Tuesday, April 30, 2013
On one road trip to see Dad in Abreschviller, we made a quick detour to Saint Quirin, which was less than 10 kilometers away. It wasn't my first time to visit the town of Saint Quirin. I had the chance to visit this little town when I was a younger girl with my parents on one of our road trips. I have photos of myself knee-deep in the miraculous water and I thought it would be fun to do the same thing with SO.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Une Rose, Une Espoir - Le Coeur des Motards
Every year, on the last weekend of April, Les Motards / The Motorcyclists and friends go from town to town, house to house, person to person, to collect as much money possible by selling beautiful roses. All of the funds go to support the battle against cancer. As a daughter who lost her mother to cancer, this is something very close to my heart.
A rose = 2 Euros donations
« Derrière les visières de nos casques, il y a des sourires, mais aussi des larmes, et sous notre blouson de cuir, il y a un cœur …. »
Bernard BRAUN le fondateur de Une Rose Un Espoir
Spring break is over, which means SO is back to school. Yey! It's not that she's a handful to deal with, but her days are better spent in school with her classmates. Weather-wise, today was a good day. But the weather has been really weird lately. It can't seem to make up its mind. It's cold, rainy, and windy one minute, then the next we have beautiful skies and a shining sun! It's getting really confusing to dress in the morning. One thing I have to get used to in France is to watch the meteo / weather daily online, usually as soon as I wake up. This really helps me to dress myself and SO.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
SO got back from my sister's house this evening, which gave me the perfect opportunity to cook Spaghetti Puttanesca for lunch today. I knew that the anchovy taste in the sauce would be too pungent for her taste and she wouldn't like it. I, on the other hand, love it! I have a love story with anchovies. There was a time in my life where it was the only thing I ate. Anchovies plus hot white rice was my absolute favorite dish!
Saturday, April 27, 2013
One hundred kilometers away from our little town exist a slightly bigger, and more known, town named Abreschviller in France. Although it is still considered in the Moselle departement, it is close to the Vosges part, which is a great mountainous area in the north-east part of France. It is about an hour and a half away from us, but it is a complete and absolute change of scenery. I always say that we don't have to go very far to take a break and have a change and this proves my point. I have a spontaneous streak in me and I love road trips, but we didn't land in Abreschviller by chance. We were here because of Dad.
Friday, April 26, 2013
After a month and a half of absence, Dad is finally back home! We're so done with the heart surgery, cardiac rehabilitation center, road trips, and running from one place to another. I realize we will still have to deal with medications and doctor's appointments, but I'm so through with the rest. I just want to turn this chapter over. I spent so much time worrying and stressing that I just want to think about something else. So it was on a rainy Friday morning that Dad came home, chauffeured by a very nice health personnel. It was close to lunch and I had just spent the last hour preparing our lunch. I wanted it to be perfect. SO was super excited to have her Papi back home and while she welcomed him back, I put the finishing touches to my Baked Stuffed Courgettes / Zucchini.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
If I wanted to push through with my plans of a lunch picnic, it was now or never. The weather was perfect -sunny with an occasional breeze to cool us down. I had a perfect spot in mind - Le Parc de la Seille in Metz, France. SO was still on her spring break from school. And today was the last day till Dad came home. So you see, all the reasons to go ahead with the plan were there. It was now or never. Okay, maybe not never, but in a really long time anyways. Only problem was MR was in school today. We'd have to kidnap him during his lunch break. Nice!!! The words "best idea of the year" flashed in neon colors in my head. There was NO WAY (and no good reason) for us not to do this!
