January 30, 2010

Dutch Fruit Pancake

We woke up to yet more glorious snow. This time it was the kind that sticks to each individual tree branch and coats the world in crisp, clean clarity. Right now a few flakes are wafting down, but it's sort of bright outside...looking out of the window, I said to Jason, "There's kind of a clearing in the clouds...it's almost like blue sky..." Which struck us both as funny.

It being Saturday, I decided to make something special for breakfast, and settled on my friend Laura's Dutch Fruit Pancake recipe. Laura has written a funny culinary post of which my favorite line about human nature is,

"I have recently realized that they actually don’t want things to be fair, they just want to get more than anyone else."

So true, so true!

Anyway, making the pancake was tricky as advertised, involving a pan, a platter, hot mitts and the sink, lots of butter, whole wheat flour, an apple and a banana. I wasn't too sure I was doing it right, got some batter on the hot mitts, some butter on the stove, and the edges weren't crispy as the recipe assured me they would be - but it was delicious and everyone liked it! A little maple syrup on top, and mmmmm.

Wait, wait - NEWS FLASH! The SUN is shining in my eyes!!! So foreign! So special! There's this little thinning of the clouds with the brightness crashing through it - but above, now, a huge expanse of blue! What is that stuff??? The actual sky. It's still there!

Now, should I take the kids to their drama rehearsals in my pyjamas, or throw on some honest-to-goodness daytime clothes?

January 30, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 27, 2009

Of Pineapple Cutting and Enormous Poppy-Like Things

PineappleCutting This is my latest attempt at cutting up a fresh pineapple. Fun.

HugePoppiesAgainstGrassInsideHugePoppyAre these poppies? They just suddenly POPPed open yesterday - maybe that's why they call them that! They look like poppies, except they're enormous, and thicker, and seem to have more petals and a very interesting, solid inside. Maybe I've just never seen any so close up, or maybe they are a different variety than I am used to. I suppose I should look for poppy seeds inside...that could be a clue. I know what those look like...

PurpleClematisPinkRhodyAnd now for more garden flowers (have you noticed I like flowers?): purple climbing clematis, and pink rhododendrons...

RedRose1 RedRose2And finally, the red roses made their appearance in the side yard this week as well.

May 27, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 14, 2009

Grocery Store's Version of Easter

On April March 12th (got ahead of myself there - thanks for edit, David S) it was one month until Easter - and here is what the grocery stores were thinking about:
ChocolateBunnies ChocolateBunniesCloseUp Funny how commerce turns important days into animal celebrations. Easter is Bunny Day. Thanksgiving is Turkey Day. What's Christmas, Donkey/Sheep/Ox Day? No, I guess that's more Santa Claus Day.

Well, I'm thankful for so many things every day, and I'm especially thankful for Jesus' arrival in human form on earth whatever time of year it was, and for His conquering of death at Easter-time - You Rock, Jesus!

I love my ladies' group's memory verse for this week (not surprising, since I picked it):

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.
Psalm 25:5

I feel like this verse deals with past, present and future:
He has already taken care of my salvation,
He guides me and teaches me today,
and my hope will be in Him now and forever, all day long...

Let it be so, Lord, in Your mercy.

March 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A Lot of Yummy Baking

Results from the oven in the past couple of weeks:

- Apple Crumble

- Apple Pie

- Rice Krispie Treats with M&Ms

- Ben & Jerry's Recipe Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies, designed for homemade ice cream sandwiches (David baked these - they were so good!)
Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich
- Apple Crisp (the Apple Crumble is better; we'll go back to that, with its nuts and oats and cereal)

- Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate chips

- Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with teal cream cheese frosting and pink writing and sprinkles (that's David's talented italic icing handiwork)
Wow. Fun stuff.

March 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 05, 2009

Cake, Freedom, Flowers, and Sunrises

ChocolateCakeNutellaPBFrosting I baked a (you might need to sit down) whole wheat chocolate cake with sliced almonds and chopped hazelnuts & walnuts inside, with a Nutella-peanut butter frosting, and Hershey's kisses and red M&Ms on top. Delicious or disgusting, take your pick of opinion. Emily and I are going with the former.

* * *

My nephew will be 19 this month. Wow, the next generation of our family is coming of age! He's the oldest grandchild. It's a huge milestone, the first one turning adult...not that it happens at an exact moment. Next year he won't even be a teenager anymore...Happy Birthday, Mark!

* * *

Been thinking about the line from Braveheart, where Mel Gibson (as the savior figure William Wallace) is stretched out on a cross, being tortured for treason he didn't commit (because he never swore allegiance to the bad king), and when it is suggested he beg for mercy and a quick death, instead of uttering the required and expected "Mercy" to save himself, he shouts, "FREEDOM!!!" Of course it reminded me of Jesus buying our freedom on the cross, unjustly accused. Quite the picture of it.

* * *

PinkFlowersinFeb09Langnau Saw a lovely pink flower in the garden today, on an otherwise bare tree. Such a glimmer of hope for spring. And so unexpected - there is still some snow in the driveway.

* * *

I liked this uncommonly used name for Jesus, from Matthew 10:25 - "Head of the House." (as opposed to what his opponents were calling him in the same verse...they were a little confused which side he was on)

* * *

One more night with my beloved gone. We'll see what time I go to bed tonight. It's been highly varied, as David, when he is here, is my wonderful conscience who helps me stay healthy by getting to bed at a reasonable hour. So far, My lights have gone off at 2:50am, 11:50pm, 1:50am, 9:03pm (inspired by my smart friend Allison), 11:30pm (challenged by my good brother David), and 11:55pm (last night). That's an average of 12:10am. Oh dear. Normally we try to go to bed closer to 10pm, to be happy and healthy in the morning when we get up around 7am. I'm looking forward to getting back to that.

* * *

GreenBeanTortellini AnotherBeautifulSunriseLangnau Last night's green bean tortellini (be glad you weren't here, D) with freshly grated parmesan, and this morning's next beautiful sunrise. Today was our THIRD sunny day in a row! Thank You, Creator of sunrises and the sun itself, and generous Sharer of all good things with us.

* * *
I liked this quote I found in a booklet sent as a gift for our anniversary last month - thanks again, Julie:
It is not only prayer that gives God glory but work.

Smiting on an anvil, sawing a beam, painting a wall, driving horses, sweeping, scouring, everything gives God some glory if being in his grace you do it as your duty.

To go to Communion worthily gives God great glory, but a man with a dungfork in his hand, a woman with a slop-pail, give him glory, too.

He is so great that all things give him glory if you mean they should."
Gerard Manley Hopkins (English poet, 1844-1889)

February 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 04, 2009

Katherine's Apple Crumble

On the third tweaking, and having looked at ingredients in various other people's recipes, I came up with this original recipe for Apple Crumble. I surprise myself. Feel free to try it - my family likes it.

* Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F)

* Butter a 9x13" glass baking dish.

* Stir together in Bowl #1:
    - 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
    - 3/4 cup oats
    - 1/4 cup brown sugar
    - 1/2 teaspoon salt
    - generous 1/2 cup sliced almonds
    - generous 1/2 cup broken pecans
    (pecans can be toasted in preheating oven if you feel so inclined, 5 mins or so)

* In Bowl #2, stir together:
    - 1/2 cup brown sugar
    - 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    - 2 dashes cloves
    - 2 dashes nutmeg
    - 1 dash allspice
    - up to 1 cup of healthy-ish cereal (clusters or flakes or whatever no one is eating up)

* Peel, core and chop 8 apples, then toss with Bowl #2. Spread this mixture evenly in the bottom of the buttered pan.

* Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the apple mixture (perhaps through a sieve so as not to let any seeds fall in)

* Melt 4 Tablespoons of butter. Quickly stir it into Bowl #1, then spread this mixture over the apples.

* Pour 1/4 cup of water around the edges of the pan.

* Bake 30 minutes. Eat plain for snack or breakfast, or dessert, or add ice cream or whipped cream if you like. Let me know if you try it and what you think. "En guete," as they say in Swiss-German (Enjoy, Bon Appétit...).

February 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 21, 2009

The Firmness of Water

An hour fresh-cut in a glass of cool water does wonders for droopy celery.

The Firmness of Water

The Firmness of Water

January 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 21, 2008

Swiss Christmas Chocolates in Abundance Already

Since Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving either don't exist or are not big here in Switzerland, they have skipped straight to Christmas at the grocery store already. These made me smile, because I think they are pretty and they remind me of my childhood around here. They make all these chocolate ornaments that can be hung on the tree, and colorful chocolate rounds that are perfect as stocking stuffers or in a bowl. Yummy thoughts:

October 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Swiss Starbucks

StarbucksthalwilYesterday for the first time I decided to do my Bible reading at a Starbucks, here in Zurich. I went to one that was on my way to the grocery store (actually I parked at the grocery store). I went out on the back terrace, which looks over the train tracks and Lake Zürich. This was my view.

While I was sitting there, in a town that speaks Swiss-German, I heard a man speaking on the phone in Spanish, with a few English words sprinkled in, like, "I know, I know..." and, "you don't seem convinced..."
Then the same man spoke to a boy who appeared to be his grandson, in English: "Read it yourself."

Nearby there was a clearly American mom with her preschooler, encouraging him to work in his workbook in English. Later a group sat down and starting speaking German - not Swiss-German, mind you. Starbucks is definitely a hang-out for ex-pats!

No one knew for sure what language I spoke, because I didn't say anything. Although I was quietly reading an English Bible...if somewhat distractedly! Then everyone left but me, and someone else came out and started smoking, so I went inside to the safe, smoke-free environment to finish up, and then left to do my shopping. Next post on something I saw at the store...

October 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 18, 2008

Gruyères: Cailler Chocolate Factory

Well, 5 minutes from Gruyères in Broc (pronounced BRO, as we learned).

Best parts of the Cailler Chocolate Factory: FREE ENTRY and ABUNDANT FREE SAMPLES. :-) There wasn't much to see (a mildly entertaining movie in French with clips from the 1950s of a family visit day at the factory), but then, this long, glass display counter, laden with little chocolates of every kind: light and dark, with almonds, hazelnuts, creamy, crunchy, praliné, mousse, in different shapes. Yum. We were the only people there at the time, so we asked the lady behind the counter to describe almost every one to us, and tasted one of everything that appealed the most - we shared with each other so as to conserve room for more different tastes. We considered going back again the next day for round two on our way out of the area...but didn't. We might have actually bought some chocolate from them (the ones with whole almonds on top were the top hit), but a busload of tourists were standing in line, so we didn't. It's not as if we can't buy it in a regular store around here anytime.

The purple chocolate mixer was sloshing around some good-looking chocolate, but I am sure it was only for display purposes.

October 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack