Friday, December 30, 2011

Crazy Christmas Presents


Harry Potter Hogwarts Legos Castle done! 5 and I have been working on this for a couple of days.

What does this have to do with being French Skinny? Nothing.

But I did get some delightful Sur La Table cookware for Christmas from Hubby and I've cooked in all of it so far. I roasted a chicken in a pot and then made chicken soup the next day. I also got a grill pan. Everyone's new favorite sandwich over here is a grilled baguette with black forest ham and smoked gouda. Lots of butter naturally.

There were a few crazy presents this year.

A giant helium remote control shark my son named Harry. (From Auntie Caryn)
A burping elf. (From Aunt Tammy)
A Fushigi Ball. (From Aunt Tammy)
A total of 9 boxes of Legos.
Battery operated Bugs that crawl around. (From Santa)
The Tingler. (From Aunt Tammy) You put it on your head, go up and down and it tingles your whole body. (I sort of super love The Tingler)



The Tingler.


I still don't know what my New Year's resolutions and goals are going to be. I have a few ideas rolling around in my head. Maybe you can give me some ideas. 

Did you get anything crazy for Christmas?

I have to go. There's the Alien Conquest Legos set to start. 





(School starts in 96 hours and 23 minutes. Not that I'm counting.)











Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Freaking Out I Think

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris some other foreign place:

Cashew moved from Paris back to the USA 2-3 months ago. He made the decision and just assumed that duh! of course I'd follow him there. It was never a question, "Hey baby, I've been in Europe more than a decade, miss my family, and wanna move back to the US. What do you feel about that? Will you please marry me and come too?"

No, no. It was a decision he made all on his own without consulting me and now he's hurt, sad and miserable without me AND IT'S MY FAULT of course ...because I didn't go with him. You know, because I don't love him enough. And how dare I not follow with no questions asked. And this is what he really wants otherwise he'll never be happy and he'll end up resenting me. So I should just come.

Since he's been gone, I break up with him on practically a bi-weekly basis telling him that this is never going to work and that I'm not moving to America. I'm not really sure why I can't get it to stick. Either a.) I really suck at breaking up with people, b.) I'm not very good at the English language and don't make myself understood, c.) he must really, really love the crap out of me, or d.) he has to win me back because if anyone, he has to be the one doing the breaking up.

I have to either move to the States to be with him or I have to enter the witness protection program or something to finally be rid of him once and for all. Otherwise I'm going to give myself an ulcer.


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

HBD Mom!

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris some other foreign place:

Today is my mom's birthday and all she wants is to go see Happy Feet 2 and then go out for Thai food.

I think she's dying for grandchildren.

I am a bad daughter.

But I love you mom!




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Monday, December 26, 2011

When The Cat's Away...

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris some other foreign place:

Are you aware that if you eat way too much honey in too short a period of time while eating not much of anything else that you may or may not get a little nauseous and/or experience unpleasant *ahem* diarrhea?! Don't ask me how I know.

Good morning everyone!

You see, when Karen is on hiatus, I have to take advantage of that fact and post stuff she would normally frown upon because by the time she reads it and gives me a verbal lashing, it's too late to really do anything about it. (I bet you can imagine what a fun kid I was. Do NOW. Ask questions LATER.)

So what else can I talk about today that she would normally make me avoid? Hmmm...

Oh, I know! *insert evil laughter here.

So before I left Paris, I was bubonic plague sick (thanks SexySultry) and for a completely unrelated reason ended up in and out of doctors' offices, medical laboratories, and the hospital. Everything takes eons to analyze and diagnose, so I am still not sure what really caused my malaise but was finding myself randomly getting dizzy, fainting, with whopping headaches, sensitivity to light, nausea, abdominal pain and other glorious details that (for Karen's sake) I'll spare you for now.

FranzSwitzer was convinced it was panic attacks (which I have never experienced before.) SexySultry thought it was some sort of lady infection which would cause me to be infertile. Cashew thought it was bad luck, lack of exercise, poor diet and the fact that I haven't agreed to marry him and move back to the States. I was leaning more towards holymotherofgod whatifi'mpregnant - which is impossible, I know. But that's my go-to freak-out. Otherwise, my faithful standby is ohmygod imustbedyingofcancer.

One morning, I had to have a blood test at 6:40am. I was not allowed to eat or drink beforehand for 8 hours. Plus, SexySultry and I pulled an all-nighter discussing important issues, so I was beyond tired and grumpy.

I sat in the waiting room for a long time and then finally saw the healthcare worker who was pleasantly taking my blood while sharing that her sister just gave birth to a third child even though she used contraceptives. Great! That eases my mind! Then she took me into a different exam room to do a test number two for which I was not allowed to wash beforehand. (This detail comes into play a little later in the story.)

I mentioned the antibiotics I'm currently on to the nurse about to do the exam just as I had earlier to the receptionist who said it wasn't a problem. This nurse disagreed and refused to do the lady examination telling me to come back after the weekend after not taking the antibiotics for 72 hours.

