Meals of the Week – Mixing Up Meal Ingredients for Something New

When I did this weeks meal plan it was very cold and grey out so it is jam packed with comforting and totally not healthy food!

Monday – Mince and Mozzarella Italian Pasta Bake

Tuesday – Chicken Stroganoff with Rice

Wednesday – Chicken and Broccoli Puff Pastry Pies – never did them last week

Thursday – Pork Chili and Cheesy Fries

Friday – Crunchy Tacos and Refried Beans

Saturday  – BBQ Chicken with Ranchero Rice

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Last week I had curry on the meal plan but all that day I was not in the mood for curry and then Mr. H came home with some beers and in a really cheery mood since he got Friday off work so decided to switch up the meals.

That is the great thing with meal planning though, sometimes it is just having ingredients at hand rather than cooking what is next in line.

I had already defrosted the chicken so we threw out some ideas and ended up with fajitas. It ended up working like this:

ingredient mix up

I used the main curry ingredients and the main fajita ingredients then used cupboard staples to make a marinade and then some of the ingredients for the next days meal to round it out. The ingredients I used from the Spicy Coleslaw Pork Wraps was enough to go around the next day so that meal was still on plan. Nothing went to waste from the curry meal as the coconut milk and curry paste will stay good for another day.

And that is why I love meal planning you have everything ready to go for meals you love and save money and time in the process.

One Lovely Blog

I have been able to meet two bloggers in real life, which for living in the middle of nowhere is pretty good I think, and one was the very lovely Emma. Or as Mr. H calls her the British Kiwi Emma, seriously he asked me about five times if she was really from New Zealand as she whizzed us through London like a pro.

Now I can be a bit ummmm lets say easily distracted and way back in summer sometime Emma nominated me for a Liebster Award and I copied the questions down in Stickies and then just saw them yesterday. So I am going to combine this One Lovely Blog Award with those questions!

onelovelyblogaward

The rules are pretty straight forward;

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you for the award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post (or elsewhere on your blog).
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate some other blogs to receive the award – blogs that you admire for sharing stories in a “lovely” way.

Fact: (Battlestar Galactica)

1. I have never had my hair professionally cut in Sweden, I always just hack away at it myself and wait till we visit California and get it done there.

2. I do not own a pair of plain white socks, they are all either crazy colored or patterned preferably both.

3. We have no ceiling light in our bedroom since when we tried to put one up I accidentally shorted the breakers and we just gave up after that.

4. I want to get a quail tattoo as it is the state bird of California and my dad would also love it.

5. I can bend over and touch the floor with my palms which always impresses people but I think it is more to do with being short than how flexible I am.

6. I hate the sounds of lawnmowers and dream of living somewhere where I never have to hear one again.

7. It usually takes me over an hour to do a blogpost because I click away to other tabs or leave the room and forget all about it!

Questions:
1. Who or what has inspired you to travel? I am inspired to travel because I like to see how things work, I like to see for myself if Greeks are really very friendly and if you can really find amazing pastry all over France.
2. Backpack or suitcase? Suitcase that I can convince Mr. H to drag, I hate the sound of those little suitcase wheels clacking along a street.
3. Song that epitomises travel for you. America by Simon and Garfunkel
4. What period of time would you most like to visit? I would love to see New York city in the 50’s, so much energy and life feeling fresh in a new post war world.
5. What’s the strangest food you really want to try? I have no idea, maybe camel I tried horse so camel seems the next logical step right.
6. Beach, mountain or jungle? O hells no ever the jungle to many bugs and ugh just no jungle ever, not even the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. Mountains though I like, not Bear Grylls style but a nice cabin with views of trees and a lake I can handle.
7. What is your best piece of travel advice? Only do and go where you want, if that means doing a picture in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa or trekking through the Amazon then do that and you will be happy and do not give a rats ass what others think.
8. How do you like to unwind after a long day on the road? At a cozy pub with a cheese platter and a cider.
9. If you had a super power, what would it be? Can never gaining weight be a super power because if so I want that one.

