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This week has been full of delicious food, exciting adventures, and memorable events.

I’m not going to let my lack of modern-day journaling prevent this week from being known. Much of what I mention now will hopefully be put into a more detailed post of its own, but in the meantime, sit back, relax and enjoy my week in review.

Last Saturday

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I had such a good day last Saturday. Sebastian and I drove to my new favorite German museum, Kommern Open-Air Museum. I was going to bring my class to the museum on Thursday for a trip and wanted to be a bit more knowledgeable before leading a tour.

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The museum has collected and repaired traditional buildings from the Rheinland and placed then into four communities. Visiting the museum is like traveling back in time.

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We enjoyed walking through the buildings and imagining what it must have been like to live in the Rheinland region 500 years ago.

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Old-fashioned rhubarb custard crumble cake

After visiting the museum, Sebastian and I did a bit of shopping then went to see two short plays.

The Bonn Players, the theatre group I’ve acted with in the past, was showing their spring productions. Both plays were very well done and really enjoyable to watch. After the play, Sebastian and I ate an extremely late Italian dinner at a local restaurant then called it a night.

Sunday

Lazy day at home. Probably the most interesting thing I did was ate a great soup and salad lunch.

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Chickpea vegetable soup, mixed salad and bruschetta.

Monday

I’ve told you about.

Tuesday

At school the kids performed their musical for Year 2 and a few parents who weren’t able to come on Wednesday. Other than that, it was a normal school day.

Once home, Sebastian and I made a very traditional German spring dinner.

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Boiled new potatoes, fish, white asparagus and hollandaise sauce.

Wednesday

My students performed their Pied Piper musical for their parents. There were several teary eyes in the audience and many appreciative greetings at the end. I am so proud of the kids as well. They really put everything they had into this show.

Thursday

The class trip to Kommern was a huge success.

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The kids were fascinated by “the olden days.” As opposed to Saturday when Sebastian and I went, on Thursday, the town was ‘working.’

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The bakery was baking bread, the blacksmith was making horseshoes, the housewives were cooking and gardening.

Probably the most memorable part of the day was meeting a woman who described what life would have been like 200 years ago. She had everyone captivated by her tales of childhood and hard manual labor.

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I was absolutely exhausted after the trip and was so happy when I got home to find that Sebastian had prepared pizza dough for dinner.

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We ran to the grocery store and strawberry stand before beginning to bake our pizzas. I made a fennel and red onion pizza with black olives and a balsamic glaze.

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Absolutely divine.

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Sebastian went down the spicy road and made a salami and jalapeño pizza.

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I also whipped together a very quick rhubarb tiramisu using a recipe from my vegetable box.

Needless to say, Thursday night I slept like a baby.

Friday

Last day of the week before a week off of work (sort of.)

School went well, one of the mums came in for Mystery Reader and finished reading The School Mouse. I have loved listening to this particular mum read this book. She reads with the most soothing and beautiful British accent your could imagine. I’m just sad that the story is over. I always feel a bit down the few lonely days after finishing a good book.

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After school, I came home and made birthday cupcakes for my friend and classroom assistant, Prachi. I had planned on bringing the tiramisu but realized that I’d be carrying around a heavy glass dish all night and decided to go the dish-free direction.

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 Vegan Chocolate Amaretto Cupcakes, I promise a recipe soon!

Because of my baking, we were running so late that we decided to take the car after all. I guess carrying a glass dish wouldn’t have been a problem. We ate at a Mexican restaurant in Bonn called Tacos. I had delicious vegetarian fajitas and a margarita. We ended up staying at the restaurant all night, laughing, talking and simply having a relaxing night out.

Saturday

I didn’t sleep well Friday night because I was too nervous about Saturday morning. My friends Jan and Matt are in a band and invited me to sing a couple of songs at an upcoming gig.

Saturday was my first rehearsal with the band and to say that I was nervous really is an understatement. Only Matt has ever heard me sing so I was really afraid that the rest of the band would be unimpressed and question his judgment. Luckily, all went well and I had a really good time with the band. Our next rehearsal is on Thursday then the gig is on Friday.

Once rehearsal was finished, Sebastian and I went to IKEA then over to Jan and Zoe’s to help them move into their new apartment. They are only moving next door, but the new flat is about 3x larger than the old one. Doctored up frozen pizzas and beers were shared on the new balcony then we relaxed and chatted while listening to music late into the night.

Sunday

Beside cooking a really fun breakfast and dinner, today has been a total write-off.

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I slept in, made breakfast, fell asleep while reading, woke up again, watched three documentaries, talked on the phone with my friend, made dinner, then started blogging. A very unproductive day.

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I have this coming week off of school but will be going in to work most of the days to work on writing reports. Although I hate that I’m spending a “vacation week” writing reports, I’m glad that I have the time to focus on the reports while the classroom is all mine.

Alright, thanks for sticking with me through this long post, I promise to provide a few of the recipes on their own as well as a dedicated post to Kommern Open-air Museum.

I hope all of you have had a great week and a relaxing weekend.

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Last Sunday, I went on a short hike with my friends Jan and Zoe.