So there I was, lying with my feet in stirrups naked (except for my socks) from the waist down for no reason at all for the first time that day. Fun... especially knowing I'd have the pleasure of repeating the exercise in a few days. Yay me.

Keep in mind all this happened in French.

So as I passed back by the reception desk, I quietly inquired about the pelvic scan and was told I just had to go across the hall and they'd see me right away. Like a good girl, I followed the woman's instructions but radiology had a sign posted that they were closed until 8:40am. It was 7:30am.

Grrr...

I ran over to the bakery for a pain au chocolat to cheer myself up now that the blood tests were over and I was allowed to stop starving myself. It was too early. The chocolate croissants were not yet out of the oven. I had to settle for second rate brioche with chocolate chips. NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL.

At 9am I waltzed back over to radiology where a rather surly woman told me that the earliest they could possibly see me was in 10 days. I tried to explain it was an emergency but she was having none of my ohmygodi'mdyingofcancer nonsense. I finally gave up and asked her if she could send me someplace where I could be seen immediately. She gave me a business card listing some hospital in a suburb I've never been to and told me it was 10-20 minutes away.

At noon, I finally found the hospital after being lost forever in the suburbs (or as my dad would call it "taking the scenic route to explore local architecture".) I then was lost within the confines of the hospital for a good 15 minutes before I found the right department. When I talked to the receptionist, she told me the earliest she could see me was in 3 hours.

Double grrr...

Keep in mind that I hadn't slept at all yet and that all I'd had to eat in the last 12 hours was the ugly, red-headed step-child of the chocolate croissant. So I went back home and ate the quinoa I had prepared (although it was bulgar instead of quinoa but I basically used the same recipe of mine which Karen posted recently.)

Cut to 3 hours later, I was back in front of the same receptionist for the appointment I had made in person and I was THE ONLY person in the waiting room. I was still dead-tired, unwashed, no make-up, no jewelry, homeless looking with no glamour or patient smiling whatsoever. She told me to sit and wait my turn.

For 45 minutes I sat in one of 50 empty chairs in the waiting room. A handful of people came in after me, each time taking the seat DIRECTLY NEXT TO ME after having talked to the receptionist. I mean, come on people! In a room full of 49 empty chairs, is it really necessary to try to sit in my lap?! It's called PERSONAL SPACE for crying out loud. Figure it out!! I finally ended up changing to a different row of chairs after I nearly murdered the third person who invaded my space.

Besides, hospitals are full of sick and dying people. Why on earth would anyone want to stand close to any other stranger in there? They could be exhaling invisible anthrax fumes for all you know!

Finally it was my turn. A nurse called out something that remotely sounded like my name (gross mispronunciation) and I jumped up and followed her down a long hallway to a shiny red door. She held my chart in one hand and pointed at the door with the other telling me (in French) that I had to go in there, remove pants and shoes before meeting her by going through the next door which led into the exam room.

I didn't really think that much of it because I went through all these same tests no more than 10 months ago and felt like an old pro. So I wasn't really listening, went into the undressing room to do my thing and met the woman in the exam room 30 seconds later.

When I walked it, it was very dark with an exam bed covered in paper and all the machines plugged in, monitors on and buzzing. Normal enough. But the nurse stood there staring at me kind of funny and the big door which they push gurneys through to the hall was wide open.

I was standing there stark naked from the waist down (minus my sexy black socks.)

I was so tired and stressed out that it didn't really hit me until much later. The rest of the exam kind of went by in a haze.

The nurse got over her initial staring and decided to leave me in the room alone after announcing that the doctor would be there soon. She closed the door on her way out.

Within 10 seconds, the door burst open and in walked a man, obviously the doctor. He looked exactly like an actor whose name I can't remember currently.

I even tried to do a little research for you, people. I swear! I googled "crazy looking italian american actor" and similar type things and spent eternity looking at everything that came up in Google images. I went so far as browsing through IMDB.com a little even though it's pretty hard to find someone when you can't remember what he's ever been in. I can tell you this though, it's not Quentin Tarantino, Jeff Goldblume, Robert Deniro, the other famous Robert Deniro-type guy (*update, SexySultry reminded me his name is Al Pacino,) Joe Turturo or Joe Pesci. He kind of looks like a shorter, younger and more Italian Jon Lovitz but not Jewish, with a thinner build, and longer curlier hair. Narrows it down for you, doesn't it?!

Back to the story - The doctor told me to lay down on the lovely, paper-covered bed. I put my legs in the stirrups (I was trying to show self-motivated courage and purpose in my haste to get all this terribleness over with.)

Dr. NotJonLovitz (but kind of equally weird - might just have been the fact that I was half-naked) looked at me funny and grabbed my knees with a smile, gently guiding my legs out of the stirrups and back onto the bed in a straight position. Then he pulled out that deodorant applicator looking thingy and squirted that cold gel stuff onto my belly.

