Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 16 from France: Pear Heaven

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris...

It's warm enough to open the windows today! Here's what's I have growing...

Spring is definitely here. Pretty soon I'll have to learn how to cut the grass with that scary machine. But it's not as big and intimidating in France as it is in the States where my father refused to let me do it no matter how much I begged because it was unsafe for little girls. Stay tuned for more on that in a future post...

Obsessed! brought me breakfast in bed after another almost sleepless night slash morning. The main part consisted of potatoes (which I gobbled down before remembering to take a photo.) Also included were an apple, fromage frais, tartines with cheese spread and jam and tea.

I don't know how it's possible that there is still more laundry to do, but there is. So there were lots of stairs again today. And a little indoor cardio. And a short walk with the dog - 2 km.

For lunch I had carbonara as we still had some ingredients and Obsessed! knows how much I love his signature dish.

I spent the afternoon playing piano. I've been searching online everywhere for Rachel Yamagata sheet music with no luck. But then I stumbled upon Sinead O'Conner's (slash Prince's) Nothing Compares 2 U and because it's so easy, I must've played it for 3 hours straight. Yeah, bad idea. I think that song may be permanently embedded into my brain now. I might have to shave my head and wear all black until the day I die. Also, I'm feeling strangely depressed all of a sudden...

Then I was served a yummy salad with corn, rice, cabbage and pickles for dinner before my favorite (okay, second favorite) activity of the day - MAKING SORBET!!

First, I puréed the pears which I had pre-peeled and chopped. Then I put them into the ice-cream maker (notice in the photos how little salt, water and NO ICE is needed in this machine.)

While the pear mush was getting good and icy, I prepared a chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

I melted chocolate and butter together on the stove.

While I was patiently waiting for the sorbet and sauce to finish, I decided to sample the cherry crumble Vapors brought home from her Granny's. It was only about one square inch but it was yummy.

FINALLY, the sorbet was done and OMG it was maybe the best thing I've ever tasted. I thought the pineapple was fantastic last night. It didn't even compare to this. To. Die. For.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 15 From Burbank: Shooting Pig

About a year ago I got a call from Henry Barrial, an award winning independent film maker, asking if my son and I could do some still shots with his very talented wife, Eva Barrial, for a film he's shooting.

(Which really meant that my son looks a lot like the lead and they threw me in so he would cooperate.)

During the editing they realized a few flashback scenes were needed to fill in the story, so that's how we came to shoot "Pig" today.
Henry Barrial
Photo by Eva Barrial

The DP was nice enough to answer EVERY question my son had about the camera and it's buttons.

When we were done shooting we broke for lunch and my son wanted to stay and eat with his new friends. Henry heats up some delicious kale, bean and sausage soup made by his wife, Eva, and a loaf of bread.

Eva was nice enough to share her recipe

For those who would like the recipe:

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins.
8 oz. kielbasa, thinly sliced( or more according to your taste for sausage)
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5 oz. cans chicken broth( or 1 large package Swanson Chickenbroth)
2 19 oz. cans canellini beans, rinsed and drained. (I use 1 more can of beans, explanation later)
4 cups chopped kale
1. Brown kielbasa in a large sauce pan over
medium heat about 4 mins. Remove cooked kielbasa slices from pan.
2. add oil to pan and cook garlic 30 seconds. Add broth and
bring to a boil. Reduc
e heat, add beans (of two cans) and simmer 5 mins.
3. Remove 1 cup of soup including beans and
puree in blender until the mixture is smooth.
This is where I
would puree the third can of beans with some broth from the soup with a stick mixer or in the quisinart. I found the
soup too thin, the first time I made it and the consistency becomes better this
way. Besides, the cold beans and the hot broth fare better in the blender.
4. Stir bean puree, cooked sausage and chopped kale into soup and simmer until
kale is just tender, about 5 to 7 mins.

We arrived home for croque monsieur and a small salad with oil and vinegar.
No stairs today.
So sleepy.
Fell into bed at 9:30.

My son loved today......... and no I'm not getting him into the business.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 15 from France: Quelle Horreur!
(What A Horror)

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris...

The day started with a pot of Earl Grey Tea, a yogurt, some fruit and a tartine with cheese. Then I went up and down the stairs a hundred million times as I did lots of laundry and cleaned the house from top to toe because we were having company over in the evening.

