For July, I decided to randomly grab a book off of the shelf to be my summer reading for the month. The only way I knew this was going to work was by going to the… More
Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies tells the story of a single Mom Jane and her son Ziggy right after they relocate to a small beach town Pirriwee in Australia. Soon after the move Jane quickly befriends two women during a kindergarden orientation day for their children. As the book progresses, so does their friendship which leads to secrets, betrayal and internal struggles bubbling to the surface.
To be completely honest, I didn’t get through this book very quickly. Not because I didn’t like the story line or the characters but because I started it on my honeymoon and as soon as we got back I was jam packed with 101 things that took priority. I know what you are thinking, “What takes priority over YOU time?” Well, we moved houses and I got a new job – so “me” time had to wait. When I finally did pick up the book again, I can say with 100% confidence that I did not put it down. I think this is due to the fact that it keeps you guessing through out the entire 460 pages. The thing that really kept me going was the fact that you are following a police investigation but you are not sure exactly why or what is going to be the reason for the police to be involved. Only in the last couple of pages do you actually learn what the crime was and who committed it.
Overall, I would give this book 5 stars out of 5 and recommend anyone to read it (especially before the movie comes out in 2017)
Have you read any of Liane Moriarty’s books and if so which ones?
It’s lunchtime on this relaxing summer Sunday and I’m making my 5-minute tuna salad!
Servings: ~2 sandwiches
Total time: 5 minutes
- 1 can tuna
- 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon relish
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
Modify the ratios per your preference.
Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix. Spread the tuna salad on toasted bread and enjoy!
Add a slice of cheese and warm in the oven to make a delicious tuna melt, too!
It also goes great on crackers or with salt and vinegar chips!
What’s your go-to tuna salad recipe!? Leave a comment, I’d love to try it!
Someone once told me that when you go in to the doctor to take a stress test, the first three questions they ask you are, “1. Have you recently moved? 2. Do you have a new job? 3. Are you planning a large event?” It didn’t take me long to answer all three of them… yes, yes and YES! Within the past 3 months I have moved apartments, started a new job and got married – to top it all off… I also turned 30. My life has been utter chaos and for being a newly wed, my husband and I have not had a single chance to enjoy matrimony. That is why we decided that we need to get our shit back together and force ourselves to set a well balanced, daily routine now that we have moved and (almost) finished unpacking. That is why we decided it is time to start fresh, begin this married life together right and start a very new routine!
Can you remember the last time you had to start a new routine?
Creating a routine is never easy for anyone. Can you remember the last time you had to start a new routine? I bet you that it was difficult, frustrating, exhausting and down right despicable. At least that is how I remember having to start my last routine. So when my husband suggested we begin a new routine so we can try to get back to our energetic and happy lifestyle, we had to get back to the basics – I was scared to say the least. For days and weeks he has been trying his best to get me on board and I finally agreed this evening. In order to convince me that this miserable time would be worth it – but there is one caveat… I am going to record a every step of the journey. So here it goes…
You are probably thinking, “So what’s this ultimate, magical plan of yours?”
*side note: We have never done this before and this is not guaranteed to work*
That’s a great question – for the next 6 weeks, we will be selecting 1 aspect of our routine to nail down. But until it can get anymore complicated, we decided that to make a list and post it would make us accountable.
So here are 6 steps to create a well balanced household:
- Wake up at 6am every morning without hitting snooooooooooze
- Weekly meal prep to have 5 lunches and 5 dinners at our fingertips for the work week
- Work out 4 days a week – incorporating running in hopes of training for another half marathon
- Go to sleep by 11pm together every night
- Take one walk a day together with the dog
For the first week, we decided to go easy – we choose number 5, take one walk with the dog together every night. Fingers crossed!!
What kind of new routine have you recently started?
I love baking, but I don’t always like to make a large batches of 30+ cookies. Sometimes I’ll half the recipe, but this time I decided to make three variations of the same cookie and test out a few different flavors. Genius, no?
Using an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe as the base (Adapted from Liv for Cake), I made oatmeal chocolate chip, oatmeal coconut white chocolate chip, and oatmeal almond with cranberries honey and sea salt.
Servings: ~45 cookies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp sea salt (½ tsp if added ingredients do not include salt)
- 1 cup butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2½ cups rolled oats
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
White Chocolate Coconut
½ cup white chocolate chips
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Almond with Cranberries Honey and Sea Salt
- ½ cup of Sahale Snacks (one snack size bag)
Note: Feel free to substitute with your own flavors! I just opened my pantry, saw what I had and gave it a try!