Awesome. Second flat belly sonogram of the year. Nothing makes you feel weirder than seeing yourself in one of those scenes from the movies with the happy pregnant lady looking at her baby for the first time. He scanned externally first, then took the less-friendly looking, non-deodorant applicator looking thingy, more long curling-iron gone bad looking thingy out and covered it in a condom. He then did the internal scan and mentioned something about right ovary blah blah the whole nine. "You're not pregnant but if you play your cards right, today or tomorrow, you could be!!"

WTF?

He wiped all the cold gel gook off me the best the man knew how, didn't give me any extra clean towels to do the job right, and left the room telling me to go back to the waiting room.

After waiting for the print-outs and analysis for about an hour, I was sent home.

Many hours later, probably close to midnight when I'd slept a few hours and remembered that I'd forgotten to go to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions, something clicked somewhere in my pea brain as I was telling SexySultry the story. She was crying laughing at the image of me stressed-out, nervously sweating, half-naked in my black socks, unwashed, unwaxed, unfed, sleep-deprived standing in an exam room with the door wide open to the hallway for a PELVIC SCAN ...*not* a vaginal scan.

Ah-HAAAAAAA... All of a sudden the light was going on. Male doctor without warning (usually in France, they courteously ask your permission or at least inform you if you're having lady exams that it won't be a lady doctor.) Open door. No stirrups. Weird expression on nurse's face.

Crazy, stressed out, foreign, pantless, abnormally tall Chewbacca lady standing there in the dark nervously tugging her shirt down the few inches it would stretch below her waistline who obviously understands every word being said and can communicate her needs and issues fine but yet somehow has misunderstood something along the way. Slightly confused slash amused expression on Dr. NotJonLovitz's face. Why is the blond Amazon woman half-naked?

After I got over the intense mortification, I decided to take the glass is half full point of view. Haha, French social medical system!! I just got 2 exams for the price of 1!! (Hey, it certainly cost me in other ways but just let me linger in the delusion that I received a gift somewhere in the span of that day.)



*Clearly, I have a bad case of the blue dots.


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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Happy Christmas to all,  and to all a good night.



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Elf

Fire Punch Elf

Since Shaboomy brought up the Elf, I thought I'd tell you a little about him. 

The Elf came the day after Thanksgiving. 5 named him Fire Punch Elf (Merry Christmas). The Elf flies to Santa every night to check in and party with his friends then flies home before we wake up and either hides or gets into something.

Tomorrow will be his last day at our house until next year.

This morning we awoke to find Fire Punch Elf building marshmallow snowmen.

Happy Christmas Eve.


xoxoxo

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Shaboomy!




Happy Birthday my Beautiful Friend. Thanks for sharing your crazy fun life.

I love you,

xoxo
Karen

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yet Another Good Deed Gone Bad

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris some other foreign place:

I guess my Christmas present to Karen is relieving her of blogging duty for a week so she has more time to do last minute shopping, cookie baking, attending to a sick kid, Elf hiding and whatever else perfect, over-achieving moms like her do the week before Christmas.


Oh yeah, the Elf on the Shelf lives in her house and she's not blogging about it. That's right. It's all over her Facebook page (where everyone connected to her who knows her and loves her despite the fact that she's perfect.) But when it comes to the blog-o-sphere, she's holding back so that all of you who don't know her won't hate her because she's sickeningly perfect.


But I'm on to you, Miss Goody Two-Shoes. Bam! (And sorry in advance - I know you hate when I post loooooong blog entries. Please don't hurt me!)


Anyways, since Karen is a role-model to many, including me, I tried to put on my best happy homemaker hat the other day. I baked. I use that term very loosely. Actually, what I did was attempt to make Rice Krispie Treats for the first time in my life. Big mistake.


On the bright side, I didn't burn anyone's house down nor did I cut off any of my digits.


I knew that SexySultry was going to come home from a day of shopping and insist that we exchange our gifts that night since I'll be far away on Christmas. It wasn't something she said, but I know her well enough to anticipate her excitement at finding the perfect gift for me. And I was right.

So to add to our holiday celebration, I thought it'd be fun to watch a pure Parisienne turn up her nose at something so very American and so definitively not healthy/organic/natural/meant-for-human-consumption. I had SocialButterfly bring me a box of Rice Krispies and a bag of marshmallows from New York since it's pretty difficult to find such non-French processed sugars and saturated fats over here.

Let me reiterate the fact that I have never before made Rice Krispie Treats in my life even though I've shoved tons of them in my pie hole over the years. I stood in SexySultry's kitchen melting the butter and watched it starting to brown. I already anticipated the disaster that was about to ensue. I turned down the heat on the electric stove, added the marshmallows and phoned TooNice in Atlanta who has two children under ten years of age.
"Hello?"

"Hi. I have a quick non-emergency emergency-like question to ask you."

