days when porridge was an important stable at mealtimes.

You'll also get our "recipe" for how to make your own drums for your Christmas tree – they're easy to make and very elegant. Bake some bread and cakes, not for eating but for decorating your home for Christmas.

Poinsettias can't be avoided around Christmastime. Even if we've always tried! (It's never been our favorite plant.) We accepted the challenge however, and we have to say that the results aren't bad at all. They actually can look decorative, both "as is" and also in decorations, bouquets and wreaths.
Find the magazine and the book at your local JDL retailer and let yourself be inspired.
We wish you all a very merry Christmas! /Tina & Vivian

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A JDL Family Get-Together

By now the ”Jeanne d’Arc family” is getting pretty big, and getting all of us together can prove to be somewhat of a challenge. Especially since this year we’ve gained even more representatives in Finland, Norway and Sweden: Virpi from Finland, Mette-Mari in Norway and Jessica in Sweden. Additionally, there’s Erik and Ineke in Germany and Holland, respectively, and “good old” Vicky in Denmark. All will be staying at Hotel Randers.

But we’ve actually succeeded in bringing everyone together for the next few days. In connection with our annual Christmas party at PAKHUSET in Randers this Saturday, we’ve invited everyone to arrive a little early.

So tomorrow we’re all going to enjoy a traditional Danish Christmas luncheon out here. Gitte and Susanne are already busy cooking and there’s a wonderful smell of cabbage in white sauce, Danish meatballs and pork roast. The house is buzzing with activity. We’re putting up a lit Christmas tree outside in the courtyard, making pretty decorations and setting up for the lunch buffet tomorrow. I just love the atmosphere here!

We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone both tomorrow and at the Christmas party on Saturday. /Vivian

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Don't worry - We're not asleep

We're always incredibly busy here at JDL. We have a new perpetual calendar in the pipeline – can't wait to show you the finished product! In the workshop, Jane and Dorte have started producing all the new Easter items that will be in stores sometime after Christmas. And here at the editorial office, we're putting the finishing touches to our big Easter book, which is definitely something you can all look forward to. In it you can find inspiration for new Easter decorations in the old style or just enjoy all the wonderful photos throughout the book. And of course we have some really good recipes for delicious Easter food and cakes. We're in the process of fixing up the old workshop here at the farmstead, which will be ready to use as a photo studio before long. Such an exciting project! Dorte and Lonnie can't wait for the finished result. There's plenty to do, so we're not bored.

In the middle of all this activity, we also find the time to welcome visitors who find their way to us here at JDL. Yesterday, Kristine came down from Aalborg for a visit. Kristine has a blog with the most amazing recipes for food and cakes. Her page, , is definitely worth a visit. She can conjure up the most delicious treats. She brought five different types of biscuits for us to photograph for an article, which will be featured in an upcoming magazine. We hope you'll like them as much as we did here at JDL. Naturally she brought a few samples for us all to enjoy. Thanks, Kristine! /Tina

Monday, November 5, 2012

Christmas Greetings

I love receiving Christmas cards. Unfortunately it's a tradition that's about to be forgotten. In these modern times when we can just send a text message or an email instead, that's often what we do. It just isn't quite the same, though, is it?

There's something really special and much more personal about a traditional, handwritten Christmas card. The sender took the time to find just the right card and then sit down and think about what he or she wanted to write especially for you. That's a nice thought...

Admitted: I'm not really good about it myself – but this year, I've decided I'm going to do it. SO – I've now bought a stack of Jane's handmade Christmas cards for the purpose. I'll write them all this November and get them in the mail.

The tradition of sending Christmas greetings in the form of a Christmas card goes back to 1843 – around the same time that the first Christmas seal was released. The first Christmas cards to be mailed were made in England, and the idea was well-received because just the next year, 25,000 Christmas cards were mailed, each with a personal Christmas greeting. /Vivian

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

While We Wait

I'm very proud to present this lovely pre-Christmas issue.
Among other things, you can visit a beautiful castle in Düsseldorf, which is simply amazing and fairytale-like. Make the most beautiful decorations using old baking tins and chocolate molds. Delicious recipes with pomegranate that are also super decorative with their striking red color. Herbs and spices are good for other things than just cooking. Decorate for Christmas with all of the decorative plants and spices – really different but beautiful. We’ve made a visit to a candy making shop, which turned into a really nice article. See the process from start to finish – you can almost taste the candy just from looking at the pictures. That's all I'm going to reveal. Hurry down to your local retailer to find the magazine! So I'll wish you happy reading and just let you know that you can look forward to our beautiful December issue, which will hit the stands later this month. /Tina

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dine and Dash...

A new trend has been spreading through the office out here.

It started in Susanne's family. Her parents really wanted to see her and the kids. But fitting in whole or even half days or evenings can be difficult. Everyone has a busy and active life, including Susanne's parents. But now they've come up with an ingenious solution.

They call it Dine & Dash.

