Wednesday, April 30, 2008

spring cold blues

i thought it was just allergies making my nose and eyes run, but i think i'm starting to have to admit that it's the beginning of a spring cold. it better come and go quickly. i fly long-haul on monday!! 14 hours on a plane is bad enough, but really bad if your head is totally stuffed up. i think i'm going to crawl back in bed now...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


i finally succeeded in making some beautiful, perfect, creamy, smooth yoghurt. i used this recipe from sam and sam clark's first moro cookbook. i'm actually typing it here (nearly) verbatum because it has some interesting facts about yoghurt, as well as tips to having a successful turnout...


Yoghurt can be traced back as far as 10,000 BC, and its origins lie in the Muslim Mediterranean. Like bread, its value has been recognized amongst both ancient and modern civilisations as an important food source, and for its restorative, healthy qualities. We use yoghurt a lot in the restaurant for our Muslim Mediterannean recipes, especially ones from Turkey, Lebanon and Syria, although interestingly it does not feature in the North African diet.

Yoghurt is a living thing, a culture, like sourdough starter. At Moro, we always make our own yoghurt, saving some from the old batch to make a new batch. Making yoghurt is a satisfying and easy process....this recipe will yield just over 1kg yoghurt.

2 litres full-fat milk
300ml double cream (whipping cream)
150g live yoghurt (approx 4 tablespoons)

Place the milk in a large saucepan, making sure the pan is no more than two-thirds full. Bring to the boil, stirring often to prevent the milk sticking to the bottom of the pan (otherwise it may burn and give a smoky flavour). Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and reduce by a third, again stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the milk to a ceramic or stainless-steel bowl. Add the cream and stirl well. Allow to cool. When you are able to hold your finger in the milk and count to ten, add the yoghurt and stir well. If the milk is too hot when the live yoghurt culture is added, the bacteria may be killed. If it is not hot enough, it will take a lot longer to set. Cover with clingfilm and leave to stand in a warm place (an airing cupboard is ideal), wrapped in a cloth if possible, for about 8 hours or overnight, until set. Yoghurt keeps in the fridge for 7-10 days.

being me, i departed from the recipe in two ways. one, i didn't really reduce the milk that much. 2, i set it above the dryer to set on sunday evening before i left for oslo. i kept thinking of it at odd times, when it wasn't really a good idea to text husband and tell him to put it in the fridge. so, it actually had about 48 hours setting time. and set it did! it's beautiful and no worse for the wear. probably because the temperature was very moderate and not too warm. it's actually quite think and lovely. i think that's thanks to the cream, as well as the lengthy setting time.

is there a difference between the US and British spellings of yog? it seems so...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Alright then

What was i doing 5 years ago today: I had a toddler and a 5 month old baby and was out-of-my-mind depressed over my quickly-deteriorating marriage. I, too, was getting ready to go to Arizona to a training conference only I wasn't planning to attend the conference. My plan was, however, to hang in the hotel room with the baby and Cousin Sabin from Denmark. It was 115 degrees in Phoenix, but we braved the hot temps and spent time down at the pool.

5 snacks I love:
  1. my homemade organic whole milk yogurt with smushed-up fresh strawberries
  2. marinated artichoke hearts
  3. avocado toast with lime pepper
  4. sea salt & vinegar kettle chips
  5. sunflower seeds

5 things on my To Do list today:

  1. drop movies in PO box
  2. upload some files for Headstrong & follow up with email
  3. locate, purchase and assemble closet organization "things"
  4. assemble and sew together another of my festive little "napkins"
  5. meet Heather for a couple cocktails

5 things I would do if I were a billionaire:

  1. take boys to Denmark and then the Philippines
  2. personal trainer/life coach
  3. buy a condo
  4. do something nice for someone in New Orleans or Detroit or both
  5. pay back mom and dad for all their pain and suffering

5 bad habits I have:

  1. ripping my cuticles
  2. procrastinating small tasks (like cleaning the kitchen)
  3. finishing books I hate
  4. staying awake until all hours
  5. assuming the worst

5 places I've lived:

  1. Platte, South Dakota
  2. Coralville, Iowa
  3. Wellman, Iowa
  4. NE Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  5. NW Cedar Rapids, Iowa

5 jobs I've had:

  1. radio disc jockey
  2. order taker at the Iowa Hawk Shop
  3. radio station production director
  4. mortgage loan officer
  5. casting coordinator of voice overs and narration

our first meme

i keep seeing this one everywhere on the other blogs, so let's do it...

