Only 1 week…

Until we go to the USA for the holidays!!!  Woo hoo – I cannot wait to see all our family and friends!!

As I mentioned, this year its Christmas in Milwaukee!  Hope they are ready for us…there will be 2 more stockings hanging up!

Mom - my stocking hanger is the snowman...

My grandma hand knit these stockings – aren’t they awesome?  Then, when Joe and I got engaged, she made him one.  So sweet! (Oh, shoot, now that I think about this, I wonder if my mom has our stockings or if they are packed away at the condo)!?

I have quite a few things to get done here in Belgie before we leave.  The most important would be studying for my first exam this year.  Let me tell you, it is NOT going well.  I’m so distracted!  Plus, I have a little bit of shopping to get done in Gent at a certain linen store!

I’m also struggling to get over a cold and so I’ve been trying to eat healthy and get rest (I HATE flying on a plane with stuffed nose – my ears are so sensitive, seriously).  So in the interest of eating healthy, here is what I’ve had!

Eggs + almond butter toast!

Salad + hummus bread + apple

I’m tempted to make soup for the second night in a row, but I’m afraid of Joe’s thoughts on that…assuming it wouldn’t be welcomed.

Not the most exciting post to date, but hey, I can’t go London and Cologne every day! 🙂

 

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Like having a red cup EVERY day!

Good Morning!

Fresh off our mini-holiday and back to schoolwork!  I just did the last revision of my statistics paper and could not be happier to have that done!  I’m NOT a statistics guru and it was quite challenging.  However, now I know how to do a box plot, histogram, and relate coefficients and correlations between variables.  Are you jealous?  🙂

On to more exciting things…my morning meal (it’s especially good today)!  Remember my pics from London? Well, while we were visiting, I bought 2 things you can see in the pic below.

What's that red cup?!

A close-up!

1.  Starbucks red cup!!!  Yes, my coffee tasted better this morning.  And, NOW I can have a red cup every morning without paying 3 euros (yes, that’s like $4 for a Grande regular coffee).

***I should probably throw a shout-out to Joe for letting me get this.  The line was approximately 20 minutes and he was NOT a happy camper.  Lots of “under-the-breath” words/phrases were muttered (yes, babe, I heard those).  🙂

2.  If you look closely at the oatmeal, you’ll see that I crumbled a flaxseed bar (cinnamon/cranberry flavored – delish) on top.  I bought 5 flaxseed bars at the Borough’s market in London-town.  I always hear that flaxseed is good for you.  I didn’t know why, but thought I’d try it out anyway.  I looked it up when I got home:

Straight off webmd: Flaxseed is a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignan, and fiber.  It may also reduce the risk of cancers, cardiovascular disease, and lung disease.  Score!

Anyway, I also bought some other things in London.  Check them out!  Do you sense a theme…um, Christmas anyone?  As we walked through Harrod’s, Fortnum & Mason’s tearoom, etc. I couldn’t help but snag a few items for our celebrations in Gent.

Ornaments!

At first we were not going to decorate our apartment for the holidays.  We figured we’d be back home soon enough to see the wonderful decorations at our families’ homes.  But, since we now have our official flights home and they are very close to Christmas Day, we decided to decorate!  I’m hoping to find a little tree and lights somewhere (Gentenaars – any suggestions?).

I bought a couple of ornaments…how cute are those?!  (Side note – I’ve been picking up ornaments as we travel for souvenirs – figured they are more usable than those other cheesy touristy items)!  We also have a gingerbread making kit (can’t wait) and special hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows!  The tin contains caramels, but…I think those are almost gone!

It’s getting late and I still have to read a Toyota case for class today…but, before I go, I was especially pumped for this lunch (modeled after my sandwiches from Banbury)!

Hummus & veggies!

 

Must focus…

So, instead of writing my paper (like I HAVE to be doing), I figured I’d toss out a quick blog post.  Such a procrastinator…

Last night we had an AMAZING meal at one of the cute restaurants in Banbury, The Old Auctioneer.  Joe had been here before and really liked it – it did NOT disappoint!

Down a cute brick road!

We ordered the Grilled Mediterranean flatbread as an appy.  OMG, it was so delicious – the dough was thick, soft, etc.  Plus, the toppings were perfectly well done!

Hands crossed patiently waiting for a slice! 🙂

I then opted for the “Sante Fe” salad.  I was SO excited about this because it was just normal grilled chicken, little corns on the cobs (LOVE), black beans (near impossible to get in Belgium), and tortilla chips.  Yes, I was in heaven.  Plus, they brought out more bread for me (whole grain – yummy).

Loved the wood that the meals came on!

We were way too stuffed for dessert…or “puds” as they were called on the menu.  Hahah – I love British English and the accent.

We headed back to the hotel and decided to watch a movie…Crazy, Stupid, Love.  We both LOVED the movie and highly recommend it.  There were both funny and sad parts – a good mix.  The cast was outstanding (in particular Steve Carrel, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone).  Itunes got a little more of our money last night…man, we are a gold mine to them.

OK…now, back to today.  The hotel we are at offers a VERY nice breakfast (included)!  Joe was happy to see a smorgasbord of hot meal items – like eggs, baguettes, ham, sausages, and mushrooms.  And then, there were tons of cereals, fruit, and toast for me.  I opted for some muesli but added Rice Krispies (exciting) and pumpkin seeds (even MORE exciting)!

Here is my setup for the day…now I HAVE to get to work.

Yea, FB is in the background...so addicted.

Enjoy your day!

It’s Officially…

It’s officially 2 things today:

1.  My parent’s 25th Wedding Anniversary!  CONGRATULATIONS!!! 🙂

Aren't they cute?!

Recognize the pic from their surprise party?

AND

2.  The start of the HOLIDAY season! (Yes – Nov 1st is the start)!

One day I will see the NY Tree!

Could someone from the USA please let me know if the red Starbucks cups are out AND if Christmas music is playing on the radio (99.1 perhaps)?!  I’m THIS close to splurging on Itunes for a couple CD’s (um…The Carpenter’s anyone)?!  I’m also dying to get the new Michael Buble and of course, the Now CD with Brit Brit.  Sorry Biebs – I know you are ranked #1, but I’m just not feeling it!

To start off this fabulous day, I had my usual breakfast (mmmmhhhh)!  As I was going through the cabinets last night I noticed I had raisins (totally forgot about these bad boys).  Added them to the meal…

The raisins kind of look like...rabbit turds 😦

If you look in the background, I’m enjoying a Real Simple magazine from the USA.  I’m still rationing the magazines I bought back in Sep/Oct.  This one is all about “a month of meals.”  Love it!

Off on a mini-holiday today!  I am VERY excited about it – more to come!

Question of the Day

Will a USA Starbucks work at the Gent Starbucks?  We shall find out soon…:-)

We stayed in and relaxed last night – caught up on our many Itunes purchases!  We are LOVING the new show Revenge, Rules of Engagement, Big Bang Theory, and Modern Family.  Of course, I caught up on Vampire Diaries too (duh)!  Hello Ian.

This morning I woke up refreshed and starving.

Perezhilton is on in the background! 🙂

I proceeded to get organized and enjoyed doing nothing this Saturday morning (besides drinking my OMG coffee).  I opened our mail and found this little gem.

A little note from my Gma Sue!

How cute is that?!  Joe and I then made a trip to the gym.  We both pounded out a long run on the treadmill…ah, felt so good.  On to lunch…

PB&J toast! Simps.

And…finally, we are off to the center.  I’m thinking Starbucks for dessert…hoping the line isn’t toooo long!

 

COLD

So, yesterday I realized I had come down with my first official cold of the season.  Typical!

I decided to stay in and relax (slept forever) and had some much needed warm comfort meals.  For breakfast, I had my usual oatmeal (always delicious).

Always a go-to.

When I finally got out of bed, I decided I’d work on my Christmas List.  What, do you think it’s too soon?!  🙂  We bought our tickets home for the holidays last week.  And of course, it got me excited about the holidays.  I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS !  Everything about them – decor, shopping, Starbucks red cups, cookies, etc.  Anyway, I digress – my mom has asked me 2x for our list already (yes – obviously we are 2 peas in a pod).  So…it got me thinking…what do I want?

This?

or perhaps something in this?!

Hahaha – yea, in my dreams! 🙂  Those didn’t make the list, but these did:

and anything Lululemon!

Less than 2 months til Christmas! Ha! 🙂

So, by the time night came, I was craving some more warm food and opted to try out a new Campbell’s soup box (yes, it comes in boxes here – not cans) I saw at the store.  It was a delicious mixed veggie + tomato soup  – Joe’s new favorite.  And of course, it was accompanied by bread, oyster crackers (thanks to one of our visitors), and a feta/tomato salad.

See the "Fall" napkins?!

Warm & cozy

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries!

This post is a couple days old as I forgot to “publish” it!  I figured I’d still post it since it has a nice recipe for fries!

This morning I awoke and was craving a granola bar (that I thankfully still have from my trip to the US)!  I have yet to find “legit” granola bars here in Belgium!

A choco bar for breakfast! 🙂

Honestly, I was rather busy today as I had class the whole afternoon.  But, luckily, class was not “obligatory” (as they say here in Belgium – as opposed to ‘required’) since I presented my Law stuff yesterday.  SO…I came home and Joe and I got to eat dinner together!

Spicy Sweet Potato French Fries:  Here is the recipe from another website that I love – FitSugar.com  I honestly did not make an adaptions to the recipe – it didn’t need it as they were SO good.  We were worried that they would be too spicy, but not at all.  Of course, we dipped them in ketchup (NOT mayo – sorry Belgians)!

Roastin' along with some brussel sprouts!

Healthy 'french fries!'

A nice change of pace – never made sweet potato anything before.  Will definitely do it again!

 

Fall is here!

Mmmm, baked goods by mom…does it get much better than that?

Top is best (kind of like a muffin-top)!

We walked outside the apartment today and immediately “smelled” Fall.  Since it is both of our favorite season – we were VERY happy!

Of course, the smell got me thinking of all the things I love about Fall!

  • The decor!

Thanks to the fam!

  • Pumpkins/Gourds/Apples, etc. (Not our pumpkins, courtesy of Google Images)!
  • Leaves changing colors!

WI cottage shout-out! 🙂

  • Halloween!!  – Perk of Halloween this year is that Belgians get about 319481343 holidays a year.  November 1st just so happens to be one of those holidays.  Therefore, we can go out for Halloween and have the full next day to recover from such festivities!  NOW – the question is…what should we dress up as?!

Back in the day...can you guess what former celeb couple we were?!

~We relaxed much of the day (or at least Joe did since I had a 3.5 hour group meeting at school).  The afternoon flew by with our workout (finally got to go together) and a stop at the ‘Phone House.’
~Ah, the ‘Phone House.’  I’ve been to this store about 10-15 times since we’ve moved.  I have a pre-paid phone that seriously has the capabilities of Zack Morris’s phone (you know what I’m talking about).  SO, I brought my Blackberry from the USA here to see if it would work.  I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that I was there 1.5 hours and ended up worse off than when I arrived.  Yes – not only does my BB not work, but my prepaid phone is also not working.  The kicker?  My prepaid phone’s service provider is “not one of the major ones” so they only have help desk hours from M-F (9-5).  Um, yea it’s Saturday.
~ANYWAY, onto another home-cooked meal (can you tell we were burned out from restaurants)?  This one was inspired by Allrecipes.com, but I made too many changes:
Halibut filets with Tomato/Onion Salsa & Roasted Brussel Sprouts:
  • 2 halibut filets
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • brussels sprouts, chopped in 1/2 (as many as you want)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • feta cheese (optional – but highly recommended)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
~Preheat the oven to 425F or about 220c.  Place the brussel sprouts on foil-lined cookie sheet (easy clean-up)!  Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt.  Let roast for about 40 minutes turning occasionally.  They should be crispy and charred…YUM.  (For some reason, ours cooked in like 30 – could be they were smaller)??
~Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the 1 tbsp olive oil and the garlic (for about 1 minute).  Add the onion for about 5 minutes (or until translucent).  Remove from heat and add to a bowl with the diced tomatoes and basil.  In the same skillet, add the halibut filets and season with salt and pepper.  Depending on the size, these should cook for about 7-10 minutes (until flaky)!  About 2 minutes before the fish are done, add the onion/tomato mixture atop the fish to heat.  Serve with feta cheese if desired (obviously)!  DONE!

LOVE brussel sprout season.

Broccoli Pasta Night!

Happy Friday everyone! 

