>> Thursday, December 27, 2007
I said after the two days of Christmas that were spent eating all kinds of yummies... then I went and ate and oversized soup with just about a loaf of black bread.
I said after the two days of Christmas that were spent eating all kinds of yummies... then I went and ate and oversized soup with just about a loaf of black bread.
As a part of my Sinterklaas present from Vito's parents, this Saturday we all went to a CASTLE! I'm such a sucker for beautiful castles with mots and mysterious gardens and roaring mighty lions that guard the entrance... aren't you?
The day could not have been more perfect. It was sunny and the cold was crisp, and there was even some frost covering the ground and trees. Perfect weather conditions for visiting a mysterious castle!
For: Cook Book
What: A story of about half a page to set up "the scene" were you on a beach in Italy? Were you at your aunts house for Christmas? Were you cooking dinner for your guy/girl for the very first time? Just a brief story to let us get in the mood for your dish. Then of course follow with a recipe: ingredients and preparation instructions.
Publishing: It will be 'self published' each recipe will have a copyright: your name on the bottom of the page of your recipe.
Contributors: Send in a one or two sentence "bio" and a picture if you like!! If you are a blogger and would like your blog link included, cool too.
The book will have a bout 30 recipes, 10 starters, 10 main courses, and 10 deserts!
Send your entries to email: alegolden78.gmail.com
I will let you know immediately if it's IN! If you have a similar entry in your blog that you'd like to send in, that's perfectly fine!
So far... 5 recipe's are in... 25 to go!
Oh yeah... what do you get? Well when we're done we'll have a fabulous brand new cook book, our moms will be proud! :) And I guess the people we feed will be happy too! But most importantly it'll be a project completed and perhaps an inspiration to go on and complete all these other "projects" and creative goals we all have...
Well I suck, it's official... NEEDLESS to say I did NOT write a cook book in November. Booo!! I did start it... but still... booooo! I'm obviously not capable of doing anything by myself, I NEED to do it together with others.
BUT! Never admit defeat! But when in danger of failure ask for help. Heeeeelp! Anyway I've decided to put out a recipe contest! You guys are all lovely and talented people and from what I see and read, you also like to cook! :) So Tomorrow I'll outline the "rules" and the recipes that rock (and are easy) will be included! But of course nothing is THAT simple muuuaaahahhaha
We are going to have SO MUCH FUN!
Speaking of fun... I just had DE-licious sesame encrusted tuna stake.... mmmmyyuuummmyyyy!! Now i'm going to go have some vito for desert.. excuse me...
I guess I don't write enough about my everyday life in here... Well partly because you'll all just dieeeeee of jealousy- nah just kidding :) - really it's like this:
6.32am- wake up
7:09 - leave the house walk to the train (usually sipping coffee from my traveling coffee mug that I got at Target! that's right some American habits are excellent)
7.22 - Train takes off I read various books
8:01 - Change from Train to outdoor Metro- take an opportunity to jab people in the ribs unnecessarily hard (this is where I remember the good old days commuting in NYC)
8:22- Arrive at the office
work work work blaaablaaa
5.23 - leave work
reverse commute above-
7:42 - arrive home
8:00 - Vito plays chef and makes deliciousness that is eaten up immediately - I cook too- but usually on Monday's Vito, the knight in shining armour that he is, saves me from "life" and cooks, Mondays are not exactly my favorite days.
8:30 - perhaps a movie?
And there you go a picture, this is what I see outside my office windows. There is always a rainbow after the rain isn't that the deal? :)
I'm having friends (over) for dinner on Friday. What shall I make!? (Keep in mind Vito does not eat vegetables, they're not manly.)
Or in Russian it's called "Salat Olivie", think of it as a salad cocktail since to prepare it you mix a whole bunch of ingredients together.
I remember this salad was the "nail of the table" (the dish that stands out) at every family party. Also the hostess was judged by this salad and no one would even DARE to go buy it in the store. This salad had to be done from scratch.
I remember the happy buzz in the kitchen when every single pot was being used and all the dishes were standing and awaiting to be filled with some kind of delicatessen. I would always want to help, but the privilege had to be earned. And many a times my mom would just send me off to sweep the floor somewhere because food preparation was left to the 'professionals'. If I'd get lucky then I'd be allowed to peel stuff.
