Saturday, August 31, 2013
Today's mission was to buy an ironing table. I've been looking for one for the past several months, but I found that the only ones I found were really expensive. Truthfully, an ironing table is not something I want to invest a lot of money in. In one of the weekly brochures we received, there was one for sale for only half the usual price. Unfortunately for me when I got to the store all the ironing tables were sold out! Boo! I guess I'm not the only one on the lookout for cheap ironing table! But I didn't go back home empty-handed. I found some gorgeous whole rainbow trout. Yummy!
Friday, August 30, 2013
I dreamt of two women I love and miss very much last night. My Mother and my Mother-in-Law. But in my dream, my Mother-in-Law was in my Mother's body. My husband's family was there as well taking care of of her as we were in a hospital setting. My mother was sitting on the hospital bed but didn't look sick. Her skin was shiny and flawless. I asked her how she was and I was responded with that smile, the one I haven't seen for a long long time and that little nose wrinkling I catch my own daughter doing from time to time. A lot of people didn't know my mom so they don't see the resemblance with SO. But there is definitely something there, especially when SO is sleeping. I could lie awake just staring at her all night long. One thing SO definitely did not get from my mother though is the love for desserts and sweets. That she got from my father because I think my mother is the only person I know who does not like desserts! She would have said that the Strawberry Tarts I made today looked cute and she might have taken a bite, but that's it.
Oh goodie, more to share for the rest of us, Dad used to say.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
I can never have enough tomatoes. One of my favorite time during the summer is when the tomatoes have ripen and you have displays after displays of them. I love that there are so many varieties of tomatoes available here. My dream is to someday own a house with its little gardening space to grow my vegetables and fruits. In the meantime, I get my tomato fill from either the weekly market or the grocery store and I cannot get enough! They go everywhere - in roasted meat, sauces, stuffed, and even as afternoon snacks (cherry tomatoes). And like today in a simple Tomato Salad.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
You might be asking yourself what is Friture de Joels. I myself had no idea what it was when I saw it in the frozen food section of the store. I had to take a closer look to see that these were small fish. Closely similar to the White Bait fish. For small fish like this, there is only one recipe I can think of and it's family favorite!
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Here's another recipe I came up with from the top of my head to avoid throwing perfectly good leftovers. Especially when the said leftovers is "duck confit". So what's the easiest way to turn your leftovers into another completely different dish? Well, if you have nothing against carbohydrates, then adding pasta or rice is usually the way I go. Sometimes, I will make a salad too, but that is rare. What I do make a lot of times is Fried Rice because MR loves it and if I add some vegetables, it becomes a complete meal in a single dish. My Fried Rice is always Asian-inspired mainly because of the seasoning I use (soy sauce, oyster sauce, or sesame oil). But because Duck Confit is a French delicacy, I thought I'd find a way to make today's Duck Confit Fried Rice Western-inspired.
Monday, August 26, 2013
So you went ahead and bought a can of Confit de Canard. Now, what do you do with it?!?
You can click here, click here, and click here.
That is the way I've learned to prepare it from Dad and it is now a family favorite. But today, I thought I'd tweak a little part of the recipe - baking instead of frying. A lot of dishes have turned from frying to baking - Oven-Fried Chicken, Baked Empanadas, Baked French Fries.....so why not Confit de Canard?
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Now this is what we came for today - La Parade. With a circus theme, the parade started at 3PM in La Place d'Armes in Metz and we were super excited. From what I understood it would go around the city and later come back to its original point. We found the perfect spot at the starting line and had a great view of the festivities. The parade was circus-themed and so the floats were decorated in the shapes of circus animals and shows. They were all done with flowers and it was amazingly impressive! It must have needed a lot of work and attention and we were left in admiration! Never mind that it was cold and windy, this was so worth it!
We were just done enjoying our lunch (packed sandwiches and fresh mirabelles) and I went looking around the Marche des Saveurs. Majority of the stalls were selling local products, then I saw the sign above:
Ateliers Cuisine, Miels et Mirabelles pour enfants.
Cooking Class, Honey and Mirabelle for children.
