I love tapenade! LOVE IT! I am more of a salty/spicy girl than sweet girl.
I love chips and dips, guacamole and jalepenos, olives, anchovies, nuts, and peppers. MIAM! YUM! NOM!
Today, I am going to explain the receipe for tapenade, which is similar to pesto.
The ingredients are simple enough: black or green olives WITHOUT PITS, capers, anchovies, olive oil and whatever spices tickle your fancy, such as thyme, nutmug, or mustard powder.
Next, place all of ingredients in a blender and viola! Then, transfer to a bowl, serve with fresh cut bread or celery or carrot sticks and ENJOY!
I'm unable to give you exact measurements, for which I apologize, however the goal of the paste is to balance the consistancy; like the two photos above. You will have to mix and taste and mix and taste to get it to your liking. That's it!
This little recipe is not only GOOD, but GOOD FOR YOU! In fact, did you know that olives are an aphrodisiac?
It's true because it enhances fertility and the reproductive system. Olives also helps eliminate excess cholesterol in the blood, controls blood pressure, is a source of dietary fiber and is high in vitamin E!
Anchovies have high amounts of vitamin B and E and are rich in minerals! And let us not forget about capers: One health benefit shared by both capers and broccoli is the presence of isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates (I don't know how to pronounce it either!) help the liver breakdown cancer causing chemicals! By the way, it's the isothiocyanates in capers that give them their (pungent) yummy taste.
The tapenade is salty, but not so salty that you are unable to enjoy the mix. Actually, it is not overly fishy or salty at all, again, think of it as pesto sauce. If your tapenade is not balanced, add more olive oil and ENJOY!
What is an apéro (ah-pear-oh)?
An apéro is an informal get together with great friends that include, but is not limited to, tasty and quality snacks such as:
fresh vegtables, deli meats, nuts, fresh bread, chips, dips, olives (my favorite are stuffed with anchovies!), tapenade, champagne, wine and/or cocktails and of course, dessert! In other countries, an apéro is also called tapas or finger foods.
Now that summer is in full swing, our little family (Cachou too!) have been invited to several apéro dînatoire(s), to which we have accepted with much pleasure! I love apéros! They make me feel alive and grateful because in that moment I am surrounded by loving friends and EVERYONE radiates happiness. I compare it to sitting around the campfire. There is music, singing, deep conversations about life and being an ex-pat in France, fun back and forth banter, dancing, jokes, teasing but not in a sexual or rude way, loads of compliments, hugs, and an abundance of love! Love, love, and more love!
You could say that we are modern hippies, I think our friends would approve! And that is why I love hosting and going to apéros!
I would also like to take the time to appreciate and thank my sweet friends, Gill (I call her Gilly-bean, not pictured) and Concetta (also known as Cheddars) for inviting us over good times and great memories! They spoil us, and who doesn't love to be spoiled?!
My photos are from the two different apéros, both were awesome!
Also, just to be clear, an apéro is NOT about watching TV together, or playing video games, or acting a fool.
After the apéro outside, we had dinner inside consisting of duck breast and lamb with potato salad à la américain! Everything was lovely! I even sang -- Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz! It was great!
In my next post, I will share with you a recipe for tapenade, although, you must like olives.
Until next time... I hope I have inspired you to host one. Go, be a modern hippie!
Bisous de Bordeaux!!
My life in France!
Next month will mark my three year anniversary of landing on French soil.
Sometimes, I cannot believe how much I have changed, yet stayed the same. I attribute my laid back, sharp tongue and cheek personality as part of my success in landing jobs, friends, and assimulating (somewhat) well in French culture.
Today, I am going to share with you a secret, but first a little (personal) history. As you may or may not know, I was born and raised in Texas,
San Antonio, specifically, but I really grew up in Las Vegas, NV.
When I was in my early 20s, I was vacationing in Austin, and on this particular hot day, I decided to cool off at the swimming pool. I had the pool all to myself until a man in his mid to late 30s arrived with his two kids.
He had a daugther, who looked to be about 7 years old, and a son, who could have been 2 years old. As I was lounging in the water, the little boy, excited to be at the pool, was running around! I remember him being disproportionate, his head was bigger than his body, so it was only a matter of time before he ate cement. He did, but what his father said to him following his fall and his subsequent crying, shocked me. In his husky Texas twang, he said and I quote: "Suck it up, boy!"
