Thursday, October 30, 2008

Connie's gift

One of my very good friend from Kansas City (who happen to be German) is coming to visit this weekend, I am so excited to see her again. I haven’t seen her since she was pregnant with her son who will be turning 4 next week! That’s to tell you… it has been a while! Anyway, I was looking through the house for something personal to give her ( I always try to give something that will make my friend think of me when they see it!) and since she is taking the time to come all the way from KC to IC, I thought I would really get her something nice! ;-)
So I was looking around and found a little something that I made a while back on a long winter vacation in IC with my daughter. We went to a ceramic store in town and after choosing a little jar I spend oh about 2 hours painting it.
On the center it said “Des sous pour des rĂªves” meaning “some money for some dreams”, it is just a little jar that you could use for sugar or something very… useful like that. But I thought it would be cool to have something to put your spare change in.
So I decided that I will give it to her, before I do, I took pictures of it, because I never take any pictures of all the good stuff that I make and give away, and then I don’t remember what I did. And sometime I do pretty cute stuff!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Madeleine Recipe

For Diane who has been BUGGING me to put this one online.. She will hate me when her "derriere" is as big as mine just because she ate too much! ;-) Love ya Enjoy!!

(pronounced Madeline… sort off!!)

Make about 24 cake

2cup of Flour
1 1/2 cup of Sugar
1stick of butter
1tsp of baking powder
4 eggs
1 tsp of Vanilla extract or a lemon zest

Whip the eggs and the sugar together until completely soft. Add the flour/baking powder mix little by little. Add to the batter choice of vanilla extract or lemon zest and the melted butter.
Let it sit for 10 to 20mn. Butter your mold (Madeleine mold or muffin if you don’t have any)
Bake for 10 to 12 min or until golden brown at 375 Degrees.

You can find recipe for Madeleine all over the web, some even have fancy flavor like the one on this picture is with hazelnut powder. I also saw a recipe on with orange blossom water for Wedding shower, I thought it was really really fancy! I bet you can also make some with Rose water! ;-) Yummy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Far Breton Recipe

Another recipe from Brittany is the Far; it is a kind of Custard cake kind of like a Flan with dried Prunes in it. It is delicious (for those of you who like egg custard) I had several people asking for the recipe so here it is for you! ;-) Enjoy!!

Far Breton Recipe

1 liter of Milk
6 eggs
1 1/4 cup of flour
1 1/4 cup of sugar
Dried pitted prunes
Mix the flour, sugar and the eggs together, warm the mil for 2 minutes in the microwave and add it slowely to the mixture until you hava smooth batter.
Pour the batter in a pre-buttered pan. Add the pitted dried prunes so that it cover the bottom of the pan (you can put as many or as little as you wish (or none at all if you don’ t like the prune taste)
Bake for 40mn at 350F

Cutie Kitty

Today we got a call from our good friend Esther who invited us to come for a late lunch at her farm, she was wanted us to meet some of her friend that we never able to before. Leslie & Michael and Raquel & Gab. So since we didn’t have any plan and it was cold and breezy off we went to Mechanicsville. The trip there was great, I was able to speed up a little in those back roads of Iowa who remind me so much of France (mind you normally I am not very reckless) but for whatever reason I felt the urge of speeding!
I arrive before everyone else (and I was late). ;-) Anyway Matt followed with Rafael he was driving the bike for I think the last time of the year, and was saying that it was so windy that he was glad to have a side car cause he would have certainly be on the ground in the ditch somewhere! ;-)
Anyway, after a lovely lunch we talked and of course I went around taking some pics. Anyway, some are from the cute little kitten that they have, 2 of them but so cute and soft. Ignacio (Raquel’s dad) was there from Mexico City on a visit and he played with the kitty for some time. I wish I could speak Spanish because I would have loved to meet him properly, he seem such like a nice man! I put 2 pictures that Ma
tt took of me; enjoy them because you would probably never see a lot of pictures of me, since after all I am the photographer! ;-b
Also we learn that the wind blew away some of the rabbit cages and Matt and Michael went on a bunny hunt, here it show how many it take to catch a single bunny! ;-) Anyway we stayed for a long time talking and enjoying the company of nice people. Esther's has very good taste cause I really like her friend, I hope we'll stay friend with them and see them more often now that we were "introduced" properly! I had the best time with you all, thanks for this nice afternoon!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Amana Colonie

This afternoon while seating enjoying the quit of the house (on a Saturday afternoon, believe me this is a first) Matt asked me if I would like to go to the Amana colonies just West of where we live.

I said sure as long as we don’t take the kids, I am all for it! ;-) So after getting ready, we told the kids who were playing at our neighbor’s house Fable 2 (much more important than going to a walk with Mom and Dad!) Anyway… we drove there it was a beautiful sunny fall day, around 55 or so, breezy but Gorgeous!

For those of you who aren’t familiar to the Amana colonies, it is a bunch of historical villag

e founded by the German (still German speaking people down there) as most of the historical area in the US it is mainly a tourist attraction where people can buy lots of souv

enir and other knick knack and paying big money for it, but.. it is a very cute little village, and since Fall was in season, I thought It could be cool to take some pictures too! So here are some for you toenjoy.