What was i doing 5 years ago today: still wondering what it meant that microsoft had bought the company i was working for (they took awhile--like over a year--to do anything to us--not sure they realized they had bought us) and getting ready to go to a training conference in arizona.

5 snacks I love:
  1. hummus
  2. slices of sausage and hard cheese
  3. salty almonds
  4. even saltier green olives stuffed with almonds
  5. edamame

5 things on my To Do list today:

  1. finish article for tanker update
  2. finish up communication plans
  3. get article to jens so he can do drawings
  4. prepare questions for manila trip
  5. get up really early and catch first train to airport

5 things I would do if I were a billionaire:

  1. travel and then travel some more
  2. stay for a month at the manila pen
  3. cleaning lady and a kitten
  4. pay off the house and FINISH it!!!
  5. pay back mom and dad for all their pain and suffering

5 bad habits I have:

  1. buying all the stuff i want and not leaving anything for presents
  2. not exercising enough
  3. investing in stash and then not using it
  4. spending too much time in front of the internet
  5. white wine

5 places I've lived:

  1. south dakota
  2. iowa
  3. arizona
  4. california
  5. denmark

5 jobs I've had:

  1. secretary to a vice president
  2. newsroom assistant
  3. project manager
  4. global training manager
  5. profiler/writer

your turn....

julie's top airline list

since i love lists, i thought i'd make a list of the top ten (memorable) airlines that i've flown in the past year or so and the reason(s) for their ranking:
  1. South African. hands down the top. super funny and friendly flight attendant. great wine. amarula with the coffee. and you end up in cape town. what could be better?
  2. KLM. those collector's bottles of little amsterdam houses they hand out at the end of the flight. good movie selection.
  3. SAS. my "home" airline. the age of the flight attendants (they don't call it Sexy After Sixty for nothing) makes me think that i can still always fall back on that as a career if this shipping thing doesn't work out.
  4. Thai. they hand out orchids at the end of the flight. and that one time we got upgraded to first class--i wanted to stage an "environmental protest--" and not ever leave that environment.
  5. Singapore Airlines. they're only #5, tho' you would expect them to be higher, but that's because they've cut back a lot in the past year--no little goodie bags with toothbrush and such if it's not a night flight. but upstairs rocks on the 747s.
  6. Spanair. tho' low budget, it seems so friendly and vibrant.
  7. Baltic. eastern european meets scandinavian.
  8. Sterling. if you have to do budget, they're pretty ok.
  9. British Airways. would have ranked higher due to posh lotion and lip stuff in biz class bags, but the flight attendants are just so schoolmarmish.
  10. Lufthansa. they suck. period. the food. the service. the old planes. it all bites big time. even in business.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

News from Monica's Love Life

I'm in love with a late night television show host. It's Craig Ferguson and he's a Scot and he talks funny. He was just now featured on my favorite CBS Sunday Morning news show. Sadly, the narrator of the story proclaimed that Craig grew up in GlasCOW. In spite of the typical and horrible pronunciation, the news story only cemented my love for Craig. I learned this morning that he's a recovering alcoholic and has had two failed marriages and I'm even more sure that he'd like to meet and be with me. I was also happy to learn that his show is doing quite well and that CBS is thrilled with his growing ratings. I worry about these things when I stay up until all hours drooling over the latest of late night talk show hosts. The last crush was on Craig Kilborn. Funny, I know, the two Craigs were hosts of the same show.

I live here in the super safe place of single motherhood. I only go in public with my boys and occasionally some of my male friends. I fall deeply in love with people on television. I wouldn't want to deal with a painful real life episode of having a relationship with an available person.

primordial bugs

it's a "binkebidler" (i'm sure i've spelled that wrong) anyway, one of those primordial-looking bugs from the beginning of time that you find whenever you lift something up in the garden

sabin thinks they're cool

saturday lunch

posting this a day was too beautiful outside yesterday to sit inside at the computer
leverpostej sandwiches with a bit of mayo and ristet løg
sausage sandwiches on rye with a bit of remoulade

we have windows!

one last shot though the windowless opening

and now with windows!!!
and one happy polish guy. :-)

Yogurt Failure

After 8 or 9 completely successful batches of homemade, organic whole milk yogurt, I finally screwed one up. Turns out you should pay attention to the half gallon of milk you're heating on the stove. If you boil it hard for about 25 minutes, it's just not milk anymore.

