Saturday, December 27

Leftover turkey = a dang good GUMBO!

Being from Texas I have grown up eating really good Tex Mex, which I talk ALOT about on this blog. However, being from the Gulf coast region of Texas, I have also had my share of really good seafood. Some of my favorite memories are the summers spent at our beach house at Caplan beach on the Boliver peninsula. There was a place called Milt's seafood and my mom used to buy huge buckets of raw oysters. My sisters and I would PLOW through those buckets to find the elusive pearls. We had plenty of shrimp boils, soft shell crabs and barbequed crabs.

Yet we also have a teeny tiny cajun influence. My mother is the only sibling out of 4 NOT born in New Orleans. My grandfather went to Tulane and my grandmother to Sophie Newcomb. Sometime in the 40's they moved to Texas, Port Arthur to be exact, and that is where my mom made her debut into the world. I certainly can't claim to be a cajun, but there are strong cajun influences in Port Arthur. One of my mom's friends, also from Port Arthur, owned a very popular restaurant in Houston called the Rajin' Cajun, so we always had our fill of some pretty amazing cajun food. Countless boiled crawfish, poboys, etouffes and of course, gumbo.

For some reason, gumbo has always seemed really intimidating to me. I waited tables while in college at a high-end cajun restaurant called Denis' in Houston. Denis' gumbo recipe was a tightly guarded secret and he wouldn't tolerate roaming eyes in the kitchen. He just used to mumble something about a good roux being the secret and lifeblood of a good gumbo and then would cuss and yell at you to get out of there. I was satisfied to just eat it and enjoy it. I didn't need to know how to make it, and quite frankly felt sorry for the cooks who got there at the crack of dawn to make it.

Well, a decade down the road, curiosity and cravings got the better of me. We had a lot of left over turkey and I had deboned it and boiled the carcass and had a great stock to use for SOMETHING. Lately, I have really been craving gumbo. I started snooping around the internet, not quite committed to making it, just wanting to assess what exactly goes into this mythical roux making process. IF I was going to attempt to make it, I needed to be prepared. Honestly, I am not sure what all the fuss is about. It seems the hardest thing about making the roux is the constant stirring and something called 'cajun napalm'. I was more concerned about the stirring than the napalm, which in hindsight was a very naive thing.

So, I recruited my Christopher to be a stand in stirrer if my stirring arm were to give out unexpectedly. He got a stern lecture on the importance of jumping in IMMEDIETELY if I called out for him, and with that precaution in place, we got started on the roux.

The bones of a roux is basically a cup of flour and a cup of oil. Using a heavy bottomed pot, preferably cast iron according to the cajuns, dump both ingredients in and start stirring over medium high heat.

Keep stirring. It was amusing for about the first 15 minutes. Keep stirring. The goal is for the roux to turn from light to dark. So, again, keep stirring:

This is about the shade of brown-ness where my stirring arm gave out. Luckily, Christopher had been trained well, and jumped in and kept stirring:
This is also the stage where the cajun napalm warning came in handy. This stuff POPS and SPLATTERS and when it lands on your skin it burns like hell. It kept popping me. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that by the end of the roux making process I had at least one blister on my face and several on my arms! You need to be TOUGH to make gumbo. No sissy's allowed. And after about 33 and a half minutes we had gotten ourselves to this shade of roux:

I'm not sure if it should have been darker or not, but after my time investment and 3rd degree napalm burns, I wasn't taking any chances of ruining it. So to this glorious roux, I proceeded to add what is known as the 'Holy trinity'. Which is onions, celery and green bell pepper. I added some carrots as well, which I am sure would have caused any good cajun to have heart palpitations, but hey, I'm not a cajun, I'm a Texan and we are rebels by nature. You just add them directly to the roux and keep stirring for another 3 or 4 or 5 minutes, or really as long as you dare.

I felt like I was playing a game of chicken with the roux and at any moment the volitile brew would turn on me, so I started slowly adding my turkey broth before the roux could go rouge on me. I also added the turkey, some smoked sausage and okra. I then let it simmer for about an hour.

