The Art of Not Using Things

When it comes to the art of not using things, the Turkish housewife has this art mastered to a Tee. If you wonder how things are kept so new in a Turkish house then let me help you to unravel the mystery: they don’t use them. Both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law have misafir rooms (not guest room per-se, more a drawing room). I have never been permitted to sit in these rooms. Perhaps because, with my three children, I am a liability. The new-looking sofa set very rarely gets sat on, and the light coloured rugs very rarely get trodden on. I suppose you really do have to be a VIP to have the privilege. Those who do not have the luxury of a spare misafir room, have to make do with what they have got, and they do so by covering everything up. I once read that Turkish housewives are the ones to buy new sofas because of their fancy designs, only to then cover them up. I have even known people to cover up their rugs. My mum does this on a smaller scale too, it drives me bonkers. I like to buy her nice things to use…but she just won’t use them. She will have to hide them away for a while first, saved for a special occasion. It has been psychologically embedded into our brains. Must keep things new! Must keep things clean! I am not like this. Well I didn’t think I was until this morning when I realised that I did not allow my family to eat on our dining table in our dining room. Our dining table is currently covered with a very Turkish and very posh looking table cloth. I cannot robe and derobe the table every time we have a meal, so we all eat in the small little table in the kitchen. I guess I am not completely immune to this phenomenon. What purpose does our dining table serve if not to let us eat on it? Who knows… but it looks good though.

Ramblings of a Turkish Housewife

It’s midway through the school year, spring is almost here and I am keeping busy. I have realised that having a lot to do isn’t necessary a bad thing, it keeps the mind busy. I always have work to get on with and can at least never complain that I am bored. I guess there is a lot to be happy about.

Blogwise I have been getting the most random spam messages in my comments! These spammers are getting very clever in their generic comments, I get comments such as ‘you make an interesting point!’ and ‘I have been looking into this subject myself!’ One fooled me once I must admit, so I did let one get through the net. I have given myself a slap on the wrist and have learnt from my mistakes.

Housework wise, my house is currently looking very messy. There’s just too much to do and I do sometimes just go through a phase of not caring. Don’t worry though, after a while the mess gets to me and I go back to being a good housewife again. I am also trying to get some gardening in, so if its a choice between gardening or housework I tend to choose the gardening, I try to take every little bit of happiness where I can find it. If I do get some unannounced guests, I’ll just have to sit them in the garden.

Online I have joined many different Facebook groups. I’ve joined a lot of cleaning groups where I have learnt many different cleaning and tidying hacks. Mainly that the answer to every cleaning question is either vinegar or bicarb. I have even cleaned my oven using a dishwasher tablet (a new internet cleaning craze) but have yet to buy ‘the pink stuff’ which apparently also cleans everything under the sun. I am, however, now the proud owner of a bottle of Zoflora.

But my favourite Facebook group at the moment is the ‘Turkish Wives Masterchef’. I didn’t realise when I first joined that the group was set up for the foreign wives of Turkish men. In the beginning I totally felt like a fraud – like an adult in a children’s class, clearly out of place- but it is such a lovely group run by a lovely group of ladies. Here, I have been learning so much. If you want to master the art of Turkish cooking, you do need a support network, you do need to have someone to ask for advice, and if you join this group there’s always someone around who can answer. So you can find me and many other successful and wannabe successful Turkish cooks here. There’s also a weekly challenge that you can participate in too.

So where are the recipes to all these new delicious dishes that you have learnt to cook I hear you ask – I promise to share them with you soon!

Kalin saglicakla – Stay well x

The Importance of a Superficial Clean

Sometimes I get so frustrated trying to keep my house clean and tidy that I feel like giving up completely. I am forever in the pursuit of perfection, and because I never achieve perfection I am never happy; Here is where I think a superficial clean can help. Just give your house a quick tidy, no more than 15 to 30 minutes max. Just walk though your house and have a look at it through the eyes of a guest and just hide away the mess that is most noticeable, you don’t even have to put things away properly. But what have you really achieved I hear you ask? Well, first of all the house is guest ready. There is no panic attack when the doorbell rings. Second of all there is a certain peace of mind that comes with knowing the house is clutter free and looking good. I myself am new to this technique, I used to like to doing things properly from the start, but I am slowly now realising my mistake. This superficial clean is best done first thing in the morning, so that if you want to get on with other things during the day you can. A quick tidy at the end of the day, ideally with the whole family involved, is also a good idea.

And once you are done, you may reward yourself with a cup of tea or coffee, sitting comfortably knowing that your house at least looks good, even if it isn’t necessarily clean.

Puff Pastry Boreks

I always feel so much better when my children take a decent lunch to school, and although I can’t always be making boreks for them everyday, these are pretty quick and simple to put together. They are also useful for serving to your guests.

I cut up shop bought puff pastry into squares and add white cheese and parsley for the filling, roll them up and egg wash them. You could also add seeds on the top to make them look more presentable, especially if they are for guests. Bake until golden brown, about 30-40 mins.

Always use good quality puff pastry. I tried using store brands and they just didn’t rise as well. You can be as adventurous as you like with the filling and can even have them plain with no filling at all.

Pocket Money Parenting

This week I have introduced a new concept to my kids; if your bedroom ain’t tidy then you ain’t getting any pocket money. So far so good. The biggest problem I have is myself, I feel bad at the end of the week if one of them doesn’t get paid. I need to stick to my guns otherwise this new system of mine just will not work. I also get tempted to add other chores, but I know that I shouldn’t really do that. They may think that it’s just not worth it anymore. At the moment I still have to remind them of our deal constantly, “If you don’t make your bed soon you will not be getting your pocket money this week!”. I also worry that they are going to lose pocket money rights at the beginning of the week and then just leave their rooms messy for the rest of the week. I am also acutely aware that my system is slightly unfair as my daughters share a room and if one slacks, the other gets punished too. It’s the type of punishment that I used to detest at school, whole class detention for example, when you have shown exemplary behaviour. It is just not fair, but it can’t be helped. I can’t, each week, try and work out who is at fault. All I can do is apologise to the innocent party, I guess it’s a worthy life lesson for them; life isn’t always fair. If it was, I wouldn’t have to pay my children to keep their bedrooms tidy.

