Red, White, and I Loathe Fireworks

Happy 4th Weekend to all the Americans even though a giant percentage of us aren’t particularly feeling very patriotic these days. Our day was pretty chillaxed actually. I say that in the sense that I wasn’t a raging psychopath about having things in order at all times!

The in-laws are in town which is lovely. We so very rarely get guests that even if it is long, it is still really comforting to have family around. But also, my German speaking abilities were thrown into a dark dark closet since January so I’m glad I was forced to dust that off because I’m back to speaking it like it never was ditched to begin with!

I searched high and low for a parade and I found one that was held in a town about 25 minutes away and completely in the middle of nowhere. Somehow, that made it all the better! People were kind and the event itself was well organized.

Of course it was hot as all getup but we survived. Arjen had a heart attack per usual from the sound of the horns and sirens so instead of catching candy he was busy plugging his hears the whole parade. Landon was loving it and would chase down the candy and gather it for his Opi to put in a bag for him. Could they be any more opposite?!

Baby Aurelia loved checking all the people out and jumped half a mile every time someone beeped right in front of us, which begs the question…do people in parades not realize that the horns and sirens are a bit much for toddlers/babies?! There were a ton near us so I was surprised.

After the parade, we headed home in the heat and waited for a giant storm to hit with sparklers. Again, blondie wasn’t into it but Brownie dove right in to his pyro-loving way! As the storm rolled in we set ourselves up for a movie night with the big projector. Boys love this so called “movie night” however it’s basically watching the few shows they are allowed to watch on YouTube.

We were gifted a beautiful double rainbow afterwards and as we went up to bed all was quiet. Or so I thought. Then it begins. The dreaded fireworks. Every year the same nonsense. And here’s what I hate about it. An organized firework show through the city is fine because it will be 10 minutes then it’s over. The bad part is the idiot homeowners who think they are magicians with their glittery sky bombs and set them off one by one.

BOOM

then wait 15 minutes till the bozo can set up the next one.

BOOM

and now I have kids who are crying because it sounds like someone is trying to blow up their bedroom. So there I was at 10:00pm with two overly tired kids (bedtime is at 8:20 mind you) and I sat on the ground with my back to their cribs and my arms stretched out like Jesus on the damn cross holding a hand of each kid until they fell asleep.

11:00pm and I’m still hanging on although I’m pretty sure all the blood left my arms at this point. The things we do, amiright?!

Anyways, I was never a fan of fireworks nor will I ever be so I’ll complain until the day I die. But it’s not for me but for little kids and for wild animals and house pets. It’s absolutely pointless to put a dangerous blow up stick in the hands of common folk. Just saying!

What did you all do to celebrate?! Anything fun?!

Until next time, Readers! Xoxoxoxoxo

A Party For Two Very Loved Babies

I have to say that had we become pregnant in Germany, I would not have the pleasure of experiencing a real deal Baby Shower of my own. As most of you know they do not throw Baby Showers in Germany partially because it’s just not their tradition but the other idea is because they are superstitious about bringing gifts to a baby before he/she is born. Its considered bad luck!

A while ago I threw a party in Germany for a friend who was expecting. Giving her the whole experience of an American Baby Shower!  Go check it out if you missed it!

IMG_3655

So, I was just ecstatic that the people I love were willing to throw me my own special party for these two little nuggets. Toblerone and I traveled to upstate NY to my family’s home right before Thanksgiving. The drive was atrocious…9 hours in a car with thigh high compression socks is not particularly the most comfortable way to go! But we arrived and were just so excited to be back with family! People came from all over and even from out of state to visit us! My brother and his clan came from West Virginia and my Aunt and Uncle and cousin came from Pennsylvania! I mean….THATS what I call love!!

My mom’s house was decorated in my absolute favorite theme: nautical! We decided to have this as a Jack and Jill party as well so we could see all of our friends and family at one time. People brought diapers for a diaper raffle and gifts as well. These boys are SPOILED!

IMG_8270IMG_8280IMG_8271IMG_8272

It was just so amazing to be around family and to show them the belly we waited so long to have! Granted, I’ve now tripled in size since then!

We got so many amazing gifts and of course Toblerone was out of this world excited when he got his very own gift for the boys! Thank you to all our friends and family who came and gave us gifts for these boys. We are just so grateful! Having twins is certainly not cheap!!!