Nominate:

Cynthia from Adventurings – I really like the way she blogs about living abroad in a straightforward way like me!

Kaelene from Unlocking Kiki – Want to feel motivated to appreciate the world around you, read this blog!

Sarah from The Mountain Rambles – A brand new blogger whose posts already have me hooked.

Jennie Shaw – If you like to laugh, read well written book reviews and be amazed by what people can do with nail polish then Jennie is the girl for you.

Sunday Currently – From Sun to Clouds

Sunday Currently 9 21

We took this picture yesterday as we walked to lunch. We went to a Swedish favorite, Sibylla, and even though it was only about 1/2 mile from our house it was nestled in an area we had never been to and felt like we were on a road trip. We had bacon cheese burgers and fries with their famous seasoning salt and then lusted after ice cream cones but saved ourselves for the ones we had in the freezer at home.

Reading: I have been a busy little reader this week and have read these books:

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 1.58.00 PM

In addition to those I have made some progress on ‘salems Lot but Stephen King, I am trying to chip away at it but these other books were calling my name and then I started another book so I am thinking I need to set a time limit or something or else the library is going to be hunting me down for it.

Listening: To a playlist Mr. H is making for our trip to California, so far it has over 400 songs and he claims it is not done yet. We will have some really long travel days though so having a good mix of music will be nice and he is trying to keep it all upbeat to help us mentally not get down when we are looking down the barrel of a 12 hr flight.

Thinking: I really need to get back to all the lovely comments that have been left lately. Am I the only one that has a hard time with this? I really wish I could use disqus but alas you cannot use it with a free wordpress platform and I cannot afford a paid one so it is what it is I guess.

Smelling: Grapefruit, my sister in law sent me some grapefruit lotion from The Body Shop for my birthday and the smell is very light but fresh and long lasting.

Planning: To go to the international food fair that is coming to town this week. We missed last year but this year we are going and I am eating a giant pretzel from the Bavaria stand. We are also planning on getting some cheese from the France stand and some sausages from the Netherlands stand and having a little feast on Friday with some red wine.

Hoping: Dinner turns out good tonight, I am going to make brussel sprouts for the first time and am slightly nervous about it. I am going to be doing them with bacon though so it should turn out just fine.

Wearing: Blue polka dot pj’s and a blue tank top, Mr. H is feeling a bit under the weather today so I figured I should stand in solidarity and wear comfy clothes too ;)

Loving: Lipton yellow label tea, it is their basic black tea but for some reason Mr. H and I are having a total love affair with it right now. Yesterday we bought two 20 packs since the store had a 6 kr coupon if you bought two and they were only 8.90 kr to start making it a good deal.

Wanting: To buy every candle I can find, I think I mentioned this already but I am going through a major candle thing right now. When we go to town Friday I will need to try and sneak a few into our shopping expenses.

Needing: To get some new fabric, last year I bought a large piece of white fabric that I was able to get at least 10 projects out of but it has finally been all used up and now that we have a printer I have all sorts of new ones I want to start.

Feeling: Fresh and ready for a new week.

Watching: Last night we watched Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and we laughed tons and were pleasantly surprised by how much we liked it. Now Mr. H is watching the Manchester United game and I am going to watch the Mortal Instruments movie.

Challenge Accepted

Thumbs Up for Friday

thumbs up friday

Mr. H was meant to be working today but was lucky to get it off!!! So we slept in and had a long breakfast which I just loved. I am not a huge morning person but it is really nice to have someone to talk with at breakfast and plan out dream craft rooms and at home cinemas.

The rest of the weekend will be featuring hot dogs covered in sauerkraut and cheese, an imported bottle of Stone Brewing beer, and just maybe a trip into town. Ok we will probably break and head into town and visit our favorite pub.

Hopefully you find something worthy a big thumbs up this weekend!

Always and Never about Sweden

I very rarely ever blog about Sweden directly. The reason is that I know if I say in Sweden x,y, and z happen and this is why it is really only the Sweden I know I am blogging about.

