Weekends in our house almost always are incredibly lazy. We don’t bother getting up at any set time (unless we’ve got somewhere specific to go) and we do everything at our own damn pace. I like this, and we are savoring this ability to be lazy on weekends before we have kids, after which, we know we won’t have the luxury. I guess for all the complaints I have about living in an apartment (and oh, there are LOTS) Not having to rake leaves or shovel snow or do any sort of exterior maintenance on weekends has some perks.
So generally we wake up, have a cup of tea or coffee, lounge around for a little bit and then have a fairly late breakfast, or early lunch, or brunch, or whatever you want to call it.
Then we spend the day doing whatever tickles our fancy- or, if there is something that needs doing around the house, we’ll do our best to tackle it- in between much lounging and drinking of tea.
So this morning was no different than any other weekend morning. Up late, checking facebook, then breakfast. I usually let Yngve decide whats for breakfast on Saturday morning, and today he picked Toads in A Hole. Or egg in the basket or egg in a hole or whatever it is you call it- it seems this has a billion names.
The concept is great- instead of just eating toast and egg, why not combine your egg and toast? Besides, fried bread is soooooo much tastier than just plain ol toasted. And despite what you might think, it really isn’t THAT bad as far as calories go. I heat up a non-stick pan (though I mistakenly used my “crappy” pan that isn’t very non-stick anymore, so the egg stuck a little), threw in a tablespoon of butter, swirled it around, sliced two pieces of bread, cut out a shape ( usually I just use a round biscuit cutter, but today I was feeling especially lovey towards my husband so I cut them with heart shapes) throw ’em in the pan along with the cutout section, and crack an egg into each hole. I flip them as the bread begins to brown.
Yngve doesn’t like his yolks very runny, so I break the yolks in his and cook them longer… but mine I leave kind of runny, because that’s how I like it.
Two slices of whole wheat bread come in at about 160 calories
One tablespoon of butter is about 100
and two large eggs 142
For a breakfast total of 402, which if you ask me seems fairly reasonable and in line with pretty much everything else I’ve had this week. I firmly believe that the real secret to loosing weight healthily is it’s all about moderation folks!
After breakfast I remembered I needed red wine for dinner tomorrow night (pot roast!) and since there are some crazy strict liquor laws in this country (you can’t buy wine in the regular grocery store, you have to get it at “vinmonopolet,” the state-controlled liquor store, and the hours are stupidly short. Monday-Friday they close at like 6, and then on Saturday it closes at 3. Forget Sunday, oh and you can’t buy on election day either. And you can’t get beer after 8.) so we needed to get some before the place locked down until Monday.
We had a pleasant bike ride to vinmonopolet to get our red wine- the weather has been exceedingly nice this autumn. I’m actually really surprised at how pretty it’s been- especially since last year we had snow sometime in the 3rd week of October, and the ground stayed pretty much covered until after Easter. It was a long… cold… miserable winter. I’m glad this one will be much shorter, though I am hoping for snow before Christmas. Yngve and I are staying here for Christmas instead of going back to the US, so I’m hoping that picturesque scenery will ease the pain of missing my family and friends.
We’ve only had maybe one or two days this autumn where it’s been below freezing, and the current weather forecast doesn’t look like its going to be freezing again any time within the next week.
After we returned from Vinmonopolet we got to talking about Christmas, and Christmas cookies. Now, I realize that I’ve changed to a healthier lifestyle, and I’m eating much better than before- but Christmas is going to be pretty tough. I have gotten so that I absolutely LOVE baking and I am looking forward to baking Norwegian Christmas cookies this year.
It’s really important to me that I learn Norwegian traditions that are important to Yngve (and even the ones that aren’t) because when we move back to the US, I want to be a part in teaching our children about one half of their heritage. So I make an effort to cook traditional Norwegian food- we always have fårikål every autumn and I’ve learned to make (and like) fiskepudding, raspeball, and a variety of other things. There isn’t much in the way of traditional Norwegian food I don’t like, I’ll even eat (and LIKE) lutefisk, gravlax and rakfisk … and although I haven’t yet ever been served smalahove, I’d at least try it.
I like Norwegian food traditions- its good, honest food. No, it isn’t like French or Italian cuisine- you aren’t going to see many Norwegian restaurants outside of the Midwestern US- but I like it for it’s simplicity. Sure, there might be some things that seem gross to some- but where I come from in Virginia, people eat scrapple, chittlins (also known as a gut supper), souse and mountain oysters.
Anyway, so I’m really excited to try my hand at baking some traditional Norwegian Christmas cookies and cakes this year. Many people have a list of the “7 types” of cookies that should be made for Christmas, but nobody seems to agree on exactly which 7 those are, and it seems to depend greatly on which region you live in.
Yngve’s father gave me an amazing cookbook last year called “Stor Kokebok” (Big Cookbook) by Henriette Schønberg Erken. The book belonged to Yngve’s grandmother, and it was originally published in 1914, but my copy is the 1951 edition, published just shortly before Henriette died in 1953. This book is a treasure trove of traditional Norwegian food, and I absolutely cherish it. Whenever I wonder about how to make practically any traditional baked item, I consult this book. I use her recipes for practically everything Norwegian. (Though her book is curiously missing a recipe for raspeball) Yngve and I spent a little time flipping through it and deciding on the 7 I will bake this year.
