Getting away is surely a luxury in this world, and one that should be thoroughly revered & enjoyed. Growing up, my family had not the means for such things as air travel, and despite this I can still recall as vividly as yesterday the many exciting road trips we took as kids, and think to how they must have saved my parents from going crazy at home with the four of us rambunctious island ragamuffins. Continue reading →
I think it is safe to say we all need a little comfort in the form of our favorite foods here and there. Growing up, one of my most favorite snack foods was just this – comforting – not to mention dirt cheap and easy to make.
After all, what is easier than opening up a can of beans and heating them up? Toss a few pieces of bread in the toaster and slather on the butter….just thinking of it brings me right back to 4th grade heaven.
My 30 something year old self now knows that while the old canned standbys are still good in a pinch, there is nothing better than a warm bowl of home cooked beans and a fresh piece of bread hot out of the oven. Especially when they are this cheap, and this easy.
All you need is (just a little) love. And (just a little) time.
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Having just celebrated another birthday, I find myself of late quite keenly aware of the fleeting nature of our lives.
As I think back to my days as young child I can tell you my defining moments just as easily as I can tell you what my favorite things to eat were. Most often, and particularly at the beginning of each new school year, I think back to me and my siblings, convening after a long day at school to watch TV and eat food we could make on our own.
Hot beans in a bowl. With toast. Childhood comfort food. Three’s Company. Let’s do it!
Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Less canned food in your pantry means more room for cheaper dry goods to nourish you. Less waste and added preservatives means cleaner eating and a lighter conscience. Less sugar heavy baked beans means more naturally sweetened heartiness, and a whole lot more nourishment too.
More high fiber protein foods means easier work of digestion. More hearty, filling comfort means more warmth and goodness in your day. More cheap easy recipes means more ways to spread your money farther, because good health doesn’t have to come at a high cost.
Homemade Baked Beans:
(2) cups dry white Navy beans, soaked in cold water
(1/3- 1/2 cup) good olive oil
(2) medium – large yellow onions, chopped
(2) tsp salt
(1) small can tomato paste (about 1/2 cup)
(3) tbsp honey, brown sugar, or other plant-based sweetener
(8) cups cold water for cooking
Lots of love of and plenty of time
Start by soaking your beans in plenty of cold of water for anywhere from 8 – 20 hours (8 is about the minimum to soak thoroughly and don’t worry if you ill time the soaking – they can sit there for a while). When ready to cook, drain the beans and rinse in the colander under more fresh cold water.
Next, heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the chopped onion and salt. Cook the onion for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat, being careful not to burn them. Stir here and there, after 10 minutes the onions should be soft and translucent.
Next, add the tomato paste, beans, and 4 cups of cold cooking water. Stir well to dissolve the paste and bring to a boil over high heat with the lid on. Once the boil is reached, stir again and reduce the heat to medium, to keep the simmer at a jolly roll (not boiling but cooking nicely).
Now, kick up your feet, and get settled in. Read a book , or finish that knitting project you started. Maybe write some notes to your family to tell them you love them. Or not. But do enjoy this nice time at home.
Cook the beans withe the lid ajar for 1.5 hours, stirring here and there and adding the remaining 4 cups of water in increments as the sauce reduces. After the first hour, add whatever water is left, and the honey or sweetener, and cook for 30 minutes until the mixture is deliciously saucy.
From here, you can let the beans hang out until you are ready to bake them (you can even sneak in a bowl to eat at this point).
To bake, transfer the beans to a casserole and bake, covered either with the casserole lid or with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and serve hot with fresh bread or toast.
These beans will keep extremely well, and should be good to eat up to a week after they are made. A little goes a long way here as these guys are hearty and filling, so pile them into a container for those moments during the week when you need a little comfort.
Paired up with the bread recipe lined up for the next post, you’ll wonder if there could possibly be anything simpler or more nostalgic (especially if you grew up in my family).
You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.
~ Julia Child
I was pleased to see that 25 years later, kids still love this food as a filler up after soccer practice or after a long tough day as a teenager (because let’s face it, that is exhausting work for those of you who may recall).
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Next I’ll share with you the bread recipe that has literally changed my life since I discovered it. Turns out, it’s never too late to be a baker, even if you’ve never even made bread before! Stay tuned, I am really excited about this one!
Here’s to a super fab October…wishing you all the very best as always!
Did you have a favorite childhood comfort food?
Got an updated version to share with us?
Let us know! Looking forward to hearing from you all as always, and for all my vegan-minded blog friends taking part in Vegan MoFo, wishing you all the best for a month of blogging inspiration, and those of you interested, check out the link here!
Well it’s true what they say, the time does go fast.
