Happy Thanksgiving!

This year has absolutely flown by! Today is Thanksgiving and I have so many things to be thankful for this year.

Firstly, I’m thankful for all the people in my life who helped lift me up, believed in me and in turned helped me believe in myself, and pushed me to be the best version of myself.

I’m especially thankful for all the new people who’ve entered my life and shaped it in ways I didn’t know were possible. I’ve had incredible experiences with and because of you all and I am truly blessed to have the privilege of having you in my life.

I’m particularly thankful for my new work position. The sheer love, support, fun, and creativity I’ve been allowed to experience here is more than I could’ve hoped for. Knock on wood, but I’m happy to get up for work every morning and happy to bring my cheery ass in and spread positivity. It’s amazing what a supportive environment can do for your mental health.

That said, myself and Bullseye are wishing each and every one of you a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

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Chrysanthemums ’17

It’s officially a month since my last update and shamefully, I did not deliver on my promises of having queued up posts. Truthfully, I was so busy and mentally occupied in the time leading up to the cruise, I just didn’t get around to it. But excuses, excuses, we’re not here to talk about that, so let’s cut to it.

I have a few chrysanthemum photos I want to share from late spring this year.

I tried some different editing styles in Photoshop with these to bring out a more vintage, cooler toned look. I need to mess around with this style, cause I definitely feel like I can enhance them even more, it’s just about finding that balance.

Hope you guys enjoy.

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Romanian Style Crepes

I am so excited to share this recipe with you all.

I was visiting my aunt a couple weeks ago and happened to stop by while she was preparing to make Romanian crepes – or as we call them, Clatite. So I asked her to explain her process as to how she makes them, and surprisingly, it’s pretty easy. The thing is, it’s not a set recipe, so I’m going to try to translate it into one as best as I can.

Her style of making crepes is delicious and I personally view it as one of her specialties, so I was geeked to try it out on my own. Below, I have a recipe that should yield roughly 16 crepes. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 cups flour
2-3 eggs
a good pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
milk
mineral water
rum extract/essence of rum
a small bowl with oil and a silicon brush
filling of choice (we like prune or rosehip jam)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine flour, eggs, salt, sugar, rum extract, and milk until blended together well. Add the milk slowly so you can build a batter.
  2. Once you’ve got a mixture that’s a little on the thicker side, slowly add mineral water to the mixture until the consistency becomes almost soupy. You don’t want it too thin, but you don’t want it so thick that you can’t swivel the mixture around in the pan to coat it.
  3. Add rum extract to taste. My aunt dumped like a good 2 or 3 TABLESPOONS in there, but probably a solid 1 to 1.5 teaspoons should be good.
  4. Heat up a large skillet on high heat. Before putting in your batter, brush the skillet using a silicon brush with some oil to ensure your crepe doesn’t stick.
  5. Pour a large ladle-full of batter in the center of your skillet and take the skillet off the stove while you swivel it to ensure the batter coats the whole bottom of the skillet.
  6. Using a long knife, (you can use a spatula, but a knife works better – and if you have a particularly flexible knife, use that) flip your crepe after roughly 30 seconds or  until the batter is no longer wet and cook for another ~30 seconds or so.

Tips:

  • If you’re having trouble swiveling the batter, your batter may be too thick. Add more mineral water or milk.
  • If you’re having trouble with your crepes breaking after the first couple (flipping them with a knife does take some practice) your batter may be too runny and you should add a little more flour to thicken it up.
  • In our family, and even traditionally in Romania, we like to roll up our crepes with prune jam or rosehip jam, but you can eat them however you please.

Sauted Mushrooms

I was avoiding posting this for a while because I couldn’t remember what I found the recipe, but I finally recalled that I watched a video for it – so thank God for Youtube history searcher!

I used a lot of mushrooms in my dishes during lent, and I had a lot of button mushrooms the day I made this side dish. It’s a relatively simple recipe and, even better, is you can visually follow along with the video. Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram for more photography! @vivianapodinaphotography

Buddha Bowls: The Easiest Meal Ever

I don’t recall how I came across Buddha Bowls in the first place, but it was probably while browsing Pinterest a few months ago. I was immediately drawn to the rich colors of all the vegetables together and, since it was Lent season, the easiness of making them.

As for why they’re called Buddha Bowls, the best thing I could find was this article, where writer Rachel Tepper Paley delves into the composition of the bowls and interviews an Instagrammer. This part stuck out to me as the most “informative”, as far as informative goes for the title of the article.

At their core, Lein said, Buddha bowls are about “balancing the different types of food that you eat,” and not eating too much of any one thing.

Essentially, Buddha Bowls consist of one type of grain (quinoa, rice, bulgar, etc), greens (kale, spinach, lettuce, arugula, etc), healthy carbs (chickpeas, beans, etc) and veggies (carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, literally whatever). As you can imagine, the possibilities are basically endless.

I made a relatively simple version using Qrunch quinoa burgers and roasting chickpeas in turmeric. I will say that in these photos, I used broccoli, but I’ve also used thinly sliced red cabbage drizzled with EVOO and vinegar and it’s soooo good. I also made tzatziki sauce from scratch Recipe below!

Ingredients

1 Qrunch quinoa burger
1 fat carrot
1 handful broccoli
1 can chickpeas
turmeric powder
spray oil
salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a pan, fry your quinoa burger until cooked through. Make sure to spray the pan beforehand to avoid sticking. Crush with a utensil once done and set in your bowl.
  2. In another pan, cook your chickpeas with turmeric powder, salt and pepper. Spray your chickpeas with spray oil so they don’t stick to your pan while they’re cooking.
  3. Steam your broccoli by boiling water in a pot, place your broccoli in a strainer, and cover with a pot lid. Let sit until your desired firmness. I like mine on the crunchier side. Plus, I like to not kill off all of the vitamins and minerals in my food.
  4. For the carrot, in the photos you can see I’ve chopped it, but grating your carrot will create a better texture contrast and be easy to eat. Grating your carrot will also allow its juice to come through and give the dish a little moisture.
  5. Assemble, eat!

Bonus: Tzatziki Recipe

4 tbsp Chobani plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely diced cucumber
handful fresh dill
juice from 1/4 of a lemon
3 cloves garlic, finely diced or grated
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients, refrigerate, serve.

P.S. Don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram for more photography! @vivianapodinaphotography

Vegetarian Tomato Mushroom Soup

During Lent season, I found a bunch of recipes on Foodgawker for a multitude of vegetarian and vegan foods that fit my family’s lifestyle. This is one that I really enjoyed making and it was also quite easy.

I think everyone should know how to make at least one soup from scratch – cause then you know how make about a thousand different soups from scratch.

This particular recipe uses tomato concentrate; I don’t want to call it advanced, but it might require you going out of your way to get an extra ingredient or two.

Here’s the link to the recipe itself, or, if you’re lazy, check out my altered recipe below.

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Ingredients

1 medium onion, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced (I always add like 2-3)
16 oz. (about 4 c.) sliced fresh mushrooms
1-2 leek stalks, chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 (14.5 oz.) can veggie broth – OR – mix 1 tbsp Vegeta seasoning with 14 oz water
1 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar ( I used apple cider vinegar)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Directions

1. Chop up your onion, leek and carrots, mince the garlic. In a 2-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.
2. Add onion, leek, carrots, and garlic; saute for about 5 minutes until tender.
3. Add mushrooms. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in veggie broth, water, tomato paste, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
6. Sprinkle each serving with parsley.