Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Dinner at Home

We decided we would stay at home for our first New Year's Eve celebration together in France. Keep it on the low-key. For the longest time, it was always a family tradition to go out for New Year's Eve. We would check-in in hotels (usually Marco Polo Hotel Cebu) and join whatever soiree they had. This time, I thought it would be neat to stay where we are. It hasn't been long since we moved in and I've been doing my darnedest to make our home beautiful and comfy, it would be a shame not to take advantage of that! We've been receiving a lot of leaflets for themed nights around the area, so at least I know there are activities for New Year's Eve or what the French also call, Saint-Sylvestre. So instead of going out, we stayed in, but I made sure this was somewhat going to be special and not feel like just an ordinary day. I cleaned the house, prepared a special meal, asked everyone to take a shower and wear nice clothes, and did my best to decorate the dining table. I think I did a pretty good job. I have to say that, after last year, I realize what counts the most. Just being able to be together is already perfect.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Creamy Mashed Potatoes - using a Potato Masher!

I learned to make Mashed Potatoes from my Dad. It was always something he liked to whip up as a side dish to whatever meat dish he prepared. He always made it so good! And he never never used the ready-to-mix stuff. I tasted that for the first time in my life last year and it definitely does not taste as good as the real thing! Dad was always adamant about using a food mill. I don't have a food mill for now, but I did manage to buy a zigzag Potato Masher from Ikea recently. And I fully intended to use it today, knowing damn well that Dad would scrutinize my choice, but I just had to finally have some good creamy mashed potatoes!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

KR's Visit: Day 3 / Last Day in Nancy, France

Like they say, all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately. I hate that KR has to leave already. It's been so good being able to catch up with a really good friend, especially one that I grew up with. Back in Cebu, we weren't constantly with each other, with our busy schedules and all, but we'd always make sure to see each other from time to time to catch up on updates in our lives. Amazingly, every time we saw each other again, even after a couple of months, we'd smoothly pick up from wherever we left off. It's a friendship I cherish and hold very close. This visit felt very much like those catching up dates we used to have. This time, sadly, saying goodbye was tough.

Friday, December 28, 2012

KR's Visit : Day 2 in Luxembourg Ville, Luxembourg

First of all, I just want to apologize for the blurry photos I have in this post. At this point of the day, the battery of my camera was just about to give up. Thankfully, I was able to take a few photos of our Luxembourg escapade. Proof that this actually happened - I still have to pinch myself! We were just outside the Cathedral of Metz, when I randomly said, "How about we go to Luxembourg?" This is my spontaneity side popping out once again. KR and MR were totally for it too! Yey for random road trips to Luxembourg!

KR's Visit : Day 2 in Metz, France

Warning - Photo Overload!

Second day and I still can't believe that KR is here! It just feels surreal! I didn't have any time to waste. If I wanted to show KR what my new life looked like, I had to be organized. So after a quick breakfast, talking, laughing, girl gossip, and a request from MR for Seafood Gratin (the same I made on Christmas Day) for lunch, we headed to Metz so we could show off our beautiful city and its Christmas spirit!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

KR's Visit : Day 1

Happiness. No other way to describe how I felt when my childhood friend, KR, sent me a message a couple of months ago that she was coming to France with her family for Christmas. My first response was to tell her that we absolutely had to see each other! I could come up to Paris or she could come to me in Lorraine. Anyways, after a couple of changes and actual fear that this wouldn't push through, we made final plans for her coming to visit me for 3 days. I could not be more excited!!! KR arrived today at the Metz Train Station and I picked her up. I was just in time to see her TGV train arrive at the platform. I waited for the crowd of people to thin out, but still looking around. And then I saw her, her bags, and the memories of my past life. 


My childhood friend, KR, is arriving today to visit me and I am picking her up at the train station in Metz. For weeks, I thought of the places we could visit, but most importantly the food I would make! I finally decided on making a Tartiflette for KR's first lunch. Her train from Paris was arriving at noon, so I took take care of the first steps of the dish and all MR had to do was pop the dish in the oven at noon, perfect for our arrival at around 12:30PM.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bonnes Fetes 2012!!!

Again, BONNES FETES / HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone!!! :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Challenge : Being a Lunch Host

The Challenge : Being a Lunch Host - Christmas Day Lunch 2012 

I've been dreaming about this day for months. Back when I was all alone and daydreaming about the future. I promised myself that when my family was finally here and my life stabilized (meaning we were settled in our new house), I would invite the people that supported me and helped me make last year bearable.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas Eve in France with family. Second time for me. First time for MR and SO. It may be the same holiday all throughout the world, but the way it is celebrated is definitely not! In the Philippines, we would have been cooking all night long, tasting the cooking dishes once in a while, gotten ready for mass, attend mass, come back home at 11PM, played games if any, Manito-Manita, then at midnight kissed and greeted everyone there, Noche Buena (buffet-style), and then listened and looked at the fireworks display outside. That's our Filipino Christmas - the French version is slightly different. This year we were invited at DO's house. We were 25 all in all - her in-laws and the 4 of us. At 7PM, we arrived at her house at our most tiptop outfits. Dinner started at 7:30PM - sit-down style. Aperitif, Entree, Main Dish, Salad and Cheese, and Desserts. From 7:30PM to Midnight, we were seated, joining lively conversations left and right. At midnight, we all greeted each other and exchanged gifts. The night ended at 3:30AM.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Seniors Goodie Basket

