This past summer I went back to the United States to spend a few weeks with the family. I have to admit I always love going back home. There are so many things that I miss and I do not realize it. It is always wonderful to see my family and friends. This is one of my favorite trips that I take every year if I am able to. It is always nice to go down memory lane and seeing how things have changed since I have been away. It also nice to see old friends that I went to high school with. I am from a small town and many of them have not left the area. I am pretty much the only one who left. So when I do come in town, everyone kind of makes it a big deal to see me. It is always nice to have a warm welcome back home.
One of the main things that enjoy going home for is to eat. There are so many foods that will take me back to a certain time in my life. Like eating my mother’s homemade chocolate oatmeal cookies! I feel like I am just a kid all over again. The only thing that I worry about when I go home for a visit is gaining so much weight. I do not just stay for a weekend. I always try to stay there at least two weeks. It is just really hard to not eat all I want while I am home. I always tend to gain a few pounds after that trip.
There was one night my parents insisted that we eat at this new restaurant that my cousin Scott opened up. Scott and I had a lot in common about cooking. We both love doing it! He just made a career out of it and from what I was hearing he was doing well for himself. It was a Friday night and the place was packed. I was so happy for Scott. We ordered our food and then a few minutes later the head chef stopped by. I was so shocked how in shape Scott looked. I asked him what he has been doing. He told me he bought a treadmill and uses it about four days a week. So I asked him what is the best manual treadmills. He told me that there are so many different types that I would have to look and see what kind I needed myself. After seeing Scott I know that I need to get one!
I looked, tried, and read about so many different types of treadmills. It took me about three weeks of research to finally find one. It was worth all the work for finding the right one for me. Having my own has changed my life for the better.Read More
The importance of healthy eating and exercise is high on people’s agenda, but I have found that the busy lives of parents often see this important aspect neglected. From my own experience I can tell you that I used to go running 3 or 4 days a week and I very rarely opted for convenience food.
However, since I have had kids it has become more difficult, especially with young toddlers in the house. But as parents we found that it is hugely important to set a good example about healthy lifestyles from as early an age as possible.
In this blog post I want to highlight some ideas we have had over the past couple of years that we think every parent can benefit from.
First of all you should get you kids used to eating the same food as you do. And your own diet should be healthy and no full of processed crap and treats 😉 From the day you start feeding your baby with solid food it is better if you cook it yourself and use a blender. This way you can be certain about the source of the ingredients and that there are no preservatives or sugar added.
As you baby grows you should also introduce them to food that is not blended. Many vegetables and some fruit are ideal for this, but so are small amounts of meat and poultry. This will ensure your child grows up knowing many different flavors and it will learn to eat what everyone else is eating.
This also has a practical benefit. You do not need to cook separate food for your baby or toddler, but rather just end up cooking one meal with a small extra portion.
First of all, it is very important for you children to get as much fresh air as possible. It may not seem like it but bringing your child out for a walk in a stroller is a form of exercise. But you can go one step further to set a really good example.
When my eldest was about 6 months old I was really struggling with my running. I barely got out more than once a week and this was just causing pain. This is when a friend suggested that we look into a jogging stroller. I couldn’t believe that such a thing existed, but I don’t know where I would be without it.
If you have two kids you can even get double jogging strollers, but I would say that you would need to be physically prepared for some pretty hard work.
This basically allows you to go for a run and bring your baby and/or toddler with you. So you get the exercise you need, your kids’ get more fresh air and they are exposed to exercise from a time in life before they are able to walk. My eldest actually still asks if we can go for a run together and they both love coming along.
