Our quick jaunt across Europe {Paris}

Feb 25, 2015

This past summer Josh and I joined his family for a ten day adventure across Europe.
We met up with the Kerrigans in Atlanta and made that giant leap across the pond.
We started and ended our trip in the lovely city of Paris.
Honestly, I had low expectations for Paris.
I had heard the city was terribly dirty and that the peddlers and pick-pocketers were out of control.
(Looking at you sweet little old lady who acted like we dropped our ring two billion times)
All those pre-conceived notions were blown out of the water as soon as I experienced my first Parisian croissant.
I mean the Eiffel Tower was cool and all, but I never knew one thing could be so fluffy and buttery and purely magical.
I believe I had at least one for every single meal for our entire time in France.
Within our first twelve hours there, I hit all essentials of Paris cuisine: a croissant (or five), a macaron, and a baguette. 
Naturally, the highlights of the city were the food, but the sights weren't too bad either.
Here are some of my favorite of our photos from Paris . . . 
I was pretty darn impressed by this cab with a see through roof.
We just so happened to hop in it when we arrived at the train station, and it allowed us to catch our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.
Against the advice of nearly every Paris travel guide, we ate at a cafe near the Eiffel Tower.
We then learned the hard way that soda refills aren't free and that the baskets full of the previously mentioned fluffy, magical croissants aren't free either.
Who cares if they weren't free-all-you-can-eat croissants?
I'd pay $10 each for one of these cuties.
I don't think anyone would be surprised to know that my first French meal was a cheese sandwich. 
. . . and by a cheese sandwich I mean, a fresh baguette with the most incredible mozzarella.
That sounds less kindergartener-y and much more mature, right?
We couldn't have asked for better weather for our first day in Europe.
The views were phenomenal and the city wasn't even that stinky.
How cute is this little family of bladers?
I wasn't quite sure of the purpose of the little red nose on that fella.
In order to prevent some quickly approaching jet-lag, we took a quick break for a mid-afternoon snack and had our first european adult beverages.
Meanwhile, some of our gang lost the battle against the jet-lag beast. 
Sometimes I have dreams about the simple Parisian breakfast of croissants, butter, jam and espresso.
Funny story.
When we arrived back to America, in an attempt to satisfy my cravings for a French croissant, Josh went to the grocery store and returned with a tube of crescent rolls.
He legitimately thought crescent rolls were croissants.
Sweet, sweet simple Josh. 
Even though we didn't quite have time to tour the Louvre, we did have time to take cheesy asian-y tourist photos.
Oh, remember Josh's "Cats of the World" thing?
Well, he was pretty successful with finding a cat in every other country but France.
Soooooo we had to settle for a pet shop cat.
He did find an entire collection of books about his new favorite french word: chats
I personally loved the little treasure troves of vintage books lining the Seine.
I couldn't leave France without experiencing my favorite soup, which just so happens to be French.
One thing I didn't account for was the whole "leisurely lunch" thing.
French wait staff seem to have literally zero desire to get you in and out.
It often felt like an act of congress to get a check, which was ultimately fine because that just meant more wine.
After our honeymoon, Josh and I started a tradition of bringing home an ornament for our Christmas tree from each place we visit together.
Of our European ornaments, I think this one was my favorite.
The ideal mid-afternoon snack: 
A pistachio macaron and a larger than life meringue
On our final day in Paris, it had just begun to rain.
We endured the torrential downpour to see Notre Dame.
. . . mainly so Josh could take this photo.
Shortly before we arrived in Europe, a portion of the love lock bridge had just fallen.
I blame Kim Kardashian.
Our hotel was near the Arc de Triomphe, so on the way to dinner we stopped to get a quick history lesson from Mr. Nicky.
I kind of loved Paris in the rain.
On our final night, before we headed back to America and the Kerrigans jetted off to London, we had one final dinner together in the city of love.
I LOVE the Kerrigans and I couldn't be more thankful to be a part of such a wonderful family.
Traveling the world with this guy is probably my most favorite activity of all.
Paris most definitely exceeded my somewhat low expectations, but what I was truly most excited about  was visiting the southern coast of France. 
Much more about our time in France, Germany and Switzerland is coming soooooon!