That little sign is for you Diane, you know why right? ;-)

Matt posed for me as we were ready to go back to the car, and I thought it was a perfect picture of him!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Yummy Crepes

I am from Bretagne/Brittany the West part of France, one of the things that we eat in Brittany is Crepes (of course we eat lots and lots of different things) but Brittany is known for the crepes.

The famous one are Buckwheat crepes they are salted crepes made from Buckwheat flour and water. We eat them garnished with ham and cheese and eggs (that’s the traditional garnish) but also with cool stuff like mushroom or bison meat or tomato and even Goat cheese and Salad. For myself I love the “Andouille” or the Mushroom.

When you go to a Creperie in France you will also have the choice of sweet crepes, those crepes are made from regular white flour, milk and eggs. The garnishes for those are plain sugar or jam or for fancier one Pear with Melted Chocolate or even Banana… YUMMY!!!

Last year when I was at my mother she took out her “electric crepes maker” and I was amazed of how easy it was to make those. So when I got back to Iowa, I went and bought myself a crepes maker (I waited FOREVER to get it, but it arrived and I have tried to use it at least once to twice a month) mind you my kids are picky eater (funny cause they are not in France when we make those) but, they won’t eat the American Buckwheat crepes that I make (I guess I don’t have my mother’s hand for the recipe). But today I made some crepes. My husband missed the last time that I made crepes so I thought since he was coming home for the weekend I would make some for him and the kids (and ME of course) ;-)

So here is the recipe for the crepes and some pictures just to make you salivate with envies! (That will teach you to come and visit me more often he?) ;-)

Crepes recipe

For 18, not very hungry people

1.5 cup of Flour

4 tbsp of sugar

2 tsp of vanilla extract

1 stick of butter (salted)

31oz or 3.875cup of Milk

4 eggs

In a bowl put the flour and the sugar together, put a little whole in the center of it and put your eggs in it (obviously without the shell)

Start mixing those ingredients together and when the mixture gets heavy, pour the milk little by little until completely incorporated.

Melt the stick of butter and mix it with the batter. If the batter has “clot” (little pieces of dry flour surrounded with wet batter) pour the batter into a strainer until you have a smooth batter.

Cover the bowl with a towel and let it sit for 1 to 3 hours.

Cook each crepe on a crepe maker or in a pan well buttered.

Enjoy it with Sugar, syrup or fresh fruits or just plain it is yummy too!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kalona Field Trip

Today Morgane my daughter had a field trip to the village of Kalona south of Iowa City. It is an Amish/Mennonite community, with buggies and cool history.
So for the first time, I volunteer for a field trip... OH BOY!! Now my hat goes off to those teachers that endure all the noise that those lovely kids do, I would have a headache in NO time! To tell you the truth, went I got home, I slept for 2 hours I was so exhausted! Amazing!

Anyway, back to the visit.
We first visited a Cheese Factory, where we learn that cheese is actually white when it comes out of the factory; they only add the food coloring at the big company like Kraft. That made me wonder WHY on earth someone decided that cheese should be orange. In France our cheese are normally white or creamee color, the crust might have a different color, probably due to the spice or bacteria that they let them sit in! (Don’t ask me, I don’t have a clue). But why Orange?? Anyone has an idea?

After that little cheese stop,
we stopped at the local bakery. The kids were very very interested to get some donuts and other goodies. The bakery also makes fresh Pasta, so we went to see how they were making it. 2 questions from the kids, were regarding the fact if they could use the machine to make cookie pasta! Answer: I don’t think so! They can use in a week up to 500 dozen egg for Pasta making and Angel food cake in the Easter season!!

Then after a quick lunch, we went to the Historical Village Museum, very interesting. Some of the pics are from the Buggies repair house, or the “Grandpa’s house” or the little school etc.. you will see that the kids loved being able to ring the school bell. I was the only adult except for the guide, and I had to remind all those kids to keep their hand in their pocket and not to touch anything. I was amazed of how many times one can remind a 10/11 year old kid to not touch anything… Morgane probably now is considered unlucky to have a cop as a mother! ;-) Oh well, such is life!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Exhausted Volunteer

Damien has had an assignment on Global study to go volunteer on a farm, so we went to our good friend Esther who has a Farm near Mechanicsville, IA she raise chickens and turkeys and rabbits and goats, not counting the all vegetables thing that is going on over there. That chick isn’t lazy, She is working it hard and on top of it she home-school her son. My hat is coming down to her feet just for the entire thing she does… OH and did I mention she is also a GREAT friend?
So When I mention to her about Damien and his need of volunteering, she told me to bring him on.

Here are a few pictures of him and his sister helping around. He did a little more than Morgane cause he did put fresh hay and drag the nastiness out of the chickens coop. Needless to tell that their face was priceless when they were told they had to get the Sh.. out of the chicken coop.
After that was done Damien went to get one of the Goat sheared.
His job
was to hold the goat so that she didn’t jerk out for Esther’s to shear the wool.
After a few minutes he got tired of having the goat by the horn
standing over, so we had to lay her flat on the side for him to just hold it. It did took 1h30mn just to cut a few inches around for the wool not to drag down in the dirt, but they kept some on because the winter month are coming so fast!

When it was done he told Esther that he was EXHAUSTED!! I guess I should send him there for the summer… then he will know what Exhausted is right?