Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Pasta with Cesar Salad

was our dinner this Tuesday night.  We had a full day of playing on the playground, and swimming at the outdoor pool.  Perfect day for a light summer dinner!  We just received a bunch of wonderful summer produce from one of our neighbors so I put it to good use. A zucchini, basil, and romaine lettuce...

Pasta with yellow zucchini, walnuts, sweet onion,  basil, and shaved parmesiano regiano; and along side a Cesar salad.  


Summer Pasta
   Splash of Olive Oil
1 onion diced
1/2 C of walnuts coarsely chopped
1-2 large zucchini's - or more - sliced 
      handful of basil chopped coarsely
      salt, and pepper to taste
1 box of pasta - I used Penne
   Shaved Parmesiano Regiano - optional

1. bring pot of water to a boil. Just before you put the pasta in the water, 
2. heat olive oil in a pan. When hot,  add the onions as well as walnuts.  When onions are soft,
2. add zucchini
3. When pasta is ready & drained add basil to the pan.  Stir it up - add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Put past into a serving platter, top zucchini/onion/walnut/basil mixture and mix it up with the pasta.
5 Top with shaved Parmesiano Regiano

Cesar Dressing
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced, or pressed
1 TB of Mayonaise
3 tsp of Dijon Mustart
2 TB of white wine vinegar {white balsamico would also be good}
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C grated Parmesiano Reginao
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Place all the ingredients into a blender.  Mix until smooth, adjust salt & pepper as needed
2. Mix with romaine lettuce


Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Lentil Soup...

with quick no-knead bread was our Monday night dinner.  It feels like it is the first meal I have made in weeks.  Well, it is true as taco's, roasting potatoes in the oven, roasting chicken do not really count, right?  Well yes, it does but to me it feels like this was the first "real" meal I have made since returning from our trip to Europe.

We all love lentils, as well as soup even in the summer :)  -  I just threw this one together and did not take any measurements on the water, salt, or pepper.  I just adjusted to taste.

Summer Lentil Soup
1-1/2 C of dried brown lentils
1           large carrot, chopped
3          medium celery stalks chopped
2          medium onions diced
4          cloves of garlic, minced
2          tomatoes chopped {I used Roma's}
1          bunch of rainbow chard, stems finely and, leaves coarsely chopped
1          medium potato
3          bay leaves
6 - 10 C of water
            White wine vinegar
             Salt, and pepper to taste
             Olive Oil

1.  Gently heat a splash of olive oil
2.  add onions, and carrots with a pinch of salt until fragrant.  Then add celery - when celery is bright
     green, add garlic and stems of the chard.  When it all is fragrant add,
3.  Lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes and water.  The water should at a very minimum cover the lentils.    
    More is better. Bring to a slow simmer and cover.  Watch frequently, and replace water to make sure
    it stays "soupy". Add white wine vinegar to taste
4. When lentils are soft add the potato.
5. When the potato is soft, add the the leaves of the chard.
6. Adjust salt, add pepper, and - if you like it - add more white wine vinegar

Serve with crusty bread! - I made quick no-knead bread with it.

Oh, and this recipe made enough for me to freeze the left-overs for another dinner in the future....

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Shopping...

what a boring title, is it not?!  Yes, admit it...I admit it :) In any case, that is it for today.  No dinner post - I am really not totally back in the swing of cooking it was Taco Sunday today - but a post about shopping.  It is exciting so, well at least that is what I think.

You may remember that we met with our fabulous metabolic team, and dietician this past week.  One of the things that were mentioned was that Alena should start to read labels and determine herself whether or not the item is safe.  Well, I thought maybe we start this in six months or so but today we went on our first major shopping adventure.  Why not?!  So today was the day where I had Alena read food labels to determine whether or not the item is safe for either of the girls.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine Alena to be excited about this.  She was - s o  s o  e x c i t e d as she read through all the wild ingredients on some of the items.  One word - empowered!!!  At the end of our shopping trip both girls saw a bag of "White Cheddar Pirate Booties".  Now I know that they are not safe, but how would the girls know that without me telling them, right?! So as they asked I encouraged Alena to read the ingredients.  As she read through the first ingredients it was a "oh, I think it may be OK" she read on and ended "Mia Rose we cannot have this.  It has milk." With that she put the package back and that was it.

We will keep working on it on our remaining shopping trips before my favorite season of the year ends...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jamison Fountain fun...

to add to our fun camping we went straight to Jamison Square - http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/finder/index.cfm?PropertyID=1140&action=ViewPark - to spend a few more fun hours before heading home.

The girls jump in the water to cool off, and have a fantastic time.  Take a look at them....

