Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

Oslo at Home (take 1)

A quick glimpse of my home in Oslo: the Living Room.

Oslo House
Couch and Audrey Hepburn

Oslo House

Oslo House
Allllll social science texts.

Oslo House
A touch of Wisconsin farmland.

Oslo House
Huge fiction selection too… and my favorite: the woodstove.

First fire, cozy Sunday
Woodstove in action a couple weeks ago.


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Then we drove to Connecticut for a relaxing vacation…

Sunrise Set3, Old Saybrook, CT

…Followed by a brief visit to New York

Grand Central Station, Breakfast!

And then…

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About 4 weeks ago Wouter and I packed up my car, sold or donated everything that wouldn’t fit, and started driving east from Wisconsin…

The Big Move! (Leaving Madison) Goodbye Home!

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IKEA has such power over me! I am helpless in the face of that lovely blue and yellow giant! This power, combined with a quick lunch of Swedish meatballs,  an understanding boyfriend, his understanding parents’ station wagon… you have just the right ingredients for a little livingroom makeover. It wasn’t a completely gratuitous makeover: the DVD shelf was over flowing and the CD rack was buckling under the weight of Wouter’s collection. Furthermore, there was no room for my books.

Solution: a 2 meter tall Billy bookcase and a couple of matching Benno CD/DVD shelves. And (again, understanding boyfriend!) I was allowed to give into the urge to reorganize by color… although the CD and DVD shelves were off-limits. As it turns out my understanding boyfriend has OCD alphabetizing urges of his own!

Spectrum boekenkast

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I live a healthier life-style here in the Netherlands, hands down. I eat smaller portions. I eat out less. I go grocery shopping everyday and eat fresher meats, fruits, vegetables. I cycle more.

But that doesn’t mean that sometimes… every once in a while… now and then… I don’t have a deep-seated urge for something that reminds me a bit of Wisconsin… and takes a few years off my life.

This is *THE BEST* homemade macaroni and cheese recipe I’ve ever tasted! And of course we have Martha Stewart to thank for it. Now if only I could find some good Wisconsin sharp cheddar around here… I had to use Gouda, surprise surprise.

Perfect Macaroni and Cheese
Yield Serves 12


* 6 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
* 5 1/2 cups milk
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
* 2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyère or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated pecorino Romano (I used Emmental)
* 1 pound elbow macaroni


* 1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread pieces in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into the bowl with bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
* 2. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
* 3. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère or 1 cup pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.
* 4. Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer’s directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
* 5. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyère or 1/4 cup pecorino Romano; scatter breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.

Taste of Wisconsin: Mac 'n Cheese
The links below have better (yummier) photos.

Sources: the original: marthastewart.com; tips: NY Times Diner’s Journal; drool-worthy photos: Smitten Kitchen.

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