My grandma gave me her old cookbook when I went to visit yesterday. It was a wedding gift from my grandfather's grandmother (my great-great- grandmother) and is a first edition Betty Crocker.
The pages are in shambles and it is very well used, but I am looking forward to trying a few old time classics. My mom said she remembers this cookbook always being around, so I am really happy to have it. Here's to hoping the recipes are better than the photos!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
My grandma gave me her old cookbook when I went to visit yesterday. It was a wedding gift from my grandfather's grandmother (my great-great- grandmother) and is a first edition Betty Crocker.
Friday, December 26, 2008
After leaving Munich at 9am on Tuesday the 23rd, we finally arrived in Ohio at 7:30pm on the 24th. We were the unfortunate people that waited at the airport for hours and hope not to get stranded. We boarded our plane twice, deplaned twice, and finally got stranded at Dulles airport when our flight was cancelled.
Our options quickly dwindled when we learned that all of the standby flights were booked and the waitlists were 15 people deep. We were offered one flight to Cleveland on the 24th and every flight in the midwest was booked full until Christmas day, which was referred to as 'Thursday'. As opposed to wasting more time, we went to stay with my aunt and uncle in Northern Virginia after 7 hours of waiting. We were told we could pick up our bags on the carousel at the baggage claim, however once we arrived we were told it could take up to 3 hours! This is not happy news for two jet lagged people traveling internationally.
Getting home in time for Christmas meant spending $300 on a rental car and a 7 hour drive on Christmas Eve (German Christmas). We listened to way too many variations of the same songs as we drove through about 6 hours of serious down pour.
The end of the drive was beautiful. I had fun playing with the lights on the highway and once the fog and rain lifted the sunset made the clouds appear black. It was so interesting. When it was all said and done we went from Munich to London to Washington DC and then drove through Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and finally Ohio.
The worst part is that we have to fly through Dulles 4 times during our trips! Here's to hoping the rest of our travel is less eventful.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Before leaving for America we packed our bags with many gifts for friends and family. Most things were edible and I was surprised to learn that Kinder uberraschung eier (small chocolate eggs with a toy inside) are illegal for import to the US. Evidently there is an issue with having something inedible completely covered in something edible.
After gearing up for our trip we celebrated our own Christmas for two. I decided to give Stefan a surprise trip for use at a future date since we really appreciate gifts of time. I already have a few ideas as to where we could go and what we could do, and he won't have to lift a finger. He won't even know where we are going until we check in at the airport or get on the train.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Since we will be spending Christmas in America, we gathered early for the family fondue, which is a Christmas tradition. Even though it's a broth fondue as opposed to one with oil, the food is seriously filling. My mother in law usually makes about 13 different kinds of meats in addition to many sauces and vegetables. Stefan usually eats as if I never feed him and we all enjoy many glasses of wine and interesting conversations. Of course the conversation gets more interesting as the night goes on.
I still will never understand why guests bringing a dish or helping out hasn't caught on here. I am looking forward to that potluck approach for our American christmas. This will be the first real American christmas for Stefan and he doesn't really know what to expect. Surprisingly this is also going to be the first time Stefan and I have ever flown to the US together, which is kind of amazing.
Friday, December 19, 2008
If you live in the Munich area, and are an ex-pat like myself, you probably try to think of what to bring back home for friends and family. Beer is the obvious choice, but it's not always simple to import, even if you attempt to play by the rules of imports and customs.
Right now the tourist information office at the Hauptbahnhof is clearing their stock of its Munich Loves You items. While it obviously took a lot of cues from the famed I♥NY campaign, I liked the Munich Loves You / München Mag Dich slogan. It at least gave a reason to update the t-shirts, because lets face it, there are some seriously ugly t-shirts that I wonder how anyone got paid to design.
The Munich Loves You shirts, items from the 850th celebration (which was this year), and any stein with the slogan are dirt cheap. The half liter glasses that I bought, were only 1.90€ each and a glass maß (1 liter) is 2.90€!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This month's words are glow, warmth, pattern, nature, liquid and blue. I tried to use a holiday / christmas market theme, since that's what I'm surrounded by.
I've also been in luck, because Munich has been incredibly foggy lately. Some days it's difficult to even see down the street or into our courtyard, but I'm really fascinated by it. The lights seem to glow more and it just seems slightly mysterious. I've really never seen so much fog, especially as often as we have it.
I love seeing what other people find to fit the themes of the month, if you participate please let me know!
Monday, December 15, 2008
I love to cook and bake, but the truth is I am extremely critical of recipes. My tried and true favorites go into my 'permanent folder' and they have to be outstanding to even stand a chance. It's great to have Stefan as a husband for a multitude of reasons, one of which is that he is willing to eat anything I make and he tells me it's all delicious.
