Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Birthday and Paris


Well, we had four shows in La Rochelle that went pretty well. I really liked this town and would love to go back someday. It had a nice coastal town vibe. On Saturday May 7th, it was my 28th birthday! We had to be on our bus at 7:45 for a six hour bus ride to Paris. We are staying at a Citadine hotel near the Bastille. We've stayed at this chain before and they are great because they are mini apartments with kitchens. The only bad thing is this one has no wi-fi in the rooms. If you have a laptop you can plug it in but I have my iPad which means I can only be online in the lobby. This will be a long week!

Yesterday we hit up the grocery store for breakfast items and snacks for the week. Then I walked around the hotel area with my coworker Graci. We saw slot of the area but got lost and had to pull out our map to find our way back. Then we met some of the other dancers for dinner. We went to find a place recommended by the front desk but it was a little pricy so we opted for a Japanese restaurant. I don't really like sushi or sake so at least they had a menu with goyzas, and brochettes (it was meat on a stick). It was okay but not fantastic. When I get home in a month I will make a birthday cake and do a post about it




This was my grocery findings in Paris! Wine, almonds, muesli, microwaveable risotto, and cognac that Graci gave me as a b-day present!






Breakfast this morning was some great multigrain bread toasted with chestnut cream. Plus, coffee of course!




The Citadines have sofa beds that pull out to sleep in. They are surprisingly pretty comfortable!






The desk and table in the room!



The little kitchen! Dishwasher, microwave, wine glasses!




The view outside my room!




This is the playground I can see out my window. I woke up this morning, made my coffee and had a wonderful observation. I love to people watch but this morning made my day. I observed families in the park/playground with their children enjoying the morning and most of all each others company. The best thing was the joy in the parents faces as they watched their little ones climb, or the laughter and smiles on their faces while taking pictures. Today is May 8th, Mother's Day. I'm very fortunate to have wonderful parents. So I wanted to say HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to my MOM! Thank you for sharing your joy of mothering with me over these 28 years! What I saw today in that park was exactly the way parents should be with their children: happy, joyous, supportive and loving.


Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there!


Today was our only day off in Paris. Hopefully tomorrow I can do a post on what we did! Au revoir!

Location:Paris, France

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Start of European Tour 2011


Here we are in France! It was a very long flight. However, it's pretty cool to leave from Salt Lake City and 10 hours later land in Paris!! Upon arriving to Paris we navigated through the airport just arriving at our gate to hop on a short Air France hour flight to Nantes. Then a 2 hour chartered bus ride to La Rochelle. This is beautiful town that sits on the water. Last night we had a delicious but expensive meal out. I tried some very fresh white fish, a goat cheese and honey salad, and caramel mousse for dessert. This morning some of us went for a jog along the water and it was perfect. I love going to grocery stores especially in Europe! I got some of my favorites today like laughing cow bites and chestnut spread. Chevre (goat cheese) potato chips anyone?







The grocery store is the Monoprix and is kind of like a grocery store/department store. Groceries on one floor and clothes/housewares on another. I found prepared quinoa with raisins, hazelnuts, and almonds. Yum! Some applesauce, with strawberries and carrots in squeeze bottles. My chips and cheese and then small snack crackers with Chevre and pepper. I had to get strawberries because last time in France I tasted the best strawberries of my life in Provence.





The hotel is very nice and clean. It is right across form the theatre and steps to the water.



I love in Europe hotels how they have electric kettles in most rooms. It's great for tea, instant coffee, soup right in your room. Save you money and time. Well, that's all for now. More to come later! This was our day off. We have 2 shows a day for tomorrow and Friday!

Location:La Rochelle, France

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Royal Scones, Early Birthday and FRANCE!

Did you watch the Royal Wedding? I didn't but since I had the week off I was able to watch all the recaps on The Today Show and The View. I thought Princess Katherine's dress was beautiful. It was graceful and glamorous looking, very Grace Kelly. Since we didn't wake up at 4am to watch the live coverage I thought I would make some scones in honor of the event. I've always loved scones (the English kind not the Utah fried kind). My Dad often made them on Christmas morning for our family. This recipe form Taste of Home is easy to put together on a weekend morning with pantry items you probably have in supply. So, put on a fake tiara, eat a scone, and pretend you are a Princess for a day!



BLUEBERRY PECAN SCONES

*adapted from Taste of Home 


Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, split and scrape (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk, vanilla and vanilla bean; add to crumb mixture. Stir in the blueberries, pecans and lemon peel just until moistened.
  • Turn onto a floured surface, knead 6-8 times. Pat into an 8-in. circle; cut into eight wedges. Separate wedges and place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet.
  • Brush with egg white and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 375° for 18-22 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm. Yield: 8 scones.












My 28th birthday is coming up on May 7th and the dance company will be in PARIS on that day! Last year I was in New York City performing and this year it's Paris. Very exciting! Since I will be gone I've already had a couple of early b-day celebrations. My parents were here for my show and gave me some great travel/dance clothes! Then my husband was very sneaky and went shopping the other day......
He had my former manager at Sur La Table help him!

He knew I would recognize SLT's gift wrap as soon as I saw it!

He also bought a beautiful wood tray but I forgot to take a picture. 

Isn't this a beautiful color! My first ever Le Creuset!


I am off to France tomorrow for a seven week performing tour! It will be a very busy trip with somewhere like 45 performances. We will be going around the whole country hitting up about 8 cities. I will try to blog a bit if I have time. However, we never know if we will have wi-fi access. I am planning on taking lots of pictures and will definitely share them with you when I return. 


Here is our Tour banner:














Like I said in an earlier post, when I leave on tour I usually cook up a storm before I leave. One, I like to use up ingredients I know my husband won't use up before they go bad, and secondly I like to leave some dishes for my husband to eat while I'm gone. He does cook when I'm gone but I like to do this as my gift to him. Plus, one of the things I don't like about touring is that I can't cook! Except, in Paris we will be at a Citadine hotel and they do have kitchens! I have to get all my good cooking in while I can! The other night I made this healthy spin on a classic already healthy French dish Ratatouille. I found the recipe in Shape magazine and it was quite delicious. Plus, I loved using my new Le Creuset. I think it made the food taste even better!



Ratatouille with Tempeh
*adapted from Shape magazineServes 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (I used dried thyme leaves)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes (about 2 medium) or one 15-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (I actually only had fig vinegar to use but it tasted fine!)
1 12-ounce package tempeh, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup basil leaves, shredded (optional)
1/2 cup feta cheese

Directions:
In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add onion and bell pepper and saute for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add remaining oil, eggplant, and zucchini. Season with salt, cayenne pepper, thyme, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes more.
Add tomatoes with their juices, honey, vinegar, and tempeh. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Divide among four shallow bowls and top with fresh basil and feta.




I'm really bad at packing for my trips. You would think that by the fifth year in the company I would be more efficient. I had a whole week off to pack and instead I waited until the night before, again!! Oh, well I've had my friend Siena helping me or stopping me from getting inside my suitcase anyways. Somebody doesn't want me to go.....




AU REVIOR!!!!

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