Always a New Parent

When you become a parent, everything is new… forever. Whatever stage you are at in the parenting game is a new stage. It doesn’t just end with having another child, you then become the new parent of two children and that is something new that you have never experienced before. So I would go as far as to say that every parent is a new parent, having to work out how to get through the next new stage of parenting. Even if you were to have 10 children, it would be the first time that you had a 10th child and you’d have to deal with all the new situations associated with that. Things like, how child number 9 will feel not being the baby anymore and how child number 1 will feel having yet another new sibling.

I have three children and sometimes people look at me and think that I am an ‘experienced’ mother. I would argue that no one really is. I, like everyone else, don’t really know what I am doing. We just hope that we are getting it right, and because everything we do is new to us we sometimes make mistakes (and even if there was such a thing as an experienced parent, how many times would a person have to go through the same situations to become one?). Even when you have families of a similar constitution and age ranges, these families are still different and what works for one family may not work for another. Children will have different personalities and different needs. No two families are the same.

For us, we are entering a new stage. I am now the parent of two teenage girls. I am now the parent of two teenage girls! The thought is so new to me and so overwhelming sometimes. The whole parenting game is about to change, but no one has taught me the rules of this new game.

Yogurt Soup (Yayla Corbasi)

So I looked in the fridge and what did I see? A whole lot of yogurt. It’s always been my philosophy to ‘cook what you have’. So today I made a yogurt soup. It’s one soup that everyone in my family loves. I’m not sure if there is a correct way of making this, but this is how I make it:

In a pan add yogurt (about 500g) and two glasses of water. Add an egg (this makes it what the Turks call ‘Terbiyeli’) and a couple of spoons of flour. Mix well with a whisk. Put this on the stove to start warming then add a handful of washed rice.

Occasionally give the soup a mix as it is cooking.

In a separate pan melt a spoon of butter. Add dried mint, basil, salt, red & black pepper and optional chilli flakes. Once the butter has melted add it to your soup.

Keep cooking on a low heat until the rice has soften, for about half an hour.

Yayla corbasi

I also sometimes like to add lemon to this soup.

New Year, New Me

New Year, new me. Or not. I would like to say that I have big plans this year but that would be a big fat lie. I would still like to lose a bit more weight, but as this was my resolution last year it doesn’t feel like anything new. I still would like to improve my cooking skills and manage to keep on top of the housework for a change, but again there is nothing new in that either. The same goes for parenting, I still want to be the best mum that I can be, so I will just continue to strive to do my best .

I once read that in order to be happy in life you need to keep setting (and achieving) goals, but for me maybe now is not the best time for me to add new targets to my list, I think I already have enough to get on with.

So my new year’s resolution this year is just to keep striving to be the best version of me that I can.

Can Anybody Find Me… A Book to Love?

I love reading, but I can never really find great books to read. It’s such a struggle for me and it’s probably going to be the reason why I end up writing my own novels one day. I am going to write something that I personally would love to read. I think a book should have it’s readers hooked right from the very beginning. So here I ask of you to recommend some of your favourite books. Here are mine:

  • Flowers in the Attic (Virginia Andrews). I read this when I was about 12 years old and it’s the book that started my love of reading and for that I am ever grateful. However, I do not recommend this book for anyone so young.
*
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon). Read and thoroughly enjoyed.
*
  • Twenties Girl (Sophie Kinsella). This book is laugh out loud funny chick lit, as a lot of Sophie Kinsella books are, but this is the first one that I came across and loved.
*
  • 40 Rules of Love (Elif Safak). It’s more of a spiritual book than a love story, but I really enjoyed reading it.
*
  • Elenor Oliphant it Completely fine (Gail Honeyman). It’s one of the few award winning books that I can agree is actually award worthy.
*
  • Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte). As previously mentioned, my favourite classic.
*
  • The Alchemist (Paul Coelho). Yes, since reading it again I have decided that it now makes it onto my favourites list and I look forward to reading it with my children one day.
*

I promise to add to this list as I think of more.

*As an Amazon Affiliate I benefit from purchases

It’s the Holidays!

But I have realised that there is nothing much for me to be happy about. My workload has doubled.

I always start the holidays with such enthusiasm and happiness, but it didn’t take long for me this time to work out that there is nothing great about the holidays. I started off feeling relaxed about the housework and cooking. I thought I could have lazy days too… then on about the third morning I got up and looked at my messy house and thought, no, actually this isn’t much fun! Who is going to clean this house eventually if not me?

So I returned to my usually routine of cooking and cleaning, except this time the cleaning and laundry load had doubled and I had to keep on top of it all.

The lie-ins that I was so looking forward to just ended up making my feel groggy and gave me headaches.

Oh an the kids, they are another matter, why can’t they all just get along?!

I have also put on weight, but I guess that is what the new year is for.

Anyway don’t mind my moaning, I hope that those of you who are ‘on holiday’ are finding a way to have your cake and eat it.

Londrada Bir Turk Ev Hanimi

Londradan selamlar. Belki sayfama gelen ziyaretcilerimin bir kisimi Turkce okumak ister diye, burda birde Turkce bir sayfam bulunsun istedim.

Bu sayfa neyin nesi diye merak eden olursa, bu sayfa benim hayatimin buyuk bir parcasiyla ilgili. Ben bir ev hanimiyim ve de bir anneyim. Siradan bir ev hanimi degil, ben bir Turk ev hanimiyim. Bu sayfada, sizinle bu konuda hem basarilarimi, hemde basarisizliklarimi da paylasmak istiyorum. Turk Ev hanimi olmak kolay bir is degil. Standartlar cok yuksek, ve ben her zaman bu standartlara ulasamiyorum.

Turkcem, ev hanimligim gibi de kusurlu 🙂

Zorlandigim konularda bana yardimci olamak istermisininz? Yorumlarinizi bekliyorum.

Sevgiler,

Ela x

Developing Your Child’s Vocabulary

There’s no doubt about it, children with parents who have the most sophisticated vocabulary are the ones who grow up to have the most sophisticated vocabulary. Children will learn by your example and the words you use everyday are so important, so first step, better your use of language and your children will follow suit.

