Let’s Become Vegetarian

Being ill was not only bad! I had an idea while resting! I’ve told you I’d like to be vegetarian but I’ve had all these excuses: I don’t know how to prepare enough vegetarian meals, I’ve been tired with the twins and haven’t had the strength to look for new recipes and everyday meals.

I’ve been a master in inventing new excuses.

A week ago I watched the documentary ‘What the Health’. I’d watched Cowspiracy earlier. They are not entirely applicable to an EU country and they are not the only reason why I’d like to be vegetarian. But that documentary reminded me of this dream or goal of becoming vegetarian I’ve had for a long time. My family hasn’t eaten lots of meat but I’d like to leave it all.

So I decided. Enough with excuses. Now is as good time as any to try this out!

Since October is ‘meat free month’ I decided to take part and started this challenge already a week ago. I’ll try to be vegetarian until the end of October and then see how it went and how I want to continue.

Rules that I’ve set for myself:

  • Buy and prepare only vegetarian food at home. At this point eggs and dairy are ok. I’ll try leaving them later.
  • Vegetarian food only at home. My son and husband can eat whatever they want at daycare and work but I will only eat vegetarian dishes and prepare them at  home. They won’t eat meat at home either.
  • Seafood is ok occasionally. Just make sure that it’s msc certified.
  • I’ll continue until the end of October and then see how it went, and decide whether I want to continue.

What I have prepared during this first week:

  • Lentil soup
  • Tomato pasta with pulled oats
  • Vegetarian hamburgers
  • Spinach and feta cheese pie
  • Tomato and chevre pie
  • Pesto pasta

In a restaurant I’ve had

  • Sushi
  • Pan-fried noodles with tofu (this one was the only hard one! I almost chose beef and broke my challenge already but luckily went with tofu after all.)
  • Smoothie (a big, lunchy one)

My son hasn’t noticed anything different in my cooking and that’s also my goal. That the meals are so tasty he wouldn’t notice anything. This first week has been surprisingly easy. Now I’m trying to invent new ideas for the next week.

Please share your favorite vegetarian recipes! I really need all tips I can get.

And join me to this challenge if you want!

Mannamaria

Everyday meal ideas

It often seems that all blogs and cook books are full of ideas of what to eat during the weekend, or when friends come over or you’re having a party. In my opinion cooking is easy during the weekend when you have more time.

I’m always struggling with the everyday meals. I feel like I’m making the same dishes week after week. I don’t seem to find new ideas for dishes that wouldn’t take more that 30 minutes of my time preparing. With two babies that really is the maximum time I can spend on cooking in the evening.

My criteria for a good everyday meal are:

  • Shouldn’t take more that 30 minutes to make. Some days I can only use 10-15 minutes.
  • Preferably a big dish that we can eat two days in a row. Soups are always a good idea!
  • As healthy as possible.
  • Vegetarian dish is always a good idea. I’d be vegetarian if I knew how to cook more vegetarian dishes.

Yesterday I made Janssonin kiusaus or Jansson’s frästelse or Janssons Temptation. It’s one of those dishes I always forget that exists, then I make many of them in a short period of time and then I forget it again.

It is not healthy or vegetarian but it only takes about 5 minutes to put together and tastes delicious. My son loves it. The instructions are at the bottom of this post. Traditionally it’s served with beet root but since it’s quite heavy meal itself I like to make a green salad with it. Sometimes I don’t have time to put the salad together so I just chop some vegetables to the side.

What is your favorite everyday dinner? I welcome all ideas!

Mannamaria

 

I used a large lasagna pan for this one.

 

When I’m making this during the week I buy the ready made potato&onion mix from the freezer. During the week end, with more time, I peel and chop the potatoes to sticks myself.

Here are the instruction if you want to try. You can also check allrecipes.com though their recipe is a little different.

Jansson’s Temptation

You’ll need

1,2 kg potatoes and 2 yellow onions OR

1,5 kg peeled and chopped to sticks potatoes and onion mix from the freezer.

2 cans of sprat/ European anchovy fillets (2x125g/80g)

2 dl double cream

2 dl whole milk

Directions 

  • Preheat the oven to around 200C/400F/Gas 6
  • Layer 500 g of potato and onion mix in the bottom of the ovenproof dish. Then top with the first can of anchovy, the next layer is 500 g potato and onion mix again and then the second can of anchovy fillets. Top with the last 500 g of potatoes and onions.
  • Mix cream, milk and the sprat juice from one of the anchovy cans and pour it over the dish.
  • Bake for about an hour. After one hour the dish is cooked but it’s not mushy as I like it. I like to keep it in the oven for 2 or even 3 hours but turn off the oven at some point. If I’m busy and I usually am… I take the dish out after one hour, give everyone a portion and then put it back to oven.

Starting The Baby Food Factory

The twins are 4 months old and it’s time to start thinking about solid food. With the older boy I waited until he was 6 months old but this time we’re ready earlier.

