Monday, June 30, 2014

Budapest part 1

I'm currently blogging from Budapest, Hungary.  But this isn't any ordinary vacation.  I'm here for Peter's sister, Anne's wedding.  I got here on Saturday and I leave on Sunday.  I was lucky enough to have visited Budapest before with my family, but I didn't appreciate, so this is Round Two and I'm loving it. 

Let's start with the prospect of being vegan in Hungary.  There is basically nothing.  About 95% of the dishes feature meat heavily and if they don't the main component of the meal is grilled cheese.  Other than that, there is the celery in my Bloody Mary and a variety of pickled vegetables.  I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I caved and I commenced vegetarian mode.  I'm with about half of Peter's entire extended family so it's not like I can be like, can we please go somewhere that serves vegan food.  Yes, I could have ordered the grilled veggies without the grilled cheese on top, but I'm on vacation and I decided to go a little crazy.  Peter ate most of the cheese though.  He's basically vegetarian now, which I'm really proud of/psyched about.   

Grilled vegetables and mozzarella
However, when I'm not eating out with Peter's family, I explore my vegan options.  I bought the HappyCow app for my phone and I've looked around at what's nearby.  Today Peter and I ate lunch at Thai Wok, which is my favorite kind of place.  Where you basically build your meal by choosing the base (I chose rice noodles), your add-ons (I chose tofu and mixed vegetables) and your sauce (I chose pad thai sauce, which I made sure did not have fish sauce in it).   If you go there, make sure that you ask for no eggs in your noodles because I made that mistake.  It wasn't listed in the description, but it was in there... I considered sending it back but I didn't.  I also got the Pad Tea and it was phenomenal.  

But this blog post isn't about how I screwed up at being vegan, it's about my trip to Budapest!  The first night we had a traditional Hungarian meal (I had the grilled veggies which I showed above) and then Peter, his sister Jackie, his brother Kevin, cousin Ian and I went out to explore Budapest.  We ended up riding a giant ferris wheel which is very similar to the London eye, just smaller. 

Then on Sunday we all slept in and then met up at the Hard Rock where I had my first Bloody Mary ever.  Something about tomato juice just always turned me off, but it was so so tasty.  I had a normal one and a spicy one and ooooooo boy I will be having more of those in the future!!

Then we went and ate lunch and walked down this long street with people selling old things and things that they have made.  I am trying to be fiscally conservative on this trip so I didn't buy nything but a few things caught my eye, like this one Soviet Union-era hat and a flask and some "energy crystals", but let's be honest I do not need an energy crystal.  We also found this random old car show with a bunch of cars and motorcycles.  Peter was super excited about it. 

1998 Lotus (I have no idea the significance of this)
Then Peter and I walked along the water, where I was STUNG BY A BEE.  It hurt so terribly.  This was only the second time that I was stung by a bee and I'm not going to lie, I cried.  THEN Peter and I stumbled upon a beer festival, where we killed about two hours waiting for dinner.  It's crazy being in a city where there are so many things to do!
Then we met up with everyone for dinner in a boat/restaurant on the water.  Peter and I communally ate a Greek salad, stuffed shells, gnocchi in a parmesan cream sauce with porcini mushrooms and spinach and this thing that was basically lasagna but instead of noodles, there were potatoes.  The view was so beautiful and by the end of dinner I was no longer terrified by all of Peter's relatives. 
Then we went back to the hotel for sleeeeeps.  This morning we slept in again.  Peter and I ate at Thai Wok and then met up with everyone.  It's his brother's birthday, so we went and did this cool Trap thing where they basically lock you in a room for an hour and you have to solve a series of riddles and use random props in the room to get out.  The guide (for us it was Robert) can see you and hear you to help you if you need a hint or an idea.  We definitely utilized Robert but I think we did a pretty good job getting out of it.  We finished right before our hour was up.  We were in the medieval room.  There was also an Egyptian room that looked preeeetty cool.  You can learn more about the Trap thing HERE.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Budapest.  It's only an hour and it's really fun!

So far I am LOVING Budapest.  If I was here by myself I would probably try harder to find vegan options, but it's not my priority.  But I'm having the time of my life right now.  I've been keeping up with the World Cup religiously and I am super duper excited to watch Team USA play tomorrow night!! Italy is out but it's whatever.  I think this is the year for a non-European team to win but it will probably end up being Germany or The Netherlands. 