The batch of yogurt I'd made just prior to this failed attempt was a bit runny. I thought maybe I'd stressed my yogurt cultures by stashing them way in the back of a too-cold fridge. So I bought a new starter with resolve to store my next starter holdback in the door of the fridge that I've already turned "up."

The boys love the drinkable yogurt I make for them. I'd been complaining about all of the work involved in getting the pure juice out of the strawberries. I found a solution. I bought some juice boxes in the organic section at my favorite Hy Vee. They claim to contain "pure juice" which is what I'm after. I add lot white sugar, because I object to the more commercial type of corn syrup sweeteners found in the regular juice aisle. That raspberry/strawberry juice mixture tasted just great, but was a funny brown color. A few drips of red food coloring fixed that problem and brought the yogurt back to a nice, appealing pink hue. Until I get my own juicer, I think this fix is just going to have to do in spite of the red coloring.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Don't know where I am!

I found myself making a good number of u-turns in Cedar Rapids today. I talked to Finn (in the back seat) about it. I claimed that since I'd spent the winter in Denmark, I've forgotten my way around Cedar Rapids. He said, "You just don't know this land!" and that somehow sounded familiar.

What really happened is the violently rising and falling barometric pressure. I felt fantastic late this morning when the sun was shining and the breeze blowing. Then it began to cloud up again and I was back to feeling sluggish and groggy. In my sleepy haze, I'd forget where I was meaning to go and then miss my turn. Silly Mom. After a few miscues, I did get my pool pass purchased for the season and my tags for my motorcycle paid current.

In spite of the thunderstorm passing through right now, I'm back to feeling perky. I'm busy browsing the summer activity catalog I picked up at the city rec department. There's a class I have in mind for Finn called "Mess Master." Class description reads, "Create extremely messy art projects with common materials. Use paint, soap, papier mache, glue, and other messy materials to make unique art projects." That kid kinda needs to learn to be okay with a big mess, anyway.

I'm also doing my best to put together a busy summer for the three of us. Between swimming lessons, t-ball practice and messy art all in two different age categories, I predict a lot of running here and there this summer. Fun, fun!

friday lunch

leftover pasta w/cheesy, lemony leek sauce, chiu chow, and fresh juice (beets, carrots, coconut, apple, lemon and ginger)

relyn over on come sit by my fire suggested posting a daily picture of what you have for lunch. since i've been striving to be more conscious about what i eat, i thought i'd play along. you should too. your printer can download those pix from your memory card, even if you can't find the USB card reader.

i gotta get better at taking pictures of food...

Thursday, April 24, 2008


sabin is one of the elves

sabin checks the treasure to make sure it's ok (difficult to see here, but the treasure consists of quite a lot of macaroni wheels spray-painted gold (pretty inventive), a few chicken bones on a string, some beads, some stones, feathers and other bits of a generally treasurey nature).

sabin's role to during the battle was "healer" and every good healer needs a colorful braided headband

all week, sabin's first-grade class, along with the kindergarteners (called class zero "nulte" here) and the second graders have been doing a role play in the park. they walk down to the little viking village every morning, don their costumes and try to steal treasure from one another and fight valiant fights. they are divided into four "teams"--elves, knights, vikings and trolls. they have varying alliances and all kinds of magic powders and spells. it's really, really well-done. and the weather has been perfect for it this week.

i'm thinking that the public schools in denmark are actually pretty darn good at setting a creative example. maybe we are getting something for all those taxes...

great about today

  1. the sun has been shining for like a week straight.
  2. a lovely, very old, very tiny lady i saw biking to the grocery store on a brand new very cool, very trendy shiny black bike.
  3. 150 K-2 graders dressing up as elves, trolls, knights and sorcerers and doing a role play all week down at the viking village. sabin is both elf and healer of the elves--which she does through special chants on the sideline of the battlefield.
  4. did i mention that the sun is shining?
  5. singing at the top of my lungs in the car.
  6. my pretty little wave notebook, where i now record all blog inspiration
  7. fresh coconut (i know this goes against my new local food thing, but i bought them before i decided to get serious about it and it would be a waste not to use them now).
  8. this juice for lunch: 3 small beets, 2 large carrots, 1 hunk ginger, half a fresh coconut, 2 kumquats, ½ a lemon, 2 apples.
  9. great lines from songs..."stars are just old light," and "what else can you do with seven itty bitty men..."
  10. sunshine, glorious sunshine!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

what you're missing out on...