I remember one day my mom allowed me to chop the vegetables for the grand Olivie. This is just about THE most important task of preparing the salad since everything has to be chopped in perfect little squares so that the salad comes out looking beautiful. I would just NOT breathe as I sliced the potatoes.
In the end I was SO careful that my mom approved my job and later during the party when Grandma (the ultimate authority) complemented my mom on the beautiful Olivie, my mom announced that it was in fact I who made it. Especially as an eight year old I was beyond proud of myself.
Well skip a "few"years and here I am STILL proud :) hehe The salad I made could in no way be places on the party table because I did not hold my breath this time as I chopped and you can see the definite irregularity in size of the sorta-squares, BUT it is definitely yummi!
ingredients: potatoes, carrots, pickles, ham, and pees + pepper and mayonnaise
peel the potatoes and boil them
do NOT peel the carrots, boil them, let cool and then peel them
chop all the ingredients in perfect squares - most important task
add the pees and stir in mayonnaise (preferably home made, if you can't be bothered store bought is ok too!)
some pepper and it's all ready
**If you can grab a kid to help you with the salad do! the kid will be forever thrilled I promise.
I'm so excited!
Today I came home to find something greeeeeeen in the living room! AAaaahhhh yes! We got our christmas tree!!
Now I can't wait to decorate it, but since Vito and I are going to a... ahem... Gala tomorrow night, the darling tree will have to wait till Friday for our attention.
Last weekend at a party some one asked me if I was still enjoying living in Holland. Since I've now been here 8 months the "honey moon" period should definitely be over, and I should now be seeing my surroundings not through sweet strawberry haze but as they really are.
This made me think, and actually, I don't think I ever looked at Holland as being super sweet and rosy. In fact, I was a bit disappointed that it WASN'T really exotic. I was all pumped to deal with "issues" and "dilemmas" and "strange foods" and "weirdo people"... and well, honestly non of these came up.
My biggest issue so far was that supermarkets are closed on Sundays and I refuse to make my dinner decisions a day in advance since it totally ruins the suspense. My biggest dilemma was the fact that I have to GO to a bank in order to get my credit card when this is the country that produced ING bank which is an exclusively ONLINE bank in the US.
"Strange foods"? Well apparently Dutch people think that eating herring should be considered "strange" by the foreigners. Sorry to disappoint you kids, but in my family herring is on the table at every gathering (and then some, and a whole lot stranger too!)
Weirdo's? Nah! In one our of commuting on the NYC public transportation I'd pretty much see as many weirdo's as there are people in the entire country of Holland.
But to answer our original question. "Am I still enjoying Holland?" I absolutely am! But has Holland ever surprised me? Or has it ever disappointed me? Nah and hah.. But I would like to say that every day I see more and more quietly good things about Holland. How everyone's homes are wonderfully cozy and cute. How everyone enjoys their friends. How people work hard but still go home at a decent hour. How everyone still has fun and goes out to do sports, shop or to dinner even though it's pouring rain. How everyone comes out for a walk on the weekend. I'm sure as time goes on I will find more of these, and that makes me happy.
...Or... maybe Vito is just really hot!... and exotic ;)
What a week!
A: Hmm... so Prince Reineir married Grace Kelly and they had a kid Albert?
A: So Prince Albert of Monaco is half American?
A: So I must be half PRINCESS!!!!!
Nice and Monte Carlo were absolutely stunning!!! Both definitely "wow" cities! And the food... and the yachts... and the sea... and the views... and the SUN!!!! Ahhh.....
Here is some "mood" music for you :)
Don't hate me because I'm in France!
No, really, I mean it. There's nothing to be hatin' I've been here for a little bit under 24 hours and I've seen... the inside of a room and the inside of another room. But I guess that's what the weekend is for, with lovely Vito coming to bring me around everywhere! :)
Is it Tuesday already? Wow.
Well, I'm off to France tomorrow. And big Vito will come JOIN for a fun weekend!
I'm excited I've never been to that part of France before!!