Step 2, of which you are all aware, is for your child to read. One thing I am guilty of along with other parents is that I stop reading with my children when they have learnt to read. It’s great if your child is able to read alone and hopefully for pleasure, but learning from what they have read becomes manyfold if you read together and have the opportunity to discuss what you have read. This is not something that you have to do everyday, but doing it a couples of times a week or more will greatly increase your child’s understanding.

Step 3, actively learn new words. My children have vocabulary books in which we write new words and their definitions. Writing new words down in a book gives us the opportunity to go back to the word at a later date and revise the word.

I use vocabulary cards like these to learn new words, but you can also find them online or even just from a dictionary.

Once we have learnt a selection of words, I use an online crossword maker to test my children’s knowledge. I find crosswords are the best way to revise new vocabulary. 

You can find an online crossword maker at discoveryeducation.com

I hope you have found this useful, a love (and understanding) of reading really can help set your child up for life.

No Pain, No Spiritual Gain?

I know I am way off topic here, but recently I have been feeling pretty low, like I have been carrying a pain in my chest and I’m struggling to shake it off. Which got me thinking.

Of two things in life I am certain. One is death and the other is pain. (If pain is certain, is happiness too you might wonder?)

A long time ago a work colleague recommended a book with such passion that I went off and bought it straight away. Back then when I read it, I didn’t think much of it. Last night I came across this book again and thought I would give it another go, perhaps there was something I had missed the first time around? I am also a lot older and perhaps wiser now. I haven’t got very far with the book but I can tell you that it is about life, destiny and choices. I realised something whilst reading the book that hadn’t occurred to me before: you only really start to question your life when you are unhappy. Feeling pain is the one thing that gets you thinking about your life and your destiny; whether you are doing the right things and where your life is going. When you are happy, you live in a bubble, and as long as you are in this bubble you don’t feel the need to make any changes to who you are and what you are doing.

If you look at pain in this way, it takes on a new light. Pain becomes not only desirable but a key part in human development. I can see why pain is a certainty in life, without it we would not be able to make changes and move forward.

I’m still struggling to get rid of this feeling, but in understanding that it has a purpose, I hope it will help to keep me going. This blog entry would not have existed without it.

And the book? The Alchemist by Paul Coelho.

*

Menemen

Turkish eggs! At a time when low carb eating is in fashion, Turkish eggs is one recipe that you will come across a lot these days. I love a good Turkish breakfast and menemen is so healthy and so delicious: I just haven’t found a way to consume it without eating a whole loaf of bread with it, it’s just so perfect for dipping into!

Saute 1 chopped onion and about 2 chopped up sweet green Turkish peppers (or spicy green chillies if you dare)

Add peeled and chopped tomatoes (2-4)

And cook until the tomatoes are broken down – season to taste

Add 4 eggs and scramble in the menemen mixture

And enjoy this Turkish breakfast any time of the day.

No Shoes Please – We are Turkish

There are two things that us Turks, and particularly us Turkish housewives, refuse to conform to, and the first is the wearing of shoes at home. No, no, no and no. No. Please. And really, why would you? It’s really a huge issue for us. Everytime I have a new non-Turkish guest I have to ask them in the politest way to take their shoes off. Some are OK with this, but some make the biggest fuss.

For delivery men they now have the excuse that it is a health and safety issue. Well for me, you bringing in all the dirt from outside really is a health and safety issue too. 

If it so happens that someone manages to enter a Turkish house with their shoes on, then some poor person will then have to clean the floor after they have left, carefully calculating where they have stepped.

I once made the mistake of asking a fellow Turk if I should take my shoes off when entering their home (the house looked a bit shabby so I thought they might have been a bit more relaxed). Big mistake, I really offended them!

So shoes off please, for us it really is a big deal.

Oh and the second issue, leaving dish soap on dishes as opposed to rinsing it all off. Very puzzling indeed…

It Started with a Husband Ironing

So I can’t shake the feeling of failure off this morning. I started the day with Hubby ironing. This has been enough to send me into a depression this morning. I just can’t seem to keep up with everything that is expected of me. Who is setting these expectations? I don’t even know the answer to that question. Me? My husband? I don’t even have my inlaws here to blame them. It’s a good thing that I don’t live in Turkey, I don’t think I could cope with the added pressure. Must have clean house, must have home-cooked dinner ready, must spend time with children and most importantly – must iron husbands shirts. Something has to give right?

I wonder if I will ever be happy with what I have achieved. I wonder if I will ever feel that I am good enough?

And as if this wasn’t enough, add must have a successful blog to the list too.

Right, I am off to sort out kitchen cupboards, I might not have got everything checked off my list today but I will have clean and tidy kitchen cupboards.

How to Make a Bed Like a Turkish Housewife

Sorry I don’t actually know the answer to this question. I’m hoping someone will answer it for me as I suspect it is one of those secrets that Turkish housewives never share. I personally have got as far as working out that you can use a throw or a ‘pi-ke’ to cover the bed to make it look passable, but underneath it is still a mess. I also suspect it has something to do with the materials that are used in Turkey that help the beds look so neat, but I haven’t as yet worked out what composition is best. And don’t think that it is just a case of just ironing your sheets, I’ve already tried that, unless they iron their sheet everyday…

Every household product in Turkey is designed with the Turkish housewife in mind. There, they know that only the best will do. For example, my sister-in-law and I both have a press down toaster, the difference? Her’s is detachable so that you can wash it after use. They don’t bother making them like that in England and in all honesty. I don’t bother cleaning it after every use. I might have done though, if it was detachable.

In summary, this Turkish housewife still has a lot to learn.

Borek

For the filling: Saute onions, add mince, a grated potato, parsley salt and pepper and cook until mince has browned.

For the liquid mixture (to keep your boreks moist) add an egg, yoghurt and a splash of oil and give it a good mix

Open out filo pastry sheets, I usually use two at a time if they are thin.

Add your filling and about 4 tbsp of the liquid mixture.

Roll up the filo pastry, and role round into a spiral shape:

Egg wash and decorate with sesame seeds/black seeds or leave plain if you are sending them off to school for the kids packed lunches. Bake in the oven for about 35 mins at 200 degrees, until golden brown.

