Monday, June 27, 2011


Kraut and I returned home safely from our family trip early last week. It was hard to come back knowing it meant laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, yard work, and going through some 250 emails at work! We had such an amazing time doing lots of sightseeing, walking, eating, and of course sampling the local brews. One of the most fascinating things to me was that almost everywhere you would have a beer, they would bring it in a special glass just for that brand. I thought this was so cool, and very helpful for a tourist trying to keep track of all the ones she tried! I didn't get pictures of all of them, but I definitely was able to capture plenty to share with you. Here are our time went on we started taking more pictures, so we missed a few good ones early on.


This Lubzer Pilsner was consumed right after all the family arrived in Berlin on Friday 6/9. Interestingly enough, we were dining at a place called Tex Mex. There seemed to be a lot of "tex mex" places around, and I know it seems kind of odd that we chose to eat there, but it was conveniently located right around the corner from our place. Besides, the beer was German and thats all that matters!

Here we are a "Haus der 100 Biere," and yep you guessed it...they had 100 beers on their menu.

No, its not St. Paddy's day! This green beer is a mix of Berliner Weisse which is a sour wheat beer made in Berlin mixed with waldermeister (woodruff) syrup. It was delicious! They also mix it with raspberry, but I like the sour one better.

Here was the menu at the house of 100 beers. Look closely and you may recognize something you wouldn't expect.

That's right, MGD represented all the way in Berlin!


We had these brews on our lunch break between museums at the Zwinger.

We sampled these beers while waiting for our tour of the Volkswagen Glass Factory. The Radeburger was my favorite Dresden brew!

We went down to a beer garden down by the river and enjoyed another...

and the view!


When we arrived in Hamburg on Wednesday 6/15 it was lunch time, so we stopped for a kebab and our nice waitress insisted we needed a perfect pour for the perfect picture of the Konig Pilsner.

On Thursday we took a bus tour around Hamburg, and for lunch we stopped for a brat and another local beer.

When we got done with our bus tour we had some time to kill so we had to sample a Lowenbrau, or two!!!


When we arrived in Brussels on Friday, we took hard to sightseeing until the rain put a little damper on things. However, I think it worked out in our favor because when it started raining there was nothing around but this little pub. So we figured, it must be time to try a Belgian beer. These were both awesome. I'm not the biggest fan of wheat beer, and didn't know the Brugs blanche was a wheat beer when I ordered ut, but I'm glad I did.

This Grimberger was probably one of our favorite Belgian beers, which must be why Kraut wanted to take this artistic depiction.

We picked up this trappist beer in a local convenient store on our way back to the hotel that night...why don't we have quality beer in our convenient stores?

Here is one you may recognize. We had these with lunch on Saturday after lots of sightseeing. I think they were cheaper than water!

We went to a small brewery museum, where you learn all about Belgian beers and particularly about the Trappist beers. Fun fact I retained....there are only 6 Trappist monestaries in the world and 5 of them are in Belgium. Before you leave the museum, they give you a beer (of course), but they won't tell you what brand it is. They had a blanche wheat and a pilsner, so we had one of each.

After the brewery museum it was time to hit up a little more sight seeing, until the rain started, that is. Once again we ducked into a bar to get out of the rain. Here is where we tried some neat ones. These were both Trappist beers, mine was the Rochefort on the right. It was so good!

Still raining, so time for round 2. We saw several people with these 2 beers. Kraut had the one on the left and I had the Kwak in the sweet glass on the right.

Wanted to give you a close up view of this glass!

Kraut thought you should have another artistic view of the Kwak.

I thought it was time to go, but Kraut had room for one more. So here is the last one! I wish we could have just stayed in Belgium, but that could have gotten us into trouble!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Happy Place

So our lives have been a little more hectic than we expected in the last few days. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been struggling with an icky sinus infection and thankfully I'm starting to feel better because on top of that Kraut and I have both been feeling swamped at work, topped off with the fact that we have renters moving into my old house that we haven't been able to sell this Friday and have a lot of work to do in preparation, also topped off with the fact that we are taking a vacation to Deutschland and while it will be fun there is a lot stress that comes along with getting ready for a long vacation.....all mixed in with this horrible run on sentence!!!!!!!!!!! Phew!

