Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Friendship endures time...

Yes, I finally have an internet connection again.  I have to say that has been a wee bit challenging...OK truth be said, it has been really challenging for me ;) Besides the internet situation, the three of us have adjusted well and we have gotten into our routine.  The girls go to school in the morning, while I work, and shop on the market on Monday's as well as Friday's. So, just like in Portland the three of us look forward to the weekend.  This past weekend we drove up to Stuttgart for one of our good friend's birthday party.  They had also invited a bunch of our mutual friends that had moved back from Portland to Germany so it was like a reunion.
44 adults, and 34 kids in all - so much fun.

The kids met their friends again.  Alena played with one a friends whom she has known since she was two.  They had not seen each other in at least one and a half years. It was so cool to see, that after about 30 minutes they played with each as always.  They were inseparable for the entire weekend.  - The same thing happened with Mia Rosie and her friend. Once they warmed up to each other again it was like they had never been separated.  And for me?  Same thing, we just do not need the warm-up period.   I think that is the sign of true friendship.  When you can pick up just where you left off.  Yes, even if you live in different countries and continents.  Cheers to friendship!

Mia Rose and her friend :)

Did anyone say Alena does not like Chocolate Soy Ice "Cream"...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fun, fun, fun and school

Fun, fun, fun
So, I know it is summer break already in Portland, but there is still another few weeks of school left in Germany.  Therefore, both girls are in school while I work.  Alena is in second grade at the same elementary school I went to :), while Mia Rose is in Kindergarten.  School is only for half the day, so we still have plenty of time to play...In the short time since we arrived we have already been to the pool at TuWass a couple of times, been to an amusement park - click on "virtueller Rundgang" to see pictures, enjoyed Pommes Frites (French Fries), Wurst, and spent lots of time playing outdoors.

All is possible :) - We figured out safe bread, Wurst and thank's to a fairly new EU Regulation all allergens are now declared. Yay...below a couple more pictures of the girls with my Mom

Alena and Omi

Mia Rose and Omi feeding deer

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our trip...

we have arrived in Europe and now I finally have an internet connection again.  Yay!

Our trip was uneventful, long as usual as we flew via Atlanta, but luckily uneventful.  For the trip I packed plenty of sandwiches, fruit, fruit roll-ups, and pretzels for the girlies.  Salami sandwiches - lactose free salami of course - for Alena, and Mia Rosie chose Emmenthaler-Salami sandwiches.  I am so glad we had them because we arrived in Europe with only two sandwiches left :)  For the transatlantic flight I had ordered vegan meals for both ladies.  They both loved the fruit, salad, as well as the grain.  We decided to leave the buns on the tray - and yes, the margarine that served by Delta catering was not vegan.  Thank you to the lovely flight attendant for reading the label for me...

Here is a picture of the girlies on the first plane from Pdx - Atlanta...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Last day of school...

it has happened.  Today.  The last day of Kindergarten for Mia Rose, and the last day of Second Grade for Alena.  Well,  OK they still have at least a couple more weeks of school ahead of them in Germany, but their regular school is done for the school year.  Oh, how bitter-sweet.  My lovies are growing up so fast - in the fall we will have a First and Third Grader.  Wow!  I so clearly remember when they were born.  When we did not know what life would be like. What happened to the time.  Well, I guess that a look in the mirror should be enough ;), right?!  Seriously - time is flying and we are so proud of our girlies.  Both, Alena and Mia Rose worked so hard the entire school year.  It is so exciting to see them grown, and learn...
Leaving for the last day of school for the 2011/12 school year

Alena and her Second Grade teacher Miss Beth

Mia Rose at her Kindergarten desk

Alena and Miss Ellie 

Alena and Miss Nelson

Mia Rose and Mrs. H her Kindergarten teacher (plus Alena)

So this, is my last post from Portland for a few weeks as we leave for Europe in the morning.  Bright and early, yes!  What on earth was I thinking to leave the day after the last day of school.  I am honestly a wee bit spent by now...yes, yes, yes I know entirely self inflicted ;)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Coconut-Carrot-Ginger Soup

