Food to learn how to make

I have a growing list of things I find absolutely delicious that I’ve only bought from the store, but I’ve heard are really easy to make on your own. I haven’t tested any of these recipes yet, but hopefully once I have a kitchen again, I will be making delicious tasty treats all the time.

My own Greek yogurt: I love Face Greek yogurt but it’s fairly expensive. Also, when I was reading Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man, he mentioned that he learned how to make his own Greek yogurt and it was pretty easy.

Favorite way to eat it: mixed with pureed frozen mango and other fruits, with a little bit of Splenda for extra sweetness

Fresh cheese: I had never had fresh cheese until I lived in Portugal, and I was missing out for 20 years. Fresh cheese is delicious…salty and soft, more spreadable than butter. I never thought I could make it on my own, but I went to visit my grandparents and they had just made some fresh cheese the way before.

Favorite way to eat it: on Portuguese white bread

Black bean burgers: I started eating black bean burgers a lot last summer, mostly from Morningstar or the other vegetarian meat companies. Recipe from epicurious.

Favorite way to eat it: with balsamic vinegar dressing on it, lettuce, purple onions, and sandwich thin buns and a side of sweet potato fries.

Falafel: another food I didn’t appreciate until recently, but what’s bad about fried chickpeas? Recipe from epicurious.

Pita: If I’m learning to make my own pita, I have to be able to make my own pita as well. Recipe from smittenkitchen.

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New Thoughts

So I’ve traveled part of the world, and I’ve been back for a while. My life’s not quite as full of fantastic adventures as it was a year ago (can’t believe it’s already been that long), but it’s still pretty cool and the internet always needs more lists, which is what I want to post mostly. Just cool things that interest me, that I want to keep track of, that I want to share with the world.

Portugal

Portugal was great. It was cool to go back to Lisbon and be able to show people around. I knew the city really well — much better than I had thought — and was able to drag Mom, Dad, and Lauren all over town for the best and biggest sites.

We weren’t in Lisbon the whole time, we took a few day trips south to the Algarve, north to Coimbra, and nearby to Sintra. I’d been to all those places before, but in the short time we were there, we were able to do somethings that were new even for me.

We also had delicious pastry and octopus and caldo verde soup, among other things.

And here’s some pictures of it:

Eurotrip: Around Europe in 20 Days

Starting April 4, I traveled around Europe for 20 days. For the first two weeks I was traveling with 3 friends from Queen Mary. We went to Prague (esquite), Berlin (windy), Santorini (new happy place), Athens (busy), Rome (beautiful), and the Vatican.

My travel route

It was amazing. We didn’t really know what we were doing, just that we didn’t want to spend too much money and that we wanted to see as much as possible without driving ourselves crazy doing it. I think we succeeded at both.

We walked everywhere. We used grocery stores and ate street food. Best food: Greece. Hands down. We got gyros, souvlaki, baklava, Greek salads, other Greek pastries. All so delicious and all so cheap. Though Italy did have some pretty amazing gelato (biscotto flavor = the best).

We saw some amazing and beautiful things. Sunset in Oia, Santorini, and basically everywhere on that island. The Vatican Museum. The Acropolis. The Lennon Wall in Prague. The Brandenburg Gates in Berlin. And so much more.

We took every mode of transportation possible: feet, bus, metro, train, coach, plane, ferry, car and slept in most of them. We slept mostly in hostels but also on ferries and in airports.

Basically, it was amazing and though I’m glad to be back in London, I can’t believe it’s over.

Up next: Portugal.

Wonderful places

I’ve been running around Europe the past few days and it’s been truly spectacular. Already been to 3 different countries (I was actually in all three in one very long day) and they’ve been great. I think my favorite may have been the Greek Island of Santorini. We were staying in a beautiful little hostel–basically a 4 person hotel room at a hostel price–just 200 feet or so from a black sand beach. Not to brag, but it was gorgeous and relaxing and none of the four of us (I’m traveling with 3 friends from London) are quite sure why we left. We also took a night ferry so we’re pretty tired/cracked out.

Greek food is amazing. The sunset in Oia is beautiful. It looks like scenes from Mamma Mia/Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Probably because Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was actually filmed there.

I’ll post pictures eventually…probably not till I’m back with real computer access, but in the mean time, I’m safe, having fun, loving Europe, and enjoying the sun.

Pictures, as promised

What have I been up to? Lots of fun things. I went to Norway for a weekend, though I guess I already said that. That was pretty cool (literally…things were frozen and there was snow everywhere). It was so cold and thus so off season that since lots of things were closed, I spent lots of time in the train station or in random shopping malls to escape the mall. Lots of aimless wandering, but fun.

I’ve been doing lots of errands which is actually more fun than it sounds. Yesterday I walked 6 miles or so while running errands. I was looking for a new messenger bag and wallet to replace the ones that had been stole and it took me hours to find anything acceptable. I got a bunch of other stuff done and in the process I was able to explore some new areas of town, like Soho which is filled with adorable local boutiques.

