kale

When I don’t meal plan, I end up with two situations. Scenario one: The empty refrigerator save eggs and some veggies and some time of carb staple in the pantry like pasta, bulgur wheat or quinoa. Scenario two: Going to the grocery store mid-week with my toddler and baby. You would think both scenarios would keep me meal planning, and well, you would be wrong.

Two days ago after I was down to the last three eggs and had nothing in the veggie basket except for kale, beets and sweet potatoes, I realized I was going to have to resort to scenario two. (We had eggs for breakfast and roasted beets and sweet potatoes for lunch, which the toddler refused.)

Grocery stores with children are not easy in any universe – unless it is for you, in which case let me know immediately where your galaxy is located – but navigating a grocery store in a new country where everything is labeled in a language you don’t know and organized in a different way while you have small children in tow feels like a first-world kind of torture moment.

Enter the Coop at Enebyberg. It’s the largest supermarket close to our house, and we go weekly. Our toddler knows when it’s coming up, and loves riding in the cart inside the store. We have yet to have a mega meltdown experience, which I attribute to two things: fervent prayer and the outstanding customer service of – so far – every single Coop employee I’ve encountered.

It started with the young woman who walked through the aisles after 9pm trying to first understand what I was looking for (chicken stock cubes) and second to look for it. Then there was the butcher who had a friendly chat with me about why I was buying 3.7kg of beef and how I was going to cook it, the fish monger last week who told me about sea bass and how it should be cooked and the ladies at the checkout counters who regularly tell me to get a Coop card. Almost every interaction ends with a, Have a nice day. You would never imagine that you are in northern Europe. (In case anyone is interested, this is not a paid ad, I don’t write sponsored posts, it is a pleasure as a writer to be able to lavish praise on people and companies that make my life a bit easier.)

kale in pan

A few weeks ago as I made my way through the vegetable section, a bunch of thick, green leaves caught my eye: Kale. After years of reading about its super powers but never being able to find it, let’s just say we’ve been eating a lot of kale. As in almost daily for a week or two. It goes into smoothies, salads and even breakfast. We’ve been loving our kale.

I asked on my Facebook page what favourite kale recipes were out there, and there were some helpful responses. The Muffin Myth also has an easy (and tasty) list of recipes for kale.

Every time I’ve cooked kale for us, I’ve defaulted to this method. It is basic, simple, and as long as you like garlic, all will be well. I found that putting the garlic and rock salt (make sure it’s the chunky kind and not table salt) on the leaves while it’s cooking gives the kale a flavour crunch, which I loved.

butternut

Quick Kale

8        kale leaves, stems removed and chopped

1/4    tsp sea salt

2        garlic cloves, crushed

1. Put a bit of olive oil into a good frying pan on high heat, and when it’s warm, toss in your chopped kale. Sautee for a few minutes until it looks like the kale is cooking down a tiny bit. (I splashed a bit of water into the pan if it looked like it was starting to stick.)

2. Crush the garlic, and put the sea salt on the kale and keep stirring until it’s to your preferred level of doneness.

3. We’ve eaten kale cooked this way for breakfast with eggs and mushrooms, as a side dish to meat for dinner, as a salad mixed with roasted butternut squash, bulgur wheat and sauteed mushrooms and some chili flakes.

boots

November is here with dark afternoons, crisp mornings, rain and cold temperatures, and these have been my vows for this month of darkness and cold. These are my prophecies, the words I speak over my life.

I will get out of the house every day even if it is for a short drive or walk, I will make myself put on my rain boots and jacket, whatever the weather may be, I will put myself and my children outside to breathe in the air, soak in the sun and to feel the drops of rain on my face.

buds

I will hunt for signs of life around me, even as the world dies I will search for what lives, for the tiny evidences of new life, and I will find new life in myself and in the people I love, the signs that we are all still growing, stretching, reaching for the new thing, the better way.

I will think about December, how I want to spend Advent, what traditions I want to create, what I want to maintain. I will finish buying and making gifts now, so that I can spend December thinking about a baby in the manger.