Enjoy 🙂

Borek

So this Monday morning I decided to ignore Monday morning mess and go straight to the kitchen. I have to say that it has been a pretty productive morning. I took out some mince (well a huge chunk, I must have got bored separating it before freezing) and so used that to make some borek and pasta. I also made another sulu yemek (stew). So cooking wise I have been a very good housewife today.  I will also upload a recipe for my borek now, so I can check blogging off my list. If only the house was clean too…

My mum had always taught me to use a milk based mixture in my boreks, but I have recently sussed out that yoghurt works better, so I really wanted to try that out today. I wish someone had told me this before. I find that other Turkish housewives don’t really want to share their secret tips with others, which is why I will try my best to share as many tips with you as I can.  The world of the internet is a Godsend for the struggling housewife. On starting this blog I have discovered so many new recipes, cleaning pages and blogs on the internet. I need never struggle again.

The one thing I do know for sure is that I don’t know much, but what I do know I will gladly share with anyone who will listen 🙂

Here are my boreks, ready for hubby and kids to take as packed lunches tomorrow:

Ela’s Borek

And the reason why one is halved is for you to see what it looks like inside, plus I ate the other half 🙂

Kurabiye

2 eggs

250g butter (room temp)

1 Turkish tea cup sugar

Vanilla

1 tsp baking powder

(mix/knead with hands)

4 tbsp corn flour

3/4 cups of flour

Knead into a nice soft dough, break into small balls and arrange on a tray. Use a fork to press down on them to make an optional pattern

Bake for 12-15 minutes at 175 degrees 

Decorate as you desire

Here is where I got the original recipe:

I think these would make great breakfast biscuits as they are really filling and not too sweet.

Kurabiye Fail

Oh God, just as I was starting to get used to wordpress they have changed the format. Not sure if I like this at all…

Anyway, I am in a funny mood today. I made some Kurabiyes this morning (Turkish butter biscuits). The first time I made them they came out perfectly, but I have been struggling to get the same result since. They taste fine and will do for us, but I just don’t know where I am going wrong. I did promise to share my fails with you all so here is a pic for your reference (entertainment)- please someone tell me where I am going wrong?

Kurabiye fail

They taste fine, they just don’t look as pretty as I’d like and look crumbly at the top. I’ll add the recipe to my recipe page as I know it can work.

So now that I’m done with the baking and have tidied up the kitchen I really don’t feel like cooking! I have days where I just don’t want to cook and today is one of those days. Am I the only one? I should really rename this blog ‘Confessions of a Lazy Turkish Housewife’. It would make more sense. Half the problem is that I don’t know what to cook today. Maybe I’ll consult one of the many cookbooks that I own and never use.

Other than my kurabiye fail I also had a facebook fail, where fb decided that my new account was suspicious and shut it down. Thanks a lot fb. I’ve opened a new account now but I don’t want to do anything with it yet until I am sure that I won’t be shut down again. Without fb I’m not sure how I am going to advertise my site. I’ll have to recruit an army of advertisers. It is at this point that being an introvert really isn’t going to help me.

I also ate three kurabiyes today, does that count as a diet fail too?

Rus Salatasi

Not sure what the name of this salad might be in English, but in Turkish it is Russian Salad. I myself am slightly addicted to this salad and when I make it I can’t stop eating it. It must be the gherkins, they really must have something in them that makes people crave them. I generally do not like gherkins, and even pick them out of my burgers, but in this I love them. I understand why pregnant women crave them. When I am having a low carb day I can eat this without feeling guilty. It’s also a great side dish to serve to your guests. In Turkey they eat this as a jacket potato topping too.

In a bowl add equal amounts of cooked and diced carrots and potatoes, peas and chopped gherkins.

For the dressing add equal amounts of yoghurt and mayonnaise.

Happy Housewife

Yesterday was a really busy day for me. I worked on my blog (I now have share buttons and a facebook page – yay!) I got some cleaning done.

I made my pogacas and finally got to update the pics. It’s not looking too bad, but as I am not of the selfie taking generation I do need to improve my photo taking skills. I still need to buy some pretty plates too, and yes they are still on my to-buy list. Perhaps in the new years sales… Most serious Turkish housewives will have a proper ‘dinner set’ with everything included. They’ll usually acquire one of these when they first get married. These sets are usually to-die-for beautiful, but I don’t have one. Someone get the violins out. Mind you, there is one good reason for not having one of these beautiful sets and that is how you would feel if someone was to accidentally break one of your beautiful plates; I can imagine that that would really hurt!

I also helped my children with their studying in the evening which was really productive. I read with my girls. We have now moved onto more challenging texts. I recommended that we read Jane Eyre together (my favourite classic) instead she borrowed Jane Austin’s Emma from the library, because the librarian recommended it and it was new. So we read a chapter or so every night and my poor daughter doesn’t understand a thing, so after every paragraph we go over what has happened. I think it is helping her and I am really enjoying it too. Who needs to pay for audiobook subscriptions when you have children? 🙂

So at the end of the day I crashed out on the sofa exhausted and thought, wow, I am actually happy today.

Now I really must go and clean the bathroom. I have been putting it off for days. Nothing says Turkish housewife like a clean and fresh smelling bathroom. I just spash a whole load of bathroom cleaner, bleach and water around. I then use old towels to dry. I also use these for streak free cleaning, they are also good for shiny surfaces and windows:

 

*

Right I am really am off now, that bathroom won’t clean itself – though I wish it would!

*

*

Healthy BMI!

I got on the scales this morning, and do you know what they said? Healthy BMI!!!

I am happy to tell you that I am now at a healthy weight for my height. It took me a year to get here (I literally did start in January, so not all new year’s resolutions are doomed to fail). I started the year trying to eat healthier and cutting down calories. I was exercising more, I’d even tried running for a while but that didn’t take with me. This style of dieting worked, until it didn’t. There was a good few months where I was making no progress. So last week I took dieting to a new level and cut out the carbs as much as I could (when you really start to look into this you find that carbs are in almost everything). I combined this with intermittent fasting, which I was already used to from before and bam- it worked! Hello healthy BMI 🙂 Hello new healthier me. I hope to lose a little more and hopefully I can now focus on toning up a bit and building some muscle. I feel like I am now equipped with all the knowledge I need to stay at a healthy weight. When I go grocery shopping these days I no longer look at the calorie content anymore, I look at they amount of sugar and carbohydrates instead, and while I am not soaking my meals in fat, I am a lot more comfortable adding oils to my cooking, particularly if I know that they are the healthier versions like olive oil.