1was our dinner last night.  Quick, easy, and delicious.  The idea for this soup came from my very good friend, and I have made a version of it before.  This time I decided to make it a little creamer and added coconut milk, as well as curry.  It turned out quite delicious - milk free - and Alena ate two servings. Whoo-hoo - a total success.  This soup can easily be made vegan by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.  The next time, I will add some cilantro - for added deliciousness :)

Oh, yes as a side we had bread - not home-made as I am getting a little stressed out so close to our trip - and mixed green salad with the addition of an edible flower from our garden.  By the way, this is from the seeds we planted at Mia Rosies' birthday party :)

Coconut-Carrot-Ginger Soup
Splash of olive oil
1 medium onion diced
2-3 garlic cloves minced
1-2 teaspoons of curry powder
app. 2 lbs carrots, cleaned and cut into 1/2" chunks
app. 3/4" fresh ginger, minced
2 medium yellow potatoes, or one large
1 can of coconut milk
1 Quart of chicken, or vegetable stock {I like Pacific brand}
1 lime {1/2 juiced and the other half cut in slices for serving}
Salt, pepper to taste.  Optional cayenne pepper {just on my bowl} to taste

1. Heat splash of olive oil in a deep stock pot, add onions, and a pinch of salt. Sautee until onion
    is soft. Add
2. garlic, curry, and ginger. Sautee for a minute be careful that garlic does not burn. Then add,
3. carrots sautee until they get bright in color before adding the potatoes.  Then add,
4. Coconut cream and after another couple of minutes pour in the coconut water, as well as the
    stock. Bring to slow simmer until carrots are soft.
5. When carrots are soft carefully puree the soup {I use a stick blender} - be careful not to burn yourself
    as the soup is very hot - until desired consistency.
6. Just before serving add juice of 1/2 lime, and adjust the spices.

I hope you enjoy this soup!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Urban hike on a sunny Sunday

Yesterday it was three more sleeps to the last day of school, and four more sleeps until we leave for Germany.  Yikes - where did the time go?!  Anyways, we were just so glad that it was finally a sunny day again.  You certainly know by now that we really like to be outdoors - so it was the perfect day for a hike, but we really did not want to drive anywhere. So we planned to walk from our house to Burgerville - a guilty pleasure before our trip to Europe - stop at the playground and back.  Just so you get an idea of distance, it is about 45 blocks from our house to Burgerville.  So it is a good distance for the girls.

Our butterfly Alena led the way as we strolled through the neighborhoods, admired the flowers and gardens.

The girlies were pretty happy when we reached or destination and they got to indulge on their Hamburger Kid's Mean {yes, it is "Galactosemia" safe}.  They even got to drink a rare soda as a treat for the fantastic walking job....

On the way back up, yes it is uphill to get back home, we first stopped at a playground with lot's of monkey bars before walking back.  Luckily we found a couple of swings on the way....

Since it really is a very good distance for the girls to walk we stopped not only for foot massages

 but also at the food carts on Division in search of treats.  We were so excited, because we found an ice cream cart that only sells vegan ice cream.  What about that?!  Is that not absolutely awesome?! All 100% vegan and galactosemia safe for our girlies.  Whoo-hoo, plus 100% delicious - yay, yay, yay that was such an unexpected happy surprise when the owner told us that ALL of his ice cream is vegan. Check it out ->

Alena enjoyed a scoop of Marionberry, while Mia Rose enjoyed Mango-Pineapple. Yum, yum, yum...

Oh, and yes we did take the bus for the remaining 20 blocks back.  We had lot's of fun in the sun :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Our girls playing on the monkey bars

Ron put together this video of the girls - Alena is wearing jeans, and Mia Rose her pink "Rapunzel" dress - playing on the monkey bars with their friend.  He is playing the guitar - thought I share the fun here :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Kindergarten Dance Performance

Today was the last Friday of the school year and Mia Rose's Kindergarten class performed a dance for the parents, and other special persons.  Where did the year go?  I cannot believe that the school year is essentially over and our baby will be entering first grade.  It seems just like yesterday when she started preschool.  Oh, it is such a bittersweet moment...

Here is the video of the performance. Can you find Mia Rose?  She is wearing a bright pink skirt, short purple dress over it, and has a big fluffy pony  tail.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rhubarb-Starwberry Compote for dessert

and for dinner we had split pea soup. I know, I know one should not make split pea soup in June, unless it is rainy and chilly. Well, it has been so it was the perfect dinner today!

