21 in Glasgow

It has occasionally hit me in the 2+ months since my birthday that I’ve passed the final “adult” marker. I’m by definition “in my 20’s”. I guess the strangest thing about birthdays is there isn’t a moment when you feel any older. When we woke up on the 31st of March, Q asked me how I felt, and I answered, from under my pillow, tired.

There was no change. It makes me wonder why we mark the change in our age by a single day, as if there is a measurable difference in who you are or what you can do from the day before to the day after your birthday. But I guess despite feeling the same, I am officially 21, so we can all imagine me buying my first legal (US) drink for tradition’s sake.

I’m not particularly a fan of birthday parties, so despite the notable new age, I celebrated with as little fuss as possible. Technically I spent most of my 21st birthday on trains, because there were quite a few delays coming back from Glasgow. But I count the I count the trip to Glasgow as my birthday, regardless of the date.

Glasgow is about a 2.5 hour direct train ride away, and we booked the trains last minute. The nice thing about traveling within the UK rather than abroad is there’s a lot less pressure to see everything. I’m sure we missed plenty of Trip Advisor’s ‘Top 10 Things To Do’ but I’m pretty okay with that.

I sorted travel and accommodation, so I was not in charge of sorting out exact plans. We got in around 12, so after dropping our luggage off at our hotel we went to find lunch. Like many of my travels, more research went into food than anything else. Lunch was tapas at Cafe Andaluz, a suggestion from some family friends. It was lovely, but also confirmed my fear that red wine without question gives me a migraine.

We spent essentially the rest of the day on a street art walking tour that gave me actual blisters. However it made sure we saw the entire city.

We also stopped by the Gallery of Modern Art, the one with the statue of the Duke of Wellington with the traffic cone on his head.

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The next morning (after sorting out the public transport system) we went to Kelvingrove, the main art gallery and museum in the city. It’s just outside the city centre near the university, but its lovely. Give yourself more time than we did if you want to wander through all the small gallery rooms, but its free so its worth it even if you only pop in for a short time.

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We had a very odd lunch/pie thing in the basement of a building while watching an incredibly odd play about the ‘worst poet ever’, a nearly surreal experience. Still hungry after the included ‘lunch’, we ate far more fried food than anyone ever should at Bread Meets Bread, but holiday calories don’t count, do they?

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We popped into the botanical gardens before heading all the way across the city to see the cathedral. I have to admit I’ve seen a lot of churches, cathedrals, priories, etc, and I would say Glasgow’s is beautiful. The stained glass is very bright and clear, the organ is massive, and on the hill behind it is an incredibly old cemetery.

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So despite spending the majority of my birthday on trains, I think I celebrated well.

 

 

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A tuesday night kind of cake or 2 bowl chocolate cake

Sometimes, you just want to bake a cake. Not a fancy cake, not a for show cake, the kind of cake you will eat on the couch out of a bowl because obviously, you put ice cream on it.

It was a tuesday night and I wanted to make a cake. Technically I could have made a one bowl cake but I always feel like those don’t turn out quite right. This cake takes longer in the oven than it does to prep, and gives a great amount of time to eat ‘real food’ before you pull it out.

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Two Bowl Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar (I’d probably cut this down to 1 1/2 in the future!)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder – with this much sugar you want the dark unsweetened stuff!
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp (aka a pinch) of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup hot water
  • opt. extra chocolate chips (but are they optional? Really?)

Directions

  • preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 6in round baking pans (or whatever you have around)
  • mix milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl
  • sift flour, then add sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt in another bowl
  • mix dry ingredients into wet in halves
  • after mixed, pour in hot water and mix well
  • if you want, dust some chocolate chips with flour and fold into the batter before pouring into pans
  • bake for 30 minutes
  • after cooled, top with ice cream, whipped cream, or for some reason if you feel like making it, frosting

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Mushy, gooey, not too pretty, but very delicious. There you go, a 45 minute with 2 bowls to clean, a perfect Tuesday night cake.

 

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2017; a look back

I’m not going to write about 2017. There’s too much to say, so I’ll skip all the words and leave you with what I listened to for a year. Instead of writing about the year, or taking photos, the only thing I managed to do all year was to make monthly playlists of what I listened to each month.

There are repeats, they don’t make sense, the songs don’t go together, but in some way, they do. In little ways, these mix matched songs sum up a year. So enjoy them.