Given all of that, I thought today seemed like a great day for a yoga class. I went in feeling tired and sluggish and a little hesitant because I got there and the teacher seemed a little kooky. I love yoga, but I'm more into yoga for the workout and only partly for the meditation and when I got to this class today the instructor was really big on the mantra part. Don't get me wrong she had us doing some pretty hard ab and arm work, and she would make us do each pose or flow for 10 minutes and some for up to 15. In other words, you were dying to stop. But, while you were doing the flow she started talking about boosting your circulatory system and using the struggle to push through something that was really hard and using your mind and the mantra to mentally work through any issues that you have been struggling with. At first I was thinking how crazy she was, but I swear it worked! I have let go of all my stress from the day and I truly feel that I have released some toxins just by getting my mind and body more in sync. The point of all my rambling being that now that I'm rid of all of my negative energy, and I'm in my happy place and having some happy thoughts:

1-Kraut and I are going to Germany (Berlin, Hamburg, and Dresden) with my in-laws in just 2 days! Plus, Kraut and I are taking a quick side trip to Brussels, Belgium!!!!

2-We will be gone for a total of 11 work free days! Prost!

3-I don't have to cook or clean or entertain the dog for 11 days!

4-MS State's baseball team made it to the Super Regionals this weekend!!!!

5-We are 87 days away from September 1, which is the opening football game for my beloved Bulldogs, AND it just so happens to be in Memphis this year!!!!

6-Kraut finally has his own cowbell now so I don't have to share mine anymore!

7-I made my mom's bread pudding this weekend and it was yummy. I think I'm going to go have a piece as soon as I share the recipe. Then you can join me in my happy place.....

Jackie Sue's Bread Pudding
(Mom hates being called Jackie Sue, but it just makes the recipe sound more authentically Southern. Sorry Mom!!!)


For Pudding:
1 loaf of French bread or 6-10 slices of regular bread (its better if its just a little dry or stale)
1/2 cup of raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 eggs slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
(I also added 1/4 cup of chopped pecans to mine)

For Sauce:
1 stick melted butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
rum or whiskey to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon with melted butter. Tear bread into pieces, add milk raisins, cinnamon/sugar mixture, eggs and vanilla. Mix well and pour into 8x8 baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until pudding appears to be "set" (not still wet). Cut into squares after it has cooled and serve each piece with sauce.

Sauce: Mix all sauce ingredients in a small pan over low heat until sugar is dissolved and adding rum or whiskey to taste.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Our Memorial Day Weekend

I've been a little under the weather this week thanks to a disagreement between my sinuses and all the pollen in the air. I'm on my second round of antibiotics trying to get rid of my ear infections. I have been wanting to post about our nice Memorial Day weekend sooner, but I just wasn't feeling up to it until now. We started a cooking spree on Thursday and didn't stop. We had some andouille sausage in the freezer that Kraut brought back from New Orleans a little while ago. So, we thawed it out and made a sauce with soy sauce, honey, and lemon juice and we marinated the sausage for an hour or so. Then we skewered it up with some pineapple, onion, cantaloupe, and green pepper and threw it on the grill for 15 minutes, basting it while it grilled. It was delicious and easy, check it out:

Saturday was pizza night. When I was browsing my latest Bon Appetit there were some pics of a roasted tomato pizza that caught my eye. We also found some amazing looking artichokes at Fresh Market, so I boiled them up for an appetizer and also made a nice green salad. If you have never boiled and artichoke and dipped it in lemon butter you are missing out!!! My mom used to get just 2 and have my sister and I share, until it caused too many arguments and we had to each share with a parent to keep the peace. The only cooking tip I have is just be patient and let it boil for at least 45 min if not an hour. Aside from the wait it couldn't be easier. For the pizza I roasted up some grape tomatoes in the oven, made a homemade crust and then threw it all together with some grated parmesan and buffalo mozzarella. Yeah, I know you are jealous! Mmmmm look at all the nice melty cheese....

Peel the leaves off one at a time and bite on the soft ends.
Then when you are down to the heart dip it in lemon butter like this....

On Sunday we decided to have some friends over and have a BBQ. We bought 6 racks of ribs at Fresh Market (that's about 18 lbs). Kraut put a rub on them the night before and the next day he smoked them for about 3 hours. He also made a great apple whiskey BBQ sauce to serve on them. Along with the ribs we had some baked beans that Kraut made, a spring mix salad with a beer and mustard dressing that I whipped up (something I found in Food & Wine Magazine), and some roasted fingerling potatoes with a homemade chive pesto. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of all the good food on Sunday, but I did get the best part....

Monday came around and we had so many leftovers that cooking was not necessary. It ended up being a great day to hang out and play some lawn golf with Kraut (I won) and then we decided it was time for JJ to get his annual haircut. Here are his before and after pics:

I know he looks ridiculous, but my floors and I really appreciate the new do. Its much more low maintenance! I hope "all yall" enjoyed your long weekend as much as we did. We love to cook together and it was nice to spend some quality time together and visit with our friends.

**Normally I'd just say yall, but thought I'd throw a good Southernism in there just for Kraut**