Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Back on the bus

So, last week Seyfi was out of town, and I had the car all to myself. I didn't have to share it, I could use it whenever I wanted, most importantly, I drove it to work and was able to leave early or go to Starbucks on my way to work and not have to worry about sharing the car.

But this week, this has not been the case. Seyfi is very busy with the last minute aspects of leaving the country, so he needs the car to get to all of the different places. Guess where this leaves me...

On the bus. Now, I am no longer going to the garage and getting into my car and off to work I go, nooooo, I'm leaving early racing to the highway to flag down the bus as it goes buzzing past me to get onto a hot bus to get to work. It is not fun.

(I will add at this point something that I love about Turkey is that most business offer a free service bus to their employees, my workplace included.)

The problem really is that tomorrow, being the last day of work, I need to clear out all of my things. Guess how I am bringing them home... the bus.

Well, that's not true, my great friend Alice has told me that I can put all my things in her car, and she will make sure they get to me.

I really can't wait until we get to Belgium and Seyfi gets his own car and I can have this car all to myself again.

How did I ever survive before I got my license?

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Village- Kayakent

When you are leaving somewhere, there are many things that need to be done, but I think that the worse thing is saying goodbye to people. This past weekend we said a lot of goodbyes to Seyfi's family.

We decided to drive to Seyfi's parent's village to say goodbye to Seyfi's aunts, uncles and cousins.

Seyfi's village, is a wonderful example of a traditional Anatolian village. There are covered women in their gardens looking after the gardens, men tending to their sheep as they lead them to and from the fields and children running around playing with each other regardless of their ages.

I love going to the village, it is so quiet there, you can hear the birds chirping, and the sheep bahhing. It never feels too hot there, and the food is always very delicious. I saw the biggest snail just crawling along.

This was the first time that Alara has been there, and she loved it, She could run around and play with the other children, and made friends, she picked cherries right off the tree and ate them, she ate watermelon and got all dirty. What more could a kid want?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Featured Blog!

I'm so excited to say that this week I will be a featured blog on Picket Fence Blogs.

This is a great site to find other 'mom' and 'lifestyle' blogs on. It works on a vote system, so, if you would like to vote for me, there is this button here:

or you can vote with the button at the bottom of the page.

Thank you for your support!!

Friday Favourites- Julie and Julia

Now, I have read, My Life in France by Julia Child, and Julie/Julia by Julie Powell, and I thought that the way that these two books were combined into the film was really well done. I loved the way that the plot followed these years in these two women's lives.

I really enjoyed reading My Life in France. As a women who has moved to another country, and lived and accepted the new place as home, I really respected the way that Childs loved and embraced France. It is not easy to come to a new country, learn the language and live there without being negative or constantly comparing it to home, but I felt that she never did this, she seemed very positive of her years in France.

I must confess, the reason I loved this movie, has more to do with the Julia Childs scenes, rather than the Julie Powell. I love cooking, I love Paris (at least I think I'll love Paris) and I love watching people learn to speak French!!

I know I could comment on what a great actress Meryl Streep was in this role, and she was, but the truth is, it was the food and the settings that really drew me to this movie. I loved all of the cooking scenes, basically any of the scenes that had food in it made me happy.

I'm sure that most people of seen this movie, but I would also recommend reading Julia Childs' My Life in France. Bon appetit!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

20 days....

The house looks like something is going on, there are boxes and everything is off the walls, and a lot of things have been given away, or sold. It is coming up very quickly.

Seyfi will get home tomorrow night, and thank goodness, he will not be leaving again! The only thing is that I think I may have to pretend to want to watch the World Cup again...

I have only four more days of work, before my new role as 'housewife' begins. I think I prefer the title 'domestic engineer', but we can argue over these nuiances at a later date.

Now, I do have a confession to make, I have not been putting that much effort into the whole 'learn French before you get there' goal of mine. I can honestly say that I study for maybe two hours a week. Let me be honest here, I'm a language teacher, and I know that is not even close to being enough...