I will make apple cider and drink it with my family. I will keep the kettle on, filling my belly with warm tea all day long. I will scoop out honey with long spoons and watch it dissolve in the bottom of my mug.

thanks

I will choose daily to be thankful, to etch words on leaves, to put them on a tree because every day little eyes are watching, little ears are hearing, little hearts are being shaped, and I want them shaped by gratitude, and I want to be shaped by gratitude

I will walk to the park, swing my son high because it brings him joy, I will sit on the papasan-like swing, lie in it, look up at the sky and the trees, feel the air against my face and hold my legs in the sky. Just because I can, because I feel like a kid when I’m in it, because it brings lightness to my soul and joy to my heart.

This November, I will chase my son around the yard, we’ll kick a yellow bouncy ball back and forth to each other, maybe we’ll rake leaves. We will conquer the bus and the Tbana together, we will visit at least one museum in Stockholm, we will survive rainy days and embrace sunshine. I will learn how to make a fire, and I will keep one lit in the fireplace in the morning and evening. I will feast with old friends and new friends.

When November ends, I will look at myself in the mirror and say, Well done, you did it. 

What are your vows for November? 

frittata

Writing the first post for a new blog felt like a lot of pressure, what to say, what to cook, what to photograph, so instead of something weird and complicated, let’s treat this like you’re coming over to hang out at our place.

I’m not great at small talk and will probably forget to take your coat. Tracks of leaves and mud will be on the floor and a few piles of papers and books sit on tables and shelves. If the floor is clean, it’s because my husband picked up a vacuum 15 minutes before you rang the bell while small voices echoed after him in the hallway. I probably haven’t changed from the oil-splattered shirt I was wearing during the cooking, but there is a big smile on my face.

I’m thankful to have you here.

Welcome to the new My Daily Bread & Butter, a place for words about food, family and faith as we gather around the table. I’m so thankful for Melissa and Erin of Wooden Spoons Kitchen, the team that worked with me to redesign this site. They have been thoughtful, thorough and patient, and the process has been fun. I’ve been a fan of both their blogs for a while, but it was great to work with them “in person.”

You’ll see a note at the top of each post indicating the category: food, family, faith, the table, daily or travel. Older posts are much easier to access now, and you can search for it in the beautiful visual archives. You can find out a bit more about me here, and I would love to hear from you via Facebook, Twitter or email. If you’ve been following me via WordPress, you’ll need to re-follow. Subscribing is also another easy way to receive posts in your inbox, and you can do that by entering your email address in the Subscribe box at the very bottom of the site. I’ll be working through the whole site to update it in the next few weeks, and we’ll be working out any of the kinks in the new system. Do let me know if something looks a bit funny or is difficult to read – I would love some feedback.

This blog has changed in the three years I’ve been writing. What began as my hobby of writing about our daily food morphed into thoughts and reflections about faith, family, life, the happenings in the world. I hope there is always space for this blog to continue to grow and change even as I do. You will find, I think, that this place holds the working out of life as I wrestle through it daily in my toddler wrangling, baby nursing, onion sauteeing and tea drinking.

I hope you will encounter Truth in these pages, and I hope you will find yourself on the journey with me as well.

josiah broc

frittata2

So where were we? Ahh yes, you were coming over and I was still in my cooking clothes. Let’s say this was last week around 11, you would have found Josiah and I in the kitchen chopping up broccoli and mushrooms. He was sneaking raw mushrooms off the board to eat behind my back, and trying to beat the eggs, AHHLONE. Frittatas have been on our weekly lunch rotation ever since I realized I have a deep frying pan that is oven friendly, and I found a recipe that doesn’t have dairy. This is as easy as it gets, the perfect lunch meal that my toddler and I both love, and it has broccoli, which means there are only winners, right?

This is the simple food we eat every day, in other words: My daily bread and butter.

Broccoli & Mushroom Frittata adapted from delicious. magazine

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 head of broccoli, cut into small florets

10    mushrooms, sliced

6 eggs, well-beaten

I love this recipe because nothing like cream, milk or cheese is added to the egg, but that means there isn’t a lot of liquid, so the frittata needs the bulk of the veggies to make it thick. The amount of broccoli and mushrooms were determined by our pan, not so much by the recipe. You want the veggies to take up a lot of room in the pan. So before you cut veggies, take a look at your pan size and the beaten eggs and then determine how much vegetables can go in it. You can also add whatever kinds of veggies and herbs you want. We like mushrooms and broccoli. I don’t add salt to egg dishes because it’s a small way I can cut back on our son’s salt intake because I typically heavily salt most other food we eat. This dish takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish, and it’s perfect for a light, healthy lunch. 

