Friday, August 13, 2010

Quirks

A few months back, my friend Brooke posted a blog about "quirks" and what she herself considered her quirks to be. Since that post, I've been scouring my brain for something about myself that I consider to be "strange" or "off". It's been rather difficult until last weekend. Let me set the mood for you ;).

We are always late, first of all. Always always always without fail, you can count on us to be late. And last weekend, we were late for a baptism party for my husband's cousin's baby. The party was due to end around 4 and I am pretty sure we got there after 3. We are just terrible.

Well the party was set up with a table along the wall with food and other refreshments, and obviously as invited guests, we are welcome to (if not expected) to help ourselves to the yummy stuff. My husband, of course gets up and does just that with ease. But I found myself incapable of doing it!

So here it is: My quirk consists of me being unable to stand in lines for food if I feel that people's attention may be drawn to me for an extended period of time.

What? Are you serious, Heather? Is that even really a "quirk"? I say yes. This is not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last. And let me share with you other times this has happened...

Back in '07, I assisted my good friend Tim Sayer out with photographing a wedding. He flew me out, and I did my best. When it came to the reception, he asked for me to go and grab him and I some food, and I just could not bring myself to do it! I remember him even getting a bit upset with me, and my irrational fear of the food table. It's not that I am embarrassed (I think) or even that I think they will be upset with me for taking food. It's more of I have this overwhelming sense of what is considered "polite" or "proper" or "cordial" and these rules that are in my head only seem to apply to myself. How bizarre, right? Here is another example...

Last year while pregnant, we attended a birthday party that had a similar table spread to the baptism. I was unable to go to the table by myself, and tried to find any reason for anyone heading that direction to grab whatever I wanted for me, using being pregnant as a good excuse.

But I kid you not, I can't even go and grab a drink. Even if I haven't eaten anything all day (like at the baptism) I was still unable to grab something. I suppose I don't enjoy the thought of everyone watching me grab my food, and judging one thing or the next about me, or just looking at me in general.

So I want to know what your quirks are, and I mean a really good quirk that maybe you hadn't even thought of until reading this. I know I am not the only freaky quirky person out there... Or at least, I sincerely hope not. Do you ever feel like I do about situations like this? Share with me!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Boring Lasagna? No way!

Ok I just have to throw out there, that I am a terribly picky eater. I seriously have an issue with textures, and if something feels weird in my mouth, I just can't eat it. I find that my cooking is generally not filled with tons of different or exotic things, but rather filled with flavor through the spices I put in. My husband has some similar dislikes as I do concerning food, so he appreciates the way I cook.

Most of the cooking I do is a trial and error deal. I say "Hey Heather, what are you going to cook tonight? How about *insert any dish here*? Well I don't know how to make it really, but I'll just wing it!". And then I do. And I am more often than not pleasantly surprised.

I never learned how to cook lasagna really. My amazing step mother made it, and I loved it, but the picky eater in me didn't fully appreciate a lot of the things that was cooked into it. So when I grew up and decided I wanted to make it, I pretty much just dumbed it down a whole lot.

I don't know if I mentioned this in my enchilada post, but here in Iceland it's difficult to find a lot of ingredients, like ricotta cheese. I know that this is commonly used in lasagna, but I have never actually used it. And if it is sold here in Iceland, I haven't seen it. So I had to adjust accordingly. Here is my simple easy peasy lasagna that takes less than an hour, and it's going in your mouth.


Ingredients:
2 cans of tomato sauce
1-2 bags of mozzarella cheese
2 eggs (or 1 if you only have 1 small container of cottage cheese)
2 small containers of cottage cheese, small curds (or 1 larger one) (I forgot to buy 2)
package of lasagna noodles (I used spinach ones this time, and the ones that don't need to be precooked!)
italian spices (and a few of your other favorite spices)




Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 200 (what, is that 425 for you in the US?)

First I start by taking the egg(s) and cottage cheese and putting it in to a food processor or blender or whatever you have on hand, and puree it to pretty much a liquid. I also add a ton of my seasonings into this.





Then I take my cheese, noodles, sauce, and cottage cheese puree and prepare to do the layering. This is the order I layer in:

Noodles - Puree - Sauce - Cheese - Noodles

Until I get around 5 layers. In this evenings dinner, I only had 3, since I didn't buy enough cottage cheese, but it's so much yummier with more. I end by after putting cheese on, I add some more sauce all over, and cover that again with cheese, and a dash of black pepper.



Place it in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on if you like your cheese crispy (we do!) and let set for a short while before serving. Yummy.




As you can see, this is a simple plain ol' cheese lasagna, but we absolutely love it. We usually have a cottage cheese at the shop with garlic in it, which is the best, but we didn't find it this time. If you are looking for something quick and yummy, this is great.

I realize that both of my recipes involve a lot of tomato sauce and cheese. I don't always just cook with those, but for some reason we find ourselves eating a lot of them anyways. So yummy, I guess. I have to also send a shout-out to my friend Stephanie from over at Healthy and Homemade for inspiring to pay more attention to what I am making. She's got some really great (much better than mine) recipes you should check out.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Giver or a taker?

A few days ago, my husband and I took Noah to the Icelandic "Zoo". It's really more of a family park with a few rides like a carousel, bumper boats, and some bouncing ride. Oh, and they have a few farm animals, and some seals. And a botanical garden right by.

It was my first time going, and we met up with a friend we hadn't seen in a while. There was live music playing, and it was an absolutely beautiful day.

Well anyways, Jonas and I get there, and put Noah into his carriage and start heading in to meet our friend. It's pretty crowded, because of the live music being played, and as we are walking down the paths, there are tons of other mothers with their strollers and such as well.

Something that I noticed after a few minutes of trying to go against what appeared to be a rush of traffic, was that everyone who was walking against us walked as though they owned the path, and even though there was room on the other side of the walk, they only used the "coming in" side of the path. I say it like this, because isn't there some unspoken rule of walking in certain places, like while driving? As in, the people going against you should be to the left, while you should stick to the right side of the path? Invisible "lanes" perhaps?

I suppose I was raised to think that there was a courteous way to walk.


But Jonas and I had such a difficult time getting to our destination! Everyone coming against us seemingly refused to move their own path to get out of ours, even though we were on the farthest right edge, practically in the grass. And Jonas and I struggled to weave in and out of the people. I realize I am probably painting this mental image to include way more people than there actually were, but it was a pretty narrow path.

It just got me thinking, "Why are Jonas and I the only ones moving out of anyone's way, and being considerate?". It made me question myself a little pit. Am I some sort of pushover? Can people instinctively tell that I would be the one to move out of the way? If I didn't move out of the way, would the people rudely run into me? Is my being considerate causing people to think of me as an easy target to walk all over?

Most parents weren't even bothering to try and make sure their children wouldn't get in front of our carriage while walking past us. It was pretty frustrating.

Sometimes I find myself amazed by how people can treat strangers. How sometimes it seems people's arrogance are just overwhelming. Some people who drive treat each other terribly, while not allowing a person to go in front of them at a red light, even though it won't really change the timing of their arrival by but 20 seconds or so. I drive with such consideration, maybe too much even.

Maybe we should all take a second and think about what type of person we are, really. And maybe take a few extra seconds out of our life to be a little more considerate of your fellow stranger. Good deeds do not go unnoticed. I definitely think you get what you put out. You can change someone's day with just one second of consideration!

Here is a picture or two from that day, as pictures are always delicious on a blog post!

Me & the boy.


The seal.