Category Archives: Food and Drink

Coming soon to Istanbul…

Well, after a crazy few years we decided 2013 was going to be the year of No Big Changes. So glad we gave ourselves a break from international moving, having babies, changing jobs, changing homes, saying tearful goodbyes, and international flights. However, the Ranks are movers and shakers so we decided to shake things up for 2014. In May we’re expecting another baby! I’m 12 weeks now, and found a great doctor here in Istanbul. She assures me the baby is developing beautifully. I think I’m most excited for Ellie to have a sibling. She’s such a social butterfly that it will do her (and me) well for her to have a friend at home.

This pregnancy has been a tough one, much more difficult than with Ellie. I’ve done my fair share of vomiting, and Ellie learned a new phrase- “give Mommy some space” You know it’s your second when you cannot even vomit in privacy. Yuck! My gag reflex was out of this world, and nothing, nothing sounded good to eat. The fatigue was pretty special. Ellie would hit the sack around 7:30 and I wasn’t far behind. Thankfully around 11 weeks I turned a corner. I feel so much better and the fatigue is bearable. More and more things are sounding yummy to make and eat, and I’m finally able to invite friends over for dinner again. I so love hosting, and missed seeing people!

I had an inkling I was pregnant about a week and a half after the baby was conceived. It was 9:30 in the morning and I wanted nothing more on earth than a juicy, steak burrito (really a durum for those who know what that is). I tried to find one, but no one was open. Later that day, I had one and nothing was more satisfying on the planet. Women who’ve been pregnant know the thrill of having a craving met. It’s bliss. A few days later I had a positive pregnancy test and am still craving beef. Maybe it’s a boy? Guess we’ll all find out in May!

One embarrassing story was one evening I was headed to a girls’ night at our church. On the way I was riding a double decker bus and sat on top. There was a lot of stopping and starting and I had the feeling I was going to vomit. I walked down the stairs and stood by the door to get off at the next stop, but we were stopped at a light. I needed to get off immediately, but couldn’t open my mouth to speak or I would’ve had an accident. Not sure why, but the driver opened the door and I rushed off and vomited in the nearest tree. I looked up and two men were staring at men. I assured them I was pregnant, then vomited again. It was so embarrassing. I’m sure they thought I was drunk or something since I was only 7 weeks at that point and not visibly pregnant.

We’re delighted, thrilled, praising the Lord for this gift!

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Filed under Blessed, Cultural Mishaps, Food and Drink, Our Daily Life, Pregnancy and Baby

Summa, Summa, Summatime

Oh my word this summer has been delightful! There’s something magical about spending your days at the local parks, soaking up vitamin D, sipping tea late into the night with neighbors, and taking lovely family walks along the sea. I’ve never loved summer like I’ve loved this summer. Perhaps it’s also because spending time with an 18 now 19 month old is magical. Her thirst for adventure and learning all about the world around her is contagious. I get to be her tour guide to the world, and it’s so much fun!

This summer I turned 29. I’m not as excited about 29 as 28. 28 seemed to me to be the sophisticated number in the 20s, not too old, not too young, just right. Really the Goldilocks of the decade. We had a fun day of celebration nonetheless. I’m not one to argue when my husband gets up early to make me breakfast, lets me go to the cafe alone for a bit, and takes me out for Mexican food. And, he bought me Season 2 of Call the Midwife! Here I am with my favorite senor and senorita.

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This summer Ellie passed the 17 month, 18 month and 19 month mark. I can’t believe how much she’s learning daily and how excited she is about learning about the world around her. She wants to know the word for every item on the planet and will shout, “that, that, that!” until I tell her what it’s called. Then it’s, “plane, plane, plane” or “water, water, water”. She won’t move on until I acknowledge what she’s saying.

She’s starting to the get the hang of speaking in sentences. She combines words on her own for example she said, “pine cone tree” or “Mommy bag”. But this week she also said, “Mama, I want help please.” Life is so much easier now that I have a child who can communicate all of her needs. She also can walk up and down our 4 flights of stairs if I hold her hand. My back is saying, “Amen!” to that. She loves praying, giving cheers with her cup, having her daddy throw her in the air, and playing with other children. She’s the most delightful little thing I’ve ever laid eyes on, and she was such a fun little friend to spend my summer with. We had tons of fun and now are full of plenty of vitamin D to get us through the winter.

