November treats

I’m not very fond of the typical autumn vegetables that are found in the Netherlands, but I challenge myself to eat 1 of them once a week. This swap, where we had to made a typical autumn meal , therefor was pretty easy for me, it already was on the menu.

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I made a pumpkin soup. there are many ways to prepare pumpkin, but I like soup the most. The ingredients happen to be all orange, even the can of coconut milk is orange 🙂

  • pumpkin 400 g
  • carrots 300 g
  • orange (zest and juice)
  • coconut milk 500 mL
  • curry powder
  • bouillon 500 mL

I made it extra easy for myself and bought already cut veggies. Put everything in a pan and let it cook for at least 20 minutes. Then mash everything together.

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I must say, I liked this soup. It’s sweet and creamy, perfect comfort food. Even my husband (who only likes tomato cream soup) said he wouldn’t mind if we ate it again. Which is a good thing, because I made enough to put 2 portions in the freezer. Next time will be even more easy.

 

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Your Healthy Life in 21 days

Last spring 1 of my facebook friends posted a message about a vegan detox she was going to do. I love food and cooking and am interested in any diet or food challenge. That doesn’t mean I always agree with the ideas, but I do like to think and chat about anything food related. Ofcourse I messaged her and after some thought (vegan is also no cheese *shock*) I decided I would join this 10 day program as well. I loved it! I didn’t loose weight and I didn’t feel much better compared to my normal diet, but the food was delicious! I really didn’t know you could cook this tasty with only vegetables, seeds and nuts. I didn’t continue eating vegan, but I do eat a lot more veggies and my meat and dairy consumption has reduced a lot. When I noticed a new program would start in september I had no doubt at all and joined.

If you are interested in this program (written in dutch)  you can find it here. You will receive menu’s and recipes for 3 weeks (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks). There are also some recipes to make your own beauty products, a few yoga and meditation classes and a lot of information about healthy eating. You also receive acces to a private facebook group that is pretty active and fun. In case you are worried to find all sorts of animal activists in that group: you don’t. Yes you will find veganists in this group, but also vegetarians and people who eat everything edible. We focus on healthy habits about food and lifestyle, but having a different opinion is totally fine.

Within those 21 days I’ve had some mixed feelings. 21 days is a lot more than 10 days and I’ve had some hard moments. Right before this program I was on vacation in Turkey, with all the delicious food Turkey has to offer and I really needed to detox from it. That’s nothing new to me, but not being able to eat by my normal habits made it a bit more difficult. After 5 days of only vegan (and very healthy) food I wanted meat or at least french fries. I really struggled with this until I promised myself I could have fries if I had finished the first 7 days. On day 7 there was rice cooked in coconutmilk and this took away my need for greasy food. In the second week I was offered a sandwich with kroket, a dutch snack that is filled with a stew of meat and I ate it before I realised I couldn’t have it. The third week I went over to a friend for dinner and she had cooked me a delicious meal with chicken. She didn’t know I was in this program and I ate it without complains. It was really good 🙂

Now the 21 days are over and eating this way feels normal. I have been thinking about becoming a real vegetarian or vegan. But every time I think of it I feel some resist: but then I will never be able to eat cheese again and eating in a restaurant will be more complicated and I always have to think about what I eat. I decided I will not rename my eating habits. At home I already cooked with less meat and dairy. I try to cook without any of these products at home, but I will eat everything when I eat out of the house. And if I’m really in the mood for some cheese or meat I will make it for myself. Now it’s a choice and not forbidden to eat animal products and I think it will make it easier for me to stay on track.

Making cocktails and reading books

I’ll be hosting 6 swaps for this project on this fun and kind group on swap-bot. I try to do 1 activity on the weekends and 1 on wednesday.

Make a cocktail. Sure no problem, love them! But how to choose 1 of the many many cocktails? I decided to make a special coffee, because all supplies I already had.

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You need extra strong coffee, I used my special coffee maker to make an espresso. I’m so happy with this tiny thing. Before I had a nespresso machine, it took a lot of space on my kitchen counter and then it broke. They are pretty expensive and don’t give the kind of coffee I really wished for. I searched for a new machine, to discover that the machine I had was 1 of the cheapest and then I found this thing. It’s an old-fashioned coffee maker, 1 that needs to be put on a fire and it gives exactly the coffee I was looking for. Only 15 euro. It’s cheaper and better, win win!

You also need condensed milk, wodka, an ice cube and marshmallows. Take a glass and put in the ice and 30 ml wodka. Add 50 ml milk and 50 ml hot coffee. Burn the marshmellows a little, put them on a stick and serve them as a spoon. The combination of ice and hot gives it a nice temperature. I liked it, but less wodka would be better for me. Strong stuff.

