galette des rois

We learned a lot about French holidays during Isabella’s time in a French Dual Language program back at our old elementary school in Brooklyn. One of my favorites is surely enjoying Galette des rois, a puff pastry cake with a creamy almond filling, served on January 6th to celebrate the Epiphany (the arrival of the Three Kings to visit Jesus). My friend who grew up in the south of France used to make a yeasty, candied fruit cake, which is more common in that region. I’ve never had that version, and will have to one day give that recipe a try. Continue reading »

light rough puff pastry

I know what you’re thinking. Me, too. I made some, um, let’s not call them resolutions—suggestions, yes, that sounds better. I made some suggestions to myself to let go of the decadence December brought to my eating habits. I also decided I needed to get much better about being physically active. I never had to think about that when I lived in a city. Ever since leaving Brooklyn two years ago, physical activity beyond the steps taken from apartment door to car door, is something I have to plan. But see, that’s where this recipe for Light Rough Puff Pastry comes in. Life is supposed to be lived in moderation, right? Continue reading »

the meaning of it all

I was cooking dinner last Friday when my phone beeped with a message from one of my best friends. It simply said “What’s happening to our city?”. I jumped onto Facebook to see what was going on, expecting it to be something related to NYC, only to see the news of the attacks in Paris. I’m still processing it all. The reality of the world in which my girls are growing up makes my heart ache. Four years ago, we retreated to Paris. It’s where I fulfilled a father’s promise, and resolved to keep on living, and dreaming.

As we gathered around the dinner table tonight, offering our thanks and appreciations, my guy said it simply, yet perfectly—he was thankful to be sitting with the people he loved, all of us safe and sound. Now more than ever, in a season where the lines between wants and needs are so easily blurred, let’s remember that kindness, love, and generosity of heart are the best gifts we can share with each other.

I originally wrote this post a few weeks ago, intending to share it then. But posting about Thanksgiving on the heels of Halloween felt amiss. Walking through stores last week, decked out with Christmas decorations, a few even echoing Christmas carols through the aisles, I felt confused. Now that it’s November 16th, my mind is thinking more about next week’s Thanksgiving dinner. I get to meet my guy’s mom, for which I’m very excited, and a bit nervous.  Continue reading »

chewy white chocolate & pistachio cookies

Write. Delete. Repeat.

This has been my habit as I stare blankly into the screen this morning. It’s not so much that I’m at a loss for words. In fact, the words are scattered in my mind, a mental game of 52 pick up in progress. Still, my lack of clarity to how I’m feeling lately shouldn’t get in the way of sharing these cookies with you. They’re inspired by a recipe for chocolate chip cookies from a bakery in Paris called Laura Todd. It took a little detective work to figure out if levure sans phosphate was baking powder or baking soda, so thanks to Mardi for helping me out with that one.

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prosciutto & fried egg tartine

I made my way to Paris feeling a bit broken and exhausted. Lately, I’d been feeling as though I were running from place to place, but never going exactly where I wanted to be. I needed a few days to reconnect with myself, go at my own pace, and let life just happen, instead of trying to orchestrate every minute.

In just a couple of hours, I’ll make my way back to New York City feeling stronger than I’ve felt in a long time. My heart is not carrying a weight of worry; it is full of peace, and love. My mind feels rested, and I’m making a promise to remind myself that “it’s just a bad day, not a bad life” when things aren’t going exactly as I wish. This latter part will most definitely be a challenge, but I will try my best.

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postcard from paris

I needed a parole from my life back in Brooklyn. An escape where there were no schedules, responsibilities, wants or needs, except for the ones I choose. I don’t take the ability to do this for granted. I’m incredibly thankful to have a mom who helps by watching the girls, and a sitter who pinch hits, too. On the outside, I know my life feels like an adventure. I mean, to be able to jet set to Paris every few months, and cash in a few vacation days away from motherhood—who doesn’t dream about that? The truth is, I’d trade it all for my old life. The one where my future seemed so clear. The one where my best friend came home to me every night. The life where I had at least one person who thought the world of me. Continue reading »

chocolate clementine spice cake

We made a grand entrance into Paris, as you can see from the photo below. Honestly, my breathe was taken away as our driver pulled up to our hotel and I saw the decorations reminiscent of a winter wonderland. It’s as though someone knew we needed to be showered with lightness and love as 2012 draws to a close.

a grand entrance

I’m not sure I can capture all that has transpired this year in an eloquent fashion. A lot of it you already know. Frankly, as I read through posts from this past year in preparation for writing the second book, I wonder if I shared too much. Did I give away parts of myself that should’ve been kept private? Did I bare too much, and leave myself vulnerable?

Did I grieve the wrong way? Continue reading »

fairytales for grown ups

My head feels like Dorothy’s house as it’s swirling into the eye of the tornado. This is what New York City does to me. It divides my heart from my mind. This is something I was beginning to realize even before Michael died. In six days it has slowly undone the careful stitches Paris wove into place. For a few weeks my fractured life felt whole again. Going to a new city, embracing a new culture and way of life, gave special meaning to learning a new kind of normal.

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showers and sunshine

Paris and I have become fast friends. I say that with a bit of a heavy heart knowing I will have to say goodbye to her two weeks from today. Funny how when I arrived two weeks ago, I wondered if this trip was a mistake. It took me a week to find my footing, and understand that even if I was a stranger in a different country, I was still the same person lurking within my own skin.

As I write and watch the rain pour from the sky, the weather mimicks the tears yearning to come out. The dam broke a little this morning as I climbed the stairs to my apartment. I’d just finished a shop at the organic farmers’ market on Boulevard Raspail, and as I turned the corner to my block, the reality that it was yet another Sunday hit me hard. Tears flowed past the rim of my sunglasses, and I couldn’t hold them back.

At this time 49 weeks ago, I was still sleeping in our bed. He was awake with the girls, letting me sleep in as he always did on Sundays. I would wake to make love to him, cook breakfast, and eventually go out and do something I always do—shop for groceries.

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independence day {rustic lemon cake}

A big part of being in a healthy relationship is learning to say two things: 1) I’m sorry and 2) I was wrong. They’re all but five words when combined, but the inherent feelings of inadequacy that are intertwined with admitting them makes them difficult to utter. In a good relationship, where trust and love is both solid and reciprocated, there is no fear in saying them.

But what about the solitary relationship we share with ourselves? There is no one to hug us when we admit them, or to make a joke and break the tension of the moment. It is so easy to intellectualize how I need to be easier, more gentle to myself, yet so hard to actually implement it in the moment.

I’m exacting, precise, determined—perhaps this is why baking is something I love. I respect the rigidness of the variables involved in making a cake. Yet, I’m forgiving of my foibles in the kitchen, and harsh of the others that happen in my every day life. Go figure.

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