I won’t be able to say for sure how much of an influence this will have been until they are a bit older and start playing sports but I know for sure that it has sparked an interest.Read More
The right kind of food goes a long way towards impressing your house guests with your hospitality – planning the main course isn’t hard, the real trick is to select the right kind of snacks and drinks to fill the time between meals. Having some snacks for your guests gives them the message that you really want them to feel at home. Here are some tips that you can follow to this end:
Be sure to have several different morning beverages such as milk, coffee, juice and some decaf/regular teas. Peppermint and chamomile are excellent decaf teas which your guests will find relaxing before they go to bed. Black teas such as Irish Breakfast or Earl Grey, on the other hand, will help them get rid of the last vestiges of sleep in the morning. Coffee drinking guests will normally be happy with a medium coffee roast that packs the right mix of caffeine and flavor. Also have drink additives handy e.g. agave nectar, lemon, cream, honey, sugar, and sugar substitutes.
As for daytime / evening drinks, you can start by stocking up on bottled water (it is also great to offer to your guests for the road), as well as a number of sparkling drinks like La Croix water or Perrier, and, of course, sodas. You can ask your guests about their preference when they arrive. If you want to go all the way in terms of hospitality, stock up for a nightcap as well, with a few moderately expensive red and white wines.
If you’re expecting to spend a lot of time with your guests chatting and catching up in the lounge, you should prepare some snacks for everyone to enjoy. It will be smart to pack both sweet and salty options in your pantry to keep everyone happy. Trail mixes or snack mixes are an excellent way to mix up these two flavors. Have some chips ready e.g. plain potato chips with dips, tortilla with salsa, and some completely sweet snacks like cookies, assorted chocolates, hard candies and Rice Krispie bars.
If the guests you’re expecting suffer from certain allergies, be sure to inquire about the foods they aren’t OK with before you go on your shopping trip. Guests can feel uncomfortable sometimes when talking about their medical conditions so as not to burden the host, so it’s your duty to get that out of the way as the good host. Plus, it’ll put a damper on their visit if the guest got poisoned by eating something inappropriate.
As a bonus tip, after your guests are well fed and watered, they will definitely need a place to rest and sleep, so make sure that you stock up your guest bedroom with a reasonable amount of amenities to make their stay comfortable and relaxing. If you’re afraid that there won’t be sufficient bedding for the guests, there are plenty of great air mattresses you can choose from to make an on the fly bed for your guest (or for yourself) – you can buy the high end ones if you like so your guests feel cared for in spite of their non-conventional bedding.Read More
If you have been reading my blogs, then you know that I live far away from my home and my family. You would also know that I am actually a lawyer, but I came to France to pursue another passion, which is, cooking.
People might find it odd that at such an age, I still had the bold desire to pursue something off-track my career path. I too, found it frightening at first.
What if things do not work out for me? Will I ever have anything to go back to when I decide to come back? Will my work be intact? Will my credibility as a lawyer be affected?
These questions haunted me for months as I pondered on whether I should push through with my desire to leave for France and try out a new passion.
I have no intentions of being a professional pasta chef. I just really want to learn it for myself, for my self-worth and to make a childhood dream come true, even in its simplest form.
Also, even when I am here in France, I am in constant communication with my friends, family and clients back in America.
I show them pictures of the latest recipes I have cooked, and I constantly call them via online free call services. Now that I have no stable income because I am on a travelling spree, I tend to look out for expenses and overseas telephone calls are very expensive. Hence, I prefer, like most people these days, to use the internet for communication.
Thanks to this thing called the Internet protocol telephone system, communication lines are made better, much stable, and my favorite asset thus far, made more affordable (free, in fact).
I also keep in touch with my (former) clients. They say they await my return and they will hire me as their lawyer, again. Right now, all I do is give them occasional advises on their legal problems. I am more confident that I left them in good faith and good hands in the form of my partners in the law firm I worked with. We only keep in touch for old times sake, because some of my clients have become my good friends. Also, we don’t always talk about legal business when we talk over the Internet. Sometimes, we just want to have a good talk about how things in America are, and how I am, here in France.
