So..Daniel and I had to move back to the U.S. of A.

A bit of a bummer, but it was incredible to come back to family and friends we missed dearly. So it wasn’t all bad. I do miss those romantic cobbled streets from time to time though. And those pain au chocolats…oh gosh, I miss those. And baguettes. And the cheese. AND THE WINE!

You get the idea 😉

In a nutshell, we had visa problems and weren’t able to stay in Europe, hence our swift departure.  However, our time in Parisland was so so sweet and neither of us regret a single second of it. The best part of the whole experience was sharing it with someone I love. Now whenever I have to go back for work I can walk the streets and remember Daniel and I sharing a baguette walking home from his office.

We are back living in our Brooklyn. We’ve moved into our first OHficial apartment (both our names are on the lease!), bought furniture together, and Daniel ended up getting a promotion. Lots of adulting happening here, folks!

I’m eager to explore our new hood and share it with you. I’m also stoked to start cooking some of my native NC dishes, and post more of my knitting projects. Exciting things are a comin’!

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First picture in our new place.

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So yes, I know…we went to Amsterdam like two months ago and I’m just now posting about it, but honestly, life has been hectic as of late. I’ll get to that later. Now here’s our adventure in Amsterdam.DSC_0682.JPGDSC_0587.JPGDSC_0508.JPGDaniel and I stayed in an AirBnb in the neighborhood De Pjip (dutch for the pipe). De Pjip is traditionally a working class neighborhood recently turned trendy. It’s now home to many young folks and trendy restaurants. The area was incredibly cozy and charming and I can not recommend it enough. If you’re looking into a trip to Amsterdam I would stay in De Pjip! Our apartment was right on the Amstel River right next to the Amstel Brewery, which was pretty neat.IMG_1292.JPGIMG_1241.jpgDSC_0560.JPGThe food in Amsterdam is probably what shocked me the most. I wasn’t expecting much for some odd reason, but was pleasantly surprised at every restaurant we stopped in. Everything was quite affordable as well. We had Italian, Indian, “American”, and some traditional streetfood, and it was all delicious.DSC_0624.JPGDSC_0622.JPGDSC_0528.JPGOur trip to Amsterdam was unfortunately cut short because I had to work, but we managed to fit quite a bit into our weekend. We visited the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam’s famous art museum), the Van Gogh museum, Vondelpark (the city’s equivilant to Central Park), walked around several neighborhoods, and went to several coffeeshops. And of course we went to the red light district.DSC_0628.JPGDSC_0608.JPGDSC_0677.JPGDaniel and I had only seen a few pictures of the city and we expecting a few beautiful canals, but I don’t think we really understood how beautiful the city really is. Every neighborhood was charming in it’s own unique way and had different things to offer. Amsterdam is like Venice with it’s canals, but to me felt so much less pretentious. Venice can be a bit intimidating and Amsterdam was just so dang inviting and warm. The Dutch people are another wonderful asset to the city. When we spoke English we were greeted with smiles instead of eyerolls and scoffs (what we had been a bit accustomed to in Paris). It pretty much rained the whole time we were there and was pretty blustery and we still enjoyed every minute.

I could go on and on about how awesome Amsterdam is. Seriously. I won’t say anything else except if you ever get the opportunity to go, do it.IMG_1285.jpgIMG_1249.JPGDSC_0602.JPGDSC_0571.JPGDSC_0640.JPGDSC_0509.JPGDSC_0553.JPGDSC_0636.JPGIMG_1289.jpgWe tried to sample as much traditional food as possible! The above picture is raw herring with raw onion and pickles on a bun! We both tried it..it was better than I thought it would be. The picture of the fries was from Vleminckx. A little hole in the wall place that only serves fries. There’s nowhere to sit so people just perch on stoops and curbs. We got the traditional oorlog meaning “war” fries. It comes with peanut sate sauce, mayo, and raw onions. Definitely not first date food. These fries were the best fries I’ve ever had. The sauces were interesting, but the fries definitely stole the show. On our last day in the city we planned to get stroopwafels from a street market, but of course it was closed, so we just picked some up from the supermarket! They were amazing..so I can only imagine how the fresh ones would taste.IMG_1281.JPGDSC_0597.JPGI also visited two yarn shops whilst there! Duh. I went to Stephen & Penelope in Centraal and Knutselwinkel in Jordaan. Knutselwinkel was more of a crafty art supply store with lots of bits and bobs, but they had a large supply of Scheepjes yarn in just about every colorway imaginable.  I got three skeins of a light blue merino for a future hat. Stephen & Penelope was a yarn lovers paradise. They had a large stock of Madeline Tosh and Quince & Co. I had never seen Quince & Co in an actual shop before so I was very excited to feel all the yarn. I got three skeins of Quince and Co’s Tern in Driftwood, Syrah, and Stonington colorways. And two skeins each of Schoppel’s Relikt in brown and orange to make some fingerless gloves! Both were excellent little shops with friendly staff!IMG_1258.jpgIf I had had the space in my suitcase, I would’ve fed my addiction a little more. Good thing I brought small bags!

