Update. And Cottage Pie.


Blog, it’s been a while. Since my last post (was it really November 2013!?) Jan and I welcomed a new member to our family, our son, Axel, now age 14 months. Parenthood has kept us busy and added a whole new dimension to our food and travel adventures (more on that to come hopefully here on the blog). We also recently moved to a new home, so we’ve had a lot going on!

The food I’m writing about today is one we’ve just recently discovered, and also something that everyone in the family enjoys (the little one is really into meat and mashed potatoes, and I don’t blame him)!

It all started when I saw shepherd’s pie on a menu somewhere and suggested we try making it ourselves sometime.

The first time Jan made it, we both asked ourselves, where has this food been our whole lives, and why haven’t we been eating it all the time? We’ve tried it with a few variations, and throughout this experimentation process, realized we’d actually been calling it the wrong name. Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, and cottage pie is made with beef. Definitely prefer the beef version.

We cook ground beef with onions, garlic, shredded carrots, tomatoes and red wine. We also add some rosemary, thyme and parsley.


We make our standard mashed potatoes with just russet potatoes, butter, milk, salt and pepper (I’m always in charge of this job because Jan does not add enough butter). I set a little bit of the mashed potatoes aside just for Axel to eat later, and to the rest, add one egg yolk (this will help it set up on top of the beef when baked).

In a baking dish, we add the layer of mashed potatoes on top of the beef layer, then sprinkle with paprika and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and bake!


Swedish Meatballs

It hasn’t been dinner as usual at the Our Life in Meals household recently. During the past few weeks, Jan sent me updates (and photos) of various barbecue eaten across the Southwestern United States as he fought forest fires in Texas and Arkansas (driving there and back and seeming to stop at every barbecue joint along the way). Needless to say, I’ve gone through a few rotisserie chickens and boxes of cereal (not for the same meal, of course) while he was gone.

And because I’d let several weeks go by without posting to Our Life in Meals, the harder it became to begin again. Even once Jan returned home, I felt that we had to prepare some amazing meal for me to break the ice.

But it turned out that a seemingly standard dinner might do the trick when Jan and I combined our heritage to prepare one of the best meals we’ve had in months. Continue reading

Lomo Saltado: A Taste of Peru

The commercials for Match.com state that today, one in five relationships begin online, and I believe it. These days, it seems like everyone knows somebody who’s found their significant other through a dating site, and as someone who never experienced online dating (and is thankful for it after some of the stories I’ve heard!), I’m amazed.  Across counties, cities, and countries, people are able to meet online and eventually meet in person and get to know each other.

This is how one our good friend Ken met his fiancé, who will soon be on her way from Peru to begin her life here in Fresno, California.  Though we haven’t met her yet, Jan and I are excited to welcome her here when she arrives.  So when we found ourselves passing by a Peruvian restaurant during a trip to Anaheim earlier this year, it was the perfect opportunity to both taste something new, and be able to report that we had, in fact, tasted Peruvian food. Continue reading