I asked the person in charge if it was free (just to be sure), she said it was. I asked SO if she would be interested, she nodded, not as excited as I was, but still open to the activity. Sure, if it was about swimming or dancing, she would have jumped in the air, but I'm happy that she was willing to try it out.
So after hearing mass, the four of us walked out to see what was happening outside. A few steps away from the Cathedral, we found Le Marche des Saveurs, or the Market of Flavors. With our packed lunch on our backs, we had to settle and sit down somewhere and I knew the market would have tables for us. Seeing that we were celebrating La Fete de la Mirabelle, I was also 100% sure there were Mirabelles for sale (the perfect dessert to our lunch), but I also wanted to check what else was being sold.
Today was all planned out. We were coming to Metz to celebrate La Fete de la Mirabelle with the people of the city. I knew today was the celebration day, but I looked online to see what exactly was happening. Marche des Saveurs, La Parade, and Fete Foraine were scheduled. Since most events were happening near the Cathedral of Metz, I searched to see the mass hours. Sundays in our family are not complete without attending mass. Today was going to be special though because it was our first time to attend mass at Saint-Etienne de Metz or Metz Cathedral.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
I made a recipe at lunch where I needed several egg yolks. Because I hate throwing out food, I kept the egg whites for a later use. I was already thinking of making an egg white omelet. But because I've been in the dessert-making mode lately, I also thought of making Meringues, but ultimately I ended up with Floating Islands. This is a popular French dessert, also known as Oeufs a la Neige, which can be tricky to make. Which is why I used store-bought Creme Anglaise. I thought I'd focus on perfecting my egg whites before tackling the Creme Anglaise. I'm glad I did.
Friday, August 23, 2013
"Ca casse le moral".
I got news this morning. News that I didn't want to wake up to. Unfortunately, our training that was supposed to start on Monday has been postponed for at least 3 weeks! WTH?! 3 Weeks!!! Something about technical problems and supervising issues. Yeah right. I have a nasty feeling about all this. I've been on this job offer for about a year now. It's a good position, has great benefits, and it's the perfect opportunity for me, but I sense that they might not know shit about running the place and the recruitment. I can't say that I'm upset. Upset is too weak of a word to describe what I feel. I had everything prepared - from the stuff I would bring to meal plans at home and for me and our daily schedules with SO and school. It's devastating. And to hear about this early in the morning just ruined the rest of the day for me!
Thursday, August 22, 2013
I was hoping for a quick dinner by making a salad. Turns out, it took me even longer to prepare than what I regularly make for dinner! Hayyyy....But it sure was worth it. There's not a lot of Filipino salads, but Ensaladang Talong or Filipino Eggplant Salad is one that I absolutely love. It distinguishes itself from other eggplant salads because of the use of Filipino white vinegar (coconut vinegar) and Bagoong (shrimp paste). I loved our dinner tonight because it reminded me of one of my favorite meals back in the Philippines. Ensaladang Talong, Grilled Fish, White Rice, and the hot summer....all that was missing was the beach!
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
I'm in a foul mood today. I don't know what this is about. Maybe it's that time of the month, if you know what I mean. I'm gonna sound like such a bitch, but everything pisses me off today and nothing is good enough. Well except for SO - she's the sunshine of my life! By dinner time, my mood wasn't improving and I just wasn't up to making dinner right about now. But before I could say anything, MR announced that we were eating out tonight. I love that he knows me too well!
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Another summer weekend, another vide-grenier. For weeks, everywhere I go, I see signs for Vide-Greniers. In this town, in that town, and this time in our town!!! Well, not really our town since we don't live here, but it is a town that is close to my heart. <3
Saturday, August 17, 2013
I have good news!!! A couple of days ago, I got a call to confirm my training for the new job I accepted. I was asked to pass on Monday at Pole Emploi (the French government job agency) to sign my training contract. I will know more details on Monday, but for now I know that the training will start on August 26. This is real soon and I am beyond excited. I've set aside my current work to focus on this new opportunity and I am looking forward to start! This also means a lot of changes for us. SO is almost starting school so if my training hours are what I think they are, this means I might not be able to bring her to school or even pick her up. And she might not be able to come home for lunch too. Thankfully, we do have a solution because we have a Periscolaire, that covers the canteen and taking of children before and after school. But then again, MR hasn't started yet his job and his working hours might be flexible. Waaahhh, there's so much to think about, but that's what makes this even more exciting!!!
