Mr. Gordon Ramsay’s watermelon salad a la PenNnyLane

fetawatermelonsalad feature picture

I love, love, LOVE Mr. Gordon Ramsay! His no-BS approach to food and his just goddamn in-your-face sexyness! So when my bestfriend Daniel gave me his Ultimate home cooking cookbook – I was in heaven!

Sooooo many great recipes with a gordon-twist – I LOVE IT!! 🙂

Gordon Ramsays Ultimate home cooking cookbook. To read more visit my blog at: www.pennnylane.dk

And of course I want to share, so here is a Watermelon salad a la Gordon Ramsay with a PenNnyLane-twist 😉

Print Recipe
Watermelon salad a la Mr. Gordon Ramsay
Great sidedish for when you're having a BBQ. It's sweet and savory and still light with loads of taste!
Course sidedish
Cuisine Summer
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • Âœ Watermelon Try to buy seedless or with less seeds.
  • 200 g Feta cheese You can buy cubes or cut them out yourselves. It's ok if they're with added spices.
  • 1 whole Cucumber
  • 2 handfulls Basil
Course sidedish
Cuisine Summer
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • Âœ Watermelon Try to buy seedless or with less seeds.
  • 200 g Feta cheese You can buy cubes or cut them out yourselves. It's ok if they're with added spices.
  • 1 whole Cucumber
  • 2 handfulls Basil
Instructions
  1. Peel and dice the cucumber and watermelon.
  2. Dice the feta cheese and add to the cucumber/watermelon mixture.
  3. Chop the basil and mix it all well.
Recipe Notes

Watermelon salad from Gordon Ramsays Ultimate home cooking cookbook with my own twist. To see the recipe go to my blog at: www.pennnylane.dk

Mr. Gordon Ramsays version is with mint, but I actually prefer basil. Try both and see what you like.

This is my favorite salad this season! What's yours??

 

Signature from my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

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7 ways to make your baby’s christening more fun!

7 ways to make your babys christening more fun_featured image

We had a lot of compliments on Diannas christening last weekend! Alot of our friends and family mentioned how it was really kid-friendly and fun! They commented that it was nice to be at a “grown-up” party, where we had taken alot of consideration for the children attending the party. We had invited 45 people and out of those 10 were children, from ages 3 – 10 years.

We knew from the start we didn’t want a boring (sorry!), sit-down luncheon with white napkins and placecards, so we opted for a garden party, where the dress was casual and fun.

Here are some of my tips to make your baby’s christening more fun!

 

Timing

One of the best things we did was to have the christening early. The church service started promptly at 9.30, which meant that the party could begin before 11. For families with children this is great, as the kids will have lots of energy and usually be in a cheerier mood in the early afternoon. And it means more time to have fun!!

Food

Be sure that there is food for the kids. Fancy sandwiches or spicy food is not food for children. They prefer finger-foods like sausage- or pizzarolls (and usually a couple of the grown-ups will eat some as well…), carrot- and cucumbersticks with dip or chips and guacamole works great as well. We served sausagerolls and pizzabagels and they were all gone when the party was over! A big hit!!

Drinks

Like with Food – make sure you have drinks for the kids. It doesn’t have to be soda, but make it easy for them to get themselves (the parents will thank you!) – for example if the weather is good; slush-ice or lemonade. Grown-ups love slush-ice too!!! And you could make a grownup version of lemonade with alcohol in it as well – but be sure you can tell them apart! 😉

Lemonade dispenser fra SĂžstrene Grene, picture from their website.

Keep them busy

Children get easily bored and when there are more children, usually it takes a bit of time for them to get over the shyness and start playing together. You can help them get over their shyness if you start an activity with them. For Diannas christening I wanted her to have a momento for her room, so we bought art supplies so the children at the party could paint her a picture for her room. It was a great succes! It doesn’t have to be painting tho – you could set up games in the garden like twister or crocket (if your garden is big enough). It’s a great way for the children to keep busy, so the grown-ups can talk without having to keep them occupied all the time!

Painting done by the children at Diannas christening. To see more great ideas for a great christening party, visit my blog at: www.pennnylane.dk
Painting done by the children at Diannas christening

Photographs

A great way to combine keeping the children busy and creating great memories from the christening is to buy some disposible cameras. If there are some older children, fx. 10+ years, you can ask them to take pictures of the guests and presents etc.

