Sunday, June 18, 2017

Summer in Southern Norway

I recently went on vacation to Norway, exploring several different cities and visiting family. The scenery in Norway is incredible, and you can often find a body of water every five minutes. For someone who lives in the midwest, I always look forward to sitting by the ocean and hiking in the mountains. Check out an overview of my trip here:
I had an awesome time working at Quality Hotel and Resort in Kristiansand two years ago (you can read more about how I was a princess and a pirate here), so I decided I needed to visit to see how everything was two years later. They were recently acquired by Scandic, and the interior looks so cozy! I definitely felt some nostalgia as I walked through the front doors, and it felt incredible when I was greeted by friendly faces. They offer a complementary breakfast to guests, and when I went downstairs to check out their gluten-free options I was blown away.
They have expanded their selection of gluten-free options to include different kinds of breads, muffins, cookies, and if requested they have a designated toaster! The chefs are well versed in offering safe options for gluten-free guests, which makes traveling there a lot easier. Eating a delicious breakfast ensures that you'll be able to explore the beautiful town of Kristiansand without going hungry!
Over the summer, Scandic Sørlandet becomes a children's hotel, offering guests a variety of children's activities. That was actually my job when I worked at that hotel, and nothing brought me more joy than seeing how excited the kids got when the princesses and pirates showed up. They also have a play room in the basement that the kids can look forward to (my brother was definitely excited to check it out). This hotel gives off such friendly vibes, so I will definitely visit again when I'm in Kristiansand!

-Sema




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New York and Nairn's

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to New York to attend an investment banking day on the job  event. I have never been to New York previously, so all I had to compare it to was the TV shows and movies that I watch--which made it so intriguing for me to see the city. Coming from a city like St. Louis, it was very exciting for me to see a city that stays up past 10 PM, and actually get a meal at 11 PM. Wandering around, I realized how much there was to see, and unfortunately my tired feet didn't allow me to explore everything I wanted to see this time around. My favorite restaurant was Trattoria Trecolori, so if you are in the area, I would highly recommend the gluten-free Rigatoni Focaccia.

On Sunday, we ate brunch at the Peninsula Hotel, and they had a delicious gluten-free avocado toast with poached eggs. Not only was I able to enjoy a delicious lunch, but I was also able to channel my inner Blaire Waldorf (any Gossip Girl fans out there?)!

Nairn's Oatcakes sent me their product, and it was the perfect snack to bring with me on the plane. I flew with Southwest, and their snacks were not gluten-free! I am very glad that I checked the ingredients on the peanuts, because even they had wheat in them. Nothing is worst than being stuck on the plane without any snacks, so I am very happy that I was able to have these crackers with me. Not only are they delicious, but they are also very filling!

I have been doing a lot of traveling recently (I am currently in Norway), so I know how important it is to always have food on you, because you never know how much gluten-free food is going to be around!

-Sema

Monday, April 10, 2017

Drip Coffee


I love coffee. There, I said it. College is a time where some nights you just need a nice cup of coffee to help you not fall asleep on your assignments. We were going to invest in a Keurig, but I found that I didn't particularly enjoy the taste of the coffee brewed in it. I also wanted to have a tea kettle (because I love good cup of tea in the evenings), so I initially brought a French Press with me. For some reason, I just never felt motivated to actually make the coffee in the mornings with it, as it required a bit more clean-up than I was willing to commit to so early in the morning. My mom introduced me to this easy way of making coffee, and I have used it ever since! I absolutely love this method of making coffee, because I can either choose to make a pot or just a cup depending on how many people I'm making coffee for. It also doesn't take up to much time, allowing me to grab my coffee and run out the door to class!

-Sema

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Week of Festivities

Happy April! I feel like I closed my eyes at the beginning of the semester, and now suddenly we are in April. Like I mentioned last week, this week has been quite difficult and long due to the multitude of exams and papers. Thankfully, this week marked the 100th anniversary of the Olin Business School, so there was a huge celebration for it! The best part was that I didn't even have to ask which finger foods were gluten-free--there were signs on each of the trays, marking the foods that were gluten-free, dairy-free, and other common allergen-free.
That extra step that they took made my life easier, and I was able to enjoy the festivities with everyone else. Yes, these fried items were gluten-free (I didn't just have to eat the salad items). If they hadn't had the labels, I would have gone to the caterer and asked which items were gluten-fee. It never hurts to ask, as most of the time there will be naturally gluten-free items available.
Yesterday, Daya came to our campus, and I had a wonderful time listening to her perform live. With clear skies and a great atmosphere, you could say it was a really good end to my rigorous week!

Although the beginning of the week wasn't quite festive, I have to say when we got to the end I got to celebrate the hardest part being over!

-Sema

Saturday, March 25, 2017

College Update

This week was the first week back from spring break, and I am feeling the wrath of all the midterms! Next week I have two exams, one paper, and a lot of preparation for the case competitions I am taking part in. It's going to be quite a difficult week but I will have to get through it! My coping mechanism is a nice cup of tea with a cookie after a long day of classes, and I can assure you that I will be drinking plenty of tea this week!
video

Have you ever gotten really frustrated putting on bedsheets? You'd be surprised at how little I enjoy changing my bedsheets, so this video demonstrates my lack of enthusiasm actually attempting to change the bedsheets. I realized after a while that I had been putting it on sideways, but hey, at least I eventually figured it out. 

