February 11, 2012

Hot Chocolate...and other food

Spain has the best hot chocolate I've ever had...it is thick and very chocolatey, almost like drinking a melted hershey's bar. It's delicious! At cafes here, if you order tea, or a cappuccino, or most any other hot drink, it comes in the tiniest cup you've ever seen! It is smaller than an old fashioned tea cup. I see the reason for this though, after my first cappuccino over here I was up all night, so that tiny cup must have a lot of expresso/caffeine! However, the hot chocolate comes in a normal size cup, which is another perk.

On Wednesdays I have one lesson at 10:30 am, then three English lessons in a row, 4:30-5:30, 6-7, and 7:30-8:30. This makes for a long afternoon, because I have 30 minutes in between each lesson which is not enough time to walk home, and it only takes 5-10 minutes to get from one lesson to another. When it looks like this outside...

...its not really fun to just wonder around the street, so a few weeks ago I found this great bakery/cafe right beside my 2nd lesson. I stopped in for some hot chocolate, and not only was it the best I've had yet, but they gave me some free little cookies too! They were so cute that I took a picture:

The girls who work there are so nice too. So now every week I look forward to my Wednesday hot chocolate break. :)

As far as other food goes, I have actually kept a New Year's Resolution this year! My resolution was to eat better and more. This sounds funny and is opposite of the typical resolution to eat less, but I did a terrible job in the fall of feeding myself. All of Matt's food is provided as part of his contract (which is great!), but as a result, I never want to cook or make a good meal for just myself. Last fall, I ate a lot of cereal, and every week I would make a big pot of spaghetti and eat it for about 5 days in a row. Needless to say, I'm really tired of spaghetti.

My biggest hurdle to get over is that I don't want to make a big mess by cooking for just me. So in January, I just decided I was going to cook and make a mess every day, and I needed to just get over it. I haven't cooked every day, but I've done much better eating "real" food (aka not cereal and chips) and not being hungry. I've found some new recipes that I can make over here and they mostly require all fresh foods which makes me feel healthy. Speaking of healthy, the other day I finally spent some time at the store locating some baking necessities, and I made chocolate chip cookies! I surprised Matt with them when he came home from practice, and he was really excited. I'm so glad I finally got flour, sugar, baking soda, etc. because now I've come across so many things I can make! I don't really enjoy cooking (as in dinner, etc) but I love to bake! Also, at the store I found some American pancake mix, so the last two weekends we've made a great breakfast with eggs and pancakes, and that's been really fun.

I've been spending more time at the grocery store when I go, to just wonder around and find new things I didn't know they had. I've also been taking the time to Google Translate ingredients before I go, and that has helped a lot! I'm finding a lot more things, and realizing that every store here carries different things. I was trying to make chili last month, and could not find kidney beans at the most American friendly store here. Last week I was at the small market store, and I saw kidney beans. So I just have to remember who has what. I think the stores probably have more than I realize, but the packaging and the language make it difficult for me to find! For example, last week my friend showed me sour cream - it is non-refrigerated (as is milk - yuck!) and comes in a cardboard, tall skinny box. Never would have looked for that!

My friend Jackie, who's husband also plays basketball over here, sent me a lot of recipes all containing basic things you can find. I tried one the other night, the Lemon Chicken with Mushroom sauce, and it was delicious! I can't wait to try the rest of her recipes. If anyone has suggestions please leave a comment with a recipe!

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