Days of festivals; nights of feasting

I don’t know about you, but I am enjoying the heck out of Christmas in Europe. I finally made it to a real Christmas market, in Annecy, France. The weather is so spectacularly beautiful I wish I could gift wrap it for you. This was our weekend:

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We wandered through the markets lining the canals, which offered your typical farmer’s market wares, as well as Christmas-y inspired foods and decorations. Z and I’s favourite booth was a Quebecois one. We indulged in poutine in the park, as well as some authentic Beavertails.

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Christmas time, Genevois style

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Are you an introvert? I am such a classic introvert, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot – it’s a brilliant time to be an introvert. There’s all kind of news about how introverts are actually awesome and extroverts just need to back off a bit and stop trying to make us go to parties. I wish this had been more of a thing back when I was in high school. I thought there was something wrong with me. Besides near crippling shyness and intense social anxiety, I just really hated parties. Now though, I know, that it’s cool that I didn’t like parties. It’s just the way I am. Parties are like a necessary evil, but not the way I’d choose to enjoy my free time.

So when, due to austerity purposes, the big scary fancy Christmas party Z’s company is throwing decided to cut out significant others, I was (not so) secretly thrilled. Whassat? I can’t go to your scary grown up party? Especially without the calming social lubrication of alcohol, which I admittedly used to rely on too much when I was younger in order to endure these things? Oh, boo. Continue reading

Book Reviews

I have to start my post with exciting news for my very talented friend, Melinda Olliver, who just published a novel, Not Counting You. I am so excited for her and can’t wait to read it. You should totally help out local talent and support new authors – check out her book at Smashwords.

And speaking of supporting authors … just a reminder (plead) that if you’ve read my novel, New City, please take a few minutes to write a quick review on Amazon, here. Just scroll down to where it says “write a customer review.” It’s reviews that really help sell novels – it’s funny, but people don’t ever seem to care how well rated something is, but rather how many other people have read or seen it. Popularity is king in this world. So I would so appreciate it if you could do this for me – it doesn’t even have to be a good review, I won’t take it personally (*cries into pillow). Soon I might be pimping the next novel, so it will be great to have a good starting point there. Continue reading

Banana Pancakes

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This is a post for lazy Sundays. Lazy Sundays have taken on a somewhat sacred importance; life travels at such a whirlwind pace that the days when you have nothing going on at all, and all the hours stretch out in front of you with nothing to fill them but happy lazy times – those are the best. They are few and far between, so I love to soak them up.

And the best way to start out a lazy Sunday is with pancakes. I was never a huge pancake fan, until this pregnancy. I wouldn’t say it’s a craving, exactly. It’s not like I feel I’m going to die if I don’t have delicious pancakes, right now. I don’t have any cravings at all like that this time around. When I was pregnant with X, I did – root beer and jelly beans. Probably did not help with my massive weight gain last time around. This time, even if I did crave them, root beer and jelly beans are not easily accessible, which will help, I think. Continue reading

Travel France: Lyon

One thing I’ve been noticing is super trendy here in Geneva, or rather one brand that’s super trendy, is Canada Goose. I’m walking downtown Geneva, and I could be in Toronto from the amount of Canada Goose I see everywhere. It is huge. I have two differing views on the matter. The first is that it is so awesome to see a Canadian brand do so well, not just at home but internationally. Canadians, be proud to know that your country’s products are keeping rich people warm the world over.

The other thought is: my god, it is so not cold enough for Canada Goose! Are you kidding me, Genevois. I can barely see my breath outside. I go out in a sweater and my leather jacket, no problems. I usually will throw some mittens in and never actually put them on, but it’s good to have them, just in case. This is what my village looks like today. It’s mid-December.

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Savoury Cookies

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I’ve slowly been giving up on trying to bake whatever it is I feel like over here. The ingredients just aren’t available, and it is so frustrating. That’s one thing I took for granted in Canada – the assumption that absolutely anything you want is going to be available … somewhere. Here, not as much. Try finding graham wafer crumbs, a really nice baking ingredient for dessert crusts. And yet, just doesn’t exist here. Or, it does, but I have to make an extra trip to the American Store, and that place was just not what I was expecting.

I’d heard about the American Store before, a place where expats can go to find their Kraft Dinner and whatever else they’ve been craving from home. I thought it was only in Nyon, a village about a half hour outside of Geneva (going the opposite direction from me!) so I hadn’t been there yet. Until I discovered that there was another store, right in Geneva. Z and I took an excursion out on the weekend to discover what they had. I was sort of imagining coming home laden with goods from home, lots of baking stuff I couldn’t find anywhere else. It was going to be glorious. What I did find took my breath away. Continue reading

Christmas Cookies, 2014 edition

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Things are starting to get pretty festive around here. My home is finally starting to catch up with the general Christmas fever that lights up Europe, so it seems, starting in October. I’m hosting a small Christmas get-together tomorrow, and Christmas cookies will be the main edible feature, so I thought I’d showcase some of my new recipes. I have included one of my old favourites, a twist on one particular cookie I adored growing up, and something entirely new. I also made my favourites, which I’ve blogged about before, Davy Crocketts and Hello Dollies. Everything is delicious, and terrible for you. I’ve gone through untold amounts of butter, and can just be thankful for holiday pregnancy (meaning you can eat all your baking without an ounce of guilt. That weight’s supposed to be coming on, right? Right?) Continue reading