'member how there used to be a refrigerator and cupboards, a kettle and a toaster here?

"temporary" support in the bathroom downstairs. cement has been poured in the bathroom upstairs. not exactly clear on how if we think the ceiling can't support it now, it will be able to support it later, since it'll still be cement and it'll still be there...but i digress....

dinner tonight

it's a variation on the sunday lunch. made with leftovers from the (yes, you guessed it) sunday roast chicken. same dressing i made on sunday (the miso-based one)

diced up chicken leftovers
handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half (i used 3 different kinds because i had one of those packages with those
handful of broad beans, boiled briefly and cooled down immediately to keep the green
handful of mixed lettuce leaves (one of those easy packages--it has arugula, spinach, etc.), chopped small
half a honeydew melon, cut into bite-sized pieces
handful of diced cucumber
one small, long red pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, diced
small package of macadamias (they're not there yet in this picture, i didn't want them to sog up

i added pasta this time--screws, as you can see. you could use bulgur or couscous or you could leave out the starch altogether. you could add some diced cheese. and a little chiu chow never hurt anything.

toss together with the miso dressing. enjoy.

inspiring me today

sitting pretty by yumiyumi from columbus, ohio

little ideas by etsasketch from sydney

under my wing by carambatack from årnes, norway

colorful tree by carambatack from årnes, norway

what's inspiring you today?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

recipe for a spring lunch

delicious spring lunch. should be eaten outdoors if at all possible. preferably from the same big bowl with just a fork for all those who partake. there are a host of inspirations here--japanese, spanish, nordic, julish.


1 small kohlrabi, diced
1 small bunch of asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces and put in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, then cooled down immediately with cold water to keep the brilliant spring green.
1 chorizo sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 handful herbs (i used that wonderful ramsløg stuff--wild garlic leaves picked in the forest) a handful of parsley or even cilantro would be good
1 package of cherry (or small plum) tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 small package macadamia nuts
handful of manchego (or other hard) cheese, diced (again with the bite-sized pieces)

toss it all together in a bowl.


1 large spoonful of red miso
1 teaspoon honey
good glug of olive oil
a few drops of sesame oil (you don't need much)
juice of ½ a lemon

whisk it together, taste. if it needs something, a bit of rice vinegar and/or soy sauce should do the trick.

pour it over the salad. serve in the sun with a loaf of good bread slathered in butter and sprinkled with flaky salt. drink white wine with it.

entrepreneurial spirit

sabin has started a small business.

she sells handmade rubber stamps carved from erasers (all by herself)

they come in a range of prices from 2-10 kroner

and banana muffins with chocolate bits for 3 kroner

and small plum tomatoes cost 2 kroner

we're uncertain as to the longevity of her business, as it doesn't seem to be making her happy. in fact, she's pretty much a stormcloud if her parents aren't buying something every five minutes or so. but, perhaps she will learn patience. and she's pretty excited about the publicity she's getting here on the blog.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

pretty production

look what i made this evening. there are cool things to be found on etsy. i bought the pretty copper bits from this shop and the little paper beads with words on them from this one. the beads are ones we got at the crazy bead shop that you can totally see panduro from...near nørreport station. don't you wish you had some of these? now that you're an earring person?

jack-o-lantern smile

after the last post about the latest tooth loss, i had to share these pictures from this afternoon of the jack-o-lantern smile. and it's not even halloween! note in the picture of husband, he's clearly thinking about what to dig next...

two in one week!

fresh spring breezes are in the air. the sun is shining. the trees are budding out. the magnolia trees are glorious. the tulips are in full bloom. and sabin is losing teeth like a dog sheds its winter coat. she's lost TWO this week! here's the whole collection of her lost teeth.

pretty good business at 20DKK a pop.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Writing Class

I arrived this evening at my community college creative writing class promptly at 6:29. Class was scheduled to begin at 6:30, so I was feeling good about my arrival. I walked in and the small group of seated people all turned to see me and I began to dig desperately for my confirmation sheet to find out what time it was supposed to begin. 6:30, indeed. They started early! Ok, no problem. They were going around the table introducing themselves and I'd already missed two people. And stupid me, I sat there listening and memorizing names as each person spoke. When it came round to my turn, I hadn't planned what to say at ALL!

