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Blogmas In January? - days 7 through 11

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all! 

Today we continue with the blogmas for 2021. As you can see, I'm a month late with this. I was very busy back in December, and i couldn't finish it on time :( 

I'll try to catch up now, in January, as I'm not inspired to write about anything else. 

Without further ado, here they are!

Day 7

Giving a second life our entries. Hmm, this is something I'll need to think about and possibly write a separate entry. 

I guess, revisiting the entries and re-editing them to sound closer to our current writing style, yes? 

I probably should do this with some. This action is good when considering re-branding. Speaking of rebranding, this entry will tell you more about some other things to consider if you want to re-brand your blog, site, or whatever.

Day 8

For the 8th day, we had to create a wreath. If you remember from 2020's blogmas, on December 15, we had to do this. Except I'm not doing that sort of thing. We don't really care about Christmas in this house, except the gifts.

Instead, I arranged some magnets in a circle. Of course i repeated what i did the year before. This year I have different magnets I found at the dumpster (next to it). I got rid of the old ones, except for 2. The little doll with blond hair is not a magnet.

magnets Dutch clogs Colorful Ladies San Francisco green house blond doll

My favorite magnets are the pink Dutch clogs, the green building, the flamenco dancer, San Francisco Colorful Ladies, and the blue door from Morocco.

Day 9

For the 9th day, we had to enter a contest for a premium account.

I didn't win because I ddin't even enter. I checked the challenge too late. The next day, late. 

There's nothing more to say about this event. 

Day 10

For this day we were asked to write about "zero waste." I wrote something similar in July, called "why isn't all single-use plastic banned" or something among this line. You can read it here, if you haven't seen it yet. 

 I do want to say that i can't see "zero waste" being possible, at least not yet. The idea is actually to reduce the amount of waste we produce daily or weekly. Additionally, we should also reduce the amount of stuff we buy, and buy only if:

  • we really need it 
  • we really like it

Buying less means less waste and more money in our wallets. This is great!

Day 11

For this day, we were asked for Christmas gift ideas. We could also share what we bought to give away as gifts. 

Obviously, back then, I couldn't post what i bought. But now i can. Well, everything i bought was decorated with birds. The majority of the birds i got were flamingos. 

The most spectacular gift was the paper gift bag itself. This is red, with some sparkles. Then, I also got a set of 2 plates. These are also red, decorated with some flowers and birds. I think these 2 were the 

©Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas - days 3 through 6? ooops

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all!

I promised I'd post more often, but one makes plans and God laughs. 

So, on Saturday the 4rd i had to finish a project, and i focused all my efforts towards it. 

Let's complete the challenges!

Day 3

The challenge was to create a playlist for Christmas. 

If there's anything i dislike more around this time of the year, or in general, is Christmas music or songs. All of them. 

Instead, i prefer calming music, the type that allows you to relax and make you feel cozy, warm, and that generally puts me in a better and calmer mood. 

Lately, i listen most of the music the youtube channel "Cappuccino" puts out. I play the songs for autumn the most because .... see above. 

I have no more words. to add here. 

Day 4

For the 4t of December we had to decorate our Christmas trees. I'll just attach a picture of mine. 

It is placed UNDER a table because the space is small and there was no room. In the other room there are cats and i don't trust them NOT to ruin the tree. 

Since it's a small tree, i can't add too much on it. I also removed that santa or snowman thing. It was overbearing the tree and the other decorations. 

Day 5

For the 5th day, the challenge was very easy: we were supposed to relax with our families. 

This is just what i did, since i had just finished a complicated project and I was mentally tired and stressed. 

Day 6

We were asked to redesign our blogs in the colors of Christmas. 

Clearly, this is impossible for some people out there who try hard to keep a steady image. 

Personally, i like my blog the way it is, i don't want to change it for any celebration. I'm not even sure how to do that. Should i write this part in several colors? LOL

 Stay tuned for the rest of the entries tomorrow!

 

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Blogmas 2021 - Day 2

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello!

It's already December, and this means it's Blogmas time! if you don't already know, last year i participated in the blogmas challenge that my blogging platform set up. :D You can read last year's blogmas at this link

If you're wondering why I wasn't present for the past few months, I'll clarify (a bit) after i complete the challenge for the day. 

As you can see, this is day 2. For the first day, we had to enter a contest for a premium account. Which i did but did not win. It's OK, I hope there will be other occasions. 

For the 2nd day, our "challenge" is to write a list of ideal gifts for this year's Christmas. This should be really easy, for anyone. 

