Friday, November 30, 2012

German Kugel

Kugel, or "noodle pudding," was one of my favorite things to order from one of the local German restaurants in Ohio. The other day I decided to make it myself :) I was impressed, let me tell you! 

Here's a little wikipedia knowledge on this dish:
The first kugels were made from bread and flour and were savory rather than sweet. About 800 years ago, cooks in Germany replaced the bread mixtures with noodles or farfel. Eventually eggs were incorporated. The addition of cottage cheese and milk created a custard- like consistency which is common in today's dessert dishes. In Poland, Jewish homemakers added raisins, cinnamon and sweet farmers cheese to noodle kugel recipes. In the late 19th century, people of Jerusalem combined carmalized sugar and black pepper in a noodle kugel known as "Jerusalem kugel," which is commonly served at Shabbat kiddushes. In Romania, this dish is called Budinca de Macaroane/Paste Fainoase (macaroni/pasta pudding), and is a traditional romanian dish. In certain villages throughout the country it is known as "Baba Acolo." It is made with or without cheese, but it most always includes raisins.

...This explains why my husband was like "I have tasted something like this before." (For those who don't know, he was born in Romania.)

Preheat oven to 375
Use a greased 9x13 glass baking dish
Cooking time: 45 minutes

1 bag, wide egg noodles, cooked per instructions (I used "no yokes")
3 apples, peeled and chopped
2 cups of white raisins
2 eggs
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
4 tbsp of melted butter (I used immitation butter)
1 cup of milk (I used skim milk)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used fat free sour cream)
4 oz of cream cheese (I used fat free cream cheese)
1 tbsp of cinnamon

1 cup of smashed graham crackers
1/2 cup of smashed corn flakes
1/2 cup of sugar
6 tbsp of melted butter
1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1) In a large bowl, mix cooked egg noodles, chopped apples and raisins

2) Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, butter and milk together

3) Now add cottage cheese, sour cream and cream cheese, and again using the electric mixer, beat together      until well blended

4) Fold mixture into the noodle/raisin/apple mixture until well covered
5) Pour into prepared glass baking dish

6) With a fork, combine the topping items and sprinkle topping over noodle mixture

7) Bake until knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

I fried up some Polish Kielbasi (seasoned with pepper and paprika) and served the kugel as a side dish. The sweetness of the kugel really compliments the kielbasi, and if you were looking to serve this dish with something, I would suggest this.

The picture does not do it justice!
I think I will make this again this week!
*Patting self on the back*

Monday, November 26, 2012


Do you know why Ohio States trees lean to the east?
'Cause Pittsburgh sucks and Michigan blows.

There's a little humor for ya :)

-Brutus The Buckeye

In honor of Ohio State beating Michigan and having a 12-0 season thus far, I thought I would post my recipe for Buckeyes! You are not a North Eastern Ohio resident until you have eatin' one (or a few) of these delicious candies. Named for the resemblance to the nut of a buckeye tree, this candy is indigenous to the state of Ohio. Not a holiday party or football gathering went by that did not have these on the table. Having been in Georgia for a year and a half now my taste buds were starting to miss these. So, for the first time ever, I made them myself.  And I must say, It was so comforting to eat :) I hope all my new Georgia friends try this recipe out and that my old Ohio friends are proud of my first time attempt!

You will need:
6 oz Bag of semisweet chocolate
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1.5 cups of powdered sugar

In a bowl, combine peanut butter, melted butter and sugar.
Mix together until it makes a smooth but firm dough.
(You may need to use your hands to make sure its completely mixed)
Form into tablespoon sized balls.
Its suggested to place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, however i just put them directly on the baking sheet and it was fine.
Freeze them for about 10 minutes or so.
While they are freezing, melt your chocolate per instructions.
Using a tooth pic, dip each peanut butter ball partially into the chocolate.
Remove tooth pic and smooth over the hole left by tooth pic.
(You can use a little peanut butter to smooth over the hole if need be) (I forgot to take a pic after this step, oops)
Return to the baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Its best to keep them stored in the fridge until your ready to serve.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Time Is Here.....

