Over the last few days, the Old Market Square in Nottingham has played host to the Nottingham Global Market, put on by Marketplace Europe. I won some vouchers to spend at the Market, so I headed out there on Saturday to check it out. I don’t particularly like driving into town and parking can get expensive, so I took the bus instead (the weather wasn’t nice enough to ride).
Taking the bus…
Got there early enough that it wasn’t crowded yet.
So many different flavors, I just went with a breakfast blend and Brazilian dark roast
Morning latte + Vouchers!
Roasted potatoes with Chicken
Anyone know what kind of plant this is?
Another beautiful day in the UK
I got £50, so I picked up some coffee, foccacia bread, cured meats, nuts, and some food for later (paella, stewed mushrooms and roasted potatoes with chicken). It was a nice market, but it wasn’t anything particularly special. I don’t know what else I was expecting.. maybe just more international food goods to take home, rather than having to eat it there. It also would have been better if Minh was there, then he could share more food with me instead of me only getting to try some things since I was by myself.
It’s that time of week again where I recap what I ate (mostly dinners) this week. I’m getting to a point now where I’m really tired of cooking for myself and can’t wait for Minh to be home. Less than a week until I see him in PUERTO RICO!!!
Sunday BRUNCH – fried eggs, toast with avocado, baby plum tomatoes
Sunday DINNER – chicken and veggies ready for the oven
Sunday DINNER – roasted chicken leg and vegetables
Monday DINNER – mixed green salad, roasted veggies and chicken
Tuesday DINNER – quinoa cake with eggs fried in red bell pepper, baby plum tomatoes, avocado
Wednesday DINNER – Stuffed (with quinoa, roasted chicken and veggies) green pepper
Wednesday DINNER – stuffed green peppers in the oven
Thurday DINNER – Thai Takeout : Shrimp Pad Thai, Appetizers
Friday BREAKFAST – homemade chia pudding, Greek yogurt, freeze dried blueberries, fresh strawberries
Friday DINNER – cauliflower, broccolo and potato cheesy bake
Nothing special about the meals, but I did want to say something about the chia pudding.I got the recipe from a new blog I’ve started following - Domesticate Me. With the only exception of cutting the recipe in half, I followed it exactly just to see how it would turn out. I used all almond milk instead of the optional Greek yogurt 50/50, and it turned out runnier than I was expecting. It was still good, but not sure if I would call it “pudding” – it could have been a drink, like a thick milkshake. So, I added the Greek yogurt when I actually ate it, which overwhelmed the flavors of the chia pudding. Next time, definitely going with 50% almond milk and 50% Greek yogurt.
Last Friday (April 4) marked the one-year mark of when Minh and I arrived in the UK. That means we are now HALF WAY through my assignment. Since Minh is still in California, I celebrated it by staying home alone and watching movies. That’s pretty much every night for me since Minh isn’t around. I had some time, so went through and picked out one picture for each month that we’ve been here for the last year… makes me realize just how much we’ve actually done this year.
JUNE 2013 – Kenilworth Castle
JULY 2013 – Creswell Crags
SEPTEMBER 2013 – Wollaton Hall / Wayne Manor
AUGUST 2013 – Stonehenge
OCTOBER 2013 – Bouldering in the Peak District
DECEMBER 2013 – Posing to Harrod’s bear at LHR
JANUARY 2014 – London
MARCH 2014 – Daffodils in bloom
APRIL 2013 – In the pit at BTCC (Donington Race Track)
MAY 2013 – Crosby Beach
OCTOBER 2013 – Hiking Kinder Scout (Peak District)
FEBRUARY 2014 – Major Oak, Sherwood Forest
As much as Minh and I lament about all the things we don’t like about living here or miss by not being home, I have to admit that we did get around quite a bit. And since we only have a year left, I’m hoping we try to make the most of it. Already between now and the end of July, we have four international trips (Puerto Rico + Carribean Cruise, Amsterdam, Paris, Venice) and five UK trips (course marshalling for Rat Race Dirty Weekend at Burghley House, Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, The Wall Run, Tour de France Le Grand Depart, Edinburgh weekend). The year should fly by, right?
