Category Archives: Family

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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Like everyone else that I know, one of Seyfi and mine`s new years resolutions is to eat more healthy.  It`s not that we have a very unhealthy diet, but we have days where we can get a bit lazy, and eat anything, not thinking about the health benefits of it.

On this same track, we have decided that we should eat more vegetables, less meat, and try out as many new recipes as we can.

So far it is going really well.  We both feel so much better, more energetic, and the girls are eating everything so far as well.

Part of the new foods we have been eating is brussels sprouts.

I have never really liked brussels sprouts, the are a bit stinky, and have an odd taste.

Growing up my brother and I used to share one, just to be able to say that we had at least tried one.

I decided to give them a try, they do seem to be very trendy right now, and we are so close to Brussels, and they are in season…

However, I decided that I would not cook them the way my mother does… she boils them, and calls them delicious…

I found this recipe for them roasted with a Honey-Dijon sauce on them, they are so delicious!  I swapped out the honey for agave syrup so that Ela could have some as well.

If you think you don`t like brussels sprouts, give this recipe a try, it just may change your mind!

Honey-Dijon Brussels Sprouts

Adapted from Parents Magazine

1/4 c. dried cranberries

1 c. boiling water

2 Tbsp. agave syrup

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 kg. trimmed and quartered Brussels sprouts

1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 C.  Soak the cranberries in the boiling water for 5 minutes and then drain the water.

In a large bowl, mix the agave syrup, oil, mustard, salt and pepper.  Add the cranberries, brussels sprouts and walnuts.  Toss well.

Spread the dressed brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet.   Roast for 30 minutes or until the brussels sprouts are tender, and the leaves are just beginning to brown.

Enjoy!

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Chickens


One of the sad things about Seyfi’s job is that people are constantly in and out of our lives, either we are moving or they are moving.

It is even sadder when people are told they have to move earlier than expected.

This is how we got chickens this weekend.

Our really great friends have been told that they have to move on to their next position, a whole year earlier than expected. We are so sad to be seeing them go. They are a wonderful family, and great people to be friends with.

After talking to them, and seeing their chickens, we had decided that we would like to raise chickens as well for our last year in Belgium. We were just about to get started on the process of getting chicks, when they offered us their chickens.

It’s like getting a dog that is already trained, these chickens are already laying eggs!

So on Saturday afternoon, they came over, we built up the chicken coop, and moved the ladies in.

We thought that the stress of moving to a new place might make the girls a bit nervous about laying eggs so we weren’t expecting anything for a few days.

But, the on Sunday morning…


Our first egg!

Our first egg, which Alara promptly, took to the kitchen,


Scrambled…


Cooked…


And ate. All by her self!

I can say that we are an egg family, and these chickens couldn’t be a better gift, it’s just too bad we gained them by losing our good friends.

Jamie’s Italian


Since Seyfi has been wanting to do more cooking, to get inspiration, he has started watching more cooking shows. One of his favourites is Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals.

So, when I suggested that we go to a Jamie Oliver restaurant while we were in the U.K. last weekend, he was totally up for it.

I’ve been a fan of Jamie Oliver’s for a super long time now, and ever since he started catering his cooking style to an accessible, easy, home cooked style, I have really gotten into it.

I also, really agree with his ideas on how we should be feeding our children, about introducing them to new tastes, and giving them healthy food. I loved his food revolution shows (both the ones in the U.K. and U.S.), and learned so much from watching them.

Anyway, onto his restaurant…

It was BRILLIANT!

Loved it! Loved the food, loved the atmosphere, loved the service! And it wasn’t too expensive either!

Firstly, let me start by saying this, they know how to take care of people with dietary challenges- and we are such a family! I’m deathly allergic to fish, Seyfi has celiac disease, so there is no gluten, and none of us eat pork! We are not easy people!

But, the server handled it all, listened to everything, helped us choose, and made appropriate substitutions where necessary. We left there feeling great!

So here is what we ate:


A shin of beef, braised over night in balsamic vinegar served over creamy polenta…

Amazing…


A whole spring chicken, split and grilled, served with artichokes…

Delicious!

This was Alara’s…


Two mini sliders, one turkey, one beef, served with polenta chips and a ‘shake it’ salad…

The polenta chips were to die for!!
(obviously Seyfi didn’t eat this one… Poor guy…)

Here is Alara enjoying hers…


I was so happy with everything about this restaurant! I can’t say enough about it! I only wish that we could have gone there for both lunch and dinner!

I hope that if you are ever in the U.K. that you will take the opportunity to try out one of Jamie’s Italians. Totally worth every pence!

London


Up until this point, I had always considered myself a Paris girl, that is until this weekend…

We’ve just returned from a long weekend in London, and had a wonderful time. We spent two days in London, and a day in Oxford and the Cotswolds.