Thanksgiving is now behind us (I cant believe it!) and the Christmas spirit is now filling the air. For the second year now we went to the lighting ceremony in Atlantic Station and enjoyed the spritzing of fake snow :) The hubby and I gotta laugh as the little flakes float about.... and soon we are reminiscing about our blizzards, i mean, winters (well heck, they were blizzards) in Cleveland. Fun times. 

I started decorating around the house and playing Christmas music. The kids are excited and I get asked about Santa daily.  *LOVE*
I had some left over mesh material from last years decorating. I had bought it, but once I brought it home I really wasn't sure what to do with it. On Pintrest I started seeing all the mesh wreaths popping up this year and one had a set of directions that looked pretty easy, so I gave it a shot. Here is my finished product:
 Cute, right? Below is the link to the directions so you can make you own :)

(Mesh Ribbon Wreath -link)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fernbank Museum Of Natural History

767 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

Last month we took the kiddos to check out Atlanta's Museum of Natural History. I was so excited because right now all the kids (minus the baby) are into dinosaurs. So of course we let them dress up as dinosaurs as we paraded around the museum :) The museum was very nice. There were 3 levels with 2 large dinosaur replica bones in the center. The front of the museum also had 2 large dinosaurs that you could see from outside. The actual dinosaur exhibit was slightly disappointing  as it was only one small section in the "Walk Through the History of Georgia" section of the museum. As we made our way through the museum, Daddy and I tried to look at some of the exhibits as the kids seemed less than thrilled.... but once we made it to our final stop -the children's play area, we were in the gold again. Maybe I would bring the kids back if one of the traveling exhibits were about dinosaurs, but other than that, probably not. It was enjoyable and only about 1/2 kid friendly.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sheboygan Chili (Goulash)

That's right, Sheboygan... as in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. 

Sheboyan, Wisconsin has a long history of German culture. The city was founded in 1846 and featured a primarily German immigrant population at the time. Many of my Grandmothers family had passed through this part of the country and somewhere along the way this spin on a traditional goulash was created. I hope you enjoy!

What you will need:
1 lb of macaroni noodle
1 lb of ground beef (or turkey)
1 large sweet onion
3 large cans of diced tomatoes
4 cans of kidney beans
chili powder
minced garlic 
sugar (yup!)

Cook elbow macaroni per instructions. 
Dice onion, then cook onion and ground beef together. Season to taste with salt, pepper and chili powder. Add minced garlic when about done. I use a generous amount. 

Once noodles are finished, drain completely. In a large pot add the noodles, ground beef and onion, and the entire cans of kidney beans and diced tomatoes. Do not drain them. 

Stir together and set stove on low (simmer). Season with chili powder depending on taste. I like a lot! Add salt and pepper to taste as well. I'm pretty generous with this as well.

A little sugar will help take the bite out of any acidic food, like tomatoes or kraut. For a large pot I would add one 1/2 cup of sugar. But this is optional.

Let simmer for at least an hour. The noodles absorb a lot of the juices making it taste extra yummy. 

There's no real way to mess this up. And there's not really any measurement either. Like with any goulash you could pretty much add anything and it would taste good. We've added red bell peppers before (really good!) and sometimes topped with sour cream (really good too!).

I often make 2 pots of this at the same time, freezing the second pot for a later time. I really like the Glad Wear single serving freezer containers. Then the hubby can take one out at a time for lunch! Just thaw and microwave :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Vote like Christian

Almost 10 years ago I met a little boy named Christian. He had bright blue eyes and dark hair, and was an instant favorite of mine in the class I taught. He had a vivid imagination that kept me and the other teacher well entertained :)

Fast forward to the election of 2004. I was standing in line to vote and it just so happened that Christian and his Mom were behind me. I hadn't seen them in awhile and we began making small talk. And then Christian chimed in- "Well, we are not voting for Kerry because he wants kill unborn babies." I was in shock, to say the least. This little 5 year old so bluntly professed in a large group of people what his families believes. My eyes darted around as I tried to catch the reactions of others. His mother nodded in agreement with him and seemed completely unphased and we continued on with our conversation.

I thought about Christian yesterday. I thought about that day. I thought about my feelings then and my feelings now. It got me thinking about my own kids.