Anyway I really must go now, housework is waiting for me, at least I will be able to do that today with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

Stay healthy 🙂

Housewife Depression

Yes it is a thing, and if it isn’t then it should be. I guess this does depend a lot on where you live and what you do and of course while it is possible to be a housewife and to be happy, I think a lot of women aren’t. If you live in a big city then it is more likely that it is not the norm for women to stay at home, therefore your support network is going to be limited.

What gets me the most is the monotony of it all; doing the same things every day over and over. I don’t have the solutions to this problem, but I can make a few suggestions:

  1. Get a hobby. Now the most successful housewives will have made cooking or cleaning their hobby. Good on you if you can do that! I personally haven’t managed it. I have started writing as my hobby, it gives my brain something other that cooking and cleaning to think about.
  2. Exercise. Making getting healthy a hobby can also help. I know a lot of people who are obsessed with healthy eating and exercise, almost to the point where it is an addiction. As far as addictions go, it’s not a bad thing to be addicted to.
  3. Socialise as much as possible. Say yes to every invite and make your own opportunities to socialise, invite people over etc. If you are having trouble with this then I recommend…
  4. Volunteering. It’s a great way to meet new people, and you also get a sense of satisfaction knowing that you have helped someone.
  5. And if you’ve tried all this and you really do hate it, then get a job. Life is too short to be unhappy all the time. You can use some of your wages to pay for childcare and a cleaner if you have to. Just do what it takes to be happy.

That’s all I have for you today. If you do feel down sometimes, just know that you are not the only one.

Enjoy your day:)

Children’s Book Recommendations

I loved reading to my children when they were younger! Here are some of my favourites:

*

This book has my all time, most favourite, last sentence in a children’s book.

*

This book made us all very emotional, especially when I put on a baby’s voice.

*

I love rhyming books and I love silly books, this book is both:)

*

I love ALL of Julia Donaldson’s books. This one is my favourite because I get to put on a mean accent.

*

A classic that is always fun to read together!

*

This one is not my choice or one that you can read to your children, but my children loved this growing up and they got to read this book together, over and over again…

*

Forget Biff, Chip and Kipper, DR Seuss books are the best for early reader, and yes it’s another rhyming book, but the words are also really easy to sound out.

*

How can one of the most inspirational quotes of all time come from a children’s book?

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

I really do love children’s books – I could do this all day. If you have young children, don’t underestimate the importance of reading to them. It sends the message that reading can be fun and sets them up as readers for life.

Happy reading!

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Ela’s Pogacas

In a bowl add 1 packet of dried yeast and 2 tsp of baking powder

Add 1 cup of plain yoghurt, 1 cup of melted butter and two eggs ( mix)

Add 1 large cooked and grated potato (I usually cook in microwave for 5 mins) – potatoe really helps to keep the pogacas soft

Add roughly 4 cups of flour (slowly) + 2 tsp of salt

Knead until the mixture no longer sticks to your hands and cover top and allow to prove.

Separate into 8 equal balls of dough

Roll each ball out into a circle about 15 cm in diameter

Use a pizza slicer or knife to cut into 8 triangular pieces (think pizza)

(I have added a white cheese and parsley filling here)

Role them up into croissant shapes, egg wash and bake at 200 degrees c for about 20 mins(or until browned)

Enjoy!

Bake like a Turkish Housewife

I didn’t post yesterday. That is because I decided that I would bake instead. I woke up in the morning with my  children moaning about their packed lunches. They were sick of eating the same sandwiches every day. Not necessarily my fault as they are all so fussy and all three want different things all the time and I get fed up with  it all. So I dedicated yesterday to baking and made a total of 64 pogacas. 64. So proud I was of myself for making so many that I put 20 of the best in the freezer. Kids put 6 each aside for their packed lunches (they were quite small) and we ate the rest. I was guilty of eating most of them. I guess all this low carb eating had me craving the white stuff. So I had some with my tea at about lunch time (how very Turkish of me) and some with a can of coke later on (not so very Turkish). So yummy they were that by the time my husband came home in the evening there were only 2 left. I had to take out the 20 from the freezer for him to have for his lunch.

Do you think my husband was impressed? Of course not, “my mum used to make pogacas for us all the time, we always had something baked, poagacas, cakes, boreks….”.

You see what I am up against?

So today house is a mess, you would have a hard time believing that I am the Turkish Housewife if you were to see the state that it is in right now. I do have a yummy dinner planned though, moussaka with bulgur pilav and a Turkish salad. I will try and tidy up a bit too.

Healthy eating also went out of the window yesterday. I wonder if I can make up for it today.

 

*******************************

Edit: I burnt the moussaka didn’t I? Whole house stinks. It was looking so good and I was so proud of it, but you know what they say, pride comes before a fall. I guess it’s sucuk toast for dinner tonight.

Housewife tip: Always always always use a timer!

Thank a Housewife Day

Everyone knows that it is a thankless job being a housewife. No one ever notices if the house is clean or if dinner has been made. They do however notice when things have not been done. Even your children think that they have a right to moan if you suddenly stop doing something that they are used to.

“Mum, why have you not cooked today?!”

Having said that my children think that they have the right to moan just because they don’t like the dinner. I don’t know why I feel the need to explain to them when they do – ‘we need to eat healthy food sometimes too!’ ‘We need to eat carrots to look after our eyes…’ ‘Why have I added garlic? Because it’s good for your heart.’ ‘We need the vitamins’. ‘Why can’t you eat more biscuits? Because sugar is bad for your health…’

Hey kids, how about a thank you? And I don’t mean just once a year on mothers day either.

In Turkey they have an excellent way of thanking someone who has cooked a meal. They say ‘eline saglik’. Which literally means ‘health to your hands’. We are quite good at thanking our hosts when we are guests, but not so good at thanking someone who cooks for us all the time. I’m guilty of this too (sorry mum).

And just so you know, it is NEVER ok to ask a housewife, ‘What have you been doing all day?’ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chances are they have been doing a whole lot more than what you can physically see. They have been doing jobs that you never even knew even existed.

