Tag Archives: study abroad

IMG_7640Today I am sharing my new favorite breakfast meal. I don’t know why I just recently realized that a fried egg would be a good addition to a sandwich, I’ve never been a fan of ham and egg sandwiches before now. I’m pretty sure the ones I make are better than anything I could buy, though. 😉 That bad boy has melted gouda cheese, spinach, ham, and one fried egg. YUM.



Wow! It feels like just yesterday we were booking hostels and buying bus tickets for Istanbul, and just like that it’s over. I am so, so happy I decided to go because I absolutely fell in love with that city. I know I wouldn’t have known what I was missing out on if I hadn’t gone, but thank god I made it there before I left Europe. Monday and Tuesday were two absolutely crazy ridiculous days, but they were worth every second. 

Our adventures started right off the bat. An old Turkish man in a suit approached us as soon as we got into town and not only went to find someone who knew English to read the directions to our hostel, but actually took us all the way there. I will never know why that man had the time or the desire to help six random Americans and take an almost 30-minute walk with them, but I don’t even want to know how long it would have taken us to find the place without him. We took an overnight bus (which means basically no sleep), but since we only had two days we only sat down to eat breakfast and then we were out. After we walked out the door, the only other time we sat down that day was to eat lunch, and that is not an exaggeration. We went to the Grand Bazaar, which is completely appropriately named, and the Blue Mosque before heading back to get ready for the concert.



ImageWe found the Grand Bazaar randomly on the way to the Hagia Sophia. The only problem with that was that those two things aren’t even close to each other… Like I said, I was pretty lost the entire trip. We spent over two hours there and I don’t even think I saw a tenth of it. Image



We had to wear these inside the mosque. I think we pull them off, don’t you?


I think the best part about not knowing where we were was that we honestly just wandered our way to and from everywhere. Walking for two days straight was absolute hell, but we would have missed so much taking taxis or public transportation everywhere. We didn’t get to do everything we wanted to just because of how much time we spent walking, but I’m glad that we got to take our time actually seeing what little of the city we did see. 

The JT concert was absolutely incredible. He puts on one hell of a show. And I have no idea how he is so good at everything he does. I don’t have any good pictures, unfortunately, but just take my word for it. Absolutely worth waiting an hour listening to “Some Type Of Way” on repeat for an hour, standing for over three and climbing a fence to find a taxi that we overpaid for to get home. 

The second day we got to go in the Hagia Sophia and we went to a Turkish bath, after a serious struggle with the number one worst hostel receptionist of all time. Let me tell you, that bath was quite the experience. Not an experience I’m sure I want to repeat, but definitely something I’m glad I got to do once in my life. After we ate dinner a few of us went last minute shopping to spend the last of our Lira and we ended up getting to our shuttle pick up at exactly the right time. Seriously, if we had been two minutes later we would have missed it. I have no idea how we managed that so perfectly, but it couldn’t have turned out better if we had planned it that way. 

I can honestly say I will be back there. Two days was nowhere near enough. I could spend forever just walking down every side street and spending too much time looking in all the random shops. I left my heart in Turkey.



Saturday Special: Those don’t look like cookies…

You win some, you lose some, guys. I’ve had baking fever since I made probably the most delicious muffins to ever exist a few weeks ago, so I tried my hand at cookies tonight. They taste awesome, but they don’t look awesome. That should be my mantra. If I ever cook for anyone else I’m going to have to blindfold them so they can’t see what their meal looks like.



These were supposed to be oatmeal craisin cookies. I tried to halve the recipe because I know that 90% whatever I make will eventually end up being eaten by me, and I didn’t want a ton of cookies in my room. My guess is that I made a mistake in measuring the wet ingredients. They taste great, but jesus are they ugly. I will need to try these again before I share them with the world. What would be the point in taking the time to learn to cook if I never made any mistakes? Perfection is no fun. I’m good with it.

Saturday Special: I miss Asian food

Today I was really craving some fried rice. There’s a place I can order from around here, but I knew it would be significantly healthier (although definitely not as delicious) if I made it myself, so I did. Sort of. I didn’t really make this decision until right before dinner, so I was missing a few ingredients. It didn’t exactly satisfy my Asian food craving, but it was pretty good nonetheless. Next time I will definitely opt for non-frozen vegetables, even with the extra time it will take to cook them. You really can just tell the difference between them. 



