Welcome to winter!

Yesterday it was NEGATIVE degrees here in Belgium!  Ok, negative C (like 27F), but still, I was NOT prepared for that…and of course, I did a lot of outside activities…so typical.

Anyway, to get warm, I stopped at…Starbucks!  We typically only go on the weekends due to the extreme prices…my bad.  Actually, I think karma was trying to tell me something because I got pooped on by a pigeon.  Disgusting…thankfully it wasn’t in my hair or anything, but you can imagine my thoughts around that.  (Yes, this is the 2nd time in 6 months that I’ve been pooped on by pigeons).  Some people say…”oh, that means you are lucky.”  Hm, I disagree.

Anyway, my friend Sarah and I had a full day of sewing planned.  She is teaching me how to make a skirt (don’t laugh – I really can do it).  We got pretty far along yesterday – only thing left is the stitching.  It was my first time cutting and measuring fabric…I was veryyyy slow!  I can’t wait to finish it…then I’ll post pics!

She made us a delicious lunch break…

Love all the salad fixins...

I LOVE tomato/mozzarella salad

Don’t you just love the setting?!  I also loved the 3 dish platter with little “snacks.” 🙂

Last night, we went out to dinner with our friends from Denver (who we had not seen if forever!)!  They invited us to a REALLY cute restaurant they found, De Avonden.  We LOVED this place.  It is only open on the week nights and is set in a house.  It’s very, typical Belgian.  By that I mean, plan on being there about 2-3 hours and having unique, hearty Belgian food.  The menu changes every week and is on a chalkboard – so cute.  The atmosphere is great too – cozy, candles, nice chandeliers, etc.

I opted for the vegetarian option last night.  A kohlrabi stuffed with fresh veggies and spinach (with cheese bubbling on top) on a bed of mashed potatoes.  Holy crap it was good.  Plus, all dinners came with freshly cooked carrots, roasted potatoes, and an amazing batch of warm cinnamon applesauce.


Everyone else ordered meat – bunny, wild boar, and chicken hen.  It’s “gaming season” so the menu was quite centered around that theme.  Actually, we got to talking and apparently (during gaming season) it is common to find “bb bullets” in your food.  Um, seriously, what?!  Obvii, I’m not much of a “game-eater.”

Such a nice dinner – we all agreed it reminded us of an American Thanksgiving feast (ok, not the menu items, but the mass quantity of hearty food)!

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!

Restaurant Review: Au Boeuf Qui Rit

Restaurant: Au Boeuf Qui Rit (sorry no website)

Location: Gent, Belgium (centrum)

Last night I got to meet one of Joe’s bosses for the first time.  We had dinner with him and his wife at one of their favorite Gent restaurants – ‘Au Boeuf Qui Rit.’

When you walk in, you immediately feel as though you are in someone’s quirky home.  There are random framed photographs, candles lit everywhere, and a huge fireplace in the middle.  It has a very nice warm and relaxing feeling to it.

The Kitchen!

We sat our table and proceeded to check out the menu.  It is important to note that this is a French restaurant — VERY french.  In other words, the waitress and owner only speaks french!  The menu is in both Dutch and French and you can get by with pointing, etc, but she really does only speak French.  Luckily for us, Joe’s boss speaks excellent French!

Also important – all meals are prepared on the grill in the middle of the restaurant.  I found this to be really cool/unique as you could watch your food being prepared.  Just something different and fun!

Here are my thoughts!

  • Ambiance – GOOD.  Relaxed and resembled a home living room – warm and cozy.
  • Drinks – EXCELLENT.  We had a nice bottle of red wine for the table and then the men ordered beer afterwards (fairly limited selection, but they were happy with Duvel).
  • Snacks – N/A – bummer as this is important to me.
  • Food – VERY GOOD.  I opted for the grilled shrimp skewers with the house sauce (amazing sauce)!  Each entree also comes with grilled potatoes and a side salad.
  • Price – GOOD.  My shrimp was 19 euro which for Gent I don’t think is too bad.  However, for 6 shrimp and a small salad with 1 potato – could be considered a lot.
  • Service – GOOD.  Again, pretty hard to interact as she only spoke French.  We had to hunt her down a few times for wine and the check, so not the most attentive.
  • Overall – GOOD.  It’s not one of my favorite places, but I’d go back when I’m in the mood for an old fashioned barbeque!