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on med-high until pale and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes).
- Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition, and beat on high for 1 minute. Add vanilla.
- Turn mixer to low and add flour mixture, mix until combined.
- Add oats. Mix until just combined.
- Divide batter in thirds and put in separate bowls.
- Add your flavors into each bowl. Mix until combined.
- Chill dough in the fridge for ½ hour to an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment
- Using your hands, roll dough into 1-inch balls (or use a small cookie scoop). Place cookies on baking sheet 2-inches apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned, but the center is still soft and slightly unset.
- Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and I encourage you to look in your pantry and see what you can make.
P.S. The coconut white chocolate ones were my favorite!
What’s your favorite cookie flavor? Leave a comment, I’d love to try it!
Sometime you just want to drink a piña colada by the pool!
Here is my simple recipe for the perfect, creamy piña colada! 🍹
- 1.5 – 2 cups ice
- 5 oz. piña colada mix
- 2 oz. of rum
- 1/2 of a banana
- Put all the ingredients in a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour into your favorite cup.
Date: May 10th, 2016
Weight: 136.4 Lbs (-3.6 in two weeks, -39.6 overall)
Left-over points from last week: -19 active points left over (I blame it on the new job… makes an easy out LOL)
It’s Sunday evening. The boyfriend and the cat are sitting on the couch. The sound of the San Francisco symphony plays in the background. I’m in the kitchen hand rolling energy balls. 😊
If you know me IRL or have been following my previous posts, you know that I love food and I love to eat. And if I do not get fed, I get hangry. That’s not good for anyone. 😂 Yet somehow, I forget to eat breakfast on work days. So, I decided to make energy balls to help correct this bad habit.
Many energy ball recipes can be found on my Pinterest board, yet I’ve never made them before. I read a few recipes to get inspired, then raided my pantry and picked up a few things from the market.
Servings: ~16 bite sized balls
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
- 15 mission figs (pitted)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 3/4 cups oats
- 1/2 cup toasted sweetened coconut (3/4 cup divided if you want to coat the outside with coconut too)
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp maple syrup
- Put figs in a food processor and pulsate until they are broken down. (My Magic Bullet worked great).
- Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until evenly blended. (Set aside 1/4 coconut if you’re coating the outside.)
When measuring peanut butter, spray the measuring cup and spatula with cooking spray (PAM). This makes it easy to get all the peanut butter out.
- Roll into ~16 balls.
- Roll the balls in the extra coconut to coat the outside.
How to toast coconut
Toasting coconut is very simple, but it’s also easy to ruin.
Here’s what I do
- Set broiler to 400-degrees.
- Evenly spread coconut on to a cookie sheet.
- Place on top or middle rack. DO NOT WALK AWAY! If you have an oven light, turn it on and watch it.
- When it starts to brown (~2-3 minutes), use a spatula to spread it around / flip it over. Once the browning process it starts, it goes quickly!
- Give it another 30 second to 1 minute, then remove from the oven to cool.
Every oven is different, so make sure to keep and eye on the coconut because it burns very quickly. And believe me it does not smell like Hawaiian Tropic! lol.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and I encourage you to look in your pantry and see what you can make.
Do you have a go-to breakfast or afternoon snack? Leave a comment, I’d love to try it!
We arrived back in Oslo in the early afternoon. The bus ride from Gothenburg took about 3 hours, a nice drive through Sweden’s country side. Our hotel, the Hotel Christiania Teater, was located in the city center, close to city hall and the harbor. The room had a luxurious feeling with an orange and gold florentine pattern lining the wall, heated floors in the bathroom and a waterfall shower. Our location provided a lovely view of the city square and the national theater.
We took the tram to Vigeland Park, a large park filled with “Gustav Vigeland’s lifework with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron.” The centerpiece is Monolith, a pillar comprised of 121 figures—visible when you first step into the park. Hundreds of figures lined the paths the spacious park, many in expressive shapes and postures.
We walked back to the hotel just as the rain was starting to fall. In need of a Chinese fix, we went to Honsan for dinner. When you want in the door you feel like you have either walked into a night club or a spa. The lights are blue and purple and the sound of trickling water creates a sense of calm. The plump laughing Buddha makes me smile as I walk to our table seated next to the fish pond which provided entertainment as we awaited our food.
