‘Dry your eyes, cupcake!’

SOME -> People lie. People are mean. People are selfish. People use you for their own needs and with the “You deserve better” line, leave you. People are careless. People are rude. People are obsessed with money. People have no morals. People get angry for no reason. People expect good things without working for them. People make others feel small and insignificant. People replace easily stuff that can be fixed. People are lazy. People cheat. People steal – money or time that you can never get back. People can’t be bothered. People are greedy. People are ignorant. People are cruel. People are superficial. People are too stubborn. People are afraid to show love and compassion. People are impatient. People judge too much and enjoy life too little. People are making too many excuses. People are unkind. People are ungrateful. People are too hateful. People criticize just to make others feel little. People don’t smile enough. People are materialistic. People are aggressive. People are arrogant. People don’t remember their loved ones’s birthday. People are intolerant. People don’t have goals. People are narrow-minded. People don’t give second chances. People are resentful. People are vulgar. People hurt others – physically or morally. People take everything without giving back at least half as much. People don’t communicate. People are too attached to their phones. People don’t accept constructive criticism. People work too much for money that they enjoy alone. People are vengeful. People don’t apologize for hurting others, but apologize for wanting to be happy. People are thoughtless. People buy presents just for the sake of it. People are trying to impress too much the people who don’t even care about them. People don’t read. People don’t make that extra effort.

Last night, someone dear to me has given me the reality check I needed a long time ago: “Once you accept people are not always nice and that things will go wrong from time to time, you’ll finally grow up and become stronger.” I knew this myself down deep inside, but I grew up refusing to accept these people exist and now it’s quite difficult to brake this perfect little world I’m living in. I needed to put this down to be able to see it more often and finally stop being so naive (yes, people who have always called me that, you were right!)

Having said that, I’ll never stop believing in better. Yes, I need to grow stronger and more realistic, but good, genuine people do exist.

SOME – > People are great. People make surprises. People hug. People are honest. People open doors for others. People are polite. People are grateful. People are kind. People go that extra mile for their loved ones. People are playful. People are not ashamed to show their feelings. People enjoy more time with their loved ones, than watching tv and playing on their Iphones. People make others laugh. People care. People are compassionate. People stop thinking about themselves for a sec, in order to help others. People enjoy nature. People would rather collect experiences than material things. People keep in touch with their dear ones. People don’t mind making a full of themselves as long as they don’t hurt anyone. People are understanding. People remember their roots. People go for walks rather than listening to dramas on tv. People help older ones in difficulty cross the street. People buy an extra sandwich or a coffee to give to a homeless person. People leave their past behind, but learn from it. People have fun playing cards and board games too and not only getting stupid drunk. People are humble. People who are strong help grow the weak ones. People accept their faults and work to improve. People don’t complain about their situation, but look to find a solution straight away. People cook for each other (or at least try to). People open their minds to new ideas, new experiences, new places. People are brave. People are not scared to ask for help when in need. People have goals and work towards them. People have integrity. People are funny. Some people hold hands until the end. People have common sense. People don’t put others down when they’re already sad and miserable. People are confident, but not cocky. People are generous. People help others without waiting for something in return. People are self-aware. People buy their loved ones chocolate to make them smile 😀 People go on adventures. People are spontaneous. People embrace change. People are determined. People are forgiving. People are reliable. People are grateful for what they have instead of moaning all the time that they don’t have enough. People dare to dream. People keep learning new things. People dare to avoid pessimists. People like making others feel special. People genuinely love people. People are happy.

Yummy post (involves sarmale, chicken fajitas, homemade chips…)

Ever since we moved in together in September, Larisa and I are trying our best to organize our finances well, splitting the money between rent, bills, girls stuff and FOOD (going out money and new clothes being a luxury). We’re not doing bad at all with the rent and bills part, however when it comes to food, we’re entering a tricky zone. We’re both gourmands and even though it’s not noticeable (muahahahahah) we eat quite a lot. People might say we’re well lucky. Our wallet doesn’t really think the same. We’re not healthy food freaks, but we do try to cook very often and avoid the instant noodles and the ready meals. Sometimes we fail miserably and end up getting the usual curry takeaway or Dominos (Yum), but this year we’ve decided to improve our lifestyle and eating better on a tight budget is one of the main things we’ll focus on. We’re Romanian village girls, for god’s sake, our grandmothers taught us well!

