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!

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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.

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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!)

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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.

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

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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!

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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

 

 

 

Take Me Home, Country Roads

It’s almost time…that time to make the HUGE trip back to the states! So much has been happening and to be honest the blog has suffered. It’s been sitting on the back burner for quite some time now. I’ve completely been enveloped in stress. I’m planning the wedding (which is exactly 27 days away now…OMG!), still working full time, trying to organize what gets packed or trashed in the house…the list goes on! But I won’t bore you with the details!

Slowly I am really starting to get excited about whats to come! As soon as the wedding is done, we will fly back to Deutschland for 3-4 weeks to pack up our house and then ship out at the end of September! There is no time left to do anything! But Toblerone and I share constantly what we are looking forward to. Granted, my wants are very different from his. He wants the total American dream. The house on the water, a boat, fishing license (thats hard to get here in Germany), a big Mercedes, etc.

My wants are something a bit more sentimental. The things I lacked here are the things I am in dire need of. I never realized I wanted these things so badly in my life until I didn’t have them. Thats always how that goes though…isn’t it?

Here is my list of MUST-HAVES as soon as I put my feet on American soil!

1. Library card – A library with ENGLISH books in them. omg…and the smell of libraries. Give me it all! They have libraries here in Germany but I didn’t have any close by that actually looked like a library and/or had English books in them.

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2. Flat walls to paint – I’ve talked about this a little bit but this “stucco” idea that they have for the walls (inside and out) is ANNOYING to say the least. It takes AGES to paint walls and I am just beyond excited to paint our new house without having to go over the same spot 800 times. You don’t know how I’ve suffered…..

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3. Compassionate doctors – I won’t get into this too much but when my GYN tells me he doesn’t understand why we aren’t pregnant because he never had a problem. How he would just look at his wife and she was pregnant. Yeah…this is just a small taste of what doctors are like here. FULL of compassion and sympathy…am I right?!??!?!

doctor
4. Craft stores – Oh dear heaven! I don’t care how many people boycott Hobby Lobby. I will buy out that store!! I miss those stores terribly. The VERY TINY “hobby” stores here are literally the size of my kitchen and have mostly felt. Germans really love getting down and crafty with felt. Which I personally feel should only be used in Kindergarten. But I digress…. Pinterest has turned me into a pretty craft person and thats all I want to do now..make my own stuff!

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5. To watch Ellen DeGeneres –  When I was really homesick I would watch small snippets of the Ellen show. For some reason I could just get lost in this and not feel sadness anymore. It’s weird, I get that. But you wouldn’t understand unless you were in my shoes! BRING ON THE ELLEN!!!!

Ellen

6. Plethora of food options and fad diets to try – Stores here are very standard. The foods in every grocery store are mostly the same. Same brands, etc. I used to think the Germans lived in a sort of Utopia. Everything the same. When I go home we have Wegmans (if you don’t know what that is, your life is not complete until you step inside one of those!) and there is also Whole Foods and a bunch of other ones too but each one is different to me. Each one offers something another one doesn’t. I can’t wait to just spend a day walking around and getting familiar with cereals again. Lucky Charms…oh how I’ve missed you!!  Plus all these new fad diets people get into. That’s always fun to try out and then quit after a couple days. Thats my style 🙂

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What do you think? Is my list totally awkward and weird? I hope it is! Because these are the things I just NEED in my life.

America here I come!!!!!!! AND THE HOME OF THE BRAAAAAAAVVVVVVE!!!!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

Wouldn’t You Like To Know – My Life Lately

Oh my dear lovelies! I have been SO SO SO behind on blogging and every day I put it off the more I avoided it! I’m forcing myself to give you all an update on my life! Lots going on and its only fair I let you all in on the deets!

Back when I came to Germany in 2011. A brunette!!

Back when I came to Germany in 2011. A brunette!!

