Sometimes it just doesn’t turn out – Shortbread fail

I wanted to share one of my fails with you today because it’s just real life as I see it.  Not everything turns out perfect all the time, at least not for me.  I have begun my looming task of sifting  through my haphazardly stored hand written recipes and saw one for shortbread  I just don’t remember but it was in my handwriting.  I suspected right off the bat that there was something not quite right about it.  It required vegetable oil instead of butter.  Oh well,  I tried it anyway.  It looked okay although I do not have the correct size pan but found one that was similar.  See they look okay, they are quite flaky and do melt in your mouth ….

That is where the problem came, what an awful taste!! OMG  where did I get this recipe? Or did I write it down incorrectly?  I honestly don’t remember, I have so many!

I happily tossed this piece of paper in the recycling.  From now on, I think I will stick with shortbread recipes that require butter.

Does anyone else have a recipe fail they would like to share?  I would love to know that I’m not the only one this happens to!  🙂

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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.

 

 

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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!

 

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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 really quick coffee chat & tortes from Salzburg

Hello my friends… I know I haven’t shared anything yet this week.  Well… I had a quick visit with family from the U.S. & we were in Austria.  Salzburg to be exact.  My favorite city in all of Europe.  We headed down to Salzburg over the weekend to meet up with my cousin.  Had a whirlwind of a great time.

Here are a few of my favorite things.  (Yes, keep reading and you may see a theme here.)

The most delicious tortes and incredible coffee  at Cafe Tomaselli.

Yeah, I know I should have pulled the wrapping down so you could truly see all the layers, and probably used my camera instead of my phone, but at least I thought of you all for a moment while I was away.  🙂

For those of you who enjoy a certain movie that was filmed in Salzburg, you may recognize this house.

A hint, it is where “the hills are alive”.

with the Sound of Music.  We did the incredible sound of music bike tour (which I highly recommend if you are a fan), where we stopped at important spots and sang songs from the movie.  Yes, we really did that.  Also, learned alot from the movie we didn’t know and saw parts of Salzburg, I never would have gotten to see.  It was awesome!  I even felt inspired to find some “confidence” and climb the gate like Maria did in the movie.

The home is now a dormitary for music students.

So, that is why I have been a little m.i.a.  I still have to find some sort of organization and balance with blogging as we do travel now and then.  I don’t care to or even have time to lug a laptop around. The 6 or 7 hours I have back at our hotel, I usually can only pass out!

I’ll be back tomorrow to share what my next recipe is in the cooking through challenge though.   No worries.

I have to run now, while I have a mountain of laundry to do and all that fun stuff that accumulates when you are away from home.

xo

 

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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….

 

Merken

Making a fresh start with the arrival of Spring

With the arrival of spring I am finding a renewed energy.  I never seem to keep resolutions when I make them at the beginning of the year.  When spring rolls around I have a renewed discipline to implement good changes.  This season I am very excited to share a few of these goals or probably more appropriately called, projects with you.

My first and most exciting change will be outside in our garden (aka backyard).  I am thrilled with this opportunity to clean it out and enjoy this beautiful space.  It is unusual to have as we live in a 6 family apartment building, which is pretty standard here.  Being we live in the roof apartment and do not have the luxury of a balcony as the other residents do.  I have been given full reign to do and use the yard to my liking.  We have always set up a small table, chairs and our weber grill in one corner but now we can expand.

Second, I am ready to say goodbye to most of my wardrobe.  I am ready to create my first capsule wardrobe.  The goal is to fit my wardrobe into one carry on suitcase.  I would love to be able to throw all my clothes in one piece of luggage and take off at the drop of that hat.  We do plan on traveling quite often this spring and summer.  I am tired of holding on to clothes that don’t quite fit right but feel guilty getting rid of them. Some I keep for sentimental reasons. Surprisingly, I find myself tired of shopping.  It is a never-ending cycle  that ends up in spending money I would rather use in other ways.  I don’t know about you, but I always end up wearing a select few pieces of clothing anyway.

This will be the hardest project for me, especially emotionally, but I embrace this new challenge.

Lastly, I will be freshening up the walls in most of the rooms in our home.  A little touching up with a fresh coat of paint can do wonders to brighten up a room and ours do need just that. Oh,  and we need a new light fixture in our kitchen as the old one decided to leave us.  Still looking…

 

Enjoy the newness that comes with spring.  I find the little buds of the new flowers peeking through the ground, refreshing and in some way, motivating me to do the same. Blossoming beautifully with a renewed energy.

 

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The Kindness of Others

Sometimes when one least expects it, a random act of kindness occurs.  It is quite possible, God just knows when we need a little extra kindness in our lives.  I’m not going to question why, just enjoy the feeling this particular act brought out.   Here is what happened, the sweet deed that truly opened my eyes in a way I never could have imagined.

It has to do with the photo above.  I nanny part-time for an english speaking family.  It was one of those jobs that just happened.  Interestingly enough, as a young teen, I babysat often.  As an adult, I ran a private day care.  I have always enjoyed helping parents by watching their children and I finally learned one of the reasons why.

One of the young girls I watch, told her Mom that she wanted to get me a “present”.  She used her own money and biked to the market, took her findings home, to create a gift for me.   Handmade with beautiful spring flowers in a pretty wood container that she decorated herself.  After they dropped my beautiful gift off, I notice a little hand written card tucked inside.  She wrote a little note. It basically says how much she and her sibling love spending time with me.

How sweet is that? She didn’t have to do that.  There was no special occasion.  It truly melted my heart. I feel like this says a lot about the way she is being raised but I am not going to analyze what prompted her to do such a thing.  I am just thankful that I have this family in my life and that it opened my eyes to how I need to let go and not worry how others perceive me, something I have struggled with for a long time.  I tend to hold adults at a bit of a distance and not let thim totally “in” for fear of getting hurt.  I realized when I am with children I am truly myself.  When I am with adults I tend to try to always be impressing them.  Looking “perfect” and acting “perfect”, saying what I think people want to hear.  If I am acting, then I am not being myself.

All this learned from a homemade basket of flowers and a young girl that was just being kind.