And personally, even if I have done nothing but sleep all day, I have survived another day at home without losing my mind and for that I deserve a medal.

So please occasionally notice and thank a housewife for their hard work, it might just make their day.

And if you have managed to read this far ‘gozlerine saglik’ – health to your eyes!

Ela.

********************************************

I googled Turkish Housewife to see if my website would come up and found this:

Turkish Housewife Failure

At Janeyinmersin.com (and read the comments too)

Turns out I am not the only one who struggles sometimes.

 

 

How to be a Turkish Housewife

Ok ladies, this is the one you have been waiting for. Let’s get down to the hard and fast rules of the job.

I once read that in order to be successful in life you need to use your time wisely. You need to spend 70% of your time focusing on your job at hand, but you also need to be mindful of your future target too and spend 30% of your time doing things that will help you reach this target. So if you were working you would spend 70% of your time doing your day job and 30% of your time working on achieving a promotion – the job you would like to do in the future. Makes sense so far, right? So we now need to apply this principle to housewifing.

70%

Clean your house everyday. Ideally from top to bottom, and here is the important bit – clean even when you think that your house is already clean. Clean your house as if your were expecting guests – think of the most fussiest person you know (perhaps your mother-in-law etc) and this person is about to visit today. What do you need to clean now? See your house through their eyes…

Cook. Cook what you need for today to fill your family’s bellies.

Do you need to cook from scratch every day? 

The most successful housewives are those who have mastered the art of batch cooking. Always cook more than you need and either eat the same meal over two days or freeze leftovers for another day. Both my mum and mother-in-law do this. This way you are never caught without food, esp to offer your guests. If you can bake once a month and freeze your goodies this will go a long way in helping you to feel on top of things. If you can’t fully prepare your meals in advance then you can at least half prepare them. I freeze cooked chick peas and beans, ready to add to any stews that I make.

Laundry. I tried only doing laundry at the weekend but it didn’t work. Laundry is now a daily chore for me. Keep on top of the laundry so it doesn’t get on top of you. As this is part of the 70% I would say iron only what you need to here.

30%

Do not skip this section if you are serious about upping your game.

I have never known any Turkish Housewife to make a list, but if you are a novice such as myself then this could help you. I would use 30% of your time cleaning the unseen areas of your house.

  • Wardrobes
  • Bedroom cupboards
  • Kitchen cupboards
  • Fridge (I think some might add this to the 70% list)
  • Extra ironing – Turkish housewives iron EVERYTHING, sheets to table clothes to curtains
  • Wash curtains
  • Clean windows
  • Sort shelves/bookshelves
  • Wipe walls
  • Rid upholstery/carpets of any stains
  • Declutter

I’m sure there are more and I will update this list as more things come to mind or if I receive any more suggestions from you my readers, remember I am still leaning too!

And remember – do as I say and not as I do 🙂

Key Point – if you are ever torn between going out and having fun OR cleaning – choose having fun!!!!!!! A happy housewife if definitely more productive.

How to Make Ganache

I made a chocolate ganache today and it was so simple that I couldn’t believe it!

It also tastes so nice!

Basically ganache is made by adding chocolate to heated cream, mixed, then refrigerated. It really is that simple. Today I used 1 part cream to 2 parts chocolate and ended up with a thick ganache. I used dark chocolate which had my lot all complaining, but I liked it. You are also supposed to add some butter, but I didn’t and it still worked out well. I’m really excited because now that I know how to make a basic ganache I can vary it in so many different ways.

For example you could use really dark chocolate, nuts and dried fruit to make it healthier.

I was thinking that it would also have a lot of health benefits if you were to use chestnut puree.

How delicious it could be with hazelnut puree….!

Vary the chocolate for different flavours.

Vary the consistency for different uses. Thick for a pudding, creamy for a cake topping or ice-cream sauce.

The possibilities seem endless!

This was definitely a housewife win for me today.

Red Lentil Soup – Mercimek Corbasi

There is only one person in the world I know who doesn’t like a red lentil soup and that is my daughter. I’m not sure where I went wrong there. They say that for a child to learn to eat something new they need to try it about 17 times, my daughter has tried it about a million times and it is still a no from her. I guess there are some exceptions to this rule.

So sticking to my healthy meals regime – this is a very very simple and healthy meal idea. It’s so healthy and so simple that I think everyone should be able to make and eat this. I am going to give you two options here, mega simple and slightly harder.

 

Red Lentil Soup/Mercimek corbasi – simple

In a pan add a spoon of butter and melt with a spoon of salca (red pepper paste).

Add water, red lentils, a stock cube and cook till the lentils are soft.

And that’s it – done!

When we were little my mum never blitzed our soup, so when I first got married I never did either. Then one day my husband said that it would be so much nicer if I did. So for many years I would blitz it. After a while husband then declared he missed the old version! So in the Aydin household we sometimes blend our soup – and sometimes don’t.

You can also add as much veg as you like to this soup too – I usually grate a carrot in too – just to up my children’s veg intake.  I recommend blitzing when hiding veg.

 

Version 2 – Ezogelin Corbasi/Spicy Red Lentil Soup

I don’t know who Ezogelin was but I’m sure she was a darned good housewife. She did this to her Mercimek Corbasi:

Saute 1 grated onion in a spoon of butter, add a couple of cloves of grated garlic, spoon of salca, mint, salt.

Then add your water, lentils and a hand full or rice and/or bulgur and cook till all is soft.

Ezogelin is  a legend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes I will admit that this is a terrible photo, but I am no Instagram queen. Also I have yet to buy some pretty plates!

 

The Turkish Diet vs Healthy Eating

Now I am no expert on nutrition  (although I have probably read enough about dieting and healthy eating to make me one) but they do now say that the Mediterranean diet is one of the best. When they say this I am not convinced that they include the Turkish diet in this equation, although technically we are Mediterranean. Now I don’t have any statistics on hand to back this up, I just know a lot of unhealthy Turks. I always thought that this was because of the amount of fat they added to their food. I am constantly telling my mum off for the amount of oil that she adds to her dinners.

But get this, a lot of studies on nutrition are now saying that eating fat doesn’t make you fat.

This goes against everything that we have ever been taught. I am still skeptical and I will keep encouraging my mum to lessen the amount of oil she uses, but I am less wary about eating what she cooks.