Obsessed! interrupted me about halfway through, right after I had changed the sheets, for a little indoor cardio - 30 minutes.

Obsessed! is thinking about buying a crêperie from Ophélie and Stephan so he invited them over for dinner. We started with paté tartines, bread, cheese, chips and BEER. OMG it's been a long time since I've had a beer.

Obsessed! makes the most DELICIOUS carbonara.

Here are the chouquettes and meringues that we added to our dessert.

Homemade pineapple sorbet! Homemade whipped cream! Homemade chocolate sauce!

Yes, I had seconds!

Stephan was an abominable dinner guest. We were horrified! For example, he didn't understand why Obsessed!'s carbonara had no cream sauce, the way most Frenchmen make it. We explained that we were serving it the way it's prepared in Italy but he said without cream sauce, it would be too dry and absolutely inedible. He didn't even try a bite before he went to the fridge and helped himself to cream which he then poured onto his dinner in front of the chef and the rest of us who were happily stuffing the non-creamy version into our pie holes. I couldn't believe Obsessed! didn't kick him out then and there! Needless to say, Obsessed! will not be buying anything from them. They can keep their stinking crêperie.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Joyeux Dimanche (Happy Sunday)

Joyeux Dimanche

Shaboom sent these to me
They are from Elle Decor
I love them.
(I'm assuming they don't have a 3 year old)

A Paris Apartment Packed With Color
Photos from Elle Decor

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 14 from Burbank: The Weigh In. Week 2

French Skinny Experiment
Weigh In
Week 2

Week 1 = Lost 3 pounds
Week 2 = Lost 7 pounds
Total: Lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks

I know I'm supposed to be full of joy and happiness with my little Putain of a scale, but frankly I'm scratching my head in confusion. I have Hubby weigh himself 3 times. I weigh my 3 year old 3 times. I weigh myself 3 times. Yep. 10 pounds in 2 weeks. But........

I haven't been on a diet.

I have been eating BREAD!!!

I have been eating chocolate croissants!!!

I'm on a mindy bender. Since I can have whatever I want, I don't crave anything.

Every time I do a diet, there comes a point where I feel discouraged. I can do anything for a short period of time. But then I start to feel deprived. I don't feel that because I'm not on a diet. This is causing a strange sense of unease. I don't trust it. I don't really believe it. But I'll keep on doing what I'm doing because I'm committed to it.

I'm not eating processed food.

I am eating crepes. Savory and sweet.

I am eating chicken, beef, turkey and ham.

I am eating yogurt, granola and dark chocolate.

I am eating freshly baked bread and croissants.

I am eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

I am eating raw milk cheese. (I found some lovely raw milk gruyere cheese at Trader Joe's)

I am walking up and down (sometimes very slowly) 40 flights of stairs a day.

I am walking 2 to 4 miles a day.

I am walking 1 BIG 6 to 8 mile trek a week.

Freakin Bon Appetit

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 14 from France:
Petits Filous (Little Rascals)

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris:

Fashion Week is here!!! I have a body that finally fits into designer clothes!!! Now, I just need a designer clothes budget. Let me see... it would take about $35,000 to $40,000 to buy all of the pieces that I drooled over at Yoox. Anyone want to help me throw a fundraiser?? Check out the following slideshow with my choices keeping in mind that I did not take any of these photos:


1 Salty Crêpe (Bechamél, Ham, Cheese, Leeks, Corn)
1 Dessert Crêpe (Sugar, Lemon, Butter)
2 Petits Filous (Peach, Strawberry - total 100 calories)
1 Café au Lait


Because I went to bed so late, I got up rather late this *ahem* afternoon. So "breakfast" might be a misleading term for my first meal of the day. Also, because it was so HUGE (thanks, Obsessed!) I spread it out over the span of the "day." I had some pineapple and clementines in the late evening before I went to bed and had one hour of "indoor cardio" with Obsessed! before sleeping better than I have in weeks...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 13 from Burbank: It's not you, it's me.

Sent from Karen in Burbank, California, USA

Woke up early and got the 42 flights of stairs out of the way. I still haven't found a way to incorporate that without it feeling like I'm working out. But it's only day 13, I'll calm down.

3 and I walked to the bakery, sat outside and ate a chocolate croissant. While walking home, he found a very large tree. It became his castle. He fought dragons and saved a princess who sleeps underground.

