A Kitchen in France and Garden Party Dreams

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When I was last picking a book from *Blogging for Books to review I came across A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorisson. I just couldn’t pass this book by. Not only was the cover gorgeous, but I loved the thought of seasonal recipes from a true French country kitchen. 

This book did not disappoint. I have many cookbooks, and there are many more that I want, yet I must say that this is my favorite. I love reading the stories throughout, about her childhood in Hong Kong, years in Paris, and life in Médoc with her family and fourteen dogs. The photos by her and her husband are gorgeous, and I love the respect she has for each ingredient. This book inspires me.

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Not only am I highly anticipating trying out all of her recipes, but it also inspires ideas for my own recipes. While reading through all the stories and notes that fill A Kitchen in France I kept daydreaming of garden parties with loved ones. Maybe one in late spring with her recipes for artichoke tartlets, tomato salad with parsley and shallots, and almond gazpacho, along with a glass of **champagne. Later on after lunch has been over for a while I could bring out a plate of colorful macarons (recipe not in the book) and trays of lattes made from freshly roasted coffee. If it was autumn I could serve her pork cheek ravioli with cèpes, butternut gratin, and chocolate meringue swirls with chocolate sauce and crème chantilly, along with **red wine.

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Of course I had to test out one of her recipes. Not only for this review, but because I’ve been dreaming of the many flavors. I was originally going to make her delicious looking onion tart, but rolling out puff pastry crust sounded difficult to do with the sole use of one arm. However, the other night I was in need for a little baking therapy, so I decided to splurge and try out the meringue swirls.

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Simply put, they were amazing. Mine didn’t turn out as gorgeous as her’s, but I gave myself a little grace since I only had one arm. While eating mine I couldn’t stop imagining the many different flavor combination. I loved the outer crunch of the meringue with the denser, almost candy bar nougat-like interior. It paired perfectly with the chocolate sauce and whipped cream. I shall be using this recipe many times in the future.

Do you have a favorite cookbook or food blogger? Do you find baking or cooking therapeutic?

*This book was provided to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are, and forever will be, my own.

**Ephesians 5:18

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January Goals

IMG_6609wmjmgA random photo, however it’s from this month and I like any reason to share pictures of cute furries.

One of my favorite bloggers, Daisy from Simplicity Relished, recently shared her January goals. I found this inspirational. A year ago I wrote myself New Years resolutions for the first time, but found it impractical because life is always changing, and just because resolutions seem good at the start of the year doesn’t mean they’ll be attainable for the rest of the year. Instead this year I intend to join in making monthly goals.

  • Read seven books
  • Get back to healthy eating
  • Lyme detox three times weekly
  • Create more delicious, easy, and healthy recipes
  • Get back on my blogging schedule 
  • Reconnect with friends 

These goals may be simple, however I don’t want to give myself too many. I want to leave time open for spontaneity, anything that pops up unexpectedly, and keep my chronic illness in mind.

What are your resolutions or monthly goals?

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Quality Time at the Pet Store

IMG_6567wm IMG_6580wm IMG_6588wm IMG_6591wm IMG_6648wm IMG_6650wm IMG_6704wm IMG_6748wm2 IMG_6755wm IMG_6758wm2My dad is often busy with long work hours, yet he still works hard to offer us help when he knows our Lyme disease is bothering us. Another wonderful thing is that when he has time and when we’re healthy enough he’ll offer to do something with us, and he tailors it for the person he’s offering it to.

When spending time with someone it’s good to remember to keep their tastes in mind. If you know they don’t like chick-flicks (I like very few) then offer something else. My dad will drive Caroline around until they come across a place that would be interesting for a photo shoot. However he knows I get sick driving around for a while, so he thinks of something that would better suit me. Doing this shows thought and concern for the other person, which is what we should show our loved ones. It helps ensure that your quality time is enjoyable.

Last week during my dad’s New Years break he offered to take me by the pet stores. This is the perfect activity for us, because it doesn’t require an excess of driving, and we both get to fawn over the animals. This is especially wonderful because I’ve been going through animal withdrawals, since I’m unable to have pets for the time being. Afterwards he took me by Starbucks to use a gift card from a dear friend. Another wonderful activity was going by the dog park the next day, after running by the library. Not only did we get to walk through a lovely park, but several dogs came up to us asking for attention and we had a nice conversation with a woman about her sweet adopted dogs.

What are some of your favorite ways to spend quality time with loved ones?

 

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A New Year

IMG_6407Photo courtesy of my sister, Caroline Keeth. You can watch her vlogs on Youtube, view her photos on her Facebook page, or read her blog here. She also talks about writing a novel, being a dragon and burning down everyone you love if you take her gem (me), fear of spiders, cake, and all her nerdy feels on her Twitter page.

Happy New Year! I’m sorry to have been absent these past several weeks. After recovering from a virus I came down with tonsillitis, and if you follow me on Instagram you will know that after that I injured the tendons in my forearm, which made the holidays even more insane. I’m still unable to use my arm much, without causing further pain, but thankfully I’m back online! I missed Lavender & Honey and all my blogging friends, I’m happy to be back.

The year 2014 is now over and looking back it most seems like a year of recovery and further learning who I am and what I believe. It was a painful year, due to working through a lot of rather difficult issues, but because of it I’m in a better place and I’ve grown a lot. I’m looking forward to seeing where the Lord takes me in 2015. At this point I’m guessing it will be a year of change; I think I’ll be healthy enough to get my driver’s license, I hope to start freelance writing and an Etsy shop to sell my art, and there are some other rather big changes which I hope to share here soon.

How would you classify your 2014? How was your New Years Eve and day?

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Creative Inspiration To-Do List

IMG_6428 IMG_6434 IMG_6448Photo courtesy of my sister, Caroline Keeth. You can watch her vlogs on Youtube, view her photos on her Facebook page, or read her blog here. She also talks about writing a novel, being a dragon and burning down everyone you love if you take her gem (me), fear of spiders, cake, and all her nerdy feels on her Twitter page.

Wow, it’s been almost a month since I last shared an inspiration to-do list. If you’re unsure what that is you may read the first post here. In short it’s a list of things to do, maybe in doing these things it will start a spark of creativity, whether you write, paint, or sing.

  • Reread an old favorite book. I recently reread Song of the Sparrow. While I loved it several years ago, it’s no longer my cup of tea. One book series I always love to reread is The Hunger Games trilogy. 
  • Sketch or color. Being artistic without being wrapped up in worrying about the results is incredibly relaxing. I love to sketch, however I know other adults who really enjoy coloring books. You don’t have to be a kid to color. 
  • Visit with some animals. If you have some pets make sure to have some snuggle time with them, and fully enjoy it without worrying about the next thing you need to do. If you don’t have any pets–I’m unable to have any for the time being–then maybe you could visit a pet store and just enjoy looking at all the animals. Last time I went I fell in love with a guinea pig and a couple fancy green conures. Even though I was unable to bring them home just spending time around them helped rid me of the depression I was fighting that day.
  • Learn something new. Is there something you’ve wanted to learn for a long time, but have been putting off? I’ve been wanting to learn computer programming for years, but since my Lyme disease affects my brain function I had put it off. I finally decided to put if off for no longer, and I am now learning Python programming. 

Do you enjoy sketching or coloring? Is there something you want to learn that you’ve put off? How do you find inspiration? 

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