Friday, August 16, 2013
Dad wanted to make some changes in his room. He asked me if I could bring him today to a place he could buy some cheap, but nice side tables and maybe a lamp. With the summer days coming to an end, school and work is gonna take up most of our time soon and unfortunately, family outings are gonna have to be less spontaneous. But we still have about 2 more weeks of summer which is why the gang and I went to the ever trustful store, Ikea, this morning. While SO was playing in their kid's playground, we went to buy a couple of side tables, kitchen tools, office furniture, and a television table. I love Ikea!!! <3
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
On Monday, we received Dad's medical bed in anticipation for his arrival. The bed will help him sleep upright and go in and out of his bed on his own. Then yesterday, after weeks of hospitalization, Dad came back home. We prepared everything for him to be comfortable. As you can imagine, he was pretty happy to be back. He confessed that a part of him thought he wouldn't make it. According to the doctor, we avoided a catastrophe. Dad's first night went great and he was up early this morning. I woke up early too because I thought I'd make some desserts / snacks with the blueberries I had. I knew that we would be having visitors over this week to wish Dad well and I needed to prepare something to offer them. I first thought of making Blueberry Turnovers, but as I prepared my ingredients I changed my mind to Blueberry Muffins.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Recently I was watching the French food television show, Les Escapades de Petitrenaud (Dad's all-time favorite TV show) and got inspired by a recipe they featured. The show's host Jean-Luc Petitrenaud met up with the Mavrommatis family and together they cooked Cypriot dishes. My parents got married in Cyprus so I have a personal attachment to the country and it was my first time to hear about Cypriot cuisine. One of the featured recipes was Afelia, braised pork in red wine. It looked simple to make and it didn't need a lot of ingredients. Plus, it looked really delicious!
Monday, August 12, 2013
I came up with this recipe one evening when MR and I came home after a long day out. I had nothing prepared and it was too late to go out. I stuck my head in the refrigerator and pantry to look for whatever could work for a quick dinner. I found leftover steamed couscous, arugula salad, and a bottle of marinated mussels. This would be great for a salad. I just had to add some diced tomatoes to finish it off. Not only for flavors, but also to bring some color. I really loved this salad, which is why I decided to make it again today and post it here. I find that the bitterness of the arugula balances and goes well with the sourness of the marinated mussels.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
To cap off our birthday weekend celebration, we ate out tonight. I asked SO what she wanted to eat and she said Fried Shrimp. Knowing that Fried Shrimps are a stable at Chinese restaurant, I knew where we were going tonight. But this time I wanted to go somewhere we've eyed but never gone to yet, Le Siecle d'Or in ZAC d'Augny. Your typical Chinese eat-all-you-can buffet restaurant. Sadly, I don't know what was wrong with me tonight. Probably from the fatigue of this week's events, but I wasn't as inspired as I usually am. It wasn't the restaurant's fault, which is why MR and I have already discussed about coming back here again.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
I've always been quite hands-on when it comes to SO's birthdays. This year was no exception and I thought I'd make her a birthday cake. I've never been a good baker, but there's nothing I wouldn't do for my daughter. I wanted her to have a super special birthday cake this year and I wanted to be the one to give it to her. This past year, I've seen many KitKat Cakes online and I told myself I'd love to try this on a special occasion. When I became a mother, nothing was more special than celebrating my child's date of birth. Not only do I have the memories of birthing pains, I laugh about it now but it really hurt (!!!), I am also reminded of how quickly our only child is growing up! And then at the last minute, I thought of the rainbow swirl idea. Now, this was a very special birthday cake!!! :)
We celebrated SO's 5th birthday with her friends today. It was a simple celebration, the traditional French children's birthday. We invited her friends to come over for 3 hours of fun and play. MO and DO came over to join us and give me a hand. After taking our breakfast, we took out everything we needed and decorated the garden. The wind picked up and I started getting worried. We tried to decorate the garden the best that we could, but the wind blew some of the decors away. We decided we would just put some at the last minute.
Friday, August 9, 2013
Warning: This post contains many many photos.
