Baking / Cooking

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Just Another French Meal

Published Sunday, 6 May 2012 by Sydney Sunny

After spending time with both my French family and French friends, I learned how the French people eat. And when they eat, they eat good from my observation and participation.

I am still up for a surprise every time I sit down at a French meal, but I have an excuse. I am from America.

**Before I start, these are my observation, don’t take them by heart. Each situation, family, and food is different. I am vegetarian, and it was really simple, I think, for the cook to work around me. I have not looked up information before writing this. It is purely my observation. If things are wrong, they are not wrong for me.**

I’m eating with Marine’s family in Dives, France.

The plates are placed on the table. The plate in the center. The knife and fork on the sides ( I forgot which sides for now). A smaller spoon is placed above the plate. The spoon is for the desserts. I found myself using my fork instead out of habit. Opps! Finally, a glass for a drink is place right above the plate where is the spoon is placed. The glass is not the right or left, as it is normally done in my household, but right in the center.

First Course: I am having  “salade de carotte rapee” and a beet salad. I think, it is my favorite course!

First Course:
The start is salads. There could be salads made of green lettuce or salads like “Salade de Carotte Rapee“. Also, there is sometimes raw vegetables with the salads.

*After you have finish your full of the salads, bread is usually taken. You can take bread anytime but usually afterwards it is eaten. *

Second Course: hot, main dishes

Second Course: Marine and Yumi’s hot dish of mussels and cream.

Second Course:
This is the main dish. There is usually one or two. One is usually meat and the other a side dish- for example rice, potatoes, or cooked vegetables. But what ever it is, it is hot or cooked. If meat was the only hot dish, there is always more from the first course.

*Again bread is eaten with the course and/or after*

Third Course: Cheese

Third Course:
Here is the very, very French course, cheese. A plate of different cheeses to chose from comes out. The cheese is taken with bread. Personally, I often took two because I want to try different kinds. However, often one is just chosen to taste.

*Bread is eaten with the cheese, and this is normally the end of the bread.*

Fourth Course: Dessert

Fourth Course:
This is sweetest course. It is dessert time! When Yumi and I were visiting, they made sure to buy pastries. I always ate too much because I’ve never seen such cute and wonderful tasting desserts! But for more casual days, there is raw fruit, pudding, mouse, or yogurt. They just went all fancy because of Yumi and me!

Fifth Course:
This is the time to digest all of that yummy French cooking, bread, and sweets. Coffee and tea is made.

Sounds like a yummy meal, right? I’ve never had meals like this- unless I was on a cruise!

I want to thank my family and friends for letting me take such lovely meals with them! I have not way of repaying you all such a wonderful gifts and experiences you have given me. I have learned more with you then in classrooms.


**Also, all pictures are from Marine. I was too busy eating and drinking to take pictures! Thanks, Marine!**


Salade de Carottes Râpées

Published Tuesday, 1 May 2012 by Sydney Sunny

Marine’s mother Mme Patricia saw my post about my favorite French things. She told me when I come over she will teach me how to make “salade de carottes râpées” (shredded carrot salad) because it is very simple! So here is the recipe from a French cook!

Before dinner Totoro become nervous. He feared that he would be on the menu! However, Mme Patricia showed him how to make a wonderful orange colored salad!

You will need:
Carrots (500g but you can use as many as you want)
Dijon Mustard
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

1. Peel the carrots. I think, she had about 500grams.

2. Shred the carrots- by machine it is fast! Put the carrots in a separate bowl.

3. In a small bowl, toss on a bit of salt and pepper (more can be added later for taste) and plop in some Dijon mustard (only can be Dijon) – about 1 or 2 spoon fulls.

4. Mix in olive oil till it becomes fluffy or thick but runny, like the picture.

6. Pore the dressing on the carrots right away and mix. If you want you can make more dressing, add more pepper or salt to taste.

Totoro was very happy not to be on the menu! The French often eat this salad as a first course! Personally, it could be my only course!

The yummy end!

My Missed [USA] Things

Published Thursday, 5 April 2012 by Sydney Sunny

Ah! Yes! I love the adventure of France. It is very enlightening living abroad as a student. I do not have much to worry about but my classes and my trips to Paris. But, sometimes I long for home- homesickness. My home is different then the city I live. I am a Southerner from the rural hillsides of Tennessee. I do not live in a village, a fact impossible for the French to believe; I live in a house surrounded by farm land. I see deer in the back of my land, foxes on the road, wheat in the spring, and corn or soybeans in the summer. I find wild blackberries in the heat of the summer, and I crunch the frozen grass in the winter. Although, I love Paris, France, art, and shopping, I was born in the country. I am most comortable there. My soul feels freer there.
Here is a list of things I miss about the USA. Somethings are impossible, too expensive, or too different to find in France; and, somethings are personal about where/how I live.

natural peanut butter

Natural Peanut Butter:

Yes, the true American will miss Peanut Butter. I miss it. Sometimes I am walking around, and I think I peanut butter. I just want to stop and sob! I have picked a few at Lidl when they are available but the taste was not right. I cannot place what was wrong, but it was not right. Also, I have tried normal boiled peanuts in the shell. I tried these a few times, but again the nuts lacked a taste. It could be that the peanuts are not from Alabama or Georgia. Who knows? I am looking forward to “real” (natural) peanut butter.

