Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fall Vegetable Soup

This post is dedicated to my friend Jae, who has asked for this recipe for a very long time. Really, it isnt a recipe at all, but here is one version of my vegetable soup, featuring everything I found in the fridge that day. If you only have potatoes, onion, and carrots, you can still make this soup, but I would suggest adding parsley root, parsnip, cabbage or other fall/root vegetables. It is the first time I have added chili to this kind of soup, and I am not quite sure it fits. If you like chili, you can try it, if not, skip it.

Makes 3-4 servings

- 1/2 leek
- 1/3 rutebege
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 carrots
- 3 small potatoes
- 1/2 red onion
- Chili
- Bay leaf
- Vegetable stock

How to:
Cut all the vegetables in small pieces.
Boil about 1,5 liters of water, add the stock and bay leaf.
Let all the (except leek and chili) vegetables simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender.
Add leek and chili the last 5 minutes.

Serve hot with bread or flatbread.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is not a holiday here in Norway, but I have celebrated it almost every year since I joined Youth With A Mission in 2006. Now that I am married to an American it would only be fitting to host Thanksgiving dinner at our house. With a manageable sized turkey of 6,2 kg (not a giant 13 kg one like last year!), and guests bringing sides, it was a joy to host the party for six other Americans here in Skien. We picked a Sunday for our celebration and enjoyed plenty of food and pie. I only knew half of our guests, but it was really fun to be in an American crowd and enjoy laughs and good stories together.

The Menu:

- Starter: Deviled eggs

- Turkey (of course)

- Mashed potatoes

- Scalloped potatoes (this was supposed to be a green bean casserole, but the expats could not find cream of mushroom here...)

- Sweet potato casserole with pecans and marshmallows

- Raw broccoli and carrot salad

- Gravy


- Pecan Pie (we made it from a family recipe from Mikes grandma!)

- Pumpkin pie

- Peach and pineapple cobbler

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Our wedding on a real wedding blog!

Our wedding is featured on the Norwegian wedding blog Nordiske Bryllup! It is really fun that some of the photos by the amazing Michaela Nichole have found their way there. In addition, there will be a post where I share more about the wedding in a little while, so stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Before and After: Bedroom for two

A bedroom for two is quite different from a bedroom for one. You need at least a bigger bed, a larger closet, and one more spot where the glasses can rest at night. The only thing we had when Mike moved in was a big enough bed. Everything else was thrown together, using what I already had. 

Here is a look at the before: 

The bedroom was messy, lacking functional nightstands and wardrobe. We had no pictures on the walls, and the room was generally a little sad and messy. 

Enter the new and much tidier bedroom. A DIY closet was the solution for our lack of storage for clothes. The curtains and curtain rods are from Kid Interiør. The curtains hide the same dressers we already had, but now they are out of sight! 

These pretty pictures titled "Heart Connection" are made by our friend Hanne Aarthun.

More pictures have been hung: A collection of greeting cards, flea market finds and a picture of a ferris wheel from Etsy. 

We love our new "nightstands". For a small room like ours, it is perfect to hang shelves instead of bedside tables. Since the bed has to touch the wall on two sides, there would only be room for one of those anyways. This way we can both store our glasses and books out of reach at night. The shelves Enudden are from IKEA.

All in all we made very small investments, but managed to make the bedroom a much more inviting and tidy place!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Wedding dresses under 2000 kr

A few people have asked me where I got my wedding dress, and I have to disappoint future brides when I tell them the dress is not from a known bridal designer, and actually a fake Dolce and Gabbana gown found in a small shop in Tallinn. However, if you are interested in the style I wore, or have a small dress budget, I have a few tips for you.