IMG_8279

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

 

A Big Time Out – But I’m Back

So it’s 4am here in Michigan and I decided to write a bit as I sit here in the dark on the couch. Time got away from me since I last wrote. I announced to the world we are having twins and then life just started to fly by!

I am now 33 weeks along and I look gigantic. Now it’s just a matter of trying to keep these little babies in!

In August we took a baby moon to Cape Cod and it was MUCH needed. You all know how much we love that place and I couldn’t imagine not going. It was a rough flight though. I was only about 13 weeks or so at that point but I was SO uncomfortable and the nausea…oh man. That was rough.

There is really something to be said about the healing powers of the ocean. I’m no hippy but for the first time since I found out I was pregnant, I could EAT. I even dabbled in a lobster roll 🙂 My parents were able to join us as well for the weekend which was so nice! Who knows when we will be able to do that again!

IMG_3253IMG_3249IMG_3248IMG_3278

As soon as we got back to Michigan, I was sick again. I wish I could have bottled up the ocean and brought it home with me. I’m not sure we will make it next year with the two babies so that will be hard on the heart. It will be our first time not going in over 7 years.

We went to Germany in September as a last hoorah you could say! Unfortunately, Toblerone had to work the majority of the time and I was left to my own devices. The things we planned (soccer game, Oktoberfest, etc.) were quickly shot down because of my growing belly and the risk of being around rowdy drunk people. So, we did a lot of visiting with family and catching up.

IMG_3389

The plane ride…oh man. Let me just tell you something. I do NOT recommend that. I was 16 weeks when we left and I was just about 18 weeks on the way back. A 9 hour flight stuck in the same position really does a number on the body. For two days it felt like my stomach was in a vice grip. Ouch. I will NEVER fly pregnant again. That crap is for the birds! However, I did it all for the Schnitzel and cake! I ate like a champ there. I definitely have two little Germans growing. All they wanted was the typical southern German fare: Fleischsalat, Schnitzel, Spaetzle, and gravy.

 

We had a great time catching up with all the family! I spent lots of time taking walks and going to lunch at Toblerone’s Omi’s house which was nice to catch up with everyone and keep my German going!

We were there during a holliday “Erntedank” that they celebrate here. It literally means “Thanksgiving” or “Thanks for the Harvest.” They are thankful for all that the world gives them. This first picture of the world and biblical friends was made from flower petals that were turned into powder and then this was “painted” somehow. Really incredible stuff. Plus they showcase vegetables and fruit that they are thankful for. It really was amazing to see in person.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

On top of all the fun, we revealed the Genders to Omi and Opi by having them open two gifts and….well…:-) Guess we gotta stock up on Lederhosen!

IMG_3402

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

A Very BIG Announcement

All of you know that I was taking a few classes this summer that literally took every ounce of my spare time. But that’s not all I was up to… I was also….trying to nurse myself back to health. That’s right, I’ve been sick. All day, all night kind of sick. For WEEKS! No…MONTHS! Can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t move, can’t function.

And the reason for this sickness???

 

baby 1

That’s right…TWO onesies…means double the fun is on the way for Toblerone and I!

baby 2

We’ve got a lot to plan for since our lives are completely going to change but we couldn’t be more excited to raise two babies! TWO, people!

Here goes nothing!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

German Knockwurst In Beer Broth

I don’t know what is going on with me lately but I am on a roll with my German cooking! I promised myself I would try harder to learn these great dishes of Toblerone’s culture..anticipating one day that we have children of our own to share it all with. So far, looks like I’m living up to that promise!

The other day I found a package of German Knockwurst at our grocery store (made by Boar’s Head company) which I liked since it was in it’s natural casing with zero additives. I hate all that “added caramel” for color plus 8,000 extra chemicals. Just trying to stick to what is clean and good! (The German way of course!)

I wasn’t sure what I would make with Knockwurst but there is one thing I know…nothing goes better with Wurst than….yep…you guessed it….BEER!!!

What You Need:

Knockwurst (I used a pacakge of 4 for our smaller family)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Medium onion sliced

12 ounces of light beer (I used a can of Labatt blue…cuz I’m classy like that!)

