Sunday, August 31, 2014

Life and reading

July was a month of reading, but I can not say the same about August.  Starting a new job means new routines, and some days it can be enough to figure out dinner when I come home for the night. Trying to get into "War and Peace" might not be the best way of relaxing either, but I hope to get there one day.

On the other hand, I have actually read a lot in the Bible, starting on all the Gospels in the beginning of the month. The reading list here on my blog can be deceiving, as it lists when I finish a book, which can sometimes take a day, other times months. (I started on Psalms last November and completed in July.) My reading plan is chronological down to the verse, so I've been jumping back and forth between Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Some days that results in reading the same story or parable two to three times, and while it can feel a little tedious, I think God has gotten the chance to really underline what I needed for a day! Chronological Bible reading is only getting better as I go. Right now it is combined with "The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Henri Nouwen, and the two make a great pair.

The plot is thickening in the Gospels now. Pharisees and teachers of the law are planning to kill Jesus and there is a lot of tension and suspense. The disciples are noticing it too (Mark 10:32), but seem to have no clue that Jesus death is both inevitable and necessary. I look forward to reading the letters in a few weeks, when their perspective literally has a new dimension! 

Art: "Return of the Prodigal Son" by Rembrandt

Friday, August 29, 2014

Our American-Norwegian wedding reception


Welcome to our wedding! 

We can offer Norwegian farmers food and Southern Sweet tea.

Touching speeches from our dear ones. 

Quality coffee by Precious Beans Roasters.

(We are serious about cakes around here.)

Impersonations. Funny ones.

Drama by my childhood´s fantasy friends Hoggen, Birken and Agnes Kyrkjen.

So much laughter (and maybe a few happy tears) with the most amazing people.

In other words: The perfect wedding!

Photos: Sigve Ferstad

Monday, August 25, 2014

Make your own taco seasoning

If you are a little bit like me: skeptical to ridiculous long ingredient lists, and with an interest for saving money, this recipe might be perfect for you. Buying taco seasoning is not a huge expense, but for years I have been making my own, and I like to think I am saving money. It also feels good to know exactly what goes in my dinner. The recipe is super easy, and all the special equipment you need is a mortar and pestle.


This makes a little bit more than a normal spice jar you get in the store here in Norway.

4 Cloves (nellikspiker)
4 tsp Coriander seed (korianderfrø)
20 Pepper corn (pepperkorn)
4 tsp Cumin seed (spisskummenfrø)

3 tsp Paprika spice, ground
2 tsp Chili powder (or more or less according to your taste)
2 tsp Salt

First, roast the whole spices in a hot and dry frying pan. This will bring out the flavors. If you dont have whole spices, ground ones will do as well. For this batch I used ground cumin - actually, I might never have used whole cumin...
Grind the whole spices with a mortar and pestle.
Mix all the spices and transfer to a glass jar for storage.

You will probably need much less of this spice mix compared to the packets you buy in the store. I sprinkle some over the meat when cooking, so my advice is to start with a little and taste as you go.

PS. Spice and Herb illustration by Gayana 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wedding food fit for a farmer

 I always make sure to tell everyone that the wedding menu was not my decision. Not because I didn´t like it, but because everything was so completely Norwegian and traditional. Mike´s goal was that no one would leave hungry, and that goal was surely accomplished. Not only was the food scrumptious, it looked almost too beautiful to eat, and the amount of food was way more than we could consume. Even with a lunch for about 20 people the next day we had to send loads of food with our friends to take home. I am so happy we chose this unconventional wedding menu with foods we both love, and I think it is fun to have used both local recipes and ingredients.


- Potato dumplings (Ball, Potetball, Komle, Kompe)

- Local pork sausage (Svinemør frå Fausa slakteri)

- Mashed rutebege/swede (Kålrabistappe)

- Dried and cured meats (Mør, spekeskinke og anna spekemat)

- Green salads

- Potato salad

- Vegetable soup with meatball (Sodd) For this one we cheated and bought it from the store, so anyone from Trøndelag might not approve.

- Cheese

- Flatbread and rolls, all handmade

- Herb butter with ramsløk from Skodje

Main caterer: Liv Skårbrevik
Additional cooks: My aunt, mom, and friends!

Photos: Michaela Nichole Photography

Friday, August 22, 2014

Table numbers for book lovers

Our wedding party pictures have arrived! We are still waiting for our official portraits and ceremony photos, but I am excited to share some moments from our wedding reception. First up is some of the decor.

