Thursday, April 28, 2011

International feast

I've been putting this post off because it's really the last one I have from The Netherlands. I've been back 3 weeks now but it feels like 2 months. So here's my last goodbye to European life, with a post about our goodbye party/international feast. 

All the interns met at Emanuele's place in Delft and we each brought something from our home country.

I ended up making 7-layer dip (with weird taco seasoning in the beans and jong kaas because I couldn't find cheddar or any Mexican cheese blend, unsurprisingly) and my addictive corn salsa. Here's Sarah and Øystein gobbling it up.

And we barely saved room for the tons of other food. Seriously, there was sooo much food.

JJ, who's from Chicago but has some Filipino blood, made Adobo chicken and eggs.

Adista made Indonesian peanut sauce that I could eat all day on top of anything. I don't know if that linked recipe will come even close, but it's worth a try for the most delicious sauce imaginable.

 Øystein said Norway has a lot of salted meats and fish, so he made us a great salad instead. I've actually made it a couple times since I've been home. It's got spinach, avocado, sunflower seeds, cherry tomatoes, roasted red bell peppers, feta cheese and olive oil/balsamic vinegar.

Emanuele made some gnocchi and Giuliana made sangria (which isn't really Italian, but she's spent some time in Spain), but I didn't get any photos of those because I was too busy eating. But here's them arguing in Italian because Emanuele let us drink the vino Giuliana was going to use for the sangria. And I understood the whole conversation. Proud?

And to top it all off, JJ and I introduced them all to S'mores! I hadn't thought about it before, but that's very American, one of those things they'd only seen in movies. This might be because they don't have Graham crackers in Europe. I had to buy them at an ex-pat shop for something like $10 a box.
 JJ was an excellent (and graceful) marshmallow roaster.

Here's everyone stuffed (we also had some desserts made by Nancy and Sarah) after all the food, yet still not quite as stuffed as we were in that office. Is it strange that I kind of miss that place?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cookin' kuchen

When my parents visited me in The Netherlands, my dad was hoping to find some kuchen, a German cake that his grandmother used to bake. He didn't have much luck, so for his birthday earlier this week, I found a recipe and made it in lieu of a birthday cake. And I don't know whether it tasted like his grandma's, but it tasted good enough that I've been asked to make it again for Easter (yes, we already ate the whole thing).

It's Cinnamon Swirl Kuchen, which is basically a coffee cake and those brown spots are cinnamon, not burns, I promise. The cinnamon and sugar I put in it remind me of the time I thought I had invented a soup. But it was really just sugar and cinnamon and room-temperature water. I wouldn't recommend it.

And even though this is a really crumby picture, I just wanted to show how it somehow magically swirled! I put it in as layers and it came out swirly!

Here's the recipe, if anyone's interested. I'm trying it with a glaze this time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holland's tulips (and other flowers)

I know I'm back in the States now, but I can't not post photos of the huge garden in The Netherlands: Keukenhof. It's only open from the end of March to the end of May, so I was just barely there long enough to see it.

Pretty, right?

Flower fields.

JJ and the giant tulips.

Don't you just love springtime?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Amy's baby shower

My nephew will be coming in less than a month, so on Sunday, we threw my sister, Amy, a baby shower. Well, mostly my mom and Amy's friend, Stephanie, threw the shower. I'm just a great supervisor.

Isn't this cake great? Stephanie made it and all the other desserts.

And my mom made these cute owls to go with the centerpieces. I take credit for the idea, though. I'm the ideas girl.

My sister (and my mom apparently telling a story or scolding someone)

My brother...

Stephanie's husband cutting up the precious cake and Tyler (Amy's husband/baby daddy) getting sick of my paparazzi skills.

Amy and Logan

The soon-to-be parents, Tyler and Amy (with a delicious cheesecake bite)

My mom, Amy and Stephanie


Overall, I think it went well. Now I'm just ready for the baby to get here! I'm sure Amy is, too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Paris: Eiffel Tower

This past week has been nice and busy. I got home after a looong flight on Thursday, spent some time with my family and came to Houston for some job interviews. Now it's back to DFW to prepare for my (very pregnant) sister's baby shower!