After we felt satisfied and awake, we walked down to the harbor to catch the Bygdøyfergene to the museums. Getting off at the first stop, Dronningen, we trekked through the rain to the Viking Ship Museum, about a 10 minute walk. The Viking ships stood tall and noble in the open space. The dark wood and elegant curves creating dramatic shadows on the walls. Across the atrium space is a room filled with Viking treasures to admire.
When you walk in there is a massive ship, The Fram, whose body was taller than the three levels of the museum! A tour bus had just dropped off a large group of people, so we decided to bypass them and come back to the ship later.
Museum tip: If it’s crowded at the entrance of a museum or exhibit, go to the end and work your way back.
While the ship’s massive scale was impressive in and of itself, the attention to detail throughout the museum was remarkable. The lunch tables were little cabin nooks with pictures on the walls and a window looking out at various moving scenes, such as the Northern Lights. Plopping you right into a cozy little rugged Norwegian setting. There were several interactive games and displays; you could test out your sled-pulling strength, look for the constellations and more—fun for children and adults! Well-composed displays filled the other levels.
We were admiring the ship from the top floor when we saw someone moving from within. We quickly discovered you could board the ship!
I inhaled, breathing in the smell of the old, weathered wood. Inside, each cabin displayed memorabilia of the explorers. There was a kitchen, piano, phonograph, velvet couch and old photographs hanging on the walls. You could start to imagine life on the boat during their polar expeditions.
After we explored the ship, we thought we had seen everything. Then we caught glimpse of a old school horror-style poster that read “must see ice mummy!” The wall looked like a large wooden shipping container, like something you’d see at a Halloween haunted house. We pushed the button to open the door. You walk into a very small space where you push another button. When that door opens you start to feel the cold air. The walls look of ice. The deeper you go, the colder it gets. You see the frozen ice mummies along the walls as you meander through the ice tunnels.
With the rain still falling, we took the ferry back to the city harbor. We walked back towards the hotel, and stopped in at a gallery I had seen the night before.
The artist on exhibit was, Trond Bredesen, whose illustrations can be found on food packaging, book covers, posters, Christmas Coke print ads, board games, you name it. His work was impressive work to say the least and a dream for any graphic artist!
For our last dinner in Oslo, we went to Prima Fila and Italian restaurant around the corner from our hotel. Neither the meal service were that notable, but the pasta did the job.
Norway is an expensive country and Oslo certainly lives up to that, so be aware of pricy dinners, souvenirs and shopping. The harbor is beautiful, take time to walk along the water and admire the ships. The Fram museum is a must! Vigeland park is worth the visit and a perfect place for a picnic if it’s a nice day. Check out the other things I did in Oslo in my first post of the series.
Follow @enjoisundae on Instagram and see where I’m off to next!
Gothenburg was on our itinerary, but we hadn’t booked anything yet because we didn’t know if we would want to stay in Copenhagen, go to a different city, or what. That morning, we even briefly considered catching a flight to London and spending the rest of our trip there as that’s where our layover heading back would be anyway. But we decided to stick to the plan and head to Sweden.
We took a late morning train from Copenhagen to Gothenburg. I slept the whole way as I woke up feeling sick. The hotel we booked, The First Hotel G, was conveniently and oddly enough located in the train station. Pretty nice hotel with a gym, sauna and free breakfast (my favorite).
I was still feeling a bit sick, so we went for a mild dinner at an Italian restaurant, Joe Farell’s, where I got a basic Caesar salad. Then I went back to the room for a little r&r.
The next morning we headed out to the museums. We went to the Stadsmuseum where there was a Viking exhibit and an awesome temporary exhibit on Swedish music. We purchased the Museum Discount Card which gives you entrance to five museums for the price of one museum ticket entrance (Skr 40, about $5 USD). The museums included are: Stadsmuseum, Konstmuseet, Röhsska Museet, Sjöfartsmuseet and The Naturhistoriska Museet. You can buy it at any of the museum ticket offices.
The Swedish music exhibit was pretty sweet. There were drums and other instruments to rock out to, album covers lining the walls and band memorabilia, including that of one of my 90s favorites Ace of Base. I put on the headphones that hung from the wall and was briefly transported back to middle school, sitting on my bed listening to my cassette player.