It’s hard to believe it is now September, with August behind us and all that it brought. Just a month ago we were putting the finishing touches on our packed luggage…
But with September comes so many good things: back to school, back to work, and back to working on this little blog and all it encompasses I hope you’ll all stick around to see what we’ve got up our sleeves!
While we get back to normal life, it’s my pleasure to share in my next three posts a few tidbits from our time in France – starting with a few things that made a big trip not only more affordable, but really, that much better.
Travel is a real luxury, and as you all know it can sure get costly. I hope you’ll enjoy this little round-up of 5 ways we traveled well with (just a little) less.
The mere sense of living is joy enough.
~ Emily Dickinson
Our favorite statue in the city just up the street from ‘home’.
1. Shack Up
And no, I don’t mean run away with a french man on a motorcycle!
As tempting as that might be …but really, I am referring to accommodation, as anyone knows that after flights, the place where you lay your head is likely to be your biggest expense, particularly on a longer trip.
And really, fancy hotels aside (which are sweet if you’ve got the budget) – just how much time will you be spending in said place of sleep?
I referenced thequaint french apartmentwe took in Paris, and it was just that: small, old, perfectly lovely, and right in the heart of where we wanted to be (for those of you interested we stayed in the Marais district).
After all, this is how the vast majority of people live in big cities like this, so it was fun, and not to mention for the four of us, (just a little) less hit on the budget & a whole lot more authentic.
Unlocking the door to the courtyard after another big day.
Everything you can imagine is real.
~ Pablo Picasso
We did just fine cozied up in our tiny kitchen, enjoying simple foods made with basics (my next post).
This was the start of the food journey that has not only affirmed my approach to food more than ever before, but forever reminded me just how simple foods made with quality ingredients are best, and how important it is to enjoy each and every bite.
After all, that is precisely what the people do in France. And it certainly shows!
Our go-to salad for three whole weeks it seems!
2. Eat In
Part of the fun of having a real place to shack up in is the chance to live like any other person might in that part of the world (at least for me it was and I suspect this would be the case for many of you too!). Cooking in a strange (tiny) kitchen is an adventure, one I was up for, and one we had a blast with.
It was a beautiful thing – heck – I was cooking dinner in Paris! What a sheer delight it was, and one I took with gratitude and pleasure.
I mentioned the produce market that set up literally at the steps to our door twice in the time we were there. I bought melons, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, nectarines, apples & berries. They were all pretty amazing, yes.
The block we stayed on had a store that stocked every fine oil, wine, preserve & jelly you could want, and the boulangerie on our block made just the right baguettes and chocolate croissants for the girls, who enjoyed them daily.
It was good living, as we say.
Not like the one in Provence, but hey – pretty darned good!
Eating in saved us tons of money, and it also meant that the three of us vegetarian girls weren’t struggling with menus (and our French) every night. It also meant we ate like royalty & had plenty of time & money left to hit the streets for some quality sight-seeing, and maybe an ice cream and a night cap (or two).
Of course, we ate dinners out too, andwe enjoyed it (just a little) more when we did.
Less really was more here, and it went this way through our entire trip.
The best part? Reserving the majority of our sitting time for chilling at our favorite cafes.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
~ Dr. Seuss
Cafe life in France, and in Paris especially, is just about the funnest thing you’ll ever experience, as no one is ever in a rush.
The people watching is just about the best in the world, not to mention the goodies you are likely to enjoy. A few days in I gave up my afternoon coffee and switched it to white wine or beer.
And then we simply sat. And watched. And drank. And talked.
Until it was time to be on our way.
3. Set out on Foot
A big city like Paris is (obviously) more than well set up for tourists, and they are pros at handling all those visitors.
There are tour buses, stacked double-deckers, boats, bike tours, and of course, the metro is superb. But nothing is like seeing the city on foot both for your waistline and your wallet.
We walked for hours & hours each day, which many of you know is a wonderful way to get fresh air, exercise, and views that you just don’t get from a tourist bus, or underground on the metro.
Plus, how will you see that top in the window or find that off-the-beaten-track patisserie with the best pastry you ate the whole trip? That gorgeous old cathedral you stumbled on that time you got lost?
Nothing says adventure like traipsing around a city with just your bag, a camera, good company and a good stylish pair of comfortablish shoes.
More on shoes in an upcoming post
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr
4. Pack Coffee/Carry Water
Depending on your preference for coffee, this might not apply, but I was glad to have brought along a few bags of ground coffee from home to make French Presses while I greeted the day and acclimatized.
The kids were often tired (especially at the start of the trip), and given my (fairly unreasonable) requirement for caffeine early in the day, I got amped at home before leaving the house.
I’d done quite a bit of research on some coffee places I wanted to hit – places that are doing quality coffee like we are lucky to enjoy at home. My first try yielded a closed sign (Telescope seemed to be closed for the month) and the others were just too out-of-the-way and not convenient to drag the whole brood to.
For a full list of great spots to hit, check out this post on Alice Gao’s beautiful blog here. Alas, maybe next time.
Besides, I see plenty of snazzy coffee shops here (it’s my job), and I realized that day that I didn’t need to travel to Paris to see them there too.
So the home coffee was a major lifesaver, not to mention an easy way to avoid the Oranginas and other goodies you buy every time you sit your kids at a table (cause you know they can’t sit there with nothing).
But believe me, they got plenty of Oranginas. In fact, I am pretty sure we spent more on those drinks then most anything the whole trip. But more on that in another post too
And bring water wherever you go! All that walking will make you tired, and many places might leave you high and dry (read: thirsty) and succumbing to overpriced drinks you otherwise wouldn’t need.
5. Buy a Museum Pass
Okay. So really. This one made me very, very, happy.
Mu husband deserves the credit here, and this action turned out to be genius.
And not strictly for financial reasons. In fact, all in, we figured that by the end of our week in Paris, we broke even on the cost of this. The real savings, however, turned out to be of the more precious kind.
This thing saved us precious and irreplaceable time. No line ups!
Visiting Paris in August means the height of tourist season there – in fact – there were (what felt like) more tourists than locals, and given the high rate of shop closures for ‘Vacances’, I’d say this was correct.
We bought a one week pass that got us into any museum, sans line-up. A sweet deal considering we packed a good ‘sight a day’ into the itinerary. And did I mention the time savings? Brilliant.
But this is my husband we are talking about. I married him for a reason, or two
On our ‘must-see’ cultural list was: Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, The Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Les Invalides, Versailles, The Pompidou Centre, and of course, the Eiffel Tower (which we did not go up as one of the lifts was broken) – there are quite a few more amazing sights to see, but traveling with a young one allows only so much, and these kids were stimulated to the max.
Truthfully, they were amazing. As was my husband for buying this pass. Brilliance.
Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Commitment is a line you must cross….it is the difference between dreaming and doing.
~ Bernie Fuchs
Looking back, it seems crazy that all that is behind us now. Time really flies.
True to one of my fave Dr. Seuss quotes, I’ve got to tell you that I’m pretty darned glad we did that, and my smiles feel pretty darned wide.
I’ve since returned home to enjoy the blessings we enjoy here, such as goodgreat regional food, clean tasty water, and truly great friends.
Yes, this is where I give a shout out to all of you – whether you wrote me a text to read when I landed, a thoughtful & genuine blog comment, an email, FB message, or straight up picked up the phone and called (you know who you are), you all made coming home that much sweeter, and I have big love for each and every one of you!
Thank you all for being here with me!
Looking forward to all that is to come – and next I’ll get to those top foods – I promise
Got any tips to add to this from your travels?
If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be?
I’d love to add any wisdom from all you fine readers out there – and let us know your thoughts and whatever might be on your travel wish list!
“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…”
~ Susan Polis Schutz
Alas it does seem a while since I posted, bonjour everyone!
Truth be told, it’s been somewhat challenging to blog from the road here, as time inside is limited and my mind is flooded with new sensations, views, ideas, and inspiration, none of which have solidified enough to properly put to words.
It is also (put more simply) that I am (and for the first time in a long time and maybe actually ever) in pure honest vacation mode, and my mind has turned off (mostly) everything.
All to make room for the new.
Here, in Provence (where we arrived Friday after a few glorious days in Burgundy), I was treated Sunday to my very first Provencal market experience, and what a treat that was!
The adorable and ancient village where we are based, called L’isle Sur La Sorgue, is somewhat popular for its markets, most notably antiques.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Provence itself as a much larger area, (I just read in my French history book) has been celebrated since the Roman times for its particularly good fresh produce.
With the area being somewhat continually drenched in hot sun (it has been between 35 and 40 degrees steady since we arrived), one would think it obvious that this food would be good, and I had heard that indeed, it was.
But I was not prepared for this.
There are simply no words that could adequately describe the taste of the food that grows here, for this is (for any fruit and vegetable lover) a total mecca.
So in the absence of new recipes, I do hope you’ll enjoy a little tour of the town and the market with me here – as I’ve tried to do it justice, but I’ll let you be the judge
Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.
~ Eckhart Tolle
Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.
~ Eckhart Tolle
I am quite sure I read there were over 300 stalls at this market on Sunday, and judging by the fact that we couldn’t even see it all, I believe it.
This little village, with its narrow ancient streets, transformed into a bustling shopping zone with sellers & producers offering everything from soap, to clothing, records, antiques, jewellery, shoes, bags, scarves, spices, and of course food.
