Posts Tagged ‘homemade’

I am so excited about this Christmas. Germany definitely breeds the Christmas spirit with its busy Christmas markets, fresh white snow, and variety of Christmas traditions. What it doesn’t foster is that crazy Christmas materialism that so often comes in the US. Instead, I have been sweetly knitting gifts and crafting thoughtful tidbits for the people I care most about.

Here are the ravelry links to what I have knit; these could all be whipped together in one night if you were a quick knitter (unlike me):


Gingerbread House Kit

Label from Giverslogs



My coworkers are getting little gingerbread house kits. The idea and recipe are from Martha, but the label was adapted from the Giverslog. These are easy to make and could be pulled together in one evening. I hope they like them.

Merry Christmas.


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I love breakfast. Actually, you will notice most of my posts here are about breakfast. And here is yet another revelation for your mornings – overnight oats.  They taste refreshing almost like a smoothie or pudding, but they are so easy and healthy. The idea is simple: combine oatmeal, milk, half a banana-mashed, and vanilla; set in the fridge overnight — wake up to breakfast. The oats are eaten cold, which might sound strange, but is truly delicious.

There are a bunch of recipes out there. I based my recipe off of the Oh She Glows recipe.  Non-vegan overnight oatmeal varieties can be found here.

Overnight Oats

1/2 cup oats
3/4 soy milk
1/2 large banana or 1 small
dash of vanilla extract


Mash the banana. Combine ingredients. Leave overnight in the refrigerator. Enjoy.

A few notes about my ingredients. I only had “tenderly” cut oats, which are rolled oats, I think, but this works with regular oats. It just won’t have the pudding consistency. I also would love to try using almond milk, but I just can’t find it here.

Unrelated, I just finished another knitting project. It was another dishcloth from Wools Happenin. She had a pattern for a monogrammed K dishcloth and I couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, I only had pink yarn in my stash (leftover from the bunny project). Still, it makes a nice dishcloth or hot pad. I am going to make one more dishcloth, but then I am going to move onto something bigger and better.

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Wanna know what I am eating this week? Umm… If you have any interest, you can keep reading.

I used to have a really hard time planning meals. It was hard to use the same ingredients in different ways. This week I bought cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, celery, canned peas, and canned corn. I had green beans, potatoes, rice, pesto, and zucchini. I’ll eat most of the produce this week, but I might have some leftover.

Monday: Vegetarian stuffed bell pepper (inspired by smitten kitchen)
Tuesday: Pesto green beans and potatoes
Wednesday: fried rice
Thursday: upside down Shepard’s Pie (like this one by vegan menu)
Packed lunches: carrots sticks, apple, green salad/cucumber balsamic salad

Well, that was the plan. I actually haven’t packed my lunch yet this week. And Monday’s dinner, stuffed peppers, was so good that I made it again on Tuesday night. I’ll share my adaption of smitten kitchen’s recipe below. The recipe is enough to make one stuffed bell pepper (with a little extra stuffing to nibble on). I might start making the stuffing in bulk and then cooking the bell peppers on demand for a quick, easy dinner. This recipe is the perfect way to use up a little leftover rice and maybe some garden fresh zucchini.

Vegetarian (and Vegan and Gluten Free) Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 green bell pepper
1 small pearl onion
1 clove garlic minced
1/3  a red bell pepper
1/3  a medium size zucchini
1 small tomato with juice roughly chopped
2 tbsp corn
3 tbsp cooked leftover risotto (which happened to have a lot of black pepper in it)
Italian herbs to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

1. Dice all other veggies (except green bell pepper). They should be about a centimeter square pieces. Cut the top off of the green bell pepper and clean out the inside.

2. Warm a teaspoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Saute garlic in olive oil. Add onion. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Add diced zucchini and bell pepper. Saute for a few minutes until tender. Add the tomato with its juice. Then, add the corn and risotto. Cook until the risotto absorbs tomato liquid.

3. Scoop the filling into the bell pepper, wrap in tin foil and place in oven. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 or until the bell pepper is tender. (remember: I’m working out of a toaster oven here, so the timing is just my best guess.)

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Living in German definitely has its perks, one of which is the forced leisure on Sundays. Stores (and many restaurants) are closed, so people spend the day relaxing. I have found Sundays to be the perfect day for baking.  I had originally planned to make cinnamon rolls, but I forgot cinnamon and like I said no place was open. So I looked in my kitchen for something to make. I knew I wanted to bake something for breakfast on Monday. Monday is a big day for us here. It’s the start of classes and all of the teachers are a little stressed. So I had 2 lemons, 1 ginger root, basic baking ingredients and a baking sheet. I decided to make the most out of that. I made three delicious things.

First, I made candied ginger. It’s perfect for nervous stomaches. The candied ginger recipe was adapted from Alton Brown. I followed his basic directions, but I used one ginger root and 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar.   Basically, after boiling the ginger, strain it and boil it in simple syrup until the sugar re-crystalizes.

Next, I used the liquid that the ginger had been boiling in (and was strained off) to make ginger ale. I added some simple syrup, a little lemon juice, and sparkling water. I haven’t really been looking, but I haven’t seen ginger ale here. This was so good that even if I do find it, I wouldn’t buy it. It would make this!

The third ginger project of the day was ginger scones. I used this lemon ginger scone recipe and added a glaze on top. It used most of my candied ginger, but I had a few big chunks set aside to enjoy later. I am usually not a scone person… but wow! The texture was perfect. So moist. And the flavor was incredible.

I am so happy with each of these. When I moved into my little apartment, where the kitchen is literally in a closet and the only oven is a toaster oven, I thought all attempts at baking would be worthless. But my sweet coworker told me not to underestimate my toaster oven. And he was right. That thing is pretty powerful. I haven’t exactly figured out cooking times and temperatures, but that’s just more reason to bake.

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