Saturday, April 12, 2014

Munchen Brunchen

Since the last brunch we had was so much fun, we decided to make another one shortly after... but this time only for Jon and I :) We had been reminiscing about our trip to Germany, and decided we were going to try and recreate one of our favorite dishes we had while out there: ochsenaugen.

We have no idea what it actually was, the translation while ordering was a bit fuzzy (me tyring to act like a chicken laying an egg, Jon pointing to other people's dishes and saying "eggs" over and over.) We ended up getting the dish we wanted, and decided it was a creamed spinach with fried eggs on top, served with home fries. And it was AMAZING. So after some searching we found a few recipes to try at home to mimic our glorious Munchen brunch.

German Creamed Spinach
adapted from: What's Cooking America

2 - 3 Large Bunches Fresh Spinach
4 Tbs. Butter
4 Tbs. Finely Chopped Onion
4 Tbs. All-Purpose Flour
3 - 4 C. Milk (depending on how thick you want the sauce)

Cook spinach and squeeze out any excess liquid. Chop the spinach into smaller pieces then set aside. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onions in it until they are translucent. Add the flour and cook for a minute or two, until it is smooth and there are no lumps. Add in desired amount of salt and pepper. Slowly add the milk to the onion/butter mixture, mixing constantly. Bring the sauce to a boil then remove from heat. Mix the sauce with the chopped spinach, add more salt/pepper to desired taste.*

*We actually ended up added a bit of turmeric and garlic powder to this to give it a little more dimension. But that is optional.

We also tried our hand at homemade German pretzels! They turned out OK, but nothing to write home about. I'll try again to make better ones, maybe using a different recipe, and definitely putting more salt on them. The one thing I learned about pretzel making... even when you think its a lot of salt, its not enough. Probably why the beer tastes extra good in Germany.

On that note, what would a Munchen brunch be without sausage and beer?! We brought the giant mugs home from Germany, so we busted them out along with a spread of all the beers we tried while over there. We were able to find literally the EXACT beer we had with this brunch in Munich thanks to Craft Beer Cellar! We were so happy that a local store carried it. It definitely brought us back. We were also able to get weisswurst thanks to Karl's Sausage Kitchen. They had a rost bratwurst that we got and truly enjoyed, but we LOVED the weisswurst. Between that and the beer we felt like we were back in the Marienplatz.

Oh, take us back!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

More Window Face-Lift

We had an idea kicking around for awhile, but were never really sure we wanted to commit. When we went to the store to get the paint for our windows, we decided then and there to go with it and do something different. So instead of getting just white paint, we got black as well! We decided to paint the sashes of the windows black, and keep the frames white.

We've loved it on so many houses we've seen, but weren't sure it would be right for ours. But, after deciding to take that step, we are so happy we did. The windows are still the original windows from 1910, and the black around the edges really makes them stand out.

So after a LOT of taping, we went to work and painted away.

Definitely adds some character to the house, and gives it more curb appeal. We are very happy with the way it turned out, and plan on painting all the windows of the house that way. Eventually, we will probably upgrade our windows and get new ones (that aren't as drafty). When we do that, we'll stick with the black sashes. We really love them!

I don't have a finished picture without all the tape off, but you get the idea. Once we finished painting them, we put the shutters back up and called it a day and a job well done. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Window Face-Lift

After painting the door we decided to make another small improvement to our curb appeal: paint the windows. Its amazing how much of a difference cleaning up things like trim will make. When we were painting the sides of the house it felt like painting the window and door frames really made our work pop. So, we got to work on bringing that clean, just painted white look to the front of the house.

The front windows really needed some attention, not just for the curb appeal, but for maintenance purposes as well. Most of them had paint stripped off so lots of bare wood was showing. If left this way, we could have been looking at some serious wood damage - and a lot more work than just painting.


See what I mean? Gross. So we started with the fun filled job of prep work - taking down the shutters and then scraping the windows. Taking down the shutters ended up being more of a task than we originally anticipated. Most of the screws were stripped bare, so we had to get creative and use some vice grips to get them off.

Once we (finally) got all the shutters off, we removed the storms and finished some other basic prep work. The windows were finally ready for some paint, so off we went to the store.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Birthday Brunch

Jon's sister's birthday is in February, and this year we decided to have her over for a birthday brunch. We were so happy with the way it turned out, we had to share!

There is something to be said about a really good brunch. Nothing fancy, just some breakfast staples, strong coffee, great company, and excellent champagne.

Jon tried out a new way to make home fries (boiling then baking, usually we just pan fry) and then made an open-faced egg sandwich with fig, prosciutto, and arugula on a toasted french baguette.
Egg Sandwich:
Eggs (1 per person)
French Baguette, halved lengthwise
Fig Jam
Fresh Arugula
Prosciutto, pan fried
Pan fry the prosciutto by putting a slice in a pan on the stove top over medium heat. Keep an eye on it, as it will crisp up rather fast. Toast the french baguette, then spread the Fig Jam on it. Top with fresh arugula, the fried prosciutto, and a fried egg.
We also made a dutch baby and a breakfast spinach pie. There are a thousand recipes of dutch pancakes around, but ours is very simple:
Dutch Baby
2 Tbs. butter
2 Eggs
1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the butter in a cast iron pan and put in the oven to melt as the oven preheats. In a bowl, mix together the other ingredients until they are combined. Once the butter is melted, swirl it around the pan to coat evenly. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake until puffed and golden, about 25-30 minutes. Serve with fresh fruit.