Including for me. Or is it? Well, here it goes, in no particular order, though some are more important than others:

  • A new phone
  • The laptop's back to be repaired
  • A bottle of Chanel no 5 perfume
  • To fix my first sewing machine
  • A pair of old/vintage tailors shears
  • A premium account for my blog and site {will be live again starting January ;)}
  • My geraniums to bloom more, the ones in water to grow roots
  • My kalanchoe to bloom again

If you're curious if last year i had a wishlist challenge, I did. You can read it here. And for the curious, I had 5 wishes, and 3 of them came true :) Spoiler alert, not the serger or the "enough money to buy a house," but it's better than nothing. 

 And if you were curious as of why I went MIA ... I was extremely busy. and depressed. I started therapy and treatment.

I'm getting better and i hope to be more active from now on. 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Making salad "à la russe"

Publié le par Charly C.

Happy new year! 

I have no idea since when you guys read my ramblings here. But with a quick search in my past entries, you'll see that at the end of each year, for the past 2 or 3 years, i tried to post some "End of the year thoughts". See here, here.

This time i decided against it. I have more reasons:

  • All December I had work to do (my main job)
  • I tried to do/did blogmas (see my recent posts or the link)
  • I have this entry where i drew a bit of a line for 2020.

For blogmas day 10, we were supposed to talk about the Christmas menu. And I did. And i mentioned that, traditionally, in Romania, people like to make salad à la russe. 

made by mother and given to us for new year's

I looked through my shared recipes and i noticed that i haven't shared this one yet, despite having made it quite a few times already. 

Well, now's the time to share the recipe! 

INGREDIENTS

We wanted to make a lot of salad this time around because we really like it. This wasn't the best idea ever but we did it anyway, so here we go.

We used for the salad:

  • 2.5 kg potatoes
  • some 4 carrots
  • 4 -5? pickled cucumbers
  • some salt
  • 1 big jar of peas (already cooked, drained)
  • egg-whites from 1 or 2 boiled eggs

We decided to make our own mayonnaise, but to also buy some, in case I fail at making the mayo. I remember the first time I made mayonnaise - it was thick, yummy, and I was proud of myself. 

Most likely, after that, I was over-confident, as the next other times I made it, it didn't turn out quite the same. Oh, well, we live, practice, and then we become better. 

For the mayo I used:

  • 1 egg yolk (from a boiled egg)
  • 1 raw egg -whole
  • some mustard 
  • some salt
  • oil (as much as needed)

For decoration: (you can use what you have on hand, these are the most common things you'll see in Romania, on this dish)

  • black olives - pitted
  • pickled red peppers
  • pickled cucumbers
  • pickled carrots
  • fresh parsley (not other herbs)
  • hard-boiled egg(s)
METHOD

For this salad, we have to boil the potatoes and the carrots, then dice them. The dice shouldn't be too small, nor too big. You want the dice to be actually smaller, rather than larger, so that the salad would have a smoother appearance. 

If the dice are larger, the salad will look as if you made it with rocks and boulders instead of potatoes.

We decided to boil these 1 day ahead. And as you can see from my pictures, i boiled the potatoes for far too long. They shouldn't crack like that. The potatoes should be cooked, but firm for this salad.

Maybe I should have used red potatoes? I have no idea, but almost every time I try making this dish, I overboil my potatoes and they're far better mashed than diced. 

As you can see, I used larger pieces of carrots. I think by weight, the carrots are half the weight of the potatoes, maybe even less than that.  

Given the quantities, you'll need a very large bowl in which you'll throw everything for mixing. 

I suggest that on the day you want to prepare this, you first make the mayonnaise. If you don't want to make it, you better buy 2 bigger jars of mayo. 

To make things better, get the fancier, more expensive brand. It should taste better. The type and taste of the pickles, as well as that of the mayonnaise, are the secrets to this dish.

These 2 ingredients will make or break the taste of the whole thing and will decide if you like it or not. 

So, to make mayonnaise, you have to mix the hard-boiled egg yolk, the raw egg yolk, some salt, some mustard, with plenty of oil. 

The best tool for mixing, I noticed/learned to be the vertical blender part of your mixer. You add the oil bit by bit, and you might also need to add some salt and mustard from time to time. 

If you think the mayo looks too thick (almost like cream cheese) you can add the raw egg white as well. Try not to add it all at once as you could ruin the result, or it may take some time for the mayo to re-gain a decently thick consistency (yogurt-like). 

Once you figured the mayo out, cover it and put it in the fridge to rest. Now you can start dicing the potatoes, carrots, and pickles.

