Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Busy Saturday

Vacation time. Family time.

One Saturday morning, we drove to Mannheim as we are curious how a live auction is done; we brought the girls. We examined the items for auction, checking the price list. The girls were fascinated by the proceedings, and got bored because we were not bidding. In a stage whisper, IC said, 'why are we here if we are not bidding at all?'

So we bidded, and got some fairly expensive items for a very low, low price. For example, we got a sterling silver ring with sapphire valued at 50 Euro (starting bid 9 Euro) for only 11 Euro and a Chronotech wristwatch valued at 130 Euro (starting bid 5 Euro) for only 5 Euro (nobody bidded against me)!!! The girls got their bids, too: IC her antique cabinet, MC her antique spindel. Everybody's happy!

The water tower in Mannheim

Next we drove to Weinheim for a cocktail to celebrate Edith Voss Immobilien's anniversary. I love the fingerfood -- both the taste and the presentation.


Then off to our mountain garden to harvest apples and pears.


Then to the next mountain to check out the other ground, the one that's not yet being cleared for use as a garden. The girls had fun running around, playing hide and seek, climbing trees, sliding using their leggings-packed behinds, etc.

In the woods

We also passed by the cemetery to water the plants which we have planted on the graves of Oma and Opa.

Watering the plants in the cemetery
 Fun. If only I didn't have to prepare dinner, too. :-D

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cauliflower with Breadcrumbs and Cheese Toppings

This is one favorite side dish: my husband's recipe.

We bought a big bag of frozen cauliflowers. The kids won't eat them unless cooked Papa's way. Good thing his recipe is fast and easy.

salt to season

Fill the pot with water and a pinch of salt, add the cauliflower and cook until tender. Meanwhile, heat a pan with two tablespoons of butter and add the breadcrumbs. Stir regularly and keep on medium heat under golden brown. If cauliflower is tender, transfer into a plate. Pour the golden brown breadcrumbs on top and add the cheese.

Guten appetit!

P.S. You can add any kind of cheese.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Easy-to-Do Doll House

This is just a way to keep the mini items that my girls have collected throughout the years.

I have had enough of stepping on tiny doll shoes, of being stuck with the pointed corners of tiny sofas.

Therefore, I asked my husband to build a simply doll house for the kids. A doll house that would house all their mini and midi toys!

I want it to be a sort of a 'store' room for their toys yet camouflaged as a doll house.

First we asked the girls where they wanted to place their doll houses and measured those areas. Then we drove to the nearest store to buy the materials: pre-cut plywoods, cardboard, some nails, hammer, glue gun and eventually a piece of cloth for the roof.

Since the plywoods are pre-cut, it is just easy to piece them together: the walls, the floors and the cardboard for the back by hammering them in place or with a glue gun.

Make sure that you have measured the division of the floors according to the the items that would come into the doll house. Just ask your girls how they plan to decorate their doll houses.

After everything's assembled, add the piece of cloth for the rooftop.

This type of dollhouse is pratical. Since the girls have more or less abandoned the doll house after months of using it, we are now using it as a book shelf!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Potato Pancake with Zucchini

Too many zucchinis in the garden, therefore, we use the veggie in almost all our meals.

And this time, for Potato Pancakes with Zucchini.


1 kilo grated potatoes
1/4 k  grated zucchini
3 eggs
2 tbps. flour
a handful of chopped parsley and dill
salt and pepper to taste
nutmeg to taste

oil for cooking


Drain the grated potatoes and zucchini, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Heat the pan, add the oil. Then cook one spoonful each, until golden brown.

In Germany, it is usually served with apple compote but this time we had fresh tomatoes and coleslaw as side dishes.

Other zucchini recipes here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fiesta Parade

Not really a warm day, but the girls want to watch the parade celebrating the fiesta in our old town. By saying watch, that also means, the girls are ready collect sweets and gifts from the treats being passed around during the parade.

With both girls armed with big bags for their much awaited treasures, off we went.

We found our old place -- the corner street right where the parade starts. Therefore, the girls received their treats much, much earl. Yes, we, young-at-hearts were rewarded, too.

The marching band
The first treat coming from the parade participants, free beer!
Then, a glass of wine from the region
Followed by the freshly grilled bread-in-sticks
The crispy biscuits from the Gourmet Club

Another type of apple wine from the Farmer's Group

Pieces of homemade cakes

Wine and balls...

