Meal Plan; 24-28 October

The mornings are suddenly darker. Darker than last week, making it slightly more challenging to wake up with a big smile and a sparkle in my eye.

But I succeed every morning, beating my alarm clock. It’s set for 5.45 am, but I usually “smile” at the alarm clock at 5.10 am. Then, I spend the next 30 minutes pretending I have plenty of time before I need to get up. Some even say that staying in bed a few minutes longer is healthy.

That someone is my wife, who loves the extra 1-2 hours in bed. She would go as far as making up early, helping our son get ready for school, and then heading back to bed for another hour.

He’s picked up by the school bus at 6.25 am, so I can’t really blame her. That is one of the benefits of working from home. You get an extra hour in bed as you don’t need to commute.

I, on the contrary, find it hard to go back to bed or sleep once I’m up. However, because I’m up early, I also tend to doze off early while sitting in the best present eve, my La-z-boy.

It reminds me of my dad or grandad, always starting to snore around 9.30 pm. Oh well, the joys of getting older, I guess.

Danish Soul Food

You will have noticed that I often refer to Danish food as soul food, whereas it is probably more accurately described as comfort food.

Danish food is my comfort away from home. I get to sample dishes and flavors that I can only get in Denmark and have the opportunity to share the culinary experience with my family. Sure, it does not taste as lovely as when my mother makes it, but it is an excellent second option.

I do not doubt that many people living abroad use traditional dishes when they feel homesick or just want to keep our traditions alive. An excellent example for me is Christmas dinner.

Since I was a wee boy, I have always enjoyed the full spread of food for our Christmas. The flavors, how we cook the meat, the sides, and the smell of pines, make it a perfect Christ.

Learn more about Danish ‘hygge.’

So, when I left Denmark in 1997, I made sure that I would make a traditional Christmas dinner every year for Christmas. It was a no-brainer, one meal that my beautiful wife did not want to change either.

I recently found a book on Amazon called “Scandinavian Comfort Food” and had to buy it. It is written by Trine Hahnemann, who has written several cookbooks, but this is the first of her books I own. As a fellow Dane, I almost felt obliged to buy it, mostly to get inspiration for my meal plans and sample the food I miss.

Danes use food as a way to embrace hygge, the same way the Irish use the pubs to embrace and strengthen the Craic. It is essenetial to Danes, and we can spend hours around the dinner table.

I will attempt to recreate some of these meals in the very near future. But, of course, they will not look the same, and I will apply my tweaks to the recipes. It’ll be great.

Dinner Time

Yesterday we went apple picking. Our annual tradition, but we might have been out late this year. Most apple trees had been picked clean, and even more, were on the ground rotting away. Nevertheless, we got the mandatory massive bag of apples, some apple donuts, and a gallon of the local apple cider.

Afterward, I started preparing for the upcoming week by heating up the Traeger. Not to roast but to smoke the tomatoes and garlic for my mean (excellent) tomato bisque. A bisque is a fancy word for a thick and creamy soup.

Some soups are thickened with ingredients such as flour, but a bisque is thickened by adding cream early or during the process. I do not use natural cream but instead add coconut cream. It’s an excellent substitute for natural cream and less fattening if you are on a diet. And it gives an extra flavor boost to the bisque.

While smoking the tomatoes, I also added half a dozen of beetroot. So I might as well use the heat (smoke) to get my beets ready for marinaded beetroot. Beetroot is a very healthy and underrated root vegetable, and it goes excellently with meat and salads – or on a nice slice of Danish rye bread with butter.

Jamie Oliver posted a veggie bake that I’m sure my family will appreciate, and we can calmly say that we support vegetarians that day. However, I might use lard or tallow instead of butter.

The rest of the week, we will cook internationally again and will cook a simple dish from Mongolia and a slightly more time-consuming dish from India.

MondayToasted bagel with homemade pesto and mozzarellaCreamy smoked tomato soup with homemade baguette
TuesdayBreakfast sambo; bacon, beef patty, and fried eggMongolian fried ground beef with noodles
WednesdayHomemade banquette with lettuce, boiled egg, and shrimpDelicious veggie bake
ThursdayBreakfast sambo; bacon, beef patty, and fried eggChicken Tikka Masala with homemade Naan bread
FridayGrinder sandwich; mixed meat slices, lettuce, tomato, pickled peppers, and mozzarellaA little Traeger love – cow, pig, poultry, or seafood?

One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!

Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is much easier to make food in advance, although you must invest several hours preparing meals during the weekend.

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