My French Lunch Break

While studying abroad in Cannes I grew to appreciate the importance the French place on their "dejeuner" (lunch). French lunch breaks are commonly 2 hours in order to give people time to truly relax from work, cook and enjoy their most extravagant meal of the day. This blog is dedicated to the idea of taking some extra time in the middle of each day to truly appreciate the gifts of food, nature, friendship, family, art and health.

Monday, June 27, 2011


"Good food nourishes you while junk food leaves you constantly craving more"
Homemade Salad + Hummus + Sheephearder's Bread 

Indian Feast from Punjabi Tandoor in Anaheim-highly recommend
(Buy One, Get One Lunch Specials on Tuesday if you mention Yelp!)

I'd put these lunches in the "good food" category...though I must say I'm craving them right now...

<3 Lyss

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Now Stop...Fiesta Time

What does one do with a produce drawer full of veggies and one perfectly ripe avocado in the fruit basket? Throw herself a little fiesta of course! 
So I chopped up some veggies for fajitas and diced ingredients for my guacamole. There's nothing quite like fresh guac...a perfectly ripe avacado, onion, tomato, sea salt, a good squeeze of lemon and you've got perfection in a bowl (at least in my opinion). 
A bowl of black beans and a couple grilled corn tortillas and my veggie fiesta fajitas were complete.
Through I admire the French for most things when it comes to cuisine, their take on "Mexi-Cannes" food left me pretty disappointed. So here's to growing up in Southern California with an appreciation for authentic mexican food. Nothing compares. 

Cooking therapy; that's my french lunch break.

<3 Lyssa 

Parisian Ponders

Tonight I sat in row two of theater eleven at an Orange County theater but felt transported back to France thanks to the film stylings of one Woody Allen with his newest flick, Midnight in Paris. A blockbuster or academy award, but a well-made, well-casted smart comedy with spot-on reflections on the varying reactions to Paris by Americans...yes. 

The backdrop of Paris just makes everything better and kicking off a movie with a five minute reel of glamourous arial and street shots of the magical city was a great editing decision. I was immediately reminiscing my trip there and got caught up in that intangible longing to travel again. That longing makes you (or at least me) identify with the protagonist who is jaded by the LA film industry and aspires to move to Paris and write a novel instead of another lack-luster script. Without spoiling the tale, suffice it to say that there are many road blocks between him and this "perfect plan"--one being himself and his inability to believe in his talent and embrace the present. 

So I'll admit it, I totally share that inkling towards nostalgia and the romance of years past with Owen Wilson's character (Gill). I don't know how many times I've thought, "I would have been so much happier growing up in Europe in the 20's." I find myself daydreaming about life in other cities of the United States constantly thinking how much better  things must be there. In reality, I live in California where the sun mostly always shines, the beach is 15 minutes away and there is an infinite variety of anything you could ask for. I need to take a hint from Gill's discoveries and embrace my current situation and the potential for inspiration just outside my balcony. 

But while embracing the now is an excellent ideal to live by (thank you Buddha), I think find it equally important to study and appreciate the remember what life was like without the internet and how a hand-crafted letter could be the your only contact with a lover or friend for months upon months. Learning and growing from the past is never too old-fashioned in my book. 

But enough of my thoughts. There was one line from the movie that I just loved and thought I'd share: "All cowardice comes from not loving, or not loving well enough." Ernest Hemingway's character  shares this thought while he tells Gill how true love should make a man forget his fear of death and feel immortal, even if just for fleeting instants now and then. I find this concept curious and interesting to ponder. I hope you do too... 

A $6 "trip" back to Paris and a chance to hear the french language in all it's that's what I call a French lunch break ;) 

<3 Lyssa

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gnocchi Provencale for Supper

Today, one of my closest friends took off on a plane for Israel where she plans to work with an NGO and make the world a better place for Palestinians in Israel, namely women. Words cannot express how proud I am of her for making this big move to work for something she is so passionate about. She is truly an inspiration to me, and I am going to miss her like crazy.

While I know she will be amazing at her new job and will make friends instantly--the one thing I worry about is that she will eat nothing but chocolate while she is there. As her college roommate, I constantly had to remind her that one cannot live on sweets alone and make sure that she ate real meals now and then. Before leaving, she requested I keep up my blog and continue to share recipes so she has new meal ideas. So, here is my disclaimer: I don't pretend to be an accomplished chef or master cook, but I am happy to share some of my simple recipes for my friend and anyone else who's interested :)

Looks like my take on Gnocchi Provencale is the first...
Step 1: Put on the musical stylings of Michael Buble (I love his Pandora channel) to get you in the cooking mood. 
Step 2: Chop artichokes, onions, tomatoes and olives (kalamatas are the best but I was out) while heating a bit of olive oil on a large skillet.
Step 3: Cook the gnocchi in boiling, lightly salted water for about five to seven minutes. (and of course sing along to Michael with the wooden spoon as your mic while you stir) In the meantime, sautee the veggies, starting with just the onion and then adding the rest just before the gnocchi is ready.
Step 4: Strain the cooked gnocchi and add it to the skillet with the veggies. Then stir in a little bit of light marinara sauce and turn off the heat.
Step 5: Serve and enjoy!

PS-It goes great with a little white wine ;)

<3 Lyssa

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Orange Home Grown

Don't get me wrong, I love Trader Joes as much as the next vegetarian, but every now and then I have an urge to buy my produce from a local farmer's market where I can visit with neighborhood farmers about what's in season and ensure that my produce is fresh and organically grown. Visiting the farmer's market in Cannes and practicing my French with the bubbly, knowledgeable vendors was one of my favorite things to do. I often ponder how silly the French must think we are for boasting our giant grocery stores stocked full of produce that was probably picked weeks ago when they have the farmer's market process down to a science. 
So this Saturday I decided to visit the newly formed Orange Farmers and Artisans Market for a taste of homegrown produce and friendly neighborhood advice (not to mention some great samples!). I was intrigued by Orange Home Grown's beautifully crafted logo, website and tweets. I just couldn't pass up a visit to such a perfectly branded market. Fortunately, my experience matched and exceeded the expectations their fun designs had set. I spent my Saturday morning sipping complimentary coffee and chatting with the cookie lady about the wonder of Nutella, the hummus man about why Ohio hates LeBron and a friendly shopper about how the apple man's fuji apples changed his life. 
I returned home with a reusable bag full of apples, plums, squash, avocados, fresh mint, hummus, pita and--my favorite find: artichoke salad--for just under $20. Sorry Trader's, looks like I may be taking my produce business elsewhere ;) 

<3 Lyssa