mercredi, décembre 31, 2008

happy new year!

Bonne Année et Bonne Santé!!

Happy New Year's Eve everyone! I can't believe that we'll be ringing in 2009 in six hours! What a year it's been... This time last year I was having a quiet New Years with the family, sitting outside digging in to a huge lobster on Kangaroo Island... yum! Unlike Christmas, if I don't have major plans for New Year's it doesn't bother me, especially since I think I might be coming down with something :-(

This year things will be different, 1 extra second, no 35C weather, more like -35C lol, no no but it is cold out there! Between the busy fall and then all the weather problems especially in the US I'm so happy to not have gone anywhere far away during this vacation! Just staying at home is perfectly fine with me! Plus our home is so cozy it makes it hard to leave!

At the last minute (as in last night) Mystery Guest and I thought about going out to one of the two awesome creperies near town, but they're both closed tonight. So when we did some grocery shopping at lunch I asked if he wanted anything special for dinner.

His request?


So we're having pancakes & bacon.

Don't worry, I've got some poiré chilling in the fridge for a true americo-norman dinner :-)

ps. what do you guys think of the new layout??

mardi, décembre 30, 2008

new kitchen fun!

My belle-mere gave me a yogurt maker (much like this one) for Christmas this year. It's something I've been wanting to try for a while now and last night I made my first batch!

To start off simple I just made plain yogurt, I took 1 pot of plain yogurt (the brassé that we always buy) and mixed it with 1 liter of UHT milk. I ladled that into the 7 little glass jars and set the timer to "cook" overnight. This morning they were all warm and I put the little lids on and stuck them in the fridge where they are supposed to set for at least an hour before eating.

Curious about my little science experiment, Mystery Guest and I each tried one for our dessert after lunch - the verdict? Not bad! Not bad at all! I always have a little yogurt after lunch and dinner, usually mixed in with a little sugar but this wasn't sour or tart at all. The consistency was a little bit different but not enough be too noticeable, I heard you can thicken it with powdered milk but I'm fine with the way it turned out.

With the 4 empty jars after today I'm trying a little vanilla experiment, the same recipe but with some sucre vanillé (fait maison but of couuurse!) so we'll see how those turn out after lunch tomorrow.

The best thing is that its so easy to do, saves on packaging (won't have 50 million little pots to throw away anymore..!) and I'll have to do the math but I bet it will save some money too.

Can't wait to try more flavors!!

dimanche, décembre 28, 2008

Noel 2008

Christmas this year was so fun! Plus we were lucky to have beautiful (if not cold!) weather the whole time. On the 24th Mystery Guest managed to get off work early and we scooted out to his parent's house for a Christmas Eve dinner with his parents and brother/girlfriend who came in from Lyon.

His mom made a delirrrisious buche de noel with chocolate mousse and pear filling!

The next day we got up and Santa left lots of goodies next to our shoes under the tree!
We opened presents and took some Christmas day pictures before the middle brother and his wife came in. We had a yummy Christmas day dinner and, well, no Christmas is complete without an American apple pie!
It was my first attempt at an apple pie and I was really afraid that it would be overcooked and basically baked applesauce but as you might have seen in my telegram post it was a big hit! I wouldn't wanted to have shamed my country! ;-)

Since Christmas things have been calm, a lot of hanging around the house and relaxing. The other night we went out bowling in Cherbourg which was such a laugh! I haven't been bowling in at least 6 years I think! (Except for the Wii, but I don't think that counts...)

Anyway it was a fantastic Christmas! This little MilkJam was spoiled with all the presents! Thanks everyone!!!

jeudi, décembre 25, 2008

Mission accomplished!

American Apple Pie officially a hit with French in-laws.Stop.Merry Christmas.Stop.

Sent from my iPod

mercredi, décembre 24, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

Merry Christmas everyone! I'm finishing the final gift-wrapping, apple pie baking and Christmas fun today. We're off tonight to the belle-famille to celebrate (usually Christmas is celebrated more on Christmas Eve than Day in France). I'll try to post some pictures from there :-)

Here is my 2008 xmas card with some snapshots from the places I was fortunate enough to travel to this year, from upper right:

Venice, Switzerland, la Manche, Venice
Australia, Carcassonne, Montpellier, Australia
Switzerland, Paris, Australia and Venice.

mardi, décembre 23, 2008

birthday fun!


Mystery Guest had to work today on his birthday so we decided to have a lunchtime celebration at home, the requested meal was yummy and on top of the dessert (coconut ice cream and sweet potato pie) I had leftover melted chocolate from a secret Christmas present in the works and dipped in some Clementine and pear slices - oh YUM!

Mom sent me a few snowy pictures from home, they've been getting dumped on for a week now but the pictures are stunning! Below freezing temps there for the longest period on record and weather around 11/12C here (in the mid 50's F) - can anyone say global warming? Nuts!

lundi, décembre 22, 2008


Is it wrong that after watching their infomercial on the website I want this?? Is it??

christmas cookin'

Well now it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - baking! I've got several things to do today, tomorrow and the 24th. Tomorrow is Mystery Guest's birthday (yea!!) and he has requested salmon, des haricots beurres and his favorite birthday dessert - sweet potato pie and when we were grocery shopping yesterday he decided it would be yummy with some coconut ice cream. I have made this one before (sans saffron, never have any at home...) and all of David's ice creams are fantastic! Especially the vanilla one... delish!