So simple, so profound. so lifechanging.
Whenever things seem to be too much to handle in France, I often hear that strong Texas twang reverberating in my head.
This is ONE of my secrets to living well, no matter where you hang your hat! (Hey, a girl has to have discretion!)
On facebook, I am part of a group named Americans in France. It's informative, especially when it comes to finding hidden American goodies in different parts of my adopted country. However, more often than not, there are those who do nothing but complain, complain, complain, nag, nag, nag. It's exasperating.
Oh, you want examples? Your wish is my command, plus I'll throw in my witty comebacks FREE! Without further ado...
-- What's up with no air conditioning? It's 92 degrees!
Yes, it's called summer. EVERYONE is hot! Use common sense, wear cotton, take a cold shower, air dry and drink water.
Suck it up!
-- I'm scared to use the Metro.
Walk then. You are a smart person figure it out and Suck. It. Up!
-- Arrived in my hotel in Paris, didn't realize good pricing didn't include a toilet.
You obviously didn't do enough research, just thought you were getting a good deal. Glad you upgraded. Suck it up!
--- Everyone smokes here! YUK! There are cigeratte butts and dog poop everywhere.
It is what it is! Get use to it, watch where you walk, use the Metro, or go home. Suck it up.
Get the picture? I wish there was a literal French translation for Suck it up, boy. The closest I can think of and that I hear and use often is: C'est comme ça. It translates literally to: It's like that. However, what it really means is: Well, deal with it, because you can't do anything about it, so shut up.
In the end, France is like everywhere else on the planet, there is (mostly) good and bad. However, once you truly accept "Suck it up, boy" or "C'est comme ça" as your personal savior, you shall be free from stupidity! Just my opinion, really.
Have a great week and remember, no sniveling!
I hope you are enjoying your summer so far. Our little family has, for sure!
As I have mentioned in a previous post, the French take their summer vacations seriously, it is only natural for me to do the same. We have been travelling as of late. In fact, earlier in the week (Monday actually) we headed out to the beach to catch some rays and enjoy the day. Cachou, our puppy, dug holes, chased birds, and swam like Michael Phelps, she was a very happy happy doggy!
As it is with all things in life (and specifically in France), you have to work HARD for the good stuff. The beach is no different. What do I mean? Well -- we had to hike up hilly, sandy dunes just to get to the waterfront. See the sand dune above? You know what it is like walking up hill on sand, it feels like you are getting nowhere to get somewhere! Hiking up those small dunes, while carrying our goodies is a WORKOUT and a half! Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!
The French coast is beyond beautiful! The ocean is clear and blue and perfect and so refreshing. Did I also mention that most Frenchies (young and old alike!) are nude on the beach? I went topless, Chouchou went au naturel! Ohh la la!!
Everyone is very respectful, you don't hear annoying kids screaming or music blasting, everyone at the beach is communing with nature, it's perfect. That said, you MUST come for a visit, just to experience the 'freeing' feeling that France offers!
I'm getting off point. Now that summer is here, when we are not travelling, we are hiding out like vampires (Cachou too!) to avoid the blistering heat. Our shade is drawn, the fans are on full blast, we are walking around in our undies and taking cold showers, its nice! And because it is so hot out, we find our eating habits have changed as well. We eat with the season, therefore, we have been drinking more water, eating cold foods like refreshing salads, seafood, fruits, or fresh bread with paté, and it seems the scale has liked my efforts.
I am back down to 155. YAY! My next plan of action? That's easy -- it is simply to enjoy!
Have a lovely summer and remember -- enjoy! Or as the French say: PROFITE! (prow-feet!)
Much love and respect -- Jennifer
I recently watched this documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop.
I had no idea what to expect, I simply wanted to be entertained, and I was.
I highly, highly recommend this flick.
The documentary is about street art and artists and the consequences of their art becoming mainstream. The documentary interviews and showcases these artists in their true element. We journey with them at night as they make the streets their Lourve.
Then, there is Thierry Guetta, otherwise known as Mr. Brainwash, a French man who just so happened to align himself with something great and, in my opinion, pretty much messed it all up. Or did he?
This documentary has so many different layers and makes you question, what is art? What truly defines an artist?
