keys to the fleas…

Ever dreamed of exploring Paris’ treasure-laden flea markets? Now it’s at the tip of your fingers with Claudia Strasser’s BRILLIANT new i-phone app called Key to the Fleas. Claudia draws from years of experience exploring all of Paris’ flea market delights to create this fantastic app. It just makes me want to drop my toilet-bowl scrubber and get myself on the next flight to Paris!!!

I’m just so impressed with how thorough Claudia’s guide is. She outlines all of the markets including addresses, dates, times, the most efficient itinerary for covering a lot of ground. She even offers up tips and contacts for shipping purchases back home. Her photo gallery is full of flea market eye-candy.

I wish I’d had this information the last time I was in Paris. It’s exactly the kind of “insider” knowledge that I crave for every city I visit.

GIVEAWAY: Claudia graciously gave me a copy of the application to review and one to give away to one of my readers. So, if you leave a comment below, you might win when I draw a name on Thursday, August 5.

By the way…Claudia’s blog, The Paris Apartment, is one of my absolute favorites! It’s full of wonderful photos and stories. And just in case you need an injection of GORGEOUS, Claudia’s book, The Paris Apartment: Romantic Decor on a Flea-Market Budget, is available through Amazon.com.

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lantern love…

I love it when I spot products that Nicole Jane Home carries in movies or magazines. This time I spotted our Ibiza lanterns in a June issue of Canadian House & Home magazine. I can’t tell you how gorgeous these lanterns are when they’re lit at night. I placed an arrangement of them on my stairs for a BBQ a couple of weeks ago, and they were absolutely mezmerizing.

photo source: Canadian House & Home Magazine

photo source: Canadian House & Home magazine

summer supper…

One of my favorite online magazines is Sweet Paul‘s new e-zine, where I came across this fabulous recipe for Papaya & Citrus Salad with Maple Syrup Dressing. Who cares if it’s only Tuesday, I think I’ll be scooting down to the produce market for tonight’s dinner! Don’t you just love summer when you can get gorgeous “naturally-grown” produce straight from the fields?!

photo & recipe courtesy Sweet Paul Magazine

I think this salad would go perfectly with my Dill Baked Salmon. Here’s my own recipe (quantities are guesstimates…don’t hate me if you hate it).

Serves 4 – 6

4 Wild Salmon Filets

4 tbs real mayonnaise

4 tsp fresh chopped dill (or 2 tsp dried)

1 tsp Kosher or Rock salt

1 tsp Pepper

Pat the salmon filets dry with paper towel and place on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet (use a large enough piece of foil to fold over the filets). Spread 1 tbs of mayo over the top of each filet and sprinkle with 1 tsp chopped dill (or 1/2 tsp dried). Sprinkle with Kosher salt & pepper to taste. Fold the tinfoild over the salmon and pinch to seal.

This is where my recipe gets a little fishy (get it). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (or less or more, depending on size of filets). Do not overcook the salmon, unless you’re like my girlfriend, Samantha, who loves dry, dry, dry baked salmon (mental note: need to look for new friends with better taste!).

This is where I take a big gulp of chilled Reisling…twirl my pearl necklace…and wish you all a Bon Appetit!

poor baby…

It’s not often that I whine (I can hear the gasps and guffaws coming from my so-called friends and family), but I’m gonna give it a whirl. In case you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t been posting much lately. There is an excuse…er…reason I’ve been absent. It’s the same reason you won’t see one picture in this post!

It all started about 3 weeks ago, while I was making dinner one evening (again with the gasps and guffaws…stop it). I’m always so innovative in the kitchen, and I thought it would be a fantastic idea to saw off the ends of the cobs of corn before peeling them. Not so fantastic ’cause (WARNING: If you have a queasy stomach…do not read) I nearly “sawed” my index finger off.

When it happened, Mark immediately lept to action. While holding my head between my knees and my hand in the air (I think he actually enjoyed twisting me into a pretzel) he tried to convince me to go to the medical clinic ’cause “it’s really bad, Jen”. I refused to go ANYWHERE, so he resorted to trickery. “Jen, the doctor will just irrigate it and put one of the new-fangled bandages on it.” Normally, I’m a pretty smart woman, but when I’m panicked, I lose all sense of reason, and I fell for his LIES.

When I got to the clinic, I was called in to the office, and I looked back to make sure Mark was following me, but he just remained seated and shook his head “nope”. Traitor!!!! It became clear what was going to happen next when the nurse led me in to the little operating room, looked at my finger and declared, “Yup, you’re going to need STITCHES”.

Surprisingly, getting 6 needles in the very cut is not unbearable–stings, but it’s not unbearable. Four stitches and a finger cast later, I was ready to go.

For two weeks, it was pretty tough typing, but I’m back in business now that the finger is healing. The Frankenstein scar may have destroyed my hand-modeling career, but rest assured, it won’t stop me from sending out post after post after post for evermore. Lucky you!

Quinoa salad days…

Who knew a little “seed” could taste so darned good? As promised in my Twitter posts, I snagged a recipe for Quinoa (pronounced KeenWa) Salad from my girlfriend, Marlene, who brought it to a BBQ we hosted a couple of weeks ago. It was delish and I think you’re going to enjoy it. Sorry I don’t have a picture of the salad, but here’s a picture of Marlene to feast your eyes on as you make the salad:

QUINOA SALAD

1 c. quinoa
2 c. water
2 T. olive oil
8 T. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. (or more) ground cumin
2 tsp. (or more) ground coriander
2 T. (for sure more) fresh minced cilantro
4 T. (or more) minced green onions
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 c. diced tomatoes
2 c. diced peppers, variety of colours
1 T. minced jalapeno pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1.    Cook the quinoa as per package directions.  Cool.
2.    In a measuring cup, combine the oil, lime juice, cumin and coriander.
3.    Lightly mix the quinoa with the green onions, cilantro, beans, tomatoes, and peppers.
4.    Pour the dressing over the salad and mix lightly.
5.    Season with salt and pepper.  Alternately, you can season the dressing with salt and pepper.
6.    Serve cold.
7.    I don’t measure the vegetables… I just add the amounts that ‘look good’.

Rest assured, that while you’re eating your salad, you’re doing your body a big favor. The Quinoa is an excellent source of protein and fiber, and it’s rich in phosphorus, magnesium and iron too. Oh, it’s also gluten free and easy to digest.

Whoa. That’s one macho seed!!!

Marlene graciously agreed to share her recipe for pickled cucumber salad too! If you love bread and butter pickles, you’re gonna love this salad. It’s an excellent side dish for meet and fish.

CUCUMBER SALAD

4 Japanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 sweet white onion, thinly sliced
1 c. white vinegar
½ c. water
¾ c. white sugar
fresh chopped dill

1.    Toss together the cucumber and onions in a large bowl.
2.    Combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan and over medium-high heat, bring to a boil.
3.    Pour over the cucumber and onions.
4.    Stir in the dill, cover and refrigerate until cold.

Marlene is of Russian decent and she promised to teach me how to make some divinely decadent Russian plum tarts in the Fall when the plums are ripe. Can’t wait!!!!

a good day for a giveaway…

The Reisenthel cityshopper bag giveaway was such a big hit, that I have decided to give away another one! This time, it’s Reisenthel’s XL Shopper Baroque Sand.

You’ve got two chances to win:

1. Leave a comment below

2. Twitter about the giveaway and use @nicolejanehome, so I know you’ve tweeted about it. Feel free to copy & paste this:

I just entered @nicolejanehome draw for a Reisenthel XL Shopper bag Baroque Sand http://www.blog.nicolejane.com.

I’ll draw a random winner on lucky Friday, July 23! Good luck everyone…can’t wait to hear your comments.

beautiful batik…

I just came acrosss Canadian House & Home TV’s segment on making a framed batik picture. It’s lovely and they provide a step-by-step demonstration on how to batik (not sure if it’s a verb, but what the heck). The TV segment has the full instructions, but here’s my abridged version:

1. Start by melting a pot of paraffin wax. Use a clean piece of fabric large enough to fit in the picture frame. (make sure to lay down some paper first, to protect the surface you’re working on). Paint the pattern that you would like to remain the color of the canvas. When you’re finished, turn it over and paint wax on the design from the other side.

photo courtesy Canadian House & Home TV

2. Use diluted fabric dye and dip the entire canvas in it. Make sure the canvas is completely saturated with the dye.

photo courtesy Canadian House & Home

3.  Allow the batik to dry and fray the edges by pulling threads off.

photo courtesy Canadian House & Home TV

4.  Mount the fabric in your favorite frame.

photo courtesy Canadian House & Home TV

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