cooking

How I Made My Gnocchi Healthier

Image from Pixabay

I love gnocchi! I used to order it a lot in restaurants, if they had it, before I developed a tomato allergy. 

For some reason, however, I couldn’t find the traditional potato kind at my local grocery store. So, I made it from scratch, which I have done several times before. But this one differed. 

How, you might ask? I added chopped broccoli, cauliflower, and herbs to the dough, as well as protein powder. Regardless of those ingredients, I didn’t use whole wheat flour. I stuck with all-purpose flour. To be honest, I never really liked wheat flour.

Anyway, another perk is that I know what went in the gnocchi since I prepared it from scratch. I also tried cooking it in my pepper marinara sauce (obviously without tomatoes), something I learned from my mom. But I needed to add more water since the dough wasn’t cooking right. Nevertheless, it came out delicious. 

All you need are 2 pounds of potatoes, 1 ½ cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 slightly beaten egg. I cut my potatoes and boil them. Then I puree them in a food processor. I mix the egg with that, too. In a separate bowl or Ziploc bag, I mix the flour and salt. I also added the vegetables, herbs, and protein powder to the dry ingredients. 

I blend the wet and dry stuff together before I roll out the dough, cut small pieces, and boil them. Next time, though, I will stick to the convention way by boiling them in water and letting them ascend to the top.

travel

My Most Memorable Moments on a Girl Scout Trip to London in 2008


Many years ago, when I was 14, I went on a trip with my Girl Scout troop to London for 5 days. I enjoyed it, except where we stayed. But I am not going to talk about that here.
Instead, I will focus on a few memorable moments that happened there. So, without further ado, let me get started.

1: Mature t-shirts in an outdoor flea market 

On our last day in London, we toured more sites and then shopped at a flea market. I noticed some t-shirts with naughty language, but there was one word I didn’t know the meaning of. So, I  asked my mom loudly what it was. But she whispered me the definition. I will stop there on that.

2: Low-quality fish n’ chips

I know, the UK is known for having awesome fish n’ chips. I did have good ones, too. However, the first night there, my troop ate at a restaurant where the food quality wasn’t what I expected. I even told my mom the fish tasted like a frozen kind.

3: Excitement on Legoland 

On our way back from Stonehenge, we passed a park called Legoland, and everyone got excited. But the guide said, “We’re not going to Legoland.” Not only was it not part of the itinerary, I think it was also closed.

4: Touring the London Dungeons 

Although it was memorable, it was far from my favorite. It scared me and I experienced haunting effects in my room at night. I might have had trouble falling asleep. I don’t remember. But visit that at your own risk, no matter how brave you think you are.

I don’t know when international travel will be safe and normal again. But when it resumes, be careful. Also, keep in mind that some of the places might have gone out of business either recently or a long time ago, whether related to the pandemic or not. Discovery Times Square in New York City is an example.

If you choose to go to London when it’s safe again, you can consider these places and activities I’ve listed. Just check to see if they still exist.

travel

Going to Europe? Here is What You Should Expect

Image from Pixabay

Traveling not only means going somewhere, at least, kind of far, but also expecting some differences, subtle or drastic. That includes if you’re going somewhere within your own country.

Anyway, this post is about if you’re traveling to Europe. Of course, every country there is different. But here are some common details I’ve noticed when I’ve been to Europe, regardless of where I was.

1: Stronger coffee

Europeans seem to favor dark, dark roast. Even when I was trying to drink my coffee black at home in the US (although I put cold water in it so that I didn’t have to wait as well as make it less strong), I had to put a lot of dairy and sweeteners in European coffee. So, if you already prefer stronger coffee, you might be okay. But if you like your coffee milder, than be prepared to have to use a ton of milk and sugar.

2: Higher-quality food

That includes fast-food restaurants, although my family didn’t eat in those there. But the food in Europe tastes fresher and sometimes, it’s denser. Many countries there have stricter food laws than in the US. Therefore, the food will probably taste different, but likely in a good way.

3: Smaller spaces wherever you stay

Many European locals pack light because they often have to deal with smaller spaces in most places. Of course, there are exceptions here and there. But no matter where you stay, whether it’s a luxurious hotel or a hostel, it might be best to pack less.

So, there you have it. I hope these tips are helpful.

travel

I Went the Distance to Greece in the Summer of 2015

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Image above from Pixabay

Greece is the home of the Parthenon and one of the oldest nations in the world. It also has beautiful islands, water, and architecture. When I went to Greece with my family, we went to Athens and one of the outer islands, which I can’t remember the name of.

We did sight-seeing, walked around, and went on a boat around the other island. We did a Segway tour, too. I was not the best, honestly. I stayed with the guide.

The food was very different than from in the US. The meat quality if higher and fresher. Olive oil is used on pretty much everything. In fact, it’s the dressing for traditional Greek salad. Greek salad from Greece also has no lettuce. The Greek dressing and lettuce Americans use is a tradition in the US.

Another moment that was unexpected was when a stray cat came up to our dinner table (we were seated outside) at a restaurant. My dad would chop up meat and feed it to the cat. We didn’t get caught, by the way.

One pitfall, however, was that outside of Athens, there wasn’t much variety in cuisines. At some point, I got sick of Greek food. I craved gravy, barbeque sauce (when I still could eat tomatoes), and other foods not traditional to Greece.

Nevertheless, Greece was a nice place to visit. It’s great after learning about the country in school. I had to study Ancient Greece in school. Didn’t we all?

travel

It’s Interesting in Italy

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Note: The picture above is from Pixabay. I didn’t take it.

Five years ago, in 2013, my family took a trip to Italy. We went to Venice, Florence, Amalfi, and Rome.

Venice has no vehicles, except boats or walking. We took gondola tours, ate gelato (at some point, I got sick of just seeing it since it was everywhere), and got around by boat or foot.

We toured churches everywhere. There were signs communicating what actions and attire were prohibited. A funny one showed male and female figures in shorts and tank tops. Photography was also forbidden, otherwise, I would’ve loved to capture an image of that silly sign. 

After studying paintings and sculptures in art history classes in college, I appreciated the works more. I saw the huge “Last Judgment” image on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I also saw the David in Florence and you were not allowed to take pictures of it. But that guideline was no surprise.

The historical sight touring was fun. We toured the lost city of Pompeii and the Coliseum. The food also differed from in the US. Tomato sauce tasted fresher. I used to be able to eat it. Gnocchi was everywhere. I love gnocchi, but I kind of got tired of it there. Because of prices, my parents only let my brothers and I order pizza or pasta.

In Amalfi, we took a bus to a restaurant where we had a waiter that looked like Steve Jobs. We told him and he laughed. Not often do you see a doppelganger of someone famous on vacation.

I had a good time in Italy. I’ve been to many different states and countries. Europe is included. The other nations I’ve visited there were England and Greece.