Love it love it!!!!!!
Ok, I'm putting the cord to download pictures INTO my bag now so that when I'm lonesome all alone in my hotel room I can put up pictures. :)
You see, I drink a coffee after dinner not to seem like a wimp in front of clients... and then can't all asleep for hours. Gosh, my life is so hard! heeeehehehe
Ahhh Istanbul! It was a real quicky, but I still got a chance to feel the vibe of the city through our work contacts there.
Having never been to Turkey before I spent the entire ride from the airport to the destination trying to take in all the sites. The city seems really BIG. Lots and lots of traffic and making it accross town takes an entire hour. However if you put it in the perspective of a drive from Europe to Asia (yes half of Istanbul is in Europe and half in Asia) then the hour drive sems quite reasonable.
It was a really amazing experience! Will be putting up more reflections in the coming days... I didn't get a chance to take many pictures but got a few smoggy ones so will rely on the kindness of strangers (on google images) to pick out the ones that match what I saw. Here is the fist one. Traffic over the bridge. Yep was right in the middle of that :)
Another really cool thing found in Valencia. I can't believe I managed this shot free of people (they were all standing behind me taking the same picture)... looks like some kind of alien compound no!? how fun!
Now many other ''expat blogs'' so to speak talk a lot about the various struggles that one goes through while adjusting in a new country. I pride myself on being an ''international citizen'' therefore obviously nothing could ever shock or surprise me.
BUT banking here just makes me feel absolutely violent and aggressive! Instance 1: when I first arrived I was shocked at the fact that in order to open a bank account one had to show up at a branch. NOT JUST WALK IN but actually make an appointment prior to showing up. Like- are you serious!??? Why can't I just fill an app online and be done with it!????
Oh and it does not stop here. I had to apply for a credit card. Can you do THAT online? NOOOO you must make an appointment at the bank and being the super sexy jet setting world traveler... I could only grace them with my grace setting an appointment a MONTH in advance. The morning of the appointment, Saturday morning, with a cup of coffee in hand I calmly made up my wish list on amazon.com thinking I'd be back in the afternoon with my shiny new CC in hand to finish off the transaction... NOOOOOOO At the appointment I was notified that and INVITATION to pick up my credit card should be mailed to me within 2 weeks. WHAT!? I have to come BACK HERE!????? I was so distressed that the lady had to walk me out of a back entrance as she did not want the other customers hearing all the profanity.
Seriously, what is this????? 16th century England where going to a bank was considered a privilege? They seriously need to stop playing, it's not funny. How am I going to pay for dinner with some clients? By taking out a huge wad of money like some cheap drug dealer??? Ew!
Now I understand why dutch people are so calm and relaxed. They MUST be, dealing with such wackiness one must have nerves of steel.
Clouds gathered and gathered... and gathered, but then sun told them to go play somewhere else! And it was sunny!!!
The clocks were changed to an hour early the weekend that we were in Valencia. I said, yey one more hour to party! Vito said, yey one more hour to sleeeeeeeep! But relationships are about making each other happy...so! we partied an hour more and sleept an hour more!!! :)
Well to be perfectly honest the next day we had to go to the airport in the morning to come back to Amsterdam. As we got into the metro all the clocks everywhere were showing one hour early. We just wrote the whole thing off to the "Spanish chaos" and thought nothing of it until we finally remembered that the clocks changed! It's ok, we spent the extra hour very productively - eating.
This weekend will be all about -relax- the girls are coming over on Saturday for a day of SPA and lots of Healthy fruity ....drinks! Can't wait!
My dad sent me an email saying that I should just update the website with just a 'few words' about what's going on and what I'm doing, and I shouldn't wait till I have enough time to sit down and write 'long stories'.
Vito and I went house hunting last weekend. You know, just checking to see if the market has anything good to offer...
This one was kinda cute and inviting, but I don't know... what do you think?
That's Muiderslot, one of the castles in Holland
A: Hiiiii!! Hiiiiiii!!!! I'm loving Paris, soooooo loving Paris!!!!!
V: Hey! Nice huh, so you arrived ok, how is the hotel?
