Coffee Chat – a 3 month experiment as a “fifties” type housewife

Another coffee chat so soon?  Yes.  Sit down and let me pour you a cup of coffee, I have some gossip for you!

As you may know, beginning in a few days I will be participating in a “cook-through” challenge where I pick a cookbook and every month pick recipes from the designated category to cook.

I began looking through the book of my choice, The Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, and came up with an idea.  Why not try to see if I can live ca. 1950’s housewife as well.  Not the glam vintage version that is found around the internet but a real one like mom, grandma and aunts.  Although I consider them quite “glam” too.  It would be more like adapting their way of everyday life into my modern-day life.  Okay, honestly, a little Marilyn could be fun at times too! 😉

I have always been drawn to that era, it is nothing new.  In fact, I have many vintage pieces around my home and in my closet and jewelry box.  It’s not the “glam” I am drawn to really it’s the ideal, the values of the time.  The simplicity. Living a bit more intentionally.  Not hearing phones beeping and such.  The constantly being connected.  I just feel as if there is something missing lately.  Okay,  I know you are saying how can you blog if you don’t use the internet?  Like I mentioned above, I am going to be adapting my version of this era into my daily life.

The other day as I was going through this idea in my mind, my first thought was, vlog it on YouTube or create another blog to document this journey but then I realized I would be defeating the purpose of this experiment and  be spending more time online where I truly wish to limit my time spent getting lost in the world-wide web, which admittedly, I do.   I m not against the Internet, I believe it has its good points for research, connecting with family and friends, and all of you wonderful people.  You see, I experienced childhood without the internet.  But…how do I explain?

For me it’s about materialism too, which truth be told, I honestly struggle with.  Not that having things is a bad thing.  It is important to have a good quality (not quantity) of living.  I want to enjoy the everyday details of life, not hurrying up to get them done like I do sometimes so that I can hop online or watch tv series’ before heading out.  You know, last week, I was hurrying up to wash the dishes which is my most dreaded task anyways and this crazy thought came to me, “Thank goodness I have dishes to wash because that means we have food on our  table.”  It led me thinking about  so many other things which I take for granted, that I just can’t write about it this post, because I would be typing for hours!

So this is what I thought I would do.  Since I am so passionate about this “experiment” of mine.  I will just have a coffee chat with you about every 10 days or so to share little updates on how I am doing or what I am working on.

My biggest resource is not found online at all.  I am so thankful Mom is around to answer my questions about this era, in fact we talked about that time in detail, the last time I got to visit with her.   After all, she was the original “1950’s” housewife, married in 1950 even.  You know, maybe a more appropriate term would be “traditional” housewife?

I have also read books from that time on home economics, read  Sheila Hardy’s book, watched the Coronet Instructional Films and enjoy reading Grandma Donna’s blog.  Her and her husband are spending the year living exactly as it was in 1942.  I find it inspiring and so interesting.  I’m not going that far as to have every aspect of our lives as it was in 1950, but to give you an idea, here are some things I or we already do that is so similar to that era.

  • Walk or ride my bike to the grocery store about every other day.  It’s true, we do not own a car
  • I do set a table every night for dinner and serve a regular meal, mostly cooked from scratch.  I love eating at the table together, always have. Even if he has to work late.
  • Hang most laundry and iron.
  • We actually live in an apartment building built 49 years ago, third floor, no elevator or central air conditioning even. Our heating is through old cast iron radiators even.
  • My husband and I do have “traditional” roles as husband and wife, like in that time.  I love it this way!
  • No i-phone.  I do have a cell phone, but no wi-fi connection unless I am at home and it is turned off between the hours of 9- 10 pm and 9 am.

You know, I can’t think of anything else, at this moment, I guess that is a good start.

