What’s Good This Week

Well we couldn’t very well have a doozy of a holiday without a grand finale, and that’s just what our littlest gave us. 

A couple of days into our stay in Tenerife he spiked a fever, and given that the entire family had been taken down by a hellish round of strep throat, it wasn’t too hard to figure out what was wrong with him. Poor little bub was just miserable, so after a full day of fever I took him to the clinic where a nice Spanish doctor listened to the family history, took one look at his throat, and prescribed a round of antibiotics. 

BUT GET THIS!!! I finally, far too late for us all, put two and two together and figured out where all of this came from in the first place: Niko’s left nostril. 

On the last day of school I picked him up early to go see Santa, and his teacher mentioned that he’d been complaining of a sore nose. He’d had a cold for a while and we figured he’d been picking his nose because one nostril was pretty crusty. But she did warn me that a few kids had had some sores in their noses and had needed antibiotics. 

Fast forward to 10 days later, I’m sitting in Tenerife FINALLY able to eat and drink without pain, snuggling my little fever ball, and I thought, hmm, svinkoppar, I wonder what that is… so I looked up the translation of the Swedish word, and it’s impetigo. Which, yep, is caused by strep or staph bacteria. 

So that crusty little nose hole is what took down both Paul and I over Christmas with the nastiest bout of strep I’ve ever had, and perhaps explains why I was so much sicker even after several days worth of penicillin. A couple of days of antibiotic ointment up the nose (which got up there with a whole lot of drama) and it’s gone, and now I know yet another important new word in Swedish. Sheesh!

Poor little Odie must have had whatever variation I had, because it took a full four days for his fever to break, even after starting the antibiotics. He was miserable, and allllll he wanted to do was be held by his mamma. Not dad, nooooooooo, not dad. Just mom, only mom, always mom. 

He was so sleepy and lethargic, so I spent a lot of time reading with his burning hot little body snoozing on me. Even at the beach or pool he’d refuse to be put down and would just keep himself as tightly glued to me as he possibly could. 

After four days he was more or less back to himself. EXCEPT! THAT! Suddenly his skin started looking weird and splotchy. He’d get big welts wherever we touched him or if he rubbed up against something. He got hives all over his abdomen and back. Ughhhh.

I was texting with my sister, a nurse practitioner who is (luckily for me) up all hours nursing her newborn, and she thought it sounded like an allergic reaction to the antibiotic, but maybe something else. She advised that I NOT give the next dose, and just take him back to the clinic. 

But we were at the beach and by the time the next dose was due, his rash had more or less disappeared. So I gave it to him, and *poof* within 20 minutes it’s all back. 

Back to the clinic and the same lovely doc took one look and prescribed antihistamines and a new antibiotic. 

Feeling much better after the antihistamines

For. The. Love. Of. God. 

Are we done now? We seem to be. I hope we are. His skin is still suuuuuuper sensitive, but we’ll be taking this up with pediatrics when we’re back in Sweden. 

I guess we were smart when we chose and AirBnB with a clinic literally right across the street?! That’s a lucky coincidence, but I am grateful that we’re in a part of Spain that is so dominated by British tourism that the doctor and pharmacists have all spoken excellent English. My Swedish is pretty good, but my Spanish sucks. 

Some moments by the pool, but only on mom.

Travelling with kids is fun and also a huge headache, especially in countries like Spain where everything is shifted so late. There’s only a one hour time change for us here, but it’s more like a three hour difference since we’ve been keeping the kids up so late to accommodate going out for dinners and things like that. 

I always find Spain to be a bit of a challenge as a vegetarian. The food culture is so meat heavy, and while there is lots of great local fish and seafood here, I don’t eat it, so my options are limited. I’ve eaten several Margherita pizzas in the last week, which always makes me feel like a bit of a wanker tourist, but in many places that’s been the only vegetarian option. 

I did get a vegetarian paella in one place, which reminds me I need to update and share my paella recipe here! And in another restaurant they made me a local specialty of “broken eggs” which is normally eggs over fried potatoes and chorizo, but they replaced the chorizo with peppers and onions and it was delicious. 

You build it, he’ll climb it.

