Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Creamy Beef and Mushroom

At first glance, you'd think that this is a revisited recipe of the Beef Stroganoff. I actually hesitated if I could name this blog post as such, but I later decided that it would be a bad idea to do so. Then I started to wonder if the Beef Stroganoff recipe I was familiar with was actually the classic one. The one that was done years ago, the one that originated in Russia, and was handed down from generation to generation. So I looked online in an attempt to search for what I was looking for. Nowadays, old recipes are constantly revisited and modified all the time that one simply can't tell anymore which is the original recipe. And then again, there's the question of the region. Different regions usually have a different technique for a classic recipe. It turns out that the Creamy Beef and Mushroom dish I made for lunch today was close to the Americanized version of the Beef Stroganoff.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Shopping Bag: Ben & Jerry's Core - Blondie Brownie

Another Saturday night where it's just SO and me as MR is working again until 10PM tonight. We missed him as Saturday nights these days are dedicated to watch the television show, The Voice France. But it's alright, SO and I understand the situation. C'est la vie - It's life, like they say here in France. Our family time takes a hit lately - there are definitely changes. To make up for MR's absence, I told SO it was just the two of us tonight and we would have a "girl's night". We went to the grocery store in the afternoon to prepare for our special night. We grabbed some seafood for dinner and for dessert I thought we could try one of the latest products of Ben & Jerry's Core, Blondie Brownie.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Monday Lunch: Roasted Lamb, Sauteed White Asparagus, and Steamed Couscous

Did I mention that MR recently started a new job? Well, he did and that is extremely good news! Unfortunately, he was not able to spend Easter with us yesterday. But no worries as this looks like the start of a beautiful career for him. Moving to a foreign country like France, with the language barrier, is very complicated! Anyways, we were invited by my sister to have lunch over at her house to celebrate Easter together. We agreed that SO and I would attend, while MR cancelled since he was working. She prepared a wonderful 3 course-meal and I brought her a delicious Easter cake for dessert. I felt bad that MR was missing all of this knowing that he was most probably not going to have the same meal at the hospital. So because today is his rest day, I thought I'd prepare him a special Easter Monday lunch to make up for yesterday.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Baked Sardines in a Can

It's Good Friday today. If I was back in Cebu, Philippines, I would be eating Champorado or Binignit. I wouldn't be too particularly happy about it as I'm not a fan, but it isn't hard to sacrifice especially on a day like today. The original plan was cut back and prepare something pretty simple for SO's and my lunch today. Unfortunately, it turned out more delicious than I thought! Wayyyyy more!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grand Frais in Metz Borny, France

Every Wednesday morning, I like to go to a weekly Farmer's Market to fill up on our week's worth of fresh vegetables and fruits. But sometimes because of my work, I am incapable to do so. But that's alright as I found a store in Metz that can help me. I knew that the store, Grand Frais, had a nice display of vegetables and fruits, but because we don't live near one I rarely ever went shopping there. Luckily, my new work office is 5 minutes away so I promised myself that I would check it out after work someday. I recently met a lovely Filipina woman who told me that she was able to buy tropical fruits such as Rambutan, Mangoes, and Atis in Grand Frais. I suddenly wondered what else I could find.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kermesse de Printemps 2014 in Morhange, France

We're big supporters of local events. The way we see it is that we don't have to go very far for a change of environment and enjoy our time together. After all, it is more about the company than the place. Well, that's just the way I think. Plus, I figure that if no one shows up to these local events, then no one will have the motivation to organize them anymore! So as soon as I got word about Morhange's first ever Kermesse de Printemps event, I asked MR and SO if they were up for it. As you can probably guess, they didn't need much convincing. I also mentioned this event to our friends and families and I was pleasantly surprised to see them attending the event as well!

Palm Sunday / Dimanche des Rameaux 2014 in Morhange, France

MR and I both grew up in a religious environment. And even if we didn't marry in church (for official reasons), our faith is very important to us personally, our marriage, and raising our child. I've been dealt with a lot since I was a little girl and I sincerely think my faith helped me pull through to become the woman that I am. I am a firm believer that God never puts us in a situation that we are not capable to deal with. Moving to France has been good in many ways, uncertain for others, and challenging for our faith. In our region, every town (small or big) has at least 1 church. Problem is, there isn't always a regular mass schedule. For example, the church in our little town has a mass almost every 2 months! Thankfully, the next town, which is slightly bigger, has a regular mass every Sunday, but only at one particular hour. I'm not complaining, but if you're Filipino, you can probably feel our frustration. When you grow up in a country that has several churches in town and each church has a regular mass schedule (often every day and every hour!), you can't help but feel like something is missing here. But as much as possible, even if we have several more kilometers to drive, we always try to find a way to celebrate our faith in church. And today we celebrated Palm Sunday / Dimanche des Rameaux in Morhange, France.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Shopping Bag: Plates and More

There is a French phrase that goes, "le soleil est au rendez-vous", which basically means that the sun is out as announced. That's exactly what is happening lately and I got to say it does much good to us. After a week of work, it's amazing to be able to go out and enjoy outdoor activities with my family. Although I also enjoy staying at home with a good book, I find that it is more suitable to do that during the winter now that I am in France and when it's freezing outside. I feel that Spring was made to enjoyed outside when you start to see the flowers blooming, the birds chirping, and the colors of nature coming back to life. But there is also another French phrase that goes "en Avril, ne te decouvre pas d'un fil", which reminds you to stay covered and dress appropriately for the season although you might be tempted not to. I can't tell you how many friends I know that spent the day uncovered during a sunny, breezy Spring day only to wake up the next day with a really bad neck or back pain! Anyways, lately my daughter has been asking us to buy her a bicycle. I find that it is a reasonable request. She is the type to prefer outdoor activities than staying all day long playing video games or toys in her room. I encourage her desires, but I also choke up a little when I see the price of a brand new bike!!! 100+ Euros for a brand new first-timers bike who is most probably going to end up falling on the floor as SO learns to ride the bike with 2 wheels only?!? As much as I love spending and shopping, I had a hard time with the thought!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Visiting Dad's Grave - 5 Months After

Dad's final resting place is right in the middle of my sister's and my place, peacefully located in a hilly area of our town. He lies amongst others who have had their life candle blown off as well. It's a calm and serene place and many times I've loved going up there, closed my eyes, listened to the sound of the wind, with many of life's questions scrambling in my head. I am usually answered by a comforting feeling, something telling me to hold on, something reminding me that life is beautiful and we are living in it!

