Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Honeymoon is now entirely booked! (Xpost)

(cross post - see link at bottom)

Rye finally decided that the time had come. That’s right folks, he was ready. (a little rye commentary: It's not that I wasn’t ready. I told you…. "AFTER CHRISTMAS"… I am a man of my word!!)

This week we sat down and started putting some serious thought into what we would like to do on our honeymoon and where we would like to stay. We had ideas, but now we just needed a plan that was sure to work. We only had one place outstanding, and that was Llafranc, Spain. This tiny coastal resort town (I’d even venture to say, village), is beautiful and serene. I visited there as a child (about 10, I think) for 3 weeks with my aunt and while I didn’t really know it at the time, it was a location I would never forget. 17 years later, I’m itching to return, so much so that I am honestly not sure how I will wait patiently until August. I was so happy when Ryan agreed that it was a good idea to make this not only a stop but the very first leg of our trip.

There is altogether nothing to do in Llafranc, which is fabulous. There are some coastal hikes, and snorkeling, which we haven’t ruled out - but to really visit things, you would have to leave the village and we don’t want to…our plan is to spend our three days there, relaxing on the beach and enjoying the Mediterranean. This is where we will recoup from the wedding just three days earlier and the flight, so we can really make the most of the rest of the vacation because it’s going to be fast paced (Rye and I have trouble sitting still on vacation)! If I could make a recommendation, it would be to encourage all of you to Google Streetview Llafranc…so fresh, SO adorable! I’m as giddy as a 6 year old!

After our time there we will head up the coast towards France visiting a little along the way but ultimately ending up at our next home base in Fréjus, France (right next to Saint-Raphael). As you may or may not already know, our hotel is an establishment that my parents have frequented a couple times now and are big fans of. It is run by a couple who, rumour has it, dote on their guest incessantly…obviously, I can’t wait! From Fréjus, we plan on day tripping to Monte Carlo, Monaco and some surrounding villages that flaunt Roman ruins and beautiful sights. We also plan on visiting Nice, taking a 2 hour cruise out of Cannes and hanging out to see the fireworks there one night as well. We also want to visit a vineyard, the ruins in Fréjus itself and *possibly* doing some relaxing on the beach while we are there too! (Hence, why the relaxing was slotted at the beginning of the trip!) After our week in Fréjus, we will be moving towards Italy, Lake Como to be specific.

We will be setting up camp (I almost spit out my coffee…Camp! like hell!), or rather dropping our copious amounts of luggage off at the Hotel Bellagio in, well, you guessed it, Bellagio. Apparently, there isn’t a whole lot to do here either, but to take in the sights and sounds of the lake nestled in the mountains. Needless to say, we will certainly get some variety out of the trip! We can take the ferries around to the other villages, and eat and shop and do whatever other mindless wandering we want… because that’s what there is to do there – and that’s perfect too! We can use these few days as a way to recoup from the week we spent scouring the Cote d’Azur.

From Lake Como, we head back towards France. We are going to drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel, which is so very exciting, and head towards Chamonix-Mont Blanc. This is home to (the Mont Blanc) the highest peak in Europe and we’re going uppit!! From Chamonix there is a Gondola you can take part of the way up the mountain, then there is an elevator of sorts to take us ‘most’ of the rest of the way (you didn’t honestly think I would climb it, did you?). I’m anxious for snow in August (don’t groan, it’s only at the top!!), only to be able to watch it disappear again on the way down. From the top though, there is also a 45 minute (each way) gondola ride over the mountains, to Helbronner point (read: mountain station in Italy), how fun to cross the border via gondola high above the world! After all that we head back to Chamonix by retracing our steps. I’m sure Ryan will be fine with the heights and not have a heart attack…it will be fine, really. Also from Chamonix we can take the train to Montenvers, where we hitch a ride on another gondola to go to the Mer de Glace Glacier. Every year there is a tunnel built into the glacier which can be visited (and WILL be visited…because really, how cool?). After all that is said and done, I plan on either some raclette or cheese fondue a la Suisse because Chamonix is very swiss, and right next door.

