Food

The Perfect Fluffy Pancakes Recipe

May 1st was my mom’s 50th birthday. It so happens that her birthday was during the Covid-19 lockdown, so we made the most of being inside, eating and did lots of talking.

Initially, I wanted to bake her a birthday cake, but I realised that I didn’t have enough ingredients to make a proper cake. Instead, I decided to make breakfast and try out a new pancake recipe, which I modified and even added some extra ingredients! In this post, you will find the full recipe and guide on how to make these fluffy and delicious American-style pancakes, along with some photos of how these turned out when I made them.

Pancakes never go out of style

It is believed that pancakes, or at least, some version of a pancake, date way back to the Roman times. Of course, the recipe has definitely evolved, but it is astonishing how today, most of us are still very much in love with this dish! It is a great Saturday morning brunch meal, or a perfect idea to make in the evenings and have the next morning before work or school.

I’ve tried various forms of pancakes before. My mom usually makes crêpes – which I love, however these are a completely different dish. Over the years, I tried making pancakes from scratch and even bought the Dr Oetker’s pre-mix pancakes… but never found the perfect recipe.

⭐ The Recipe ⭐

So – here is the pancake recipe you probably clicked on this post for!

You will need the following ingredients (the ones labeled with “*” are optional, but recommended):

  • 1.5 cups of all purpose flour (If you’d like to make a healthier version, try spelt flour, for example. It is high in both carbohydrates and fibre!)
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 cups of milk (I used almond milk as I am allergic to casein. If you can’t have dairy, any plant based milk is good!)
  • 1 tablespoon white / brown / coconut sugar – any of these, just don’t mix in all three! (If you’d prefer savoury pancakes, don’t put any sugar).
  • *2 teaspoons cacao powder
  • *2 teaspoons cinnamon powder

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Instructions:

    1. First place the dry ingredients together in a bowl, i.e. the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
    2. Then, add in the rest of the ingredients, i.e. olive oil, milk and the egg.
    3. Use an electric mixer to mix all the ingredients well.
    4. Make sure that the final mixture isn’t too dense or watery. In case it is too dense, add more milk. In case it is too watery, add more flour.
    5. Heat the pan on medium heat – not too high otherwise the pancake will burn quickly.
    6. Use a large cooking spoon and scoop an even amount of the pancake mixture each time and place it in the middle of the pan. Once you see bubbles of air appearing in the pancake, flip it onto the other side. Cook for about 6-10 seconds more and you’re done!
    7. I used some strawberries and bananas as toppings, with a splash of honey on top. If you’d like to have savoury pancakes, put on some cream cheese or ham instead!

That’s pretty much it! Feel free to use different or additional ingredients. The pancakes will only be perfect to you if you add the ingredients that you like (along with the essential ones)!

Hope you’ve found the instructions straightforward enough! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Bon appétit!

– Dimitrije

 

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Photos by Dimitrije Bogdanov

Photography, Travel

Morning in Edinburgh

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Photos by Dimitrije Bogdanov

Photography, Travel

Copenhagen

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Lifestyle, Scrapbook

Being mindful during quarantine

Hi everyone. I’m back at writing again. Welcome to the first post of 2020 (Yes I am aware it’s April) – hence the length… But I promise it’s a good one. :))

The last thing I want to do is to share negative or stressful information on here, because we already have enough sources reporting the awful things related to Covid-19 and we don’t need more of that. This is not me being careless about the whole situation – quite the opposite. I just feel over-saturated with information that is (most of the time) just being repeated about the virus and my brain is realising that this is not a good thing for my mental health at all. First and foremost, I hope that everyone who is and also those who aren’t reading this – are healthy and safe, wherever you are in the world. Whether you’re a Uni student (like me) whose classes and exams have been cancelled for this year, someone who’s working from home or someone who is struggling a lot from various things caused by this pandemic. I hope the situation resolves well for everyone soon and HANG IN THERE! We are all in this together. I hope this post distracts you a little from everything that’s going on and helps you realise that you’re not alone, if you feel anxious, agitated and unmotivated in these times.

