A Quickie….

Ok, minds out of the gutter!   😉  I just wanted to hop on to say hello.  Today is the first day back to school after summer break here in Southern Germany.  Autumn has also arrived.  The mornings are crisp and cool, leaves are beginning to change and I am feeling quite refreshed.

Finally, I am back in the kitchen after a too hot summer.  Happily, I am replacing my tank tops and shorts for sweaters and jeans.  Well, we are not quite there yet, but soon will be and I want to be prepared.

This cooler season of Autumn feels like a fresh new start.  More so to me, than New Years.  It is my favorite time of the year, since moving overseas.

There is much planned for the upcoming months.  Travel, family visiting, baseball playoffs, hockey games, fall cleaning, a bit more simplifying, a little organizing and back to work part-time.  Don’t worry, now that I have gotten my “life” organized, I have found time to blog a bit more, finally!

It is amazing once you develop very simple routines how much time one finds to do things that make them happy and relax.  It took me a while to finally develop a routine that seems to work.  (It also helped not to be so anal and obsessive about cleaning…(my deep, dark, secret),)  Oh, and limiting tv, surfing (online, not the ocean) and much social networking, opened up a huge window of time.

A few months back, I decided to track how I spend my time.  I had taken a time-management course a long, long time ago when I was a secretary and I applied the same idea.  All I can say is, Wow!   What an eye opener.  That seemed to get me back on the right track.

This doesn’t seem like such a “Quickie” post anymore so I think I will end it here.

I enjoy beginning this new, fresh season with much new content to share with you.

 

 

Merken

Merken

Simple things – new kitchen stuff & snack cake

It obviously does not take very much to make me happy.  Case in point – Saturday I came home from TK Maxx with 2 brand new Cuisinart dish towels and a cookie sheet.

In fact, it was Happily Mr. that saw the dish towels, which were on sale for only 3€!  He actually noticed that my dish towel supply was quite sad and diminishing.

The cookie sheet – well, it’s quite an amazing story.  I did not bring any kitchen things with me when I moved overseas and they just don’t sell or use cookie sheets here.  I have been looking for an “American Style” cookie sheet for six years!  I can’t tell you how excited I am to bake my White Chocolate Chip cookie recipe for you all tomorrow using this new cookie sheet.

I am really glad they put in a TK Maxx in our small town.  Oh, in case those of you who live in America are thinking I misspelled the store name, I didn’t.  For some reason TJ Maxx is called TK Maxx over here.  I wonder what it’s called in Canada?

My other simple pleasure this past week was enjoying a slice (okay… 2) of this delicious chocolately and easy snack cake.

It so quick to make and also does not require eggs, if you prefer eggless recipes.  I found the recipe years ago here at BettyCrocker.Com.  

I was really craving something chocolate and don’t keep much in the way of snack or junk food in the house.  It was the perfect addition to a little coffee break!

Sometimes the simplest of things are just so satisfying and make a day, perfect!

Merken

My first time…. making an omelet.

Finally getting back on track with the cooking-through challenge, I decided to try my hand at an omelet.  Not just any omelet but a french omelet aux fines herbes found on page 259 of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

I never attempted making an omelet before because it holds a bit of an intimidation factor for me.  I was amazed to find out it is not complicated at all!

This is how my first omelet ever turned out.

I  toasted  some Brioche on the side.

Not bad for a first try.  Now the recipe for “aux fines herbes” I was drawn to as I love anything french.  It seemed quite glamorous, even for an omelet.

I honestly did not quite care for the taste.  It was a big too “herby” for my liking, if there is such a thing.  I even admit to adding barbecue sauce to it.  (blushing)

The good thing is that I tried something new.  Won’t Happily Mr. be surprised when I whip up a ham and cheese omelet for him this weekend!

Keep or Toss?:  I will definitely keep making omelets from now on.  In fact the picture instructions for the french omelet key recipe were easy to follow.  I can’t believe I was so scared to make them before!! As for the Aux Fines Herbes part? Sadly, I must toss.  It just wasn’t to my liking.  Maybe if I added a bit of cheese to it, it would have been better. Next time!

Merken

Merken

I know…. right?

What else can I say? Mia so long…. I could make excuses but I wont. We have been traveling quite a bit these past two months, Coburg, The Ammer See, baseball games in Regensburg, Spring training at the Tegernsee again for soccer and a 5 hour Cruise down the Danube River to Linz Austria.  We have been taking advantage of sporadic days off which have been very welcome in the heat we are having this summer.  I did suffer a slight injury to my shoulder in May which I am happy to announce seems to be on the mend finally, or I would not be chatting with you at this moment.

I finally got back to hanging out in my kitchen and have in fact discovered a most delicate and delicious cookie recipe.  If you love white chocolate you will love this and I will be baking a batch next week to share with you.  Also and I mean a BIG also, I have missed cooking in the Chaotic cooking-through challenge and this month is a Wildcard month which means I will be trying a few new recipes that I have never tried before.

