PARIS, CLOWNS AND HIGH TEA

I am so far behind on my blog that I feel like I should call it a day and stop writing it, but I know I have just been lazy, back issues and uber busy. I’m going to try to catch myself back up, but heads up the info I am sending to you is incredibly outdated, so it will catapult you back in time. I have not written this since before the Paris bombings, which hit me like a rock, or maybe more appropriately like a boulder. And we just had a shooting North of Cincy and my old high school just had threats.

I’m going to make a political statement or two whether you agree with me or not, this is how I feel. I think every time there is a shooting we should confiscate the guns and destroy them! The only reason you need a gun is if you are a hunter. I think tasers should be the wave of the future or cops should learn to shoot legs and feet! And there is no reason for AK-47’s. Really? If we had no guns how effective would ISIS be? Okay, bad example since they are using heavier artillery, but it just irks me that so many die so unnecessarily and that is my segway into this very dated blog about Paris (and so much more)…because when the guns come out it makes me think of Paris, which makes me remember that horrible day in New York on 9.11.

I wrote this blog a few weeks after Paris……

We’ll do the bad news before the good news.

 

PARIS. I know it has been weeks but that was incredibly impactful for me. I had not been to any of the venues that the terrorists attacked although I had drive by the stadium several times going to and from the airport.

 

Every time those damn, bloody terrorists attack a place near and dear to me it jolts my body and mind. I know this is their goal.

 

Parisians get a bad rap from Americans. They are considered cold and unfriendly. I lived in Paris and my memories were far from that! I think if you are an “ugly American” you will be treated as one, but if you try to acclimate to their culture, language and ways you will be so pleasantly surprised. I know I was. I felt so loved and embraced by the French. They took me under their wings and were nurturing and fantastic to me. Did they giggle at my accent. I’m sure, but we giggle at theirs in the same “oh that is adorable way”.

 

I lived through 9.11 and it was awful. Every time, they attack Boston and Paris, it hits me all over again that people can be so horrible, so despicable and yet…all the nastiness they thrust at us causes us to bring out the best in us.

 

The day before the Paris attacks my dear friend Lesley in London had sent me an email saying the next time I am in London we must go to this joint for High Tea. (Link below.)

 

One Aldwych- Covent Garden-London

 

I was thrilled because I tried to go have high tea at this park in 1988 when I was on my first trip to London the summer after my first year at college/uni/university. I never got there. I was so psyched to hear from Lesley who the week before when we skyped her adorable son Asher said, “Mummy, why does Erin sound so funny?” My British cousin said that to me when we were that age. He decided the difference was he was English and I was American. I think Asher decided the same. Well, a day later Paris happened. I did a typical American thing and thought, glad I traveled to London, because I am not going back for awhile until the dust settles a bit. But that is rubbish. My friend Darlene said this and I said this in NY after 9.11. You can’t let fear get to you! You can’t let them scare you! THEN they win! So, at some point I will go back to London and have high tea at Covent Garden with Lesley and Asher.

 

I heard from Lesley right after the attacks on Paris. The way that 9.11 flashbacks came to me, she had flashbacks of her own. She lived through IRA attacks on London in the 70s and 80s, and then decades later London recovered only to be hit again with the 7.11 attacks. I am sad and embarrassed to say I had forgotten about that till she reminded me of those attacks on 7.11. Now, I remember. I was condo sitting my friend Jillian’s place in New York while she was in Jakarta for the summer. They attacked the London tube/subway system.

 

All I can say is those damn, bloody worthless terrorists that we spend so much money to protect ourselves and loved ones. What birdbrain came up with the idea to attack innocent people to make a political statement. I DO think there is a VERY special place in HELL for those people. They think they’re going to heaven and going to get a buttload of virgins. Gosh, I hope they are in for the rudest awakening!

As to the French and my French friends. Beacoup d’mour mes amis! (Lots of love my friends!)

Here is a pic of me at one of my favorite museums. Musee D’Orsay in my beloved Paris from when I lived there.

Erin in Paris

Happier note…seemingly sad but with a happy twist…

 

Enter the clowns….

 

Erin w. clowns

If you know me, you know I am a BIG, HUGE fan of Apple Circus clowns. I’m he clown in the center picture above. They made me an honorary clown. The clowns on both sides of me are trained to make sick children laugh and smile. And they do…

http://www.bigapplecircus.org/clown-care

 

Long, story, incredibly shortened. The Apple Circus clowns are a cause/charity the foundation board I sit on funds. They are my favorite cause. Everyone who knows me, knows this! Why? Because I went to The Bronx Hospital one day and shadowed the clowns to see what they do and their impact on the kids. I was blown away. If I didn’t have to go to clown school for YEARS, I would have become a clown. To see those children in the hospital with so much courage, but with a lot of sadness come alive when they saw those clowns. It was magical. I love them!

Okay, enough heavy stuff…let’s get to the food!

 

Pear and Pancetta

1 pear

pancetta

Slice the pear and wrap in pancetta and eat.

Yum!

 

 

I love food as you know and I love writing about food. I have no idea how I missed this New York Times writer till the other day. I pulled a couple of wonderful witty lines from an article of his….I liked his writing a lot. I highly recommend you check him out. He is wonderfully clever and brilliantly articulate. I love Keller’s Per Se, but Pete Wells is funny!!! Enjoy!