The film forced me rethink my own ideas of how art is created, the artist's statement, and how their art is appreciated and received.
It made me think about the Andy Warhol's quote, "Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art."
This documentary also brought up some negative feelings about (most, some, whatever) French people as well, but I will get to that soon enough.
In a nutshell, Guetta is special. Since I have lived in France for the last few years, and I work as both an English and dance teacher, I understand Guetta, but honestly, I can't stand Guetta! He's French, so he wears his stupidity well, (most) French people do. That's the rub, though. I have a saying: In the real world, I know! On Planet France, I understand.
I liken it to being angry at a mentally and physically challenged person. How can you be angry at a mentally and physically challenged person? YOU CAN'T!! You simply cannot, and with that said: WELCOME TO FRANCE!
There is a saying in France and it goes a little something like this... When God created France, he really outdid himself.
To God, France was paradise! So, to even the playing field, he invented the French.
I think this movie is an essential watch for all French people! I feel they must know how they are perceived by the rest of the world. Seriously. There were several parts in the movie where I couldn't help to wonder if Guetta was joking. I attempted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but after a while, I started to question other aspects of the documentary, such as:
Is this a real documentary? Nobody is really that stupid, are they? Wait, what? Are you kidding me? Wow.
(In fact, EVERYDAY in my French city of Bordeaux, I pretty much ask these same questions!)
Don't believe me? Well, check out some of my favorite quotes from the movie, especially from Guetta himself. ENJOY!
Banksy: Most artists take years to develop their style; Thierry seemed to miss out on all those bits.
Banksy: There's no one like Thierry, even though his art looks like everyone else's.
Banksy: Warhol repeated iconic images until they became meaningless, but there was still something iconic about them. Thierry really makes them meaningless.
Banksy: I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore.
Thierry Guetta: I don't know how to play chess, but to me, life is like a game of chess. **my favorite!**
Banksy: Yeah, I was faced with that terrible thing, when somebody shows you their work and everything about it is shit... so... you don't really know where to start.
Thierry Guetta: That's why I call myself Mr. Brainwash. It's because everything that I do... somewhere... it brainwash your face.
Banksy: Uhmmm... You know... it was at that point that I realized that maybe Thierry wasn't actually a film maker, and he was maybe just someone with mental problems who happened to have a camera.
Lazarides, Steve: I think the joke is on... I don't know who the joke's on - really. I don't even know if there is a joke.
Thierry Guetta: [talking about meeting Banksy for the first time] It was magic that this person let me film, you know? I felt like I had the piece that will finish the puzzle. It was like getting something in the daylight that... what you see in the nightlight. He was even more than I expected; he was, like, just incredible; he was cool, he was... he was human, he was... he was... he was... he is, you know, he's really like a... what he represents, you know? He's really like a... I think he's really like a... I really liked him!
Mapping the French Mentality, plus fun and cute French habits for everyone!
Hugs and Kisses...
The typical French greeting of two kisses, one mwah per cheek, is a reality.
It's sweet, a sign of respect, and has its own set of rules that range from different regions around the country.
In Bordeaux, we do the traditional two kiss greeting, again one kiss per cheek. Hugging is not required.
In fact, let's just say that THE FRENCH DON'T HUG. Ok... they do but they don't.
French people find this too personal, yet the French greeting of two kisses, well that is just fine!
(Personally, I find it strange, but then again, foreigner in French translates to stranger=étranger.)
I have hugged several members of my French family, you should see the awkward dance that ensues! I personally find it hilarious, they just don't know what to do, it is like we competing in a pop and lock-athon! In other words, kiss, don't hug a Frenchie! Just trust me on this. Oh another rule of thumb, when in Rome (France) do as the Romans (French).
Since living in France, I have noticed a big difference in how I dress. I put heels, lipstick and perfume on to walk my dog to the bakery. I wear a lot more dresses and pay special attention to what and how I eat. Why? Because I am taking care of myself. On Planet France, the French believe in the basic respect for taking care of oneself.
Remember the book, French women Don't get Fat?
By the way, French women on a whole are slim and dress in a fashion that accentuates them, however I have seen a few French fatties on the streets, but it is rare, and of course, I am one of them. But I digress, I purchased that book in the United States, and when I read it, I couldn't comprend what she was talking about.
