Monday Monday

Happy Monday everyone, or perhaps that should just be…Monday everyone.

Four days to go.

I know that my enthusiasm for the start of the week is just brimming over but many of you may be surprised to learn that I am not actually a huge fan of Mondays.  That being said, I am also not a fan of wishing your life away desperately waiting for the next weekend.  I like to think of the working week as time when I go to dance class, Crossfit, singing and a million other activities but that pesky work gets in the way here and there (Be at my desk by 9am? It’s almost like they expect me to DO things just because they give me money).  Ok, it gets in the way a large part of the time but we have to work so much of our lives (and a lot of it not being famous, million-copy-selling authors) that I just think you need to approach it in a more put-up-able-with way.

Yes, today I am going all out on the word inventing, no sense making, grammatically incorrect randomness.  It’s Monday for goodness sake, I’m just pleased I remembered to brush my hair this morning.

Anyway, let’s jump in the Delorean and go back in time to the weekend.  What did I do? Cooked up a storm.  This was partly due to the fact that I am trying to be more organised and have a freezer full of delicious, healthy food so that during the week I don’t have to run around like a lunatic in sweaty gym clothes at 11pm making brekkie/lunch/dinner for the next day and partly because on Saturday morning I didn’t realise it was torrentially raining outside, had all the windows wide open and my lovely plasma TV had a nice long shower thereby preventing me from watching Prison Break until it dried out.

So here is what I made….First up are delicious, super clean, chicken meatballs.  Cue photo……

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Daaaaaamn gurrrrrl, they look amazing!!!  Tell me about it, they taste like a party in your mouth so craic on with the making of them…..

TELL ME WHAT’S IN THEM

1 kilo minced chicken

5 cloves of garlic

1 red onion

1 carrot

1 cup of oats

Two handfuls of mushrooms

2 handfuls of spinach

1 large courgette

1 egg

Rock salt

Black pepper

Chilli (fresh, powder, whatever takes your fancy)

Parsley

NOW WHAT?

Chop up the garlic, onion, mushrooms, courgette and spinach.

Grate the carrot.

Mix it all together with the chicken mince and oats.

Add in as much or little salt, pepper, parsley and chilli as you like – I like mine to burrrrrrn.

Mix in one egg to bind the mixture.

Form the mixture into balls, place on a lightly greased baking tray and cook for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees C.

Eat them all! No, not really all of them because this recipe makes a lot.

I have seen seventy million gazillion versions of this recipe online (originally on Blogilates.com) so I am most definitely not claiming it as my own invention but I do make it differently every time.  You can add in whatever veggies you like and take out the ones you hate – it is good with broccoli and red pepper fyi.

Blog 042I also made Quinoa Veggie Cakes (please feast your eyes on the far from professional photo to the left – it’s like a Mama and four babies or a paw print!) I will post the recipe for this culinary delight tomorrow!

I hope you make them, I hope you love them.

Let me know what you put in them and how they turn out!

Prison Break season 3, episode 2 time.  It is getting ridiculous but it won’t watch itself and I need to know what happens.

Natalie

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Shopping Sunday

You may remember my not little amount of excitement last Friday about the possibility of sleeping forever and ever when the weekend rolled around and how much did I sleep? Not that much.  Sad face.  Tired face.  Actually, that is a slight lie…..I did sleep about 9 hours on Sunday but after a double shot of Espresso and twenty minutes sitting on the couch looking into space I was already ready for a nap so great was my sleepiness.  It’s a terribly hard life.  However, I didn’t go to sleep, I went to a massivo shopping outlet with loads of well, shops.

Since my friend Schmiz and I had to be back in town in time for our Spa appointment (honestly, we act like we’re minted and then we wonder why we’re not) and I drastically underestimated the length of time it would take us to get to what I am now referring to as ‘The Shopping Mall at the End of the Earth’ we had a very limited amount of time to shop.  All I bought was some new workout leggings and gloves for Crossfit (the pesky bar does a number on your poor hands).  I have made a mental note though to go back and do some serious Christmas shopping in the not too distant future because they had some of my favourite shops including Bimba y Lola. If I had a house I would remortgage it to buy things from that shop namely this beautiful bag:

bag

But who has a spare 228 euro lying around?  Definitely not me.  We can but dream.

Natalie

Books and their Movie versions

I should really start this post by letting you know that I already made up my mind on this one.  I love books. Movie versions usually (always) suck.

The End.

Just kidding! About it being the end, my opinion remains entirely the same but let’s take a look shall we………..