Also, every year since I’ve been living in Norway, Yngve’s mom has invited me to her house to bake Christmas goodies. The last two years we have baked Goro, but this year she has let me borrow her Goro iron to make them on my own, and instead we are making Fattigmann together. I always look forward to our time together making Christmas treats, it is a good tradition we have established. I’m looking forward to sharing the 7 cookies/cakes that I make with her and seeing what she thinks about them. (I am always most nervous about what she will say about my Norwegian cooking- I value her opinion on the subject quite highly!)
I also look forward to sharing my experiences baking these cookies with YOU! :)
So back to what I ate…
As usual, its Vegetarian on Saturday (much to Yngve’s chagrin) and as promised, we had Vegetarian lasagna.
Let me tell you people, especially you people who have it in your heads you can’t cook: lasagna is probably one of the easiest homemade meals you could ever throw together and put on the table for yourself, your family and/or guests. AND it doesn’t have to be dripping with cheese and loaded with meat to be good. Veggie lasagna can be and is pretty effing good. Yngve wouldn’t concede that it was awesome because it didn’t contain meat. Whatever. I’m trying.
So, here’s my recipe for veggie lasagna, adapted from The Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook. (I read the recipe and realized it could be way better with some tweaking)
Hearty Vegetable Lasagna
For the Veg:
1 eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch rounds (I didn’t peel mine, but you can if you want)
2 medium zucchini, trimmed, cut in half and then sliced lengthwise in 1/4 inch slices
Mushrooms, artichoke hearts, spinach, whatever else you feel like throwing in there. It’s your lasagna, put what you like in it. Don’t like eggplant? Screw it. Put something else in. Whatever floats your boat.
I took the veg slices, sprinkled them with cracked pepper, and layered them on a baking sheet and baked in the oven about 15 minutes at 400 F (200 C) or until they softened a bit
Next, the sauce:
Ok, I am of the opinion you need 3 things for a good tomato sauce: tomatoes (duh) onion and garlic. The amounts of these vary depending on taste, but for me it was
2 14 oz (about 400g) cans of tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced (I like lots of garlic)
1 medium onion, chopped
In addition to this I added
1 medium red pepper, chopped
and a tablespoon of that pesto I made the other night
I cooked the garlic and onion in 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes, or until the garlic and onion had softened some-
then I chucked in the tomatoes, pepper, oregano, pesto, and salt to taste. Put in whatever the heck you like- add as much or as little as you want. Just don’t forget to TASTE as you go. How the hell are you supposed to know if something is any good or not unless you taste it? It drives me bonkers when people don’t taste as they cook. Taste it, and taste it often! You don’t have to eat heaping spoonfuls, just enough to see how its going and if you need to add a little more seasoning. I’m telling you, if you don’t taste as you cook and you complain you aren’t a good cook- start tasting and you’ll cook better.
I lowered the heat a bit and let that simmer away, covered for about 20 minutes or so- though you could get a deeper, richer flavor if you cooked it longer.
Then, I ladled about 1/2 a cup of the sauce into my pan, put down 3 oven ready lasagna noodles (because those are all you can get here at the regular grocery store. Often I make my own lasagna noodles, but today I just didn’t feel like it. I recently read here that you can use regular, uncooked lasagna noodles instead of the oven ready ones- which cost more- but I haven’t tried this myself so I can’t say if it works or not.)
on top of the layer of noodles, I layered half of the eggplant and zucchini, a little more sauce, and some cheese. (I shredded about 1 cup of reduced fat mozzarella and 1/4 cup of parmesan- I used about 1/3 of the mix in each layer)
Then I followed again with 3 lasagna noodles, the other half of the veg, sauce (make sure you leave enough for the top) and cheese.
I topped this with 3 more noodles, sauce and cheese.
I baked it in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or so at 400 degrees (200 C) or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the noodles are cooked through. (you can stick a knife in the center to check)
You can either cut this into 8 servings at 223.5 calories per serving, and have it along with a nice big salad or something (it would make awesome leftovers) or you can cut it into 4 servings and only serve the lasagna at 447 calories per serving. I cut it into 4 servings and just ate lasagna. Yngve wouldn’t say it was awesome, but he ate the other two and a half servings of the stuff.
So for dinner tonight, I ate 1.5 servings of lasagna at 670.5 calories
That brings my entire daily total to: 1353 calories
Which would have left me with 198 calories left… just enough to have one of those fabulous fruit thingies- but SOMEONE ate them all. Ok, so I helped yesterday but STILL!
No worries, tomorrow I’ve got a little baking planned in addition to Pot Roast! Sunday we always have a nice “meaty” meal that will give us leftovers for Monday.
Thats it for today! I’ll see if I can’t condense that lasagna recipe down to something easier to read and put it on the recipe page.
See you tomorrow for an interesting cookie recipe and pot roast!