On New Years Eve I suggested that we book a table at the restaurant that’s adjacent to our apartment complex, since it’s close and easy and the kids can run around outside. Which Paul did, but he failed to mention that they had a set menu that night, which a) had nothing vegetarian, b) was not in the slightest kid friendly, and c) was €55 per person, and I am not paying 55 Euros for my three-year old to pick at some fish and eat nothing. 

So we found ourselves suddenly scrambling for somewhere to eat, with the sinking realization that practically everywhere had a set menu that night, and we had utterly failed at planning this.

Eventually we found a place that had a regular menu if we sat inside, and we ordered pizzas and salads and some appys and when she asked what order we’d like things to come in we said please just bring everything as quickly as possible and she looked at our kids who were both ticking time bombs at that point and made it happen. 

We got them home and in bed by 9pm (which is super late for them) and then sat on our balcony and popped a bottle of Cava to say good riddance to 2019. 

Then we got ourselves in bed by 10:30pm, and though I woke to the sound of fireworks at around midnight and considered getting Niko out of bed to go watch, decided to roll over and just listen to the show instead. Enough. 

Happy New Year! Good riddance to 2019!

In spite of everything, Tenerife has really grown on us. We purposefully stayed in a pretty mellow, family-friendly part of the island, and it’s been a perfect place to convalesce. 

We’ve worked out a good routine where Paul gets up early to go check out a surf spot or go mountain running, while I sleep a little later and get up with the kids. We have breakfast, chill out a bit, then walk into town to re-up our supplies. I buy the boys a couple of croissants, and we eat them in the sunshine before meandering around a bit more. 

When Paul gets back we have a morning snack together, and then he takes Niko out to the beach or on some adventure while Odin naps and I get some time to work. In the afternoon we all hit the beach or pool together. It’s been good, quiet, restorative, and just what we needed. 

We’ve got just one more full day here on Tenerife (today, Sunday) and then we head back to Sweden to the dark and cold. It’s been real nice to have a break from wrestling our kids into their snow suits and mittens every time we need to leave the house, but I do always enjoy going home. Plus, I miss my robot vacuum! 

I hope you all had good New Year’s celebrations! What did you do? What did you eat? Tell me all about it! 


Back to business as usual on the blog this week! We started things off with another edition of Just Between Us because that’s what time of the month it was. 

Next up, the year in review. I shared the Best of 2019, with some reflections on the year and news about what’s coming up in 2020. 

And then, the first recipe of 2020! This Vegan Chickpea Noodle Soup is just what the doctor ordered to get through the rest of the winter. It’s tailor made for the Instant Pot, but I’ve also included stove-top instructions. 

overhead photo of two bowls of chickpea noodle soup on a grey background with leaves of kale scattered around

And lastly, since lots of folks are giving vegetarianism and veganism a try for the first time this month, I updated and republished this collection of 20 Protein-Packed Veganuary Recipes

photo collage of veganuary recipes


Here’s a look at what’s trending according to Google Analytics. We all know that Mung Bean Curry is always in first place, so we’re skipping that one over and starting from there. 

1. 20 Protein-Packed Veganuary Recipes. Straight into the top 5 thanks to the magic of Pinterest. 

2. Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos. Always and forever. 

3. Turmeric Latte Mix. Was “drink more turmeric lattes” one of your New Years Resolutions?

4. Low FODMAP Snacks. Looks like lots of people want to address their tummy troubles in 2020. 

5. 14 Vegetarian Instant Pot Recipes. Fire up those pressure cookers!


Catherine left the following comment and 5-star review on my Lentil Shepherd’s Pie recipe:

I know this is an old recipe, but just wanted to comment and say I made this and it was delicious. I used green lentils though and wanted to mention that I needed to double the cooking time – so 20 minutes in the Instant Pot instead of 10. Everything else exactly the same timing wise – I did add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce for extra umami flavour. Great dish for a meal with guests when you’re not sure when they’re going to arrive – you can make the filling early and leave it at room temp until they arrive, then 20-30 minutes in the oven while you’re having drinks, nibbles, etc. Thanks for the recipe!

Yes! An oldie but a goodie. And thanks for the tips for using green lentils. 

a plate of lentil shepherd's pie with a white casserole dish in the background


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