When I woke up today, I saw a notification on my phone saying that my screen time was up by 12%, calculating something around 6 hours per day. That is 42 hours per week!!! Was I surprised, though? As my Uni has cancelled exams and we are basically done for the year (it’s a shame…but I am not complaining), I realised that I’ve got quite a bit of free time on my hands right now. So, most of my days consisted of scrolling through social media or watching language tutorials on YouTube, so it kind of made sense that my phone usage jumped up like mad. I realised that, for me personally, this wasn’t a good thing.

I repeatedly come across memes or posts from people about the Covid-19 quarantine, how it is okay if we don’t develop a new skill during the lockdown and also how nice it is if we do. Honestly, everyone should go by with what makes them happy and satisfied in this kind of situation. We are living in a chaotic time now, where the lifestyle that a lot of us are used to is in a complete disarray. It is normal to feel unmotivated, sad or even mentally drained – EVEN THOUGH you might be doing nothing else except walking from one room to another and spending the whole day sitting on your sofa in your PJ’s. In my opinion, whatever we find that makes us even a tiny bit happy or puts a smile on our face during this time is a BIG PLUS. It’s not healthy to compare your situation with someone else’s, because each of us are experiencing self-isolation in our own way. If it makes you feel sad and strange, then don’t feel bad or ashamed from it. You can’t control your feelings. What you can control though (in some ways), is the extent to which the lockdown impacts your mental health.

My daily routine is experiencing complete confusion. I go to bed at 2am, I wake up at around 11am and I can feel that my body is not having it. My head is in pain and even though I have free time, my body is so lazy that I feel totally unmotivated to do anything. I quickly realised that there’s not much I needed to do to get myself out of this state. Something as simple as talking more frequently to my friends helped a lot. Texting didn’t really do it for me. It seemed way too superficial at this time. Calling them is WAY better. I’m sure that your friends will be free at some point during the day or week to talk. Sometimes just being in an active call, silent and drinking tea (or wine) together is enough.

I’ve always complained how I never have enough time to learn new pieces to play on the piano or funnily enough, to write. Now is the golden opportunity to go back to those hobbies which we previously dismissed, because we were too busy, and give them a chance. Remember – they are our hobbies for a reason. They must make us feel satisfied or happy in some way, otherwise we wouldn’t call them our hobbies in the first place.

In Spain, we are not allowed to go outside unless it is essential. Doing exercise has been limited, however, putting a mat or a towel on the floor and organising ‘at-home’ workouts is as exhausting and as effective! A workout helps clear your mind, and this is something that I think is true regardless of there being a pandemic or not.

Cooking and baking is another fun activity. If this is not your cup of tea, supporting local businesses and ordering takeout is a great and an even better alternative. If you are feeling energised enough to prepare something by yourself, I do recommend this, too. Yesterday, I made a banana cake with chocolate chips. It was a lot of fun to bake, with some music in the background and the cake itself turned out super tasty. I made it in the evening to eat it for breakfast the next day with my family and it was delish!!! I will put a recipe I followed at the end of this post so you can try it out yourselves!

Lastly – I started reading a book called Self-care for the real world by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips. I bought it a while ago in Edinburgh and I’ve been meaning to read it ever since I got it. I started about a week ago, and I can already recommend it to everyone. It is a book suitable for every situation, however I think it is even more useful right now when we’re social-distancing. It is all about keeping both your body and mind healthy, dealing with anxiety, stress, loss and it also offers guidance on how to feel motivated and have mental clarity in your day-to-day life. I will also put up a link to this book below, in case you wish to read more about it.

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This was one LONG post. Thanks a million for taking time to read it. I am definitely not an expert on ‘how to be mindful’, but I hope that on at least one of the days of social-distancing, you take time to do something different and give it a go. If there’ something that you haven’t done and wanted to try for a long time, do it! If it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to blasting music and dancing in your living room. I do this all year round & I highly recommend it.

Stay safe, healthy and positive & look after your mental health.

