Are the days of spontaneous travel gone forever?

honeymoon 2011 070I sure hope not!

I lately wonder if technology has ruined the spontaneity of traveling. Other than booking our transportation and a hotel we rarely plan anything when taking a trip. Relying only on a map of our destination along with a travel guide. Yes, it is a small book which are still thankfully readily available through a book store or amazon.

Sadly, a newer trend is popping up where a reservation must be made online to visit some sites. It seems that there are a few places  where one can no longer decide to just walk in off the street to visit or tour a place of interest. Thankfully, this has not taken off everywhere and I hope it never does as I do not have internet capabilities when traveling, by choice.

The process of sightseeing is an adventure in itself. Why plan your day hour by hour? Sometimes, due to transportation delays one may not get to their destination at the alloted time for a tour. It happens and is all part of the adventure.

Personally, some delays have led us to some of the most interesting places which we did not intend to visit or even knew existed.  Like in this photo of the Eiffel Tower.  We were just “walking the streets” of Paris enjoying the warmth in of an early spring day.   We were so surprised to look to our right and see the tower.  It was a beautiful experience.

I believe the best way to travel is to not plan too much. Get to your desired destination, check in to your hotel, talk to some local people and begin walking around. Some of the best attractions are off the main paths. Places that the local residents enjoy and places that you just simply stumble upon.

So when planning your next trip be sure not to schedule too much and just be present and enjoy the adventure.




The perfect meal for a cool autumn day.

In Bavaria, we have definitely succumbed to the cooler temperatures of my favorite season, autumn.  I love the crisp, fresh smelling air.  The warmth of the colors and a cold nose, it is a perfect combination.  Although it can get very chilly once that sun goes down for the evening, what better way to warm our bellies then with a hearty  Shipwreck Stew and homemade biscuits.


Two things I must share with you about this meal.  First, it is very inexpensive to make, wonderfully filling and healthy even.  Depending on your family size, you will have enough leftover to freeze for another meal or have to eat the next evening.

Secondly, I have to share with you how I came about this stew recipe.  I grew up with it.  My mom made it often, probably because it is very budget friendly, and when one has a large family, it is nice to have a lot go a long way.

Recently, my mom asked me what I was making for dinner and I told her, Shipwreck Stew.  She loves hearing that I make many of the dishes that she used to make.  She then went on to tell me how she found this recipe.  The story goes back to 1945.  She found this recipe in newspaper and thought it sounded like a good meal to try.  Well, it has stuck around the family this long, I think she found a winner.

Here is what you need to make this delicious stew:


Brown 1 pound hamburger with salt, pepper, onion & about 2 tablespoons chilli powder.  Drain.  Add 1 can each of red kidney beans, tomatoes and tomato paste (6 ounce can).  Add 4 or 5 diced potatoes.  Simmer about 2 hours or until potatoes are done.  Remove from stove and add 1/2 a cup of cooked rice and let it heat through about 5 more minutes.  Of course, feel free to adjust the spiciness to your taste.

This makes about 6 servings.  The original recipe read to serve with crackers.


I made some homemade biscuits while the stew was simmering, which in my opinion was the perfect addition.  This is also a great recipe for a slow cooker.  Just prepare the ingredients the night before. Then in the morning, add them to your crock pot, pop on low heat before you head out the door and you will come home to a welcoming smell, as well as a delicious and hearty dinner ready to eat.

If I may, my wine recommendation (if you do enjoy an occasional glass of wine with dinner) is a Bordeaux.  The dry, Oakie flavor seems to compliment this dish very well.



My favorite resources for recipes


Since I plan on sharing a plethora of vintage inspired recipes weekly on this blog, I thought what better way to introduce this change and show you my favorite go to sources for cooking and baking.

Let’s go in for a closer look at these treasured resources of mine.

One of my favorite cookbooks not only for the recipes but also for the tips and hints shared inside.  Cooking and baking, meal planning and how to’s from setting a table to measuring flour.  I actually follow much of this advice.

Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book – published 1950

A book no housewife or single woman even should be without in her first kitchen.

Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child – first published in 2000

Keeping with Julia Child, probably her most famous cookbook.

