Last night was a lot of fun.
My friend Rachel celebrated her birthday with good food, good friends, and lots of good wine. It may have been a late night, and I may have still felt slightly drunk when I woke up this morning, but she is worth celebrating and celebrating right.
In Germany, the birthday girl or boy is expected to provide birthday treats for their celebrations. Not in my book. I believe a cake should always be provided in honor of the birthday child.
Rich Chocolate Cup Cakes
Makes 21 cup cakes
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 1/2 full.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with your favorite frosting when cool.
Once the first tray of 12 cup cakes were in the oven, I mixed 1 heaping Tbsp. of peanut butter in the remaining batter. Variety is the spice of life. Even better if that variety comes in the form of peanut butter. The peanut butter chocolate muffins were even more moist and puffy.
Oh, peanut butter you’re so find, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey peanut butter, hey, hey, hey peanut butter!
I had plans to make a vanilla butter cream frosting, but the butter wasn’t soft enough and I ran out of time. Luckily the cup cakes were really moist and rich enough without frosting. I still have the bowl of now room temperature butter, vanilla, and salt on the kitchen counter…. I’m thinking butter cream frosted oatmeal in the morning.
We ate dinner at a new restaurant to me. I have lived in Bonn for 2 years and have never heard of the real gem, Der Spanier. A Spanish grocery store by day and packed out restaurant by night, this tapas place is awesome. It kind of has a kanteen feel to it. The walls are lined with oils, spices, wines, and Spanish food products from the store. Rather than a menu, you get up and take your drink from the shelf or cooler and look in the deli-style glass counter for the food. The waiter then takes your order at the table. Basically, you say what you are hungry for and if they have it, it’s yours.
Very laid back. Very strange at first, but it works very well. I wish I knew about this place when my family was visiting last summer. I will definitely go back. The food was outstanding and very affordable.
Speaking of food, here is some of what I ate.
Mushrooms cooked in butter, garlic, herbs and spices.
A group of us shared the seafood platter. Everything was tender and flavorful, but the calamari was the best. As in, the best calamari I have ever eaten. Really. Come to Bonn for the calamari.
Bread, aioli sauce, and many olives were also consumed.
You’ve got to enjoy the communal, family feel of a restaurant where plates are passed and bottles of wine are shared.
After dinner, a local drinking establishment was also visited, at which point I changed from wine and sangria to good ol’ water.
Regardless of my change of drinks, I woke up today, on teacher appreciation day, feeling like a teacher whose body was treated the antonym of appreciation the prior night.
Luckily, a few cups of green tea, a couple ibuprofen, makeup, and a lovely dress hid all ailments.
Teacher appreciation day started with a presentation first thing in the morning by my students and their parents. They each said something nice about me and presented me with the following work of thoughtful art.
Each child write something they like about me and then added it to a huge canvas which was panted and decorated with little trinkets which the kids thought symbolized me. So sweet. Here are a few of my favorite comments.
The knickknacks they added each had a special meaning, animals because I like them, a flower for my balcony garden, a pile of books for my passion of reading…
A cupcake for my love of cooking….
and a marzipan pig because, “you’re a vegetarian and don’t eat pigs, but you really like sweet food so now you can eat a candy pig.”
I believe it is important to teach reasoning and logic, especially if it justifies eating a huge blob of marzipan.
Don’t worry, I won’t actually eat you or the animal for which you were fashioned.
My assistant also received a similar gift. Here comments were a bit more varied though. From helping me to cutting fruit, my assistant does it all! What can I say, I’m one lucky girl.
Teacher appreciation day continued with assembly, the kids going to German, and then a trip to the neighboring German school to watch their musical of The Pied Piper of Hamlin. You may recall that we spent several weeks studying the story. The play was fantastic. I really enjoyed it as did the kids. Once we were back, it was time for lunch.
Usually, lunch starts at 12:15. The kids who ordered a hot lunch go to the assembly hall and those with packed lunch stay in the classroom with me to eat. Today, parents relieved us of our lunch duties at 12 and did the lunch recess supervision as well. The teachers and assistants all had a full hour lunch break (opposed to the usual half hour.) As if this weren’t good enough, the best part of teacher appreciation day at my school is the buffet lunch the parents provide.
Imagine working at a school where over 35 nationalities are represented. Now, imagine each of those nationalities being represented through food. Not any food, but the best recipe of each region. Now, imagine being able to eat said food for 1 hour. You don’t need to imagine how I felt by the time the bell went. Let’s just say that I was still uncomfortably full when I left school at 4:30.