Because of the amazing powers of the Internet and of Technology, being far from home and the people I care for, has become less of a trouble and less of a heartache.Read More
In order for me to set an example of why I decided to go to France for food, I will share a recipe today that even Americans are very fond to eat. If you are an American reading my blog, then you will clearly see the difference. If you are French, then you might start craving for this wonderful creation your people made. If you are of any other nationality, Try it!
I am going to share the French recipe for an omelet. I know some of you might be thinking, “just an omelet? that’s just eggs in a frying pan and some green garnish”. Yes, if you cook it the American way. But here in France, they cook it this way:
Ingredients(good for 1 person)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. water
- 2 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 3 tbsp. finely sliced mint leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Mix egg and water in a bowl and whisk until it becomes frothy
- Crumble the goat cheese and add to the egg froth mixture. whisk again.
- Use a non-stick pan and heat the Olive oil.
- Briefly saute mint leaves in oil (30secs.)
- whisks eggs before pouring into pan. swirl pan to distribute mint.
- proceed into how you normally handle an egg omelet. Working your way around the pan.
- As the omelet starts to be firm, turn off heat and let the residual heat cook it for one more minute or until omelet is brown.
- add salt and pepper to taste. Go easy on the salt since Goat cheese already has high sodium content.
- you are done. Serve the omelet on a plate, folding it over itself.
By now you can see that it is different because its not just a simple egg and salt in your frying pan kind of omelet. The dedication that French food makers have for even the simplest dish is one of the many reasons why I chose to come here and learn here.
The omelet offers a new kind of flavor. It is a famous omelet that is known to come from Corsica.
If you are going to try the recipe at home, quick reminders: non-stick pans are quite important in the equation of this particular recipe. Goat cheese is part of the ingredient and this food item could easily stick to your pan if you do not use the non-stick version. If there is no available fresh goat cheese, you can use ricotta since it could also be crumbled. If you have aged goat cheese, you can grate it in as well, together with the ricotta.
Another reminder, just double the ingredients if you plan to serve this as a breakfast in bed surprise for you and your loved one. It is quick yet it offers an exquisite taste and aroma. You can pair this with salad or bread.
I shall start this blog off by going in depth as to why I chose to take a pause from practicing law and instead take on a different path as a carefree traveler and cooking enthusiast.
Don’t get me wrong. I have always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. And I am not leaving that life behind me. I am just taking a small detour to have a change of pace in life. And, the next thing I am passionate about after my love for the law, is my love for cooking.
I love pasta. Thus, France happened. And while there is more to this country than pasta and French accents, I really primarily came for the love of food.
Why go to France for pasta? Americans eat it too, and it has become accessible all over the world.
The answer to that is quite simple and it comes in the form of a question too.
Who Would not want to go to France?
This country is all about romance, food, love, and fresh experiences. I never second guessed coming to this beautiful paradise and I know that sooner or later I have to move my feet to another paradise, but making France my first stop in my journey across the globe is something I know was a good decision, to date.
While I was taking up my culinary and cooking classes, I never had a day that I was too tired or was too confused. The people here are as lovely as the food they made famous all over the world. They are very sweet and they do not treat me indifferently.
Of course, I could already cook pasta even when I was still in America. However, my classes in France added context and meaning to every pasta dish that I make.
The very first dish I made was Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. This is very far from the typical spaghetti that people are accustomed to, the one with tomato sauce and meatballs. While that type of spaghetti is also very famous and sought after in France, I decided to try pasta dishes that are not famous. This way, I get to know more than what others already know.
Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil becomes a French hit because of the raw garlic, virgin olive oil and pasley that French people add to it. These additional ingredients are what makes it “French”. You can top it with whatever topping you want: Parmesan cheese, Cayenne pepper, Cherry tomatoes or sauteed shrimp. Of course, if you want to go all in, you can put all of those on top of your pasta and it will taste as good as it could. An added bonus is the aroma that the recipe exudes.
This is just but one of the many recipes I learned to cook through my time here in France. I will share more French recipes and my travel stories in my next post.
Visit me next time!