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Nothing good was on television last night so I looked through the laptop if we had any saved movies. I stumbled on Twilight : Breaking Dawn (Part 1). I was never impressed with the Twilight books, but the movies were good especially the last 2. But what really struck me were the lyrics to the song that was playing on one scene. It's a shame that Sleeping At Last is so unknown here because he writes the best lyrics ever. I was hooked and the replay button was overused!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
About the same time last year, I was overwhelmed with the number of courgettes we had at home. They were growing like they were on steroids in our garden. After preparing them my usual way, I knew I had to venture out and try something new. Problem was, I didn't really know what to do. Then I saw the pot of creme fraiche in the refrigerator and well, since nothing can go wrong with creme fraiche you probably can guess what I cooked next ..... Creamy Courgettes.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house. But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven, and demanding Fifty Shades. While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront her anger and envy of the women who came before her and make the most important decision of her life. Erotic, sparkling and suspenseful, Fifty Shades Darker is the irresistibly addictive second part of the Fifty Shades trilogy.
-taken from www.goodreads.com
Sunday, April 21, 2013
They say that when a door / window closes, another one opens. But does it really? A couple of days ago, I had a door close on me. Firm shut. And I don't know what to do. I've actually been losing sleep over this. And I don't know how to get out of this dilemma and I can see it is affecting me. Eating me inside out. MR has caught me several times sighing and in deep thoughts, but he doesn't know. There's no need for the two of us to stress over this. If I can carry it on my own as long as I can, I will. I'll take it a day at a time and who knows in time, a window might just open for me.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Taken from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxJh2tUqpsg
The Voice 2 France version is the only show we watch on television nowadays. For the past Saturday nights, you could find us in our pajamas comfortably watching from our couch. Since it started, we haven't missed an episode and we are big fans especially SO. She likes to imagine that she is one of the contestants. I love this show because it features old and new French songs (songs that I am already familiar with and others that I am just discovering), just like the one I am featuring today. I fell in love with it when I heard the contestants interpreting it and when I looked for the original version, I was surprised to see that the original was sung by a man!
We went on a road trip to see Dad today. He is doing great, thank you God. I have great news, can you guess??? The doctor decided that Dad is fit to come home and therefore, a week from now he will be back with us. Once again, we will have to adjust, but we're beyond happy that Dad is coming home. On the way home, we stopped at a grocery store and I experienced for the first time in my life being the very last customer at the store. It's not much, but once again it's a first I experienced in France. Shopping with SO is such fun nowadays. She amuses herself by saying bonjour / merci / au revoir to the people that work at the stores. This has earned her some freebies from the butcher and baker, who can't help but gush at how polite she is. I don't encourage the freebies, but I like that she is friendly and polite.
Friday, April 19, 2013
So today is SO's last day of school before Spring Break. I still can't believe how much vacation breaks kids have in France! A lot more than what I had growing up, if I remember properly. Anyways, she will be off for 2 weeks and will shuffle from being at home, to my sister's, and the children's center. Our lifestyle here is a total opposite of what we had back in the Philippines. But I don't mind - in fact, I like it! I had a little chat with SO's teacher and she tells me that SO has adjusted really well and is doing good. SO came home with her schoolwork binder and it's true, she has really good grades and follows through her school activities impressively. I couldn't be any prouder!
Thursday, April 18, 2013
At this point, our everyday routine is pretty much in place. MR is in full-speed learning the French language in his classes. Dad is still recovering from a post-heart surgery in a cardiac rehabilitation center. SO is happy learning and playing in school. And I am balancing between work and picking up SO in school. Thursdays and Fridays are kinda tricky because MR is indisposed the whole day so it's up to me to pick up SO on her lunch break and prepare lunch for the two of us. But I take pride in knowing that I am balancing my juggling balls with my 2 hands pretty well!
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
SO and I are home alone today. MR is attending his second and last government formation. It's a beautiful day again today and I thought SO and I could go to the town beside ours to play in their playground. But not before we try our hand at baking a Prune Cake. These were made from leftover prunes from when I made the Turkey Legs with Prunes dish a while ago (click here for the post). I had a handful of prunes left and since I hate throwing away food, I thought I'd save it for a day like this.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Recently, I've been having a harder time to find / come up with new recipes for dinner. Lunch is no problem as I have a long list of meat dishes to make. But dinner is another story as I don't usually prepare meat so I always run out of ideas. I personally love preparing salads, but lately I've had enough of salad. That's what I initially thought I would make with the endives I had in the refrigerator, but I wondered what would happen if I prepared them hot. Like in a Potato and Endive Gratin.
