Nimes

~ Nimes ~

This weekend has been a busy one.  The highlight…… Nimes, France.

In Nimes the first thing we visited was Les Arenes.  The elliptical Roman amphitheatre is from the first or second century AD and is the best-preserved Roman arena in France.  It used to be filled with medieval housing when its walls served as ramparts, but these were cleared out by Napoleon.  It is still used today as a bull fighting and concert arena.

This place was absolutely stunning.

The views from the top were spectacular.

BUT there were NO guard rails.  If the wind blew the wrong way you would be a goner.

After the arena we walked over to the contemporary art museum.

The Carre d’art houses a museum of contemporary art and the city’s library.

Afterwards we made our way over to the first cafe in sight……pizza it was 😉

We chose a table outside because the weather was nice.  What we didn’t realize was that cars drove down the small alleyway all the tables were set up on….coming within an inch of our chairs.  A lively meal to say the least.

The pizza well made-up for the side-walk traffic.  Fromage du champignons.

And four cheese.

The crust here is so thin and amazing.

More of Nimes to come!

What is your favorite type of pizza crusts?

Artist Jean Pierre’s atelier and hiking to Bonnieux

So today marks my first full week in France.  I feel like I’ve been here forever and already have a schedule I’m unconsciously following.  Yesterday with my treasures of Provence class we visited the mosaic artist Jean Pierre at his studio about an hour and a half drive from Lacoste.  Jean Pierre loves history and incorporating all the history around him into his artwork.  He uses old materials such as ancient Roman bricks, pottery pieces, and tiles.  He feels giving something old a new use and purpose continues it’s life into todays world.  His mosaics were absolutely stunning with such buyers as Sandra Bullock and U2 Pierre’s work scatters the globe.

Here Pierre demonstrates how he himself, along with mosaic artists of hundreds of years past, cut the tiles into precise pieces.

These were some of my favorite.  One day I WILL have these in my shower…

The village where his studio was.

After going through Pierre’s studio we went back to his grandfathers house where we enjoyed the view and visited over chocolate croissants.

…the view.

Pierre also collects old relics from the area.  He showed us everything from ancient roman coins and jewelry to bones.

A very tiny coin that a traveler could keep in his mouth and swallow if attacked on the road.

If you wanted to buy something that was only worth half of what your coin was worth you simply just cut your coin in half to make the purchase.  Simple, right. 😉

A couple centuries ago the towns of the area were struck with a deadly plague that took hundreds of lives.  The people thought that by moving one of the churches to a hill right outside this village would exempt them of their sins thus relieving them of the sickness.  The church collapsed and all that remains today is the doorway.  This village that the door stands in, however, only suffered under ten deaths from the plague.

That afternoon we decided to hike to Bonnieux, a nearby town two to three times the size of Lacoste.  They actually have an operating bus station.  It is about an hour and a half walk there and then and additional hour and a half back [the return journey being up-hill].  The views were spectacular though and definitely worth the exercise.  The path to Bonnieux veers off the road and through old ruins and vinyards.

On the way we found an old stone house.  Nature had taken over long before, but it was a lovely sight from the inside.

One of the many vineyards.

So many variaties of fruit, some of which I have never heard of or seen before line the trails here.  Eating along the way is one of the many perks of traveling by foot.

First view of Bonnieux

And what was the first thing we did upon arriving?    Gelato.

Pure.  Happiness.  In a cup.

That evening a pizza truck drove into town.  The way things work amongst all the small towns and villages in the country is everyone shares.  Their is one main priest and he visits a different church every sunday, roughly in each city once a month.  The pizza truck stops in Lacoste every Wednesday evening before making its rounds elsewhere.

If you take a peak inside of the truck they cook the pies in an actual pizza oven heated by a real fire.  Pretty legit for a food truck!  Everything is made to order.  I tried the cheese and the vegetarian.  Both were superb.  Best road-side pizza I’ve ever had.  The crust was so thin, which to me = amazing pizza.

Favorite food you’ve had overseas?

Back on the Trail Again

Last night I was in bed around 12!  First time in weeks, so exciting.  8hours sleep was needed to say the least.  I awoke this morning set on my banana spinach pomegranate green monster.  While constructing I discovered I forgot to put a banana in the freezer last night 😮 I ended up using a regular banana and the result was not the same.  It was good, but their is something about the ice cold creaminess of a frozen banana that transforms the drink.  I don’t recommend making this drink without a frozen B-nana.

Topped with lots of Udi’s Artisan Granola.

For recipe on Banana, Spinach, Pomegranate GM see previous post

Growing up my Mom and I loved going to eat at Schlotzski’s Deli.  Their bread is beyond addicting.  Too me it is so different then anywhere else and I am in love.  The only one in my hometown closed down around 8 years ago and I haven’t been to one since.  How I made it this long is still a mystery to me.  When ze boss at work brought up making a field trip to one near by [in atl] I jumped on it.

Say hello to the BBQ chicken pizza with added black olives.