To get the ball rolling I have racked my brain to think of some books I have read that have been unfortunate enough to have had movies made out of them (Well, not actually out of them, no one wants to see a paper movie, although I’m not even sure how that would work) and here is a list of five, chosen completely at random, which means the first five that popped into my Friday afternoon I’ve-just-done-Crossfit-but-not-yet-had wine brain:

1. Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard

2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

3. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

4. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Right, just to be as obtuse as possible let’s work from the bottom up.

Oscar Wilde was a genius.  I’m not sure if he was a certified genius but were he still to be alive I would make him a certificate with faux gold trim and a medal out of one of those Norwegian monies with a hole in the middle (and not just because I have some lying around, it would be a practical gift also – you never know when you might be stuck in Oslo airport with NO Norwegian currency).  Anyway….I adore The Picture of Dorian Gray.  The characters are so engaging, the dialogue so witty and clever (that on occasion I have needed to re-read to fully capture it all), the story so fantastical and fabulous that it would be a travesty to make this work of art into a film.  Or so I thought.  My professional opinion? They did a not bad job.  I’d even go as far as to say I really quite enjoyed the film and have even watched it twice.

Yup.  My name is Natalie and I have seen The Picture of Dorian Gray twice.  (can I have a bit of pie now?!)

In the case of this Book to Movie (BtM) situation I was pleasantly surprised.  What didn’t I like?  The alterations to the story.  Why couldn’t they just leave it the same as the book?  Conclusion: a pretty decent movie but the book is superior.

So we are at book version: 1 , film version: 0

Game On

Twilight.  Were you Team Edward? Were you Team What was the other one’s name again?!?!?  (completely indifferent? Moi? Indeed) Were you really interested until halfway through book two when all Bella’s talking and total lack of any action sucked away all your enthusiasm for what happened to anyone in the series? I digress.

This is a quick one.  I actually saw the movie first and really enjoyed it.  Then I read the book and also enjoyed it.  I call it a draw.

Book versions: 2 , film versions: 1

Next.

Snow Falling on Cedars.  One of the most beautiful books I have ever read.  The characterisation, the feeling the story transmits to the reader, the description, the setting, the sheer frustration in some parts, everything…everything in this book makes it a masterpiece.  Then came the film.  I remember going with the rest of my family to see it with trepidation: we had all read the book.  We all loved the book.  The nerves.  Did we cry? Maybe, but they were tears of sadness for the people in the story and not tears of anger at the film-makers.  It may be the only film I have ever seen that did the book 100% justice.  Perfectly cast, perfectly carried out.  Loved it.

Book versions: 3 , film versions: 2

 

BREIF INTERLUDE FOR A COMMENTARY

You may have realised from the last score update that there is no way for the films to win (if you hadn’t noticed this do not admit it to anyone).  Why can’t they win? Well because I am never going to say a film was better than a book when said film is based on said book.  It makes no sense.  As you are ripping out your hair (movie lovers) and screaming ‘then why are you writing this you *****???? It is UNFAIR!!!’ I refer you back to my original statement at the top of this post and shall leave it at that.

 

The Help.  I loved this book so much.  I hated, with a vengeance, the nasty characters and wanted them all to die horrible, painful deaths for being the most disgusting people EVER and vice versa for the others.  Did I feel the same way when I saw the film?  Hmmm, not really.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to go out for high tea with them and high five them on their new, outdoor toilets but I didn’t want to call down a plague on them in the same way I did in the book (I did still want to…just maybe a smaller plague)  I thought it was a good film actually and had I not read the book first I may have called it great even but it just wasn’t the same for me.  The moments in the book where I wanted to throw it on the floor and jump on it repeatedly weren’t as intense when I watched the film (also can we take a moment to contemplate the monetary repercussions of jumping on a plasma telly?).

Book versions: 4 , film versions:2

 

Out of Sight.  Elmore Leonard (RIP).  What a man, what a writer.  Such a stylish and enveloping story.  READ IT.  READ IT RIGHT NOW (well, after reading this clearly) in fact read all of his books.  The movie. Have any of you ever been working in an office environment when it comes to the end of year review and you know you have to at least say one good thing about that staff member?  George Clooney is hot.

Book versions: 5 , film versions:2

 

OOOO Kids we have a clear winner. Pheew, I was worried there for a while.

 

HELPFUL AND CONSTRUCTIVE CONCLUSION TO LENGTHIEST POST EVER 

The films were never going to win, not for me anyway.  I suppose, if I think about it, it is a somewhat unfair comparison.  I mean, it’s not like I could ever compare the book someone made out of a film (that may actually be physically possible, think overhead projector slides) to that film.

‘Natalie, you know that really great movie we saw…I think it was called Rocky..apparently they’re making it into a book!’

Waaaa ha ha ha ha. NO.

Also, I am sure that somewhere out there, there are some very good film adaptations of novels.  It is just that I have only seen one of them.  There are some books I loved so much that no matter how many times I am told the film won’t disappoint, I won’t watch them.  The Kite Runner being the perfect example.

