Rolo Pancake Kebabs

My last recipe post, 5 Simple Tips for Making Sashimi at Home, was logged on April 10th, 2014. That means it’s been almost a FULL YEAR since I’ve gabbed to you about a new food concoction. What’s up with that? I could blame the lack of sunlight – it’s hard to photograph recipes after work in the winter when it’s dark. I could blame life – I had a rough summer, and blogging wasn’t really my focus. I could blame work – I’ve had a lot more responsibly, which means longer office hours and less time for fun. But really, the truth is, I just haven’t felt inspired to blog. I’ve wanted to be out with friends, dancing, eating, drinking, and socializing. The thought of being at home alone, arranging plates and jotting down new recipe ideas on a weeknight just felt . . . sad.

However, I’m happy to report that the ‘old Ali’ is back in all her boring glory. I’ve been painting after work, dancing inanely to Taylor Swift for hours at a time, organizing cupboards, surfing Pinterest for recipe ideas, and eating way too much dark chocolate while wrapped up in a afghan on the living-room couch. I’ve gone into full-on winter hibernation-homemaking-hideaway mode, and it feels great :) So here is the product of my first recipe back in the saddle, and ohh god, it’s a good one. Are you ready for a whole lotta fluffy, melting, chocolaty, breakfast goodness? Please meet my new best friend(s), Rolo Pancake Kebabs: Rolo Pancake Kebabs 2This recipe came into existence on Sunday, as I was strolling through my local (Dutch) grocery store. My thought process went something like: I’m craving pancakes. I should buy mini pancakes. I bet I could do something cute with those. Put them on cupcakes? Haha pancake cupcakes. Or what about mini pancake sandwiches? Yum! With camembert and bacon and maple syrup drizzled on top?  OR WHAT IF I MAKE mini pancake kebabs!! It felt right, and soon enough, I had a pack of 50 poffertjes in my shopping cart while excitedly wandering through the grocery store, looking for the perfect pancake-kebab accompaniments.

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Supper Club: The Seafood Bar, Amsterdam

There’s a new club in town and all of the cool kids are joining. Membership is granted based on two simple criteria. 1) You have to work at Sid Lee. 2) You must eat. As many people at Sid Lee enjoy the fine art of eating, we soon had a supreme group of folk enrolled in the Sid Lee Supper Club. And so we kicked off our new initiative with a big, family-style dinner at Restaurant Blauw. The evening was a huge (stuffed, roll-home) success, and a second edition of the Supper Club was scheduled for soon thereafter. Enter The Seafood Bar, one of my favorite dinner spots in Amsterdam. I’ve been going to The Seafood Bar a lot lately (remember this heavenly Instagram photo?!) and was excited to share one of my beloved Amsterdam restaurants with the club. IMG_5812Hands down, The Seafood Bar has THE BEST raw seafood platter in town. Continue reading

Sir Hummus, Amsterdam

I’m super sleepy, but before I retire for the night I need to tell you two things. 1) I’ve re-named Pressed Words (like how I drop that in here all casually?!) As mentioned a few weeks back, I really want to get back into the swing of blogging. To kick-start this resolution, I purchased a domain name and re-branded the space. I’ve been blogging since 2012, and it’s been a crazy ride (life, blogging, everything) with so many ups and downs I could never have predicted. But in these kooky past few years, two constants remain. I love Amsterdam with all of my heart. This city is a huge source of happiness in my life, and right now, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. The second constant is my thirst for travel and adventure. Sure, I may call de Pijp home, but every corner of the globe I uncover becomes a permanent fixture in my heart, and writing about my travel adventures here, in this living, breathing storybook, is incredibly gratifying. So welcome to Amsterdam and Beyond, my space for life, love, food, friends, fuck-ups, laughter, learning, and everything in between. I’m going to continue making small tweaks to the site over the next few weeks, but expect things to get better, more epic, more personal, and more fun :) And please, comments and critiques are SO welcome!

Now, the second thing I want to tell you is slightly more scrumptious. And it’s BIG news. Ready?? A NEW HUMMUS RESTAURANT HAS OPENED ON MY STREET. Yes, I really did just shout that. Behold the chickpea and tahini glory:IMG_5788How often does a hummus restaurant open in Amsterdam? Um, like never. What are the chances of one opening up on my street? Pretty slim to none, I would say. However, de Pijp continues to be one of the coolest places in the entire world, so in addition to amazing Italian eateries, Javanese restaurants, and sushi spots, I now have a local hummus hang out. Welcome to Sir Hummus. Not only is their website adorable, but their restaurant is super cute too. Continue reading

