Shopping, Eating and Exploring

Come along with me and discover some off-the beaten paths in Southwest France

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

T'was the night before the night before.....

I am listening to the weather reports and thinking California isn't such a bad place to be. It is a little chilly today, maybe 55, but brilliant sun and blue skies. Lot's of rain in my part of France, and with the short, dark days, they need the holidays just to brighten this time of year. England and most of Europe seem to be under an early cloak of winter. Staying by the fire with a good book, a ball of yarn, and nice glass of Bordeaux sounds like just the ticket.

Except for some food shopping tonight, gifts are purchased, and most are even wrapped. Tree and house are decorated, and the kid is home from Lexington. The things I like to do the best, baking, knitting and some jewelry making are each pulling me with projects to finish.

I haven't written a card yet, but really enjoy the ones I received. I used to write cards on the plane as we left New York each year for a December trip. But I am not going anywhere this week.

So for all of us who havn't finished the shopping, card writing, decorating, wrapping, etc.....I invite you to sit down, pull the blanket around you, reach for that cup of tea, or glass of wine. The holiday's are over in the wink of an eye, if something isn't finished, the world doesn't end, and really, no one will notice. Take a little time and enjoy what you have finished, and that we have all made it through another year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Cookie by Any Other Name

December and the holiday season is well under way, everywhere. My friends in France have emailed about the Marche' du Noel's in their villages, the lights have gone up, turkeys ordered, and travel plans made. Most of my friends stay home, and friends and relatives come to them. Dinners are planned and each village seems to have a party on New Year's Eve. Everyone; young and old attends, and they can be quite lively.

This week was the annual cookie party, and the competition was fierce. This years cookies were really the best, overall. I don't know who made what, that was all kind of a blur, but I loved the peppermint, chocolate meringues , the peanut butter, the pretzel shaped ones, the coconut bar, the gingerbread snowflake...did I miss one? I haven't tasted them all yet. Well done ladies. To me it isn't really Christmas until I have gotten into the kitchen and made a few different cookies. It takes me back to the baking of my grandmother, and great-grandmother. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Sunday my daughter comes home, and we will finish all the Christmas knitting, and I will get a little jewelry making done, and of course, bake some more cookies. Here is an old recipe, super easy, and always well received.
Peanut Butter Kisses
18 ounces smooth peanut butter (not a fancy brand)
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 bag Hershy Kisses
Some flour
Preheat oven to 350
Stir peanut butter, sugar and eggs together until combined. Dust hand with flour, and shape dough into a ball, a bit smaller than a ping pong ball. Place on a cookie sheet about 2-inches apart. I use parchment paper, but it is a personal preference. Bake for 12 minutes, or until cookies look a little dry on the surface and have a few cracks in them. Take out and push an unwrapped kiss into each one. Let cool completely.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Shopping Opportunities!

Along with the anticipation that leads up to the holidays, I have been waiting for the call that tells me "the goods are here". The call came just after Thanksgiving, and I picked up my shipment yesterday, just in time for Alameda Point Antique Market tomorrow. That meant today was unloading, unpacking, repacking, and figuring out just what to take.

There are lot's of plates: Majolica, Quimper, Comedie, and purple, blue, green, red, blue, and mulberry transferware. I think it looks terrific when all the colors are mixed. I also have linens: whites, sheets, window panels, ticking, and toile. Giant tian bowls, confit pots, and a garde fromage were also on board. I have some terrific large wooden rosary beads (one with a Stanhope), hotel silver, French doll furniture, infant chairs, and some blue cafe chairs. I can't leave out the Souvenir du Marriage and a charming set ready for a creche.

Ok, time to go back to work. Please come out to Alameda Point, tomorrow, Sunday December 6th, booth G-8.