Sauce was DELISH!

A couple other things to note.  I would not recommend this restaurant on the weekends as the owner is the only cook and the grill quite small = long wait times.  Also, you will smell like a barbeque when you leave – so be prepared to air out your clothes.

Restaurant Review: Kaai 14

Restaurant: Kaai 14


Location: Gent, Belgium (centrum)

Joe and I have walked past this restaurant several times on our way to the gym and have always wanted to try it out!  Then, one of my friends recommended it.  So, finally, we tested it out!

On the river! Loving the vines!

When we walked in, we were immediately greeted (very friendly) and sat in the lounge.  It was SO cozy with the fireplace and very romantic.  We were treated to a nice aperitif (cava for me & rum & coke for Joe).  In addition, they brought down (complimentary – score!) olives and a small plate of tomato-mozzarella salad.  For those of you who don’t know, that is my favorite salad, so I was immediately won over!

Loungin...pun intended!


After having our aperitif, we were taken to our table upstairs to enjoy our meal!

  • Ambiance – Modern chic and very clean – loved it!
  • Drinks – EXCELLENT.  As mentioned above, we enjoyed our aperitifs.  We then opted for a bottle of red wine (Malbec) for dinner.  It was delicious and paired great with our filet (recommended by our waitress).
  • Snacks – EXCELLENT.  As seen above – we loved the olives and the mini appetizer was a very nice surprise.
  • Food – EXCELLENT.  We opted for the 3 course chef menu – definitely worth it (see below)!  I should note that this is the way to go.  The chef menu was only about 10 euros more than the entrees themselves but you got two more courses.  No brainer!
  • Price – EXCELLENT.  The prices are standard for a Gent restaurant (20-35 euros/entree).  The portions were perfect!
  • Service – EXCELLENT – Our waitress was very friendly and so attentive (not always the case in Belgium).  She made several recommendations (wine) and did not disappoint.
  • Overall – EXCELLENT.  A great place for celebrating a nice occasion or just date-night!  (Would not recommend to bring children here).
What we ate:
  • First Course – Tuna and crab tartar with sun-dried tomatoes and honey mustard.  We were also served bread (multi-grain) in the bag in the picture.  I thought that was so funny – I’ve never had bread brought to me in a bag!

  • Second Course – Filet mignon with a cranberry sauce, potatoes, and seasonal veggies.
  • That's a pear on top!

  • Third Course – Whipped custard with Belgian chocolate ice cream.  Do not hate me – I DON’T have a picture of this (oops)!  I was more a fan of the ice cream than the actual whipped custard…so I dug around it! 🙂
As you can tell, we were quite happy!!  A great dinner with the hubby!

Happy Friday!

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…

And…some quick catch up!

As you can tell, I’m WAY behind on my blog (about a week)!  So…we’re going to do a week in pictures (like last time) in order to catch up!  Man all this traveling and visiting is really eating into my blog time! 🙂


My grandparents arrived in Tosa from Arkansas!  I was SO excited.  I have not seen them in 1.5 years!  So…what did we do?  We had the traditional “fall” dinner at home…Mom’s chili.  And, omg was it good!  Mom makes chili with noodles…anyone else do that?  Yea…and I ate it so fast…sorry no pics!


We moved to a downtown hotel for the weekend.  Hello, Hotel Metro!  (We LOVE this hotel – it is where we stayed the night of our wedding)!

We lucked out because the ‘Zen Den’ bar at the top of the hotel was actually open to the public (always closed for private events).  So…we stopped up for a drink and to “relax” in the “zen” area!  Awesome.

A hidden little gem!

Aw, brothhhhhers!

We then ate at my all-time FAVE sushi restaurant…SAKETUMI.  You KNOW I had the spicy tuna roll, Godzilla roll, AND a new scallop roll.  YUM!  Oh, and we ordered 2 helpings of edamame (I ate one myself while the brothers shared…yikes)!  Last but certainly not least…we stopped at Catch 22 for a drink with my BFF Julia and her fiance, Andy.  Again, no pics…so slacking!


Friday definitely deserves it’s own post.  And, it will get one very shortly.  Why you ask?  Because, it is in honor my parents 25th Wedding Anniversary!  Here is a sneak-peak at the surprise party we threw!