First and foremost…I celebrated a BIG anniversary. March 1st hit the 3 years in Germany mark. Can you believe that nonsense?! THREE WHOLE YEARS! IN GERMANY! Like wait….what? I’m not exactly sure how that happened. If you think about what you yourself have accomplished or done in the past three years you’ll realize…its a good chunk of time. It’s also enough time for life to go on without you back home and you start to notice it. People have asked me if being an expat gets easier but I think that depends on the person. Some people really have that travel bug and “want” or “need” to explore. I, however, just want to be around my family and things that are familiar. For me, in three years, I still want nothing more than to be in the US. This also has a lot to do with where we are located (far from cities, bars, bowling, clubs, great lounges, good restaurants, festivals etc.) We rely a lot on the company of each other and the family get-togethers. But even that, as special as it is, gets dull over time. I just keep trucking along though and try to soak in the experience and be thankful that I get this opportunity. Most people I know will NEVER get this chance in their life. Love makes us do crazy things and I would move around the world 100 times just to be with Toblerone. Harley Jones Noodle Butt Butt wouldn’t like that so much though…he’s not a fan of flying. 🙂

Harley Jones is NOT a fan of airplanes and he's here to tell you all about it!

Harley Jones is NOT a fan of airplanes and he’s here to tell you all about it!

Secondly…we have 5 months until our wedding! 161 days from this post! WHOA! I feel like I have nothing together and I probably don’t actually but thats ok. We have SO many Germans flying to the US for this, in fact I think the airlines should give us free tickets for 5 years considering how much money people are spending for this. But how cool is that? People are coming all the way to America just to see our wedding (and of course travel) but this fills my heart to the brim. And as if things couldn’t get better, so many unexpected people from the US are coming too! I thought for sure people wouldn’t come because it’s a destination wedding on Cape Cod. I’m just incredibly stunned and so overjoyed there are no words for how complete this makes me feel. On top of it all, most of these people are taking time out of their lives and staying several days or even the whole week on the Cape with us. I…I just….I’m speechless. Speechless from the outpouring of love. I get to spend a whole week surrounded by incredible people. How did I get so lucky? How do you thank people? How do you return the love you’re being given? Just such a beautiful time ahead of us and I can not WAIT. Mattespalooza here we come! Plus we are having a real deal Cape Cod Clam Bake and I can’t wait to watch people get down and dirty crackin lobsters! My dress will be a giant mess! A ceremony followed immediately by a rock the dress session! LOVE!

Mmm....clambakes!!

Mmm….clambakes!!

I’ve been bad with blogging due to work and just being utterly exhausted. However, Toblerone and I gave up drinking alcohol for lent and it seems to be a lot better. Plus we are working out together and such which makes the nights nicer. Strange how it does make a slight difference in our lives! Have any of you done that as well? I mean, some days I would just LOVE to have a glass of wine but its worth it in the end! Plus I better be 10 pounds lighter!

There is big news on the horizon but I have to wait to tell you in the middle of April or so. I hate to hold out on you BUT its important that I do for many reasons. And no, I’m not pregnant, sadly. This may/may not be equally as good though! Stay posted and in the meantime try to guess what it is! Thank you all for hanging by me while I pull my head out of the ground and get back to what I love – writing!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

Throwback Thursday – A Fitness Transformation

Ah yes, another Thursday is upon us and in light of my new (hoping to make it an..) obsession, I decided with my wedding coming up in one year, it was time to get myself into a habit I can love and really hold on to for years to come. I’ve read a lot about a few fitness guru types and the one I really seem to like is Tracy Anderson. Fitness freak to the stars but I like that she utilizes the idea of keeping things small and lean. I do not like the look of bulky muscles on me so I would prefer the “ballerina” style. So, the 90 day metamorphosis transformation has begun. Just finished workout number one and I want to kill myself! lol. She’s no joke and with my back issues, its not easy. I can’t lay on my back for the abs workouts so I’m going to do her standing ab workouts during that time in the video.

In honor of my day 1 achievement, I felt it was fitting to post a picture of my younger, thinner self. Motivation! Try to be like in my 20s…those were the good old days!

This was my 21st birthday. Such a great birthday! Had a bunch of friends in a hummer limo and we bar hopped…mixed way too many different kind of shots. lol. Eh, it was all in good fun! Felt like a million bucks bags of sewer water the next day but what a fantastic memory. And more so, look at that 21 year old body! AH! How did I let myself go?!

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American Week in Aldi Süd

Aldi (grocery store), which is in the US and many other countries but was founded here in Germany, has “American Week.” They sell items that are “American” the week before July 4th. It’s funny because most of the Germans have no idea what that is. I saw on one German blog that they assumed it was American Week in Aldi because President Obama was recently in town. News Flash. You’re wrong.

