New Year’s Resolutions 2017

Happy New Year! 2016 was not the best one for me and I was so glad to start 2017. This year I’ll try to run a half marathon (again) and try to get that PhD I’ve been working on for so long. Here’s my overview of last year’s goals and my plans for the new one that just began.

Last Year’s Resolutions

Find my signature dishes.
Meat and spinach or butternut squah lazagna, fennel seed and parmezan chichen breasts with a light salad, pasta with basil homemade tomato sauce or pesto, omellette, apple/fruit crisp, fruit salad and chocolate brownies. Success.

Be present.
I was present, but not always. I still spend way too much time not being present. Fail.

Work smarter, not harder.
Actually the secret is to have a specific task list of what needs to be done when and follow it through. Also, I figured out that when I’m less productive, I should stop working alltogether and spend some time meditating or doing something else. It’s my brain’s way of telling me I need a break. Success.

Be punctual.
I was punctual 50% of the time. Need to try more, so fail.

Have (a moderate amount of) fun.
I had a more than moderate amount of fun and I’m quite happy about it. Success.

Be kind and gentle to myself. Accept myself.
In 2016, I went from my 2015 bossy self to someone who is “not sweet enough”. Then I stopped caring alltogether. It became a bit too much to become who others wanted me to be, so I stopped trying an I began accepting. I’ve been much better at it. I notice that I’m not justifying my choices anymore and I don’t feel the need to be accepted by anyone. Success (but don’t be surprised if you see this reappearing in next year’s resolutions).

This year’s resolutions

Become better in small talk. Beat the awkward silence. And for the love of Gods, become better at flirting.

Finish that PhD. Keep working smarter, not harder. No comments.

Be present and spend quality time with myself. I need more structure in my me-time. There are many things I like to do when I’m on my own and the first one seems to be waste time. But I’m much happier when I meditate, read a book, take a walk or take some good care of myself (I mean putting on body lotion and making my hair look nice, people).

Read 17 in 2017. I read 16 in 2016 and one of my goals for 2017 is to read through the books I own, donate the books I don’t want to read again or that I don’t like*

Be kind and gentle to myself. Accept myself. There’s still a lot of work to be done. Even though I’m doing a good job in general, sometimes I’m beating myself over things. As part of this resolution, I also want to not let myself get affect by other people’s mood or struggles. It’s great to be compassionate and understading, but it’s another thing to take someone else’s struggle and make it your own. That goes as well with other people’s stress. People feel better when they convey their own stress to others (somehow this is very applicable to bosses), but it is our own choice to accept it or be unaffected by it (and still do what we have to do but remain calm).

Be punctual. Is this the year I beat this beast?

Have fun. Or keep having fun, as much as needed and whenever needed.

your-list-2016

* I tend to steal books from other people’s bookcases, especially people I get romantically involved with. I’ve been also known to successfully flirt by giving one of the 16 books of 2016 to a guy I really liked instead of asking for his phone.

Christmas as an expat

It’s my fifth year of coming back home for Christmas and even though I’ve never spent Christmas day in Trondheim, I’ve lived here long enough to experience true Norwegian Christmas. Now, it’s all a mix in my mind, Greek and Norwegian traditions.

On celebration

Celebration, for me, is time spent with loved ones, making delicious food late at night, putting on a sparkly dress, fancy make up and high heels, drinking something special and making super loving toasts.

On Norwegian Christmas traditions

My favorite Norwegian Christmas traditions are julebord, baking gingerbread cookies and advent calendars. These are things that I never used to do in Greece. And while I still love, unboxing Christmas decorations, putting up a Christmas tree and singing Christmas songs while cooking dinner, these new traditions have gained a soft spot in my heart. Another good one is hanging Christmas stars on the windows. They make the whole country look festive.

On the one tradition I want to bring
to my own family’s Christmas celebration

My favorite part from a true Norwegian celebration is the part where after dinner, someone thanks for the food. The practice of giving a “takk for mat” (thanks for the food) speech is not something we do in my family, but it’s such a loving tradition. Acknowledging all the hard work that is involved in preparing a festive dinner (or any dinner for that matter) is the simplest way to show some love.

Oh, soon it’s Christmas once more…

Trondheim’s Christmas market

These are the darkest days of the year. With four and a half hour days and the weather alternating between snow and rain, we need all the coziness we can get here in Trondheim. This is why we need as many fairy lights we can get and the best Christmas market, not too big or too small, cozy and always filled with people.

Every year, I find some time to scroll through the food tent and taste whatever each seller has to offer. Then, I buy what has become my traditional Christmas butter, as a gift to my mother, to eat with flatbread (a traditional Norwegian bread) and jam, along with chocolate and confections. I love to take photos of everything that’s going on (even though winter light is horrible). In the end, I treat myself to some hot chocolate at Kafelavvo, while trying to breathe through all the smoke. If there’s one thing to love about Christmas in central Europe, Christmas markets must be it.

Christmas wishlist 2016

A bit late this year, I’ll keep up with this tradition and share some things I definitely don’t need, but would be nice to have this year. Just in case I know you in person and you don’t know what I’d actually like, coffee dates are at the top of the top of my list. And how sick are Strong tights?! They’re so on trend.

So, what did you ask for this Christmas?

* That’s actually what I bought for myself for Christmas. 🙂

10 things that made me happy: 11│2016

Christmas season just began in Trondheim and we’ve already started with Julebord and parties. The city looks so pretty in the dark with all the fairy lights and decorations. There has been some snow here and there and many rainy windy days. This fall I put my wellies in good use and I couldn’t be happier. It took me five winters to learn how to properly cope with the weather and I’m finally there. I’ve done a tiny bit of Christmas shopping already and also got myself a new, not that tiny, tattoo. Here’s what made it to my ten small things this month.

– Flip through this year’s Ikea catalogue

– Get my second (and last for now) tattoo

SKAM

– Discover new podcasts that I really like (nothing beats Serial though)

– Find solutions to simple everyday problems (like that upper back pain)

– Sleeping in proper pyjamas

– The smell of strong male fragrances in the street

– Time spent alone (with or without a book)

– Have a proper shower routine and put on lotion all over afterwards

– Beat eggs with sugar

I really can’t wait for Christmas…

Cooking through Jamie: 10 dinners

You may think I quit my cooking through Jamie challenge, but no, I didn’t. I’m going on strong with almost a third of the recipes left. I’ve learned a ton through the process and I really enjoy taking photos of whatever I make (there are few fails as well below). However, I’m no longer posting as often as I used to on the blog. There are a ton of recipes I’ve made lately, so today, here are ten of them, good and bad.

Jamie’s camembert parcels

Before I stopped eating cheese, which is quite recently, camembert was one of my favorites. Add to that a nice wintery salad with pomegranate and apple and you can have my heart. It’s no surprise this recipe was a huge hit for me.

camembert-parcels

It’s nothing substantial to have for dinner, but it’s a nice easy and fast lunch.

camembert-parcels4

Oh, and did I mention the berry sauce? So good!

camembert-parcels2

Highly recommended!

camembert-parcels1

Jamie’s moroccan mussels

Recipe #2 is all about seafood. I’m not a huge fan of mussels, unless I am in Brussels, where I have to order a big pot with french fries, no less.

jamie-moroccan-mussels

I bought my favorite Danish bread as a side and served that with some homemade tomato paste.

jamie-moroccan-mussels4

And a salad.

jamie-moroccan-mussels3

jamie-moroccan-mussels5

All in all, it was a good recipe, but I don’t like cooking mussels at home. They make me so stressed for some reason.

jamie-moroccan-mussels1

Jamie’s lamb kofte

Moving on to lamb. Lamb is not a very big hit in my household. However, this lamb recipe is the exception.

jamies-lamb-kofte

The kofte was super delicious. I made a mistake to mix the pistachios with the meat instead of adding the on top, but that was a minor one. I love them anyway.