Oh, the glorious food.
Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.
Forget every stereotype you’ve ever heard about the French being anything less than polite. Here, they are warm, and excited to see visitors delight in their hard work. In fact, here in the south, the people are downright wonderful.
There are so many characters in a small village like this. And their food, their food.
It is truly sublime, not to mention very cheap (I’ll share more in my next post on just how inexpensive it really is).
Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
~ William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Sonnets
In my next post I’ll tell you the top foods we’ve been enjoying here, especially since arriving here in Provence where we’ve got a full functioning kitchen, a barbeque, and an outdoor eating area to enjoy the food and the company under the open skies.
After Paris, and then a few days in hotel in Beaune, we are happy to be enjoying a lovely amount of space here, and are taking advantage of the fresh food & views available right around the corner.
L’espoir fait vivre.
~ French Proverb, “Where there’s life, there’s hope.”
We’ve got just a few more days here, so the likelihood that I’ll get another post out before the end of this trip is quite small, but you never know – I’ll have months of inspiration to share and enjoy from the perspective of life at home.
But not just yet!
From here, we head south for a night to enjoy the ocean before returning to Paris for the last two nights – we head home Monday. I hope you all are enjoying the final weeks of summer, and I’ll look forward to catching up soon!
If you traveled to Provence, what would be on your list to eat?
Take rest. A field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.
Here we are! A long way from home, here in Paris, enjoying what we knew would be a fabulous time away together as a family.
I mentioned in my last post about our quaint French apartment (read: tiny), and it has been the perfect place to lay our heads each night after the massive days we’ve had soaking it all in (it will be absorbing for months to come too).
We’re having a ball, and as you can well imagine, the photos are piling up faster than I can ask (politely in English) for another glass of white wine.
With that, dear IPOM readers, I figure pictures can do the noble work of talking here, as we’ve got another 2 incredible days in the city before we head south to the country.
And it all starts with a good cup of coffee (from home).
Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live.
~ Margaret Fuller
I am thrilled to report that after the jet lag, and most importantly the perspective shift, life here is actually becoming beautifully relaxed.
Instead of afternoon coffee, I have a glass of wine, and in place of my daily run, we walk all day long until dark. Dinners are simple (both out and in), breakfast is had in before we head out, and the family feels closer than ever before.
This part of town is amazing, and we’ve got a produce market twice weekly just outside our door. The produce is almost as incredible as the bread & cheese, and cooking here in this kitchen has been a blast.
A place for everything, everything in its place.
~ Benjamin Franklin
Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.
~ John De Paola
From the lover’s bridge (Pont Des Arts) to Notre Dame to the classical beauty that is the Luxembourg Gardens, we’ve covered pretty much everything we set out to do so far.
True to the plan, we hit one (or in some cases two) major sight see a day, which is plenty considering we are traveling with an eight year old. Notre Dame, Pompidou Center, Luxembourg Gardens, Versailles, The Louvre, Musee D’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower were tops on our list.
We’ve shopped (just a little, especially on account of many shop owners closing shop completely for the entire month of August), walked (a whole lot), and have truly lucked out with the weather (which has has been beyond spectacular).
I hope you’ll enjoy (just a little) of where we’ve been so far.
How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.
~ Spanish Proverb
Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.
~ Andre Gide
As is inevitable, I arrived on this holiday knowing nothing but my current perspective at the time. Loaded with responsibility, and driven by projects, it is immensely difficult at the time to truly imagine letting go.
But it happens, because it has to. And it feels so good, and is completely necessary in every way. I am so very fortunate and blessed to have this time to enjoy with my loved ones in quite possibly my favorite place in the whole world.
On another note, you will now see at the bottom that I am testing out the WordAds program with WordPress. I’m fairly particular about the esthetics on this blog, but if there is a way to generate revenue for Not So Fast, I thought it was worth a try, so please note that all proceeds from any advertising done (now or in the future) will go directly towards charity and we’ll see how it goes!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and on anything you see in this post that you fancy. Also, with so many photos, I’d love to hear what you want to see as we wind up the first leg of this trip in the next day or so! As you can also imagine, I’ll be somewhat absent in my blog reading and commenting this month – rest assured I’ll be back.
As for us, it’s Sunday, and the shops are closed. We plan to hit the Arc De Triomphe before hitting the banks of the river for ice cream and a stroll. I love that they close the shops here for a day, I think these people might just be on to something good
Welcome! What is In Pursuit Of More? The blog about living with (just a little) less. By going without, we can gain - by giving to those who have less. Want to make a change in your eating habits for the better? Imagine how you can turn that into something positive for those who would otherwise go hungry. Go without so others don't have to. That's living with (just a little) less.