**** INSERT GIANT GAME SHOW BUZZER SOUND****

Aldi Ami

Most of this stuff isn’t that special. It isn’t really anything you can’t get in Germany, however it’s packaging has an obnoxious American flag all over it and they write the product in English. Whoopty Doo. There are some things that are pretty gross and as an American, I am upset that they would make us look even more ridiculous and fat with false advertising.

Step right up to the freak show! They seriously have no clue!

American Sauces –

Ladies and Gents, Prepare your eyes for the sore of a lifetime! I give you the razzle dazzle of sauces…the splish splashy excitement offfffffff……..The 2 in 1! Sounds like a bad porn but the thing is, it’s mustard and ketchup in a single tube OR…(the excitement doesn’t end there) ketchup and mayo in a single tube! DISGUSTING! I’ve heard of the peanut butter jelly in a jar thing, which I will NEVER EVER try but this is just taking it too far. Really really gross.

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Next up in the Sauces department is the catastrophe of Sandwich Sauce (or you may have seen the “Hamburger Sauce” I posted on the facebook page. Either way, what is it? And why would they assume we always have sauces on our sandwiches?! Mustard sometimes, mayo sometimes, but no special kind of sauce. Get with the program, Germs! As for the hamburger sauce…I make my own but it certainly doesn’t look like chunky mustardy curry mess. Just a side note.

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Moving on with the program we come to the sweets:

I don’t even know what to do with this. What the heck is peanuts and flakes, anyways? And chocolate covered peanuts? Not something we Americans indulge in on the regular, unless of course they are in M&M packages. If even says on the carton, “from an original American Recipe.” This is bad. Real bad. And if it’s chocolate covered corn flakes you’re trying to put by me…well, I got news for you people. Thats just weird.

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This bothers me to the core. I have nothing against the Brits, in fact, my dad lived there for several years and some of my fondest memories are from there. However, DO NOT MIX US UP!! We are not the same culture, we don’t even speak the same bloody language. So, why on earth would they suggest that the Americans like sweet popcorn?!?! (Note: the word “Süß” on the bucket means its coated with sugar.) I know the brits do this after my first time going to the movies and ordering popcorn in England. A mistake I’ll never make again. Just so ya’ll know…we like ours with butter and salt. Amen.

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Theres a bunch of other things I’m not too fond of but I think I’ll let it go for now. I will, however, give them MASSIVE points for getting peanut butter right. This stuff is the closest I can find to Skippy or Jiff. I’m more of a skippy girl myself but you get the drift. It doesn’t taste like cardboard. Unfortunately, it only comes around once a year so I have to stock up. I threw 8 of these babies in my cart and Toblerone had to stop me from taking them all. I go a little bit overboard. But the jars are small! I mean, come on!

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Regardless, beggars can’t be choosers in the world so I take what I can get. Or just wait until I go home and take everything I can get there! If you’d like to dig deeper and take a look at what Germans think of our eating habits,
you can see the rest of the items here.

If someone asks you what is American food, what do you say? What is our food?

My answer is normally, we are culturally diverse so its a mix of a hundred different cultures. But I’m interested to see what you think is “American” food.

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

(All pictures belong to http://www.aldi-sued.de)

The German McDonalds Experience

I’m not sure why this spikes my interest so much but it just seems so fun to me that each McDonalds prepares food that is considered “normal” for the country it’s in. For Americans…it’s milkshakes with loads of whipped cream and a cherry on top. For Germans, just a milkshake…no extra fluff…aka calories. I don’t eat at McDonalds anymore unless we are stranded and nothing else is available, for the record.

Take a look at some of the things German McDonalds offers that America doesn’t.

First up, I present the “Chicken Bagel” – Chicken on a sesame bagel with rucola salad, cream cheese, and a lemon pepper sauce. Hmmm….it’s supposed to part of the “American” promo they have going on but we all know we don’t put chicken on bagels!! Not sure which “American” advised them of this but they clearly have been living in a cave. Am I wrong?!
Chicken Bagel

This is pretty common and was weird when I first saw it but here we have “Golden Corn Nuggets” – Chicken nuggets in a corn flake outside with corn and melted cheese in the middle. Any of their ‘crispy chicken’ items are crispy not breaded. The Crispy meaning literally rice crispy treats! So strange!
golden_corn_nuggets_preview

Next up, the “McFish” – Similar to the Filet O’Fish but with ketchupy tomato chunks on top instead of the usual cheese and tartar sauce.
mcfish_preview

Getting into the breakfast items is my favorite, this is where I really could see the difference between the US and the Germs. Take exhibit A: “Classic Breakfast” – Typical German breakfast with rolls, jelly,butter, nutella, or honey.
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And something similar yet different is the “McGriddle” – In the US we know this as a pancake like bread with syrup cooked into it, sandwiching a sausage, egg, and cheese. Kinda of wild and actually disgusting but the Germans have their own take. It’s just two pancakes and you’re given a bit of honey to dip it into…not syrup…honey.
sweet_mcgriddles_preview

Would you eat any of these? Looking between the two you can really see the differences of over the top FAT and proportionate. The big breakfast plate options in the US are disgusting, and over doing it but at the same time…thats what makes us Americans. Not necessarily the fatter foods but the eggs and sausage and bacon. Thats us! The Germans breakfasts are normally rolls with cheese or bologna or ham. It’s a different world out there, friends! Taking it all in stride one difference at a time!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Smothered Pork Chops Only At 243 Calories!!!

We’ve been doing good eating better and so far so good! Toblerone loves being my guinea pig of sorts. Actually, I think he doesn’t mind as long as his belly is full!

Tonight I made smothered pork chops with apples, onions, and cheese from Rocco Dispirito’s book, “Now Eat This!” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this guy is a genius…and hot. Of course I didn’t have the exact ingredients so I improvised with what Germany has to offer me but it’s do-able, in all countries people! NO EXCUSES! EAT BETTER!

I’m not big on apples to begin with but the mustardy oniony appley taste is different and paired up perfectly with the pork meat. Guten Appetit!

Normal Smothered Pork Chops:                                                                    Calories 500                    Fat  15 grams

Revised by Rocco:                                                                                                  Calories 243                   Fat  6.5 grams

What you will need:

Nonstick cooking spray

1 Large red onion cut into 1/2 inch thick slices/rings OR 2 small white onions

3 Large Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 6 or more wedges each (less sugar than the typical applesauce used)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup low fat, low sodium chicken broth

Four 4 ounce portions of lean pork loin (1 1/2 inches thick) trimmed of all visible fat. For this I used minute pork chops, very thin just cooks quicker. 

2 Tablespoons coarse-grain Dijon mustard

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon (or I just used dried basil because it’s what I had on hand.)

1/2 cup shredded 50% reduced-fat cheddar cheese such as Cabot. (Germans don’t know what cheddar is so I used the closest I could find.)

1. Preheat oven to 450 F. or 230 C. Spray a large foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Separate the onion rings. Lay the onions and apples on the baking sheet in a single layer. For me, my oven is made for ants so I had to squish a bit. Yours should be more spread out. Spray lightly with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast the apples and onions until the apples are tender and start to brown on the edges. Should take about 20 mins.

For those who don’t know (I didn’t, I had to look it up!) “Roasting” means to cook/bake at a higher temperature. Just make sure your oven is preheated to the correct temp!

3. Turn the broiler on high. Broil the apples and onions until they are slightly charred – about 3 minutes. The pieces of onions around the edges of the pan charred a lot more than the rest and the apples looked like they were about to explode but that’s probably more because I don’t now what the options on my oven are telling me. I just pick one at random and enjoy the show! 🙂

4. Put about 3/4 cup of the apple-onion mixture in a blender and add the chicken broth. Puree until the mixture is smooth and put the rest of the apple-onion aside. For this, I don’t have a blender but the apples and onions are both so tender and mushy you can easily just smush and whisk with a fork or so. Doesn’t need to be perfect.

5. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper to taste. When pan is hot, spray with cooking spray and add the pork (careful of splattering!) Sautee until brown on both sides and cooked through ( about 3 minutes or so.) Transfer pork to a plate and cover.

6. Reduce heat of the skillet to low and add the pureed apple-onion mixture. Add the mustard and whisk. Once stirred together, add in the rest of the apples and onions you set aside from earlier and the tarragon if you have it. Be sure to cover the added apples and onions evenly with the sauce.

7. Remove skillet from heat and add salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture over the pork chops and sprinkle with cheese. Serve Immediately.

VOILA! Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo