Saturday, August 30, 2014

Too Good Not to Share

I am sharing this with my boys. It's the best advice in the most condensed and to-the-point form I have seen in a long time.  I am reading Shift Happens by Robert Holden PhD and it contains many of the same points as this little jewel.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Les verrines d'Élisabeth

My neighbor upstairs, Élisabeth, is recently widowed.  Hers was a good marriage, a loving relationship.  She is fragile but steady, keeping herself busy and taking part in life in every way possible. She shared this recipe with me when we all exclaimed how delicious and refreshing it was.

I served this as an entrée this week (followed by ratatouille on the best polenta I've ever had/made but that is a subject for another post).

Anyhow, here's the wondrous thing.
Photo via
Photo via
Photo by me

For 4 people or six if you're just giving a taste of it.

1 - 1 1/2 cup fromage blanc 3% OR Plain greek yogurt
2 slices smoked salmon or smoked trout cut into small squares
1 english cucumber, hulled, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1-2 T chopped dill
zest of one lime
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl combine fromage blanc, sliced cucumber, zest, salt, pepper and diced smoked salmon.  Put this combination in a glass.  Top with a curl of salmon topped with a black olive and a sprig of dill.  You could also top with diced red onion or capers.  Add a half slice of lime on the rim of the glass.

Delicious, it brings to mind Tzatziki, refreshing (cucumber and dill how could it not be!) and tasty.  Love the smoked salmon with fromage frais or greek yogurt or crème fraiche, just love the saltiness of it juxtaposed with the tang of the white stuff.

I am sure that there are countless variations possible.  Try it won't you?

La table de Stella

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cocktails by the Pool

Sounds absolutely mahvelous dahling. So we apartment owners closed the pool to renters at 6pm and had ourselves a right regular cocktail pahty!


Gateau des vendanges, normally made when grapes are harvested

Photo via my friend Jackie
photo via Jackie

Photo via Jackie. V. horsin' around
 The first photos are mine and are of the 'before the guests arrived' variety.  There was lots more food and drink and everyone was very happy to take advantage of our magical setting.  One of the Moulin's residents' sister O.,  made the floating bouquets out of a discarded wood dish stand and greenery found on our property.

Gotta do this again...


Monday, August 18, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Morning Walk

This morning I was up at 4 am.  This is probably because I was in bed at 8 pm.  Just can't seem to get into the right time zone.

After some weeding, I went for a walk in our garden with my new camera. Wrapped the strap around my right wrist, held my elbows against my body and clicked fully without moving as per instructions from my dear friend.

Have a good one!


Saturday, August 16, 2014


This is what we did today.  The weather is lovely, a mere 27 degrees Celsius instead of the "normal" 35.

Find: V.'s foot
River that flows beside the pool

My hangout 'neath the Mulberry tree


Monday, August 11, 2014

Virtue or Virago?

I am in France, sitting in my bed.  I have pulled a muscle in my side pulling weeds, cutting the brambles and trimming the bay tree that grow around the stream that flows outside the French doors, by the balcony.  So I'm sitting up in bed (more painful than lying down by the way) watching one of my favorite French actors in an interview given at the Élysée palace in February.

 Je suis extrêmement exigeant et je trouve que l'exigence c'est une des plus belles vertus du monde. (I am extremely demanding, and I find that being demanding is one of life's most beautiful virtues.)
                                                                                                                             -Vincent Lindon

I am demanding.  I feel it more often now that I am retired.  I demanded that the garage be cleaned, that the yard be redone, that the crawl space be uncluttered.  I demand a better life.  I expect it, but I also put my back into it. I am not satisfied with "good enough", I want better.

Not always 'agréable' for the people around me but the results are consistently appreciated.

Prostrate Stella

Friday, August 8, 2014

Lift Off

As I am writing this post, lift off is scheduled in 8.5 hours. I've watered the plants, unlocked my phone to receive a French Sim card, packed but not closed my bags, said goodbye to our two sons, my 93-year-old Dad, Sister D and my friend next door,  Brenda.

How do you pack for 3 months?  Very thoughtfully. Last year, we had a three month summer in Cotignac in August, September and October.  I wore a sweater once.

Yesterday, I sent this picture to our deck-builder for next year's project: a third deck.  Do we need a third deck?  No! this is where my vegetable garden used to be until we traveled to France every year.  Next year, it's going to be a third deck with chairs and a fire pit table, entirely justified in Canada.

Image via Pinterest
The year after that, in 2016,  we'd like to put up a pergola in the section to the left of the door.  Consider this post an official Dream Board.  What do you think? Any other ideas to offer?
Image via Pinterest
Now, I've got to get ready to go...

Have a great day!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Full Circle

Found this in the crawl space a few weeks ago.  Had it framed.  V. said it used to hang in his parents'  apartment in Roquebrune Cap-Martin in the early 50s.  We are taking it with us to hang in our bedroom in France.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

BBC One's The Village

Staying in from the heat, watched six parts in two days.  Yes, I am being a slug but what a good story! Stunning visuals and great acting by all members of the cast notably Maxine Peak who plays a central character, Grace Middleton the epicenter of a farming family in the years around WW I.  A haunting, hard but true-to-life story about the challenges of poverty, family and village life.

Watch it.


15 lbs Down

This winter when I taught a semester at the university, I put on about 4-5 lbs on my already round body.  I didn't want to go to France with the extra baggage so at the beginning of May, I promised myself to lose 15 lbs before lift off.

The 15 lbs have been lifted off.

Now my short term (11 week) goal is to take off 2 lbs while I'm there.  Is this realistic?  I hesitate to say maintain my weight loss because I may become complacent.  Hence, the 2 lb weight loss goal.  Only problem is, I haven't a scale in France...

Only problem is, I want France and my rosé too.

I can do it.  Can't I?

I can, I can, I can!