Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lunch: 3.30.12

The Girl's snack is some dried berry & cherry mix.

Her lunch is a bunny shaped biscuit (from a mix) with some biscoff in it, apple slices, half a kiwi, a Sunkist fruit leather, and diced hot dog.

Pin It!

Lunch for The Boy: 3.30.12

Applesauce: 13g, mini-pancake: 10g
The Boy's Friday snack is some applesauce and a mini pancake.
Bunny Biscuit with Biscoff: 25g, apple slices: 8g, hot dog: 1g, fruit leather: 12g, berry & cherry mix: 17g
His lunch is a bunny shaped biscuit (from a mix) with some Biscoff spread inside it, apple slices, diced up hotdog, berry & cherry mix, and a Sunkist fruit leather.

Pin It!

Recipe: Bacon Ranch Pierogies

I made these up tonight and they were met with total approval at the dinner table.  You could reduce the ranch powder to taste.  I think I'll be making this again, for sure.

Bacon Ranch Pierogies

1-2 boxes frozen pierogies (potato & cheddar)
1/2 lbs bacon
1 onion
1 can fat free evaporated milk
1/4 c skim milk
1/2 packet ranch dressing mix

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Place pierogies on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Just started cooking..
Meanwhile, dice bacon and onion.  Fry in a pan over medium heat until bacon is crispy and onion is soft and browned.

Remove bacon and onion from the pan and place in a small bowl.  Deglaze the pan with the can of evaporated milk and the skim milk.  Using a whisk, make sure that all the bits stuck to the pan are incorporated into the sauce.

Stir in ranch seasoning packet to taste.  I used about half a packet.  Put the bacon and onion back in the sauce.

When the pierogies are done, turn the oven off.  Arrange the pierogies in a 9x13 baking pan and pour the sauce on top of them, distributing the bacon well over the top.  Put the pan back into the oven (with the heat off) and allow to sit for about 10-20 minutes for the sauce to soak into the pierogies a little.  Serve and enjoy.

Pin It!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lunch: 3.29.12

The Girl's snack for Thursday is some yogurt covered dried cherries, and some of a dried berry & cherry mix.  I got this container at the pharmacy last year

Her lunch is a bunny shaped biscuit (from a mix), ham and cheese, apple slices, half a kiwi, and a Sunkist fruit leather.

Pin It!

Lunch for the Boy: 3.29.12

The Boy's snack for Thursday is a banana (not pictured - 28g)
Biscuit: 20g, hot dog: 1g, raisins: 16g, apple: 8g, fruit leather: 12g
His lunch is a bunny shaped biscuit (from a mix), a slices of hot dog, apple slices, raisins, and a Sunkist fruit leather.

Pin It!

Recipe: Crockpot Black & White Bean Curry & Curry Spiced Chips

I needed a quick meal for dinner tonight, and I had beans in the pantry... but I didn't want Mexican.  Enter curry!

We had it with some Curry Spiced Chips that I made, and some pickles and chutneys I had in the fridge from my last trip to the Indian market.

Not bad for a pantry curry, if I do say so myself!

I used some Teeny Tiny Spice Co. Vindaloo and Garam Masala in the curry, but you could use your own favorite spice mixes.  Though, I recommend these quite a lot.  This was not a spicy curry, so the kids gobbled it up, too.

Crockpot Black & White Bean Curry

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 Tbsp Teeny Tiny Spice Vindaloo
1 Tbsp Teeny Tiny Spice Garam Masala
1 Tbsp Indian Curry Powder

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and cook for 6-8 hours on low.  Serve with naan, rice, or Curry Spiced Chips.

Curry Spiced Chips

8 small corn tortillas
Indian curry powder
garlic powder
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Coat large baking pans lightly with cooking spray.  Cut the corn tortillas into quarters.  Place the quarters on baking sheets so that they don't touch.  Spray the tortillas lightly with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with curry powder and garlic powder.  Bake for ~10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Pin It!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lunch: 3.28.12

The Girl's snack for Wednesday is a banana.

