A new way to entertain yourself!

Food, Lifestyle

I love using old things to make new things, so this was such a fun project!
Life these days are definitely weird. Besides those who are still fortunate to be able to work, I feel like everyone is doing the same things; cleaning and organizing their home & cars, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, having a Netflix marathon (possibily for the second time around!), cleaning out their closets, or going for walks outside in fresh air. And while it certainly feels good for a while, you get tired of that eventually and that’s when you need to find new ways to entertain yourself. I recently decided to clean out our home office and found a big pile of old Shape Up magazines laying around. All of them contained recipes I would love to try out, I therefore decided to make a “homemade diy-cookbook” using all the recipes in the magazines. This is a great way to clean up your space while taking advantage of the things you already have and want to use (in my case, the recipes). If you’re looking for a new way to entertain yourself these days, give this one a try!

Things you need;
A big pile of old magazines (preferably with content you can use for your project) – clean white paper sheets – a scissor – a glue stick – a folder.

So many delicious recipes including smoothie bowls, raw brownies, waffles, pancakes, delicious desserts, fruit platters, juices, and enchiladas.. I’ll definitely try them all! 😊

The perfect left-over lunch!

Food, Lifestyle

If you’re looking for a new way to make your lunch, look no further!
A couple of days ago, I was looking through my fridge to get some ideas for lunch.. I had some leftover potatoes from a previous dinner and lot’s of vegetables that was borderline going bad, so I decided to be a little creative in order to avoid throwing away food. Paired with a fresh sliced piece of bread and a couple of eggs for protein, this turned out to be a easy, but delicious lunch!

Ingredients
2 eggs – 3 hard boiled potatoes (cooled off), 1 slice of whole-wheat bread – a handful of red pepper – a small handful of green onion – cucumber

Directions
It can’t get any easier than this; cut potatoes and all the vegetables into pieces and fry in a pan with a little butter, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside and make the eggs in a pan. Cut cucumber (or any vegetables you want on the side!) in pieces and pair with bread + butter.
Tomatoes, avocado and feta cheese are also great options as sides.

Enjoy!

Homemade creamy tomato soup with fresh basil

Food

One of my goals for 2020 was to eat more plant based and yesterday I decided try out a vegetarian recipe. I made the most delicious, rich, creamy homemade tomato soup with fresh basil and loads of garlic.. 🧄🍅🧅 I’m telling, this is the real deal! 💥 Made from scratch and filled with good nutrients, it’s also cheap and super easy to make – so there’s no reason not to try it!

In case you’d like to try it (which you should!), here’s what you need;

Ingredients (4 persons)
4 eggs – 1 large white onion – 2 cloves of garlic – olive oil – 4 tbs tomato pure – 2 boxes of chopped tomatoes with garlic – 5 dl water – 1 cube vegetable broth (dissolve in hot water) – 3 dl cooking creme – fresh basil – freshly ground sea salt & pepper

Directions
Boil the eggs in 8 minutes, cool of in cold running water and set aside. Chop onion and garlic and fry in a cast iron pot (I have this one from Le Creuset) with olive oil until golden. Add tomato pure and stir for one minute. Add vegetable broth, cooking cream and chopped tomatoes, bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes on medium heat. Chop a handful of fresh basil and add to the soup, season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper. Use an immersion blender to puree your soup.

I served with hard boiled eggs and toasted bread with olive oil & cheese.. Enjoy!

10 easy ways to help the environment ♻️

Food, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

I’ll be the first one to admit that I haven’t been particularly concerned with the challenges related to the climate, environment, and our planet in the past, but it’s something I”m slowly becoming more aware of. There is a Norwegian saying that goes as follows “Not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something” and I really believe there is something to it. Require everyone to become vegan overnight is not only unattainable, but also unrealistic. If you want to make some changes, start small. The first thing you have to do, is to change your mindset – do what you want and can, not what others ask of you. You’ll never be able to please everyone anyway.
I have personally made some small changes in my life to approach this problem and it’s feel good!

“Going green” is easier than you think and taking care of our planet is not only a responsibility, but a privilege. If you need inspiration to get on track, here are some easy ways to help the environment;

♻️ Walk or ride a bike when possible
If you can walk or ride instead on driving a car, do it. It will not only make a change in terms of the environment, but you’ll also get some fresh air and your daily steps in as well – it’s a win-win for everyone!

