Happy Easter

I was lucky enough to have the whole 4 days off, but man was it busy.

I thought I’d take a moment to share the recipe I used for the slightly unorthodox Easter dinner I hosted.

Instead of the usual ham and egg-y fare, we had Italian food! The feast was complete with cesar salad and tiramisu for dessert. I also made these little guys as something for people to snack on (I had to have something that reminded me of Easter):

I got the recipe for them here. They were very good. Scroll down on that page to see my notes for some changes I made (including adding pretzels, a definite improvement).

And now, for the pièce de résistance,

Lasagna with spinach, mushoom, and pine nuts

A fairly traditional version, but with the addition of extra veggies and pine nuts. The pine nuts are particularly great in the vegetarian version, as they add a bit of “meaty” flavour.

You will need:

  • 1lb lean ground beef (not extra lean as it is too crumbly) OR 1lb textured soy protein (such as Veggie Ground)
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1/2 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 5.5 oz cans of tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper
  • 4-6 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 15 oz container of light ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, well-beaten
  • 1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 50 grams of toasted pine nuts (or toast ’em yourself for 5-8 min at 350°C)
  • 1 500 g bar of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 package oven-ready lasagna noodles

Directions:

1) Dice onion and place in large pot with the ground beef or soy (if using soy, add 1 tbs olive oil) and the garlic powder. Stir frequently until beef is browned and/or onion is clear.

2) Add the next nine ingredients. Simmer on low heat for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off any fat (likely there won’t be any).

3) Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ casserole pan. Cover bottom with one layer of noodles. Be careful to slightly overlap the noodles so that the bottom is not visible.

4) Cover the noodles with half of the meat mixture, followed by a think layer of spinach and half of the pine nuts. Mix the ricotta and eggs together well. Spoon half of this mixture over top of the meat mixture. Then sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese.

5) Place another noodle layer over top, followed by the meat mixture, spinach, and pine nuts. Cover with the last of the ricotta mixture. Finish by sprinkling the remaining mozzarella over top. Bake at 375°C for 45 min. Let cool at least 10 min before serving

Life on the line

Don’t worry folks, it’s a pun! We’re on strike at my place of work.

(I just love this picture I snapped of a colleague. She made this flag herself! In case the symbolism is lost on you, we’re both librarians).

I’m not the type of person to deal with this well. Four hours a day on the picket line is surprisingly exhausting, but I find my Type A personality makes me a little stir crazy after a couple of hours once I’m back at home. You’d think I’d be knitting, but I actually tend to knit to relax and unwind at the end of a work day. No work day = wired Erin = must partake of active pastimes. So far I’ve cleaned the entire apartment, caught up on all of the laundry, concocted a recipe (see previous blog entry) and baked not once but twice. I blame the baking on my developing Pinterest obsession. First came a rather complex (for me, anyway – two different glazes!) lemon cake, and then muffins. And it’s only Thursday.

Cleaning the apartment lead to a sobering discovery. This is how much yarn I own:

Oh no, that’s not all. See the edge of the chair with the grey and cream afghan over it in the top right of the above photo? Well, this is what’s behind it:

The fiancé doesn’t know about this secret hiding spot.

Well, now I definitely won’t feel tempted to buy more yarn during the strike…