-Sema

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2 Ingredient Pancakes

We have all heard that breakfast is important, but how often do we act on that advice? Sometimes I'll be running late or I'll just grab a quick snack to sustain myself for a bit, but it's not enough! That's why I'm going to make it a goal to eat breakfast more often in my dorm. The best way to motivate yourself to eat breakfast is to make foods you'll actually want to eat/have time to eat. I am currently on Spring Break, so I finally have access to a stove again! While I miss the convenience of the dining halls, nothing quite beats a home cooked meal. Today's recipe is so simple that there's no excuse for you to skip breakfast again!

Ingredients
1 banana
1 egg

Procedure
1. Mash the banana.
2. Beat your egg and add it to the banana.
3. Mix it well (you don't want a lumpy pancake)!
4. Cook the pancake like you would any other pancake, and make sure to flip your pancake when it becomes a golden brown color.

Voila! Add some toppings and you're good to go!
Enjoy!
-Sema

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

DIY Snack: Crackers and Cucumbers

While the majority of my midterms are over, college life never really seems to slow down. Each week brings a new challenge that I must learn to overcome (the majority of these challenges come in the form of papers and problem sets). While I could resort to eating junk food (which I am not going to lie, I definitely did on occasion), the aftermath of eating chips and chocolate isn't quite as much fun as the actual eating part. That's why today's DIY college snack edition features a simple combination of cucumbers, crackers, cream cheese, and pepper.

For the crackers, I used the Gratify Sesame Thins, as they are not only my favorite snack but pair very well with the cream cheese. I got a pepper packet from the dining hall, and added a cucumber that I bought from the little market we have on campus. I recommend keeping a cutting board and sharp knife in your dorm room, as it allows you to eat fresh produce instead of consuming everything out of a plastic box.

While this seems like a very simple idea, it is a ~classier~ alternative to chips. It also doesn't take too much thought to make them, but you still get to enjoy a delicious snack that is much healthier than just grabbing a bag of chips!

Enjoy!
-Sema

Monday, February 13, 2017

DIY Study Snack: Candied Walnuts


It's that time of the semester when every assignment is due on the same day! Last week I was slowly preparing for my Friday which was full of assignment submissions! But that's what college is all about, and what better way to cope with all of the homework than with study snacks? This is one of my favorite study snacks to make, because it is simple to make but at the same time is a step up from raw walnuts.

Ingredients
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon of cinnamon (depending on how much of a cinnamon-y taste you want)

Procedure
1. Melt the butter in a small pot.
2. Add the sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.
3. Stir everything together (keep stirring so nothing burns) until the sugar has caramelized and coated the walnuts.
4. Immediately transfer the walnuts to a plate, separating them. If you just leave it in the pot, you'll have a huge clump of walnuts!

Voila! You have a delicious study snack to consume as you finish all of the work you have to get done.

Enjoy!
-Sema

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Gluten-free Chex Mix

The last time I had Chex Mix was well before I was diagnosed, which was over 10 years ago! Today I decided to create the iconic snack to enjoy while I completed my plethora of homework. In college sometimes it's easy to eat comfort food, so during the month of February I'm going to share with you all several study snacks that will get you motivated to study!

Ingredients
4 1/2 cups Rice Chex
4 1/2 cups Corn Chex
1 1/2 cups Gluten-free bagel chips (I used Glutino)
1 1/2 cups Gluten-free pretzels (I used Snyder's)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
6 tablespoons melted butter

Optional for Cheddar Chex Mix:
Nacho cheese popcorn seasoning
Gluten-free cheddar crackers( I used Van's)

Procedure
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
3. Combine the melted butter, garlic powder, and Worcestershire Sauce.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cereal, bagel chips, and pretzels.
5. Slowly mix in the melted butter mix into the large mixing bowl.
6. Spread everything out onto the baking tray.
7. Bake the Chex Mix in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring it every 10 minutes.
8. Let it cool down.

For the Cheddar Chex Mix, sprinkle the nacho cheese popcorn seasoning and add gluten-free cheddar crackers. 
I loved these snacks, as they weren't too greasy as I was working on all my homework, yet they satisfied my snack cravings.

Stay tuned for more study snacks!
Enjoy!
-Sema

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Gluten-free Jam Thumbprint Cookies

With a new year comes new recipes! Today my day started with a blanket of snow that created such a cozy view outside my window. It's one of those days when baking just makes sense. This recipe is a twist on the usual sugar cookie that looks like it took much more effort than it did (shhhh, you don't have to tell anyone). It's the perfect indoor activity to do with your family or friends, just put on a little music and bake away!

Ingredients
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 3/4 cup of gluten-free flour (I used Outrageous Baking flour.)
2 softened sticks unsweetened butter
Jam (I used homemade blackberry jam.)

Procedure
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Mix the butter and sugar together. Add in the vanilla and egg.
3. Mix in the flower and baking powder until you reach a cookie dough consistency.
4. Depending the size you want the cookies to be, section off the cookie dough and roll it into little balls.
5. With your thump, create an indentation deep enough to fit the jam. Carefully fill the indentation with the jam.
6. Bake them in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookie becomes golden brown. I found that over-baking them made them a little crumbly, so create a test batch in the beginning!

Voila! You have a fancier version of the sugar cookie!
Enjoy!
-Sema