With only six tables it might seem unnecessary to make table numbers, but I still wanted to. It wasn't until a few weeks before the wedding that I stumbled upon a great idea I wanted to incorporate. Instead of simple numbers, we used quotes from some of our favorite authors to name the tables. The quotes were either on love and relationship or books and reading. 

To make the table numbers I printed authors and quotes and kraft paper, as well as corresponding cards with all the guests names in place of escort cards. The name cards were hung by the entrance, and the quotes were simply propped up against other decor on the table.

One of the quotes by C.S. Lewis were a part of our reading in church. I don't think it is common to use anything but scripture for church ceremonies, but I had read the passage "Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing", in Mere Christianity, and we thought it was so fitting for our relationship that we wanted to include it. 

The other authors we chose were Brandon Sanderson, A.C. Doyle, Emily Brontë, Oscar Wilde and Steven Erikson. Some of these are contemporary writers, others have published books considered classic. Coincidentally, this summer we have read books by two of the authors above.

We didn't plan on a theme for our wedding. However, with our invitations, these table numbers, and the books we used as centerpieces, a book theme slowly emerged, and we didn't mind at all. 

Photography: The amazing Michaela Nichole Photography

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Picture a Day

My sister loves old and a new cameras, and she recently started a project where she takes a picture each day. Here are a couple of my favorites so far.  Check out her blog Close Up for more. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A new job with a different kind of coffee break

This week I started my new job at a primary school. Those who read my newsletters know by now that I left Youth With a Mission before the summer, and was preparing to enter something new this fall. The job came to me a lot quicker than I thought it would, and I am incredibly grateful to not have to go job hunting for months from now!

My days so far have consisted of reading children's books, running around in the school yard, board games, and pretend tea/coffee parties. The last one has come towards the end of the day, when I desperately want a real, big cup of caffeine, and all I get is play dough mugs with beads...

Leaving YWAM probably hasn't sunk in yet. I attended parts of GOfest (the annual YWAM Norway festival) this past weekend, and it felt very strange to have people welcome me - I am supposed be the one welcoming people! With Mike still in the office I trust I will get a lot of updates on YWAM Skien's whereabouts, but with 8 years of investment in that place it is strange to not have any say in what goes on, or even be part of it at all.

So here's to a fall of new things! Good luck to you if you start school (again), have moved in with your spouse or started a new job. Change is good, right?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Seed and Herb Crackerbread/Knekkebrød

Slow-baking crackers doesn´t sound like the perfect summer activity, but I was craving said crackers, and decided to brave the heat. I discovered some store bought crackers with a Mediterranean flare a while ago, and wanted to see if I could recreate the flavor at home.

My recipe is based on one found in the book "Godt å gi bort" by Nina Dreyer Hensley and Jim Hensley, but I adapted it to what was in my cupboard, and added herbs to half the batch.


4 dl whole grain spelt flour
4 dl oats
2 dl sunflower seeds
1 dl flax seeds
1 dl sesame seeds
1,25 dl oat bran
1 tsp salt
3 tsp herbs (I used a mix of dried and fresh oregano, parsley and chives, basically what I had at hand. This was not enough for a substantial herb flavor, probably partly because the crackers have so much flavor in them selves. Double or triple the amount of herbs to your taste.)
7 dl water
extra seeds for decoration

1. Heat up your oven to 180 C and grease or line two baking sheets

2. Mix all the dry ingredients

3. Add water and let the mixture sit for a few minutes.

4. Spread the dough evenly on the two baking sheets.
A spatula is helpful in this process, but be armed with patience,
as it can be tricky to get an even layer without holes.

5. Sprinkle some extra seeds on top if desired

6. Cook the crackers for 15 minutes, take them out of the oven 
and use a pizza slicer or knife to cut into pieces.

7. Let the baking sheets switch places and cook for another 40 minutes. Check if they are crispy, if not, cook for another 5-20 minutes, but keep a close watch so they don't burn.

Alternatively you can cook the crackers on the hot air setting at 160C, and let them cook for about 1 hour total. I tried both, since I only own one baking sheet (it's true, and I wish it was easy to find the right size so I could get at least one more), and I think I liked the second option best. 

Store the crackers in air tight tins,
 and enjoy with cheese or any other favorite topping!


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