Monday, May 9, 2011

An American in Paris & Bruges

"France, and the whole of Europe have a great culture and an amazing history. Most important thing though is that people there know how to live!" Johnny Depp

Bonjour! I have returned from Europe and am bursting with new ideas, recipes to revamp, and well bursting at my hemlines as well! I was thrilled to see such interesting food culture and how they prepare and enjoy a meal. From grabbing a sandwich on the street to sitting down in luxurious, romantic settings boasting 4 hour meals, I was thoroughly exposed and inspired by the French and Flemish.

We first arrived in Belgium. Bruges to be exact. This quaint and colorful town was peppered with pretty buildings, glistening canals, specialty shops, and delicious fare from the sea. The cobblestone streets, preserved buildings, and lego structured rooftops left us feeling like we were on an ornate movie set, set back in time.We lived on a diet of mussels and frites with no complaints. That, and beer which was cheaper than water and a large part of the culture. The weather was perfect, the people friendly, and the food was incredible.Our last day in Belgium we rode our bikes up to Netherlands and created our own bicycle beer tour of the small town pubs on the way back. No worries gluten free vacationers, they have a gluten free brewery in Brussels!

Falling in love yet? That was just the beginning. We then took a train to Paris and spend a week emerged in the culture.

The good/bad for me thing about France is they LOVE THEIR BREAD. Love it. With everything. So, it wasn’t as easy for me to partake, however I did mentally collect how they used it in their meals and how I can twist it and make it gluten free.

View from our balcony
I was asked a couple times if I would be sticking to the vegan diet when I went to Belgium and France. I went more of the vegetarian route when I could. It was my first time oversees and there were a couple things I have always been dying to try. To be honest, it wasn’t as satisfying as I thought to eat dairy and what not again, but it was something I thought necessary to try. After 6 days of 12 course dinners every night this Indie is READY TO DETOX! I enjoyed tasting and diving into the diverse food culture but I am craving healthy salads and fruit. Not that they don’t have that over there by any means but I was an American in Paris if you know what I mean.

I digress. Staying up for 22 hours traveling and sitting here jetlagged with my words falling off the document may propose a comprehensive block for you dear readers. That said, I will leave you with one of my favorite blogger’s recipes. It’s big. It’s green. AND it’s loaded with nutrients. Sounds good after what I have put my body through the last ten days ;)

Classic Green Monster
from Oh She Glows

• 1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
• 1 ripe banana, preferably peeled + frozen
• 2 handfuls organic spinach
• 1 tbsp chia seeds OR 1 tbsp ground flax
• 1 tbsp nut butter
• 1-3 Ice cubes

Starting with the liquid, add in 1 cup of milk of your choice. Now add in the chia or flax and nut butter. Next, add in the spinach followed by the banana on top. Blend until smooth. Add in your ice cubes and blend some more. Serves 1- about 2 cups.

Don’t freak out about the spinach. You cannot taste it I promise :) You can however taste kale. Feel free to add different fruits or spices! This recipe is easily adaptable.

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