Having crazy schedules, long shifts and living with another 8 people doesn’t help much with cooking at a reasonable hour so we are planning to cook more food and freeze it in batches for emergencies. That will also help with saving up money as buying in bulk always ends up cheaper. Another issue we’re trying to work on is the fact that Larisa is not a big fan of no-meat meals so this is one of the biggest challenges. As we would like to avoid having only rice, pasta, noodles, pizza and spending money on takeaways and fast-food, inspired by our Romanian lifestyle, my year abroad and our last years in England, I put together a list of food ideas that we cook, but we could never be bothered to do it more often due to time, money or just plain laziness. This is to help everyone who gets stuck with eating pasta every day for a week.

– Home made pizza (make more dough and freeze the rest. when you fancy pizza just defrost it and add your favorite toppings)

– Spaghetti alla carbonara

– Bolognese  – make more bolognese sauce and freeze the rest in 2 servings plastic containers

– Cabbage soup with pork – it’s a Romanian dish we always used to have at home

– Goulash

– Chicken fajitas

– Egg fried rice with vegetables and bacon – our number 1 dinner when we’re getting back late from work

– Lasagna – make plenty of it and freeze the rest in servings

– Chicken curry – you can cook the sauce from scratch if you have time or cheat with the ready made sauce in jars

– Fried chicken thighs with mashed potatoes ( add some tomato paste, herbs and some water to the chicken and get a great gravy for the mash)

– Baked beans – make it the Romanian way and serve it with pickles, pickled cabbage/tomatoes/watermelons and you’ve got heaven’s favorite food

– Tagliatelle with spinach and bacon

– Carrot soup  + croutons

– French onion soup

– Olivier salad – in Romania, we call it salata de beouf and it’s always made around Christmas and New Year’s time

– Romanian sarmale – a mix of vegetables, rice and minced meat in a wine leaf. Served with sour cream and mamaliga/polenta

–  Bacon and vegetables risotto

–  Mushroom and chicken risotto

–  Home made chips, fried eggs and a whole lot of cheese (preferably feta cheese) + mamaliga (back home, we used to eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s legendary 😀

– Sheppard’s pie/ cottage pie – my favorite English dishes after the full English breakfast

– Roasted chicken/sausages with vegetables

– Vanilla rice pudding – served with jam or not

– Lapte cu faina – some sort of sweet pudding made with milk, flour and sugar that my great-grandmother used to make very often for all the kids (Ce ne mai adunam pe prispa cu totii si mancam lapte cu faina pana ne durea burta. Mamaia batrana ne certa “stati cu curul pe tolic, ca-i rece betonu’ cela si-o sa raciti”)

– Doughnuts – our Romanian doughnuts are nothing like the famous ring doughnut, they start as a circle, but when frying, they end up shapeless and covered in vanilla sugar are the best thing ever.

– Pancakes or crepes – served with everything: jam, sugar, chocolate spread, maple syrup, golden syrup , bacon (freaks) , strawberry, bananas etc.

– Sweet cheese. Whenever I would visit, my other grandmother, Lipica (dad’s mum, I call her by name, everyone does) always made for me this sweet desert. Just add sugar to fresh cow cheese and I could eat half a kilo in one go. In England is quite difficult to find fresh cheese, unless you’re making it yourself at home (another thing I’d like to try this year coming)

– Potato borsch

– Chiftele (with sauce or without) – mini burgers made of mince meat, egg, onion, garlic, carrot and herbs, fried in a lot of oil or grilled.

– Spanish tortilla

– Garlic soup – pretty amazing in the winter or when you have a cold.

– Aletria – Portuguese pudding made from thin pasta, eggs, cinnamon and sugar.

– Biscuit salami – probably the easiest and tastiest desert when on budget and pressured by time

– Aubergine salad

– Romanian meatball soup/ ciorba de perisoare

– Stuffed peppers – using the same stuffing from sarmale

– Chicken schnitzel with roasted potatoes (+ dill = love)

I will probably be adding many more ideas in time, but that’s pretty much all the meals I can think of at the moment that are easy to make, don’t cost a fortune and are DE-LI-CIOUS and healthy-ish too. I would love to learn to make a lot of Romanian pies (apple/ cheese/ pumpkin/ apple + wallnut/ sweet cabbage), tripe soup,  cozonac and many more cakes, but I’m taking it easy, step by step.

I would like to thank Larisa, Chef Dino, Jacek, Arek, Karolina and the master chefs – Mum, both grandmothers,  Mamaia and Alina for teaching me to cook all these.

What are your ideas of an easy, cheap and tasty meal?

Romanian sarmale and stuffed pepper served with sour cream by Chef Larisa <3
Romanian sarmale and stuffed pepper served with sour cream by Chef Larisa ❤
Clatite/ Crepes
Clatite/ Crepes