Monday, December 19, 2011

Autumn leaves in Ithaca

These pictures are from a little family reunion to correspond with my Grandmother's 94th birthday. She's 94 and still got it goin' on, autumn is her favorite season and I agree, autumn leaves are quite enchanting, especially along the rolling hills of Upstate New York. The weather was a perfect mix of crisp, cool and sunshine. One day we even had a teeny tiny little snow drift, which was just enough for me after surviving the last three winters of snow-pocalypse in Holland. Naturally, I meant to share these autumn leaves pictures with you last month to go along with this video I made, but time escaped me. Oh well, here they are better late than never!

Previously, I mentioned in this post, that while in New York we visited the Corning Museum of Glass where we made our own ornaments. Did you ever stop to think that originally, lightbulbs were completely hand blown?! That really blew my mind. Making our ornaments was a really neat experience which sort of flew by so, maybe I should look into taking a glass blowing class sometime. It seems like such a fun hobby to try!

Aren't these glass jellyfish delightful? They were on my imaginary wish list along with a gorgeous art nouveau style Louis Comfort Tiffany lamp...

Smoked, Roasted and Grilled

Hearty whole wheat bread, smoked tempeh and roasted red peppers make excellent grilled cheese fillings.
With a big hand full of cherries on the side, yes please! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Amsterdam Loves Bicycles

I noticed these cute video making rounds twitter the other day and thought they would be nice to share...

Whenever I'm away something I miss so much about life in Amsterdam is cycling, it just makes me generally happy to ride my yellow bike around the city. Well, honestly it's a love/hate relationship at times like when your bike gets vandalized or your ride home is covered in freezing sleet or hail...but like they say, you can't win 'em all, right? Bikes are a huge part of what makes my daily life pleasant in Holland and for some reason it doesn't feel quite as charming to bike in other places. Where do you like to ride your bike? 

Friday, December 16, 2011

At the Powwow

While working on my degree in Anthropology one of my favorite courses included Native American cultural studies and I used to attend powwows in the area often. 

These cultural gatherings include song, dance, story telling, merchants, a variety of foods and my favorite activities, watching the dancers in their intricate regalia. 

A powwow also opens discourse for those who want to learn more about the Native American communities we have and I often found myself engaged in so many interesting conversations with my professor and her colleagues as the sun went down.

While in Florida this autumn I attended a local powwow with a long time university friend and of course ran into my professor too. Aside from the fun event, it was great to do something together we've enjoyed in the past but haven't been able to do in a few years.

 Days like that help to bridge the gap that can sometimes build up while living over seas and it felt so good to know our friendship popped right into place despite the distance. Who knows, it might be another year (or longer) until we get to attend another powwow together.

If you want to learn more about your local Native American community to visit a powwow in your area learn more here. Have any of you attended The Gathering of Nations? 
It's on my life long travel list, I'd love to go one day!

Have you ever visited a powwow before? 
Here are a few photographs from that fun day, aren't the Eagle feathers majestic?!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Good Eats in St. Augustine

As mentioned before, I had the delicious pleasure of an impromptu trip to St. Augustine with a couple gals. So when my good friend Emma raved about the yummy dishes served up at The Floridian Restaurant we quickly added this eatery to our evening menu. Stopping by this spot turned out to be the perfect end to a fantastic day. To start, we ordered a round of Fried Green Tomato Bruschetta to hold us over because their menu took us a while to dissect since everything was so tempting.

Fried Green Tomatoes + Chili-Garlic Aioli

Everything, seriously, everything sounded great. And better yet they offered a range of local and seasonal ingredients along with a variety of vegetarian options. It was a win for everyone. Plus, I got to stock up on a few Orange Blossom Pilsners, mmm honey beer!

Seasonal Salad: Bib lettuce, Tempeh, Sauteed onions, Goat Cheese, Apples

Despite being quite stuffed, the three of us shared a slice of supremely sweet, crunchy pecan pie, which happened to have a layer of chocolate and coconut on the bottom. YUM!

Pecan pie, need I say more?