Meanwhile, I made some cornbread and cooked some rice. And then, the moment of truth, time to taste it. To say I was stunned would have been an understatment. I couldn't believe what I was tasting! It tasted like GUMBO!! Not only that, it tasted like GOOD gumbo!! I made gumbo!! I am still a bit in shock over it and am glad I have these photos that document it to prove that it really did happen:

It was truly a culinary triumph for me and one that I feel very proud of! So, if there is a lesson to be learned here, it's to just go ahead and TRY to make that recipe that you have been scared of for a long time! You just might surprise yourself and make something so delicious you will wonder why you didn't try it sooner! Gumbo. Demystified.

Feels good.

Thursday, December 25

SICK of Christmas food. Must. Have. Tex Mex.

Well, it's that time of year again. Christmas food galore. Here in Norway, it seems as though we start eating Christmas food about 2 weeks before Christmas. And Norwegian Christmas food is like no other I have had before. Rarely is there a vegetable in sight, and the higher the fat content, the better. Needless to say, I am DONE. I can't eat another piece of ribbe, jule polse, kj√łttkaker or anything else I can hardly pronounce.

That being said, today I had such a strong craving for Tex Mex that it about knocked me over. I haven't had it in quite sometime, which is unlike me, so I started going through my mental Tex Mex menu. Growing up in Houston, I had the pleasure of having a number of mom and pop Tex Mex operations pretty much on every corner. I remember so many times out to eat with my family ordering the 'Speedy Gonzales' plate. If you are from Texas, you will know that the Speedy Gonzales is single cheese enchilada, a beef taco in a HARD shell and rice and beans. That's it. A perfect plate for a kid and I think my sisters and I must have consumed thousands of these through the years.

What I would have done for a Speedy Gonzales today. But, I didn't have what it would take to reproduce it, so I settled on creating a plate of super nachos! I love nachos because they are EASY. All you have to do is throw everything on some chips and broil it for a couple of minutes. It is nearly impossible to mess up. I say nearly cause if I said it was impossible, inevitably, someone out there would find a way to screw up nachos. So, this way, we cover all our bases.

I had some pintos that I had made a few months ago in the freezer, so I took them out and reheated them and I had some ground beef in the fridge that REALLY needed to be used, so I cooked that and added Penzey's Ancho chili powder and cumin.

After both of these were cooked, I arranged a baking sheet with nacho chips:

And topped the chips with the beans and the meat:

To this I added chopped pickled jalepenos:

And topped it all with grated cheddar. I use white cheddar cause that is what we have in Norway, but I have actually really grown to love it. It's not sharp at all and has a good mellow flavor. Then just slap it in a hot oven. I usually turn the temperature up to just below broiling, which for me, means about 230 celcius.

Meanwhile, I whipped up a batch of Ninfa's famous green salsa. Lisa over at the Homesick Texan has a great post on this recipe, so if you have all of the ingredients, by all means use her blog as a guide! I cheated, and started with a jar of La Costena Salsa Verde and to that, added a ripe avocado and used my stick blender to make it smooth. I then stirred in some sour cream. It really does taste JUST like Ninfa's green salsa and just makes everything taste better:

Take the nachos out of the oven when the edges turn brown and the cheese is bubbly:

Top the nachos with whatever cold things you want. I used tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro and chopped white onion and put a generous helping of the green salsa on the bottom of the plate to put the nachos on top of:

Of course I had to have a diet coke over ice:

And I was in HEAVEN. It was like a Christmas miracle. Those flavors were just amazing after all of the rich and heavy food I have been consuming over the last few weeks. It's times like these that I am so thankful for my Texas roots and even more thankful for my ability to recreate some of my favorite flavors in food:

Who wants turkey now???

Merry Christmas from Norway, y'all!

Friday, December 12

You know you grew up in the 70's if...

You wore a rainbow shirt that was half-sleeves, and the rainbow went up one sleeve, across your chest, and down the other.