I could tell them that I signed up for this class because I just came back to Iowa from Winter Camp. At Winter Camp in Denmark, I enjoyed arts and crafts, nature walks, a couple of excursions to other countries and some late night scary stories. In returning to Iowa, it's my Winter Camp assignment to continue the arts, crafts and storytelling.

I could tell them that I'm a radio celebrity, cuz I love to open every conversation with a new person by recalling all the places on the dial where they've heard me.

We could talk about my recent career in mortgages and how shitty that whole situation is in this country.

I could tell them about my depressed betta and how when I left for class tonight, I placed a nice picture of Nigella next to him in the hopes of cheering him up.

I could even try explaining to them what I'm doing for a living right now, but that just precipitates too many questions that require long answers.

I did tell them that I'm blogging with my sister who lives overseas. I told them about the constant badgering I receive from that sister to make daily blog entries. I told them about my sister's addiction to blogging and reading other people's blogs. And then I told them what a blog is and asked them to bear with me while they read some of my blog entries until I can write something else for them to read.

You wanted to know my writing assignment from tonight's class. Here it is: 2 - 10 pages, double-spaced. Unless you're writing poetry, in which case you can hand in a one pager. This needs to be handed in, via email, by tomorrow night at this time.

That cotton batting

Here's what happens when you believe it's a good idea to wash the cotton batting before sewing with it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

inspiring me today

bookshelf 9 by jane mount

hammer ring by lunasa designs

spring sprouts necklace by tresijas

conklin, original map painting by rachel austin

blue bell earrings by marieflyfly

alameda by yellena

heart flags garland by corikindrid

all of the above seen on etsy, that bastion of creative inspiration and loveliness

bad yogurt

how come my yogurt efforts keep failing? that's twice now.

first batch mistakes:
  1. too little existing yogurt to add
  2. existing yogurt too old
  3. allowed the milk to cool off too much

second batch mistakes:

  1. no idea.

it's watery, curdled and extremely separated. a bit like i tried to make paneer. maybe there was some vinegar or other acidic thing on my pan. i used the red le cruset pan to heat the milk and to put the yogurt to bed in.

what's up with this? i used to have no problems at all!

Monday, April 14, 2008

what about these?

do you miss these:

11. café lezinc
12. ristet bøller
13. yuh-huh. nuh-uh.
14. yo mama is so....
15. my name is leonardo...
16. south african pinotage
17. cocktail hour
18. hendrick's with a slice of cucumber
19. being handed a stack of books to read next
20. møn's klint

Sunday, April 13, 2008

don't you miss...

  1. steam burns from the bodum kettle?
  2. sunday chicken?
  3. husband's incessant pounding and digging?
  4. the polish guys?
  5. the cute architect who may not speak so much english?
  6. kvæde tea?
  7. vanilla cream?
  8. the weekly box of organic veggie surprises?
  9. banana bread bananas?
  10. the old grey toyota?

observations on the train.

on my way back home from the city today on the S train at 5 p.m., i noted the following:
  1. mysterious, but ever-present puddle of pee in the elevator at nørreport station.
  2. unidentifiable unpleasant smells coming from an unknown place.
  3. young man/boy with last night's EYELINER and GLITTER on, making his way home after a rough saturday night that clearly lasted well into sunday.
  4. young woman with nylons and short shorts on, carrying a pair of white pumps in her hand. clearly also making her way home from a saturday night out on the town. makeup mostly, but not completely gone.
  5. 3 solitary elderly people, all very particular about choosing a seat. all 3 look a bit on the lonely side, yet wouldn't dream of speaking to one another.
  6. tired looking man with a suitcase. clearly a politiken reader.
  7. 12-year old girl with a hopelessly uncool mother.

i wonder what these people's stories really are...


