Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 146 from France:

Shaboom writes to us from Paris, France...

I know I was bad about posting last week. My apologies.

Moving on.

There is a ferris wheel in Paris at La Place de la Concorde which has recently changed its name to La Roue de Paris. That's a shame really as it used to be called La Roue d'Excellence, The Wheel of Excellence. I mean, how cool is that?!

So SexySultry and I decided that since neither of us has ever experienced the excellence of this ferris wheel, we couldn't die happy without going for at least one spin. It was a very cold Sunday, probably not the best conditions in which to hoist yourself high into the (extremely windy) skies above Paris, but we put on our best tourist faces and stood in line for over a half hour to pay a small fortune for this pleasure.

Here are some of my iPhone snaps from the ride.

We had fun but now we understand why this amusement is no longer boasting excellence in its name.

I'm just saying...

The hot chocolate we had to warm us up at a nearby café afterwards, however, was indeed excellent.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Zoo Food

Photos by Karen at French Skinny

"No caption required."

While Shaboom travels the world eating croissants, 4 and I head off to the Zoo.
Last time I went to the Zoo, I packed a little FS lunchbox for myself. Yogurt, water, apple. Very smart. Very healthy.
Yeah, I didn't do that today. Today's Zoo adventure was a spur of the moment thing and let's be honest, sometimes you just cant be perfect. I know Shaboom would never pack a lunch. That's just not her deal. So 4 and I went up and down hills and stairs looking at all the animals. We were getting hungry. And then we saw this delightful guy eating his lunch.

He took one look at me and gave me the universal sign for "Go Away."
Mooned by a Gorilla.

4 got a kids lunch box and nothing really sounded good to me. 4 ate about half of his lunch and I had a few bites. Still FS portions.

Once home, I had an apple and some cheese.

Grilled Ham and Cheese sandwiches for dinner with grapes on the side.
(My sandwich was made with one piece of bread. 7 or 8 grapes.)

Later that night Hubby and I shared some popcorn and a movie.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

White Bean and Garlic Bisque

Photos by Karen at French Skinny

"My Comfort Food"

Back home and it's time for some comfort food.

White Bean and Garlic Bisque:

Olive oil

2 heads of garlic peeled and trimmed. Or just buy them already peeled and trimmed.

2 cans of white beans. Rinse and drain. Or knock yourself out and cook them yourself.

Half a white onion coarsely chopped.

4 cups of Organic Chicken Stock. (Or Vegetable Stock if you want.)

Garlic salt. One tablespoon. (Or to taste)

Herbs de Provence. One tablespoon (I don't always use this but I happen to have some and it was good)

Cayenne Pepper. One tablespoon. (We like things spicy. You don't have to put this in.)

Black Pepper. One teaspoon.

Red Pepper Flakes. To taste. (Again, not necessary if you don't like heat)

In a big pot, saute the garlic, onions, garlic salt, Herbs de Provence, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes in olive oil until garlic is a bit soft and the onions are transparent.

Then pour in the White Beans and Chicken Stock, bring to a boil, cover the pot and turn it down to simmer for 45 minutes.

Cool the Bisque down and if you have a fancy shmancy immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot.

I don't have a fancy schmany immersion blender so I use my blender. The soup has to be cooled and only ladled in a little bit at a time. The most you should fill the blender is half way. Trust me on this. I've learned the hard way. You do not want hot soup exploding through the top of your blender. It's a total buzz kill.

Heat back up when you want to eat it......And you will.

The most important thing is the Garlic, White Beans, Onion and Chicken Broth. That's your base. Use whatever herbs you like, but I have to say this was the best batch I've ever made. Hubby had 3 bowls full. I, of course, had my French Skinny portion (half a bowl) and 2 pieces of baguette.

This is very healthy but I wouldn't make it on a first date, if you know what I mean. Luckily Hubby and I eat it together so we are happily garlicky together.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Photos by Karen at French Skinny


How can it be? The last day Mija is here. Tomorrow she leaves and we go back home. Time has stopped for awhile. There's a little heartbreak knowing we won't be doing this again for a long time. But we tuck that away until tomorrow and have coffee together.

I'm ready for something hearty for brunch so I make this for everyone. Heat olive oil in a pan, sliced French bread, mozzarella, tomatoes, roasted garlic and fresh basil. I like a little balsamic vinegar on top. I made 4 plates of these and everyone wanted more but that was the last of the bread.

The Sgt. Major grilled some rib eye for dinner and Grandma Dee made a big salad.

Games and popcorn until 1:00am

"Always leave them wanting more."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Too Much Fun

Photos by Karen at French Skinny

We just picked these beauties from Grandma Dee's Garden. Her tomato plants are taller than her. For her secret read here.

Fresh herbs from her garden.

We'll use these for breakfast, lunch and dinner:
Breakfast: Baguette with tomato, basil and mozzarella.
Dinner: Pasta and fresh tomato sauce. I just threw tomatoes, fresh herbs, garlic, onions, salt and pepper together. Parmesan on top. I sautéed mushrooms with some butter, garlic and balsamic vinegar.

