Houston Day 1

Travel, Uncategorized, United States

Friday, May 5

Mom and I arrived in Houston without any issues around 8pm on a direct flight from Calgary. This month is crazy busy with flights, so it is best if they are all issue-free as possible from the beginning.

Mom had a shuttle booked to drive us from the airport all the way downtown to our hotel, which was a good thing as it is really far. What was impressive was that downtown was a ghost town when we arrived. We could not believe how quiet the centre of the city was at 9 at night on a Friday, in what we Calgarians would consider to be really warm weather! There was an important basketball game happening, so our driver said that is why it was so quiet…but if there was a Hockey game in Calgary I know it wouldn’t have been as quiet as it was here!

The bonus was that we had no issues checking in at our Hampton Inn and walking down past the Discovery Park area to find a restaurant called Grotto. They had heated outdoor dining, which is pretty much mandatory for us on holidays (the being outside, not the heated part!). Apart from having amazing food choices, they had the most amazing Belinis I have ever had. They were amazing.

Definitely a great way to end the evening and the work week!

 -AJ

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Foodie Friday – Pumpkin Blossoms

Uncategorized

My pumpkin patch is coming along quite nicely this year. I think I will actually be able to grow a few good ones (assuming, of course that it doesn’t snow in September again!). I have so many blossoms that I needed to start taking them off of the plant so that the energy can be put into making nice big pumpkins instead of a bunch of small ones.

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I know that pumpkin blossoms are kind of a delicacy so I decided that I needed to do something with my blossoms instead of simply throwing them away.

I had a dinner thing to go to and I needed to bring a few appetizers. I made stuffed pumpkin blossoms.

 

 

1 can of tuna

2 Tbsp of plain yogurt

1 hard boiled egg (chopped up)

Chives (as many as you want)

Dill

Pepper

Mix all of the above ingredients together and GENTLY scoop into well-washed blossoms. Top with a slice of cherry tomato.

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They were definitely a hit!

Foodie Friday – Happy Fruit

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Sometimes I get food bored. I like to bake, but I am not as an adventurous cook as Shawn is. So, when I get really bored I make simple things. I looked in my fridge the other day and saw that we had a great variety of fruit. So I made an individual fruit salad with raspberries, apricots, and nectarines. And for some reason we had a bit of whipping cream left over. So I whipped that up and put a small dollop on top of my fruit. Super simple, but it was a great breakfast.

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Foodie Friday – Rhubarb Wine

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First Batch of Rhubarb Wine

First Batch of Rhubarb Wine

We grow a lot of rhubarb in our back yard. It is such an easy thing to grow and we were especially lucky that the previous owners of our house had already grown a sizable rhubarb patch. However, I have not been able to use all of the rhubarb that we grow to make crisps and pies and jams over the last few years, so I have been trying to figure out what to do with it all.

This year, I found a recipe to make rhubarb wine. Nothing like adding a bunch of sugar to rhubarb to make it a drinkable concoction! The first batch was a bit bitter when it was first bottled. But now that it has been sitting in bottles for about 6 months, it is actually quite decent. Makes me happy to be able to grow things and make food from the garden!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

France, Travel, Uncategorized
It was our last morning in Angé.  It was the most beautiful day of the week!  Go figure. 

It took us a while to pack.  We bought a lot of stuff.  And we still have quite a bit of food.  Trying to pack all that stuff in our little backpacks is always a challenge at the end of a trip.

We went for a beautiful walk up through the vinyards and found a back route to the bakery.  It is too bad that we found it today!  It was really nice.  And we found this field of old cars – and there were goats everywhere.  The little kid raced up to the fence once I started making goat noises.  It was soooo cute.

 Our walk was longer than what we thought it would be and I got a little stressed about getting back to the house in time.  The home owners were nice enough to drive us to the train station, so that was awesome.  It was great to not have to walk back with our huge bags again.

We made it through Paris and back to Meaux by around 4pm.  Once we arrived at Sophie’s place we went into full cooking and preparation mode.  We made a full Thanksgiving dinner for Sophie and Dani!  Sophie, Laure, Shawn, and I went off into town to find the things we needed for dinner.  We bought pumpkin (like actual real pumpkin), and potatoes, and boursin. 