Our beautiful daughter turns 5 today and we are celebrating this special day in Parc Walygator. Parc Walygator is located in Maizieres-les-Metz, France, just a couple of minutes away of Metz, France and in proximity of Luxembourg, Belgium, and Germany. It has made news headlines a couple of months ago as it was once again on the verge of bankruptcy, then bought by new investors. I'm glad that it reopened because it's awesome to have such a nice amusement park nearby.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
This afternoon, we went to pick up SO from my sister's house because a special someone is celebrating her 5th birthday tomorrow!!! We had to hurry though because I had to go to the store for a last minute shopping buy for her party. While tomorrow is her official date of birth, we are having her birthday party with her friends on Saturday. But tomorrow will be special too because we are spending the whole day at the newly renovated French amusement park, Parc Walygator. I can't wait to write about our adventures this week, but in the meantime let me share with you this Cherry Tomatoes, Ham, Cheese, Green Olives, and Pasta Salad I quickly prepared for dinner tonight.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Today marks the first year anniversary of my Mother-in-Law's death anniversary. My In-Laws are gathering all together at her grave today to offer prayers. While MR and I cannot be with them physically, we join them spiritually to offer our own prayers. In the afternoon, we prepared Biko, which is a popular Filipino dessert made of sticky rice, sugar, and coconut milk. Why Biko, you might ask? Simply because it's one dish my Mother-in-Law was known to make. I can still remember bringing MR's younger sister to the airport when she was going back to Qatar with my Mother-in-Law's homemade Biko. My own Mother used to make Biko as well, but I was much younger then so my memories are blurry. I remember that my Mother's was more traditional, while my Mother-in-Law liked to add Ube for flavor and coloring. I personally prefer the traditional one, so this is what I made today. At first, I was worried that I wouldn't have the ingredients needed, but I was lucky. I'm a not a fan of Filipino dessert, but this one I really like. And for a first-timer, I think I did pretty good.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
In the afternoon, MR and I went to see Dad at the after-care hospital. I brought him everything he needed to last him a week - pajamas, shirts, underwear, towels, and pants. I also made sure to buy some recreational items like reading and activity books to pass the time. He was happy that we came over, but then again he's always happy to see us. After our visit, MR and I took a stroll around the shopping district. There were several restaurants that looked interesting, but what really caught our attention was a gelato store. The number of people going in and out of the place inspired us to go in too.
The day we ate at KFC (click here for the post) was also the day we discovered the commercial center in Semecourt which was located right in front of KFC. In the commercial center, we found several stores (H&M, Naf Naf, Orange), restaurants (Flunch), and a huge supermarket (Auchan). It reminded me of Ayala Center back home in Cebu, Philipppines, well the mini-version. Surprisingly, there aren't a lot of commercial center in our area here. After a little browsing and shopping for clothes, I thought we could check out the supermarket, Auchan. I know of Auchan because there was one in the Paris area when I was growing up and we used to always go there. But this was the first time I saw an Auchan store in the area and when we passed by its fish / seafood area, it was also the first time we found this kind of clams for sale. They were a little bit expensive, but when I saw how bright MR's eye were while telling me how much he loves them with coconut milk, I knew I had to cook it for him.
Monday, August 5, 2013
We were at my sister's house yesterday. It was my brother-in-law's birthday and we stopped by to give our gift. I bought him a really nice man shirt from Mise au Green. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see much of him as he was busy all day harvesting the cereals in his field. It was a hot day and we all jumped in the pool. DO asked that we stay for dinner and we left shortly before midnight. Our 4 year old stayed behind and had the time of your life with her cousin at an outdoor fireworks party. She'll be coming back home in a couple of days because this Friday we are celebrating her fifth birthday! Time flies too fast!!!
