Thursday, May 28, 2015

Paris: Part 1

The first time I visited Paris, back in 2009, I had just finished my second semester of college French.  I entered the city feeling quite prepared to talk to anyone and everyone.

 I was traveling with 7 other college students from my study abroad program and we arrived in Paris early in the morning, around 8 or so.  After checking into our hotel, we realized that we were all starving and definitely needed something to eat before heading off for the day's adventures.

I quickly found out that the French only eat meals at particular times of day, so the restaurants around our hotel were only serving coffee at 10:30AM, because breakfast time was over.  After some wandering, we finally found a very cute little cafe that was serving a limited selection of food.  The waitress was a lovely older woman who regrettably only spoke French.  Well, regrettably for foolish me.

I started off confidently enough, but quickly realized I hardly understood a word from the menu or from her.  I was the only person in our group who spoke any French, so it was incredibly unnerving, and embarrassing.  In the end, the only thing I understood was that we could order hot cocoa and ham and butter baguettes.  So I did the only sensible thing I could think of:  I ordered one for everyone.

My favorite:  Pain au chocolate (or chocolate filled croissants)

Yesterday, I had another sliced ham and butter baguette, and it brought back fond memories of my first trip to Paris.  My bumbling French, my wonder at this beautiful city, and my love for French pastries.

This trip has already been so much different than my first trip to Paris.  I have a family that includes a small baby, so I have spent a surprising amount of time in our hotel room while he naps.  And I have been surprised at how much that doesn't bother me.  I have had time to think, relax and read.  Then, when he is awake, we go explore the city with Adam.

A mostly family photo on the converted walking gardens.  So much airplane hair in this photo...

Our first day here, we had a wonderful time wandering an old railway track that has been converted into walking gardens.  We enjoyed it so much we went back the next day with the stroller and walked all the way down to Place de la Bastille. One of the things I liked most about the greenway was that it definitely felt like a local place.  Lots of French people taking an afternoon stroll.  I love feeling like I am enjoying the city like a local would.

 Place de la Bastille
A painting restoration studio.  I think this job would be so scary and so cool!  

Adam had some preparatory responsibilities the first few days, and Fox has been adjusting to the time zones, so other than those two smallish outings, we only ventured out for meals in the area where we are staying.  So on Tuesday night, we finally wandered downtown to the Hotel de Ville, across the river to Notre Dame, and then back past the Hotel de Ville for our praluline (a brioche bread with candied nuts in it), by the Centre Pompidou.  Adam has been telling me about the praluline for weeks, and it was great to finally try it.  It was delicious, and we found out that the store that sells them also has a location in Lyon.  We might go get one every week until we return to the US...

Our praluline
Walking over one of the many bridges in Paris

Yesterday, I had heard that the students were going to visit Notre Dame and they were going to climb the towers to the top.  It sounded like fun, so I met the group, and went up with them.  What a view!  It was gorgeous!  Historical landmarks stretching out in every direction, window-boxed apartment buildings, and the green river below.  It was quite a sight.

I guess Fox was not impressed with the view

Happy Thursday!  

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pesto and Squash Pizza

I have promised you all some great posts about France. They are coming, don't worry!  Fox is still switching over time zones (there is a 7-hour difference), so I am spending a lot of time at our hotel currently while he is sleeping. Consequently, we haven't been out to see very much yet, so you get one more recipe for now.  This one is a real winner!  Seriously. 
And the photos that Adam took are gorgeous!

When I did my study abroad in London, I was trying to eat relatively cheaply, and ended up buy a lot of pesto to eat on rice, bread, chicken and pasta.  A very healthy combo of things, I know... At any rate, pesto became one of my very favorite foods, and I still love making it/buying it a few times every year.  This pizza definitely highlights the pesto, while keeping it from overpowering the other flavors.  It is a delicious vegetarian pizza!   Flavorful, and relatively healthy.  

Pesto and Squash Pizza

1 pizza crust
1/4 cup pesto (homemade or store bought)
1/2 summer squash, sliced into wheels
1/2 zucchini, sliced into wheels
1 1/2 - 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Roll out the dough on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal.  Spread a semi-thick layer of pesto on the pizza crust.  Sprinkle shredded cheese liberally over pesto and place squash and zucchini on top of the cheese.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over the squash, if you like.  Back at 450°F for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is gold brown.  Happy Cooking!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Buttermilk Molasses Muffins

Last night, I figuratively kissed my oven goodbye with one last apple crumble, while Adam and I watched an episode of Chef's Table. It was nice to have a quiet night right before heading off on our big summer adventure.  