Last but not least I would like to apologise for my constant switching from the word film to movie and back again.  There is just no consistency in some people’s writing.

Happy Friday kids,

Natalie 

PS.  What books were ruined for you by a bad movie version? And what ones did you love?

Caulisan Quinoa

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It is Thursday! Yes!!!  This means tomorrow is Friday and I am going to the pictures (hopefully to see Channing Tatum save the world, or at least take his shirt off once or twice) and then I am going to sleep and sleep and sleep! Oh, How excited I am about sleeping for ages! But then you know what will happen…I’ll get excited because I don’t have to get up early for work on Saturday so I will stay up late and then wake up early anyway.  First World Problems.

Anyway…..as promised yesterday here is the recipe for my random concoction, which was delicious.  I am calling it Caulisan Quinoa. (it will all become clear)

 

HERE IS WHAT YOU’LL NEED

A whole head of cauliflower

A red onion

2 courgettes

5 cloves of garlic

Olive oil

½ a cup of parmesan cheese (grated)

½ a cup of quinoa (I prefer the red one because it tastes nuttier)

Black pepper

Rock salt

 

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO DO

Rinse the quinoa and then put it in a pot to simmer for about 20 minutes or until ready.  You’ll need roughly twice as much water as quinoa.

Wash and pat dry the cauliflower, chop it into florets and then put in the food processor so it comes out looking like rice.

Put it in a microwave friendly dish and microwave for 7 minutes.

In the meantime chop up the garlic, onion and courgette, add a little olive oil to a non stick pan and when it is hot enough sauté it all together.

Drain the quinoa and add it to the veggies, along with the cauliflower, some rock salt and (lots of) black pepper.

Mix it all together, add the cheese, mix it some more et viola!

Blog 032Congratulations you just made Caulisan Quinoa.

High five to you!

Natalie

Crazy Lady Alert

Today is one of those crazy days for me.  No, I don’t mean I am more mentally unstable than usual or that I talk to myself even more than any other day, I mean I am busy.  Crazy busy.  I know I really shouldn’t moan since it is all of my own doing but then am I moaning? Not really…just a little (a mini moan, let’s call it mini-oaning).

Why so busy? Well, today is the day that I go straight from work to my hip hop dance class.  I love it.  I get to throw on my trackies and high tops and throw some attitude (tude?) to some of my favourite songs – you feelin’ me fo real?

Ok.  Too much.  Noted.

I then go straight from dancing to my singing class.  Yes, that is correct I am trying to turn myself into white Beyonce and no, I wouldn’t say she had anything to worry about at this stage.

I’ve always loved singing and people would overhear me (not hard fyi when you sing as loudly as I do, I’m relatively certain my neighbours have put a hit out on me) and tell me I had a great voice so one day a few months ago I decided I would sign up to some classes with my wonderful teacher Carolina and now it is on my list of things that I cannot do without!   I sing a weird mixture of songs and styles that have included James Morrison, a Bossa Nova, Gloria Estefan and this week I will be singing a song from Cabaret!  My favourite so far has been my version of Someone Like You, which I am contemplating uploading to the blog but I’ll need to drink a lot before I commit to that one!

So dancing and singing done that just leaves Crossfit.  It was brutal today, not gonna lie but I never wanted it to end.  Not because I am a masochist and run around the Box yelling ‘MOOORE, MOOOORE PAIN!’ but because when CF is over I have to walk home.  Up a very, big hill.

I am pleased to report I made it, although unless you thought I had just borrowed the local homeless man’s laptop (I wouldn’t be surprised if he had one you know, he has practically built himself a fort) then I’m sure you had already figured that out.  I even managed to stretch my calves whilst making a magical quinoa/parmesan/cauliflower concoction to which I will give you all the recipe tomorrow!

ooooo, I can feel the excitement already.

Now I must lie down and maybe never get back up.

Peace out (?!?!?!?!?)

Natalie

Crossfit, Cheese House (again) and Channing

I LOVE Channing Tatum.

I just thought I’d start with that since I watched Step Up for the gazillionth (can you believe the spell check underlined that word and then didn’t have a better spelling suggestion? Shame on you spell check) time with my sister on Sunday and the man is just unbearably hot.  She had seen it before, in fact we saw it together at the pictures in Canary Wharf when it came out originally, but until a couple of weeks ago she had NOT seen Magic Mike.  The Whatsapp conversation for that went like this:

 

Lolly:      I’m just about to watch Magic Mike

Me:        Have you seen it before?

Lolly:      No

Me:        Ok, you’re going to need a huge glass of wine and a brown paper bag.

