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Survival Tactics to Living Abroad

Living abroad takes what we know as “living” and turns it upside down or right side up. It all depends on the perspective that you view it. 

Like a Child: humble yourself to view your new surroundings like a child. See it with open eyes. The world is what you make of it. If you choose to see it as full of possibility, then possibilities will appear.

img_3410Try a Little Something New: don’t be afraid of the unknown, embrace the unknown. When we try something new, we are signaling our brain to get ready for the challenge and push beyond our existing capacity.

Don’t Be Afraid to Start Again: It can seem so daunting. You’ve worked hard to build a community for yourself and then to leave it all behind. Many would rationalize what’s the point? The point is, we’re alive for more than ourselves. Everything has a season. It’s not all about us and once we realize this starting again doesn’t seem quite so bad. We must embrace the idea of starting again. Whether it’s learning how to live in a new community, understanding a local culture or just adapting to a new way of life.

Focus: you will become like whatever you’re focusing on. Think about what is good about where you are. If you’re unemployed you might have more time than ever to learn something new, train for a marathon or study a new language. FOCUS on what is good about your situation.

Hold Tight in the Process: yes it’s difficult, especially when you’re in a new place and attempting to create a routine for yourself. But stay focused in the process. Don’t give up because with each step you make you’re getting along the road. Before you know it, you’ll be at your destination.

You’re Doing Better than You Think You’re Doing: you will not always be a beginner or brand new. Although the beginning stages feel so challenging, take hope. With each new day, you’re learning and growing. You’re doing better today than you were yesterday just because you have another day under your belt so you are one day wiser. Focus on the progress you’re making and not the lack of progress you have yet to make.

5 Intangible Items to Bring on a Job Interview or Big Idea Pitch

Interviews…we all have them at numerous points in time in our lives. How do we prepare for them in such a way that we can be successful?

Beyond the tangible items, your resume, portfolio, references, recommendations, flash drive with digital versions of your documents, etc. — it is so essential to prepare and bring the intangible items. The ones that also require preparation, focus and sometimes speak much louder than the tangible items ever could.

1.) Confidence: it is an essential component to interviewing well or having a successful idea pitch. It is not only about confidence in yourself but also a confidence in your experience, education and abilities to meet and exceed the requirements of the job.

2.) Humility: humility goes hand in hand with confidence. They actually can compliment each other. You can be confident that you have the skills and experience to perform a job but you can also be humble in your approach to completing the job. By this I mean that you keep an open mind about how to best complete the job even if you are considered an expert in this knowledge base. A humble person can come to terms with the fact that they don’t know it all and remain open to learn and grow.

3.) Poise: it’s that cool, calm, confidence that’s undeniably attractive. Although poise is something commonly attributed to royalty or reserved for beauty pageant vocabulary it actually really makes a dynamic difference if leveraged in interviews or presentations. How you carry yourself, says a lot about how you feel about yourself so make sure you’re communicating a message worth listening to.

4.) Energy: it is so important to have a natural level of energy and enthusiasm on a job interview or when you’re pitching a new idea. Think about it this way: the interviewer chose to make time to meet you and to see if you are a fit for their company or organization. They are already interested and partially convinced about you, you just have to make them completely interested by showcasing your best.

5.) Positive Attitude: your attitude is one of the few things that you can control in this life. So let me ask you a question, do you have it under control? Positive people are not just born this way, they actually take the time to develop and train themselves to think in a positive way. By having a positive attitude you are giving your perspective employer a preview of what they can expect. Everyone loves to work with positive people with a “can-do” attitude. Are you one of them? Don’t simply have a positive attitude but let it transcend into your descriptions about your past work experience and your outlook on the future. A positive attitude is contagious and every employer wants a team of people with one.

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Photo Credit: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

 

Cacık (Creamy Yogurt with Garlic, Lemon, Cucumber & Mint)

A refreshing, delicious and light addition to compliment grilled meats, salads or just simply served as a classic meze (appetizer).

I have had the pleasure or eating Cacık numerous times and what I have found is that no recipe tastes the same. In culinary school, we made it with a thick yogurt and most of my colleagues ate it as a side item. Some of my friends prepare it with yogurt and water to make it literally the consistency of a soup and it is eaten as so. The store bought variety is somewhere in between but lacks the burst of freshness from the lemon, garlic and using fresh mint. 

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My recipe is a bit different from them all. I use a thick yogurt but then I really infuse it with the fresh flavors of the lemon, garlic and mint that makes it undeniably delicious. Quite frankly, I love Cacık with grilled meats or to dip toasted bread. Yum! 