"Okay."

"What do you do to OW I JUST BURNED MYSELF how can you... Why won't my marshmallows melt?! I mean, they have been in this pan for almost 10 minutes and they're soft-ish but refuse to disintegrate into fluff."

"Huh?"

"I'm trying to make Rice Krispie Treats for the first time in my life. I can conquer complicated crap like white chocolate and dark chocolate mousse in layers with home-made crème anglaise and a raspberry coulis from scratch! I've seen four-year-olds make this crap practically unsupervised so WTF am I doing wrong?!"

TooNice burst into a fit of hysterical laughter. (PS - She's the one who rescued me when I burned down the kitchen, covered the rest of the previously white interior of the house in a greasy black film, and had to go to the hospital's burn ward the day before Thanksgiving in 2008 on the East Coast where I was not trying to cook something complicated but just trying to heat oil
which exploded into flames to fry up pre-packaged jalapeño poppers from TGIFridays. Please refrain from judging me. This was before the French Skinny.)

"Did you add enough butter?"

"What's my name?! Please! Of course I added enough butter. Butter is second only to bacon in my world!"

"What are you doing right now?"

"Adding more butter."

More laughter. Some polite chit-chat about what she's doing, how the kids are doing, her parents' impending visit for the holidays...

"Okay, so it's been 5 minutes. The butter I added has completely melted but the marshmallows are still in ball shape. Maybe the wok isn't hot enough but it's an electric stove and when I had the heat up higher everything started to burn. So now I have a huge mess on my hands, a layer of burnt stickiness on the bottom of the wok and a melted spatula that I have to replace yet STILL my marshmallows won't melt!"

"You're doing this in a wok?! Are you crazy?!"

"She doesn't have any other cookware big enough."

"Try putting them in the microwave then."

SexySultry does not like to touch food with her hands and hates to cook. So the kitchen is a little limited to say the least. I started opening up cabinets trying to find a suitable microwaveable container.

"What should I put them in?" I wondered aloud.

"Something that's not metal. And microwave safe."
Thanks, Sherlock. But I suppose her lack of faith in me is understandable. We promptly hung up the phone as I decided to put the first 5oz of marshmallows in a glass bowl in the microwave and wait to do the second 5oz later as I couldn't find anything big enough. I put 2 minutes on the timer and went about washing the gook off the melted spatula to see if it was salvageable.

Within 5-10 seconds, I (luckily) had the bright idea to check the marshmallows. CRAP! I quickly opened the microwave door upon discovering that the marshmallows had expanded to 800 times their original size. I pulled the bowl out and tried to stir the mess around with a wooden spoon and get everything back into the bowl.

Guess what?! STILL NOT MELTED.

After exploding the second batch of marshmallows I gave up and decided to throw everything back into the wok on low heat and add the Rice Krispies anyway. I mashed everything around with my bare hands (not a good idea) and added a full bag of M&M's for color (also not a good idea.) The candy melted and the mixture became a mess of colors and at no point in time did the marshmallows resemble anything remotely close to fluff.

But I was close to tears at this point and had to finish what I started before I realized that SexySultry owns no brownie pans. No big deal. I improvised with a bread pan.

I give you, Rice Krispie Loaf...



Sometimes I really LOVE photoshop.

PS - I was completely sober.

PPS - SexySultry actually liked it (or so she said.) She even took some to work the next day and shared with her very-French, very-opinionated coworkers (but maybe it was just to have a good laugh or to prove the ridiculousness to them in case they didn't believe her.) I would've liked to have been a fly on the wall for those 10 minutes!!




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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The House That Snot Built

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris, France:

So to give you an idea of my level of laziness slash it's-not-my-fault-I'm-unmotivated, I give you this image. Now you can see why (at least for the last week) I don't get my butt off the couch more often and write blog posts.



This is just an hour's worth of work. I am very busy trying to rub away all the skin on and around my nose. Went through an entire Kleenex box in one day. I told you - bubonic plague. (PS - I never get sick so I don't know how to do it without whining. PPS - Maybe I'm a dude.)

I know this is a blog about yummy food and fancy French fashions and whatnot so I'm probably being very inappropriate but I DON'T CARE. If I have to suffer, so shall you. (I am a giver. I like to share. You're welcome.)

In related news, my birthday is on Friday and you're all welcome to send me people who will massage the bowling ball sized knots that have formed in my back and neck. I thank you in advance.

Now where does SexySultry keep that honey stash?!


*My gift wish list also includes a unicorn, anything sparkly, a new nose and an iPad2.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nespresso Runs My Engine

Shaboom sends us her post from Paris, France:

Obsessed! got me hooked on Nespresso (or crack, as Cashew calls it) when I first moved to Paris (which is good since I never knew how to make coffee from scratch {because SwimSwim spoiled me with coffee in bed every day for 7 years} until ManEater taught me how to make it all by myself the summer before last in Venice Beach.)