Trying to cram a year’s worth of catching up and hanging out in three weeks is extremely hard. Pair that with two weddings and work makes it all that much more difficult. But I think I managed to get some really good quality time in with my friends and family while I was home. Here’s are some highlights of what I got up to while I was home…
Opened a massive amount of packages filled with NEW CLOTHES! But Minh also said that with all this new clothes that I wasn’t allowed to buy anymore clothes. So I had to start paring down my wardrobe, with a pile going to my BFF and a pile going to charity.
Packages to open – just like Christmas
a pile of new clothes
Clothes going to my BFF and to charity
Celebrated Anni-palooza: Bachelorette Weekend in Carlsbad - mani/pedi – Anni and Morgan’s Wedding – Disneyland – 33rd Birthday Dinner
Soaking up the sun..
California sunshine and blue skies
Working at a tiny table
Mr & Mrs
Artwork by John Viet-Triet Nguyen
Enjoying his wedding pho
Happy 33rd Birthday!
Hanging out with my favorite Asian (Angie): Beer Flights at the Bruery – campfire hangout at Minh’s “secret spot” – climbing at SenderOne
Finally met my new cousin, Colleen
Enjoying beer flights at The Bruery
Several visits to SenderOne Climbing – looking forward to getting memberships when we come home permanently
Angie’s new climbing shoes
Finding out that my BFF is a sharpshooter – Minh and I took her shooting for the first time at Raahauge’s
Katie and Andy’s Wedding – yea.. I only have one picture for this one…
Love this guy!
I wish I had more time at home and was very sad to leave. Was so happy to see everyone and looking forward to seeing you all again in a year!
One of the things I miss most about being away from home (after friends, family and all other familiar things) is the food. The food Minh and I have had in the UK isn’t even on the same level as the most basic of food that we can get in California. over the 3 weeks that I was home, I threw my healthy diet to the wind and ate pretty much whatever I wanted. And of course, took pictures of almost everything. Here’s a look of what Minh and I ate on my trip home… It’s not everything, but it’s most of it. There are over 100 pictures here.. so feel free to just skip over.
VA LHR Upper Class Lounge – latte, soy milk, pear
VA LHR Upper Class Lounge – bubble & squeak, duck egg, bacon
VA Upper Class Flight – crab timbale
VA Upper Class Flight – vegetarian curry
VA Upper Class Flight – chocolate hazelnut tarte
VA Upper Class Flight – afternoon tea
In-n-Out – cheeseburger and fries
Pitfire Pizza – bbq chicken, brussel sprouts & pancetta, house salad
La Costa Resort Spa – crab salad & avocado, terra blue chips, mango salad
La Costa Resort Spa – chicken lettuce wraps
Casa de Bandini – guacamole
Casa de Bandini
Casa de Bandini – margheritas
Casa de Bandini – seafood enchiladas
Casa de Bandini – carne asada
Casa de Bandini – flan
Stone Brewery World Bistro
Stone Brewery World Bistro – pretzels, brussel sprouts
Stone Brewery World Bistro – street tacos
Stone Brewery World Bistro – fish with quinoa
Flame Broiler – beef short ribs
Kelly’s Donuts & Burgers – cronut
Original Pancake House – corned beef hash, eggs, pancakes
Original Pancake House
Whole Foods – New Belgium Lips of Faith
Lemonade – various salads and chicken sandwich
Five Guys – burger and cajun fries
Tip Top Kitchen – banh mi dac biet, bi cuon, ca phe sua da
Afters Icecream – milky bun
Afters Icecream – milky bun with churro icecream and chocolate chips
Starbucks – caramel macchiato
Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop – pina-kale-ada juice
Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop – sweet potato fries
Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop – The Antioxidant Orchard salad
Mile Square Golf Course Banquet Center – Wedding Food!