There was also a room where you could pick a dance style and you were supposed to try and do it, kind of like DDR! I was not very successful at breakdancing. 😆
The Konstmuseet was a wonderful art museum with a large variety of works including some of my favorites Matisse, Van Gogh, Picasso, Braque and Monet.
I was fixated by this piece for a good few minutes. I wish I had recorded more of it. The artist is Daniel Von Sturmer.
And I found this random unicorn in a painting quite tickling.
Our tummies were starting to grumble, so we set out to look for some Swedish meatballs, which was not an easy feat! We walked to Smaka which apparently has “top notch Swedish meatballs (husmanskost)“, but it was closed for lunch. We circled back to another restaurant, no luck. Then we walked to another area of town in hopes of meatballs and found Saluhallen, a covered market with food stalls and we found exactly what we were looking for!
The stall we eat at was Kåges Horna. We got the meatballs and the soup of the day (a creamy shrimp soup). They hit the spot. The lingonberries are what made the dish for me! They added a sweetness and tartness that cut the heaviness of the gravy and meat.
We went in a few shops, then walked to Skansen Kronan, a fortress on a hill in the Haga district to get a view of the city. We saw what we thought was a path in the woods that looked like it lead to a paved path. Though it was muddy from the rain, we thought we’d take this shortcut as the beginning of the path was not in our line of sight. We ended up scaling the muddy hill all the way up. 😂
After the mini hike, went back to the hotel to relax a little, look for a place to get seafood for dinner and escape the hail.
It was rainy, cold and damp when we headed out to dinner, so despite our streak of walking everywhere despite the weather we decided to take a cab the 8 minute drive to dinner. Big mistake! The short cab ride cost $30, nearly 1/2 the cost of our dinner (it probably would have been $50, but the driver paused the meter for whatever reason thank goodness! Maybe he heard my grumbling in the back seat.🙊 )
Travel tip: Walk or take public transportation. It’s the easiest way to save money, get exercise and explore areas you might not have otherwise discovered.
Sjöbaren had a modern, refined wharf atmosphere. We were seated upstairs where it was quiet. We ordered a lobster appetizer and I had the small plate of shrimp for my main course. The waiter was very pleasant and accommodating, he even asked the kitchen to grate some fresh horseradish so I could make my own cocktail sauce. Now that is good service!
My shrimp were little and delectable, tasting different than American shrimp with a slight lobster texture and taste.
The star of the meal with the dessert, princesses cake (prinsesstårta in Swedish). Ever since I saw it on The British Baking Show I had to find it and try it. It’s presentation was modern and lovely. It consists of it’s classic layers of cake, raspberry jam, the iconic green marzipan, and whipped cream. Scrumptious indeed! I would have licked the bottom if I could, but unfortunately it was a small jar. 😂
Gothenburg is a nice city with lots museums and culture to explore. Make sure to find some classic Swedish dishes and seafood. Whatever you do, don’t take a cab, it’s too expensive!
Stay tuned for my last stop back to Oslo. Follow @enjoisundae on Instagram for sneak peeks and more!
We landed in Copenhagen in the late afternoon, and took the train from the airport into the city. Our hotel, the First Mayfair, was only a few blocks away from the train station. We dropped off our bags and set off to explore the city.
It was quite chilly and windy, but the forecast said rain, so we wanted to take advantage of the weather. I’ve never seen so many bikes! Everyone bikes in Copenhagen, which is awesome, but I don’t know how they do it in the dreadful weather! I wanted to, but it looked to cold and miserable to me.
We decided to walk towards Freetown Christiania, stopping in a few design stores on the way.
After some meandering through side streets to get there, we soon came to a large graffiti fairy wall and knew we were in the right place.
There are no photos allowed in Christiania, so I’ll do my best to paint a picture for you.
Before you go in there is a sign that reads:
There are only 3 rules in the green light district.
- Have fun
- Don’t run it causes panic
- No photos — the buying and selling if hash is still illegal.
The first thing that came to mind was Skatopia, if you’ve ever heard of that place or seen the documentary. There is graffiti everywhere, which I wish I could have taken photos of. There was a warehouse style skatepark with Alice and Wonderland characters graffitied on the front. There were stalls lining the walkway selling “super pot” and food. There was also a stall with free donated clothes for people to pick through. Loud club music played in one area.
As we walked into a small park area there was rock graffitied with the statement “Only freedom is holy.” A little further in, there was an shirtless older man swinging his arms around his body, as if he were doing some kind of spiritual ritual. (Mind you, it was very cold out.)