Scott was awarded an academic grant that will start this fall. Since we hadn’t done a proper vacation since coming to Turkey one year ago, we thought it time. The end of August seemed ideal because that’s when Istanbul is the hottest. We found a great deal for a cheap place to stay, so decided to go for two weeks. Boy am I glad we did! Both Scott and I slept, and slept and slept. We had a lot of catching up to do. We didn’t have internet at the place we stayed, so both of us read tons of new books. A dream come true for the Rank family. We also delighted at taking Ellie to the beach almost everyday and see her mixture of fear and adventure as she chased the waves. Scott taught her how to build sand castles which we dubbed Ft. Rank, Ft. Rank and Ft. Rank, of course. Here are more photos than you bargained for to give you a glimpse.

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Getting our feet wet

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Ellie singing “row, row, row your boat” to the Black Sea.

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Our Turkish girl. I caught her with this loaf of bread!

Entry way to our apartment

Entry way to our apartment

We bought E glasses for $1. She loved them and wanted to wear them all the time, even indoors.

We bought E glasses for $1. She loved them and wanted to wear them all the time, even indoors.

Working on Ft. Rank

Working on Ft. Rank

She had a blast!

She had a blast!

Running with daddy

Running with daddy

Trying to catch up

Trying to catch up

Simit seller walks around selling simit. What a perfect snack! We ate several daily.

Simit seller walks around selling simit. What a perfect snack! We ate several daily.

Me and my sweetie

Me and my sweetie

Ellie puts on the charm to make friends and to get their food.

Ellie puts on the charm to make friends and to get their food.

Her first hot chocolate. As  you can imagine, she liked it.

Her first hot chocolate. As you can imagine, she liked it.

We took a trip through a pond on a paddle boat. Here is Scott being a typical dad guide..."now Ellie, if you look of yonder in the East you'll spot...."

We took a trip through a pond on a paddle boat. Here is Scott being a typical dad guide…”now Ellie, if you look of yonder in the East you’ll spot….”

Scott is teaching Ellie about a proper duck face so she'll be ready for facebook someday.

Scott is teaching Ellie about a proper duck face so she’ll be ready for facebook someday.

She's showing me what she learned.

She’s showing me what she learned.

And, you never know when you'll see some cows out in the country. Ellie loved them.

And, you never know when you’ll see some cows out in the country. Ellie loved them.

She didn't like the water at first, but slowly she did and by the end was begging her dad to take her out into it.

She didn’t like the water at first, but slowly she did and by the end was begging her dad to take her out into it.

My summer buddy

My summer buddy

This is Ellie's smile when you tell her to smile for the camera. I found her in this basket. She helps with laundry.

This is Ellie’s smile when you tell her to smile for the camera. I found her in this basket. She helps with laundry.

And, cheese anyone?

And, cheese anyone?

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Filed under Blessed, Culture, European Travel, Food and Drink, Our Daily Life, We love this land

Week one down…

And I’m starting to feel at home. We’re getting our bearings, finding what we need at the markets, drinking plenty of coffee, and enjoying settling in. Yesterday was the first day I felt like I could finally take a deep breath and honestly say that it’s all going to be alright. Whew! We’ve been enjoying Turkish breakfast, reconnecting with friends and of course taking beautiful walks along the Bosphorus.

The transition has been two fold for Ellie. When we are out and about she seems as if she was made to thrive in this country. Strangers upon strangers want to hold her, coo over her, wish her blessings and more, and she eats it up. If I didn’t know any better I’d say we’ve got one serious little extrovert in the making. However, at home she is showing some anxiety. If I leave the room she’ll often fuss and cry. She wants to be held much more often and isn’t too fond of playing with herself. I figure that this is a big transition time for her, so we are taking things one step at a time.

Here are some of the pictures from our fun adventures this week. I think the reason Wednesday bloomed with so much hope is because Ellie and I spent Tuesday with Elif and her Mom. It has been so much fun to get to spend time with a dear friend of eight years, and it was so much fun introducing Ellie to her Turkish grandmother!

Is there anything on Earth better than Turkish breakfast made by Elif’s Mom? Big time NO!

Ellie likes almost everyone, but she adores Elif! It’s so sweet to see them together because they can’t get enough of one another.

Turkish grandmother- Elif’s Mom! What a sweet pair.

I think Ellie is still surprised to hear Turkish terms of endearment instead of Hungarian.

It is so nice having a mule around!

Someone needs a nap after all the fun. Now, am I the only one who could NEVER sleep in this position? Babies are so funny when they sleep.

I’m teaching Ellie to drink from a cup.

Last night’s dinner- fajitas. Unwelcome visitor Mr. Caterpillar in top right part of photo. Found in one of the peppers. Eeeeww.