Basically, Susanne's parents cook a meal – just a simple casserole or whatever they feel like and have time for. Susanne and the kids come over to eat, visit for an hour or so and then "dash."

Susanne is thrilled to get out of cooking, her mom enjoys´making them a meal – and everyone is happy that they get to see each other more often. The fact that it's very informal and everyone goes their separate ways after the meal means that everyone can make it and everyone feels more more a part of each other's everyday lives.

So over the last few months, the concept has spread to several other families here.

And now we're passing on the idea. You could also use it as a way to spend more time with neighbors,colleagues or friends – anyone that you don't see as often as you'd like. You could take turns cooking...

Susanne just visited her parents yesterday. The menu was roast beef, baked potato wedges and béarnaise sauce...

They don't have dessert every time, but yesterday her mom had just got a lot of fresh raspberries from a friend, so she made Jane's swiss roll from our recipe book, only with raspberries instead of strawberries – YUM!!

This is still my favorite dessert... So here's the recipe one more time:

Strawberry Roulade

What you need:
8 oz (200g) Marzipan
8 oz (200g) Egg Whites
12 oz (300g) Sugar
4 oz (100g) Hazel Nut flakes

4 1/4 C (l ltr.) Whipping Cream
20 oz (500g) Strawberries

What you do:
Knead the marzipan with 50 g egg whites. Beat 150 g egg whites until they are stiff. Carefully fold the sugar into the egg whites. Fold in the marzipan. Spread the dough out onto a piece of baking paper measuring 33 x 40 cm. Sprinkle hazel nut flakes on top. Bake for about 15 minutes at 180°C. When the bottom has cooled off completely, flip it over onto a new sheet of baking paper so that the nuts are facing down. Spread the whipped cream and strawberries thickly on the bottom. Use baking paper to roll the roulade. Decorate the tray with strawberries before serving.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Christmas All Year Round

Around here, we’re occupied with Christmas practically year-round. Right now, the Christmas orders are being processed and sent out by Sanne and Lars from the warehouse. And soon our first Christmas issue of the year will be on its way to the stores (it’s just arrived, fresh from the printer’s, today). Before we get to that point, many, many hours of work have been put in throughout most of the year. Dorte and Jytte are in China right now buying materials for our Christmas collection 2013: beads, ribbon, small metal trinkets for decoration, etc. Thus right after Christmas, Dorte will get to work designing the Christmas collection for next year. It’s an ongoing process, which is always underway in some way or other. Ideas often crop up at the strangest time, and inspiration has a way of its own of course.

By the time February comes along, the handmade collection is roughly in place, and we’re making samples and assembling materials. Sometimes we have an idea about using recycled materials, which requires a special effort in order to accumulate the materials needed for the amount of Christmas decorations that we sell now. This is the reason why you sometimes see an item with only a limited number available.
After several tweaks, the collections fall into place little by little. Dorte and Helle start working on the layout for each small item, and the printed matters are ordered. Once we receive them, Jane and her team start making the final samples together with Dorte.

We have to order materials, calculate hours of work, etc. Then the items need to be photographed and put up for sale. All this must be accomplished before May 1st – that leaves us one month to spare for final corrections and to get all the pictures put on the website.

When we get to June 1st, our “Christmas group” is opened up for the year’s collections, and the stores can begin to pre-order the items. This is also when the actual production begins over here in Jane’s workshop.
So as early as May and June, we’re well underway with paper cones, Christmas scents and Christmas balls.

Here at the editorial office, we shoot Christmas photos from September through January each year. Then it’s all about Christmas cookies, candy and decorations – sometimes as early as September.

Luckily, our kids are old enough to understand what we do – because for a few years, they were all confused about Christmas trees and presents so early in the year. And the presents were all empty!! These days, maybe they’re used to it as well as to Christmas candy in October, which Susanne and I were just out shopping for today – no complaints about that!
Luckily, none of us have been put off from wanting to decorate at home either – once the “real” Christmas approaches.

This year, I think I’ll decorate this pretty sink with pine and spruce and hang it in the courtyard to welcome our holiday guests. If I’m lucky, perhaps I can also hang a couple of our new lanterns that we just designed… That’s another story altogether, which we’ll share with you some other day. /Vivian

Here is a recepi for you :)

Date Balls

- A wonderful, healthy snack – recipe by Kristine –

Makes about 25 date balls

8 oz (200 g) pitted Dates
4 oz (100 g) Oats
4 oz (100 g) Almonds

Combine dates and almonds in a blender to form a coarse, sticky mass. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the oats to combine well – knead the mass on the counter a bit if needed. Roll into delicious, bite-sized balls.
Try them for breakfast, as an afternoon snack or just as a sweet but healthy treat.
Store these healthy and delicious snacks in a sealed container in the refrigerator until they’re all gone :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hi everyone!

Some people are of the opinion that everybody here at the office is more or less crazy. Even some staff members occasionally make remarks like that – usually with a smile but still with a poorly disguised grain of truth. They actually mean it. And…they’re probably right to some extent!