I had a few stalks of rhubarb leftover from our visit to the farmer's market this week. So I decided to spruce the simple dinner up with dessert. Rhubarb-Strawberry Compote - we ate all of our fresh strawberries so I used the rest of our frozen ones. I served the compote with a scoop of vanilla ice "cream"; Tempt - Hemp Milk - Vanilla for our girls, and "regular cow" for the parental units and our guests. It turned out great and was super easy.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Compote
- 1-1/2 lb of fresh rhubarb, unpeeled cut into 1" pieces
- 2 T sugar
- 1 C (or more) fresh or frozen strawberries
- 5-6 T sugar
- 1 package of vanilla sugar
- app. 1/2 piece of fresh ginger, peeled, and cut into about 3 pieces
- water
- 2 T corn starch

1. Place rhubarb pieces with 2 T in a bowl and cover. Let sit for about 30 min.
2. Put rhubarb, strawberries, ginger slices, additional sugar, and vanilla sugar into a pot. Add
water so fruit is barely covered. Bring to a slow simmer. When rhubarb is soft, adjust sugar.
3. Dissolve corn starch with a little cold water. Bring fruit mixture to a boil and slowly add
corn starch to the fruit. Boil for a minute and remove from heat.

Serve with vanilla ice "cream"!

Wednesday is Farmer's Market Day = Mushrooms for dinner

OK - so I am writing this post a day late.  I fell asleep with the girlies last night so even so the pictures and all very ready, this mothership was not ready to write a post about dinner :)  Wednesday is Farmer's Market in downtown Portland.  It is usually also the day that I am in my downtown office, so Ron and I have lunch together.  Now that the market is back open, we usually walk over to there and eat on a park bench out in the sun, or clouds.  Luckily market was yesterday and it was somewhat sunny as it is rainy again today....

Alright, so you may know that we all love mushrooms and the ones from the farmer's market are the best See what I got yesterday

Oregon grown Shitake mushrooms, and fresh - our first - Oregon strawberries.  Dinner, and dessert on a weeknight - yay!!! So what was dinner?  It was Mushroom Risotto - I used my basic risotto recipe but used mushroom broth {Pacific Foods} instead of the chicken broth, and of course I did not use the asparagus :).  I sliced the mushrooms first, and sautéed them in a little olive oil before adding them with the last broth ladle to the risotto.  It turned out great - both kids cleaned their plates.

And for dessert?  Sliced Oregon strawberries, with a little pinch of sugar, and some {garden} fresh mint leaves.  Just as a side note,  Oregon strawberries are THE most amazing strawberries ever. Super sweet, full of sugar, and juicy....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pizza Party in Kindergarten

I cannot believe that Mia Rose is almost graduating Kindergarten. Such a bitter-sweet moment..ah, this is the sentimental Mama talking in me. I am so happy for my big baby girl :). Today Rose's class celebrated with a pizza party. The Kindergarten teacher's ordered pizza in. How fun! The teacher announced the plans for the party last week, so we had plenty of time to plan for it. We had the option to bing regular lunch, or participate. How could I expect my child to eat her "standard" lunch while all her friends are eating pizza?! No way!

The original pan was for me to bring the pizza - pepperoni from Pizicato to e exact - at lunch time; at the time I did not realize that I had appointments at that time. So we adjusted our plan, ordered and picked-up the pizza last night. This way, also Alena had lunch for pizza in her lunch box, and Ma Rose proudly brought her pizza box to her teacher. Yay!!! Mia Rose was SO excited!!!

They had a great time with Mia Rose eating her Galactosemia safe, milk free pizza and her friends eating their "regular" cheese pizza. Oh, and just in case you are wondering: no, I am not worried that they would share food, or Mia Rose trying "unsafe" pizza. Mia Rose, her teacher, and friends all know that she cannot have "regular" pizza as it is not safe for her. I am so happy!!!

Tom Yum Inspired Soup

was our dinner tonight, all dairy, and milkfree. - I love Tom Yum soup; so when I found Tom Yum paste at the Aslan market I could not pass it up. Found it worth the try to experiment with it on my family tonight and I am happy to report that it was a success. Yay! So quick, and sooo yummy - not authentic but delicious.

