Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thanksgiving - Nana's Apple-Sausage Stuffing Recipe!!

Our Thanksgiving Tables last year
It's almost Celebration Time!!

Thanksgiving is just around the bend. Here in France, it is not a holiday - it's just a regular Thursday - workday & school day.  But that doesn't stop me from celebrating one of my favorite American Holidays!!

Yummy farm Turkey and cranberry sauce
Obviously, it's a bit different here, my family is all back over in the States and I do miss that traditional time of getting together with my brothers and their families.  It was one of those times of year when all the cousins came together from afar and enjoyed a great weekend!  I have to say - it's these moments that living abroad gets a bit hard - we all get a bit homesick.

But new place, new traditions.  For the first time last year, I prepared a real Thanksgiving dinner and it was so fun to celebrate this holiday with our traditional favorites! It was also fun to introduce it to some French friends who had heard about this great feast but had never experienced it.  Again, this year, we will be sharing our Thanksgiving table with French friends and celebrating everything that we are grateful for!

I wanted to share my favorite family recipe for this holiday!  (Thank you mom!!).  This Stuffing recipe is a combination of 2 family recipes.  My mother combined her mother's stuffing recipe and her mother's in law's stuffing recipe to create this delicious dish.  I have always enjoyed it over the years and every year I look forward to having it at Thanksgiving!  It's been shared with many guests around our table - and it's always well liked!  I, of course,  will be passing it down to my girls. I have therefore named it, Nana's Apple-Sausage Stuffing  - for my daughters!   It can be made spicy or mild - depending on sausage and addition of hot pepper sauce.

The Famous stuffing before it went into the bird

1 pound sausage (for spicier version- 1/2 mild, 1/2 hot sausage)
1 pkg whole kernel cooked corn- or canned corn
6 apples (chopped, peeled)
10 cups dry bread crumbs (if you can't buy dry unseasoned bread crumbs, cut up some bread in cubes, bake it to dry-Use French bread)
1 1/4cups beef broth
2 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup sugar (to taste)
5 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
3/4 cup milk
Hot pepper sauce (optional-amount depending on taste)
Mix all together in a big pan, then put inside the turkey.  Extra stuffing can be place in a pan and baked separately.

For a 18 pound turkey, which should be enough for 11-12 people; you can bake it separately in casserole dish; maybe cover it so it doesn't crust on top.

All stuffed and ready to cook! - Extra cooks separately

Last year was the first year I made it here in France - luckily had most of the ingredients.  My mother sent me poultry seasoning - & I had to make my own bread crumbs.  (Side note, Use French baguette for bread crumbs, I thought it would be too hard once dried, but the softer bread disappeared with all the moist ingredients)  but other than that - DELICIOUS!! 

So here's to you - Mom - Thank you for creating such a special recipe and one that will be passed down for generations to come - I hope!!  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Looking for something new or missing some favorites? Try - Sophie's Store- & GIVEAWAY!!

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED - WINNER is Farrah - from Three Down Under blog! That's for everyone who participated.  Happy Holidays!!

Sophie's Store

Sophie's Store & a GIVEAWAY!!
Are you looking for something different?  A unique gift for a friend?  Do you want to try something new?  Or maybe you are just missing some of your favorite foods if you ever lived in the US or the UK.  This is an on-line store that imports gourmet and high end products from the States and from Great Britain.  It's a perfect opportunity to try something new, or if you are from one of these areas - be able to enjoy some foods that maybe you are missing.

With Sophies' Store you get the sensation of traveling  - but the ease of having it delivered to your home.  Sophie additionally sells products for decoration, candles and accessories for "life on the go" - all imported and very different than things you can find in France. Everything she sells is of excellent quality.  She works with high quality artisans which she chooses with care.  Her items are also not sold in big stores, they are only sold with limited distribution. Go check out her store, I'm sure you will find something you will love!  - Click here to go to Sophie's Store

Sophie's Store does ship all over France and to many countries in Europe.  Check out this page to see if she ships to you!  Sophie's Store - Shipping Page

Presently she is running a special for all those Americans in France who celebrate Thanksgiving.  She is selling some wonderful products from Stonewall Kitchen in a gift set - Stuffing Spice Mix, New England Cranberry Relish and Farmhouse Brine seasoning.  All three of these for 19,90 Euros!  If you want to read a great review of these products - Busy as a Bee in Paris Blog

So now the BIG NEWS!- my BLOG's first giveaway!  Unfortunately, this giveaway is only open to readers in France and the other European countries that Sophie's Store ships to.  (I promise my other readers - I will be soon developing another giveaway that will be open internationally!!)