More cakes and more balls...
Sweets from the witches...
Apple juice from another witch...
More sweets and drinks...

More beer...
Suffice to say, I was a bit tipsy when the parade's done. My husband had to pass most of the 'drinks' to me as he is driving. As for the girls? Well, they had a bagful of loots and loads of fun!

As for me, I slept good that night.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What is a Greengage?

That's the greengage in our backyard

We always thought it was a plum tree. Yes, that tree in our backyard garden.

Well, it looks like a plum and tastes like one (actually, it tastes better) -- but see, we have plum trees in our mountain garden. And out there, they have this dark blue-violet color. And the one in our garden's got this reddish fruits.

We simply thought it's just the color. But then someone told us that what we have in the backyard is something special. Especially since the fruits tastes really crunchier and sweeter and just heavenly.

Oh well, I don't exaggerate. An aunt passed by after learning that we have more than enough fruit harvests. She loves picking the fruits herself so she came, ready with her bags. First, she wanted the mirabelle (yellow plums). Some blackberries she just munched on because her target is that 'something different' plums. She starting checking those on the ground before picking those from the tree.
That's the plums from our mountain garden.

And then she tasted it. And she enthusiastically proclaimed it as something special. (I am right or not??? )

Then yesterday, my husband saw her in the city. She informed him eagerly that the plums are really ringlotte (greengage).

And I said? What is that?

I immediately googled it up and yes, they are indeed called greengage.

I haven't heard of that fruit before! It is indeed a sister of the plum.. from Wikipedia: They are known for their rich, confectionery flavour that causes them to be considered one of the finest dessert plums according to Wikipedia.

The greatest part is that they are supposed to be green to yellow yet ours is reddish -- meaning?? Our greengage is better tasting than the rest!!!

Wow, so we have indeed a special plum in the backyard.

I might just sell the greengage next year. I might! Maybe keep some of the seeds and plant it for next year and I would have the best plums in the world.

That was before my husband informed me that we need a tree, not a seed :-(.

Anyway, I have enough frozen greengages, might was well enjoy the fresh fruit as long as it lasts for we need to trim it down. That means, not so much harvest next year as this year.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Almond and Yellow Plum Cake

Here is the never-ending saga of our yellow plum trees. I have been baking almost everyday, aside from freezing most of the harvested yellow plums. Our friends and neighbors have enough, more than enough they say.

Here's the ingredients for the Almond and Yellow Plum Cake:

1000 g yellow plums (I tend to add more fruits because my family loves it)
200 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
175 g sugar (plus set aside 2 tbsp sugar)
1 pack vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
100 g butter
125 g whipping cream
100 g ground almond
50 g almond flakes
plus powdered sugar to sprinkle


Wash the yellow plums, cut in half and remove the seeds.

Mix flour, baking powder, 75 g sugar, vanilla sugar and salt. Add one egg and butter then knead.

Grease and flour a baking tin and press the dough then use a fork to prick the dough.

Beat the whipping cream until stiff, then mix 100 g sugar, ground almonds and one egg. Add to the dough.

Top with the yellow plums, almond flakes and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

In a preheated oven (200-175 degrees), bake around 45 minutes. 10-15 minutes before the end of the baking time, cover the cake with a folie. Let the cake cool in the baking tin. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Welcome Home, Rikki!

She's here!

We have been waiting for her since March.

Okay, she's born last June 19, but we have already talked to the breeders as early as March.

Rikki, our blond Golden Retriever, is home!

We visited Rikki a few times at the breeders, to familiarize ourselves with the pup and to learn more on care for Golden Retrievers (I have a long list!). IC, our seven-year-old still felt a bit threatened but she's not too panicky anymore. MC, our nine-year-old, moves comfortably around dogs though she hates being licked.

As a going-away gift, the breeders gave us a bag of wood chips (that would be her toilet), a bag of special dog food, and a small towel that smells of her first home to keep her from being homesick. After saying goodbye with tears and lots of photos taken -- Rikki is ready.

Yesterday we finished preparing our garden, created a pathway filled with wood chips/bark mulch and a small fenced in area for her 'toilet'. Now we just have to train her to walk those pathways and avoid using the stairs when going down so as not to strain her joints. Plus, we plan to buy her a mini pool as Golden Retrievers love water!

It is great having a pet again!