We also set up a photobooth and my sister Nettie bought some photobooth-props – and not only the kids took pictures, let me tell you! And you can share the pictures on instagram/snapchat/facebook with #hashtags# 🙂

Especially the teenagers (and women) liked this! My husband thought it was rather silly

– but I loved it!

Animal photobooth for Diannas christening. To see other ways to make your baby's christening more fun, visit my blog at: www.pennnylane.dk
Cille and Markus in our animal-photobooth.

The great outdoors

I was so happy we decided to have Diannas christening as a garden party and would recommend it to anyone (ok maybe not in december!). There is plenty of room for the kids to run around and play. It beats sitting in a stuffy room on a chair! People can get up and walk around your garden and enjoy the sun and air. And you know I find that people become more social if they are allowed to move around and are outside. It’s especially good if your guests don’t all know eachother.

Presents

It’s not easy for all children (depending on their age) to give away presents. It takes time to learn that not all presents are for you. Allow some of the smaller children to help unwrap presents. It includes them in the excitement, and besides… your child is too small anyway to understand that someone else is unwrapping their presents. This includes everyone (big and small) in the fun!

 

For more ideas for your christening party, visit my pinterest christening board 

Thanks for visiting! What are some of your best tips for a great christening party??

 

Signature from my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

 

 

Diannas christening

Diannas christening front picture for blog

Although I am not at devoted christian, I had no doubt that I wanted our Dianna christened. Both Brian and I have both been christened and every child in my family is christened.

Our local church is beautiful and so full of local history. Slangerup (loosely translated to Snakeville) was a small merchant town in the 1600’s on the way to becoming a centre of commerce with a cathedral in the north of Zealand (north-eastern part of Denmark), but unfortunatly Roskilde beat us for the title and is today home of the Cathedral in north Zealand. However the Snakeville church is still so beautiful, as they had already begun working on it, before the decision was final!

Daddy, mommy and Dianna in Slangerup church. To read the story of Diannas christening go to: pennnylane.dk
Daddy, mommy and Dianna in Slangerup church

We had a wonderful day. It was very important to us, that Diannas christening was a fun day, very unformal – and so we chose to have a garden party in our own garden, where the kids could run around on the grass and we could serve sandwiches and icecream and people could help themselves to drinks in our fridge.

It was a great succes! Especially the kids were happy. They ran around playing. And to keep them busy I had bought supplies for them to paint a painting for Diannas room. It turned out great!!

 

Picture drawn by children at Diannas christening. To see more great ideas for a great christening party, visit my blog at: www.pennnylane.dk
Picture drawn by children at Diannas christening

Since I am a pagan by choice later in my life, I was christened too as a child, as is every child in my family. I wouldn’t say that we’re especially religious or christian in my family, but it is rather tradition. And I didn’t want Dianna to miss out on this, because of my faith.

The ceremony in the church was really short (30 min.), and the priest kept the talk brimstone, hellfire and jesus to a minimum, and the hymns were chosen in accordance to the season (songs of sommer and how the nature around us is changing) – which fits very well with my beliefs.

I know that some would probably not have chosen to get the child christened, being a pagan themselves, but for me the family tradition was important to respect. And I know that if we had just had a “naming-ceremony” some of my “elder” family members would have chosen not to attend, and I wanted them to be there.

My youngest sister Nettie is Diannas Godmother. I really like the idea of choosing a godmother for your child. I am godmother for my niece Annabella, and I see it as my “job” to look out for her best interest and help her out in life with all her questions and should she ever need help to be there for her; to love her no matter what and accept her for who she is and will become.

The christian idea of a godmother is very much related to the religion, teaching the verses and leading the way to God – and infact I see a godmothers role for Dianna quite the same, but in a much bigger perspective – not only in regards to ONE religion, but in regards to life. And I know my sister feels the same!

She gave Dianna such a beautiful gift. A specially made pillow with a vow from her to Dianna, and a beautiful bracelet with her first diamond (’cause a girl has got to have her BLING!) from Molly Brown.

Pillow and bracelet from godmother Nettie
Pillow and bracelet from godmother Nettie

Dianna received so many beautiful presents and Oh the cards!!!! Mummy here had of course forgotten to put on her waterproof mascara, so by the time I was done reading the cards, I was all panda-eyed!

It was a gorgous day filled with so much laughter, fun and love! I really liked that we had kept the preparations to a minimum and just focused on keeping it informal and fun for the kids.

As entertainment I set up a photobooth station where we could #diannasdĂ„b (= diannas christening) and we set out disposable cameras on the tables so we could get some out of the ordinary photographs. We’re still waiting on them to be developed, so we’ll see how they turned out. We got this idea from our wedding (13 years ago – YIKES!), where it was a big succes!

What did you do to make your childs christening extra special??

 

Signature from my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

 

 

Chocolate star

Baked chocolate star made in honor of Lughnasadh. For the recipe visit my blog at: www.pennnylane.dk

To celebrate Lughnasadh I wanted to bake something with my sister, who is visiting from England, to make it kind of a family-celebration this year.

She is a big fan of chocolate! and so is my husband, so we made a “Chocolate star”

Chocolate star baked to celebrate Lughnasadh. Se recipe on my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

Basically it’s like a cinnamon-roll, but made as a cake and with chocolate instead and it was delicious!!

Print Recipe
PenNnyLanes Lughnasadh Chocolate Star
Chocolate Star in honor of Lughnasadh
Baked chocolate star made in honor of Lughnasadh. For the recipe visit my blog at: www.pennnylane.dk
Course Sabbat
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 1,5 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Sabbat
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 1,5 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Baked chocolate star made in honor of Lughnasadh. For the recipe visit my blog at: www.pennnylane.dk
Instructions
  1. Turn your oven on to 180 degrees.
  2. Warm your milk on the stove to luke-warm and add the yeast.
  3. Then pour liquid butter and egg to the mixture and stir.
  4. Finally add the flour, sugar and salt and knead to a dough.
  5. Let the dough raise for aprox. 30 min.
  6. When your dough has risen, knead it through again and divide into 4 pieces.
  7. Roll out the dough pieces one at a time to a circle about 25 cm in diameter, and cover the first 3 circles with a layer of Nutella or other spreadable chocolate. The final piece is put on top to cover the 3 other layers.
  8. Let the dough rest again for about 20 min. this time.
  9. Now comes the fun part! When the dough has risen again, cut the cake out into 8 pieces, like on the picture. (It can be helpful to put a glas or something in the middle, so you cut it the same length). Now twist the sides like on the picture and press the ends together. When you’ve done that to all the pieces, let the cake rise (again!!!) for 20 min.
    How to twist the nutella-cake. See more info on my blog: www.pennnylane.dk
  10. Brush the cake (is that a real term??!) with milk or eggwhite and bake in the preheated oven for 20 min. (Very important not to bake it longer, as the chocolate won’t taste as sweet) Serve with a nice scoop of vanilla ice-cream or sourcream. YUM-YUM!
    Chocolate star baked to celebrate Lughnasadh. Se recipe on my blog: www.pennnylane.dk
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Auntie Nettie visiting from England. To read more about my family and pagan life, visit my blog at: www.pennnylane.dk
Auntie Nettie visiting from England.

Why did I choose the star shape for Lughnasadh? Well actually if you look a bit closer, it is an 8-pointed star, which for me symbolizes the wiccan wheel of the year, with 8 sabbats. You could also say that the eight-pointed star symbolizes north, south, east and west as well as the 2 solstices and 2 equinoxes.

The 8-pointed star symbolizes many different things for different cultures and religions.

What does it symbolize to you??

Signature from my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

Lughnasadh

walk in the woods for Lughnasadh/lamms. This is a yearly tradition we do for Lughnasadh/lamms. For more ideas to celebrate the harvest festival, check out my blog: www.pennnyland.dk

What is Lughnasadh?

Lughnasadh (what a mouthfull, huh?), pronounced “Loo-NAS-ah” is one of the yearly 8 pagan sabbats marking the beginning of the autum harvest season. It is the 1st of the three autum harvest festivals, and also known as Lammas in England. The sabbat originated in Ireland and Scotland and was originally celebrated on August 1st, or about halfway between the summer solstice and the autum equinox.

This year Lughnasadh falls on the 8th of august, where the full moon will rise, also known as the corn moon.

Pagan wheel of the year. www.pennnylane.dk

 

Historically Lughnasadh was celebrated by great gatherings with religious ceremonies, athletic contests (Olympic games anyone??), feasts, bonfires, weddings and markets.

In early Ireland, it was a considered bad to harvest your grain any time before Lughnasadh, because that meant that the previous years harvest had run out early. But on August 1, the first grain was cut by the farmer, and his wife made the first loaves of bread of the season.