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Now I’m thinking of what else to make. Lately I’m in the mood for smoothies and I found some ideas to serve fruit and water. Both sound delicious to me, but I doubt if they are cocktails. But who cares 🙂

enhanced-20366-1395369612-7Something else that kept me busy was the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. It’s about a list of books mentioned in the tv show Gilmore Girls. I decided to take this challenge, you can read all about it here. I also created a swap to share experiences within this challenge.

At the start I read 19 books and 14 titles I’ve seen as a movie (but that doesn’t really count). If you have suggestions of where to find free and legal ebooks I be very pleased to hear them.

 

Kazakhstan

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Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union and became independence in 1991. It now is a republic. The president is Nursultan Nazarbayev. It’s supposed to be a democracy, but that is doubted. Although the people are happy with their president and with real elections he probably be president too.

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Original the people living in Kazakhstan are nomads. This way of life and the Kazakhs culture was suppressed by Lenin. The population increased by 38% by starvation and emigration. To let the population grow again the Russians deported many people to Kazakhstan. Now a days there live 131 ethnicities.

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Kazakhstan is economic very successful, there is a lot of oil. The biggest religion is islam. You can read more about Kazakhstan here. The pictures are found on the internet. I search on instagram for the country and save the images that appeal to me. I have no idea who have taken these pictures, but I do want to thank you all.

Do you remember when Obama became president of the USA he said he would close Guantanamo bay? To do so a place where those people could live had to be found. A few of the Guantanamo prisoners are now living in Kazakhstan. Vice made this documentary about 1 of them. It’s worth watching, those men still aren’t free, they even prefer Guantanamo above this life.

I cooked a meal called Sambas. It’s meat in bread, must be good. And it was. I order my meat online. The animal lives longer than it does with “normal” meat, the cows are used for milk and meat and the animals have more space to live, also outdoors. When you order you have to wait till the whole cow or pig is sold before it is butchered. Between ordering and receiving can be 6 weeks. I think this is a more animal friendly way of eating meat, but I often eat vegetarian as well. It just tastes too good to not eat meat at all. Anyway, this is the recipe I cooked. I used store-bought dough for the bread, sometimes you need to be kind to yourself and keep it simple.

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Next year the world Expo is held in Astana. All buildings will be powered by wind and solar energy. The pictures of the buildings look amazing. It’s almost science fiction. I think it’s a huge contrast with the rest of the country.

India

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India is the second most populated country of the world. There live thousand million people, I don’t even know how to pronounce that number. The capital is New Dehli, but the largest city is Mumbai. It’s official name is Republic of India.

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India is an upcoming economic nation. More people become richer, but still many people are poor. There isn’t much of a middle-class, altough I assume this will come as long as the country keeps developing. Because of India’s culture and caste system it might be harder for some people to escape poverty.

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India is a large country with divers landscape. You can find tropical beaches, dessert, mountains and forrest. It has a past of migrants and therefor has an interesting mix of all kinds of cultures. Biggest religion is hinduism, but islam, christianity and buddhism are also quit big. As always the above pictures are found online and not taken by me. They do make me curious, it’s so colorful and such interesting architecture. Who want to read more global information about India can visit wikipedia

 

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You can’t go to India and not visit the Taj Mahal. This building is listed as a world heritage site. I watched this documentary on youtube. I did not know it was a mausoleum, I might be the only person on earth who didn’t know this. The documentary tells about a great love story, but it also shows how the people who did the labour and the people who lived in the area of the building suffered. Maybe it’s a good thing we don’t create buildings like this anymore. Still, it’s an amazing looking building and the filigree inside is unbelievable.

India has a large film industry called Bollywood. The first movie was made in 1913. The movies are populair all over the world and often a Bollywood movie sells more tickets than a Hollywood movie does. I went to the cinema and watched Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, it’s 1 of the bollywood movies that can be found on netflix. I searched the internet to see what people eat in a cinema in India and learned about Samosas and Vada. This recipe sounds yummy, but supermarket bought popcorn is so much easier. The movie was nice. A love that can not be, songs, colors. I watch these kind of movies every now and then, they are good entertainment.

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Visiting India means eating curry. I made 1 with chicken marinated in yoghurt and I made my own filled flatbread. I’m not a big fan of curry but I liked this a lot. It wasn’t hard to make and I will probably eat this again. The bread was nice, maybe add a little cheese to it.

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As a crafty element of this journey I created a mandala. A mandala can be used by meditation in buddhism. I don’t know much about traditional asian religions, but I do try to practice mindfulness and drawing and coloring like this sure made me focussing on the moment, paying attention to what I’m doing. I can understand this would help by a meditation, because it helps you focus.