Her lunch (which she packed herself for the most part) is a bunny shaped biscuit (using pancake/biscuit mix), apple slices, half a kiwi, cheddar and ham, and a Sunkist fruit leather.

Pin It!

Lunch for The Boy: 3.28.12

The children had a hand in packing their own lunches today, on their own requests... fun!
Applesauce: 13g, mini pancake: 10g
The Boy's snack is applesauce and a mini pancake.
Melon: 4g, peas: 4g, ham & cheese: 1g, banana: 28g, biscuit (under the ham): 15g, Fruit leather: 12g
His lunch is a biscuit (made from biscuit/pancake mix), a piece of honey ham, cheese slices, a banana, a Sunkist fruit leather, mixed melon, and steamed peas (he requested this many!).

Pin It!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lunch: 3.27.12

The Girl's snack is some applesauce (no picture)

Her lunch is a small piece of potato & spinach braid, a kiwi, blueberries, grapes, pineapple pieces, and pretzel sticks.

Pin It!

Lunch for The Boy: 3.27.12

 The Boy's snack is a banana (not pictured, 28g)
Potato & Spinach braid: 20g, apple slices: 8g, cheese: 1g, melon: 6g
His lunch is a little piece of leftover spinach & potato braid, apple slices, mixed melon pieces, and some Monterey Jack cheese.

Pin It!

Recipe: Potato & Spinach Braid

I was originally thinking of making knish for dinner, but didn't have any puff pastry, so I grabbed some pizza dough out of the freezer, and improvised.  I thoroughly expected the children to turn their noses up at the spinach, but they both gobbled their pieces up and asked for the leftovers in their lunches!

That's a win to me!
A slice, served along with Caesar salad!  What a green dinner!
The filling was quite like the knish I had in New York City, and that was really yummy.  I threw in some feta I had leftover, but you couldn't really taste it, so you could leave that in or take it out, whichever your preference.

Potato & Spinach Braid

1 10-oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
5 potatoes, cooked (I cooked them by poking holes in them and microwaving them... my microwave has a "potato" auto-cook function...)
1/4 c feta cheese (optional)
2 tsp garlic powder
pizza dough (store bought or homemade)

Scoop out the baked potato and either run through a ricer or through a food processor grating disc. Add spinach, feta, and garlic powder and mix lightly until blended - I pulsed in the food processor.

Roll the pizza dough out into a large rectangle (about 16" long and 8" wide).  Spread the potato and spinach mixture in the center, leaving 2-3" on each side free.  Braid (for tutorial, see my chicken taco braid), then brush the top with a little olive oil.  Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for about 10-15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Remove kitchen towel from the braid and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until nicely browned.  Cool slightly, then cut into slices and serve.

Pin It!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lunch: 3.26.12

Sunday was Swedish Waffle Day!  So, we ate waffles all day - regular waffles for breakfast, small waffles for lunch (actually small pancakes - couldn't find my mini waffle pan...) with a fruit salad, and yeasted Belgian waffles as part of a breakfast for dinner feast.  :)

The Girl's snack is a couple mini farmyard pancakes with nutella to spread on them.

Her lunch is two Belgian waffle quarters with Biscoff and strawberry jam, a kiwi, some raspberries stuffed with blueberries (I saw that on Chopped!  Very clever, had to do it...) a plum, and a couple pieces of ham.

Pin It!

Lunch for The Boy: 3.26.12

Sunday was Swedish Waffle Day!  So, we ate waffles all day - regular waffles for breakfast, small waffles for lunch (actually small pancakes - couldn't find my mini waffle pan...) with a fruit salad, and yeasted Belgian waffles as part of a breakfast for dinner feast.
Mini pancakes: 20g, nutella: 15g
The Boy's snack for Monday is a couple small barnyard pancakes with some nutella to spread on them.
Belgian waffle with Biscoff and jelly: 25g, apple: 5g, ham: 1g, melon: 7g, strawberries: 6g
His lunch is a couple quarters of a the yeasted Belgian waffles, with Biscoff and jelly, apple pieces, a piece of ham, strawberries, and some mixed melon.

