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Archive for November, 2010

On Saturday night I went to my friend Melanie’s house for an impromptu Thanksgiving.

She felt bad that this was my 5th Thanksgiving away from home, and decided to host a special dinner in honor of my missed American holiday.

She’s a good friend like that.

Everyone brought delicious food to share but the hit of the night was the vegan walnut and mushroom Pâté. Erica, the impressive vegan cook, promised the recipe but I was too impatient and decided to attempt the dish on my own.

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Besides, I had another Thanksgiving the next day and knew I had to bring the Pâté. Although my version wasn’t spot on to Erica’s, it was still very tasty!

You just need to get over the fact that Pâté looks gross regardless of its contents.

PB281562 I used more herbs than pictured here.

PB281561 The soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and vegetable broth were an afterthought, added post picture taking.

PB281568

Vegan Mushroom and Walnut Pâté

2 cups walnuts, lightly toasted

2 cups brown mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 medium onion, minced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 handful fresh thyme, leaves picked

1 handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

no more than 1/4 cup vegetable broth

1/3 cup cooked potatoes (leftover mashed potatoes work well)

Method

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat and cook the onions and garlic until tender. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are cooked, about 7 minutes.
  2. Place the walnuts, thyme and parsley in a food processor and pulse until a very fine consistency.
  3. Add the mushroom mixture and potatoes to the food processor and continue to process drizzling in the remaining olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and vegetable broth. Taste the pate and season with salt, pepper and additional spices as desired.
  4. Place the pate in a serving dish and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The flavor will improve with time. Serve with crusty bread or crackers.
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Thanksgiving 2010

I know I’ve not been the best blogger lately, life has certainly been crazy. Now that the play and parent-teacher conferences are over, I can resume life as usual.

First order on the agenda, Giving Thanks.

Thanksgiving dinner was celebrated at my colleague’s house this year.

PB281571 He’s a funny guy and an excellent cook.

He and his wife were able to recreate a traditional Thanksgiving feast in the land of sausages and sauerkraut.

When we walked into their home, it smelled like Thanksgiving.

PB281576The food was outstanding.

I contributed Vegan Mushroom and Walnut Pâté (post coming tomorrow), pumpkin and gnocchi casserole and Jenna’s Maple Pecan Squares.

We talked and laughed the night away.

I have so much to be thankful for.

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Early Advent

Sebastian has been in Berlin for the past week.

As we walked from the train station to a Thanksgiving dinner at my colleague’s house last night, he recounted a story that only gained hilarity as the night wore on….

The story started in a not-so-funny way. Sebastian lost his debit card. When asked to verify his ticket on the train ride back to Bonn, he opened his wallet only to discover that his debit card was not there.

With only 50 cents cash and no debit card, it was looking like a long and hungry 5 hour trip from Berlin to Bonn.

That is until he realized he had food after all.

He had his Advent calendar, 24 glorious little windows containing bite-sized chocolate salvation. His mother had given him the calendar to build up the excitement of the birth of our Savior one piece of chocolate at a time.

I asked him what the other people around him thought as he popped open the windows in the Advent calendar and ate the chocolate inside.

Being the smart boy that he is, he hid the calendar away from disapproving eyes in his laptop bag.

The advent calendar got him through.

He did not starve.

He did not famish.

He arrived hungry but able to walk.

Once at the Thanksgiving dinner, my colleague’s son caught sight of the calendar hiding inside Sebastian’s satchel. Without blinking, he asked to look at it.

Sebastian handed him the skeleton of advents past and proclaimed in a smug voice, “If you can find chocolate in there, it’s all yours.”

PB281577 Sure enough, he peeled back window number 25 and revealed the biggest chocolate of all; the one and only piece Sebastian’s hungry hands missed.

Happy Advent everyone.

May your calendars be complete and your chocolate be dark.

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Expat Blogs

Are you an expatriate?

Do you enjoy reading blogs written by people who live abroad?

Would you like to know more about living abroad?

Maybe you simply want to make friends with other bloggers in your area.

If so, visit a new-to-me website, Expat Blog.

I have had so much fun discovering blogs written by other people in similar situations to my own. There are blogs of every kind written by expatriates all over the world.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, please also visit Healthy Living Blogs to find blogs from around the world which focus on food and healthy living.

Happy Surfing.

