Thursday 30 September 2010

The Key is Planning!

"The Ladies Who Dine" 
are going out for dinner tonight!
It is our first outing this fall and we are also (very) belatedly celebrating my dear Welsh friend's August birthday!
(Silly of her to have her birthday when everybody is on holiday, really! ;-))) 

I am so looking forward to it as they are all great company! Excellent opportunity to bring out the gladrags and dress up a bit!

Going out for a meal can be a real challenge for somebody on a diet (yes, I have now lost 9 pounds - aaalmost half way to my target this fall!), but the key to success is planning:

We have yet again booked a table at Cafe Rouge as we enjoyed it so much last time we went. 
I have therefore had a look at their menue online to prepare for the evenings extravaganza. The food is not really the challenge as they have great selection, but the drinks might be a bit trickier... Pre-planning therefore means I will be extra good today so I can enjoy my glass of "bubbly" with a clear conscience
- besides my next weigh-in is not for another week so plenty of time to make up for it...

Three of us will be on our bikes, so I think it will limit itself to how much we can drink - just have to remember to bring the bike lights - it is getting dark in the evenings now!


Btw - the day has started better than expected: A visiting professor who is leaving today invited the girls in the office to help him finish off a bottle of Champagne at the usual 11 c'clock coffee...
Me like ;-)

Tuesday 28 September 2010


I am simply amazed!

When I started blogging back in February,
I thought my varid ramblings would mainly be of interest to perhaps friends and family.
"New times, new media," I thought. "You've gotta roll with the times". The aim of the blog was to be sort of my 2010-diary.

For a long time I wasn't even aware that you can monitor the number of visits to the blog (yes, I am new to this!). After a couple of months I added a counter and in June Blogspot also introduced some statistics so I can "see" what posts get read and how many visitors the blog has.

I have had over 5000 visitors!
Blogspot's statistics also show that people from all over the world have peeked at my blog
- I can't see WHO they are,
only the country they are logging in from ;-):

  • Norway (of course),

  • UK (also to be expected) as well as

  • USA, Australia, Canada and Sweden.
Most of these are probably the friends and family I initially thought I was writing for.

But it doesn't stop there - there are people checking out my blog from

  • France,

  • Germany,

  • Denmark,

  • Spain

  • China,

  • Brazil,

  • Colombia,

  • Israel,

  • Poland,

  • Finland,

  • Latvia 

  • Malaysia,

  • Italy,

  • Taiwan,

  • Russia,

  • Czech Republic

  • and Bulgaria - among others! 

I am really gobsmacked
(which doesn't happen too often, I can assure you!).

Most of my family and friends don't post comments on the blog but I know they are reading it ;-)
I also regularly get emails with lovely positive comments from people not wanting to post directly to the blog.

Blogging has become a new hobby and a way to revive old hobbies as well as a wonderful avenue for new inspiration,
be it crafts, literature, cooking or photography!
What a great way to meet likeminded people with similar interests!

Thank you all!
And welcome to all new people!

Sunday 26 September 2010

Tried and Tested: Chili Problem Solved!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my dilemma with all the chillies in my garden. Three plants have given us an abundance of chillies and there is just so much you can use in your food!
I was therefore delighted when Fru Tunheim posted this recipe for "Sweet chili sauce". Particularly since Our Boy just loooooves Sweet Chill sauce!
Strange I didn't think of this myself, actually...

So here it is in English, the super simple, but really jummy
Sweet Chili Sauce
which goes really well with any meat dish
(have a look at Fru Tunheim's blog for the recipe in Norwegian).
Mine is a very slightly modified version with more peppers and chillies and less sugar 
(I always do that...):

Clean and run in a blender
3 red peppers
12 red chillies

Add 300 grams of sugar
1.5 dl of white wine vinegar
and bring it all to a boil for about 10 mins.

Add 2-3 tsp of gelatin powder and some lemon/lime juice
Bring to the boil for another minute.

Transfer it over to clean jars.

Thanks Fru Tunheim for the inspiration!

I brought some as a welcome present to our new neighbours.
I hope they will like it.
It sure has gone down a storm in this house!

Saturday 25 September 2010

Tried and Tested: Cheesecake With a Twist!

The homecoming of the Professor called for a celebration and I made a cheesecake which "disappeared" very quickly...!