From here, we head north and land (park) in Strasbourg, France, on the German border. We will spend a couple days here, and intend on using this as a bit of a home base as well. We may venture into Germany a little, aside from strictly visiting Strasbourg. We haven’t decided exactly what to do here yet, but it’s sure to *not* disappoint!

On the final leg of our trip we will be heading back towards Paris. We will stay with my Nannie and visit a little (although she is flying in for the wedding too) and visit some things in Paris that we either didn’t get to do last time or that we would like to do over. On the way back though, we intend on making a pit stop in Reims, where my dad was born. I want to, finally after all these years, visit the Cathedral and I would also like to stop in, to Veuve Clicquot to see how the liquid gold is made…if they’ll have me!

That’s pretty much it; we’ll be flying out of Paris a few days later and heading home to face the music. After being gone all that time (both physically and mentally after executing the wedding), I’m not sure how I will function anymore… I guess only time will tell!

Stay turned for more when we get back…I am hoping to flood you with pictures!

ETA: I wanted to add in some information regarding our favorite travel dvds, they have been our go to source for info during our planning of this fantastic trip. Rick Steves' Europe series is a great resource and oh so tempting!

Cross post on wedding website -

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My new Cookbook!

One of the gifts on my wish list this year was 'Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking' because well, who doesn't love delicious Mediterranean food??

The description at is as follows for those who are interested;

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Oxmoor House; First Edition edition (October 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0848732413
ISBN-13: 978-0848732417

Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking begins with an overview of the rich history of the region and the many elements that have come together to create one of the world’s first—and best—fusion cuisines. The featured countries are showcased with a discussion of their iconic foods and a list of their specialties, from the bouillabaisse of Provence to the tagines of North Africa. A section on the Mediterranean diet explains the benefits of this traditional way of eating, with its emphasis on vegetables, grains, and seafood.

Five chapters, with some 130 recipes drawn from the more than one dozen countries that ring the Mediterranean, are organized by courses. The exquisitely photographed dishes range from simple, earthy Spanish gazpacho to such show stopping main courses as Moroccan chicken bisteeya. The final chapter holds a wealth of seductive finales, including a pistachio-laced gelato from Italy and a lemon-and-lavender-scented granité from France.

Detailed instructions and step-by-step photographs explain such basic techniques as working with filo dough and making romesco sauce. An informative glossary with culinary terms and ingredients completes this indispensable introduction to the cuisines of the Mediterranean.

Anyway, to the real point of my post - I got it! Yay! And we have cooked from it a few times now; we have yet to be disappointed.
The other night I made 'Pork Chops Peperonata' from Italy and photo documented, hungry? You will be...

Ingredients -

Cook the meat -

Cook the veg -

Smother the rested chops in the cooked veg -

et voilà !

So easy and yet so delicious.
I highly recommend this book, but I am sure it won't be the last you see of it!


I should make another entry

I have so many things that I want to say and that I want to add that it is almost overwhelming, so instead of grabbing the theoretical bull by the horns and starting *somewhere*, I procrastinate. Well, if higher education has taught me anything, it's that I'm not quite as great a procrastinator as I would lead most people to believe - shocking, I know.

I guess the best place to start would be Christmas, so if you're all in - let's do it!

This year was an exciting one; Rye and I spoiled each other fierce (though that is every year), we were travelling from city to city to visit family, and it was just an all around good time!

How about some pictures?

This was our Christmas tree, and our pink sparkling wine for the gift opening 'extravaganza' before heading over to my mom and dad's Christmas Eve. (Taken with the point and shoot)

Here are the little ones over the holidays...(the p and s again).

The decorated apartment in all it's glory post-festivities and post good dslr acquisition! (keep in mind, that before you deduce that Canon Rebels must be crap, remember that I am so amateur it's unbelievable - these beauties are ALL ME!!)

So that was Christmas in a nutshell, it was fantastic and altogether too short, but one must save some fun for next year!