We were hanging out in the family room after dinner, watching television, (thankfully) not yet changed into pajamas, when the door bell rang. It was raining outside and I had no idea who could be at the door. Turns out, it was the Mayor of the village we live in. Apparently, he was doing his yearly rounds of distributing basket goodies for the "seniors" of the village. What a sweet and thoughtful gesture, I told him!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

La Pataterie Restaurant

Potatoes to the French are almost what white rice is to Filipinos. My Dad is French and surprise surprise he really loves them potatoes! So it was only a matter of time before I bring him to the Kingdom of Potatoes - La Pataterie, which literally means the Potato Place. I'm not a big potato fan, but this place has gotten really great reviews from friends and family! In fact, DO and TH tried it a week ago and could not stop raving about it! And since it was Dad's birthday yesterday and we were Christmas shopping in the area, I thought we could have a nice family lunch.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dad's 79th Birthday

Today is Dad's 79th Birthday and the birthday boy wakes up from his afternoon nap with a craving for oysters. He asks me if I don't mind picking up some - I tell him, whatever he wants, he'll get! I am just so grateful that we are all together this year to celebrate! Plus, turning 79 is definitely something to celebrate. I can only hope that one day I'll reach that age, healthy and still active as Dad is!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Easy Roasted Pork Fillet

I wasn't kidding when I decided to add "easy" to the title of this recipe. Easy because it is one of those recipes that uses just one pan and you put all ingredients together in that one pan until it cooks through. I learned this recipe during my year-long stay at my sister's last year. It epitomizes her cooking. Easy, quick, and delicious. I remember that this was very popular for lunch on Sundays at her house!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tripes a la mode de Caen

Mr. GI is a retired butcher who still likes to come out of his retirement to help out my brother-in-law once in a while. In fact, it was during one of those helping out days that he mentioned to me that he was getting ready to cook some Tripes a la mode de Caen at home. He asked me if I'd liked to have some and I answered that although I don't really know what tripes are and what a la mode de Caen meant, I would accept it with open arms! Plus, I remembered that this was another favorite dish of Dad's! Which means it can't be that bad! Teehee! :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Quick in Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France

Today was a big day for MR. A few weeks ago, MR received a convocation at the Prefecture of Nancy, France to finalize the legalization of his French visa. So with barely any sleep in my system (blame it on the stress and anxiety), we got ready super early, settled comfortably in the car, and drove 40 kilometers to Nancy. We might have been an hour and a half early, but there was no way I would let MR be late for his interview!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Afternoon Snacks at Ikea in Metz, France

Today is the first day into a new year for me. If I wanted last year to go by fast, I'm begging please don't with this year. I don't think I'm ready to turn 28 years old anytime soon! Anyways, after attending mass for the first time in Verny this morning and having a quick lunch at home, we spent the afternoon at Ikea, in Metz. I've heard so much about Ikea (back when I was in the Philippines)- their food, their furniture, the affordable prices! I've always wanted to see what the hype was about and now that I'm in France and within reach of an Ikea establishment, I thought we'd do a little shopping and a little eating today.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My 27th Birthday Dinner

Remember my 26th birthday last year? Click here for the post. Oh God, I was miserable! Miles and miles away from my family. I tried to cheer myself up with a simple seafood dinner and a strawberry cake. It was delicious, but nothing could replace the longing for my family. I promised myself I would make up for it this year - which I did. No more lonely girl this year, my family is here. At midnight, MR surprised me with a simple picnic. In the morning, we attended a Christmas Party with fellow villagers and neighbors. The program included a clown, dogs doing tricks, a huge boa, and later on, Santa Claus arrived and distributed gifts to the children. When the program was done, snacks (Brioche, Chips, and Candies) and drinks (Kir Royale - Creme de Cassis and Champagne) were served. We left at lunchtime and immediately went to the Leclerc supermarket in Marly to pick up seafood and whatever we were lacking for dinner tonight. I am celebrating my birthday tonight with my sister, DO, and her husband, TH. It is a simple celebration with family, exactly how I wanted it. I am blissfully happy. I've come a long way since last year!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Husband's Cooking: Arroz Caldo

Arroz Caldo is my ultimate comfort food and I love it when Hubby makes it for me! It can put me out of whatever funky mood I am in. And boy, did I need some today! This started late last night when I realized
that what I was hoping for was actually a fluke. That wasn't so bad....yet! I went to sleep, hoping that it would go away in the morning. On the contrary. My day started with bad news and it just kept adding up until this evening. I was stressed. S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D. I ran all over the area to get everything done in time. I already had a schedule for today, but things have been added and removed, so that's kind of thrown me off my game. And I need to buy a new printer! But did you know that ink is almost as expensive as a printer in France?! Plus, it rained the whole day! Not exactly helping in lifting up my mood! Oh, by the way, it's my birthday tomorrow. Can I hear a weeeeee??? Not from me!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Leftover Pot-au-Feu Meat with an Egg Vinaigrette

We still had a good amount of meat from the Pot-au-Feu I made yesterday and since I hate HATE hate throwing away food, I thought I would turn these leftovers into our next meal. This dish was inspired by something I saw DO make with her leftovers a while back.