♻️ Invest in an electric car
If you depend on a car and drive a lot, I would suggest investing in an electric car.
We invested in a BMW i3 a couple of years ago, which is one of the best investments we’ve made. It doesn’t only make a change in terms of climate, but also saves us money in the long run, respite have a second car loan.. No more gas money or toll road payments!

♻️ Bring reusable shopping bags to the store
When grocery shopping, bag it yourself! Before you head to the store next time, make sure to bring a reusable shopping bag with you (you can buy them almost everywhere). This is one of the best efforts to reduce plastic. A major shout-out to the Norwegian grocery store chain Coop for their initiative to reduce the use of plastic with 25 % by 2025 – they sell reusable shopping bags to it’s customer for 10,- NOK ($1), and every time you bring them to the store, they will refund 1,- NOK ($.10).

♻️ Pick up garbage outside
“Plogging” is a concept combining picking up trash outside while walking/jogging.
Next time you go for a walk outside, bring a bag to pick up trash outside. I’ve made a habit of doing this whenever I go for a walk and I have never had a problem with filling up a bag full of garbage, unfortunately. So people, stop throwing your trash on the ground – not cool!

♻️ Understand expiration dates
Buying products with short expiration dates will definitely save you money in the long run. An important note, is that the “best before date” doesn’t necessarily means “bad after”. However, there are some exceptions where you should be more careful such as meat (products), chicken, and certain dairy products.

♻️ Bring a reusable water bottle
I can’t remember the last time I bought a plastic water bottle/coffee cup.
I invested in a solid reusable water bottle a long time ago and I use it every day, whether it’s at work, going to the gym, it’s filled on my nightstand before I go to bed, or if I’m in my car. The tap water in Norway is so fresh, cold and clean, so there’s no reason to buy bottled water. I also bought a take-away coffee cup that I try to bring with me whenever I’m buying coffee. I always buy iced latte that usually comes in plastic cup, so this is a great way to cut back on plastic.

♻️ Recycle your trash
Sort and recycle your trash is not hard at all, so there is no reason not to do it.
In Norway our recycling and waste system is pretty easy; every home has different colored bins for your waste and it’s divided into bio waste, paper waste, plastic waste, glass & metal waste, and a separate bin for the remaining waste.
Hazardous and electrical waste can be returned for free to recycling stations or shops that sell electrical products. Bottles & cans can be returned in most supermarkets and you can choose if you want to get money back, or donate the money to charity.

♻️ Buy second-hand instead of new when possible
Buying second-hand has never been more popular! While it might be tempting to always buy the newest and latest, a pre-owned version will often offer the same good value (depending on what you buy of course). I will avoid buying certain things used for safety’s sake (e.g. car seats, bike helmets, personal items, etc), but I have found some great items at a flea market for a super cheap cost. Read more about my best flea market finds here. Buying second-hand will not only save you money, but you do something for the environment as well!

♻️ Grow your own food when possible
And we’re not talking about a vegetable garden her (even though you can do that if you have the space and will to put in the effort), but start small. If you have the space for potted plants, a mini herb garden with fresh herbs such as chives, rosemary, thyme, basil and mint are good options. Try growing your own strawberries in a pot or hanging basket, as strawberries are one of the best fruits to grow in a container. You can also plant a fruit tree/bush. While it might take some time to see the final produce, but how nice would it be to pick apples, pears, plums, raspberries, and redcurrant from you own garden?!

♻️ Focus on minimizing food waste
Meal prep, learning to love leftovers, and cooking big portions are all great ways to minimize food waste. Before grocery shopping for the upcoming week, take a look in you fridge to keep track of the ingredients you have. If you have vegetables that are borderline going bad, why not make a stir fry? Or grilled vegetables? Maybe a chicken salad? If apples or bananas are going bad, make a delicious apple cake or a delicious banana bread with chocolate chunks. The options are many!
Few people wants to eat the same thing for dinner five days in a row, but throwing away reminders of last night’s meal just to avoid boredom isn’t the most eco-friendly option. Instead, try getting creative in the kitchen and use your leftovers to cook a new meal.