There's a part of me that says "We don't have time for this! Let's go!" Another part that says "Watch your boy fight dragons. This is important." What's with all the time crunching and plans??? I don't like this part of me. I fight it with my son's pretend sword. Today I win. I'm working really really hard at this.

When I got home I put the box of goodies and baguette on the kitchen counter, I suddenly remembered Protein Powder in the cabinet right above my goodies. I slowly opened the cabinet door. Protein Powder was pissed.

Me: "Look, it's not you, it's me."

Protein Powder: "I knew this would happen."

(Long pause while we both look at the box of goodies then back to each other)

Me: "I just think we need a little...... space."

I push Protein Powder farther back into the cabinet, grabbed 3 and away we went on our bicycles. Stopping at all stairs along the way because 3 thinks going up and down stairs is fun.

We came home and decided to have a picnic on the front porch.

For lunch we had some baguette, a little cheese and pineapple.

Dinner at the in-law's: Pizza, watermelon and salad.


P.S. I'm definitely going to incorporate Shaboom's soup she made yesterday on another day. Probably not the Vodka Red Bull shots. As glamorous as that is for a single girl living in France to do during a crepe party, a stay at home mom living in Burbank throwin back a few in the middle of the day is a totally different blog.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 13 from France: Red Bull & Vodka

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris...

Seeing as how I normally go to sleep at 7am, Saturdays are always rough because I have to get up at 4am to go sell fruits and vegetables at the Parisian farmers' market. I originally took the job because I thought it would help me meet some people somehow. I haven't really made any new friends at the market but I've learned about all sorts of produce that I never knew existed and I have also come in contact with so many interesting characters that if I don't write a book someday I should be ashamed of myself.

For example, there's the rotund egg lady who runs around in a colorful sombrero with miniature eggs suspended from the entire perimeter of the brim like pompoms. She clutches a plastic chicken and yells to the passers-by about her terrific egg prices.

Then there's the 54 year old Israeli baker who talks non-stop about sex and how sad she is that her husband isn't putting out. I offered to lend her Obsessed! so that I could finally get some sleep. I think it's a fair trade. Plus, once she met him she kept gushing about how handsome he is and that she and I are true friends because we know how to share.

Later that same day, she was really upset because she couldn't get a hold of her husband no matter how hard she tried. He wouldn't answer his cell phone and didn't pick up at his office or at home. An adjacent merchant remarked that he was most likely in bed with his mistress and our lovely Israeli baker started to cry! Extra-marital love affairs are so much a part of life here that I think everyone has incorporated it into their culture and their being. Everyone is very matter of fact and treats it simply as a truth we all have to deal with.
I ate a chocolate croissant, an apple and a crêpe for breakfast with a cup of tea and a café au lait. When I got home from the market, I had some leak/potato/shallot/ garlic/celery soup (that I made a few days ago from scratch) for lunch. For an afternoon snack, Obsessed! came with a pain au chocolat straight from the bakery before I took a little nap.

In the evening, we drove about an hour north to throw a crêpe party birthday for a girlfriend. We made crêpes for 30 people - about 4 per person. We were crazy crêpe makers until about 4am so you can understand why I ended up guzzling 3-4 RedBull vodka drinks after having started my day so early. I rarely drink at all anymore so it was kind of fun feeling a little tipsy.

Didn't get home until 6am, probably fell asleep at 8am - had to get in some "indoor cardio" with Obsessed! as he's complaining it's been waaaayyy too long. Lord. I reminded him it's only been 24 hours but somehow, I don't think he was listening.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 12 from Burbank: If life gives me lemons, I make my Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken

Shaboom told me that sometimes they make roasted chicken in France.
Her French boyfriend said "Tell your friend she HAS to eat the lungs."

I'm all over it Frenchy. I love innards.

Innards: liver, heart, gizzard, lungs and neck
(The neck is not technically innards but throw it in with them.)

It was incredibly windy yesterday and a whole bunch of lemons fell off my tree.
If life gives me lemons, I make my Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken.
And then eat the lungs.