That night, Mija, Tammy, the Sgt. Major and I played games in the gazebo until midnight. We joked and laughed so much, Grandma Dee thought the neighbors were going to call the police.
Luckily we weren't shut down for having too much fun.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 142 from France: Veggie-tales

Shaboom writes to us from Paris, France...

When I first arrived, I was eating way more vegetables than I am these days. Back then, we had the hook-up with a green grocer at the farmer's market where we got our food shopping comp'ed. We ate lots and lots of leeks. I may never have had so many leeks so often at any other time in my life. Leeks are incredibly popular in France.

We ate lots of peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, carrots, celery (branch and root,) and all sorts of beets! Usually the vegetables, broccoli for example, were steamed and then puréed. The leeks would be sliced thinly and fried until they'd melt - sometimes we'd add a little cream. We ate lots of lentils and lots of fresh fennel, sliced and munched on raw as an appetizer.

We ate soups of all types. Either they were mixed vegetable purées or stock made from scratch with rice noodles or simply rice. Of course there were onions and mushrooms and such for flavor but carrots, celery and/or potatoes were very central ingredients.

Now and then we would make samosas from scratch - veggie or seafood (not my fave.) Sardines were also very popular in the house although I preferred pickled herring. Mmm... There was also oftentimes french pâté and pickles! Yum!

Like I mentioned before, we always sat down for a proper meal. I drank no alcohol - only tea or coffee (milk, no sugar,) and water. There were always three courses minimum to each meal - appetizer, main course, dessert. Dessert in France is not what it is in America. Dessert here is 3-4 clementines, or 2 ripe pears, or a small yogurt, or an apple, or cheese (none for me, thanks,) or fromage frais get the picture?

Here are some more photos from when I first arrived of a lovely walk down by the River Seine...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Where Ya Been?

Photos by Karen at French Skinny

"Where ya been?"

Woke up this morning excited to go back to Grandma Dee's for more pajama party. Got everyone ready, had a pot of tea and we're on our way. The hummingbirds were already out and talking when I got there. Isn't this the craziest hummingbird picture? Hilarious.

Lunch was more fresh tomatoes and herbs from Grandma Dee's garden. Along with French bread and cheese. I ate it up before I could take any pictures.
That night we all went out to eat.

This is a normal plate of food at a restaurant. Before the French Skinny I would eat all of this along with chips and salsa. Once I started the French Skinny I would have eaten half of this. 141 Days into it and I now look at this plate, spy what looks like the tastiest morsel, (the taco in the middle) enjoy it and take the rest home. Completely full and happy. The rest will be eaten tomorrow by someone.

More games until midnight, Grandma Dee rocking 4 until he falls asleep, popcorn and sofa bed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 141 from France:
Poser Un Lapin

Shaboom writes to us from Paris, France...

When I first arrived in Paris two years ago, I tried to whip out my culinary skills to impress my French friends. Stupid stupid stoooopid! How dare I assume that I could possibly impress the French. That's unheard of!

Regardless, they rejected my Shepherds' Pie, "Ça ne ce fait pas! You cannot poot all zose seengs enn zee same deesh togezehr!" Um, hello. It's Shepherds' Pie. Otherwise it'd be pieces of meat on a plate served with a mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes and vegetables on the side.

They secretly loved but verbally rejected my banana bread. "Zees ees not bread. Zees ees too sveet!"

They secretly loved but verbally rejected my Oreo cheesecake as well as my Heath Bar Cheesecake. "Vee dahnt understand. Eets cheese but eets a cayke? Eet ees just wrong. Cayke ees cayke. Cheese ees cheese."

I say they "secretly" loved because they whined and moaned but when I turned around, it was all gone. Fini!!

Anyways, it was quickly decided that I would no longer be doing anything in the kitchen other than eating. So they started preparing me all sorts of French delicacies. Frog legs, snails, horse, blood sausage, intestines, rabbit brains name it. How do you say, NOT A BIG FAN in French?

After two weeks of horror, these ex-vegetarians went back to their normal diet of healthy, organic, locally grown vegetables and what-not which they purchased at the local farmers' market. Lots of leeks, eggplant, spinach, carrots, potatoes, turnips, cauliflower, cabbage and beans. We ate tons of purées, soups and stews.

When I started the FSE with Karen, I had been here for a year already and was already a size two and could eat what I wanted. So she (and all of you) were seeing what I was eating one year in, not what I was eating when I first got here.

Because it was never my intention to lose weight and because I never really thought about what I was eating back then, I don't really have many photos of my food from the first 6 months. I just had to basically describe it all when Karen was first starting the FSE. And yes, it's true. The portions are waaaayyyyy smaller.