Have you made any changes in your left to help the environment? If not, it’s time to step up the game! ♻️👏🏼🙂

Interesting links from around the web #11

Food, Lifestyle, My Bucketlist, Travel, Wellness

6 science-backed ways exercise benefits the body and brain

I’m definitely trying this luscious, flavor-packed, rock-your-face-off vegetarian tortilla soup.

A cat’s purring is a much more complicated for of communication than we’ve assumed

18 things we learn about Taylor Swift in her documentary Miss Americana (which you should watch, it’s really good!)

Five great Interrail itineraries across Europe

Loooove this Wool Blend Wrap Coat in the color pebble!

Quaint small towns, beautiful beaches, adorable lighthouses, and even a few fabulous cities; this is the 21 best places to visit in New England

The best theme party ideas actual party planners could think of

I love this article on a shared-workspace concept (if you’re interested and in New York, you can join here!)

New goal = to eat more vegetarian food 🌱

Food, Lifestyle

One of the things I promised myself last year, was that 2020 was going to be the “year of change”. I believe change is good for all of us on any arena in life and one of the changes I want to incorporate this year, is to eat more plant based. I know I’m not getting my recommended daily dose of greens (5 a day), so this is a great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet. Humans are creatures of habit and implementing big changes takes time, it’s therefore important to start small – and I’m starting next week! 🙂

Vegetarian Inspiration via Gabby

One element thats necessary to succeed is planning; I need to plan meals in advance, so I know what to make for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I wrote down some my favorite meals and to my surprise, removing the meat (that was just a small part of the meal), made it easy to make a vegetarian version. I decided to write down 10 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks (to have some options at hand) and in case you need some inspiration, here’s my full menu;

Breakfast
1. Homemade granola with milk, raisins, chia seeds and apples
2. Port ridge with favorite topping (berries, nuts, syrup, peanut butter)
3. Grilled cheese sandwich with oregano & tomato
4. Whole grain bread with favorite spread (homemade egg salad, cheese & tomato, hard boiled eggs, avocado and salt & pepper)
5. Smoothie bowl with favorite topping (fruit, nuts, seeds)
6. American pancakes with favorite topping (fresh fruit, sugar, maple syrup)
8. Avocado toast with cherry tomatoes, salt & pepper
9. Breakfast waffles with favorite spread (butter, cheese and red pepper)
10. Omelette with a side salad, feta cheese and whole grain bread

Lunch
1. Omelette with a side salad, avocado, and whole grain bread
2. Lentil tortilla soup with cheese
3. Salad of your choice (load with whatever you want!)
4. Quesadilla (cheddar cheese, red onion, bell peppers, black beans)
5. Egg fried cauliflower rice
6. Caesar salad with croutons
7. Bean and rice burritos with sour cream
8. Grilled panini with basil aioli and red pepper
9. Skillet-baked eggs with potatoes, peppers and onions
10. Wraps with butter, rucola, eggs and salt

Dinner
1. Red curry with vegetables and rice
2. Tagliatelle pasta with creamy pesto, mushroom and Parmesan
3. Homemade tomato soup with fresh mozzarella & basil
4. Wok with egg noodles and sweet chili/soy sauce
5. Spanish tapas (potatoes baked in oven, salsa, brie cheese, salad, green beans in sea salt, manchego cheese, caprese salad, grilled asparagus, focaccia, homemade aioli)
6. Burrito bowl with taco seasoned beans
7. Loaded baked potato (spicy butter, corn, cheese, dressing, scallions
8. Pizza (with your favorite topping!)
9. Chili con Carne with Crème Fraîche & bread
10. Tortellini with pesto and roasted vegetables

Snacks/Desserts
1. Banana bread with dark chocolate and walnuts
2. Yogurt with fresh fruit and grated chocolate
3. Cottage cheese, apples and cinnamon
4. Granola bars with dried nuts & chocolate
5. Guacamole and nacho chips
6. Ice cream and fresh berries
7. Crudités platter with homemade hummus
8. Chocolate covered almonds
9. Edamame beans with sea salt
10. Herb-baked pita chips and tzatziki

Are you a vegetarian? And do you have any favorite recipes? 🙂 🌱

The most thoughtful gift from a friend

Food, Lifestyle, My Bucketlist, Travel, Wellness

Buying gifts for family and friends is a thoughtful way of showing how much you care. One thing I’ve noticed, is that many people are concerned with the cost and the size of the gift, like it’s always supposed to be great and expensive.. Why is that? I think that personalized and thoughtful gifts, regardless of how big and expensive they are, are the best gifts one can give and receive.. A couple of days I got a gift from a childhood friend. We’ve been friends for as long as I can remember and we know each other well. This gift is a proof that she truly knows who I am and what I appreciate. It’s one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received! 🙂

It was a fill-in Bucketlist book for 2020!