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The other thing that was a big success was the couscous. It’s simpler than rice, since it doesn’t need cooking, just soaking and you’re ready to go.

jamies-lamb-kofte4

As for the salad, it was a very simple one that resembles a Greek salad, but not quite. Perfect match.

jamies-lamb-kofte5

All in all, this was easy, tasty and fast, as it should be. Will I make this again? Maybe. I’ll definitely try it with some other type of meat.

jamies-lamb-kofte6

Jamie’s mighty mackerel

Jumping onto fish, I have a huge confession to make. This was the first and only time I’ve ever bought a whole fish. To make this recipe happen, I had to call my father and ask for very specific instructions on how to clean up and prepare the fish. My father knows surprisingly much about food prep for someone who doesn’t cook. It worked.

jamie-mighty-mackerel

Mackerel is a very oily fish. It was served with quinoa, tomatoes and parsley.

jamie-mighty-mackerel1 Easy, simple, fast and healthy.

What’s not to love?

jamie-mighty-mackerel3

Jamie’s minestrone

So far so good, but what about a big failure?

jamie-minestrone

Yuck, yuck, yuck. Where to start? Well, that minestrone… I just hated that thing with all my heart. The chicken with the sauce was alright. Kind of.

jamie-minestrone3

Let’s just say, this recipe was a disappointment.

jamie-minestrone1

Jamie’s jerk pork

Pork, nice sauce, interesting salad. You have my attention now.

jerk-pork

This was one of the most delicious recipes I’ve tried from Jamie. Pork was perfect, the sauce was on point and these salad parcels were so cute.

jerk-pork-3

That’s a recipe I want to go back to.

jerk-pork-1

jerk-pork-4

Jamie’s Koh Samui salad

Now let’s move onto something Asian (I think).

jamie-koh-samui-salad

A salad with so many things inside should not be called a salad anymore. Seriously, there are 20 different ingredients in there, minus the shrimps that I forgot, because I am this lazy cook that chats on Facebook while cooking. Well, not all the time, just sometimes. OK, sue me!

jamie-koh-samui-salad2

All in all, I wasn’t really sold on this recipe. I guess tofu didn’t do anything good for it. It was just bland, which is such a bummer, because tofu can be delicious. Well, maybe if I hadn’t forgotten the shrimps, it would have turned out better, but I highly doubt it.

jamie-koh-samui-salad3

Jamie’s quick lamb tagine

Going back to lamb for a quick minute, this recipe is so good.

jamie-quick-lamb-tagine

Couscous plus vegetables plus delicious meat. You have me at hello.

jamie-quick-lamb-tagine1

This was a very filling recipe, that I loved to take with me the next day at work. I’ll be making this again soon.

jamie-quick-lamb-tagine3

Jamie’s broccoli pasta

I found this beetroot pasta in the supermarket and thought they’d work great as a basis for Jamie’s broccoli pasta and they did.

jamie-broccoli-pasta

Apart from the vibrant color, they were a nice interesting taste as well.

jamie-broccoli-pasta4

jamie-broccoli-pasta1

The salad was a typical one for me with arugula and avocado. Overall, this is a safe choice. There was no way this could have gone wrong.

jamie-broccoli-pasta3

jamie-broccoli-pasta5

Jamie’s grilled tuna

And tuna to finish off this collection of recipes.

Jamies-grilled-tuna

I don’t like fresh tuna. It’s heavy and just not my cup of tea, but I thought I’d give it a try. I can’t say this recipe changed my mind. Tuna is expensive and just not worth it for me. What can I say, I like salmon so much more. The salad, though, was so tasty. Toasted bread and everything. That I’ll be making again!

Jamies-grilled-tuna3

There you go. Ten recipes from Jamie’s cookbook. Have you tried any of his recipes? Some are a bit hit in my house..

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