Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Munch in Frankfurt

Postcards & ticket stub
Clockwise from top left:
"Vampir im wald"
"Galoppierendes Pferd"
"Die Sonne"
Last week I saw the Edvard Munch exhibit at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.  I highly recommend seeing this exhibition of work, which originally opened in Paris and will be in Frankfurt until May 2012.

Before hand, like many, I knew of Munch because of his famous painting "The Scream" - however, I didn't know there were five versions of this popular painting.  Since this is not an art blog - I will keep it short - it was very fascinating how photography and film influenced Munch's work.  Often walking through the exhibit I was reminded of one of my closest friends who loves experimenting with photography.  This exhibit solicited many feelings, emotions, and memories for me.  The energy and motion of the selected works are amazing and revolutionary for his time.

So, if you are in Frankfurt before May, include a visit to the Schrin if time allows.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fasching, German Carnival

Fasching, the German version of Carnival, is celebrated most exuberantly in Cologne, Mainz, and other cities especially in the south western portion of the country.  At first (as Americans) we noticed Halloween costumes for sale in stores all over.  Then after an educational brunch with some German friends we learned about Fasching.

Fasching preparations and planning officially begin on November 11 at 11:11am.  Fasching parties begin in the beginning of January, but the real celebration, festivities, parades and events begin the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.  Events are held for all ages with children's activities and parades, adult parties, and of course the parades.

Last Sunday we attended the parade in Frankfurt and immersed ourselves in our new surroundings, including the yelling of "Hello!" at the parade participants who yelled back.  A very new experience with lots of interesting costumes and traditions.  There were people everywhere.  Great people watching and picture taking!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Organic (Bio) Produce Delivery

All the farmers markets in Frankfurt are great, but as my belly grows and near the arrival of the baby I've been searching for ways to make life a little easier especially for the first couple of months after we are home and adjusting.  Grocery shopping is a daily chore here for me and the burden of the chore increases as my energy plummets.

Life saver found!  Paradieschen is an organic (bio) food delivery service in the Frankfurt area and a blessing.  Last week was our first trial delivery and I must say I am thus far pleased with the service.  I even had to Google a couple of the items we received: puntarelle, Roman salad green delicacy and Black Root, which is native to North America and unfortunately not safe for pregnant women to consume.  There was a decent amount of produce and only a couple apples and a few carrots remain.  The weekly delivery "Familie Klein" (small family 2-3 people) will cost around 16 euros.  The invoice comes with recipes printed on the back and an overview of what will arrive the following week.

On top of the standard produce delivery they also have an online market full of organic (bio) products from meat, bread, and cheese to wine, prepared foods, noodles, and body care products.  I have yet to order anything extra, but as I await today's delivery and look through the available products I anticipate that my orders will increase in the future.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baby Mania Minimized

REALIZATION:  The urge to impulse purchase adorable, colorful and tiny articles of clothing for our baby to come is subdued by the fact that we are not finding out the sex.  So many people are surprised that we not peeking, but I like surprises.  Maybe -at least for me- it is also exercise in realizing that as humans we have little control over life and the urge to micro manage life can be a waste of energy.

BENEFIT:  I've saved lot of dollars & euros!  Hopefully, there will not be a huge pile of clothes there were only worn once or never fit in the first place.

There seems to be less gender neutral colored baby clothing here in Germany with the exception of tan & white so this has aided in limiting indulgent buys.  Now after Nugget is here we will see how much of a hit my wallet takes as I make up for lost time!    

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Home = Peanut Butter Cookies (Vegan)

If only I could capture the smell and add a scent to this entry!

You might be thinking...Vegan...eh?  Well, my carnivorous husband approves and so did my language class.  These cookies will make your heart smile, trust me I know cookies!

I must give a shout out to my Mom who validated my craving for peanut butter cookies by saying, "It's your birthday month and your pregnant so just do it."  Thanks Mom!

Now, I will share the secret recipe....they are simple & quick.

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. margarine
1 1/4 creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In bowl mix together all dry ingredients.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the dough is well mixed.  Spoon generous tablespoon drops onto cookie sheet, rounding the dough balls.  Using a fork make press the tops of dough mounds in an criss-cross.  Bake for 15-17 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Share & Enjoy!  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Papier-mâché Mobile

If for no other reason at least I get to make a mess and have fun doing it....

When I first found out that I was pregnant I decided I was going to make a mobile for the baby.  Finally, my idea is coming to fruition.  Now there are nine brightly painted papier-mâché balls of varying sizes drying on the window sill.  Next step will be to paint different designs and patterns on each - I'm really looking forward to this part - not as gooey and messy, but looking forward to getting creative.

Papier-mâché paste recipe:
1 cup all purpose flour + some
1 cup water
pinch of salt

*As always I don't really measure, but sort of guestimate!  
Slightly more flour is best as it will be thicker, easier to work with and most importantly strong.  The salt will help to prevent mold.  Make sure each layer completely drys all the way before adding the next.  I used balloons as the base for this project. 

The paste lasted for awhile covered in the refrigerator and when needed I would add more water, flour, and bit of salt and whisk together.  

Each sphere seemed sufficiently hard enough after three coats of pasted newspaper.  Be sure to remove the cut edges from the newspaper before making strips as they will not mesh and end up creating a seam.   

The interesting part will be suspending and hanging these colorful orbs!  

Today while applying a second coat of paint, Nugget & I were listening to Xavier Rudd...love sharing the music and the moment!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Best Tasty Thing Today

Käseplunder...comparable, but much tastier than the Cheese Danish in the USA.  The cheese (Käse) filling is heavenly and there is just the right amount of sugary glaze on the pastry. Last week I tried the  Kirchplunder from another bakery - also delicious, filled with cherries instead of cheese.  I'm turning into a pastry connoisseur and I am not so sure that is a good thing.  

Regardless, today I am grateful for all the quaint little bäckerei & kondetorei that scattered about everywhere I turn.  Kondetorei is like a bakery (bäckerei) but they have more sweet delicacies - either way I'm in heaven : )

Guten Appetit! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Newspapers & Learning Deutsch

This week began with an ego boost as I successful returned a purchase speaking in 100% German!  Needless to say I was overjoyed and promptly sent a text to my husband along the lines of "Boooyaaa...Sprechen Deutsch!"...yes I actually typed out Boooyaaa!

I'm concocting my own plan for learning German as I will soon be done with my language course and taking care of our new baby - 5 weeks exactly!  So between German films, newspapers, and Rosetta Stone coupled with daily interactions I will continue to improve my Deutsch speaking abilities maybe even become fluent.

So with that in mind I must share today's newspapers...Newspapers must not be hurting as much here.  When Wednesdays roll around we receive three free newspapers - this is just on Wednesday.  Take a glimpse....I am at the point where I can understand the point of most articles, but not everything.

Now onto film!  We were able to find two films that sounded decent at the local Saturn store.  Surprisingly, the store carries hundreds of DVDs - however most are Hollywood.  The whole point of using film to aide in learning a language is that the film is in it's original version with English subtitles and subtitles in the original language.  So you begin by watching the film with English subtitles until you get the film down and then switch to the native subtitles.  I love movies so I am hoping this helps and that our choices are not flops.  So we are looking forward to watching Vier Minuten (Four Minutes) and Kokowääh (the way a German would pronounce the French dish Coq au Vin).  Here's to hoping these are good learning tools!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pasta Bake

My culinary experience (very little) has me inspired me to try new recipes and creations as my taste buds were growing weary of the same old, plus the gentle hint from my husband..."You should be more adventurous..."

So the culinary adventure begins...Wish I had a picture from last weeks creation!

PASTA BAKE - some might call it Baked Ziti - I'm calling it a success

Cast of Ingredients (these are mostly approximates):
250 g Rigatoni, Penne or any short noodle (approx. 8 oz)
1 1/4 c. ricotta
1 large egg
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (or Italian herbs of your choice)
Salt & Pepper (if desired)
3/4 c finely grated Parmesan
1 c shredded mozzarella or pizza cheese
3 c favorite tomato sauce 
3 cloves garlic
1 c mushrooms, chopped
-any vegetables that you might want to add...spinach, onion, meat substitutes, meat, etc. 

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce to the bottom of casserole dish (11x7 or similar size) this will keep bake from sticking to the pan.

Saute mushrooms & garlic and any additional raw vegetables/meats to be added to sauce.  After cooking, remove from heat and add the remaining tomato sauce.

Cook noodles according to recommended instructions - al dente.  Drain and set aside.  I like to add salt to the boiling water.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  

In a bowl mix together ricotta, egg, Italian herb seasoning, 1/4 c of Parmesan, 1/2 c mozzarella cheese, and salt & pepper if desired.

Add noodles to the sauce lined casserole dish.  Then add the ricotta mixture.  Top with tomato sauce creation.  Finally, evenly spread the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella. I like to twist the pepper over the top for a final touch.  Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Delicious with a refreshing Cesar Salad.  Perfect on a cold winter night.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

hold that thought

Please bear with me as I attempt making some minor changes to my blog in order to better organize entries.  I am not a technologically inclined person, but using Blogger is pretty straight forward.  It should not take too long and please let me know what you think.....

I want to thank all who take the time to read and browse through my blog.  Your readership, comments, and input are greatly appreciated!!!

Enjoy the adventure.....

For those who keep asking....A picture of my baby bump!
Never thought I'd be posting these on the Internet...