1. Warm up the grill in your oven to 200C/400F.

2. Choose an oven-proof frying pan that’s deep enough for your frittata, put it on heat medium to high heat with enough olive oil to coat the whole pan.

3. Sautee the onions for a few minutes, stirring regularly to keep them from getting too brown.

4. In a bowl, combine your eggs and beat until frothy (or arm wrestle your toddler, who is determined to beat the eggs).

5. Add the mushrooms and broccoli and sautee to your preferred level of “doneness.” Add a splash of water if you need to cook it for longer and the oil is gone. (Normally, I would suggest cooking the broccoli especially until it’s slightly before the cooked state because it will keep cooking with the egg and in the oven, but because this was for a toddler who needs his broccoli well done to chew it properly, I cooked mine for quite a while.)

6. Remove the veggies from the pan, add more olive oil (to coat the pan completely, to keep the egg from sticking) then add the veggies back and pour in the egg mixture.

7. Leave it to cook on medium heat and when it starts to set, put it in the oven.

8. It should be done after 5-10 minutes (the top will get puffy).

chicken2

When I asked Little Boy what he wanted to give Papa as a birthday present, he thought for a few minutes and then said resolutely, Pretzels. 

We had pretzels for his birthday party in May, and it is apparently the Thing when it comes to birthdays. So Husband got pretzels for his birthday as well as a few other things. I’m sure I’m not the only woman out there who struggles for present ideas when it comes to birthday and anniversary time. Thank God Husband likes good food.

Every year for his birthday dinner, I try to make something special, something we don’t normally eat, something that takes a bit more effort than the normal 30-minute dinner. One year it was a multiple-course Thai feast (pre-children, obviously). Another year it was a roast dinner, and last year we went out to for a fun night at a Turkish restaurant. This year we celebrated at home with visiting friends, and then for fun I made the same meal a week later when his real birthday present arrived in the mail.

veg

I took all of the dishes from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (US edition here), one of my current favourite cookbooks.

If you’re looking for a new cookbook, this is a solid investment. This book by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi has recipes of the food from their well-known London cafes and restaurants. A dear friend in Geneva gifted it to me, and everything I’ve made out of it has been excellent, and the best part is that the recipes are simple and straightforward. The salad and vegetable section is what I’ve used the most, and most of the recipes call for simply roasted veggies and then a wonderful salad dressing on top. The most commonly used ingredients are garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt (there is a ton of garlic in most recipes). My other reason for loving the cookbook is that they credit the individual chefs and people who create the recipes. Most big name chefs – and authors – don’t produce their own work but it’s created for them in the hands of recipe developers, ghost writers and the like, and it’s a commonly-known “fact” of the industry. I love people who are able to give credit where it is due – to the people who do the hard creation work.

This meal is everything I love about food – easy preparation for stellar results. The chicken takes maybe 10 minutes to prepare, and the rest of the time is spent in the oven, cooking. The veggies take more work because you have to do some chopping and dressing-mixing, but other than that, it is so simple. Perfect kind of meal when there’s a toddler and baby to attend to (and the toddler can help putting veggies on a roasting tray).

chicken

Roast Chicken with saffron, hazelnuts and honey (from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, p 123)

This gives something simple like roast chicken pieces a special flavour – crunchy hazelnuts, sweet honey, a bit of tang from the lemon and the hints of rosewater throughout give it decidedly Middle Eastern feel. It is so easy and tasty.

serves 4

1    large organic or free-range chicken, divided into quarters; breast and wing, leg and thigh (I used all thighs)
2    onions, roughly chopped (I used one)
4    TBSP olive oil
1    tsp ground ginger (I doubled it)
1    tsp ground cinnamon (I doubled it)
a generous pinch of saffron strands (skipped this)
juice of 1 lemon
4    TBSP cold water
2     tsp coarse sea salt
1     tsp black pepper
100g unskinned hazelnuts
70g   honey
2      TBSP rosewater
2       spring onions, roughly chopped

