Sunday, December 29, 2013

Patience...

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. Only 3 days left in the year. All in all it's been a good year, despite some medical challenges and the "big Colorado flood" of 2013.

My little business is thriving. Maybe next year will be the year that I will actually earn enough money so my income will pay for more than the occasional family vacation to Germany...Our little old house is in desperate need of new windows and re stuccoing. When it's windy outside you can feel it through every crack. The woodwork is in need of a paint job, too. When you live in an old house like this you are always in fear of the plumbing...



I feel torn because I want to preserve the old wooden windows but I know they are not energy efficient, and we simply cannot afford to have them rebuild to preserve heat in the winter and cool air in the summers. Living in this house is like being in the elements pretty much. You don't need to look out the window to know what the weather is like outside. LOL.

Patience, Dear, I tell myself. It will all work out in time. Little by little we will save up the money and get things fixed. Like that puzzle that we did over Christmas. It took a lot of patience. It looked impossible to do when we first started.

It's been our 3rd year of doing a family puzzle on Christmas day. This year's was a pretty tough one.

 

Usually I am the one to get the puzzle started. I dump all the pieces on the dining room table and start picking out the straight edges. Then my husband will join in and help with the task. He does the sky, and I start putting together the bottom/ground part of this year's picture. We work together quietly and patiently.

Eventually our daughter walks by. She will help organize the puzzle pieces by color for a little while. Maybe she will find pieces of the castle and put parts of the building together outside the boarder. As the image slowly grows our boy will finally join the family. He has been texting his friends all morning, telling them how his parents are making him do this crazy puzzle every year on Christmas break. But after all his grumbling, he gets excited, too. Together we make great progress and the picture of a beautiful Castle in Scotland emerges.

I love puzzles. Even the hard ones. After all, life is the hardest puzzles given to us to solve. I hope that the picture I am creating during my lifetime will be mysterious and beautiful to look at - like the Scottish landscape and the deep blue sky over Elean Donan Castle.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Frohe Weihnachten - Merry Christmas

The cookies are baked.
The Christmas tree is decorated.
The presents are wrapped under the tree.


What else?

I must have forgotten something...

I wish you all a Merry Christmas - or Frohe Weihnachten - as we say in German!




 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

German Gingerbread Recipe

Happy Fourth Advent! Slowly I have been catching up on my chores to get done before Christmas. Two sets of cookies are ready and stored away neatly in tins. Sadly I didn't get any Christstollen baked this year. Usually I give a loaf as a gift to friends and folks who have helped me a lot during the year. But there is is still time, right? Like 3 days...

German Tin that was sent to me by my mother many years ago


Here is , as promised the Lebkuchen recipe for the German Gingerbread cookies in case you want to give it a try. Even if you don't have the rice paper, I am sure they would work on a well-greased cookie sheet.




 You will need the following ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of shelled fresh hazelnuts, ground into fine flour
  • 3/4 cup almonds, ground into fine flour
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 stick softened butter (preferably unsalted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup candied lemon peel, chopped very small
  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel, chopped very small
  • zest of one lemon
For decorating the cookies:

chocolate for glazing and blanched almond halves

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare two cookie sheets. I lined mine with parchment paper and put two sheets of ricepaper on top side by side.

Beat honey, soft butter, brown sugar together in a mixing bowl. You will need a mixer with a strong motor for this. My little handmixer had trouble with the chore. So when I made this recipe a second time around I doubled everything and used the kitchen aid instead!

Mix the two types of ground nut flour with flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda.

Add the eggs one at a time to the sugar, honey, and butter mixture. Then slowly add the dry ingredients. Add about a half cup at a time. You will get a very heavy batter.

Last add the chopped fruits and lemon zest.

The recipe we had suggested cutting the rice paper in rounds of about 7 cm diameter and making little balls that were about 2 tablespoons each, then flatten those onto the wafer rounds. Since we didn't know how to cut the rice paper in circles we rolled out the dough between sheets of parchment paper and made cut-out cookies. We baked them for about 15 minutes (or until they are dry on top) on the big sheets of ricepaper. We cut the cookies out of the rice paper after they had cooled down.

