Skiing, solo road trips, finding unexpected fruit trees, and other ventures

Well friends, it has been six whole months without blogging on here for me and I feel like a lazy BUTT at this point. However, I have been doing multitudes of other activities that strike my fancy just as much of this hobby of mine does. Where in the hell do I even start? From mid-January to now, things have been a’changin’ in some of the best ways. I guess I’ll just give you a list as I do. Ehhhem folks, here you go:

Read more Skiing, solo road trips, finding unexpected fruit trees, and other ventures

Final Recap of the European Venture

After a 22-hour food-poisoned travel day I can safely say coming home from Sweden was the most delayed and eventful travel day I’ve ever endured. I’d initially planned to write my final trip recap on the plane, however a rogue oyster changed those plans in an instant. If you ever find yourself traveling with food poisoning, I’m sorry and I will send luck your way.

The Göteberg “viking” ship
Sweden was exactly what I would imagined it would be, just much colder than I’d hoped for! After our royal adventure in Kalmar, it was off to Göteberg or Gothenburg as we would spell it. When we first arrived and for the rest of that day it was awfully windy and cold. I can’t say I enjoyed it much that night because it was hard to enjoy when a frigid wind was whacking my hair around. However, we stumbled upon the Volvo Penta ocean race. Seeing all of those racing sailboats was something like I’ve never seen before! Plus, the all-womens team pink sailboat was fabulous. The next day we awoke to…SUNSHINE!! It was one of the first times of the trip. Although it wasn’t very warm, the sunshine brightened my mood.  We went to a food market in the downtown area and found more amazingly fresh strawberries for only $2! I’m already missing those tasty buggers. We didn’t have a lot of time in Gothenburg but we used that day to our advantage and walked around the city as much as possible before 11 am.

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1st Stops in Sweden & a lil more Denmark

The last update I posted I wrote when driving to Ystad, Sweden. Right as we drove over the bridge from Denmark to Sweden, I was reminded of the countryside in Michigan. Everything is so lush and green.  Ystad is a small town on the southernmost tip of Sweden and it is adorably charming. The streets are all cobblestone and nothing is open past 9:00 pm. We stayed at what called itself a B&B, but I guess that actually means a kitchen you can choose to make yourself breakfast in.  It was pretty awesome, but definitely not expected.After our first night there, we had lunch at an awesome breakfast buffet and I had my first tastes of real Swedish meatballs and Swedish pancake.  Swedish pancakes are between crêpes and pancakes, and are delicious. The ones I ate had edges that were slightly crunchy and I’ve been craving them ever since I ate my last one.  We stopped at a little market before we hopped on a ferry over to an island in Denmark (we didn’t know it was Denmark until halfway through the ferry ride) called Bornholm, and I found…peanut butter!! I guess peanut butter is a very American thing because the label has an American flag and a drawing of the Statue of Liberty on it.

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Recap of venturing to Netherlands & Denmark

Well I promised I’d update y’all in every country I go to, but now I’m headed to Sweden and have been to two countries already!  We have been walking, eating, then passing out to bed each night since we’ve been here. It has been utterly amazing thus far and I’m in love with Scandinavia.  So far, we have been to The Netherlands and Denmark.  The complete minimalism of both countries is astonishing and makes me want to do a complete purge of everything I have and start anew!  I’ll give a little recap so I can make all of you super jealous of my ventures. Read more Recap of venturing to Netherlands & Denmark

Microgreen Cauliflower Crust Pizza

serves 4-5

I landed in Amsterdam around 11 this morning and now summer is starting to feel like it’s beginning. The city…well the very little of it I’ve seen, has been awesome thus far and I can’t wait to explore more tomorrow!  There are bikes upon bikes and houseboats upon houseboats. It’s crazy awesome.  I’ll write more about it tomorrow or the next day (when I’ve had the chance to see more)!