Another nice thing about Jamison Square is that there are several food options around.  I walked over to Laughing Plant Cafe - http://www.yelp.com/biz/laughing-planet-cafe-portland-6 - to pick-up lunch for all.  Quesadillas for three of the girls - twice with "unsafe" cheese for our friends, and with vegan cheese for Mia Rosie.  Alena - always the bean lovers - chose rice and beans.  One thing I really like about this restaurant - and probably Portland in general - is that it is so easy to have "safe" as well as vegan options.

We ended the trip with a walk to Cupcake Jones -  http://www.cupcakejones.net/ - where vegan/safe choices now await our girls :) - Take a look at the choices...


and the girlies enjoying them :)



Friday, July 27, 2012

Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts WIMBERGER'S OLD WORLD BAKERY & DELICATESSEN ISSUES ALLERGY ALERT ON UNDECLARED MILK, SOY AND WHEAT IN KAISER ROLLS, SEEDED ROLLS, BRAT BUNS, FRENCH BREAD, PRETZEL ROLLS, PRETZELS, PIZZA DOUGH, HOAGIE ROLLS AND BAGUETTES

Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts WIMBERGER'S OLD WORLD BAKERY & DELICATESSEN ISSUES ALLERGY ALERT ON UNDECLARED MILK, SOY AND WHEAT IN KAISER ROLLS, SEEDED ROLLS, BRAT BUNS, FRENCH BREAD, PRETZEL ROLLS, PRETZELS, PIZZA DOUGH, HOAGIE ROLLS AND BAGUETTES

Girls only overnight cabin camping trip...

Do you all know that we love camping?  You know what I like even more than tent camping? Yes, cabin/yurt camping in one of Oregon's great state parks. At the hight of summer it is generally impossible to get a cabin/yurt, or that fact even a tent site for a weekend.  So when you find a site, you better jump on it an go.  Well, that is if you like camping :)

Before we went on our trip to Europe, we had talked with our friends and neighbors about going on a camping trip on our return.  So this week, we talked about it again and when we checked into it on Tuesday - fully prepared that nothing would be available - a cabin at L.L.Stub Stewart State Park - http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_255.php - opened up.  We jumped at the opportunity and made the reservation in no time....

Two moms, and four girls - one night camping...yay!!! So fun...take a look at the girls playing in the dirt...


We kept dinner easy with lentil soup, Galactosemia "safe" cheeses Parmesiano Regiano etc., french bread, plenty of cherry tomatoes, olives, and grapes.


And of course there was also dessert of - well, what else but delicious s'mores.  My friend made the perfect campfire, and made little s'more packages.  Aluminum foil, a square of graham cracker, Galactosemia "safe" chocolate chips {New Season's sells them in bulk}, marshmallow, couple more chocolate chips, and topped with another graham cracker.  Close the foil package and put it on the grill over the campfire.  Turn a couple of times until done...

Bedtime was a little challenging as everyone at first wanted to sleep in the top bunk...Here is the result

In the morning we took a little hike from the cabin village to the campground to visit the playground....


Yes, we had a great time!!!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Appointment at Metabolic Clinic, levels, and calcium...

Is it not unbelievable how fast time flies? Do you remember when we went up to the hill - that is OHSU - for the blood draw last month?  It seems just like yesterday, but in between we were in Germany for five weeks, and bad me did not check on the results.  Well, that was until this Tuesday when we had our annual appointment at the metabolic clinic at OHSU.  We are so, so excited that the levels - with hummus for breakfast by request of our wonderful dietician - were excellent.  Yay!!!

Our dietician calculated the calcium intake of each girl with this site ->  www.osteoporosis.ca I learned a few new things as I had no idea that molasses, bananas and oranges are high in calcium.  Did you know that?  In any case, based on the calculation both girls get enough calcium through their diet.  Cheese, dark leafy green vegetables, beans, and bananas are a big factor. Mia Rosie has been refusing to drink fortified OJ, or any type of fortified soy/hemp/almond milk so our dietician had a heart-to-heart talk with her.  She explained to both girls the importance of calcium, and why the body needs it.  Mia Rosie promised that would drink at least one glass of a calcium fortified beverage a day...Yay!

The rest of the appointment was smooth sailing, so do have to admit that we - and me - were still quite jet-lagged so it is kind of a little blur....

Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts Mount Franklin Foods, LLC - Recall for Undeclared Milk in Sunrise Indian Corn Candy

Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts Mount Franklin Foods, LLC Issues Allergy Alert and Voluntary Recall for Undeclared Milk in Sunrise Indian Corn Candy

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Our travel adventure going home...

it has been quite an adventure to come back to Portland.  We left Tuttlingen on Wednesday for our early morning flight back to the US on Thursday. Our good friend drove us to the hotel in Kloten which is right next to the Zurich airport.  All very uneventful.  We checked into the hotel - Hotel Allegra - and went to our super cute, yes, really I am not exaggerating, room.  It was a family room with four individual beds in them. - Check it out here  http://www.welcomegroup.ch/en/allegra/
Then we decided to go to the pool.  The hotel does not have their own pool, but you get a pass to the public indoor/outdoor pool which by my book is much better anyways.  We took our towels and swimsuits before walking the five minutes to the pool.  Everyone had a fun time.  Mia Rose kept sliding down the big slide, Alena played in the water, while the parents just hung out.

Ice "cream" before we headed back to the hotel.  At the hotel, all of us had a drink at the bar - yes, kids get to go to bars in Europe :).  The staff was amazing! The girls got Pommes Frites in the bar - usually not possible - they were shown the kitchen, and scored a scoop of mango - yes, "safe" - sorbet each.  The staff really went above and beyond!

It was the perfect compliment to our sandwiches my Mom had made for us in Tuttlingen :)

In the morning the shuttle left - of course - on time at 6:15; and took us to the airport.  We checked in, went to the gate and waited.  Argh, the plane was late getting in from Atlanta.  But then we saw it landing, taxi to the gate, and in no time we were on board settled into our seats.

Captain comes on the intercom to tell us flight time will be a little over ten hours, and five minutes later "we have a small mechanical problem".  You know what that means, right?!  The plane needed repair, we stayed on board and took off with an almost three hour delay.  Our connection time in Atlanta was 2-1/2 hours...long story short, we missed our connection to Portland.  Delta had rerouted us to Las Vegas and put us on standby for a flight from Las Vegas to Portland.  That was not an option for us! So we were put up for the night by Delta in Atlanta, and rebooked in the morning via Minneapolis/St. Paul to Portland.

So I told you about our beautiful hotel in Switzerland, right? Clean, everything organized, no chaos, shuttle working, on time, you sign up and get your seat...Let me tell you, I was in for culture shock.  The shuttle was not there, the phone line to the hotel was not working, and Ron got us a ride with another shuttle.  We checked into the hotel by presenting our voucher, and were assigned a room.  The beds looked clean but that was about it.  We were next to the laundry room with sheets strewn everywhere, and several trash bags - full - next to it.  The carpet was stained, and the furniture had several cigarette burns in them.  Quite a difference to the clean room at Hotel Allegra. We also had meal vouchers, luckily there was a restaurant in the hotel to get some dinner.  Ron ordered a burger for the girls to split.  We determined that the bread was not safe after talking to the waiter and ordered it without the bread.  The "hamburger" as stated on the menu was served and you know what it was?  A "cheeseburger" - that was a little different, right?  In any case, it all worked out and I had the best Coca-Cola of my life.  Crushed ice and all....

In the morning we found, that several people did not make the first shuttle and that there was no way that we could get on the next shuttle.  Eventually we made it to the airport, and then to Minneapolis

from where we went onto our flight to Portland.  Yay!!! 44 hours later we landed safely in Portland...now that was really a great adventure going back home.


Monday, July 16, 2012

The girls milked a cow...

at Playmobile Funpark in Germany http://www.playmobil-funpark.de/en It was obviously not a real cow, but a life size playmobile cow :) We had so much fun!!!
Hello friends....


We drove drove up yesterday from the Lake of Constance to visit our friends in Nuremberg and to visit the Playmobile Park with both families.  The visit was so worth it - total fun for all.  Take a look at the pictures

Alena with the King and Queen (can you find her?)
Amazing water features
Can you find Alena on her way off the Pirate ship?


Can you find Alena on top of the climbing structure?
Mia Rose milking a cow


And finally dinner at a brewery in Nuremberg http://www.erlebnisgastronomie-nuernberg.de/ -> it was Pommes Frites and Nuernberger Wuerstchen for our ladies :)


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bread, sausage, and vacation

We moved from Tuttlingen to Ludwigshafen at the Lake of Constance (Bodensee) a week ago.  The apartment we are staying at is gorgeous. Views of the lake from every window, and only a short walk to the Strandbad (beach). You can take a view right here ->  http://ferienwohnung-seesicht.de/ It is so comfortable here and we really feel at home now.  One of the things however that come with changing location and can be a little challenging is to find a new "safe" bakery, and butcher.  On the first workday at our new location I set out on the quest to "safe" food for the girlies.  I went to next larger town which is Stockach, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockach.  It did take me a while to find a "safe" baker and butcher.  The first three bakeries I stopped at did not have any lactose free/dairy free products.  I am not sure, if they were just not willing to check into but I certainly did not want to take a chance. Same story at each of the bakeries I finally was on my way to the health food store but found it closed.  I took a chance and ask one more person, who then told me to check out one more bakery.  Voila!!! Even the Bretzeln are safe :)  http://www.ainser.de/, and right next to the bakery was a butcher who also only uses dextrose in their products and not lactose?  I call that a double score :)  http://www.metzgerei-bechler.de/