Pin It!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lunch: 3.23.12

Happy Friday!  Did you see my blog about (the food I ate in) Sweden?

The Girl has a banana for snack (not pictured).

Her lunch is a cheddar cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, a kiwi, pretzel sticks, and some raisins.

Pin It!

Lunch for The Boy: 3.23.12

Happy Friday!  I finally got my trip to Sweden written up, if anyone wants to take a gander at a whole slew of delicious food...

The Boy's snack is a banana (not pictured, 28g)
Sandwich: 25g, apple slices, 8g, raisins: 16g, steamed red bean paste bun: 20g
His lunch is a cheddar sandwich on whole wheat bread, apple slices (with some fruit fresh on it), raisins, and a Chinese steamed bun with red bean paste from a local restaurant.

Pin It!

Traveling: Delicious Food In Sweden

A couple weeks ago, I had an unexpected trip to Sweden, for my beloved great-uncle's memorial service (he was 98).  He was like a grandfather to me, and my parents brought my sister and I for the funeral and family gathering that took place afterwards.  I am forever grateful.
The statue is the crane, the symbol of the town
I lived in Tranås, Sweden, with my father's cousin, Bebbe, for a year when I was 16 and 17 years old.  I went to high school there, in the Natural Science program, and learned Swedish.  It helped that I was living with a 3 year old, who didn't take "I don't speak Swedish" for an answer.  She was quite insistent.

And now, she's turning 22 in a couple of months.

Life simply isn't fair, I tell you.
Picture from

I was so very happy to get to see my Swedish family again!  I hadn't been back to Sweden since 1999, so it's been a while... I was also very happy that my Swedish has held up, and I was chattering away like normal without many problems.  Always nice to practice.

But, you may ask, isn't this blog supposed to be about the food?

Ask, and ye shall receive!

First, I wanted to give a nod to Air France for their excellent food.  Seriously.  How often have you had airline food and said, "Wow, I need to figure out how to make that at home!!"  We had a pearl couscous with smoked tuna, chicken in wine sauce with egg noodles, delicious crepes with fruit compote, salmon with a side that I don't quite recall... all with wine or champagne if you would like, and also some of the nicest flight attendants I have ever had the pleasure of flying with.  I don't have any food pictures from the flights, but take my word for it.  If you have a chance to fly Air France, do so, if only for the meals!

When we arrived in Charles de Gaul on the way to Sweden, we had a little time before we had to catch our flight to Stockholm.  Long enough for some pastries!  I got a chocolate macaron, and my father got some little sugar pastries to share.
I was so tired, I could barely stand... but I was able to eat a delicious macaron!  
The macaron was delicious.  I have never had one before, though I have seen them all over the blogosphere.  And now I understand why.  The one I had tasted like a fluffy brownie. 

When we arrived to Sweden, we had to drive to Tranås, which is about a 3 1/2 hour drive south.  Along the way, we stopped for a light lunch at a little roadside cafe.

I had what my family always fondly refers to as a Ferryboat sandwich, because we first encountered it on a ferry between Denmark and Sweden.  It is a slice of bread (all Swedish sandwiches, or smörgåsar, are open-faced), topped with some mayonnaise, lettuce, shrimp, hard boiled egg, dill, tomato, and cucumber.  So incredibly delicious.

My sister got a smörgås on a piece of dark bread with pickled beet salad, halved Swedish meatballs, tomato, and cucumber.

My mother got a simple snack of a piece of Wasa bread with butter and a milk.  I don't remember if my father got anything. I don't think so.

Once we arrived in Tranås, everyone else took naps at the hotel, but I was too excited to be "home."  I decided to go out for a little walk, to reacquaint myself with things.  Because I am me, I ended up browsing through the grocery stores, ICA and Hemköp.