A: Good good!!!!! We are having breakfast at this aHHHmazing terrace... coffee and chocolate croissont!!!!
V: Ahhh very nice... so, did you buy any shoes yet??
A: Honey! I got here late last night... and I told you, we just set down to have breakfast..!
V: Right, so did you get any shoes yet?
A: ...noooo! ...I did get boots... just now... HOW did you KNOW!???? ...at this gorgeous store just across the street... I'm going to pick them up later... I'm not gonna carry them around all day... like I said, we are just having breakfast..
It's not close enough to see, but she is wearing at least 8 inch heels!!! And they were thinner then pencils! I don't know where she was walking but I was hoping she'd get there fast before the wind blows her over and she'd fall and break!!!
Next week? Madrid!!!! (For the first time as well!) But this one is for work so won't be possible to play much and buy Zara sweaters in every color...
And how funny is this- Vito dear is going to Germany for work that same day!!! Sometimes I feel like we're some kind of movie stars with hectic work/travel schedule. heeeeeehe!
Well well well. Just as everything is really lovely and nice I have to go and complicate things!
So.... I must announce that I have decided to make.... a cookbook! I know what you are thinking, you have to be a cook to make a cookbook, but no, I'm making one about WANTING to be a cook. How you like that!? :) And I'm announcing it because than I have to be held accountable to the ENTIRE WORLD! (yáll) Otherwise I'll just laydown on a beachchair and sip virgin strawberry daqueries.
And I'm not allowed to disclose anyfurther pictures but here is one of the beautiful cookie-cakes that we had at AMSTEL HOTEL for High Tea!!!!
Oh! And just to make it even more entertaining... I've decided to give myself a deadline: End of November! THIS November!
So exciting I can't stand it myself!
We haven't done this in a bit, here is Carmen Miranda!
Now I can definitely say that one Carmen Miranda song a day keeps all doctors away!
We got two songs here so I guess this will fly us all the way into Friday.
Vito, listen carefully... remember at the amsterdamse party towards the end they played this exact melody! Oh... and we danced to it! AHA! So now you can't say that you don't dance to brazilian music, you were booming it and tchiking it real nicely as far as I recall!!!
And in color, why not~~
In the hotel watching the Bachelor... what agony!!! I don't know who is in more agony, him or me just from watching!!! Haha always a good time. I don't know what it is, the power of suggestion or what, but I don't understand how 25 cute enough girls act crazy in love with one rather average dude!? Hmm... don't know what's that all about...
Oh... and super exciting news, next month's line up includes Paris, Madrid.... and Valencia in a very healthy mix of both business and pleasure!!! Must recharge my camera battery! However not to discount the appeal of spending good quality time on the home couch!!!
Now don't be tricked by my once again over use of exclamation points, I'm actually totally tired, the bachelor is about to hand out his last rose and I'm going to fall immediately asleep..
What a beautiful beautiful weekend I spent with my parents and brother. Again we went to watch the little golfer in action. He is SO GOOD! I am really inspired to take up golf, I love a sport that will take up a whole day and it will transpire in beautiful setting like nice green golf course.
Momi made a GRANDIOSE lunch on the patio and we just relaxed and enjoyed various russian delicacies along with pomegranate sparkling water.
No trip back to la casa would be complete without a quick peek into Target :) Here is the latest indulgence (though at that price you can hardly call it an indulgence).
Looooove snake shoes! I had a pair before but wore it to pieces so I'm happy to have found a replacement. Snakey goes with absolutely everything, can be dressy or casual.
I also could not walk by some really SUPER cute baby outfits over at Target... NO don't worry I'm not pregnant, but everyone we know basically back in Holland IS. I got some stuff for a boy baby and for a girl baby, I figure out of the four pregnant couples at least there is a good chance for boys and girls, though non of us know yet what variaties of babies they'll be having. Ahh the suspense! I do know one thing, probably they will be BLOND, all dutch babies are always blond!
Ps: I miss Vitooooooo!!! waaaahhh!
