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How to Be Consciously Cozy: The Art of HYGGE

In my most recent Youtube video, I created a very comforting and cozy evening with the help of a little Danish concept called ”HYGGE” and some easy plant-based recipes posted below.

What is Hygge?

Hygge (pronounced as “HU-guh” with a very soft guh), is a Danish concept associated with everything from the ‘art of creating intimacy’, ‘coziness of the soul’, to ‘taking pleasure in the presence of soothing things’ and ‘cocoa by candlelight’. To live by this concept means experiencing a quality of coziness that makes a person feel content and comfortable. 

I read about hygge from the book called “The Little Book of HYGGE: The Danish Way to Live Well”. Written by the Happiness Research Institute CEO Meik Wiking, the book highlights how hygge is heavily ingrained into Danish culture, which is one of the reasons why Denmark is considered one of the happiest countries in the world. Well, the Danes must be doing something right, aren’t they?

Of course, there are many different reasons as to why Danes are one of the happiest in the world, including socioeconomic factors such as access to health care and good education and high levels of social protection, but many Danes credit hygge to be one of them

What Makes a Hyggelig Evening?

I mentioned that in my video, I created a hyggelig (hygge-like) evening and if you want to do the same, here are some of the key elements you’ll need to recreate this warm and cozy evening vibe. 

Lighting

Winters in Denmark can be long and dark, and Danes have very little contact with the outside world, which is why I believe they have really mastered this art of creating a beautifully cozy home. Candles and warm lamps can create a wonderful atmosphere to allow long winter months to feel pleasurable. As someone who lives in Canada who also deals with long, cold winters, I can very much appreciate this concept.

Candles are probably the most important key element to a hyggelig evening because it creates a warm atmosphere. Interestingly, Denmark burns more candles per head than any other country in Europe! Now we know why! 

Because I learned that the Danes didn’t like scented candles, I bought these little tealight candles and placed them in these cute cups filled with little coffee beans. Aren’t they cute? 

Another element you can use for lighting are lamps! In my case, I got a beautiful Himalayan Salt Lamp that I believe really adds to that warm, hyggelig atmosphere. While I’m not sure if salt lamps are used in Denmark, don’t you think they look really cozy?

Another thing that’s super hygge is a fireplace! Drinking hot cocoa while sitting by the fireplace with your friends and family is one of the coziest and warmest scenes. Unfortunately, I live in a condo, so I don’t really have a fireplace. I’ll make do with my candles and TV fireplace, I guess? (I am improvising, people!)

A Tidy Space

Because the Danes love socializing at home, they put a lot of effort into making their homes very hyggelig! For me, creating a clean and relatively clutter-free environment can make people feel instantly more comfortable, which is why before anything else, I cleaned out any clutter to make my space cozier and inviting.

A Peaceful Scent

Another way to create a comfortable and peaceful environment is to use essential oils. I love the calming scent of essential oils because it makes me feel like I’m in a spa and about to get a massage (so relaxing!). I used a reed diffuser and not only does it look pretty, it also makes the room smell like a spa. You can use anything you’d like to create a nice calming scent, but make sure you keep it natural and not artificial, because hygge is all about being closer to nature. 

Comfort Food & Hot Drinks

My most favourite thing about hygge is the food and drinks. Apparently, hygge is also all about indulging in comfort food (sweets and fattening foods!) paired with warm, cozy drinks! Although hygge seems to heavily emphasize meat and other animal products, I wanted to show you guys that you can achieve the same sort of comfort food using plant-based recipes. 

Don’t forget to scroll down below for the written recipes!

Quality Relationships

Apart from the lighting and the food, hygge is all about emphasizing the concept of togetherness. One of the most universally agreed upon and proven indicators of overall life satisfaction and happiness is the quality of one’s relationships. This relationship could be with your friends, family members, or even your pets! 

Cozying up with my loved ones is probably one of my most favorite ways to spend an evening. Hygge is more than giving yourself some pamper time, it’s really more about spending quality time with your loved ones and treasuring those intimate moments with them. 

