February 22, 2014 § 2 Comments
Well, the sell-by date for this lovely specimen was for today (sorry veggie readers!) and at a bargainous price of €2.50 that’s a lot of eating. So I portioned it up (legs,breasts,wings), drenched in lemon juice and black pepper and a little sweet paprika, fried them a little in some sunflower oil and threw them in the crockpot (carrots first, then onions, then chicken then liquids). This is an adapted “Simple Crock Chicken” recipe to what I had to hand:
- 1 whole chicken cut up into parts and fried as described above
- 2 big carrots, cut ridiculously chunky
- 2 onions, cut into fine rings
- 1 lemon
- 7 sprigs of fresh thyme (minus the twigs)
- a can of cider (minus two “tastes” ;) )
- a mug of vegetable stock
- a third of a mug of cold water
I often have discussions with some of my German colleagues, for whom cooking is more of an event than something they regularly do. They often are amazed at why my boyfriend and I choose to cook so much rather than, as they see it, choose to eat out and have more time to do other things. I recently read somewhere that for every dollar you spend on bought meals, 20c of that has actually gone on food. If you breakdown the cost, of this meal, feeding 2 people, twice for approx €5.35 ( €2.50 chicken + can of cider €1.40 + organic lemon 75c + fresh thyme 30c + onions 40c + carrots 30c). That’s about €1.30 a meal. More when I serve it with potatoes and spinach. But that would not even bring it to €2! If i’d have bought chicken thighs, the whole process would have been much quicker. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
Yay! Cycling weather is here again! I cycle for free to work (when I can) with the citybike scheme. It’s free to use for the first 30mins and really saves me cash on busfares that are unavoidable in the colder weather, usually November to February when the snow comes. The busfare has gone up again, and now it’s €2 a pop. This time of year all you need is a pair of gloves and something to wipe the seat down with if there’s been some rain, and you’re ready to go.
The only thing about the citybike scheme is that it’s first come, first served so if you’re late getting out of work the chances of getting a bike are slim. Perhaps I should invest in a new (used) bicycle. After my second bicycle was stolen I decided it was a bit of a waste of time and thought I’d see how it went with just using the citybike. The added benefit of extra exercise is also something I’m looking forward to.
February 16, 2014 § 4 Comments
Hello there! I’ve been very quiet because I was out of action with the cold the last week. But this weekend I made up for that with a screen printing course just for a bit of creative fun and to use my hands :) It was wonderful using all the colourful inks and getting my hands dirty! I printed these beavers (that I photographed in Canada and sketched with ink) onto both paper and material and plan to make some gifts with these little guys :) The other ladies were VERY organised, with rolls of material packed in little luggage trollies and had lots of patterns to print. Hats off to them! And they were so very inspirational!
Valentines day was lovely, we had a spontaneous simple meal in a very low-key family restaurant.
I invested in a good pillow this week, it’s kind of wedge-shaped and cost a ridiculous amount of money that I’m even embarrassed to mention anonymously! LOL! I’m not sure it was worth the price but my other pillow *had to go* asap. I think it wasn’t helping my shoulder. Because of that absurdly large expense I have been reluctant to take part in this week’s challenge of getting another wardrobe staple. I do however have my eyes on a lovely petrol-blue beret on Kleiderkreisel, which at €2 wouldn’t break the bank :) My sealed pot also got his weekly feed :)
Have a lovely weekend everyone! I hope you’re all well.
February 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
Hello, hello! It’s an easy crockpot Sunday here, the dinner is simmering away in the kitchen. It’s a new recipe that I have never tried before that has:
- diced beef
- sweet potato
- beef stock
- red wine
- sage and thyme and two bay leaves
It smells very good :) And I’ll serve some spinach with it. It’s been simmering on the highest setting for 6 hours now.
Last weekend was wonderful but was quite a lot to do in one weekend so this weekend, we planned less to do, particularly for today. Yesterday we did some much-needed clothes shopping (mostly for my boyfriend) and we went to a beautiful-looking café that I had passed by many times. What I find really funny about lunchtime on Saturdays in Germany is that some people are eating breakfasty-looking things, some are having cake and coffee (like us) and some are onto beers already :) In this particular café, a large platter of oysters shared among groups of friends seemed to be “de rigeur” ;)
Today I worked on my job application a little bit which feels so undescribably GOOD to get that underway and off my chest :) I need to just keep doing little bits. I tidied up around the house a little bit this afternoon and set out my outfits for the week (I updated my wardrobe planning page :) ) I even have some MaPo Tofu leftovers in my lunchbox for tomorrow.