I used my regular cheesecake recipe which is very quick and easy, but made a small change by adding Oreo cookies
(it is lovely without using the Oreos, too):

Combine 270 grams of crushed bisquits
(approx 200 grams digestives and 70 grams of Oreo cookies) with
1 tsp of cinnamon and
70-80 grams of melted butter
Add this to your greased baking tin and
put it in the fridge while you mix

300-350 grams of Philadelphia cream cheese
(I used extra light to save some calories)
2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla sugar
0.5 dl sugar
I also added about 8 crushed up Oreo cookies to the mixture
Pour the mixture over the chilled base and bake for 15 mins at about 175 degrees.

In the meantime, mix
2.5 dl sourcream (seterrømme)
1 tsp of vanilasugar
1 tbsp of sugar

Take the cake out of the oven and pour the sourcream mixture over. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 mins.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Taking a Chance...

The Professor is coming home today!

Almost 4 weeks is a very long time to be away from eachother,
but with the beginning of term looming it has been good for him to focus on his teaching. 

I have to say Skype is a godsend! 
We talk and "see" eachother every night and sometime we just leave the connection on while we do other things.
It is almost like we are in the same room!

Besides, we have not been lonely as we have our friends from Norway staying with us!

Isn't strange how things sometimes just fall into place
"as if it was meant to be"!:

My friend has been wanting to come to England for a longer stay for many years, but there was always some reason why it didn't work. Although she is a reseacher and therefore "carries her work with her", a move abroad is not that easy when you have children.
But when her youngest really wanted to attend school in England for a term (brave boy!), they realised that it would be possible to make a longer stay happen.
Well, a flexible husband and an understanding older son back home also helps!

This weekend she and her son are moving into the rental flat they have been waiting for. 
I have to say that it has been really nice spending time with them. When you live together and share everyday routines you really get to know people and it has been lovely! I feel fortunate to have my "family" so close with me.

The new flat is only 5 mins away from us, so I expect us to still see a lot of eachother while they are here in England!

Tuesday 21 September 2010

September morn'

I know it is already Tuesday (!),
but I wanted to show some pictures taken on Saturday as a reminder of how lovely September can be.

The hedge beside the house is now vibrant with orange/red berries. Makes a real difference to a normally very boring green hedge.
The "No Parking Please" sign is almost drowning in the ivy,
while the spiders are busy making the most beautiful webs glistening in the morning sunshine.

And I...
was "busy" biking over to the bakery filling my basket with lovely GI bread.

Yes, Neil Diamond was right
is special...

Sunday 19 September 2010

Recommended Reading: The Importance of Being Ernest

Our Boy has always been an avid reader and when he was younger I used to read his chosen literature first to make sure it was suitable to a young mind. To be honest, I never stopped him from reading anything, but made sure we talked about the content.

This habit has led to many very enjoyable discussions about literature and we have continued to enjoy reading, sharing and discussing books.

Last year his class read "The Importance of Being Ernest" by Oscar Wilde. I just got around to reading the play last night and enjoyed it immensely.

It is a very short, light and witty story and as you can see - it has made it to the big screen as well with the lovely Colin Firth. Not a deep novel in any way, but sometimes a bit of light comedy is all you need...

I might just have to go and rent that film now I know Colin has appeared in it ...

Saturday 18 September 2010

Cracking the Knitting Mystery

Finally weekend!

After a busy day involving a (boring) business meeting in London (I seem to have become a "country bumpkin" who avoids going to the BIG city as much as I can) I settled with my Norwegian Friend to watch episodes of Jeeves & Wooster and carry on knitting the sock, my autumn project.

I was getting increasingly frustrated and couldn't get the heel right even if I was following the instructions to the letter! 
After all, surely this isn't "rocket science"?!
At some point she had to take a phone call, we stopped the dvd and I closed my eyes and started a little meditation on this project of mine.
To my amazement, it suddenly dawned on me what was wrong. The instructions were not wrong, they were just not quite complete! Or perhaps they expected me to just "know" what was not said...?
I quickly carried on and had a real "Eureka!" moment.

I admit it isn't the world's most beautiful heel,
but I now know how to do it and it can only get better from here!!!!
What satisfaction!

My Canadian Friend gave me this lovely knitting book this summer and I have so enjoyed looking at the various projects.
I might just be inspired to try some of these next... (just have to finish the second sock first):

Perhaps this blanket is a bit too ambitious as I get restless with too large projects, but it sure looks tempting on chilly autumnal evenings...

