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)

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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!

Italy Part 1 {Rome and Pompeii}

Many, many months late, here re a few thoughts and many pictures of this spring’s trip through Italy.

The biggest advantage of my trimester university schedule is month off in the spring, which has been spent trailing across Europe in the past years. This year, my sister Morgan and my Mom flew over to visit and check Italy off everyone’s bucket list.

Rome

I flew into Rome from Gatwick (s/o to Anna for getting up at 5am to drive me to the airport) and managed to bump into my travel weary family in passport control. We started the trip like we planned to continue it, seeing old things, eating gelato, and getting a little bit lost.

We learned how to use the public transport (thank you London for the practice) and went to see the Vatican. We fell in love with the Sistine Chapel, melted in line waiting for St. Paul’s Cathedral, and never really knew where we were.

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The colosseum, or labeled in my computer as ‘death pit’
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It’s pretty, it’s busy, I’m standing on a railing
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You can’t tell, but we were post-Vatican lost
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Inside the Vatican, not the photo you were expecting

Gelato in Rome was incredibly important, and good gelato is harder to find than you’d like. While we never got bad gelato, we did get better at finding the right shops, and getting opinions from locals. While I enjoyed it all, there is really only one place to go (and keep going back to) – Gelateria La Romana. I think my mouth is watering at the thought. With an incredible selection of flavours, shockingly low prices, local ingredients, and an insta- worthy shop, you wouldn’t think it could get better. But it does. When you order, you get to choose if you want melted chocolate in the bottom of your cone. You do, obviously, and choose from milk or white – I’d suggest white for the fruit flavours. Then, you choose 2 different scoops of gelato, and feel free to ask for suggestions on what goes together. The pistachio is a classic, but amazing. AND THEN, (yes, there is more) you get whipped cream on top. Included in the already amazing price, you can choose from plain, chocolate, or coffee. Do you see why I’m still dreaming of this gelato? Eat some for me, please.

Pompeii

With an early morning trip across the city to catch our day trip, we hoped on a bus out to the current city and ruins of Pompeii. While Morgan’s motion sickness caught up with us (pack some ginger, the hills and winding road will get to you), we had traditional pizza for lunch before heading up the looming side of the ‘mountain’ that caused it all. Off the bus we hiked up the rocky trail to the top of the smoking (but safe!) volcano. Sadly it was a bit too cloudy for what we were told is an incredible view of the area and sea. It was however, still amazing.

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Turns out volcanos aren’t great for your hair style
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smoky and mysterious

The ruins of the ancient city are too unique to ever describe. Its difficult to imagine how much of the city really remains, but you truly are walking through a thriving city frozen in time. From restaurants to brothels to homes, the city is truly a snapshot of a lively and busy time. I also met a really nice dog roaming the streets.

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Part 1

While incredible, Rome was not our favourite part of the trip. Stand outs were, of course the aforementioned gelato and seeing my favourite painting. Morgan and Mom ran off to see some skulls (unsurprising) and I headed off to Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica at Palazzo Barberini. Housed in a palace tucked between bustling streets, this gallery was one of my favourites of the trip. Much quieter than the big ones, it was full of hidden jewels. I was there to see Caravaggio’s Judith Beheading Holofernes. Gritty and a bit brutal, it’s one of my favourite pieces of art and by far my favourite baroque or renaissance piece.

Italy Part 2 will be coming soon, filled with Tuscany and canals!

Where did the time go

wow. It’s been a while. That resolution to write more went well, didn’t it. I’ve got a million excuses, mostly the complete lack of empty space on my calendar from January till now. I’ll try to backtrack and get something up, at least for some of the amazing travel that happened this spring, but for now a brief update.

I wasn’t kidding about the lack of empty space, because empty space was pretty much filled by doing things like reading for classes, and other silly things students have to do.

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I went to Italy! And Austria! And Hungary! There will be photos but I’m saving them all until I actually write about them.

Turns out photographing Europe’s biggest intervarsity sporting event is a great workout. And apparently, this is what I look like while working.

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I met some alpacas.

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I ate a lot of ice cream. Anna crashed a lot of photos.

 

I finished my second year of university! I don’t have any photos, because I went from my final exam to volunteering on a “Get Out and Vote” campaign as it was the day of the General Election.

Hopefully it won’t be months until the next one, but until then.

Alex

JANUARY

I didn’t wait two months to write this, shocking, I know.

January was an interesting month. I kicked it (and 2017) off with a very quiet New Year’s Eve featuring Planet Earth. It really was the best NYE I could have asked for.

The rest of my time in Texas was, busy, to say the least. It’s always a rush to get all the socializing in before leaving. This was also the first time my parents didn’t take me to the airport, as my flight was out of Houston so Morgan and I left the day before. It was interesting. One of the strange things is how different leaving feels every time. It’s not exactly easier, but it’s not harder. It’s a difficult thing to describe.

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The difficult thing about second semester (or term) is that there is no slow build up to life. It’s a head first dive into a very deep pool of work. Which, in short, is what my January back at uni felt like. While I ended my time at Enactus last term, I also became Women+ Officer for the university. It’s a job that I love, but is also a bit life-consuming. January had a steep learning curve adjusting to the meetings and committees I now sit on, as well as planning campaigns.

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Highlights of January included some really lovely friend and family time back in Texas, my first academic research trip, and University Court, which wouldn’t have been exciting except I was able to question the Vice Chancellor about his commitment to diversifying the top levels of university administration in public when he had to admit he hadn’t done what he had promised. Wild times in the life of a Student Politics nerd! I also attended a Women’s March on Lancaster, which was a wonderful time of protest but also positivity. There were also great dogs.

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I’ve also decided to try something a little fun and new, and make a monthly playlist of what I listened to, loved, and really summed up my month. So enjoy January!

Alex