Until next time,

-Dimitrije

p.s. Because of the current circumstances, I didn’t get to take a lot of inspiring photos this year, so I’m just going to post a picture of my dog to brighten up your day. x

🌟 Link to the Banana Cake recipe: http://www.letsdishrecipes.com/banana-bread-snack-cake🌟

🌟 Link to finding out more about the self-care book: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/34350998-self-care-for-the-real-world 🌟

 

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Lifestyle, Scrapbook, Travel

Winter Break in Pittsburgh

For the Christmas & Winter break, I decided to visit my sister and booked a flight to Pittsburgh, USA. It is definitely not the biggest city in the US, however, it’s super calm, and if you’re there visiting family for the holidays, it’s actually a very cosy place. 🙂

In December, there are no direct flights from Europe, so I had two layovers and had to change three airplanes. It was exhausting. BUT I MADE IT! And the journey as a whole was actually so much fun, especially when travelling alone and having the ability to be more independent.

What to do in Pittsburgh, PA?

There are quite a few things to do in Pittsburgh, however, I only spent a week there and I couldn’t possibly do everything. Here are some of the places you might consider going to if you ever find yourself in this early-20th century industrial capital.

Mount Washington (Pittsburgh)

If you wish to take some amazing, pro photos, then you need to go up to Mount Washington. It’s a hill, so do expect a bit of a bumpy ride. You get to it by crossing the bridge over Monongahela River from Downtown and if you go right before the sunset, the view is much prettier, too. It actually doesn’t take a lot of time to get there, because Pittsburgh itself is a town surrounded by many hills and the views are amazing. I went up to Mount Washington on an extremely cloudy day, unfortunately, so my photos look very dark, grey and gloomy. 😦

Ross Park Mall

This is a gigantic shopping centre located a bit outside Pittsburgh. It has a Macy’s store, a Nordstrom’s and many shops including Bath & Body Works, Banana Republic, American Eagle, etc. If you want to get those insanely well scented Bath & Body Works candles, you can find them here.

Gaucho Parilla Argentina

Yes we are in the US, not Argentina itself, but the food here is AMAZING. Still had leftovers of it at home because the portions are huge, but it tastes so so good.

PPG Plaza

At this time of the year, this was probably the most exciting and urban-like place to visit. There is an ice-skating rink, a very tall Christmas Tree and many different food stalls where you can get a hot drink and some pastries. I would definitely recommend visiting, as it puts you in a real christmassy mood, especially in the evening when you’re surrounded by the Christmas lights.

I hope you enjoyed reading the post, and if you did, make sure to give it a like and comment if you have any questions, or would like to add information about Pittsburgh which I haven’t mentioned! Feel free to share your travel experiences below in the comment box. :))

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas or whatever holiday you are celebrating. I wish you all the best in the New Year. Let’s go, 2019!

– Dimitrije

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Lifestyle, Scrapbook

Mindfulness

I didn’t really get to write as much as I wanted to over the past few weeks, as I had a huge amount of work to complete for school. The last year of high school is just so much pressure. Maybe you can relate, however old you are or wherever you are reading this in the world.

Last week, my school organised an event where guest speakers talked about mindfulness and about managing stress & anxiety. I found their presentations so helpful, as I am a person who literally feels stressed almost every single day, where this is created from constant overthinking and perfectionism. The overthinking and the worrying then develop into anxiety – so a loop is created where I’d feel down and miserable and find it hard to feel uplifted and optimistic again. The presentation I attended talked through different processes which could control and minimise stress and anxiety, and so I’d like to share my thoughts about what I’ve learned from it, and how my attitude towards things changed (where I finally started to worry much less about everything!!).

Talking to people about your worries

Honestly, speaking from experience, DON’T worry whether others want to listen to you or your worries. The right people WILL want to listen and help you out, that’s why they are your friends and/or family. Anyone will most probably take their time and talk to you if you tell them it’s important to you. The best is to talk with a close friend or family member and this is because they already know you and can therefore help you best.