White Seedless Grapes

White Seedless Grapes:

The French and the whole of Europe never figured out how to grow seedless crops or pitting machines. I have yet to find seedless grapes. It ruins the heavenly experience for me. I love, love grapes in the summer. I practically live off of them in the heat. I eat them raw, or frozen. Yet, the few grapes I had… just had bitter pits. I hate it. Also, I always have to go out of the way to find any pitted dried fruit. Cannot wait for seedless grapes and pitted everything!


I usually have a few bags of edamame in the freezer, in the shell, out of the shell. It is perfect of a snack or part of a meal. It is perfect dorm food too. But I have not seen any edamame in France. If I did, I have a feeling it is not the same great price as in the USA. The last dinner I have with my family, we went to Pei Wai, and I ordered Edamame for my meal. My dad thought I was crazy to just have this, but I knew deep inside that it would be a rare find in France.



I like trying out the French holidays! I think I might celebrate them when I return home. However, I remember the sad feeling around October. I would be so excited if I saw a hint of Halloween in the shop’s display windows. I was just lost without the fun crafts of Halloween: Pumpkin craving, paper cut outs, masks, costumes, candy, “Trick or Treat”, and creep but cute things. I felt like the world was celebrating but not me. Halloween is truly a funny American holiday I hope to never miss again!



Have no fear! If I missed an episode on the TV, I knew I could find it on Hulu the next day of the channel’s website. However, to use Hulu you must be on USA soil due to copyrights. I hate miss my favorite shows. It really helps with stress that I feel from time to time. I need a good laugh with Modern Family or The Middle. They are like old friends! So now, I hunt for them online. It is possible to find them online… not my favorite action, but I am American just on different soil! I want some TV!
In the same category, Netflix will not work either. I love Netflix. I love movies and TV shows. I have a large list to watch when I return! Oh my!

Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby:

I miss a lot of big store in the US: Walmart (yes, even Walmart), Target, Dollar General, Jo-anns, Michel’s,  BAM, Walgreens, CVS, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and more. However, I miss everything about this store. I miss the painting section, the drawing section, the kid craft section, the scrapbook section, the bead section, and wood section, the yarn section, the stamp section, the paper section, the fake flower section, the fabric section, book section, and the coupon section on the website every week. Oh, yes! I have yet to find a large craft store. There are a few in Paris with nice things, but not in one huge store with great prices or sales, or coupons. I cannot wait to get back into my DIY projects, artwork, and knitting again!

Personal problems:

Hot Shower

Hot Shower:
I have a bad shower. It is just like Katy Perry’s song, “your hot and your cold!”  I could use a long hot bath about now… and a larger bathroom ( with a toilet)… and a mirror! I might find one in a modern fancy hotel but not in my dorm.

Southern Talk

Southern Politeness:

The French say there hellos and good byes as a formallity, but in the south it is our hospitality. I am use to holding doors open, making room for others, helping others, and saying all of the above in the picture. But, I have found myself in strange situations when I held the door for people. The French will tell me to go on, or just look at me strange with a “merci”. I get better response from the foreigners – like me. Also, I will move over for people on the sidewalk a lot, but often I fin the French hogging the sidewalk. Often I have to go around in the grass or street to pass them. I understand why people say the French are rude, but I think it is not the French. It is in my sight the people raised in the city. People use to a ton of people are not as polite or aware of others because they are use to fighting for a seat, the sidewalk or the supermarket lines. In the south, most are coming to the city to shop and are more often polite. I am also use to not so many people! I can go a week with seeing less then 10 people if I choose ( summer on the farm). Yet, in Amiens I am a bit stressed by all the people. I have to walk by the people, I have to look at the people, I have to stand with them in  line, I have to move around them to shop, they push me over to the other side, I sit and the people look at me, and I end up in my dorm. I might have a people problem. (On another note, I have found out what good costumer service is in France. When I am treated well, even in my broken French, I love that store from now and forever.)


Heating and Air:

All said in the above.

I will leave with a picture of my home of valleys of green forest, fields, and farmers, but no Paris.