I would like to claim that I've had absolutely no coffee yet today ...but we all know I would be lying.

I like the dark flavors best (Ristretto, Arpeggio, Capriccio, Volluto) and although I usually try limiting my crack intake to one or two per day, sometimes I overdo it and my friends end up receiving dozens of amped-up, barely intelligible, certifiably insane emails on such occasions.

Recent transgression:
Do you ever get obsessed with a chin hair that you can feel is there even though it's probably not yet catching anyone's attention other than your own but you're out in public or on a date or something with no mirror and no tweezers so you just sit there fondling that up-to-now invisible spot on your chin until you've scratched the crap out of it hard enough so it bleeds thereby drawing attention to something only psycho you had previously noticed? Yeah, because I sure as hell do.

HELP ME

longest run-on sentence ever
OMG i'm sorry you're my friend
Do you see what I mean? I also tend to throw out random slang terms like I think I'm a queeny gay man and I tend to try to offend as many people as possible. I would love to show you a clip of one of those emails but I don't want Karen to get mislabeled as racist or anti-freedom or something, which we all know would happen...

ANYWAYS, Nespresso! Yes. And George Clooney! Ah... I'm not sure if you're aware back in the big ol' U S of A but he is the spokesperson. There are lots of famous Americans who do advertisements over here. Tony Parker in currently starring in a Quick Burger commercial (Belgium & France's answer to McDonald's slash Burger King.) Who knew Tony Parker is French?!?! Oh. All of you? All of you but me? Yeah, I live under a rock.

Focus. George Clooney! Mmmm... he's dreamy. And he's super cute in the commercials. Here's a recent one that I particularly like...



So what was my original point for this post? Oh. Right. SexySultry is my hero. She noticed I was running out of capsules and went to the Nespresso store for me to stock back up. I love her. I gushed to Cashew about my love for "my wife" and the coffee delivery the other day. He was a little offended as he ordered the exact same amount of the exact same flavors 2 weeks ago from Nespresso to have shipped to me overnight as a surprise. Where was his love and gratitude, he wondered? The coffee he purchased online hasn't arrived yet. STRANGE.



I'm pretty sure some envious neighbor is stealing my mail. I'm also missing 3 paychecks. And the French postal service is not being helpful AT ALL. (A story for another day.)


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Monday, December 19, 2011

Honey Heals

Shaboom sends us her post from Paris, France:

Karen's post about treating her kid's cough with honey reminded me to tell you about the French and their honey obsession.

The French are very gourmet and super particular about things that we eat and drink. They believe that everything has to happen in a certain order and over a certain period of time, hence the fact that you'll never really see a true Frenchman eat on the run or standing up. True Frenchies eat appetizers first (l'entrée,) then the main course (le plat,) before slowly enjoying some cheese with maybe a little fruit, a dessert and then their coffee. The coffee has to be a tiny cup of espresso, no milk or sugar added. It has something to do with digestion and the fact that they say milk doesn't pair well with coffee in your belly and counteracts whatever it is that the coffee is supposed to do.


(You think I could do some research and give more solid, viable explanations backed up with facts, right? I know. I'm lazy. So sue me. Besides, I'm only trying to help you. If you research the information for yourselves you're much more likely to retain the knowledge. You're welcome.)

But I digress... HONEY. Right.


So, Frenchies love their honey. Organic honey is the best but only if it comes from France, natch. Because cross the border into Spain for example and the honey is unacceptable! I'm serious here, people. I see Frenchies looking at the label for the origin of the honey and turn on their heals and walk away in a huff with a disgusted look on their face if it comes from their neighbors or *gasp* from further abroad.


The honey business here is no joke. They have eleventeen billion different varieties of honey and each kind has its own set of properties. All honeys have antioxidants, antibacterial, and hygroscopic properties. The darker the color of the honey, the better it is for you (generally speaking.)

Lavender flower honey can be ingested to help the respiratory system and minimize acne or can be directly applied to superficial burns to act as a humectant and antimicrobial to aid in healing. Orange blossom honey is good to fight insomnia and migraines. The list goes on and on and on...


SexySultry has caught a bad case of the bubonic plague (at least that is what she sounds like when she's coughing) and she sent me to fetch a few different organic honeys to help her throat. (Gasp - they're from a French company but the bees are Spanish and Italian. Damn those pasta loving bees!) Luckily she stocked up because now I have her disease (although much milder) and am enjoying the healing properties of
Propolis, Thyme and Lavender honey.




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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Joyeux Dimanche - Le Bon Marché

Shaboom sends us her post from Paris, France:



It's chaos all over Paris. That's right, it's Christmas shopping season and this is the final weekend for last-minute shoppers. I personally hate crowds and usually get most of my shopping done before September (no, I'm not neurotic... or a control freak. I swear! I leave that to Karen.)