The Bruery – beer flights
The Viking Truck – dragon eggs
The Viking Truck – corndogs
Pieology – PIZZA
Di Lien’s House – che thai
Di Lien’s House – bo bia
Di Lien’s House – banh xeo
Bruxie – waffle fries
Bruxie – Guiness shortribs
Bruxie – pastrami
Bruxie – fried chicken
Bruxie – Irish nachos
Mochilato – green tea, red bean, pistachio, Beard Papa
Katie & Andy’s House – corned beef and cabbage
Katie & Andy’s House – icecream pie
Sidecar Donuts – maple bacon donut, Stumptown cold brew
Istanbul Grill – gyro
Istanbul Grill – chicken kabob
Istanbul Grill – dessert
Haven Gastropub – margherita flatbread, fried pig ears, spaghetti squash
Haven Gastropub – Haven burger
Hue Oi – banh beo
Hue Oi – bun bo hue
Hue Oi – barbecue pork chop with rice
Home – banh xu xe, Calpico
Tacos Tamazula – chips & salsa, horchata
Tacos Tamazula – pork tamale, carne asada taco
New Belgium Lips of Faith Coconut Heff
Book Club (Mary’s) – cara cara orange, strawerries
Book Club (Mary’s) – roast vegetables, bacon, salad greens, edible flowers, poached egg
New Belgium Lips of Faith Pluot
Starfish – razor clams
Arc – Earl Grey Pimm’s
Arc – potato, duck
Arc – meatball
Arc – bacon
Arc – quail
Grilled Cheese Truck – roast beef and brie
Matsu – scorpion
Home – Wedding Cake!
Home – Wedding Cake
Casa Inka – empanadas
Casa Inka – mixed grill
Casa Inka – alfajorcitos
Coco Ichibanya – curry with squid
Com Tam Tran Quy Cap – bun cha ha noi, eggrolls, thai tea
Ragin’ Cajun truck – shrimp & catfish po’boy, beans and rice
Creamistry – rocky road, vanilla and strawberries
The Center Club – Katie & Andy Wedding dinner – shortribs
The Center Club – Katie & Andy Wedding dinner – fish
The Center Club – Katie & Andy Wedding dinner – cupcakes
Bread Crumb Ohana Cafe – loco moco with polish sausage
Bread Crumb Ohana Cafe – California omelet, chili
Bread Crumb Ohana Cafe – pastrami on hawaiian bread
VA Upper Class Flight – seared tuna, asparagus
VA Upper Class Flight – beef filet
VA Upper Class Flight – cheese & crackers
Here’s a list of the restaurants included in the pictures above:
VA Upper Class Lounge (LHR) – In-n-Out – Pitfire Pizza – La Costa Resort and Spa – Casa de Bandini – Stone Brewery World Bistro – Flame Broiler – Kelly’s Donuts & Burgers – Original Pancake House – Whole Foods – Lemonade – Five Guys – Tip Top Kitchen – Afters Icecream – Starbucks – Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop – Mile Square Golf Course Banquet Center – The Bruery – The Viking Truck – Pieology – Di Lien’s House – Bruxie – Sidecar Dooughnuts – Mochilato – Katie & Andy’s House – Istanbul Grill – Haven Gastropub – Hue Oi – Tacos Tamazula – Book Club at Mary’s – Starfish – Arc – Grilled Cheese Truck – Matsu – Casa Inka – Coco Ichibanya – Creamistry – Com Tam Tran Quy Cap – Ragin’ Cajun Truck – The Center Club – Bread Crumb Ohana Cafe
So I’m not about to write a review for each of these places, that would take (metaphorically) FOREVER. But I did want to say something about my wedding cake. Minh and I finally got the wedding cake out of the freezer while we were home. It’s been frozen since our wedding, which was June 2012. Usually, the tradition is to freeze the top of the wedding cake and eat it at your first anniversary, but since we were out of the country for our first anniversary, it wasn’t possible. So we defrosted it and were expecting the worst. To our surprise, it was DELICIOUS! Just as good as it was on the day of our wedding. AMAZING! Big kudos to Colette’s Catering for an awesome wedding cake.