You made baby chocolate cakes in your Easy Bake Oven and washed them down with snow cones from your Snoopy Snow Cone Machine.

You had that Fisher Price Doctor's Kit with a stethoscope that actually worked.

You owned a bicycle with a banana seat and a basket.

You even owned roller skates with metal wheels.

You thought Gopher from Love Boat was cute (Admit it!)

You had nightmares after watching Fantasy Island.

You had rubber boots for rainy/snowy days -remember Moon boots (you then advanced to Duck Shoes in the 80's)

You had either a "bowl cut" or "pixie," not to mention the Dorothy Hamill" because your Mom was sick of braiding your hair. How traumatic when people thought you were a boy.

Your Holly Hobbie sleeping bag was your most prized possession.

You wore a poncho, gauchos, and knickers.

You begged Santa for the electronic game, Simon.

You had the Donnie and Marie dolls with those pink and purple shredded outfits.

You spent hours out back on your metal swing set with the trapeze.

You had homemade ribbon barrettes in every imaginable color.

You even had a pair of Doctor Scholl's sandals (the ones with hard sole & the buckle).

You wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder really bad; you wore that Little House on the Prairie-inspired plaid, ruffle shirt with the high neck in at least one school picture; and you despised Nellie Olson!

You wanted your first kiss to be at the roller rink.

Your hairstyle was described as having "wings" and you kept it "pretty" with the comb you kept in your back pocket.

You know who Strawberry Shortcake is, as well as her friends, Blueberry Muffin and Huckleberry Pie.

You carried a Muppets lunch box to school.

You and your girlfriends would fight over which of the Dukes of Hazzard was your boyfriend.

Every now and then "It's a Hard Knock Life" from the movie,"Annie" will pop into your brain and you can't stopsinging it the whole day.

YOU had Star Wars action figures, too.

It was a big event in your household each year when the "Wizard of Oz" would come on TV. Your mom would break out the popcorn and sleeping bags!

You even asked your Magic-8 ball the question: "Who will I marry. Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, or Rick Springfield?"

You completely wore out your Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Fame soundtrack albums.

You tried to do lots of arts and crafts, like yarn and Popsicle-stick God's eyes, or those weird potholders made on a plastic loom.

You made Shrinky-Dinks!

You used to tape record songs off the radio by holding your portable tape player up to the speaker.

You couldn't wait to get the free animal poster that came when you ordered books from the Weekly Reader book club.

You learned everything you needed to know about girl issues from Judy Blume books (Are you there God, It's me,Margaret.)

You thought Olivia Newton John's song "Physical" was about aerobics.

You wore friendship pins on your tennis shoes, or shoelaces with heart or rainbow designs.

You wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer.

You had a Big Wheel with a brake on the side, and a Sit-n-Spin.

You had subscriptions to Dynamite and Tiger Beat!!

Tuesday, October 28

Pumpkin Cheesecake! Need I say more?

When I embarked on this low carb lifestyle I was a bit concerned about how I would do without things like cakes, cookies, bread, pasta and rice. Those have always been staples in my diet and not having them had never crossed my mind.
Do I miss those things? Of course. But, to be honest, I don't crave them on a regular basis. I love everything that I eat and I love how this diet makes me feel, so the tradeoff is more than worth it for me.

I had a new A1c test done about 2 weeks ago and it had gone down from 7.2 to 5.9!!! So, obviously, my diabetic blood is responding to my onslaught.

So, are you craving a good, low carb dessert that won't wreak havoc on your bloodsugar? Pumpkin cheesecake is your friend. I have always loved pumpkin pie and whatever genius thought of combining cheesecake and pumpkin pie deserves some sort of award.

I got my recipe off of recipezaar and modified it to make it low carb. Most cheesecakes sport a graham cracker crust and this one was no exception. To make it low carb, I used almonds and unsweetened coconut:

I pulsed them in my food processor until they were very fine. Then combined the two 'flours' with about 1/4 cup of butter and a bit of splenda and pressed it into the bottom of a springform pan:

Pop it into a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes and then take it out and let it cool.

