Easy & Tasty – Best Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake with Ganache and Strawberries

I’ll start with a little expat-whining. Sometimes it is so damn hard to be a foreigner in your new ‘home’ country which is neither “home” nor truly “your”, if you know what I mean. Little things become difficult, especially when you don’t speak the language. For instance, going to the dentist becomes a whole tragedy (like it wasn’t hard enough before when you were simply frightened of pain). No, now you don’t fear pain anymore, because you’ve learnt how to say “I’m neurotic and I’m really scared and I need a double dose of whatever anesthesia shot that you have” in your new language but now you have to always bring a company for translation, because there are so many things you can not explain. You can not explain the degree of pain that you feel or your dental history, or your allergies, or anything important for that matter. This covers going to any other doctor. And when they prescribe you pills that you don’t know, you come home and search the ingredients and different brand names to find an english leaflet and make sure everything is in order. It is uncomfortable and time-consuming.

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Fit + healthy body = clear and happy mind

Fresh Orange

Hi all,

The summer is approaching and on my blog stats I’ve noticed how my posts on 7-minutes-workout and bodyweight exercises that helped me lost weight and get in a better shape are simply booming :)

So I think it will be a good time to remind those who are looking for a new diet, intensive workouts at home or simply just a motivation – everything is possible if you believe in yourself! 10-15 minutes of intense bodyweight workout at home even without any equipment, big changes in your meals and a positive mindset are all you need to START changing. Here are some short advice I can give you:

  • Be consistent in your choices and exercises to see results
  • Don’t create excuses, look for strength inside of you to exercise
  • Don’t give up if you’ve a had a little set back – every day is a new opportunity to start changing
  • Read the description – check if that one “healthy” granola bar has more sugar than you should consume per week
  • It doesn’t matter how long are your trainings, as long as they are regular and intense
  • When your muscles burn – that’s when it’s working
  • Eat clean, drink lots of water and exercise
  • Don’t create restrictions, don’t starve yourself, treat yourself to some of your favourite sweets sometimes, but make sure that’s a treat, not a daily habit
  • Don’t blame people or circumstances – you are responsible for your body and choices
  • Little exercise is much better than no exercise at all. Remember that and feel proud of yourself even after 15 min of intense training
  • Don’t drink sweet cocktails and liquors, drink a glass of dry wine instead
  • Every food or drink that is too sweet, bubbly and has an artificial color has a lot of chemicals in it
  • Eat regularly and eat breakfast to boost your metabolism
  • Eat more meat and vegetables and less carbs

Please check the Fitness motivation section for some more posts.

Stir Fry Chicken, or SweetSpicyColorfulDelicious

Sweet Spicy Chicken Stir Fry with Vegetables

In Bursa, if you want some Asian-inspired stir fry chicken and rice, you’d better make it yourself. Just couple of days ago I was thinking.. when I moved to Turkey I thought how incredible that people here love their national food so much. And that it tastes equally good – either served in a little street cafe or in beautiful garden restaurant on a fancy plate.  And I love it too now, I do! The köfte, pide, saç kavurma, 56739875 types of kebaps (just kidding, but there are really a lot of them), named after people or places, endless selection of helva, baklava, Turkish delight etc.

But like many other expats in their new country (I’m sure) some days you get tired of pretending that you’re almost a local you just want something different. I want my dinner to TASTE different. I want flavors and colors that I can’t find here, even in one great restaurant in Bursa where we go for a to the best-steak-I’ve-ever-had (no kidding!) with a wide selection of local and world wines.

So for those days I have a great recipe – stir fry chicken with vegetables served with rice. This chicken is full of flavors and colors, and the combination of soy sauce and honey, infused with ginger and garlic does a good job of satisfying my craving.

It’s easy to make, goes well for a weeknight dinner for two and the recipe is adjusted to the simplest ingredients one can have (no garlic powder, no reduced-sodium chicken broth that is suggested is many recipes and is nowhere to be found in Turkey, no special sauces). It does take some time to prepare and you can’t get away with just one cutting board and a bowl, but I assure you it’s worth it!

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Pazar pazarı

While in Turkey one simply must take advantage of the street markets. In some cities they emerge in different areas on different days of the week and then there is pazar pazarı (Sunday market) and here, in Turkey, I made my habit to visit the market weekly and stock on fresh local fruits and veggies. To be honest, the market is literally 100 meters away from our home so it might have helped me with motivation :D

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Get rid of UnhappySelfish

There are things that you can only understand with a certain experience and age. One of those is letting go of toxic friendships and relationships. Letting go and clearing space for more positive and understanding people to come into your life. For friends who don’t limit each other and don’t judge everything uniquely from his/her point of view.

enough!

And while there are many signs and character traits that you should try to avoid, I want to share the one that’s the most unbearable for me. Complaining. I find that complaining is the worst form of negativity there is.

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The Turkish Hustle, or Yabancı crash test.

No matter how much I love Turkey, it is a fact that a lot of tourists get ripped off on various occasions and amounts can vary from 20$ to hundreds of dollars. Last week I had a chance to experience this myself and also to crash test my knowledge of Turkish language. And it was more or less successful :)

fish-market

A friend of mine was visiting last week, so we spent a couple of days together in the touristic areas of Istanbul, where the most rip-offs usually happen (thought, probably leather and gold stores in Antalya area in summer can easily beat Istanbul in this “competition”). Beforehand I was prepped to remember the simplest rule – 20 TL (turkish lira) for a local is 20$ for a tourist. And I am sure that a nice transparent umbrella we bought on Istiklal caddesi, caught in an expected rainfall, for just 5 TL, would have a different price had I asked the man in English instead of Turkish.

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Mücver – Zuccini Fritters

IMG_7928

 

This is my variation of mücver – zucchini fritters but everyone who tried them says they taste really Turkish :) Best served hot and with fresh Turkish yogurt (greek yogurt and russian smetana will be also great to accompany this simple, yet great home snack).

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