Deep down I'm not as forgiving. Lucky for you, I'm posting one of the pages from my heirloom cookbook that passed the test, as a thanks for reading my blog. Just click on the image if you need to see it larger.
I love to make this recipe because it's simple, versatile, forgiving, and delicious. These are a winter staple for us and go great with soups.
My only word of warning is not to use low fat butter. It kind of pours of out of the biscuit while it's baking. They may not be the most healthy, however they are extremely delicious and filling.
Hopefully you enjoy them as much as we do!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
After visiting Oma we went to visit more family - Steffi + Andi. My mother in law saw the Vilshofen Christmas market on TV, and told us that we should visit. So that is where we decided to go. We were pleasantly surprised at what a wonderful market they have, which is direct on the Donau. They even had part of their market on a boat!
Niederbayern is always unique. The accents are different and the food and celebrations are also special for the area. Surprisingly I can even understand most all of their colloquial jargon. I just had to constantly remind myself not to mock them.
Vilshofen really a glowing place at this time of year, because they use so many decorative lights on their cobble streets and the radiating warmth is just spectacular. At times, I have to remind myself I'm not on a movie set.
Stefan and I sampled many mugs of glühwein, as well as something called a 'seng zelten'. It was a wood fired oven flat bread covered in a variety of ingredients ranging from sour cream and chives to salmon, onions, and cheese.
Everything seemed to be more of a production as well. There was a live nativity and I squealed with excitement when I saw the donkeys. At that point one of Steffi's friends, who we met, asked why I was taking photos of everything. We all had a good laugh about me being the American that loves to take pictures for everyone back home. She thought I was a German and didn't understand why this would be so exciting for me.
There were fire pits to sit around and get warm, as well as a small lodge that was outfitted with cosy decor. No detail was overlooked.
There was even a visit from a couple on stilts, which no one really knew if there was meaning behind it, or if they were just decked out to represent good and evil. I'm not sure how evil fits into the celebrations, but this is the country with krampus.
We were in luck as well, because it was the last day for the market, so they had a big production complete with fireworks from the boat at the end of the night. It was such a local celebration, but we all had a fantastic evening.
I really appreciated seeing the markets from another vantage point. Being able to compare it to Munich's markets made me want to experience more of the smaller hometown markets.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Tomorrow we are going to visit Oma, so today we attempted to have a bit of festive cheer to give us something nice to come home to.
Since we'll be traveling so much, we opted for a 10€ replacement tree. It's minimal, festive, and will last well into the winter months. I can already say the smell of fresh pine is so wonderful.
Now we just need to get a few more of our decorations out, since we're going to the US in just about a week!
After I picked out everything I wanted, the florist said, it's 'klein aber fein' (small but nice). I definitely agree!
Friday, December 12, 2008
The past few weeks have been really busy and trying for me and Stefan. It's been difficult to only have time together on the weekends, but we try to make the most of it. Fortunately that looks to be something that is going to taper down, especially with the holidays around the corner.
We will be heading to the US to celebrate Christmas with my family, which will be the first time for us to celebrate with them since I moved here. This will also be Stefan's first proper American Christmas.
The past few weeks I've been stocking up on German treats for everyone at home. I can't wait to enjoy a loud, children filled family gathering and having some of my Grandma's wonderful baklava.
There's also talk of my parents getting another puppy, so Stefan is keeping his fingers crossed for that. That would mean 8 muddy paws to clean, 2 baths to give, and a lot more work. Even so, we'd at least have fun playing in the snow with Mieka, the family dog.
During our visit we will also be making trips to New York City to visit friends and then make our way down to Washington DC to see more family. I'm looking forward to the calmness before Obama's inauguration.
Not only do we have that to look forward to, we even have some guaranteed time together in the coming year. I always keep an eye on affordable flights and today we booked two!
First, we'll be heading to Rome in late February. Can you believe I've never been to Rome? It's one of Stefan's favorite cities and I am sure we'll have a great time. The art historian in me is going to absolutely love it, especially since I won't have to fight through loads of tourists.
We're considering a stay at one of the convents, which offer rooms, but I know they also have plenty of design oriented hotels as well if we need a fall back.
For the second trip we will be heading to Cairo in March. I am simply in awe that I will be seeing the Giza pyramids for myself. We're also in luck, because my old roommate Kate used to live there, so I am certain she will have some fantastic tips.
I would definitely say 2009 is off to an amazing start.
(images: flickr - washington dc, rome, cairo)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I loved walking through town today and hearing a mix of languages with the smells of spiced nuts, glühwein, and rahm bread wafting through the area. As much as I hate to admit, sometimes it's just great to hear English, especially when I hear the people complaining about not understanding the language. It makes me realize how far I've come.
Stefan always loves visiting the markets and eating the carney foods that they sell, so I had a rahmbrot for him while I was out. It won't take much convincing to get him to visit the Tollwood festival with me and to go to the world foods tent when he's home. Secretly I'm also looking forward to their savory crêpes.