Now for the cheesecake. So simple guys! Start with your creamcheese:

That's over a pound of cheese! Yum! Combine the Philidelphia with 1 cup of Splenda and vanilla extract and beat it until it's smooth.

To this mix add 1 cup of gorgeous orange pumpkin:

Add 3 eggs, a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice:

Mix it until it is smooth, occaisionally spatula-ing the sides of the mixer so it's all well blended, and pour it into the springform pan:

Pop it in the same 350 degree oven your crust was in and bake it for about 50-65 minutes, or until a knife inserts cleanly.

That's it! It really is so easy and it is absolutly delicious! I had a slice and topped it with homemade whipped cream with cinnamon:

What's NOT to love????

Sunday, October 19

You know it's getting cold in Norway when...

the little dogs have to put on their jackets to go for walks.

Usually, I am against dogs wearing clothes. I think it's disrespectful to Chihuahuas to dress them in tutus, paint their nails and dye their hair. My sister forwarded me a blog once called 'Seriously, get this sweater off of me', and I laughed so hard. It's true. If you are easily offended by Chihuahua's using the 'F' word, don't click on the link, but if not, READ IT, cause it is funny.

I have to admit, that my little dogs have taken me by surprise. I am a retriever kind of gal. Grew up with one Lab after another. So when we decided to get dogs that would be good apartment dogs, we took a chance on the chihuahuas. I was hesitant and frankly expected them to be shaky, snappy, yappy dogs. I couldn't have been more wrong. These kids are hilarious and just all around great dogs!

Part of the reason why I think they are so great is that we actually treat them like DOGS, and not accessories. However, due to climate fluctuations, there are times when the dogs need some clothes on. Especially Flash. He's our little white dog. A shorthaired 5.5 pound chihuahua. He actually has to wear LAYERS. I feel sorry for Flash when we get him dressed, he actually LOOKS embarassed. He just does not like to wear clothes. Elly on the other hand LOVES it. The funny thing is, Elly is a long hair chihuahua and really doesn't need any clothes until winter when the snows come, but when she sees Flash getting clothes on, she will throw a FIT if she doesn't get to wear a sweater. Seriously. It is bizarre. She will run around in circles grunting and whining until you put a sweater on her. No amount of telling her to be quiet or trying to reason with her that she doesn't NEED a sweater will shut her up! So, whatever, right? Here's your damn sweater.

So, you know it's gettting cold in Norway when the dogs are wearing clothes:

Thursday, October 9

In which we remember

Today would have been my father's 63rd birthday.

I suppose it will get easier not making that phone call or sending that card that I had become so accustomed to.

I just wonder when.

I know I have posted this image before, but man, it really just captures my father's spirit so clearly. To me, it is joy personified:

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Thursday, October 2

The great potato harvest brings us to the end

Well, it is FALL in Norway. The huge curtain of ivy along the wall of our apartment building is turning from green to yellow to blazing red. Christopher took a shot of it:

It's getting cold, not quite freezing, but close. Cold enough for me to whip out various NorthFace and cashmere clothing items.

My little balcony garden proved to be quite the little producer! I got carrots, beans, tomatoes, salad greens and herbs. Not bad for a first attempt! However, things were winding down, but there was still one thing left to harvest.

The great potato bag.

I've had my eye on it for quite sometime, and given my tendency to pull or dig things up prematurely, that dang bag has been driving me INSANE with curiosity! Christopher did catch me digging around it in one time in August, and I did find a tiny little potato, and then I swore to leave it alone (and I did).

Well, I thought since it was clearly fall it was high time to bust that bag open! I had visions of a bag full of tubers, pounds of potatoes I could share with friends, buttery mashed potatoes or little new potatoes sauteed in butter and dill.

So, Christopher and I started digging.

and digging.

and digging.

ummmm, where were all of the potatoes??

I admit, my success as a first time gardener has made me a bit cocky, I was fully expecting this bag to be FULL of taters.

