Monday, February 27, 2012

Unexpected Deliciousness

I would like to introduce  you to one of the best things I was introduced to in 2011: Hummus Pizza

Yes, you read that correctly.  Hummus Pizza.

Hummus pizza with spinach hummus, red bell pepper, red onions, and broccoli.

I know you are probably thinking that I'm am crazy. Or perhaps just have weird tastebuds.  David certainly did.

Trust me on this one.  You will thank me. Or perhaps you should thank my cousin. I was introduced to this wonderful combination by my dear cousin. She and I trade recipes weekly.  Always in search of the latest and greatest dishes to prepare.  My cousin cooks on an almost daily basis and is always inspiring me in the kitchen.  She does things like make her own Vanilla Extract, can her own jam concoctions, and back her own bread from scratch.   She is all kinds of amazingness.  She also knits, sews, and builds furniture (bed frames, bookshelfs, etc.). Did I mention that she also has a degree in mechanical engineering and speaks French.... yeah, she is amazing. She also gives great gifts such as custom decorative pillow cases and meeples.

Let's talk for a minute about hummus.  In the states, one can find good, prepackaged hummus.

I have yet to see packaged hummus in Germany...ever.

Thus, I have learned to make it myself. The ingredients are readily availible in most supermarkets here.  The one tough ingredient is Tahini, which is can be found in any Asian Grocery store.

Here is my go-to recipe:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 heaping TBSP Tahini
1 red repper, roasted
2-4 tbsp olive oil (depending on consistency you want)
juice from 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley to garnish

Directions: Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

I like to vary the recipe a little bit.  Sometime I add in a hand full of fresh spinach.  Sometimes I leave out the red pepper and just make it plain.  Do whatever YOU like. There are no rules with hummus. Okay, strick that.  I would keep it to savory ingredients, aside from that, sky's the limit!

Moving on to this pizza recipe I have been tempting you all with for the last 2000 words. There are two versions, my cousin's version and my version.  My cousin's version is delicious and highlights the flavors of the hummus while my version was made to satisfy my hubby (meaning it contains everything but the kitchen sink :) ).  You've heard of backseat drivers? Well hubby is a backseat cook.  He LOVES to "improve" what I am making for dinner. By "improve" I mean add meat.  It's in his blood. He can't help it and I love him in spite of it.

Hummus Pizza, Original Version

1 prepared recipe of your favorite home made pizza dough,
1 recipe hummus, preferrable homemade
1 head broccoli


1) Seperate brocolli stems from the florets.  Chopp florets into small pieces, similiar in size to a diced pepper.
2) Roll out pizza dough onto baking sheet or pizza stone
3) Spread hummus onto dough as you would pizza sauce
4) Sprinkle pizza generously with broccoli
5) Bake at 425 °F until crust is crispy and hummus has started to brown.  About 15-20  minutes depending on you oven
6) Cut, Eat, Share (or not), Enjoy!

Hummus Pizza, Amy and David's Version

1 store bought pizza dough
1 recipe hummus, preferrable homemade
1 head broccoli, chopped
corn kernels
mushrooms, sliced
very lean ham, such as prosciutto, chopped

Directions:  Same as above.  Eat up!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

From the vast corners of my sleep deprived mind

A hard boiled egg from my lunch.  Why? Because I need a picture and this was what I had. :)
  • On Thursday I am taking my first ever day of "just because" vacation.  I really need it. I am like walking zombie as of late.
  • Speaking of work, working in a foreign country is hard. Not going to sugar coat it.  Some weeks days just stink. This is why I am tired and unable to write coherent thoughts longer than a few sentences
  • Copiers are evil machines. Evil.
  • Today is Fasching or Mardi Gras or the day of hedonistic behavior across the world. Whatever you call it, it is going to be an annoyance today.  I am talking parade music. Drunken idiots in costumes.  Traffic....not my favorite day of the year.
  • Despite my dislike of the Fasching festivities, I am looking forward to the start of Lent tomorrow. 
  • Lent is my favorite time of year. 
  • There is one thing I like about today. That is pancakes. Where I was raised it is traditional to have pancakes for supper today.  I suggested this to David this morning and he vetoed in disgust.  
  • I don't care what David says, I am making pancakes for dinner. Apple walnut pancakes (my favorite) to be exact.
  • Some days I eat the most random things for lunch.  Today, for example, I had 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 clementines, a glass of milk, and a handful of mixed nuts. Really random, I know.  It was basically all of the snack food I have in my office because I forgot my lunch and David took all of my cash.
  • Hopefully I will have some real content soon.  I have a recipe post in the works and some fun adventures planned for the weekend.
  • Til then!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Words in the Workplace

A few things. Some of which actually pertain to work.

First,  about two weeks ago I spotted another word on the sidewalk.  Unfortunately,  I did not have my camera at the time, meaning no photo.  With all the rain and snow we have had, the word was quickly wiped from my view.  That means that it is going to be a while for more tales of what the sidewalk says.  Any guess as to what the new word is?  I will give you a hint... _ _ _ _ ?

Speaking of words, you know how some sites, such as Blogger, make you enter a confirmation word just to check that you are human?  Well, I recently encountered a new take on the word verification...simple addition.

I should preface that this was from a company website that I was submitting an enquiry to.  Apparently, they only want customers who can add. What nerds! :) Has anyone else ever seen this kind of verification?

Moving on.

I don't know about you, but I love to receive mail.  There is nothing better than opening a letter address to you. Unless it is a bill.  Then it's no fun.  However, in Germany all of our bills are addressed to David and all bills that I received at work are passed along to someone else to deal with. This means that most of my mail is "good" mail. 

Recently, I have noticed a trend of sorts with the letters I receive at word.  All of them have a nice little surprise inside...