There was a page with different Bucketlist genres, including creativity, adventure, body + health, family + friends, financial, love, career, self-improvement, food + drinks, travel, top secret and other.. A great way to get some inspiration!

The fill-in pages were great for reflection. One the first page, you’re supposed to fill it what you do, why you want to do it, who you want to do it with (if that’s the case), what has stopped you before, how to make it happen and how you expect it to be. On the second page, you fill in what you did (when, where, with, and how), what you learned, how it made you feel, the best part of the experience, and if you would do it again.. Such a cool concept!

The first thing I noticed when I opened the book, was a greeting written by my friend. The sweetest words about our friendship + she threw me a challenge (which I always love, hehe).. You gotta love thoughtful gifts like this! ❤

What’s the sweetest gift you’ve received or given to someone?

Pancakes with apples and maple syrup

Food, Lifestyle

I love pancakes any day and yesterday was no exception! 🥞🍏🍯 Today after work I was in the mood for something delicious that would satisfy my sweet-tooth, so I decided to make some thick, fluffy American pancakes.. I topped it with apples and maple syrup – so simple, yet so delicious!

In case you want to try them (which you should!), here’s what you need;

Ingredients (2 persons)

2 eggs – 2 1/2 dl milk – 3 dl flour – a pinch of salt – 2 tbs melted butter – 1 1/2 tbs baking soda

Directions

This recipe is super easy with two steps only; beat the eggs into a bowl, add milk and melted butter (remember to cool off before adding into the mixture). Mix flour, baking sofa and salt in a bowl, add dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Set aside batter for 10 minutes before making the pancakes, as this will give you the most delicious, thick and fluffy pancakes.. Use medium heat to avoid burning them (have patience). Top with whatever topping you’d like and enjoy!

Ps; for delicious pancake topping ideas, check out this link! 🥞🍏🍯🍓🥓 🍫🍌 🥑

My personal goals for 2020!

Food, Lifestyle, My Bucketlist, Travel, Wellness

Christmas and new years is over, we already hit January 6th, which means it’s time to focus on this years goals! I’ve always been a big fan of creating a Bucketlist and setting goals for myself. While many people hate it, to me, it symbolizes a fresh start with an opportunity to make a change. I do believe the reason people often oppose it, it because they often feel a sense of disappointment if they fail the goals they set for themselves. The key is therefore not to drop everything called goals and resolutions, but maybe shift your perspective and set more attainable goals for yourself.. Because there’s nothing better when you reach one of your goals and can check it off your list! 🙂

Here’s my personal goals & resolutions for 2020;

Self-Improvement
I’m a person that likes to grow and constantly seek ways to improve and become a better version of myself and what I do. I think that’s important for all human beings, because who doesn’t want to be the best version of themselves? 🙂
I want to focus more on self-improvement in 2020. I want to challenge myself more and look into getting a group exercise certification. I’ll also continue to volunteer for the non-profit organization I joined last year. With busy lives (which I know first hand!) it can be hard to find time to volunteer, but it all comes down to priorities and passion. The benefits of volunteering can be enormous, both for yourself and other individuals. To offer vital help to people in need, the community or worthwhile causes dear to your heart can truly make a great change. I experienced this first hand when I was so lucky to meet individuals in need; the feeling when they hugged me, eternally grateful after receiving food on the table and presents to open, can not be described. I can’t emphasize it enough; if you can find the time to volunteer for a cause dear to your heart, do it!