But, after digging through almost half of the bag and not finding anything, I was getting a little alarmed.

Then, I found one!!!

Finding this little gem reinvigorated us and we resumed the ravishing of the potato bag with a renewed interest...

But in the end, there were only a handful of potatoes to be had:

I was still excited though! I mean, I MADE potatoes!!! We had a lot of tiny ones, and a few good size ones as well.

So, this concludes our great big gardening journey of 2008!

How lovely is the silence of growing things...

Friday, September 26

Accidental Souffle

I am loving living la vida low carb, y'all!


I am learning that my body feels amazing the fewer carbs I eat. That sucks for all the things I love like cakes, cookies, pasta, toast (not bread, toast), BEER...I could go on and on.

However, I really am not craving any of those things at all. I mean, how could I when I am drinking heavy cream in my coffee, scrambling my eggs in butter and eating slices of aged gruyere without any guilt?

My blood sugar is like that of a NORMAL person for these last 2 weeks, and I really can't wait to go to the doctor again and get a new A1c test.

So, a lot of you know that I am not a good recipe follower. I'm just not. This is especially true with baking. And baking is not something you wanna be half assed about. It's chemistry and amounts are important! But alas, I always get carried away and tend to throw things together. I am blessed in that MOST of the time, the things I bake turn out well, however there are times when I am met with surprise.

Like the other night.

I was attempting to make a low carb cheesecake. I perused the recipe on my mac and then went to the kitchen and proceeded to wing it.

I mixed together cream cheese,ricotta, eggs, vanilla, cream, some splenda and lemon juice. Poured it into ramekins and placed them into the oven.

I went to check on it and instead of a compact dense cheesecake, I saw this:

Look at how they raised up!!!! I had accidentally made souffle!!!! One of the most notorious things to make!!!

I have to admit, I was feeling quite smug about them. They were just so light and airy!

If any of you reading are accomplished bakers, you probably know what happened as soon as I took them out of the oven. Yes. Total collapse.

So, I won't sully this blog with an after photo.
Instead, let's focus for a moment on the one glorious moment when I, Kathryn, had made a gorgeous souffle:

Almost perfect.

Wednesday, September 17

From berries to mushrooms

If you have been following this blog for awhile, you are aware of my obsession with PICKING things. One of my fondest childhood memories I have of my father is picking dewberries in Texas. Big, black and juicy berries that we turned into cobblers later on. As a result, I am extremely nostalgic when it come to berry picking as an adult. Especially since my father died.

Well, if you like to pick things, Norway is the place for you! I was in AWE when I first moved here.

I remember so clearly the day I discovered my gift. Or as I like to call it, my 'berry eye'.

We were driving down the highway in Norway my first summer here and I suddenly saw tiny bits of red flashing by. Instinctively I knew it was something that could probably be picked. I yelled at Christopher to STOP!!! Why?? he wanted to know. I think I saw some berries, I said!!!!!

There was an awkward silence.

He didn't share my enthusiasm. Apparantly in Norway, they DO NOT stop their cars and pick berries alongside the highway. Well, we do in Texas, and my future husband graciously stopped so I could go and inspect what it was I saw.

I popped out of the car and trotted back to where I spotted the red bits flashing by, and my instinct was correct! There before me were wild raspberries!!!! Now, maybe wild raspberries aren't a big deal to you, but up until that moment, I had never seen them before. I guess I thought they were just born in my local Kroger produce section.

I picked with abandon, and at that moment, I was hooked.

Since that day, my berry eye has grown in strength.

One time up in Lillehammer, I spotted the elusive and somewhat mythological 'cloud' berry from the road. I swore I saw tiny dots of yellow in the field. I don't think anyone in the car really believed that I did, but again, they stopped to humor me. Sure enough, we stumbled into a field of golden cloud berries!

They all respect my gift now.

My berry eye has now started evolving into a mushroom eye. I'm not so good at it yet. My friend Vibeke took to me to the forest a few weeks ago to train me in the ways of mushroom picking. We were after chanterelle mushrooms. She showed me what they looked like and gave very strict instructions NOT to touch anything I didn't recognize! Assured that her friend from Texas understood the rules, we began our mushroom hunt.

