Monday, June 29, 2015

Pan-Fried Pizza

As we prepared to leave the US,  I kept thinking about the things that I would miss the most.  And topping the list were friends, peanut butter, and pizza.  I love pizza, and I was very sad to leave behind homemade pizza for seven weeks.  

Our first week in Lyon, I suggested to Adam that we try a pan-fried pizza.  I figured you make fry bread and tortillas on the stove, so why not pizza.  Be warned, it is definitely not the same as pizza from the oven, but will certainly do in a pinch and is quite tasty!

We made a few variations including a margarita type with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella, a lardon (a cut of meat that is similar to bacon) and crème fraîche (sort of like sour cream) pizza, and a cheese and sun-dried tomato pizza.  Each had its merits, but after several trail runs, we found that on each one, a thicker sauce works best.

Pan-Fried Pizza:

Pizza dough

Start by rolling out your pizza dough into a circle that is about 8 - 10" in diameter (depending on your frying pan size) heating a little oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Move the pan around until the oil coats the bottom of the pan.

Place the rolled dough in the pan and let it cook for about 2 minutes, or until it begins to brown on the bottom.

Flip the dough and add your toppings, starting with the sauce, adding the toppings, then finishing with the cheese.

Let it cook for about 3 more minutes until the crust begins to brown on the bottom and the cheese starts to melt.  Remove from pan and serve immediately.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with a Balsamic Reduction

Weekends can be pretty crazy, especially in the summer.  Sometimes you need a quick and healthy recipe for a busy weekend.  This weekend, we will be traveling down to the Mediterranean, so I thought it would be appropriate to share this particular recipe today (I would love for you to follow along via instagram):  A Mediterranean-inspired quinoa salad.  I recently started contributing to Creative Green Living, so head on over there for the recipe.  

PS.  Can you tell France's beautiful food arranging is rubbing off on me?  I have suddenly become super artsy with dinner.  

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Weekend Trip to the Alps: Part 2

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from Chamonix.  I knew it was in the alps, and that the students would be able to go up one of the mountains, but I wasn't sure what to envision.  So when we drove into the valley between the two giant sets of mountains on either side, I was a bit blown away.  In some way it felt a bit like Park City in Utah (which is also a smallish resort town in large mountains with good skiing close by), but there was also an enormous glacier coming down one of the mountains.  Many of the mountains were in full spring green, and covered with trees, while the tips were still drenched in snow.  The valley was as picturesque as you can possibly imagine with lots of window box flowers and fancy carved trim lining the roofs.  It was completely lovely!   

The view of the glacier as we drove into Chamonix

The evening view from our balcony
 Good morning from the Alps!
The town was picturesque and the mountains were majestic.  And things just got better the more we explored the mountains and the town.  We got there quite late on Friday, so we didn't do much that night, but early on Saturday, Adam headed up to Aguille du Midi (one of the highest peaks in the area).  Fox was not able to go up because of the elevation, so Adam went up with some of the students and took a bunch of gorgeous photos (about half of these are his photos.  The prettiest ones are his).  

 A few hours later, he came flying into the hotel room, right before Fox and I headed out to check out the town, and breathlessly told me that I needed to go up the mountain right now! He told me it was incredible and that I needed to see it!  So I headed out and good heavens was he right!

You have to take two different lifts to get to the top, and good luck if you are afraid of heights, because it was pretty much straight up for about nine thousand feet in a small tram that is surrounded by windows and jammed with people (close to 50).  I tried not to think too much about it.  The first of the lifts stops about 1/3 of the way up.  It is very rocky, without a lot of snow, and some lovely views, but the really incredible views come from the taking the second lift up the to the top.  It is a breathtaking view of the valley, snow-capped mountains, and clouds.  It was stunning!  

I am quite certain that if I didn't already believe in God before, I definitely would after making this trip up to the top!  I absolutely felt like I saw God in all the beautiful mountains and clouds. The whole thing was just so awe-inspiring.  

