dimanche, août 31, 2008

swingin'

anyone remember this commercial? oh the Gap commercials back in the day were so fun... :-)



and this one?

samedi, août 30, 2008

summer food

Yesterday was our weekly market so I went off in search of good summer produce. My favorite stand with locally grown veggies was having the same sale on beautiful ripe roma tomatoes they had last week - 1.50e per kilo (that's about $2 for just over 2lbs). So I bought 3 kilos! With Mystery Guest being gluten free and store bought spaghetti sauce containing wheat starch as a thickener I decided to make my own spaghetti sauce.

I made it last week with the same yummy tomatoes and it turned out so well I went back for more! The tomatoes are just too good and ripe to pass up, and I'm not sure about the price in the states but most tomatoes in the stores here run for about 2e or 2.5e a kilo, unless you buy the really tasteless ones you can't really find a good deal. Plus the house smells so fantastic when you're cooking up some homemade spaghetti sauce!

Actually yesterday I was on a cooking spree, 2 weeks ago I bought a cheapo ice cream maker online because I thought it would be fun to try and again most ice creams sold in stores contain gluten... Last week I tried David Lebovitz's Vanilla Ice Cream which was to die for!! It took a long time to make because you had to make the custard first and this little mini ice cream maker gets it going pretty well but doesn't completely freeze it either..

The ice cream was really rich though, so I thought this week I'd try his Strawberry Frozen Yogurt with some of the last strawberries of the season. Delish!! Plus I think that recipe could work well with any other fruit... there are some yummy plumbs - the little mirabelles in season, or maybe some end of the season peaches? We'll see... ;-)

It's so much fun cooking and blogging about it but my memoire is still calling, I've got to get my butt in gear! So if I'm missing from the blogging world it means I'm working.. if you see me posting more often yell at me cause I'm procrastinating... just like I did with the new header (like the cow?? anyone notice??) ;-)

mercredi, août 27, 2008

Weekend fun

What another fab weekend with the amazing franco-american K&C duo! They drove up from Caen early Sunday morning and because of the weather our original plans to go to Merlin's forest were postponed by one day. Instead we stayed inside playing Catan, making lunch and enjoying eachother's company. Then around 3pm the sun started to come out so we decided to check out the new geocaches in the area.
What an afternoon! The weather turned beautiful and we (well Charlie) found 3/3 caches! Some of the areas were just suburb, beautiful little nooks tucked away in the countryside - like this churchyard. Then this other look out point held a secret cache as well.
I let the boys go hunt for the treasure while I played with my macro zoom on my little camera.
They even climbed a tower and played Superman...
On Monday we took off early and drove down to Bretagne. When we left we were a little worried about the weather (it pouuuuured buckets for the first 45 min or so that we were on the road...) but but the time we reached the forest it was just a little overcast. We managed to have a picnic and enjoy the Val sans Retour.
Then we went in search of all the major locations in the forest. Mystery Guest had the idea of taking his GPS to record all the coordinates and that way we can build a website directing people to the exact locations (they are SO poorly marked around there..) This is one, its La fontaine de Barenton and according to legend if you drink the water you will be cured of any mental illnesses. In any case we didn't have any stomach illnesses either... ;-)
We found Merlin's tomb and some other sites but the one we were really looking for was the Fountain of Youth. Mystery Guest and I had tried on 2 separate occasions to find it and never managed to. So we set off from Merlin's tomb (apparently it was nearby) and started following the marked path... As we kept walking and walking and walking we saw some stunning forests and scenery but no fountain... we kept saying, well it must be just around the bend, or oh! there's a stream, maybe its there... but no! Finally we saw a parking lot and thought we had finally reached it.. then Mystery Guest realized it was his car in the parking lot... Apparently we went on a 4km hike through the forest and passed in front of the Fountain of Youth without seeing it!! So we had a closer look at the sign and tried again.
In the end we found it, it was only about 100m from Merlin's Tomb... and a disappointment compared to the beautiful fountain we had seen earlier in the day. Oh, and I wouldn't drink from it, pretty scummy water if you ask me!
In the end it was a fantastic weekend! I hope we have time to do it again before K&C move back to the States... :-(

Here is a little video... boys will be boys eh? ;-)

video

samedi, août 23, 2008

3 years!

Wow, tomorrow it will be my blog-birthday, three years of MilkJam!

(Photo, MilkJam 3 years old circa 2005)

What an adventure for a blog which started off as a bet (I lost), a different name (remember Karina Takes France?? yeah, you old school peeps do!) and a way to keep in touch and share pictures - pre-Facebook - with family back home (tap, tap, any family read this anymore??) it's been a long ride!

I never would have imagined all the things that could, and have, come out of writing a blog! I've made wonderful new friends and have kept a journal longer than any other time in my life. It's so funny to look back and see the old posts!

It's crazy how the internet has changed our lives. Looking back over these past few years I've gone from no internet except in the schools where I worked, to dial up internet with Wanadoo (now Orange), to the Freebox when it offered free calls worldwide! and now to Neuf. I've moved apartments more times than I'd like to count but the blog address has always been the same, mistake and all!

How things have changed. My parents must have had a totally different experience living abroad in Switzerland in the late 70's/early 80's when letters were sent back and forth across the pond taking two weeks at time and only two phone calls were made in four years (once to announce my birth!). Do we, this internet generation, have the same experience as our parents did? Could we have dealt with these culture differences had we not had the internet? The ability to easily communicate with other expats who can understand us, to call home whenever we like, to find all those ingredients we long for from home?