The brunch was a success and left us full for hours. We were so happy to have Jon's sister over to celebrate with her. I can't wait to find another excuse to cook all of this again!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Holidays

Merry Christmas!
and Happy New Year!
Love, Jon and Kate


Friday, November 29, 2013

It was a One Eyed, One Horned, Flying...

You know the song, and I think it was written for our front door. The thing was a purple monster. An ugly purple monster.

It was seriously one of the worst color purple's I've ever seen, and not in the best of shape either (nicks all over it, paint and dried glue on the windows, etc.) So, we decided to fix that. Initially we wanted to refinish the door to natural wood. So we took it off the hinges and used some chemical stripper to start. It got rid of a lot of the paint and peeled back a few layers of different colors. But the stuff that got left behind was a gooey mess. It would clump in the details of the door and would not scrape off easily.

We decided we needed to resort to the hard way. We sanded, sanded, sanded, scraped, and sanded. Finally we were left with a semi-smooth surface. Since it didn't look like we were going to remove everything, we decided to re-paint the door instead of re-finishing it. We used an oil based primer recommended by our local Sherwin-Williams guy (he was much more helpful on this project than the depot was) and got to work.

A few divots and scrapes required caulking after the priming, so we fixed those and then got to painting.

Yep! Yellow! We wanted something bright and inviting. Since we already had the pineapple doorknocker, we decided to go with a bright yellow to somewhat match. Also, have you tried to look for front door colors? There are like 8 colors you can use. Not very exciting.

We love the final product and think it looks a MILLION times better than it did when we started!

Oh! And a fun fact! The Sherwin-Williams guy told us that yellow paint fades the fastest out of any color. Significantly faster. Who knew? It obviously didn't deter us from going forward and using yellow... but interesting nevertheless.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Munich, Germany (Part II)

Day 4: Salzburg, Austria

Sunday of our trip we woke up early and drove to Salzburg, Austria. Located about an hour and half outside of Munich, Salzburg is where the composer Mozart was born and also where scenes from the movie The Sound of Music was filmed (!!!!). The city is absolutely breathtaking, with an old fort/castle up on a hill overlooking the city center, a river, and the Alps. Since tourism is one of the towns main sources of income, the whole place is clean, safe, and well maintained.

We decided to walk around all day, visiting everything we could. We started by going to a beautiful courtyard in the back of a church where Mozart was buried. Well, we thought he was buried there. It turns out it is his family plot, and no one is really sure where THE Mozart is buried. Either way, the courtyard was eerily gorgeous with lots of trees and greenery, along with very elaborate tombstones and catacombes.

After that we headed to Schloss Mirabell and walked around the grounds. There were multiple gardens to walk through, all of which were beautiful. The flowers were all planted to form designs, and there were some interesting statues throughout all the grounds. I could have walked around there for hours, but we only had one day, so we moved on.

Next stop was the city center, and the large cathedral that was in the middle. Words cannot describe how beautiful that cathedral was. There was so much detail everywhere you looked. From there we took the tram to the top of the Hohensalzburg Fortress and stole some great views of the city and the Alps.

Day 5: Neuschwanstein Castle and Alps Road Trip

The next day we drove to the Neuschwanstein Castle. This was built as a retreat for King Ludwig II, but was turned into a museum soon after his death. Guards came to imprison Ludwig, claiming he wasn't fit to rule anymore because of paranoia. Two days after he was taken, he mysteriously died. Coincidence? He was not able to finish the castle, but what was finished still remains in good condition. I call this the fairy tale castle since it was the model for the one at Disney. I'm so happy we took the time to visit, it was definitely a site to be seen, but the drive afterward was really the highlight of the day.

Once we left Neuschwanstein, we took a road trip through the Alps. The driving was unbelievable. UN-BE-LIEVABLE. We didn't know what to expect when we started to drive, but decided to take a "back road" instead of a major highway back toward Munich. The road brought us winding through the Alps, past a beautiful lake, and around some awesome hairpin turns. Some parts of the road were so narrow that 2 cars could barely get by; mix that with no guard rails, and it was an exciting few hours. It was one of the best drives we have ever been on and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who likes road trips or pretty mountain scenery.

Day 6: BMW Museum

We spent our last day in Munich at the BMW Museum, which ended up being perfect since it was the one day that it rained. Just like the ultimate driving machine, this place was the ultimate museum. It had some amazing cars on display as well as some really interesting background on the company and how it came to be the brand it is today. Jon loves BMW, so this was one of the highlights of the trip for him. I will say, as someone who likes BMW but is not a fanatic, this museum was still awesome! It had a ton of interesting things to look at and was a lot of fun to be in. The best room was the advertising room, which had BMW ads (tv and print) from when they first started up through today. It was extremely creative how they displayed their history and brainstorming ideas.

After we left BMW, we walked around Munich a bit more. Grabbed an afternoon beer and snack at Augustiner am Platzl (one of my favorite meals of the trip) and then headed to Hofbrauhous for our final dinner. Our trip was amazing to say the absolute least, and I already can't wait to go back.