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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.

Voilá! 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 café. After work you can find most Parisians at their favorite local café sipping a café 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 café. 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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Hey there! Heads up..this is probably going to be a picture-heavy post. This city is just too dang beautiful which prompts me to snap pictures left and right. Daniel and myself have been walking, exploring, and touring SO MUCH. I still haven’t taken him to see the Eiffel Tower (hey..we’ve seen some other sights..okay?), but this week we climbed up the steep hills of Montmartre to see Sacré Coœr, we strolled around Jardin du Luxembourg, we browsed the shop windows in Le Marais, and bought fruit at the famous Marché Moufftard.

A few days ago Daniel suggested we walk to the Jardin du Luxembourg. We had walked past it a few times and even commented to each other how beautiful it looked, but never actually gone inside. In fact, even though I’ve been to Paris 10+ times, I myself, have never been to the famous Luxembourg Gardens. I must say the gardens did not disappoint. French parks and gardens tend to be very manicured compared to American parks. The gravel pathways are lined with grassy flowerbeds to both sides with statues of naked ladies scattered about. There’s normally a fountain or two thrown in. I loved how brightly colored all the flowers were (lots of reds and oranges) because I feel like American parks normally use pink..am I just imagining this?DSC_0823DSC_0807DSC_0783UntitledDSC_0834DSC_0840UntitledDSC_0837DSC_0864DSC_0785I secretly really REALLY want a selfie stick so Daniel and I can actually be in the same picture along with the background.

Like I mentioned above, D and I also went to one of my favorite Paris hoods-Montmartre. I’ve stayed there a couple times and loved walking around in the evening getting lost in the curvy cobblestone streets. Montmartre sits on the tallest hill in Paris and overlooks the city, so if you want the best views of the City of Light–go to Montmartre. It’s also home to the Moulin Rouge, Sacré Coœr, and bohemia. Artists in the 1870’s-1920’s flocked to Montmartre to paint the hills and gain inspiration from their surroundings. Dali, Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso all lived here at one point. It really is beautiful. That being said, August is high tourist time. In August most Parisians leave the city for the month and go to the Riviera to soak up the sun and get away from the tourists. I had never been to Montmartre in August..and I have to say..it sucked. Montmartre near Sacré Coœr is always touristy but this was just bad. So maybe go another time when you can stroll the magical streets without wandering into a million different family photos. DSC_0893DSC_0898Sacré Coœr, meaning Sacred Heart, is a basilica that was started in 1875 and completed in 1914. It sits on the highest summit in the city so not only do people go for the basilica, which is a wonderful piece of art, they also go for the panoramic views of the city. DSC_0896

Tomorrow we’re moving into our new apartment where we’ll be staying for a month. It’s located on a street (Rue Moufftard) that has one of the best Parisian markets in the whole city! Hemingway once wrote about it saying “the narrow crowded world of the Rue Mouffetard” in The Snows of Kilimanjaro and “that wonderful crowded market street which led into the Place Contrescarpe” in A Moveable Feast. That’s us! It’s not often one lives on a street Hemingway wrote about TWICE! He lived very nearby also which is trés cool. Today we went and check out the market which wasn’t as hopping as usual since it’s August, but we are still incredibly excited to be living there. IMG_2021FDSC_0933UntitledKDSC_0880DSC_0870KUntitledDSC_0899KNUntitledKF

Some sidenotes ***

UntitledHere I am standing in front of my favorite yarn store in Paris-Lil Weasel. It’s located in a beautiful arcade called Passage du Grand Cerf(Passage of the Big Deer). They have so so so many lovely yarns and the staff has always been very friendly. Also this past time I was there they had upped their stock of sock yarn. They had A TONNNNN. So..that’s very dangerous. They also have a fabric store by the same name across the arcade which carries Liberty fabrics. If you want to buy yarn in Paris go here.

KThe pain au chocolat in the above picture is my second favorite pain au chocolat in the whole entire city of Paris. THIS IS A BIG DEAL, PEOPLE. I have declared it my life mission to find the best in the city. These things are like crack for me. It is probably in my top 3 list of foods. So..I love them as you can see..so I wouldn’t steer you wrong. I mean, LOOK at those layers. So..I’m about to give you the most vague instructions on how to find this place because I don’t think it has a name. Get off at the metro stop Blanche. Walk up the hill. At the top there is a patisserie with a purple sign. THERE. Got it? 🙂

Things I’ve Come to Realize This Week:

  1. Dogs are like having a baby.
  2. Walks are good for the body and mind.
  3. Rosé is amazzzing.
  4. I miss knowing where things are located in the grocery store.
  5. It’s fun to be a tourist. Unless you’re obnoxious. That’s not fun or cool.

Thanks for stopping by!

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We made it! We are now Parisians.

IMG_0005IMG_0006IMG_0012I must confess, we haven’t done much since we’ve arrived, at least not by tourists’ standards. We haven’t gone to see the Eiffel Tower, the Mona Lisa or anything of those sorts, but we have taken several strolls everyday around our neighborhood. We are staying in the Quartier Latin right on the Seine, so the views are stunning. It’s been pretty chilly and cloudy since we’ve been here, but it doesn’t detract from the city one bit. IMG_0141DSC_0730D and myself are trying our best to take on as much of the Parisian lifestyle as possible. We’ve been walking slower, taking longer to eat and actually enjoy, buying our groceries the day of. We even stopped by a patisserie this morning, grabbed a still-warm baguette and snacked on it on the go. I must say I have been significantly less stressed. Parisians just tend to enjoy the little things in life more. DSC_0742We are staying at Daniel’s boss’s place at the moment and with the apartment comes a dog named Amelie! She’s pretty nuts, but we love taking her on walks. It’s amazing how dogs get you up and out of the house in the morning. Get prepared for lots of ‘walking Amelie’ pics. IMG_0050IMG_0082IMG_0103IMG_0075IMG_0140IMG_0138IMG_0136DSC_0736IMG_0022Hopefully in the next coming few days Daniel and I will get to play tourist. I’m hoping to go to Montmartre soon. My favorite patisserie in all of Paris is there and I love strolling the tiny, windy, cobblestone streets. We’re also in the process of planning our first voyage beyond Paris. We’re thinking riding bikes through the countryside of the Netherlands sounds pretty wonderful. 

I’m off to eat the smelliest, ooziest cheese I can find!

Au revoir! 

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