Sunday, December 16

Breakfast: The MOST important meal.

So, to make up for the coma inducing marshmallows I posted last week, I thought I would post about my new favorite breakfast: Pumpkin Oatmeal.

I first heard about pumpking oatmeal on the Weight Watchers Core board. It always sounded really interesting, but sadly, involved a can of pumpkin, which I cannot get here in Norway. That is one of the most challenging things about being away from Texas. No Kroger. No Piggly Wiggly. No Whole Foods. No canned pumpkin. I have seen canned pumpkin on occaision, but I just can't bring myself to pay over 6 dollars for a can of it. I don't care if it is Libby's. This past Thanksgiving, one of my culinary triumphs was a homemade pumpkin pie from scratch. In looking for a recipe, I learned that the kind of pumpkin you choose is very important. There are pie pumpkins, and these are NOT the ones you carve up at halloween. So, as usual, I bundled up and went on a search. Here, pumpkin is called 'gresskar' and it has a beige outerskin and it's brilliant orange on the inside. I quickly found it, and luckily they cut it for you and sell it by the kilo, so you don't have to buy a whole pumpkin. They had some at my local Turkish store on the corner, big chunks wrapped in saranwrap, vivid orange:

Good enough, I thought, and I bought it. Thus began my love affair with pumpkin oatmeal. If you like pumpkin pie, you will LOVE this breakfast, if you don't, well, you won't.

Here is what you need:
2 to 4 cups of cooked plain oatmeal
2 cups of fresh mashed pumpkin OR 1 can
1 egg
can of fat free evaporated milk
nutmeg, cinnamon, splenda
handful of raisins
handful of walnuts

So take your fresh pumpkin, (if you have a can, just skip all of this part), cut it into chunks, boil it until it is soft, take the skin off and mash it in a bowl:

To this pretty orange mash, mix in your egg, the milk, the spices and the splenda. You are just making pumpkin pie filling, but instead of pouring it into a pie crust, you will pour it into oatmeal.

Once you have your piefilling made, add it to the cooked oatmeal, stirring well to combine. Throw in your raisins and walnuts and voila:

Seriously, this is soooo good! I usually make a big batch and just heat up a little every morning for breakfast. Oatmeal is a great choice for anyone with bloodsugar issues as it is fairly low on the Glycemic Index. I usually have an egg with it as well to get a good balance of carbs and protein and it always holds me until lunch.

Try it.

It truly is a bowl full of LOVE:

Thursday, December 13

The evolution of a marshmallow.

This is what happens to marshmallows in my house. I tried to think of a good fate for them. I wanted people to oooh and ahhhh, so naturally, that ruled out rice krispies treats.

This was the best I could come up with: Melted raspberry dark chocolate and crushed almonds:

I think if you look close enough you can see the vanilla bean:

They were packed into cookie tins to await their 'tin mates', who will be born sometime this weekend.

Ah, the life of a marshmallow.

Not too shabby.

Monday, December 10

Marshmallow Madness

I was on a website that I frequent the other day and one of the gals on my regular thread mentioned that she had made marshmallows. She just wrote it like it was no big deal! I have to be honest, at that point, I wasn't processing what I was reading anymore. I was stuck 4 or 5 sentences back on the fact that she had MADE marshmallows! With her very own hands!

Marshmallows are one of those things that NEVER would have occured to me to make. I don't know why. I just always thought they came out of a machine. Ignorant, perhaps, but that was my thinking.

Well, my curiosity was peaked. I knew then and there that I HAD to make marshmallows. Really, just to say to someone: 'Oh, I made a batch of MARSHMALLOWS the other day!'

Before we go further, I just want to post a warning here. Marshmallows are part of that group of foods I like to refer to as 'diabetic disasters'. Here at the beautiful diabetic, I try to post recipes that are good for diabetics, that are well balanced and will even out your bloodsugar over some hours. This is NOT one of those recipes!
Where there are marshmallows, there's trouble.

So, without further ado, marshmallows:
Martha Stewart's Marshmallows (of course SHE would have a marshmallow recipe)

2 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar (for dusting)

Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment. Let it stand 30 minutes:

Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup of water in a small heavy saucepan; place over low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.

Clip on a candy thermometer; raise heat to high. Cook syrup without stirring until it reaches 244 degrees (firm-ball stage). Immediately remove pan from heat.

(Ok, it got tricky here. I don't have CANDY thermometers lying around. I have a normal thermometer and a doggy thermometer. So, I interpreted the directions to read 'Bring it to a hard boil and remove it from the heat' Seemed to work just fine):

With mixer on low speed, slowly and carefully pour syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase speed to high:

beat until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume, about 15minutes. Add vanilla; beat to incorporate.
This is the MOST exciting part about making marshmallows so far! Look at how GORGEOUS that is:

Generously dust an 8 x 12-inch glass baking pan with confectioners' sugar. Pour marshmallow mixture into pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar; let stand overnight, uncovered, to dry out.

Ok. So I did all of that. I kept uncovering them to look at them. I wish you could see them in person. They are SNOW white and have vanilla bean specks in them. I couldn't wait to get home from work today so we could take them out of the pan and turn them into proper marshmallows. Now, suprisingly, Martha really dropped the ball here on the instructions. How does one, A) get the marshmallow slab OUT of the pan and B) once said marshmallows are out, how does one cut them up?

