January 7, 2013

"DE BLOK" Essentials

Haha my English readers probably have no idea what this title means! The two or three weeks before the exams start are called "de blok" in Belgium ("blokken" = studying your ass off in Dutch). Most of us are staying at home for two weeks, studying from 9AM till 10PM (or that's what I try  every day... and don't succeed most of the time), the feeling of isolation,... I'm exaggerating a bit, but I'm sure my fellow students will know what I'm talking about! Here are my "blok" essentials:

Hydration! I drink one of these 2L bottles water every day. And also the outside needs hydration: I'm addicted to this hand cream! It feels so soft and it smells great. Also pictured: Hand gel (I love cleanliness, especially on my hands!), ear plugs (my sister plays the piano so these are a really indispensable for me. And there's always noise coming from outside (birds, trucks, music etc.) so it's nice to have complete silence. Although it's really annoying when you have that one song stuck in your head...
Oh, and bobby pins don't need explanation, do they? I get distracted by absolutely anything, and don't let me start to examine my hair for split ends because that means I'm busy for at least one hour. Top bun and all my hair pinned back is the only solution!

This sounds lame, but working out is a great way to relax (not literally) and clear your head after a whole day of studying. Today was my 8th day of Level 1 of Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, and thankfully I'm not as sore anymore as in the beginning, haha! I've also started to write a diary again this year (after many failed attempts last year), hope I can keep it up. And of course, there's always Vogue and other fashion magazines to keep me company! Also: body lotion that smells like heaven! My poor legs could really use some, the combination of cold weather and not much daylight isn't really the best combination :D

Beware of these items because they're the most distracting ever! I hide my iPhone in my closet and put in on silent mode otherwise I would be checking facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest etc. all day long. Nail polish and other beauty stuff is also very dangerous: takes so much time! And planning your post-exam trip to London while you still have 4 exams coming up isn't the best idea either.


The part you were all waiting for! Last week I was home alone, as my parents were on ski holiday (still jealous), so I had to cook most of my meals myself. I don't really mind actually, I love cooking! What you're looking at:
1. Spaghetti bolognaise, an all-time classic! I'm cheating a bit, as this was a portion my mum put in the freezer for me, but I'll definitely put my bolognaise recipe on the blog sometime if you're interested!
2. Chocolate chip cookies, made for New Year's Eve - I followed this recipe.
3. Homemade risotto! So good. I got this recipe from a friend, you can find it here in Dutch (I did add some parmesan and chickpeas at the end), let me know if any of you want it in English, I'd be happy to translate it for you.
4. Ok this isn't one of the meals I made last week (I did make a variation on it, with more leftover veggies), but it's one of my recent favourites: Pad Thai! This recipe.
5. Nothing tastes as good as homemade pancakes in the morning! This is the easiest recipe ever: you just need 1 cup of flour (I used self-raising because I like my pancakes fluffy), 1 cup of milk, 1 egg and a pinch of salt. Beat everything in a bowl until it has a smooth texture and start baking your pancakes. I think I got about 10 pancakes out of it, so enough for two days! I like mine with red fruits and honey.
6. A quick frittata I threw together for lunch with some leftover I found in my fridge: Onion, zucchini, eggs, ham, goat's cheese and some herbs de Provence, pepper and cayenne to top it off. Based loosely on this recipe but I always change the measurements so only check it if you don't know how to make a frittata! And don't be as stupid as me and forget to put your oven mits back on when you want to hold the pan to cut the frittata in pieces! I won't be making that mistake again :D

Hope you liked my recipes! I always tend to go for healthy, quick and mostly vegetarian when I'm cooking, especially during "de blok"! :D Do you have any favourite recipes? Please share! I'm always looking for new thing to try out - although my pinterest board is already loaded with tons of recipes I haven't tried. I never have the problem of not knowing what to cook, I rather don't know what to choose because I want to make so many things! 
Well, all this food talk has made me hungry, so I'm going to check if there's anything left in my fridge. Good night!