Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Humble art

I love art... Especially the street kind. By that I mean the ones you buy from the artist himself on the street as he is trying to make a living. I make a point of buying something everytime I go out of the country... I have built a nice collection of pieces and most of them are decorating the walls of my house. This last trip was not an exception. I found some sweet pieces and I paid on average about $5 for each one of them... Not bad. Not bad at all... Here are some of them:

The last two ones are old licqour labels I found in an antique store in Colmar. Price? 2 Euros a piece... I think I will be framing those too. Do you like?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


We are getting tons of tomatos from our little garden...Not wanting to waste any of them here is a list of recipes I want to try:

Gazpacho (I have been saving the half gallon jugs to freeze it for later)
Caprese salad (with raw tomatoes and roasted tomatoes)
Pizza Margarita
Pan con tomate
Paninni Caprese
BLT sandwiches
Roasted tomato marinara sauce
Pasta Ponza
Cream of tomato soup
Tomato basil tarlets
Tomato tarts
Grilled Flatbread with Ricotta Cheese, Fresh Tomatoes, Oregano and Roasted Garlic Oil
Tomato, Watermelon, and Basil Skewers
Indian Spiced Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup
Oven dried tomatoes Great snack!
Provencal Tomatoes

Other recipes I will be trying with my crop of cucumbers and herbs:

Different types of pesto (basil, parsley and mint)
Chimichurri sauce
Taztziki sauce


Friday, June 25, 2010

Menu for the week

Vegetable soup with garbanzo beans/Salad
Stuffed portobello mushrooms/Salad
Penne with roasted red pepper sauce/Salad

Croque Monsieur/Salad - Kiddos tested and approved so easy yet so yummy!


Aldi/Kroger $ 34
Costco $ 14
Super H $ 3
Trader Joe's $ 12

I wanted to share some tips for saving when going to the grocery store:

If a recipe you have been dying to try calls for a specific ingredient (example: thyme, cilantro, goat cheese) plan other meals around the same ingredients so the cost of it is worth it.
Buy items when they are on sale and stock up.
Buy seasonal.
Grow some basics like herbs... they can be so expensive but needed to give your dishes another dimension of flavor.
Don't waste anything. If you debone your own chicken make stock out the bones, if you have leftover veggies about to go bad make a big batch of vegetable soup.
If you know that you will have more veggies than you can use go ahead and cut up the extras and store them in containers in the refrigerator, ready for an after school snack or for munching thoughout the day.

I will be posting more tips soon...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A guide to Paris - through the eyes of a six-year-old

I have read just about every guide to Paris there is on the internet... So I thought I'd add one more to the mix but this time though the eyes of my six-year-old girl... None of these recommendations can be missed if you are traveling to Paris (with or without kids), let's start:

Place du Tertre (Montmartre): great for street art watching. This child of mine wanted to see every single piece of art... It was adorable

Amorino (all over the city): Not only does this Italian gelateria have great ice cream, they shape it like a flower... V was in heaven

Street performances (all around Paris especially in Trocadero and the Latin quarter): She was mesmerised by them... Even to a point she wanted to start dancing to see if she could get some money in the process... Can you detect some father encouragement here?

Crepes (all over the city): Savory or sweet. Mid morning or mid afternoon snack. Anytime is a good time for Crepes.

Laduree (Rue Bonaparte): OK, I do not want to sound cliche here as this pastry shop is recommended all over the blogland but the macaroons from Ladure are absolutely fabulous. Salted butter caramel was her favorite... They are worth a try!

Place de Notre Dame (Nothe Dame Cathedral): For pigeon chasing or bird feeding. Just plain fun.

Eiffle tower at dusk (Champs de Mars): An experience that cannot be missed (It is like waiting for a Christmas tree to be lighted). Needless to say we did not get home until really late that night!

Pet and flower district (Quai des Tuileries): Need I say more? We almost could not get her out of there.

Fondue: Yes, you read that right! We missed trying it when we when to the Alps so as soon as we saw it in a restaurant in Paris we ordered it for her... the girl devoured it (not that I can blame her)

Lastly, souvenir shops (all over the city): my girl could not contain herself. Especially she felt the need to own a beret... pink nonetheless. She did not take it off the whole time after we bought it. And of course the mandatory Eiffle tower statute to remind her of a wonderful trip to an equally wonderful city which I am sure she will return to one day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our homes away from home

A little look at our homes away from home.... Here are some photos of the places we stayed while we visited France.

Our lovely gite in the country side of Burgundy:

Breakfast with this view...

Our small city dweller in the heart of Paris:
If you are going to France and want more information about the places we stayed send me an email and I will hook you up! planandplay1[at]gmail[dot]com

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Seven years ago

I was there, entering the magnificent palace of Fontainebleau and it hit me. Last time I was here it was 7 years ago when Mark and I went to France on our babymoon. I remember everything about it, how cold it was, how sick I felt, how beautiful it was. Seven years later I am at the same place but this time I have my little girl with me... Running around, in awe of such a beautiful palace. I had to to do the mandatory picture...Maybe be one day she will be back... Maybe with her own little girl and take the mandatory picture...

Mom pregnant with baby girl - Dec '02
Mom and daughter - May '10

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pictures from the weekend

This past weekend was so busy but also so much fun. The husband had his black belt test... We are so proud of him... here are some pictures from that day:

Here is the future karateka...He is observing very carefully
On Sunday we drove to Seagrove Beach to meet up with Mark's sister, husband and kiddos (on vacation from Kansas). We had beautiful weather. The kids picked up where they left off. They had a great time playing, swiming and picking up shells on the beach.

And also we helped celebrate our niece's birthday. Happy birthday sweet girl! It was great being able to spend some of the day with you!