Brilliant.

In London, we did the totally tourist way to see it. On Friday we enjoyed the Champagne Experience on the London Eye.


The London Eye was fun for all of us. Even Alara enjoyed it. She was given a bag with binoculars, a notebook, and a pencil to use while on the ferris wheel. We all enjoyed our drinks, and got to see London from a different view.

On Saturday, we took a bus tour around the city. It was an off and on tour, and it truly was the best way to see the whole city and to learn some really interesting facts, that I never would have learned on my own.


It is because of the bus tour that we were able to see everything that we wanted. It was also a great way to see lots of things with the girls. Alara loved being on the bus, looking at the sights and hearing the stories about them, and Ela either looked around, slept or fed (more on that later) while we toured about.

I absolutely loved London. It is such a relaxed place, the people are so nice and helpful, the food was great (yummy curry!!) and it was so easy to get around.

I can’t wait for our next trip there!

Expat Living- The Girls’ names


So many people ask me about the girls’ names. How did we choose them? Why those names? What do they mean? So I thought I’d shed some light on the topic.

To start with, Seyfi and I had a deal, I would choose the names, but the need to be modern Turkish names. For Seyfi, it was important that we didn’t have older names that were out of fashion, or religious names.


For me, I wanted a name that sound good in English. It could be a bit different, or spelt differently, but it had to be easy for my family to pronounce. I also didn’t want a name that had any of the funny Turkish letters in it.

Together, we both decided that we didn’t want a middle name. In Turkey, often the middle name is the name that gets used, and that is the opposite in Canada, so we figured forget it, one name is more than enough.

As a teacher of young kids, it was easy to be exposed to lots of different names, some of the names I liked, but always seemed to have a crazy kid attached to them, or some names seemed to generally have a nice kid, or an interesting kid.

Alara was easy to find. I’ve taught a number of Alaras, and they have all been lovely, good girls and the name is easy to pronounce.

As for the meaning, this is where it gets more difficult. I asked two of my students named Alara what it means, and these are the answers I was given.

1- the water that angels wash with.

2- the colour of the rising sun.

Beautiful, just like her.

Ela, it wasn’t originally my first choice for my second daughter. I has originally wanted Lila (pronounced Leela), but I felt that the pronunciation was going to be a problem, we went to Ela, which Seyfi liked more anyway.

Ela means the colour hazel, as in the eye colour. Alara’s eyes are a hazelly green colour, so we thought that maybe Ela’s eyes would be the same, but as of right now she has got the biggest blue eyes, whoops!

It’s still a beautiful name, just like her.

Since we aren’t planning on having any more children I will let you in on what our boy name would have been, Kaan.

It is a very popular boys name, and I will say that although I have taught a lot of boys with this name, they were generally very interesting boys.

It is a very Turkish sounding name, but it is really one of the only boys names that I like.

So, that’s how our two beautiful girls, got their beautiful names. I love when people ask me questions like this!

While in Istanbul- Çengelköy


Today we did my absolute favourite thing in Istanbul. We packed a breakfast, bought some pastries, and went to a tea garden in Çengelköy on the Bosphorus and enjoyed the morning.

So many people go to Istanbul and never get to the Asian side. They see all the ‘big’ sites, and head home, but there is nothing like sitting in a tea garden, eating simits and borek (pastries), drinking tea and feeling the breeze of the Bosphorus on your face, especially if there are no other tourist about to ruin by raising the prices!

Now, I am not saying, don’t go to to the big sites, they are breath taking and worth seeing. However, if you have an extra day, take a ferry over to the Asian side, especially to Çengelköy or Beylerbeyi (there is actually a beautiful palace there to see), hangout with the locals, and (in my opinion) enjoy my favorite part of Istanbul.


We had such a lovely morning here with our friends (who are two of the most interesting and kind people I have ever met), it truly is my favorite thing to do in Istanbul, I wait for it every trip we take here.

I’ve always said that I would never want to live in Istanbul, but if every day could be like today was, I might be able to change my mind…

While in Istanbul- Van Gogh Alive


I love going to art galleries, and so does Seyfi. It is something that we really want to expose the girls to.

Istanbul is a great place to see different types of Art. They get a lot of the big artists in, and to be honest, I’ve loved all the exhibitions that I’ve been to here.

Today we went to a different type of exhibit, Van Gogh Alive. They have taken varies works of Van Gogh, a the project them, animated with music in the background.


It was so cool, to see the paintings really big, walking around while they were moving kept your attention, and made the whole experience more interesting.

Did you know that Van Gogh lived very close to our house in Belgium? I could walk there. I still haven’t been there… But after today, I think I’ll take a special trip over!

**I couldn’t use the flash on my camera, so my pictures weren’t the best, these pictures come from here.****

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