Pete Wells on Per Se

 

Well, I could not stand my bathroom floor any longer. It needed a facelift! DESPERATELY. A neighbor, Diana did this and so I thought I would give it a try. I went to the store and bought paint and rubbed it over patches of my floor to refresh my tired, seemingly dirty, but NOT gray grout and here is what I achieved and it only cost me $3. Not bad. Here is my work in progress.

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I can’t locate the final pic….

When I was a kid there was a wonderful craft show down at Music Hall before the holidays that my mom and I used to attend. The flavor of the Super Crafty Market has changed over the decade, but there were still some really cool things. I liked these wall hangings made out of small pieces of felt.

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I left there and decided I wanted to check out the Restore store and see what they had that could inspire me since I am on an artistic binge at the moment. I found this cool door. I would love to do something like this to my doors, but I am not talented enough to do it unless I do something abstract. We’re talking Pollock abstract.

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I took an old mobile that I bought on Sanibel many, many years ago for somewhere between $ 6 – 8. It was all tangled and so I cut it apart. Painted the pieces and reattached them with string onto 2 pieces of driftwood I had at home and this is what I got. I love it!

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I finally got a hankering for M. Lou’s Butternut Squash, Pecans and Apple dish. I think I made it three times in a week! It is the perfect sweet tooth satisfier and there is no sugar in it. She found it somewhere…can’t recall where…I just love it!

 

Mary Lou's Butternut Squash & Apple Pecan Salad

 

With the leftover butternut squash….I made…

 

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND MUSHROOMS

 

½ butternut squash

6-8 mushrooms

handful diced onions

1 garlic clove

1 T.

butter

2 T. olive oil

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First cut up the butternut squah and place on a cookie sheet with olive oil and cook @ 400 for 10 minutes, flip the squash and cook another 10 minutes. Pull out and let cool.

In a skillet, heat the butter, olive oil, onions garlic and mushrooms. When the mushrooms are where you like add the cut up squash and combine the two and serve. I loved the combination!

My mom sent me this lamp from Florida she had begun to paint. It needed to be finished. I started to paint it and then took a picture for you…Another project of mine.

 

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I love the end result. I put it in a place where I notice it each and every day!

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My Aunt Pat and Uncle Al came to Cincinnati for a visit. I think I have seen her once since my trip to visit her and Uncle Al in San Diego when I was 12!

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My Aunt Pat taught my mom to drive stick shift in Boston when they were in college. They were classmates at DAAP @ UC.

I had NO idea how incredibly talented my Aunt Pat was until she showed me her AMAZING and I do mean AMAZING artwork. She and Uncle Al travel all over the world and she captures incredible architecture in watercolors and I am in awe. There is too much reflection of this piece to do it justice but she is amazing!!! Plus meeting her again after all these years and as an adult…you forget how cool a person can be! I just loved being with them! And she is so great!

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I have friends who love Brussel Sprouts and I don’t! I have had them in bacon and they are bearable but I can’t warm to their bitter unappealing flavor. So…someone suggested I cook them with leeks. It helped and then I ate them with the butternut squash and mushroom combo and that helped more…I could do it, but I don’t know if I will do them again. I have given it the good ole’ fashioned Girl Scout try and decided they just aren’t for me. BUT…they may be for you!

 

I have this first old desk of my mom’s mom that dates back to its journey from New Orleans in 1904 to Cincinnati. Since that time it has lived in my condo in Cincy and then it moved to Wyoming, Ohio, Sanibel Island, Florida, Savannah, Georgia and has returned to this condo. Same space on the wall where it resided when I was a child.  I decided to try to oil it and see if it would help. What it did was extraordinary! It took this dark, dry wood and gave it no life, brought out the red wood and is stunning beautiful like a young wood again. It made me fall in love with the piece all over again. Thanks Roy!!!

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The weather in Cincy although warm has been gray and depressing and as you can tell my writer’s block is in full gear and the creative juices have caused me to work with my hands rather than my brain. Plus, this is how I dealt with my Parisian blues.

So,  I cleaned the chandelier! I cleaned every single crystal that I could reach…Yeah me!

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My dear friend Viv brought me pears. I sliced one up and sautéed it in butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.

 

I highly recommend it!

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I went into my WHOLE 30 Cook book for a BBQ recipe. I wasn’t sure by the ingredients if this would qualify as a BBQ sauce in my mind, but it didn’t matter because it was so good I was eating it with a spoon. Quite literally!

 

WHOLE 30 BBQ Sauce

 

1 can tomato paste (6oz)

½ roasted sweet potato

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup unsweetened 100% apple sauce

1 tbsp coconut aminos

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp all spice

1/4 tsp cayenne powder (optional)

a few dashes hot sauce to taste

Blend all ingredients together and store in a mason jar and it should stay good to use on all your BBQ’d favorites for about one month. But I ate it with a spoon and mine lasted a week!!!

Show you how far behind I am on this blog…..

Here is my Christmas tree. I love it. I never, ever thought I would love a tree that wasn’t real, but I do!

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My mom sent this to me. This is absolutely brilliant. Click on link….foodie or not you will love it….

 

Le Petit Chef LINK

My apologies for being so far behind schedule… I will do my best to catch up…so look forward to a foodie trip to New York and one to the West coast of Florida….

Until we meet again…

 

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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