  1. In a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces with the onions, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper. Leave to marinate for at least an hour, or overnight in the fridge. (For the first round, I left it to marinate overnight, for the second round, for three hours. There was virtually no difference. Also, I didn’t use saffron, so I skipped the water.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 190C. Spread the hazelnuts out on an oven tray and roast for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Chop roughly and set aside.
  3. Transfer the chicken and marinade to a roasting tray large enough to accommodate everything comfortably. Arrange the chicken pieces skin-side up and put the tray in the oven for about 35 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is roasting, mix the honey, rosewater, and nuts together to make a rough paste. Remove the chicken from the oven, spoon a generous amount of the nut paste on to each piece and spread it to cover. Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the nuts are golden brown.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and garnish with the chopped spring onions.

veg2

Roasted butternut squash with burnt aubergine and pomegranate molasses (from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, p 46)

serves 2-4

1    large butternut squash
4    TBSP olive oil
1    TBSP pumpkin seeds
1    TBSP sunflower seeds
1     TBSP black sesame seeds or white if you don’t have black (skipped it)
1     tsp nigella seeds (skipped it)
10g  sliced almonds (skipped it)
10g  basil leaves
coarse sea salt and black pepper

Sauce

1      medium aubergine
150g Greek yoghurt at room temperature
2     TBSP olive oil
1 1/2 tsp pomegranate molasses (gifted to me by a dear friend who was in Turkey)
3    TBSP lemon juice
1     TBSP coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1     garlic clove, crushed

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Trim the top and bottom off the butternut squash and cut it in half lengthways. Remove the seeds using a small knife or a spoon. Cut each half into wedges 2-3cm thick. Arrange the wedges in a roasting tray, standing them up with the skin underneath if possible. Brush with half the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper (I just drizzled the oil on top). Pleace in the oven for 25-30 minutes by which time the wedges should be tender and slightly browned. Leave to cool.
  2. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C. Scatter the seeds and almonds on a roasting tray and toast for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Leave to cool.
  3. For the sauce, place the aubergine directly on a moderate flame on a gas hob (you might want to cover the hob top with foil before you begin). Burn the aubergine for 12-15 minutes, until the skin dries and cracks and smoky aromas are released. Turn it around occasionally, using metal tongs. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. (Alternatively, you can place the aubergine under a very hot grill for about an hour, turning it around occasionally; continue until well shriveled on the outside, even if it bursts.) I skipped this step altogether, opting to turn the lone aubergine I had into it’s own salad instead of including it in the sauce, and the sauce was fine without it.
  4. Make a long cut through the aubergine. Using a spoon, scoop out the soft flesh while avoiding most of the burnt skin. Drain in a colander for 10 minutes, then transfer to a board and roughly chop.
  5. In a mixing bowl stir together the aubergine flesh, yoghurt, oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, parsley and garlic. Taste and season with salt and pepper. It should be sweetly sharp and highly flavoursome. (And it really is even without the aubergine – this sauce, dressing, whatever you want to call it, is amazing.)
  6. Arrange the squash wedges on a serving platter, piling them up on top of each other. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, sprinkle the nuts and seeds over and garnish with the basil. Serve the sauce on the side.

confessions graphic FINAL

Thanks friends for coming along with me for 31 days in October. For those of you who started reading the blog because of the series, I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you stick around. I had no idea where I would end up when I started writing, but it has been a challenging, exciting, healing process the whole way through, so thank you for “listening.” I have a feeling I’ll be bringing this series back every now and then in the months to come with a few more Notes every so often.

I used a random winner generator for the Desperate giveaway, and the winner is Nayantara, so I will get you that book as soon as it comes via Amazon. Thanks to all who participated.

There will be quite a few blog changes coming up in the next week or so, but I hope to resume posting about the normal topics and of course some new recipes. Kale is in our supermarket for a few weeks so get ready to be inundated with easy kale, kale smoothies and kale brownies. Just kidding about the brownies.