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We started at the car park just above Rolandseck, a neighboring village.

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It was overcast and a bit chilly, perfect weather for an uphill hike.

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On the way up, we stopped to spy through the gates of a private property. Imagine living in a turret.

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The hike was quite easy with a few hilly areas. Everything is finally green again. I love spring.

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There are several longer hikes and bike trails which lead to the remains of the Rolandsbogen Castle. These paths are marked with different numbers and paint symbols which can be seen to the right of the arch above.

P5156730 Cool root systems were enjoyed by all.

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Before we knew it, we’d reached signage of the Rolandsbogen Restaurant.

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Here’s a little history about the Rolandsbogen Castle, copied from this source.

Above Remagen and Rolandseck, near the island of Nonnenworth, is the former castle of Rolandsbogen. It is now in ruins, although offers magnificent views to those who climb up to see it. The castle was built by Charlemagne’s nephew, Roland. He supposedly returned from serious injury in Spain to find his wife had taken her vows as a nun on the island. So he built this fortress to be able to catch glimpses of her. The castle was built around 1040, and fell after an earthquake in 1673. Roland’s window still stands romantically in place.

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Romantic even with the story rolling in.

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Up a few more steps, we found the arch, cafe and restaurant. The building above is actually a Standesamt, one of the registered locations for the legal, civil union side of marriages in Germany.

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The view over the Rhine was fantastic.

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With the Seven Hills across the Rhine, and the convent turned school on the island, this castle once stood proud with an amazing view.

We had a coffee and shared a slice of cheesecake and apple cake while waiting out the storm before making the descent.

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The walk back down was a bit more sunny and humid but still really lovely.

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I’m so lucky to live in such a geographically interesting place. Just minutes from my home I have hills, dormant volcanoes, prairies, forests and one of the most important rivers in Europe.

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I just need to get out and hike more often.

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Behind the Times

Although I’m a bit behind the times on this Friday afternoon, I wanted to share a few photos from the Bad Godesberg Flea Market last Sunday.

I went to the market with Jan, Zoe and Will. While waiting for a lift, I snapped a few photos of the budding trees outside my apartment.

P4105319 Bursting buds.

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Sunday was sunny and hot with blue skies abounding.

P4105325 As you can imagine, the market was packed!

P4105326 Everyone was out- wandering about, buying and looking at the items for sale.

P4105323 From wild and wacky to collectible and classy, this tiny flea market seems to have it all.

P4105324 P4105329 After a couple of hours, we were all getting a bit hungry. Rather than having a quick and light bite like we’d imagined, we ended up eating at a buffet-style Lebanese restaurant called Sheba.

P4105330 There were many vegetarian options which were all good. You pay by the plate size so are able to eat as much as you can fit on a plate. I would definitely go back as the food was fresh, flavorful and different.

P4105331After lunch, we wandered through the market a bit more before stopping to eat ice cream.

Most of the ice cream parlors in Germany are run by Italian families. They work through the summer months selling the most creamy and delicious ice cream you could imagine, then pack up shop over winter and head back to Italy.

P4105332 As the afternoon activity came to an end, I caught a few more photos of the gorgeous Spring blossoms in Bonn.

P4105334 Speaking of bright red and gorgeous, want to see what I picked up at the flea market?

P4105335 I found an enameled cast iron grill pan in impeccable condition.

P4105338 When I asked the cost and the lady responded with “9 Euros,” I was so excited I didn’t even try to bargain her down.

Gotta love a good price!

P4105336 Already this week, I’ve made a panini pressed between this and my other cast iron pan as well as grilled tofu and zucchini.

If you ever visit Germany, try to find a local flea market. They are a guaranteed good time!

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Our tiny electric balcony grill was put into action this weekend.

P4095311I came home from work on Friday and made a quick lemon dill marinade, based off of the lemon thyme marinade which was my standby last grill season.

P4085147 I chopped up a handful of fresh dill, grated the zest of 1/2 a lemon…

P4085151 added the juice of 1/2 a lemon, some salt, red pepper flakes, olive oil and a dollop of sweet mustard. Once whisked together, I added a bunch of aging vegetables.

P4085154 Mushrooms, red and green peppers, zucchini and red onions.

P4085155 Once the lid was on, these veggies were given a good shake to distribute the marinade.

I thought we would have the kebabs for dinner Friday night, but we ended up spending the evening drinking beer and playing in the park by the Rhine.

P4085214 Josh’s diverse beer collection.

P4085169 Friday was such a gorgeous Spring day.

P4085210 The two German boyfriends from our group.

P4085189 Living in Europe and hanging out with friends in the park after work, who wouldn’t want this life?

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Monkey see, monkey do.

Lucky for us, Matt and Josh both have adorable little boys who provided most of the entertainment for the evening.

P4085158Lucky for them, Jan brought his bike and trailer to entertain the boys.

P4085233 P4085234After detaching the trailer from the bike, the boys took turns pulling one another around. P4085173 It was a fun, relaxing, simple Friday night.