A great thing road trips in America (and something I really missed while in Holland) is the ability to sing at the top of our lungs, this simply can not be done on a bike in Amsterdam without being a total annoyance to everyone. That night in particular commenced with some of our favorite tunes for the ride home, with great friends come great random moments!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Exciting things...

First off, I'm very excited to announce that this blog has a new domain! 

Yup, there it is my friends. So, if you have links to this blog would you please be so kind add the update? Thanks so much!  
As you can see, I've made a few small tweaks and at the moment, I'm still figuring out how to implement other changes (honestly, there is just so much to learn!). 
With a new year on the horizon it seemed fitting to get new things started around here. 
Now, on to a little winter update...

We've all been stating the obvious lately, how exactly is it December already?! 
In fact, there are only 10 days until Christmas, yikes!
So, I wanted to share a quick winter recap of what I've been up to lately. I promise, the South Africa stories and photos are on their way very soon! In the mean time, here's a sneak peak...

It took most of last week to fully unwind after 3 weeks in South Africa.
Which also happens to means catching a nice break from the awful Dutch wintertime drizzle.
I've been warming up chilly nights with almond milk tea lattes, and trying to squeeze in as much friends + family holiday time while in The States...

While traveling in South Africa I finished up The Happiness Project 
in perfect time to refresh begin a new year in 2012.

In the last a few months I've been back on a yoga kick and happily trying to keep up with my routine 4-5 times a week. Subscribing to Yoga Journal (along with various podcasts) has helped a lot, now I can't imagine skipping out on yoga for so long ever again! 
Sometimes it's so hard to with a routine while traveling...

More again soon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Arancione bicicletta

Spotted in Sardinia. Check out that teeny-tiny chain. Makes me giggle since I've gotta haul around a giant five-pounder on my bike in Amsterdam.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sinterklaas kapoentje

It's that time of year again! Let's break out the chocolate letters and kruidnoten! This year I'll be celebrating in South Africa (surprise!) but you can click here to ready Sinterklaas memories from my last few years in Holland and yup, that unfortunately still includes the ridiculous tradition of wearing blackface. C'mon people, time to let that go. Dag Sinterklaasje!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Puppy Love: Daily Miyuki

My pal Ashley happens to not only be  fantastically creative but also the owner of one of the most adorable, squishy faced French Bulldogs around.  Oh Miyuki, you're such a hoot, always silly and hamming it up for the camera! Check out the other puppy pictures here at Daily Miyuki or see some of Ashley's graphic art and delicious homemade ice cream endeavours over here.

The daily miyuki lives on! Reunited with my boo at last!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
 It's hard to believe that I haven't celebrated the holiday in America now for four years. 
The last three were in Holland and this year we're adventuring in South Africa! 
Luckily, we had little pre-Thanksgiving party to get my fix of mashed potatoes, 
to-furkey and other treats earlier in the year. YUM!

Well, I suppose it's not quite exactly the same as celebrating on 24 November. 
But it's hard to grumble when thinking about all the amazing adventures and friendships I've made instead of a slice pumpkin pie. Those memories to be thankful for! 


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunny St. Augustine

The formula for this fantastic day included seeing old friends and fully embracing the classic American past time of road trips. This autumn, we filled up the tank and headed to St. Augustine, a little Florida city with lots of historical charm. The weather was absolutely, positively perfect for an unplanned day trip and we had just enough time to wander around and enjoy a few beers before the sunset. Our dinner that evening was so spectacular that it deserves it's very own post. I miss my life in Amsterdam so very much, but spending time around my old stomping grounds (and sunshine!!) is so good for my soul.

Cute storybook homes, too many to count!

Spanish moss always evokes memories of home

Colorful ceramics (wish they could live in my kitchen one day!)

Walls made of oyster shells

Enjoying a few beers in a tree top bar just before the sun set

Such lovely ladies to spend a day with

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Video: Autumn in Ithaca

Here's a little video I shot while driving through upstate New York in October.
I love the color of autumn leaves with the sun shining through!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Murmuration...

