24 March 2013

An English Legend: Bread and Butter Pudding

While I still cringe at fruit cake and pass on Christmas pudding, one English dessert I have come to admire is Bread and Butter Pudding.

For starters, what is not to love about bread and butter?

This is a dessert that pleases all ages, requires little prep and can be made ahead of time. Chef's recipe follows, with a few extra ingredients to enhance this English classic.

18 March 2013

Pint Shots: My Goodness, My Guinness

I nearly forgot St Patrick's Day. 

Not wishing to let the day go without paying our respects to the Irish Saint,  I drew an (attempted) shamrock on our daughter's cheek with an eye pencil, smeared some green eye shadow and glitter on her lids, dressed her in green leggings, and put a green bow in her hair. And, presto-- Little Leprechaun!

Our family's outing was to a village pub, where my husband and I enjoyed a pint of Guinness, Ouisie a lemonade, and the dog munched on leftover chips off the floor.

On an English rainy day, the pub was the perfect setting for toasting Saint Patrick with a most traditional Irish pint. Here are some pint shots from our impromptu celebrations. Happy Paddy's Day! CHEERS!

15 March 2013

J'adore, George V!

Lobby, image by: Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Just steps off the Champes-Elys√©es, Four Seasons Hotel George V, is perfectly positioned for shopping, dining and exploring the best of Paris. But with room rates starting from 950 Euros per night, you may wish to allow time to enjoy the Hotel's outlets and impeccable service. 

Ouisie welcomes guest through front door, George V

I want to call George V, chez moi--- I love it so. 

My only quibble-- having to say, au revoir. 

My husband arranged our most recent stay as my birthday surprise. Le Tour Eiffel welcomed us back to Paris with her sparkling lights against an evening cityscape. As we took the final turn down George V Avenue, the butterflies in my stomach fluttered faster and faster. Je suis retourn√© a chez moi

It was our daughter's first time at the George V. The staff welcomed her by name, presented gifts at check-in, and placed sweet treats in the room. Between the accolades given at reception, the chocolate mousse surprise, and being freed from the constraints of her car seat,  Ouisie leapt around the guest room squealing, 
"I like hotel! I LIKE HOTEL!!!"
Frankly, I could not have said it better myself.

10 March 2013

And then I became a mother

For years, I did not understand why my mother insisted on keeping so much stuff from our childhood.  Storage boxes filled with Where's Spot books, Fisher Price toys, BRIO train tracks, Cabbage Patch dolls, medals, uniforms, school work, and more have moved between various attics and storage units for over three decades.

And then I became a mother. 

This month my parents downsized, finally, from three storage units to one.  In addition to storing goods acquired through 43-years of marriage, they have been the depot to the leave behinds of three grown children. The storage units were, in fact, time capsules of our childhood.

Trophies  that once held prized places on bedroom's shelves,  gathered dust in dark corners. Framed family church portraits, YMCA team photographs, and school class pictures lay stacked on shelves wrapped in brown paper. A trunk filled with favourite baby clothes and Halloween costumes showed their yellow age spots. 

09 March 2013

Sophie's Choice: Life and Laughter

Do you know Sophie Roberts? I did not either, until last summer when a donation request passed by my desk. If I am honest, I used to send any donation requests directly to the Executive Office to review. But on that day, for some reason, I was nosey and skimmed the letter.

Later that evening as I bathed our daughter,  I could not get Sophie Roberts out of my mind. I did further research through her fundraising webpage and felt a strong connection to this little fighter. Perhaps it was her courageous smile or because she lives just 10-minutes from our home. Maybe it was because she was 11/2 years when diagnosed, the same age as our daughter when I first read her story. Regardless of the reason, I wanted to enlist in her cause.

07 March 2013

Pannier Plat du Jour: B.N.B. (Banana Nut Bread)

I am a picky banana eater.

I will not eat them green.
I do not like their little strings.

I will not eat one with brown spots.
I do not like their ends or tops.

While tidying up after breakfast, I scanned the fruit bowl for overripe fruit and found a neglected trio of brown spotted bananas.

Instead of my usual toss in the bin approach, I decided to celebrate their longevity by baking banana nut bread. After all, there is nothing quite like homemade bread with a strong cup of Joe in the morning.

I compared some recipes to avoid a trip to the grocery store for ingredients. Most recipes called for walnuts, I gave the batter pecans instead. I can attest, even a trained palate would not notice the difference.

Baking also sparked an impromptu activity for my two year old. My little sous chef eagerly pealed and squished bananas in her hands, finger painted the baking tin with butter, scooped the sugar, and even cracked an egg. It was messy, fun and the end result... delicious!
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