I wish that I had easy access to Swedish grocery store fare here!  Do you like spreads on your sandwiches?  How about an entire spread section?

A small sampling includes Smoked cheese spread, shrimp cheese spread, bacon cheese spread, crayfish cheese spread, Brie cheese spread, mushroom cheese spread...

Just *drool* - truly.  And they are good, too!

You know how sandwich thins come in packages of 6 or 8, and they are gone before you know it?  How about a nice package of 25?  Wouldn't that be nice?

Why yes, I do have kebab dreams.  And in Sweden, I could get them in potato chip form.

I brought some of these home - heart shaped cheese and onion puffed potato snacks. The kids love them.  They are like a milder, puffier funion.  Totally delicious.  (Also, totally gone.. *sigh*)

They also have them in star shaped, sour cream and onion flavor.  Mmm!

These snacks are peanut rings.  They are delicious.  They wouldn't fly for anyone allergic, but they are delicious.

Sweden is home to Wasa, and how I wish we had these little Wasa fruit cups here!  They look like such a good idea - perfect for school snacks....

They also have a whole aisle of just hard bread, more than the three kinds of Wasa that most grocery stores around here seem to carry...

And yogurt.  Pourable yogurt is very popular on cereal, and there are many many choices.  Apple vanilla and cinnamon.   Doesn't that sound yummy?  Forest berries?  Yum!

"Sweden's most purchased cars"  Oh my, we love these!

Oh, and the candy.  Don't get me started on the candy...

I've read someplace that Swedes have the highest candy consumption per capita in the world...

This is in a regular grocery store.

Seriously, I love Sweden.  Another language lesson for you - godis is the Swedish word for candy.  Mmmm, goodies for everyone!

Back out on the town with me, and I saw some fun restaurants.  "Swedish meals, Chinese Food, Mongolian BBQ, Thai food." I bet they also have pizza. 

Mostly pizzerias.  In Sweden, kebab pizza is popular.  They have a lot of middle-eastern refuges, and they have an influence...This is the menu board from my favorite pizzeria in Tranås, Pizzeria Shalom.  Now that's fusion.  Some of the combinations available would make your head spin.   We went here for dinner the first night in town, after my family had woken up for a nap.  My aunt and uncle from Boston joined us.

We began with pizza salad - it's basically a stripped down, vinegar based cole slaw.  And it is wonderful.

I dream of this pizza. Mamma Mia - tomato sauce, kebab meat (shaved mutton), kebab sauce... I have been tasting this in my dreams for years. I need to figure out how to make it at home.

Mom & Dad's pizza - shrimp, crab, maybe also crawfish, peppers, cheese (I think)

My sister got what was basically a Mamma Mia with some french fries on it!  The menu said pommes, and I thought that would be sliced potatoes... nope.  Fries.  It was an interesting addition... 

My uncle's pizza - possibly the most "American" pizza on the menu - cheese with "meat sauce." This is a typical children's pizza.

My aunt's pizza - veggies! Olives, mushrooms, peppers, onion, artichoke hearts.

A bite of my Mamma Mia.  Man... wish I had that for lunch today!

Yes, I agree, Pizzeria Shalom.  I agree.

Our hotel, Hotel Åberg, had the most lovely breakfast spread.  With delicious coffee.

They had plenty of hard bread, homemade soft breads, pickled herring, cold cuts, liver pate from the local company, Pastejköket, cheeses, bread and butter pickles, muesli, pourable yogurt or filmjölk (which I have never gotten the taste for, but my family loves...), fresh fruit, and so much else...

If you have never tried pickled herring with a (preferably soft) boiled egg, I urge you to give it a try.

We all ate too much for breakfasts when were there, but how could you not?

At the reception after the services for my great uncle, we were served a fantastic late lunch.

Beef roll in a wonderful sauce, scalloped potatoes, and a bundle of veggies wrapped in bacon. I wish I had gotten a better picture of the veggie bundle.  It was really lovely.