Home cookin'

Feb 24, 2015

"If we are fortunate enough, some of us grow up in a home where we learn that real, fresh food, cooked by you or me or him or her is best."
This was a quote from the cookbook of one of my favorite food bloggers, Jessica Merchant.
I've learned that you don't fully appreciate home cooked meals until you are the one cooking the food, in your own home.
I was raised by a mom who cooked real meals most nights of the week (and a father who loved to cook breakfast anddd breakfast for dinner, often).
Mom was also raised by a mom who cooked nearly every meal, from scratch.
My mom, aunts, and grandmother have an uncanny skill to make everything taste great.
Our holidays and family get togethers are basically a never ending feast of greatness.
Because of the incredible examples these women have provided, I've always wanted to be a great wife who cooks fresh, new, great meals often.
Josh cooked a lot in college.
He somewhat slacked off over the last few years saying he would start cooking once we had a "real" kitchen. 
Although, he didn't let our lack of a real kitchen stop him from making a meaaaan steak (and also getting a second degree corneal grease burn in his eyeball)
Josh is a dabbler.
He comes across a new activity or feat and goes all out to learn every single thing he can about it.
He even learned Mandarin once. 
Just for fun.
He has to have ALL the gadgets (which is why we have TWO entire closets of our house dedicated to Josh's hobbies and his latest dabble of the day).
I think it's sweet.
My current favorite dabble of his is his beer brewing obsession.
He's five years strong, so maybe it's more of a long leisurely dip in the pool than a simple dabble?
The last few months (thanks to our brand spankin' new kitchen) he has been hardcore dabbling in the art of fine food.
He's not making easy mac.
He's slaving over recipes that take hours of prep work and recipes that call for many hard to find (not cheap) ingredients.
We have polar opposite cooking styles.
I like great food that doesn't involve much prep work and includes few, cheap ingredients.
I can't complain one bit because he has yet to make something that I didn't like.
Seeing his enthusiasm and his love for the art of food makes me happy, but most of all I absolutely love how proud he is of his work.
After a meal he will ask at least 10 times, "Sooooo on a scale of 1 to 10 . . . "
I get it.
It truly makes you feel good to bake something "from scratch".
His long winded, complicated recipe ways are rubbing off on me.
Although, baking my first buttermilk pie from scratch recently didn't quite rub me the right way.
It was primarily my waistline that was hurting after realizing the insane amount of butter, eggs, and sugar involved.
Ignorance was bliss.
I know it can easy to get in a lull and feel like you are running out of things to cook.
I love sharing new recipes and finding other's recipes online, so if you are in need of some new easy meals then check out these links to some of our favorite meals and snacks:

Remember my food blogger girl crush Jessica Merchant?
I've made a bazillion of her recipes but I'm 99% certain this one takes the cake
I tinkered with this recipe for the sake of my carnivore husband and my cheese loving self.
I cut the spinach in half, added two shredded chicken breasts, and added extra goat cheese.
I'm really not kidding.
It's my mom's recipe and we've gifted it out for Christmas for the last million years.
The only descriptive term I have for this is crack-like.
Don't let the name or the intimidating recipe fool you.
This pizza involves roasted butternut squash, apple cider sautéed onions, bleu cheese, bacon, apples, cheddar cheese, thyme, and pumpkin seeds.
In the infamous words of my mother (who gave me this recipe): 
You will eat it and you will like it.
It's no secret that our favorite local brunch is Smoke.
The chef Tim Byers isn't stingy with his recipes either.
His cookbook includes a recipe for every single thing in the restaurant.
I thinkkkkkk these pancakes are my favorite of all time.
Now, this recipe falls in the Josh category of slightly complicated and time consuming but well worth the time and effort (if you have it in you)
It's paleo/gluten free/sugar free/Whole30 blah blah blah 
Basically, there's hardly any ingredients.
Pork, lemon & lime juice, chopped onion, some spices AND a crockpot!
How healthy of me.
I make this far too often.
It's so great because you can use it on tacos, nachos, or even on a slider with sweet potato "buns"
I now refuse to ever eat salmon any other way.
P.S. I don't have a photo because frankly, it looks kind of gross and I literally inhaled it before I could take decent photos.

Two of my absolute favorite things Josh has made lately are his shrimp & grits and chicken & waffles.
He's not quite ready to share his recipes soooooooooo until I can blackmail him, I guess you'll just have to stare at these pictures instead.
Clean the drool from your keyboard and try not to yell at me.
Just so we don't end on bad terms . . . 
Did you know you can shred chicken in less than five seconds using your kitchen aid mixer?
Until a few weeks ago I didn't know this fun fact, and I'm kind of angry thinking back on all the hours I have wasted of my life.
Do you have any kitchen tricks or favorite recipes to share? 
I'd absolutely love to know!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...