You Need
- 1 can of coconut milk - {do not use light}
- 1 quart of chicken broth - {I use Pacific Foods}
- 1 chicken breast sliced thin
- app. 4 T of Tom Yum paste - or more to taste
- 3/4 C snap peas
- 3 baby Bok Choy - cleaned -> {I separate mine}
- 1 can baby corn
- 8 oz rice noodles {I used Pad Thai noodles as that is what I had left}
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
- peanuts for garnish
- lime wedges

1. Put cream of coconut into a pot and let it melt, then add 1/2 of Tom Yum paste, and chicken.
Sauté for a couple minutes then add,
2. Coconut milk, and broth. Bring to a slow boil, and keep at slow simmer until chicken is cooked
3. Add vegetables you are using until just done, then
4. Add rice noodles
5. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with cilantro, and peanuts. Serve with a slice of lime

Monday, June 4, 2012

My version of Pad Thai

with beef, and - surprise, surprise it is back - mixed green salad.

School is almost over, and it is time for me to work through the rest of the frozen meat from the New Seasons's Family Meat Pack.  The only thing we have left is - take a wild guess - yes, beef.  Today we brought a couple of other kids home with us a for an after school play date, so I needed to make something that would be ready quickly.  So, after the 3-pea stir-fry success of yesterday, I decided to give Pad Thai a try.  While the kids were in school, I stopped at one of the Asian Markets to pick-up Pad Thai sauce - ok, I guess that is cheating ;) - noodles, and a couple of other items.  {Note to self: I must bring the girlies to the Asian market during summer break, they will one it too.} I got fresh pad thai noodles and off to an adventure as this is something I have never made before.

Prior to making it, I looked at a few recipes to get a basic idea and voila it worked out.  The girlies loved it, as did Ron.  Yay!

I will call this dish Beef Pad Thai a la mode -

- Canola Oil
- Medium onion finely diced {I used two small garden fresh from the Mom where Alena had her
- large clove of garlic, or three minced
- veggies of choice julienned {I used a turnip and garlic shoots - both garden fresh}
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro chopped
- 2-3 green onions sliced finely
- app. 1/2 cup of unsalted peanuts
- app. 1-1/4 lb of steak {I had round steak left} thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- app. 1/4" fresh ginger minced
- 8 oz. pad thai noodles {I used fresh}
- app. 4 Tablespoons - or more of Pad Thai sauce
- 1 lime sliced

1. marinate beef with soy sauce, and fresh ginger.  Cover and marinate in fridge for about an hour.

When you are ready to prepare the dish - it is very quick from here on

2. heat splash of canola oil in pan, or wok. Add onion as well as other veggies when fragrant - takes
    a couple of minutes or so, add
3. garlic, and after a minute or so add the steak, and after a minute add peanuts.  Keep on high heat
    stirring frequently. I covered it briefly
4. Prepare pad thai noodles according to package - the fresh ones took 50 Seconds to boil. When done,
5. add pad thai noodles to the pan/wok, add 1/2 of green onion and cilantro - stir it all into the
    vegetable-beef mixture, then add,
6. pad thai sauce to taste and stir the entire dish frequently in the pan/wok

Sprinkle with the remaining green onions, and cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Playful Sunday and Three-Pea Cashew and Tofu Stir-fry

Wow, I can hardly believe it that the school year is almost done.  Where did all the time go? Just flying by...both girls have made friends in school.  So today Alena went over to a friend's house to play, and Mia Rose had a friend come over to our house. It worked out great as there was no sibling rivalry and Mia Rose got to play alone with her friend.   Ron took the two - dressed up in princess dresses - to the playground while I went to pick-up Alena.  We met at the playground where the three of them played in unison on the monkey bars.  Are they not super cute?!

Dinner was Three-Pea Cashew Tofu Stir-fry with a side of, not mixed green salad, but beef.  Yes, you read correctly beef.  Why?  Well, my husband is not - unlike me and Alena - that fond of tofu. He really is willing to try everything, but not really when it comes to tofu.  So, I sliced a sirloin steak thin marinated it in a little Hoisin sauce mixed with garlic-chili sauce, stir fried it, and served it on the side.