 It took me more than a couple of hours,  but so worth it.  I think the lesson when traveling in Germany is to find a bakery that indicates they are "Bio", "Bioland" I say that because the other day we took a day trip to Radolfszell and there we found a "Bio Baecker" whose breads, bretzels, etc. are also all "safe" - yay!!! http://www.bioknoedel.info/

Here is one more vacation picture of the girlies from our day trip to the Pfahlbauten -> http://www.pfahlbauten.de/


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Swimming, Pommes, and Ice "Cream"

Can you tell that we are on holidays?  We are now relaxing in Ludwigshafen at the Bodensee http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Constance.  We really are having a fantastic time and on the sunny days went swimming in the Lake.  The beach - Strandbad - is only a quick 5-10 minute walk away from our condo and it is just perfect.

Alena has been swimming - with Ron - out into the Lake, while Mia Rose likes to swim in the shallow water.  The perfect day on the beach, or pool for that matter includes - in our book - an order of "Pommes Frites" (French Fries) topped German style with Ketchup and Mayo as well as Ice "Cream".  And yes,  so far we have always been able to find at least two options.  Orange Popsickle "Caretta", or "Capri", as well as "Cola Ice".  It certainly makes for happy girlies and happy parents :)


Friday, July 6, 2012

Excursion to "Affenberg" -> Monkey Mountain...

Tuttlingen is close to the Lake of Constance, where there are lot's of different attractions.  One of the attractions around is the Affenberg.  It has been around for a long time, meaning it was around when I was growing up :), and I have taken the girls there with my sister four years ago.  It is an amazing place.  The monkeys run around free, and there is popcorn to feed them.

Ron has never been, and he - truth be said - was leary about it.  You know,  humans walking around in the monkey habitat check out the link http://www.affenberg-salem.de/en/index.html So worth a visit.  My Mom joined us for the excursion and all of us had a grand time.  Here are some pictures...

Hello there - Ron, Mia Rose, and Alena

Alena feeding a monkey with popcorn

Monday, July 2, 2012

Papa is here...

after two weeks without Ron he finally arrived last week.  Don't the girlies look so, so happy.  And yes,  I am so, so happy as well.  We really missed him....


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Musings...

there are so many things to talk about.  Really, so where to start?  There are so many things on my mind, and we had so much fun.  We have been in Europe now for over two weeks and it does feel as it always does, just like our second home. Things in Tuttlingen do not seem to change, so it is sort of like entering a twilight zone.  The only difference being that now I am here with two girls, and Ron. It is kind of strange but oh so comforting how things do not change.  I see faces on the market downtown which I have known all my life.  The only difference is that people have aged, but it all seems to go it usual rhythm. There is a lot of comfort in that to me, and I hope also to my family.

Differences to our other home in Portland are somewhat striking.  For one, you have to be prepared for Sunday as all stores are closed.  All shopping needs to be done on Saturday, and I shop directly at the butcher it has to be done somewhat early in the day.  Okay, I admit early is flexible by that I mean before two in the afternoon :)  Other differences are that children are so much more, for lack of a better term, "free range".  Children, as young as first graders, walk to and back from school all by themselves.  Parents are not to enter the school building.  Children go off to play on the playgrounds, or woods all by themselves.  And yes, I am talking about children as young as five.  Our children are now on a much longer, again for lack of better terms, "leash" and I think both of them are enjoying it.

Overall, I think that the girl also feel that Tuttlingen is their other home.  Alena started preschool - called Kindergarten - here when she was three; she was in her first school play here a couple of years ago; Alena went on her first school hiking trip in Tuttlingen; Mia Rose is hiking every single day with her Kindergarten class into the woods for a week; both girls learn to swim in Tuttlingen; and Mia Rose lost her fear of dogs...

And I know that all of my thoughts may raise the question.  Where is it better?  Where do I like it better?  There is no answer to that question.  It seems like many things are more complicated in Germany.  The rules for everything but still I feel like always sitting between two chairs, or loving two people at the same time, I also call it the perpetual grey zone.  I love, absolutely love and adore both places.  I hope to instill this love of both places also into our children.

Oh, and before I forget here is a picture of the three of us at TuWass (the indoor pool)
Alena, Mia Rose and me. Can you find me?
Okay - I will get off my soapbox now!  Happy day to all of you!

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