I have missed you all & reading about what you all have been up to and look forward to catching up.  Can I just apologize for not popping in quickly to say hi and let you know I am fine?!  If I made you a cup of your favorite brew and gave you a heart-shaped cookie or two, would you come back for more?

Merken

Coffee Chat: Thoughts on Creamed Chicken, the Fifties Housewife & other things

Long time no chat.  Hi there!  Let’s just jump right in with todays chat,  I hope you have a cup (or pot) of your favorite beverage nearby.  Today, I’m drinking ice-cold sparkling water with a slice of cucumber.  It’s HOT! I mean, Africa hot!!  Its 28 degrees (that’s 82 in farenheit) in my kitchen right now and its early in the day.

I tried another recipe from the Betty Crocker Picture cookbook for the cooking-through challenge.  The key recipe for Creamed Chicken.  It was really easy and quick, especially having leftover chicken breast to use.  I poured the mixture over egg noodles as suggested and it looked nice but the flavor to me was quite bland.  As you know, I followed the recipe exactly.  If I do make it again, I would definitely season it up a bit.

Unfortunately, I have no picture  (sorry) as the batteries ran out on my camera, it only uses batteries and of course I did not have any of the right size in the house.

So with that said,

Keep or Toss?  Hmmm….. probably toss, but not sure yet.

Now on to other things as to where have I been?  We ended up having company last week and we did a bit of travel.  A river cruise on the Danube from Plattling, Germany to Linz Austria.  Absolutely beautiful!

 

We had about 5 hours on the ship, leaving at 9:00 a.m.  We spent the rest of the day exploring beautiful Linz. 

Then hopped on the train back to Germany.  Long, exhausting but wonderful day!

We also went to watch baseball in Regensburg to enjoy the Euro Cup games.  So wonderful watching the different countries compete.  I love that we live near a baseball city too.  One thing you may not know about me but my husband and I are baseball geeks.  In fact, he is so knowledgeable about the sport, including statistics and players from the early days, one would think he is American.

What else, oh, I finally got my garden finished.  Happy to say that I  have a few things actually growing!  We have had Barbecues and been enjoying visiting with extended family.  Also, did two 32K bike rides.  Finally, swimming at the beach.   It was a wonderful week!

But now… its back to the grind and as I mentioned, the heat.  I am not sure what I will be cooking for the cooking-through challenge for the rest of this month.  Normally, I have a plan and I do (or did), but I just can’t cook in my kitchen in these temps.  We do not have air conditioning, in fact, Germany does not do air-conditioning or ceiling fans even.  This includes many restaurants and stores.  I am not kidding.  I guess grilling, wasn’t quite a thing in the Fifties yet. The heat wave is only supposed to last the rest of this week, so we will have to wait and see what happens then.

Other things… Remember back when I said I was going to try three months has a 50s housewife?  Well, here are the results of that experiment.  The 1950s housewife prided her self on running an efficient home and always looking and dressing modern.  She did not wear clothing or hairstyles that her grandmother wore.  I still have many of the core values I was raised with, I think I run a pretty efficient home,  I am frugal, although Happily Mr. is the king of frugal living.   As for clothing and hairstyles, I do have a vintage dress I love.  I can do pretty much any hairstyle if I so choose.  My hair usually has a mind of its own though.   I have stopped shopping though or should I say buying.  I do enjoy window shopping but finally don’t feel the need to buy.  I have enough to work with to look my best and that is finally good enough for me.

This experiement did make me reflect on a few things though.  Making do with what you have.  I learned it is more society telling  me I need  new and improved items and new styles, although, in reality, I don’t.   Sometimes, something a bit worn may just need a simple makeover or a needle and thread.  I also didn’t realize how much food I waste.  I guess I still am adjusting to buying only for two and having a european size refridgerater.  I have more recently changed my grocery habits a bit which ironically is very similar to the housewives of the Fifties.

As to limiting my internet usage and social media, since that wasn’t around in that decade,  I have to tell you, my hardest part was watching YouTube videos, I did not realize how often I will sit down in the middle of the day and watch a few!   Now, in the middle of the day, I do take a break, if I am home, but I watch a German soap opera.  I have to laugh as I remember my mom watching Search for Tomorrow!  I feel, this is a better use of my time as I really need to improve my language skills.

I still am online on my laptop though, or else I wouldn’t be posting this.  I just allow myself a certain block of time to answer emails and blog.  What I did learn is I need to have  another slot of time for reading my favorite blogs or watch my favorite youtubers and look at Facebook.  So what I do now is take only  half an hour 5 days a week to do this.  Which is usually between 10 and 10 30 am, again, if I am home.   I set my timer when I hop online.  Its a great way to keep track of the time.  The only social median I have now is FB.   Living so far away from friends and family, it is the only way, unfortunately,  that I can keep in touch.  Although, Facebook is a touchy subject for me as it usually makes me homesick and a bit depressed.  I am finding I prefer to email with loved ones, honestly, and may start doing that more often instead.  Darn, I am wordy!