The meaning of mindfulness and relaxation

The main idea of mindfulness is to live in the moment. Yes, at first, this sounds surreal. Aren’t we already living-in-the-moment? We are not, actually! Living in the moment means forgetting (or putting aside) things that happened yesterday, and things that are to come tomorrow. Even the things that are going to happen, to our knowledge, in the next few hours! Anxiety doesn’t have to come from negative thoughts. It can pretty much burden you from constantly thinking about anything, so simultaneously, you are not thinking about, or living, in the present. If you decide to meet up with a friend, do it! And this sounds silly, but don’t think about your work/school assignment or presentation that takes place tomorrow.. just be in the present and enjoy the moment with your friend. When you make yourself a meal, taste every ingredient when you eat. Pay attention to smaller details, to which you wouldn’t have necessarily thought about before. From personal experience, I usually watch a video or read something else whilst I eat. Though this may be entertaining, I am not focusing on what I’m eating at all. Lastly, if you do keep on feeling anxious, restless… take a break from what you’re doing! Sit down, or even lie down if you can and relax for 5 minutes. Take a deep breath in, and then out. Repeat this several times until you feel more relaxed. Don’t let anyone disturb you, or talk to you, or distract you. It is 5 minutes of your whole day, so everyone should understand and you shouldn’t worry either, as you have the WHOLE day to finish off what you needed to do. Make your mental health the priority. If you are stressed or anxious, it is likely that you won’t be able to complete any tasks to your full potential anyways.

Looking for threads online where people share how they positively deal with stress

Googling answers to specific questions can sometimes be surprising, helpful, and sometimes it can also give so many responses that you start stressing even more, especially if they’re negative. When I was dealing with anxiety a lot, I googled tips on how to minimise this. I also looked for tips on how to stop overthinking. Here are some useful links, but there are a ton more out there:

How to stop overthinking—and start living

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201602/6-tips-stop-overthinking

In my opinion, the best thing to do is to keep yourself occupied. Make sure you have a hobby, that you’re active and that you have close people who you can talk to. If you have any questions or would like to add something, please do write it in the comments below.

Have a happy week and find some time to relax! It’s just as important as working hard. 😀

– Dimitrije

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Travel

A Week in Koblenz

Last week I travelled to Koblenz, Germany. It was such an amazing experience – staying with a German family, working in a museum, and improving my German language skills.

As soon as I got to Koblenz, I fell in love with it. It’s quite a small town, however, there’s so much to do and see. The food is also quite DELICIOUS. I ate Currywurst THREE TIMES in one week!

Top Touristic Places

There are some parts of Koblenz which you need to see, such as the Deutsches Eck. I arrived to Koblenz on November 10th and exactly the next day, there was a sort of celebration in the town called St Martins Umzug (St Martin’s Procession). There was a group of people playing the traditional music live for this celebration and it was such a cosy and fun evening.

Another good place to visit is the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. It’s so beautiful, and the view of Koblenz from it is spectacular. The fortress is also the place where I had my work experience for the week. I woke up every day at around 6am, had a quick breakfast, hopped on the bus, walked to buy lunch for the day, took a lift up the hill to the fortress – and then FINALLY got to the office! I got to know some amazing people there, and really improve my German and learn more about the office-language, which I didn’t really look into before.

Food in Koblenz

I love street food!! Hot-dogs, kebabs, and currywurst are a must to try if you’re visiting Koblenz. Bon’n Frietjes is a great palce to eat Currywurst. A very good Döner Kebab place is YA Döner, which is located in Forum (the big central shopping centre in Koblenz – located at Zentralplatz). More good restaurants/cafés include: Café Einstein, Alex, VapianoGalestro, etc.

Autumn in Koblenz

I mentioned this in a previous post, but Autumn is absolutely my favourite season! I was so excited when I saw the nature’s mesmerising red, orange, yellow, brown and green colours – really REALLY pretty. Obviously, I took some photos of it, just because of the aesthetic, haha.. Apart from food, I went to the cinema and saw a German film called Der Vorname and I am actually happy that I understood most of it (YAY!) and it was quite funny too. I definitely recommend going to the cinema in Koblenz – the one I went to was called Apollo.

Day trip to Venlo, Netherlands

The museum I worked at in Koblenz organised a day trip to Venlo, Netherlands, in order to visit another museum (Limburg’s Museum) and look at different exhibitions. I loved the archaeology parts of the museum, and I enjoyed the Dutch architecture and nature. Here are some of the photos I took… by the way, I was there for ONE DAY ONLY.. so I’m happy that I managed to take a couple of photos, at least!!

Well, I hope you found today’s post interesting! If you’ve ever been to Koblenz, please comment which parts of the town you liked the most, and if you have any recommendations for those travelling there, do write them in the comment box below! 😀

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again soon. 🙂

Lots of love to you all,

– Dimitrije

 

 

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