Anyway, I came to Turkey without knowing even one word of Turkish, and I am now fluent, I can learn so much better when I am actually in the Belgium, using the language naturally... right? are we buying this???

I know I promised earlier that I would work on my French everyday, I'm a promise breaker, there I said it! Sorry!

*By the way a big Happy Birthday to my Dad! He is celebrating his birthday in the mountains, and I can't call him.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Alara and Leyla

*warning* This post in no way suggests that we are even thinking about having a second baby at this time.

I have this fabulous friend, Andrea. She's British, and uses some of the cutest words- she calls knee highs, 'pop socks'- when she is feeling fat she calls herself a 'lardy bloater'- and when something is expensive, she says it is 'dear'.

Besides the adorable vocabulary, Andrea is a great mom. She has got a son who is a bit older than Alara, and a daughter who is 4 months. We have been a great support to each other through out the 'rough' times of being a mother.

Alara, and Andrea's son Kadir have been friends for as long as Andrea and I. The two of them get along very well together. However, it is Andrea's little girl Leyla who Alara is completely in love with these days.

In the beginning, Alara really wanted nothing to do with her, and I was not allowed to hold her, she would look, but that was it. Now, Alara wants to play with her, hold her, and today she has started tickling her. When we were watching Leyla at the park and she started fussing, Alara told me to 'hold baby'. I think we've made a big break through.

Now, this in no way means that any of us here are ready for a second child. It just means that now when we see another baby, I can hold it too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alara- our Singing and Dancing Queen

Alara has always loved to dance. She's been dancing since before she was properly standing and walking. She has some very interesting moves, there is the ballerina turn (hands over head and turning), there is the sway and clap (AKA the Jim), she dances the Turkish Halley (while holding a napkin) and many more.

However, this week, after watching the Lady Gaga episode of Glee (if is an old episode), she has learned a new dance move, and has developed a love of Lady Gaga and music sung by the Glee kids.

What is this dance move you ask? She does a downward dog (hands and feet on ground) and starts kicking up one of her feet, and then switches to the other. I think she is getting ready to be a break dancer, or a b-girl.

As for the singing, she picks up anything that could be a microphone and starts singing into it. Today, we were at my friend Andrea's house, and she picked up a flashlight, and used that as her microphone (picture above). She also picked up a children's bowling pin, gave it to Andrea's son, and then told him that he was holding it wrong, and showed him what to do.

I feel that this singing and dancing is a definite sign of a happy girl. I hope that she maintains this theatricality, and doesn't get the stage fright that I have!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gluten Free Pie Crust

On Saturday night I went to our first 'Going Away' party. It was a pot luck affair, and even though I was not expected to bring anything, I thought that I would make something gluten free for Seyfi, just in case there was nothing there that Seyfi could eat.

I decided that I would do two different 'rustic' tarts, one savory and one sweet. The savory was a carmalized onion and cheese tart, and the sweet was an apple and hazelnut tart. The both turned out quite good, but it was the pastry that was very good.

I decided to be brave and attempt my first every pie crust. I'm going to be completely honest, I make a great, flaky pie crust. So, using that recipe, and what I know about gluten free baking, I was able to make a very good pie crust. My friend Julie said it tasted good and was like a shortbread crust. I was surprised by how many people didn't notice that it was gluten free.

Here is the recipe:

Gluten Free Pie Crust

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (with xanthum gum)
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
7 TBsp butter

Mix these all together in your food processor until it looks like crumbs.

1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice
2 TBsp very cold water

Add to the flour/butter mixture and pulse until it becomes a ball.

Wrap in plastic and leave in the fridge for at least one hour.

Roll out and use as you'd like.

I love making pies and tarts, and am really happy with how this recipe turned out. It is best if everything you use is very cold, and you roll it out between two parchment papers. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

I remember thinking, how will I ever find a man as great as my dad? My dad is a wonderful father, he is good man, and one of the best listeners I know. I can talk to him for hours and never get bored. We share a love of toasted tomato sandwiches, Blue Rodeo and Law and Order, and for most of my life I thought there was no one who could replace him.

