Category Archives: Norway

Oslo in Spring

No matter how many times we find ourselves in Oslo, we are always finding new areas and new things. And no matter how many times we go, I always enjoy going back.

Oslo is especially lovely when the sun is shining and the flowers are in bloom. And that is exactly how we found it when we there about a week ago.

It was a perfect day for walking around the city, with coffee in hand and friends by our side.

And that is exactly what we did. Once we arrived in town, we kept our distance from public transportation and just enjoyed the city on foot.

I loved seeing all the colors, both in decor, and in nature.

 

 

 

 

As is always the case in Norway, when the sun comes out, the people come out.

And Karl Johans Gate, the main pedestrian street in Oslo, was certainly bustling with people and activity.

It was another fantastic day in the capital city!

 

 

 

Norwegian food: Kebab

Yeah, yeah. It’s really more of a mediterranean or Middle Eastern food. But I don’t think it is possible to drive through a city in Norway – regardless of the size – and not find at least one kebab restaurant. It is like the national fast food of this country.It is also one of the cheaper restaurant options. It’s usually available fairly quickly (prepared to order, but doesn’t take long), and typically at a counter service establishment. It isn’t the healthiest food, but from time to time I find I must indulge! The meat is typically lamb, but many restaurants offer a chicken option, as well as some beef or blend options.


The lamb is often cooked on a large upright spit. In that case, the meat is shaved from the spit. At other restaurants it is chopped.

Daniel prefers kebab i pita: a warm pita filled with lettuce, meat, and other toppings like onions, corn, tomatoes, cucumber and sauce. We all like kebab tallerken as well. It has all the stuff you would find in a pita, but spread over a bed of French fries.

Kebab
(noun) Kebab.

Used in a sentence
Det er min mening at man ikke har vært i Norge før man har prøvd kebab.
(It is my opinion that you haven’t been to Norway until you’ve tried kebab.)


Related Words
kjøtt – meat
tallerken – plate/platter
salat – lettuce
løk – onion
agurk – cucumber
sterk – spicy

Norwegian food: Gulrot (healthy food #1)

The Five Healthiest Foods in Norway (original post here) – carrots came in at number one.Carrots are fairly inexpensive here. And very common, as are most root vegetables. I often have a big bag of carrots in the fridge. I use them in soups and stir fry, and last week I made carrot apple bread (it was really good! – I found the recipe HERE via Pinterest).

I’ve had a lot of Pinterest success stories lately – I really should start sharing them more often! In the meantime, feel free to visit and follow my Pinterest board “Pinterest Success.”

The NRK article stated that everyone likes carrots, both raw and cooked. I am afraid I must disagree. I can handle them cooked in things, but I have a difficult time eating raw carrots (unless they’re covered in dip or humus!).  I really want to find more ways to prepare them since they are so good for you. So if you have any favorite recipes involving carrots, I would love to hear about them!

Gulrot
(noun) Carrot.

Used in a sentence
Jeg trenger to gulrøtter for suppe.
(I need two carrots for the soup.)

Related Words
grønnsaker – vegetables
fiber – fiber
vitaminer – vitamins
rot grønnsaker – root vegetables

Norwegian food: Makrell i Tomat (healthy food #2)

The Five Healthiest Foods in Norway (original post here) – at number two was mackerel in tomato sauce. (And hooray – Zack is writing today!…)

Would you eat a food if the nickname for it was “plane crash”?  Yeah, me neither.  I grew up seeing my dad eat sardines from time to time when we were fishing or hunting, but I think mostly his reason for doing it was to try and gross me out.  Probably the same reason why he would eat raw chicken liver when we were fishing for catfish.

Anyway.  Plane Crash or mackerel in tomato sauce.  Sounds delightful.  And with a shelf life of just over a decade, why not??

I was not much of a fish eater when we lived in the US.  I ate some fresh water fish that dad caught and then salmon and tuna from time to time.  I had to make some adjustments to my diet when we moved here because people (most people) eat a lot of fish.  Beef and chicken are crazy expensive, and  we found cod and salmon to be quite reasonable.

The day after our first Norwegian constitution day here, we went on a weekend cabin trip with some friends.  We stopped on the way and bought some food to share over the long weekend.  My friend K bought some mackerel in tomato sauce and brought it along.

Let me set the stage.  It was hot by Norwegian standards, probably low 80’s and we had been hiking most of the day.  We are in an awesome cabin that was very rustic in many ways.  It did have a toilet, but the toilet (poop, bæsj, crap- whatever you want to call it) basically went through the floor and into the woods outside.  To help cover the odor, you put bark and soil over the top of it to “flush”.  It worked great and we had no problems at all, IF the rules were followed.