Oh my. This lovely video has been circulating around lately but it's so magical I felt a need to share it too. Can you imagine what that must have felt like to experience such a surprising burst of nature? Wow, a murmuration of starlings...believe me, it's beautiful, just watch a see.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

25 ways to wear a scarf

Moving from a hot, humid climate to chilly, rainy northern Europe rendered a complete wardrobe change.  I could (finally) fully embrace the practicality of layering clothes and it didn't take me long to get hooked on the assorted stylish ways of wearing scarves. Although, many sundresses have sadly been thrown from my closet, a lovely collection of scarves continues to grow! I wanted to share this adorable video full of scarf styling ideas now that autumn has arrived and winter is quickly approaching. Sadly, I must admit most of my autumn/winter clothes were worn far too often during this terribly cold Dutch summer!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sardinian Sunsets

Memories of bright sunshine, warm winds, crisp and cool white wine, delicious cheeses and a few hearty scoops of almond gelato. All in all, a fabulous girls weekend getaway. 

Alghero, Sardinia

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Glassblowing at the Corning Museum

Check out this lovely glass ornament I made! Perhaps glassblowing is my new hobby?


Well, technically, I blew the glass while a professional at The Corning Museum of Glass helped with all the harder parts, you know, with the molten glass and all... I'm pretty delighted with the outcome and am now very tempted to learn more about glass blowing. I was completely mesmerized watching the gooey, melted glass, the artists make it look so easy. Did you know the colors change completely at such high temperatures? 

The museum was very instructional with lots of live glassblowing demonstrations. Honestly, I never really thought much about the history of glass but imagine that in the 19th century every light bulb was hand crafted by a glassblower! What a magical craft to watch in motion, maybe I've found my next hobby. More travel stories to come soon, until then have a happy weekend!

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's always darkest before the dawn

Flying high above the clouds still amazes me, I snapped this picture last week enroute to New York.
It fits perfectly with the song that's been stuck in my head all week...

No surprise that I'm obsessed with the new Florence + The Machine album, Ceremonials. Their first album Lungs was pretty much the soundtrack to my whole life last year. Go on, have a listen.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ketchup Fiets


Has anyone else seen these around Amsterdam? Is there a story behind them, or just a marketing scheme?
Sure, ketchup is popular in Holland but not fanatically loved like it is in the States. Mayo is the french fry topping of choice around here so, I'm dying to know how someone got their hands on a Heinz 57 Ketchup bike.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays: Ontbijt

Disclaimer: I know this is supposed to be wordless but... Yes, my friends, it really is socially acceptable (and whole heartedly enjoyed by the masses) to eat chocolate sprinkles for breakfast in Amsterdam. I suppose it makes sense hagelslaag is named after hail, a painfully honest reflection on the weather over here. (Dontevengetmestartedaboutthehorriblesummerweather!)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm in a Satay state of mind

Serendipity at it's finest: while paging through one of my new cook books, I came across a vegetarian version of Kipsate, the Indonesian inspired, spicy peanut sauce dish that's vastly popular here in Holland.  Now, I regret only briefly mentioning the amber-colored, peanutty goodness so infrequently before, since it's quite a staple in Dutch cuisine.

I suppose the recipes have been neglected here on the blog because every time I make something with satesaus it's immediately scarfed down without heeding the patience it takes to first pause and take a few nice photos (what a yummy dilema at that). Honestly, this is the first time I've done home made satay since in we have an abundance of convenient ready made sauces at local grocers and now I feel quite foolish because I think this recipe is perfect...and really simple! Definitely a front runner for favorite home made meals of the year. I finished off the meal with a Framboise (raspberry beer) and vegan oven baked onion rings from Appetite for Reduction (recipe to come soon).

So go ahead my friends, what are you waiting for? Grab the peanut butter and get going!

Quorn + Cauliflower Satay with Cucumber Pickle and Vegan Oven Baked Onion Rings

Cauliflower + Quorn Satay
(Recipe adapted from Rose Elliot's 'New Complete Vegetarian')

1 large head of cauliflower (about 500g, just the florets, chopped)
2 cups Quron pieces (you can also substitute tofu blocks or tempeh)

Satay Sauce
·      4 tbsp peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
·      5 tbsp coconut milk
·      1 tbsp tamarind paste
·      1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
·      1 tsp brown sugar
·      1red chili pepper, minced
---Mix ingredients together in a bowl, stir well, set aside.