I wish I could explain how excited I get about even just the THOUGHT of picking things. The hunting and finding. I literally had butterflies in my stomach as I was walking through the forest scanning the ground for my quarry. I was starting to get discouraged because I wasn't finding any EDIBLE mushrooms. However, the ones that will shut down your kidneys in 28 seconds were EVERYWHERE!

Then suddenly, I stumbled upon these gorgeous, kidney friendly mushrooms:

I had a surge of excitement course through me! They were everywhere!!!! So, I contented myself with hours of happy mushroom picking! This was my take for the day:

That is about 4 POUNDS of Chanterelles! The brown kind.

This past Saturday, we got the dogs and went to the forest again and this time we found some of the beautiful yellow chanterelles:

They look like flowers! But this one, this one set a record:

It is as big as my hand!!!!!

So, those were my picking adventures this week.

It's amazing that something so simple can bring me such JOY.

Monday, September 8

Beans, beans the magical fruit

Let's start here, shall we:

Ah, cake. Good old fashioned chocolate cake. Kind of.

In following the South Beach diet, I have been trying to find some suitable desserts to curb my occaisional sweet tooth while keeping my renegade blood sugar under control. You may be thinking that chocolate cake is NOT on the South Beach diet, nor is chocolate cake a choice diabetic treat.

Both keen observations.

So, what was a desperate, dieting diabetic to do?? I wanted to make a cake that was sugar free, butter free, OH and FLOUR free as well. So what is the secret ingredient? As you may have deduced from the title of the entry:

YES, beans!
NO!!! You are not hallucinating!
Stay with me til the end! Let me explain!

For years I have heard about 'black bean brownies' on Weight Watchers, but I turned my nose up at them. I had no desire to try them, mainly because it sounded disgusting. But once I started focusing on my blood sugar and overall health a few weeks ago, I stumbled on a recipe for black bean brownies again.

I admit I was feeling a little adventurous and probably a bit woozy and punchy from lack of carbohydrates, because suddenly the idea of brownies made from beans sounded like a good idea.

I plotted my course and bought my ingredients. I was determined to conceal my baking from the husband cause I didn't want him to know what was going into his dessert. It was quite the clandestine production, and I think I was most excited about 'tricking' Christopher into eating cake made out of beans.

I kind of followed the recipe, but added some things (like instant coffee) and tweaked amounts of things (like adding more baking powder for a more cakey result, and tripling the amount of vanilla).

I started by draining and rinsing a can of black beans:

I rinsed them good and long, put them in a mixing bowl and to that added 3 eggs:

To that, I added 4 tablespoons of good baking cocoa, 2 tablespoons of oil, a pinch of salt, 3/4 of a cup of Splenda, 2 heaping teaspoons of baking powder, 2 to 4 teaspoons of instant coffee and a tablespoon of vanilla extract:

I used my stick blender to process it until it was smooth and looked like actual cake batter and poured it into a greased round pan:

Then I smoothed it with the spatula:

I popped it into the convection oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and took this out:

Here is where I get a little excited. It smelled like cake. It looked like cake. It WAS cake. To be honest, I was a bit dumbfounded. I am not sure what I expected, but it wasn't for it to be this realistic! With high hopes, I cut it into squares. It had a very spongy and light texture. Bravely, I took a small bite, and folks, the heavens opened up above me.

When I tell you that I have never been so surprised with the result of something I made in the kitchen before...I mean it.

I was totally SHOCKED. It wasn't just GOOD, it was delicious. It tasted like chocolate cake! Granted, not the worlds best chocolate cake, but for a sugar, dairy and flour free cake, it could kick some serious ass in a 'healthy' cake competition.

I took a square to my husband and could hardly contain my giddiness, which in turn made him very suspicious. I couldn't stop giggling. He tasted it and said 'It's good, why are you laughing?' To which I replied, with smug glee, 'Guess what's in it!!!" Of course he couldn't and when I practically shouted 'BEANS!!!!!', he couldn't believe it either!

