I Live In A Place That…(Part One)

….is very different from my own.

I decided to make this into a two or three part post only because there are just that many differences but I didn’t want to overload your minds from the craziness! How thoughtful, right? These are in my opinion what makes Germany different from America. I’ve been compiling this list since November of just random things I see and that happen. After two years of living here I tend to forget all the things that are so different and it’s always fun for me when people come to visit and I show them around and they point out all the little things that are so bizarre! Here we go!

I Live In A Place That…

…Takes pride in farmer’s local goods.
There is a farmer’s market usually in the larger towns a couple days a week. This is a year round thing and the people selling their items all come together in the town center, set up their trucks of fresh foods, and await the masses. 10686809-vegetable-stand-at-a-marketplace-in-mainz-germany-farmers-market
All the people bring their hand baskets and fill them up with veggies, fish, noodles, eggs, breads, and flowers. The Germans reallllllly love their food to be fresh. Every week we buy fresh baked bread and fresh lunch meat from the butcher. For Toblerone, this is his heaven.

…Lets kids play outside without worrying about them.
This is something really special for me to see. Granted, we live in a small neighborhood but the children all get together and play outside until dusk. I’m not just talking pre-teens either. There have been numerous times I’ve seen children around the age of 4 or 5 walking up the hills behind our house and sitting in the flowers for hours. Not one adult around them. playing_1441912c
They are free to be children and somehow the parents are free of worry. I think as a whole, the neighborhood keeps a watch out for the kids (at least I do!) but I just love to see that they feel so safe and so free. Not like in the US where you have to worry about kidnappings and shootings constantly. This, my friends, is what a world is like where guns are not allowed. But the other thing, this reminds me of my childhood. We didn’t spend hours inside in front of computers and the kids don’t do that here at all. They are ALWAYS outside. So nice to see.

…Plays Mmmm Bop on the radio like its a hit song of the moment.
Ha! So true! The radio in Germany is horrendous. SO, SO, SOOOOO bad. I’ll do a post on this another time but they literally will play Hanson, then switch to Bon Jovi, maybe a little Rihanna in there and then back to some outdated Whitney Houston. Young-Hanson-01
And this is all coming from the station that is supposed to play hits from today. But they mostly play the songs made by Americans that never made it in the US (aka. David Hasselhoff…lol) Hence, why I’m currently making more CDs for the car at the moment. Aside from the bad music they think is cool, they also listen to music from all countries such as Spain and Italy. The list goes on but it’s really funny to see them all singing to a Spanish song. Cute little Germans. But I mean, what kind of country am I living in and they don’t even know who Dave Matthews is?!?! Preposterous!!!!!

…Eat meat sandwiches for breakfast.
When Toblerone and I first became an ‘item’ (in America) we used to bring breakfast to work. We worked for the same company so he would meet me around 9am and we would have our morning snack. This consisted of a pretzel roll, tzaziki, and ham or turkey. Looking back at it now, that was his way of doing the “German” breakfast in the US. Poor guy trying to live his German life in the US. Anywho, back on topic!
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Here, it’s absolutely normal to sit down for breakfast with rolls, different kinds of bologna (you can see those here), cheese, butter, and jellies. This is a typical German breakfast. I think the idea behind it is to eat as much as possible, then you don’t eat so much for lunch and you have a normal dinner. This could very well be the secret behind the “European” diet. Afterall, Breakfast is the most important meal! Eating sugar for breakfast like pancakes, waffles, and cereal is not allowed here.

…Still smokes in bars/clubs and have cigarette machines on street.
It hasn’t been that long since America stopped smoking in bars and in some places they still do but it’s been long enough that I notice it. Not every bar allows smoking either but many do and it’s so gross. I forgot how gross it was to go home smelling like a giant ashtray! Yuck!! And not to mention there are several cigarette machines in each town. Granted, you need a drivers license to prove your age but it surprises me how many younger kids are smoking. I’m talking 14-16 years old. branding_geldkarte_zigarettenautomat3
May be a little too accessible and a little too accepting if you ask me. People smoke here…the typical European way! When I was younger and I thought about Europeans…I imagined them way posh and smoking cigarettes. Guess that’s kind of true!

So that’s it for part one but part two…and possibly part three will be coming soon!! Stay tuned!!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

Holy Schnitzel!

The word “Schnitzel” just sounds dirty doesn’t it? Like what your younger brother used to call his boy part. Well..this has nothing to do with nakedness but more like the deliciousness that is “THE SCHNITZEL.”

The German people love their Schnitzels (see what I mean…that just sounds wrong!) especially with French fries and lots of beef flavored gravy. I don’t think it’s in any way good for you as it is a fried food but when I first came here to visit and I couldn’t read the menu I always ordered Schnitzel with Käse Spätzle because I knew that was safe to eat. I didn’t want to mistakenly order Liver or something like that. Speaking of Liver, Grandpa, you would LOVE the food here. They have liver soup, liver noodles, liver everything and lots of deer meat!

So, I started to learn how to make Schnitzel for the Toblerone and it’s crazy easy. You can make Schnitzel with a beef gravy, creamy mushroom gravy, tomato sauce, turn it into a Hawaiian (pineapples with cheese), A Caprese Schnitzel, A Schnitzel salad. The possibilities are endless here! And not to mention it takes an assembly line and 20 minutes to cook, tops! You know me, the faster the better. This recipe is to make the very basic Schnitzel. Once you have the base you can make anything you want.

What You Need:

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. All-purpose flour

3-4 pork steaks – thin cut

1 egg beaten

1 cube beef flavored bouillon

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

How to Make it:

1. In a shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, flour, and salt and pepper. Put aside.

2. In a shallow dish, beat egg. Put Aside

3. In a shallow dish, put mustard in bowl.

4. If your pork steaks are still too thick, use a meat mallet to flatten it a bit. Here they have them so thin they spread out to be bigger than the plate. It’s incredible. So, the thinner the better!

5. Heat oil in a large skillet. While the oil is heating up work an assembly line with the pork steaks. First dip into the egg, then coat with mustard, then coat with the breadcrumbs evenly. This is the fun messy part so get down and dirty! Liberate yourself in the mess!

 

6. Place steaks in pan and cook evenly on both sides until browned.

7. Make the bouillon in a separate pot, you may want to add cornstarch or flour for thickness.

My Toblerone usually eats this with gravy poured over his french fries and his schnitzel and whatever else he can find. Literally licking the plate afterwards…(he’s obsessed with gravy.) This is a super quick meal to make and since I wasn’t able to get a finished picture fast enough (he eats like Garfield) I found one that looks similar so you get the idea! When in Germany, eat as the Germans do!  Guten Appetit!

schnipo

 

 

 

 

Käse Spätzle Mit Sauerkraut – The Way to a German’s Heart

German food is incredible. Very different from what I’m used to back home but I’m all for trying new things. While Toblerone was living in the states I knew he missed the meals of his culture. So, I took it upon myself to start learning these dishes and so far, found that although these are not easy, and take a lot of time, it’s all well worth it in the end! Every now and again, I’ll post a recipe of something that I’ve learned.

I make homemade Käse Spätzle with sauerkraut which he claims is better than his Omi’s (Grandma’s). Thats a huge compliment considering the competition!! Go me! At any rate…follow these instructions to the “T” and I assure you it will be one that you’ll make over and over again. And of course, this is good for your vegetarian friends as well!  This is a dish that takes a bit of time and a lot of love but it’s well worth it in the end! It’s cheese, noodles, onions, and sauerkraut goodness! 🙂

What you will need:
3 sliced onions
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
4 1/2 Cups All purpose flour (cheaper is not better!)
1 Tbsp Salt
5 Large Eggs
1 3/4 – 2 Cups water
1 (14.5 oz) can of Sauerkraut (don’t drain, keep juice)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil or butter
1 package of shredded mozzarella cheese
 
 
Eat your heart out:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Fill a large pot with water, add vegetable oil, some salt, and bring to a boil.  Place flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Add salt, eggs, and water. It should look like this:
   
Beat the dough until smooth and bubbly, until thick. I have a  Spaetzle Press (shown below)
 
BUT – I learned without that first by putting the dough on a cutting board and scraping it off bit by bit into the boiling water using a knife. If the dough is too sticky…wet the knife in the boiling water and try again. (Also Shown Below) This way actually will make a larger noodle also known as Schupfnudel. The smaller noodle is called spaetzle – however, the taste is the same either way you do it! 
 
Once the Spaetzle float to the top, drain.  Put a layer of Spaetzle in a casserole dish, add a layer of sauerkraut and cheese topped with salt and pepper. Repeat layer – Spaetzle, sauerkraut, cheese, Salt and Pepper.
 
If you’re feeling really creative – if you’re making the Schupfnudel (larger noodles by hand) you can take them out and brown them in a pan with butter. Not so good for the heart-attack prone but I hear it’s good. I don’t do this only because of the amount of time it takes to do this by hand. The Spaetzle press has brought me down to a good 15 minutes where as before, I would be over the stove for 40 minutes or so by hand.  If you choose to brown them, place them by the layer as mentioned above. 
 
 In a pan, heat olive oil and add sliced onion until brown. (Warning…eyes will sting!)  Now back to the noodles…you’ll make 2-3 layers depending on how large the casserole dish is. Once onions are done cooking, spread on the top of the casserole dish and place it in the oven to cook for 20 minutes or until warm and cheese is melted. The idea behind putting it in the oven is to get the Sauerkraut warm. I usually put the oven to 250 or so just enough to keep it from drying out. 
 
This was the very first time I ever made it….and with practice…..
 
This is how it looks now. Better every time! 🙂 
 It’s fantastic! For an extra kick, if you’re the serious Sauerkraut lover use the juice from the can to moisten before placing in the oven.  Just made this tonight and even though it took quite a bit of time and effort…it was made with a lot of love and the true German can appreciate that, back massage for me tonight!! Guten Appetit!!
 
Until next time, Readers!! xoxoxo