It's always fun when you share the cookies with folks who have never had real German Lebkuchen. They don't know about edible ricepaper and try to peel the "paper" off the bottom of the cookies.





After the cookies have cooled down you can brush them with melted chocolate mixed with butter or glaze or just leave them plain. You can stick some blanched almond halves on top of the cookies while the chocolate is still wet. I baked the almonds into the cookie and ended up having to paint the chocolate around the almonds. Duh!

I hope you give these cookies a try. If not this year - safe the recipe for next year. I will definitely make them every year from now on.





Friday, December 20, 2013

Lebkuchen - Gingerbread

Finally! Hubby and I baked some Christmas cookies yesterday. We had so much fun working together in the kitchen, enjoying the peace before the storm - before the kids get out of school this week...

I have never tried to make Lebkuchen from scratch. Why? I didn't have the white wafers to bake them on. In Germany you can buy "Oblaten" (white wafers) in any grocery store this time of year. Not so here... So my tricksy husband ordered some "edible" ricepaper from Amazon. An early Christmas present, you know. How sweet is that? Now I have about two hundred 11X8 inch sheets. Should last me a life time.


We even decorated them with blanched almonds and glazed them with dark chocolate. I took the first batch down to the Post Office. I know they have been waiting for me all week. I always take the postal workers a tin this time of year. After so many days of dealing with grumpy folks my sweet German cookies make for a welcome treat and distraction. Hope my experimental batch was good. The folks in line all looked longingly at me. Can I have one? Hmm, maybe next year I'll have to start handing them out to the folks in line. Might make for more cheerful customers...

I'll share the recipe we used tomorrow.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What is (in) a Photograph?

Sorry for being missing in action over the last couple of weeks. Here I was mailing out package after package for my little business, and before I knew it, it was time for The Nutcracker again. My daughter has been in the local production of this show every year since she was 6 years old. I have been helping and volunteering for the same amount of years. I have enjoyed doing the make-up for the parrots, clowns, and mice.
 
 Unfortunately I hardly got any pictures this year. I only took a couple of hassled shots on my cell phone. This makes me very sad. A new picture rule kept me from taking photos. I didn't get a single photo of the clowns in costume.
 
 ALL the pictures you see in this post are recycled shots from previous years...
 
 
 
What is a photo? Wikipedia defines the word in the following manner:
A photograph or photo is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic image such as a CCD or a CMOS chip. Most photographs are created using a camera, which uses a lens to focus the scene's visible wavelengths of light into a reproduction of what the human eye would see. The process and practice of creating photographs is called photography. The word "photograph" was coined in 1839 by Sir John Herschel and is based on the Greek φῶς (phos), meaning "light", and γραφή (graphê), meaning "drawing, writing", together meaning "drawing with light".[1]
 
 
Parent volunteer putting Clown Make-up on for 2010 Nutcracker production
 
Excitement of  being a First Time Clown from 2009

Ready to Clown around on stage 2010
 
I like that definition - A drawing with light. Yet, I think a photograph is so much more. Photos help us remember all the small details. Details you may have forgotten.You can go back to it any time. Photos help us document the passage of time and show us how much our children have grown and changed.
 
I love the clowns. They are my favorite part of The Nutcracker. They make the audience laugh so hard and forget about the stress and hassles this busy time of year. Year after year they steal the audience's heart. I see little kids point their fingers at my daughter when she leaves with her make-up on. "Look, Mom! There is a clown..."
 
Clowns 2010


Releasing the Clowns 2011
The picture below is the only photo I took of my little clown this year. There are no other photos of the clowns since the professional photographers who were allowed to take photos this year didn't take any pictures of the clowns. Maybe they didn't have time. Or maybe the clowns didn't seem important.

All I know is that I am glad to have my little gallery of precious drawings with light from previous years.




  A photo is a memory that nobody can take away from you...



 



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy 2.Advent

I gave a rest to sewing this morning and made the family some delicious German sweet bread for breakfast. I'd say it was a success. After a few minutes the big loaf I baked was nearly gone.


 


 


 

Hefezopf - Yeast Braids are a very common German breakfast food. My mom would always buy two loaves at the bakery for a special weekend breakfast. Or if she had time, she would  bake some herself. Of course, homemade is always better!