I found this recipe on a blog I follow and it sounded delicious take a look I followed her recommendation and marinated the tofu in a little bit of soy sauce* after it was browned.  Let me tell you, this recipe was delicious!  Oh, and are you curious about Ron with the tofu?  He actually liked the tofu in the dish! Both girlies loved it as well.  Yay!!!  Here is the link to the recipe p://

*We allow both of our girls to eat soy sauce - the only food items we limit are those containing lactose,
  whey, etc.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Swabian meatballs (Fleischkuechle) for a potluck....

Are you wondering what Swabia is?  Well, it is the part of Germany where I was born and raised. One of my two - the way I feel - homes; the other home is right here in Portland.  Schwaben in German is in the southwest part of Germany, Tuttlingen - to be exact - is where my family lives weekend we were at a camp-out and tonight all of us are invited to a potluck party. I asked the girlies what to make and both of them asked for "Kartoffelsalat" - potato salad -, and "Fleischkuechle" - literally translates to meat cakes but a better name is meat patties, meatballs, etc.
Potato Salad with cucumbers, and Mini Fleischkuechle

As all of us are going, and I took the order to make both. Making enough food makes it quite a bit easier at a potluck as we will not have to track people down to check on the ingredients...We also brought along dessert for the girlies - Raspberry Sorbet They are sooooo delicious....

Swabian Meatballs - Mini Fleischkuechle
- 2 lbs of ground beef
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 4 sprigs of parsley leaves finely chopped
- salt - app. 2 - 3 teaspoons.  You may need more
- ground pepper
- paprika powder
- 1 egg
- 1/2 - 3/4 C of Pankco breadbrumbs, Matzo, or other breadcrumbs

1. Mix up all the ingredients together until everything is thoroughly blended and mixed
2. Let rest for about an hour in the fridge covered with wrap
3. Form patties, or meatballs (I make patties for dinner and meatballs for parties)
4. Fry in cast iron pan until brown, and all the way cooked.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Not always fun and games...

I really should not complain, and this is not what I intend to do, but truth is that this mothership feels a little beat up today.  Just over sensitive as I dislike to see fear in the eyes of my girlies.  Yes, yes just
like everyone else, and it really is not a big deal but I need to get it off my chest. So here it goes...

We were at the dentists' office a couple of weeks ago where more cavities were discovered in Mia Rose.  This is shocking, since she never goes to bed without brushing her teeth. First she was  excited about having cavities because of the movie, and the smell of the laughing gas.  Our appointment was yesterday and for the first time ever, Mia Rose wanted me in the room with her. She was such a big girl, but kept moaning. I wanted to take her out of the dental chair and run away with her.  I am such a sap - really - and my little girl kept moaning.  She did great and is fine but one thing changed because because she does not want to go back to see the dentist. Maybe it was me projecting my fear on her.  Right?!  Anyway, it's done - we have one more session to go...

That was yesterday', and today we went up to the hill for our blood draw.  It was also the first time, that I applied the "magic cream" on both of the girls.  Both, had a hard time sleeping - Mia Rose kept asking whether the "nail" (needle) would hurt and I explained that she will not feel it due to the magic cream.  We rode the tram up to OHSU - the best part - and to the lab we went.
Alena riding up to OHSU with the tram

It was the first time that Mia Rose cried during the draw; yes, she did cry when she was a baby.  Alena took pictures.  Then it was Alena's turn.  The phlebotomist and I were both worried that she would hyperventilate again. She cried, but then she "oh, that was not bad at all".
After the blood draw picking out their prizes

Well yes, it is not a big deal but it is an ordeal for me. It works me, it stresses me...- yikes, I really do sound whiney now, don't I?  Rest assured, I am not whiney just feeling the stress of motherhood a little bit today....Thank you for reading!

Riding the tram back down the hill after the draw
Alena with one of the phlebotomist's

Friday Night Dinner Out...

at the Hedgehouse. After these last couple of days dinner out was much needed, well at last by me. The girlies had their usual (P)A.B.ST. Sandwich without the Provolone before playing in the grass. Oh, and just in case you were guessing...yes, that is me next to Alena.


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