I bought a big reference book last week about nutrition and vitamins and supplements. I did this because of my recent 5 month stint in Denmark. During that visit, I overate a well-balanced diet, so yes, I gained weight. But I experienced some very pleasant things while eating all those vegetables. The number one pleasant thing was an absence of canker sores. Those apoplectic little ulcers plagued me for years. Each of them with their own sinister personality; the seasonal ones, ignited by an abundance of tomatoes or nectarines had a hot little temper, but it flashed and then subsided quickly. Those cankers who showed up due to a stressful event would hang on like the uninvited and irritating houseguest, coloring my overall frame of mind while they happily slept in the bedroom of my mouth and stole my appetite.

5 months with no canker sores! That's simply never happened before.

So I wondered, could it be some sort of nutrient deficiency? How can I continue to feed my body this mysterious and apparently very necessary ingredient? The big reference book tells me that for cankers, I need probiotics (yogurt cultures) and Vitamin B. Sounds good, I've got a big bowl of the happy little bacteria napping peacefully inside two dynes on Owen's bed. Later today, I'll wake the divine organic whole milk yogurt with some mushed-up fresh fruit and pure sugar.

I found nirvana in the presence of an impassioned man with a bad wig at the Health Hut on First Avenue yesterday. He gave me my first lesson in expensive vitamins. My love for those magical little probiotics was fortified as I dropped too much money on a multivitamin that my body can absorb. I sit here now waiting for the long, shiny, thick and healthy hair and with my emery board at the ready. Surely, I'll need that later today when my nails go through some vigorous growth.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Wonderful Time

We made the pizzas tonight while listening to Kenny Rogers and Juice Newton on repeat. It was great fun, though I need a proper pizza stone. I had them smush out the pizza crust in whatever shape they wanted. I baked them a little and then removed from oven. Then each boy put his own ingredients on his own crust. Owen piled pepperonis on top of mushrooms, stacked sausages on top of the pepperoni and then laid a pineapple on top of that. He had little columns of ingredients all over and his pizza wound up looking best. I'd post the picture here, but I can't find my silly card reader! Help, pictures trapped in camera!

At our bedtime snack, Finn recalled the experience of making pizzas and he said, "Oh my, that was a really wonderful time making dinner tonight."

Finn is a little walking montage of music, it's really quite funny. Nothing pleases me more than hearing him incorporate "You got to know when to hold 'em... know when to fold 'em" into his repertoire.

Friday, April 11, 2008


"My favorite time of day is just at dark when all thoughts of what must be done stop & small pools of light come alive on tired faces everywhere." --from Brian Andreas' Story People

there's just something about a friday. the notion of the weekend stretching luxuriously before you, full of possibilities...laughter with friends. some good food labored over lovingly. the satisfied feeling that comes from folding the last load of fresh, clean laundry. a long walk on a beautiful spring day. a stolen hour or two devoted to reading that haruki murakami i started. maybe a bit of sewing up something from my cute new owl fabric. meeting a friend for coffee in the city on sunday afternoon.

what will your weekend bring?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

posh mall food

posh white norwegian pizza

1 very thin, very crispy pizza crust

white sauce consisting of:
3 kind of delicious cheese, grated (i'd use prima donna, gruyere, and a nice mozzarella)
1 small tub of creme fraiche (sour cream ok)

mix together into a creamy sauce, spread over the pizza crust

thin slices of ham
leeks (sauteed briefly in butter)
fresh mushroom slices

bake like a normal pizza.

drizzle with garlic olive oil. serve. it would also be very good with a salad of rocket and marinated artichoke hearts on top. super crispy, thin crust is a key to this recipe. i have a good recipe at home, but can't remember it off the top of my head. will post it later.

i just ate this at a strangely posh food place in the mall. i say strangely posh because mall food generally isn't that posh. the place was called bølgen & moi food garage, which isn't a particularly posh name. perhaps it only seemed posh because norway is so expensive. actually, it was really good and definitely wasn't the usual mall food.

fish on prozac

so yesterday, i had a conversation with my sister in which she described the depressive behaviour of her fish. yes. her fish. it's a betta. and he was lying listlessly on his side on the bottom of his fish bowl in a decidedly depressive manner. highly unfishlike behaviour. (why am i suddenly using british spelling?)

apparently, at my suggestion, she took him in to the bathroom with her while she had a bath. he was so happy to see someone else in water that he's apparently doing well now. she also gave him some kinderegg toys. and placed him in a lighter spot. so he's no longer lying sadly on the bottom of his bowl.