But, before I left I concocted this pretty tasty recipe.  I’ve been growing microgreens and they were 100% successful. I do understand why they are so expensive in the store…they are darn hard to harvest and clean without bruising the little guys! However, these home-grown greens tasted 100x better than anything I’ve bought at the grocery or farmers’ market.

My crust turned out a bit chewier than expected because I didn’t drain the cauliflower enough, but you won’t have than problem!

I’m going to keep this post concise because I’m running on maybe 4 hours of sleep and that’s never a good thing for thinking straight.

In other news, I’ve been writing for NomNom Lunches for a while now and the food blog is UP. Check it out, my friends, and share with the world! Read more Microgreen Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Thoughts on Service Trips

Last Sunday I got back from a week long service trip in Guatemala. I was there with a school club and for three days we built latrines in a small village about 2 hours outside of Antigua.  It was an absolutely amazing experience but I, if you can indulge me, I need to rant about “service” trips for just a moment.

I read an article a while back (that I cannot find now) that was about why one girl will never go on a service trip again. I was able to jive with it a bit because I had been on a service trip before.  However, I didn’t understand it’s full extent until last Tuesday.  Tuesday was the first day that we went to the village.  We arrived there and the mayor and people from the company we were working with put on an opening ceremony to welcome us into their community.  After the ceremony we divided into groups to start building.

When my group of four arrived to the household we were helping build the latrine for, there were a bunch of men standing around. They all started laughing at us because they aren’t used to women building or doing per-say “men’s jobs”.  So right off the bat, I knew that we weren’t welcome.

Our mason, Jesus, thought we were coming in with knowledge on how to build these latrines.  And us, well, we didn’t know what to think because we were given absolutely no information on what to do.  We weren’t even told how to mix the cement!  We also did not know he was a trained mason, so we thought he didn’t know what to do at first.  There was also a language barrier but we got that figured out pretty quickly.

After the first day of working we all went back to our hotel feeling pretty useless and distraught. All us girls talked about it that night and we were not stoked on going back for a second day of hindering these peoples’ work. The second and third days were much better and we were able to work a lot more but I still don’t feel like they needed us to help them build latrines.

Here’s what it all comes down to: first of all, our group was there to help poor, Guatemalan people lay bricks.  The thing is, many poorer people already know how to build stuff a hell of a lot better that privileged people from the U.S. do because, ding ding, they have to build their own homes for survival!  All they would have needed were resources to build the latrines themselves.  All in all, we were a complete hinderance and mockery while we were aiding in building these latrines.

I think what service organizations need to focus on is educating poor populations of people about contraception methods.  I met a woman in this small village who is 25 years old and has eight, yes EIGHT, children.  This is crazy, people!  The only way a developing country can get out of poverty is if the population is controlled.  Another thing I’m passionate about helping with is environmental problems.  Many Guatemalan farmers burn their sugarcane fields after harvest because if makes the soil more fertile.  I’m not very educated on this topic but I read a National Geographic article about people doing this in Brazil.  It releases SO much methane and nitrous oxides and there is no way that’s helping anything in the big picture.  Many farmers die extremely early in life due to lung problems.

If we are going to help countries in any way we need to educate them to be able to support themselves.

Thank you for reading and I really hope you can take this into account if you’re planning on going on any sort of service trip.

If you want to see more photos, check my Facebook!

A Springy Recap

So basically, spring break was amazing.  Not only did I take a break from everything school or work related, I sort of took a break from blogging.  I promise this wasn’t intentional, I just didn’t have time to cook much.  My family did most of the cooking, so I didn’t create anything.

I did however make waffles one morning.  I used this recipe but instead of vanilla extract I used 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon extract.  I wish I would have used a bit more, but cinnamon extract(?) I hadn’t heard of such a thing!  They were dang good though.Over the break I went to southern Utah with a bunch of friends which was amazing.  And I am officially out of my winter freeze!  80 degrees and sunny will do the trick.

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