Tennessee: My ❤

Check out my ever growing list on Pinterest!

Thanks for reading!

My Favorite [French] Things

Published Wednesday, 4 April 2012 by Sydney Sunny

I have been living in France for 7 months. It has been a long time for me, for others I’m just a baby. However, I have explored the life here in France and have found somethings I really enjoy! These are things that are easy to find in France and may be over looked, but hard to find where I live in the USA.



Speculoos a Tartiner by Lotus

Speculoos by Lotus

I fell love with Speculoos cookies. It is the (almost) perfect cookie! It has warm spices- like cinnamon, which is my favorite. They are just wonderful cookies, but to make it worst the brand Lotus made a spread. It is heaven. And, the surprising element about the Speculoos is – dah dah- IT IS VEGAN. Yes, Speculoos is the easy to find junk food for vegans in France.

Salade de Carottes Râpées:

salade de carottes râpées (french carrot salad)

On one of my first adventures for food, I was looking for good, safe prepared food because I didn’t have anyway to cook. Suddenly bright orange “Salade de carottes râpées” stood out. I studied it and put it in my bag. Once I had it, I was hooked. I can eat a large box for a meal, all the time. The salad is raw carrots and a dressing of oil and mustard. My friends know I love carrots and mustard together. So, right, this is perfection – vegan, raw. I think, I will miss this the most when I leave.


Brie - Fromage

I have bought cheese after cheese in France. I have had Camembert, Blue, Green, Munster and you name it. But, nothing is better to me then Brie. I do not think it is very popular with the French. It is just a common cheese. It is my favorite cheese that cannot ever be vegan. I’m in France- forgive me!

Confiture de châtaignes à la vanille:

Confiture de châtaignes à la vanille

In the jam section I found the normal things, strawberry, blackberry, red berry, blueberry, orange, chestnut…? WHAT?! Chestnuts, the wonderful warm “nuts” they roast on the street, can be a jam? I decide to take the advice of Beauty and the Beast’s famous song and tried the gray stuff. And, it was delicious.


B-D: Elinor Jones:

Elinor Jones, Tome 1 : Le Bal d'hiver

In France they have a ton of comics or in French “Bande-Dessinée”! Tintin is a famous example. I picked up a few at the library. It was interesting to large hard back books with pictures. I felt like a little kid, but some of these comic were NOT for kids. The one that sticks out as my favorite is Elinor Jones. I loved the story, fashion, and colors. I also found out that I follow the artist online! The trilogy is unfinished.

Harry Potter:

Harry Potter Tome 1

So, Harry Potter is not, très pas, French. However, I have collected 1-6 of 7 on my shelf, and I am currently reading the 3rd! I love to read the comforting stories that I grew up on, and learn a bit of French! It is really entertaining, and educational.


The Illusionist

French movies are a hit or miss for me. Most of the time, it is a miss. I just cannot follow the plot well or the ending is dull. I have found French movies that I do love before I came to France: Les Triplettes de BellevilleLes Choristes, and Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain. They were all popular for the French lovers in my French classes. During my stay I have tried a few. I do not remember the titles of the misses, but only the hits. Hands down the L’illusionniste wins as the best! It is a moving piece of artwork with a quiet story.
Other movies I liked:  Le Chat du Rabbin and Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis

This is just a small list. My larger and ever growing list is on Pinterest.

Hope you had fun!

La Chandeleur // Manga Paris

Published Monday, 20 February 2012 by Sydney Sunny

Marine and I stopped by a few shops in Paris. I love looking a shops in Paris. In normal cute shops I find things I normally must dig for on the the internet or fight for on eBay. However, I saved myself for Baby, the Stars Shine Bright. It is my favorite brand, ever. I am addicted and all my spare money comes out of my pockets at BtSSB Paris. I bought a pink blouse, pink comb bow, and blue princess drop heart earrings. I have always wanted a pink brand blouse but I never can find them at EGL Sales. Also, I have long arms. I tried on the first blouse I picked out but it was too short! This is the beauty of buying in the store instead of EGL Sales! I can try it on! I bought the pick bows because Marine got the same in red. We can “twin”, if just with only our bows. And, finally, I bought the blue earrings I wanted since I first visited Paris in October!

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright - Back pin tucked blouse (pink) // Chess crystal ribbon combs (pink) // Crystal Heart Earrings (blue)

After our shopping we went to Marine’s studio. Her studio was so nice and big!  I was so happy to be in a big room and big bathroom! It brings my residence and room to shame! I live in a closet with a corner stall bathroom.

Marine's cute desk. She had cute posters and pictures everywhere! Also, the computer is playing "Scène de Ménage", a popular French TV show.

