Thursday, October 25, 2012

keeping it real by throwing lemons


IMG_5817

I started this blog back in March of 2009 and for those of you that have followed me since way back then ... you may have noticed I enjoy simple things, I like to bake, and I find adventuring at farmers' markets invigorating. I know pretty adventurous!!  But, after chatting with one of my good friends I noticed that there is a side of me, a witty, humorous, sometimes bitter (think eighty five year old man), and painfully honest side that rarely but sometimes, makes a glimpse on Coeur de La. Well, my friends if there is one thing that majoring in Literature has taught me ... it is the things that one chooses not to write about or is afraid to, that often sheds light on one's true character.

Those moments of feeling tired and wanting a simple smoothie for dinner, those times when I have drank too much coffee (something I did not believe I would ever do) and feel WIRED and not so good, or those times when I have gone to bed angry and woke up not to indulge in a cup of tea but poured myself a black cup of coffee with a shot of whiskey (exaggerating but it sounded nice) and burnt my toast and instead of throwing it out I simply ate it. Burnt toast and all.

Don't get me wrong I still love to travel and experience new things :) but ... now approaching thirty (I have 9 more months till the big 30) when life gives me lemons I do not always make sweet tea. I contemplate throwing the lemons at the individual or situation who dealt me them. My camera sometimes stays at home and sitting in a bookshop for hours would still be a good day to me. I do love laughing until my stomach hurts but have found that life is not always about simple goodness.

Life is about those things that knock you down, make you uncomfortable, those situations that are entirely awkward, and all of those moments in between.

So, my friends, I am still going to write about life's simple goodness but embrace a little bit more of me. A 29 year old impulsive baker who sometimes feels eighty, a photographer with wild hair, and a blogger who is going to keep it real ... take it or leave it. Now watch out for a flying lemon.



Monday, October 15, 2012

baking ... chocolate vanilla bean donuts

IMG_8927_

For those of you that frequent Coeur de La often you know how much I enjoy baking. And ... family and friends know how much I like to spoil others with baked goods. Well, two weeks ago the weather was crisp, the first rain fell, and I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to try ... a chocolate baked donut recipe I had found on the blog Heather Christo Cooks.  I loved how straightforward the recipe was and approachable. So, being the impatient baker that I am the very next day I picked up a donut pan, picked up my ingredients, and got to it.  The crisp weather had me craving a vanilla bean glaze and all I could think about was dark chocolate donuts dipped in a silky smooth vanilla bean glaze. Heaven. Lucky for me, I had two extra vanilla beans, some left over cream, and a heaping amount of powdered sugar and my decision was made for me. Upon first glance I could not believe the donut perfection that came from my oven ... moist, perfectly made chocolate donuts. Donuts that reminded me of afternoon grocery shopping trips with my mom where my siblings and I would on occasion get a bag of warm, right out of the oven donut holes. I can still remember the tang of the buttermilk much like these donuts.

IMG_8942_

Dipping each donut into the sweet vanilla glaze with my kitchen window open the smell of chocolate donuts, fresh air, and rain engulfed my senses. Baked donuts my friends are a perfect rainy day dessert and paired with a simple cup of coffee ... I am pretty sure there is nothing quite like it. So, get your whisks ready and get on it .... start baking.

ChocolateDonuts_Recipe

Also, if you feel inclined my short essay on Morning Baking was recently published in Volume 5 of Kinfolk Magazine and I am honored I could share my story, love, and thoughts on baking with others. The list of authors, writers, and photographers that contributed absolutely inspire and amaze me ... and I am sure Coeur de La readers you will love Volume 5. You can order the Volume here ... enjoy your week and bisous.

PS I just got back from a trip to Oregon that was filled with good coffee and lots of it, delicious food, and a road trip that left me entirely smitten and ready to pack my suitcases and move to Oregon.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

France part deux ... Beynac

IMG_6594

IMG_6990

IMG_7001

While staying in France for several weeks both Marc and I agreed we wanted to visit the region of Périgord known for the Dordogne River, its castles, foie gras, and outdoor markets. The region is vibrant yet tranquil, and often during our stay we were content relaxing in the backyard ... content doing absolutely nothing at all.

IMG_6707

Rewind two months earlier .... I had been reading some of my usual blogs and I had seen a vacation rental for a home in Beynac. I immediately emailed the owner and asked if the dates we needed were available. After a much anticipated response I found out the dates we needed were available and were the only days that were not booked (fate) ... and the rest was history. 

IMG_6607

The Maisonnette is in the little town of Beynac ... think cobblestone streets, a view that overlooks the Dordogne river, and a French cottage perfect for dreaming. Each evening Marc and I would walk through the city, find a spot to sit and admire the views. Our first night we walked to the local market, picked out a bottle of wine, a baguette, some butter lettuce, a selection of fruits and cheese, and a dinner that was intended for an hour or two turned into a meal that lasted till the moon came out. 

IMG_6744

IMG_6737

Even writing this I am having trouble not wishing I was back there as the whole stinking trip was a dream ... a simple and real dream. Each day was filled with a different adventure, meals in, and a trip to a local restaurant that served one of the best creme brûlées I have ever tasted. 

IMG_6617

IMG_6636

IMG_6779

IMG_6956

On our last day we decided to canoe the Dordogne River and being that it was a last minute decision and I was in a dressone might be hesitant to say yesespecially in regards to attire ... BUT our slogan for the trip was ... pourqoui pas (why not)? And, why not is exactly what I said. 

IMG_6975

Dressed in a sun dress and my trusty salt waters we canoed the Dordogne River, taking in the sights and sounds of the adjacent towns. Towns where the languages of French and English are spoken as a history of war and territory are remembered in the castles.  Towns where films like Chocolat are filmed and where the outdoor market of Sarlat causes traffic jams because markets are that popular. 

IMG_6731

IMG_6909

Towns that have a little Maisonette that overlooks the Dordogne, towns that captivated my spirit, and towns that have me planning and dreaming of my next trip back.