He also wants to take some stuff into work to celebrate his birthday, some champagne and some apple cake so I'm going to do that today.

We're celebrating Christmas with his family this year, I'm really excited about that. I haven't spent Christmas with them since the first year we were dating (when I had the pity-lonely-American invite :-) ) Now I know all the family and his brothers are coming in from Lyon and South Africa with their wife/girlfriend so it will be a full house chez la belle-famille!

I asked his mother if I could bring something, a dessert or something and we decided on an American apple pie (not to be confused with a French apple pie). Too bad I've never made an American apple pie... but this cookbook to the rescue! My step-mom gave it to me a few years ago for Christmas and I *heart* this recipe book! It is amazing! Basically they take 1,000 of the most common recipies and tinker with them until they come up with the "best" version. They explain what adding this or that extra will do, or turning the heat higher or lower, all to get the "best" brownie, roasted chicken, mashed potatoes etc will do.

In this age of internet cookbooks have become a bit outdated, you can find any recipe you want but this one is something that sould be on hand! (for when the internet cuts out...) Besides the classic Joy of Cooking, this one is fantastic.

So anyway I'm off to go get some Birthday and Christmas baking done!! Toodles!

vendredi, décembre 19, 2008

don't ask me why...

I have NO idea, but for some reason I have been craving a Butterfinger's since this afternoon. I don't think I've eaten one in at least ten years so go figure... but yum. yum. yum.

bad blogger!

Shame shame! I've been a lazy blogger! But a busy one ;-) Last weekend on Saturday the Katester and I made a little journey out to Cherbourg, complete with rain and al! One of our colleagues from the lycee sings in a choir and they were giving a free concert in a beautiful (but frozen as the heat was en panne..) church. We got into town late afternoon and took a look at the Christmas market. I think that one is one of my favorites! There were so many local stands and not just made in China stickers like in Caen.
As it got darker we wandered around, did some shopping and then ran into a bubble machine! There was a random little machine like some sort of soapy pied pipper blowing bubbles all through the streets!
The concert was fun, but since the heat wasn't working I was so eager to go home and thaw out my feet! We got a ride back to V-town and the next day the weather cleared up and with Mystery Guest we took a drive out to Portbail to do a little geochaching. Sadly we didn't find the cache but we had a great time :-)
Since then things have gotten a little hectic, tram strikes in Caen etc.. But I've also had fun preparing Christmas and Mystery Guest's birthday on the 23rd. :-) I've got a little mystery Christmas presents up my sleeve tee hee.

I've also taken care of a lot of administrative things today, finally got around to calling the Prefecture about my driver's license. It is true that I can pass the written exam (le code) without going through an auto-ecole but it was difficult to get the right info. I went into our town hall in the afternoon and the poor woman there was even more confused, I don't think they get a lot of Americans in asking about taking the French license... ha! I went into an auto-ecole after the town hall directed me there, I was worried about them trying to rope me into signing up there and paying them money but the woman was really nice. She helped me fill out the paperwork and told me that after I passed my code I could come in and take a few hours of driving lessons without having to pay the frais de dossier! Cool beans. I might get through my license without spending more than 200e (if a French person starts from scratch it can cost well over 1,000e!)

I also made sure to call the unemployment service this week since there had been a miscommunication concerning my last paystub. I had good news though! Because I took a job this year that was a big pay cut from last year I get a certain amount of compensation from the unemployment insurance per month! Cha-ching! I thought I was only going to get money for the month of September when I was unemployed but actually it keeps coming! Great! I guess it makes sense, the thing is that I would be getting more money by being on unemployment than taking a low paying job (like this one) so it encourages people to work I guess. Works for me anyway!

vendredi, décembre 12, 2008

for KC

The manif from Thursday at my lycee in C-town.

mardi, décembre 09, 2008


This photo was taken this morning in V-town waiting for the train only to arrive at work to find out that the students had blocked the high school protesting the new reforms. According to the teachers it is the first time the students have ever blocked the school in its 20 year history, not even during the CPE a few years ago.

I wonder how long the strike will play out, I could see it gathering momentum and lasting until Christmas... who knows...

dimanche, décembre 07, 2008

K&K Episode 200

A picture (or several...) says 1,000 words; but in short 1 fabulous weekend in Paris! I got to see old friends, meet new ones, try rhum-rhums, eat m&m's and have a blast :-) Thanks everyone!

jeudi, décembre 04, 2008

3 years...

Happy 3 Year Anniversary Mr. Mystery Guest!!!

...des bisous partout!



mercredi, décembre 03, 2008

thanksgiving 2008

My pecan pie from the Thanksgiving Feast 2008! The dinner was fabulous as was the company of old friends! I've been busy and meaning to update but it just hasn't happened. I'll try to get to it and the beautiful Christmas lights up in Caen but right now I've got to get ready for my trip to PARIS for the K&K EXTRAVAGANZA!!!!