Sunday, August 28, 2016

Herbes de Provence Popcorn

Herbes de Provence popcorn... My littles pick scallions out of their soup and even though green is a favorite color of theirs, they protest green veggies in foodstuff. I love veggies, fresh and sautéed, roasted and puréed... etc. so it pains me when they make faces and voice complaints upon seeing things not up to their green-free standards.

Interestingly (and ironically!), they have been obsessed with this herbed-goodness for the past two years. Our popcorn is not complete without herbes de Provence. Go figure! 

If only they knew the ingredients included such green hued and plant based things such as fennel, thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley... And lavender... Can we keep it our little secret, please? 

Okay, so the recipe is simple. We use our plug-in/electric popcorn maker, add canola oil and the herbes de Provence and mix it all up with a big spoon. Then bon appetite... I get to enjoy my French flavor love (while my mind is transported to beautiful purple-hued fields in Provence) and the littles happily eat a delicious, healthy snack they helped make. A lovely win win, right?

With love from:

Jules @ Quirky Wanderlust 

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gracehome Rental Apartment, Taipei

We feel blessed to have come across Gracehome in Taipei, Taiwan. Needing a cozy and convenient flat to call home for one month while in Taipei, we found Gracehome to fit the bill plus go above and beyond our expectations. Not only are the accommodations homey, cozy, clean and well kept, you have an excellent (kind, friendly, genuine!) host who checks in on you to ensure your comfort.  You also have several safety features and are located in a convenient spot, really close to the metro, Da'an Park, 711, a local mom & pop noodle shop, a local breakfast sandwich & dan bing Taiwanese egg crepe making couple, grocery marts, Mos Burgers, Zhanlu Coffee, Cama Coffee... And quite near a massive, meandering open food market plus the famous foodie haven of Yong Kang Jie. 

Here is a little tour of our apartment at Gracehome (there are a couple floor plans / styles to choice from, so keep in mind, these photos are from ours rental flat and each flat will have its own feel): 

Right upon entering the flat (which has a security gate for our individual apartment), we had this excellent storage cabinet that we used for shoes on the bottom and mosquito sprays and bug band storage on the top.

Loved this cozy and stylish nook! Isn't the chair oh la la? A great spot for reading and relaxing, although, with the kids it was also a backpack prep place in the evening. 

We were gaga over this big red phone! 

One cellphone with a local Taipei number was offered as part of the rental. You can select to purchase a second one for the duration of your stay. We did as we figured each adult needed one. This was helpful when one of us made a grocery or dinner pick up run and needed to call the other with questions. 

Great kitchen and dining space. 

A big table with enough space for a meal plus the prepping of postcards and other writing activities. 

Über swanky light fixture! 

Cabinets which had tea and coffee sets plus tea bags, instant coffee packets, sugar, creamer, etc. for easy teatime access. 

The kitchen has a stovetop / range, a microwave, a toaster style tray oven, an instant hot water pot, fridge, and many cooking pots / pans, utensils, plates, cups, bowls, etc. 

Viking Bear and I were especially enamored with this drying rack. It can be covered so you don't see the dishes inside. Brilliant - and - convenient! 

Our Chinese cartoon hang out space. A big screen TV and a cozy spot to curl up for screen time or to enjoy a good book. 

The picture below is actually a lush, red sofa but the cover was added to make it more kid friendly. Perfect for lazy mornings and for quiet, wind down time before bed. 

The master bed. Super comfy! 

Bedside lighting. Lovely, no? 

Also in the master bedroom is this great writing desk and storage space. Directly behind it is a Freudian sofa bed. 

Great, spacious storage closet in the master bedroom! 

Here is side one of the closet. 

Side 2. 

Side 2 has a full length mirror inside! 

The master bedroom also has a storage security safe to keep valuables in. 

There is additional space in the master bedroom for unpacking and packing up those big luggages! 

Here is the bathroom area. The sink and some storage is outside of the bathroom proper making it convenient for multiple people to be getting ready in the AM at the same time. 

Check out the green step stool. There wasn't a step stool when we first arrived but by the next day the Gracehome staff delivered this, having the insight that our littles couldn't easily reach the sink. During our stay, the Gracehome staff were constantly, proactively doing things like that made our visit personalized and special. 

Toilet area. 

The bathtub and shower. 

Special Gracehome shampoo and bath / body gel. 

Bathroom storage.

The wonderful laundry space. This area really made being abroad cozy and homelike. Having the ability to wash and dry our clothes conveniently in our own space was so great. 

The instructions were in Chinese, but we received some help - the staff numbered the steps for us since we were initially uncertain of what to do. 

Room to dry and iron clothes, too! 

We had an amazing experience in Taipei and having Gracehome as our home away from home was a big element of our happiness while on this trip. We definitely would choose staying at Gracehome again. 

For more information on Gracehome and to see my TripAdvisor review of this rental apartment / flat, you may wish to check out this link:

Photos by Jules @ Quirky Wanderlust 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Salt & Bread Russian Doll Babuschka Ice Cream, Taipei

Meandering down Yongkang Jie frequently for our month plus stay in Taipei, we kept coming across the super cute Russian Doll Babuschka ice cream parlor, thinking how adorable and out of place the shop seemed. We were intrigued! 

Later on, when we braved inside one late evening we learned this restaurant is called actually called Salt & Bread. 

With the precious façade and cute signage we really didn't know what to expect on the inside...

Inside did not disappoint. The Russian theme continued inside in a very modern / elegant way (loved the painting wall decor and a nice number of the Russian nestled my dolls adorning strategic areas of the shop. It felt cozy and cool at the same time and my littles ones had tons of fun looking at everything with wonder. 

Some Russian ice cream in the freezer.  

Cakes and other desserts tempting the eyes and belly. 

The ice cream we went with was: 1. A mix of green tea and vanilla; 2. All green tea and 3. An ice cream cake (top & inside are both ice cream!). That one had nuts and coffee so was definitely for the adults. 

As for the green tea - I think our children wanted it only because it was green. It turned out being too powerful a flavor for them to eat too much, so Viking Bear offered to finish theirs. 

Doesn't that all look so yummy? 

Thanks Salt & Bread for the lovely family dessert night! 

Photos by Jules at Quirky Wanderlust