February Hibernation Tips

I’ve spent the past few weeks being very boring. Over the summer and into the fall I was feeling super social. I wanted to be out every night, making new friends, going on dates, and enjoying the unknown in Amsterdam. But lately I’ve had this strange, deep rooted confidence. I want to be alone. I want to bask in my independence. I want to spend Wednesday night in, listening to music, surrounded by candles, browsing Pinterest and drinking hot chocolate all by my merry lonesome. I’ve been eating a lot more (yay) organizing a lot more (yay) and reading a lot more (yay). I’m definitely going through a homebody phase, and I think it stems from being content with myself. Over the summer, I could never just come home from work. I HAD to have plans, something to do, someone to see. And if I did have a night in alone (which happened very rarely) I would spend a lot of time on social media, looking for conversation or someone to connect with. I don’t know what’s come over me lately, but I’ve done a complete 180° and am totally enjoying just being an old recluse. I don’t feel hungry for a glamorous social life or attention. I just want to be at home and bake peach cobbler from scratch. And eat peach cobbler that’s made from scratch. Mmmm :)

As I’ve been spending an increased amount of time in my flat, I’ve been focusing on making my home extra atmospheric. Sometimes this simply means coming home and scrubbing the bathroom floor for 45 minutes (after I did this last week my brain kept tripping up, not recognizing where I was . . who knew my bathroom tiles weren’t supposed to have a pink tint!) and sometimes this means embarking on a rather complex home improvement project. As I’ve been perfecting the art of hibernation, I wanted to share some of my favorite tips with you – ways to make your home cozy and warm in the depths of winter.

1) Celebrate new wall art.

My walls are white, and often in the winter, the world is white outside as well. One way to create an eternal summer inside your home is to plaster your walls with bright colors and beautiful summer shots.  Continue reading

Park Güell, Barcelona

Eusebi Güell and Gaudí were homeboys. Güell was a Catalan entrepreneur, and in 1890 he established a worker’s colony north of Barcelona, in Santa Coloma de Cervello. While Güell’s textile factory was the economic centerpiece of Santa Coloma de Cervello, Güell commissioned Gaudí, a Catalan architect, to build a church and crypt that would serve as the colony’s cultural and religious epicenter. I’m telling you, total bromance. Güell and Gaudí went on to complete many projects together, exemplifying Catalan Modernism in Spain. In 1900, Güell and Gaudí conceptualized a rich housing estate overlooking the city of Barcelona. Park Güell was originally intended to be the focal point of this rich community, but after the project went bankrupt, the park was converted into a municipal garden open to the city. IMG_5758

Day 3 in Barcelona started in a small cafe. I took a work call while sipping hot coffee and forking chocolate crepes. And although the air was cool and the skies were white, after breakfast a girlfriend Eva and I set off for Park Güell, intent on seeing one of Gaudí’s most renowned creations.  Continue reading

Sunlight in Barcelona

I love taking photos, but in the winter, I tend to leave my camera at home. In January, the world is dark and most of the Northern Hemisphere is smothered in a blanket of black. Amsterdam is no exception, and in addition to very few hours of sunlight, we also get snow, hail, and rain . . . none of which are very conducive for a photographer who prefers shooting in natural light. However, Barcelona in the winter is a different story. Despite the Earth’s tilt, Spain still remains generally mild in the winter, and the sunshine is almost always present, despite the season. So although we ate a lot of amazing food, wandered down colorful alleys, past historic monuments, and into cozy cafes, my favorite part of Sunday was simply cradling my camera around the city with some great company.

IMG_5576On Sunday we left the hostel quite early, despite having all tricked in sometime around 7am. Side note: I’ve never stayed in a hostel before!! I’ve travel a lot, but usually spring for a unique AirBnb or jazzy hotel justified by the fact that I really *need* a luxurious bathtub while on holiday (life is sad in a small Amsterdam apartment without a tub!) But in Barcelona we stayed at the Box Port Hostel which was my first hostel experience. It was clean, and our accommodation was fun since the 16 of us gals literally took up one whole room. It was like a massive girl’s camp weekend, or elementary school sleepover, complete with bunk beds! The only part that sucked was the one shower. When 16 women all want to bathe at once, shit can get real (or just really early, and no one wants to wake up at 8am on holiday to bathe!) So after a marathon of blow dries and back to back showers, we hit the road early in search of some hearty hangover food. Continue reading

Babes on Bikes in Barcelona

On Friday night I left work and grabbed a cab to the airport. Melissa, my longest and closest Dutch friend (I’ve told you about her here and here) had been kidnapped earlier in the day and whisked away for a surprise trip to Barcelona. Melissa is getting married in two week’s time (eee!!) and our jaunt over to Barca was her last ‘hurrah’ before the big day. Friday night in Barcelona was low-key, as we had a bright and early start planned on Saturday. We kicked the weekend off with a champagne breakfast and some silly games, followed by a walk to the bike shop where we all rented bicycles for the day. The Dutch are known for their love of bikes, and ironically the bike shop owner in Barcelona was also Dutch! After renting 16 bight orange bikes, we hit the road for a self guided tour around the city, stopping in large centers and at beautiful parks to complete inane tasks and drink more champagne.IMG_5401Most of the photos in this post were taken one-handed from the back of my bike (yep, I’m also pretty Dutch at this point!) so excuse the lack of a concentrated subject matter. Hopefully the abundance of palm trees and blue skies will make up for it :) Continue reading