1. Skip the bridal salons and go to every other store that sells dresses. You will not get the same kind of service, but that is part of what you pay for with a wedding gown. The downside: This might be easier in the spring/summer when white dresses are more weather appropriate than the rest of the year. 
2. Go to the bridal salons (yes...) to try on dresses and get an idea of what you like and what you don't like. While trying on many gorgeous dresses I realized I felt very uncomfortable in the heavy and structured gowns, and the ones I liked were way way out of my budget.
3. Try vintage for a unique dress at a good price. But beware of alteration costs, unless you or your mom likes to sew. Try finding a seller that will let you try it on and return it if it doesn't fit. 
4. Bridesmaid dresses can often be found in white/cream for the fraction of the cost of a wedding gown. They will probably be less elaborate than wedding gowns, but that might be what you are after!
5. Consider a non-white dress! Gold sequins anyone? 

Here are a few picks from around the web that I would have considered for myself a year ago. All under 2000 kr, with just one exception...

1. ModCloth Wed and Where, 758 kr
No lace, but with the same silhouette as my own wedding dress.

2. ASOS Floral Embellished Maxi Dress, 875 kr
A smilar, flowy dress. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

DIY: Heather Wreath for Fall

I love to bring a little piece of nature inside, so while out on a hike the other day I picked some whortleberry heather (tyttebærlyng) to make a small wreath.

Materials: Heather, moss and dirt from the woods.

Trim the heather, discard the moss and dirt and bugs that came with it.

Use wire to make a circle the size you want your wreath. 

Attach small bunches with wire. I used three little twigs in each bunch.

Continue wrapping and adding more heather all around the circle. 

Decorate with pine cones if you´d like, and hang it on the wall.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Raspberry Coconut Cupcakes

Cupcake Wars should not be watched unless accompanied by delicious cupcakes. So that is what a friend and I did Friday night.

Once we had settled on a few main ingredients (coconut and raspberries), I picked the recipe with the pretties picture. The French blog Les Friands d´Lise won that competition, and it helped that I already had all the ingredients it called for. Luckily, I had google to help me translate the French recipe, and I think it turned out great. We only did a few minor tweaks along the way, adding raspberries and coconut to the cupcake batter. This may be my best attempt at cupcake baking - ever, so the recipe has my recommendations!


Makes about 18 small cupcakes with non-heaping frosting.

240 g flour
200 g sugar
2 tsps baking powder
80 g cold butter, cut in small pieces
160 g coconut milk
120 g milk of your choice
2 eggs
100 g frozen raspberries in small pieces
3 tbsp shredded coconut

In a mixer, mix flour, sugar, and baking powder with the cold butter till it resembles bread crumbs.
Add coconut milk, milk, and an egg at the time till the batter is combined well.
Carefully fold in the raspberries and the coconut at the end.
Fill cupcake liners 4/5 full.
Bake on 180 C for 15-17 minutes.
Mine came out with a perfect dome shape, but it might have been mirage, cause a few seconds later the tops were flat as pancakes. Also, the picture below shows my kitchen mid-cooking.

Raspberry compote:
300 g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
Juice from 1 lemon
A little sugar to taste

Cook everything on low heat till most of the liquid has evaporated. Make sure you don't sweeten the raspberries too much. The tartness of the compote is a wonderful addition to the cupcakes

125 g softened butter
175 g powdered sugar
75 g cream cheese
A pinch of salt

Beat the butter to a creamy consistency. Add sifted sugar, some at the time, and mix well. Mix in the cream cheese in the end. If you have any raspberry compote left after filling the cupcakes, it can be added to the frosting. Double the frosting if you want mounds of it, we went for the lighter route.

Once the cupcakes have cooked and cooled down, cut a small hole in the top of each cake and fill with a teaspoon of raspberry compote. Frost the cupcakes to your liking/according to your abilities. I need a frosting class, since I am obviously clueless. Garnish with shredded coconut. I have tried hard to find coconut flakes here in Skien, but no luck yet. Can anyone help me figure out where to get it?

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Good things on a Sunday: 
- a surprising visit from an Estonian friend
- perfect hiking temperature
- new hiking boots (birthday gift from some friends)
- a great view (Kammerherrens utsikt)
- a cabin providing shelter from the wind
- coffee from a thermos + chocolate
- picking heather for a small project
- no rain (it has rained a lot here lately)


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