These loaves are really simple to make and require few ingredients:

500 g flour
2 cups warm milk
3/4 stick butter (melted in the milk)
1 egg
2 teaspoons yeast
1/3 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons honey

I put in a few handfuls of candied lemon and orange rind to celebrate the season. You can also put raisins, nuts, or other dried fruits.

Just throw all the ingredients together. Let he dough rest until doubled in size. Knead and separate into three even chunks of dough. Pull them into ropes and braid them together.

Before baking rub the loaves with an egg wash or some milk will.

Bake in preheated oven at 375 for about 40 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil once it gets brown.



Happy Second Advent to you! I hope you get a chance to make this delicious German sweet bread.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Baby it's cold outside...

It's been quiet on my blog. I know. Too many orders to fill, and then there was a lot of decorating to do. I decided to fore go all shopping on Black Friday weekend. Not that I am much of a super shopper anyways. But I usually do go to Joann's for Black Friday. This year I didn't participate in that fun either. Why? Well, my favorite salesgirls have moved on to other branches of the store or just quit the job. I am kind of funny that way. I get used to sales clerks. I like to talk to folks at the store and get to know them. I suppose I am grieving over the loss of the friendly faces that have been cutting fabric for me for many years. It will take me a while to get used to the young' ones that have been hired in their place. Wahhhhhhhhhhhh.



I truly enjoyed going against the grain this year by NOT shopping for anything. I don't know how people can go to 13 different stores in one day and stay sane. I am proud to say I ignored all the sales fliers this year. It's not like I am out of fabric.. It will probably take me a few years or so to sew up the stash I have. I have 7 bins total. Well, and then there are few drawers with specialty fabrics from Japan and faraway places. My husband likes to tell folks that I have filled every single square inch of the built-in linen closets in this old house with cloth. I say, it's not true. Or not quite...



Well, darn it. It is soooooooo cold outside and inside the house. We are dealing with an "arctic blast" right now. I have been ironing doll clothes all morning just to keep my hands warm in this drafty house. Some day we will be able to afford new windows. Good thing we got all our Christmas decorations done in the yard.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks 2013

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I don't know where to start with my list.



1.Thanks to all my wonderful customers for keeping me so busy this November making it the best ever sales month for my little shop..

2.Thanks to the kids for being so good and helping me with my packaging and getting boxes ready for shipping this year. My label printer happens to be in our basement. So it's good to have someone else make the trip down the stairs...and make sure the labels go on the right box.

3.Thanks to the members of the Natural Kids Team on Etsy! After all these years of being on the team I am still thankful to have their support and friendship.

4.Thanks to my family for putting up with my sewing at all hours and the trail of sewing thread that follows me around the house. No matter how much vacuuming I do, it appears that little pieces of thread show up everywhere...


It's a turkey walking past a pie...Duh!


5.Thanks to the family who is taking us in for Thanksgiving Festivities this year. Since we have no family in town it is wonderful to be adopted by another family to be part of this great American tradition.

6. Thanks to my dear husband. The champion pie maker who struck again this morning and baked two pies to take along to the feast: One apple sauce and one pumpkin pie. I can't decide which I love more. Let's just skip the turkey and go straight to dessert...

7.Thanks to my daughter for going to the gym with me this morning and giving me such a hard work-out program. Now I don't have to feel too guilty eating more than one slice of pie.

I know there are many more things that I should list, just don't have the time right now. Must go and get cleaned up for the party.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving if you live in the US! If you live in another country I am sure you can still come up with a nice list of things to be thankful for. Giving thanks is always therapeutic...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Favorite Color?

What's your favorite color? My daughter asked me the other day. I had a hard time deciding. In truth, I love all colors. But maybe right now my more favorite color is this lovely light blue. I call it Winter Blue. I got so obsessed with it I made a whole mess of doll pyjamas with fabric of that color the other day. Don't they look sweet?



 
Made me kind of sleepy and want to crawl into bed afterwards.
It's been chilly in our old drafty house. Some days I have to go outside to warm up...
 
But who has the time for naps and walks. I have been working working working. This has been the busiest November ever for my little shop. I wonder what December has in store for me? Hopefully I'll sell out my shop and then take a vacation in Hawaii.
 
You know the North pole has it's perks, but it would be nice to catch a little sun...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

winterblues


winterblues, originally uploaded by germandolls.

Working on some winter blue doll clothes. Feeling a bit chilled in my studio. It's the perfect color for such a day...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Just a reminder...

Visit Amanda's Blog today to enter in the NaturalKids Team's wonderful Winter Giveaway. I will be sending the winner one of my little snowflake babies. They are so sweet and won't make your hands colds at all. Promise!


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

REALLY BIG Giveaway on Soulemama!

Don't miss this one! 17 members of the Natural Kids Team on Etsy have done it again. We have come together once more to make someone very happy.

We are giving away 17 most adorable items to ONE lucky winner. All are perfect items for stocking stuffers or hannuka gifts maybe...

But hold your horses. It's not until 11/23/2013! I just wanted to give you the Thumbs-up. Visit Amanda Soule's blog on that day!

Here is a picture of all the cool stuff the winner will get:


Are you totally wowed? I certainly am.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pink Blanket Doll

I finished this sweet Waldorf style blanket doll this morning. Looks like many people are still looking for small gifts for little ones this Christmas. I don't think this one will sit too long around my Etsyshop.


Looks like the German Elf will have to get busy over here and make some more...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thinking about Food Matters

I have been thinking a lot about food lately. This time of year I miss a lot of the special foods from Germany. But then again, I think it's just well I can't have them. German Christmas treats aren't exactly healthy. Still, I can't help but feel I ate much healthier food when I lived in the Vaterland.

Needless to say, I was a bit shocked when I came back from my trip to Germany this summer, and hopped on the scales. REALLY. I had gained 8 pounds in less than two weeks? That's crazy. Is there something wrong with my memory? Or was it just that everybody fed me sweets and cakes when I came to visit because they missed me so much?

I have worked really hard since June to get rid of the extra pounds. When I need a break from sewing I go to the gym. I try to go a minimum of 3 times a week. I am proud to say I can withstand an hour of torture on the elliptical machine these days. Don't even feel winded afterwords. Still, I have not been able to shed all the extra pounds. I hover around the same weight. And it's driving me nuts. What is it with your body not cooperating any more once you hit 40? What happened to the good times? I can't even have a glass of wine any more without waking up the next morning with a bad headache.



So I went to the library to check out some books on nutrition and dieting. It's not that I am overweight. People who know me laugh at me when I say I need to lose weight. Why you? You are skinny. That is nuts. I just don't like the lack of energy. I don't enjoy feeling tired all the time.

Why not try a new approach? I stumbled upon Mark Bittman's book Food Matters and I have decided that it's perfect for me. It expresses a lot of the thoughts and emotions I have had around food and eating. From the day I moved to the US I have struggled to adjust to the different diet. I guess what I miss mostly from home is bread. In Germany it was one of my main food staples. You know, the daily bread thing goes a long way when you are a poor student in Berlin. But here? If I want to buy a decent loaf of bread I have to drive 50 miles and spend oodles of money. I highly recommend the Prussian Rye at Whole Foods Market! It comes closest to what people eat in Germany.

The first couple of years I tried to bake my own bread. Unfortunately it didn't go so well. I found high altitude baking in Colorado very challenging. I finally gave up and resigned myself to the stuff they call bread in the grocery stores here. It has about 5 million ingredients, including sugar and preservatives. Even the supposedly "healthy" overpriced loaves are full of sugar and sweeteners.

But like I said, I am tired of feeling tired, and I am ready to try Mark Bittman's approach. I want to cut out as many highly processed foods, white sugar, and as much meat as I can. Maybe I'll  even give baking my own bread another try. Just hope hubby won't suggest burning it in the woodstove again. That's what happened to that last German-style sourdough bread I baked years ago.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Confessions of a Fabriholic...

I have been pretty good all year. I bought very few yards of fabric. I am afraid to lose customers because my shop is full of the same old same old stuff. So if you are one of those folks who is getting bored of late with my fabric offerings here is a new fabric design I just added to my stash.