The Simple Things

It’s not about being materialistic, spending lots of money on fancy, luxurious or expensive stuff. Instead, hygge is all about enjoying and finding comfort in the simple things and appreciating the little details in our everyday lives. 

To cap of my hyggelig evening, I decided to take some pampering time by taking a nice warm bath. I also put on a face mask for my skin care before watching a TV show with my roommate.

So concludes my hyggelig evening, and I hope this inspired you to have your own hyggelig evening and to look for the little things that make you feel hygge

Don’t forget to scroll down for delicious plant-based recipes to try for your next hyggelig evening!

Vegan Recipes for a Hyggelig Evening

Creating a hyggelig evening won’t be complete without enjoying comfort food paired with warm, delicious drinks. In this video, I chose to follow vegan recipes that to me sounded very hygge, apart from being very delicious! 

Ready to recreate these hyggelig vegan recipes? See the written recipes down below!

Creamy Pasta with Vegan Swedish Meatballs

Original recipe: https://www.connoisseurusveg.com/vegan-sweedish-meatballs/

For this creamy pasta recipe, I switched up a few things based on the ingredients that I had. For the pasta, I decided to use rigatoni pasta because it felt like a thick and large pasta would go well with this dish.

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:

  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped 
  • 1 1/4 cups organic panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup cannellini beans (or white kidney beans)
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Tamari soy sauce 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Olive oil, for brushing

(OPTIONAL: I didn’t use nutmeg for this recipe but feel free to add if desired)

For the Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

For the Noodles:

  • 8 ounces dried pasta of choice (I used rigatoni pasta)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Roughly chop up the mushrooms and throw them in a food processor. Once they’re finely chopped, place the mushrooms into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Place some onions, white kidney beans, minced garlic, vegan Worcestershire sauce and Tamari, and black pepper into the food processor.
  4. Once processed, add them to the large mixing bowl along with the mushrooms. Mix well.
  5. Add in some breadcrumbs. Mix everything well until nicely combined. 
  6. Roll meatballs out of the mixture and place them on a large baking sheet. 
  7. Bake meatballs for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  8. While the meatballs are baking, it’s time to start making a sauce.
  9. Heat up olive oil in a pan, and whisk in flour. 
  10. Add vegetable broth and a can of regular coconut milk.
  11. Add more vegan Worcestershire sauce and whisk. 
  12. Add mushrooms into the sauce (I improvised this one since it wasn’t in the recipe).
  13. Add in some rigatoni pasta because large pastas would go well with this dish.
  14. Add in the vegan meatballs when they’re done baking. 
  15. Enjoy!

Mulled Wine

Original recipe: https://www.food.com/recipe/easy-mulled-wine-79958

Another hygge thing is a hot, cozy drink! There’s really nothing more hygge to me than mulled wine (many Danes consider alcohol to be quite hygge as well…). I decided to follow this easy mulled wine recipe which tasted a lot like the holidays (and like classic mulled wine!).

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange, sliced and seeded
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 bottle of red wine

Instructions:

  1. Add water into a big pot along with sugar. Add in sliced orange. 
  2. Add in some ground cloves and ground cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add a bottle of red wine. Slowly reheat but do not let it come to a boil to keep the alcohol content. 
  4. Once nice and hot, serve up in nice mugs. 

Cinammon Rolls

Original recipe: http://vagabondbaker.com/2015/01/29/vegan-swedish-cinnamon-rolls/

Because hygge is also all about comfort foods, I decided to follow this cinnamon roll recipe. Unfortunately, the dough didn’t turn out as I intended and it ended up dry and kinda hard. In the end, I decided to just ‘roll with it’ (lol!) because I believe hygge isn’t all about perfection. It wasn’t perfect, but it was still tasty. You can still try out the original recipe for yourself (linked above) and see if you are a better baker than I am (which I’m sure you are). 

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