Donnerstag, 27. Dezember 2012

Change of plans - and places

I have decided to move my main blogging activity to a new site. Feel free to visit me in my KNUSPERHAUS. ^^

(It would be great if you told everybody you feel needs to know about the change.)

Dienstag, 11. Dezember 2012


How to turn this...
... into this. Marchpane stollen, a traditional German holiday treat.

Honey nut cookies on the left (I only put in half the sugar!! Shame on me!!) and chocolate nut balls.

Date rolls (aka "lady fingers") and shortcrust with sugar and chocolate glaze.

And shortcrust with jelly made by a friend as filling.

Definitely magic. And tonight I totally plan to continue baking. Only need to buy more cookie jars first.

Montag, 10. Dezember 2012

Pre-Yule adventures: Valkenburg

Since the BF loves the winter holidays, we try to cram as much pre-holiday adventure into the month of December as possible. The picture above was taken in Valkenburg, NL, a bit more than a week ago. We took the two-hour drive to visit two christmas markets INSIDE CAVES. Isn't that cool?

Okay, I thought the decoration was cheesy and there were way too many people (at least in the one cave, the other one was almost empty, as you can see). We found some presents for the BF's nephew and niece, ate some good Durch fast food - honestly, the best fast food in the world! - and froze our fingers and toes off trying to find our way around the town.

There are some more pre-holiday adventures waiting, so stay tuned!

And the winner is...

The set of homemade holiday cards goes to - petoskystone! Please send me an e-mail with your address, so I can put them in the mail right away!

Freitag, 7. Dezember 2012

PBP: Remedies

With cold & flu season in full swing, it might be nice to share some of our favorite remedies.
How do you fight off sickness?
What if you don't catch it soon enough? How do you handle being sick once it has taken hold?
What is your best suggestion for getting well?

Recipes are encouraged! Have the best tea blend? We wanna see/hear it!

Outside the office window there is snow. Real snow. Which is pretty rare in our part of the world this early in the year, and it still does not mean we will get a white holiday. It does mean, however, that it is already pretty cold, and last week I fought my traditional winter cold. So by now I have remembered everything I do to stave off the nasty germs.

1. Ginger tea. We have a pot of water with sliced ginger standing on the stove literally all winter. We heat it repeatedly and top it up with water until the ginger has been cooked to death (which takes maybe five to seven days), then we thoroughly clean the pot, slice a new piece of ginger and start again. The BF drinks his pure, I add lemon and honey to mine.

2. Hot lemon. Not only in combination with ginger, but also on its own. At the office I will often use the instant variety, which tastes chemical and is full of vitamin C.

3. Tea. Loads of tea. That one is easy.

4. Cough drops. I use the sugar variety, because my tummy does not like the sugar-free cough drops. Eucalyptus is my favorite.

5. Spicy soups. Chicken soup is a classic, but my quickly made favorite is carrot soup with peanut butter, ginger, onions, garlic, curry and chili flakes. You dice and fry onions and garlic, add the sliced carrots, cook them to death in vegetable stock, add peanut butter and spices and blend. All done in less than 30 minutes, vegan and really tasty. If I can't eat anything else, I will still eat that.

6. Vitamin E capsules with high doses. Vitamin substitution is a difficult topic because most vitamins do not only have positive effects on the body, but I have found that high doses of vitamin E support my immune system. I only use them if either one of us is sick.

7. Lots of sleep. As soon as I start feeling ill, I cancel all appointments and face the fact that most of the housework won't get done till I am better once more. I spend as much time sleeping or dozing as possible, wrapped in warm blankets and possibly watching something mind-numbing on TV.

8. Fruits and vegetables. This is not an emergency remedy, but something you have to do all the time for it to have any effect. Eat your nutrients. An apple a day keeps the doctor away - and not only if you throw it at him. ^^

PS: Don't forget the giveaway! 

Donnerstag, 6. Dezember 2012

Bring on the holiday cheer! A giveaway.

Greebo has been hunting for Santa. Without success, so far.

Last year's christmas tree. (I wanted to add Halloween decoration. Who says christmas can't be spooky?)

 As you can see from the superior quality of the image, this was not taken by me. The BF did a wonderful job capturing winter, right?

Yesterday morning, instead of editing my WIP (which I had hoped to complete by November, before life got in the way - and I really dislike editing!), I created a few non-christmas holiday greeting cards. How do you like them? And just a minute ago I checked the order status, and obviously they are already on their way to my place!

Now, I thought... how would you like to have a few original, limited edition holiday cards to send to friends and family or attach to gifts? All you have to do is comment below this post before December 09, and on that day I will draw one lucky winner who will receive 15 holiday postcards. The giveaway is open to everyone.

(Admittedly it is a little late in the year - screw you, spontaneity! - but I will try to have them shipped your way before the holidays. Otherwise you will just have to wait for a year to use them. How does that sound?)

PS: I am right now preparing a set of sabbath and esbath greeting cards, so stay tuned... ^^

Freitag, 30. November 2012

PBP: The onset of winter

What do you do to prepare yourself and your home for winter? Has all of your food been stockpiled and preserved? Have all of the blankets and coats been unpacked? How do you handle the modern winter holidays, knowing they are nothing like the 'originals'? Is this time of year really happy and uplifting? Or is it stressful and depressing?

With the winter comes the first cold. I have been sneezing and coughing and whining since Tuesday. Luckily we do not have to store all our food for winter these days, supermarkets are a marvellous invention. I have brought all my plants inside (except for the apple tree, which has been wrapped in isolating foil) and put them on the kitchen windowsill and table. Instead the balcony is full of bird food. The tomatoes are still producing fruit, which I love. I bought a bright orange winter coat and ordered thick double covers in bright colors. My mother sent me a fuzzy scarf. And by now I own two pairs of warm boots. Let it be as cold as it wants, I am ready.

Christmas is a big deal for the BF, although he is not particularly Christian. So we have started dragging the decorations out of the basement, and tonight and tomorrow we will be decorating. We will have most of the traditional decorations - an Advent wreath (made from iron and decorated with evergreen and gold candles), lots of blinking lights, an ugly reindeer standing on the livingroom heater, candles everywhere, more blinking lights. And then there will be a tree covered in as much glittering and glinting stuff as I allow the BF. (I veto everything that might be dangerous for the cats. And everything that is truly ugly.) He has already started playing holiday music on his way to work. I have started taking the bus.

I would love to keep the flat rather dark, with a few candles and lots of blankets in comfortable corners. Maybe I can clean my office (there are piles of old computer parts on the floor - don't look at me, they are not mine!) and make it a safe haven. I hate it that he is so determined to make this a "special" time and press as much holiday love and cheer into a few days as possible when we have a whole year to love and be merry and cheerful, which he never uses. (I have a hard time making time and space for the sabbaths, as you know.) That, dear friends, is the perfect recipe for disaster. "We have to be nice, it's Christmas!" Heck, I don't care. ^^

The things I do - I finally got most of the twelve nights following Yule off from work and intend to do lots of reading, fortune-telling and being outside in the cold. We will probably have a New Year's Party, to which I hope to invite a few friends. Apart from that, I intend to see as little of the world as possible. Yule is my quiet time.

(I do not particularly mourn the fact that we do not celebrate the old way anymore - sitting in a hut with our cows and pigs in an attempt to keep warm, taking care of a small fire and eating as little as possible because we do not know how long our food will have to last.)