In good ol' staten island now...
ps: i'm glad i didn't buy those shoes, cus' now they're discounted! Not a store discount just the natural kind, called the exchange rate.
location: bean town
weather conditions: SUNNY!!!
status: no jetlag
last meal: starbucks cookie (half) was soooooo rich!
next planned activity: hit newburry street!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
personal goal: DO NOT buy those DELICIOUS red laquered peecaboo toe shoes
A windmill. Just because :)
This week back in NL flew by really quickly. I'll be going back to Bean Town for two more weeks. (Craziness huh!?) But its nice that I'll get to visit my family next weekend again!
I'll be missing Vito... awwww...... wwwaaaahhh... but I guess I will console myself in the mall... that is so very conveniently attached to the hotel I'll be staying in.
I'll bring my camera cord so I can put up some pictures while I'm over there.
Oh! And tonight Vito and I are going to this party his friend's parents are throwing and I was personally promissed real dutch folk music!!! Can't wait! :)
We went to see these guys yesterday. Are they popular yet in the US? Well, Johnny the singer used to date Kirstin Dunst, but apparently (as Vito informed me) they broke up a few days ago.
We went together with Maudina and Bartolli (not to be confused with "Bertolli" the olive oil... hehe I just love giving everyone an Italian name, so easy!)
Today is Rosh Hashanah, the jewish new year! Happy new year! Also... Ethiopia celebrates today new year as well, and a special one, the millennium (info also courtesy of Vito, such smart cookie.) The article calls it a "special ethiopian ancient calendar", but its basically the same "ancient" calendar that the jews use. But ok fine, happy millennium to Ethiopia!
Tomorrow Vito and I are having friends over for dinner and we'll be eating some apples and honey to make sure the new year will be SWEET! Or even... saaaAAAWWWEEEEt!!!!!
It's been a week... and longest week ever it seemed! I feel like I've gone half way across the world and back! :)
Over the weekend got a chance to hang out with the world's greatest golfer! My lil brother!!
Btw, just in case you'd like to know it was HOT in NY. I came back to good ol' Holland and immediately put on a ...coat.
There he is so cute all complete with a striped polo and so serious putting on his golfing gloves! My little professional! :) Oh, and he totally did his own hair with gel.
Staten Island's golf course is rather lovely, of course the scenery would not be authentic without BIG men with shirts undone to expose hair, gold bracelets and just super machoness. I watched as a bunch of such dudes walked by and said hello to my brother... he just kinda nodded at them. Finally the biggest and most macho of then walked by...
Well, I'm jetting of to Bean Town for work. (I love saying that! Although I believe "jetting"is really a term reserved for PRIVATE jet, and that's definitely not what I'll be flying, but still fun to say... Makes me want to have a glass of champagne already.) I'm also super excited that I'll get to visit my parents and brother!
Vito and I get to have another one of our dramatic goodbyes at the airport, I was not planning on that for a while, and what's more, Bean Town was actually the last place we went to when I still lived in NY and he here.
For a week... Oh and I'm bringing an extra suitcase for shopping. Yeah, who knew Target would all of the sudden become exotic!? Plus the whole Euro/Dollar situation. I remember exactly the MOMENT that shopping in Europe has become depressing. Four years ago (wow, has it been that long already?) when Kaiya and I were running around Rome buying everything in sight... then realizing the exchange rate was actually NOT in our favor. Yep it was depressing. Well, just think of how uplifting shopping in Target is going to be! ;)
ciaociao y'all be good now!
I'm REALLY behind on all the stories and all the action. It always happens when you have stuff to tell, so you wait to put it together in your head... and end up not talking about it. Ok, so good thing they invented cameras. I'll do a pictorial run through of last week and last weekend:
Saturday: Kayaking with the ladies
Sunday: Hike in the dunes with big Vito
Monday: in the Kitchen with chef Vito. He made yet another incredible Indonesian dish called Babi Pangang. SO GOOD! (Sauce made by him from scratch too!)
Tuesday: making carrot cake for the FIRST TIME in my LIFE!! It came out tasting like... carrot cake! Really!
Wednesday: Supah Faaaahhhbulous dinner with Alexis and friends at a snooty restaurant. Taking advantage of the Restaurant Week in AMSTERDAM!
Wohw... and we are only on Thursday!