Mastering the art of French Cooking Volume One – first publish in the USA 1961, in the UK 1963

Now on to my treasured gems.  First up, I know some of my family who lovingly read my blog will recognize this little homemade book of Aunt Katie’s.  Some very unique and favorite recipes.


Next, this book has much sentimental value for me as well as cultural foods my husband grew up with.  Since, I was never fortunate enough to meet my mother-in-law, what better way to get to know someone than through their cookbook.  Even though the book is written in German, I love the old-fashioned photos and thankfully seem to have no problem with the translation of cooking terms.

Das neue große Kochbuch by Roland Gööck – published in Germany, 1961 (Translation – The new big cookbook)

And my final resource is a book given to me years ago by my Mom which in turn was given to her by my Aunt Madge.  This book is truly unique, not only is it the oldest book I own but it has the most interesting wording for recipes.  It has advertisements from local business and household advice and was created specifically for the housewives of Detroit. (That is where I am from.)

Marriage Record and Hints on Housekeeping by B.B. Schermerhorn Publishing Co. – published 1920

Here is a peek at the inside page.


Oh, I almost forgot,  my recipe box holds many recipes written out by family members and was given to me in 1986.  I also keep my favorite “go to”  recipes and my creations in here.  This is my favorite way to store my  “everyday” recipes.


There you have it.  My favorite resources and inspiration for vintage cooking and baking as well as a place to learn the “how-to’s” that go along with it.  Now when I share a recipe, I hope you will have a visual idea of where it actually was inspired from.

Real quick – If you have been reading this blog since it’s inception, first of all, Thank You so much!  🙂  I have been trying to find my niche, if you will.  I tried out different types  of subjects to blog about and find that cooking and baking are my favorite posts to share.  This is something I am so passionate about, being able to use recipes that woman worked with decades ago –  I absolutely love vintage style cooking and get such pleasure re-creating these recipes!  I will also continue to share the occasional “food” posts of what we ate at restaurants when we travel, especially from the quaint eateries and biergartens that have been around for decades.  

I really hope you these new type of posts to  this blog and if it is not your thing, I truly understand and am glad to of had a chance to get to know you.

Have a great weekend!

xo – Marianne







Delicious, light, creamy & vintage Butter Cream Icing

Ok, maybe I did over do the title of this post, but…. If you have ever tasted this frosting, slathered on any cake, you will know what I mean!  Let me rewind just a bit here, to the 1950’s and talk about my Mom’s hobby.  Making & decorating cakes.  She had such amazing talent and was so creative with her decorations.  I spent many an hour kneeling on a kitchen chair, leaning on the counter watching her decorate hundreds of cakes.  From a simple dessert for dinner, birthdays, anniversaries and yes, even wedding cakes.

Here is a sample of one of her cakes from a family celebration in the 1970’s.


So, let’s go in for a closer look – here is the original recipe she wrote out for me when I was 20 years old.


Here is what we need to make this melt in your mouth, icing:


And you do need a little bit of time.

You can see the full recipe by clicking here –  butter-cream-icing.

Now for a few notes that will make all the difference in the texture and flavor.  You need to use Crisco, the original, not butter flavored.  As for the butter, in the United States I would use Land of Lakes.  Unfortunately, the water consistency  in butter is different in Germany, but I find that the Kerrygold brand works very well.

About the milk,  technically you do not need to scald milk in these modern days, but… and I do mean but… the scalded milk is what helps to achieve the unique  flavor.  This is a very important step.  Be sure to let it cool, like the recipe indicates.

Although this icing may require a little bit of time to make,  you can do it ahead of time.  It keeps well in a sealed container in the refrigerator, for about a month actually.  Do make sure when you are ready to frost that cake or those cupcakes that the icing is room temperature.  We do not refrigerate cakes and cupcakes once decorated, they taste best at room temperature!

The final light, creamy & delicious product!


In that photo I frosted light yellow cake cupcakes.  ( an old Betty Crocker recipe I have, also vintage)  This icing tastes best on the following cake flavors, Devils Food, Yellow, Prune Spice, Butter Pecan & Cherry Chip.  Although, I think it is very compatable for just about any flavor of cake.

I hope you give it a try! 🙂





Supposedly… I have an accent.