As I'm traveling to Scandinavia for the holidays, I have to go buy a few semi-fresh French specialties before I go(for which I had to wait until the last minute,) so I am forced into the craziness. Wish me luck as I battle the sardine-can crowds on the Metro and the intense beret-wearing, baguette-wielding, brutal fight-you-till-death little old ladies at
Le Bon Marché! (PS - I almost got arrested once for trying to take photos inside this joint. No photography allowed. PPS - This is where all the nuns shop and I'm a little obsessed with catching them in their "natural habitat." PPPS - I don't know if the nuns have any relation to why I'm not allowed to take pictures in there.)



I wish internet shopping was easier in this country and that international shipping didn't break the bank!



Joyeux Dimanche!

*all images borrowed from the internet


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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tea For Two

Shaboom sends us her post from Paris, France:

Yesterday was my (late) granny's birthday.

Happy Birthday Mormor! You are greatly missed by us all.

My granny loved tea. I remember sitting with her in her bed in our PJs as a child drinking Earl Grey (mine was more milk than tea, but no matter) as she thumbed through the newspaper and shared occasional comments/remarks with her husband on the other side of the room. Yes, they slept in separate twin beds. That doesn't mean they weren't deeply in love. He used to bring her flowers for no reason quite often, but that's a story for another day.

Anyway, she died a few years ago right before I moved to Paris. (Her death may or may not have been one of the reasons why I bought a one-way ticket to Paris 3 months later without first finding a job or taking stock of how damaging that could be to my relationship, but that's a question to answer in therapy. PS - I don't like doctors. PPS - I am not in therapy. PPPS - I know some would say that I should be.)

I lived in France in the 90s and she loved coming to visit me. One of our favorite things to do together was to go to the tea salon "
Mariage Frères."



Their tea canisters are beautiful and their teas are heavenly.



The shop slash restaurant is gorgeous in and of itself.




Our favorite is
Roi des Earl Grey.



Anytime I have international visitors now, I always take them to Mariage Frères and drink a cup for my granny and wish she were here.




*all photos are borrowed from the internet.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Leek, Carrot and Ginger Broth


This weekend I have 6 parties to go to. Holiday parties, dessert parties, cookie parties.......whew! I also have a kid that is getting over being sick so I might not make any of them. When I went to the store for chicken noodle soup supplies I found these beautiful leeks, carrots and ginger. I came home and made a giant batch of broth. This will be breakfast lunch and dinner in between parties or not.

In a big pot:
Leeks cut and washed. (Just use the white part)
Carrots cut and washed. (Carrot tops given to very grateful bunny who lives next door)
Ginger sliced.
One bouillon cube.
Cayenne pepper.
Cover everything with water and get to a boil. Then cover and turn down to simmer. I cooked mine for about 3 hours. Just keep tasting. Then I strained everything through a fine mesh colander.

Party on my friends.

xoxo

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Buckwheat Honey for Coughs


Just a quick post to tell you about Buckwheat Honey. 5 had a terrible 24 hour bug accompanied by a cough 2 days ago. I took him to the doctor yesterday and he prescribed Buckwheat Honey for his cough. He said researchers had compared Buckwheat Honey to the best over the counter cough suppressant on the market and the honey won.
But it has to be buckwheat. That's the key.

Just a little spoonful every 4 to 6 hours.

Happy Holidays!

xoxo

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bacon and Egg Toast Cups

Photo


Shaboomy found this on werd
I would love one on this rainy Monday morning. 


Tres Bon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Furoshiki

Photo found on Marthastewart.com

For this and more amazing ways to wrap your gifts this year go to Martha Stewart
I love this, it's called furoshiki (wrapping gifts in cloth). 




Have a wonderful Sunday.





Saturday, December 3, 2011

Shaboom's Quinoa Recipe

I asked Shaboom for her famous Quinoa Recipe. (Okay I begged.) This recipe has been known to make men fall in love, propose marriage and do any bidding you deem necessary so be very very careful who you make it for.

Shaboom's Quinoa Recipe:


i don't really do recipes
but i can try to tell you how i make it
good luck

1. make current boyfriend/potential-fiancé/lover du jour go BUY the ingredients while i lounge in bed and drink coffee
2. yell at him for not taking out the trash once he gets home (if he's just a lover du jour he is exempt)
3. get dressed (haha, no. not really. unless there's bacon involved. then it's mandatory.)
4. look at directions on quinoa box (to understand the water to grain ratio) but then i don't really follow them. i was never good at following directions. (beat of own drummer)
5. start chopping whatever vegetables i remember to put on list for man slave to buy. usually it's 2 zucchini, 3 peppers (one of each color,) a crap-load of onions and garlic (1kg?) and as much bacon as i can get away with (500g - 1kg)
6. get out giant wok or huge soup pot, what ever's available. start with a few tablespoons of salted butter (like half a stick.)
7. when pan is hot, add butter. when butter is melted, add onions and garlic.
8. when onions and garlic are transparent, add BACON! and seasoning. i usually put in herbs de provence, salt, pepper, piment d'espelette. but sometimes i do saffron, S&P and fresh parsley.
PS - if you're anti-BACON or muslim or jewish or whatever religions that are opposed to YUM, you can use sliced beef or chicken breast or whatever else floats your boat... like tofu *GAG ME.
9. when bacon is cooked through but not crispy, add peppers and zucchini. (can add eggplant, mushrooms *barf, corn, okra, or whatever tickles your fancy.)
10. when all veggies are soft and cooked-looking, add some broth (chicken, beef, pork, veggie, doesn't matter) and the quinoa. (i think the quinoa i get is 500g but maybe 1kg, i don't know. i play it by ear, sister. i think for 500g i add 3 cups of broth but not really sure... i just feel it out.)
11. as the quinoa absorbs the flavors of the BACON! and other non-important crap, it also absorbs the water. quinoa usually only needs 10 minutes to not taste like raw macaroni so if you're low on liquid, just add more.
12. when ready to serve, you can add grated cheese and tomatoes if you're feeling gluttonous. salsa, sour cream, olives and avocado if you're in a mexican mood. olé!
13.invite at least a dozen of people over because that is enough yumminess to last for a week if you have to eat it alone. it could last all year if you're doing french skinny portions.

This recipe can also be used with bulgar or rice or pasta or polenta or couscous...
I've tried quinoa, bulgar and pasta. Polenta and couscous are not yet appreciated in this house. Maybe someday...
BTW - I've only ever made white quinoa in Europe but it was always red in the US.

let me know if you like it.

love you!

shaboomy


I believe bacon and butter are universal aphrodisiacs.

Thanks Shaboomy!

xoxox
Karen

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yes, I'm Still Alive

Shaboom sends us her update from Paris, France:

I haven't been writing lately because I'm fighting off a mean
case of the reds and all I have handy even remotely resembling a light-saber is a baguette and then I just think about getting fat and the whole cycle begins to repeat itself. Also, every time I get a smidge of inspiration, I'm either not near my computer or can't be bothered to go through the laborious process of punching the tiny letters on the screen one-by-one on my iPhone blogger application. Or I'm on a train and am too afraid to pull out my phone for fear of getting mugged again.

But I digress.

So I'm back in Paris again FINALLY after like a year of non-stop travel. Come to think of it, I'm on another plane in less than 3 weeks and OMG did you know that I've been browsing fancy coffee makers online even though I'm very limited in my coffee brewing knowledge? Thank heavens ManEater taught me how to use a French press the last time I was in LA.

Fancy Coffee Machine #1

Fancy Coffee Machine #2

Sometimes weird thoughts pop into my mind (actually all the time) and sometimes it goes like this:

My Thought - "You should exercise or something. Maybe you could have that flat stomach you wish existed without the help of Photoshop or anorexia."

My Reality - "That would mean crunches or a physical trainer or having some kind of kinky sex that you can't even dream up."

To be clear, weird thoughts pop into my mind all the time but only rarely are they about physical self-improvement. Most of the time it goes like this:

My Thought - "I could really go for a pain au chocolat right now."

My Reality - "That would mean walking to the bakery or having sex with my partner to get him to go get me one. That seems like an awful lot of hassle. Guess I'll just drink coffee instead."

Guess how many cups of coffee I've had today?!?! Thank the lord Cashew left his Nespresso machine behind when he moved to America.

*side note*
To walk to the bakery means exposing myself to the noise of all the children at the elementary school across the way (exposing myself TO THE NOISE, I don't go around flashing children). Holy crap kids are loud. They're running around like wild animals screaming and crying... even when they're having a good time. Parents must not appreciate peace and quiet, otherwise why would they willingly have children!? How could they voluntarily give up the peace and quiet? Or maybe they're all just secretly rich enough to have sound-proofed bedrooms and nannies and stuff ...or they're secretly deaf.

*more uninteresting crap related to side note*
How do I always seem to live across from a school or some other child-noise related facility? When I lived in France in the mid-nineties, when I lived across from that t-shirt factory in China, when I first lived in LA (Burbank,) and my last apartment in Paris... I lived across from parks, schools, etc.

PS - I never lived in China.

I make no sense. And I need more coffee. And maybe a lobotomy.

Nothing in this post is even remotely related to The French Skinny, except maybe the pain au chocolat part, I guess.

And this is why I haven't been posting lately.

Monday, November 28, 2011

French Skinny by Christmas

Cherry Tomatoes & Heirloom Tomatoes
 4 days of Thanksgiving indulgence has left me wanting needing to go back to the French Skinny lifestyle.
The French Skinny lifestyle that is fast, efficient and delicious. 

Sweet Basil
 Saturday morning's Farmers Market was fantastic. 
I picked up some fresh herbs. 

Sprouts
 Different kinds of sprouts.


Peas
 Threw it all together and it looks like this.


