It’s not goodbye, until next time!

Exchange, Food, Gluten Free, Travel, University

My final night in Europe, I spent it in London again. I was going to head to Colchester to stay with my friend, but decided it was a bit too far and not worth it with how much time I really had, so the good ‘ole Kiwi I met in Poland offered a space in his place for me to crash for the night, quite close to the tube station.

I met him and dropped my bag and then we decided to check for dinner – and this girl was real tired because as we got on the bus, I checked my purse and thought I lost my passport – we had to turn around and go back to his house. As he pushed the button to stop the bus, and we stood up I saw my passport on the ground in front of me, it was really time for bed.

 

 

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We grabbed some pizza for dinner, and than headed back to his place to hangout for the night. There wasn’t much to do it was late and I was heading to the airport pretty early.

 

Europe really was a blast, heading back to reality was certainly not what I wanted to do, but the opportunities to travel and see the world for Christmas was fabulous. There will always be more Christmas’ in Bowmanville, Ontario, this was the Christmas to enjoy being abroad and seeing the world.

 

To finding myself, growing and coming back changed!

That’s it for the Europe segment, but until the next adventure!

 

In safe travels,

 

Meg XX

#Chronicles of a girl who can cook part 2

Exchange, Food, Gluten Free, University

I was given the name ‘the (white) girl who can cook’ by the girls who live the floor over from me as your may have read in the last post Chronicles of the girl who can cook because I spend as much or more time in the kitchen than them making actual substantial meals and not just mac and cheese from a box or reheating left over pizza from 2 or 3 weeks ago, and I have shelf space in the fridge which I basically fought for and have claimed as my own because I actually buy groceries (hello people I do have to live here to). Except the perception seems to be skewed here, that the minority, aka us “white” people can’t cook, or we don’t cook, so we don’t need fridge space and we are a rare sighting in the kitchen.

Well folks you are mistaken and that is wrong. I actually enjoy cooking (and baking, to an extent) and when i do cook, it’d often something that will last for a few days, no not as left overs, but meal prepping.

So this weeks feature, homemade shepherds pie.

Ingredients

4 Medium Potatoes

1 Package Ground Meat – I use ground turkey because I don’t eat beef, but use whatever you prefer

1 can corn – sub other veggies or add other veggies as you choose, I usually add peas and carrots

1 package Turkey gravy

Salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic

2 Tsp milk

3 Tsp butter

 

Directions

I a large pot bring 6.5 cups water to a boil, add potatoes and boil until potatoes are soft enough to run a knife through without obstruction.

Meanwhile in a medium-large frying pan brown meat with clove of garlic. Drain.

Add corn and continue to brown.

In a small sauce pan make turkey gravy according to package details. Pour over meat and veggie mixture.

Once Potatoes are cooked, drain, add butter and milk and mash.

In large casserole dish, cover bottom of with meat and veggie mixture. Spoon potatoes on top covering evenly.

Top with cheese if desired and serve warm.

You Crazy sun of a beach

Exchange, Food, Gluten Free, Travel, University

That’s right, next stop, the beach, the Mediterranean Sea, the French Riviera… Nice, France. An afternoon flight landed us in France in the early evening with time to find our way to our hostel, get acquainted and grab some Nachos and a drink with the guy on the lower bunk next to us.

France also reminded me that just because I’m a born and raised Canadian, there’s a part of me the enjoys the warm weather, found when I moved to the island, and has grown on me since living in the Caribbean for 7 months so far. French weather meant no jackets for a few days and I was ready to not be so bundled up.

France was also the end of Pey’s travels and the beginning of my solo travels, so on the first day we fit the best of Nice into one day, but I revisited the sites that I wanted to spend more time at and others after she left. First stop, Crepes and thank you France for gluten free Crepes. Honestly the lady who served us, served us 2 more times after and would have known our order if we didn’t change our mind every time we went in.

Next stop beach, and I’m positive the locals though we were crazy because 2 Canadians and a Colombian put on bathing suits and swam in the Mediterranean sea on January 3rd 2018, to us it was warm and the water wasn’t that cold, but to the locals, it was still winter.

Not at

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all disappointed by the view or the warmth of the weather, we headed to the castle, and took it upon ourselves to walk our way there because nobody pays for what you can get for free. We intended to see the waterfall, but little did we know it had started to dry up. So after all we had to find another picture perfect spot, which involved scaling the side of the restaurant deck because it was under construction to the ledge with nothing to hold onto except each other with every gush of wind hoping nobody fell over the edge. Worth it for the photos, and added to the stories we get to tell when we return to Ontario..albumtemp

Our next stop was down to the light house that you can see at the end of

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the road pictured above…. We got all the way down there to barriers in front of it, but that hasn’t stopped us yet, so naturally we climbed over and under and got as close as we could because every picture speaks 1000 words, and the story to get to it speaks even more. We started to make our way back towards the beach and found the #ILOVENICE sign, and unlike in Amsterdam, you want a picture with the sign here, you have full rights to tell anyone near the sign to remove

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themselves from your picture as the kind lady who was also taking pictures did to us, so we patiently waited and then told the guy who tried to sneak in to get out of ours. It seemed to be a common theme here and everyone took their turn at the sign instead of cramming in and having thousands of people in your picture. We spent time walking the streets before heading back to the beach to watch the sunset, and that was absolutely worth the stroll back down the rocky, sandy beach, “it is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream.”