I would just like to note that Daniel was more than happy to walk 30 minutes of out of our way to go to these yarn stores and sat in the store while I browsed never once asking when I would be done. He was so patient and sweet it just made my heart burst in mushy love. He’s incredibly supportive and I just had to throw that out there.DSC_0679.JPGDSC_0568.JPGDSC_0637.JPG

Amsterdam, we miss you!

Since you normally would say Spring has sprung would it be appropriate to say Fall has fallen? Autumn is in full effect here in Paris land, but oddly it doesn’t quite feel like it. Hear me out. Americans go crazy over Fall. We have two major holidays in Autumn-Halloween and Thanksgiving, we start school in the Fall. At home in NC we have the Harvest Festival and the State Fair, and there are pumpkins and fall decorations everywhere. Here, no one here seems to give two toots that the season has changed. It’s rather confusing. I’m used to being bombarded with scarecrows and front porches covered in mums. And where are all the pumpkin flavored things? Also…the French don’t celebrate Halloween. It’s a bit of a bummer for myself because I loooooove Halloween. And this will be my fourth year not being able to do anything fun on Halloween-yay..

It’s just strange not feeling the change around you. I feel like at home people are excited for Autumn and a new start.

But just because Parisians aren’t enthused for Fall doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful here. The leaves, of course, must acknowledge my favorite season and are swiftly turning into yellows, oranges, and rusts. I think I take pictures of leaves on trees, on the ground, and blowing in the wind on the daily.

Daniel’s mom stopped by for a week long visit too! Unfortunately, I was incredibly sick with some weird French flu so I was quarantined to the apartment most of the time she was here. We all got to spend the last couple of days together though, which was nice. We took a hike up to Montmartre and viewed Sacre Couer.

IMG_1440IMG_1226DSC_0407DSC_0707DSC_0687IMG_1229IMG_1091IMG_1166DSC_0491DSC_0415DSC_0500IMG_1444IMG_1338IMG_1445DSC_0486IMG_1434IMG_1443IMG_1228DSC_0715IMG_1167The photo of the tomato egg dish is called Shakshuka. It’s a great-tasting dish that’s really easy to make. Our old roommates used to make it all the time. It’s super customizable and healthy. Look it up, I promise you’ll love it. Also, those brown things in the bowl? I made some sea salt, butter caramels! They were awesome, but a bit of a pain in the behind to make. My paltry attempt at candy-making.

I’ve also been doing lots of knitting recently! I was in a bit of a funk the last few weeks, but I’ve gotten my mojo back. Above are pictures of me working on my new project the Blom shawl by bmandarines. It’s a wonderful knit so far-very addicting. The yarn itself is driving me crazy (in a good way). I love the color, the weight, the feel of it. It’s called Fonty BB Merinos. It’s 100% superwash merino and made in Creuse, France. I will definitely be picking up more of this soon! All of the colorways were exceptionally beautiful. I also have a feeling I’ll be making more of these shawls.

And here are some pictures of Daniel, his mom Susan, and myself at Sacre Coeur. Daniel and I are always on our own so it’s special when we finally have a picture together that’s not a selfie.

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So far Fall has been good to us (minus being sick) here in Paris and it’s just getting started. Hope you’re all enjoying your Autumn and had a happy Halloween! We ate scones and watched Hocus Pocus.