It is just as the title suggests.  Supposedly, I have an accent, which I should have realized being an American living in a foreign country but…. let me start at the beginning of this short story.  Yesterday, as I was walking to the market, I passed an elderly woman on the sidewalk and smiled and said Good Morning.  Because the sidewalk was so narrow I stepped of the curb to give her space as she was using a cane. (Don’t worry, there is never any traffic on this particular street!)  She greeted me as well and smiled and thanked me saying her eyesight is not what it used to be.  I replied back and we shared a few pleasantries.  Then, she asked me if I was from Russia.  Supposedly, I speak German with a Russian accent.  She was so surprised when I told her that I came from America.  She isn’t the first person either who couldn’t place where I was from when speaking in German.

I honestly never think about accents.  When I was visiting Stateside last April, my Mom and I were out at a favorite restaurant of hers for lunch and the waitress came over and said, “I remember you, you’re Moms daughter and you have that nice husband with the cool accent”.    I looked at my mom and asked, does he have an accent?   She said, Oh yes.   Funny as I don’t hear it when he speaks English.

So that is my short and spontaneous post for today, it still kind of blows my mind that a local woman, who actually came to Germany from Russia thirty years ago, thought I was from her country as well.

Have a wonderful weekend & I will catch up with you next week!


Very simple fall decor & two easy diy’s

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature has been saving up all year for the grand finale” – Lauren De Stefano

I couldn’t have described my favorite season of the year any better than that perfect quote.  That being said I do like to make seasonal decor changes in my home using items I have on hand.  Here are the three areas I changed out for this season.  Even though they don’t scream, “It’s Fall” with the all the typical fall colors found outdoors, I like the subtle touches inside.

This year, I have a new small sideboard cabinet in my dining area so it is the first time for this tablescape.  Now, before I show you this picture I have to tell you this room is still in the process of being made-over.  I plan on removing the border and painting the walls within the next two weeks.  I think a table runner would look nice on this cupboard and I have one that would add some nice texture, but thanks to Khaleesi, my two-year old cat, she loves to pull them off along with everything on it.   In fact, the acorn has been glued once already.


This brings us to the first DIY.  The candle holder.  As I was arranging the items, seeing what I liked best, I thought some height was needed and thought a pillar candle holder would be perfect.  I don’t have one, so I looked around my home and in my cupboard I have some of these glasses which I never use and decided they would be better put to use as a pillar candle holder.     Let’s go in for a closer look…


All I did was hot glue them together after making sure the one on top was clean with no prints on the inside.  Then, I glued a tart tin on top of that.


Next, I added some small stones I picked up on the beach along the nearby Danube River…


Then the beeswax candle with a little bee pin.  The candles are made locally and last a long time.

Next, the coffee table in my living room.


Everything I had on hand.  The book, I reversed the cover because I wanted a white book.  Three metal decor leaves, you can’t really tell but the one on top is gold color.  Again, one of those glasses like the candle holder with stones in the bottom, and I just love my pink rose so I did not change it out.  My squirrel figurine, which has a funny story which of course I am going to share right now.  The city I live in does not have squirrels.  Coming from Michigan, I got used to the furry tailed critters running around the neighborhood and I liked them.  My first time sitting outside in my new home, I noticed that there are no squirrels around.  Well, one day when we were out shopping, we found this cute squirrel.  I kinda like his little face in my home.

The crystal dish is a sentimental piece and I always keep it on display.  It was used in the baptism of both of my children, so it holds a special place in my heart.  When I see it, it fills me with joy and good memories of my babies which are now beautiful and amazing adults. I filled it with silver beads and white rose petals.  The rest, are just items I have and like.  Thankfully, Khaleesi is bored with this table.

On to my last bit of decor, if you can call it that, in my bathroom.


No, you are not looking at in a mirror but now….


you are.

This is also a work in progress area in my bathroom.  I plan on adding a small shelf on the left, eventually.  I noticed that our mirror faces straight across this to space on the wall in our bathroom/laundry room.  This leads me to the second DIY.  A dry erase board.  All I did was whitewash a frame I had.  I then cut out a piece of craft paper and glued it to the back part of the frame and with a dry erase pen…. well, you get the idea.