P.S. Candy, we still miss you!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Autoversicherung : Car Insurance Special

Eine passende Autoversicherung orientiert sich an Ihren Wünschen, sowie an Ihrem Leben.
Mit einem Auto ist man flexibel. Schön, wenn es mit der Autoversicherung genauso wäre. Schließlich ändert sich das eigene Leben und damit auch die Bedürfnisse.

Aus diesem Gedanken heraus, vermitteln wir, zusammen mit dem größten Versicherer Deutschlands, für Sie den optimalen und individuellen Versicherungsschutz.

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Da ein Wechsel zum 1. Januar 2012 möglich ist, rufen sie uns an (06201-3896738) oder schreiben Sie uns eine Email (erhardfinanzservice@yahoo.de) . Wir finden für Sie, die bedarfsgerechten Zusatzbausteine.

Erhard Finanz-Service berät Sie kompetent und neutral.


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Erhard Finanz-Service is in partnership with the largest insurer in Germany, for the optimal and individual insurance coverage.

Instead of a flat package can opt for a basic individual protection and then you choose your additional need-based products; you might want to avail of a Visa card, with 1% fuel bonus, discount protection etc.

Changing the car insurance policy on the first January 2012 is possible, so if you want us to check and help you with your choices -- just call us (06201-3896738) or send us an email (erhardfinanzservice@yahoo.de) for more information.

Erhard Financial Services for more info: here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Veggie Harvests

Spinach season is over.
It is time for zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, and peas. Oh, we still have some rucola left, too.

Our herbs and spices are still thriving: dill, parsley, olive, peppergrass (pepperweed), basil, bear's garlic, lemon thyme, rosemary, mint. It is fun to combine most of these herbs and spices when creating barbecue sauce; with fried and baked dishes; as salad relishes.

It's time to be creative (again) with those harvested veggies. Even the kids are joining us in our 'experiments' in the kitchen. I have been bombarding my blog with posts on yellow plum recipes, which I am modifying by using the other fruits we have (apples, plums, pears, peaches etc.) I would post a snack creation inspired by our fruit harvests by our seven-year-old IC soon.

With veggies, we combine most of the harvests in a grill, in a sauce, in fried rice dishes, for salad, and in baked meals, too. Our first pea harvest we have decided to freeze, as most of the tomatoes that would come next.

Freshly- picked Peas
The few rucola leaves, we add  to some of them to our lettuce salad, it adds zest.

Unlike our overwhelming fruit gifts, our vegetable and herbs and spices garden are simply enough for our daily needs.

How cool it is to just sneak in the garden for additional ingredients when one is cooking? Real cool, I tell you.

I am really thinking about serious farming in the next future. After all, we should give back the gifts we receive, right?

Yellow Plum Crumble Cake

We have two Mirabelle (yellow plum) trees at the very back of our backyard garden; and there's another one in our mountain garden. Thus, we have more than enough yellow plums this year.

Our guests are happy to bring home a basketful especially if they get to pick them themselves; the rest we deliver to our friends and neighbors around town. We don't want to see the plums go to waste, so we have to be creative in the kitchen again.

My first attempt to bake using the yellow plums is this crumble cake (I have already posted the Yellow Plum Cheesecake Recipe, I was not so sure if it's a good choice because it might be too sour for my girls' taste. But nope, it was a hit!

Ingredients for Yellow Plum Crumble Cake:

900 g flour
425 g sugar
1 small pack of vanilla sugar
6 Eggs
600 g butter or margarine
around 400 g yellow plums
1 small pack of baking powder
100 ml milk
3 tbsp honey
some butter/margarine and flour for the cake pan


Put 450 g flour, 225 g sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, 1 egg and 250 g butter in a mixing bowl and use your hands to mix and create a crumbled mix. Set aside in a the ref.

Cut the yellow plums in half and remove the seeds. Put aside.

Put 350 g butter and 200 g sugar in a bowl, stir using a hand mixer until creamy. Add the rest of the eggs, one at a time. Then the 450 g flour and baking powder; plus milk and honey.

Heat the oven between 150 to 175 degrees depending on your oven.

Place the flour mixture on a greased and floured baking pan. Then top with the yellow plums. Add the crumble mixture.

Bake between 40-50 minutes.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Aldi Salami Recalled

And the news...