Aren't they cute?!

Yes, that’s all you get for now! 🙂


A BUSY day! 🙂  The morning was spent hosting a Bridal Shower for my BFF, Julia!  (Am I a party-planner or what…ha)!  We had the party in the common room at our condo building.  Here are some pics of the event and the beautiful bride-to-be!

The spread...

Some may say...the best part of the party (ahem, me)!

The bride's seat!

The bride!!!

And...her gifts! Does she like chicken - I can't remember...

Right after the shower…we hopped on over to Trinity (bar) on Water Street to meet up with the boys…AND…a surprise guest.  My friend, Karen, from DC flew in to hang for the day/night!  Yes, I cried.

Together again!!! Seriously, best day.

And, last but certainly not least: dinner and drinks at our “old stomping ground.”  Aka – La Fuenta…aka…best place for margarita’s (even if you were of a questionable age).  Just kidding, mom….

The marg's...and...only a couple chips left! Thankfully, they are bottom-less!

The gals!

The fam came!

Seesters! They are always picking me up for some reason.


After our fabulous dinner and marg’s, we headed to our favorite Marquette bar, Caffrey’s.  Oddly enough, I can’t find a “suitable” picture to post…:-)

SUCH a great trip home.  It went by so fast (as I’m sure it always will), but we are so blessed/lucky/thankful to have such wonderful family and friends.  We miss you and love you all!





Tosa Trivia!

Started my Tuesday off right…with a little Jillian Michaels!  Was pretty intense today considering I haven’t done her video in a week or 2!

My mom and I were going to have a full fledge Mother-Daughter day of shopping…at my favorite local shopping mall…Mayfair!!  Ahhh, how I love it! 🙂  We started off bright and early (we were literally there before it opened) and of course, made a stop at the Starbuck’s drive through for a morning pick-me-up.

*I’m going to digress for a minute – this is the first DRIVE-THRU I’ve been to in 8 months.  I can’t think of 1 drive-thru in Belgium…not 1 (and I’m really trying)!  Weird, right?!

Anyway, we spent a great deal of time at our fave stores (Ann Taylor, Loft, Limited, etc)!  I might have missed my calling as a personal shopper.  I must say that I REALLY enjoy helping others buy clothing!  My mom got some GREAT key items…including a brand new pair of AWESOME jeans.  I (of course) got some great new stuff too – cute earrings, scarf, etc.

My sister joined us for lunch…at Panera (again – why stop a good thing)!  This time I had my other favorite soup – Chicken Noodle with the multi-grain baguette.  Still delish!  We followed up lunch with dessert at…yes, Starbucks (again)!  My mom and I split a PUMPKING SPICE LATTE!  I’m sensing a pattern…

I WAS SO excited for this evening.  My BFF is getting married in January and she invited me and Maggie (remember her visit?) to join her for a dress fitting!  Here are just pics from previous celebrations – soon to add pics from Julia’s festivities! 🙂

At my wedding...

At Maggie's Bachelorette party!

Of course, the dress fitting was wonderful and she looked absolutely beautiful.  That’s all the detail you get…since the fiance is a subscriber! 🙂

For dinner, we had plans to meet a group of friends at the Mo’s Irish Pub in Wauwatosa for Trivia Night.  I’ve never played trivia before at a bar and really did not know what to expect.  Let me tell you…it is NOT easy!  Here are a couple sample questions:

  • What state produces 90% of the USA’s garlic crop?
  • What country did Churchill call “the sleeping giant?”
  • Name the 2 heisman (sp?) trophy winners who were drafted as quarterbacks in the same year (BONUS que).
  • How many ‘community chests’ are there on a monopoly board?  I still don’t believe the answer to this…
  • Which country whose name starts with a ‘P’ is the largest in size (sq ft)?
Tough right?!  Well, we were close…but ended up coming in 4th.  Oh well it was fun and so great to catch up with old friends! 🙂

the boys...

the girls...

Oh, I almost forgot…I had the BEST tomato soup last night (with OYSTER crackers – another thing I can’t find in Belgium)!

Note the design on top...nice touch!

Home Sweet Home!

USA! USA! USA! – We may or may not have chanted this as we arrived at ORD.  (Ok, we did, but definitely not within ear shot of others…we could’nt be THOSE people)!

