When I pruned my lavender a little while back, I had many beautiful lavender flowers to decorate my house with. Some I chose to dry for dried lavender bouquets, others I dried for making lavender sachets to give as gifts, and others still I made into fresh flower arrangements. Some ended up being too short to use in my other bouquets, but I (obviously) could not throw them out!
I made myself an espresso and mulled over where they would go. See all those little holes in the top of a used Nespresso capsule? How perfect! I decided to stick my lavender stems in the used Nespresso capsule to hold them upright, and then put them in cleaned out baby food jars. (The one on the end didn’t get a baby food jar because I put most of them away, waiting to be made into candles and I didn’t want to lug them out again). The baby food jar is mostly for show and to help keep the capsule upright. I thought about watering the lavender and using the jar to catch excess water, but I didn’t end up giving the flowers water, and they ended up being fine. They just dried up and continue to look pretty in their Nespresso capsules.
This is obviously not a good way to reuse mass quantities of Nespresso capsules, but I like that it’s creative and pretty. Luckily for us, our area has a Sur La Table that recently partnered with Nespresso, so I can bring my used capsules back to them for recycling.
If you’re a regular follower of seed sowing mama, you may have noticed that I’ve been fairly absent recently. Out of the last 3 weeks, we’ve been traveling for 2 of them. First, we went to Montana for a family reunion and less than a week later we left for Seattle/Orcas island to celebrate the wedding of some very dear friends of ours. I tried to make sure I had some pre-written posts ready to go before we left but ended up with only a few. Needless to say, it’s been slow around here. Hopefully things will pick up on the blogging front now that we’re back!
I’m working on a post about a marvelous and VERY local dinner we enjoyed on Orcas island. But until that’s ready, here are a few pictures taken from the patio of the guest house where we stayed on the island. We can’t wait to go back. Orcas was a beautiful and magical place.
Thank you to our dear friends for introducing it to us and congratulations on your marriage!!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get any “before” pictures of the lavender plants. Too bad because they were really beautiful. It’s tough to see that go, but according to Sarah (above), a correctly pruned lavender plant can last for 20 years, whereas an unpruned plant will need to be replaced much more often. Tough love, lavender.
Just one post ago, I referenced my ongoing search for the perfect mid-century modern piece of furniture to refinish. We’ve been combing craigslist ads for years, literally, hoping to snag the perfect dresser or credenza to purchase as a refinishing project. The only problem with craigslist is that there are so many posts in the furniture section around here that you can spend an eternity looking through posts, even if you narrow down to “dressers.”
Fast forward about a week, and it’s done! I first painted it in an eggshell finish. Then I decided that it would be weird to have the same finish on the mirror as the wall. So I repainted it in a semi-gloss paint of the same color. Luckily for us, we already had both the eggshell and semi-gloss paint in Super White on hand.
Having the mirror there adds so much more light to the entryway. We love it!
Ahh Pierre Herme. There is no doubt that he is king of the macaron as I’ve already blogged about once during this trip. I never really venture away from macarons when I go to Herme, because my time in Paris is always so limited (as are funds dedicated to luxury pastries) and I know they will never disappoint me.
My parents, though, rarely go for macarons and instead prefer his “verrines.” These are small glasses filled with different layers of gelatins, creams and compotes. So, for Trevor’s last night here, they treated us to verrines from Pierre Herme. Oh my am I in trouble.
Herme is famous for combining unusual flavors that actually work together. In this verrine, he combined citrus, strawberry and wasabi. Unusual, right? Wasabi in a dessert was not something I had tried before. I’ve seen it used in other savory dishes (besides sushi), but never in a sweet. Well, not surprisingly given Herme’s reputation, it worked. The biggest surprise about the wasabi was that there was no heat. Just essence. You knew immediately upon tasting that it was there, but you didn’t get a rush of wasabi heat in your nose. I was seriously impressed.
So, for a rundown of each layer, here is what we decided as we savored our verrines…
Pierre Herme has been called the “Picasso of pastry” and once again he has created art for both the eyes and palate.
Last week, we went on an adventure to the south of France. Quentin had his first ride on the train, which he took to like a champ. The ride was supposed to take 5 hours, but turned into 7 hours because of various delays along the way. Nevertheless, he did awesome and the people sitting near us on the train gave him lots of compliments for being so “sage.”
We arrived in Cannes on May 16th. What we didn’t know was that the Cannes Film Festival was starting on that day, so the city was a total mad house. We overheard some people trying to rent a car that there were no more cars available to rent in all of the Cote d’Azur. Wowza.
The idea behind heading to the south of France was to get some relaxing time in the sun, instead of spending our whole vacation in Paris. Apparently, the weather had other plans for us, but it was a nice time all the same.
The first day was the nicest. We spent it doing things like this:
That was a lovely day! The spring in the south of France is normally very nice, like in the pictures above. We just happened to choose to go when it rained almost the entire 5 days we were there. And when it rains in France, it rains. It’s not like in California when it rains for 20 (maybe 45) minutes and then stops for a couple hours. It was pretty non-stop rain. So, the rest of our time there was spent doing things like this:
Oh, and eating and drinking wine. Those are always good things to do when it’s raining. Too bad we didn’t get to enjoy the beach and splash in the water more, but it was still a very nice respite from the city.
We’re still in Paris. Trevor is here for about one more week, and I have 2 more weeks. While we’re here, there are a couple things that we always have to eat. There are the usual suspects- cheese, bread, pastries…and then there are a few lesser known delicacies like Confit de Canard and macarons.
Confit de Canard is much more delicious than it sounds when you describe it in English. Basically, it’s duck legs, preserved in rendered duck fat, which you then pan fry and serve with potatoes sauteed in some of the extra rendered duck fat. I promise, it’s totally, amazingly, delicious.
Macarons are probably easier for everyone to get excited about. They are the fanciest oreo you’ve ever tasted. The cookies are a kind of almond-based meringue and they are filled with something creamy and delicious. They come in delicate flavors like fresh mint, salted caramel, rose, jasmine, rose vanilla, passion fruit…all of the possible colors and flavors make my head spin! I have a bit of an obsession them, as I’ve already written about eating them here, here and here; and I’ve written about making them here and here. Unfortunately, the macarons you can find in even the best bakeries in the US do not compare to those you can get here, so we get our fill when we come to Paris.
Last night, we decided to live it up and have them both. I documented the entire meal for your viewing pleasure.
|Confit de Canard with Sauteed Potatoes.|
|Macarons from Pierre Herme (arguably the best in Paris)|
|Fresh mint- I love how much these taste like real mint|
|Chocolate Caramel- good, but not my favorite. I prefer the more delicate flavors|
|Rose Vanilla- The flavor was very good and delicate. But the filling was a little too firm for my preference.|
|Jasmine- Very subtle flavor. Almost too subtle, but still one that I will get again.|
|Salted Caramel- Hands down, one of my favorites. The flavor of the caramel is so pronounced, while the filling is soft and delicate. Amazing.|
|Rose- Also one of my very favorites. I never imagined a cookie that tastes like a flower would be so wonderful. This one is perfection.|
|Aaaaand, gone. If you’re wondering why the knife is there, it’s because Trevor and I always buy 6 different macarons and cut them in half. That way we get to try a good variety of flavors.|