Monday, May 31, 2010

Certifiable 7 Nut Ice Cream & May's LOL Food Blogger Posts

There are a lot of nuts in my house, aside from me, I mean.  I have wanted to try a David Lebowitz ice cream recipe for some time now so when I needed to de-nut my pantry,  I seized the chance.

Carpe Ice Cream. That's what I say.

I love making ice cream. Like creating cookies, the flavor combinations are endless and it's always fun to experiment.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tie-Dyed Peace Sugar Cookies for Memorial Day

In the last few years Dr. B has been in Iraq, although he is not in the military, my thoughts often turn to soldiers, those injured and especially those who have given their lives. When Dr. B first went to work for the UN, my entire day centered around the level of violence happing in his part of Iraq. I would alternate from obsessively watching the news to avoiding it altogether.

Eventually I adjusted but I can't even imagine what it's like for loved ones of those on active duty.  I can Skype my husband whenever I want. They have to endure long stretches of no contact and not knowing. No comparison.

So as Memorial Day is upon us, I am thinking about peace.

Inner peace. Peace of mind. World peace.

What it would mean to have no war. No more mothers, wives, family members with shattered hearts accepting folded flags.  No lives lost before they have barely begun. No children growing up without parents.

And while I say a prayer for all the fallen and am deeply grateful for those currently serving in the military, it would be so much better if we didn't have to celebrate fallen soldiers for the simple reason of there not being any.

I guess that's just what's in my hippy heart.  So instead of making stars and stripes, after I found this idea on Phe/MOM/enom's Blog, I had no alternative but to go the tie dyed route in making cookies for this post.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hedgehog Cake Balls and Rescue Ops

As I was making these cake balls in the kitchen this morning, unbeknownst to me, a real life hedgehog drama was unfolding next door.  My sister in law had found this injured hedgehog in the road.

He was stunned and bleeding after being clipped by a car.  Unfortunately, it is a holiday weekend here so there is no way to get him to a vet before Tuesday. We called the emergency vet who said to just keep him quiet. We also called the local hedgehog rescue but they were full and could not take another one.

So she made him as comfortable as possible, fed and watered him and we are all hoping for the best.  Poor thing. I am hope he makes a full recovery so I can give him an awesome name, dress him up in little outfits and wheel him around in a baby carriage.

Just kidding.

Well maybe not.

Weird but true coincidence. I had leftover cupcakes and frosting and I had been planning on using them for hedgehogs for several days now.   These can easily be done with a cake mix and canned frosting.

I ended up with two different versions.  I started with the idea to make hedgehogs on their feet but their little pink bellies are so cute so I made another version of and one on it's back.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Soccer Tante Cookies & World Cup Fever

I knew nothing about soccer when I moved to Germany and now almost 10 years later, I still barely know anything. My husband loves a good füßball game, has big love for his favorite team, Alemannia Aachen even volunteering at their games occasionally as an emergency doctor. But he is by no means a soccer nut.

My soccer apathy shifted a bit when the World Cup was held in Germany in 2006.  For the first time since WW2 Germany was proud to wave their flags and the entire country was caught up in what a historic moment of change this was.  They were eager to show the world what amazing hosts they could be and did a tremendous job organizing the event.  Everything was orderly, clean and functional and so well thought out.  Dr. B volunteered at one of the games. It was easy, no brawls, no accidents. He sat in a well catered air conditioned trailer and watched the game on a huge flat screen.

On the day Germany played Sweden in Munich I was there visiting my girlfriends and we watched it with many other people from all over the world in the English Garden. For the World Cup that June, Munich was filled way more than usual with people from all nationalities. Every time something didn't go well for Germany, I distinctly remember the Swedes outfitted in their home team jerseys standing on the next table chanting "Schade Deutchland, Alles ist vorbei" (Unfortunately, Germany, it's all over). I loved they were taunting another country in the home language. They were so funny and their spirit was anything but mean. And of course the Germans were taunting them back but I can't remember exactly with what.

As I am a total loser at being a sports fan, I don't remember the specifics of that game, only that Germany won and everyone went crazy, in a good way. The spirit on the street, in bars and in clubs that evening was nothing like I have every experienced. All nationalities celebrating together, everyone in great spirits and so friendly. I met more people that night from more countries than I have in all my years of travel. Happy, friendly, and ok, some very drunk people but none of the ugliness you would expect from large packs of rival sport fans thrown together consuming huge amounts of alcohol. Everyone was just celebrating period and enjoying an amazing opportunity to meet people from all over the world. For a soccer neophyte like me, it's a night I will never forget.

Back home, my nieces and nephew were also very caught up in World Cup fever at the time. So much so, unfortunately this is what they did to Oma before one of the games.

I still don't think she is over it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rhubarb Big-Assed Crumb Cake Fresh From the Garden

It's rhubarb season, something I learned to look forward to here in Germany. In the States, I mostly ignored rhubarb until I had a hankering for a strawberry rhubarb pie. Then I would furiously whip one up, most likely at after 10:30 at night.  This was perfectly normal at the time as I worked insane hours as a TV producer.

Since moving to the country a few years ago,  I learned a new appreciation for rhubarb. We have some in the garden. My mother in law maintains the garden. I have nothing to do with it. And believe me, that garden is better off without me. As previously mentioned, I kill more than my share of houseplants and potted herbs.

We did need to do something with all the rhubarb around here. My mother in law says the local variety is only good until June.

One of my all time favorite cakes is a nice fat NYC coffee crumb cake. The kind piled Empire State Building high with crumbs. 90% crumbs 10% cake ratio is fine by me. Ooh, I get a little homesick just thinking about it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Flowers for Mother's Day & I Suck a Bit Less at Piping

One thing you can say about Mother's Day in the States. It's always celebrated the same and for the same reason. Leave it to Germans to make it argumentative.

The establishment of Mother's Day in Germany in 1923 was an idea borrowed from the USA but mostly, a panicked response to declining birthrates. The idea was to promote motherhood and having more babies. Early German feminists refused to celebrate it so became controversial. Then, like everything else within reach, the Nazis seized and redefined it, even awarding a Mutterkreuz (Mother's Cross) to "pure blooded" women who had more than 4 children.

From controversial to perverted in just 15 years.

Today Mother's Day here is pretty much a low key affair, somewhat apathetic even. It is not celebrated to the same degree as the States. The Germans don't do Hallmark holidays in general. The superficial sentimentalism, they leave for us Americans :-) Let's face it, there is some truth to that. Even the American woman who invented the holiday died disgruntled over how commercial it had become.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nancy Drew Blue Roadster Macarons And the Case of the Mystery Filling

When I first saw this fun and creative macaron challenge on the mactweets website,  I was excited.

The challenge was to create a Macaron inspired by a favorite childhood book.  I loved books as a child and continue to be a voracious reader.  When I was a kid I would lock myself away or in summer months, find a great outdoor place to spend hours reading.

As for the challenge, I was in!

Then two immediate problems became clear.  The first was narrowing down my Ginormous list of childhood favs to inspire a macaron. How could I possibly choose a favorite? That's like asking a mother to choose between her children.

And the second...well umm... I have never made macarons before.

For those of you not familiar with the process, it has severely tested the patience and fortitude of many professional bakers and incredibly talented food bloggers.  I was taking up this challenge not only as a Macaron Virgin but more likely, a Macaron Moron. I suddenly imagined myself making batch after batch of failed cookies, becoming homicidal waiting for them to grow their stupid feet while watching the Mactweet posting deadline whiz by me.

I took a deep breath, calmed myself down, tried to think more positively and tackled one thing at a time.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chocolate Chili Chihuahua and Margarita Cookies. Happy Cinco De Mayo

I lived in Mexico as a child. First we briefly lived in Mexico City then moved to the mountain village of Guanajuato where every day I went to school in a one room schoolhouse. I didn't understand anything except the math. Which, of course is a huge joke now because I can still barely add.

My teacher would come out into the schoolyard at recess with a tray strapped around her neck like those "Cigar? Cigarette?" girls in old fashioned night clubs. Hers contained homemade goat's milk candy and she made it a point to sit with me and try to speak together because she was trying to learn English.

Eventually we moved on to Guadalajara where I went to a much bigger and more modern American School. Our school days were divided, half English and half in Spanish. One of my teachers was Hawaiian. Go figure. When we had to use the restroom or go get a drink of water, we would raise our hands and have to ask in the language we we learning in at that time of day. We then received a sign that said Baño on one side and Bathroom on the other. The same for Water and Agua.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chewy Fruit and Nut Bars and the Old Mills of Heinsberg County

Dr. B has been home for almost five weeks now. Of course, I am in heaven. Unfortunately the reason is his bad knees. He had to get rehab not available in Iraq. Aside from seeing a physiotherapist, the next best thing for his knees is bike riding. Not an activity I like to do but I figured if he is home for weeks and spending a lot of time on his bike, I'm in.

We rehabbed an old bicycle from my brother in law's mother and I was good to go.

I love my stylin' purple basket

Sort of.

Dr. B has a fancy schmancy bike and is so much faster than me and my little three speed Gazelle. Sometimes I feel like I am riding a tricycle.

Thankfully, he is a man with a lot of patience. (Sorry, couldn't resist). He just waits for me to catch up.

It has been wonderful exploring all the old Mills around our area. Never thought I would love it, just thought I was going to be a tagalong.  But I do. I do.