2018, March 30

Recipe of the Month: Wild Mushrooms tossed with Turmeric Rice

The boyfriend had to go on a ten-day trip at the end of February, so that left me all alone with the cat. I got bored. Well, that’s an understatement – I even toyed with the idea of rearranging the furniture!
But, I made it a point to get out of the house every day. I went for walks, ice skating, to pay bills, groceries and home decor shopping and met up with friends.

On one of my groceries shopping trips (I deliberately didn’t buy enough of everything, so I’d have a need for more bread or milk), I noticed something new in the frozen isle section of the supermarket. A bag of wild mushrooms. The picture on the package looked so appetizing, that even though I don’t cook mushrooms often I bought one, already imagining cooking them with rice on the side.

Below is the recipe I came up with. It is very simple, yet absolutely delicious. I made it three times already!

 

Wild Mushrooms tossed with Turmeric Rice

600 grams mixed wild mushrooms
1 cup Basmati rice
olive oil
salt, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
soy sauce
splash of white wine
finely chopped 3-4 green onions or half a leek

Cook the Basmati rice as per the packaging instructions, seasoning with only salt and a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Set aside once cooked.

If you’re using frozen mushrooms, let them defrost and drain off the excess water. Mine were already cut in half or so and I only had to cut a couple of bigger pieces myself, but you cut them to your liking.
Of course, you can use which ever mushrooms you prefer. I liked that this mix of wild mushrooms added extra flavour in one go.

Add a little olive oil to a pan and dump in the mushrooms. Season with some salt, white pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. When they’re about half cooked, add a splash of white wine and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Continue cooking until done, stirring so it won’t stick to your pan.

Once the mushrooms are done but before removing from the stove, stir in the finely chopped green onions (or leek, or a combo of the two) and then also stir in the cooked rice. Of course, you can leave them separately if you want.

I served this as a main dish, but I imagine it would be delicious served as a side dish to a steak, grilled chicken or even shellfish probably. If you choose the latter, I’d replace the soy sauce with fish sauce or oyster sauce.

Bon appétit! ;)

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2018, March 23

A place where time stands still

I’ve been planning to write a travel article about Alba Carolina Fortress ever since my first visit during Summer 2013. I also re-visited the place in every season and all sorts of weather. So, after I got my snowy photos of it, I finally did write about it.

Head on over to Milliver’s Travels and read it, you’ll find it here “Alba Carolina Fortress Through the Seasons”. It has a ton of beautiful photographs so you can picture exactly why I call this, a place where time stands still.

2018, March 23

8 ways I am being more eco-friendly

With Earth Hour being tomorrow evening around the Globe, and in past blog posts talking about how to spend your time during Earth Hour, I thought today I’d share a few of the things I’ve done/started doing throughout the year to be more eco-friendly (aside from recycling efforts).

  1. Use a reusable water bottle. We have water coolers at work, so I don’t need to buy my water. I’ve opted a few years back for a glass water bottle instead of using the disposable plastic cups, and I make tea or coffee in my own ceramic mug. To take it even further, I actually acquired the Starbucks mug from work – a colleague left it behind when they left the firm and no one else claimed it.
  2. Use up leftovers and waste less food:
    Freeze fruits or vegetables about to go off. I slice or chop them, if needed, and freeze for later use. Vegetables I use for stew, soup, Quiche or almost any kind of casserole. I also freeze green leaves like parsley, basil, lemongrass, etc. The fruits I use up when baking cakes, cooking fruit soup or especially when making smoothies or Chia pudding.
    Last week, I noticed a huge bottle of chili sauce was about to go off in two weeks, and given the bottle was still full, I decided to pour the sauce in ice-cube trays and freeze them; I’ll use one or two cubes when I’m cooking dishes they go with.
    Bake a casserole or Quiche to use up left over slices of bacon, salami, cheese, etc.
  3. Buy local, be it food, clothing or home ware, as much as possible.
  4. Reducing meat and dairy intake. On the one hand, it is really beneficial to the environment even if it’s just a dairy or meat-free day once a week. On the other hand, I love vegetables and can’t wait for mid-Spring when all the fresh produce will be in season over here and I can start having salads for dinner every evening again!
  5. Walk instead of drive. I don’t drive myself, but living outside of the city and because of our schedules it is a necessity to take the car when we go to the office. However, we started walking a lot more, biking and using public transportation at least during the weekend. I also love walking overall and feel better if I’m more active, so I walk instead of using even public transportation when I go visit mom or while running errands.
  6. Use less and refuse plastic when ever possible. I started refusing plastic bags a while ago and take canvas tote bags, a backpack or recyclable shopping bags when going for groceries.
    More recently I started refusing straws and plastic cutlery when I go out for drinks or dinner, take my own thermos if buying coffee on the go, or my Tupperware when grabbing lunch to refuse the Styrofoam containers the establishment offers.
  7. Switched to LED light bulbs. Everywhere but the bathroom, where our wiring just refuses them for some reason and the fan stops working… We need to sort that out.
  8. Turn off lights/unplug things when not using them.

What are you doing for Earth Hour this year? And what are some of your ways of being more eco-friendly during your everydays?

2018, March 16

Six Reasons to Smile – Winter 2017/2018

This is my fourth blog post in the “Six Reasons to Smile” series.