Other groups in their teens and 20s hung out eating pizza, brownies and just chillin’. We passed some abandoned buildings, which probably housed some “residents” of Freetown, beat up bikes and junk piles then we reached the end and walked out onto a street next to a stream. That was it.
Not sure if it was the weather combined with the grungy atmosphere but it felt kind of sad to me. Nonetheless, glad I saw it. Maybe it’s nicer in the spring? 😁
It started to rain and we were getting hungry. Walking away from Christiania and down some side streets we found an old world kind of restaurant Restaurant Skindbuksen that has been around since 1728. It was dark and tavern-like. Paintings on the walls and ceilings. Just the place to eat on a damp, cold rainy night.
We ordered an appetizer of herring and I got veal liver as a main. It was delicious! (I love liver, so it wasn’t a random ordering item for me.)
The next day we bared the cold and wind again and walked 6 miles to see the famous Little Mermaid statue.
To improve the walking conditions, it started to rain. ☔️ So, we found a little place to eat for lunch, Gravy, then went to the free Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery of Denmark). The museum was massive. They have a nice mix of time periods, styles, including contemporary installations, which most of the time I find nonsensical… Lol. We spent most of the rest of day there looking at the art and having an afternoon latte.
We walked back in the rain and relaxed a little before our dinner reservations at the new Nordic restaurant, Radio.
New Nordic Cuisine at Radio
While Noma is what most people think of when they hear Copenhagen new Nordic cuisine, we wanted to try something a little less pricey and where we could actually get a reservation on short notice. I’d come across Radio a few times as I was researching restaurants and it was one our concierge recommended to us, so we chose that one.
We had first seating, which I like because it’s less crowded and quieter (plus I get hungry early 😋). They immediately brought out a complimentary appetizer. That evening it was a radish dish with dried capers and mustard seeds and a little yogurt sauce. Light and delightful.
You have the choice to get a 5 or 3 course fixed menu dinner and the option to add on extra dishes if you’d like. You can also do a wine or juice pairing for an additional charge too. We went for the 5 course, no drinks, just water option.
Before our first course we got a deliciously warm sourdough bread basket with another crunchy cracker kind of bread with homemade butter with caramelized onions. Yum! We ate it all and they brought us some more! Yay!
The first course was scallops, carrots and smoked cheese. Yes, those are carrots (photo below on the right)! They are sun dried and then cooked in their own juices. They looked like sun dried tomatoes, had the texture of sweet potato and tasted like it too, with a hint of carrot. Very interesting and very good.
The second course was salmon, cucumber and whey. Some of the cucumbers were trimmed and skinned to looks like celery. Really a trick to your eye and your mouth!
The third course was lettuce, seeds and rapeseed. We were already starting to get full!
The four course was a decadent veal, salsify and ramson. Delicious but a bit salty, even for my taste.
Dessert was mead, celeriac and licorice. I’m not a fan of licorice at all, luckily I couldn’t really taste it. The ice cream made of mead was interesting but I wasn’t a big fan. The marshmallow was very good though.
We were pretty stuffed by the end and our pockets weren’t too much lighter, which I love.
Overall the atmosphere was quaint and elegant without being pretentious. Food and price were on point and left feeling happy and pleasantly full.
Next we were off to the opera to see Salome. We knew it would be in German, but I thought we would get a playbill to read the synopsis, but it cost $5 so we opted out of that and failed to read about it online before the performance began. Big mistake, lol. The subtitles were in Dutch.
It was a single act show set in an observatory. Stars and sequin black and white costumes. Right from the beginning there were random gyrations of the actors. Then some blonde woman appeared (Salome) and the weirdness continued. People died, someone came up from a dungeon, people came back to life, a large head with a halo appeared from the floor, Salome got in its mouth, then came out if it, someone else died. The end. I got the vague gist of it, next time I’ll make sure to read the synopsis.
The opera house was beautiful and the tickets were reasonably priced. It was a nice outing on the rainy cold night in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be! The design and food scene are great. There are plenty of new Nordic cuisine options that won’t break the bank. The weather in April is miserable, rainy, windy and cold—bring a jacket, rain jacket, earmuffs, umbrella, the works! Freetown Christiania is worth the visit, even if only for 10 minutes. Would I go back? Maybe. But not anytime soon and probably only in the summer.
Check out my first post of the Scandinavian series on Oslo, Bergen and Flam.