Today’s goal- stack the blocks. Ellie perfected kicking them, eating them, and knocking them down weeks ago. She seems to be better at deconstructing than constructing.

Everyone keeps commenting on her hair. Who is her hairstylist?

No joke- our first day here the front walkway collapsed. And no one was surprised, not even us. This is Turkey after all.

We were here for six days when we witnessed our first car accident right outside of our window. Things are never dull around here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Family day and Ellie is 5 months old!

Today we celebrated Ellie turning five months. Here she is eating her sign and hanging out with Molly.

Periodically throughout the day I would take note of the time and Scott and I would talk about what we were doing that same time on January 24th. Such fun memories! We got the blessing of a lifetime with this one. She is absolutely sweet, so much fun, and a joy. She has big cheeks, big blue eyes, darling dimples and big thunder thighs. We joke that subtlety isn’t her strong suit. She gives kisses, but does it with an open mouth. She can play a very long time on her own having fun figuring out how to manipulate this and that toy or how to kick it with her strong legs. She is a huge fan of books and loves when I sing her the ABC’s. Lucky for her I sing the ABC’s almost every time I change her, so she’ll be an expert in no time! She’s extremely happy, portable, and most of the time easy as pie. She usually gets sad when men besides Scott hold her. She’ll stick out her bottom look and look at me pleading to rescue her. If I don’t then she cries. It’s so sad but cute! It’s darling how her face lights up when she sees her dad.

Since we’ll be leaving Budapest soon, we decided today would be a good day to explore and to show Ellie some of the great things the city she was born in has to offer.

Here we are headed out (not unlike 5 months ago!) I carried the baby and Scott carried the bag. A good compromise on a hot day.

Ellie eats anything and everything in sight. Notice the charming graffiti on the bus seats.

Family photo. Notice the charming fabric on the bus seats.

We live in a beautiful city! The Parliament and Danube are in the background. Poor Ellie didn’t get a great view with her big hat on.

Scott took this lovely picture. We are surrounded by some amazing architecture.

We cleverly sought shelter from the sweltering heat down in the labyrinth under Castle Hill. I nursed Ellie in the cool and this is Scott burping her.

Yummy lunch. Potato drenched in pork deliciousness. Someone is a little jealous I think.

Scott enjoying a cold one on the tram ride home. We’ll have to remind him he can’t do that while we are in the States this summer.

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Absolutely delicious no-bake energy bites

Please make these today. They are amazing, delicious, wonderful, scrumptious. I’m kind of obsessed with them these days. After all, it’s hot. Who wants to turn on their oven to bake!?

No-Bake Energy Bites
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips; another alternative would be dried cranberries
1 tsp vanilla
Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Yum.
*Recipe borrowed and slightly adapted from here.

 

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Filed under Food and Drink, Our Daily Life, Recipes

Asparagus Crustless Quiche! It’s what’s for dinner.

Found a recipe on one of my new FREE e-books. Check out this website to get free e-books.

Asparagus, Red Pepper, Basil Crustless Quiche

Ingredients:

1 tbsp butter

1 cup asparagus

1/2 cup red pepper

1 cup onion

2 tbsp fresh basil

1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

4 eggs

2 cups milk

pepper

salt

1 tsp dried basil

Saute veggies in butter until onions are translucent. Place veggies in bottom of pie pan and add fresh basil and shredded cheese.

Whisk together milk, cheese, salt, pepper and dried basil until frothy. Poor over other ingredients in pie pan.

Bake on 350 for 40 minutes or until center is done. And, waalah, a delicious, asparagus crustless quiche to call your own.

What a great way to enjoy asparagus while it’s in season!

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Hungarian style family picnic

Yesterday we decided to take advantage of the good weather and enjoy a family picnic on Margaret Island. There were a two things that made this picnic uniquely Hungarian.

1) The PDA in the park. Oh my word. I didn’t take a picture of all the couples straddling one another because I didn’t want to have to look at it for another second, but take my word for it. As my mother-in-law says, “Hungarians put the P in PDA.”

2) Would you like a little red wine with your chicken salad and watermelon?

Scott is the official bottle opener.

 

 

 

 

 

I suppose living overseas Ellie will never know the term “open container laws”. But hey! She’ll be bilingual. Life’s a trade-off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of us enjoy frisbee or catch when we go to picnics. Ellie is rather a book worm, can you tell? Wonder where she gets that from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of taking the Hungarian food route for our nourishment (read goose liver paste on bread), I opted for a delicious Northwoods chicken salad instead. Here I am enjoying it.

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