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Low Key Week

4 Aug

It is our last full week in Germany and we’re pretty sad about it. We’ve had such a great time in Karlsruhe and beyond! This week we went to the park (as usual), and had a really great playdate with some friends 🙂 We also got to borrow a bike from the friends with an attached trailer to haul Nate around in…he LOVES that thing. Too bad Florida is so stinking hot, or we would be purchasing bikes ASAP when we get back!

We’ve been trying to think of things to bring back to the states that we can’t get there…as well as gifts for everyone. It’s so hard thinking of things! I can assure you we will be loading up on tasty gummy bears, though.

The rest of the week should be fun. Dinner with friends tomorrow and Saturday we’re going to Munich! I’ve been teasing James about getting some lederhosen when we go to Bavaria 🙂

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Baking Adventure

26 Jul

I love love love (did I say love?) baking. However, Germany has made it extremely difficult. First problem is that I don’t have an oven in the apartment. We do have access to the house kitchen that DOES have an oven, but it is a pain in the butt to have to carry down all the ingredients…

Speaking of ingredients, that is the second problem. My first weeks here I wanted to make some chocolate chip cookies. Then I realized…German stores don’t sell chocolate chips. Or brown sugar. Or vanilla extract. Or baking powder/soda. I did make the cookies with some substitutions…a bar of chocolate chopped up instead of chips. I found something very close to American brown sugar at the Asian grocery store (that’s right folks, my brown sugar super exotic and from Thailand), instead of vanilla extract I used a common German item…vanilla sugar. Baking soda equivalent is KaiserNatron. Baking powder’s (not very good) equivalent is Back Pulver. They turned out decent…the texture was only a tiny bit off. And that was with me using not-quite-exact measurements; our measurements don’t always come out so nice when converted to metric.

So, with this experience under my belt, I decided to brave the kitchen once more with my handy metric converter and a mind for substitutions. I was lucky enough to find a brownie recipe that did NOT use cocoa powder (can’t find that in any of my local stores), but I was able to find vanilla aroma. It is kind of like extract…only an oil and MUCH more potent, so you only need a few drops.

Thank you Food Network! I doubled the recipe, skipped the nuts, added some milk chocolate to the batter, and sprinkled in a packet of instant espresso. Absolutely AMAZING. Waiting for them to cool was torture.

I’ve also got some dough in the fridge for Nutella Pinwheels. I found an amazing food blog called The Purple Foodie. What could go wrong? Buttery shortbread and gooey Nutella? Yes please. I’ll post pictures if they come out as pretty as hers!

25 Jul

Food Post!

James’ post about the pizza reminded me to post pictures from our super tasty Italian dinner! We are big fans of Groupon.com and we landed an AMAZING deal…19 euro for a 3 course meal at a super trendy Italian place in town with complimentary proseccco. We went and it was awesome! James had a green salad and pizza, I had caprese and rigatoni with beef, ham and tomato-cream sauce. Nate shared with both of us (portions were gigantic). We finished off dinner with tiramisu…Nate wasn’t a fan, so we promised him a trip to the eiscafe (ice cream shop) for a sundae. He got a pistachio angel sundae while we sipped on coffee.

25 Jul
21 Jul
15 Jul

Baden-Baden

15 Jul

This past weekend we took a ride into the hills of the Black Forest and visited Baden-Baden. It is well known through Germany as a spa town, famous for being a luxury vacation spot for the wealthy. It is absolutely beautiful!The winding streets were flanked by shallow canals and lush foliage. There were promenades with huge shade trees and flowers everywhere. The market square was filled with high-end shops and boutiques…but if you ask Nathan, is favorite part was the street performers. Naturally, you need a little glitz in a place like this, so there was a living statue that was entirely painted gold! He was a robot and make a lot of clicks and whirring noises…but made sure to tip his hat to Nate and blow me a kiss! It was really fun.

We also happened to find ourselves in the middle of yet another festival. I swear, no matter where we go in Germany, there is at least one festival there! In Baden-Baden we found ourselves in the middle of a French-German unity festival. There were choirs singing in an outdoor amphitheater, wine, and crepes. Yum!

That night, we made our way back home to Karlsruhe and decided to eat outside. On our way to a popular cafe area, we noticed signs for….you guess it…a festival. Apparently that evening was a city-wide music celebration. There were stages set up throughout the city and youth musicians were performing. We decided to eat an an outdoor restaurant that is in the same park as one of Nate’s favorite playgrounds. This way, he could go play within eyesight if he finished before we did. The food was amazing and about halfway through dinner a precussion/rhythm band paraded up the street and started performing on a stage right next to our tables! Can’t really beat free entertainment 🙂