In honor of my faithful oven, I decided to post these beauties.  I made them a few weeks ago when I needed something to serve with dinner.  Adam ate 8 of them before, during and after dinner.  This is not to tell you of his gluttony, but to tell you that they are worth eating!  That is, if you like oats, buttermilk and molasses.  Oaty, moist and delicious!  

Next time we talk, I will be in Paris!!! Follow along on Instagram and here at Measure and Whisk

Buttermilk Molasses Muffins
adapted from Taste of Home

1 cup oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup minus 1 Tbs granulated sugar
1 Tbs molasses
1/4 cup oil
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Soak the oats in the buttermilk for 10 minutes.  Then add the egg, sugar, molasses and oil and mix.  In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, soda and salt.  Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until combined.  Grease a muffin tin and fill each tin about 2/3 the way through.  Cook at 400°F 15-18 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes and serve with butter.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cocoa-Dusted Almonds

Only 4 days until we leave, and I can't get France off the mind... So, that means we are talking about snacks for flying today!  Get excited!  (For a full list of what I am planning on taking on our flight, see this post. PS. I would be so very grateful if you clicked on the links in the last post :)

I highly doubt that I am the only person who finds airport food absurdly overpriced, but whenever I am in the airport, the things that I have brought along to eat on the plane always sound terrible and all the delicious, unhealthy choices in the airport sound way more fun and fabulous.  

I have realized that bringing raw carrot sticks to the airport just isn't an option for me.  I won't eat them and I end up resenting their presence in my bag.   

For this trip, I have a few tasty tricks up my sleeve for relatively healthy and easy snacks.  These almonds are a great choice, or I might make these granola bars, or possibly some crackers, and then maybe a piece of fruit, or some dried mango or something.  Whatever I end up taking, you had better believe it is going to be more delicious than a carrot stick.  

Cocoa-Dusted Almonds
serves 2 (depending on how many almonds you like to eat)

1/2 cup raw whole almonds
1/2 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp finely ground sea salt

Toast the almonds at 350°F for 6-9 minutes or until golden and fragrant.  Put in a bowl with coconut oil and stir until almonds are coated.  In a jar or tupperware, put the sugar, cocoa powder and sea salt and stir until thoroughly combined.  Add almonds, and shake until the almonds are coated.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Flying with a Baby: On-Board Packing List

I have to admit that traveling always stresses me out a little.  I love going new places and seeing new things, but typically, a few weeks before we leave, I start getting butterflies in my stomach. 

I start making long lists of things to get done before we leave, and lists of  things to bring to ensure we don't forget anything important.  This trip will be a little different than previous trips, and, consequently, the butterflies have multiplied.  This will be Fox's first time on a plane, we will be traveling for 7 weeks in a foreign country, and we are planning on taking as little as possible.  

I have these fears of Fox throwing up all over our seat neighbors on the airplane, spilling my orange juice all over the person next to me (this did happen on a plane flight once... except someone spilled it all over me), or eating all my tasty snacks in the first ten minutes of the flight and then having sticky fingers for the next 7 hours.  Which is why I will be bringing my Huggies One & Done Wipes on our flight.

These wipes are thick, they actually smell good (a big win for me!), and they clean like a dream. I love them!  Huggies even has a few fun little videos about all the uses for them, because they are great for loads of other messes (like wiping up dirty plane germs, anyone?). These cute videos just might alleviate your fears of traveling with messy little ones (or big ones) this summer! 

I may even have to keep them around after Fox is no longer in diapers, I like them that much.  After all, Kids Outgrow Diapers, Not Messes*.  Or so Huggies tells me :)  So, this is what I am planning on bringing on the plane for Fox and me:

For Fox:  
Wipes (Huggies One and Done Wipes in my reusable Huggies Clutch 'n' Clean)
2 blankets (a swaddle blanket, and a thin blanket for the bassinet that we reserved on our international flight)
2 bottles of milk
3 burp rags 
2 pacifiers 
2-3 small toys
1 extra sleeper 
1 onesie
1 zip-up hoodie
plastic bag (in case we have a blow out in the airport/dirty diapers on the plane)

Fox loves these Huggies Wipes too!

For me:

snacks (probably homemade cocoa-dusted almonds, my favorite granola bars(see recipe index) and dried fruit)
1 extra tee
1 long sleeved chambray shirt for layering (why are planes always so cold?)
lip balm
water bottle
rain coat
PJ pants (in case our luggage gets lost)
And probably some more Huggies Wipes in case I make a mess on our flight... Sometimes I am a bigger mess-maker than my baby... How embarrassing!  

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