Pictures as Promised

So I promised a while ago that my next post would have pictures!  No wonder it took me so long to get around to actually posting this…

A quick update: I’ve been busy!  Not like working-during-finals-week-and-packing-and-moving-all-at-the-same-time busy, but still busy.  We’ve been pretty social (well, social for us anyway) and went to a gaming meetup, I’ve had doctors appointments, and I got to see my sister-in-law and her wonderfully cuddly daughter a couple of times.  We also have birth class, and still a good bit of shopping to do for the baby!  I was planning on taking it easy and relaxing for today, since the weekend will be busy with seeing Andreas’s family, making buns for my niece’s party, and then the party itself, but they decided to jackhammer all day long in the courtyard, and it’s driving me insane, so as soon as the laundry is done, I’m hanging it up and going out shopping.  Anyway, I’ve still been rather bad at taking photos, but I’ll share a few that I have!

Blog 9

We made donuts again!  I’d been wanting to for ages, but didn’t want to end up eating them all myself, so we waited until we got together with Andreas’s family, and could share.  We made them thicker than we normally would, and they turned out delightfully puffy and biiiiiig!  It only made 15 or so this way, so we didn’t even have any leftovers, which is a blessing because they’re much, much nicer the first day anyway.

Blog 8

 

Here’s Andreas being cute and frying donuts.  I insisted he needed some new shorts, and convinced him to get the kind that roll up a little bit.  I’ve been pretty satisfied recently about the gradual changes I instituted into his wardrobe (lots of stripey shirts, and pants that fit, and are a bit skinny instead of all saggy-baggy-butt.).  He even admitted he likes his clothes a lot more these days.

Blog 7

 

This is my view.  And yes, it’s almost always stripes.  For some reason, the majority of H&Ms maternity clothes are ALL stripes.  Of course, I’m not complaining, because I’m the biggest stripe-fan I know.

Blog 5

Blog 4

 

We also made spanakopita again recently!  With frozen phyllo dough, it’s actually really easy.  I accidentally cut the strips to the wrong size, so we ended up making some triangley pockets and the rest into a loaf-sized spanakopita pie, which was just as delicious.

Blog 2

Those…well, those are Mud Hen Bars, and they are awesome.  I used to make them for the parties my Spanish class would have (not sure exactly why they were on the list, since we usually had Latin American-ish food, and they don’t seem particularly Latin American to me, but they’re delicious, so I never questioned it).  I had all the ingredients, and decided to go for it (in half-recipe form as I almost always do these days) and was I ever glad I did!

Blog 1

This was a pretty standard dinner of potato kugel, sauteed zucchini, cheddar cheese, and some fresh tomatoes.  It reminded me so much of home, though that I couldn’t help but take a photo.

 

That’s about all I’ve got for now!  The heartburn has been attacking big-time lately, which makes it hard to sleep, and when it’s not heartburn, it’s plain old insomnia and/or early hours construction work, so I’ve been really, really, really tired.  But I hear it’s all par for the course, and I try my best to just get on with things.  After this weekend, I think things will slow down for a bit, so I can slowly get more baby things together, relax a bit, and maybe take more naps!

It actually seems as though the jackhammering has been finished while I took the time to post this, so maybe even a short nap before meeting Andreas for some shopping.  That way I can possibly (possibly) stay awake for a game of Settlers tonight, as Andreas’s sister is staying with us over the weekend!

 

 

 

Dreams!

I have always, always been a really vivid dreamer.  That means that since I was a kid, I had awful nightmares (mostly about my dad being executed, or being run over by things) but also ultra-realistic good dreams (like the time I dreamt I got a kitten and it was sleeping on the en of my bed.  Boy was I sad to wake up that morning.)  But I’ve also just always had a lot of dreams.  A lot.  Which is probably the reason I tend to dream the same sort of dreams over and over.

When I got pregnant, my dreams kicked it up a notch.  I’m usually able to remember my dreams at least 3-4 times a week, but suddenly I was dreaming every night, all night.  I’ve dreamt the baby is a girl.  I’ve dreamt the baby is a boy.  I’ve dreamt the baby is five years old and I’m still pregnant with it.  I’ve dreamt the baby was a girl, but we had to give it up for adoption to three lesbians who were all married to each other, and then when we went to visit the baby a month later, it was a boy, nine years old, and had a full beard.

