Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yet another sauerbraten, käsespätzle und rotkraut dinner

Are you bored yet?  We’ve done this every year since this blog began…


and over

and over

and over

and sometimes multiple times per year.  And yet here I am again, telling you about tonight’s sauerbraten, käsespätzle und rotkraut dinner.

I wanted to finally post recipes, but to tell you the truth we don’t have any!  Peter cooks the sauerbraten by taste, adding stuff like red wine vinegar, molasses, ginger snaps, and beef broth a bit at a time until it tastes just right.


Craig (Tom’s brother) is the onion man. 


Would you believe that there are 12 large onions cooking down in that frying pan?


And THIS is how much cheese we bought for the käsespätzle (but we only used three of these packages… the top one is Emmanthaler):


When cooking a German dinner, always drink beer!  Right, Kat?


Once the sauerbraten is cooking, start the rotkraut:

IMG_2754 I pretty much just dump red cabbage, apple slices, vinegar, brown sugar and clove into a pot and turn the heat on low.

Let everything cook for a while.



Now it’s time to get the spätzle dough going.  I let the guys do this.  First little brother…


Then big brother.


Enlist daughters and friends in making the dumplings…


Then it’s time to construct the käsespätzle.  All SIX casserole dishes full of it!

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And then, finally, it’s time to eat!

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Schmaltzy as it is, there is nothing – positively nothing, like a big, happy, delicious family dinner!


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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas night with the family – it ain’t what it used to be!

IMG_2690 IMG_2694 IMG_2696 IMG_2699 IMG_2700  IMG_2705

There was just enough money at stake (Tom and I put up a few bills for first, second, third and fourth place winners) to keep poor college students around the table for an evening of great fun and entertainment! 


The coasters are gifts I made for my dad and brothers (and myself!) on Shutterfly.  Took about 5 minutes  -- drag and drop – but we all ended up with a set of four coasters with pics of the families of each of Dad’s kids.  A fun, easy gift!

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Friday, December 25, 2009

My gift to you…

is in the form of a holiday ham baking tip. (You balk?  WELL!):

You made Pioneer Woman’s bread pudding with whiskey cream sauce for Christmas breakfast, correct?  If you didn’t, back up the clock and make this for your family’s holiday breakfast. 



Yeah, that!*

Surely you had some whiskey sauce left over (made with these heavenly ingredients and these ingredients only… heavy cream, sugar, butter and whiskaaaay).  Yes?


And your plans for the afternoon are to make a Christmas ham, I assume? 


(You know where this is going, don’t you?  Don’t laugh; how do you think Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups came about?)

And that ham is pre-sliced, right? 

And it came with a pre-made sugary-molasses glaze, right?

And your dear husband got a silicone basting brush in his stocking, right?

(Yeah, you know where we’re headed here.)

Before sending the ham into the oven (covered with foil, of course), take that silicone brush that Santa bequeathed upon your hubby and spread a little gooey whiskey-butter cheer  upon each and every slice of the Christmas ham.  For good measure, brush a bunch all over the outside of the ham too. Don’t use it all, though.  We’re not done!

Now put the ham into the oven, with a little whiskey sauce rubbed onto each slice, but without the glaze that came with the ham.  As the directions say, you’ll be spreading that glaze on the ham only when it’s almost heated through.

After the ham goes into the oven take that sugary molasses-laden ham glaze, pour it into a sauce pan, and to it add all that leftover cheer in the form of gooey alcohol-laden butter and sugar… and VOILA!  You now have a delicious whiskeybutterysugarymolassasy saucepan full of cheer.

About 15 minutes before the ham is finished cooking, brush the whiskey-butter-sugar-etc glaze on the all over it with said brush that sure is getting a lot of use for its first day.  Send it back into the oven for a few, and serve – along with Kat’s favorite homemade mashed potatoes (with some skin left on, per Peter’s insistence) and fresh cooked green beans. 

Merry Christmas!