About Blogging

Happy Wednesday beautiful people. I’ve spent the past few days thinking about Pressed Words, and where I want to take this blog. Every day I get more and more visitors to the site, which on a crappy day, still averages out to more than 1,000 people stopping by. That means there are at least 1,000 people, every day, reading about my life, scribbling down my recipes, and looking through my photos. While previously this number felt big, it did not feel tangible until last night. I went to a gig and the venue held about 1,000 fans. I watched the musician on stage, and in between screaming lyrics and dancing like a mad woman, I wondered what it felt like to be the lead singer of a band, entertaining a thousand people. And then I looked around and thought, holy shit, this room is an accurate representation of my daily blog traffic! So while I’m not wildly talented, incredibly musical, or a sexy indie-hipster, I do get a lot of eyes, which is flattering, daunting, and stressful all at the same time.img_9155

^ ^ So this post isn’t totally devoid of photos, here’s one I took at the beach last year :)

Admittedly, I’ve been slacking in the blog department lately. Continue reading

Christmas in Maine

How is it already January 15th? Time is soaring by and life in Amsterdam is slowly ramping up again after a long and leisurely winter hibernation in the USA. Last night was actually my first night alone in the apartment (so much catching up to do after two weeks away!) so I spent some time sorting through holiday photos, in addition to making a big pot of stew for dinner, unpacking my suitcase, and cooking heaps of bacon (I had an 8am meeting this morning and bribed the whole team with bacon – I know, I’m the most ethical and awesome Account Director ever). Bacon, suitcases, and stew aside, it was a nostalgic evening, as the holidays are over and everyone I love so much lives so far away. This especially sucks in the winter when the nights are long and dark and I accidentally cook too much soup. One girl can only eat so much soup!

Instead of sharing my holiday photos in posts like last year, one by one by one, I’ve just included a bunch of my favorite Christmas images here, all in one place. So let’s take a little journey through winter in the countryside of Maine :) First and foremost, check out Sox, my trusty 6am jet-lag buddy . .IMG_4907He’s the only one in the house who is up before 6am, and year after year he’s willing to hang with me in the living room until all the normal people wake up to start the day. Also awake at the crack of dawn is my best friend Casey, who has a newborn and therefore doesn’t really observe night or day.  Continue reading

Unseen 2014

Happy New Year friends! Gosh, I can’t believe 2014 is over. And what a year it was. I remember updating my Facebook status on January 1st, 2014 to simply say, “It’s going to be a good one.” And man, how right I was, but for all of the wrong reasons. I thought I was going to get married this year, have my honeymoon this year, and settle into married life. I had planned a wedding, and had a dream of how life would unfold over the next few years. Now, I’m so bad at dreams. To have dreams is to put your faith and heart into something that you know might not come true. I’ve absolutely given up on dreams – on trusting what I want to future to be. Although you’ll find me smiling 95% of the time, a thin veil of pessimism has crept into my life, and instead of focusing on the future, or what I want six months from now, I’ve gained the courage to say ‘fuck it’ and just live in the moment. This has been somewhat detrimental to my health (because short term decisions often lead to horrible hangovers the next day) but at the same time, I’ve grown more in the past seven months than I have in the past five years. I’m living in the now. I’m not dwelling on the past or trying to solve riddles. I’m not worrying about the future or where I should be a year from now. I’m simply being me in the moment, trying to find meaning in everything I do, and letting go of the fear that’s associated with the unknown. I used to have a timeline of how I thought life was supposed to unfold. I used to keep track of how much money I was spending, what I was eating, how much gym time I was managing to squeeze in. I have genuinely let go of all of these things, and I can honestly say, I don’t think I have ever been more healthy, happy, prosperous, or confident in my entire life. It’s like something has suddenly clicked, and instead of trying to be what I thought I should be, I’m just being me, and turns out that’s even better. So my goal for 2015 is to keep this momentum up.

Earlier this year, Sid Lee gave everyone at the agency a Japanese wishing doll (called a Daruma). Upon receiving the Daruma, we were asked to make a wish or goal and then color in one eye to symbolize our commitment to achieving the goal. My goal was to live without fear. I did not want to fear the future, speaking my mind, or living life, even though it all suddenly seemed so uncertain. When you feel you’ve achieved you’re goal, you’re meant to color in the other eye of the Daruma. I’m still working on letting go of fear. Maybe my inability to dream or envision the future stems from fear itself. And I can tell you, trusting (as I’ve mentioned before) is a HUGE fear I’m really working to overcome. On the other hand, maybe letting go of expectations is letting go of fear. And embracing the moment is an authentic coping mechanism to banish worrisome thoughts that stem from the past or the future. Regardless, (as you can see) I’m still working on it, and that’s ok. I know 2015 is going to be a brilliant year.

That said, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past 7 months (the first 5 months of the year don’t count as they were pretty much a wash).  Continue reading