The only money I spent was on the craft paper and I needed that for other projects too.

That is it for my little touches of fall in my home for this year.  I believe it is important to incorporate items that bring you joy into your decor.  I do plan on sharing natural fall decor outdoors as well.  Just waiting for the final burst of nature to make its appearance here.

Happy Fall!


Very Early Morning Coffee Chat

Today, coffee will be my drink of choice and necessity.  Do you ever have one of those nights where you can’t sleep because your mind is thinking about all the things you would like to accomplish the next day?  Yep, that was me last night.  I was surprised I couldn’t sleep as we stayed up late watching the Dodgers and Nationals last night and it was the longest, slowest game ever! We are a day behind watching the playoffs because of the time difference, so please don’t give any of the scores away!  🙂

So, one would think going to bed at midnight and having to get up at 5 30, one would have slept well.  Not me and this is why.

Every fall, I usually re organize a room and go DIY and baking crazy.  I have taken on the huge task of reorganizing our small extra “catch-all” bedroom… again.  Yesterday, I also did some great DIY’s.  I made a pillar candle holder and have a bunch of craft projects and some crocheting planned.

I also discovered my most prized and favorite possession is my hot glue gun.  Oh, the things you can create and fix with it!

So, as I sat here sipping on my coffee once my husband left for work, that mind of mine really woke up.  I  realize I have not been sharing much here lately and if I don’t chat with you now, another day would go by without popping online.

I will make sure to take before and after and how-to’s of my little projects and cooking this fall and winter.  Today I have to make some birthday cupcakes and will be using a vintage yellow cake recipe and my mom’s butter cream frosting.  I will be photographing it, finally!  I also have some pillows to make over, some wash cloths to crochet and of course the bedroom organization to finish up too, which I will be sharing.

I am looking forward to a busy cold summer winter season  and only have one short trip planned to visit Holland.  I need to refill my coffee cup I think!

That’s it for now, I need to get a move on.   I just wanted to catch up and let you know whats up.

Do you have any fall projects planned?

Happy Fall!



Delicious Baked Camembert & old Leipzig Gastronomy

Let’s talk about food and with this post I must add beer as the two go together at this place.

My husband had heard about this old beergarten with a rich history so of course we set out one afternoon to go find it.  We had gotten off a tram and began our walk down a narrow cobblestone street in a quiet area of Leipzig.  This was when we stumbled upon Schiller’s house (which I mentioned in my previous post).  We had no idea it would be on the same long winding street to the Gosen-Schenke ohne Bedenken Biergarten.


Right, I know you are probably thinking what I was.  It looks like a normal building on the outside.  But as with many places in Leipzig, the front appearances are very deceiving.  Let’s go inside.


Since it is such a beautiful warm day let’s walk on through…


The tables and benches go back quite a ways.  In fact, it is huge!

This establishment opened in 1899 although the building itself was built in 1905.  Again, like a mentioned in my previous post the Gose beer was originally brewed first in the town of Goslar and has a distinct salty and herbal flavor.  It seems the people of Leipzig adopted this Gose recipe as their own.  It is very tasty.  Some American cities such as Chicago and Baltimore, are now brewing this beer at micro breweries even.  There is so much more history about this place and if you’re interested in knowing more  or seeing the menu, you can check out their website (in English).


The restaurant was closed when Leipzig became part of the DDR and then reopened in 1986 by a private citizen who wanted to continue the tradition.   It is not just the beer that it is known for but also for its gastronomy and is rated highly as one of the best restaurants in Germany.

My opinion – it definitely is and let’s talk about that!

I ordered the baked camembert with baguette.  I honestly thought it would just be some warm camembert on a baguette but…


The camembert was baked in a light, delicious beer batter.  OMG, it was truly amazing!  The flavors and textures – my mouth was very happy!  This was one of those times that I did not want my food to be gone, I savoured every bite!


Would you like to see what my husband ate?  One of his favorites, Homemade Meat Jelly, seasoned with Gose and fried potatoes.  He said it was very good too!


So that my friends, is it from Leipzig.


We are looking forward to getting up that way again and definitely making time to enjoy another meal there.