I swear it was on my watch list for months on EBay. This weekend I finally broke down and bought it. I feel a bit guilty. But you know the fabric monster needs to fed once in a while....

Tell me I was right to break down. It just couldn't be helped. I had to buy it...



It's so lovely and pink, and everything a girl could possibly want in a fabric!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Mermaid Doll

After working on a number of little merbabies it was time to create another big Mermaid girl. Mermaids have always fascinated me. Maybe because I am such a terrible swimmer.



It's a wonder I survived my childhood. My parents would just drop us 5 girls at the pool and say:" Have fun!" My mom didn't know how to swim. She worked all the time and didn't own a bathing suit. My dad had a skin condition that prevented him from going to a public pool. I have no happy memories of my parents playing with us in the water and keeping me safe. I never had swim lessons. I guess my parents figured my older sisters would take care of us or the lifeguard would safe us if need be. So I pretty much grew up terrified of water.




To this day I envy people who are good swimmers and move in the water like fish - or like a mermaid.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gingerbread anyone?

Here she is: my first Gingerbread Girl of the season. She is even sweeter in real life! Wish I had some Lebkuchen to eat right now. Looking at her dress makes me hungry.

 
I bet you, they have Lebkuchen for sale in every grocery store in Germany right now. If I want some these days, I have to order it from a specialty store over the internet. We used to order a box from Schmidt's Lebkuchen every year. But it is quite pricey and  a couple of times I was disappointed with the quality. It just didn't taste as fresh as I remembered it from my childhood. Or is it just my imagination? Whenever my parents felt flush and could afford it they ordered the Festtagstruhe. My sisters and I would fight over the chocolate covered Elisenkuchen and the Dominosteine (little chocolate covered cubes made from layers of cake, marcipan, and jelly).

I feel myself breaking down. I may just have to order a box...


In Germany you can buy the cheap imitation of Schmidt's Lebkuchen at every store. No need to spend $100. Oh well, on the bright side - this is how I have been able to maintain my girlish figure. If I lived in Germany I'd be a big Frau, no doubt. I'd eat Schokolade and Lebkuchen all day. Here I just don't care that much about sweets...


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hump Day Giveaway

Ha! I recently learned a new word: Hump Day. It's the fun part about being in immigrant. The learning never ends. There is always new vocabulary to learn...Now at first I was a bit stunned. I thought the word meant something indecent. My 15-year-old son laughed at me cruelly. I wasn't getting much help here. Just teasing.

So I went and looked it up in the Urban Dictionary where it says:

Hump Day:
 
1. The middle of a work week (Wednesday); used in the context of climbing a proverbial hill to get through a tough week.
After hump day, the weekend gets closer.
So in celebration of my newly learned word and the fact that we are getting closer to the weekend I decided to do a fun Giveaway on my Facebook Fanpage. Please visit my page for details.

https://www.facebook.com/GermanDolls?ref=hl

Monday, November 4, 2013

Who would steal a broom?

In case you are wondering where I have been and what I have been up to: RAKING LEAVES.

The joys of fall. Is that why they are called leaves in English? Because everybody just wants them gone from their yard. I think they are so pretty. Why not enjoy the sight and crunching a bit longer? But I finally got tired of the neighbor's angry stares. Every day when I left the house I felt his piercing eyes. Maybe I was only imagining it. I decided to get the rake out. My daughter and I spent two whole days raking the front and backyard. Funny thing was, when it was time to sweep up the last leaves on the walkway I found that my broom had gone missing from the front porch?

Who in the world would go up on another person's porch and steal an old broom? Was it a witch on Halloween night who lost her's maybe? I guess we will never know.



And of course, last night a big wind blew into town and sprinkled a fresh layer onto the lawn. Seems like you just cannot win some days. Oh well, it was good excercize. Who needs the gym when you have yardwork to do?

I will just ignore the neighbor, the leaves, and the yard. Got more sewing to do. Or who will make the stocking stuffers for the little kids this Christmas? A little while ago I got a request for more merbabies. I swear, I did not forget. Just took me a while to get around to it. In fact, I had not made one since this summer and plain forgot how I made them. Does that ever happen to you? With a recipe or pattern? You don't make it for while and forget how it's done.