Farmers harvesting the first grain for Lughnasadh. www.pennnylane.dk

 

 

Lugh – the skillfull God

Lughnasadh is named after the irish deity “Lugh” or “Lug”, known as a hero or high king of great skill. Even though Lugh was not considered a god of War like the roman god Mars in quite the same sense, his skill on the battlefield was still a very highly valued ability, and he was considered a warrior by the irish. His weapons included a mighty magic spear and a sling.

Lugh - the skillfull god, whose weapon of choice was the spear and sling. www.pennnylane.dk

 

Other legends of Lughnasadh (the first harvest)

In Nordic mythology, Thor’s wife Sif’s beautiful golden hair is cut off by Loki the prankster. Thor is so upset that he wants to kill Loki, but instead he gets the dwarves to spin Sif some new hair, which grows magically as soon as it touches her head.  The hair of Sif is associated with the harvest, and the golden grain that grows every year.

Loki giving Sif a haircut, symbolizing the harvesting of the first grain of the season. www.pennnylane.dk

Lughnasadh today

The sabbat/festival is still celebrated today under many different names in europe, for example Puck Fair in Ireland. (LĂșnasa is also the irish name for the month of August and in scottish gaelic it means 1st of august.)

In Denmark, August is a time for many country fairs and festivals, especially with folkmusic and August is also very popular for weddings and handfastings. We had our wedding in august as well (many, many, many, many….. years ago…).

Our wedding 9th august 2003 in StenlĂžse church. www.pennnylane.dk

This year we will be having Dianna’s christening in august as well, the 14th to be precise!

My personal Lughnasadh

For me personally Lughnasadh is a time where I enjoy my garden which is full of bloom, and where we taste the first fruits from our fruit bushes and bake lovely pies and fruit cakes.

One of our season-traditions in August is a yearly visit to Dyrehaven (translates to “Animal-garden”), which is a forrest north of Copenhagen, with the entire extended family, where we enjoy a good walk and picnic in the tranquil forrest.

A walk with my husband and daughter in the woods. Our daughter Dianna is 4 months old in this picture. www.pennnylane.dk

Afterwards we visit Bakken, which is an amusement park right smack in the middle of the forrest, where there are rides and arcades. The kids love it! And you know what – they actually look forward to visiting the forrest as much as the amusement park!

The enterence to the amusement park Bakken. www.pennnylane.dk

 

What traditions do you and your family have for this season?

 

Signature on my blog: www.pennnylane.dk

My advice for first time mothers

My advice for first time mothers - check out my blog: www.pennnylane.dk to learn more.

Becoming a mother for the first time is without a doubt the most scary and exciting event in my life. There are so many unknowns and of course we want to do our best for our children – but it’s not easy to know what to do, even if we prepare ourselves as much as possible.

If you are anything like me, you’re researching and listening to your friends and other parents, who have been there before you.

So for all you first time mothers out there, here is my advice for you.

Selfie of me and Dianna. Dianna is 1 week old here. I love this picture!! www.pennnylane.dk

Trust your instincts

Don’t ever let anyone talk you into something, you know in your gut to be wrong. Listen to that voice inside you when it comes to making decisions. As a new mother we have a powerful instinct to keep our babies safe, and you know this little person better then anyone; they’ve lived with you the past 9 months.

The most important asset you have as a mother, is your intuition!

 

It’s ok to not know everything

I wish that someone would have told me this before Dianna was born. I am a sucker for research and I read and read and read… But as a first time parent you aren’t going to know everything, and guess what… that’s ok. We live and we learn. Your children won’t expect you to be perfect – but they will expect love and mothers have that in spades!!

 

Embrace the fun

You will never believe how fun it is to be a first time mother! You hear all the stories about the sleepless nights and crying but rarely do you hear about all the giggles and oooooh the fun!

I’ve become a much happier, lighter person since Dianna was born. Of course there are lots of challenges to overcome, but there is also much more laughter!

My happy baby, week 2. www.pennnylane.dk

 

Have confidence

When you become a mother, everyone suddenly has an opinion about you and your child – and I mean EVERYONE! A new mom is a magnet for unsolicited advice from well-meaning people. I quickly learned to “smile and nod” as I ignored advice that I thought was old and outdated or didn’t fit with me. One of the best decisions I have ever made was the choice to be entertained instead of offended or insulted by these “helpfull people”.

In my opinion, the best advice or encouragement you can give a new mother is praise – “You can do this!” or “You are good enough!” and yet so much effort is put into telling us that we can do things differently or better.

And if you are a new mother, try to remember this when you meet another mother! We are often our own worst friends!