 The tram to the top
These hikers at the top were so legit! They all had helmets, ice picks and rope.  It was pretty intense and the small adventurer in me reared its tiny head and wished it was going with them.  
 The observatory


Some of the hikers taking off their snow boots and climbing equipment.  
 On the way back down

 Experience the mountain in chocolate form! 
Enjoying the morning on our hotel patio

This is a large glacier up by Mont-Blanc called Mer de Glace (or Sea of Ice).  We took a little train up to see it, and then Adam and a few other people from our group walked down to the cave that has been carved into the glacier.  Adam took some awesome photos of this cave!  Fox had a nice nap on my lap, and I read "The Fault in Our Stars" while I waited.  I feel a little silly in retrospect, because I was sitting on a bench in front of glacier in the Alps and I read a book instead of enjoying the view...

 Ice photos

 A family photo in front of the glacier
Chamonix and the glacier coming down the mountain.  I could totally get on board with making a return trip here in the future.  Happy Tuesday!  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Weekend trip to the Alps: Part 1

I am splitting this weekend trip into two sections, mostly because I have so many photos to share.  I promised that I would try to take more photos, and I am delivering on that promise.  Between Adam and me, we took several hundred photos on this trip, so after sifting through them, these are some of my favorites!  Hopefully they give you a flavor of the region.

Our first stop on our weekend tour was Annecy, a lovely little town next to a very blue lake.  Someone told me that the lake water there is some of the purest in Europe.  It honestly reminded me of the Caribbean, because it was almost a light teal color.  It was beautiful.  Our group took a little tour of the boat.  Fox and I were sitting at the back of the boat in an open section, but quickly it got quite cold and windy, so he and I headed into the covered seating, which was directly in front of the open air seating.

We were practically alone in those seats, with almost the entire group behind us because everyone had chosen to sit in the open section.  Fox soon started smiling and laughing, as I lifted him up in the air and played with him, and within a few minutes, I realized almost the entire group behind us was looking at him, and not at the beautiful scenery.  He was adorable, so I can't blame them.  Adam came up and took a bunch of photos of us, and they are some of my favorites to date!  Such a wonderful memory!
(this is what we call "a fox bite")

When we finished the boat tour, we met with a reader of this blog, who lives in this area!  She had contacted me when I first announced that we were coming to Lyon, and sent me a large amount of very helpful information about France, Lyon and French culture!  She was delightful, and we had a tasty lunch at a creperie. Hooray for Internet friends! It was such a wonderful experience, and it made me so grateful for the wonderful readers of this blog!  And it made me wish I could meet more of you!

(Claire, Fox and me after our tasty lunch)

After a nice lunch, we headed off to see a lovely and historic Chateau, the Chateau de Menthon-Saint Bernard. It is still owned by descendants of the original family who owned it in the 1300's, and they live there for 6 months of the year.  They didn't allow us to take any photos inside, but it was still furnished with original furniture, and it was really quite lovely!  I don't know if I would want to live there, but I thought it was neat that a family still does.

I wish we could have spent a little more time in this lovely town!  It really was so picturesque, and we thoroughly enjoyed visiting!  Next up, Chamonix!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Easy Summer Salad

Summertime means fresh produce in our house.  I love using ripe fruit and vegetables in salads on warm summer days.  Adam would be happy to eat greens with a dressing for a salad, but I always like having a little something extra on there, so I usually top mine with fresh fruit, a few slices of cheese, and crispy croutons.  It makes for a great combo of crispy, sweet and salty!  Yum!    

Here in Lyon, we don't have an oven to make bread, so we run by the local bakery on our way home and eat the salad with a crusty baguette and some cheese.  Just the way I like it!  

Easy Summer Salad:
(makes a single serving, but easily can be multiplied for a larger crowd)

- 2 cups of Greens (Spinach, arugula, lettuce, etc)
- cheese wedges, slices or shreds (I used a French cheese called Carre, but you can use mozzarella,
  parmesan or even feta)
- 1/2 of an apple or pear, sliced
- homemade croutons (see recipe below)
- A drizzle of olive oil
- a few shakes of balsamic vinegar or another sweet dressing.  At home I often use this one and this 
  one (half or quarter this one.  It makes SO much dressing otherwise.  You will be eating it for

Put them lettuce or greens in a bowl, top with cheese, apple croutons and then drizzle olive oil and vinegar over the top, or drizzle with a sweet dressing.

Homemade Croutons:  

Small pieces of bread (cubed or torn)
1 Tbs olive oil
garlic powder

Put oil in a frying pan.  Add the bread and push them around the pan until they are coated in oil.  Sprinkle garlic, salt and pepper over them to your satisfaction.  Let them cook until they being to get brown and crispy.

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