Here’s the recipe:

Cacık (Creamy Yogurt with Garlic, Lemon, Cucumber & Mint)

  • 1 c thick yogurt (Suzme, Greek or your favorite strained yogurt) 
  • 1/3 c finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh mint + a sprig for garnish
  • 1 large garlic clove (crushed)
  • salt (to taste)

Preparation:

In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth. 

Add in the lemon juice and salt and whisk again.

Stir in the cucumber, garlic and fresh mint. Taste to see if more salt is needed.

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Serve & Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

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Photos & Recipe by EE Winkler

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Donauwelle: A Traditional German Sheet Cake with Fresh Cherries, German Buttercream & a Chocolate Topping

A modern twist on the traditional German sheet cake, with layers of chocolate cake, vanilla cake, fresh cherries, German buttercream and topped off with a chocolate topping.

Although from the sounds of the ingredients, it may seem that you have heard of this cake before or it may seem similar to the Black Forest Cake. But in as many ways as it is similar it is also unique.

The cake batter is essential comprised of a chocolate cake layer and a vanilla cake layer but when the cherries are placed on top, they fall into the cake as it bakes thus creating a wavy cake on the inside.

Topped with a decadent German buttercream and a chocolate glaze (that gets better with time) it is a treat that is easy to serve to friends or enjoy for a special occasion.

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Here’s the recipe:

Donauwelle

For the cake:

  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c sunflower oil (or an neutral oil)
  • 1 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c thick strained yogurt (Greek or Suzme)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 c cocoa powder
  • 1.5 – 2 c pitted fresh sweet cherries
  • 2 TBSP butter (for greasing the pan)

For the German Buttercream:

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1/3 c corn starch
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 c softened butter

For the Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 TBSP sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 375F/190C & grease a small cake pan with butter.

For the cake: whisk together the oil, sugar and eggs until well combined. Add the vanilla extract and then whisk again. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Alternating between the flour mixture and the strained yogurt, add them to the cake batter, while whisking well with each addition. Divide the cake batter in half and whisk in the cocoa powder into half of the cake. Starting with the chocolate cake batter, pour it into the cake pan. Then add the vanilla cake batter on top creating a nice even layer. Then layer the pitted cherries on top of the cake to completely cover the cake in neat rows. Bake the cake for approximately 40 minutes and allow to cool.

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To make the German buttercream: Heat the milk in a medium saucepan just until hot, but not boiling. In the meantime, whisk together the eggs, cornstarch and sugar until smooth and well incorporated. Temper the egg mixture by slowly adding the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until completely combined. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until it thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Then pour the mixture onto a plate, and cover with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the cream. Chill for a couple of hours to overnight.

Once cooled, whisk the softened butter in a large bowl and then whisk in the pastry cream mixture into the butter until completely combined.

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Top the cake with a thick layer of the German buttercream and spread it evenly over the cake (Note: you might have some left over).

To prepare the Chocolate glaze: melt the chocolate over a double boiler until it is melted. Stir in the oil and set aside for about 5 minutes.

Once the chocolate has slightly cooled, pour it over the German pastry cream.

Then using a fork or a butter knife, create the waves on top of the cake allowing some of the pastry cream to be shown through the chocolate.

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Serve immediately or pop it in the fridge for a special treat for later.

Guten Appetit!

When: Say Goodbye to Fear, Doubt & Anxiety

When – an inspirational poem to encourage you to say goodbye to fear, doubt and anxiety. 

Poetry is one of the most beautiful expression of words that I know. I first fell in love with it as a young child. I started reading poets like Langston Hughes and Shell Silverstein and I was inspired by the beauty of their work.

When is an original poem I wrote to talk about issues like fear, doubt and anxiety.

Rose photo credit: Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

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Fresh Stuffed Grape Leaves (Taze Yaprak Sarmasi) – Vegetarian Version

Tender fresh grape leaves stuffed with a flavorful vegetarian filling.

I will never forget the first time I tried stuff grape leaves. I cannot remember exactly how old I was but I was a small child. It was a new taste for me. The leave reminded me of an undercooked collard green but I thought the filling was quite tasty.

Flash forward a couple of decades and I would say I’ve eaten my fair share of stuffed grape leaves in many different countries, prepared a myriad of different ways. Although they do require some time to actually roll and stuff the leaves, they are well worth the effort. I love that they can be eaten hot, cold or at room temperature so there’s no need to fuss with this aspect. 