So, to conclude, I don’t feel like I failed my experiment at all.  In fact, I feel more in tune to whats important in my life. I may not look or act like a fifties housewife but I guess that wasn’t what it was about after all.  I just am the best person that I can be.  I am proud to take care of our home.  Living in the moment, just being myself and keeping my husband happy.  If he is happy, than I always seem to be too.

Sorry, I will work on the length of my posts,  maybe stick to just one subject in the future.  I really need to get a bit more organized and I will!  Do I hear another experiment coming?  😉

Happy Summer my friends!

 

Merken

Merken

One basic white sauce for a variety of recipes and creamy sauces.

This key recipe I learned before the arrival of my precious Betty Crocker cookbook.  White sauce, roux, whatever you call it can be the basis for so many recipes.  My mom taught me how to make macaroni and cheese using this white sauce, which surprisingly takes about the same amount of time as opening a box of Kraft.  Here in germany where the “cream of” variety of condensed soups are not sold, I found I needed to use the white sauce in order to re-create many of my American recipes, like hamburger stroganoff, a chicken and rice casserole and my favorite cheesy potatoes.  I also use this as the basis for my southern gravy and alfredo sauce.

Since I have been cooking-through my cookbook, I find now that it was used in so many recipes during the fifties and that I can even make a short cut to white sauce and keep it on hand in the refrigerator.

This is how I make my white sauce, which also seems to be the same recipe in the cookbook.  Makes sense I guess, since I learned it from my Mom who used this cookbook too when it first came out in the fifties.

Let’s get started.

First, melt the butter over low heat.

Next, blend in the flour and seasonings cooking over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly.

Remove from heat to stir in milk.  Then bring to a boil for about one minute.  Here, you have to stir constantly.

Sometimes, I switch to using a whisk if there happen to be any lumps in the sauce.  When the sauce is your desired consistency, it is done.

The recipe states for the best flavor to cook for 10 minutes.  I never knew that.  It also states to use a wooden spoon, so next time I will try as Betty suggests.

The measurements for a medium sauce is 3 tbsp. butter, 3 tbsp. flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper and 1 cup milk.

For the shortcut to always have the basic roux (butter paste)  on hand says to blend to a smooth paste equal amounts of soft butter and flour.  Keep in jar in the refrigerator.  I will be trying this too, it will save a lot of time for me.  When ready to use, heat to scalding the milk, stock or other liquid and seasonings. Stir constantly until mixture boils for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

I thought it was time to share this method today, as throughout this month I will be trying out a few new recipes that require this white sauce and sharing a few of my own in the near future.

I can’t tell you how many times this basic, simple, little white sauce has saved my dinners!

If you are curious about learning more about this basic white sauce, you can find all the little hints and techniques in the sauces section of the original Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

Merken

Cake, Challenge & June first

There is more to June 1st than I thought.  Not only do we find out what Mary over at Chaotic White Space has chosen for our next category for month two of the Cooking-Through Challenge, but today is also National Hazelnut Cake Day!  I never knew it existed but If I had, I would have baked a hazelnut cake in honor of June 1st.

Hazelnut anything is my most favorite flavor.  So if anyone has an easy hazelnut cake recipe, please feel free to share it below.

Happy Hazelnut Cake Day!!

p.s. – Hopefully next year I will actually have a photo to share with you of a hazelnut cake. 😉

 

 

A Bavarian Staple – The Pretzel

In Bavaria, you are apt to see this as a side dish to just about everything.  The Pretzel  (Bretzel, Bretzen or Brezn it’s all the same) has been around Southeastern Germany since the 1400’s and it may be surprising to learn the fat and calorie breakdown of this Bavarian staple.  These shown above,  I made here at home.  You can buy them pre-made in the freezer section of any grocery store and  pop them in the oven.

Not only is it a nice snack by itself, they are also used instead of bread for a sandwich even.  Lunchmeats or cheese are just layered on top of one.  Another common way to find them in the bakery instead of plain is sliced in half horizontally, with butter spread in the middle then replaced.  Just like a sandwich.  Instead of butter, I enjoy a bit of cream cheese in the middle like you would do with a bagel.  Really, the options of what you can do with a pretzel are endless.

Here is the breakdown:

1 Brezel (85 Gramm):

  • 804 kJ / 192 kcal (Calories)
  • 6,1 Gramm Eiweiß (Protein)
  • 1,6 Gramm Fett (Fat)
  • 38,5 Gramm Kohlenhydrate (Carbs)

Of course they are very popular at the Volksfests and Oktoberfest too.  Although they have a bit more calories as they are quite larger, but oh so good!

So, the next time you plan on using bread for a sandwhich, why not try replacing it with a pretzel?

 

Merken

Merken