Thursday, October 30, 2014

Friday Favorites: Happy Halloween!

It's here! Not just Friday but Halloween! Today is what I consider the starting point for the three big holiday seasons; Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas.

Are you busy today putting the final touches on some scary costumes or busy preparing a monster of a meal? If so, I'm glad you are taking the time to take a look at some of my Friday Favorites!

1. Easiest Cheese Puffs Ever
Monday, I found the recipe for "The Easiest Cheese Puffs Ever" on a blog link up. I practically ran to the store to pick up two different cheeses and made the cheese puffs that very night! 
They really are the easiest cheese puffs ever! I made half the batch seasoned with paprika and the other half with garlic powder. These would be perfect dipping in tomato soup! 
One of the issues with working full time and blogging is that I miss a lot of the "natural" lighting. By the time I get home it is already dark outside. I find my best photos are in the morning or evening as the sun sets.
Monday night I worked on some photography metering.  I used the cheese puffs as my subject!

2. Maelu Cafe
For nearly three years, I have walked past a beautiful storefront window filled with colorful macaroons. Maelu is a French inspired bakery known for their luxurious cakes and exotic flavors.
Tuesday, I met two of my favorite people there for cake and coffee. I had a passion fruit cake and it was one of the better cakes I have ever had in Munich! It was extremely creamy with an infused center filling. 

3. Ladies of Leisure
I could spend hours talking to these two ladies about everything creative, traveling, education, Munich, and all matters really! It is always a great day when we get together for coffee! Afterwards, we did a bit of shopping around Odeonsplatz. 

3. New Sweater for Fall

Product Detail | H&M DE

After coffee and cake, the girls and I did a little bit of shopping around Odeonsplatz. I picked up this thick knitted mustard sweater from H&M for 20 Euros. It is the perfect amount of baggy and comfort that I need to wear with my skinny jeans and Uggs. I'm not sure a kindergarten teacher should wear it with this pictured skirt...

4. Sunday Skype 
Sundays Husband and I spend the evenings skyping with both of our families. This past weekend my mom and I tried a new thing, we called my brother in on our conversation. It was so cool to chat together but we were definitely missing my dad! Don't we look like the Brady Bunch here?
My brother gave us a Skype tour of his coffee cart. That's right folks, a coffee cart! Cups on the bottom, coffee beans in the middle, and coffee makers on the top. I think I need a cart dedicated to just coffee! 

5. Spider Cupcakes
Let's end this Friday Favorites on a Halloween note. In celebration, my kindergartners are decorating spider cupcakes. The cupcakes will look something like the picture above. Thursday, we baked Chocolate Cupcakes and the kids are so excited to decorate these sweet treats today! We are using Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, pretzel sticks, and round candies for the eyes. It's going to be a spoooky snack!

Well guys, my goal this month was to blog every week day in October. I am proud to announce I was successful in reaching this goal!Once I got started and into a writing routine it went pretty smoothly. 

My German courses will be starting back up in November so let's see if I am able to keep up with the writing!

Now I want to know...
Do you have any special treats prepared for tonight?

Are you staying home passing out candy, going trick or treating with the kids, or turning out the lights and drawing the blinds?!

Husband and I will be at home catching up on our favorite TV shows hoping for at least one trick or treater! 

Happy Halloween,
Today I am happy to link up my Friday Favorites here.

I Broke the Law

This is the story about that one time I rode a train without a ticket. 
Nearly a year ago, Husband and I woke up early one Saturday morning and decided to head out of town. Our destination? Nuremberg. The town of Nuremberg claims to host the original Christmas market in all of Germany. We were in the Christmas spirit and wanted to see what all the talk was about. 

We rode our local S-bahn (similar to the Dart Rail or L-Train) into the central train station, Hauptbahnhof. This is the main station that trains depart and arrive into Munich. There on the platform, we purchased a Bayern ticket good for any train within the state of Bavaria. 
Looking up at the massive departure board, we saw a train was leaving for Nuremberg in just minutes. We hustled it all the way to the track and boarded the waiting ICE train.
With empty seats to spare, we quickly found a place to sit together. Husband and I nestled into the plush seats and I was in comfort heaven. I couldn't believe our 25 Euro ticket got us such a nice space for the journey. It was sooo nice!

Then a light-bulb went off. 

Sitting there in a clean train, in possibly the most comfortable transportation seats known to man, my mind began to think "This is too good to be true." Glancing at the Bayern ticket, I squinted towards the bottom and read the fine print. "For use of regional trains only."
Panicked, I questioned Husband, "Is an ICE train a regional train?" Not knowing and telling me to sit tight, Husband got up to find out if where we were was okay. With just a couple of minutes until departure, I watched Husband walk down the aisle and exit the train. My fears worsened, the what-ifs were running wild, and panic was worsening by the second.

I watched outside the window as Husband spoke with an official looking women directing people on the platform. Trying to decipher what was happening, searching for clues, and failing miserably at reading lips in German, I just couldn't tell what she was explaining to Husband. 

Husband returned on board and made his way towards our row with his eyebrows raised. "We gotta go." he exclaimed when he reached our comfy seats. We both scrambled to gather our belongings and stood up to hurry out of there.

Right as we raised to leave, a beeping sound occurred, a hiss whispered, and the doors sternly shut. There was a clanking noise and I immediately knew we were not going anywhere. The doors had locked. We frantically tried to reopen the doors but it was no use.

As the train slowly pulled away from Hauptbahnhof, my heart sank. Here we are in a foreign country breaking the law. The next stop was 45 minutes away. Those were the longest minutes of my life. Every scenario played out in my head on what would happen to us, how large of a fine we would be issued, would our passports be confiscated, and the effects of our quickly dwindling Christmas budget. 

Sitting there feeling awful did not make for a pleasant journey. I stared at the clock watching every minute tick by just wanting to arrive at the next train station as quickly as possible. With just 10 minutes left until the next stop, the same official lady from the platform walked down the aisle checking tickets. As she neared our row, I got more and more nervous. We started gathering our things once more in preparation for the next stop. 
Then a miraculous thing happened...when the ticket official finished checking tickets on the row behind our seats, she gave us a glance and did a sharp pivot heading in the opposite direction. 

Breathing at ease and slowly relaxing, we were able to exit the train at the next stop without a confrontation. At the stop,
we were able to board the correct regional train and finally made our way to Nuremberg. In seats a little less comfortable of course!

Happy Thursday,

All Things with Purpose

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Recipe Club: Oven Roasted Pumpkins

There is a possibility this could be ooooold news but...I didn't know how to roast pumpkins until this year. Anyone else go 30+ years not knowing?
Back home, when a recipe called for pumpkin I just knew the right spot to pick up a can in grocery aisle. Everyone knows the famous can of Libby Pumpkin! 
Then we moved to Europe and canned pumpkin is unheard of so I had to do a bit of research. No joke. 
Now days, cans of Libby Pumpkin are left in our pantry for "special occasions", aka Thanksgiving. (You don't mess with grandma's pumpkin pie) 

During autumn, I use pure pumpkin puree in soups, breads, and cookies. Here are the basics for roasting pumpkins in the oven:
Step 3: Carefully cut pumpkin into halves or quarters.
Step 4: Scoop away the seeds. I always save these to roast later on!

Step 5: Drizzle with a dash of olive oil. I always make sure the oil is spread around the pumpkin insides using a paper towel. 

Step 7: Let cool. Please excuse my "late at night" cooling picture.

Step 8: Scrap out the flesh and discard the skin. I have heard you can actually eat the skin but I am "not quite there yet". This is about how much of the pumpkin actually gets thrown away.

When I remove the pumpkin flesh from the skin, I add it to a large mixing bowl. After I have as much pumpkin goodness as I can get, I stir the bowl. This allows the pumpkin to mash. 

Then I divide the pumpkin puree into air tight containers. I keep two cups of puree in the refrigerator for immediate use. The remaining two cups I store in the freezer. In my experience, each pumpkin has around 4 cups of puree after roasting.

I know Grandma always used canned pumpkin, so Momma used canned pumpkin, which is why I used canned pumpkin...but now seeing how easy it actually is to get pumpkin puree, I doubt I will go back to the cans.
Unless of course it's to make Grandma's Pumpkin Pie!

Have you tried making your own pumpkin puree?

Beautiful Eating,

Linking up with Momfessional's today for the monthly Recipe Club!
Recipe Club

Weekend Wrap-Up: Auer Dult

My absolute FAVORITE festival took place over the weekend in Munich. 
Auer Dult is held three times a year in spring, summer, and fall. This was our last chance to attend Auer Dult before the next date in 2015 so I dragged Husband out of bed and off we went! 
OH yeah, Shelby Dog went too! Auer Dult is my favorite festival because it is fully dedicated to every type of kitchen gadget imaginable and rows of antique booths. My two love languages! 
People from all over Munich come out to the neighborhood Au for the festival. It is a beautiful area of town right next to the Isar River. This one man band is everywhere you want to be in Munich! 
Auer Dult is always held right on the footsteps of the Mariahilf "Maria Helps" Church. The entire block is called Mariahilfplatz and is easily accessible by tram or foot. We were lucky to have a gorgeous autumn day!

Our first stop was of course, the rows of antiques. I spent some time sorting through antique samplers, laces, and embroidery. These are in my opinion, talents that are in danger of becoming lost with such a fast paced digital world. My mom picks up pieces every so often and you really can appreciate the time someone took long ago creating these pieces. It was shocking to find samplers dated from the late 1800s in near perfect condition. I should have picked a piece up at just 20 Euros... but now I can kick myself for that.  
 The second half of the festival, Husband and I spent walking among the kitchen stalls. There were dishes offered for every style; hand-painted, porcelain, humorous, traditional, etc. Shelby begged for this doggy bag, but I distracted her with a bacon treat. 
These mugs are hand-painted and just about every name was offered. They are not too big and would be the perfect size for little hands. We looked for our niece and found her name but the slot was empty! This is the only market where I have been able to find my own name on a mug. 
Is anyone other than Jack and the Beanstalk in the market for a ginormous, tall broom? Auer Dult really does have any kitchen or house gadget you could possibly need! 
 *Sigh, just no. I have had two scrunchie sightings in Munich over the past week and neither time did it look "stylish". Then I saw this display and had a good chuckle.!!!
Among the rows of antiques, booths filled with goodies you didn't think you could ever need, are a plethora of food stalls. Mostly traditional German and Bavarian foods are offered.  
Apparently, this guy has good Bratwurst. At nearly 2 p.m. the line was packed! 
Husband and I ate lunch at home, but we did stop for a dessert treat! One of our favorite fair foods in Germany is called a "Baumstriezel". I believe that translates to "tree twist". 
I ordered a "Zimt" cinnamon Baumstriezel to share with Husband. 
Behind the lady in black, other employees roll the dough onto long sticks and place them in fire burning ovens. 
This is what a Baumstriezel looks like fresh out of the oven. It is nearly too hot to eat! 
The inside of a Baumstriezel is hollow since the dough was wrapped around a cylinder. It basically is a German version of a doughnut. 

Sunday was the last day of Auer Dult for 2014 and it was an event that did not want to be missed. The crowds were out and about! It seemed like just about everyone in Munich stopped by Auer Dult to enjoy the festival and gorgeous fall day. 

Here a couple of photos from a past Auer Dult visit in 2013:

Who's in the market for a giant broom?
Is your family enjoying any fall festivals in your area?

Make Sundays Beautiful,