The author paints a picture of experiencing France with all five senses. I lived in Las Vegas, Nevada. The only trees around I was allergic to, it was too hot to enjoy hiking or playing tennis, my city was too big to walk to the nearest grocery store without dying of heat stroke. Then, I moved to France.
I reread her book and suddenly it made sense, because I experienced it. I'm not saying you need to move to France to dress better, although you will, I am saying you have to pay attention to how to accentuate your best self. This is what France has taught me. You know as well as I do that nothing beats the feeling of slipping on an outfit that makes you feel (fill in the blank) sexy, beautiful, stunning, radiant, glam, fierce, strong, etc!
French fashion revolves around the sense of each woman. She dresses practically and in accordance to her personality without it being a sideshow, but a fashion show. Know the boundry.
One of my former students, who visited the United States and witnessed Americans drinking soda with their meals, simply said this, "c'est ne pas très de la mode," meaning, its not very fashionable. Living in France, I have a saying:
In the real world, I know! On Planet France, I understand.
In that simple, yet profound statement, my student basically said, Americans have no respect. Ok, you are probably wondering how I made that leap. Again, I speak Planet France.
The French are very practical, so drinking soda with a meal, doesn't make any sense to them. Why? When you drink soda with your meal, the rush of sugar kills any flavor your food has. It is not only common sense, it is also disrespectful not to savor your food. It is also disrespectful to yourself, because by doing something as simple as drinking soda at mealtime, you are not taking care of yourself. Understand?
What is also world reknown is French food, therefore it is precious to them. You have to understand that this country has a reputation for demanding quality, from the very basics of human survival - eating and drinking. The French meal is itself an artform, a living artform. An experience. And everyday is an opportunity to experience something grand!
Isn't that dreamy? Don't get me wrong, reality must rear his ugly head, but when one expects and is experiencing life's pleasures, it places one in a different state of mind, so when s#it hits the fan, they are in a higher level of consciousness to accept it and move on. On the other hand, more and more fast food restaurants are popping up in France, and there have been some changes in eating habits due to a busy lifestyle, that's just the reality. However, the French are stubborn when it comes to tradition and ritual, therefore, quality food and presentation will always be a cultural identity.
Ever hear of a French kiss? Every culture has their own idea of what is charming and seductive, however I feel the foundation of having a strong sense of self (and lots of mascara!) will catch anyone's eye. But, the French are famously world reknowned and equipped in the romance/love-making department. Talk about a stereotype, huh!
A whole country, world reknowned for being lovers. They have a rep to protect! By the way, a French kiss is so-called because at the beginning of the 20th century the French had a reputation for more adventurous and passionate sex practices. On the other hand, to bag a Frenchie, also requires some skills in the art of flirting and body language.
Sounds difficult? Nonsense! It is simple to do, just be your authentic self, and you will have lovers aplenty!
That being said, a quick guideline on flirting 'the French way'. Due to personal observation and experience, French flirting is a quick glance where eye contact is established. That's it! But this is not an ordinary glance, oh no, it's as delicate and graceful as a butterfly flutter, and ends just as quickly. Easy-peasy, Ron Weasley! Understand?
Don't worry, you already have the talent to pull this off, just be you!
I hope I gave you some food for thought. Until next time, I thank you so much for reading.
Questions/Comments? Let me know.
xoxxox - Jennifer
Cachou enjoying the scenery.
Hey everybody! Sometimes, I just love France.
In previous posts, I have mentioned some of the life lessons France attempts to teach me, specfically endurance.
Of course, a person of substance, is always learning and practicing their craft, in other words, their chosen profession or passion.
France has taught me to endure. What do I mean by that?
Please allow me to explain: Imagine seeing your house on fire in front of you. You are standing there, helpless and numb, unable to believe what you are seeing and at the same time, believing that everything is going to be ok. This is what it is (sometimes) like living France and that is what I mean when I state, France has taught me to endure.
Then again, France has the capability to tickle my fancy everyday, if I let her and that is why, sometimes, I just love France. Especially when summer vacation rolls around. The French don't mess around with vacation, it is something they not only expect, but feel entitled to. It is one of their basic human rights.
The sweet husband took me to the south of France for a visit with my father-in-law (beau-père in French) then onto Spain.