Monday, April 15, 2013
If there is one thing I want to buy for my kitchen is a Pierrade. I love this cooking concept, which is cooking your food tabletop on a heated stone. Like the Fondue or Raclette, I find that it creates a fun and entertaining ambiance at the dining table whether you are having a family meal or having guests over. Click here and here for previous posts where I have enjoyed a Pierrade. But unlike the Fondue and Raclette, I still have yet to purchase my own Pierrade machine. But tonight, I really felt like having beef slices, so I thought I'd experiment and prepare it Pierrade-style stove-top. It turned out good, not as good as the original (taste and ambiance-wise), but good.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
We spent the afternoon with Dad at the rehabilitation center again. Today was a hot, good day and one that we've been waiting for a loooonnnngggg time! Longer days and sunshine are much appreciated! Dad's hospital room was warm and stuffy when we arrived, so we took the opportunity to open all his windows and walk around the park. There were times when the sun was really hitting hard that we had to hide under the tree shades. SO ran around like a mad kid, picking up any wild flowers she saw to make a nice bouquet for her papy. We left the place close to dinner time and I knew we were going to eat out. When we were driving through Delme, France, MR mentioned the little chalet / restaurant in Solgne, France. It's so pretty that we always stare at it whenever we drive by. I remembered there were outdoor tables and I thought, perfect! Our first outdoor terrace meal - yay! :)
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Today's dish is all about finishing yesterday's ingredients for the Pho Vo Vien. The only thing we managed to finish were the noodles but we had heaps of beef balls, coriander, and bean sprouts leftovers. I hate throwing away perfectly good food, so I thought I'd throw them all together in a pan instead and call it lunch today.
Friday, April 12, 2013
After the very successful crab paste testing yesterday, I was excited to try the rest of my food buys. When I saw these beef balls, I knew right away that I wanted to make a soup. I am a big big fan of soups like this. Mostly because it brings back wonderful memories of my childhood, but also because I love Asian cuisine. I've actually made similar soups, even making my own meatballs, but these store-bought ones were pretty good! I reckon I did pretty good in my last shopping spree!
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Preparing MR's lunch made me think back to the time I was still going to school. Throwback Thursday, I guess. Growing up, I can't remember ever bringing a lunchbox to school. I know I did, I must have, but for the love of me, I don't know what kind of food I used to bring. I do however remember what a close friend used to bring. She was Korean and a really good friend of mine in elementary. She must have caught me staring at her lunchbox one day because that day she asked me if I'd like a taste. It looked exactly like the photo above but I had no idea what it was. It turned out to be White Rice mixed with a can of Tuna Afritada and topped with an Egg Omelette. A spoonful and I was hooked to that taste. I've made it several times myself since and it just gets better and better! Unfortunately, I can't find cans of Tuna Afritada here so I wondered if it would work with the crab paste I just bought. And you know what? It's even better!!!
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
It felt weird to go back home empty-handed. Since the first Asian store we visited didn't really have anything we wanted to buy, we made our way to the Asian store we really love - Ly Kim Thanh! This time I bought (and paid) twice as much as the last time. After all, I did mention that I would slowly buy and try every item in the store! :)
MR mentioned yesterday that he passed by an Asian store on his lunch break. He didn't get to see what was inside, but wondered what they had for sale (a.k.a. if there were any Filipino products). I don't know what it was, but I woke up this morning itching to go to that Asian store. It is Wednesday today which also means family day in our household and a perfect opportunity to go and enjoy the city. We went to the store, which didn't really impress me. I still prefer the one we just went to (click here). We took a walk around the block and we were getting hungry. MR was in the area yesterday and he swore that if we turned on a certain street, we would arrive at a small restaurant he eyed the day before. We walked and walked and never found it! We walked some more until our legs ached and realized we were almost back to point A. And that's when I saw Restaurant Le Mandarin, which I already knew of because it's right in front of the bus station. But it looked awfully calm and quiet and worried that it was close. Thankfully as I pushed the front door, it opened for us.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
If you read my previous post, then you know that I made Baked Baby Back Ribs (click here) for dinner. The first step I do when preparing Baby Back Ribs is boil the ribs in water. After an hour of simmering, the water mixes with the flavors of the beef which results to a wonderful beef broth. It's so good that I find it's a such a shame to just throw it away. So I add vegetables and pasta and this becomes a wonderful accompaniment to our ribs - Alphabet Pasta and Vegetable Soup.
A couple of weeks ago, MR received a letter to attend 2 government-prepared "formation". His attendance is compulsory for his visa. So off he went this morning and took the bus to the city on his own for the first time. He did good. The first formation taught him the do's and don'ts of living in France. The second formation is in 2 weeks and is pretty much the same thing. MR met for the first time a fellow Filipino in the city. We obviously wished there were more to hang out with! MR's absence was greatly missed again today at home and I wanted to do something nice for him! When I think Baby Back Ribs, I think of my husband and since I had some on-hand, I thought I'd surprise him for dinner. This was also a great idea for myself as it reconnected me to my love for Baby Back Ribs after the disaster I had in Flunch (click here).
Monday, April 8, 2013
After eating fish straight for the past days, I thought it was time we ate meat. MR is a huge lamb fan (which I introduced him to), so at the grocery store I picked up a pack of lamb meat. Because it was past Easter, the packs of lamb at the store were discounted so it was a great deal. It is tradition for a lot of French household to prepare lamb for Easter and I was actually quite looking forward to it. But we were invited at DO's house for Easter this year and since they don't like lamb meat, I knew we weren't going to have some. If we wanted to eat some lamb, I'd have to make it myself.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
I've always loved the Match Supermarches in France. When I lived for a year at my sister's house, this was the place where we always used to do our grocery shopping. Admittedly, there wasn't much else, but the place was clean, had excellent products, and the people were nice. But when I moved out and settled where I am now (which is closer to the big city), more options were opened to me. I did the round, comparing and contrasting, and made a list of what things I could get where. But those stores were always close to the big city of Metz and in a recent road trip, I found out that we are also close to another city, Pont-a-Mousson, which I never gave much thought seeing as it is in another "departement". I never thought we were that close though and that there are a handful of stores and commercial spaces. It's a big city as well. And in that big city, there is a beautiful Match Supermarche. On a sunny afternoon, while SO was in school, MR and I went on a little road trip. We stopped by the supermarket and from the moment I first stepped in, I knew I would love it here. It was huge, the cleanest I'd ever seen, not too big, but not too small, not a lot of people (I hate grocery shopping in a crowded space!), and everything was well-organized. Celeriac and carrots could be bought finely sliced already (I was impressed). And the fish and seafood section was beautiful. That is where I spotted today's lunch : Salmon Stuffed with Scallops / Saumon Farci au St. Jacques for only 6,95 Euros!
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Taken from : http://youtu.be/3b9RpDkTG_Q
The worst way to lose somebody is when you had them, didn't pay attention to them, and let them get away. In love you don't realize what you have till it's gone.