The Sweden I know is tainted with having a husband from a certain area, Skåne, and his ideas about life and the fact that he lived in America for 2 1/2 years.

The Sweden I know is tainted with my Americanness, my education, and my ideas about life.

The Sweden I know is also tainted by the place we currently live and the people I have known in my time here.

So it is not the Sweden you know from your life, or TV, or looking up pictures of Alexander Skårsgard online.

The Sweden I know is a deep and personal thing to me and one that I often keep to myself as I even after three years am still very protective about it and it is in a fragile state at times.

However I am always blogging about Sweden as this is my life.

Every part of my life is now infused with Sweden.

My memories now have a filter of that was America and this is Sweden. My tastes in food and clothing have altered with the growing of myself in a new place. My interest about politics and public policy have been heightened.

Then all of that filters down into when I blog about our meal plan and our anniversary.

So yes this is a blog about Sweden even without posts about the joys of cheap fast internet and the headache that is CSN.

Meals of the Week – Ranchero Rice

I am happy we have been stocking up the freezer lately since this weeks ad was rather weak in terms of good meat deals, however the onions and cabbage are on mega discount! They are 2.90 kr per kg which works out to something like $0.20 per lb, they often go on sale like that in the fall and winter here and provide some great vitamins and heartiness when the other vegetables skyrocket in price.

Monday – Kassler Pasta Bake

Tuesday – Shepards Pie

Wednesday – Thai Red Curry

Thursday – BBQ Pork Loin and Spicy Slaw Wraps

Friday – Deluxe Sausage Dogs and Fries

Saturday – Chicken Broccoli Puff Pastry Pockets

Sunday – Beef Roast with Mash and Honey Bacon Brussel Sprouts – We never did them last week so this week I am getting them done!

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Ranchero Rice

This is a great side dish for bbq chicken, as a main with various toppings like salsa and lettuce, or as a base for burritos. The recipe makes enough for me to use it for a dinner side and lunch usually which is great for such cheap ingredients and can be easily adapted to be vegetarian by switching out the broth.

Ingredients:

1 cup rice

1/2 large onion diced or one small onion

1-2 garlic cloves diced

1 cup salsa

2 cups chicken broth

1 carton beans drained of liquid – I usually use kidney beans but I am sure any type would work

50 grams butter or margarine

cheese

What to Do:

In a large skillet gently cook the onion and garlic in the melted margarine

When soft add in the rice and cook stirring often till the rice begins to change color and is coated in the margarine about 5 minutes

Add in the salsa and then beans thoroughly incorporating

Pour in the broth gently stirring and bring to a boil

Put the lid on the pan, turn down the heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes

Check to make sure the pan still has some liquid and the rice is just about cooked

Cover with cheese and recover, letting the steam melt the cheese about 5 minutes

From Then to Now

Six years ago Mr. H and I sat on a lumpy couch in the midst of a the chaotic hostel I was living in and decided that the past two weeks were amazing and we became a couple.

then 2008

It did not matter to us that he was going back to Sweden the next day and I was on a short term visa in England. We had plans and we were together in them so we set out on a journey that very few people thought would work.

then 2009 us

Here we are though all these years later happier than we ever thought possible.

2010 then us

I could say it has not always been easy, and waiting for visa paperwork to come through is always stressful, but being together has been the easiest thing I have ever done in my life.

2011 then us

Everything else I can think of to say sounds like a huge cliche but those phrases are around for a reason so we fit together and complete each other and all that malarkey.

2012 then us

The truth is though that we make our relationship number one in our lives. We listen to each other, we look out for each other, and we are always making sure that we are the top priority and are moving forward in life together.

then 2013 us

We celebrated on Saturday with a fancy dinner out and drinks, today is all about normal life with work and grocery shopping but I cannot help and wonder what the next six years will bring us and where we will be celebrating 12 years.

now 2014

Sunday Currently – Vitamin C Boosted

Sunday Currently 9-14

Thank you so much for all the well wishes! I am back to normal and by that I mean a bit hungover on Sunday. Last night Mr. H and I went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate being together for 6 years. So not surprising I woke up walking a bit slow this morning, a good greasy breakfast with coffee and orange juice seems to be doing the trick though!