Then I moved to Turkey, and met Seyfi. The man who has supported and encouraged me to do so many things that I never would have done, the father of our amazing daughter.

Seyfi is a great dad (baba). He does everything he can for Alara, and me. Since Alara was born, Seyfi has been a fabulous role model, friend, supporter, and encourager. I know that every time he gets sent away from us (like today again) he misses Alara so much, and it is harder on him then it is on us.

I see the blossoming of an amazing relationship between the two of them. I know that one day, Alara will feel the way that I did, that there is no man in the world as good as her dad.

So, to my husband, Happy Father's Day- I thought I would never find you, but I have, and I'll love you forever.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Favourites- Joni Mitchell's Blue Album

I'm not really 'cool' when it comes to music. I don't really follow what's new, and if I happen to know about 'cool' music it is to make my students think that I am cool. However, I do know what I like, and I love Joni Mitchell, especially the album Blue.

Blue is Joni Mitchell's forth album, released in 1971, and said to be a "turning points and pinnacles in 20th-century popular music", by the New York Times. It is also the highest ranking album of a female artist on Rolling Stone Magazines 500 greatest albums of all time.

It is a beautiful group of songs, beautifully written, beautifully sung and artfully simple. I love how open and raw Joni Mitchell sings and writes about what has happened in her life.

These songs are about the daughter she gave up, some of her loves (including another favourite, Leonard Cohen), her travels in Europe, her homes, Canada and California, the fates of loves and the losses in ones life.

Blue is my chill out music, it's my I miss Canada music, it's my I just want to listen to something beautiful music.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Something I love about Turkey- Turkish Coffee

Hot, frothy and bitter, there is nothing like a Turkish coffee. Served in a little cup, with its grounds at the bottom, Turkish coffee is an after lunch tradition found all over this country.

Turkish coffee is not the easiest thing to make, there is a skill required to making it, because it needs to have the froth on the top. It can be very tedious, and often boils over and makes a big mess all over your stove top.

In our house, Turkish coffee had been something that we rarely drank, none of us could make it that well. However, this week we bought this wonderful (but expensive) machine that you put all the ingredients into (water, super finely ground coffee and sugar) into and it does the rest. No boiling over, perfect froth every time.

Today, when I got home from work, Seyfi's dad had already made himself two cups of coffee, and then he made me a cup (this is a very special occasion considering that he is a fairly traditional Turkish man). I think he loves the machine...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Four Weeks- a round up!

Less than a month to go...

The good news is that everything seems to be falling into place. We've started packing, the house is a wreck! How did we accumulate so much stuff? We are just in desperate need of more boxes.

The ferry tickets have been booked. We have our route all planned out, and have bought a GPS machine for if we happen to get off route. I am now able to properly drive and park the new car, so I will be able to share in the driving.

Seyfi is just finishing up his last paper to finish off his masters. He handed in his thesis on Monday and defended it today. Graduation is coming up! So exciting! He leaves on Sunday for another week in Izmir.

Alara is running all over the place, the only time she stops running is when she hears Lady Gaga, then she is dancing. She seems to have gotten over her fear of clowns, and says that she wants to go and see some more.

My little niece Riley is up and walking!! I'm so excited for her!

Only two more weeks of work left!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cooking when I was Young

One of my favourite blogs, gluten free girl, suggested that we all write about the first thing that we cooked when we were younger. Here is my story...

I am actually going to start my story from the time that I was in high school, I know that I tried to make somethings when I was really young, their were the hockey pucks (tea biscuts), the square cookies (I made them too big and too close to each other) and off course, the rice that burned the floor (we put the hot pot on the floor and it melted it). I don't think we need to rehash these 'disasters'.

I also remember doing a lot of grating... It seemed that if there was ever any help needed in the kitchen, it was in the grating department, cheese, carrots, more cheese... To this day I always try to pass the grating jobs off on my husband, and if I remember correctly, my sister does too.

I think that it was after I got back from Uruguay, that my love of cooking really started. I had decided to become a vegetarian, and that required a whole new repitore of recipes. I started reading recipe books and loving new taste and flavours. I would make curries and stir fries, introducing myself and my family to new tastes.