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My favourite colour is sunset, and I have never met a sunset I didn’t like

There’s something about starting everyday on holidays with good food, so Crepes for breakfast every day just seemed right, I was now alone, excited to start my adventure in a new country by myself, sad that my Canadian best friend was leaving but looking forward to the Countries I had left to see.

My last day was spent at the marina, and wandering the streets looking at the Nice statues, nothing like those of Belgium, iconically peeing in the streets, but still naked.

My Next adventure involved cardboard crowns, a lot of polish, Pirogies, and a boy from Trinidad.

Until the next one, stay tuned and in safe travels,

 

Meg XX

Chronicles of the Girl who can Cook

Exchange, Food, Gluten Free, Travel, University

I’ve been craving a good Lasagna, or really a “home cooked meal,” some “comfort food” anything a little home based. After 6.5 months of searching high and low in the grocery stores around Trinidad I finally found Gluten Free Lasagna noodles, though I’ve never heard of Nnova (pasta brand) but I bought the store out of their noodle, mac and cheese included and tried them.

The Mac and cheese isn’t half bad, just don’t let it get cold before you finish it.

The Lasagna though, that’s why we’re really here. I was honestly amazed. It’s hard finding gluten free pasta that doesn’t taste like cardboard, it’s also hard finding a brand of pasta or really any gluten free food that is relatively
“normal” tasting. I guess maybe mixed with other ingredients you don’t notice the difference, but I hope that the grocery stores in Trinidad, Massy especially continue to carry these noodles until I leave.

Ingredients

1 Box Nnova Pasta noodles
1.5 Cans Tomato Sauce (24 Oz Can)
1 Can Tomato Paste
12 Oz Water
1/2 Green Pepper, diced
1 Roll Ground Chicken (substitute for any meat you prefer)
1/2 Tbsp Oil
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Tsp Oregano
1 Tsp Onion Powder
3 Cloves Garlic
10 Oz Container Ricotta Cheese
24 Oz Mozzarella (more if desired or needed)
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Directions

*Preheat oven to 350 Degrees

1. Boil Pasta to al Dante according to box instructions

2. While pasta is boiling, put oil and garlic cloves in a large sauce pan and begin to brown

3.  Add diced green pepper to sauce pan, brown

4. Add ground meat, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano and brown

5. Drain fat and return to pan

6. Add Tomato sauce, Tomato Paste, Water; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to low and cook for 20 minutes, stir occasionally

7. Spread a small amount of meat mixture on bottom of Lasagna pan

8. Add noodles (approx 5) they will overlap

9. Cover noodles with meat mixture

10. Add 1/4 of Mozzarella cheese and spread evenly, 1/2 Parmesan cheese and 1/2 the Ricotta Cheese

11. Repeat steps 8 and 9

12. Add the rest of the Parmesan and Ricotta Cheese

13.  Repeat Step 8

14. Add the rest of the sauce mixture

15.  Top Lasagna with the rest of the mozzarella cheese

16. Cover With Foil and cook for approximately 50 to 60 minutes, remove foil and cook for another 10 minutes

 

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Until the Next one,

 

Meg XX

 

 

 

Dietary Restrictions Scare you? Still eat the foods you Love

Gluten Free

Being gluten free (not by choice, but for testing of medical concerns), non-red meat eating, peanut allergic, iron deficient, low B-12 individual is difficult all around. Find daily nutritional options that accommodate to all my dietary restrictions is overwhelming, and hard to do. On a daily basis I find it ever so difficult to make a meal for 1 that is gluten free, with a high source of iron and B-12 that still has a good source of protein that isn’t red meat or nuts.

Meals typically and often include chicken, broccoli, quinoa, gluten free couscous, and other veggies, but in long days of class, eat at the campus cafeteria isn’t an option, not only do I find the food not very good, but also unhealthy and very limited options. I’m a beginner meal planner, and typically make extras of any meal and freeze them. I’m also a huge fan of my crock pot and steamer, but how do I get by?

I pinterest, and I do it often. I keyword all my searches and alter meals that I find. I pinterest my food in 2 different boards, meals that are already gluten free, and meals that I would love to try, that need to be altered in some form.

I experiment with what I can throw together, especially in terms of vegetables and fruits. I hate texture, fresh blueberries, 100% no go, frozen blueberries in a smoothie; better, blueberry yogurt without fruit chunks, that’s my language. Leafy greens, another struggle, someone with such dietary restrictions as you can imagine, eats many salads, and like any food, I get bored, QUICK. Smoothies are always a great option, and I typically include spinach, fruit, protein powder and water, or orange juice and flax seeds, among whatever else I am feeling on a typical morning.

 

Lately, I’ve been trying to find alternatives to snacks, I’m also not a fan of spicy, but Costco’s Jalapeño Greek Yogurt Dip and Rice crackers, is my new favourite thing. Along with Zucchini bread, a vegetable I could never eat on its own. Who says I actually have to like zucchini to enjoy zucchini bread (don’t let this double chocolate chip loaf fool you, there are 2 whole zucchini’s in here).

Another staple has since become spaghetti squash (don’t let people tell you it is good on its own, you need something more than a bit of butter on that, unless strong flavours are your thing). In fact, over the Christmas holidays, I even managed to convince my no vegetable eating boyfriend, to eat spaghetti squash with me, maybe because I added chicken parmesan to it, but none the less everyone enjoyed dinner.

I adapt, sometimes it can be difficult and draining, and it makes meals something I dread, but I have to fuel my body some way, and I can still do it with the things I enjoy, I just have to be creative.