This is to mean that once we get an idea, we feel compelled to make it a reality right away. Or yesterday, if possible. Oftentimes, we get so excited about the idea that we become practically euphoric. Luckily, our co-workers are just as crazy…and ready to go along with our crazy ideas – sometimes they even bring them to the table themselves!

It sometimes happens that these ideas bring along exceptional challenges. We actually have plenty to do around here at the moment. We’re still making plenty of Christmas decorations in Jane’s production department. We have several people working almost round the clock. Large Christmas orders are being shipped out daily and we’re still getting new orders in as well. In the editorial office, Helle is busy with this year’s big Christmas issue as well as the layout for the Easter book. Tina is working on the layout for the January issue, while Dorte is heading out into the world on an inspirational trip together with our newly hired buyer, Jytte. And the rest of us are writing lots of features and articles. Our days really are pretty full…

But then yesterday, we decided that we wanted to make a nice calendar for red-letter days to go along with the annual calendar – in itself a very good idea and something that we’ve received several inquiries about. The mad part, however, is that we decided – together with the involved co-workers – to have it printed and in stores by December 1st of this year (a brilliant idea from Kristian, who is in the sales department).

Now, there is a certain amount of production time involved in making printed matters like this. We need to shoot a lot of new photos, find texts, have them translated, and put together a nice layout. Then the calendars have to be printed, bound and sent to our stores.

But the amazing thing is that we all think it’s a good idea and therefore offer to put in extra hours. In just a few minutes, so many people had offered to pitch in that it actually looks like we’ll be able to pull it off!

So without further ado, we’re now presenting…

Find it at your local JDL retailer from December 1st. And this time, there will be a version in English as well, which will also be the case for our annual calendar going forward.

Have a great day everyone! /Vivian

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Facebook Giveaway

Take a look on our Facebook page. A giveaway for you.

Click here on this link   FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY
You can win The first issue of the Jeanne d'Arc Living Magazine (on Danish).
 Please join. /Tina

Monday, October 8, 2012

Savor Fall with Delicious Food

Fall is here. We're definitely feeling that here in Denmark these days. The light is fading and the days are turning rainy, cold and windy. It makes you want to head indoors and take up cozy pastimes and cooking.
Did you miss out on our popular recipe collection the first time around? It's now been reprinted and shipped out to the stores again – and it has lots of wonderful fall recipes.

Here's one of our favorites:

Baked Root Vegetables
Serves 4

You'll need:
About 2 lbs (800 g) mixed Root Vegetables
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 block of Feta Cheese

Peel the root vegetables and cut them into small cubes. Place them in a plastic bag together with oil, salt and pepper to evenly distribute the oil and seasonings. Transfer to an oven proof dish or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 30-40 minutes at 425 °F (220 °C) until tender and golden. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with crumbled feta.

Root Vegetable Chips with Dip

1 lb (500 g) Root Vegetables
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Salt
Dried Herbs

You can use any type of root vegetables that you can find and that you and your family enjoy. Slice the raw vegetables very thinly. Pre-heat the oven to 425 °F (220 °C). Pat dry the sliced vegetables with a dish towel and place in a bag together with oil, salt and herbs. Shake well to ensure that the oil is evenly distributed. Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 475 °F (250 °C). Keep an eye on them – you only want them to be lightly golden. Serve warm with homemade dip.

Red Dip
3/4 C (200 ml) plain Yogurt
3 tbsp Ketchup
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
Paprika and Chili Powder

Green Dip
1 C (200 ml) plain Yogurt
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
3 tbsp inely chopped Dill
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt and

Enjoy..! /Vivian

Friday, October 5, 2012

Delicious & Easy Mango Chutney

Do you happen to have a mango left over that you haven't been able to use? Then you can quickly make this delicious, homemade mango chutney, which goes well with all those nice and spicy fall dishes.

Mango Chutney

1 Mango
1 bag of Apricots
2 cloves of Garlic
1 Onion
1 handful of Raisins

Chop everything finely and boil until tender. Add a handful of raisins and season to taste with chili. Simmer until the chutney reaches the consistency of marmalade – kind of thick. This should take about 10 minutes. Allow to cool and transfer to a jar which has been rinsed with sodium benzoate.

We like to serve this with Curry Chicken.

Cut 2 chicken breasts into strips and sauté in a bit of oil together with 1 tbsp curry powder until browned. Add onion, bell pepper and other vegetables that you have on hand and continue to sauté to brown. Add 1/4 cup (250 ml) cooking cream and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with wild rice, coconut, pineapple chunks, bananas, peanuts and – of course – your homemade MANGO CHUTNEY.

Enjoy! /Vivian

Monday, October 1, 2012

The new October Magazine is available now

In this magazine you will among other things find delicious recipes for pickled root vegetables, you can see what som Dried Leaves can be used and bind the finest flowers of Spectacular Spindle. Get great ideas for decorating your bedroom. Enjoy. / Tina