Stage 1 baby food is soft cooked and thinly puréed. This food is also lowest on the allergy scale and should be those veggies that are easiest digested by tiny tummies. You should start by introducing single ingredient at a time and 4 days apart with introducing new ingredients. (1)

This time I have started by making sweet potato and carrot purées. The babies will start tasting with such small amounts that I froze these self made purées as ice cubes. This way it’s easy to take one cube at a time and later I can mix and match different flavors.

Our girl is definitely ready for the purées. She seems excited to see the spoon and opens her mouth nicely. She doesn’t seem to get any stomach problems and is as happy as a baby can be.

Our boy on the other hand has always had problems with eating and he has had quite much stomach problems. I’m not sure if trying some solids has made it worse or not but with him I’ll take it slower. Trying even smaller amounts first and introducing new ingredients slower.

Next I think that I’ll try avocado (not frozen obviously!). Then maybe some fruit.. plum? I’m glad the summer is ahead and we have lots of fresh veggies available and even more to come. 🙂

Please share your tips and thoughts. 🙂

Have a nice week end!

Mannamaria

Our favorite everyday food

Our most often made everyday food is macaroni casserole. I think it’s probably the most often made food in any Finnish family. The boy loves it, it’s easy and fast to make and it’s cheap. The only problem I have with this dish is that it’s not very nutritious. I usually make a side salad with it.

The only thing that can go wrong with this dish is that you don’t add enough salt. Just remember to add salt and other spices and you have a perfect everyday food here.

Writing this post I looked for some help from food.com though the recipe itself is mine.

Ingredients:

1 onion
400 g ground beef
1 tbs oil (for frying)
400 g macaroni (uncooked)
7 dl milk
3 eggs
Spices (salt, pepper, herbs, nutmeg, curry, paprika, whatever you like)

Instructions

  1. Cook the macaroni. (remember to add enough salt to the boiling water)

  2. Heat oil in skillet and brown the ground beef with the chopped onion. Add spices that you like. I usually go with salt, black pepper and some dried herbs.

  3. Preheat oven to 200 c and grease an oven proof casserole dish.

  4. Add the macaroni and meat/onion mixture.

  5. Whisk together milk and eggs. Add spices that you like. I usually use salt, black pepper and curry. Pour this mixture over the macaroni and meat in the casserole. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until the casserole is heated throughout.

Tips!

  • You can add grated cheddar cheese in the casserole before baking it if you like.
  • Sometimes I add grated carrot or chopped zucchini to the meat/onion mixture in skillet but that’s not the traditional way of doing this dish. It’s just my way of adding vegetables.
  • If it lacks taste add more salt and spices next time.
  • My grand mother adds small pieces of butter on top of this dish before putting it in the oven. That adds for taste but makes it less healthy.
  • Serve with ketchup.
  • Traditionally there is grated carrot as a side salad.

 

Sauteéd Reindeer for Tuesday evening

I have been eating lots of vegetarian food lately. So much so that it seems like my body is craving for some meat. Today I was going to make spinach pancakes for dinner but when I was starting to make them all I could think of was meat. I looked into the freezer and found a little piece of reindeer meat.

I made sauteéd reindeer, mashed potatoes and lingonberries for dinner. Maybe a bit strange for a Tuesday evening but it was so good and easy to make. I think that I’ve never made reindeer during the week before. Sometimes it’s good to break habits and do what you want. I’m such a rebel.

Mannamaria

Tasty spinach crepes

Here is another easy vegetarian recipe that I often make. You can eat the crepes with lingonberries or, for example, with parmesan and little salt and black pepper.

If you are busy you can mix the ingredients together and put them in the refrigerator in the morning and cook them in the evening or lunch time.

Ingredients

2,5 decilitres spinach (frozen)
3 eggs
5 dl milk
2,5 decilitres all purpose flour
salt
black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
(0,5 decilitres chive)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk.
  2. Add in the flour, spinach, (the chive if you have it), the salt and pepper. Gradually add in the nutmeg (if you like it).
  3. Beat until smooth and let it rest 30 minutes before cooking.
  4. Add in the melted butter and cook the crepes.

Have a lovely evening!

Mannamari

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Easy homemade bread

I like to make my own bread when I invite friends over for dinner. It makes a good impression and.. Ok ok to be honest we haven’t been able to host that many dinner parties lately but we do run out of bread every now and then (ok, quite often) and then I have to make my own. It’s very easy though. And the kid and the husband like it. Here’s how I do it.

You’ll need:

7 dl wheat flour
1 dl rye flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp yeast
4 dl warm water

Directions:

In the evening…

  1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in a big bowl.
  2. Add the water and mix the ingredients together but don’t stir too much!
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the dough for 8-24 hours. You can leave it on the table.

In the morning…

  1. Warm up the oven to 225 c.
  2. Preheat the cast iron pot or other ovenproof dish with cover for half an hour.
  3. Meanwhile put your dough on a table that has flour on it and shape a ball from it.
  4. Cover that ball with plastic wrap.
  5. When the pot is preheated take it (carefully!) out of the oven. Cover the bottom of your pot with baking paper if necessary.
  6. Put the dough in the pot (without the plastic wrap), put the cover on and bake it in the oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Then remove the cover and bake it some 10 to 15 minutes more.

Enjoy it!