Thursday, April 20, 2017

Starting my big renovation project!

After full eight years of living in the same house - which is so far a high record level as I never ever, even as a little kid stayed in the same house for more than maximum 3-4 years, maximum - little was it done to the original structure of the house. I haven't done nothing at all, except buying a big bad and doing some small adjustments after my lovely son was born.
People usually do have different reactions when they are coming to my house, but definitely, everyone agrees that I should do more to make this little corner of Berlin more for transforming it into my home instead of just using it as a stop and working office in-between my many trips. As the birth of my son changed dramatically my lifestyle - which means that I do not travel less, but I have a different kind of agenda meaning more focused on creating a warm and friendly home for the baby.
At the end of Pesach, looking for some new projects to share and create, I suddenly decided to start a very ambitious and frightening new project: completely renovating my house, on my own. I have no previous experience in this respect, and although more than once in the last hours I was thinking that what about deciding to move out of this house in less than a year, I realized that the novelty of the project is appealing enough to want to keep it straight and doing it despite all odds. I am sure I will gain enough experience and will have a lot of fun. 
My kind of life right now...Source: Pinterest
I am doing my project will being full time mom and also working on different writing and blogging projects at the same time. My time, as usual, is very limited, therefore I have to schedule the activities for each day. In the case of painting days, I should keep in mind that me and the baby we will shortly go out after the work is done, in order to avoid the smell of the paint. My plan is to finish everything within one month, with a relatively limited - but not small - budget and with serious time constraints. I will not work on Saturdays and on Fridays I am trying to finish everything as soon as possible.


Here are my first steps for actually beginning
the process

Day 1

- Having a look at each room in order to realize what it doesn't work and what I don't like about the setting. I only have two rooms, a kitchen and the bathroom to fix, with the child's room with minimal investments as I already did some furniture decluttering already. I only need to fix small things, like changing the jalousies or painting the radiators.
- Assign for each space a color or a special style. For instance, I want my living room to be very cozy, I want my bathroom to have variations of silver and black.
- Set up the available budget for your investment. Start doing a little market research to more than 2 shops. Yesterday, I went to both Bauhaus and Poco for seaching for the best deals, and I've found good deals for different products. I took pictures and made a list of the things I need and where the price is better.
- Create a schedule of to-do-list for each room. For instance, I would love to start cleaning seriously every corner but if I have to paint first, I better start with paiting and leave the cleaning after that as there is a high probability that I might need to do some extra cleaning after anyway.
- See the limits of your technical abilities. For example, changing the taps and the lamp is obviously more than I can know via YouTube and Google. I want to do this last anyway, but until then I should also search for a technical expert that will help me. It saves nerves and money in case I may damage seriously the entire electricity system.
- Ask for advice. As my neighbour just finished her own DIY painting project last summer, I visited her yesterday and was lucky enough to leave with some brushes and recommendations. For instance, to always use some plastic cover when I paint to avoid damaging the carpets or the floor. 
- Last but not least, take measurements. As I will need wall tattoos and tapet and some new bed coverings and jalousies and so on and so forth, knowing the dimensions is a very important stage of the project. I carefully measured everything that I needed and right now I am more focused on what I can find for advancing my plans.

That's all for now. I promise to write more and more updates in the next days. For today, I already have a little plan and I am looking forward to it!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Having upma for breakfast

After patra, I continued my Indian food experience with what seems to be a favorite Bengali breakfast dish: upma. As in the previous case, I completely trusted the recommendation of my friend, plus the attactive picture on the box. This Southern Indian breakfast dish is 100% vegetarian, and contains gluten and mustard. It was provided as a bag with all the ingredients: semolina, lime juice powder, green chilli, ginger powder, among others. I personally added 100 gr. green peas and 2 tablespoon flowerseed oil. 
The preparation process is very simple: pour the ready made content into 600 ml. warm water, add the peas, and keep mixing well at 250C for the next 5-7 minutes, or until a compact puree is formed. 
I love the consistency, but once I've tasted, I also fell in love with the spicey taste. At first, it has a very neutral semolina taste but soon it becoming more and more spicier, as the ingredients need a contact with the palate to further develop. For more fresh, green taste, adding a couple of leaves of coriander could be a good move. 
If you have the semolina, you can prepare it by yourself. It serves 4 and the preparation time is less than 30 minutes.
What surprised me was how such a consistent meal can be served at breakfast, but actually, it is a very good idea when you need a lot of energy for the rest of the day. We, the Europeans, we are used to have our bread and cereals, but it seems that in Souther India, a simple bowl of upma can be more than enough. 
My Indian food tour will continue in the next days, now that Pesach and all its high restrictions is over.
Keep in touch with more foodie news!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Milk banana blueberry smoothie (or raw pudding) with rose water

This recipe can be used in two different ways, depending on the amount of milk you want to use. For instance, if you use more than 125 ml. of milk, it turns into a smoothie. In the case of a lesser amount, with the other ingredients unchanged, you have to pour the final result in a bowl and serve it as a pudding.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves 2
1 big banana
100 gr. blueberries
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon rose water
milk - either 125 ml. or 250 ml.
Mix all the ingredients in a blender for around 2 minutes at maximum speed.
Add some blueberries or/and coconut shreds for decoration.
Keep it in the fridge for around 45 minutes.
It has a special consistency and a beautiful color, and the rose water adds a distinguished perfume. 

Bon Appetit!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tofu salad with sesame seeds and veggies

Is this time of the year before Pesach when I have to be creative enough to combine different products from the kitchen to create new easy recipes. With the spring around the thoughts about clean eating, the veggies are always part of the scenery. The following recipe is, as most of my recipes, easy to prepare, delicious and with an expense of less than 25 EUR. It works perfectly as a snack, breakfast, lunch or dinner, for small or big kids.
- 200 gr. Tofu cut in cubes
- 3 mini yellow bell pepper, finelly chopped
- 3 shallots, finelly chopped; alternatively, garlic can also be used or 1 medium red onion
- 125 gr. white champignons, finelly chopped
- 1 tablespoon white sesame
- 3 tablespoons walnut oil; alternatively, the same amount of olive oil can be used
- 1 tomato for decoration
- 1/2 teaspoon of normal salt
Serves: 3
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Warm the oil in a pan warmed at 250C. Add one by one the other ingredients. Mix them well until they are getting a gold-brownish colour. The peppers may need more frying because they contain a high amount of water. The good part is that the liquid from the vegetables is mixing well as a sauce in the pan and at the end all the ingredients are benefiting. If you want your tofu well burned you can wait a bit more until it gets brownish on all side. I personally preferred to finish when the tofu is half-baked. I also found that it is much healthier and tastier for the baby who also had his portion from the salad - and liked it.
I poured all the ingredients in a salad bowl, mixed them one more time. I added the tomato slices as a decoration. In addition, it also offers a good of freshness, in case that you don't fancy too much all the frying, oily taste. On taste, you can also add a pinch of black pepper.
That's all!

Bon Appetit!