 

And was I right?……Is Channing Tatum verging on perfect??????  (Flaw – He is married, therefore not available to take me out and start an impromptu yet somehow perfectly carried-out, despite never having been practised, dance routine with me)

So yes, Channing and Step Up was our Sunday afternoon but there was a whole morning to be filled first and fill it we did! YES!

I’m guessing by now you have our/my general early afternoon activity all figured out.

Lunch check.

Wine check.

But seriously, I wish I could make a little ‘scratch and sniff’ sandwich icon for you so you could fully understand the joy of the (same) sandwich I ate for lunch every day at The Cheese House.  Sandwich heaven. Now all I need is Channing Tatum feeding me the sandwich while I sit on his lap and he murmurs ‘Baby Girl, you need more carbs.  After this you should have some cookie dough ice cream and you should definitely have another glass of wine.’

You know what Channing? You are completely right.

I do deserve it because I JUST DO and also because our morning activity was my favourite.

Yup, that’s right.  Crossfit.

We walked to the gym and made up our own CF workout, which was both awful and fantastic at the same time and would have got us both placed in the World Sweating Olympics (they could use little sweat bands instead of the rings – I better patent this idea asap).  We did want to go running again but unfortunately, Norway is not the driest of countries so that idea went quickly out the window but hey ho, the lake isn’t going anywhere.

And if you are thinking ‘her rambling has finally brought us back to where we started’ you are right! And if you are thinking ‘man, does she like to drone on about nothing’ you are also right but cut a gal some slack, I just got back from holiday.

How was your weekend? Did you go anywhere? Do some mad exercise? Eat nice food????

Nearly halfway through the working week kids, stay strong.

Natalie Tatum

Running, rain and recipes

So I arrived in Stavanger yesterday at lunchtime and was met by Lolly at the airport.  The weather gods had clearly heard my prayers because it was an absolutely gorgeous day; blue skies, crisp and clear.  Today however, I fear I may have angered them as it is now grey and drizzling but it’s ok, I don’t come here for the weather, I come for the craic (which is always in abundance).

Yesterday involved wandering around, drinking wine, shopping, drinking more wine and relaxing.

Some of you may have noticed there is a theme in my posts…yes, yes, it is the wandering around, that is absolutely what I was referring to.

But it’s not all wandering around thirsty, we also did some cooking! I was acting as charming assistant (cough cough) to Lolly and here is what we came up with……..

download (4)First on the agenda – cornflake chicken, adapted from http://www.skinnymom.com

You will need the following:

1.chicken breast

2.cornflakes

3.olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.

 

Mix all the ingredients in 3 together in a bowl and taste it to check it is OK.

Mash up a load of cornflakes in a plastic bag, coat the chicken in the sauce, cover it in the cornflake mixture, put it on a baking tray and cook until golden brown.  since it is chicken please check it is cooked all the way through!

download (5)

 

 

 

 

The main event was supported by our very own quinoa recipe – designed (and delicious) by Just Us! Is there a Nobel prize in cookery?download (1)

To make your very own quinoa concoction follow (as loosely as you so desire) the following instructions:

1. Pour yourself a glass of wine
2. Finely chop 5 cloves of garlic (no vampires in our house), half a red onion, two handfuls of mushrooms ( I have small hands) and one red pepper.
3. Cook one cup of quinoa with a pint of chicken stock, 20 minutes should do the job.
4. Chuck all the veggies in a pan with some olive oil and sauté.
5. Add in the quinoa, mix it all up and chuck it on to a bed of rocket.
6. Job done.

Now you just need to serve it all up as seen below.  Of course, this must be served with wine.

download (2)

You achieved all that in one afternoon Webster sisters!??!  We know, we know. And we haven’t even told you about the cookies we made.

But what about today? Well…….despite the rain, being the virtuous souls that we are we shimmied up to Mosvannet (a beautiful lake) and ran 8km in the rain.  Unfortunately there was a significant lack of hot Norwegian men and an abundance of middle aged fathers.  We will try again tomorrow and hope for a significant improvement.

After all our physical exertion we decided that lunch was most definitely required and went for the most delicious sandwiches ever in Østehuset (The cheese house) and now the world is our oyster! Who knows what will happen! We are off to plan this evening’s culinary delight (again…Nobel prize?) and will report back tomorrow.

Happy Saturday!

Natalie and Lolly

Ps. I did make a very important discovery today – I’m not cut out for the medical profession.  I had to snip my sisters ONE stitch out and after several attempts with a tiny miniature scalpel (given to her by the doctor, I don’t just travel the world with miniature scalpels) I gave up and had to use curved nail scissors.  So now I am going to try my hand at hair dressing. I’ll let you know how that goes later. Fingers crossed (for her, not me).