We visited, San Sebastain, which is about a three hour drive away from Bordeaux. We enjoyed the scenery, held hands along the waterfront, people-watched, listened to some music, and stopped for a drink at a little hidden square in the city.
Check out some of our photos!
It is still the beginning of the summer, I envision beaches and a camping trip in the near future!
And what about you? Where are you planning on spending your summer vacation?
Have a safe and happy summer!
Until next time, thank you so much for reading and à bientôt. *bisous*
Today, I am going to share with you the French secret(s) for embracing life!
Today's article is about embracing... French life. It is an outline I created that has helped me survive in this crazy country called France, but more importantly, IT WORKS!! That said, I ask you to seriously ponder the questions below in hopes of embracing.... your best self.
To truly embrace la vie français, you must simply K.I.S.S. and make love!! Explanation below.
But first.... Questions to ponder: Have you ever noticed the world is passionate about all things French? Think about it... what springs to mind? Perhaps French Champagne? French perfume? French women? French men? A French lover? French fashion? French wine!? French kiss? French cuisine? See what I mean? I must admit, the French do have that certain something, which keeps one intrigued, (after all, they have a reputation to protect!) but truth be told, the French are very practical people. Surprised?
As mentioned above, this is the outline I have followed that has helped me truly embrace life: K.I.S.S. and MAKE LOVE!
1. The KISS method -- Keep it Simple Sexy! I would say this is the French credo, but HOW do you master it? For that I turn to Bruce Lee, "It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”
Deep down, we all know what we SHOULD do, so why don't we? I often tell my students, (I teach English) Do not make something easy, difficult, and they immediately comprehend, because they practice it, everyday.
To truly embrace la vie française is to simply: Do what gives you pleasure, as long as, it doesn't break The 3 Lines! And remember... Keep it Simple Sexy!
** The Three Lines, also known as The Three B's, is something I wrote late one evening in my personal journal, dated June 2, 2013. The Lines are as follows: (the lines of the) Body, (Crossing the line) Behavior boundaries and (The) Bottom (line), meaning money.
The Three Lines/The Three B's
Bottom line: The Three Lines works. After making a routine and sticking to it, I know that at the end of the day, I'm saving money, feeling good, and looking good!
AND... You know exactly what I mean, because YOU TOO have had these same feelings! It's TRUE!
Humour me a little bit.... I want you to think about/recall that feeling of slipping on that perfect dress or well cut suit!
Are you picturing it? Do you remember how you felt? Did you perhaps feel a sense of pride or confidence?
That simple garment had the power to make you feel as if you could take on the world!
Now recall the feeling of finding money in your winter coat. Remember what you felt? Perhaps a feeling of excitement and surprise? Did you attempt to remember how it got there?
Now think of your best achievement! Think about all the hard work, stress and perhaps pain you felt to reach that particular goal. Do you remember it like it was yesterday? Did all that work and strain make you a better person, one who can overcome any odds and get it done, like a boss!?
We ALL have had the feelings of pride and confidence, the feelings of surprise and excitement, and the feelings of pain and stress! These feelings make us who were are! It is these feelings we must cultivate!! We must feel the force, Luke! (yes, I love Star Wars.)
I feel if one commits to the K.I.S.S. method by adhering to The Three Lines, you are on your way to embracing... perhaps your true and loving self? Your best life? French life? Your life!
2. MAKE LOVE! I recently came across this quote from Langston Hughes, an American novelist and poet.
“Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love. I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.”
How simple, how perfect, I thought. To embrace life is to love life! Do what you want, enjoy, eat good food, take care of yourself, cultivate your feelings, pamper yourself, read more, take up something new, learn, and above all mind, The Three Lines!
May you and yours be blessed! Take care of yourselves, KISS often and make love! -- Jenny! xoxxox
Read: Embracing the Art of Love... Frenchified Style! Part II Deux!
Bonjour et Bienvenue!
Thank you for stopping by for a spell!
I am a 40-something year old American woman. Born in Texas, raised in Las Vegas!
Frenchified for Life
is a fabulous little lifestyle blog about truly embracing French life!
My intent is to simply inspire you to create something unique and beautiful in your everyday life. The French have this wonderful and annoying habit of seeing the world through rose colored glasses, might as well learn something from them!
That said, I lift my glass to you!
By the way, I mention the name Cachou (or The Cash) a lot, I'm referring to her...