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As American as…blueberry cookies.

5 Jul

Happy Fourth of July…a day late!  Not exactly celebrated here, understandably so I guess.  Over the last few days I sort of sadly (and almost stupidly, I mean duh) came to the realization that Fourth of July would come and go here without much fanfare.  And while I did take time out to think about the importance of the holiday on all the significant levels ( and by the way living abroad can make you really appreciate other cultures/histories while still boosting your patriotic feelings for your own country), mostly I longed for a good ‘ole fashioned American style barbecue.  It sounds silly and superficial but it’s true.  I really wanted that long picnic table covered in red and white checks lined with an array of summertime favorites.  And I grieved, if just a bit, for the passing of Independence Day without the usual feast.  And fireworks.  I don’t want to forget about the fireworks.

Moving on.  I went shopping this morning and one of my stops was Aldi.  I think most of you are familiar with Aldi right?  Discount store, no frills etc.  What was on special for the week?  Three guesses.  Your stumped?  Okay, American style food.  Seriously!  There was a whole display dedicated to all things “American” and they were seemingly even more specific to cooking out.  Ah, Eureka!  Surely I could find a taste of home here right?  As I excitedly surveyed the selections, anticipating the sweet success of finding longed for items, the first thing I saw was “American Blueberry Cookies”.  In a box.  What?!  I am not going to claim that there aren’t plenty of boxed cookies, and well boxed anything for that matter, in the U.S.  I mean, it’s true…we love us some preservatives and long shelf life.  BUT, when I think “American”, I DON’T think of boxed blueberry cookies.  Not wanting to be deterred I continued scanning the items to see what other familiar things may be available.  Hmm, mayonnaise (called Hamburger sauce), ketchup, pickles…seriously?  This was disappointing to say the least.  I did come across bagels and hamburger buns (neither of which I have seen previously) and bought those for an upcoming cookout I’m planning.  I guess all was not lost.  But, come on.  Mayonnaise, ketchup, and pickles are available here all the time.  So, the big “American” selection really boiled down to bagels, buns, and boxed cookies…I guess that’s how we’re seen over here!

Generic logo which was used for the packaging on all items in the "American" display. I had no idea Hamburger Broetchen was so American.

So the question is:  What foods do you associate with being American?  And what foods would you miss the most if they weren’t available to you?


Eine kugel banane eis in der waffel.

26 May

Whew, I think I said that right.  Translation: A scoop of banana ice cream in the cone….loosely.  Anyway, here is Quinnifer enjoying a little treat at the mall today.

Eating ice cream AND people watching....she's a multitasker.

Maybe she wanted another flavor?? Mighty serious face for someone eating ICE CREAM.

"Drinking" the ice cream from the cone. Unfortunately you can't hear the slurps through the picture.

While we’re on the topic of ice cream I should mention it’s really popular here.  I mean, duh right?  Who doesn’t like ice cream?  But back home you don’t just pass by people eating cones everywhere you go.  Here you do.  All the time.  Seriously at 9 am there will be people at the eis cafe ordering a cone.  Quinn of course wants to embrace this aspect of the German way of life.  She’s so into having an authentic experience over here.

It gets me every time…

23 May

I’ve gotten used to lots of things over here.  And I don’t mean “Oh, feel sorry for me.  It’s been such an adjustment”…blah, blah, blah.  No, just literally, you adjust because you have to.  Life goes on.  You figure things out, you do things a new way, and pretty soon you forget how it used to be.  For example, grocery shopping is a completely different experience over here.  Shopping several times a week, taking my own bags, and usually just walking to and from the store has become the norm.  I barely remember the huge, weekly (sometimes less often) trips to the store, leaving with an overflowing shopping cart, only to come home and spend what seemed like ages putting it all away (in our 2 FULL size refrigerator/freezers).

But there are just some things I can’t get used to.  And this is one of them:

cluck, cluck

Finding feathers in my eggs just creeps me the creep out.  Ewwww.  Why?!  Never until I lived here did  Big Bird come home with me in my carton of eggs.  NEVER.  This is not the first (or second, or third) time that I’ve been able to trace the lineage of my breakfast just by the contents of the container it came in.  No, unfortunately, the incredible, edible egg often comes with a “full history” here, which I personally just don’t need.  I like in the back of my mind knowing “oh, yeah, eggs come from chickens”…not getting HIT IN YOUR FACE with “some chicken (whose feather lays here for proof) just laid this egg you’re about to eat”.

I know I am a bit squeamish about my food and it’s appearance and all…aaaaannd, I know that eggs do come directly from chickens.  And if I were on a farm collecting eggs, I’m sure there would be feathers.  BUT, since I go to the store and not the farm- is it too much to ask to get only the eggs?

What do you guys think?  Not that big of a deal?  Or super-duper gross?

Give me the real deal…

30 Oct

Recently Quinn has entered the phase of “Don’t cut that up into baby size pieces for me.  Pah-lease!  Give me the the real deal.  The whole enchilada por favor.”  Here area couple pics of her dining “big girl style”.

Notice the apple she didn't eat the whole thing, but she took MY apple and started munching away. She did eat a good bit of it!

Somehow she looks so innocent doesn’t she??

Gee, I hope no one notices me over here eating this apple...

Yup, this looks about my size.

Hmmm, this crust is a bit tough.

How am I doin' Dad?

Yes, I can still see you Mom. And don't even think of taking this bread away.




Who wants to try haxe?

24 Oct

Who out there knows what haxe is?

haxe mit sauerkraut

So Joe and I had been told about this dish during our very first week in Germany.  We were told it is delicious, a favorite item in these parts.  In fact someone told us it was their absolute favorite thing they’d eaten while living abroad.  Hmmm, that is a pretty big endorsement.  Makes you want to see what this haxe thing is all about right?  So, haxe is…..are you ready?  Knuckle.  Yes, seriously.  A big ole pork knuckle.