Too Bagel in Metz, France

A couple of days ago, I stumbled on an article in the internet about a newly-opened place in Metz. I assume there are dozens of new places opening in the city, but this one was apparently American-inspired. I found myself interested to find out more about this place, because truthfully, aside from the famous fast food chain, there aren't many American places here. I grew up in the Philippines and in the past decade, there has been a huge American influence happening in the country. It's no secret that the Philippines has a pretty strong alliance with the United States of America. And there's also the fact that many Filipinos migrate to the States to experience "the greener side of the grass" which then makes the famous "Balikbayan Box" pop to mind. A Balikbayan is an overseas Filipino worker and he usually sends his family back home regularly a Balikbayan Box overfilled with famous American Branded food, clothes, toys, electronics ... just to name a few. This explains why many Filipinos know a lot of American brands and food terms. For example, Tater Tots, Twinkies, Cobb Salad, Banana Split, California Roll, Macaroni and Cheese, Potato Chips, Peanut Butter, Popcorn, S'mores, Buffalo Wings, Baby Back Ribs, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Hot Dogs, and Cheeseburger.

Marche Couvert in Metz, France

Sometimes I think that my  husband must be happy that we are living 50 kilometers away from the big city. Because if we didn't, he knows I'd be constantly busy heating up our bank cards. And I'm not talking about clothes or bag shopping (although I do enjoy that too!), but shopping for food. Because if there's one thing I love to do most it's discovering local market places. There's nothing more soothing than taking a stroll through a local market, finding interesting buys, asking the local vendors how to prepare some ingredients, and chatting with other stroll-taking people. It's a whole other universe that I wouldn't give up for any price! As fate would have it, I had a couple of hours between work today and I decided to take a little visit to the Marche Couvert in Metz, France. As much as I enjoy the little market near my town (click here), this covered market right here was something else! My only regret was that I totally forgot to bring along my cute market basket and that I couldn't buy anything (I still had about 5 hours of work ahead of me).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Strawberry Jam / Confiture de Fraise

I love the thought of making stuff myself. So as soon as MR told me that he negotiated a really good price for a wood crate full of strawberries (click here), I knew I was giving a few to family members and then I thought of jam, salad, and a mousse for ourselves. The Strawberry Jam got me most excited so I asked LU next door how she makes hers. After some tweaking and adjusting, I can say that I am really happy with the final product and honestly didn't think it would end up as good as it did. In all modesty, for a first ever homemade Strawberry Jam, it was delicious and we are enjoying it every single way we can!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Foire de Printemps 2014 in Morhange, France

The town of Morhange holds a weekly market every Wednesday (click here). When it's the first of the month, it is smack right in the center of town (roads are blocked all morning), but when it's on the other 3 Wednesdays of the month, it is held on the parking lot of the Match Supermarket. Last week, I was told that the town was going to celebrate La Foire du Printemps this Wednesday and although it wasn't the first Wednesday of the month, it was held in the center of town because there were more stalls and things for sale. I made sure MR and I would take a stroll through it before going to work.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

McDonald's in St. Avold, France

So it was about 5PM when the Circus Show (click here) ended and no one really wanted to go home yet. MR and I stood on the grass, balancing from one foot to the other, while watching SO running around with other lingering kids. Going home now meant that our little family outing was ending. Plus it was one of the those early evenings where I didn't want to be bothered figuring out what we would eat for dinner. As much as I love cooking, I do need a break once in a while. And as much as I am well-aware that junk food and fast food is pretty damaging to our health, I need a McDonald's break once in a while. I swear I've never seen 3  people get inside a car as quickly as we did when I mentioned the McDonald's idea.

Cirque Lucas Fratellini in Morhange, France

Before we saw the signs all over town about the Cirque / Circus, we knew something was happening. How else could you explain the sudden presence of zoo animals in town? A camel calmly eating grass off the field in front of the supermarket store - something was definitely up!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Saucisses aux Lentilles / Sausage with Lentils

I am happy to say that a couple of days have passed since the second round of elections and everything seems to have gone back to normal. My little town is once again calm and problem-free, it seems. This is great news considering that this town is really small, with a population of about 200 persons only. The last thing we need are bad negative vibes in the neighborhood. Anyways, it seems like everyone is back to their routine, including myself. And my routine is finding a little time to do what I love to do best - cooking. And today, I'm cooking Saucisses aux Lentils / Sausage with Lentils.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pick-Up: Casimir Pizza in Conthil, France

It's Wednesday again and Wednesdays mean that there is the Casimir Pizza Food Truck in town again. Well every second Wednesday that it. And in turn, this meant that MR, SO, and I waited patiently for our pizza. But this time, unlike the last, we barely had to wait since I called in advance. In a small village like ours, there aren't a lot of places for people to gather together. When you are a parent, you get to talk with other parents outside of the school, but when you're not, there's Casimir Pizza.

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