Real quick as I think we just finished our coffee, here is a list of things I will be implementing, some may sound crazy to you , but  I feel this is so necessary for me to try out, that’s why I am giving myself a 3 month limit.  I know I could live this way for a week or two, but can I implement these changes into my life on a permanent level? Do I want to even?  Okay, the list…

  • makeup – a real classic housewife did not wear a lot, not if they were poor to middle class.   I really wear too much, honestly, I can’t wear blush without bronzer and highlighter!  I think this will be the hardest area for me to simplify it to what was used in the 50’s.  I am going to tackle this aspect over the weekend  and put the rest away in a closet for 3 months.
  • Hair products and styling tools… need I say more?
  • Household products.  I own every brand of everything to clean items I don’t even own.  I will be whittling it down to basics & put the rest away for now.  Can I clean as well withouth them?
  • Clothing – picking out the pieces that I love and need, and will fit into my small closet.  No extras.
  • My kitchen, I’m not sure what I can do, its pretty simple already.  No garbage disposal or dishwasher or blender even.  A small refrigerator and an almost non-existent freezer.  I will have to see what I can do there. I think a fifties housewife had more than I do!
  • Internet usage and TV.  Remember only watching an hour a week as a kid?  I will give myself, one hour a day to work on my blog and to keep up with my favorite bloggers out there, although not the weekends.  We do watch  baseball quite often though, which we won’t be changing.  After all, baseball is an extremely vintage sport! I am looking forward to rediscovering some of my hobbys though and crocheting more.

Of course, I will keep you posted on my progress or failures, if you would like.  To sum up…  I’m not really changing everything in my life to emulate the 1950’s.   I have just decided I am so tired of how loud and over connected this world is at the moment.  It’s not that I am disconnecting, just trying to go back to living the way my parents raised me.  Implementing some details I loved from grandmas house.  I am not going back to “living in the past”, just rethinking and changing the way I do live now without the modern-day consumerist influences.

Would I like to look like this every evening?

or like Mrs. Cleaver?

oh…. one more, please?  It’s a fun one!  Lucy?

You bet,  I really love the elegance, classic and clean look of that era!

I promise to keep the future coffee chats a bit (a lot) shorter than this by only focusing on one aspect of my project per chat! That is if I can last through 3 months even.

One final thought which might paint another picture as to why I have decided to try this. I remember something my dad said to  me once.  “I was an advertisers dream.”  I should have listened to him then, but of course I kept on thinking, “but I need that”!  lol

Need… now that is an interesting concept!

Enjoy a wonderful weekend!   See you next week!

Merken

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A Quick Dessert – Chocolate Chip Honey Squares

I really do bake every week.  First of all, I find it quite relaxing, the  measuring of ingredients, mixing and creating something that smells and tastes delicious.  (If all goes as planned.)  I have learned discipline and can actually just eat one of something.  This is a newly learned trait though.  My husband likes to have cakes or cookies in the house and enjoys dessert most evenings.  Extras, I give away.

So at the beginning of the week I always make sure to bake something.  Sometimes, by the end of the week, the cookie jar or cake plate has barely a crumb left so I find myself looking at the ingredients I have on hand and finding or making up something to bake.

That is a long introduction to this recipe, which I found in my Fantastic Fifties cookbook.

It was a first time for making this recipe and I must admit, I was a bit leary at the thick consistency which looked like this.

Of course it wasn’t until after I popped the pan in the oven that I realized I had used a thick type of honey.  I will try these again using normal honey and see if there is a difference.

All in all they came out very delicious!

The recipe called for nuts, but I didn’t have any.  Also, since it was just a small recipe, it was the perfect amount. Oh, and if you are wondering, if I actually sift my flour? If a recipe calls for it I do.  (I will be talking about this topic in a future post even.)

To make Chocolate-Chip Honey Squares, here is what you will need.

  • 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

The Directions:  Sift flour, baking soda and salt together.  Combine honey and egg; mix well.  Add butter, chocolate, nuts and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add sifted ingredients and beat thoroughly.  Turn into greased 8″x 8″ pan.  Bake in moderate oven (350°F.) 30-45 minutes.  Cut into squares.

