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Wine Harvest is OVER – now a Celebration of St. Michael, the patron saint of Cassis

Deutsch: Bleiglasfenster in der Basilika Saint...

Deutsch: Bleiglasfenster in der Basilika Sainte-Marie-Madeleine in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, einer Gemeinde im Département Var in der französischen Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Darstellung: Wappen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last Day of Harvest in Provence – and St Michael’s Day to celebrate is tomorrow – regardless of the upcoming storm coming through. It There will be music playing, and events planned after the big mass at 10:30am. Also, locals will be wearing the native costumes (Provençal ) . Can’t wait to see it!

Yesterday was the end of the harvest in Cassis.  It’s been a very difficult summer for the winegrowers in the region.  First of all the spring was much wetter and colder than it’s been in years.  Second, the summer was extremely dry and hot so the grapes that were supposed to be ready about a month ago, were not ready until almost October.

Today we went to a tour and wine tasting at Clos Ste Magdeline . It’s literally a few meters from our new apartment.  – I love the name because I happen to like Mary Magdalene in the Bible.  There is proof of Mary Magdaline’s remains – part of them – in an area of France called St Maximin-la-Saint Baume, high up in the mountains of Provence, in the Var region,  north east of Aubagne.  It’s incredibly beautiful in these mountains (collines – in French) and location of the Abbey that holds her partial remains.  It’s haunting and mysterious.

Inside the abbey are paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Lancet windows light the altar tribune in the ...

Lancet windows light the altar tribune in the Basilica of Mary Magdalene, Saint Maximin la Sainte Baume (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I regress.  Today, the winery tour was entirely in French , David translated for me.  I’ve decided that I can actually “speak french but cannot understand one word of it” after what I went through today.  First having a “Soin Visage” – (complete facial) in my little village by an incredibly capable esthetician where we were speaking of pores, and dry skin and other anomolies, –  she understood me, but I didn’t understand a word from her.  It’s so embarrassing.

So, after the wonderful TOUR, and after only two 1/2 glasses of the best white wine I have tasted in a very long time, it was only  noon- and I had to go home for a nap!!!!  Drinking wine, even a few little sips in the middle of the day – is not for me.  Good thing we were only a few steps away from the winery, and really good we didn’t have to drive.

Anyway, to know more about this most incredible winery, that has the most outstanding views of the mountains and the sea, and like one wrote about it – wanted to beg the owner to stay it was so beautiful, yes, indeed , it was.



In memory of my daughter

No recipe today , sorry, this is deeply personal and – this is in memory of…………..








my daughter –             normal_pregnant_silhouette_low_res







41 years ago, September 26, 1972 – September 26, 2013



This is about a little girl that I was never privileged to see, to meet, to know.   Her name was Tiffany Lara Wallace.  She was born 41 years ago today with many problems.  Basically, she was born full term with an Omphalocele – a birth defect of the abdominal (belly) wall.








CDC – Birth Defects, Facts about Omphalocele – NCBDDD.








Tears come to my eyes as I write this, because it was like yesterday that she was born.  She lived for only 2 days.  Since I had to stay in the hospital longer it was not possible for me to see her.  She was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami where they did emergency surgery.  She died sometime after the surgery.

One of the nurses that was on the operation was a friend of someone I worked with at First State Bank of Miami.   She said that the nurse spoke of how beautiful her skin was, how rosy cheeks she had, and an almost glossy sheen to her face.  I thought that was beautiful.   I didn’t know that the problems she was born with had anything to do with her complexion, but anyway, It was SOMETHING, something to grasp on to since I didn’t get to see her.








A short time later, the pediatrician that was called in for her – had photos of her and when I asked if I could come to the office and see them he said, “Yes, it’s fine if you would like to come by.”








When I drove up in my dad’s old huge brown station wagon I can remember to this day parking it in front of the pediatricians office and feeling numb.  I was going to see what my baby – my first born – LOOKED like!    I was numb with excitement and terror.








But when he put the “photo” up – it was not a photo at all, it was an x-ray.   An X-RAY!!  No photos of her, just the skeletal form of my tiny infant daughter.  There was a silver looking object in the middle of her tiny body.  I asked what that was, through watery eyes ……he replied, ‘Oh that’s her diaper pin!”   I burst into tears.   Ofcourse, diaper pins – they did use them – no pampers.








