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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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

How to remove stains from white dishes

I finally discovered a way to remove dark stains and scratches from some old white dishes that I inherited.  They weren’t dirty, just marked from years of use.

I tried to photograph the stains, but the camera did not seem to want to focus on it.  This plate in particular was quite bad, brown stain over most of the plate.  I always kept this one on the bottom of the stack, although I only own five.

First I sprinkled some baking soda on the plate.

Rubbed fairly gently with a damp cloth.

The stains on this plate were so bad that I needed a little reinforcement, so I added just a dab of vinegar.

I’m not sure if this would be recommended, but I rubbed this plate again and it took the stains off and even some of the scratches.

Only one of the five plates needed this treatment, the rest came clean with a bit of baking soda and some gentle elbow grease.

I don’t know if this process would work on all white dishware.  These are about 30 years old and were made in West Germany.  It is good solid porcelain, so if you do attempt this way to remove stains from your dishes, do try a small area first.

I am so glad I decided to try this.  I didn’t want to have to buy new plates, just because these were stained, but I couldn’t keep using them when I had company over.

Sometimes, it’s just the simple things that make such a big difference.

In case you live in Germany and wonder what the equivalent to baking soda is – the proper translated word is Natron and you can find it sold in little packets in any grocery store and in a larger box (like Arm and Hammer baking soda size) in your local drug store.

 

Merken

Merken

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.

 

Merken

Six years ago today…

…I packed up my whole life into 2 suitcases, a hockey equipment bag and 2 small boxes and moved to Germany.  Newly married and having no knowledge of the German language let alone the dialect used in my new hometown.

734I left sunny Detroit, a city I still love, to live in  sunny Germany, Bavaria to be exact.  It was love at first sight.  My “new downtown” area reminded me of Cinderella’s castle.   It seemed so relaxed and quiet and so “old-world.”039-2

I don’t think I suffered from too much culture shock as I was groomed at a young age to live abroad.  Who knew then that living overseas for 3 1/2 years in the seventies & eighties would have helped prepare me for the challenges that lay ahead in my life.  I am so thankful for that time, it truly made things a little bit easier.

On the other hand, some changes weren’t so easy.  A lifestyle without a car, dryer, Tylenol, Farenheit, Imperial measuring system (ex. ounces & gallons), TV in English,  A/C, ranch dressing or Cheese-It crackers, to name a few.  No family or friends, no job and the realization that English is not spoken or known even world-wide.  What in the world was I doing here.  Can true love be that strong to get me through the challenges I now faced?

Thankfully, my husband was so patient, caring, loving and helped me along the way.  Not only introducing me to his own culture and the “how-to’s” but to new and beautiful cities throughout Europe.  Also he showed me a simpler lifestyle which I find to be very satisfying now.  He is my best friend and I love him more than I ever thought it was possible to love another.

Now, I don’t think of my life as different, but normal.  I finally have accepted that things are different.  We celebrate not only German but the American holidays that I love.  I have learned to re-create my favorite American foods as well as make his favorite German dishes.

My language skills? Yes, I feel I can finally say that I speak German.  I can go to the doctor and dentist by myself.  Pick out a cut of meat at the deli area in a market.  Order a meal in a restaurant and discuss shoes with a saleslady.  I can watch a movie in German but…. the thought of an actor like Brad Pitt not speaking English, I have a hard time wrapping my head around.  Writing German is a whole other subject which I don’t do well…yet.

I feel settled now, it took a long time.  Even though, it is a harder lifestyle and takes more effort than life in America, I am happy.  I have learned so many important life lessons along the way.  I have been asked by many if we plan on moving back to America.  Of course, I would like to, I think my husband wouldn’t mind either.  But jobs and health insurance are the deciding factors which at this time don’t seem a possibility there.  I don’t know if I am ready to go back to that fast paced lifestyle and Iphones quite yet.

For now I will just live in the present moment, happily and proudly as a stay-at-home wife.  Enjoying every new day with my soul mate, living the Bavarian life with a touch of American flair.

Merken

Merken

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!

xo

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.

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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.

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

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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).

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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…

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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!

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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!

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So that my friends, is it from Leipzig.

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

Cheers

Merken

We are back from…

Can you guess what city  we visited?

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I’ll give you a hint… it is in Germany and was formerly part of the DDR.

I have so much to share with you, from some of our sightseeing to a delicious and rather unusual meal at a pretty famous biergarten known worldwide.

In a day or two I will have my Lookbook _______, ready to share with you as well as that amazing meal.  We are still doing a little “day” travel around Bavaria as my husband has a bit more time off work.  Our weather is beautiful here, sunny, warm but still fall like.  It was really nice that the weather has cooperated with my husband vacation time.

See you very soon! 🙂