Der Aldi-Süd-Lieferant Schepers&Comp hat eine Wurstsorte zurückgerufen and vor dem Verzehr gewarnt. In einer Probe des Artikels 'Salami Magretta & Salami Spianata' seien Listerien nachgewiesen worden. Die Bakterien können Beschwerden auslösen, bei Schwangeren sogar Fehlgeburten. Die Rückrufaktion der Firma betrifft Artikel mit den Mindesthaltbarkeitsdaten 18.08.2011, 25.08.2011 und 01.09.2011. Die Ware könne in den Aldi-Süd-Märkten zurückgegeben werden, teile der Lieferant mit.

The Aldi-Süd supplier Schepers & Co. has recalled a type of sausage and warned against consumption. Listeria were detected in the 'Salami Magretta and Salami Spianata'. The bacteria can cause illnesses, even miscarriages in pregnant women. The recall affects those with shelf life dated: 18.08.2011, 25.08.2011 and 01.09.2011. Goods can be returned in Aldi-Süd markets, says the supplier.


Aldi-Süd is our number choice when it comes to grocery shopping. (We used to go to Lidl but not anymore after a not so funny episode). The girls love their Milfina Streichfein Butter with salt, it costs 1.29 Euro. Although I was really shocked with the prices, butter used to be 0.69 Euro in 2008!!! What, around more than 40% increase? (And look, a comment left by a reader informed me that it's actually an 87% increase, whoa! Thanks for the correction, and yes, Math is not my strongest point nor biking but that's another topic!!)

No matter, we need butter and sausages, too. Just need to watch out for recalls.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wild Girls?

MC complains.

She's very disappointed.

Her friend always says NO to most of her invites. No permission from the mom, that's the real story.

Now, MC is really offended. Is something wrong with her, with us?

An overnight stay with us? No. She's only eight years old. Eight years old are not supposed to stay overnight in a strange house. Are we strange?

A visit in our mountain garden? No. She might get bitten with the dangerous ticks. Been visiting our mountain garden for years and see, mom? No tick bites.

A roll in the hay? No. She might get skin allergies. Well, my girls and I do get rashes after a roll in the hay, but we do feel the fun!

A church event? No. Unfortunately, they don't belong to any churches.  My husband is Protestant, the girls and I are Roman Catholic, but we join both church activities!

Picking fruits? No. Some fruits are not yet good, you might get stomachache! Picking fresh fruits and munching on them right on the spot is a juicy experience. As for stomachache? There's the wonder of herbal teas!

Climbing trees? No. One might fall down. Well, they don't normally fall up!

Shower in the rain? No. Too cold, too hot, too rainy :-D Rain is always welcome, just dry yourselves up before coming in!

Swimming? No. Too cold, too hot, too dangerous. Or simply afraid of getting wet?

Watching a movie? No. Avatar is for kids 12 years old up only. Oh my, my girls saw that movie two times times with us already.

There's something wrong, right?

The thing is, let your kids decide!! It is by letting them go that they would learn how to stand up for themselves. Just let them know that you are there to support them, to help them, to guide them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

10th Anniversary

I am making sure I won't forget this time!

The past wedding anniversaries, it was always my husband who would remind me.

And so I guess, our anniversary story remains the same...

Because last week, he was calling our favorite hotel-restaurant for a reservation and I was looking at him perplexed. You see, we have more than enough harvest in our garden that we said we won't dine out nor buy fresh veggies and fruits for the next months.

That he was calling the hotel-restaurant where we celebrated our wedding in 2001, didn't even register. I was going to tell him to cancel the reservation when he said, 'Of course, you would forget. It's our 10th anniversary, mein Schatz!'


And so today I am making sure. I have scheduled this post :-D

Mein Schatz, Happy 10th Wedding Anniversary!!! Ich liebe dich sehr!

This anniversary is extra special because of what we have gone through the past years, not easy, no, not easy -- but see, we are still together. And I hope to be celebrating forever with you and the girls.

As usual, our wedding anniversary would be enjoyed with the girls. Who, I am pretty sure, are already preparing their outfits for the day. I would love to wear my wedding dress, I hope I'd fit!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cosmic Serene Spa

Looking for an exclusive hideout in the middle of a busy Malate community? Where you could forget about the travails of everyday stress and simply let go?

Then stop by at Cosmic Serene Spa -- to relax and enjoy a wonderful pampering.
Cosmic Serene Spa is located at U120 Pacific Regency, P. Ocampo St. Malate, Manila. The spa is right across The Rizal Memorial Coliseum. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday 1:00 pm - 10:00 pm.

How to get there:

Public Transit Take the LRT 1 (Monumento to Baclaran LRT), alight at Vito Cruz extension. If you are coming from the north (Monumento), walk from the LRT station towards P. Ocampo St. (formerly Vito Cruz St.), turn right and walk towards the direction of Roxas Boulevard. On your right you will pass by Starbucks and Rizal Memorial Coliseum. On your left you will pass by BPI, Burgundy and Grand Towers Condominium.

Now, if you are coming from the south (Baclaran), just cross Taft Avenue from the Vito Cruz station and take the same route as mentioned above.

By jeepney, just alight at P. Ocampo St. (formerly Vito Cruz) and take the same route as mentioned above.

Call 5670722 for appoinment. For more info: Cosmic Serene Spa

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Yellow Plum Cheesecake

We are still harvesting more than enough yellow plums, in both our backyard garden and our mountain garden, (despite giving away basketful to neighbors and friends) therefore I am still busy baking.

Yellow Plum Cheesecake


300 g yellow plums
35 g almond flakes
3 eggs
500 g low-fat curd cheese
250 g sour cream
150 ml milk
1 small pack vanilla sugar
200 g sugar
butter for the baking tin


Wash, cut and remove the seeds of the yellow plums.

Grease a baking tin and scatter the almond flakes.

Separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Add salt to the egg white and whisk.

Put the curd cheese and sour cream in a bowl. Add egg yolk, milk, vanilla sugar and sugar. Mix.

Then the egg white and the yellow plums.

Pre-heat the oven (between 150 to 175 degrees). Bake around one hour. After 40 minutes, put a folie over the baking tin.

Let the cake cool inside the oven, after turning it off.

Friday, August 5, 2011

We Don't Buy Fruits Anymore


We have two yellow plum trees, a plum tree, and blackberry bush sagging with fruits in our backyard. The rest of our sour cherries we have plucked for our neighbors already. Not to mention the soon to be harvested wild grapes and those from the four apple trees.

And then we visit our mountain garden.

Sour Cherry Tree
We haven't even touched the sour cherries this year!
The girls love the red currants!

The red currants, blackberries and gooseberries are still hanging there although we have already shared basketfuls to the girl's teachers and I already have more than a dozen containers filled with frozen fruits. And then there's more than a dozen fruit-bearing trees waiting for us, too -- yellow plums, plums, pears, peaches, and apples.

The Yellow Plum Tree

The pears in this tree is not yet ripe, but the other one's got sweet pears!
My girls have demanded we bring home a bunch of grapes although they are still a bit sour and needs a little time.

The grapes looks great but not yet ripe!
We have more than enough fruits. Our neighbors have more than enough, too. Some of them already told us they don't need any in the next weeks to come!

I have baked more than our share of cakes, cookies and pies from those fruits. For our dessert, almost after every meal, we simply go out to our backyard garden and pick fruits.

This post is to let you know that if ever you need fruits? You know where to go!

It's a shame to let them go to waste! Help us eat them :-D

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fried Rice with Zucchini and Kielbasa

Our garden continues to give gifts of fruits and veggies.

Also the spinach season is over. It's time for zucchini.

After learning from the kitchen experiments using spinach; we decided to use the available ingredients in our cupboards for a creative meal.

Discovering that the girls love the taste of zucchini (Our first zucchini landed in the barbecue grill and the girls goobled them up); it is easy to find a combination for a successful dish.

I found that a frozen pack of Kielbasa (Polnish Sausage), left-over rice, and eggs would do for this dish.

-a medium sized zucchini, chopped in cubes
- 3 pcs. of kielbasa, chopped in cubes
- 3 pcs. of eggs, beaten
- 3 cups of left-over rice
- 3-4 tsps. of olive oil
- cheyenne pepper and salt to taste
- a handful of parsley

Pour the olive oil and heat the pan. Throw in the chopped kielbasa and stir. Add the chopped zucchini when the kielbasa turned golden brown and stir. Then pour in the beaten eggs and mix. Add the cooked rice, then cheyenne pepper and salt to taste. Cook until the rice is heated. Relish with parsley.

Serve with green salad.

The photo above is my husband's share, he loves to eat rice with a punch, thus the chillis.