I am glad I remembered. Here are 3 little merbabies ready for some fun!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I know there are a lot of people who are not in favor of Halloween. Since it's a holiday we don't celebrate in Germany (at least didn't use to when I was little) I get a bit confused. I don't like the scary monster costumes either. Neither do I understand folks who like slasher movies. But is the holiday evil because some people make it so scary?

To me it's just an occasion for the kids to be creative and come up with a cute costume. My daughter wanted to be a Minion from the Despicable Me movie this year. So we worked hard together to make our own costume. We died a white shirt yellow. I made a head covering from yellow velour and sewed some hair to it. The overall were decorated with stencil by my daughter. Dad helped with the goggles. Big brother helped with quality control. It was a project for the whole family.

Didn't it turn out great?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to make German Sauerbraten

Sauer macht lustig - Sour makes you happy

It's a German saying that eating sour foods makes one happy. Not sure where the notion comes from. It's a fact the Germans are often unhappy and need a lot of cheering up, considering the grey weather this time of year....Of course, everyone in the US knows about Sauerkraut. My children hate it. I have tried and tried. They are not being good little Germans. But maybe that's partly because the stuff they sell in the stores in the US is nothing like German Sauerkraut. It's way too sour! Some day, if I have the time, I'll get to the bottom of it. Some day I will try and make my own Sauerkraut.

Then there is Sauerbraten. Have you ever had a German Sour Roast? I am glad to report that this is a dish my children very much appreciate. The announcement of a Sauerbraten will bring smiles and shouts of joy. Figures, since it takes about a week to make it...We cooked up a really nice roast this weekend. Making Sauerbraten takes a bit of planning ahead. First I had to remember to take the meat out of the freezer. It took about 2-3 days to thaw it out. Next I had to make a marinade for soaking it. Unlike my husband who claims that Germans bury the meat in the yard for 3 weeks to rot it and cook it afterwards, this is NOT TRUE!

This is how it's done:

you will need
  • a nice piece of beef, a roast about 1-3 pounds (we like to get a big one, the leftovers are yummy!)
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 5 peppercorns
  • bay leaf
  • 5 dried juniper berries (optional)
  • raisins
  • 4-5 tablespoons flour
  • red wine vinegar
  • ginger cookies (optional)

Chop an onion, peel a carrot and dice it, and cut a stalk of celery . Throw the vegetables in a saucepan together with 250ml of red wine vinegar, 500 ml of water, add bay leaf, and some peppercorns. If you can find them, add some juniper berries. Heat this mixture to right before boiling temperature. This is the marinade that you pour over the roast.
I like to put the meat in a big Ziploc bag and put the marinade in the bag. Then you keep the Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for 3-4 days - depending on how sour you like your roast.


Cooking the roast:

After the meat has been properly soured take it out of the bag. Don't throw out the marinade. Put it through a sieve and throw away the vegetables. You must reserve the liquid because you will need it for cooking the roast later on!

Dry the meat with a kitchen towel or clean cloth. I don't use paper towels because I find it wasteful. ( Don't be an Umweltschwein! as we say in German).
After you patted the meat dry put some oil in a pot and heat it up. Now you must sizzle the meat, brown it nicely on all sides. It's best to use a pot that is tall. I use a heavy stockpot. Otherwise you may get splattered with the hot sizzling oil. Next you add some chopped up onions. Don't worry about dicing the onion small. The meat will cook for quite a while. By the time it's done cooking the onions will have disappeared. After the meat is browned properly on all sides add 375ml of the marinade back to the pot. If the roast is not covered add more water to the pot.

Now you need patience. The roast needs to cook very slowly on a low temperature. Don't boil it! You can add more of the marinade or water as the liquid cooks away. Keep checking the roast for softness. After about an 1.5 - 2 hours it should be getting close... Add a couple of hand fulls of raisins. If you have some gingerbread cookies break them up and add them to the pot, too. I rarely do have them. So it's fine without. Once the meat is nice and tender take it out of the pot. Mix a few tablespoons for flour (3-4) with some of the liquid from the pot. Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil and add the flour mixture in to thicken the sauce. Add salt and pepper as needed.