You do not find this on the inside of every envelope here, but now I always look.  I have also seen a smiley face, but I don't think I took a picture. Just something that occasionally brightens up my workday.

Finally, moving on to McDonald's.  I had never been to a McDonald in Germany until recently.  David had a craving that only a cheap hamburger could fix.  It was only a 1€ per burger and he limited himself to 3, unlike a trip to Wendy's in the states where he ate something like 8 hamburgers in a  60 minute period...i am cringing as I type that....  Enough about that.  While we were there, I happened to see a picture of a special burger that they were offering.  I am assuming this is only available in Germany. I don't think it would be a big seller in the states.  I give you the sausage and sauerkraut burger.

Sorry for the bad photo, but I was not going take the tray outside just to take a picture.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Dream House

A little history.  When I moved into my condo nearly 3 and a half years ago, I had the whole think painted (with the help of my family) in less than 4 days time. I spent well over a month choosing colors for the walls. I lived there just shy of a year, but I will always remember that first home that I bought with fondness because it was the first place that I made my own.

We have lived in our current apartment for 2 years and 4 months.  Our decor consists of the following:

-a gray sectional couch, that I LOVE ( it was the only thing we bought new, aside from a book case from IKEA)
-a few colorful pillows
-a few vases (one a wedding gift and the other flea market finds)
-two framed photos (one of just David and I and another of us with the dogs)
-lots of plants, in varying states of health
-4 dog beds
-white walls
-really hideous sheets on our bed
-a lot of mismatched furniture bought of eBay for cheap ( Our best deal so far has been a solid wood table, 6 chairs, china cabinet, and sideboard for 5€...yup, 5€)

We do not have the following:
-curtains (not really necessary because no one can see into our house. Also not practical because we have slanted ceilings)
- pictures or any kind of decoration hung on the walls
- a rug

While our apartment does feel like home, I feel that it lacks personality. Specifically, mine. (I should note here that my husband has no real interest in home decor.  He doesn't even care if our house is clean. :))  I spend a lot of time on the Internet looking at home decor blogs and website.  I cannot wait to decorate my home,  just not this home. I feel a little conflicted, especially since my parents have been slowly redoing their house for the last 2 years.  Let's just say I am a bit green with envy.

I think my hang up comes from the fact that David and I view our living conditions as temporary.  It is 100% certain that within the next three years we will move. Most likely back to the states.  Therefore, I makes no sense for us to invest our money in finding exactly the right table, bed, wardrobe, etc.  If we move to the states, we will most likely purge most of our belongings, such as furniture, electronics, worn out clothes, and so on.  Most likely the only things that will move with us are clothes, shoes, computers, textbooks (yes we moved textbooks to Germany) and a few select kitchen items (such as good knives). 

Another deterrent for me is that I just do not care for most of the decor choices available in Germany.  Don't get me wrong, I love color...just not red and orange which seem to be in abundance here.  I also do not care much for prints.  Particularly, when it comes to bed linens. I love solid fabrics with texture, which seems to be impossible to find.  I was given the gift of bed sheets (that I got to pick out) from my in-laws for my birthday in 2009.  In two years, I have yet to find THE sheets for our bed.  My idea of what looks good is just different that what I can find here.

David and I love to talk about our future home.  Big yard, on a lake, hardwood floors, open floor plan.  I have even found David searching through MLS listings looking for "deals."  What can I say, we like to dream.  David dreams about private lakes and I dream about a kitchen that is bigger than my parent's walk in closet. Some days I just sit and dream about closets...oh how I miss closets. I am not even talking about the "dream" closets that are all over pinterest.  I just want a closet and not a wardrobe. Period.  Sorry, continuing...Mostly we just dream about having a place to call our own.

Every cent that I do not spend "decorating" our apartment is just another cent I can spend decorating our house.  Call me crazy, but I think the sacrifice is worth it.  Besides, in the end it doesn't really matter what the place I live looks like. It only matters that it is safe, protects us from the elements, and full of memories.  Our apartment certainly fullfills those requirements.

Am I making sense here? Sometimes when I am home and starting at our blank walls I feel like I don't...


Friday, February 10, 2012

Life Lately

Let's not even discuss how long it has been since I last blogged...

Since we arrived back from our short trip back to the states (2 weeks is not long enough) David and I have both found ourselves pushed to the max.  It has been long days and short nights in this house.   I cannot remember the last time I slept a full eight hours on a weeknight. Yes, I NEED 8 hours of sleep...moving on...

It is now almost 6 pm on Friday and I am looking another two hours at the office because the hubby has stuff to do. By stuff, I mean go to the store to buy water and beer for a soccer tournament that he is organizing tomorrow. Welcome to the life of a grad student and his wife...

Oh, I should mention that he has been so sweet to take me to work all but one day this week.  He offered the other day, but since I had to be there early I biked to work in the -5°F weather...oh life in Germany.

Did I mention that winter FINALLY arrived in Germany?  I did. With snow!  And really cold weather, but at least we get to enjoy lots of random snows. It makes the cold weather tolarable.  I am hoping for some fresh snow this weekend.  I really want to take some video of Millie playing in the snow, but it needs to be light outside. And we need fresh snow. Here's hoping...

Speaking of cold weather and the car  check out the ice crystals that we found on our car windshield on Sunday morning:

Pretty neat, huh?

Last weekend we were also lucky enough to spend sometime with my sister-in-law and our niece.  I wish we got to see them more often.  At least I finally got a picture of her and David.  She was totally enamored with his red jacket.  She kept touching it...too cute!

 Lastly, I am look forward to spending some quality time with my own two babies...

Oh, and eating this:
That would be red velvet cheesecake. A delicious gift from a sweet friend.

Happy weekend!  Back soon...I hope :)