Karen's Herb Roasted Chicken
In a roasting pan I rub olive oil, Herbs De Provence, lemon zest, salt and pepper all over that chicken.
(I put the innards and a whole head of garlic in a little oven safe dish and do the same thing. Plus a little extra olive oil.)
Put everything in the oven at 375. Take the innards out after an hour. Let the rest of the chicken stay in there for another hour. (Ovens may vary, blah blah blah. Just make sure it's cooked and let it rest for 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven)

When I take those delicious innards out, I melt some butter, add a little fresh lemon juice and dunk those succulent little morsels into it. Hubby is pretty grossed out by innards, which is awesome because it's more for me. 3 loves it and lucky for him I share well.

Roasted Herb Lemon Chicken
Baked potato with butter
Tomatoes, fresh basil, roasted garlic in a little olive oil, salt and pepper

Bon Appétit

Breakfast was granola with yogurt and dark chocolate slivers. (I get that giant block of dark chocolate at Trader Joe's. I usually use about a half of one little square.)

Lunch was an apple with gruyere cheese.

Dinner: I ate all of the innards, about four bites of potato, one piece of chicken and all of the tomato salad.

45 flights of stairs.

2 mile walk.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 12 from France:

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris...

It's a beautiful sunny day in Paris but unbelievably cold again, brrr...

Obsessed! let me snooze until late this morning since I still have a hard time falling asleep. He brought me an awesome breakfast in bed - awesome because it included a yummy, lemon/sugar/butter crêpe! (Also on the tray, that's tea, water, apple, yogurt and fromage frais "Petits Filous.")
After my first meal since my inadvertent hunger strike, I then partook in some "indoor cardio" for an hour.

Pretty normal, boring day. I walked 4 km doing errands, shopping and walking the dog who was super annoying today. I think he's forgotten the Shaboom etiquette of walking down the street. He is to walk directly beside me, he is to listen to my every command, and above all, have some cojones and act like a man. I know he only weighs 2 kilos but THERE. WILL. BE. NO. WHINING. (I suppose any and all interested suitors should take note as this can apply to men just as easily as to our 4-legged friends.)

Obsessed! was still out shopping for cars at dinnertime so I had to fend for myself. THE HORROR. I made tunafish which I ate with bread &
Petits Filous.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Joyeux Dimanche

Yesterday was the fifth annual Macaron Day or "Jour du Macaron." Over here at French Skinny, that's exactly what we love to hear. Another reason to eat! Get thee to Pierre Hermé!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 11 from Burbank: The Arboretum

Yesterday Shaboom was sad and didn't eat.

Translation for me:
I feel bad for Shaboom, disregard the not eating part and use a previous day's menu.

Yogurt and granola for breakfast.

The house has exploded.
The laundry was piled up so high it was waving at someone outside. Dirty dishes, toys and dog hair....all this destruction in one morning? Really?
None of this really matters because we are going to the Arboretum for a play date!

Snacks, drinks and denial, let's go!

A lot of laughing, walking and chasing 3 year olds.

There was a group of painters there that day.

After all that walking and enjoying we go to Marie Callender's for lunch. I had this delicious salad.
Gorgonzola, Pecan
& Field Greens Salad

Mixed baby greens tossed with crisp Granny Smith apples, sweet candied pecans, dried cranberries, gorgonzola cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

My friend, David, asked if I picked this because of the French thing or because it's what I really wanted. I told him it was both. My taste is changing.

3 year old falls asleep on the way home. Once home, there's a successful car to bed transfer. Should clean the house but so tired.
Time to unleash the girls and slip into pajamas....I mean loungewear.

Hubby walks in....

Hubby: My cousins are here.

Me: Please tell me that's code for something.....

Hubby: What's wrong with you? Pam and Kimmy are here.

Me: Seriously? The house and the dishes and could have called.....pajamas.....the girls.....oh well.....

Pam and Kimmy just shoved some laundry over, sat down and brought out Sea Monkeys for the little guy. I love Pam and Kimmy.

Baguette, ham and gruyere for dinner.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 11 from France: Bad News

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris...

Today was a crappy day... death of a friend... pain-in-the-neck ex becoming increasingly vindictive and malevolent... lots of issues that need to be resolved back in LA that I can do nothing about from France...

What is the most natural and healthy way to respond to a day like that? HUNGER STRIKE. Yeah.

It just sort of happened. I don't think it was on purpose. So I don't have any fun stories or food photos today. Instead here are a few photos I have taken around Paris since I've lived here.