My parents and family were always more than supportive about the new food I was cooking. They love cooking aswell and I think they were happy to see some new variety and a meal cooked for them when they got home from work. The one thing I do remember though is my dad always saying, 'this vegetarian food is good, but it would be bette with some sausage!'

The vegetarianism only lasted a year, but the love of learning about food, cooking and baking started a new life for me. I even thought about dropping out of university and heading off to culinary school. I am glad that I didn't, it wouldn't have taken me to where I am today, but the love of cooking and exploring is still alive, and I am grateful for that.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm Shocked!

Let me tell you a little something about my husband... he is football CRAZY! (That's soccer to my north American friends). If there is a match on he finds it and watches it, no matter what the league, date or reason for the game. I've even seen him watch games that he has already seen before!

He watches football, he plays football, he makes friends according to their football teams, He knows teams, players, dates, goals and statistics. All these things are in his head, ready to be discussed at the drop of a hat with any other football crazy person he meets (which is a lot here in Turkey!)

The World Cup is on now, there are two or three matches on a day, lots of football for the football crazy. So you are asking why am I shocked?

Because he isn't really watching it! He's only been watching a few minutes of some of the matches. Why? Could it be because he is finishing up his last semester of his masters? Will it all change when his work is done? I would really love to know.

I was planning on getting really into this World Cup. I drew teams from the office pool for both of us to cheer for. This is important because both Canada and Turkey are not in the tournament. I'll be cheering for Brazil, while Seyfi has got Serbia.

Please don't miss understand me, I'm not complaining, if he doesn't want to watch a lot of the World Cup, that's fine, but I'm still shocked.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Busy Weekend

Yesterday morning we got our new car! We absolutely love it! It is a lot bigger than our old car, but it really is the easiest thing to drive.

I have just gotten my liscense, so I am not the most comfortable driver, yet. So, I spent the whole weekend driving around getting use to it.

The point when I knew that I would be okay with the car, was when I was able to get out of, and back into the packed, underground parking at our apartment building without any problems!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Favourites- Philippa Gregory

I have always had a fasination with the British history, specifically the reigns of certain kings and queens. I love reading books about this period, and there is an author, Philippa Gregory, who writes historical fiction set in my favourite period- during the reign of the Tudors.

Gregory wrote six books set during the Tudor Period (The Other Boleyn Girl, The Other Queen, The Virgin's Lover, The Constant Princess, The Boleyn Inheritance and The Other Queen). Each of these books looks at the women in this time period, and shows what happened historically, but through the eyes of these women.

I love reading these books. Gregory gives glimpses into the period without boring the story with too many details. However, there is such a richness to her descriptions that when I am reading the books, I feel like I am being transported back in time, I even have dreams about the characters and the settings.

According to her website, she has started writing a new series, of which I have read the first book. The series, The Cousins' War is about the Plantagenet reign, before the Tudors.

The first book of the series, The White Queen, was very good, and I am lookind forward to her next book in the series.

Have you ever read any of her books?

Henna night

I try very hard to keep the routine of writing a post everyday, and I usually write every night once Alara is asleep, but this didn't happen last night. Last night I went out.

One of the girls I work with is getting married, and last night was her henna night.

A henna night is when the bride and groom come together with all the women in their lives and celebrate the bride, she says good bye to her family, a to her single life.

Usually, all the single girls line up with candles and the bride and groom pass under, and then the henna is brought in on a tray with candles. They put henna on the bride and grooms hands and tie them in beautiful bags. There us lots of singing and dancing.

The bride wears a beautifully embroidered dress and covers her face with a red shawl. The ladies come up and check if she is crying or not.

It really was a nice evening, sorry that the picture isn't the best, but it's the only one I've got.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gluten free Waffles

'Breakfast is the most important meal of the day...'

So they say, and my husband truly believes it. When he was first told he had celiac disease the part that upset him the most was that he didn't know what he was going to do about breakfast.