It brought it all home.   The only tangible thing  – a diaper pin – glossy silver in the “picture”,  her covering, her short life, our loss, our daughter.








It’s rather strange, I have been a mentor to more than one person over the years – who have all been my daughter’s age at any particular time.   God works in mysterious ways.








Is it any wonder when my first son, born after Tiffany had his own baby girl, my dear dear beautiful Gracie, who I ran out and bought 27 pink outfits all in one hour, on the day she born!!!








Is it any wonder I cherish every moment that I have with my four  beautiful grandchildren, 3 of which are girls – and one really awesome boy!  I am truly truly truly blessed by God, my King of Kings, my Lord of Lords – that knew exactly what the plan was in my life, and yes, the angels cried tears along with us, as bad things just sometimes happen.  But,  in the greater scheme of things, untold blessings have been ours for too many years to even count.  I’m grateful for everything.








Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Baby Pink

Baby Pink (Photo credit: Coanri/Rita)














Where are the “Donna Reed Full Slips?

The Donna Reed Show

The Donna Reed Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you – any of you – remember The Donna Reed Show?  Yeah, 60’s – very lovely woman with the “perfect house, perfect wardrobe, perfect children”?    Well, I’m sure that the series never did show Donna Reed in her full slip underneath those very crisply ironed dresses of hers, nevertheless, trust me, she did have a perfect, very white, silk slip underneath her perfectly pressed clothes.

But try to FIND one of those full slips ANYWHERE,  in America, they don’t exist.  Anymore.  In France, yes, they do, but it would take a bank loan to purchase one.    In America, EVERYTHING that goes underneath your clothing is SPANX.  And spanx, is not bad, if you don’t care to be squished to death underneath your clothing.   When I searched last August, I found that there were spanx coverings and spanx “slips” and spanx tops and spank bottoms, but no regular as I like to call them – “Donna Reed type whole slips!”  ANYWHERE.  They just did not exist in the U.S. of A.

SO, —-Today, I went to the  outdoor market sole-ly for fresh tomatoes.

I came home with a real – bona-fide – white – lacey – silk slip – for under 20 euros!!!!

Imagine my happiness today, when going to the market for only TOMATOES and a few fresh veggies that I stumbled upon a “lingerie booth” – complete with a “cabana type closet” where I could try on my “underlings” – the passer-bys just inches away.  It was fantastic.

"Cabana" to try undergarments  - very fun

“Cabana” to try undergarments – very fun

Fresh tomatoes was what I was after today

Fresh tomatoes was what I was after today

my beautiful whole slip

my beautiful whole slip

walk home in the clouds covering Cassis

walk home in the clouds covering Cassis

So!  After searching markets everywhere in the United States, and boutiques that HAD “whole slips” but were so incredibly expensive I would have had to sell my house – I found – today – in CASSIS – at the market that I love the most, the most beautiful, the most sensuous “Donna Reed Whole Slip” that I’ve been wanting for a very long time.

Cassis Markets – ROCK


25th Septembre 2013

For tonight’s Dinner: How ’bout a LEEK TART?

For tonight’s Dinner: How ’bout a LEEK TART?.

For tonight’s Dinner: How ’bout a LEEK TART?


breaking eggs

breaking eggs

lovely creamy custard poured into the cooked leeks and bacon

lovely creamy custard poured into the cooked leeks and bacon

Emmenthal Cheese (swiss cheese) poured on top - or you can put it in the custard

Emmenthal Cheese (swiss cheese) poured on top – or you can put it in the custard

My beautiful Leek Tart

My beautiful Leek Tart

Dinner is served!!

Dinner is served!!

This is really really good.   It’s not the EASIEST, well, no, that’s not right – It IS easy, just takes a bit of time to do the crust by hand because I don’t have my food processor with me.  If I had the food processor, that flour and butter and ice water would spit out a crust in like 3 seconds.  I had to use the ‘ole fork and knife method since, that is all I had. That being said, It made a very good crust.

Here’s how it goes – you will not regret making this !!!

Creamy Leek Tart with Emmenthal Cheese

For Tart:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 oz  (1/2 stick) butter

3 Tablespoons  ice cold water or ice cold vodka

(vodka makes crust flaky) –     as you can see I had no rolling pin, but those liter water bottles work great!

makeshift rolling pin

makeshift rolling pin

Use a tart pan if at all possible.  Otherwise, you can use a shallow pie pan.