All that is left to do is to slice up the roast and serve it on a warm platter. We serve it with Spatzle, German egg noodles made from scratch. What the heck. You might be bored while waiting for that meat to get cooked. Why not start another huge project and mess up the kitchen some more?

But I swear this is so delicious. Even if you have to wash every single pot and pan in the house afterwards and spend the whole day cooking it is so worth it!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Holiday Dress for Sooki

October has been pretty good to me. Sales are definitely picking up, and I am looking forward to the busy days of packing boxes and getting packages ready every single day.

Meanwhile I get complaints from the family that our porch is still not decorated for Halloween...Only three days to go. Hopefully I'll make it to the basement tomorrow and dig out the decorations.

I did put together a costume for my daughter this year. I hope to share some photos of it on Thursday maybe.

My daughter is very pleased indeed and so was little Sookie when she received a new red Holiday dress...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

'mericka, need more Guns!

Jeden Tag, nachdem ich die Kinder zur Schule gebracht habe, ist es Zeit für ein Gebet. Schreckliche Nachrichten diese Woche haben mich sehr deprimiert. Wieder einmal mussten 2 Lehrer ihr Leben lassen, weil ein Schüler eine Waffe mit zur Schule brachte. (Nevada, Massachusetts).

Wieso? Weshalb? Warum? So hiess es in der Sesamstrassenmelodie im deutschen Fernsehen als ich ein kleines Kind war, und man uns vorgaukelte, wie toll es ist ein Kind zu sein in Amerika. Warum? Reimt sich mit: Manche Menschen hier sind halt dumm. Oder wieso ist Selbstverteidigung mittels Schnellstfeuerwaffen wichtiger als die Sicherheit unserer Kinder in der Schule? Welche Eltern lassen Waffen im Haus herumliegen, damit ein Schüler, weil er Hass auf seinen Lehrer oder andere Schueler hat, diese totschiessen kann? Ich werde das niemals verstehen.

Ich hasse es taglich mit dieser furchtbaren Angst  leben zu müssen. Wenn ich die Kinder aus dem Auto lasse schaue ich mistrauisch umher. Was, wenn irgendeines dieser unschuldig blickenden Gören meine Kinder nicht leiden kann? Vielleicht ist dieser Junge vom Cross Country Team sauer, weil mein Sohn schneller laufen kann und jetzt nach Colorado Springs zum bundestaatlichen Wettbewerb mitfahren durfte, während er zu hause bleiben muss? Was wenn dieser Junge so deprimiert ist, dass er meint sich an meinem Kind rächen zu muessen?Verrückte Gedanken gehen einem ständig durch den Kopf in diesem verrückten Land.


Schutzengel braucht man unbedingt in diesem Land!


Ich muss diese Gedanken verdrängen um es hier auszuhalten. Oder vielleicht hilft es sie aufzuschreiben? Ich weiss genau, wenn ich diesen Blogeintrag auf Englisch schreiben würde, kämen sofort die Leser mit den Waffen im Schrank und würden sich über mich lustig machen. Hab's letztes Jahr erlebt, nach meinem Eintrag ueber Connecticut. Wie bekampft man die Gewalt in den Köpfen?

Mein Mann unterrichtet an der Uni hier. In einem seiner Kurse hat er den Studenten beigebracht jedes mal,wenn die Rede von Amerika ist, zu rufen:" 'mericka! Need more Guns!" Man hofft, dass die Studenten die tiefe Ironie erkennen.

Ein Kollege meines Mannes hat mir erzählt, das er niemals Studenten durchfallen lässt. Könnte ja sein, das einer Rache ueben will. Ist wie im Wilden Westen hier. Wo bleibt der Fortschritt?

Ich sage: " 'mericka, if anything ever happens to my children, I will never forgive you! Du bist einfach nur krank!"

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

An Apple a Day...

Sadly I have to report that we didn't get any apples this year. All the blooms were destroyed by a late frost. So if I want to make apple pockets, apple sauce, or any of the other applet treats our family loves I'll have to resort to store bought apples. Not a happy prospect.

why is it that fruit you pick yourself tastes so much better? I wonder if other folks in Colorado are having the problem as us. If you know of any place where I can get local apples fresh from a tree please let me know!

But you know what they say: An apple a day, keeps the Doctor away.

So to make myself happy I cut into this super delicious precious piece of Japanese apple fabric. I have been saving it for a day when I crave apples really badly. Like - right now. I wish I had bought more at the time...

Here is my little apple. ;)


Hope you had better luck with your apples this year!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Creative Friday

Dear Linda,

Thanks again for reminding me of Creative Friday and saving me from my gloom. I had a not so nice day yesterday after I received a brash - rather unloving - note from a customer. Isn't it funny how one little thing can ruin a person's whole day? Though I tried my hardest not to I spent the rest of the day thinking of it. Then went to bed and could barely sleep because of it.

Please remember folks that all of your actions - small and big - do have an impact on folks' life. Be kind to everyone!

This angel doll is my most beloved creation of the week. She is soft and sweet, and it gave me great joy to take her photos.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

big fall sale

surely this darn government shutdown is coming to an end now, right? to celebrate the end of this sillyness I am having a BIG SALE in my little germandolls etsyshop.

If you were thinking of getting some Christmas presents from my store: NOW would be good time.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

German Comfort Food: Jägerschnitzel

A huge part of the immigrant experience is missing food all the time. One should think you get used to it after 18  years. But it doesn't seem to work that way. In fact, as I get older, I find myself getting melancholic and missing things that I didn't even care that much about when I lived in Germany.

green Mushroom Dress
German food is not exactly healthy food. If you want to see current statistics you can find them in this recent article on obesity in Germany. Just like the US obesity is a huge problem in the Vaterland. So if you are trying to lose weight the following recipe is not for you. But if you are in search for comfort food - rest assured this will do the trick for you. Lots of comfort here. =)

If you have travelled to the Vaterland, no doubt, you came across a Kneipe  (Pub) or two that served Schnitzel. Schnitzel, is a piece of pork that has been flattened out by beating it into submission, then breaded and fried. Schnitzel comes in many different variations. It’s basically the German version of a  chicken fried steak. 

So when I get homesick or sad my fix is:Jägerschnitzel. Like I said, Schnitzels are available in combination with various sauces or toppings. You can order Wiener Schnitzel, Hungarian Schnitzel, or Jägerschnitzel = Hunter’s Schnitzel. Since I love mushrooms this has always been my favorite.

If you love mushrooms you should give it a try. Even better if you get hold of fresh mushrooms, I am sure they would make this dish even more delicious!
 

Ingredients for Jägerschnitzel:

  • 500g Champignons or other small mushrooms, I used Portobello mushrooms

  • 2 slices bacon diced

  • 1 small onion diced

  • 125ml vegetable broth

  • 125ml cream (I use milk to cut down on fat)

  • ½ teaspoon thyme

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • slab of pork

  • flour

  • 2 eggyolks beaten

  • Breadcrumbs

  • Butter

How to cook se Schnitzels:

1.Wash pork and pat dry. Lay the meat on a cutting board, cover with Seran wrap and pound on it with a meat hammer until the pieces of meat are very thin. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Drag both sides of the meat first through flour, then egg yolks, and last breadcrumbs.

2. Fry the pork pieces on both sides until golden brown. Take from pan and reserve in a warm place.

3.Make the mushroom sauce. Wash the mushrooms and slice. Thick slices are okay! Saute mushrooms in butter until they start excuding liquid. Take them out of pan and reserve in bowl. Put oninios in pan and brown lightly, add the bacon pieces, and cook with the onions for a few minutes. Put mushrooms back in the pan. Add broth and milk or cream, and thyme. Cook this sauce on low until most of the liquid is gone. This will take about 15 minutes or more. This sauce should not be runny because it is served on the crispy fried pork. So you want a thick sauce.


 




 
Traditionally Schnitzel is served with a side of French fries and a salad. I served it with a baked potato on the side this week. It was really yummy with the mushroom sauce on top.

Sorry about the dark photos! The lighting was not very good while I was cooking. I may have to retake the photos - make more Schnitzel soon!