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Around the World in a Post

We’re all back on our treadmills and lifting those weights. I’m right there with you, especially after what I am calling “My Big Fat Autumn”.

This past Friday morning, I went to put in a movie and hop on our treadmill. You see, this is the time of the year when I catch up on every movie I want to see that my husband refuses to sit through. At an hour-a-pop on the mill, I can whip through chick flicks like no one’s business and enjoy them all to myself, minus the comments from the adult peanut gallery.  So, in reaching for a movie, I couldn’t find any of them….the post New Year’s organizing bug has hit our home and there are things I can’t find anymore. The movies were one of them. Out of desperation, I reached for the one that I could find: “John Adams”, the HBO miniseries. And quite possibly the last thing you think you want to watch while you sweat.

Color me surprised. I walked off that treadmill realizing that I had exercised my body AND my mind, not to be a total cornball about it. First off, this is an amazing miniseries. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney are supreme and it is bringing into clear focus the beginning moments of our country.

I have a bit of a love-hate thing with history…I enjoy learning about it, but dates just don’t seem to stick in my mind very well, so at some point things just get jumbled for me. ‘Tis a bit frustrating and made any history class I took in school challenging. At least world history…art history, that’s another story. No issues there. I need pictures apparently…snicker.

So, in “John Adams”, I’m at the part where Thomas Jefferson is hanging out with John and Abigail Adams in Paris. Jefferson, who spews quotable lines like a water from a fountain, said something that resonated with me (although I can’t remember the exact words, ironically enough). He was talking about Paris with Abigail and said something along the lines of …it is not until after you have left a place that you realize how much it has made an impression on you.

Well, ain’t that just the god’s honest truth.

When I was 17, I traveled abroad for the first time. France was the destination with a group of my fellow French students for three glorious weeks. I was in high school.

That trip marked my being so much so that when I began college, I went to the study abroad office the very first day on campus and started planning for my junior year’s trip three years early.

Paris marked me. You were right, Mr. Jefferson.

Last year, one of my culinary goals (we are jumping around a bit today…this is quickly turning into a zany post. Talk about setting a weird tone for the week) was to master the art of baking the French Macaron. I’m sure my friends and, no doubt my husband, are sick to death of hearing about these little pastel confections and my current obsession with them. A trip to Laduree is definitely on my CBL…Culinary Bucket List.

Well, in the nick of time…December 14th, I attempted to bake these creations with a good friend of mine. The first batch was an epic fail, as granulated sugar instead of fluffy confectioners’ sugar mistakenly ended up in the batter. What resulted were essentially flat, almond sugar cookies, tasty as they were. My hopes deflated right along side them.

Second attempt that day, after realizing the error (like some bizarre Oprah Kitchen AHA Moment…”it was THE SUGAR!!”), resulted in a pretty darned good batch, if I say so myself. Like any good kitchen masochist, I tried two flavors (a raspberry and a chocolate-mint) instead of just one simple beginner one (ie. vanilla). Not to mention, it was right before Christmas and to have green and pink ones on a plate would just be too….lovely. I know, I’m a complete nut sometimes. Bear with me.The green ones aren’t in the picture below because, well, they were eaten before I had a chance to snap the pic.

IMG_3120So, here they are. These were raspberry macarons filled with buttercream and raspberry jam. They need to be finessed a little bit, certainly…these were waaay too big. Any Frenchmen would have had a heart attack at the size. Yes, ladies, size does matter.

It’s a work in progress. So, ok, I didn’t “master” them, but made a masterful first attempt. If you are having a birthday this year and I usually get you a gift, it’s pretty safe to assume that you’ll be getting some of these. Practice makes perfect, after all.

Treadmills to Macarons, with a bit of history and memory lane thrown in for good measure. What a way to start the week!

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