Back at the house we had Dani make the pastry for the pumpkin pie.  Sophie worked on dealing with beans and chopping pumpkin into chunks.  We put chicken in the oven with this amazing rub that Shawn made and I was working on potatoes and pie!  We managed to make everything we needed – including gravy!  It was a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner. 

Finishing packing was a whole different story.  It was quite a challenge to make sure our one checked bag and our two carry-ons were the right weight.  This always happens when I am in France.  All that extra cheese and wine to come home definitely adds to the baggage weight.

It was sad to say goodnight to Sophie, Dani, and Laure!  This will be the last time I will see them for a while.  Hopefully they will come to visit soon!

It was a great trip to France.

Until next time!

Good night!

-Allison

Friday, October 10, 2014

France, Travel, Uncategorized
This morning we were up and mobilized at a much more reasonable hour.  Not compared to when I am actually working and being productive at home – but better compared to the last week here!!

We hopped on our bikes and rode down into Montrichard so that we could take the train into Tours.  There weren’t many options for train times, so I am glad that we got up at at it!!  My bike started to fall apart en route!  The handle bars were not bolted in any longer, so I pretty much had to cycle without any pressure on the handles.  Seriously!!

The train ride was lovely and it was not bad weather.  Tours is much bigger than I thought it would be!  It is a funky little city!  There are lots of schools and even an above-ground tram thing.  We didn’t really have any mission while we were there.  We were following the maps for the city and trying to find everything that we needed to see.  Finding the Cathedral was funny…we kept turning on streets in and out and all of a sudden there it was.  It was huge and just right there.  It was a great Cathedral to go through because there were detailed explanations of the images in the stain glass windows.  I learned a lot.
 
We went through a park right near the Cathedral were there was a tree that was planted over 100 years ago.  It was fantastic.  After that, we walked down a pedestrian street looking for a place to eat outside.  I guess it isn’t really France prime-time eating outside weather.  I thought it was though.

After lunch we found the touristy street and poked around some shops.  I found a great hat and scarf for Shawn!  He resisted, but once he realized how cute he was there was no stopping him.  We also went into the science and discovery store and spent an awesome amount of time in the great massage chairs.

Eventually we made it back to the train station and took the train home.  The “best” part was once we got off the train and got back to our bikes.  My handlebars were obviously still broken and Shawn’s tires were almost completely flat.  It was pretty amusing.  Thankfully it was the last day for riding the bikes!

Dinner was a mix of extra food.  We had a lot of food.  Yep.  I should be good on the food department for a while!

Last night in Angé!  Soon to say goodbye to our “castle”.

Night!

 

-Allison

Thursday, October 9, 2014

France, Travel, Uncategorized
We ended up not going into Tours today.  We kind of had another chill day around the local area.  When we finally made it out of our little house, we walked down to the bakery.  I totally complemented the owner on the quality of her “religeuses” as they are definitely the best I have ever had.  This made her much less grumpy than she was earlier in the week when Shawn paid for a 3E purchase with his VISA!  Oops.

We walked down to a corner park and sat at the picnic table there to eat our treats.  In the park there was a walnut tree.  There was the perfect little old French man using a reaching tool to pick up the walnuts and put them in his bag.  When he noticed us, he came over to chat.  I asked him about the nuts and him and I had a great discussion about the wording for walnuts and nuts in French.  I was confused because the translation for walnuts and nuts is the same word – les noix.  Once I got that straightened out, all was well.

 We took directions from him to walk into town a different way.  We crossed the river and walked along a road that lead us into Montrichard.  This was great because we got to check out a couple of other little towns on that side of the river for a change.  There were some mushroom caves and vineyards and some other scenic spots en route.  It was a nice, relaxing stroll into town.

Shawn was hungry (again) once we got there, so we went into one of the only affordable restaurants that was open for lunch.  We ordered a pizza to share and a couple of glasses of wine.  The pizza was good – but I am pretty sure there was tripe sausage or something of that description on it – and that was not ideal.

We walked around Montrichard a bit.  We tried to make our way up to the top of the castle, but decided that it was pretty much not possible due to the residential houses built into the side of the structure.  I stopped into a few shops too and tried on a few things.  Not much success, however, I did manage to find a perfect pair of shoes!  They are those lace up ankle ones – and they were even on sale.  I was happy.

We walked back to Angé our normal route, which is lovely and still my favourite.

Nothing too exciting this evening, but it was a lovely day.

Good night.

-AJ