Then today I went on more errands, kind of a continuation of yesterday and I explored a new area of Covent Garden (another shopping district…it’s kind of a theme in London) and the Seven Dials which 200 years ago was a terrible part of town but now is really nice with more cute boutiques. There was a store called American Classics, ironically filled with British people and absurdly priced cowboy-esque clothing.

And today I also went on a tour of the Olympic site in London. While we didn’t actually get to see that much/go inside anything, it was pretty cool because I got to see some new parts of London and learn more about the 2012 Olympics. These games are going to be pretty green…a lot of things are made out of recyclable material and after the games most of the stadiums are going to come down and be reused in other parts of the country. It’s also regenerating one of the poorest areas of London and making excessive use of public transport. Pretty cool. Those pictures will come later though.

And finally, the promised pictures:

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Back

Popped over to Norway for the weekend with one of my friends from QM. We just got back a half hour ago or so and I’m tired and while my brain tells me it’s 2:36 am, my body has no clue what time it is (daylight savings time + time zone changes + sleeping on the floor can do that to you).

Norway was awesome. Really cold though. The water was frozen and there was snow every where. Also, all the Norwegians had skis and just brought them on the T-banen (tube/metro/subway) with them. We tried to see the fjords, but with everything frozen, the ferries weren’t really working (except for one to Copenhagen).

I probably didn’t pack enough warm clothes for Norway but I was fine after I triple layered my shirts, double layered my socks, and used my spare pair of socks as mittens (I only had one glove with me for some reason). After that, plus a scarf and a hat, it was quite toasty. Plus my friend and I were quite good at finding warm places to hang out (like train stations or malls).

Norway or Oslo at least is also super expensive. By super expensive I mean most meals cost $30 at least. No joke. I even saw some restaurants with appetizers for that much. But my friend (Corinne) and I were able to beat that system. Instead of spending $30 a meal, we went to a grocery store and spent about $30 total for all our meals for 3 days. Go us.

Anyway, it’s late and I need to sleep since I have a 9 am tomorrow. I’ll post pictures later. I’ve been saying that for ages, but I will.

What a crazy week

The short: last weekend I was in Germany. Back in time for a 9 am Tuesday and to hang out with some QM friends. Wednesday, a friend from high school arrives and we run around the city for a few days (and see two awesome show: Clybourne Park and Jersey Boys)…then the bad part. Was supposed to fly to Geneva, complications and couldn’t get to the airport in time. I’m in London for the weekend, but having fun so far, just hanging out with friends, using up my TravelCard and seeing diff parts of the City that I hadn’t visited before.

Will update more and post photos too soon.

PS: Germany has a store with just gummies (and tons of free samples).

 

Success

Today, today was a good day.

2 papers submitted (along with that great I-kicked-paper-butt feeling and DONE).

1 fancy tea party with classical music and scones, pictures will follow, probably tomorrow.

1 cool movie (though utterly lacking in explosions).

And realizing my friends like the same bad made-for-TV movies I do.

 

And now I should go to sleep because tomorrow’s going to be a big, long day. Details later.

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Slacking

I realize it’s been a while since I last updated, and you probably want some news about my awesome life in London. I’m back and I’m as much in love with London as ever. It’s beautiful, wonderful, awesome. I think I may even like it better than New York, and for me, that’s big.

This week has been “Reading Week” for my uni, which more or less translates into “Spring Break.” I’ve been in London for the whole week because I had two friends from Smith visiting. We did everything from Big Ben and Westminster Abbey (only the outside) to speed tours of the V&A and the British Museum, along with pit stops at the Eye, long layovers at 3 different book stores, a viewing of one of the worst movies I’ve seen, and some shopping on Oxford St.

New things from Emily’s visit: the British Library and its exhibit on Evolving English and the Temple Church.

I showed them King’s Cross and Platform 9 ¾. Emily got to see Gringot’s bank (aka: Australia House) and the rather impressive Royal Courts of Justice. We went to the Palace (and the Queen was actually there that time), took pictures in telephone booths, etc. It was all very touristy. It’s hard to show someone a city when they have a week any only 10 things that they want or are willing to see. It was a good week, it was a crazy week and it’s weird that it’s over. Especially since I have to study now.

For me, London is London not because of any of those major over-crowded tourist attractions. They’re quintessential “London,” but they’re not London at all.

So, after I dropped Emily off at Paddington today, I decided to do some real exploring. Armed with my map and Oyster card, I hoped on the tube and I explored Little Venice and Mayfair. Little Venice was cute with canals, house boats, floating cafes, blue bridges and I loved it. Mayfair was so … posh. It’s almost entirely owned by one man, and expensive. New York’s equivalent is probably the Upper East Side.

Basically, London’s not loveable and amazing because of the touristy bits. No, it’s everything; the semi-dysfunctional tube, the incomprehensible buses, all of the boroughs, and the really old bits along with the really new ones.

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