I started with pancakes, but that was easy, and really who can eat pancakes everyday? Seyfi also missed the crunch that the crust of a bread has, and pancakes do not have a crunch.

To break up the pancake monotony, I thought waffles and found and adjusted a recipe that makes that best, crunchiest waffles ever. You don't even realize that they are gluten free, they are so yummy.

Also, they are not sweet, so they can be used with both sweet and savoury breakfast dishes.

The trick, to making great waffles is to let them cook on both sides. To do this you need to flip over your waffle maker half way through the cooking. It makes all the difference!

Gluten Free Waffles
adapted from glutenfreecookingschool.com

1 3/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour mix with xanthum gum
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
8 tbsp melted butter

Mix all of the ingredients together and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Pour into hot waffle maker and flip over half way to done (about five minutes per side)


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the Sporkful

I have a favourite podcast that I listen to every week and follow on facebook. It is called, the sporkful.

It is a podcast all about food, but food approached in a different way. It's food lovers talking about food in a way that is both interesting and informative. It is also very funny.

Some of the best podcast have been- sandwich science (the science of how to put a sandwich together), coffee, french fry dips and grilled cheese sandwiches. I've listened to them all and learned and laughed through all of them.

This weeks episode was about baked potatoes- and if you've read my previous post, you know how much I love a Turkish style baked potato. So, when the sporkful asked a question about baked potato toppings on facebook, I felt the need to explain a Turkish kumpir.

Well, they listened, and they mentioned me on the podcast this week! ME! Lori in Turkey! I'm pretty sure I'm the only Lori in Turkey writing about baked potatoes in blogs or on facebook. (If you know of another one, let me know! I'd love to meet her!)

So if you'd like to listen to the baked potato podcast (they mention me near the end), or any of the other Sporkful podcast- here is the link!

I hope that all of you listen to this podcast!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Something I love about Turkey- Kumpir

There is nothing better than a baked potato with the works! and in Turkey, when you ask for the works, you get the WORKS!

A kumpir is a big baked potato that has been mixed with cheese and butter and then topped with a variety of different things. The standard kumpir has got corn, olives, pickles, potato salad ketchup and mayonaise on it.

But who wants the standard? You can do mexican kumpir (with kidney beans, jalopeno peppers, corn, salsa), vegetarian (with assorted veggies), meat (with different salamis and meats) or any combination that you can think up.

I love kumpirs. They are cheap and so yummy. You can get them everywhere in Ankara, they are one kind of Turkish 'fast food.'

When my mom comes to Turkey, she always wants to go and have a kumpir at least once during her visit, she thinks that they are different then a normal baked potato. A kumpir is a meal, and baked potato is a side.

By they way, this isn't my picture, I got it here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Seven Weeks

Just under seven weeks to go, and with everything that has happened over the last week, I am really just so excited!

French studying is still going, not as quickly as I had originally planned, but I am still learning everyday.

Packing, not so much, but I have started organizing things in my head as to what is staying and what will be coming with us.

House hunting, we have been looking, and we have found a few in the area that we are looking for.

Our plans as to how to get there are going well, we seem to have found some ferries that go the same way as us, when we are going. The new car will be ours in a few days! So we can get use to it before we drive it all over Europe.

Finally, work will be finishing up soon, there are three and half weeks until I am done there. Once work is done, I will officially be a housewife, a badge I will proudly bare!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Alara and Clowns

We learned something new today about Alara, she is very afraid of clowns. The girl who wanted to go bungee jumping with her father is scared of a girl with some paint of her face, and even more so of a boy standing on stilts.

Our local supermarket has just re-opened (thank goodness!), and so to celebrate, outside of the store were clowns, stilt walkers and very loud music, all of which Alara does not like very much.

As we walked into the store, she started crying, and then again as we walked out she was crying. I had to buy her an ice cream scoop to calm her down (don't ask, she wanted a spoon).

Apparently, she was so traumatized by these clowns that when she talked to my dad on the phone all she said was 'clown' (well palyaco because she knows the Turkish word) and then gave the phone back to me. It was his idea for me to write a post about this.