I am getting tired of chicken. How many times have I said that already? I don’t even know why. I went to an absolutely fantastic burger place earlier this week and I haven’t even really been eating meat at all recently. Also, it’s not like I don’t eat chicken all the time back home. I definitely eat chicken more than any other type of meat. I do think I’m in a cooking rut. I seem to be making small variations on the same meals every time I cook. Whenever I try to make something drastically different it typically doesn’t turn out as nice so I feel like it’s not worth it try again since I have to end up eating whatever I make. Still, something’s gotta give. Saturdays are meant for food experimentation, and I have definitely been slacking on that front. I’m going to try to quit my bitching and give it a genuine effort next week. 

Earlier this week I planned a trip to Istanbul with five other people from my group. I am TOO stoked about this. And, get this: we’re going to see JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. I honestly can’t wait. Knowing that this trip is coming up has made it so hard to focus on my school work. I have been wanting to go to Istanbul basically since I got here. I haven’t gone yet because I was worried about my finances, but I decided this trip was my reward for my internship over the summer.

All in all, I can’t complain about this week. I have definitely been relaxing more than I should, which will probably come back to bite me later on this week, but for now I’m doing alright. I’m officially three weeks away from the end of this crazy journey, and I have a feeling it’s going to be the best three weeks yet. 

P.S. I hope you’re still watching me do yoga. I am not ashamed of bragging about how awesomely I have been doing. I’m especially proud of myself for actually keeping it up for this long. 


Saturday Special: My first homemade baked good!

Today is a great day, everyone, for more reasons than one. The first one being that I successfully made banana nut muffins from scratch… and they are so damn delicious.



This is my happy face.



I used this recipe, but subbed sugar substitute and half the butter for fresh greek yogurt and added walnuts. They’re still pretty calorie heavy, and having them in my room is going to be a serious challenge (because they are SO GOOD), but I’m so proud of myself for having these turn out edible, much less something I actually ENJOY. The baking gods were smiling down upon me today. I really had no idea what I was doing. Prior to this, I had only ever made cakes with cake mix, and even then I’d only done that a few times. This is an exciting thing, because I do love baked goods, and making them at home with healthier ingredients will make eating them much less of a pain for me. 

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! My celebration does not stop there! This morning I got an email from a regional bank in my area saying I was accepted for a two-summer internship that comes with a scholarship! This summer, I will be working at a branch close to my home, and next summer I will be working in their headquarters. Plus, it’s PAID. And 40 hours/week. I feel like I can FINALLY relax and stop stressing out about my money situation. I am always able to work at my high school job during my breaks because the manager there absolutely adores me, but I would work at most 30 hours per week and a typical week would be more like 20-24 hours. At minimum wage. So, internship and massive amounts of major-related experience aside, I’m going to be making a ton more money with this internship than I would at that job. I am on top of the world today.

All things considered (my run yesterday and the subsequent death of my poor legs, the fact that I am basically done with all the schoolwork I have for the next week and a half, and the fact that I might have been slightly hungover), I took the day off. No workout, no tracking calories, no passing glance at ANYTHING school related. I’m even ordering delivery for dinner for the first time in over a month. Luckily, Sundays are my typical rest day so I’m just switching these two days this week, meaning I’m not actually “skipping” a workout. The food situation is a completely different story, but I really do not care. I know rewarding yourself with food is not the best thing to do, but, again, I do not care. I’m going to hop back on the wagon tomorrow and continue pushing ahead. I’ve earned it, and I’m not going to feel guilty at all about enjoying being absolutely useless for one day.

Bad Blogger

Okay, this is my blog. I can do what I want. But I did miss posting a meal last Saturday and being gone for so long as made me feel pretty guilty. So here I am with a short update.

I quit keto. I did it for about a month. I wasn’t necessarily sick of it or bored of the food (although I was certainly getting to that point), but I was developing some seriously obsessive behaviors with tracking my calories. I found myself pushing to eat below my calorie limit and feeling the need to go for long walks if I got close or went over slightly. I said no to hanging out with my friends because I was afraid of eating something I shouldn’t. In general, I was afraid of messing it up. When I first started losing weight over a year ago, I wasn’t exactly doing it in the best or safest way. I’ve come a LONG way since then and to see myself start to fear food and attach guilt to eating again was very, very scary. So I stopped. And I felt guilty at first for “quitting,” but I know if I’m going to be happy with my weight, it’s not going to be with fear of food or an obsession with tracking every calorie I consume. 