*First three photos are courtesy of Pioneer Woman.  Stolen with love and admiration and a fair amount of bowing and groveling.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

A day in honor of Mom

I miss Mom most on Christmas Eve…




Omi and Carol Xmas 01Abrighter


…because she knew how to make this day really, really special, without any commercialism at all.


Once I year, on Christmas Eve, I light “Omi’s Candle” and let it burn through midnight.  It’s the closest I can get to emulating Mom’s Christmas Eve… and it’s nowhere near close enough.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve eve in Seattle

My day began with a trip to Harborview Medical Center to finally get my stitches out and put an end to this year-long ordeal.

Stitch removal

I’ve decided that cute young interns (preferably with long eyelashes) should perform all simple procedures from now on (not that I’ll need any, I must point out!) because they are so very carrrreful and very, very empathetic. 

Yeah, I know – that’s probably fear and nervousness speaking, but I found it very reassuring. 

Once that 3-minute procedure was over I drove down the hill to Pike Place Market, where Elisabeth met me for lunch and some last-minute shopping.  My original goal was to stop at the Bavarian Meat Market to get weisswurst for tomorrow’s attempt at Mom’s Bavarian Christmas Eve (I’ll never get it just right… probably because SHE is missing…), but it turns out that that part of the day was very quick – probably because the place was way crowded today and not the cozy, relaxed friendly place I’m accustomed to.  (I even forgot to take a picture!)

The majority of the afternoon was actually spent in deep conversation with Elisabeth at a window table at Cutter’s Bayhouse (yes, the same place Tom and I went for our 25th anniversary).  It was one of those long, deep, important conversations and I reminded myself that this mature, insightful, polite young lady is the same person who, not so long ago, went out of her way to defy me on a regular basis and who I referred to when I asked my mother whether I had ever royally pissed her off quite this much.  How much can change in ten years!

But we did finally get out to the market and beyond.  It was a beautiful day in Seattle today (as opposed to last year at this time!).  We even had a BLUE sky!


The Market was, of course, teeming with fresh seafood…

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… and there’s a new restaurant that I’m determined to explore one of these days…


It was crowded, but there’s something really nice about a lot of people in the Christmas spirit in downtown Seattle!


The line at the Piroshky store went around the corner and all the way down the block.  The way they were all chatting, you’d swear they were all good friends… but I think they were just strangers of the Seattle variety.


The original Starbuck’s store always has 1.) a line all the way outside the store and 2.) street musicians to entertain the people in the line all the way outside the store.

Of course, once the sun started setting, I just had to take a few more pictures.  How could I not?!

IMG_2630 (Yeah, I know… talk about product placement, eh?!)

IMG_2635 On days like today (and, actually, just about every day), I am so happy and still just a little amazed to be living in such a beautiful city in the gorgeous upper left-hand corner of America!

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

The kids have certainly matured (but apparently Mom hasn’t)

When the kids were young I loved to make Christmas tree ornaments with their photos. 

Sometimes the ornaments were store bought and I just inserted a photo from the previous year:


And sometimes they were handmade, either by the kids (a Brownie or school activity) or by me, with materials like baby food jar lids and lace remnants:


The last time I made ornaments like these was in 1994, but when the Target Dollar Store had little frame ornaments last week, I couldn’t resist!


I had no choice but to add their names and the year because really, it’s been so long that there just seems to be no consistency or similarity!

I think maybe I’ll do this again in 2019!  Think their kids would help me?

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Happy 54th birthday to this cutie!

Tom at 3


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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dear Eastern Seaboard – We know how you feel! Love, Seattle

Last year at this time, my blog post looked something like this:

Snow Day in Seattle*!










Remember that? 

And today it’s a balmy 48-ish degrees in Seattle, while the East Coast is being absolutely slammed with weather that looks something like this:

85167741WM002_March_Snowstoc82a31d5-3503-4517-8d28-58a183bebb96.Large mapWe know how you feel, Other Washington!  Our advice (if I may speak for all of Seattle) to you is to light a fire, bake some cookies, put on some holiday music, spike some eggnog, and just enjoy the whole “inconvenience.”

(Do not – repeat, DO NOT go outside and slip on the ice.)

Your friend, Seattle

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