Serving size:  about 24

Recipe from: The Fantastic Fifties Cookbook (1,000 classic recipes by Mary Margaret McBride)

To print this recipe, click the link:  Chocolate-Chip Honey Squares

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Let’s have some fun! – This or That Tag

I did not have any plans to share a blog post today.  Its rainy & cold and  I was planning on brewing some ginger tea this afternoon and watch my new favorite BBC series, Call the Midwife.

I wanted to hop online first, and in my reader I saw a post from a blog I am enjoying, BeeFree.  It’s a tag!  This or That Tag.  I have seen them on YouTube before but never in a blog.  I had so much fun reading her answers, I thought I would do it too.  It’s a nice way to get to know a bit more about a person.

Here we go!

Questions:

Makeup

  • Blush or Bronzer: Blush
  • Lip gloss or Lipstick: Definitely lip gloss, more specifically MAC Cultured
  • Eyeliner or Mascara: Both
  • Foundation or Concealer: Foundation
  • Neutral or color eye shadow:  Neutral
  • Pressed or loose eye shadows: Pressed; I think if I tried loose, I would get it all over the place!
  • Brushes or sponges: Brushes

Nails

  • Long or short: Can I pick Medium?
  • Acrylic or Natural: Natural, but only because It’s too expensive to have acrylic here in Germany
  • Bright’s or darks: Bright’s, I love darks but they don’t like me!
  • Flower or No flower: No flower, but I like rhinestones

Body

  • Perfume or Body splash: Perfume (love jasmine & patchouli scents)
  • Lotion or Body Butter: Body Butter, always L’Occitaine Shea Butter
  • Body wash or Soap: Soap
  • Lush or other bath company: We don’t have a Lush near here, but I do love L’Occitaine!

 Fashion

  • Jeans or sweet pants: Jeans
  • Long sleeves or short: Long sleeves pushed up though.
  • Long Dresses or Skirts: Dresses
  • Stripes or Plaid: Plaid – probably from those school years of wearing a uniform
  • Flip flops or Sandals: Sandals
  • Scarves or Hats: Hats
  • Studs or Dangly earrings: Studs
  • Necklaces or Bracelets: Bracelets
  • Heels or Flats: I love both but out of comfort; flats.
  • Cow boy boots or Riding Boots: Cowboy boots, I wish I had a pair!
  • Jacket or Hoodie: Hoodies

Hair

  • Curly or Straight: Straight but my hair is a bit too curly
  • Bun or ponytail: Ponytail
  • Bobby pins or Butterfly Clips:  Both
  • Hair spray or Gel: Hair spray
  • Long or Short: Long
  • Light or Dark: Dark, but I really want to go light!
  • Side swept bang or Full bangs: Side swept bang
  • Up or down: Down

Random

  • Rain or Shine: Rain
  • Summer or Winter: Summer
  • Fall or Spring: Fall
  • Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate

I hope you enjoyed reading this different post.   If you think this is something you might like to share… I tag you!  Please let me know so I can read your answers too.

Now for that tea….

 

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Asparagus, Basil & Parmesan Pasta (not your mothers asparagus)

Before I get to the pasta dish at hand I must share a very short story.  I hate asparagus.  Plain and simple.  The end.

I have memories of that side dish served up at dinner which looked like sad little wilted trees and  tasted like them too.  Not that I ever have eaten wilted trees.  I never tried it again until….of course you knew I would say, “until moving to Germany”.

Now for the updated version of that very short story.  Every spring, one of the local farmers has a little stand across the street from my house.  (how convenient is that?) When I learned he only sold fresh picked asparagus and strawberries, well,  I gagged.  Two things I do not eat.  My husband promised me that I would like it.

I told him my story (above) about what I thought about this vegetable and he said he, never ate it like that.  For my first introduction to the vegetable I only previous knew as “wilted tress”, he cooked white asparagus by boiling and adding sugar and butter to the water.  Served it up with boiled potatoes, rolled ham cold cuts and hollandaise sauce.  It was absolutely delicious.  I was so ready to make my standard “eww face” with the first bite, but found I did not need to.  I genuinely enjoyed that meal.