Minimise the oil in a Turkish dish and you will find that a lot of the food is quite healthy. The diet includes plenty of vegetables and pulses, all cooked to maximise the taste. You cannot accuse Turkish food of being bland.

You will have most likely heard by now that carbohydrates and sugar are the new evil. Whilst everyone can agree that sugar is bad, not everyone is sure that we should be limiting our carb intake. I am almost convinced that this is the way forward. I am currently trying to cut down on my carb intake, after all I have spent nearly all of my life over indulging on carbs, so giving my body a break from carbohydrates shouldn’t hurt too much.

I hope to include a lot of delicious and simple Turkish dishes to this site soon, just bear with my whilst I try to lose a couple more kilos. I am currently on a low carb diet, for example today for my late lunch I will be having a chopped up chicken breast. I cook this on the stove. I always use lemon, cayenne pepper and chilli flakes to spice it up – then add a random selection of herbs. I serve on a bed of salad. I sometimes add a dollop of humus too.

I am still a firm believer that you should eat everything in moderation, after all if you were to take the processed food and junk food out of a western diet, would we all still be unhealthy? I doubt it very much.

Experts haven’t quite settled the carbs vs fat argument yet so don’t get fixated on that for now if you are looking to get healthy. Just eat more veg – everyone can agree on that one!

If you are tempted to go low-carb, this is the book I am currently using to get ideas:

Monday Morning Mess

If you are a working parent then you probably spend a lot of your weekend catching up with the housework and this will not apply to you.

My house is by far the messiest on a Monday morning. It’s usually a good sign, it means that we have been busy having fun as a family.

If yours is the same then you now have two options:

1 – You can make sure that you have had such a good time at the weekend that the Monday morning mammoth task of getting back on track with the cleaning won’t bother you so much.

2- Don’t have fun at the weekend and keep at the cleaning like you would normally do.

I don’t know about you but I choose option 1. Yes I love having a clean and mess free house, but there is a reason for that; it is because I want a happy and homely home for my family. I also want my house to be a lively and social place for friends and family to meet and that is a priority. There is no point in having a clean house if you are not going to use it to entertain guests. I want to create a relaxed environment for all who visit the Aydin household.

Wow – I think I have even surprised myself there, I didn’t realise how much of a Turkish Housewife I really am!

Perhaps this really is my calling.

Right I am off to get on with the housework, that we had fun all weekend no one will ever know…

How to Teach your Child to Read

When I first became a parent I was very relaxed about education. My first born didn’t go to nursery and I was happy with that and didn’t mind having her at home with me. This did mean that she was slightly behind when she started school and that is when the panic kicked in. The first thing I decided to do was to teach her how to read. When I successfully taught my daughter how to read I then started to wonder what else I could go on to teach her, and that is when my love of teaching started. I also learnt then that with the right tools, teaching becomes much much easier.

You can teach your child to read in a random way, but I find that this would take a lot longer than if you were to do it systematically. Which is why I recommend this book:

  • The Reading Lesson: Teach your child to read in 20 easy lessons (by Micheal Levin and Charan Langton).

*

One or two pages a day is all you need to do.

This book uses American English, so I had to skip a few words in it, being from England.

I’m sure there are other equally good books out there that you can use. The main point that I am trying to get across is that it is important to use a systematic approach.

I am also a huge fan of flash cards. Unfortunately the English language includes a lot of ‘sight words’ where you just cannot learn to sound them out. For these words I recommend using:

  • Sight word flash cards

*

You can either buy these or make them yourselves.

Sometimes teaching can be as easy as putting on a video for your child to watch, and there are some great ones on you-tube. I recommend:

  • Jollyphonics Jolly songs

I guarantee that not only your child but you will be singing along to them in no time, they are that catchy.

If you would like to get your child to start writing too then I would recommend the Jolly Phonics workbooks:

*

Do not worry if your child cannot read the words themselves, learning how to blend words together is a very tricky skill to learn. Just keep teaching them the sounds, and finally when they do learn how to blend the words together they will have learnt all the sounds they need.

 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

I Diet so that I can Eat

A common side effect of staying at home is weight gain. I personally put on a lot of weight whilst staying at home. I love eating, eating makes me happy and so that is what I do when I get bored. Making myself a cup of tea and having a chocolaty snack with it is what helps me to get through the day. I am now trying to break that pattern. It is possible instead to use your time at home to develop healthy eating habits. That is the stage that I am at  now. I still have my tea breaks but try to eat either a lower calorie snack or a protein based snack instead.

Low carb eating is ‘in’ right now and there is a reason for that. It works! Cut out the carbs and watch your waistline shrink. There are lots of studies out there now saying that we have been eating wrong, and that a heavy carbohydrate based diet is not good for us. I am beginning to think that they may have a point. Medical advice changes all the time and it may well be the case that they change their minds in the future and tell us that cutting out carbs was the wrong thing to do.

Up until recently I had been restricting my calorie intake and did manage to lose weight.  I have now plateaued so I will be cutting out carbs and intermittent fasting to lose the last stubborn few kilos in order to get to a healthy weight. At this rate it won’t be long till I reach my goal. It’s quite exciting. Not only that but I feel confident that I will be able to stay at a healthy weight moving forward.

My mantra is: I diet so that I can eat!

Are you looking to lose weight but don’t know where to start? I would suggest starting by cutting out the junk food and sugar. I have watched a whole load of videos on you-tube and this really helps to reprogram your brain so you you can really understand where you have been going wrong. We can all agree that sugar is bad. Watch the videos to see how we have been fed a high sugar diet without even realising it.

If you can do all this then I also suggest you include a low carb protein based breakfast to set you up for the day.

I will keep you up to date on my progress.

For now, stay healthy!

Love, Ela.

 

The Turkish Housewife

Why ‘Turkish housewife’ I hear you ask.

Are you a Turkish housewife? Do you know many Turkish housewives?

I have the misfortune of knowing many. From my in-laws to my husbands friends wives, and they are all just brilliant at what they do. They can cook like Michelin star chefs, clean like a 5 star hotel cleaner, and serve their guests like a (errr can’t really think of the best description) Victorian butler?

The consequence of all this for me is that it leaves me feeling comparatively inadequate.

