All About Paris – Giving Thanks



This week I am thankful for…

…the sweet deliciousness of a French macaron.





…spending the whole day enjoying the beautiful Place of Versailles.

…the tube in London.  The Paris Metro system is uber crowded, dirty and gross.  The London Tube system is the exact opposite.


…the prettiest in airport terminal sunset I’ve ever seen – 
tonight at CDG.



…experiencing awesome street art in Paris.  
Some of the coolest “street artists” are from there and got the” low down” on some of the newbies making an impression, i.e. “Mouse Man” – that’s my name for him..he’s  placing these white plaster mice on the walls all over the city in the last 2 weeks.  It’s pretty cool.


…all the amazing French bread, the best part about Paris.




…the Blue Bike Tour we booked in Paris.  We took the “Secrets of Paris” tour and were thrilled with it!  I highly suggest booking one of their amazing tours!





…experiencing all silly fun the Paris auto show had to offer – the Ford free fall Superman thing and the “run like a gerbil” thing.   You are never too old to play!



What Are You Thankful For This Week?

Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup with Chicken

Hearty Vegetable and Barley with Chicken Soup

 Now that I’m finally getting settled and the weather in London is getting colder…
It’s time to make soup.
Who am I kidding?
I make soup in the middle of Summer.
I did try 2 NEW things in this soup.

Hearty Vegetable and Barley with Chicken Soup

Take a handful of dried porcini mushrooms and run them threw a coffee grinder to make a powder.
Combining this powder with a bit of soy sauce when added to a canned veggie broth…
Really adds another level of flavor to the soup, an almost meaty savoriness.

Hearty Vegetable and Barley with Chicken Soup#2
I added turnips.
I don’t really eat this vegetable but not because I don’t like it…
More like, I just haven’t been around it a lot and I don’t know what to do with it.
Well, I’m a turnip lover now baby!
This veggie works well in faking you thinking its a potato (it’s not) & thickening up the soup!
Plus,they are high in Vitamin C and low in calories.

Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup with Chicken
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Soup
  • ⅛ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, grinded to a powder
  • 8 sprigs fresh parsley plus 3 tablespoons chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1½pounds leeks, white and light green parts sliced ½ inch thick and washed thoroughly
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 celery ribs, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 5 cups water
  • 5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled &smashed
  • 1 turnip, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • **1/2 rotisserie chicken shredded**
  1. Grind porcini with spice grinder until they resemble fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds.
  2. Measure out 2 teaspoons porcini powder. Reserve remainder for other use.
  3. Using kitchen twine, tie together parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf (or just throw them in like I do)
  4. Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  5. Add leeks, carrots, celery, wine, soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons salt.
  6. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and celery is softened, about 10 minutes.
  7. Add water, broth, barley, porcini powder, herb bundle, and garlic.
  8. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes.
  9. Add turnips and cabbage. Return to simmer and cook until barley, turnip, and cabbage are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.


Hearty Vegetable and Barley with Chicken Soup

 Do You Eat Turnips?

Demain, je vais à Paris


For those who don’t speak French…
Tomorrow, I go to Paris.
It was a spur of the moment trip, we are meeting Glen’s sister & nephew there…
More quality family time before they return to Canada mixed w/some French fun.
It will be Glen’s 1st time in France, my 4th.
However, I haven’t been to Paris in 14 years.


Since today is all about Thinking Out Loud...
I wanted to share a memory about Paris, the place where the trip that changed my life started.
My Senior year of University started out in Paris.
I got accepted into a very unique study abroad program.
In fact, this program, was the sole reason I choose my school.
Unlike a regular study abroad program where you go to school, stay in 1 county and live in a home…
This program was the total opposite of that.
We didn’t stay in one country longer than 2 weeks and we were given time in between to explore Europe.
So, we would be in France and our teacher would say…
“You have 3 days to make it to Budapest.”
We could do what we wanted, go wherever and learn, sightsee and get lost – lol.
As long as we were in the next country for class on time!
Then, in a week or so, we would do it all again – Germany, Italy, Greece, Hungry….
Our “classroom” was the city – museums, cafes, parks, the train and once, a cruise ship.
We had a scavenger hunt in The Louvre.
We had a 100 yard dash in the 1st Olympic stadium.
We performed a play in the Theatre of Dionysus.
We learned about Art, Architecture, History and Life in general.
Our teacher, who passed away a couple years ago, was amazing.
He spoke 10 different languages, and had a zest for life, culture and learning like no other.
After 3 months and 11 countries, we all returned different people.
I was humbled by the people I met, the experiences I had and my zest for travel & exploring was ignited!
The more I traveled, the more I learned and the more I saw, the more I wanted to see.
My vision wasn’t so narrow-mined and my focus shifted from “making a alot of money” to “really enjoying life”!
Anyways, when I started that dventure 14 years ago…
It all started in Paris.
I was beyond excited, trying to figure out train maps and directions, all while not speaking a lick of French.
I remember that I thought it was weird they drank so much “fizzy” water.
(now I love sparkling water, but back then, I hated it)
It wasn’t my favorite city in Europe at the time, but I’m excited to explore it all over again this weekend.
I promise a ton of photos to document the weekend…
Au revoir!

 **stay tuned tomorrow for a new and fabulous soup recipe..
Perfect for those chilly Fall days **