For this giveaway - if you win - you will get to try 3 different kinds of shortbread biscuits and the Whiskey Cake.  These all sound delicious to me!!
These items are from the Scottish brand Shortbread House - 

Macadamia Nut mini biscuits

Stem Ginger Shortbread mini biscuits

Chocolate & Orange Shortbread Mini Biscuits

Luxury Fruit Cake made with Malt Whiskey

It's really easy to be entered into this giveaway.  All you need to do is leave a comment as to which item at Sophie's Store you find interesting or would order for yourself.  You can get additional entries by "liking" Sophie's Store's facebook page - Sophie's Corner and by following @Sophies_Store on twitter. Also if you leave a comment on her website - also indicating an item you like, you will be entered again.  For up to 4 chances to win!!   Don't forget when you comment on the blog - make sure it links up to an email or don't forget to check back here after 10 days to see who the lucky winner is.  This contest will end at midnight (Paris Time) on November 25th.

Good luck and enjoy checking out Sophie's Store!

*This is a sponsored post. Sophie's Store is offering these items for the giveaway & for writing this post. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Raising Global kids..Music & Playing for Change - Super way to bring people together!

Music, France & Kids
Just yesterday as the girls and I were running errands in the car - a French song came on the radio and not one, but all three of my girls sang right along with the lyrics.  I was suddenly reminded how far we have come to have 3 bilingual daughters.  I still sit in amazement to listen to them ramble away in French to their friends and then in a split second, turn and speak English to me.  I really treasure this gift that we have been able to give them.  I also marvel at my older daughters who love popular music and when they find a song they enjoy, no matter what language, they search YouTube to find the lyrics and learn them.  My middle daughter is especially known to do this - so far she has not only learned songs in English, French but also Spanish and Portuguese..  She just loved music - it truly is very powerful.

I find music is such a beautiful force to join cultures - gives children and families a window to other places but also a way to bond us together.  Through songs, we are transported to a higher place, a place where we are all one, all united by one force and more aware of similarities then differences.  I remember a few years ago when my older daughters were about 7 & 10 years old and we were vacationing in France with family.  They got the opportunity to spend an afternoon with French cousins who were the same age.  At the time, my daughters didn't speak French or understand it, and the cousins didn't know English - but I still remember them bonding that afternoon with music!

Music in France is diverse - many songs, multiple languages representing many countries in Europe - but they also import American & British pop music. For my girls, they love that - it helps them still feel connected to the States and when a friend on instagram or facebook talks about a popular song in the States, for the most part my girls are very much up to speed.

For several years, my family and I have been following the work of "Playing for Change" via their YouTube videos - This project seeks to bring together musicians from around the world - they also believe that peace and harmony are accomplished by bringing people together through music.

Check out their website - Playing For Change

Most recently this group has teamed up the French company Okaïdi  and created  a music video featuring children from around the world singing.  I was so moved by these 2 videos - I felt I had to share.  Their purpose as quoted by them:  "Okaïdi and Playing for Change are teaming up to unite and help children around the world through music.  Music is the uniting force - wherever one comes from, whatever political, economic, spiritual or ideological beliefs - music breaks down barriers and unites all of us."
So I encourage everyone to listen and if you have children - share it with them.  These are beautiful videos and such a wonderful way for all children to see kids from around the world.

I hope you enjoyed listening to these and I encourage everyone to share them!!  Feel free to share this post also - I just want to spread the word about how wonderful this project is. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween 2013 - French Style

Happy Halloween!

How We Celebrate in France
There's a saying, when in Rome do what the Roman's do....and for the most part we love embracing the French way of life.  But there are certain American traditions that I will always find a way to celebrate - Halloween is one of them! This is technically our 3rd Halloween in this country (If you want to read about last year's fete - click Here ) and I have to say each year has gotten better.  Last year we attended a family Halloween party with our expat group and went to another one at an American friend's house on Halloween day. 

This year we ramped it up a bit more with my eldest daughter hosting a soiree for friends of hers a few days before Halloween.  This gave us a great excuse to really decorate and get into the mood!  It was definitely fun having about 20 boys & girls over for a costume party.  For the French, Halloween is new - they are well aware that the Americans really celebrate this holiday but they are unclear exactly what is done.  It was great fun to introduce them to a little American culture!

I have come to learn that over the years, the French have tried to embrace the concept of Halloween - kids dressing up and trick or treating but it's been an up and down effort. This year, I noticed that the grocery stores were trying to sell more candy and encouraging kids who to go knock on doors.  On Halloween day, I was running last minute errands, and all the employees in one of the grocery stores were all dressed up.  They were also handing out treat bags in the candy aisle when you bought a certain kind of candy.  
Love this bag - tells  people to dress up, knock on doors to find your favorite candies!

Additionally, when I went into our local party/costume store to pick up parts of the girl's costumes, I was astonished with how crowded the costume section was.  It seemed to me that people in France were celebrating this holiday a bit more than before.  

Additionally, to my astonishment, all of my girls were invited to go trick or treating.  Yes, you did read that right - Trick or Treating in France.  My girls were beyond was going to be closer to the American tradition than they had experienced in previous years. My oldest daughter teamed up with a group of friends and went around their area.  Meanwhile, my younger girls and myself were invited to scurry about in our local town. 

Now, I had asked my French friend, how is worked here - did people really have candy ready?  Were they prepared for this?  She explained that - yes, not everyone will have candy.  One does have to pick and choose houses...but often families with younger kids are more aware of this "newer" concept.  She also explained that sometimes people just give cookies, sometimes a few coins to go buy some candy or even apologize for not having anything. It's a training, each year might get better as people know what to expect.  So I explained to my girls what might happen, that the trick or treating concept is truly new here.

I think the other thing that helped a bit here was that Halloween fell during the kid's 2-week Toussaint school break.  This made it easier for parties and even trick or treating. It also meant we essentially celebrated Halloween for a week!!  Nothing like really celebrating an American Holiday!!

First up was my oldest daugther's party - not too many photos here - but I loved this party as most all the kids came in costumes!  It's always tricky to host a party for 12 year old - a little old for games, but at the same time needed some kind of entertainment.  Music & food is what worked best here and the fact that they could run around outside too.  In France also, I find more kids are comfortable dancing unlike this age in the States. Basically, they all hung out dancing, talking and playing a bit of tag and soccer in the yard!
The Spooky house...

Loved the creativity!

I have to admit it was fun getting the house ready for the party - we haven't done that in years!!  Lots of spider webs - all over!  We also hung spider webs out by our gate.  Most of the parents I talked to were touched that we hosted a Halloween party and shared our tradition with their children.

On the day of Halloween, the girls all dressed up - do note a change of costume for my oldest...ladybug to zombie cheerleader. (Teenage can never wear the same thing twice - ha, ha!). 

The Zombie Cheerleader, Devil and Angel

My oldest went off with her friends to go trick or treating and then ending up at another friends house for the later evening.  I took my younger girls out with our friends.  This was an adventure!!  My friend had hand picked some houses and it was fun to see different reactions.    The kids even got into the ringing the bells - and even went to a few houses that we were not sure what would happen - but it made it fun anyhow!  Interesting enough, we were not the only group meandering the streets.  We saw at least 3 other small groups of kids & parents ringing bells.  

One of the big differences for trick or treating in France is that French houses are located behind locked gates.  One has to ring the bell and wait a while before people come out.  Most people were pleasantly surprised and brought candy out as they came to greet the kids - others came out and had to go back into the house to find something and of course there were a few who apologized for not having anything. (Maybe next year....)

Trick or Treat!

Everyone had a great time.

My little angel - loved to snack on her candy!!
Some people were also dressed in the holiday spirit - The witch below is handing out the candy.  
All the kids really got into the spirit!  So how does "Trick or Treat" translate in French - Well - our kids were saying - "Des bonbons ou un sort" - This means - Candy or a spell - I'd say that was pretty close.  The teenagers apparently according to my older daughter varied the saying with "Des bonbons ou la mort" - Candy or death....well, they are teenagers of course!  (Another note here according to my 12 year old - her friends really associate Halloween with spooky - scary, ghoulish costumes)
More bonbons!

The goodbye at the end of the night!

Not bad loot - for France

The day after Halloween here is All Saint's Day - it is a National Holiday.  A day, according to Catholicism, to remember & honor all the relatives who have passed away. Since everything is closed on that day, it seemed like the perfect afternoon & evening for an expat family Halloween party.  So off we headed for some pumpkin carving, playing and even more trick or treating!!

My middle daughter and my husband carving a pumpkin - She designed - he carved!

More Pumpkin carving! Note the different varieties of pumpkins!

Hard at work!

Lots of great festive food! A little short on fruits and vegetables - but hey, it's a party!

My Oldest daughter did this herself - created and carved!
I loved that most of the adults got dressed up too!!

After all the pumpkins were carved, the guys headed off to set up trick or treating.  It was wonderful as the party was held at the Bordeaux Observatory and the kids got to do a little trick or treating next to each dome and building.  Very cool and fun for all!  

I'm so glad that other kids that didn't get to go trick or treating -
got to participate in this way!!

All and all, I think this Halloween was one to remember!!  Maybe, because we are expats we take advantage of any opportunity we can to celebrate and enjoy the holiday - a holiday that is so much a part of our American Culture - but it was also fun to see this area start to embrace the Halloween festivities a little. It's also nice that families and friends here appreciate learning about different cultures.  It will be interesting to what happens next year.  Happy Halloween to all - and for those of you who celebrated - I hope it was super fun!

Popular Posts