There were many shoppers out trying to beat the holiday rush, and tons of little ones ogling the shop windows. I loved to just stand there and eavesdrop on their excitement and narration of what was going on, especially at the Kaufhof store window, which features a plethora of moving Steiff animals.
I know that the pictures don't do it justice, especially because I couldn't get enough of hearing a little girl say 'putzen!' as she looked at the window and saw one animal cleaning. It's very elaborate and if I stood there any longer I would probably be hypnotized into purchasing one of them, like the adorable chimpanzee.
The children are probably slightly disappointed when they receive one and it doesn't move, clean, and cook, on it's own, like it appeared to in the window, but they warm my little heart.
All of the store windows were interesting. Many shops have gone with the advent theme to promote purchasing multiple items. The variation was really interesting - everything from the Alessi shop to stores for the little ones. Maybe next year I will make a nice one for Stefan. There is plenty of inspiration.
The new Apple store appeared to be quite busy. It seemed so Americanized as soon as I noticed Santa and his elf in the window, of course listening to their ipods. One of the churches downtown is undergoing a facelift and what is more appropriate on the façade than an enormous ipod ad? I guess they have to pay for those renovations somehow.
I also stopped at the Fünf Höfe, which is my catch all shopping spot. I love the Muji store that they have and I was so very happy to find a few things for my little cousins. While in the store I spotted one adorable little dog that had his fill of holiday shopping. He blended in nicely with toys and I would have taken him home in a heartbeat.
Not only did I have a successful day shopping, I was delighted to arrive home to a wonderful package from a dear friend. Inside were beautiful ornaments and yummy candies that we don't have here.
That was definitely the highlight of my day.
It looks like this weekend we'll be decorating and getting some of the Christmas cheer around our apartment, so this thoughtful package came at the perfect time.
Slowly it's feeling more like the holiday season is here.
While I was shopping I saw the most beautiful nativity designed by a company called ˚es. It is very minimal and comes flat, in a mailer, for a simple, yet beautiful gift.
I'm sure it would even be enhanced with dramatic lighting. If you are lucky enough to live in the Munich area, you can find it at Magazin (inside Fünf Höfe).
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I had an interesting tour in Salzburg today. You're probably thinking to yourself, 'When is it not?' That is the thought that I have whenever I come home and simply laugh as I reflect on my day.
Sometimes I am truly amazed at people and this job, much like teaching, it always leaves me with something new to consider. I have to say they give me material for my future tours, when I give random warnings that I never would imagine happening, until of course they do. It's always something, which makes going to work really exciting for me.
Here is today's new experience:
As we were leaving the train station I turned around to make sure there weren't any stragglers that were getting lost. You would be amazed at how easy it is to lose adults.
It was then that I noticed an Italian woman who I thought had paid for the Neuschwanstein tour. I picked her out of the bunch and asked her if she was sure she was going to Salzburg, 'Yes' was her response. Fair enough, she knows what ticket she bought and where she wanted to spend her day.
On we go... and 2 hours later we arrive in Salzburg. Yes, Salzburg the home of Mozart, that is located in Austria, a completely different country.
I get to the middle of the tour, right in front of Mozart's birth home, when she says, 'What about the castle that I paid to go into?' I tried with everything I had to take a deep breath and then I said, 'You came on the wrong tour'. I asked to see her receipt to verify and sure enough she did.
She still did not seem to entirely grasp that there would be no castle tour, unless she cared to visit the largest fortress in Austria. I demonstrated with my hands 6 inches apart, that Füssen is here, where my left hand is, and Salzburg is here, where my right hand is. Not close to each other at all.
She continued to ask me questions and I was so appreciative when the Italian family chimed in, in Italian, that there in fact, would be no visit to Neuschwanstein today, it was too late and she came on the wrong tour. She really didn't seem too taken aback, especially after I reassured her that we'd get her 9€ castle entry refunded.
Minutes later the older couple from Australia tells me, 'We've been traveling all around Europe, and the Italians are the only people we've encountered that we didn't like.'
I really should have enjoyed my free time with a glühwein or two. I'm definitely not in America anymore when I can drink on the job and it's acceptable. Days like this definitely make me appreciate that.
Instead, I went shopping for my cousins and bought the adorable wooden pens I mentioned last week.
Not all was lost, the Italian woman came back with full shopping bags. I'm sure her husband would have preferred if she went to Neuschwanstein.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
My favorite holiday of the year is New Years. To me, it's a day of celebration that affects everyone regardless of where they are. I love that everyone has the option to gather in the name of hope, mystery, and awe for the coming year. It seems so uniting.
How many holidays are celebrated around the globe without concern over religion, ethnicity, or location? It's definitely something special!