The first – and possibly most important – rule was to keep the door closed.  Well, D and W apparently did not really remember that rule too well and we had just sat down to lunch.  My friend K opened the can of “plane crash” and smeared some on a piece of whole wheat bread.  He offered some to the boys and to Jenn and me as well.  The boys loved it and asked for more.  Jenn declined politely refused, and I took a piece.

Just before I put the piece of bread with the fishy tomato sauce smeared on top, a gentle breeze blew outside, coming up through the toilet and through the door that one of my little guys had left open. It went right up my nose and felt like it punched me in the face.

I went ahead and put the bread in my mouth and took a bite.  My first thought was, I’m gonna hurl!  I silently asked Jesus to help me swallow this food and he did.  I am not very good at hiding what I am feeling or thinking, so they knew I didn’t like it.  After some good natured teasing and ripping, it died down and I was able to finish eating.  K did however send D to shut the bathroom door, for which we were all thankful.

Fast forward about 1.5 years later with some small intervals of teasing from my friends about mackerel in tomato sauce and I am now eating it.  I eat it once or twice a week.  How did this happen?  I will explain.

I was at a leadership conference in Kristiansand (south of Norway) last year and I saw a guy whom I consider to be in really good health and in good shape eating “plane crash” for breakfast.  Mental note number one.

I heard a commercial on the radio where the mom was talking about healthy food and she was talking about mackerel in tomato sauce, but she had to speak English because she didn’t want the daughter to understand and know that she was eating something so delicious and was so good for her.  She then switches to German when the older son comes in (because he’s school age so he would of course already be learning English!). Mental note number two.

My family has a history of heart problems and strokes.  I know taking care of myself is very important.  Fatty fish is good for your heart, memory, skin and also helps with seasonal affective disorder.  I decided to give it another try.  I bought a can of mackerel in tomato sauce and brought it home.  I opened it up and put it on a slice of bread and it wasn’t bad at all.  I continued to eat it, but just out of the can with no bread and I REALLY liked it.

So now, at least 2-3 times a week I eat a can of makrell i tomat (Norwegian).  I like it a lot and it is great to take with you on a hike, in the car, to a meeting, when your wife has surgery and you are at the hospital all day and just for a snack before going skiing or something when you need some quick energy.

(Here are a few TV commercials about mackerel in tomato sauce, based on a song ‘tre små fisk‘)

 

Makrell i tomat
(noun) Mackerel in tomato sauce.Related Words
fettsyrer – fatty acids
fisk – fish
sunn/sunt – healthy
tre små fisk – three small fish

Norwegian food: Havregryn (healthy food #3)

The Five Healthiest Foods in Norway (original post here) – at number three was oatmeal.

The nutritionists that participated in the study encouraged the importance of whole grains. Oatmeal is a good source of fiber, vitamin B, iron and other important minerals. (I also like the way it leaves you feeling full for quite a while.)We eat quite a bit of oatmeal. I probably cook it an average of three times every week for breakfast. I use it when making multigrain bread. And it is a major component of the granola I make as well. The boys love it, especially with a bit of jam mixed in.

It seems the majority of people eat oatmeal with something sweet added, whether it be fruit, jam, or cinnamon and sugar. I am a bit odd in that I prefer mine with butter, a splash of milk, and a little salt. I blame it on my mom; that’s how she gave it to me when I was growing up. So sweet oatmeal is really weird to me!

Havregryn
(noun) Oatmeal.

Used in a sentence
Vi spiser havregryn omtrent tre ganger hver uke.
(We eat oatmeal about three times each week.)


Related Words
havre – oats
fullkorn – wholegrain
grøt – porridge
jern – iron

Norwegian Food: Blåbær (healthy food #4)

The Five Healthiest Foods in Norway (original post here) – at number four was blueberries.

Homemade blueberry muffins, made
from the berries the boys picked in
the mountains on a hiking trip

Berries are quite popular here. And berry-picking trips are popular in the summertime. Last summer, the boys enjoyed picking lots of blueberries while we were hiking in the mountains.

We all like blueberries. Sometime alone, other times in a fruit salad or smoothie, and occasionally in a treat like muffins.

The NRK article’s nutritionists appreciated the antioxidants in blueberries. They were concerned that people do not eat enough berries, and also focused on the importance of ‘five a day.’ Furthermore, they liked that picking the berries yourself means additional physical activity!

Blåbær
(noun) Blueberry.

Used in a sentence
Guttene plukket blåbær og vi laget muffins.
(The boys picked blueberries and we made muffins.)

Related Words
bær – berry/berries
antioksidanter – antioxidants