Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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30 before 30 update

I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that I’ve actually posted all seven “upcoming” posts I enticed you with this past summer. Now, this isn’t fully a completion of number 14 on my 30 before 30 list, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction!

In keeping with the title of this post I’d also like to draw your attention to a few more semi-recent posts off my 30 before 30 list. Evelina and I got married, and then traveled to Iceland to celebrate. I finally found the perfect lasagna recipe that Evelina enjoys as much as I do, and while in the kitchen I cooked up a couple things off of Eggton’s blog. I’ve watched a number of movies in continuing to top off my 25 before 25 list. Pintrest has even inspired me to do it myself.

30 before 30 Update

Stay tuned for more, there’s a lot left to go before the big 3-0!

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evelina’s favorite lasagna

Guys, it’s time to celebrate! I have finally done it! The lasagna to rule all lasagnas.

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That’s right, it’s a dessert lasagna. It’s a magical chocolatey treat, that Evelina truly does enjoy. Time to officially check off number 15 on my 25 before 25 list (moved over to my 30 before 30 list). Seriously guys, I’m so stoked to tell you about this lasagna.

While this may not be quite as nutritional as the latest recipes I’ve posted, this lasagna is truly good for the soul.

Ingredients:

  • 36 regular Oreo cookies
  • 10 tbs butter, melted
  • 1 100g package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs cold milk
  • 5 dl whipping cream
  • 4 portions chocolate pudding (for 4 people)
  • 5 dl cold milk
  • chocolate pieces to decorate

I originally saw this recipe on a friend’s Facebook, but when I went back to try to find it, it was long gone. So I just Google searched a recipe, but ended up changing it considerably. This is what I did.

Directions:

  • Using a dull knife cut the Oreo cookies in half, then slide the cream off. Place the Oreo cookies in a closable plastic bag, saving the cream centers for later.
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  • Crush the cookies with a rollingpin. You can also use a food processor, but seeing as we don’t have one I opted for the rollingpin method. You’re looking for fine crumbs.
  • In a 9×13 in pan empty in the Oreo crumbs and combine with melted butter. Using a fork, mix the Oreo crumbs and butter evenly. With the fork push the Oreo and butter mixture firmly and evenly across the bottom of the pan. Place pan in refrigerator while preparing the next layer.
  • In a large bowl whip 5 dl whipping cream.
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  • In a medium bowl use a hand mixer to mix the cream cheese and 2 tbs milk until fluffy. Then add the sugar and 1 & 1/4 cups whipped cream. Mix well. Spread this layer over the Oreo crust. Return to refrigerator between layers.
  • In a medium bowl prepare chocolate pudding according to package instructions, I used 5 dl cold milk whisked into the chocolate pudding mix. Place the pudding in the refrigerator for 1-2 minutes. Or leave at room temperature for up to 5 minutes.
  • Spread the slightly chilled chocolate pudding over the cream cheese mixture. Carefully place the Oreo cream centers on top of the chocolate pudding layer and return to refrigerator for -10 minutes to allow pudding to solidify.
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  • Spread the remaining whipped cream as the top layer, and decorate with chocolate pieces.
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  • Best served after being chilled for an additional 30-45 minutes.

This dessert comes highly recommended, let me know if you try it out!

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a resolutions update: follow up plan

Let’s get this post off and running by first calling attention to the fact that I have yet to share my 2015 New Year’s resolutions. Now that we’ve called attention to it, I’ll get back to that in a minute.

As I left you after my resolutions update in November, I was focusing on making a lasagna that Evelina likes as much as I do, and finishing my painting. I did make a lasagna. I did not paint a lasagna, or anything else for that matter.

First, let me tell you about the lasagna. Step one involved getting Evelina’s favorite meat sauce recipe. Ground beef, crushed tomatoes, yellow onion, salt & pepper. Not complex. I soaked my lasagna noodles in warm water with oil while making my sauce. I carefully layered sauce, noodle, sauce, noodle, sauce, noodle. Finishing with noodles on the top was strategic, as I coated the top layer with cheese. This top layer is then easily removed, because of Evelina’s distaste of cheese. Popped that bad boy in the oven, and waited for the complements.

Latest lasagna

The best I got, was that it wasn’t as bad as the last one. (Y’all remember my pastelon?) Thanks babe. I was then informed that Evelina’s mother’s meat sauce recipe is not in fact her favorite recipe. So the quest continues. I have one final plan, the plan to top all lasagna plans. Garfield would be impressed.

On to the painting:

painting?

This is the current state of my painting. So, yeah, painting is a generous term for this. But this leads me nicely into my New Year’s resolutions for this year. I’ll be continuing my tradition of carrying over my as-of-yet incomplete resolutions on to the upcoming year. Here you have them:

  1. Do a hand stand push up
  2. Paint a painting
  3. Find a lasagna recipe Evelina enjoys as much as I do
  4. Do 5 things off Pintrest successfully
  5. Watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Seven Samurai

If you noticed that my “run a marathon” resolution was not carried over, kudos to you. It is still a long-term goal of mine, but in an attempt to be more realistic, I am not including it as a goal for 2015. Maybe 2017, 17 always has been my favorite number.

With one month of 2015 already behind us I’ll have to be sure to be particularly effective this year.

See you out there.

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a resolutions update

Guys, did you know 2014 is shortly coming to a close? We’ve got less than two months to go here. I learned this from listening to the radio. That’s the kind of good reporting going on here in Sweden.