There was also an assortment of delectable cakes with coffee, but I didn't get any pictures of them.

I finally got the chance to meet the fantastic Sverker, the dog with his own blog.

Sverker and his owner, my dad's cousin Bebbe, had us all over for fika - a wonderful Swedish tradition of coffee with cakes and cookies and other treats.  

We had delicious chocolate cake, cardamom cookies, and some other cookies with a drizzle of chocolate... and plenty of coffee.

After fika, we went to dinner with another of my father's cousins, who made this incredible fish soup.  As near as I can see, it is a version of this soup - but I think there is no tomato paste in her version.  It was rich, and totally wonderful.

The next day for lunch, we went to the cafe above Åhlens, where I had a giant falafel wrap.  It may look huge, but it was mostly lettuce... 

A bit of shopping around the town, including a flea market where I found this kitchen tool.. I didn't buy it, but any guesses what it might be for?

For dinner that night, we had a spaghetti that my cousin made, along with a chili-inspired spaghetti sauce.  Yum!

And, here is another cousin, showing off Sweden's favorite condiment.  Yes, ketchup.

They put ketchup on top of this beautiful spaghetti sauce.  And on top of so much else.  I don't eat ketchup anymore (except on rare occasions) because my time in Sweden scarred me.  lol.

For dessert, we had semlor, which I have made before... but in Sweden, you can buy the buns already made.  They have a touch of cardamom in them (which I am totally doing when I make them next!), and admittedly, the rolls are softer than I can readily make at home...

There's the way I like to eat them, in a bowl of warm milk, with cinnamon sugar and fresh whipped cream...

Or, there's the way that my (no longer 3 year old) cousin likes to eat them.  Demolished.

The next morning was our last in Tranås, and we had one less fika at Bebbe's before heading out to Stockholm to catch our flight.  We had Swedish bullar, which I have made (mini) before, along with plenty of coffee (or tea).

Once at the airport, we got some dinner at a "sports bar" there.  I got a "Triple B Burger" - a burger with bernaise sauce, bbq sauce, and bacon.  Totally delicious.

My parents shared a grilled salmon with roasted sweet potatoes and a little salsa.  I didn't get a picture of what my sister got.

Air France was delightful, and we spent the night in (a hotel next to the airport in) Paris.  The hotel did not include breakfast, but it was available for 18-25 Euros per person.  No thank you!  We had to hurry to the airport anyhow... 

Once we got through security, we needed to eat something, even though we knew our wonderful Air France flight would feed us well (it did.. we got crepes or omelettes about an hour and a half into the flight...)  We found a cafe and each got a small pastry and a juice.  I got a coffee.  For four people, this cost 29.50 Euros.  That's about $40.  And the pastries were small...
Forbidden macarons!
Probably the funniest picture of this whole trip was taken next... I saw a shop next to the place we ate breakfast, and they had beautiful displays of macarons of all sorts.  I quickly snapped a picture, and was about to take another, when a grumpy lady snapped at me "It is forbidden!"  I'm so sorry, France.  I didn't mean to steal your national secrets on how to artfully stack macarons.  But, I'm so happy that I got a picture.  And they are beautiful, aren't they?

After a long flight back home, we had to drive back to Vermont from NYC, and along the way, we decided to take a little detour at Penzey's in Hartford, CT.  I restrained myself, but my father had a $50 gift card to spend... 

You see where I get it?  He spent over his gift card, giggling the whole time... I come by this all naturally.  

Now, I've been back for a couple weeks. I've had time to settle back into normal life (including a play I was in the week after we got back... we got back Sunday evening, and Monday I worked all day and had practice all night, then again on Tuesday and Wednesday.. with the shows Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!  I'm still recovering from the exhaustion... but it was fun!)  I look back fondly on our trip to Sweden, and am forever grateful that I was able to go to say a final goodbye to my great-uncle.  He always loved to feed me (I had many fikas at his place...), so I think he would have appreciated this blog entry.  

To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites.
- Robert Heinlein

Pin It!