You throw these in the large pot/container along with the drained peas. For reference, I used the pot in which I boiled the potatoes after cleaning it.  

At the end, you can also throw in a hard-boiled egg you diced. This improves the taste of the salad. Don't forget to add some salt in with everything, or this will be a bit sweet and tasteless. This is not something you want.

As you can see, I diced my potatoes in sizes that are a bit too big. They should have been half that size, thus slightly larger than the peas. I also forgot to add the salt. And that's not the only thing i forgot to add. 

Now, it's time to add in the mayonnaise and to get your hand dirty. Mixing with a spoon is fine, but I feel I have better control over the mixing process if I use my hand. 

Once you're done, you can transfer the salad to other containers or plates, for decoration. I used 2 plates and a big soup bowl - i forgot its name. 

 And then, you'll need to use your imagination on decorating these. Nature-inspired decor (like flowers, or the sun) looks the best - somehow it balances out the heaviness of the mayonnaise. Red, orange, and black give it a nice visual contrast.

Above, you can see the decor I came up with. I had black olives in the fridge, but i forgot about them at first. I added some after, but i didn't take pictures anymore. 

Like i said, this is best eaten the day after you prepare it, so that the flavors mix in a bit more. We eat this usually on its own, but with bread. Extra pickles also work, as there is plenty of mayonnaise to make one nauseous. I think it's served before dishes with meat. 

I hope you can give this salad a go and that if you do, you'll enjoy it as much as we do. 

Bon Appetit! 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas days 19 through 22

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello Everyone!

This entry is a short overview of Blogmas days 19, 20, 21, and 22. The challenges for days 23 and 24 have never been posted. Even the challenges for these 4 days appeared much later. 

With all these aspects taken into account, this will be the last blogmas entry for me, for this year. 

I'm writing this on the 27th, but thanks to some functionalities, I can post this on any previous day I want (as I type this, I'm still trying to decide on which day to post this). Someone who will read this blog for the first time in the future, will not know without this disclosure. 

I just wanted to mention this, so that those of you who visit my blog will not think your brain is playing tricks on you. 

On with the challenges, shall we?

DAYS 19 and 20

I put together these 2 days because they have the same challenge: finish up the gifts for Christmas

I gifted my partner mostly on Hanukkah and on the virtual-pet site we play. You can read more and see here the gift I prepared for them. 

I still prepared another gift for them. This time a satin poncho/wrap/thing that looks as if it could be some pajama top or cover. 

It can be worn anywhere, any time almost. I want to write a blog entry about how I made it and everything, so please keep an eye out for that. I want to post it before the New Year, but we'll see. 

DAY 21

The challenge for the 21st day of blogmas was to draw a line/conclusion from the statistics (of the blog). 

So, i posted  during 10 months out of 12 in 2020. However, i had people visiting my blog every month. I'll share the data here for transparency, as well as for me to find it easier if i ever want to look back on it (in December 2021 for instance). 

statistics
MONTH #posts VISITS VIEWS
january 3 86 111
february 3 43 49
march - 102 143
april 3 219 252
may 2 111 130
june - 81 100
july 2 80 106
august 2 95 127
september 1 125 171
october 2 218 288
november 2 127 167
december 16 174 213
TOTAL 36 1461 1857

The article with most views is "What is tea like in Romania." I posted a total of 36 articles in 2020, this one not included. 

The only thing i can think of that drove more visits was that i was probably more active on various forums where i have links to my blog/site in the signature. 

DAY 22

For the 22nd day of the blogmas, all we had to do was to enter a contest for a free business account for 1 year! And of course i entered. 

and....

I WON! I WON! I WON! 

I can't believe i won! 

The cost of the Business account is 239.88 euro per year. I had an Individual (lower) account that costs 59.88 euro per year. Those who choose to pay every month, have to pay 23.99 euro/month (or 287.88 euro per year) and 5.99 euro/month (or 71.88 euro per year), respectively.

Now I have to post as much as i humanly can, to take advantage of this offer. 

See you next year!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas day 18 - Read the Over-Blog's staff's blog

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello Dear everyone! 

Today's challenge is to read the blog written by the staff of Over-Blog for the bloggers using this platform. 

This blog is in French, and you can access it here

Here is where the staff shares updates for the platform or where new ideas and subjects are posted, for us to develop on, on our own blogs. 

I personally like seeing what others share. However, it is difficult for me to find someone who i enjoy following. Especially in reading. 