Wednesday 15 September 2010

The Importance of Rewards and Small Goals

As part of my weight loss endeavour I think it is important to recognise efforts and reward myself along the way!
I am delighted to report I have lost almost 1/2 stone
(which in "normal" terminology means 6.5 pounds or just about 3 kg).
This means my first major goal of 10 kg before Christmas is not too unrealistic!

My reward might therefore be a bit naughty and not quite in the spirit of weight loss, but I have sooo long wanted to get a copy of lovely Leila Lindholm 's book "A Piece of Cake"...

I think Our Boy and his Norwegian Friend will have to be the official recipients of the outcomes of Leila's recipes!

I am sure they won't mind...

Monday 13 September 2010

Autumn Project

Autumn is in the air here, too.

We had a glorious day yesterday so I popped down to the garden centre and picked up a couple of heathers. I have always loved heather, but I am not very good at caring for it. It tends to go all dry on me. Any tips, anyone? 
I have placed one on the dining table and another by the entrance.
We will see which survives the longest.

I even found blue heather in the garden centre, but I suspect that is not a natural color.
It just didn't look right!

Another sure sign of the changing season is me finding another crafty project to do.

I realised I couldn't recall how to knit socks - or rather how to do the heels (must be close to 25 years since I did any at school...).
Quick decision - I decided I had to rectify that!

As we all know, Internet is a great source of information. I found a great tutorial as well as pattern from Garnstudio - they display free knitting patterns in numerous languages.
I even had to order new knitting needles online as my local John Lewis haberdashery department did not carry thick enough needles (6 mm - double ended needles).
Gotta love the net!

I am halfway on the first sock, so there is hope I will finish this project within reasonable time!
It is great to have something useful to do in the evenings while watching TV

Saturday 11 September 2010

Working Weekend

I don't often work during the weekend, but occassionally we have a conference going and this time I have the afternoon/evening shift.
Not much for me to do really, just making sure it all is running smoothly. My assistant is a genius when it comes to organising these events so I expect it to be fine.

It isn't my favourite way to spend the weekend, but still nice enough.
Particularly when the conference dinner is held in such nice surroundings:

Thursday 9 September 2010

Tried and Tested: Lunch Alternative for Growing Boys (and others with BIG appetities)

Back at school Our Boy and His Norwegian Friend decided not to have the school lunch this year.
The main reason was that the queue was too long and they feared they would spend most of their break waiting for food.

Nutrition is high on my agenda and feeding two teenage boys is no joke. They have ENORMOUS appetities and are CONSTANTLY hungry! As they are both very active the need for food is very real! School days are also very long here. They leave at 8 am and the earliest they are home in the afternoon is 4.30 pm.

I have been thinking of alternatives to the usual sandwiches for lunch. Apart from fruit and raw vegetables as well as leftovers from dinner the night before,
the biggest success is my take on calzone!

I was planning to make more on the weekend, but as I am weak for flattery and was told over dinner tonight that this was the best lunch,
I quickly made some for tomorrow ;-)
They know how to play me now...! I will normally make a larger batch and freeze them individually so they can just take a pack out of the freezer in the morning.
I will go a long way to save precious minutes in the morning!

For the Calzone I use the focaccia recipe as a base, but only leave it to rise for 1 hr (occassionally swapping some of the white flour for some healthier varieties) and have either filled them with
ham/cheese/pesto sauce/tomatoe paste/feta cheese
or like tonight with the leftovers from the
Shepherd's Pie with squash and red lentils
we had for dinner
(I will put this recipe later).

I think a couple of these should be sufficient to get them through the day.

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Mid Week Humour for Ryanair Travellers

Three very funny ladies!

Particularly their song about "Cheap Flights"...
I think many of us can relate to this
although I have to say Ryanair has been a great way of travelling for me ;-)

You can see their song "Cheap Flights" here on YouTube

Monday 6 September 2010

New and Old Tricks

Today was first day back at school after the summer holidays. Two months is a long time to take off...
Now the serious work starts again...
Our Boy is starting the preparations for the GCSC national exams this year with the math exam looming at the end of this year.

This term we are joined by my good friend from Oslo and her son who will be attending school with Our Boy. 
They are staying with us for a few weeks while they are waiting for their apartment to become ready.
It is such a treat and luxery for us to have visitors from home staying with us for such a long time!