Anyways, we celebrated La Chandeleur! La Chandeleur is February the 2nd. It is the day to make and eat crepes. I never celebrated this little holiday before in any of my French classes. It is said that if you hold money in one hand and flip the crepe in the other hand, you will have prosperity for the whole year.

Our crepes!

Thus, Marine and I made crepes. Unfortunately, Marine suffers from “poor cook” syndrome. In the end, it was me, the American, who made the best crepes! They were not prefect! Crepes are like makeing pancakes, but they less forgiving and hard as hell to flip. A few exciting things distracted us, and we made the alarm go off and burnt one or two crepes a little! In the end it was fun to learn to made crepes!

Marine’s friends and neighbors, Solène, Oly, and Estelle, came with a chair and apple cider! They laughed at our small crepes! I laughed at them too! Marine made a lovely meal with our crepes by putting potatoes, shredded cheese, (optional) cream, and (optional) ham bits. I really enjoyed it! Later, I learned in my cultural class that this combination of toppings is common in the Normandy area.
Afterwards, we played Jungle Fever. I was horrible, but I think I manage to hurt everyone with my nails! haha!

After all the food and fun, we had to go to bed! We had a big day ahead of us. As the French say, “Au dodo.”


Marine and I both woke up to get ready for Paris Manga. When we looked out the window, we were delighted to see snow! It was not a little bit, but a whole lot of snow! Yet, we soon realized that the buses might not be running because of the snow! So, we got all dolled up in lolita and braved the snow. However, there was nothing to fear the buses, RER, trams, and Metros were all working! So, we made it to Paris Manga!

It snowed a lot! I was warm in my layers and coats, but my toes in 3 socks were cold!

What was Paris Manga?
It is a Convention for Japanese Anime and Manga, and Sci-fi. There were the normal Anime Con events, such as Coyplay, Danceing, Fashion Shows, and Dealers. There were local Artist, cute shops, and Bands. There were famous Sci-fi actors and anime voices.
My favorite was the HUGE Purikura! It was a steep price, but I had so much fun! My next favorite thing was all the shops. I am use to having to wait in line to go in the dealers room, but at Paris Manga it was all in the open. The shops prevented theft with plastic over the display items. And finally, I enjoyed the Japanese street fashion show!

Purikura! At the top we are editing our pictures! and below are some of our results! CUTE!

During the event, Marine and I went outside to take pictures! Marine took wonderful pictures of me and a photographer took pictures of us too!  Enjoy:

Credit to Marine

Credit to Marine

Credit to Loco Pixel

Credit to Loco Pixel

My Coordination:

Dress: Snow Dot -yellow- BTSSB
Pink Blouse: BTSSB
Bunny Bag: BTSSB
Pink Ribbon Bow: BTSSB
Fairy clip: BTSSB
Floral tights: H&M
Pink Flower Socks: MILK
Yellow TeaParty Shoes: SS


Thanks to Marine for the wonderful weekend and for everything! ❤

How to be a Vegetarian when Studying Abroad in France.

Published Friday, 18 November 2011 by Sydney Sunny

Do not decide to be a vegetarian when you arrive. Being comfortable as a vegetarian in your hometown is the key to success. You will be stressed beyond your imagination. So if vegetarian is not your natural lifestyle, slipping is easy.

In France if you say you are a vegetarian, the French will assume you eat fish. It is a common mistake made. A professuer recommended that I always say, ” Je ne mange pas de viande (I do not eat meat).” It will be more simple in a restaurant or if you are invited to a French dinner.

Because of the confusion between a pescatarian and a vegetarian in France, avoid fried food. In the “cantine” at my university there are signs saying they are vegetarian friendly and fry with fish oil.

Buy a crock-pot and/or an electric boiler. It will save you money and time. The electric boiler can be bought for about 10Euros at Carrefour (Supermarket), and the crock-pot can be found at a used store or for about 20Euros

And buy veggies to cook. I suggest open markets on the weekends, Lidl, and Aldi for the cheapest produce. You will become accustomed to the stores and learn how to shop smart in about a month or two. It is fun to go shopping for food!

Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you do not know your vocabulary for food, you will learn quickly! Try all sorts of things, expecally if it is on sale! I don’t eat dairy, but I am in cheese heaven. I am excited about learning about France food, and it is part of the experiance. Don’t feel bad about not being able to try the French meat dishes, there are plenty of other things to try!
**If you are vegan, the French have alternative milk, soy yogurt/pudding, nuts, and dried beans for protein.**

Be proud of being a vegetarian! The French are open people, but they might not understand – just like in the USA. So do not be afraid to stand up for yourself! Just explain in simple English or (better) in simple French why you decided to become a vegetarian.

Simple, right?