·      2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
·      2 tbsp coconut milk
·      1 tbsp soy sauce
·      2 tbsp rice vinegar
·      2 tbsp sesame oil
·      2 tsp ginger
·      2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
·      2 tsp garam masala (or substitute with hot curry powder)
·      1/2 red chili pepper, minced
·      Olive oil or your preferred cooking oil to coat pans
---Mix all marinade ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. A fork works fine, stirring thoroughly.
---Rinse cauliflower and chop into bite sized florets. Boil water in a pan and parboil cauliflower (about 3 minutes). Drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Pour a large portion of the marinade over cauliflower, mix to cover all florets sufficiently. Lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil, spread the pieces evenly and bake the cauliflower on broil setting for about 15 minutes. (Longer if you want it very crispy. Best to do this while you’re preparing the rest of dinner).
---Pour remaining marinade over the Quorn (or tofu, etc) pieces in a small mixing bowl. Mix to cover thoroughly. Heat a frying pan coated with olive oil over medium-low heat, add the marinated pieces and cook thoroughly, about 7-10 minutes depending on desired crispiness.
--Serve the dishes together with Satay sauce for dipping, YUM!

Cucumber Pickle
·      1 cucumber, skinned and diced
·      1 small onion, pealed and diced
·      5 tbsp water
·      5 tbsp rice vinegar
·      1 tsp sugar
·      1 red chili pepper, minced
---Mix liquids, sugar and peppers in a small bowl. Add cucumber and onions, stir and set aside.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So long summer

Here's a few photos I had yet to post from this summer in Amsterdam.
Despite the terrible weather (daily rain storms and chilly winds, yuck) there were a few great days filled with showing friends around town, yummy treats and of course, trying to catch those precious fleeting rays of sunshine. As the transition to autumn has begun,
 I'm in the works with some great, new travel adventures for this fall, so stay tuned!
Tot ziens summer time, see you next year!
Afternoon wanderings in De Pijp

Playing tour guide to Florida friends
Teaching Florida friends to conquer the fietspad
Wishing our picnic days could last forever
Midsummer treats!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Amsterdam's Woonbooten

Houseboats are such an iconic part of Amsterdam's imagery, there are even a few along the canal we live on. Over time I've collected numerous pictures, snapped during boat rides and afternoon walks so have a look. I love that each is so unique.

It's intriguing to imaging living on a houseboat but what about the constant bobbling in waves?
I'm curious, have any of you ever stayed or lived on a houseboat? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Roaring Twenties Picnic Party

Flapper dresses, slide trombones, pie contests and dancing the Charleston... count me in! Oh, I wish could have attended this Great Gatsby styled party!

I love the music and luxurious, old-time glamour from this era (especially the ensambles in films like The Cat's Meow) and this gathering was like  jumping back in time. Maybe I should really add throwing a 1920's picnic party to my summer agenda?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Long Weekend in Sunny Sardenia

Like many other foreigners, I too have dreamed of living in Europe and skiping around to different, near by countries just for the weekend. Well, I must admit it's just about as easy as it seems...when you've got some free time and a bit of money saved up, that is. I recently met up with a hometown friend who just happens to be spending the summer in Europe. So, off we went with our backpacks and a hearty craving for wine, gelato and pizza on our long weekend in Sardinia. That Florida sunshine sure is hard to beat...but I guess a few Italian summer days can do the trick nicely too.

We left Holland on a dreary day, boarded a short flight from Eindhoven and soon found ourselves basking the sticky humidity that reminded us of home in Florida. The next few days were spent downing amaretto gelato and soaking up the Mediterranean sun. I happily vowed to end each day with a glass of  white wine and fresh, crispy, vegetable pizza. This trip was 4 days of food dreams come true!

Tell me, friends, where would you like to spend a holiday weekend this summer?