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Lunch today was a late one. Around 11AM, Dad called and said that we had to come see him immediately because the administration needed to talk to me about putting the television in his room. In other words, I needed to give her a check as a guarantee or no television for Dad. I hate to be rushed like this, so my mood was a bit sour! As soon as we got there, I politely told the secretary what I thought of their policy and rushing the significant others like that! It's just for a television, for crying out loud! And it's not like Dad can run away from the hospital with the remote control. Putting that aside, Dad looks to be doing good. I wonder if the doctors are gonna keep him a month as suggested by his cardiologist. He loves that we are visiting him every day, but I gently reminded him that we won't be doing that. It breaks my heart to tell him that, but life in France does not permit it. Between having work, taking care of a 4 year old, and everything else, I can't afford to run to all sides like I have no responsibilities. And sadly I can't afford to pay a full tank every 3 days. Perhaps some won't understand what I mean and say that I've changed since arriving in France, that I've adapted the lifestyle here, and maybe it's true, but those who have lived abroad and were in a situation similar to mine know what I'm feeling right now. But perhaps I am the one judging myself. To lessen the guilt of not being with Dad from morning till night every day, I call him every morning and every night. It's not the same as a visit, but it lessens the guilt and reassures me.
This is the city of Thionville, France through the eyes of my 4 year old daughter, SO. Not the whole city though, this is actually from the 10 minute walk from Dad's after-care hospital facility to the store Carrefour in the Cours des Capucins and back.
Friday, August 2, 2013
My Sister-in-Law knows how much I've missed eating at Kentucky Fried Chicken, or better known as KFC. We were chatting one day when the sudden craving hit me and I couldn't stop talking about it. There's so much I crave from back home, but I knew that this one could be solved. Unfortunately, the nearest KFC is about 40 kilometers away, passing through the highway. My Sister-in-Law works and lives in Qatar and she tells me that everywhere she looks she sees a KFC (kinda like the Philippines and Jollibee). Lucky gal! I don't see myself going 40 kilometers out of my way - fuel is expensive!!! But on the way home from visiting Dad today, I noticed a sign that read Semecourt. I remembered that this was the place where the only KFC in the area was. As you probably guessed, there was a little detour before going home.
So much has happened this week regarding Dad. The last I talked of him was when he was transferred back to the first hospital. Well, his cardiologist asked to talk to me and he said truthfully that we had just passed so close to what could have been a catastrophe. If we hadn't hospitalized Dad as quickly as we did, then there would have been a great chance that Dad wouldn't be here right now. He then told me that the heart shock intervention was to be done as soon as possible. On Monday, Dad had the intervention done. It was quick and painless. On Wednesday, the cardiologist asked to talk to me again. Apparently, the shock didn't work on Dad right away, which it was supposed to do. But we were very lucky because the next day, the heart regularized itself and it looks to be really good. It's truly a miracle! Then the doctor told me that he was going to check out Dad from the hospital, but suggested that Dad stayed in an after-care facility just to monitor him a bit and get him back to his feet properly. I thought it was a great idea, but ultimately let Dad take the final decision. He felt the same way, so yesterday he was transferred to an after-care hospital facility. In a span of a month, he has been to 4 hospitals. I'm hoping this ends here.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
The first time I bought this dessert, Croquant Chocolat from the store Picard, was a risk. I served it as the only dessert for my birthday / Dad's birthday and invited DO and TH for dinner. DO is a chocolate-lover and based on the photo and description, I thought it would be perfect. But it was a risk. A risk which paid off, because every forkful I had was a burst of sinful sweetness in my mouth. We all felt the same way. The second time I bought it was when I served it for Christmas Day. Present that day were the big guns, French women who cooked food all their lives and knew what they were doing. The men invited, as well. This again passed with flying colors and got excellent raves. The third time I bought this was for New Year's and this time it was just the four of us. It was as perfect as it always was and ultimately became a family favorite that day! Which is why nowadays we almost always have one in our freezer at all times. You simply defrost it by transferring it to the refrigerator 4 hours before eating. MR thought this would be the perfect anniversary dessert and he was so right! :)
Today's a special day. We're celebrating our wedding anniversary. Now I know why MR insisted we go out to the Japanese restaurant the other night (click here for the post). That was actually our pre-wedding anniversary celebration - just the two of us (except only he knew LOL). Because SO is back home, we are celebrating the three of us today, which is just as perfect. So when I got home, I was told that all I had to do was change into comfortable clothes and come to the garden. Dinner and flowers were taken care of MR, entertainment by SO. While everyone was busy doing their thing, I laid down on the blanket we put in our garden for a minute. I looked up and saw the perfect shade of blue in the sky. Thank you Lord for all the blessings you have given me.......