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

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Coffee Chat – Peonies, Hansi, capsule wardrobes & a forgotten blogiversary

This morning I decided to drink my coffee outside after I got Happily Mr. of to work.  The weather here has been hot for May, which is crazy as 3 weeks ago we had snow and very cold temps.

I enjoyed waking up to my beautiful peony bush.  Its doing great this year.

Let me take you in for a closer look at these beautiful blooms.

Now, I would like to introduce you to a little guy I have a very big crush on, my cute garden gnome, Hansi.

I think he likes hanging out by my lavender which is coming in nicely as well.  Everyone names their garden gnomes, don’t they?

What else, oh yes,  I missed celebrating my blogiversary here on WordPress.  It was the twenty-fifth to be exact, also my brother’s birthday.  At least I remembered to wish him a happy birthday!  I cannot believe I have been here one year already.  So thankyou my friends, for coming back time after time to hang out with me.  It means so much to me and I appreciate all of you!! xx

One final thing I thought I would mention is how my capsule wardrobe is going.  I believe I talked about wanting to have one in a post quite a ways back.  I am happy to say, I have accomplished it.  In fact, I believe I can fit it all into a carry-on suitcase,  I’m going to try that later today.

Interesting to me, as this summer it contains more dresses and a skirt even.  I find I am so much more comfortable in a dress and am happy to announce I have no problem riding my bike wearing one either.  I think I will go into more detail  & share my 10 item wardrobe in a separate post later this week.  This has turned into a snowball effect of sorts as I have decided to do a “No-Shopping” thing for the rest of this year and you know what?  I am okay with that.  In a funny way, I feel relieved!    This also ties in with  my “Fifties Housewife” experiment.  Which again, I’ll be updating you on in the next few weeks.

Okay…. as always this coffee chat was longer than I planned.  Why am I always so chatty?!  Probably because I enjoy having coffee and chatting with you all!

x

Merken

Merken

Merken

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

Merken

When Less Finally Becomes More

I have a little secret to share.  😉  Something that I don’t think my family and closest friends even know as I have never shared it until now.  In fact,  I have kind of hidden it.  Honestly,  I don’t think these changes would have happened if not for moving here.  So grab a cup of coffee or tea and let me tell you a little story.

It began in 2007 actually.  An organic store was opened near where I worked.  I believe they are now called Whole Foods although this place was on a much smaller scale.  I was intrigued, to say the least.  I slowly learned about the importance of organic, learned what eco-friendly meant and for the first time realized that chemicals really aren’t a good thing.

At that time, many thought it was just more expensive and did not make a big difference.  I  introduced organic milk and a few other items to my children.  But … it was a new concept for me and controversial topic in the media and with family.  I felt it was better to spend a bit more for healthier options. I still wasn’t “on board” with it all.

Fast forward to 2010.  A life changing year for me.  Now I had to pack up all my belongings into 2 suitcases, a large hockey bag and two small boxes to be shipped overseas.  Really?!! How does one do that?  My whole life packed into that?  This was my first lesson in stuff.  What is more important, material things or living?  Okay,  I took the bait.  It was a good start.

The problem came that next year.  I was homesick and felt that I needed to replace all those items that I left behind.  My shopaholic tendencies came back.  Shopping always used to make me feel better.  Do you know what?  It did not make me feel better, it made me feel worse!  Our home is only 65 square meters and does not have closets (which is the norm in Europe).  I was suffocated and constantly cleaning and re organizing spaces.  I was losing the battle of where to put my stuff.

Now I turned to the internet, books and documentaries to see if I could find any type of education on the topic, in English as I was also learning  a new language at this time.  I was really feeling connected to the topics of minimalism and a zero waste lifestyle.  It seemed like how I have wanted to live for so many years but modern day society was telling me otherwise.

Thankfully I did find many great resources out there.  Inspiring men and woman who have gone through the process of minimizing.  Decluttering their lives. I read it all.  I watched documentaries on how waste affects not only us but our planet.  Then…. didn’t do all that much about it.  I was a bit overwhelmed.  I mean, I already don’t have a car.  I walk, bike, use public transport and travel by train.  Isn’t that being zero waste and minimal?  Haha.  It may be a start but…. no, I wanted more than that.

Still,all this knowledge I acquired and living in a country where consumerism is not all around you – something was happening inside of me.

I figured out last year finally, that I was letting stuff consume me.  Could I let go? I am happy to report yes.  I can and have, although slowly.

Here is an example, I wrote a post a while back about my goals.  Creating a capsule wardrobe was one of them.  At first I did not want to get eliminate many pieces.  All of the “what if’s”.  I did pair my closet down quite a bit,  still my whole wardrobe was too much to fit into my suitcase, which was my ultimate goal.  I was okay with that.

More recently, I realized I still was not wearing half of the items in my already paired down closet.  They just didn’t suit my lifestyle as I am always on foot or bike and in all kinds of weather.  My wardrobe has now taken on a whole new look, which I had better share in a separate blog post.

The nice thing about letting go of stuff, material items that really don’t serve a purpose is you find room to really breathe.  There is more time to do the things you really want and that truly matter.

You can save so much money as well.  Seriously,  the savings is incredible.  When one doesn’t spend money on bringing things into the home, you automatically find you have more money to do things you want or may need.  Pay off bills, travel etc.

I no longer need to make lists to remember what groceries to buy.  It becomes natural.

To wrap up todays post, I would like to share some of the items I have let go of so far which in turn have created a positive impact on my life.

  • Household cleaning products for every task.
  • Clothes that I do not wear
  • Tissue
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic water bottles
  • Most of my makeup (but not all, as I enjoy wearing some)
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Non-recyclable items
  • Hair products (this does not mean shampoo, just all the extras)
  • Many skin care products (they didn’t do anything different anyways)

I am still working on eliminating and replacing items with sustainable alternatives.  Although,  I am at a much happier place already with the changes I have made so far.

So there it is, my secret is out.  I am a minimalist or I would rather call myself a cozy minimalist,  I like furniture, books and a few select items of decor, just not so much of it anymore.

Sometimes moving or seeing another culture can truly be life changing.  I am aware now of the positive impact of living a zero waste lifestyle, eating healthier foods.  Not only is better for the environment but it can really de-stress ones life as well. This lifestyle change did not happen over-night for me, in fact it is still a process that I am just letting evolve.

What I do know, that now when I see an advertisement for some beautiful designer bag or new and improved bathroom cleaner, I no long find my self thinking, “Oh, I need to get that!”