Daniel and I went to Amsterdam last weekend so a post will be coming shortly! It was basically the most amazing city I’ve ever been to. Daniel and I agreed we should just live there. 😉

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Four days ago, Daniel and I moved into our new home for the next six months, therefore, we are now the proud renters of 76 sq meters of beautiful Parisian real estate. I’lll be completely honest, when Daniel and I first saw the apartment we thought it was too good to be true, but it just so turns out that we were in the right place at the right time. Every morning I wake up with a smile knowing that we get to live in a real home.

The incredibly chic lady who rents us the apartment is named Fabienne and we are repeatedly saying she is a “class act” and the “coolest”. HA! She even left us an amazing bottle of wine in the fridge. What a lady!

Here’s a few shots of our new domicile.

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We’re also enjoying our vibrant new neighborhood. Just down the street is a very cool covered market, on the weekends bands are playing Jazz and Blues, and with every twist and turn of the streets we are finding new and exciting places.

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Daniel’s mom is coming to visit us in a few days. Can’t wait to see you Susan!!

And to everyone else-come visit soon!

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Well folks, it’s finally everyone’s favorite season Autumn. So what did I do? I made butternut squash soup, duh! It’s incredibly easy and if you buy that boxed crap at the grocery store you are missing out!

Honestly, I was incredibly surprised when I walked through the covered market here in our new ‘hood (we moved yay!) and saw a huge pile of those funny looking squash! I thought they were an American thing..why, I don’t know? So I grabbed one and got the soup gears a’ turnin’. Soup is one of favorite things to make because it’s usually cheap, easy, and completely customizable.

I’ve been a recipe junkie as of late. I just can’t get enough great recipes because we now have an amazing kitchen complete with an oven! Our earlier apartment had a hot plate and a microwave..you get the picture. I missed cooking proper meals. So when I came across a tutorial for making your own ricotta cheese I knew that yesterday was the day. I was going to be a cheese maker! Victoria, the cheese maker. I like it…anywho.. Ricotta’s my favorite cheese and the recipe said it was “easy” and “foolproof”-great my kind of recipe..one you can’t screw up.

So here are my recipes for homemade ricotta and butternut squash soup!

By the way..if you like specific measurements for recipes..well..sorry. I just kinda made it and it was good. So I don’t have exact amounts, but feel free to customize yours! It’s just a guideline of sorts. Okay.. On y va! Let’s go.

DSC_0362Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1/2 of an onion diced
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube (you can use chicken stock if you wanna)
  • heavy cream
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • blender, food processor, or emulsifier

Preheat your oven to 400F. Our oven here is Celcius and I put it on 200, which is precisely 392F, but I think 400F will do just fine.

The hardest part of making butternut squash soup is cutting the butternut. They have really thick skins and require a bit of arm strength to cut through, but PUHLEASE be careful. Do not chop off your digits. You need those. Also you need a proper knife. One that has a somewhat thick blade that will not bend. This squash is a tough cookie!

To cut through my squash I cut off both the ends so that I have a flat surface to work with later. Then I cut it in half horizontally (that’s hamburger style for those of you who still don’t know, or short ways). So now you have two halves. Now lay them on their flat ends that you cut earlier. Now cut vertically (hotdog style or longways). So now you have four quarters-YOU DID IT. You have now cut a butternut.

Cover your quarters with olive oil and sprinkle some salt over those badboys! Now put them in the oven and roast until you poke the flesh with a fork and it’s nice and squishy. Make sure it’s cooked all the way through-not just on the edges.

When you’re thinking the squash almost done cook the onions in a bit of olive oil in the soup pot over medium heat. Make sure you don’t burn the onions. We’re creating art here, you can’t rush art. Cook until translucent. Now crumble the bouillon cube over the onions and cook for a few minutes until it’s smelly good. (If not using a bouillon cube just ignore that part).

You’re squash is done now? Great..take out of the oven and with a spoon scoop out the flesh into a bowl. If you put it straight in the pot it might get burnt. Toss out the seeds! Those are no good in the soup. Dump out the squash into the soup pot and add about a cup of water. If using chicken stock add it now. Stir it all around. Now add about 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Throw some salt and pepper in there and some dashes of paprika.

Now get out your blender appliance. If you want a thinner, more consistent consistency (see what I did there?) then throw all of the soup into your appliance and blend it until you like it. If it’s still a bit thick add water, or cream, or even left over chicken stock. But add it in small parts!!! You can always add to it, but you can’t take something out. If you like a thicker soup and want some bits of onion and squash in it, don’t blend all your soup.