Christopher and I debated about these things and eventually found out that A)Just work a knife around the edges of the pan and lift it out and, B) the best way to cut them was using a pair of household scissors. So, I cut the slab into long strips and then the strips into cubes, and Christopher rolled them in powedered sugar as they dropped to the counter. Covered in powdered sugar we took a moment to absorb the absolute GLORY of the moment. We had MADE marshmallows:

And to make things even MORE perfect, a few years ago, I had bought an antique marshmallow tin:

You have to smile when you read their slogan.

'The Original FOOD'


Sunday, December 9

AMAZING day at the store in Norway!

I hit the trifecta!!!! I am not sure what kind of craziness is going on here in Norway, but I cannot believe the things I found today at my favorite Turkish store on the corner:

I was positively GIDDY.

The low sodium soy sauce I have been asking for AT LEAST 2 years to no avail.

And the Salsa Ranchero is a new one for me as well.

Really, just a beautiful day.

Sunday, December 2

It was a Migas kind of morning.

Sometimes I wake up on a Saturday or a Sunday and realize that all of the leftovers in the fridge would make up the most perfect migas. Today was one of those days.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Migas, they are perhaps one of the most perfect things you can have for a weekend brunch. I am talking about the Tex-Mex kind of Migas. Not the Spanish kind or the Portuguese kind OR the Mexican kind.

The TEXAS kind.

The beauty of Migas is that you can literally use ANYTHING you want to make them. So, my migas may not be like any you have had before, but they are dang good and all of our Norwegian friends are ALWAYS impressed when they have the occaision to eat them. They are, in essence, breakfast tacos made up of leftovers. That's all. Nothing fancy.

so, yesterday, I made an attempt at making 'pulled pork'. I was inspired by Jenny over at the Use Real Butter blog and on Friday night I made a rub and proceeded to give my hunk of pork a rub massage. Put it in a ziploc and let it marinate overnight. The next day, I put it in the oven on low heat for about 7 hours. It turned out great, but I think you can get the same result by boiling the heck out of it in some tasty broth for a couple of hours. Just sayin'.

So my migas today consisted, essentially, of:
pulled pork, eggs, onions, cilantro, tomatoes and some other stuff. You can make migas with chicken, beans, anything!
Most migas also have corn chips or corn tortillas, but I didn't have either of those things.

So, introducing my migas!!!

Here is the leftover pulled pork:

I grabbed a handful and threw it into a skillet to heat it up and get it a bit crispy on the edges:

Then I chopped up an onion, some garlic, cilantro and proceeded to cook it in a little bit of olive oil with some cumin, chili powder, sea salt and crushed chili:

Saute it until it is good and soft, translucent if you will, and then add a can of crushed tomatoes, or use fresh if you have them on hand:

Stir it all together, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes and move on to the eggs. Break some eggs into a bowl and whisk them with salt, pepper and a splash of milk. Next, pour them into the skillet with the pork and scramble them:

Then, add your tomato mixture to the eggs:

Stir it all together and serve immedietly:

I like mine in flour tortillas. I add a little reduced fat cheese and sourcream, chopped onion, cilantro and the ever present, Louisiana Hot Sauce:

And I am in absolute heaven:

To me, this truly is a PERFECT meal. And lest we forget, pretty dang healthy as well. Low fat and a good balance of protein and carbohydrates to keep that blood sugar level!


Saturday, December 1

Roasted Russel Sprouts!

No, the title is not a typo! One of the things I love about Norwegians is that they speak EXCELLENT english. With the exception of cartoons, nothing is dubbed on television. So, American shows are in English with Norwegian subtitles. The largest newspaper here also has an online English version and another paper sells a Saturday edition with a New York Times insert.

Norwegians are also a bit like parrots I think, when it comes to language. They have a remarkable ability to adapt and mimic the accent of whatever kind of English speaking person they happen to live with. My husband speaks American english and has a slight Texas accent. My friend Stine, she is living with an Australian guy, and she sounds Australian. Another friend has a British boyfriend, and yes, she sounds British. It's quite remarkable.

Even though their English is remarkable, there are the occaisional faux pas.
Many Norwegians will ask if you want to have a beer, but it sounds like 'bear'.
They often pronounce v's like w's: 'I have wiking blood in my weins'
My mother in law and my friend Kristina both say 'I am going to the cabbage this weekend' when they MEANT to say, 'I am going to the CABIN this weekend'.
Instead of asking 'Are you at work?' they will say 'Are you ON work'.
Cute little things like that!

Which leads me to the title of this post.

One of my favorite norwegians called me one day and she and her boyfriend were having a debate. He SWORE that they were called 'Russel Sprouts', she SWORE they were called 'Brussels Sprouts', so, as is natural, they called their American friend to settle the debate. I laughed so hard! And joyfully informed my friend that she was correct and her boyfriend was wrong. But ever since then, I have called Brussels Sprouts, Russel sprouts, cause it just makes me SMILE.

I roasted some the other evening. If you have never roasted them before, they are delish. So creamy and good. Take some Russel Sprouts and trim off the ends and the outer leaves, toss them in a bit of olive oil, garlic powder and sea salt:

Preheat your oven to about 425 and pop them in for 30 to 40 minutes, shaking the dish every now and then to cook them evenly. They will be a bit crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside:

Best dang Russle Sprouts ever!