I’ve been back in the UK now for just under a week. I had an awesome trip back to California and was very sad to be leaving my family and friends again for another year. I was also sad to be leaving Minh back there for another few weeks. But, I’ll see him soon enough, and a year will pass by just as quickly as the first. I’ll post a recap of my trip in the next few days.
Not much exciting has happened since I’ve been back in the UK. Just back to the grind of work and having to cook for myself. I did get rear-ended on my first day back, but it was super minor (like no dents or damage or injuries or anything and at a very very slow speed), so not a big deal. And I passed my UK Driving Test (“by the skin of my teeth” as the test facilitator said), which is good. Here’s a recap of what I’ve ate (for dinner mostly) this week..
mixed greens salad with fried egg
sauteed tofu with rice, green beans, carrots
sauteed tofu with rice stuffed green pepper
mixed greens salad with roasted veggies and whitefish
pasta bake with broccoli,cauliflower, tomatoes
tuna salad sandwich with avocado and cucumber, carrots and hummus with dukkah spice
oven baked shrimp (head on) with sugar snap peas, broccoli rabe, and red pepper
I’m so excited to be coming home TOMORROW!!! It’s been just under a year since Minh and I moved to the UK, and we’ve missed home everyday. Even though I’ll only be home for a few weeks, I’m really excited to see my family and friends, and eat all the glorious food we can’t get here.
Packed and ready to go!
Here’s a quick look at some of what I’ve eaten this week. Nothing special, but still keeping it healthy. This isn’t everything, but a good sampling of what I cooked for myself.
Top row: (1) quinoa cake, poached eggs, spinach, avocado. (2) broccoli and cauliflower pasta bake. (3) rice cake with peanut butter and banana.
Middle row: (1) spinach salad with roasted portobello a and boiled eggs. (2) fresh veggies and hummus with dukkah spice.
Bottom row: (1) marinated tofu, sauteed portobello and brussel sprouts, baked sweet potato fries. (2) sweet potato and green pepper hash, tofu and avocado. (3) quinoa cake and roasted portobello, brussel sprouts marinated tofu.
Ready to stuff my face starting tomorrow!
Since Minh’s been gone, I’ve been trying my best to eat really healthy. That’s not to say that we don’t eat healthy when Minh is here, but .. we don’t.. at least we don’t make any particular effort to do so. Anywho, since I’ll be stuffing my face with all sorts of yummy food when I head home on Friday, I’ve been particularly careful about not overeating in the weeks leading up to my trip home. Here’s a snapshot of nearly everything I ate this week (minus the whole fruit – apples, pears, grapes, nectarines, any duplicate meals and some snacks – seasoned popcorn, pistachios)..
Sunday Breakfast – scrambled egg with red bell pepper, mushrooms, shallots, garlic – apple
Sunday Lunch – spinach salad with mushrooms, carrots, cucumber, beets, pumpkin seeds
Raw veggies – ready for the steamer
Marinade ingredients for tofu
Sunday Dinner – pan-seared marinated tofu and steamed veggies (green beans, baby corn, carrots, sugar snap peas)
Sunday Snack – cottage cheese, nectarine, honey
Monday Breakfast – shredded wheat, banana, almond milk
Monday Snack – carrots and hummus with dukkah spice
Monday Lunch – chickpeas, avocado, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled egg – whole grain and seed toast
Monday Dinner – stir fry (tofu, broccoli, red bell pepper, cauliflower) and rice
Tue/Wed/Fri Breakfast – shredded wheat, greek yogurt, mixed fruit (blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, banana not shown)
Tuesday Lunch – mixed green salad, hard boiled egg, beets, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, avocado – apple
Tuesday Snack – celery and crunchy peanut butter
Tuesday Diner – friend rice (rice, chickpeas, green bell pepper, shallot, garlic, chili oil) and hard boiled egg
Wednesday Lunch – tuna sandwich (I added spinach)
Wednesday Dinner – cauliflower and mushroom bake
Thursday Breakfast – whole grain and seed toast, crunchy peanut butter and banana
Thursday Lunch – mixed green salad with beets, feta, yellow bell pepper, avocado, chery tomatoes
Thursday Dinner – Bird’s Eye Simply Breaded Cod and asparagus
Friday snack – yellow bell pepper and hummus
Friday Dinner – fried egg with green bell pepper, mushroms, shallot and garlic – whole grain and seed toast with avocado
Saturday Lunch – grilled cheese sandwich (mozzarella, parmesan, spinach, avocado, whole grain and seed toast) – grapes
Saturday Dinner – baked sweet potato with quinoa, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, parmesan
So mostly ovo-lacto-vegetarian (that means with eggs and dairy) for my meals… except for two. The tuna sandwich I had to buy at work because I forgot to bring salad dressing for my packed lunch. It’s the first time I’ve had to buy lunch at work this year. I was pretty disappointed since I’ve been really good about making sure my lunches were packed with either leftovers or simple sandwiches or salads. The other non-vegetarian meal was for convenience. I had a late(r) night (than usual) at work on Thursday and was also stuck in ridiculously non-moving traffic on the way home.. so it was just easier to toss the fish in the oven with some asparagus (added in for the last five minutes) than to try to “make” something.