January

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February

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March

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April

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May

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June

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July

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August

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September 

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October

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November

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December

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An (easy) taste of home: Enchilada Orzo Soup

British food is bland. That’s not to say there isn’t flavourful food over here, but it’s not British. It means that if you get chili somewhere, it’s somehow going to be sweet and bland despite the fact that the name itself means spicy. It means that when you want comfort food, you have to make it yourself.

I was inspired by Creme de la Crumb‘s One Pot Enchilada Orzo. The photo looked amazing, and the ingredients were easy enough to have in the house. Also, to be honest, it’s great hangover food.

My version isn’t exact to the recipe, I don’t have enchilada sauce available here, and I was too lazy to measure things exactly. My adaption turned out more like this:

  •  1(ish) cup dry orzo pasta
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (I did a boiling water and stock cubes)
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped

Throw that all in a pot, and cook at a medium heat for about 25/30 minutes, until the orzo is cooked through. Serve in bowls, topped with cheese, sour cream, and anything else you have around. Avocado would be great.

Food that tastes like home is important. So is food that feels good, tastes good, and is really good for you. This is a good one for that.

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(mediocre photo because my house has bad lighting and I was much more interested in shoveling it into my face)

OH wait its February

Hi world! It’s the second month of 2018 and I don’t know what’s happening. Honestly, I wrote 2015 on a paper the other day and I have no excuse. Time has flown since I flew back from Texas, but I’m hoping to catch my breath and maybe put a few more things up here.

Berlin: I went to Berlin at the start of the year with some work friends and it was amazing. Also below freezing the entire time. Would suggest going not in winter, and definitely planning to go back when its warm.

London: Ended the month with a trip down to London with some friends for our long awaited Hamilton trip. The show was great, the city is wonderful, and the weekend was a great break.

Health Update: Over last term my chronic migraines spiraled. Honestly, I was feeling so run down physically and emotionally, I wasn’t sure where to start this term. Sensibly, I started with a doctor’s appointment. I’ve got some new emergency meds, and some preventative meds we’re giving a shot. It’s not perfect, and probably never will be, but it’s starting to be better. I’ve been doing some research into some ‘migraine friendly’ diets, but question if it’s practical. However, I’m working on a more ‘whole food’ diet so maybe look out for more recipes.

Well I guess that’s the start of a new year of blogging!

 

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A few changes…

Oh how the time has gone. Honestly, where did 2017 go? While my 2017 wrap up post is in the works, I decided it was worth addressing what happened with this blog. When I decided to move across the world for school, I figured the easiest way to keep family and friends back home in the loop was to write about things. The first term (and a bit more) of first year I wrote almost weekly, though reading it back now is almost painful.

Then I tried ‘monthly’ updates, and didn’t make it through a year of that. I tried to write about where I went, but never had the time and felt I had to do everything in chronological order and suddenly I couldn’t write anything because I hadn’t finished writing about Italy. So, halfway through my final year of university, I’m changing what I write.

While you’ll still find life updates, travel photos, and the normal things here, I’m going to try to give myself freedom to write about whatever I want to, whenever I want to. So maybe I’ll get around to writing about Italy more, or Geneva this summer, but maybe I won’t. Instead, I’ll be sharing more about what’s happening around me and the world, a more honest look at university life, and what I’m working on (personally and professionally).

Family and friends – feel free to read along, but I can’t say what you’ll find will be the targeted updates this started as. Here’s to the rest of my degree, job, travels, and the rest being more honest and maybe posted more frequently.

Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

In celebrating the end of term some friends and I made cookies on Saturday night. Quiet nights in like are my favourite way to spend time with friends, as you really get to talk and catch up!

We debated between Gingerbread cookies or Sugar cookies, but settled for a classic. The brown butter twist is my fault, but I’m pretty happy with it! As well, this recipe is much easier than traditional sugar cookies as you roll the dough into balls, rather than chilling a million times to get nice shapes.

This recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction and was a breeze to through together. We don’t own a stand mixer, so all the mixing was done by hand. Another reason the melted butter made this recipe so much easier!

Because everything is ‘work’, we also used this as a social media promo for Carolynne (the campus magazine I edit – @carolynneonline if you want to give us a cheeky follow) so enjoy some snapchat shots of the recipe!