For filling:

1 tlb goose fat (or Olive Oil)

6 ounces slab bacon rind removed

Green part from 2 1/2 pound leeks, some white

is fine, but is more pungent then the green part.  I mixed mine.

Clean and dice the leeks

sea salt  – ground pepper

5-6 large eggs

2/3 cup whole milk and 1/3 crème fraîche  (if no crème fraîche   where you live, use sour cream)

or 1 cup crème fraîche (which is what I use, makes it very creamy, but solid.

Line tart pan with pastry, chill for 30 minutes

Melt fat with bacon in large skillet  (I use lardons here because they’re plentiful )

cook until bacon is golden but not crisp

add leeks, stir so they are coated with fat and cook, covered until tender – 15” stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to bottom of pan.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.

In medium bowl whisk together eggs well, then whisk in milk and cream or just crème fraîche.  Season with salt and pepper.    Add Emmenthal grated cheese (3/4 cup) or swiss grated cheese.  Stir well.  Sorry about no exact measurement on Salt and pepper.  We use less salt than most, and pepper – well, we like pepper.

Arrange cooked leeks and bacon evenly over pastry. Pour custard mixture over it.  Place the tart on baking sheet and bake in bottom third of oven until top is golden and puffed and custard is cooked through – 25-35 minutes – 400 degrees.

Remove from oven.   Serve immediately  with green salad.

Bon Appetit!

Marti in Cassis

Fresh Ravioli Night – Simple simple simple


Fresh Ravioli Night


This recipe is so very simple.  First –  go to your local Italian Market, (like in Saint Louis, that would be “The Hill”)     and                        2)  purchase the freshest pasta you can possibly find.
Every Wednesday and Friday in Cassis there is a huge market.  The Italian guy is standing happily  with his fresh pasta from Italy.  I don’t know how he does it, but he’s always there (one year now I’ve seen him every wed and friday, ) and his home-made pastas and ravioli’s are incredibly deletable – like I’ve never tasted.  After purchasing your ravioli,  you really  can’t do much wrong with it (except over boiling it).  We put it in the water for only 5 minutes, or less,  and it’s done.


Sometimes we put crème fraîche in it, or tiny cut veggies on the top.  Last night it was just sautéed matchstick carrots, shallots in bit of butter with herbs d’Provence.  Stirred some crème fraîche in the veggies and topped the steaming pasta.  It was absolutely PERFECT.

Fresh handmade ravioli from the "Italian Guy" at the Cassis market - topped with  matchstick carrots and shallots, & tiny bit of creme fraiche

Fresh handmade ravioli from the “Italian Guy” at the Cassis market – topped with matchstick carrots and shallots, & tiny bit of creme fraiche


Here’s my friend Sandrine with an “German actor friend” ooooh la la, and here is our pasta dish.  No, only Sandrine enjoyed the pasta with me and David.  The actor was not invited.  hmmmmmmm.

Sandrine and the German Actor, oh what's his name

Sandrine and the German Actor, oh what’s his name


Bon Appetit


“How to Peel an Acorn Squash” – I LOVE THIS NEW BLOG I FOUND!!!!

THis is better than anything I can post about food today (Unless I make my great pasta, which is not mine, it’s the Italian guy’s at the market) but first read this cool way to peel squash and happy SQUASHING – as it’s FALL BABY!

The Lazy Homesteader

Each fall I can’t wait for winter squash.  It’s so yummy and delicious.  Butternut is my favorite, but only because it’s much easier to prepare than acorn squash.  Until last night.

Last night I made this delicious recipe.  I substituted acorn squash for the pumpkin, and was once again faced with the challenge of peeling the squash.  And I finally figured this out.

First halve the squash and remove the seeds.  Cut a small slice off the bottom of the squash so it can sit on your cutting board.  Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the ridges.

Cut a wedge off the squash, slicing through the, um… valley?  Crease?  Valley – we’ll go with valley.

Now you have a nice wedge that you can turn and finish peeling.

Before slicing off another wedge, peel the exposed edge that was left on the half-squash.  Then, slice through the…

View original post 39 more words

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

My husband is a true romantic.   Me, on the other hand,  CAN be, but I smashed his efforts this morning.  No, this is not X-rated.  It’s about our breakfast.