One dream I’ve had throughout my entire life is the buffet dream.  It’s always in different settings, with different foods, but the gist is this: I’m at a buffet and EVERYTHING looks good.  I take a little bit of everything, worrying the whole time that I’ll have to pay extra for taking too many of a certain category of food (this was sort of a big deal at our school lunches, so I think it’s an ingrained anxiety by now), and then…well, then I get to the dessert section, but my plate is already full!!!  But I end up taking a massive amount of desserts anyway, hoping that “eclairs” is its own food category, and then, before I get to eat, I wake up.  I’ve had that dream far, far too many times to count, but since I’ve moved to Denmark and been pregnant, it’s changed.

I still have the dream, but now, instead of everything looking really, really delicious, everything is sort of “meh.”  It’s not gross, but I don’t feel the need to take too much of anything.  I even had a candy store dream where I had specific candies I was going to look for, but they were all out, and nothing else really looked good to me.

Now, I’m going to go all dream-interpretty on you all.  All my life, I always felt like there were so many things that I wanted, that I needed that I was just waiting for, that I couldn’t get yet.  I wanted a certain toy, my own room, my mom to let me watch Friends, a boyfriend, to move out of the house, to have more time for friends, to marry Andreas, to move to Denmark, and always, always, to have babies.  Suddenly, I’m pretty content.  I have pretty much all the big things I’ve been reaching for.  Sure, I still have goals and little things that I want (like to be a midwife, and to have Skittles) but I’m thinking my dreams are reflecting my “no thanks, I’ve got what I need” attitude that I’ve been lucky enough to find for the time being!

Or maybe it just means that my belly is always so full of baby that there’s no room for dream-me to even want to gorge on delicacies.

As for all the rest of the weird dreams, they don’t mean anything.  Only this one.

My First Danish Thanksgiving

So this year was the first year that I wasn’t home with my family in Central Wisconsin for Thanksgiving.  I anticipated the homesickness, especially since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I decided to make everything exactly how my family makes it back home.  And it was awesome.

The menu included:

Chicken (not a turkey, since there were only four meat-eaters, and turkeys are ridiculously expensive in Denmark anyways)

Mashed potatoes with gravy (and mushroom gravy for me!  Usually I don’t get any gravy at Thanksgiving, so this was a huge improvement)

Sweet potatoes- These fell flat.  I didn’t cook them quite long enough or add enough butter or something, so they were pretty bad, but I’ll do it better next year.

Stuffing/Dressing- This caused a whole lot of controversy (“it’s not dressing!” “Well, it’s not stuffing, you don’t stuff it into anything” etc.) but was well-received.  I think it was the thing we were all most skeptical about, but it turned out great!  I almost always end up cutting the bread into too large of chunks (even when I try really hard not to) but I think I got it just right this year.  I even put mushrooms in (in an attempt to make it as Moserish as possible) and I thought it was fantastic!  I think I’m slowly winning the battle in willing myself to like mushrooms.

Fresh veggies and dip-This is fairly self-expanatory, but was also well-received, especially the dip which I had to improvise

Applesauce/Cranberry sauce- I don’t think most of the Danish family cared much about this, but I love it, and I’m kind of glad they didn’t eat so much of it because there’s more left for meeeee!

Pumpkin Pan Rolls- there was so much other food, that not a lot of these were eaten, but they work better for breakfast anyway, so we’ll see how they’re received tomorrow.

Celery with Cream cheese- This is something that my family does at Thanksgiving, and it’s one of my mom’s favorites, so I had to have it!  Usually the youngest in the family makes them, but I had Andreas make them, and he did a stunner job ;)  Anyway, we used garlic cream cheese, and they tasted even more fantastic than usual.  I was pretty sure the Danes would think it was pretty weird, but they really liked them!

Pumpkin Pie- my family usually eats pumpkin pie for breakfast on Thanksgiving day, but I knew I couldn’t convince the whole family here to do so, so we had it for afternoon coffee, and it went well!  They liked it for the most part, even though it looked pretty weird, and I was glad since pumpkin pie is one of my favorite things to eat!

The thing that was on the menu, but not on the table, was a tray of assorted pickles and olives.  I bought them…but…you know, forgot to put them on the table.  No big deal!  We might have leftovers tomorrow, and we can add them then, otherwise I just get to eat a lot of pickles and olives over the next several weeks, and that’s fine with me, too…

The day was perfect, we all made dinner together and hung out and teased, and the actual food went over better than I thought it would, so I’m happy.  I was so happy I almost cried during dinner…(shh, don’t tell!)  It’s definitely a holiday I’ll be stubbornly celebrating every year in the wrong country!

I LOVE THANKSGIVING!

EDIT: We also had fruit salad, a staple of Moser Thanksgivings, but we were too full to eat it, so it became a nighttime snack, and it was great.  Note to self: fruit salad with whipped cream is awesome.