So, I am on a bean cake crusade! I took a ziploc bag full of bean cake squares to work and made my co-workers eat them.

They are so trusting of me.

Each time a person ate them, I repeated my annoying routine from the night before: 'Guess what's in them????, BEANS!!!!!'. By the afternoon, I had my spiel down. After a bite was taken, I would say: 'Ok, these are sugar free. Dairy free. No butter. and, oh, no flour.' That really got people's attention. They would usually say 'What are they made of??' and that was when I got the whole 'BEANS!!!!' thing in again!

Seriously friends, TRY THESE!!

Because there is no sugar, my blood sugar reacts well.
Because there is no flour, my blood sugar reacts even better!

They are high in fiber and protein and low in carbohydrates.

They are magic.

I promise.

Tuesday, September 2

When Chicken and Dumplings is the ONLY solution

Well, once again we got screwed out of a decent August here in Oslo. Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful I don't have to suffer through Houston summers, but after months of darkness and cold, I do look forward to the WARM Oslo summers. It's been known to reach a balmy 85 here, but the last few years have really been c-r-a-p on the weather front.

Anyway, me and the hubby came down with something on Sunday. Not sure what it is exactly, but it seems that 'everybody' has it according to several people I have talked to. So that makes me feel a bit better cause I hate to suffer alone.

Everytime I get sick, I always get crazy cravings. Usually it's macaroni and cheese or some sort of baked good, but today it was good old chicken and dumplings. Also, it seems to be mandatory that I don't have what I need on hand to make said craving so I have to go to the grocery store. So I sat on the couch for about 55 minutes trying to talk myself into running down 4 flights of stairs and walking to the store. Did I really want chicken and dumplings that bad??

Turned out that, yes, I did want chicken and dumplings that bad.

I finally got to the store, and please believe me when I tell you that I was not looking my best. I looked like I just rolled out of bed for the first time in 2 days and put my husbands clothes on to come to the store, which isn't far from the truth.

I have an uncanny ability to sense when I am being watched, (which led to unfortunate paranoia after seeing Silence of the Lambs and that crazy serial killer with the night vision glasses, but I digress) and I felt watched.

I turned around and there was this somewhat dissheveled middle aged man staring at me. To quote Juno, he wasn't the brightest bulb in the tanning bed, but still, it was kind of creepy. I moved to go around him and he said:
"Du er en vakkert kvinne' with so much passion in his voice that I almost laughed right there.

Translated it means 'You are a beautiful woman' and if I had made ANY effort towards my personal hygiene and appearance over the last 48 hours, I may have possibly believed it, but again, I am sick and I was not looking well. Hollow eyed and ratty are two descriptions that come to mind immediatly.

I thanked him and quickly moved on, but he kept following me and asking if I needed help finding anything as this was his usual grocery store and he knew were most things were.

I wonder if I hallucinate some of these situations.

Anyway, while I was pondering the randomness of life sometimes, I saw this:

It is so exciting to find new things in Oslo! Bisquick!! Of course the box only has about 3 cups total in it. Products here are like the premature babies of their American counterparts. They started carrying Bisquick about a month ago, and we all know that Bisquick makes some rocking dumplings. As the sick often do, I wandered aimlessly around the store for about 45 minutes, and in that time I got my Bisquick, a chicken, celery and carrots and 2 sodas.

Finally got home, threw the chicken in a pot with celery, onion and garlic:

After it boiled for awhile, I took the chicken out and threw in the carrots and deboned the chicken and threw it back in. Next I mixed up some Bisquick and dropped it in by the spoonful:

Then covered it and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Finally, I ladeled it out into a big bowl:

It really is the ultimate in comfort food. And since I am being 'responsible diabetic' these days, I was worried about how the carbs in the Bisquick would affect my bloodsugar, yet two hours later, I was at 130!

Score for the Bisquick!!!