Since that first meal of asparagus, I have found many different recipes for this new-found (to me) veggie that I really do like in springtime.  White or green, it doesn’t matter.

Here is my favorite way to eat asparagus.  I mean… isn’t everything better with pasta anyways?

Asparagus, Basil & Parmesan Pasta Recipe

250 grams white asparagus

250 grams green asparagus

300 grams spaghetti noodles

80 grams fresh grated parmesan cheese

a few of springs fresh basil

sea salt

fresh black pepper

Directions: Peel asparagus and cut into thirds. Make sure to cut off the tough ends. In lightly boiling saltwater, blanch then plunge into cold water.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

In a frying pan, melt butter then add the asparagus. Saute about 2 minutes. Then add the pasta, salt and pepper to taste and toss through about 2 more minutes.

Plate and top each serving with a good amount of parmesan and basil.

My wine recommendation (if you will) is a nice chilled, dry Riesling.

Enjoy!

Click here to print this recipe.   Asparagus basil and parmesan pasta

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Joining the Chaotic Cooking Challenge – Cookbook Pick

I am guessing many have seen the movie Julie & Julia?  Yes, it is one of my favorite movies of all time.  Possibly because I adore Julia Childs.  If you have not seen it, basically it as about a woman named Julie who blogs her way through Julia’s cookbook, Mastering the art of french cooking, recipe by recipe.  This movie is what I thought of when I read the words cook-through challenge.

Just recently, I was reading a blog, Mary’s Chaotic White Space , and she thought about doing a “cook-through” one of her cookbooks and opening it up to all.  What a great idea and I can’t believe I never thought about doing this on my own before!

 

What it entails, is the first day of every month, she will provide a category in a blog post, “then challenge each of the participants who are following along to look through their book for recipes which could be included in that particular category and choose the ones to make in their own kitchen.” I should mention before hand, we are to pick the book we are choosing to cook through.

I have very difficultly picked my book.  It was not easy as I treasure all my cookbooks, in fact I have gone back or forth between using my mother-in-laws vintage german cookbook.  That would be a great challenge as it is vintage and written in german but I have a hard enough time reading modern-day german still.  It is something I want to do at my own leisurely pace so I decided to go with a newer book of mine although not a new book by any means.

I had been obsessed with the Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook for years.  It was only the end of last year when my husband tracked it down for me in England of all places.

As my favorite decades are the 1940’s & 1950’s, I  am excited to choose this book for my cook-through.  Along with the challenge of the cook-through, will be the challenge of finding like ingredients, if needed, here in Germany.  Although, I have been doing that for the past 6 years so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in doing or just following along with, please join us.  Go to Mary’s awesome blog and join in the challenge!  I am looking forward to seeing what cookbooks others choose and the recipes they pick and their experiences.

On the first day of every month I will tweet the category chosen by Mary, using #chaoticcookthrough  and then share my pick and my experiences in making the recipe, the following weeks Friday,  here on my blog.

If this sounds like something you would like to participate in or just want to enjoy reading about others’ cook-through experiences, head over to Mary’s blog so you don’t miss any updates.

Also be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss my chosen recipes for this cook-through challenge.

I hope you will join us.  I wonder what the first category will be?

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Bringing Back the Coffee Chat – niches, blogging & randomness

I realized that I haven’t chatted with you over a cup of coffee in 6 months! Too long, my friends.  What do I have to say for myself?  Life happens?  I don’t know.  If you have been reading my blog for the past year, congratulations & thankyou!  You are amazing people to have stuck around for so long and I truly do thankyou.

You probably noticed my subject matter, look and blog name (formerly Making it home by Marianne)  to be all over the place.  Yes, it has even made me dizzy.  There are so many resources out there that tell you not to change the look after you “create” a blog and to know your niche before blogging.  In all reality, I think it truly takes a year (for me at least) to find that niche.  In regards to the look of my site, I found that if something seemed a bit off in my eyes that I did not have the incentive to update my blog.  I instead found myself messing with the look and placement of items instead of writing my post.   By then, I was too tired to blog.

To make this story shorter, I stopped reading those blogging resources.  It was just too much and made me feel that I am not “good enough” to be blogging.   On the other hand, what should I blog about?  I know what I love to do which is baking and cooking.  When the sun is lighting up my kitchen, I discovered, I love to take photos of food too.  I guess I like playing with my food.

Lightbulb!  That must be my niche!  I am just not a “lifestyle” blogger, even though I thought that was what I should be sharing.  I found out I am not even an expat blogger.  This I was told even by an “expat” site.  They mentioned that I share too many recipes!  Okay, is this not enough of a hint?  Anyways, with all that said, I believe I can blog more often when I share what I love, so that is what I am going to do.  When something doesn’t fall into a food category, hence, the Coffee Chat.

After all, isn’t that something we do in our kitchens anyways?  Sit at the table with coffee and friends and chat?

If your interested, I did add-on to my about me page, at the top.  It may explain a bit more about my baking obsession too.  As for the look of this blog? The style is here to stay but the header photo will probably be changing with the seasons.  If you haven’t noticed anything  new because you subscribe to my blog in a reader format, than you might be a bit confused & think I’m a bit crazy.  Anyways, I am glad to have figured this blogging thing out, finally.  Now I’m ready to get cooking!

Coffee is getting cold here, I guess I chatted more than I drank. 🙂

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Keeping with tradition – Our Good Friday meal.

Tomorrow is Good Friday, a day our family does honor.  We happen to live in a very catholic town, with the church bells ringing every 15 minutes between 6:00 a.m. and 10 p.m. (which I love!).  Everything is closed as it is a Christian holiday observed  here in Bavaria.

Growing up, we always had the family over in the evening for pierogi’s and potato pancakes, being a meatless day.  If this polish dish sounds familiar, I did write about these pierogi’s  around Christmas.  If you would like to read about this unique dish, you can find that post and the recipe by clicking here.

I know there are many different fillings for them nowadays, but I stick to making them with the dry cottage cheese, just as my Grandpa did.

So tomorrow, keeping with a tradition from my childhood, I will be making delicious polish pierogi.  Making traditional foods from scratch and of course eating them is one of the things I truly enjoy.  It has been fun integrating my husbands Bavarian traditions and mine to create our family tradition.

I will see you next week with details on an upcoming cooking challenge I am excited to be participating in and…

and the results about my closet & clothing goals.  Did I succeed in creating a successful wardrobe that fits in one suitcase?

Lastly, I wish you and your families a  joyous and blessed Easter to all who celebrate.  Enjoy a wonderful weekend!

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“Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal and new life.” – Janine de Giovannicatholi

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Fresh from the farm – a day in the life

Standard items on our grocery list are milk, butter, bread and eggs.  I thought today I would share our preferred way to pick up these items.

Now, we don’t do this often in the winter months as it is a 3.5 kilometer bike ride each way, but for the next three seasons we enjoy doing this.

My bike basket full of freshness from the farm & bakery.

Yes, you read that right, I bike for those four items because they are fresh from the farm.  With the exception of the bread, this time we stopped at a bakery on the way home.  You have to get there very early in the morning if you want to get any of the fresh-baked bread.

It doesn’t cost much more than going to the store.  The exception is the eggs were picked fresh that morning, the cows were milked then too.  The butter is homemade. The difference in taste is very noticeable.  I figure even with the extra fat in the milk, it is healthier for you.  On a side note, we do pasteurize the milk at home.  It is such an easy process, I don’t even have to think about it anymore.  Although, many of the people I know do not do this and they haven’t had any issues.

Here is a look at the butter.

Just simple and quite old-fashioned.

We usually ride out on saturday mornings to the farm.   The ride is so relaxing as half of the way is along the Danube River.

Just another day in our life … in Bavaria.

 

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