 

Get out…. (of the house)

I really try to get out of the house Every Single Day! –  Even if it’s just to go to the grocery store. My day seems bland and sometimes a little lost without this. Do this for yourself. Feel the sun and breeze on your face. It will refreshen your spirit and give you new energy. And a little is enough…. it doesn’t have to be a 5 km hike!

 

 

Forget the never, never, nevers

Don’t go around saying things like;  “Oh my child will never, never, NEVER watch more then 10 min. of tv a day”, or “My child will never, never, never drink coca cola or sugary drinks…”, because guess what – they will – and you will have to eat your words!

The higher you build your “I am a perfect mom” – pedestal, the further you have to fall.

It’s really great to have healthy goals, but be realistic and keep those never, never, NEVERS to yourself of you will be hearing a lot of “I told you so’s!”

Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey! Dianna is very fascinated by my milkshake from Paradis ice-cream shop. www.pennnylane.dk

Let people help you

Don’t try and do everything yourself. It’s not an admission of failure to let others help you out. Being a new mother is hard work and your friends want you to succeed. They are all more then happy to lend a hand!

Grandmother Connie giving a hand with feeding Dianna. Dianna is 4 months old here. www.pennnylane.dk

Just buy half

I really wish someone had told me to only buy half of what I thought Dianna needed! There is so much on the market today for babies and it’s all really fancy and cute – but really your baby is only going to use a quarter of what you buy. And if you can – WAIT until the baby is born to start buying. (I know, I know… impossible, right?! hehehe…)

Babies actually only need to be warm, fed and loved…. no need for gagets for that…!

 

SLEEP!!!

Sleep as much as possible, whenever possible! If you can, sleep before the baby comes and when your little bundle of joy is here, sleep when she/he sleeps. I know it’s hard to leave the washing or cleaning. But you will be a happier mother if you chose to sleep. Whenever there is a choice between eating, excersize, cleaning, washing and a million other practical things or sleep – always choose sleep! (of course only if your tired – but if you’re not tired with a newborn in the house – I need your advice!!!)

A happy, well-rested mother is worth her weight in gold and your day will be much better for it!

Daddy and Dianna taking a nap on the couch. Dianna is about 4 weeks old here. www.pennnylane.dk
This goes for daddy too…

 

This too shall pass

When Dianna was just born – the first couple of weeks of no sleep, night time crying and soreness felt like it would last forever! But you know what… it was over and done with in a heartbeat! So when times are tough, remember “this too shall pass….” and cherish it! Soon you’ll be missing it….

Smile more, stress less and remember these are the best days of your (mommy) life!

Consistency

Babies don’t come with a manual and as parents you and your husband/boyfriend are going to do things differently, which is good. But you need to agree on things in the long run. Having a talk today about boundaries, bedtime, do’s and dont’s, will save you arguments and disagreements down the road.

A child needs consistency in parenting. Noone wants to be the only one setting boundaries. It’s difficult to co-parent with a passive partner, so make sure you both agree and are active in setting boundaries for your child.

 

Maintain your passion

Now I am not talking sex – which of course is also important, but rather your hobbies, interests, friends. I didn’t think I had room in my life for both motherhood and my “passions”, but I find that I am a better mother, when I am happy. And for me to be happy, I have to be fullfilled, not just by my family life but also my passions, like blogging, my girlfriends… and so on. And of course remember this is true about daddy too…

 

Daddy playing golf at Frederikssund Golfcourse where he is a member. It is important to remember your hobbies and passions, even when you are new parents. Check out what else to remember and my other advice for new mothers at: www.pennnylane.dk

 

Don’t worry

Don’t worry so much! The world is a scary place these days and a new mother can easily be overcome with the perils of this world. We have a tendency to always think about the “worst that can happen”. But there have been dangers everytime and everywhere in history. Remember to cherish the time you have with your baby – it ends all too soon. Train yourself instead to think of all the wonderful things that can happen.

Turn your “oh no’s” into “oh yeahs!” For example: By teaching your child to walk home alone from school, you’re not making his world more unsafe, but rather making him more independent of you.

Dianna seeing herself in the mirror for the first time. Practicing lying on her stomach is something Dianna really hates, but we try to make it fun with a mirror and lots of toys and colorful paintings in her changing area. www.pennnylane.dk

 

 

If you’re a new mother or soon-to-be mother, I wish you good luck.

Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help; we’re all in this together!

signature from my blog: www.pennnylane.dk