If we want to see change in this country, we must start in the home. Our children must be taught the biblical truths and see those being supported by their parents, so when they are out in the world they wouldn't sway, but stand firm and confident. When they speak the truth, that we don't "shush them" out of fear of the majority. I want my kids to vote like Christian. It has to start now. If you don't influence your children, someone else will. Disney will. Sesame Street will. Public schools will. Social media will. College campuses will. I could go on and on. 

Don't make the mistake of leaving it up to the church, to church leaders and groups either. Don't think that the private school they attend or the denomination they are affiliated with is enough for your children. For the future of our country we must raise up a Christian nation in our HOMES.

I'm greatly disappointed in the majority of my generation. And in that, Disappointed in the Fathers and Mothers of this generation. We, as a nation have let grey areas seep into our convictions.... and loop holes into Gods word, and began teaching a new spin on "separation of church and state." 

And I commend families like Christian's, who obviously discuss these moral issues with their children. Too young, you might say? Well then let all those political ads about abortion and contraceptives and planned parenthood teach your children for you...... like I said, if you wont, the enemy will.

This isn't a political post. This is a family issue. If we want our children to be "Christian" voters, then we must raise them that way. starting now. 18 IS TOO LATE.

I voted like Christian yesterday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Haluski (with Polish Kielbasa)

Its that time of year when I'm driven to make dishes that feel like home (Cleveland) and like the ones I would make at my Grandmothers house. Haluski is pan fried cabbage and egg noodles, and added with some fried kielbasa (either on the side or mixed in) makes an amazing, easy meal! I make this dish often, so I've tried to lessen the fat content (sorry, no heavy cream in this one) to I don't feel so guilty while eating! With most of these recipes there are no exact measurements.... that's how you know they were from grandma :)

What you'll need: Sour Cream, Stick Butter, Sour Kraut, Egg Noodles, Paprika, Onion, Polish Kielbasa

1) Boil egg noodles per instructions. 
2) Slice onion into skinny strips (not diced). Slice kielbasa long way and then cut into about one inch thick pieces. Cut one stick of butter into 4 pieces. Put all in skillet and cook until onions are caramelized and kielbasa is browned. 
3) In a separate pan, fry sour kraut (do not drain), adding paprika to taste. I like to add enough till the cabbage has nice red color. 

4) Drain egg noddles once done, season with pepper to taste.

5) Once the kraut and kielbasa is done it should look like this:

6) In the same pan as your egg noodles, add all sour cream, kraut, and onion and kielbasa. (Don't drain either pan) Mix well and enjoy!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Piedmont Park

400 Park Drive NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30309

Not too long ago we visited one of our now favorite Atlanta spots- Piedmont Park. Never had we gone during the autumn months, and since today was so beautiful, we decided to pack a picnic and drove the 30 minute drive from our Atlanta suburb home. (Living in Atlanta you quickly learn 30 minutes is actually not far at all. Weird.)
What Central Park is to NYC, this Piedmont is to Atlanta. Its wide open spaces and winding walkways are filled with cyclists, roller bladders, strollers with babies and couples holding hands. Blankets are sprawled out randomly over the hills for couples and families to have picnics and read books, all while admiring the absolutely beautiful fall scenery... lots of pups and their owners walking around, as well as soccer games and kids tossing around a foot ball in the background. The skyline is filled with tall buildings that stand in the distance giving your eye such a great contrast to take in.
Did I mention the fall scenery??? 
A huge fishing pond is surrounded by white washed architecture at the center of the park. We also appreciate the various trees, from palm trees, to beech nut, to even bamboo, each are marked letting you know what type they are. Just so much beauty! 
Be prepared-  every person who walks by will great you with a friendly "hello" (something I'm still getting used to, but LOVE) and let me say this is the absolutely cleanest park I have ever been too. You do have to pay for parking and I'm assuming that those funds help keep this park so gorgeous. I cant wait to return, walk a path we haven't yet and enjoy this pocket of Atlanta again!

P.S. You never know who you can run into at Piedmont park. Last Spring we were here and ran into Marc Hall from Casting Crowns. We got to talk to him and his wife for a bit and even got to participate in his promo video for Casting Crowns hit song "Courageous." I thought it was the coolest day ever. Their albums have seriously changed my life.