freak fish.

i hope she posts a picture of him here soon.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

they're trying to escape

these small crayfish in the boqueria market in barcelona were clearly trying to make their way back to their home! sabin loved watching them and we kept having to go back.

barcelona: the quick version

the broberg girls at gaudi's park güell in barcelona
  • even already on the plane, it was obvious that the entire pulse of barcelona was going to be different than denmark. noisy. fast. lively. happening.
  • our bags were the first 5 bags on the luggage belt. we saw this as a good sign.
  • people eat really late in spain. lines a mile long outside of restaurants at 11 p.m.
  • la sagrada familia--amazing. even more amazing because it's still a work in progress at 125 years. and it's more than a building. it's art.
  • cities which host the olympics reap great infrastructure benefits.
  • if you go into a bar called "london bar" in barcelona, it will have little or nothing to do with london.
  • street performers. statues, jugglers, magicians, an old guy balancing a football on his head, medusa, edward scissorhands, gorilla in a cage, some kids with a boom box and very little talent for dancing. enterprising souls, all of them.

we enjoyed it very much and would gladly go back soon.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

going off the grid

we're headed for barcelona tomorrow morning. although i'll have a computer along, i'm not going to hook it up to the big old giant huge vast ginormous internet while i'm there. i want to enjoy what i'm seeing. and i want to write about it in my jewel-toned fabric-bound journal with triplus fineliners in rainbow colors. and i want to go offline. decouple myself from the matrix. but i shall surely share all of my impressions when i return. which will be sometime midweek next week.

in the meantime, keep cooking and keep blogging.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

fabulous recipe for you to try

on the heels of the energizing juice that i made and drank this afternoon, and thereby regained my strength, i invented a recipe when i made dinner tonight. i hereby present it and will attempt to make it dummy-proof! you must try it out on our parents while you're there.

creamy lemon pasta sauce

1 small onion, diced
handful of mushrooms, sliced (i had probably 7-8 left of a package from the other day)
1 good glug (or large wine glass) of white wine
1 healthy spoonful of mustard (grainy, like we used for the sausage dish)
juice of ½ a lemon
½ pint of cream (that's the small one, right?)
handful of grated cheese (preferably prima donna, but a gouda or cheddar would be ok)
handful of finely chopped ramsløg--you'll never find these, as they grow in the forest here--they are a fragrant, mild wild garlic that you use the leaves of. you can use a couple of cloves of garlic and chop some parsley or add some fresh thyme for some flecks of green color

sauteé the onions and mushrooms in some olive oil until the onions start to go soft and the mushrooms look a little bit browned.

then, add a glass of white wine and the mustard let it bubble quite vigorously until some of the liquid boils off. add the cream and the lemon and let it bubble until it thickens a bit. you can help the thickening a bit by grating in some nice cheese (i used our favorite salty prima donna)

in the meantime, boil some pasta (i assume that you can do this, so i don't have to explain).

i served it with homemade chicken strips--small bits of chicken breast turned in egg and cracker crumb and fried in a pan with sunflower oil until golden brown. i actually did them in the pan first, then set them in the oven to stay warm while i used the pan for the sauce, so the sauce had the bits of the chicken cracker crumbs in it as well.

you can turn the pasta in it before serving and to get the pasta well-coated.

it was lemony and garlicky and just delicious. unfortunately, i didn't photograph it...

this day will not be so blah

after feeling so totally blah yesterday, i decided to spend a little time looking for inspiration this morning. and i found this cool project and this one or even this one. they're actually all from the same very cool crafty blog--bookhou baby. and it looks like they are pretty much all projects that you can do with crafty kids!

i also really love these. i have to go scrounge the second-hand shops and find some old scrabble sets so i can make my own variation of it. maybe painting in tiny format would help me not feel so overwhelmed by the expanse of canvas.

there are lots of people out there making very cool, very small canvases. sabin did a regular production of them when she came to painting class with me the other day. maybe that would be good. the link here uses all kinds of fun stuff...pretty paper, printing, painting--to make a groovy little bitty collage. i think i need to try that. but i might really NEED one of those gocco machines.

april 1

the house is totally done! all we have to do is paint and move our stuff in! yippee!!