Today on another one of our weekend excursions we stopped for lunch at a really cute German brauhaus.  The place was very warm and inviting.  The menu was, go figure, all in German.  Thankfully our waitress spoke English (or at least enough to meet our needs) and recommended the haxe as the best item on their menu.  So, Joe decided to go hog wild.  Haha, bad joke I know.

Quinn is proud of her German roots!

Yes, even little Quinnie tried the haxe.  She is an adventurous little eater at this point and will eat ANYTHING.  She liked it, honestly.  I  even tasted it.  And I will admit, it was good.  Here is what I ordered though:


My dish was a much more tame roasted pork with red cabbage and dumplings.  It was delicious though.  Another wonderful and low calorie meal 😉 Who wants to join us for dinner??


Tomatoes beware…

18 Oct

One fairly recent discovery of ours is that Quinn LOVES tomatoes.  I mean, she really loves them.  Whilst preparing her breakfast this is what happened to a nearby tomato (not intended to be part of her breakfast mind you).

Watch out tomato, I'm coming for you!

McDonalds in Deutchland

17 Oct

So today we ate at McDonalds of all places.  In our defense we were borderline desperate.  We were driving around another neighborhood near Heidelberg checking things out and Quinn needed out of the car…stat.  McDonalds happened to just be there; it was a right time and right place kind of equation.  Anyway you know you’re in Germany when this is on the menu at McDonalds:

The Nuernburger

Another view...enough to make any German proud

I would like to mention that Joe ordered this…I did NOT.  Another interesting feature of the McDonalds menu here is the two types of fries offered.  We ordered what are referred to as the “American fries”

American fries

These are served with a sour cream dip on the side.  They do have the traditional fries we are accustomed to at McDonalds also.  Which interestingly, aren’t the American fries…even though they are what’s served in America.  Hmmmm.


Dinner at Zum Rad

2 Oct

So I’m still catching up on all that took place while my friend Kim was visiting.  While at a meeting for an expatriate women’s club that I will be joining (yes, I drug Kim to that as well) I met a wonderful German woman named Moni.  She was so kind and as Kim and I explained our escapades in looking for things to do and getting to know the area she extended the invitation to dinner at a local apple winery.  I believe the term is Abbelwoikneipe but I was informed this isn’t really in the dictionary and is part of the Frankfurt dialect.   I could hardly believe how sweet Moni was to meet us out so we could have an authentic German dining experience.  We would never have found this place on our own!  Moni’s husband and son joined too and we had an absolutely wonderful evening.  This family could not have been any friendlier or more welcoming.  The restaurant/apple winery  was adorable and the food was delicious.  All around this was a great night!  Here are some pics from our evening out at Zum Rad:


Here is the whole clan: Moni's husband Helmut, Joe, their son Max, Kim, myself with Quinn, and Moni.



outside area at Zum Rad. Lots of families and kids running around!



Look at all those apples!!



This is their son Max with Quinn....this kid was such a delightful young man!!



Kim and Quinnie!



Ready to go home after a wonderful evening.


We are hoping to find our way back to Zum Rad and to meet up with Moni, Helmut, and Max again!!

On a mission to see a castle…

29 Sep

So as you all know my good friend Kim was visiting me all last week.  In fact, she just left yesterday morning.  Boo!  She was an excellent companion during her stay with us and really helped foster the spirit of exploring our new surroundings.  So, on Saturday we took a drive south to Heidelberg.  As we heard from a couple Germans- “This is the city all Americans love to visit”.  I can see why.  It’s the image we all have in our mind of historic buildings, cobble streets, little shops crowded close together along narrow roads, and of course…castles.  Although, once again, the castle seemed a bit elusive.  How could it be so hard to find a castle???  Well, I can’t exactly answer that for you.  But, I can tell you we did ultimately find the Heidelberger Schloss and had some fun along the way.  Here are some pictures from our outing that day:


Here is the ADORABLE little Italian place we had lunch cute and delicious!



Kim, Quinn, and myself on the streets of Heidelberg


I forgot to mention that upon arriving in Heidelberg and driving around a bit to get a sense of the town, we stumbled upon a little festival going on.  It was sort of a very mini Oktoberfest.  So there were lots of people milling about in the streets, lots of music and different food and drink vendors were set up as well.  We tasted the most delicious mulled wine while we were there.  Actually called Gluhwein, it was the perfect thing for a chilly, rainy day.


Gluhwein in these terra cota yummy.



Since Quinnie couldn't have gluhwein to keep warm, we had to bundle her up!



At last....the castle ruins.


And here are some views from the castle once we reached it.  We had to climb LOTS of stairs to get there.  How many do you think Kim??  But once we made it to the top the view was beautiful.  See for yourself:

I think you all know by now, but the pictures from our outings with Kim…well, they are all taken by Kim!  I can’t compete so I won’t even bother posting my mediocre photos when I’ve got the work of a professional at my fingertips.  Thanks Kim!!

If you want to find me, I’ll be at the backerei.

20 Sep


more baked goodies for Quinn



Just one of the many local bakeries


So, because of their prevalence and simplicity in ordering (just pointing and nodding will do) we’ve already gotten into a little habit of stopping into the bakery quite often.  In fact, I’m certain these little goodies have become a favorite of Quinn’s.  I’m just hoping she hasn’t totally forgotten about broccoli.  And honestly I’m just hoping I can get back to some form of “healthy” eating as well.  But in the meantime…we are enjoying ourselves at the backerei!