Here’s the best tip of all-taste your soup often. If it needs a bit of this or a dash of that, add it. You’re a chef, remember?

Dish up your soup in some cute bowls and if you wanna be artsy fartsy dabble some heavy cream on top and dash some paprika! You just made butternut squash. Easy. DSC_0383IMG_1057

Still with me? I know, I’m the worst at recipes. But this is how I cook. Either I read lots of recipes for the same dish and add the parts I like, so that it’s one conglomerate recipe, or I just totally freestyle.

And here’s my favorite-DSC_0392Homemade Ricotta Cheese

If you cook often then there is a good chance that you’ll have these ingredients on hand already! Making ricotta is easy, cheap, and way more delicious than the store bought stuff! I got my tutorial here. I really like the lady in the video-she seems pretty sassy. You do need a candy (or deep fry) thermometer for this recipe. Cheese making is art AND science. You will also need cheese cloth or linen cloth. I read that someone didn’t have any so she just used a linen napkin. It took a lot longer, but it worked. They sell cheesecloth at the grocery store usually. Make sure to make this in a non reactive pot. No aluminum or copper (unless lined with tin)! It’ll make your cheese taste weird.

  • 1 gallon of whole milk-yes WHOLE milk
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1/2 cup of FRESH lemon juice
  • a colander
  • large bowl
  • cheesecloth
  • candy thermometer
  • ladle or large spoon

Here in Paris they don’t sell milk by the gallon. It’s sold by liters so I had to downsize and do some guestimating. This yields alotta cheese, so this is perfect if you’re having a party. Either serve it in a bowl fresh with some bread, crackers, or veg, or make some sort of h’or devour (pronounced “or derv”..ah now it makes sense :p).

To start off set up your cheese draining area. Put your colander over your large bowl. Layer your cheese cloth 3-4 times (I did three) over the colander. Done.

My cheese making station:DSC_0332In a pot heat the milk and heavy cream SLOWLY (I added the salt at this point even though it said to wait…I like to live dangerously) until it reaches 185F or 84C on your thermometer. It’s better to heat it on low and it take forever than to scorch your dairy. It’s very easy to do and is no fun-trust me. Stir it occasionally to prevent scorching.

Your dairy is getting frothy and smells like buttered popcorn (I think so anyways)? Good! You’re getting close. Keep checking that thermometer. Meanwhile juice your fresh lemons. I can not stress enough-do NOT use bottled lemon juice. It will not work.DSC_0333DSC_0337Once the dairy reaches the correct temperature take it off the heat (take it completely off the burner) and slowly add the lemon juice. With a wooden spoon or silicone spatula gently stir the pot to encourage curd development. Do this for a few minutes. Now you’re ready to drain your cheese!DSC_0339Slowly and gently ladle your cheese curds and whey (the clearish liquid left in the bottom of the pot) into the colander covered with cheese cloth. Do not dump it into the colander! It’ll squish the curds. Do this until all is in the cheesecloth. Depending on how firm you want the ricotta will correlate to draining time. I wanted mine a bit firm so I let mine drain for about an hour, but I think next time I’ll do less just to mix it up. Whatever you want. It’ll keep in the fridge for a couple days in a tupperware. If it gets a bit dry just add a tiny bit of milk.DSC_0343DSC_0347DSC_0349DSC_0357If you want you can also tie up the cheese cloth and hang it to drain from the kitchen faucet. It’s very rustic looking if you want to believe for a minute you live on a beautiful farm in the French countryside.

VoilĂĄ! You have now made your very own cheese.

Ricotta ideas-

Drizzle honey over the top and serve with fresh fruit and chopped almonds for a nice breakfast.

Serve over toasted bread with tomatoes and basil (what I did-tasted like a margherita pizza).

Mix into your next pasta for a creamy texture.DSC_0402DSC_0400DSC_0398

It was a wonderful and colorful dinner! Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you survived that post. Have a glass of wine!DSC_0377

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Last night I was scrolling through one of my favorite blogs called Today’s Letters and was moved by her posts she does every couple weeks called Gratitude Lately. Basically she lists a few smaller things in life she is grateful for. So I decided to do my own little Gratitude Lately called Simple Pleasures. For myself, taking notice and being thankful for smaller things in my day-to-day makes for a happier overall life. And because what is life without simple pleasures?

Thankful for..

IMG_0588…………………………………..beautiful flowers to bring the outside in

DSC_0219………………………..market baskets full of fresh fruit and veg

IMG_0922……………..Early morning walks and sits by the Seine with my boy, this crazy pup, and pastries

DSC_0215……………………………………rainy days to appreciate the sunny ones

image3 (1)…………………street mucisians who play Gypsy Jazz on market days

IMG_0798………………This city which continues to amaze me with its beauty and charm

IMG_0849………………………………………………..carbs covered in carbs

IMG_0960…………..and this guy for being my market buddy, and my adventure partner.

What are you thankful for this week?

Since last post Daniel and myself have moved into our new apartment, where daily life has settled into a steady rhythm. Daniel started his new job and I’ve started castings and photoshoots, so there’s less adventure walks and tourist destinations, but more daily strolls up and down our bustling street, trips to the market, and lots of pastries.

One thing I love about living here, especially on our street, is the market. Everyday I venture to the fruit stand that sells relatively (all European) local produce and grab my daily fill of veggies and fruits. There really is something about going to the market, and walking languidly through all the produce and taking time to sniff the bottoms of peaches for ripeness, tear off a piece of lettuce for tasting, and sometimes if you’re lucky the seller will give you a cherry or two to try.

Everyone here also is very conscious of waste-they bring their own bags and(or my favorite) baskets, to the market for toting their booty home. It’s very reminiscent of times long past. There’s no flourescent light bulbs, no “booping” sound of the register as it scans the barcode (i’m looking at you walmart), and no freezers. Just wooden stands of nature’s good stuff, and cobblestone streets. On Sunday there’s even traditional dancing in the square.

The market doesn’t just have produce either. There’s the Fromagerie (cheese shop), Poissonnerie (fish monger), and the Boucherie (butcher shop). It’s a very lively scene that unfortunately just can’t be captured by a camera. If you ever find that you are in Paris, do yourself a favor and go to a market. You won’t be sorry.

One other favorite past time of mine (and Daniels!) is the daily visit to the cafĂ©. After work you can find most Parisians at their favorite local cafĂ© sipping a cafĂ© au lait or a cocktail. You’ll also notice that chairs are normally facing outwards toward the street for optimal people watching. Sitting atop the great hill we live at the bottom of, there is a charming square. In the center lies a bubbling fountain with each side of the square facing inwards. Each of those sides houses a different cafĂ©. That is where you’ll find us for our digestif (alcoholic drink that is consumed before or after a meal to leave just the right end note). Yesterday we even left our phones at the apartment and believe it or not, were forced to talk to each other ;).

Am I being romantic enough about this place? Ha..I know..I got it bad for Paris. ❀

In about a month we will be leaving this apartment and heading towards our more permanent place. We are sad we’re leaving Rue Mouffetard, but our new place is AMAZING. Before we saw it yesterday I was anxious it was going to be a “too good to be true” situation. We’d only seen it online, we got it for a REALLY great price, it’s located in the most sought after neighborhood in all of Paris…so yeah..it sounded too good to be true. But we walked in and there it was-the nicest apartment we will probably ever live in. We are incredibly lucky and I’m already anticipating our move in! I don’t have any pictures at the moment, but in a month be prepared for an onslaught.

So life these days has been castings, sitting by the open window reading, tea with honey, sweets and more sweets, people watching, jumbled French, soup making…ya know, the good life. I’m feeling very humbled today by this lovely adventure I’ve been dropped in.

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This Weeks Updates:

Received this whimsical shot from Marta Bevacqua..I love it because I’m all tangled up in yarn, which isn’t so different from reality.

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Books Finished this Week:

Cattle Haul by Jesmyn Ward

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Station Eleven by Emily St, John Mandel

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Currently Reading:

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Knitting Projects:

So I’ve recently started my Christmas gift knitting, which I’m very excited/freaking out about. 🙂 I’ve also got the Time Traveler striped socks going, the pink, brown, and cream shawl, and a boatload of other works in progress going. U.G.H. I’ve been binge watching The Great British Bakeoff while I knit, so i’m also drawing in some baking inspiration. Can’t wait for a real kitchen!!

And finally..Daniel started his first day of work! Well…officially it was last week but still..proud girlfriend moment.IMG_0306

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I hope everyone has a great week! I’m off to the market..

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