Is there any "abroad" anymore or is globalization something that we now take for granted? When expats can now get a slingbox and watch American TV on a French TV or order English books from Amazon that arrive the next day in your mailbox?

Just something that's been shifting around in my head as I hear of new assistants coming... things oddly seem so different than 5 years ago when I first arrived, there seems to be this expectation that you can control your new environment even before arriving and that leaves me feeling uneasy as if the unknown is too known...

Or maybe I'm just a big fat procrastinator who is not working when she should be! :-)

jeudi, août 21, 2008

food

Along the lines of food (I posted a new recipe on my food blog) I decided to follow this meme.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I can't figure out how to cross out...)
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk/ linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet Pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (Jello shots!)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a 3-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

dimanche, août 17, 2008

Wii Hula Hoop

The J Family goes Wii Fit Hula Hoop Crazy!

Isn't this what vacation is all about??

samedi, août 16, 2008

switzerland road trip

This post is a long time coming but I get so lazy when it comes to trying to select the best pictures of the trip and then shrink them so they take less time loading etc... Yeah, I'm a bad blogger!

Mystery Guest and I left on our road trip and drove from V-town through Normandy, down to Chartres and finally ending up in Dijon where we spent the night in a BandB (yeah, I thought B&B but no, its like a Formule 1, only 4e extra and a lot nicer). The next day we got an early start and decided to avoid paying tolls for the highways so we cut across from Mulhouse through the bottom of Germany (autobahn! dude they just zip around those mountain curves!) and finally arrived in Switzerland. We went to go visit some wonderful family friends who live in a little village above Lake Constance. Their view is amazing!
Our hosts L&M :-)

The next day we drove down to Appenzell to check out a typical Swiss village and eat some cheese!! This is one of my all time favorite cheeses and although you can find it fairly easily in the deli in France it is a lot cheaper in Switzerland.

Our last full day in Switzerland we went down the valley where L&M keep their two horses, Mystery Guest even got to ride the dressage one! Then we continued our merry little way down the valley to Walenstadt to go to the lake but we didn't find a good place to take a dip so we backtracked a little to Bad Ragaz.
My parents lived in Switzerland for 4 years and I was born during their time there. Going back is always fun even if I left when I was 2 years old and don't have Swiss nationality or speak German (nor SwissGerman!)
The valley is just so stunning. Mystery Guest and I tried to decifer some Swiss Geocache hints to find a cache in the ruins of the Bad Ragaz castle. We didn't find the cache but the ruins were beautiful and the view over Bad Ragaz is awesome.
On the way back up the valley we stopped in Sargans where my parents used to live. We went up to the castle there to get a good view of the valley.
The way back was a little easier, we found a better route and came home in one (long) day. We also chose a good time to leave France since everyone said that the weather was just terrible. In Switzerland we had amazing weather, beautiful sunny skies and temperatures between 25 and 30C - just perfect in my book!

Yeah for road trips!!

jeudi, août 14, 2008

the dark knight

Last night I went to go see the Batman: The Dark Knight with Mystery Guest and his two brothers who are in town for summer vacation.

I really really liked it, the story was excellent and Heath Ledger was amazing as the Joker (which blew me away, I would have thought that I might be disappointed with his performance after hearing all the hype) but for some reason the dubbing really bothered me. I don't know why, I've gotten so used to seeing films and tv shows in French that after the first five minutes I don't even notice. Something was just off though, I had a really hard time getting into the story and that really bugged me. But at least I saw it on the big screen, now I can watch it at home in English and enjoy it all over again ;-)

mardi, août 05, 2008

dimanche, août 03, 2008

how come I haven't heard about this?

You would think with all the time I've spent surfing the internet while "working" on my memoire I would have heard about this book...

Anyway I looked around a few minutes this morning after seeing this video and found the reviews on Amazon.

For those in the States is this book untouched by the media as the French say?

"Un ouvrage très polémique, devenu un best seller aux Etats-Unis, malgré un black-out presque total des grands médias (le New York Times a d’ailleurs évoqué ce phénomène médiatique le 7 juillet dernier)."

I just can't get my head around this..

samedi, août 02, 2008

soap nuts

I've read about these soap nuts on various blogs and "green" websites for a few months now. Mystery Guest and I were curious to try them out so we said at the end of my liquid detergent bottle we'd go for it.

On Thursday his brother and sister-in-law came over for dinner and helped us move one of the last thing from the beaux-parents, the washing machine!

Yesterday I decided to give it a go so I did 2 loads of whites (I'd been holding out on the laundry for a while, although we live above a lavomatique it is 4.50e to do a load!) with the little soap nuts and I have to say I'm really happy with the results!

The nuts themselves don't smell all that great (to me anyway) but the laundry is totally odorless, and just smells clean, not fake chemical clean but just clean.

So far so good, plus I like the fact that you can reuse them several times and then compost them (if you have a compost). Plus they're hypoallergenic for you people with sensitive skin... ;-)

I'll keep you updated on our nutty situation around here!

vendredi, août 01, 2008

frappachino

I didn't sleep well last night so this afternoon to beat the heat and to try to get a little caffeine into my sleepy brain I made myself a little Karinachino :-)

I had frozen some leftover coffee in little ice cube trays a few days ago so I popped those badboys out, threw them in the blender with some extra coffee from this morning, a wee bit of cream (de normandie bien sur!) and some sugar and gave that thing a whirl!

It was frothy, cold, sweet and chock full of caffeine, just what I needed!

Now if I could only concentrate...