Homemade Cranberry Sauce How-To

posted in: Recipes, USA | 0

Some of you have asked for a homemade cranberry sauce recipe after reading my recent Hirschgulasch post. Europeans use lingonberry preserves for such a recipe, but cooks in the US can substitute cranberry sauce if they can’t find the lingonberries.

I have two good cranberry sauce recipes, and both are very easy. However, it can be a
little hard to find 100% cranberry juice (not the cocktail or
concentrate) which one recipe calls for, so here are both of my recipes:

Photo for No Apparent Reason: read more

Munich’s Christmas Tram

posted in: Europe | 0

Thanks again to all of you who are buying my book! A reminder: the special discount code for my eStore at CreateSpace expires on December 20. The sales links again:

  • Buy it on Amazon.com in US dollars, retail price $21.95 although Amazon.com is applying some major discounts right now.
  • Buy it on my eStore at CreateSpace.com. The full retail price shows up there, but use the special secret introductory discount code (JLPQKZY6)
    which will give you a 10% discount through December 20. Your
    price will be only $19.75 per copy. When you add the discount code on
    the checkout page, the discount is deducted before you finalize your
    order.
  • Buy it on Amazon.de (Germany).
    It’s also available on Amazon sites in France, Italy, UK and many other
    countries. Search on the book’s title (A Travel for Taste: Germany) to
    find the sale page. The price for Europe hovers between 18 and 19 Euros
    per copy.

I expect to have the Kindle version available within a week or so. I am well into the conversion and I just need some hours to devote to finishing it. You’ll be the first to know when it’s done!

If you have the book, please leave a (positive) review on Amazon for me. And definitely let me know what recipes you try and how they turn out. Thanks! read more

Florida Vacation – Winter 2012/2013

posted in: Europe | 0
Welcome to my first travel journal of 2013! Don’t forget you can subscribe to my posts using the RSS feed or email menu items on the menu at right. Thanks! I have only been back in Germany for a week, so I haven’t had time to travel to any particular place for reporting purposes. Therefore, I’m posting photos from my month-long vacation to Florida that started on 19 December. The big news is that Santa brought me a new, high-tech camera for Christmas this year: the Nikon D800. I’m still learning all the things this spectacular little supercomputer is capable of, including hi-def video, but I’m having a ball doing it! It is changing the way I process and store my photos due to the fact that, among other considerations, its top resolution is 36.2 megapixels (that is NOT a typo, folks!). Today’s technology is incredible! Obviously, these digital files claim large tracts on my hard drive’s real estate, so I have a new external drive whose capacity numbers in TERABYTES! Wow! So here’s a photo from Christmas day in which our friends Cyndie and Bram (of the neverending bike ride fame) are modeling their new aprons I brought them from Germany that make them look like they are wearing Lederhosen and a Dirndl. Here are some shots from our favorite local park: And on my birthday, I spent the day with my good friend Carolyn, who modeled her Christmas elf apron (must have been an apron theme this year): We went to a wonderful exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art where we saw prints by one of my inspirations, Henri Cartier-Bresson. When we stopped at the museum cafe for coffee, the staff gave me a free piece of cake for my birthday!Then we walked down the block to the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts where we were treated with photos by another one of my inspirations, Dorothea Lange. After I returned home, my husband grilled me a fabulous steak: For dessert, we had a rum cake I’d made for my birthday. Seriously, this cake is delicious and will get you drunk! On a sunnier day, we visited our favorite park again: My wonderful husband with HIS new Nikon: One New Year’s Eve, we went to the annual party at Cyndie and Bram’s, which, this year, was also Bram’s retirement party: You can see more pics from this party in one of my Facebook albums.Later in the week, I got to meet my friend Jessica’s husband for the first time and also their new one, Fiona. Both passed muster in my book! I’m looking forward to watching this young family experience their lives together. And ya gotta love parents who dress their baby in shoes like this: On a different night, neighbors took us to a new restaurant in Tampa called Rumba for dinner one night. Later, my husband and I returned to sample more of their Caribbean goodies. I can personally vouch for the “Tuna Nachos” which consist of seared ahi tuna on rice crackers with guacamole and a slice of jalepeno, shown on the left in this photo: We spent one evening with our friends Bob and Sharon and started off the evening with a shot of Patron XO Café tequila, which tasted like Kahlua on steroids and went down smooooth… While there, I attempted the first “Bob” photo with my new camera: They treated us to an evening at a new restaurant in St. Pete Beach called Chill, which also has an attached bakery and café called Steam. They serve tapas style dishes with fantastic service and great sangria. And I can’t recommend the mashed cauliflower enough! Here you can see Bob wearing his “watch cap” while he and Sharon “watch” each other! But it wasn’t all fun and games. Our beloved tangelo tree succumbed to an insect infestation, so we had to cut it down. The backyard won’t be the same without it. I’ve enjoyed fresh, sweet tangelos every winter since we moved in; I’ll miss our old friend. I spent another great afternoon at my friend Lauren’s, enjoying her creative talents and food. Here she is with her mother, Miss Ella, who rules the roost: My friend Sherry and her husband Michael stopped by Lauren’s to say hi: Here’s Miss Ella enjoying her new addiction: Pirouline cookies. Doesn’t she look like she should be in a speakeasy with a flapper feather in her hair, holding forth with a scotch in her hand? One day I shot some photos for my neighbor’s 18-year-old son, Adam Willard. Adam is a very talented singer, dancer and actor and has won many awards at his high school stage productions and in local community theaters. He needed head shots for an audition for the Boston Conservatory. I shot the pics and someone else did the Photoshopping, but I hope they served him well for the audition. We are still waiting to see if he’s been accepted, but I don’t think there will be a problem. Here’s one of the more sinister shots (he didn’t use this one for the audition, I just like it): On another day I had lunch with one of my personal mentors, Ralph Annan. Many of you know Ralph because he wrote the old time radio plays we performed at the art gallery when I was director there. At 80-something, he is still going strong, writing plays for repertory theaters and still keeping his paintbrush wet from time to time. Here he is at “our place” – the super Chinese buffet in Port Richey: Although I don’t have pictures of everyone I visited with and all the places I went, as you can see, it was a great trip and I enjoyed every minute. That said, there still wasn’t enough time to see everyone I wanted to see. Next time around, I’ll host a 2-day party to save me from running around, but you’ll have to bring your own sleeping bag! Photo for No Apparent Reason:

Fifth Bamberg Christmas Market – and SNOW!

This week has been very eventful. I have had so much to do to prepare for my trip to the US for Christmas. But I also found time to decorate my apartment here a little for the holidays. Here’s my “tree” – its decorated with my quilling.  Hilde gave me the Advent wreath on the window ledge next to it. I also took a picture of the Nativity scene here in Bischberg where I live. In my last journal I reported on its dedication ceremony a couple of weeks ago. You may remember that many Nativity scenes change as the Advent season progresses to reflect events in the story of Jesus’ birth. Here are Mary and Joseph apparently being told there is no room at the inn. We’ve had a couple of small snowfalls, although it’s very early in the year for them. However, last Thursday night we got about 6 inches of beautiful, fluffy white snow! Hilde called me excitedly Friday morning saying it was so wonderful that I had to come to her house to photograph it. She was right! Here are some photos of my two-kilometer walk to their place in the next village: This particular line of trees with snow is what always comes to mind when I think of winter in Germany: My favorite apple tree on the ridgeline: Hilde lives in a village called Weipelsdorf. It’s really small and off the beaten path. I think I mentioned before that I learned it used to be a “Frische Luft Bad,” literally, Fresh Air Spa. It was where people came to the country to enjoy the fresh air. I would love to know more about this spa, but there isn’t anything online at all. Maybe the library. This house was the hunting lodge of the spa. Here is the view from Hilde’s window. At least one of you in my audience has seen this view before! Here is an example how much Germany is tied up in meat AND Christmas. This is actual salami in the shape of a Christmas tree! I saw it in the butcher shop and had to get a few slices. They also had something that looked like bologna with a Christmas tree and ornament design in the middle. I passed on that one! Here Hilde is practicing Silent Night. She always plays it on Christmas Eve when the family is gathered around for gift-exchanging. This sheet music was copied by her when she was a child. It is a well-known German Christmas song, but I had never heard the melody before. The title, “Ihr Kinderlein Kommet, “ translates as, “Little Children, Come.” Hilde baked a cherry torte after lunch. Then she brought out her best china, Rosenthal porcelain, and we had a proper “Adventskaffee.” I have loved this china for many years! In fact, she told me once that it’s mine when she dies. I call it Schloss Geschirr, or Palace Dishes. It is so unbelievably beautiful! I can imagine royalty using it. What a wonderful day! And it’s a good thing she called me when she did. The next day it warmed up and rained and now most of the snow is gone. The next day, Saturday December 11, I hopped a bus to Bamberg to visit the fifth and final Christmas market for the year, the Artisan Market. This market was only for this weekend, so I had to go even though it was lightly raining. I was grateful when I saw that it was inside! It benefits the Don Bosco society that works with underprivileged kids.   Part of the market was upstairs in a beautiful Renaissance-type room. Here’s the ceiling: The market was very kid-centric. Here’s the entrance to the Kid’s Café: At the exit was a guy selling those bird-whistle ceramic thingies that were at the Medieval Market  – see my previous blog post for details. Different guy but same product. Here’s a closer look. I dig the chest most of all!  After this market I wanted to visit a couple more locations on the Nativity Trail. On my way to the place I definitely wanted to see, I passed by the Carmelite nun’s cloisters. What a huge church! You can get a sense of how immense this place is from the aerial photo here. After the rather lame Nativity scenes I’d encountered so far, this one finally impressed me. It was really big with figurines about the size of toy action figures. It was Franconian style with a little booth of just about every kind of activity you can think of, such as a baker, a weaver, a tailor, a butcher, etc. There were beggars and people doing chores. There was a guy with his arm in a sling. In the center was Joseph with Mary on a donkey, registering with the authorities. I spent a long time looking at all the different little scenes. And then I HAD to risk taking the prohibited flash photo because I knew I had to post this for you:  Why in the world there would be a martial arts fight in a Nativity scene, I’ll never know! I think the figurines have kung-fu grips. Next stop was Obere Pfarre church. It translates as Upper Parish. It, too, is HUGE. They have the largest figurines on the Trail, also in Franconian style. The figures are about a foot high. Here’s a pan view of it from across the church:  And Mary on the donkey (LOVE the guy on the right!):    And Joseph registering. Doesn’t that woman walking up on the left look like she’s going to tell the Roman centurions on somebody? I don’t like the look of her! Here’s another scene from this Nativity. I love the washing hanging on the line.    Here’s the alter in that church. I had never seen it before. It’s so gorgeous – I must do a whole article on it some day. Turns out my landlady attended the school run by this church.    After doing these photos I headed downtown to the big Christmas market on the square. The place was slammed! There were carolers on the square, a band playing Christmas songs on a side street, and thousands of people. They were shopping their a**es off! It was so crowded and I was glad to see the economy jumping. Plus it was NOT a mall! I picked up a couple of items for friends and headed home to warm up. Tonight I’m going to the local church for a Christmas choir concert. My landlady sings in the choir and she invited me to see it. It’s to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Society. After that, I start packing for my trip to Florida on Wednesday! I hope you are all having a great holiday season! Photo for No Apparent Reason (I call it, “Thank your local English Teacher”):