He sweetly handed me a little bowl of fresh strawberries and bananas with a darling swirl of whipcreme on the top.

Heartfelt strawberries

Heartfelt strawberries


He barely got the words out – before I grabbed it from his loving hands and started stirring the contents together.    I’m pretty starving lately as I have been trying to diet before our big cruise.   He then says, “Well, I made a HEART for you, with the whip creme! “    I looked at it, and could not discern that because in my haste I swirled it………and smashed it.


Ahhhhhh, impetious spouse that I am………










The Butler

I meant to write about this the other day, but I was so moved by it, and kept thinking about the entire film –   THE BUTLER  that I didn’t write anything.  I just thought and thought about those times.   We, meaning me and David (and a whole lot of other people our ages)  were alive during the time the movie takes place ,  but when you see part of your very young, then young then grown, then really mid-age adult – then even older adult, persona as these dramatically packed years flash before you  on a giant screen– their history – your history – intertwined into probably the person you have become and why you have become —–  it kind of does a job on your head.   This story was developed well.   It Gave me so many goosebumps, – was so moving, I can’t describe it.   It was incredibly & immaculately & rawly conveyed, filmed and actors were top of their game, even if you scratch your head to say, “Wonder who that is?”   Oh, what a cast!!!

So, I’m here to recommend this fabulous film.   Let me know what you think if you are signed on to my word press blog – it would mean a lot to hear your views.

I see an OSCAR already going into the hands of ………………………………………………….

see it !

Ginger Chicken Curry

GINGER CHICKEN CURRY                

Ginger Chicken Curry

Ginger Chicken Curry

6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped  ,( mix with the ginger in bowl)

1 can coconut milk (400 ml) or plain Greek yogurt as substitute for coconut milk

1 large onion

1 can chopped tomatoes

1 small can of red curry paste  or 1/2 jar of Paste for Curry (210 g)

1 bouquet of fresh cilantro

1/2 cup + cashew nuts

Chicken Ginger Curry night in Marti & David's apartment

Chicken Ginger Curry night in Marti & David’s apartment

to make it

  1. Slice each chicken breast into bite size pieces
  2. Put in the bowl with the ginger, garlic, mix well
  3. cover chicken mixture and leave in the fridge to marinate until ready to cook
  4. For the best flavor do this in the morning or, better still, the night before.
  5. Peel and quarter onions & very finely chop them.
  6. Heat olive oil in a large pan , then add the onion; cook until  translucent.
  7. Add the chicken mixture with the marinade and cook over a high heat until the chicken changes color
  8. Add Curry Paste and stir in well
  9. Add tomatoes (do not drain)  and cook few minutes – — Pour in the coconut milk, (or the 1 – 1/2 cups yogurt)  add 1/2 cup  water or chicken stock if it gets too thick,  then cover and simmer gently for 20 mins until the chicken is tender
  10. Stir in chopped fresh cilantro from the bouquet,  then serve over rice.  Naan bread is a good accompaniment if you can find it.  I used a baguette.
  11. Garnish the top of the Chicken Curry with more Cilantro and the Cashew nuts

If the curry is too hot, you can add more yogurt.  Usually 1 cup is enough.

My little story:   We had friends come the night I prepared this Ginger Chicken Curry.  It was only the second time I had made Curry Chicken.  I changed the recipe from the original one from the British Embassy Chef who prepared this one afternoon at the Paris Embassy for a bunch of bored housewives.  Is there such a thing anymore?  Housewives?  Well, anyway, hers was absolutely divine, but since I’m a GINGER fanatic, thought it should have more of this, not just a powder.  I love to grate ginger anyway.  The smell is so fantastic.   Sandrine who joined us that evening was allergic to coconut milk, thus, the other guest, Christopher, said – just use plain yogurt in place.  I did that, going to the market to find Greek PLAIN yogurt because it’s so thick .  It worked fine.

I prefer the coconut milk because of the taste, but it’s not for everyone.

My rice was BASMATI, and because I didn’t have a rice cooker, it came out gooey – But Christopher, the ever gentleman that he is reminded me that in Japan (where he used to teach) the rice was gooey there.  Okay, well, thanks for that – it sure made me feel better, and no one complained.  😉


Bon Appetit


in Cassis


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