The boys have been getting ready for school this weekend and practising tying the school tie has been on the agenda.
Our Boy is a dab hand at this with 3 year practise of tying the school tie every morning, while it was more of a challenge for his Norwegian friend.
He will no doubt in no time become a tie tying champion ... ;-)

Sunday 5 September 2010

Cats Know How To Live...

On a Sunday...

Or actually any day...

Cats know how to live!

(not easy to take pictures of a black cat...!)

Saturday 4 September 2010

Nature's Abundance

I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but I don't know what to do with the chillies in my garden!

Our Boy decided this spring that we should grow chillies in addition to the usual tomatos.
I have to admit they have received very little care.
Seems to be what chillies want...

The three little plants - that took a long time to grow -
are giving us an abundance of chillipeppers!

And they are VERY hot!

Not quite sure what to do with them.
We use some in salads (carefully!), and some in general cooking (carefully!), but I am not sure what to do with the rest...

Friday 3 September 2010

Tried and Tested: Sushi!

I looove Sushi!

Not the worst diet food either if you go easy on the salt and sugar...

Here is my version of California roll:

Boil 2 cups of sushi rice (or other types of short grain rice) in
2 1/4 cups of water
Let it cool so you can touch it and stir in to the cooked rice

  • 2 tbs of sugar (I used Splenda)

  • 1 tbs of salt

  • 3 tbs of rice vinegar
(I have been known to use other types of vinegar if I am out of rice vinegar)

Spread the rice on a plate and let cool completely

In the meantime, chop up your filling.

I use

  • smoked salmon

  • avacado

  • cucumber

  • leek

  • carrot

  • peppers
  • but use your imagination: shrimp/boiled eggs/crab meat/crab sticks etc etc.
Spread the cooled rice on 2/3 of a nori seaweed sheet
Put the filling along the middle (add some wasabi paste if you like it hot) 
and roll firmly.
A tip is to have some water in a glass to wet your hands to make the seaweed stick better at the end

Leave the roll to rest while you do the next rolls
Cut the rolls in slices, about 1-2 cm thick

Serve with soy sauce, wasabi paste and pickled ginger, if you like.

Thursday 2 September 2010

The Secrets in the Sigar Box

My father was an avid photographer.
Not so artistic, but very taken with the chemical process of devloping his own pictures. He took loads of pictures on very simple cameras. He would have loved all the things you can do today with pictures on a computer!  

Many of his picture negatives along with some 8mm films and slides were left behind in a sigar box when my parents split up when I was very young. These negatives have never been made into papercopies, so we have never seen them. I have had this sigar box (plus another box!) for many years and decided it was time to find out what is on these film rolls. From scrolling through them under a lightbulb I gather that it is mainly pictures of me   ;-) and my American side of the family from when we lived in the USA in the early 1960s.
Talk about snapshots in time!

I took them to Jessops today to find out what it will cost to have paper copies made of the negatives and the films transferred to a cd. I quickly realised that this project will take some time because this was not cheap! There must be literally 100s if not 1000s of pictures on these rolls and no way of knowing the quality or if they are worth having.... I think we will have to do this in chunks! Perhaps I should see if I could borrow a lightbox first to check what is worth doing...

The sweet thing is that the film was in an envelope addressed to my paternal grandfather from my maternal granfather. My parents used to send the film to my mother's family in north of Norway (Honningsvag) for them to see and when they were done with the film they would send it to my other grandparens in the south of Norway (Sandefjord)!

It was too extravagant to make two copies 
- in those days you shared!

I left one roll of 8 mm film with Jessops to have put on a disc and will have to wait for another week before I know what is on the film!

Wednesday 1 September 2010

No Way Back...

This is an attempt of using some sort of psychology on myself:

I kind of thought that if I "say it out loud", there is no way back...

So, here goes -

I have joined Slimming World.

I lost a couple of stone (about 15 kg) a couple of years ago and I think it is time again to takle the weight further. I have never really been too concerned nor too worried about my weight as I have always been in rather good shape (for my size), but as I get older I think it is better for my health to be slimmer. 
My main problem is that I get bored with being on a diet, so I do this in portions... ;-)

So I see a lot of walking taking place this autumn
as well as more yoga!

I joined Slimming World last week with a friend and have my first weigh-in tonight. I think I have been kind of good, but we will see. Weekends are the worst because I tend to bake too much...

The goal is about 10 kg by Christmas. Should be possible, no?