Keto did make me very aware of everything I was eating before I started it. The few times I did go out, the amount of times I had to say no to something I wouldn’t have prior to starting was amazing. Cappuccinos, donuts, the snacks that come with the coffee and beer… It was a lot. So I am thankful that I have this new awareness of all the little things that really do add up after a while. I’ve added in carbs again but I’m staying away from pasta and potatoes and limiting refined sugar. I know it’s going to be hard for me to find a sustainable, healthy relationship with food, but I know that relationship isn’t going to include a complete ban on unhealthy food. Knowing me, it would lead to me eating every chocolate bar and cake in sight. I’m just learning how to say “no” when I need to while realizing that one midnight bougatsa isn’t going to instantly make me gain 20 pounds overnight. And truthfully, I’m not a large girl. I need to learn how to not-gain weight more than I learn to lose it. I’ve still been exercising 6x/week and I definitely plan to maintain that, well, indefinitely. This isn’t going to be something I figure out over night, but I will figure it out.

Anyway, that’s where I am right now. I’m about to be VERY busy and VERY boring, and that will probably lead to a lack of blog posts, but I will be back this weekend, hopefully with something as delicious as ever. I’m thinking I’m going to try my hand at baking. 

Saturday Special: Keeping it Simple

I love to cook. Really, I do. But for the past three weeks, I have cooked every single one of my meals. Do you realize how many times that means I’ve washed the dishes? It’s a lot. And eating the same meals every day gets extremely tedious. Lucky me, I’m either not sure where to get a lot of the ingredients keto-ers swear by or they’re way out of my budget. The other day I paid 4 euro for a jar of unsweetened peanut butter. FOUR EURO. For PEANUT BUTTER. Anyway, today I decided to keep it simple with a salad. I found some Caesar dressing (1g carb per serving, what!!!), splurged on a steak and made a giant salad:Image

This meal was expensive- close to five euro. I’m not exactly thrilled about that, but it’s been so long since I’ve eaten a steak or really any sort of beef that it was completely necessary. The Caesar dressing wasn’t that great, but I wasn’t exactly expecting it to be just like what I am used to back home. I am so thankful for this wonderful change of pace. Surprisingly enough, with the amount of spinach I’m eating, I am hardly ever eating salads anymore. Ever since I discovered the holy combination that is spinach and cream cheese, I find it hard to make spinach any other way.

I have been trying to experiment with my meals a little bit more. I put those chicken wings I bought last Saturday to very good use with some olive oil and chili powder:



They might as well have been a blessing straight from heaven. Thank you for not being chicken breast. I also made this recipe for pizza a few nights ago: ImageI sautéed and seasoned a tomato instead of using pizza sauce. I also undercooked the crust a little bit. I tasted it before it was ready and I guess the piece I got was more done than the rest, so it wasn’t very crust-y at all, but it was still good. Surprisingly good for being made out of cauliflower. I still have some left and am planning on making some fake mashed potatoes at some point this week. I really enjoy how my limited food options make me work harder to cook different things. I’m also very excited for everything I’m going to be able to cook when I get back home.

Speaking of, this is technically the last week of spring break. Since I only have class two days a week and next Thursday is a holiday, I planned a personal day next Tuesday, meaning I’m actually out of school until May 6. Even with the extra week, my return to school is swiftly approaching. What’s worse, I only have EIGHT more days of class. Yes. Single digits. Eight more days and a week of finals and my study abroad experience is over for good. I have just under a month and a half, but considering that an entire second half of a semester is somehow being crammed into four weeks (we only took midterms right before break), I am going to be busy pretty much constantly, which means that the days are going to fly by. I honestly don’t know how to feel about this. I feel like I have a routine here. I’m pretty comfortable here. I have an apartment of my own here. It’s going to be SO strange to go back to my “normal” life. Yes, I went home over break, but the whole time I knew I was coming back here. This time I don’t have that. I’ll be going back to my home university, I’ll be moving into a house, and who knows the next time I’ll leave the country? I know it’s a little soon to be thinking about all these things, but since everyone has been gone, I’ve had a lot of time to think about everything in general.

I see that my blog is focusing more and more on cooking. I’m completely okay with this. I only expect to cook even more when I go home, so I know I’ll always have something to blog about.

If you didn’t check it out last time, give my Giveit100 page a look. I’m pretty darn proud of how my practice is going.