The first dish MR ever prepared for me was Piniritong Isda ug Utan Bisaya / Fried Fish and Visayan Vegetable Soup. It was one of those rare times when he had his house all to himself and he invited me to come over to eat lunch in between my classes. He specifically cooked those 2 dishes because I had mentioned how much I missed by mom's home cooked meals. These 2 were the food she almost always used to prepare for us as well as Inun-unan na Isda / Fish in a Sour Broth. He's always been such a thoughtful guy! So anyways, 5 minutes after my classes finished, I walked in MR's front door and he ushered me excitedly to the dining table. He told me to sit down and be comfortable, which I did while waiting. And then he came over with the dishes. I obviously was very touched by the gesture and the food smelled and looked amazing! Everything was perfect .... up until we dug in the fish and saw that it was still pretty raw. The outside was perfectly browned, but the inside was still really reddish. I smiled and he nervously laughed at me. It had been about 6 months since my mom passed away and I was pretty much cooking every day for Dad and myself so I told him I thought maybe he had the fire on too high, hence the reason why the outside was cooked before the insides. He brought it back to the kitchen and eventually we had our lunch. But we sure had a good laugh! :)
Friday, April 5, 2013
MR learned from his Thai classmates that there is a really nice and big Asian store in Metz. We do our Asian food shopping all the way in Luxembourg, so when I learned that there was something nice in Metz, I asked him to find out the address. When he told me the address, I kinda was hesitant as it was in a "rough" area of the city, but when we got there, it turns out it wasn't really bad. It is rather nice. It is located apart from the "rough" area, it stands alone, and has its own parking lot. It's true when they said it is big - it's practically a lil supermarket. With lots and lots of Asian products (too bad there's only one thing Filipino - Sinigang Powder Mix), I find it exciting. There's so much to explore and learn! And since I can't possibly buy the whole store at once, I thought I'd do a couple of items at a time.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
With Dad at the hospital, we try to keep our lives as normal as possible. But once again, I am alone on Thursdays and Fridays. I drove MR to school again this morning, but I think that in a couple of weeks he will take our second car. We just bought another car, second-hand, which is smaller than our family car. At least we will each have a car to go to work and in case of emergencies. I still have to teach MR a little the road, especially driving in the city of Metz, but the route of our house to his school is pretty simple even if it is in the city. It will definitely help him gain confidence. So this morning, I drove SO to school for 8:30 AM and then MR for 9:00 AM. Since I was in the city, I thought I could stop at the phone store to finally get MR a simcard. I say finally because I wanted to get him one a couple of months ago, but for whatever reasons MR didn't want to get one at the time. Don't try to understand why - I stopped long ago! Anyways, I thought that it was finally time to get one now seeing as he is alone in the city twice a week now. If he ever needed to contact me or anyone else, then he could. On my way to the parking lot, I walked by Bamboo - Saveurs D'Asie, which I have already blogged about. Click here for the post. It isn't a restaurant, instead it is a little space right by the entrance / exit of the Gallerie Lafayette Commercial Center which sells Asian dishes for take-out. The dishes you buy are served cold for you to heat up or you can also ask them to heat them up for you before packing it. I remembered I was pleased the first time, so I thought I'd pick up something for lunch for SO and I.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
SO is in the moyenne maternelle / nursery 2 section in school. A regular French school week is 4 days a week from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Wednesdays are no-school days and give a mid-week break to the kids. Personally, I wonder if it wouldn't be better if there was school on Wednesdays but shorter school hours per day. I see how SO is super duper tired when she comes home at 4:30 PM. Wouldn't it be better if they came home, say, at 3 PM instead? Anyways....Since today is a Wednesday and it is a no-school day, I thought we could go see Dad at the cardiac rehabilitation center. It really is beautiful in the center and we brought Dad outside to see the park. Dad used a wheelchair, but I'm hoping he will start walking on his own soon. It was a quick walk outside though, since there was a cold breeze. On the way home, MR wanted to see what stores were at the ZAC Sarrebourg. It was closed by the time we got there and the only thing open was the French restaurant, Flunch.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
I love love love salmon!!! Preferably raw, though. In buffets, I automatically go to the Sashimi / Sushi section or look for Smoked Salmon. I find that raw and cooked salmon are both distinctively different in flavor. I've never attempted to serve Sashimi at home, but when I buy a fillet to cook, I like to cook it halfway like I did today. It ends up not dry and oh-so enjoyable!