You see, i'm a slow reader. I only read only when i have to - for work, tutorials, recipes, or other instructions. Of course, i read some books as well

I just recently discovered a French creator. She runs the blog Les Creations de Cathy M. but she writes in French. She presents sewing-related creations. However, there are pictures for some of the things she makes. Some of the entries have step-by-step pictures, so it's easy to understand if you don't speak the language. 

I recommend using Google Chrome for the option to translate a page on the spot.

If you prefer sewing blogs in English, try the Camden Stitch blog. Jay, its author, also has a Youtube channel, by the same name. She didn't post recently due to some personal problems, but i'm sure she'll be happy to receive some attention. 

See you in the next entry, because I don't know what else to say. <3 :3

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas - days 15, 16, and 17

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello everybody!

Today is the 17th day of Blogmas and you perhaps wonder why didn't I post daily as promised, especially lately.

The answer is pretty simple: not all the challenges were created to writing something. Or if I could have written something, it would have been too short. 

Personally, I don't like very short entries - we have Twitter for that. I also don't read very long entries, and I'm pretty sure nobody really is either. 

Let's have a look at the challenges for the missing days!

DAY 15

For blogmas day 15, we were supposed to make a Christmas wreath. You may wonder why, since for the 5th day of blogmas we had to decorate for the holidays. I mean, it does include putting out a wreath as well, right?  

And you may also remember from the same entry that we don't really have any such decors. 

Well, at the time you may be reading this entry, you may not know, but I have some updates for that blogmas day ;) 

However, I also completed the challenge for the 15th day as well. Well, sort of.... 

I had these magnets on the entrance door. and they were placed in a chaotic manner. 

Now, they're arranged (in no particular) order. But they form a circle more or less, that can be reminiscent of a wreath. a very stylized wreath, if you will. 

Can I get a T for "I tried?" ;p 

DAY 16

To be completely honest with you, I haven't even seen the challenge for this day. Like I mentioned, the challenges are posted on Facebook

Even if I did see it, I wouldn't have been able to write anything because I was out and about for most of the day. This involved a lot of walking. 

When we got home I was tired, I had to write for my day job, as well as cook some food. I also decided to write a review for a beer on my BeingObscure.com website

Writing for my blog would have been impossible. 

In any case, when I finally discovered what the challenge was, I realized I couldn't write much about it anyway. The challenge was to "be positive the whole day."

This challenge did make me think of this entry from about 2 and a half years ago. I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote it. 

I believe we'll have to change our perspective on this year and everything that happened. it's been tough, but we made it. Those who didn't ... let's pray for them and let's not forget them if they were close to us. We can only hope their suffering ended and that they are in a better place, I suppose. Let's not take our lives for granted. 

However, to keep in the spirit of the challenge even more, I'll share with you something that manages to make me feel better and more positive: some nice hot coffee.

a cup of matcha latte from maybe may 2018? december 2019? i forgot.

DAY 17

Today's challenge is to update old entries. This is good practice for bloggers. Over-blog suggests a few ways in which we can do this: 

👉 Update your old items regularly
👉 Create an article on a theme that comes back regularly on your blog
👉 Submit a Best-of-Your-Read Best-of-Your-Best-Read Articles
👉 Link your articles
👉 Repost/share old articles on your social media

I, in fact, recently updated an old entry. It's a recipe and you can see it here

Most of my articles have links - either to other entries on my blog or to other sites, as you can see in this entry. 

Well, this is it for now! see you tomorrow!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas days 12, 13, and 14

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello everyone!

Today's entry is another combined entry. And you'll soon learn why, when i talk about the challenges.

DAY 12

For the 12th day of the challenge, we were instructed to watch a movie. 

We didn't watch any movie, but we do watch a Chinese historical drama called, in English, Ruyi Royal Love in the Palace. You can watch this show on youtube for now. 

We are actually kind of binge-watching it because I'm playing about 2 episodes at once. 

Before the show though, i had to work on the project at hand with the deadline on December 31st. The current project is rather boring, and I'm dragging myself to write it, thus wasting quite a lot of time, sadly. 

We also went to the store and bought some stuff, including some minced meat that became meatballs. I have a recipe for meatballs over here

This time, instead of frying the meatballs, i actually cooked them in the oven. This way, i can cook more at once - this time, all of them, thus saving time. They also turn out less oily, which is better. However I didn't take any pictures, so i'm using the old one.

That day I also made doughnuts. You already know the recipe from here

DAY 13

For the 13th day of the challenge, we had another contest at hand. This meant we didn't need to write any entry. 