Words cannot describe how HAPPY we are to be home and visiting all our family/friends!  After 8 long months, we are back for a good week!  First stop…Chicago!


We arrived and were greeted by my father-in-law.  He had a care package waiting for us at the airport – animal crackers!  Um, hello, obviously he knows me!  🙂  The drive into Chicago to our hotel was GREAT.  When we came around the curve on the expressway and saw the skyline, I literally had goosebumps.  I.LOVE.CHICAGO.  We proceeded to check-in to our hotel, grab a little snack, SHOP, and get ready for the night.

Dinner was @ North Pond in Lincoln Park.  OMG was it good!  I had the soup of the day with the tomato/mozzarella salad.  The view was the best:


We then proceeded to meet up with friends at a bar close-by (can’t remember the name – “Other Side” maybe)?!  I’m sad to say that I forgot my camera so I really don’t have pics…BUT, it was so great seeing everyone again.  There’s nothing like a chat with your girlfriends! 🙂  PLUS, it was awesome to have a good ole’ Miller Lite (so refreshing to have a beer that is not more than 5% alcohol).  I will be honest, it tasted great, but the Belgians do REALLY know how to make a beer…

We were definitely feeling jet-lagged, so we called it an early night!


My main mission today: Shop & Starbucks

And…boy did I do succeed!  There is a Starbucks in our hotel, so I had a nice grande coffee this morning with a side of oatmeal.  I LOVE their oatmeal – mainly because of the little sides they give you (um, yes I’ll have brown sugar, dried fruit, AND nuts).

I proceeded to shop the ENTIRE day with my soon-to-be sister-in-law (AWESOME) and my soon-to-be mother-in-law.  We walked up and down Michigan Ave.  I found 3 new pairs of pants at Express (thank you BOGO 1/2 off)!  Plus, my new obsession, TOMS shoes.  Has anyone ever had these?  Kristina recommended them to me (thank you) and they are SO comfy…perfect for the Belgian cobblestone!

We stopped for lunch at Coco Pazzo.  This place is SO cute (and warm – it was a bit chilly and windy)!  I opted for the seven veggie salad and the soup of the day (chickpea!)  Delicious!  And…of course, we needed dessert…so…we went to Starbucks (again).  Starbucks stock might rise while I’m home this week if I keep doing double-headers.  This time I had what I’ve been waiting for for the last month….

PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE – And yes, it was as good as expected (if not better)!

Anyway…onto the evening agenda:

A nice cocktail at my soon-to-be mother-in-laws condo (appy’s included) and dinner at the Erie Cafe.

The appy’s and drinks at the condo were great – they had decorated the place with Welcome Home signs and streamers! 🙂  We passed around the jenever that we brought from Ghent for everyone to taste test (mmm…vanilla)!

After about an hour, we headed to dinner.  I opted for the ‘Shrimp A la George’ and Joe got…wait for it…the prime rib special.  I’m so mad that I don’t have any pictures of his food.  You would NEVER believe how big it was…we joked it was “the 96-er.”  (Reference to the movie “The Great Outdoors” for those of you who have seen it)!  We followed-up our entrees with an amazing chocolate cake with chocolate frosting!  I seriously think the food put Joe in a food-induced coma because we had to leave shortly after dinner to go to bed! 🙂

All in all, a GREAT night with great company.  We miss nights like these so much when we’re gone, but, it just makes it all the more special when we’re home.  😉

Next stop…TOSA! 🙂  omgomgomg…(I’m so excited – which is probably why I’m up at 4:30am bloggin).

Restaurant Review: ‘t Hommelhof

As I mentioned in my last Watou post, we ate at a FABULOUS restaurant the night we were in Watou!  Here are the deets!

Restaurant: ‘t Hommelhof

So adorbs!

Seriously, how welcoming does this place look?!