Reading: I am not really into reading while sick but I did manage a few short stories from an Agatha Christie book I am reading and the last 50 pages of a Janet Evanovich but today I am hoping to make some real progress in ‘salems Lot. I have such a stack of to read books at the moment I am feeling a bit overwhelmed but Mr. H reminded me this morning that I should just read what I want and renew the other library books.

Listening: I am having such a mega Martha Wainwright love at the moment, I am sure my neighbors really loved my listening to Proserpina on repeat while I cooked dinner the other night and did my best to sing along!

Thinking: This week is going to be interesting. Mr. H has an odd schedule for a healthcare worker but what most people consider normal. He will be working M-F 7-4 when he normally has breaks in the week or like this past week was only three days since two of them were 9:45-9 shifts. I am happy to have him home for every dinner though!

Smelling: Orange resorb, I just had one to help not get dehydrated. I really prefer the blackcurrant one though.

Wishing: I would have worn sensible shoes last night, I wore these super cute black and gold flats but it has been ages since I wore them and my pinkie toes have blisters now.

Wearing: So many prints, I have one tri-color polka dot socks with a leopard print maxi skirt, green tank top and black velour pull over. I call it Sunday comfy chic hahaha honestly it was one of those pull out all your favorites and wear them at once since you are not leaving the house type outfits.

Loving: Coupons, yesterday we were able to use a coupon for a free coffee at Espresso House and then with Mr. H’s student ID we got 10% off the other drink meaning we were able to get two large fancy coffee drinks for 38 kr!!!

Wanting: To buy every candle I see, normally I am fine with the mega pack of tealights from IKEA but this year I am wanting every candle I see for some reason.

Needing: To work on a cross stitch pattern I started, it is a Halloween one so I have a bit of time but doing cross stitch takes so much more time than embroidering.

Feeling: Not sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Watching: I started Last Tango in Halifax and am hooked on the storyline. I am not usually one for a more drama type show but this one has me hooked and I am so excited it is on Netflix.

Challenge Accepted

A Very Small woo Friday

the sick corner

Well we made it to Friday folks. I am happy because Mr. H has Saturday and Sunday off but today he is working a 12 hour shift so it is mellow lands around here.

Also last night our very rude neighbors sat on their patio being loud and drunk from 2:30-4 am so not what a sick person and one that has to work 12 hrs wants. We finally put on some music and fell asleep but this morning we emailed our property management company and found out they have a 24 hr number we can call in the future and that they are going to be contacting him via phone and mail.

I am also going to try to move away from my sick corner a bit. I have been snuggled in there for most of Wednesday and Thursday so today I am being wild and sitting at the desk in the kitchen and just might sort some laundry and do a few dishes.

Ok that will be the extent of my rebelliousness today as I really really want to go to town for coffee and a hamburger tomorrow.

Hmmm that was one run on thought so yeah happy Friday and be holly and jolly and all that ok!

A Bit of Sunshine

Happy

A large part of me wants to wallow in being sick but the other part says get over yourself it is just a little asthma attack. To combat the wallowing side I decided to do a list that of things that bring me a bit of sunshine.

1. Netflix – As a kid I was happy with my VHS copies of Wizard of Oz and Parent Trap (the original, only ever the original) when I was sick but now I love all the options available to me on Netflix. So far today I have watched The Iron Lady and Frasier reruns, not sure what will come next but it will be exciting.

2. iPad games – While sitting on the couch iPad games make the time go so much faster.

3. Regular Coke – Normally I do not drink it but when I am sick the combination of sugar, caffeine, and carbonation really perk me up and Mr. H bought me a giant bottle last night.

4. No dish doing – I am meant to stay on the couch so I am out of all house duties, most importantly dishes!

5. Tights as pants – That pretty much explains it all.

6. Snack time – According to less than a year away from being a nurse Mr. H says when you are sick snacks are key. I am not one to complain about that.

What brings you a smile when you are sick?