Don’t get me wrong,  I love having a clean house that I can be proud of like the rest of them. I also enjoy cooking too. It’s just that I haven’t quite reached the required standard and I don’t really know if I ever will.

I’m not done yet though, oh no.

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

 

Kisir

Kisir is basically a bulgur salad. I do not know anyone who doesn’t like a kisir. It can be made in many different ways, and I personally love them all. This is my take on kisir.

Method:

Place your bulgur in a bowl and cover with hot boiled water. Use the smallest grains of bulgur that you can find.

In a small pan add some oil (olive oil if you want to keep it healthy) and a generous spoon of salca (spicy red pepper paste).  Heat for a minute or so whilst giving it a good mix. Just don’t let the salca burn.

Once your bulgur has absorbed the hot water, add the oil and salca mixture. Give the bulgur a good mix, changing the colour to orange.

Your bulgur is ready!

Add salad!

A kisir is not a kisir without chopped parsley and green (salad) onions.

I would also add chopped dill – because I love the smell and taste.

As for the rest of the ingredients, that is up to you. I usually have a bag of mixed salad that I chop and add.

Warning – do not add the salad until the bulgur has cooled down.

Dressing

Lemon juice

Salt

Optional: Nar eksisi (pomegranate molasses)

You are aiming for a spicy and lemony salad. Go as spicy as you dare. I love kisir as it is healthy and delicious and everyone loves it.

Mothers are from Venus, Sons are from Mars

I do not pretend to understand my son. He is 9 years old and I just don’t get him. I have two daughters and we have very different personalities, but they still make sense to me.

There is a very special bond between mother and son, and I understand that now. I see it in my mother and how she interacts with my brothers. In her eyes they can do no wrong. They still joke and have fun together whereas I have a more serious grown up relationship with my mum, where we talk. She is my go to for advice on anything, but it is a different relationship that she has with her sons and I can see that now. I don’t necessarily understand it.

I only have the one son and he is the baby of the family. I know this will affect the way we treat him and how his personality develops. Although I accept all this I still think the fact that he is a boy means that we are on different wavelengths.

I can no longer blame my mother-in-law for my husbands faults. I understand that now too.

Perhaps boys and girls need to be parented differently? Or is it that we subconsciously treat our children differently based on gender?

I think I understand now why they say that boys need male role models in their lives. I will do my best to parent my son and teach him the difference between right and wrong, but I will be doing this blindly, without really understanding how his mind works. We are fundamentally too different.

Money

They say that money makes the world go round and in the world of housewifing it is no different. One of the first things I would look at buying today if I had a little extra cash would be storage. If I had lots of extra cash I would buy an extension to my house and if I had even more money then I would probably go ahead and buy a bigger house. It is fair to say that we own a lot of stuff, and without the right amount of space this stuff is equivalent to mess.

Fact: My kitchen cupboards would look so much more beautiful if they weren’t ram packed.

I have about 3 cupboards in my kitchen which look beautiful inside and that I am really proud of. If you need a glass of water, please feel free to open my cupboard with the drinking glasses in. Lush. But if you need a fork, please don’t open my cutlery draw, just ask and I’ll fetch it for you. Too much stuff + not enough space = mess.

One cupboard in my kitchen contains mismatched plates. I am just about ready to get rid of these. To replace these I want to find a set of beautiful perfect plates. To buy these beautiful and perfect plates I am going to need some money. I have placed ‘beautiful and perfect plates’ on my ‘to buy’ list. I have a lot of things on my ‘to buy’ list. The plates have been on my ‘to buy’ list for a few months now. They will be on my ‘to buy’ list for a long time. I have three children, so I am not sure when or if these plates will ever make it to the top of the list. Two birthdays have just passed and next up is a residential school trip requiring lots of new purchases. I shall review ‘to buy’ list after the residential trip, but at the moment it is not looking good.

Sometimes you just have to make the most of what you have.

So dinner, for tonight, shall be served on mismatched plates.

 

 

 

Saturday Morning Turkish Breakfast

Good Morning from a sunny but freezing cold London. I wanted to share with you my lovely Turkish breakfast this morning. We like to have a proper Turkish breakfast at the weekends.

Sucuk (spicy garlic sausage) in tomato sauce, boiled egg and salad. The brilliant thing about this breakfast is that it is delicious so we can eat it as a whole family and I can skip the carbs if I am watching my weight. This morning I had the smallest piece of toasted granary bread with mine. You could add olives or a little bit of cheese to this or vary the salad to your liking.

 

 

Leave a comment if you have any questions, or let me know how you would vary your own Turkish breakfast.

Welcome to Confessions of Turkish housewife

This is my first ever blog!

It’s not going to be great as my head is all over the place this morning. I have been trying to work out all this blogging malarkey on my own, well with a little help from google. I recently self published my first book on kindle (go me!) and of course no one has read it yet, and of course no one will because I can’t bring myself to tell anyone about it. I also paid money to be able to do this. That was very risky and I have yet to tell anyone about that too..

Anyway hi to anyone who has managed to stumble across this blog of mine. My name is Ela Aydin and I am (well done if you’ve guessed it) a Turkish housewife. In that I mean that I am of Turkish origin, but I don’t actually live in Turkey. I never have and probably never will in all honesty. I am also a housewife. Yay me. I live in London with my husband and three children.

On this blog of mine I hope to share with you all my housewifing tips. Not that I am necessarily any good at what I do. In fact I will probably share more of my fails than anything. You may well be able to learn from my mistakes if nothing else.

Now is probably a good time to start my blog as I have just recovered from the flu and have been resting mostly for this past week. Which means that my house is a complete mess right now. It’s pretty bad I’ll admit and I, for some reason am here writing this when I should really be getting on with the housework. It’s all good though, having a break now and then is what keeps me sane. The guilt of having spent all morning working on this blog will have me up and cleaning in no time at all I suspect.

So bear with me dear reader,while I work through this minefield of blogging and digital writing. The website won’t be fully developed for a while yet but I really must leave it now and get on with my actual day job.

So my first tip for any of you who are procrastinating right now instead of doing what you are supposed to be doing is to get a move on! Get up, get cleaning and whatever you do – don’t start blogging!

Lots of Love

Ela