10 things that make me happy: 09│14

things_make_me_happy-sept14 September went by so fast. These last two weeks the weather changed and now fall is here for good. I welcomed it with a cold that I am not sure I am completely over yet. This month I’ve been cooking a lot. From bread and crisps to savory and sweet tarts (a mushroom and a chocolate pear one), I’ve been spending some time in the kitchen preparing delicious food. Last month I asked what made you happy in August and you came up with all sorts of huge wonderful things: planning a wedding, falling in love and going on vacation. Today, I am going to share with you the small wonderful things that made me really happy in September.

- Skype calls with my friends

- Fall weather

- Dance tango in the living room (while I don’t have a clue about tango)

- Downton Abbey and House of Cards (how could I live without it?!)

- Spiced tea

- Freshly baked bread on a Saturday morning

- The fact that I got back to my regular yoga class

- Watch make-up and hair tutorials on YouTube

- French songs and this song on repeat

- Teach math

 What was the highlight of your month, big or small?

A successful attempt in baking bread

This was actually my first successful attempt in baking bread. My first attempt was over a year ago and ended up in a very dense and not so tasty loaf of bread. I was so scared to try it again after this fail, that it took me all this time building up the courage and finding the perfect recipe, this one.

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This bread is moist and has the perfect taste. It is full with pumpkin seeds, my favorite ones and is just as good, if not better, as the one I buy at the store. Well, it’s better, because it’s homemade and it makes the house smell so nice. It is also very simple to make, without any kneading necessary at all. The catch is that you need a dutch oven to bake it in. I bought mine last year on sale, just because my mother swears that it makes the best food. Even though it is an expensive piece of equipment, you can use it for years, so it made sense to me to invest in something that would make my food taste better. If you go high-end, you can always buy Le Creuset, but mine is from a Norwegian company and works fine.

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Back to the bread though. This recipe takes very little active time and minimal effort. Here it goes…

No-knead bread

Servings: 10. Preparation: 15 min. Cooking time: 50 min. Total time: 15-23 hours.

Recipe adapted from Trines Matblogg and Mat på bordet

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Ingredients:

  • 425 gr. all-purpose flour
  • 175 gr. whole wheat flour
  • 50 gr. pumpkin seeds
  • 50 gr. sunflower seeds
  • 25 gr. flax seed
  • 25 gr. sesame seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
  • 5 dl. lukewarm water
  • a pinch of sugar

Instructions:

  1. Mix 2 dl. of lukewarm water with sugar and dry yeast and stir the mixture until the yeast dissolves. Let it sit for 10 minutes. By then it should be bubbly. If not start again (and check the best before date on the package).
  2. While you wait for the yeast to be activated, measure and mix all the rest dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. When your yeast is activated, slowly add the dry ingredients on the yeast mixture and then add the rest of the water. Stir everything together, until you have a homogeneous dough. The dough should be slightly sticky, but not runny. If it is runny, add more flour.
  4. Cover the bowl with a lid and let it sit overnight in room temperature for 12-20 hours.
  5. Place a parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle with flour. Put the dough on the parchment paper and stretch and fold it once. If you’re not familiar with the technique this video summarizes it quite well.
  6. Lay it with the seam at the bottom on the parchment paper and cover it with a bowl. Let it sit for 1.5-2.5 hours.
  7. 30 minutes before you bake it, preheat your oven at 25o C and put the dutch oven on the bottom rack.
  8. Carefully take your dutch oven out of the oven and place the dough inside.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes at 250 C with the lid on. Then remove the lid and bake for 15-20 minutes at 225 C or until the bread gets a golden color.
  10. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool down on a rack.

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Enjoy this bread before it cools down completely. I ate mine for lunch last Saturday with some cream cheese, paprika, cucumber and avocado. Oh, and some cheese I brought home from Greece.

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My night routine

night-routine
Image via Pinterest.

Most of the time I go to bed before: 23.30.

The time it usually takes me to go to bed usually is: 10 minutes.

I can’t think of a better way to finish a day than: to have a warm shower.

When I want to pamper myself I: do some face exfoliation (using Seaweed Pore Cleansing Facial Exfoliator from The Body Shop) and then relax with a warming mask (I use the Warming Mineral Mask from The Body Shop). I love the feeling of really clean skin. Other times, I like to paint my nails.

My favorite drink before going to bed is: tea with spices and milk.

One thing I love is: my bedroom. It’s so cozy and warm. I feel more relaxed the moment I enter.

I tend to sleep in: either a black night gown from H&M or a random t-shirt.

The last thing I do before going to sleep is: to put on hand cream and some lip balm.

If I could change one thing about my night routine: I would spend more time relaxing before going to bed, instead of cleaning the kitchen and preparing for the next day.

ps. My morning routine.

The black backpack

One night last week, I was sitting alone at home, trying to get some work done and generally getting stressed. It’s always like that with me and stress. It comes whenever I have something important to do and manifests itself in several irrelevant ways. That night, it did in stomach cramps and online shopping.

Until now, I’ve been using an Ikea backpack and while I love how comfortable it is to carry a significant amount of heavy stuff in it, I hate the way it looks. I actually feel the same about most backpacks. They’re too sporty for my style and way too unisex. So I decided it was time to replace it with an equally practical, but more stylish one. I had been looking for this kind of backpack for a while now, online and in stores, but couldn’t find anything I liked. Until I saw this one…

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Image from Sincerely Jules.

A nice black leather backpack that looks luxurious! You can’t call it a bargain at $1100, but I liked the style, so that was progress. That night I decided, right then and there, to find a good alternative, buy it and then get back to work.* I was surprised with how many great options I could find. It turns out stylish backpack are in fashion. Here’s where that search got me (considering that I wanted a good quality backpack that can carry a lot of weight and is spacious enough for a 13′ laptop, my lunch and possible a pair of shoes), just in case you are looking for a similar one yourself.

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Mat & Nat CoachSANDQVISTEbay3.1 Phillip LimMCM

Some of them are quite expensive, like the 3.1 Philip Lim one and the MCM, but the rest is middle priced. I ended up buying the Mat&Nat one and then finished all the work I had to do and everything went back to normal. My backpack arrived yesterday and I am so happy with it. It fits my 13′ Macbook Air, my gym clothes, a bottle of water and my lunch and it’s way lighter than the Ikea backpack. How do you feel about backpacks? Is there a more stylish way to carry my computer to work and back (4 kilometers total)?

* We’re talking about serious procrastination issues here. It’s one thing to clean the house before doing any work, but online shopping?

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    • And mushroom tart for lunch.. #saturday #tart #food #fall
    • How about a chocolate pear tart for a Saturday morning? #tart #chocolate #food #saturday
    • Or maybe this? #dinner #thai #food
    • Wouldn't it be nice if I had some Thai food for dinner toningt? #thai #food #dinner
    • Fall is here to stay. #fall #rain
    • Saturday morning in Ladestien :) Maybe be weekend morning runs are the best thing in the world after coffee.. #running #trondheim #saturday
    • Sunday's colorful lunch: beetroots, potatos and carrots seasoned with oregano and thyme and dizzled with olive oil. #food #sunday #lunch
    • Homemade bread for today's lunch. Notice the cheese from Greece! It's going to last a looooong time.. #lunch #trondheim #food #saturday
    • Homemade bread #food #saturday
    • #dessert #nyfiken #food
    • Eating out #dinner #nyfiken #food
    • Eating out #nyfiken
    • Eating out #gingerale #nyfiken
    • My favorite boots #aldo #shoes
    • Late breakfast.. #food #breakfast
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