Food Photos!

So to make up for a lot of posts about moving and my daily life, I thought I’d do a picture post of all the food I probably haven’t shown you yet, (and some I probably have but forgot).  Enjoy!

Mini Carrot Layer Cake

Quorn Salad

Doughnut dough

Mini Apple Pie

Pasta Salad

Potato Leek Casserole

Pretzels

Basic Scones

Apple Pie/Tart

Spinach Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese

Waffles!

I hope that was enough to tide you over for a while!

 

 

Moving is Weird

Moving is always an awkward time for me, as I’m sure it is for most people.  There’s that weird period of time where you’re not sure if it’s too early to pack, but you know if you leave it all for last minute, you’ll regret it.  Then there’s the trying to decide what you can pack first, and what you don’t use every day (which I am almost always wrong about).

But what is usually the most weird for me is the food situation.  I don’t usually feel like bringing so much food to the new place.  It’s just more to take, and it can be avoided, so I try to use as much weird, random food as possible, so there’s as little as possible to take along.  This time around it resulted in weird meals like frozen garlic bread and fried eggs for breakfast, and pasta with pesto and mozzarella cheese and fried eggs for dinner that same day.

Usually, that’s the most awkward part of moving (along with the occasional reaching for an object that has been packed away, accompanied by a sigh) but this time around, it wasn’t.  I left some clothes here, so we’d have something to wear as we stay for the next few days.  Unfortunately, this morning as I rummaged around trying to find clothes, I realized that the one thing I neglected to leave behind is clean underwear.  Nuts.  I had to turn to the only other sensible option: Andreas’s boxer-briefs.  And honestly?  They’re super comfortable, and I’m a little jealous.

 

Cookies, Colds, and Being Really Frustrated

The 5k on Sunday was fantastic!  Unfortunately, it was also cold, and I seem to be welcoming fall with open arms and a very, very runny nose.  When I was really tired on Monday, I figured I was tired from the race.  On Tuesday, I wanted to keep up my momentum and went for a run.  It was awful.  I could hardly run, and couldn’t wait to come home.  Turns out, I was pretty sick.  The rest of my week looked like this:

I’m now at that point where I don’t think I’ll ever stop blowing my nose or recover from my earth-shattering sneezes, but…we’ll see.

We’re also dealing with challenges concerning our Danish visa process (they sent a letter asking me to come in next week, which I can’t do because I don’t have my Swedish visa, so I was asked to go to the embassy who told me they were booked solid the next month, and to call the Danish migration office.  Again.)  I handled it all pretty well until the embassy said they were booked and we couldn’t do it there.  Then I added watery puffy red eyes to my already shiny red nose after a healthy crying session.  We’ll make some more calls, and hopefully get it all figured out next week.

Last week, I had a sudden and intense craving for something baked.  I was also slammed with a truckload of emotions or hormones or something, an dwas convinced that I would be grumpy and mean until I got. some. cookies.  So I made some!  They didn’t help that much but, I mean, they helped a little.  They are cookies after all.

A New Favorite

My husband and I have lots of favorite things (each other capturing the number one spot), but we have a new favorite thing.

Pita bread.

Not just any pita bread, though.  Homemade pita bread.  It started a couple weeks ago, when I was determined to find a few new, healthy dinners to add to our rotation, especially dinners that don’t contain allergies for Andreas (dairy and sugar).  I decided to do pita bread, hummus, and cucumber/tomato salad, and while it was really good the first time, with store-bought pita, I knew I wanted to try homemade, and my sister sent me the recipe that she uses.  I’m not sure where she got it from, but I am sure that I have to share it here.  Even the first time I made them, they puffed up beautifully, were perfectly soft, fluffy, and chewy, and we’ve been excited about them ever since.

Pita Bread (makes 8)

1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 C whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 Tbs salt
1 Tbs olive oil

In a large bowl, mix yeast with warm water until dissolved.  Add wheat flour, then 1/2 cup unbleached flour.  Stir for about a minute in one direction (this activates the gluten in the flour).  Let the sponge rest for at least 10 minutes, and up to two hours.  Add the salt and the olive oil.  Mix well.  Add the remaining unbleached flour, about a half a cup at a time, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes, until smooth (dough should be tacky, but not sticky).  Return the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled (about an hour to an hour and a half).  Punch down and divide into 8, shaping each piece into a ball before rolling out into an 8-inch circle.