Winter was more 2018 than 2017, but hey, it’s a pretty season anyways, right? I was incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity of taking a longer period off from work during the holidays. I got to finally adjust better to my surroundings and all the new situations in my life, to mindfully rest and decompress even though I was still very much active physically.
I wasn’t as much into the whole holiday festive season as I usually am, but I made it work. The highlight of my Winter was definitely the trip to Skopje, Macedonia we took with my boyfriend. We just had the best time!

On the other hand, I am posting this in March because Winter decided to give it another go in my country. While schools were closed for a few days last week, and national roads were closed off to traffic, here in my city we enjoyed a beautiful chill Winter scene with snow-globe-like snowfall, chilly-yet-lovely and crisp weather. I went to the ice skating rink two more times before the season ended. Actually, I went nearly every week this Winter and I called that me-time my ice skate dates with myself.

I walked my usual running routes in a pretty Winter setting and loved every second of it! While on such a walk near my home the other day, I even discovered, after three and a half years living in this town, that one of the churches bells sing Ave Maria.

Here are the reasons I smiled this Winter:

Did you smile a lot this Winter? This month? What were your reasons? In case you’ve also captured them on camera, I’d love to see!

2018, March 9

My tips for your upcoming visit to Skopje

Want to find out which tips I would’ve loved knowing before visiting Skopje, FYROM (Macedonia)? Head on over to Milliver’s Travels to read my travel article, “6 Essential and 7 Practical Travel Tips for Visiting Skopje, FYROM”.

It is full of pretty, interesting and very much quirky photos, too! ;)

2018, March 2

Jumping through hoops

I apologize in advance for the rant!

Lately, I’ve become somewhat sick and tired of my job. Or, at the very least, pretty frustrated by certain things. One of them being, using up my training budget.

We have a generous amount, I have to admit, and if you use up less than half of it, you don’t have to sign any additional paperwork. Fair.

Now, for technical authors there are only a handful of courses one can take online, since I don’t live near any live-held courses. I already covered (with flying colors!) my basics in online courses. And I’d LOVE to attend courses or conferences held in London, Paris, Sofia or elsewhere around the World, but those would be way too expensive if I factor in travel expenses – so I don’t choose those.

I e-mailed my direct supervisor earlier this month with a list of books I’d like to order to replace training events (conference, course, etc.), and after sending him a chase, he replied he was happy with my choices given I was well within the training budget.

Then, however, the manager stepped in.
She said she’s happy to approve books “as I read them, one book at a time”.
I get what she means, but, that means I’ll receive all the books I need today, in six months time or by the end of this year if we go by her approval-plan.

It also feels a little insulting, as for a training course/event/conference where I might learn a lot less than say, from five-to-thirteen books, the company would pay in full. And so they do for any other employee opting for a training course or the alike.
From what I recall the manager saying in a company meeting at the end of last December, not even a third of the training budget was used by employees last year.
So, naturally, I feel somehow penalized for wanting to use mine up in one go, one month rather than in a year – just because I can learn a lot more from books than I have the opportunity to learn in too-few events organized in my chosen field.

Because I need to produce a variety of documents and content type, I originally built my list with that exact thing in mind. At the manager’s initial request to not order all of them at once, I narrowed it down to four books, which would be most helpful to me for the moment:

A style-book for the different styles I need to use, and because it also has a part about media law – and I use media components in blog posts, etc. on our company website.
Two technical communication books which would help enhance my knowledge about both traditional technical authoring and the content writing I am currently doing which is more reader-centered than technical. Truth is they can be a dry read and 600-700 pages long, so I would switch between reading them and shorter works. They would, however, be nice to have near me to be able to look up information in as I need it rather than turning to the web for a hundred different thoughts on the same dilemma. For example, when I struggle with figuring out what guidelines to follow for different pieces or how to adapt some forms of work to fit other categories.
And an editorial calendar workbook which would help with the tasks I am currently dealing with on a daily basis, especially as I currently need to produce a huge load of documents in a very short period of time. It would provide a way to break down all my ideas into workable chunks and even get a better sense of how the content I produce can be used cross-promoted in our marketing plan – something I am not familiar with as I have never dealt with marketing before in my life.

The manager’s reply? Here’s the direct quote:
“Ordering 13, 5 or even 3 books at a time, considering their length (624 – 704 pages each), is not aligned with my request. I don’t understand why you are in a hurry to order all those books. The primary objective of the training budget is not to have it spent in a financial year, it is to make sure it supports employees’ professional development in the right way. This is NOT about the amounts, it’s about the PRINCIPLE.”

In the past when I ordered the same amount of books (five plus) for roughly the same amount of money, I found no difficulties in them being approved together, which is why I didn’t see an issue with asking for more than one at a time this year.

I didn’t build my list just for the sake of asking for books. I buy leisure books on my own – and these are definitely not my choice of “for fun” reading.
Also I didn’t think “which ones are the longest?” and list those. Of my full list, only three of the books are past 500 pages, and they happen to be among the four which I would most benefit from in the beginning.

All the books from my original list (and so, implicitly, the broken down few-item list) were chosen because I honestly feel they would help me in my professional development.

Yet, I need to jump through hoops before receiving them. One. At. A. Time.

2018, February 23

Dear Friday, 23.February.2018

All I can say today, is that I received the best advice four years ago when I first started working in IT. 

“Get to know that guy, he’s a nice person. He’ll help you.” 

That guy is my boyfriend of four years to the day, and I am the luckiest to have met him and have him by my side.

Thank you!

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