Started the day off right with my OMG mug!  It finally made an appearance again after I finished the dishes!  Oh, so happy.

Mmm, oatmeal/cereal concoction!

I have to admit that today has not been very exciting.  I devoted the entire morning til about mid-afternoon to school work.  I haven’t really done much work since school started over a month ago and so today it really hit me…I’M IN SCHOOL.  It just seems so weird!  I haven’t done HW since, oh, I don’t know, like Nov 2005.  That’s ALMOST 6 years!!!  I’ve come to 2 realizations:

1.  I’m somewhat of a procrastinator.

2.  Facebook is just as distracting now as it was in 2003 when I signed up!  Remember when you could only sign up when you had an email with .edu?  Ha, the good ole days!

I just finished my law presentation and I was so excited to dive into my “reward.”  My father-in-law and his fiance gave us a bag of American trick or treat candy before we left the USA.  AWESOME.  So…I promised myself a treat once the work was done (ok – it seriously sounds like I’m treating myself like a dog who just completed a trick).  Anyway, I opened up the 2-pack of Starburst…and what to my dismay…A YELLOW & AN ORANGE.  UGHHHH, the WORST colors.

I would LOVE this:

Starburst Favered Fruit Chew Candy

Tonight I am trying another new recipe from my latest blog obsession: Gina’s Skinny Recipes.  We are going to have the ‘Pasta w/ Roasted Broccoli w/Oil & Garlic.’  Of course, I will be making 2 sets of pasta since Joe will not eat whole wheat and I will not eat white pasta.  Stupid of us, huh?

Here it is!  YUM!  I swear there is a lot there…in proportion to the wine? hmmmm

Yes, the wine glass looks huge!

We also opted to go out for a drink at our fave spot…the “Trappisten huis.”  I had my usual Cava and Joe his Sint-Bernardus.  Not going to lie, it was a nice, relaxing Friday evening back in town! 🙂

Sooo happy!

Back to Belgium - where champagne is acceptable on a daily basis!

Back to the routine!

Back to the routine…and it feels so good!

This is the first day I feel totally normal and adjusted to the time change.  SO glad because I can start my normal routine again: Blog, Workout, Lunch, Study, Dinner, etc!

So…my breakfast was a quick one before I headed to the gym!  I was VERY excited to workout since I’ve been slacking a lot lately.  A long run on the treadmill felt soooo good (afterward of course – not during)!

Thx for the Almond Butter Jon! 🙂

For lunch, I met up with my American friend, Lisa.  We had a LOT to catch up on!  We hadn’t seen each other since August since our trips to the USA overlapped.  We compared/shared our thoughts on being in the USA and being back “home” in Belgium.  Here are a couple common themes:

  • So glad to be back into a normal routine after vacay!
  • We love and miss our family and friends in the USA every day, but are excited to have friends in Belgium too.
  • Visiting the USA is not what one would call a “relaxing” trip!  Definitely have some learnings for next trip…
  • There is nothing like the town you grew up in…
  • Laundry in America is awesome – I will never complain about it there ever again.
  • Being able to drive is a serious luxury and the independence you feel with it is amazing.
  • Starbuck’s is the best (ok, that’s my thought – but I’m sure she agrees)! 🙂

Veggie soup @ RoOmer Cafe!

This afternoon I caught up on some school work, laundry, and cleaning.  I was also perusing the internet and stumbled upon a new blog (Gina’s Skinny Recipes) that I LOVE.  So, I decided to make one of her recipes:  Chicken Milanese with Arugula and Tomatoes

I only made a couple changes:

  • Kept the chicken as breasts (not cutlets)
  • Left out the milk in the egg whites (had none)
  • Added cheese to the salad (everything is better with cheese)!

Here is a pick of how our meal turned out!  And, OMG, was it delish! 🙂

So freakin' good.

Off to complete my Law presentation slides for Monday.  I’m pretty nervous as I have to present to the class with one of my group members.  I really am not a fan of presenting.  (Side note – You know how when you have to do something you don’t want to do and people say…”OH, but it’s such good experience!”  Do you ever just want to scream, UGH, then you do it).

Anywayyyyyy, we have a “skype” conference call tonight to go over the slides.  I find that really funny (not sure why – just seems odd)!  I wonder if we are going to use the “video” call?  If so, I should probably change out of my oversized sweats…