Cover the rolled-out pitas, but don’t stack them.  Place in a hot, dry frying pan for 30 seconds, flip, cook for one minute, flip, and cook one minute more (pitas should be all puffed up when you take them out of the pan).  Cool on a rack for a few minutes, then wrap pitas in a kitchen towel to keep them soft.

Even though this pita is amazing with hummus and cucumber-tomato salad, we had a lot of bell peppers to use the other day, so I decided to make fajitas using those and our Quorn filets (another one of our favorite things).  We now have another easy, super delicious dinner, and though the picture isn’t great, the meal was.

It’s not as good as I expected…

One day in the summer when I was still a kid, and my whole family still lived under one roof, my family was, for some reason or another, having ice cream sundaes as a treat!  It never took a lot to get at least the younger kids excited, and my sister, who was probably about five at the time was the most excited of all.  I’m sure as soon as she heard the words “ice cream sundaes” her imagination went into overdrive forming pictures of enormous bowls of seven flavors of ice cream, chocolate, caramel, and strawberry sauces, brownies, bananas, whipped cream, and at least a half a dozen cherries, and when her respectably-sized bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and maybe strawberries was set in front of her, her face fell, and when asked what was wrong, she answered ever-so-honestly “It’s not as good as I expected.”  Even now, whenever something doesn’t live up to expectations, we’ll mimic that child-like sigh and say “it’s not as good as I expected.”

Anyway, that seemed to be the theme of yesterday.  Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been wanting to make brownies for a while, and I decided to be adventurous and make black bean brownies, seeing as I had black beans, and I wanted brownies.  They smelled lovely baking in the oven, looked nice and moist and chocolatey when sitting on your plate, but then you ate them and…well, they didn’t taste like much, and they still had a strange bean-y texture, in my opinion.  I was pretty disappointed, and held onto them until Andreas got home, but when he proclaimed he didn’t like them either, into the food-garbage, they went.

Then, to make up for lack of excitement, I decided to make homemade gnocchi for dinner!  I tried to follow the recipe, but ended up having to use about four times more flour than the recipe called for.  This may or may not have had to do with the fact that I was lacking a scale, and so, to weigh out half a kilo of potatoes, I put a 500g jar of honey in one hand, and piled the potatoes in the other until they felt about the same.  Anyway, I’ve never had gnocchi before, so I don’t know what I was expecting, but what I got wasn’t quite as good.  They were definitely more edible than the brownies, and even enjoyable after I got used to them, but…I wouldn’t proclaim them a complete success.

So.

After dinner, I decided I was going to make real honest-to-goodness plain-old fudgy, chewy, delicious brownies.  I mixed them up, and put them in the oven with high hopes.  I made sure to check them at least five minutes before the earliest they were supposed to be done, but when I pulled them out, they were blackened around the edge with dark brown spots along the top, and no shiny crackly brownie-top to be seen.

I know they were only brownies.  But after a few failures, I was the personification of crestfallen.  My shoulders drooped, I frowned until I thought my face-skin was about to droop right off my face-bones, and I breathed in a succession of heavy sighs.  Andreas came into the kitchen to see how the brownies turned out, and I told him my series of woes, ending in a crescendo of “and the top isn’t even shiny!” and a sob.  He exercised extreme control in that he didn’t even laugh at pathetic me, crying over a pan of brownies, and just hugged me, the corners of his mouth quivering.

They were edible, but today they’re so hard it’s difficult to cut them, and though I softened one in the microwave and ate it with ice cream and it was fine, I’m still not satisfied.  I wanted brownies.  I wanted GOOD brownies.  I wanted brownies that I wanted to eat another of.  So I am not yet done with brownies for the week, and I’m off to foodgawker to find yet another recipe.

And hopefully, they will be as good as I expect.

Photo-a-…yeah.

So it’s June 10th and I have not posted my last week of photo-a-days from May.  That’s because I didn’t take a photo a day during the last week.  And I kept thinking to myself “oh, that’s okay, I’ll just take them now and post them later” but I already felt like such a cheater that I ended up putting it off more and more until we’re a third of the way through June, so I’ll give you the ones I took, and some extras to cover for the days where I lazed out.  And that will be good enough.  So there.

25. Unusual (I have weirdly shaped feet that poke holes through the toes of my shoes.  I’ve worn these shoes for maybe 2 months now…I even poked a hole through a pair of chucks once.)
27. Something Sweet
28. The weather today
29. A Number
Now for the extra credit:

These are Herbert (left) and Muriel (right) and they had built a nest directly above our balcony.

