In 4th grade, I did a project on Erik the Red, a medieval Icelandic explorer who discovered Greenland. We had to make life-size cutouts of these explorers, and I was so fascinated by this mystical man with his red beard and iron-horned cap; and curious about Iceland, the tiny nugget of a country in the far north of the Atlantic ocean. I’ve held on to this curiosity since then, and with the access of social media, been exposed to the captivating images of the various landscapes; from jaw-dropping waterfalls that make your heart drop as if your teetering over the edge of it just by looking at it, or the speck of a white cabin directly in the middle of a lush green sea of hills, tri-colored glacial fields… I used to imagine all the people there wearing fur coats and boots, and read of the cozy bars and homes with breathtaking mountains standing confidently in the distance through the kitchen window. I watched Youtube videos of whale fishing and would research the culture there; what foods they ate and language they spoke. In a college class once, my teacher randomly asked if anyone knew who the happiest country in the world was and I immediately shot up my hand and yelled, “Iceland!” I felt so proud for being the one person who knew that. (Now, I believe it to be Denmark with Iceland following behind). Anyways, I’ve dreamt of going to this wildly eccentric place that no one else seemed to care or even really know about for such a long time.
AND NOW I AM GOING.
And it seems, now, more than ever, Iceland is on the rise as a popular tourist destination. With Iceland’s new low-cost airline, WOW air, and Delta adding more flights to the hotspot, IcelandAir isn’t the only airline offering various flights there. According to skift.com, the number of visitors to the country grew 24 percent as of June 2015, and a little more than one third of that increase came from the U.S. I’m also wondering if the fact that certain scenes from Game of Thrones have been shot there (Höfðabrekkuheiði, the Myrdalsjokull glacier, the Vatnajökull glacier, Lake Myvatn, Skaftafell National Park)? But seriously, the photos are enough.
I’m just jumping the heck out of my skin. I’m going with my darling friend Heather, also known as Beans, one of the coolest girls I know. We’re going to see the Selandjafoss Water, Bruarfoss Waterfall, the black sand beaches in Vik (Southern Iceland), chase the Northern Lights, maybe climb glaciers and hunt hot water springs, and eat (maybe not so much enjoy, but at least try) whale, puffin, and rotten shark (yes, rotten shark is one of their most traditional dishes). Also, recently discovered, hot dogs are a “national pride” for the Icelandic, and can be found at pretty much every stand, station, and stop. They are rumored to be tastier than American dogs, cheap, and everyone will be eating them no matter what time of the day, even breakfast! So I will have to find out what is so great about them.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- A jar of chunky marinara sauce
- 1 chicken breast, seasoned with salt, pepper, and Adobo
- 4 cups of spinach
- 1/2 a sweet onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Parmesan cheese
- Coconut oil spray,
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350.
Poke the spaghetti squash all over with a fork and microwave for five minutes to soften. Then, cut the squash in half and remove the seedy insides with a large spoon. Brush the olive oil on each side of the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven, facing down, for about 45 minutes.
In the meantime, spray a frying pan with coconut oil. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and cook through. Remove from pan and add garlic and onion, saute until onions are translucent. Add in spinach and cook until wilted. Set aside.
Once the squash is tender, let cool. Use a fork to scrape the insides loose from the skin. Mix in sauteed spinach, chicken, Parmesan cheese, and top with marinara and extra Parmesan cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes.