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Printable Calendar: October | Octobre 2013


The other day I walked through a sea of fallen acorns and golden leaves and couldn't resist picking up a few to share with my boys.... I love that Fall just keeps on giving.

For this October calendar, simply click on the link below, print and cut on the dotted line (there are two on one page). I like to use plain card stock but any paper will work. Enjoy!

No Knead Artisan Bread

No knead bread
No knead bread

I wish I had found this No Knead Bread recipe a long time ago, it would have saved me an astounding amount of trips to the bakery (in my household, bread is as necessary and consumed as regularly as water). This bread is not just any regular loaf... it looks and tastes like authentic artisanal bread with a golden crispy crust and soft moist interior. My husband says it reminds him of the pain de campagne or country bread he grew up eating, a rustic circular loaf very common in France. There are few things as satisfying as this warm bread from your very own oven...

I stumbled onto the recipe at Simply So Good, which is an adaptation of the original recipe by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. A simple online search shows this recipe has been published over and over and over again (where have I been?!)... but if you haven't run into it either, here it is... Bon appétit!

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water

Heat-safe pot with a lid
Plastic wrap
Rubber spatula (optional)
Parchment paper (optional)

In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, salt and yeast. Incorporate the water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 12-18 hours at room temperature. After the dough rests, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. When it reaches that temperature, place your pot with the lid in the oven and pre-heat the pot for 30 minutes. While the pot is pre-heating, place the dough on a floured surface and form into a circle. Cover with plastic wrap while the pot continues to heat. Remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot, cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Remove bread from the oven and allow to cool (or dive right in!)

- I use a 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset cast iron pot, but any heat-safe pot with a lid will work (i.e. Pyrex, Stainless steel, clay pot, etc).
- If you don't have rapid rise yeast, regular yeast will work but it needs to be activated.
- Mixing the dough: my first loaf came out beautifully, but my husband made one small change to our second loaf to try and make the dough more "airy". Instead of just mixing the water with the dry ingredients, he used a whisk and "whipped" the water into the flour mix a little bit at a time to allow more air into the mix.
- The best way to keep the dough from sticking to the pot is to form the loaf on a sheet of parchment paper and lift the dough into the pan using the sides of the parchment. You can leave the paper in the pan. I cut any of the paper sticking out of the pot before putting on the lid. When the bread is done cooking, just lift the sides of the parchment out of the pan. The pot comes out pristine, no clean up at all!
- When handling the dough after it has rested for 12-18 hours, try to manipulate it as little as possible when shaping it into a ball before putting it into the pot (this will help from creating a flat dense loaf).
- I use a spatula to move the dough from the bowl to the parchment paper. It comes away fairly easily and you end up with no sticky fingers.

For extensive reader tips, Simply So Good has hundreds to pore over.

Hello Fall | Bienvenue à l'automne


If I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns - George Eliot


To celebrate the official start of Fall, enjoy a 30% off coupon at The French Kiosk (use code Fall30 at checkout).

Happiness | Le Bonheur


the in-between time & fragments of the everyday

This post was inspired by a Paris subway billboard I saw many years ago that read: Le bonheur, c'est ou? or Where is happiness? It struck me so profoundly at the time and has stayed with me ever since - I've answered this question a million different ways over the years, and over those years learned the answer becomes clearer with age and a bit of wisdom - and is as individual and personal as each of us.

For me, for now, happiness lies in being fully present in the simple fleeting moments of the everyday, noticing the good stuff in the ordinary. It's easy to miss, I do it all the time... but hopefully from now on less often.

What about you friends, where do you seek and find happiness these days?

Tranquility | Tranquillité


creamy quiet early evening light




So I finally got a chance to watch Intouchables, a French film I've been waiting so long to see since I first read about it last summer (from fellow blogger and francophile friend Melinda Larson).

If you haven't already had the enormous pleasure of watching Intouchables and you love films that make you laugh, stimulate your mind and heart, and leave you feeling inspired (and you don't mind reading subtitles and hearing French slang), then you just may love this movie. It is based on a true story about two men from completely different backgrounds who form a touching and often laugh-out-loud friendship that ultimately enriches and invigorates their lives and outlook. It may even get you thinking differently about the real needs of the disabled, the price of art and the true value of blind acceptance. In short, it's a beautiful film about friendship with outstanding performances by the two leading actors.

La Rentrée | Back to School


Since August is a particularly slow month for French society, la rentrée in September becomes a significant event... it marks not only the beginning of classes but also the jump start of activities after a languid summer off for the government, businesses and the rest of the population.

For my younger son, September 3rd was more of an entrée (entrance) than rentrée into our local International French school, where a new environment, new rules and a new rhythm became his new normal.

To say the first week was hard on me is an understatement. By day three, Etienne's excitement had worn off, and the small space between us was a heavy mix of sadness and anxiety. Though his meltdown was not pretty to see and hear, the emotional toll was all mine to bear, and this maman's heart was reluctant in relearning the painful art of goodbyes...

The good news is I went through this with my first son... I know at some point it gets slightly easier.

Trois {3} on Thursday


a mélange of finds + favorites:
  1. Tunisian crochet stitch - a stitch I'd love to learn for a Fall blanket. The Purl Bee offers a basic tutorial if you're interested and want to try it too!
  2. The Family of Man - a timeless collection of 503 photographs from the 1955 Edward Steichen MoMA exhibit created to promote peace, equality and brotherhood and showcase "the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world."
  3. Scarf as a camera strap - I still have the original Canon strap that came with my camera, which lately I'm finding a bit unwieldy and not that comfortable... love this scarf idea from Garance Doré, what do you think?

photo credits: Purl Bee, MoMA, Garance Doré

Words & Le Bon Mot

playground on the edge of the woods
playground on the edge of the woods
woods and trees

l'orée [lau rhay] : the edge or threshold

à l'orée du bois : at the edge of the woods


Just around the corner from where we live, à l'orée du boisis a small square of ground with aging swings and dusty slides, an old playground charming in its wear and decline. It's a favorite spot for my boys, a place for their storied imaginations to roam as free and wild as the nearby woods...

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