Last week I wanted to make a real stab at getting my passport and drivers licence renewed. However, when cross-checking the form I read that the doctor (my witness) had mistakenly signed the form in the wrong place. I called the embassy to try my luck and see if it will do, but it turns out that this is a big deal and I have to do it all over again :( It’s better though than waiting weeks to have my application rejected and be without a passport for all that time.
For the driver’s licence, we drove early on Monday morning to the government motor “taxation” offices, but couldn’t access the building because there were roadworks all the way around with no diversion instructions. Grrr! We ran out of time driving around and I missed my appointment. But I can’t give up! No passport means no holidays!
I will go another day and leave more time to find my way in. And I found out that it is possible that an accountant in the place where I work can sign the documents to be my witness for the passport, I just need a few minutes to make some personal phonecalls during work hours to see if this would be acceptable. I have learned about myself that I get very caught up in feeling “busy” or allowing myself to feel so busy that I can’t do the things that I need to be doing for me! I have set an alarm in my calendar to tell me it’s time to go home and get my things done that need doing.
As a last thought, I think that there is no paycheque sweeter than February’s! I stocked up on household essentials (new toothbrushes, toilet rolls, shampoos, etc.) and have to behave myself a little bit now because I went a bit crazy eating out since Saturday :) But it feels good to get over January :) Doesn’t it?
January 26, 2014 § 3 Comments
It is freezing outside- for readers across the pond, that’s 13 degrees Fahrenheit. Tonight we use my Christmas present, which is a trip to the local theatre, which thankfully is not far away from the apartment. I think of all the people who have sat on a bus all day to see the production and must arrive excited but tired and hungry and now cold. Before that we will have our wonderful-smelling dinner that is in the oven right now and have a glass of something sparkly at the matinee :)
Yesterday we were at a friend’s birthday party, she just turned 30 and it was a really lovely party full of down-to-earth, funny, open people. Some faces we knew, and some we didn’t. It’s always lovely to meet new people. I always think that nice people know nice people.
I have made a small start on my portfolio (babysteps!), and plan to do a little more tomorrow as I will be in early and can use the equipment in work while I wait on the others to arrive. Tomorrow morning I have an early appointment to hopefully exchange my driver’s license for a German one. Apparently once it is still valid and you have the relevant documentation and of course the fee, it can be exchanged. That would save me a lot of money flying home to be told that since I’m non-resident I can’t have it renewed.
Another urgent matter to take care of is to go to the consulate and try to get my passport renewed. That will be a new experience! So today was spent trying to find a working passport photo machine in the bitter cold. During the week the one in the main shopping centre was closed. The photo did NOT come out good as you can imagine, but as long as it fits the criteria for these new-fangled biometric passports I don’t really care. Nobody ever sees it :)
My sealed pot has been well fed for the week, although I haven’t made any more of an attempt at researching our trip for next year. I’m thinking of starting another sealed pot for my sponsor child, it will be her ninth birthday in October :)
So for now we’re having hot food, wrapping up warm and staying indoors as much as possible! Hope you’re all staying warm too :)
January 19, 2014 § 2 Comments
Hello everyone, I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. I have been doing some serious “feeding the soul” this weekend which was a relief since last week in work I got some news that to cut a long story short means more work being put onto my shoulders, but was thankful for it because it is some extra encouragement for me to feel right about leaving my current situation. So many times in my life I have felt forced to decide one way or another and take the very first thing to come to me, but thankfully, not this time. My next step will be only chosen by me, in my own sweet time.
My big news this week is that I decided to finally sign up to be a sponsor for a child in the developing world. I have wanted to do this since I knew it was possible and have experience a lot of resistance as to how I could afford to do it but I’m very sure I can make the €28 a month available. It will be a little Egyptian girl and I can’t wait to get started! I’m really very excited about this :) My 2014 resolution to be more charitable is kicking off well :)
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January 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
Just a quick post before I dash out the door to work, to show you a wonderful way to use up milk-kefir, which is to add it to some juice. I was in a Japanese restaurant in Dublin and I saw they were offering Kefir with Apple + Beetroot (what I’m drinking this morning), Aloe-Vera or Pineapple + Orange Juice. It tastes really good and is not just as thick as a smoothie. They were also offering the grains for sale for a whopping €9!
In the glass I put a quarter Kefir, a bit more than two-quarters apple juice and just under a quarter of beetroot juice. They are direct-pressed juices because I don’t have a juicer. It’s a nice way to get some calcium and probiotics as well as some vitamins in the morning and the added benefit of using up some of my ever-increasing supply of kefir :)