Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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pastelon, yes that’s a food

I’m back from vacation! With a bang. The bang being my head exploding as it re-entered the real world of work, studying and training. After putting most of the pieces back in order I’m here and ready to write!

Although not on my list of upcoming posts, a resolution update has been in store for a while. Now, I know what you’re thinking, here comes an update on my 2014 New Year’s resolutions. I will stop you there my friend. For two of my resolutions for 2013 are as of yet incomplete, so we’ll start at the very beginning (it’s a very good place to start).

2013 I aimed to find and cook a lasagna recipe Evelina likes as much as I do (also on the famed 25 before 25 list). A challenge because Evelina doesn’t like cheese, a main ingredient in most lasagna recipes. So I searched out a lasagna recipe with very little cheese, and found this one. (Original website still un-re-found, if you know where this is from, lemme know stat!)

I, finally, cooked up some pastelon in July. Here are the step by step instructions so you can make your own:

Ingredients: 1lb ground beef, 1 yellow onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 green pepper, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 2 tsp adobo seasoning, 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp vinegar, 1 envelope sazón (which does not exist in Sweden, so feel free to use 2 tbs of taco seasoning), 2 bay leaves, 8 green stuffed olives, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/4 cup tomato sauce, 4 plantains, 3 eggs, 2 tbs milk, 2 cups white shredded cheese, vegetable oil, salt to taste

  1. Buy plantains (and all the other ingredients listed above) at your local supermarket. Tip: Refrain from shouting across the produce section in glee when you finally find plantains in Sweden – you will get strange looks.
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  2. Bring ingredients home (just trying to be clear here).
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. Begin with the ground beef, garlic, onion, green pepper, taco spices (or sazón if you don’t live in Sweden), cilantro & oregano
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  5. Chop onion, pepper, garlic cilantro & oregano. Place in mixing bowl.
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  6. Blend with ground beef. Fry the blend in a large frying pan.
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  7. Making sure your plantains are ripe (I allowed about a week for my plantains to ripen – as you see from the first picture they were green upon purchasing them, and mostly yellow & slightly green and brown when I was cooking.) Peel and slice the plantains thinly. Thinly! This is one thing I would have changed from my recipe – thinner slices!
    plantanes
  8. Butter the pan.
    buttered pan
  9. Begin to fry the plantains in vegetable oil. (Canola oil works great too.)
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  10. Add the raisins, tomato sauce, olives & bay leaves to the pan with the ground beef mixture.
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  11. While frying the plantains and allowing the beef mixture to lightly simmer, whisk the eggs with the milk. An idea I had while cooking was to add cheese to the whisked eggs, but seeing as Evelina is anti-cheese I didn’t do this. Try it out if you do like cheese.
    eggs & milk
  12. Begin layering ground beef and the freshly fried plantains. I ended up with three layers of each, plantains on the top.
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  13. Top with cheese. Not to beat a dead horse, but I only put a small amount of cheese over the top layer…as you may be able to guess, because Evelina does not enjoy eating cheese. Topping off the dish by pouring in the whisked eggs evenly.
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  14. Put the lasagna aka pastelon in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, checking on it after 15 to remove when cheese is bubbling and slightly brown.
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  15. Slice and enjoy!
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I think this made enough for Evelina and I to eat about three meals each (served with a nice fresh garden salad, of course). So if you’re cooking for six this will work, but you should double the ingredients for a party of 12. This is how math works.

The verdict from Evelina: a fine meal. Little upset my pastalon wasn’t a hit with her, but I really enjoyed it. I hope you try it out!

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the new year’s tradition

Did you guys know that Ryan was here over New Years? Again. The first time he came for New Year’s he ended up belly dancing in a restaurant.

There's picture proof, so you know it happened

There’s picture proof, so you know it happened.

While that will be hard to beat, I’m glad he took my invitation seriously, and showed up this year as well.

#nye13

It was great having him. On #nye we enjoyed a home cooked meal at Evelina’s parents house, and then walked/ran down to the city in order not to miss the fireworks. We did not.

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I took some time off work, so we took it easy and ate a lot of fika. It was excellent.

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FIKA!

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Besides all the fika-ing we also spent a lot of time at the rink. Ryan got to try out his goalie skills in one of our practices, and I was thoroughly impressed. He also helped out the coaches as well as got some lifting time in the gym. We even ran together, seeing as I went a little crazy and signed up for a marathon. Ryan, consider this your official invitation to run the marathon with me.

Look who's in net

movies 3D style

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Movies were also watched, with HFR, hence the wicked cool shades.

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Having Ryan to visit is always a blast, and I hope we keep the New Year’s tradition going strong. In reminiscing about Ryan’s most recent visit, a summertime visit comes to mind. Both Ryan and Tyler came to Sweden the summer of 2012.

They had both just gone on a tour of Great Britain and Wales, and had had a great time.

lazing about

(Clearly not more fun than Sweden though)

Lucky for me they decided to stop by Sweden before making the trip back across the Atlantic. We spend the time riding bikes around Eskilstuna, and having fika. I hope you sense the theme. A day trip to the Natural History Museum was also in order.

The National History Museum

Where we posed creepily with the animals. Obviously.

There were serious moments as well:

the siblings

Ryan, Tyler, consider THIS your open invitation to visit Sweden the summer of 2014!

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mexican wedding

As promised here comes the post about the wedding in Mexico. As I said, it was beautiful. Ridiculously beautiful. The ceremony and reception took place on the beach. The sand and breeze coming off the water created the most perfect atmosphere. It was a small ceremony and that made it feel all the more intimate. The ceremony concluded just as the sun was setting. It was breathtaking. Don’t take my word for it, here is a selection of the photos I took.

Mexican wedding

(Took these with my camera, that I’ll be sure to tell you more about soon – pretty sweet pics, eh?)

Not only was the wedding amazing, but the entire week in Mexico was really more than I could have dreamed it to be.

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