These photos take the cheezi-ness level to an extreme, but I assure you this pizza is a lot smaller then it looks 😉 and a party in your mouth if ever their was one. 🙂

I was released from work early today, and decided to finally get back outside for a real [non gym] run.  I am a swimmer at heart, and that is my usual choice of exercise.  Me and land sports do not mix – bad things almost always follow.  Running is probably the only thing I can do, and even then I bet someone watching me would say my form is somewhere in China. 😮

The last few months this past spring before moving up to Atlanta for the summer I began running a bit with mom.  Around 3 miles 3 mornings a week.  Since moving up here, however, I haven’t run outside due to time and unfamiliarity with my surroundings.  Today I found a park and set to it.  I got in 20 minutes before the sky decided it was time to let the thunder and lightening come out and play, and it was the perfect amount of time 😉  PLUS the incoming storm gave off a lovely cool breeze.

Before the run I snacked on a frozen peanut butter chocolate chip larabar.  This is without a doubt my FAV of the 4 new flavors.  My new favorite way to eat a larabar?    …     Frozen.  My goooodness it’s amazing.

A fellow blogger who I thoroughly enjoy reading, Peas and Thankyou, had a recipe in her post today for homemade chocolate chip cookie dough bars that made my eyes turn the size of dinner plates.  Click here and take a look!  I will have to make these and soon!

Dinner was a trip to the whole foods salad bar.  I drop way too much $ at this place.  But it is a haven for single people with no kitchen, so I keep my mouth shut 😉

Mixed greens and spinach with carrots, noodles, chick peas, steamed broccoli, steamed butternut squash, artichokes, olives, and more goodies I can’t even name.

Has anyone ever been disappointed eating at whole foods??

Song of the day today would be the song:  “Oh Lord” – by Foxy Shazam

I had never heard of this band before seeing them open at a concert 2 years back.  I immediately fell in love with them upon their first song, which I don’t think I’ve been able to say for many other bands.  The live show they put on is pure crazy spectacular.

Well I hope everyone has a good start to their weekend!

Question: What is your favorite Whole Foods item?  Do you have any grudges or dislikes against the store?

Granola Morning

I am sticking to my goal of less reading/more sleeping this week.  Problem – I’m still not getting into bed early enough due to non reading business.  Never fails I guess.  Next week…I’ll catch up on sleep then 🙂  I didn’t even have time to get on here yesterday but breakfast was a good one.  Trader Joe’s honey greek yogurt was a blessing to a time-crunched morning.  Topped with almond butter and Udi’s granola I was ready to start the day.

I wish I could share crazy fun adventures that occur between meals, but I am sitting in front of a computer.  The epitome of non-excitedness.  I have been on a brain freeze lately concerning my most recent project which doesn’t help matters.  One thing I can say, however, was how awesome lunch was.  I picked up this frozen meal from trader joe’s and was excited to give it a whirl.

*Note – I am sans kitchen this summer and doing the best I can with only a fridge and blender at my disposal.  I usually am not a fan of frozen meals, I find them to be rather bland and watery.  This was AMAZING though.  I was quite surprised.

The sauce was so flavorful and spicy, rice was fluffy and perfect.  I was in shock, definitely getting again.  This is a combination not to miss out on.

Paired with an ice cold organic carrot juice and I was set. 🙂 🙂

After work was a combo of racing around, with a peanut butter chocolate chip larabar, best new flavor!  And fighting my was through a 20 min monsoon.  One minute a perfectly fine sunny afternoon, then right as I begin to look for parking a complete downpour.  I found the smallest umbrella known to mankind in the car and made my way through streets with literal flowing rivers on either side, to meet a friend for dinner.  I became stranded at the end of the last street and found myself with no other choice but to walk straight through an ankle deep puddle.  Non-water canvas shoes and all.  This made for a rather delightful mood I assure you.

Dinner was a slice of fresh spinach, mushroom, and black olive pizza.  It was amazing as you can see from the picture.  I was in such a distracted/I’m soaking wet daze that my mind overlooked the need to take pictures 😮

Let’s hope tomorrow is a tad more dry!

Wednesday is dancing – 😀

Question:  What extreme weather conditions have you been caught in lately?

Drinking Kale … For the Very First Time

After my lunch, breakfast I decided to make a Green Monster.  Now, so far I have only been using spinach but I’ve read so many stories of venturing past the now seemingly common veggie to more adventurous greens.  KALE.  Now I know this doesn’t seem that out there to some but for me it is a first.  I had no idea how it was going to turn out.  I also used some of my fresh fruits, a.k.a. raspberries, strawberries, and some banana.  And WAIT, another first here, raw cacao nibs.  These were my recent splurge from whole foods and I was itching to try ’em out.

Kale Green Monster:

1 tbsp chia seeds
lots of cinnamon
2 large handfuls of ripped up kale
2 large frozen strawberries
1/2 frozen banana
handful of raspberries
about 8oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
topped with a spoonful of almond butter and cacao nibs.

I blended this all together in my magic bullet and was surprised by the taste.  It was very refreshing.  I will definitely be using kale more often.  Topped with a bit of almond butter and some cacao nibs was a crunchy creamy energy concoction!  Only problem was that the bottom pieces of the kale did not blend very well.  Do you remove more of the stem?  Or maybe my magic bullet is aging…

Along with the kale GM I tried one of the new larabar flavors: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Best yet, I am in Love.  I ate half and put other half in freezer for an amazing snack tomorrow.  If you haven’t tried the new flavors yet you need to.  NOW.  😀

For dinner I met my Grandma for pizza!

A wonderful greek salad + tomato, tofu, pesto pizza.  Doesn’t that combo make your mouth water?  And good news is there are leftovers for tomorrow.