Location: Watou, Belgium (centrum)

  • Ambiance – Adorable.  It is located right in the town centrum.  We rode the bikes in from the B&B (about a 15 minute drive).  Very nice feel – could be casual or dressy.  We were in the mood for dressy since this was our nice night out for the 4 of us.
  • Drinks – EXCELLENT.  We opted for the chef’s menu which had the option for a selection of wines or beer.  Everyone opted for the wine and Joe chose the beer.  Honestly, each wine was delicious.  We had 2 whites and a red.  My fave was the first white and the last red.  Joe, of course, loved his beer selections (all Watou brewed – duh)!
  • Snacks – EXCELLENT.  When we sat down we received little green olives, delicious white rolls, radishes, and some bbq chips.  The rolls came with a ham-like pate which was delicious.
  • Food – EXCELLENT.  We splurged and opted for the chef’s menu (3 courses) – definitely worth it!  (see below)
  • Price – GOOD.  It’s a rather pricey menu, but honestly one of the best dinners we’ve had in Belgium.
  • Service – EXCELLENT – The waiter was very good in English and explained each course in detail.  The chef came out of the kitchen about halfway through our meal and asked how we were doing and what we thought – classy!
  • Overall – EXCELLENT.  A MUST-TRY if you are in Watou!
What we ate:
  • First Course – Tomatoes and mozzarella with balsamic vinegar and topped with garnaal (Belgian mini-shrimp).  YUM.
  • Check out the basil!

  • Second Course – White fish (sorry, can’t remember the type) with a light cream sauce and oysters.  I couldn’t bring myself to try the oysters…my bad.
  • Loved this plate!

  • Third Course – Lamb with cheese potatoes (looked like little muffins!) and green beans.
  • Yes, I eat lamb now. Don't judge me.

  • Dessert Course – Trio of green tea cream with baked pears, chocolate mousse, and a chocolate brownie topped with gelatin.  Oh, and a dripping of caramel down the middle of the plate!
  • Seriously?!

Yea, we were definitely satisfied!  Can you tell?

Happy campers.

As if we needed more, they brought this little joy to the table…

The chocolates in the middle were un-comprehendable.

Wow again Watou!

Wonderful Weekend in Watou!

Even if you are a Belgian, chances of you knowing Watou are slim…but, thanks to our awesome neighbors, we had the chance to explore this wonderful little town this past weekend.

Driving only about 1 hour from Gent, we stayed at the ‘Het Brouwershuis.’  This B&B is situated next to its owner’s brewery, Sint Bernardus (Joe’s fave)!  Honestly, I’ve never been to such a cute and relaxing place!  Actually, I’ve never been to a B&B before so I didn’t know what to expect, but, this FAR exceeded any expectations I had.  As you arrive, you drive through a nice vine-archway.  You come upon 2 buildings each beautiful with vines and plants growing everywhere (not overgrown – strategic).  It’s so hard to explain how nice it was…so…here are the pics.

Look at that red color!!!

Is that welcoming or what?!

The “main” house had a beautiful living room with games, books, a fireplace, and…unlimited beer (St-Bernardus of course)!  There is also a nice room for the breakfast (which was awesome – no pics on that but think breads, yogurt, fruit, eggs, cheese, ham, etc)!  On the other side of the breakfast room was a pond full of large goldfish!

Sitting room...

So cozy!

Mmm, breakfast.

The bedrooms were adorable as well.  Nicely decorated with cute accents – not too many knick-knacks.  Each room has a separate bathroom (apparently not all B&B’s do that).  Only thing I was disappointed with was that there was no shampoo/conditioner (which I totally forgot to bring)!  But, we only stayed 1 night, so it was ok for me.


Thankful for our own bathroom!

Nice, but...lots of spidey's...

*I will add one comment – take it as you will.  As you can see from my pic above, the spiders were in FULL effect.  Definitely NOT indoors, but they were quite a few outside (shocker, right?…spiders outside in a farm area?).  No one else cared, but I have a severe case of arachnophobia (sp?), so I  did get squirmy when walking by trees, chairs, etc.

Anyway, we spent the day using the bikes from the B&B (after finally adjusting the adult bikes to the lowest seat level for me, ugh).  We rode into the town of Watou (very cute town square)!  We stopped for a couple drinks and lunch.  I had a delicious melon and proscuitto salad.


So fresh!

We then rode our backs in the opposite direction to Abele.  We stopped for another drink (see a theme?) at a cute place in France.  Yes, that’s right…we crossed the border.  We were pretty exctied…:-)

Indian summer?!

Me & Babe.

After all the biking, we were ready to relax at the B&B before heading out to dinner…will post the dinner next (one of the BEST dinners we’ve had in a long time)!  Wow, Watou…we’re impressed!!!