 

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Haiti

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The official name of Haiti is the Republic of Haiti. It’s a group of islands in the Caribbean. There live around 10 million people, mostly offspring of African slaves.The original habitants of these islands where the Taino people. Most of them died because of hard labour and diseases from the european colonizer. They where replaced by Africans, bought/captured as slaves.

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Haiti was the first country that became independed from it’s europese colonizer and freed itself from slavery. They have a rural government and are 1 of the poorest countries in the world. The Spanish and French took their catholic faith with them, the African slaves brought in their animism and these 2 mixed with a little of the religion of the Taino created voodoo. (You know that column on the right of wikipages? The dutch wiki also gives religion, apparently this is important for us dutchies)

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Nature wise Haiti has not much to offer. Most forrest is chopped to be replaced by farmland. The variety of animals is small.  More global information can be found on wikipedia. As always, the pictures above are not made by me, but found on the internet. I know I should give credit to each photographer, but I use pinterest as my source and it really is too much trouble for me.

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I cooked a delicious meal, really this meat is a keeper. It’s pork, first cooked and then roasted. The recipe is found here. I forgot to take a picture myself so I used a pic from the recipe. I combined it with this rice and bean dish. Simple, but yummy.

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I am reading this book. As far as I can find it’s not translated to english. Translation of the title would be: Haiti a disaster for journalists. It’s written by Hans Jaap Melissen, who is a dutch journalist/reporter. Hans had been several times in Haiti and came again to cover the earthquake in 2010. It’s a very interesting story that gives some insight in how journalism works, as well in the dilemmas a reporter faces (practical and ethical) and how the geo’s use the media. It also gives some insight in how news is covered for dutch media and reading that I realized there is a returning script for natural disasters.

The book is divided in 3 parts. Part 1 coveres the first 2 weeks after the earthquake. It tells about the ratrace journalists have to get the best, most beautiful, most dramatic story. There are difficulties with electricity and a few aftershocks. Hans is struggling with his assignment to cover the worst stories, what is asked from him is not what he sees in Haiti. Every new story has to be more horrible than the one before. The climax is a money raise show held in the Netherlands. In part 1 we are introduced to Joe, a local Haitian who speaks english and works as a translator for Hans. Joe has lost his family and home, but keeps working and smiling. Life has been tough for him before.

After 2 weeks the attention of the media for Haiti is slowing down and this is part 2 of the book. Most journalists have left the country, but Hans isn’t ready to leave yet. The amounts of death according to the government are much higher than what he sees around him and he starts an investigation to this. While Joe is helping him with his investigation we see how Hans is struggling with some moral dilemmas around the relationship of the 2 men. Should he tell Joe about this man he met who came to save pets while Joes family still is under a destroyed building? Hans loves Haiti, this gives him the willpower to do this investigation, but it also makes him less objective and he starts to feel the chaos that is around him. He goes back home without finishing the investigation.

Part 3 of the story brings Hans back to Haiti a few weeks later. He finishes the investigation, but the response to his story is low. He leaves Haiti a few times to work in other places, but keeps coming back. This part learns us about how slow help money can be and how several organisations don’t work well together. Rebuilding Haiti is a problem (and as far as I know this still is a problem 16 years later)

The history of Haiti is interesting enough to stay 2 more weeks here. I hope to watch this documentary about voodoo soon, so far I haven’t found time and then there is the rebellion of the slaves and a horrible dictator. But the challenge is moving to India.

 

 

The 100 day project

On instagram I joined a 100 day challenge. It’s pretty simple, you choose your own theme and do something for that for 100 days showing 1 picture each day. 

I know doing the same thing for 100 days wont work for me. I choose living a creative life as my theme. Is that cheating? Choosing something you already do every day for years? It still is a little hard, I don’t do something creative every single day. Altough that depends on the definition of being creative. To me it goes further than making art. Cooking and gardening are part of my creative life as well and I need to relax in the shower, play a videogame every now and than and spend time with family and friends to get new energy to be able to live a creative life. So it will be 100 pictures of art and things I do to keep the creativity alive. 


Things like cooking a new dish, paint a cat and preparing the office for a bithdayparty. Honoring prince, I was shocked by his death, still can’t really believe it.


Other things I did in the past 12 days are visiting a fantasy festival (and that is a boost for creative ideas!) and make some more art. 

I will not bore you with every detail of the challenge. Some things are interesting enough to get an own blogpost, the others I’ll give an update every now and then. You can follow me on instagram ofcourse, my username is angenita.