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Traditionally, they are prepared with meat, but I don’t miss the meat when I prepare them without it. I created this recipe because I did not have meat on hand and I used bulgur instead of rice simply because I really love bulgur. 

I think that everyone that has ever eaten a stuffed grape leaves, knows them immediately when they see them. And if they are like me, then seeing them will surely bring a smile to their face.

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Here’s the recipe:

Fresh Stuffed Grape Leaves (Taze Yaprak Sarmasi) – Vegetarian Version

  • 20-30 fresh grape leaves
  • 1/2 c dry fine bulgur
  • 1 small onion (finely diced; about 1 cup diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

To blanche the grape leaves: Clean the grape leaves thoroughly. Then prepare a large pot of boiling water. Working in batches, blanche the grape leaves for about 30-60 seconds. Then remove from the water and place into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the grape leaves and set aside.

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To prepare the filling: Prepare the bulgur by placing it in a bowl and adding one cup of boiling water. Stir and then cover with plastic wrap or a plate to allow it to steam for 10 minutes. 

Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Then add the tomato paste and stir well, adding a little water as needed. 

Then mix the bulgur and the tomato paste mixture in a large bowl. Season with the oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh parsley just until it is incorporated.

In a large stock pot, line the bottom with about 4-5 grape leaves (or enough to cover the bottom of the pan).

To roll the grape leaves: One by one, place them on a flat surface. Starting at the wide bottom part of the grape leaf, place about half a tablespoon of the filling on the leaf and spread out into a thin line. Fold in the sides of the leaf and gently roll it until it is completely rolled. Continue until all of the grape leaves are rolled.

Place each of the stuffed grape leaves seam side down in the pot, side by side, very close together. Top with the lemon slices and enough water to fill the pot half way up (but do not submerge the grape leaves. Place a heavy ceramic plate of bowl on top of the grape leaves and cover with a lid. Allow the grape leaves to cook for about 45 minutes, adding more water as needed. 

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Once cooked, gently remove from the pot.

Serve and Enjoy with a lemon slice.

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Afiyet Olsun!

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Photo Credit: EE Winkler

Eier Frikasse (Eggs w/ Vegetables & Creamy White Sauce)

A simple, classic and traditional German recipe, Eier Frikasse is a great go-to meal with minimal ingredients and prep time.

Some of the best recipes are the simplest recipes. The ones that don’t even require you to leave your house and go to the market for additional ingredients. These recipes are some of my favorite. With non-complex ingredients, easy preparation and great taste, they are by far some of the best everyday recipes that every good cook should have in their recipe file.

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Here’s the recipe:

Eier Frikasse (Eggs w/ Vegetables & Creamy White Sauce)

  • 4 hard boiled eggs (sliced)
  • 1 c chopped carrots (cooked)
  • 1 c frozen green peas
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 c chicken stock (or veggie stock)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • fresh parsley (optional garnish)

Preparation:

In a large sauce pot, melt the butter and then sprinkle over the flour and whisk until smooth.

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Keep whisking frequently until it turns light brown in color.

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Add the chicken stock and keep whisking until smooth.

Bring to a boil and then season with salt and pepper.

Add the vegetables and lemon juice and stir well.

Then add the eggs and stir gently

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Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Garnish with parsley & enjoy!

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Guten Appetit!

 

Garlicky Good Green Beans

Simple, healthy and delicious green beans sautéed with garlic, olive oil and seasoning!

A good side dish recipe can be difficult to create but well worth the effort. This recipe was birthed nearly 10 years ago when I wanted to make green beans in a quicker way than how I grew up eating them. And so, with a bit of garlic, olive oil, seasoning and green beans, this recipe idea became a reality. It is still a go-to recipe for me to prepare a simple and quick side dish. It is perfect for everyday whether it is just a weekday or a holiday.

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Here’s the recipe:

Garlicky Good Green Beans

  • 1.5 c green beans
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (crushed and minced)
  • 1-2 T olive oil (or butter)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh parsley (optional garnish)

Preparation:

Clean and trim the ends of the green beans.

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Mince the garlic until it forms a paste (rubbing the flat part of a knife back and forth on a cutting board with a bit of salt will achieve this paste consistency).

Place the green beans and garlic in a frying pan with a little bit of water. Simmer them for about 2-3 minutes and then drain the excess water.

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Drizzle over the olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano and sauté the green beans for just a couple of minutes before the garlic starts to brown too much.

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Serve immediately and garnish with fresh parsley.

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Bon Appetit!