We've been eating lettuces and kale from our garden, and today I will pick English peas for the first time. If I gather enough peas, we'll be dining on a Pea and Prosciutto Risotto tonight!
All of the lettuces in my garden are French. The upper right photo is my bed of cucumbers and edible nasturtiums. I have three Italian heirloom varieties of eggplant.
Plantings in my two herb gardens this year include chives, parsley, sage, tarragon, dill, basil and cilantro. I also have sorrel this year and will pair that with salmon this weekend.
Judging by the number of squash flowers on my three plants, I predict many loaves of zucchini bread this summer!
University of Minnesota Edelweiss Grapes climbing along our garage. I wonder if my husband will be attempting wine this fall. Two years ago the bottom of his glass carboy bottle, holding the wine, broke. You can imagine what our basement smelled like for days... Apparently, there was a bubble in the blown glass bottle. What a disappointment.
Peonies from plants given to me by my mother many years ago. They grew in her garden in Amana, Iowa, and now grow in mine.
Molten Lava Oxalis... I purchase this plant every spring. I just love it in this clay pot.
And of course, a Bisous update. He is now over 7 months old and would chase his frisbee the entire day... if I would toss it for him the entire day. Nope... not doing that!
TAKE a LOOK:
Time for a Bisous update, isn't it? He's growing into a fine, young man! At 5 1/2 months and 18 pounds (Pipi's weight on a good day), I think I'm going to end up having a big boy. Bisous' father is 25 pounds, so I'm assuming that Mr. B will end up somewhere around that number.
I'm good with a big Frenchie. One reason I got a male and a pied is, I wanted a French Bulldog that was the total opposite of Pipi. I needed my new puppy to be different because there could never be another Pipi and I didn't want comparisons (by me). Pipi was also very small, between 18 and 20 pounds. Because of her size, I carried Pipi a lot. And I needed to because she was not a walker. We'd get two blocks from home and she would refuse to walk, which meant she was carried. My concern with Bisous is, he will be bigger and heavier; not the carrying size. But he is also terrified of stairs. Everything I've tried to lure him up or down steps has not worked. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know. I see back pain in my future if we can't get this figured out.
So many of you have been asking about Bisous, I thought it was time for an update. I took this photo of Bisous today, along with Mr. Bubble. We've made it to the 5 month mark this week which means it should start getting easier... right? Really, he's been wonderful! He has a lot of energy and curiosity. He keeps me on my toes! So glad I've got him.
As I've told friends... I remember that puppies are a lot of work. What I forgot is, I'm old.
My days and nights are consumed by playing, feeding, and cleaning up after Bisous, who I've renamed, Busy-Baby-Bisous... and I wouldn't have it any other way. We just love him. But these Blueberry, Oat, and Greek Yogurt Muffins are all I've been able to make in my kitchen today. I promise you, it will not take you two hours to make these muffins, as it did me. They are extremely easy to mix up and bake. I just had a few interruptions by little, Busy-Baby Bisous...
+ adapted from a Donna Hay recipe
• 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, sifted
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
• 3 large eggs
* 3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
• 1/2 cup thick, natural Greek yogurt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling
• 1 cup frozen blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
2. Place 2 tablespoons of the flour in a small bowl; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining flour and the baking powder. Add the sugar, eggs, oil, yogurt, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
3. Add the blueberries to the reserved 2 tablespoons flour and toss to coat. Gently fold the blueberries and the oats into the batter in the large mixing bowl.
4. Divide the batter between twelve 1/2 cup-capacity muffin tins lined with paper cases.
5. Sprinkle tops with extra oats and sugar. Place on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
TAKE a LOOK:
It's extremely rare for me to post onto LivingTastefully twice in one day, but I've had multiple requests for a photo of the newest addition to our family. He actually isn't even with us yet... a pied French Bulldog who we have named Bisous (Bee-zoo) and means "kisses" in French. We couldn't be happier and if all goes as planned, he should be with us by mid-January.
It's as though Bisous was meant to be, even before we found him. When we were in Paris this past September, I finally got to meet Stacey Snacks (you knew this was eventually coming, didn't you, Stacey?) And all of you are probably wondering where I'm going with this...
... as usual, I'll make this a long story... My husband and I were invited to Stacey and Henry's apartment on the Right Bank of Paris; just off the Champs-Elysées. The entire evening was a Slap My Face, Pinch Me moment that I would do anything to relive.
The balcony had a view of the Eiffel Tower and we stepped out onto it often...
And let me just say... the apartment was beyond French beautiful. Like I said, a Pinch Me moment to the max!
But finally, back to Bisous being "meant to be"... Stacey surprised me with the French bag below that has a pied French Bulldog woven onto the front. It has turned out to be (eerily) identical to the little pied male that will soon be ours. An omen, it seems.
(I now need to knit him a red scarf with black dots.) Our house has been far too quiet without Pipi. I'm looking forward to being totally preoccupied with this little guy.
But back to Paris. I have been known to make a complete idiot out of myself running after every French Bulldog I see while there. Here are a few of the photos I took of Frenchies on my recent trip. Above is a cast plaster French Bulldog with a collar that is for sale at a stationary shop on Rue du Bac.
Another "model" Frenchie sporting a hand-knit sweater and collar/leash at Le Bon Marché.
I absolutely love this old, paper maché French Bulldog in the window of an antique shop across the street from the French Sénat in the Jardin du Luxumbourg. I could find the perfect spot for him in my house...
A black-brindle Frenchie on a Saturday morning walk in the 7th Arrondissement.
And finally, a tiger brindle French Bulldog running off leash in the gardens of Versailles. That's the life! And yes, the French love their French Bulldogs.
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I'm madly rushing around before I leave for France in two days and never planned to photograph and post a recipe anymore, but this cake was just too good! We've celebrated three birthdays over the past two months and this cake was for daughter Whitney's birthday yesterday. The Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake is an Yvonne Ruperti recipe via Serious Eats and the Peanut Butter Mousse is what makes this cake SO good! I mounded the cake with Sugared Peanuts and served it with scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.
The birthday girl with Pipi. My Pipi will turn 14 on Sunday; almost unheard of for a French Bulldog.
Midge relaxing at the celebration (and bummed that she can't eat chocolate cake)... I'll be back in a couple of weeks with loads of Provencal photos.