Friday, December 7, 2012


What other kind of weather is more suitable to have Pot-au-Feu than today's? For the past couple of days, the temperatures have drastically lowered to negative degrees (-8 degrees Celsius today!). Earlier today, there was an actual snowstorm. School was cancelled this afternoon, but I'll never forget walking SO to school this morning just when the snowstorm started, and being ankle-deep in fresh snow when we picked her up at lunchtime! I love snow, just not when I have to actually walk on it or when it's pouring hard either!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Baked Endives and Ham / Endives au Jambon

I haven't eaten a lot of Endives back home, although it is Dad's favorite kind of salad. Back in the Philippines, the few times we ever had some were the times we brought some back from Manila. And not at all times were they even available! When I was living with my sister last year, we had Endives Salad a lot during winter (My Brother-in-Law, TH, says that Endives is a winter salad), so once spring came in DO stopped buying Endives (by the way, a pack of 6 Endives here costs the same as one piece in the Philippines!). Like Dad, Endives is a favorite of my nephew's, JO. One night, I was tired of preparing it the salad-way so I turned to the only other way I know these are eaten - baked and with ham and cheese!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Rognons et Coeur de Boeuf / Beef Kidneys and Heart

When Dad left France to settle in the Philippines 18 years ago, he had to let go of a couple of French dishes he loved. One of these is Rognons de Boeuf, which are beef kidneys. All my life, I've never eaten beef kidneys and never did I think beef kidneys could be eaten! It was only when I arrived here last year that I was introduced to this. Every time TH kills a cow, he gives the internal organs to his mom, AN. One time, she asked me if I knew what Rognons and Coeur de Boeuf (Beef Kidneys and Heart) were and if I would like to come over to try them. They were cooked  in a Sauce Brune and were just delicious! I just knew I had to make some for Dad when he arrived in France as well as MR, who is as clueless as me about beef kidneys. But then I realized that it wasn't the cooking part that was the hard part, it was the cleaning that was a challenge!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lunch at McDonald's in Trier, Germany

In lieu of eating at a traditional German restaurant, we had lunch at McDonald's. Much to my disappointment. But nevertheless, this was a food experience and I wanted to document it. And it wasn't bad either! Plus, what I love about McDonald's is that they are different in each country. In the Philippines, they have McDO Chicken with Rice and McSpaghetti (how I miss both!). The only other countries I've had McDonald's at were France, Luxembourg, and now Germany and there are only burgers on the menu. But different kinds of burgers in each country. I also happen to know that somewhere in the world, there is Noodle Soups in their McDonald! Different country, different food.

A Day in Trier, Germany

So at 9:45AM today, MR, SO, and I were waiting for the bus and the group we were travelling with at the City Hall of Vigny. We were a few minutes early because we left the house earlier than scheduled. I just wanted to be careful driving on snow-covered roads. We didn't mind waiting though. From Vigny, we took a tourist bus to go to Trier, Germany. The trip took two hours (it probably would have taken an hour and a half if the weather was better). So far, everything was going great - nothing could ruin our excited mood! Not even the negative degrees we were hit with as soon as we stepped out of the bus.

The First Snow of the Season

Hey!!! I just wanted to share with you a photo of this beautiful morning we woke up to today. Beautiful, isn't it? This is the first snow of the season and I couldn't be happier. Oh wait, I can actually because in a hour we're preparing to travel to Trier, Germany! *excited*

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Moules / Mussels Marinieres

I had one fourth of a white wine bottle left from the other day. It was on the small table in the kitchen, almost staring at me, begging me to do something with it. What dish could I make with good white wine??? A Blanquette, nope. Boeuf Bourguignon, not at all! Tartiflette, I could but it's too much work! Moules Marinieres, yes yes perfect!!! I used Moules de Bouchots - Origine France. And just because they have small shells doesn't mean anything, the mussels themselves were very plump and juicy! Un delice!

By the way, today is the 1st day of December! This is my favorite month of the year and that's because in 2 weeks I'll be celebrating my birthday. Weeee! :) Today also marks the first birthday party SO is attending in France. She was invited at her classmate's house, GA, for a fete forraine themed party. When I picked her up, the birthday boy's parents said she enjoyed and really participated. I couldn't be happier!

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