Enjoy!

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Mama Pea’s Cookies

I made Mama Pea’s dough balls 2 weeks ago.

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Her sweet, delicate, dissolve-in-your-mouth peanut butter cookie dough balls.PB131416

They were a birthday gift.

Homemade food gifts are the best.

My dad’s cousin Christine is the queen of food gifts.

We love her and her food gifts.

PB131420 For your information, whole wheat flour works just fine.

If you love your friends and family, you will make them these cookies.

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Earnest Acting

Over the last week, I have worked full-time from 8:30-4:30, arrived at the theatre by 5:45 and left the theatre at 11:30.

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Over the last week, I have had approximately 5 hours of sleep per night.

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Over the last week, I have spent 24 hours on stage.

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Over the last week, I have acted in two run-through performances and 5 real performances for over 1,500 audience members.

November 15 373 

Over the last week, 10 of my 19 students have witnessed their teacher in a new light.

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This ‘new light’ has made for some very interesting conversations back at school.  November 15 389

A conversation between myself and one of my students:

Me:I’m so glad you liked the play last night. Did you recognize me when I first came on stage?

Adorable 8 year old male pupil: Well you were different. Your hair looked different. Your clothes were different and your voice was different, but I knew it was you when you smiled.

 November 15 562 November 15 393

Girl pupil who had not yet seen the play: Ms. I can’t wait to see you in the play. My friend told me I’ll finally get to see what you look like when you get really mad! November 15 417

This coming a week after another conversation with one of my students which went something like this:

Girl: Ms. Brady, you’re the best teacher in the whole world.

Me: Why is that? (Expecting to hear about the exciting lessons and creative learning opportunities I labor over each day of the week…)

Girl: You never have to get mad at us because we know when you start to get angry. Your eyes go really big like this! (Taking in a deep breath and popping out her eyes.)November 15 420

Another short dialogue:

Me: What was your favorite part of the play?

Little boy: The part when the little girl (she’s 23) gave you the coffee (it was tea) with sugar in it even though you didn’t want sugar in your coffee (he meant tea.) Then she gave you the cake when you said you wanted the sandwiches (bread and butter.) Then you got really, really mad! That was the best part!

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The best part for me was working with such talented actors, efficient stage crew, creative hair, makeup and costume crew and a wonderful director.November 15 491 

Thank you to all who helped make The Importance of Being Earnest such a wonderful success!

November 15 572 The Importance of Being Earnest, The Bonn Players 2010.

Although I feel a bit strange plastering my face all over this here blog, I know my friends and family back home will appreciate it! Photos courtesy of the Schroers family.

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Opening Night

For those of you who do not know me personally, this may come as a surprise.

I am a teacher by day and an actress by night.

Although I’ve not mentioned it on here before, I’ve been rehearsing to perform in a play since before the summer holidays. After many long hours and months of rehearsing, tonight is finally opening night.

I will be performing in the English theatre group, The Bonn Players’ performance of The Importance of Being Earnest.

The dress rehearsal went very well last night and I have a good, although nervous feeling about tonight.

Before heading to the theater, a fast and filling dinner was required.

PB161450 PB161440 Cooked garlic, eggplant and mushrooms with crushed chili flakes.

PB161441 Italian noodles, given to me as a birthday gift!

PB161445 Nearly there…

Pasta with Eggplant and Mushrooms

Similar to Pasta alla Norma

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1 eggplant, spongy parts removed and cut into chunks
  • 5 large mushrooms, chopped into chunks
  • 1 crushed dried red chili pepper
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • salt to taste
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • Parmesan cheese… lots of it!
  • cooked pasta

Method

  1. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick pan. Cook 1 clove of slivered garlic until translucent. Add the eggplant and chili- cook over medium heat until partially cooked. Add the mushrooms and season with salt. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. more olive oil in the same skillet. Cook the remaining 2 cloves of garlic until translucent. Add the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and sugar. Toss in a small handful of parmesan cheese and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens a bit. Taste and flavor as needed.
  3. Add the cooked mushrooms and eggplant to the tomato sauce.  Cook through. Add the cooked noodles and toss to coat. Throw in another handful of parmesan.
  4. Serve with fresh basil and a sprinkle of parmesan.

PB161446

I hope my garlic breath doesn’t cause anguish on stage tonight!

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