Due to some events, ahem/procrastination/ahem, this entry was thought of on this day. I wasn't able to finish it on time, sadly. 

Oh, the result of the contest? Again I didn't win. Maybe next time? 

DAY 14

On the 14th day of blogmas, we're supposed to write an ABOUT ME page. 

OOPS. I just realized i don't have such a page, but now i will have to write one. However, i need to think it out well enough, so i can't publish it for now. 

Once the blogmas challenge is done, I will write such a page and it will be linked at the top, like the others. 

Thank you for your patience with no entries for 2 days in a row. I just condensed 3 shorter entries in a single one. 

See you tomorrow. hopefully.

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Blogmas day 11 - Worst Christmas

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello there!

So today i'm supposed to talk about the worst Christmas. 

This will be hard for me. Not because i have too many such instances to chose from, but because i can't remember. 

Honestly, i don't want to remember bad things. I want to remember good things. I want nice memories. 

I don't think we had bad Christmases. Maybe last year was a bad one or ruined one.. And most other Christmases were probably sad while seen from outside as we had no decorations and not much gifts. 

Milky the cat back in Dec. 2016

However Anna and I had one another and the pets, and we were healthy. We also had a roof over our heads and food on the table. Sometimes we even had a lot of work to do, so that was distracting. 

I also wish for my readers to collect nice memories more than bad ones. 

The world has enough bad things going on that we really don't need more negativity. 

I'm also trying this blogmas challenge for the first time this year, to end the business year on a positive note. This is because so far, after 10 days of writing on the blog every day, i realize i had fun. 

I expected to have fun at least to some degree, and i see i wasn't wrong. So yay! 

(c) ObscureJourney.com - december 2020

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Blogmas Day 10 - Christmas Menu

Publié le par Charly C.

Hello all!

So today I'm supposed to plan the menu for Christmas. Except I don't need to because every year we eat the same thing. 

See, here in Romania, there are a set-in-stone celebration dishes. Everyone makes the same food. Rarely there's any variation. 

One of the first things that need to be made for Christmas, or any other big celebration that is, is the cozonac

I personally never made one, so I don't have a recipe for it. As type of food, this is a dessert. By the method used to make one, it is a bread. So basically, it's a sweet bread and traditionally it has a filling made of nuts and cocoa. Rum (the alcohol) or rum essence (flavoring) can also be used in the filling. 

Blogmas Day 10 - Christmas Menu
Blogmas Day 10 - Christmas Menu

Of course, nowadays it is very common for city folks to buy one or a few. In the country side, it is still being made the traditional way.

The cozonac found int he city comes in different shapes and flavors, with some of them better than others. 

Another dish that cannot be missing from the Christmas table are the sarmale. This dish comes from Turkey and if you know that dish you'll know this one as well. 

We have cabbage leaves wrapped around a filling made of rice mixed with meat. Generally, the meat is a mixture of beef and pork. I talked a bit about the filling in this article. 

You just have to take about a spoonful of filling mixture and put it on the cabbage leaf, then to roll or pack the whole thing neatly. We'll most likely receive some Sarmale, if everything goes smoothly this year, considering the virus. 

Sarmale are labor intensive and this is why they're kept for special occasions. These special occasions can include weddings and funerals, especially in the countryside. 

Another dish you'll see is the Oliver's Salad, though it's usually called Boeuf Salad or A la Russe. There's actually a small difference between Boeuf and A la Russe: the former has meat and the latter does not. Otherwise, they look the same and generally have the same ingredients. 

The ingredients are boiled potatoes, carrots, peas, pickles, black olives, and mayonnaise. Everything gets chopped and mixed together. It is usually decorated with olives, boiled eggs, and red pickled peppers. This salad i plan on making. I made it before, and i can't believe i have zero pictures as proof, though i had some pretty ones made. 

Creator & Copyright: Dana Valery from retete-culinare-cu-dana-valery.ro/reteta/salata-a-la-russe-cu-legume-si-maioneza

That's what it can look like and the link will take you to a recipe in Romanian. Google Translate can be your friend.

This salad should be made a day or two in advance, so that the flavors mix well. It's definitely a dish that tastes better at least the next day, and it has to be kept in the fridge. 

The taste depends greatly on the pickles used as well as on the mayonnaise. It's best to make the mayonnaise at home, from scratch as it tastes better than the one from the store. 

Many people would prepare many dishes based on pork, as they butcher a pig a few days before Christmas. The most notable dishes are steak and home-made sausages. 

Some people will replace the pork with a roasted chicken or maybe beef. 

This is it for now! see you in blogmas day 11!

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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