Apparently, they do this every year, and every year the chicklets blow out of the next and drama ensues.  This year was no different,  but it was fun to follow the drama for the weekend with my husband.  For a few precious moments, one of the chicks had fallen onto our balcony.  Did you know that seagull chicks are all spotted?!  Anyway, Andreas wanted to film it, but it got scared when it saw the camera, scampered away, and promptly fell through the crack in the floor onto the balcony below ours.  Nuts.  It eventually fell twice more off of the remaining balconies before joining its sibling down on the ground where we could see the parents alternately sitting on top of them and feeding them.  However, we’re pretty sure that a cat has eaten them, since they’re nowhere to be found anymore.

Next:
This is my and Andreas’s new favorite dinner.  We’ve been looking for new things to put into our weekly “rotation” of meals, and this one is now topping the list.  Homemade hummus is super easy in a food processor, and the whole meal has no allergies for Andreas!  Also, as soon as I learn to make my own whole wheat pita, it’ll be even more healthy.  We’re pretty excited about hummus, pita, and tomato/cucumber salad.

We’re also pretty excited about ratatouille…(with homemade crusty bread!)
You can also have this picture of me that Andreas took, because it’s the only picture we managed to (accidentally) take of the bread!  Look, it’s in the lower left!
It’s also sufficiently embarrassing to serve as my punishment for not getting pictures up sooner!

My goal for this week is to finish my Danish learning book/CDs and make a trip to the library!  Also, I’d like to (successfully) cast on a few new projects, but we’ll see how that goes.  Don’t want to be too ambitious, you know.

Oh, and I’m making brownies.

A Change of Heart

When I was a kid, I always figured that when I grew up, my intense love of candy and sweet things would just sort of die down.  Candy is for children, not adults.  As I grew up, I realized that that was simply not true, and throughout college, I bought those five-pound bags of M&Ms and Skittles (and Sour Patch Kids).  In my defense, I also shared (having a five pound sack of candy is a pretty good ice breaker, after all) but all-in-all, I ate a LOT of candy.

I have spoken a few times about the candy “buffets” here in Sweden, and one thing I love about them is that they’re not just for children.  Sure, it seems that brightly colored sweets with brightly colored scoops and brightly colored bags scream “THIS IS FOR CHILDREN” but here, everyone seems to ignore that and I’m more often waiting for a mild-looking middle-aged man to be finished scooping his sour watermelon gummies than I am tripping over children eager to fill their sacks to bursting.  As an adult here in Sweden, I am given free license to love candy, and love candy I do.

However.

Something is happening to me, and has only begun happening to me since I’ve come to Europe this January.  Slowly (but ever-so-surely) I find myself less attracted to heavy-duty sweet things.  This is not to say that I don’t still eat cake and candy and cookies.  But I find myself eating just a few pieces of candy here and there and the attraction to cakes and cookies is shifting.  I used to want to eat everything I saw.  If I saw a triple layer peanut butter fudge layer cake, I’d want it.  If I saw turtle cheesecake, I would want it.  If I saw Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, I’d want them.

Now, I sort of go “meh.”  When I was a kid, sometimes my parents would buy one of those big boxes of leftover donuts that they had for cheap at the end of the day in the grocery-store bakery, and the next day, we would each get to choose a donut (or a half a donut) to eat for breakfast.  I can vividly remember my mother saying one morning that the donut’s frosting was too sweet, and it made her mouth tickle.  Too sweet?  It was frosting, for goodness’ sake!  My mouth didn’t tickle!  Those silly grown-ups.  Now, I can totally see where she was coming from.

I think it comes from the fact that cakes here aren’t the same as cakes in the states.  Now, I can’t really generalize about “European cakes” because I don’t know that there is such a thing, but from what I’ve experienced, the cakes are always lighter, with thinner layers, and more airy cream-like fillings, not nearly as much frosting, and much less sweet.  I’m definitely not giving up on my good ol’ American treats, but I definitely want to learn more about how to make cakes that are not so heavy, dense, and sweet.  And when I do want to make one of my standby favorites, I’ve recently discovered the best way to indulge…

…miniaturely!  I tried to get a good photo of the finished mini-slices of cake, but it wasn’t working out for me.  I figured since it wasn’t happening this time (we were mostly eating the cake after dark) that it didn’t matter much because this is how I plan on making all my layer cakes in the near future.  A side-benefit is that I can make a half or a quarter recipe, and we don’t have quite as much cake that we don’t know what to do with!  Also, they’re really cute.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my change in taste, and I think it goes hand-in-hand with trying to eat better.  However, my tastes have not changed so much that I want to eat licorice, so don’t worry, I’m still the same old me!