I'll post more as the trip goes on!!

ciao ciao! - Katelyn

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My past two weeks

Wow! So I haven't blogged in a while! I've thought about it nearly every day, but I haven't had time to just sit down and write without being rude to other people.  I haven't been up to much, just doing a lot of dog sitting and house sitting, working and babysitting.  Sometimes I'm like, "Why am I so tired? I don't do anything!" and then I think about how I actually do have a lot of stuff going on.

This last week, I house/dog sat for my friend Tasha and her husband Jason while they did a whirlwind tour of Italy.  I got the pleasure of taking care of their two dogs, Amy and Penny.  It was nice because she lives close to where I work and I had a house and a kitchen all to myself! I made a bunch of stuff! I did stuffed peppers, mac and cheese with eggplant and caramelized onions, pasta with vegan sausage, seitan and my favorite/easiest recipe that I've changed so much that I don't even remember the original recipe.

Amy and Penny

Roasted Balsamic Green Beans and Mushrooms
1 lb of green beans
8 oz of mushrooms
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Wash the green beans and trim the ends and place in a gallon Zip-lock bag.  Make sure the mushrooms are clean and free of dirt and then slice those and put in the same bag.

Place all of the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together,  and then pour into the Zip-lock bag.  Shake it up and let it marinate for a bit, at least 30 mins.  Then dump it on a baking sheet and let it roast for about 30 minutes!

 So easy and so good.  The mushrooms are my favorite part. 

I served that as a side with The Minimalist Baker's Caramelized Onion Mac and Cheese (recipe here) which was phenomenal.  I never realized how much I liked caramelized onions and that you could make a cheese sauce out of eggplants! Like whaaaaaaat? Who came up with that? I added a little white wine when I was caramelizing the onions but other than that I followed the recipe exactly.  I was going to post a picture of it but I didn't get any good ones.  There's one on my Instagram. 

Next, I made a far more photogenic food... quinoa stuffed peppers.  I used THIS recipe.  I seasoned the the vegetables like nobody's business and I added baby spinach to the mix.  I steamed the peppers a little bit too long so they were kind of floppy but it was overall a success.

I accidentally deleted like all of the pictures of them on my phone, so I had to copy this one from my instagram.

One day I'm going to get a nice camera so that my food actually looks appetizing.  The peppers were so good and they didn't take a very long time and they're so darn cute!

In other news, it is my favorite time... World Cup time.  I am not even a huge sports fan, but you know what I am a fan of? Winning.  You know what else I'm a fan of? America.  I'm also an Italy fan because duh I live here and you can't live here and not cheer for Italy, that is just dangerous and irresponsible.  Someone will hit you with their car.

For the Italy vs. England game, Peter, my sister and I and a few other friends went down to the port in Pozzuoli and watched the game in an Irish pub.  There were some Englishmen there too, it was pretty fun.  After every shot on the goal and basically just consistently throughout the game there were horns honking and people yelling.  Thank gawd Italy won or who knows what the atmosphere would have been like.  I was in Rome when Italy lost to Spain for the Confederations Cup and it was just a bad time.

Pozzuoli after the game, I tried to get the fireworks but I just missed them
 However, I am first and foremost a fan of Team USA and I watched them win last night against Ghana!  Tim Howard is a god.  I feel like they kind of played like crap but we got it done when we needed to.  Also I feel terrible for Jozy Altidore but it is what it is. 

Also... I am expecting like eight packages in the mail!  I still haven't gotten my dress for Peter's sister's wedding and I'm kind of freaking out.  I tracked it and it's been in New Jersey for like three weeks.  Get it together New Jersey.  I don't want to get another one because I am already emotionally attached to this one and I know it will look so good on me. 

Woo hooooo mail!
 I did get one package yesterday though and it's from probably my favorite online retailer-- Sephora.  I got the new contour kit form Make Up For Ever and I like it so far, but the highlighting powder isn't light enough for me so that's laaaaaame.  I have another highlighter in my room somewhere but I have no clue where.  I got my favorite mascara ever, Benefit's They're Real.  I get the small tube because I don't use it that often.  And then I got a bunch of samples which is my favorite.  I like the Glamglow eye treatment, this is like the third time I chose it as my sample haha. 

I'm taking two college classes now trying to get my GPA up to make up for the years that I blew off so I'm about to go do a bunch of homework.  Kill me.

Ciao ciao - Katelyn

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