But I do still have some more photos to show you, so here's probably the last bit of Paris. On the Saturday night I was there, Henry and I went to the Eiffel Tower and decided I couldn't go to Paris without going up to the top. That meant waiting in line for about an hour while pushy salesmen tried to sell us tchotchkes. And then another 45 minutes waiting to go up in the elevators.

But I'd say the view was worth it. 

Arc de Triomphe from above

And as we left (about 2 hours after getting in line), we were just in time to see the sparkles one last time.

Afterward we headed to the Moulin Rouge area for a late dinner and crepes. And I got a disgusting blister on the bottom of my foot from my worn-out Converse.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tomorrow's the day

Bright and early (actually, probably still-dark and early) tomorrow morning, I'm heading to the airport and then on to the good ol' US of A. I'm dreading the long plane ride, but it would make the trip go a lot faster if someone got me welcome home presents. Hint, hint.

Here's what you can get me:
Tina Fey's new book
A picnic basket
Barbecued brisket
A professional unpacker/organizer
Wishes/prayers for my job interviews next week

Monday, April 4, 2011

Paris: Inception

I've just got a couple days left in my Europe adventure. We said bye to one of the other interns this afternoon and it started to sink in that I'm really leaving. I wasn't planning on being sad about it, but now I'm thinking I might have to be. I guess it's about time to start planning my next trip to Europe.

Now back to Paris...
Throughout the weekend, Henry kept pointing out things to me that were apparently important in the DaVinci Code, which I never read or watched. So when we came upon a movie reference that I actually understood, I had to take a picture. 

This scene from Inception...

...happened here.
This is the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, not too far from the Eiffel Tower. Or the first of many dreams Ellen Page builds.

And behind these doors is where they kept all their sleeping equipment, I guess. But honestly I was too busy trying to grasp the plot to remember the doors to the warehouse.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Paris: Notre Dame

Henry took me to several different churches on Sunday, but Saturday we stuck with the classic: Notre Dame. It was beautiful, but crowded. Everyone in Paris heard I was in town and showed up.

Henry took this photo (have I mentioned he's a photographer?). That's one of the best things about having him around: he gets the pictures I'm not skilled enough to take (and he has no problem getting up in people's business). 

Unrelated question (that probably no one will respond to): Have you ever heard the word "nunya," short for nunya business (or bidness, if you roll that way)? Like: 
Person 1: Who are you talking to?
Person 2: Nunya.
I'm not crazy, right? This is a totally legitimate word?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Paris: Arc and Louvre

Since I have less than a week left here and will obviously not be doing that many cool things once I get home, I'm planning to milk at least a few posts out of my Paris trip.

I took a fast train from Rotterdam to Paris after work on Friday and got there in under 3 hours, in time to meet my friend Henry for a bit before going to bed. On Saturday, Henry showed me all of Paris. Well, maybe not all, but it really felt like it.

We started at the Arc de Triomphe and Henry told me all about the history of it. Then I made him repeat it all in French to make it more amusing. All I could tell you now is that the Arc is pretty and you're not supposed to run across traffic to get to it.
Under the Arc.

We walked down the Champs-Elysees to Place de la Concorde, the largest square in Paris. Behind Henry is the obelisk and way back in the distance, you can make out the Eiffel Tower.

It was an amazing day. It was actually so warm I had to take off the light jacket I had worn. We went to the Jardin de Tuileries and it was clear everyone else noticed how nice the weather was, too. There were tons of people out enjoying the weather and the blooming trees and flowers. Ah, springtime in Paris. (Jealous yet? I can try harder if you're not)

Once we reached the Louvre, we saw the huge line to go inside, so we opted instead to stand around and laugh at the tourists taking photos with the pyramid. I think that was a good decision.

And now I'm cutting you off for the day. Sorry, I've got to ration the photos. More to come tomorrow.