The biggest changes in my lifestyle from the US to France were:
  • I didn't drink the first 6 months I was here.
  • I no longer had a job to go to, so maybe I had less stress in life? I don't know. I definitely had more time to eat, and I started actually sitting down to have meals - 3 per day even. When I was back in California working crazy-long days, I would forget to eat I was so busy. When I did eat, it was usually a Lean Cuisine on the run, or at a restaurant meeting I'd eat some huge portion of GodKnowsWhat that I felt like I had to finish or I'd be too wasteful. Wash that down with a giant Coke, beer or a bottle of wine and there you go!
  • I stopped going to the gym but I walked about 10km per day and I walked up and down tons of stairs.
  • Everything I ate once I got to France was fresh, locally grown, in-season, organic, no additives, no preservatives, no artificial flavoring, no artificial coloring, no hormones... Everything was made from scratch ...nothing in boxes, nothing frozen, nothing microwaveable.

  • I'll be back on Friday with more basics. Here are some of the photos I took when I first arrived here.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Weigh In Week 20

    Photos by Karen at French Skinny

    Weigh In Week 20
    Goal: Lose 35 pounds in 6 months the French Skinny Way.
    Lost 1.5 pounds this week.
    Total lost so far: 24.5 pounds

    We left the cocoon of Grandma Dee's house today to attend my friend, Eva's, party.

    (The adorable Eva.)

    Just part of the delightful spread.

    This is were I parked myself for awhile. Mmmm

    Eva pulled me aside and asked me if this is real or some kind of scam. Because she doesn't understand how Shaboom has lost all that weight and how I have clearly lost a lot of weight eating chocolate croissants and pasta.
    It's strange because I know that place. The wanting to understand but thinking there is more to it. I told her there is no scam. I eat whatever I want. I will never diet again. And because of that I can stop when I'm full. I taste for flavor and then back away slowly. I ate some fruit, 10 chips with salsa and a diet coke. I was full. Then I jumped in their pool and hung out for a few hours.
    Dinner was cheese and a baguette.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Day 140 from France: Let's Rewind

    Shaboom writes to us from Paris, France...

    When I first moved to Paris (2 years ago,) I went from a high-octane Hollywood lifestyle where each night was spent partying (drinking) at movie premiers, magazine parties, awards ceremonies and after-parties to a completely different low-key lifestyle in France where I knew no one, had no job and no real way to meet anyone.

    I was excited about my new adventure, as I have wanted to move to France since I went to university here many moons ago, but I was scared and I missed my boyfriend, friends and my source of income. So, I was brave and didn't cry (most of the time.) But I also couldn't really invest in my life here because I kept thinking, "What's the point?" I knew I would just have to move back to LA sooner or later and go back to my real life with SwimSwim and our future marriage, starting a family, etc. Consequently, I was just sort of floating...

    But I lived with a French couple who spoke French to me 24/7, who served me French food and watched French tv. I drove a French car which I had to put gas into at French gas stations (I'll save my first fueling experience for another post.) I went on French job interviews at French companies conducted in French (and once in Russian - another post, I swear.) I paid for things with Euros and even found myself dreaming in French and speaking French with the dog, Petit Con.

    Then one day, I went into my French bathroom and got on my French scale. Even though it was in kilos (which always makes you feel skinnier,) I was in shock. I had gone from 90 to 60 kilos in what seemed like no time! Three months? Six months? I can't really remember now. What's funny is that I didn't feel any different. I didn't feel like I looked any different. But then, all of a sudden, my clothes didn't fit anymore between months 6-12, I dropped a butt-load of dress sizes. I went from a 14 to a 2. I'm 5'9". That's a big change.

    We get questions here at the FSE all the time about the portion sizes, the amount of exercises, the vegetable quotient, etc. I'm going to try to take this week to address some of those questions. Feel free to remind me in the comments section whatever it is that you're dying to know.

    Saturday, January 15, 2011


    Tammy's Tomato Salad

    Today we got into Grandma Dee's closet full of board games. Well, actually, Tammy and 4 did. There were board games in there dating back to the 70's. Tammy dusted them off and went through them one by one. Some had pieces missing. Some were just boring when you actually played them. But somehow, 4 would always make it interesting by making up his own rules and surprise, surprise, he always won! (Ahem)
    We spent all day and night playing games and putting puzzles together.

    For lunch, Tammy gathered fresh tomatoes, basil, rosemary and thyme from Grandma Dee's garden. Chopped it up, put some garlic salt, feta cheese and olive oil in it and it was delicious.

    (Anonymous, the picture above is what I actually ate. Before the FSE my portion size would have been at least twice as much as that. I will post more before and after portion sizes I promise.)

    Grandma Dee made her spaghetti with cheesy bread and broccoli for dinner. I could eat a lot of this if I didn't think about it. But I was totally full and satisfied with this much food.

    Tammy brought twinkly lights for Grandma Dee's gazebo. We put them up and played board games until midnight again. There were a few bowls of popcorn between the 4 of us.

    Friday, January 14, 2011


    Shaboom writes to us from Paris, France...

    I've been a major blogging slacker lately. But it's not my fault, I swear! Um... there is my broken shoulder,

    the increased amount of travel in my life lately,

    the amount of snow we got over the holidays...

    Also, I'm dealing with ridiculous internet problems at home,

    So this message is brought to you from SexySultry's french computer. I hate French keyboards.
    And there is no English spell check. Grrr...

    I zish thqt it could just be spring qgqin soon qnd thqt the rqin in Pqris zould stop;

    Do you see what I mean?