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Archive for April, 2010

Sorry I’ve been away for so long. This past couple of month has been really crazy for many reasons:

1) I had 2 poster presentations to prepare for the American Academy of Neurology meeting I was attending. And I undertook a MAJOR project 2 weeks before the meeting that I absolutely wanted to present. So I ended up working every night after work (and weekends) on my research project. This left me seriously sleep deprived but totally psyched about the new results of my research!

2) Although the meeting was great, being stuck in Toronto for 5 days (thanks, Volcano) not knowing when I would be able to fly home was NO fun! After 3 weeks of arduous work, I was really looking forward to being able to spend some quality time with the hubby…

3) But after my return,  I still had 2 more conferences with one poster and one oral talk to prepare . Ahhh…..Work Work Work…..

4) Major Bummer:  I haven’t blogged in over a month! Not that I haven’t had any blog material. But life just gets in the way….

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But I know that dwelling on the bad times wont get me anywhere and I am determined to see the bright side of life. In spite of everything I just mentionned I’ve had some pretty rocking moments too. Here is a little overview of what has made my heart smile over the past few weeks….

1) Niagara Falls:


I was at first pretty disappointed to discover that there was a city around the falls. I had imagined something pretty wild and remote. Not a big city with lots of tall hotel buildings overlooking the falls. But taking the boat to get a closer look at the roaring waters was just amazing!  Was also a great way to spend time with my coworkers and get our minds off work!

2) Reading a book at Starbucks!

Oh… that felt soooo goood….. I hadn’t given much time to reading but while I was in Toronto, I decided to take a morning off to go to a local bookstore, sit with a Soy Latte and read. I was so lucky to find the perfect book for my lazy morning: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin! It is such a fantastic source of discussions, quotations and thoughts on this very tricky question: Is it possible to become a happier person? Like Rubin, I am not an unhappy person, I haven’t experienced traumatizing catastrophes, I have a good job, a lovely husband and I live in a beautiful city. But I have always believed that little changes in my attitude or my outlook on life could make me a happier person. This is not a self help book but through her experience, Rubin has helped me find some little ways to make my life more enjoyable and overall more fun! I loved her openness, especially when talking about her relationship to her husband.

I highly recommand this book!

Especially with my new adorable bookmark! I couldn’t resist….

3) AirFrance!

Spending time in Toronto was fun but I was so frustrated to miss time with the Hubby while we were stuck there. After 5 days, my group finally flew to NYC, hoping to get on a NYC-Toulouse flight (the Paris Airport was still closed at the time and southern French airports had just reopened).

I was just so so glad to get in that airplane! Especially when the announced that the Paris airport had finally reopened and our flight was redirected to Paris.

More than 2000 people were waiting at the AirFrance checkin area. Almost all of them were able to go home that night! It was such a relief!

4) Driver’s license!!!!!!!

Yep! I finally did it! Passing the stupid driving test wasn’t easy! The success rate is about 40% (so different from America, huh?) but I did it! I did it!!!! It is such a relief for me … and my bank account (learning to drive in France usually costs around 2000 euros, and even more if you have to take the driving test several times!). So glad it is over!

I even got to drive my sister’s Smart car (the “A” in the back is my mandatory “young driver” sign):

Oh so cool…. The hubby and I are even thinking of buying me a car! I’m so thrilled!

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Well I think it is time to end this crazy long post! I’ll be back with more news later this week!

‘Night yall!


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Passover celebrates the jews’ escape from enslavement in Egypt. It is one of the most widely observed jewish holiday. When the jews escaped, they didn’t wait for the bread to rise. So during eight days we don’t eat any leavened bread.

It is traditional for my family as for most jewish families to gather the first 2 nights for a special dinner: the Seder. At the Seder, every person should see himself as if he were going out of Egypt. Beginning with our Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we recount the Jewish people’s descent into Egypt and recall their suffering and persecution. After our reading of the Hagadah(the special book retelling the story of the exodus), we get to sit down to a delicious (huge) dinner.

My family is from Tunisia (which used to be a French colony) and forever our Passover dinner has been prepared with lots of love by my sweet grandmother. Only a couple years ago (at age 90!) did she decide it was a little too much work for her. I have since been hosting our family seder and prepared the traditionnal tunisian food with my mom and sister.

I only have time to post a few photos right now but I’ll make sure to give yall the recipes later.

We started by a Kemia, an assortment of typical salads and appetizers:

Potato, egg and tuna salad

Mekbouba: stewed bell pepper and tomato salad

Cumin carrot salad

Maakoud: a loaf made with eggs, fish and spinach

Boutargue made with dried fish eggs

Banatages: yummy fried potato and meat balls

Larenj: the most awesome turnip, bell pepper, grapefruit and orange salad! This is my absolute favorite! I tried to make it once but it was not nearly as good as when my mom makes it!

The main dish is called Msoki and is a stew made with 19 vegetables and herbs along with some meat. We only eat it on passover.

For dessert, I did some baking experiments. Making cupcakes without flour and baking powder was actually easier than I thougt. I made two kinds: orange-almond and chocolate-hazelnut.

Chocolate-hazelnut cupcake

Orange-almond cupcakes

Both types of cupcakes were really awesome. The Husband has eaten a total of 18 cupcakes in 36 hours! That is one cupcake every 2 hours!

I’ll be back with the recipes and more tunisian food!!!

Have a great day!

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