Monday, November 23, 2009

Cooking with Evi

I've said it before and I'll say it again ... we are once again blessed with AMAZING neighbors! Everyplace we've lived in our 12 years as a military family we've made long-lasting friendships with our neighbors. Our German neighbors here have taken the time to share with us their German traditions and way of living. I've mentioned to Evi that I was interested in learning to cook authentic German meals ... and it so happens that Evi is a WONDERFUL cook and is eager to share her recipes. Last week Evi and Heinz invited Susie (my sister-in-law) and I over to cook homemade potato soup. Al, Mike and Kelty joined us about an hour later and we all enjoyed potato soup, knockwurst and bread .. and of course a sampling of liqueur, beer and wine. We wrapped up the meal with Lebkucken (a German holiday cookie/cake ... there is no English translation) and expresso.

Susie and Evi prepping the carrots, potato's, leeks and celery root

Evi stirring the potato soup

My turn to stir (I need to start wearing more make-up!)

Heinz's contribution ... cutting the bread. It's pretty common to own your own bread-slicer and slice the bread you buy at the bakery. Our house had one built-in that used to pull out from a bottom cabinet .... we temporarily took it out ... a toddler + circular blade = danger

Heinz shared with us that in Fall/Winter you traditionally eat knockwurst with potato soup and in the Spring/Summer you eat a plum bread with the potato soup!

Lebkuchen! Heinz pulled out the Lebkuchen and said "You know Lebkuchen?" After the astonishment of not knowing what Lebkuchen was, Heinz told us about it. Lebkuchen is made and eaten only during the holiday season ... it's a German dessert cake/cookie. The best way to describe it ... a spiced cookie that more like the consistency of a dense cake. It tastes like a mix of spice cookie and fruit cake. There is a variety of ways to coat it or even not to coat the exterior. The underside of the Lebkuchen has a wafer type bottom. Totally confused? :o)

Tomorrow night Evi is teaching us how to make Schnitzel!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Paris "Take 2" + Bonus Material

We had a 3-day weekend last weekend so we decided to head back to Paris with Mike and Sue. Poor Mike and Sue got the crash course in "vacationing with a toddler" ... Kelty actually did well; still not a fan of the museums but there was plenty to see and do while walking the streets of Paris.

I have to say this trip was really different than our first trip to Paris. We had a lot of "events" to laugh (and cringe) about ...

1) The parking garage we used for the car was literally a big port-a-potty, ugh, who the heck uses a parking space to drop a load! We had to step over puddles of pee to carry our suitcases through the parking garage stairwell.

2) We happened to pick the nastiest subway car to ride one evening, some dude decided to clear his throat and nasal passages on the floor of the subway car earlier that evening and Kelty so kindly grabbed a pole that was lubricated in spit.

3) Some dude coughed all over Mikey's head in the subway. He literally hosed Mikey's head with spray. Ahhhh!

4) Mikey made a buddy while in line to ride the elevator up the Eiffel Tower. This guy was so far up in Mikey's business that they looked like they were attached. As you can see ... Mikey made quite the impression on the Paris follks. Ha!

Time for photo's ...

Day 1

We left Saturday late-morning for the 4 1/2 car trip to Paris. After arriving around 4-ish, checking into our hotel (which was inexpensive and nice ... minus the port-a-potty parking garage) we took the subway to the Louvre. The Louvre at night, glowing against the night sky is nothing short of amazing. Add in a musician playing the cello in one of the exterior corridors and have the soft echo follow you during your stroll .... sigh .... is a memory I never want to lose.

After the Louvre we took and evening walk to the Eiffel Tower ... it was a looooong walk (not good for my ankle) but it was worth it. Before jumping in line for Eiffel we ate Crepes and took Kelty on a carousel ride.

Our token "kissing photo" ... this is in the courtyard of the Louvre.

Mike and Al looking through windows of Louvre

Our walk to to the Eiffel Tower

Mmmm .... Crepes!

Day 2

We attempted the Louvre again with Kelty. We made it through the Egyptian wing before Al and I called it quits and left Mike and Sue to explore the Louvre in peace. After Kelty's nap we all ventured out again, visited Notre Dame and then spent the evening walking an exploring.

I missed the shot of Kelty imitating the placement of the arms in the carving

Notre Dame

Al said this shop was in the movie Ratatouille ... this shop apparently specializes in killing rats. The rats hanging in the shop window were real (taxidermy rats).

Day 3

We had to leave by noon on Monday ... Al had to get home so he could go to work and mission plan for a last minute flight the squadron put him on. Nice .... thanks! Mike and Sue took us to two specific places on Monday morning ... La Boutique Maille (a specialty mustard shop) and Les Palais Des Thes (a loose- leaf tea shop). The tea shop was much like TeaVana and I was able to re-stock my Roobios and Chai tea's. The mustard shop was awesome! They even had specialty mustard on tap. We brought home some great mustards that I'm anxious to start using ... maybe they'll make into my "Cooking" section.

Kelty "modeling" in front of the store window next to the mustard shop.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Seriously ...

Whoa, seriously ... don't even know where to begin! Might as well jump to the pictures and fill in the blanks along the way!

The weekend prior to Halloween we took Kelty to the Sunshine Pumpkin Farm to pick out a few pumpkins (which are still sitting in my kitchen .... untouched!) I had big plans for those pumpkins! O'well, the best part about pumpkin picking was watching Kelty run through the pumpkin patch anyway!

Apparently the proper way to pick a good pumpkin is to sit on it .... he literally ran from pumpkin to pumpkin and sat ... and ran ... and sat ... and ran ...

Picking a good pumpkin with daddy

Al's brother Mike and his wife Susie arrived the 30th ... they will be here through Christmas! Susie has been a HUGE help and was able to watch Kelty while I've working at the base. Kelty totally digs Mike and Sue ... I think he spends a lot of time showing off for them. Thankfully I am done with my 2-weeks of full-time work and am back to just a Tue/Thur schedule. I'll touch on that in a later post.

Anyway ... so Halloween came and went. We met up with our friends, the Wagner's (same family we went o Zurich with), and let the kiddo's trick-or-treat on base together. We started off the evening "trunk-or-treating" ... the base set-up a huge movie screen in the middle of the soccer field and people parked and decorated the trunks of their cars ... the kids were able to walk from "trunk" to "trunk" and get candy ... cute concept! After our warm-up of trunk-or-treating we walked to one of the nearby neighborhoods for a little traditional trick-or-treating. Kelty had an absolute blast running around with his little buddies and collecting candy. It was hard to keep up with him ... base housing was PACKED with trick-or-treaters and Kelty just wanted to run and weave through all the chaos.

Daddy and our little Cookie Monster

I had to work all day Saturday (ugh) ... I had just enough time to walk in the house, go directly to my craft room and sew Kelty his "Cookie" trick-or- treat bag. He was so cute filling up his cookie bag. This was his first piece of Halloween candy.

While trick-or-treating we passed by a little park ... the kids were hilarious on this rocker ... I have never heard Kelty laugh so long and so hard! I have a video but I've all but given up on loading video's lately ... I'll have to try again soon.

We arrived back home around 7:30 and our neighbors really wanted to see Kelty ... Al, Kelty, Mike, Sue and I made our way over to our neighbors and ended up drinking coffee, eating cake and chasing it all with a few glasses of wine ... all the while Kelty was stuffing his face with little gummy bears. Our German neighbors are AWESOME!

On Sunday, we decided to head over to St. Martin and walk through the vineyards ... hoping to enjoy it before all the grapes were harvested. Unfortunately the grapes were gone but the vineyards in their autumn splendor were gorgeous!

So ... with my work schedule I really don't have any photos of Kelty during the week ... crazy! Apparently Kelty felt he needed to make up for my slack and walked around with our digital camera and snapped a few pictures the other night ....

They didn't all turn so clear (or centered) but he did a great job with this little snapshot of Aunt Susie!

He even took a picture of mommy .... usually I'm the one on the other side of the camera!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Hang in there ... update coming soon ... hopefully tomorrow night! I pulled a 6-day work week (ugh) and spent part of my day off doing volunteer work. Oh ... and I ran "eye" first into a rolladen this evening ... we'll see what my face and eye look like tomorrow! Yikes!
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