Continue to work towards a more stable financial situation
Achieving financial independence is something most of us work towards every single day. From experience, it doesn’t take much effort to make small changes that will make a great impact, but it definitely takes patience, dedication and some sacrifice.
A couple of changes we’ve made so far that’s made a big impact on our financial situation is; starting to shop for christmas presents early (I got such good bargains, but great gifts!), pay attention to different offers at the grocery store and stock up on items you use a lot, and maybe the most important thing of all; sell all the things you don’t use. I went through our stuff in our apartment, basement and attic, sorted everything we don’t use and sold it. All the money I make off of selling things I no longer use goes directly into our holiday savings account. We’re currently saving for an upcoming family trip to Thailand, so this addition of money comes in handy! My financial goals for 2020 is to pay of my credit card, save a total of 50 000,- on my BSU account (savings for buying a home), and add extra money into my retirement account. Once we’ve hit a more stable financial situation, I want to start saving for a trip to travel the world!

Continue the great investment in my overall health
There is nothing that makes me feel better than a great workout! It also feels good to look back at 2019, were I was able to keep a somewhat stable workout schedule throughout the year and I was able to challenge myself, which is something I’ll continue to do in 2020. I’ll continue going to yoga and focus more on mindfulness and meditation, mainly because I’ve become more aware of being present and it’s really important to me. I will forever cherish spin class as one of my favorite workouts, but I’ll also continue to focus on mobility & stretching, body pump and strength training. After undergoing a huge renovation, my gym does not only look amazing but also offers a new group exercise schedule with lot’s of new classes I would like to try out. I will also focus on spending a lot more time outside in fresh air!

Travel and see more of Norway
Since 2020 will be the year we’ll be working hard towards achieving a more stable financial situation, we have decided not to take any huge trips abroad. Instead, we’ll be seeing more of Norway and everything our beautiful country has to offer. It’s always been a goal of mine to see more of Norway, but let’s be honest – we always travel abroad (which I think is the case for most people). Last year I checked of a point on my Bucketlist and climbed Gaustatoppen, which was a great experience. This year I hope to climb Prekestolen and visit Stavanger, visit my sister in Arendal, visit Oslo to meet up with good friends, visit Kristiansand, spend days at seas in my in-law’s boat and hike outside in nature (we bought hammocks last year and I can’t wait to try them out!). Also, residing in Stavern (which is voted Norway’s best summer town several years in a row!) many great things are awaiting us this summer; hopefully many lazy days at the beach, walks along the coastal path, market days, celebration of my birthday, stand-up-paddle boarding, visiting the Citadel Island and Svenner Lighthouse, bike rides outside in fresh air, try out new restaurants, and spend quality time with family and friends. I don’t think we’ll have a problem keeping ourselves busy!

Do you have any goals sett for 2020? 🙂

Homemade Apple Jam

Food

Fall is the perfect season for apple picking and there are several ways to use them.. How about this homemade apple jam? With a golden color, sweet chunky texture and a hint of cinnamon, this apple jam is perfect on a slice of fresh bread, on top of your granola or maybe in a dessert..
Another big plus – it’s super quick and easy to make & almost free! 🙂

You can use any apples you want, but try to take advantage of the apples you can pick outside. If you don’t have an apple, tree don’t hesitate to ask someone that does, as many are happy that people use them instead of having to clean up tons of rotten apples from the ground..
It’s a win win for all!

Ingredients
A bucket of fresh apples (I used a 10 liter) – a splash of lemon juice – a pinch of cinnamon – 5 tbs of sugar

Directions
Fill a large bowl of water and add a splash of lemon juice. Peel and quarter all the apples, add them to the water as you work. The lemon water will prevent your apples of turning brown.

Add water, the apple peel and a splash of lemon juice into a big heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Stir regularly and let it simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Once done, remove and throw away the apple peel. The lemon/apple peel infused water is the base for your jam.

Add the apples to the pot, along with the sugar and boil for approximately 30 minutes until you get a thick, chunky texture. Remember to stir often and be careful, as the jam is very hot. Depending on how you want your jam (liquid or with chunks of apples in it) and how big your chunks of apples are, you might need a stick blender if you want a liquid texture. I personally prefer small chunks of apples in it. Add cinnamon and taste to at the end.

Cool off before pouring into clean, sterilized jars or food containers (make sure you can freeze them). Keep in refrigerator for up until 5-6 days.

Enjoy!