Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2011 Goals

Last week Alycia from the The Curious Pug post 30 Goals before her 30th Birthday which made me jump start my thinking on the goals I would have for 2011.. having past 30 already... despite the challenges imposed on having to wait on a liver for my son and life kind of being put on hold because you wait for that phone call.. its still important to have goals me thinks... and I think these goals will keep everything in perspective for me.. motivation I don't lack.. its managing it that could be challenging as I don't know when we are heading to Pittsburgh for the surgery... anyway.. I still want to set some goals.. some big .. some little.. some in-between that...some really important.. some just because


1. find work as a therapist
recently (3 months ago) graduating with an MS in Mental Health.. I really want to work...

2. blog more
just because I like to write.... and I actually have a few things to say.. haha

3. volunteer my time to an organization
 because it feels good to help others

4. More awareness work for Urea Cycle Disorder
create more soaps representing the foundation... hand out fliers.. post stuff... etc

5. start reading again... for fun...
haven't read a book for fun in 3 years... text books can burn you out a bit

6. Do more business related things...
this may require a bit more organization on my part...but not sure how fond I am of a schedule
 
7. move my studio from home to the Flying Pig Art Center
in hopes of being able to get some wood burning done..home seems too distracting

8. learn some basic spanish
just to learn another language... its good for the career

9. learn to be more patient
stop the road rage

10. go camping
make a day/weekend of it..aware this may not happen in 2011 because of Lennon's needs

11.increase social events for business and pleasure 
again a bit challenging but will have to work that out...

12. start editing my second book
 
13. revamp my first book
like umm edit... elaborate... add on... who knows..

14. redo the garden
and hope for a better season.. like more rain

15. figure out what to do with my hair!
its a damn mess... I leave it long.. it gets curly cues on the bottom...flat on top looking awful.. it would have totally worked in the 60's and 70's though

16. get a tattoo of the trooper
umm I am a big Iron Maiden fan ^_^ this would be #7 lol

17. Get a head start on next years hats...and other wintery items... 
my crochet work has done really well and I want to do MORE

18. Become a foster parent
its been a life long goal...maybe even adopt a few..

18. Increase Business
need to find a way that works for me though I am pretty happy with 2010
2011 will be better.. YES! I belief it will!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Mondel Krantz

"Mondel Krantz" Or German Almond Cake Recipe
(As made by Frau Schmidt)

1 pint sweet milk
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 yeast cake, or 1 cup yeast
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons rock candy
1 orange
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
Flour enough

Set to rise early in the morning. To the scalded milk, when lukewarm, add the yeast and flour enough to make a batter, cover, set to rise until light, near the range, which will take several hours.

Then add the sugar, butter and eggs beaten to a cream, grated rind and juice of orange, a couple tablespoons finely chopped almonds, and add enough flour to make a soft dough, as stiff as can be stirred with a spoon; set to rise again, and when light, divide the dough in two portions, from which you form two wreaths.

Roll half the dough in three long strips on the floured bake-board with the hands, then braid them together. Place a large coffee cup or bowl inverted on the centre of a large, round or oval, well-greased pan, lay the wreath around the bowl. The bowl in the centre of the pan prevents the dough from running together and forming a cake.

Brush the top of the wreath with a little milk, containing teaspoon of sugar; over the top of the wreath, stick blanched, well-dried almonds, and strew thickly with crushed rock candy or very coarse sugar.

Let rise until light, then bake. This makes two quite large wreaths.

The Professor's wife, Frau Schmidt, told Mary when she gave her this recipe, this almond wreath was always served at the breakfast table on Christmas morning at the home of her parents in Germany, and was always baked by her mother, who gave her this German Christmas recipe, and it was found on the breakfast table of Frau Schmidt Christmas morning just as regularly.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Crescent or Kipferl Cookies

Depending prefer depends on what you'd call them... Half-Moon, Crescent or Vanilla Kipferl...  this are a delicious holiday cookie, simple to make and fun to eat...

Vanilla Kipferl
Ingredients
  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 7/8 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups ground almonds

Directions

  1. * To Make Your Own Vanilla Sugar: Place 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sugar and place in pint jar. Put a clean vanilla bean in the jar, cover and shake well. Let stand for a few days, shaking the jar occasionally, before using the sugar. As you use the sugar, replace with fresh sugar.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the salt and the flour. Cut in the butter or margarine, and mix in with your hands.
  3. Add the confectioners' sugar, the egg, the vanilla sugar, and the ground almonds to the flour mixture. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into several parts. Make rolls that are approximately 1 inch thick. Cut the rolls into 1 inch pieces, and bend the pieces into the shape of a semicircle ( just like a croissant). Place the kipferl on a baking tray, and leave them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 10 to 15 minutes. When done, remove kipferl carefully from the tray.
  6. While still warm, dip the kipferl in a mixture of confectioners' sugar and vanilla sugar.

Weihnachts Market in Frankfurt

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lebkuchen

One of the best things I remember is Lebkuchen... its like... hmm Gingerbread... but not ... its vastly different in my opinion. We also have different types of cookies such as covered in chocolate.. oh yumm it seems to be more airy rather than a dense type of cookie...
Can usually only be found at Markets and Carnivals


 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup candied mixed fruit
  • 1 tablespoon light sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Spray bottom and sides of a 10 x15 inch glass pan with a non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).
  2. In a 2 cup glass measuring cup, heat the honey and 1/3 cup sugar in a microwave for 1 minute. Pour this mixture into a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to the honey mixture. Stir well.
  4. Add and mix in by hand the candied fruit, oil, and spices.
  5. Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups more flour. Knead dough to mix (dough will be stiff). Spread into pan. Bake for 20 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cut into squares. May be frosted with sugar glaze or eaten plain. Best if stored for 2 weeks. 

Here are some other links that could be useful:
Can be found at World Market!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

St. Nicholas

Lieber guter Weihnachtsmann,
sieh mich nicht so böse an.
Stecke deine Rute ein,
will auch immer artig sein.

In Germany, Nikolaus is usually celebrated on a small scale. Many children put a boot called Nikolaus-Stiefel (Nikolaus boot) outside the front door on the night of 5 December to 6 December. In many European Countries he is related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts.


St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and sweets, and at the same time checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful the last year. If they were not, they will have a tree branch (Rute) in their boots instead.

At times sometimes a person disguised Nikolaus would visits the children at school or in their homes and asks them if they have been good (sometimes ostensibly checking his golden book for their record), handing out presents on a per-behaviour basis. Growing up we would recite poems or play an instrument as a sign of appreciation, gratitude and yes we have been oh so good... what have you brought us?



For more on his history go toSt. Nicholas Center


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Der Tannenbaum (Christmas Tree)

It's custom that the tree is put up and decorated on Christmas Eve, but some may put it up during Advent season.  Decorations may include tinsel, glass balls or straw ornaments and sweets. A star or an angel tops the Tannenbaum, often accompanied with a nativity scene close to the tree.

There are some mixed history information all over the net... Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom has a version if you are interested in Pagan Holiday History...another source had this to say:

Some families perhaps collect the presents under the tree... but we didn't receive presents nor saw presents until Christmas Eve that I will explain in a later post. Some families still use real candles though we used fake ones growing up.

The first known Christmas tree was set up in 1419 in Freiburg by the town bakers, who decorated the tree with fruits, nuts, and baked goods, which the children were allowed to remove and eat on New Year's Day. The town guilds and associations first brought evergreens inside their guild houses and decorated them with apples and sweets. Candles were eventually added to the decorations. Already since the Middle Ages, ordinary Germans had been bringing yew, juniper, mistletoe, holly, evergreen boughs - any plant that maintained its green color through the lifeless and dreary winter months - into their homes.

The Tannenbaum is taken down on New Year's Day or on January 6th, Three King's Day, at which time the children can ransack the tree for the sweets and treats that decorated it. Still today I am ready to take that tree down once its all over.. ^_^ and yes by New Years its gone...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gluehwein Recipe

As the days get colder.. and one walks around the market...getting into the christmas spirit... you will see a lot of people enjoy Gluehwein. It is a tasty mulled-wine and our signature drink at Christmas markets across Germany and it warms you from the inside out!

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon red wine
  • 8 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds

Directions

  1. Pour the wine into a large pot and set over medium heat. Let it warm up until steam rises from the surface, but do not allow it to boil. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, lemon juice and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Float the orange slices on the surface. Warm over medium heat for another 5 minutes, being careful not to let it come to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour.
  2. Pour through a colander to remove to oranges and spices. Serve hot, or refrigerate and reheat gently just before serving in mugs.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

German Christmas Tradition

I've been in the U.S. since 1993 but every Christmas I find myself reminiscing over the holidays back home. The Christmas Market with Gluehwein und Lebkuchen... geschenke fuer alle... so I decided that the next we weeks I will share tidpits of German Christmas Tradition... starting with Advent..

Advent, Advent ...ein Lichtlein brennt
erst eins, dann zwei, dann drei, dann vier
dann steht das Christkind vor der Tür.

 It's one of those things that as children we new that the first advent meant St. Nicholas and Christmas would be coming. The German Christmas season officially begins with the first Sunday of Advent. It's the time for baking holiday cookies... and Stollen, the oldest known German Christmas treat. Stollen...its hard to explain..its not fruit cake.. its so much more.. while it does carry fruit bits.. it doesn't even compare... 

Then comes the  Advent wreath (Adventskranz) which has four candles, one of which is lit on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. The time is spend with the family reading Christmas stories, reciting music... I used to play the recorder and keyboard and would practice Christmas songs. We'd eat the cookies we had backed.. 

According to Vistawide.com (2010), "the Advent wreath has been attributed religious and elemental significance. The tradition of a ring of light existed among the Germanic tribes many centuries before the celebration of Advent. It is believed that fewer candles were lit with each progressive lighting to represent the shortening of the days until the solstice, at which time the Julfest celebrated the return of light."

We'd also have our "Advent calendar (Adventskalender) which is a German invention that was originally designed to involve children in the festivities leading up to Christmas. It's a calendars are usually made of cardboard and have 24 small windows or flaps, one of which is opened on each day leading up to Christmas" (Vistawide.com, 2010)

 One a side note... growing up in Germany.. we celebrated Christmas Eve - not Christmas Morning.. some thing that I still do for my children and for traditional purposes I suppose. In a way it works out.. my kids get to have Christmas with me Christmas Eve.. while having Christmas with their dad Christmas morning.. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Crochet Hats in the Buzzworthy Fashion & Beauty Section in the Woman's issue of the daily Progress

This morning I find myself.. no I find pictures of my hats on Page 13 on the Woman's Issue (Charlottesville Woman) of The Daily Progress.. it not only highlights the hats, but talks about the other things that I do including the soaps in which a portion is donated to the National Urea Cycle Foundation.. about the blog I maintain about Lennon...where to find my creations Utopia, the market when in season.. and soon at the Flying Pig Art Center right here in Scottsville.. professionally I am on a climb and a thrill.. I am in love making the hats for folks..inspired by the requests I receive.. even if I have never made a Hippo Hat or a Pig Hat before.. I will figure it out.. my children keep me motivated... I am grateful

You can find the article here:    Creative Headwear by Scottsville Woman