It's also a special day to me, because ever since Stefan and I have known each other, we have celebrated together, and it's also the day that we got engaged. (He sure is a smart fellow... I never even had to tell him it was my favorite day of the year.)
As we shed our newlywed status we continually find new holiday traditions for our tiny family. One fun tradition is that on New Years Day we write predictions for the year. Sometimes it's funny to see how life plays out and how completely off we are. I'm already looking forward to opening that envelope to see what predictions were accurate for 2008.
This year we are ringing in 2009 with great friends in New York and I really can't wait.
I'm already listening to, 'My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year)' by Regina Spektor, way too often, as I contemplate what I will wear, where we'll shop, and of course, which restaurants to choose.
I look forward to a beautiful 2009, filled with family, friends, and fun.
Friday, December 5, 2008
The color lover in me gets excited when Pantone announces their color of the year. It looks like in 2009 they are going for upbeat and cheery with the choice of 'Mimosa'. I'm in luck because I have a beautiful coat and hand bag in this exact color.
In other Pantone related things, how cute (and inexpensive - only $3.74! but, closer to $15 after shipping) are these coffee / tea cups and saucers from Fishs Eddy? I'm kind of hoping they still have them in their New York shop when we visit at the new year, because I hate ordering breakables and hoping they arrive safely.
I also love Ignacio Pilotto's 'rubitone' concept piece. What a creative guy he is.
It appears I'm not alone in my love of all things Pantone. Check out If it's hip it's here.
If I was an art teacher again, I would love the Pantone Flight Stools in a classroom. I'm sure that would never happen, considering the price, but they sure are beautiful.
That will be added to my list of dream jobs: forecaster of colors for Pantone. In the meantime I will simply admire all of their tints, tones, shades, and hues.
(images pantone, fishs eddy, Ignacio Pilotto, + BarberOsgerby / pantone)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I absolutely love sending mail and my list for Christmas cards continues to grow.
For the past few years, I have utilized a service from the US post office called Premium Postcard. What I really love about this, is that you can personalize your cards, create mailing lists, and send them anywhere in the world for the low price of $1.12 each (or less if you buy them in bulk or when they have a sale).
It's also ultra convenient for sending birthday cards and scheduling mailings in advance, because they are sent from within the US, so there's not the additional transatlantic wait time if you're a tad late on remembering.
If you happen to receive this card in the mail you can act surprised! I will leave the message on the back a mystery for you.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I love the old adage that 'Time can't be bought, only spent.'
While not everyone has the time or capability to volunteer, you can still intertwine helping others through shopping, during the holidays and year round.
1. smart glass - jewelry and ornaments that bring new life from recycled glass. (image smart glass jewelry)
2. Pandabo - a strategic stacking game that is made from bamboo. Bamboo is a sustainable material that can grow up to 47 inches in 24 hours. It also regenerates from its own roots. (image childtrek)
3. Guatemalan hand blown ornaments - These are pretty and simple enough to leave up year round. (image 3 r living)
4. Gift a tree - plant it for a special memory and watch it grow. (image arbor day)
5. African wildlife keychains - Made by the Dupoto's Women Group of Kenya, with 60-65% of profits going back to them and supporting Beads for Education. (image awf)
6. Eco Friendly water powered clock - No need for batteries, simply use water, salt, and lemon. (image bedol)
7. Adopt an Olive tree - Complete with deliveries in the spring and autumn. (image nudo)
8. World Wide Orphans Foundation - stationery with delightful drawings from orphans around the world. (image world wide orphans foundation)
9. Solar Charger - good for phones, ipods, etc. Great for traveling and not running out of batteries. (image solar style)
10. Guerilla Gardening - for the slightly rebellious, this book focuses on the aspects of beautifying spaces that they don't own. (image amazon)
11. Peace plaque - a simple statement with proceeds going to the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund. (image global exchange store)
12. Rice bags for animal rescue - Help fair trade and women in Cambodia that create these unique bags. (image the animal rescue site)
Other stores selling eco-friendly goods:
Nigel's Eco Store
Ten Thousand Villages
At West End
3 R Living
African Wildlife Foundation
Donating in someone's name is always a nice gift that makes even more people/animals happy. Research and find a worthy cause that is meaningful or purchase from shops that align with your beliefs.
Here are a few of the endless charity ideas:
Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary
Audobon Nature Institute
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Today I had a Swedish couple on my tour. After we were walking along one of them stopped and told me that I looked like HRH the Crown Princess Victoria (also from Sweden). I nervously laughed and she said it was a compliment. I commented that my mother in law has also said the same.
I don't think we look that much alike, and I never got stopped while we were in Sweden. I guess it's just a similarity in our face shape and dark features.
For the rest of the tour I noticed they were slyly trying to take photos of me. I hope that I don't end up in the Swedish yellow press.
(image miss maude)