Are any of you or your children scared of clowns?

There was no picture of my scared Alara, or the clowns so I am just posting this pretty picture of her from the other day, under a plum tree, in the park.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Our big news!

Last night, I wrote that I had big news that I was not able to tell, but today, permission has been granted, so here it is...

Yesterday we were looking for a car. Seyfi, Alara (with her friends Tigger and Bear)and I went car shopping, original the plan was just to look, then we found that the Turkish government was offering some sort of tax break (to help generate the economy (I guess). So, we bought a car, it will be ready next week. It's a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso. We've been looking at it for over a year.

You may be thinking, but aren't you moving to Belgium in six weeks? and the answer is yes, and we are going to drive there!

This is going to be great for more reasons than you could know. First, we don't have to worry about the weight of the things we are bringing, so I can bring all my heavy things!!

Second, It is an automatic! Which means I can easily drive it. I originally learned how to drive a standard car, but here in Ankara it is way to difficult for me to use a manual, so this will be a welcome change.

Third, we are DRIVING across EUROPE!!! I2m just to excited about that- It looks like we will drive from Turkey to Greece, get on a ferry to Italy, drive from Italy to Switzerland to Austria to France to Luxembourg and then Belgium (this is what the GPS on my phone is showing me!!)

I'm so excited about this trip! I realize that we are not going to have time to really 'tour' around, but it will still be nice to drive across Europe. Now, I really don't know how I am going to be able to last through these last six weeks!

I realize that it is time for Friday Favourites, but I was so excited about this news that I have decided to postpone FF for one week.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Alara- My little helper

There is so much going on here for our move, stuff that I'm not allowed to disclose at this point in time... (Don't worry, as soon as everything is 100%, I'll feel everyone in!)

So, today I'm just going to write about my little helper Alara. She is the apple of my eye, She loves cooking, baking, dusting and doing laundry. She likes washing vegetables, stirring batters, wiping down surfaces and hanging up clothes. If you ask her to help clean off the balcony, she runs, puts on her rubber boats and grabs a bucket. She just loves to help all of us out with our household chores.

The only thing she isn't into is vaccuuming, if we turn on the vaccuum cleaner, she runs away. Who likes vaccuuming anyway?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Alara and her flowers

Who said that you should 'take time to stop and smell the roses?'

Well, Alara always does this, maybe that is why she is so relaxed and happy. My little girl loves flowers. She especially loves smelling them. Sometimes a walk to the park can take a very long time because we have to stop and smell every flower that we pass, and there are a lot of roses on our way to the park.

Sometimes I get flowers from my work, when I first bring them in the door, Alara says, 'Ah! Mommy flowers!' Just moments later, it's 'Look! Alara flowers!' And she is off running around with a bouquet of flowers.

I love that she likes smelling flowers. She puts her nose right in to the flower, and takes a deep breath in to smell them, and she wants everyone to smell them too, thank goodness she hasn't started picking them yet, or I'm sure we'd be in trouble.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Something I love about Turkey- Cherries

I've written about the pazar in Turkey, and how I love the fresh, seasonal produce that is available here, but cherries need to have their own post. They are a very special part of living here, and there are a couple of reasons for that.

Firstly, you can definitely only get them in season, and that season is now. Cherries are not like strawberries here, in the winter you can get some big, bright red tasteless strawberries for about a month. Cherries on the other hand only come at the end of May and last for about a month.

There is a variety of cherries to pic from, big, dark cherries, bright red sour cherries, middle sized inexpensive cherries, yellow cherries, the list continues. They'll be sure to meet whatever your cherry need may be.

I had never seen a cherry tree before in my life (I'm from northern Ontario), but here, you can find cherry trees every where. The other day, we were walking home from the market, stopped to adjust our bags and looked up to a tree full of cherries. Have you ever eaten a cherry fresh of the tree, so juicy and warm? It is a wonderful experience.

My father in law has a few cherry trees up at his garden. The cherries in the picture are from his trees. I'll miss that tree, and its free cherries.