Well, when I heard the news I realized that there’s not much time left to check off all the resolutions on my list of resolutions! Now, the marathon didn’t happen this May as planned. My hip just was not up to it, as you may recall from this post. That leaves lasagna, painting, reading and handstand push ups.

As you know I’m well on my way to getting the perfect lasagna recipe. Despite the pastelon attempt, I feel as though I’m right around the corner to finding the perfect combination.

I have made progress on my handstands. Check it out!

head stand

This is as far as I’ve gotten though. So it’ll be a while before I’m up on my hands, and a little while longer before I’m doing push ups in that position.

Reading has gone well! My book of the months for January, February, March, and May of this year complete my fourth resolution.

Last but certainly not least is my painting. Which hasn’t gone much farther than how it was looking this summer. So I’ll have to focus on this one before year’s end.

To sum it up, I’ll be cooking up a storm and painting the town red between now and New Year’s Eve.

Wish me luck!

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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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fifteen. find a lasagna recipe evelina enjoys as much as i do

Unfortunately, I was unable to complete this goal. Evelina claims she does not, and will not ever like lasagna. Not that she doesn’t eat it…I on the other hand lean a little more towards the Garfield-lasagna-for-every-meal-would-be-heaven camp. So our equal admiration of a lasagna recipe was unlikely from the start.

In light of her stubbornness I planned on making her a lasagna with these ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper, minced
  • 1/2 tbs chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbs adobo seasoning
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbs vinegar
  • 1 envelope sazón (or 2 tbs taco spices)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 green stuffed olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 4 plantains, peeled and sliced into strips
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 2 cups white shredded cheese
  • vegetable oil
  • salt

I found this recipe on the interwebs, and for the life of me, I cannot find the original website. It was a very cute website with lots of fun recipes. If you find it, please let me know so I can link back to it. Anywho – you can see this recipe doesn’t really result in a lasagna. I thought it would be perfect, and tricky.

What I did not plan for was how difficult it would be to find plantains in Sweden. (Thus far completely impossible.) That’s why this goal never happened.

I have a new plan, though. I have the super secret meat sauce recipe courtesy of Evelina’s mother. Evelina truly enjoys this meat sauce. The plan then follows three simple steps. 1. I am going to make the super secret meat sauce. 2. I am going to layer said meat sauce between lasagna noodles. 3. I am going to abstain from any and all cheese and put said layered goodness in the oven.

This will be the lasagna that Evelina loves, I just know it. This is not a secret plan, as Evelina now knows it’s contents, but I still have faith. Keep posted to see what she thinks – I’m hoping for a guest post, but y’all may have to settle for an interview.

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my resolutions – in a timely manner

Alright guys, here it comes.

2014

Last year I was a little late on the uptake, and posted my New Year’s resolutions a full eleven days after New Years. Poor form. This year I’m totally on the ball. (I tell myself, it’s good to give positive reinforcement, especially to oneself.) My New Year’s resolutions read as follows:

  1. Find a lasagna recipe that Evelina likes as much as I do
  2. Paint a painting
  3. Run a marathon
  4. Read 4 books off of Francine Prose’s List of Books to be Read Immediately
  5. Do a handstand push up

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Let me explain. The avid readers out there will notice my first two resolutions mirror, almost exactly, my first two resolutions from last year. Let’s be honest, so many of us repeat New Year’s resolutions year after year without ever getting anywhere. (Unused gym membership anyone?) I’m putting a stop to all that. This year I’m getting it done. Certainly 1 & 2. I’m going to set a specific date for my accomplishments, and track my progress once I start. And I’m telling you all about it. You guys are gonna hold me accountable, right?

  1. Lasagna. That bad boy has got to be accomplished before the end of winter. That means by March 20th I will have completed this task.
  2. Paint a painting – as with children, there is just never a good time, you gotta jump right it, and learn how to swim on the fly. Don’t let my wandering metaphor confuse you. What I’m trying to say is although I may not feel like I have a ton of time for painting, I need to just set a date, and get things done. I’m going April 1st on this one. Not because this is a prank, but because I may be taking a trip in April, and I want this one done before then.

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Oh no, I’m not stopping there. Setting a specific date for your goals is an important part of seeing them through to completion. I’m gonna go ahead and do it for the last three resolutions as well.

  1. Marathon. In my list of things to do in Sweden (found by the header) I’ve mentioned the Asics Stockholm Marathon. That takes place May 31st this year. It’s time for me to get my run on. When you visit their website they’ve posted that today there are 149 days until the marathon. I’m now nauseous.
  2. Books – I have acquired over my years the following titles, which appear on Prose’s list: Bleak House by Charles Dickens, Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, Moby Dick by Herman Melville and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. In following my book of the month posts/goal I will read each one of these books during the following months:
    .          January: Moby Dick
    .          February: Franny & Zooey
    .          March: Little Women
    .          April: Bleak House
  3. Handstand push up. This one seems a little harder to set a date for. Seeing as it is on my 25 before 25 list…oh wait, all of my resolutions/goals are from that list. Funny how that happened. Any who! Seeing as it is on my 25 before 25 list, I will give this task a completion date of one day before my birthday. June 15th here we come.

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Looks like I’ve got a busy 6 months ahead of me. Check back in for periodic updates on how my resolutions are going. That’s not all! I’d also love to hear from you, have you made any New Year’s resolutions?

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