1 Cup water

Salt & Pepper to taste

Parsley

 

Here’s How Its Done: 

First off, heat up a dutch oven with olive oil on medium heat. Add the wurst to oil, turning every couple of minutes to brown each side. I would highly recommend putting the lid on. These suckers spit hot oil at me!

5

 

Next up, add the onions until they are soft. I added just a little extra splash of olive oil. Again, lid on and occasionally stirring them around and turning the sausages.

6

 

Once onions are cooked through, remove the sausage and place aside. Next comes the fun part…or as some might see it…alcohol abuse. Pour in your 12 ounces of beer! I mean…if you ended up only pouring in 10 ounces because you were feeling a bit thirsty throughout the ordeal, that would be ok too! (I did it. No shame!)

4

 

As the beer starts cooking up and the fumes start to slightly intoxicate you…add in your salt, pepper, and parsley to taste! Add your cup of water  and bring to a boil. Once boiling put on low heat and let simmer until reduced and you no longer smell the alcohol. This takes about 12-15 minutes.

3

 

Once reduced, add back in your sausage and keep on low heat. Just need to heat the sausages through.

2

 

While that continued to warm up, I made my homemade Spätzle and warmed up some Sauerkraut to complete the meal. If you want a thicker sauce you can certainly add a little sauce thickener or cornstarch and water mixture. I didn’t do that to mine, I liked it as it was but to each his own!

1

 

There ya have it! It’s a really simple dish which requires very few ingredients. Let’s be honest…most of which you probably have in your home already!

Let me know if you try it out or what you would do to change it up!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

 

 

The True (Southern) German Potato Salad

I know you’ve seen me post pictures of this on my Facebook Page so I figured it was time to spill the secret.  German Potato Salad is made two ways from what I’ve learned while living in Germany. There is the way the northerners make it and the way the southerners make it. The one ingredient that makes the difference, mayo. Thankfully, for my waistline I lived in the South where they opted out of using mayonnaise for this very common dish!

Many moons ago I asked Toblerone’s mom for her recipe for Kartoffelsalat and she wrote it out for me. I use it like there is nothing else in the world that matters. That stays with me in a special place. If I ever lost it, I would be lost. There is something about having a recipe handwritten that makes it feel more like a sacred piece of family history.  Same goes for recipes my mom has written.

On with it already, Kaitlin.

First things first…the ingredients here in the US are not exact but I will try to help you through it best I can!

You will need:

k3

 

Note: Some people cheat and use this little package by Knorr to “fix” Potato salad (See little packet on the right hand side of the picture.) We are doing things the original way today!

 

Potatoes – peeled, and cut in half if they are large. I normally use about 7-8 potatoes just for the two of us (Toblerone loves his leftovers!), or an entire 1lb bag or more for larger groups. (I use the yellow/golden potatoes. They are closest to the potatoes in Germany. Yes…even those are different.)

1 Onion – chopped in small pieces. (This time around I used a red onion for color. )

Vegetable Oil

Distilled white vinegar

Salt

Pepper

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Bouillon (powdered if you can find it. Mixed in warm water – about a 1/2 cup.) I use Knorr Delikatess Brühe (shown below) which you can find on many German import food websites. If you want to get the taste correct, trust me…you need this stuff. I’ve tried others I found in the import aisles at grocery stores and its all sorts of wrong. Threw out many batches because of this small ingredient!

k4

 

How it’s done:

Peel your potatoes and cut in half. They will cook faster when they are smaller. Place in pot and boil until soft or a knife goes through easily.

k1

Chop the onion in small pieces and throw into a large bowl. I always use my tupperware bowls because that would be very un-German of me if I didn’t use my tupperware.

k2

 

Once potatoes are done, drain water. Let sit until they aren’t scorching. If they are still warm I rinse them off with cold water before handling. DO NOT BURN YOURSELVES. IT’S NOT WORTH IT!!!! Once cooled, you will grab a potato and with a knife almost shave the potato over the bowl until it is in small pieces.

k5

k6

 

Should look like this at the end:

k7

 

Now, here is where the recipe gets a little confusing. There are no real measurements. This is a “feel-it-out” situation as is any good recipe. First add the vinegar. I usually make a circle as I pour and that is usually enough to start. You don’t want a big pour. Little at a time is better so you can taste test it. Too much is hard to correct. Start small.