P4085215 So, rather than veggie kebabs, I had a falafel sandwich for dinner. While we were out, the kebabs were back home, soaking up the marinade.

P4095287 On Saturday, after marinating for 20 hours, I finally grilled the vegetables. I was worried that the mushrooms would fall apart so tried to place sturdier vegetables around them. I added a couple of potatoes to the skewers as well.

P4095291 I turned my little electric grill to high power and added the prepared kebabs.

P4095294 Keeping a careful eye on the grill, I rotated the veggies as they began to darken.

P4095297 The charred red peppers were the best!

P4095310 Eaten alongside garlic herb bread, I pulled the veggies off of the kebabs to enjoy as a grilled salad topping.

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Fresh and scrumptious!

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I hope your day has been as warm and enjoyable as mine.

I woke up fairly early this morning and got started right away on breakfast. Anne’s Almond Butter Banana Breakfast Bars have been on my Recipe Wish List for far too long.

These breakfast bars are so simple and so good.

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This recipe really is as easy as mixing together a few wet and dry ingredients that you probably already have at home.

P4024714 I was all out of maple syrup so the only change I made to the original recipe was to use golden syrup instead.

P4024716 P4024719 My apartment smelled fantastic as this was baking away.

Along with fresh brewing coffee, my apartment smelled like breakfast.

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The day continued with shopping.

First up, a visit to the fruit and vegetable lady.

P4024729 Today I bought rhubarb, leeks, chives, potatoes, eggs and a beat. Spring has clearly sprung on her farm!

The rest of the afternoon included more shopping for new work shoes, a kitchen scale and a few more vegetables from the Bonn farmer’s market. At the Bonn market, I picked up fresh green asparagus (white asparagus is the norm here,) fresh spinach and a green pepper.

P4024732 Walking around the beautiful city of Bonn, Germany on such a lovely, warm Spring day, I couldn’t help but smile and feel so blessed to be exactly where I am.

P4024733 Sebastian met me to go to a new-to-us ethnic grocery store that my friend Josh is always talking about. Unfortunately, when I arrived at 2:26, I realized that the store closed at 2:00. Oh well.

We carried on as planned and went on a short walk along the Rhine. It seamed like everyone was out today- walking, jogging, skating, biking, rowing, you name it, the bike and foot paths were packed.

P4024735 P4024736 A drink was had as we watched the people pass by.

Once home, I put the fresh spinach to good use and made palak paneer for dinner. Sadly, the sun was down before the process was finished so I’ll have to wait until I can photograph the left-overs in daylight before posting the recipe. Palak paneer looks enough like baby poo in the daylight, why make it look worse at night?
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After such a great day shopping alone then hanging out with my favorite person and eating great food, the highlight of my day was definitely talking to my grandma and mom on the phone today.

After 2.5 years, I’ve finally changed my phone plan to include calls to the US. My first call was to my grandparents and luckily, mom was there too. Talking to them as I cooked dinner made them feel so near to me. I love living abroad but certainly miss my friends and family back home. What a difference a phone call can make!

Now, with a cat cuddled and sleeping across my arms, I think it’s time to call this day to an end.

Happy Spring, everyone!

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Fried Flamingo

Earlier this week, a couple of books I had ordered came in.

When you live in a non-English speaking country, the simple task of buying a book can take weeks. I’m glad it did, as it led to finding a gem today.

It was a gorgeous day today, made even better by having the day off work to boot. On my way to the bookstore, I walked past a previously unnoticed cafe.

Colorful macaroons in the window display caught my eye.

P3043951 I picked up my books then high-tailed it back to The Fried Flamingo.

P3043956Although I came for a macaroon, I was easily distracted by the gorgeous selection of tortes and mouse creations.

P3043952 The woman working at the restaurant was very friendly and helpful. She easily spoke about the business and how everything from their sandwiches and salads to their desserts is hand-made in their kitchen. As she described each and every delicacy, my mouth watered even more.

In the end, I decided to have the raspberry and yogurt mouse.

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Just what I needed. It was subtly sweet, light and airy.

P3043953 Perfect with a mid-afternoon cappuccino.

P3043954 Now all I need is to go back for a macaroon or two.

If you’re ever in Bonn and looking for a comfortable, feminine cafe, give Fried Flamingo a try.

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Butterfly Lady

Just a quick post to share my Karneval 2011 costume with you.

P3033799 I went as, for lack of a better phrase, a butterfly lady. I found the idea for a butterfly headdress on Martha Stewart. Her costume used more realistic-looking butterflies, but I couldn’t find any here in Germany. Luckily, the Spring decorations just came out in the 1 Euro stores so I was able to put this together for 10 Euros.

P3033795 I woke up at 6, made coffee, ate breakfast then started on my hair. All dressed, made up and ready to go to work by 8:15.

I attached the butterflies to two hair combs using gold colored wire the night before.

P3033804 The headdress held up surprisingly well. It stayed in good form through school in the morning and celebrating Karneval all night. It was a bit heavy but not uncomfortable.

P3033803 I’ll share more photos once I get them from my friend who was the photographer for the night. We had a good time yesterday but the Karneval season is not over yet!

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