Countdown to my trip home – less than a week! I’ve made a mental list of everything I want to eat when I get home, which consists mostly of stuff that I can’t get here, a few new places that have opened up in the last year, and anything that isn’t pub food.
Last night (Friday, Feb 28) was Light Night in Nottingham. I don’t really know what the point of Light Night is, but there were events going on around the city.. so I headed into town to check it out. Here are some pictures I took around town.. mostly at Nottingham Castle and in the City Centre.
They were projecting images onto the town hall..
Outside the castle at the Robin Hood statue, they had lined the pathways with mason jars decorated by kids around town.. I took A LOT of pictures of those
At the castle itself, they were projecting WWI images onto the castle, had WWI sing-a-longs around the grounds, and other WWI related activities.
There were also art installations around town.. some with bikes, some interactive. The businesses and buildings around town also lit up in pretty lights, but nothing really really special…
One last random picture unrelated to Light Night.. but found this random Minion balloon that got stuck in a window dome.. :-)
Minh’s gone back to California a few weeks before me, just to get some stuff done and get away from here. That means I need to take care of myself for a few weeks until I fly home. You would think being a responsible adult would mean that I could do that.. and normally you would be right.. but I was a bit at a loss on his first day gone (Tuesday). After stocking our fridge with groceries so I wouldn’t starve, things started to look up. Here’ s a look of what I ate, just to show everyone that I CAN still cook for myself…
Mixed green salad, tuna, mushrooms, celery, cucumber, avocado, red bell pepper, carrots
Veggie eggrolls spring rolls
I promise, I only had one
Sauteed lemon grass shrimp with quinoa and bok choy
Plain popcorn with smoked paprika and parmesan
Chicken SOUP, not broth
Simply breaded cod fillet (Bird’s Eye), quinoa (with mushrooms and bell peppers) and brocolli
Quinoa stuffed bell pepper and one egg
COFFEE! a morning ritual
- Wednesday/Thursday Lunch - Mixed greens salad with avocado, mushrooms, red pepper, carrots, celery, cucumber and tuna
- Wednesday Dinner - Veggie eggroll spring rolls, Cadbury Creme Egg (only one)
- Thursday Dinner – Sauteed Lemongrass Shrimp with Quinoa and Bok Choy
- Thursday Night Movie Snack – Plain popcorn with smoked paprika and parmesan
- Friday Lunch – Chicken Soup
- Friday Dinner – Bird’s Eye Simply Breaded Cod Fillet with Pepper/Mushroom Quinoa and Broccoli
- Saturday Lunch – Quinoa Stuffed Bell Pepper
Also.. since Minh was not here, I got to use his extra “closet” during the week.. the “closet” is actually the couch in our bedroom that Minh just throws his clothes on during the week. I put my clothes away Saturday morning, but here’s the pile of work clothes that I wore this week.
Less than two weeks to go and I’ll be home! So excited!