Next up, add the Bouillon that is premixed in warm water . Also in a circular motion.  Add your salt and pepper…also a taste as you go thing.

At the end I do the same with the oil. Circular motion. The idea is not to make the potatoes swim. It’s a salad after all…not a soup, people!! A lot of the watery bits will soak into the Potatoes but you don’t want a puddle at the bottom of your bowl.

Mix gently to get the flavors going.

Most important part of the process….LET IT SIT. Do not touch it. Let it sit on the counter for a while. Not in the fridge. Not in the garage. Just let it sit. Let the flavors work into it. Potato salad is served room temperature in Germany. So be German and do just that. Afterwards of course, whatever is left….if there is any left you can place in the fridge.

And…TA DA! There you have it….You just learned how to make a very Swabian styled Potato Salad. I bet your Omi would be oh so proud!

Guten Appetit!!!

k8

 

 

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

 

Don’t forget to follow along on Facebook for other fun updates!

 

 

The German Cream Cheese Phenomenon

Yes. Cheese. Specifically Cream Cheese. Just work with me here…

To me, cream cheese is typically in the All-American household. We obviously are known for loving bagels and we all know that bagels are just NO BUENO without a big old glob of cream cheese on it. Besides the bagel situation, I was always a big cream cheese and jelly fan (mom can attest to that!) Its good for cooking as well. Some use it in sauces to thicken it and make it creamy and of course we can’t forget my birthday cake, chocolate chip cheesecake!!!

I actually don’t even know why I’m talking about this when I’m doing this special diet that does NOT allow any kind of cream cheese.

In Germany, cream cheese, known as frischkäse, is used as a spread on sandwiches among a few other things. I used to LOVE picking out a new flavor at the grocery store. There is just this mass amount of options it was amazing! I noticed here in the States it’s lacking in options which is weird considering we are the cream cheese capital of the world! The differences of course are that here in the US the flavors are strawberry, honey, and other sweeter options.

In Germany, it was option after option of tasty cream cheeses! Yes, so much that it means I need to write a blog post about this. People, we need to come together and ask Kraft Philadelphia to give us the SAME cream cheese options and rights as the Germans! Our palettes deserve a bit more variety!!

Check out these amazing options…brace yourself…there are definitely way more than is offered here. But it definitely is interesting to see how they offer different options for the different demographics!


hEKhS7A

 

 

From top left to right

1. Regular – Light (Low Fat)

2. Regular – Balance

3. Regular – Double Cream (Extra Creamy)

4. Regular –  Lactose Free

5. Regular – Yogurt

6. Herbs – Balance

7. Herbs – Double Cream (Extra Creamy)

8. Herbs – Light (Low Fat)

9. Chive

10. Horseradish

11. Feta and Cucumber

12. Spring Onion and pepper

13. Pepper Chili

14. Sweet Chili

15. Grilled pepper

16. Smoked Salmon with Dill

17.  Milka (chocolate in Germany like Hershey’s is for us.)

18. Milka with Hazelnut

19. Honey

 

So they are missing another one from this list that I always saw: ham…lol..ham flavored cream cheese. Awesome.

23XRA0SIYIRIVQ1CFNR071C5_999x999

 

As you can see there are only 3 sweet options. The Milka one I will say tastes EXACTLY like chocolate chip cheesecake. It’s a diet KILLER! Only had it once but it was the very best thing ever.

I tried to find a similar picture of the American versions but unsuccessful.  However, I compiled a quick list for comparison:

1. Strawberry

2. Blueberry

3. Garden Vegetable

4. Chive & Onion

5. Jalapeno

6. Chipotle

7. Brown sugar and Cinnamon

8. Milk Chocolate

9. Dark Chocolate

10. Honey Pecan

11. Smoked Salmon

12. Pineapple

 

There is a limited edition I know they have which is pumpkin and cinnamon too. I’m sure there are others. But Pineapple? Thats just gross. You can see there are 7 sweet options as opposed to the 3 that Germany has. America….work with me here. We need more options!!! Too much sugar goin round!

What do you think? Would you try all the options that are available in Germany? Which ones are strange to you? What would you like to see here in the US?

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

 

Follow me on my Facebook page for other updates, pictures, and articles 🙂