Half a cup of dry Red Quinoa cooked with vegetable broth instead of water.
Add tomatoes, onion, sweet basil, sprouts, peas, mung beans, pine nuts, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and cayenne pepper.
Garlic quark on top.  (Goat cheese is wonderful mixed in as well.)


 All of these out of a half a cup of quinoa! I packed them in their own little containers and popped them in the fridge. I don't have to think about what I'll have for lunch all week. (Except to drool)
This might seem a little monotonous to you but I crave this stuff. It's super healthy and ready to go.

You can eat it cold but I like mine hot. 




Fresh mint and lemon for my sparkling water. 

I'm having tea with almond milk instead of half and half.

Walking at least 2 miles a day.


Let's get French Skinny by Christmas!

4 weeks to go. 






Friday, November 25, 2011

Leftovers


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Of course, over here the leftovers will be enjoyed for a few more days. Monday I'm definitely back to the French Skinny. But for now.......



Sweet potatoes for breakfast. 


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving (Not French Skinny)

Turkey eating corn.
By 5
Today will not be French Skinny in anyway. There will be Turkey, dressing,  mashed potatoes, gravy, Martha Stewart's twice baked sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, rolls with real butter and more. 

This year I have so much to be grateful for. So very very much. 

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Hug your people.

xoxoxo
Karen

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Salmon Sashimi

Salmon Sashimi with carrots and green onions

I know we are all getting ready for Turkey Day  but I wanted to share my first attempt at Salmon Sashimi. I watched a few videos on how to cut the salmon and gave it a whirl. I've learned it's all about the fish. I found a fish guy at the Farmer's Market. He has fresh water and salt water salmon. This is fresh water. Not as lean as salt water but tastes like butter. 

I cut the salmon skin off and fried it up for crispy salmon skin rolls. They were gone before I could take a picture. 

My technique needs some work and the rice was a disaster but the salmon was fantastic.

It's official. One night a week is sushi/sashimi night. I'm thinking long about Saturday we'll be tired of Turkey and want something different.

And now......back to Turkey Day.


xoxo

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Shoes


Yesterday, I was given these gorgeous orange suede shoes. They were my Neighbor Wife's but didn't quite fit her so she gave them to me. The only problem is, I don't really have the life for these.

I keep trying to imagine where I would wear them. Yes, if I lived in Paris I wouldn't think twice about wearing these to the market. But in Burbank?

I would have to go to a different supermarket because I know everyone at Pavilion's and they would ask where I was going. "Just home to do laundry."

Walking 5 to school?  I don't think so. 2 miles is a little much for an amateur like me.

Date Night?  Since we eat at 5:00 it's still light out. Putting on my gorgeous shoes to eat the early bird special makes me sad.

So for now, I just look at them. They do make my closet look pretty.

xoxo
Happy Saturday

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lemon Quark


Lemon Quark


I found my Quark connection. Last weekend I went to the Farmer's Market and bought some Spring Hill Lemon Quark. Quark is a German style cream cheese and tastes like lemon cheesecake.....but lighter. I love it. You can put it on fruit or crackers but honestly, I just take a spoonful every now and then when I want a little sweet.
I just forced my friend, Tish, to try it. It's unanimous.

Lemon Quark yes!






Thursday, November 3, 2011

Coral Tree Cafe

 English Breakfast Tea Latte
(It was almost the size of my head)


The other day, I met up with my friend, Mary, who I haven't seen in about......15 years. Tish and I met her at the Coral Tree Cafe in Encino. The Coral Tree is warm and inviting, just like Mary. I had the giant latte (above) and the aloha (below). 

The aloha (on the right). Fresh Pear, Apple and Pineapple Juice.

The years have only made Mary more beautiful. We laughed for over an hour and caught up as much as we could. 
We will definitely meet again soon. Next time I'll get the small latte and I'll order some food. It all looks delicious, organic and fresh. I will also put 2 hours worth of quarters in the meter so I don't have to make a mad dash to avoid a ticket in the middle of a juicy story. 


I hope your Thursday is delightful. 


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Daydream Believer



6:05am

5 starts singing in my ear.  (His version of  Daydream Believer by The Monkeys)

"Cheer up sleepy head.
Who knows what it means, 
To a Daydream Believer and a Homecoming Queen."


There were 6 or 7 verses.


"Hey Buddy, how do you know that song?"


"Everybody knows that song."


"I think the words are a little different."


"Well, what do you expect? Chipmunks are hard to understand."


"You mean Monkeys."


"No, Chipmunks."












I need to start drinking coffee again.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween




"Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Wake up! It's Halloween!!!!! I've been waiting all year for today!!! I get to go trick or treating and get a million candieeeeeees!!!!"

"Yeah, super fun day Buddy. Wow it's 6am."

"Wake up Mom, we have a lot to do."

As my little pirate walked away, I heard the scariest thing of all. He started singing "Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer."




Tomorrow's NOVEMBER!

The Holidays are here!

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!


Happy Halloween.