September 24, 2014

The Devil's Footprint - Munich, Germany

One place I take all my family and friends when they visit us is Munich. I love the hustle and bustle, I love the history, and I love the free walking tour! I've actually taken this tour three times now.

I know what you're thinking… why would I take the same tour three times???

Well, it's never been the same twice! Some of the stops have repeated, of course. But my guide has always been different, and they each have a unique perspective and various stories. Plus people really like that it's free (you should tip your guide at the end, however).

On this last visit to Munich, our guide took us somewhere I'd never been before, and told the coolest story about a time when Satan visited Munich… and he left behind a footprint!

Devil's footprint!! 
Do you wanna hear the story? If you don't, then stop reading, ha!

So, for those of you still here…

Legend says that when the Frauenkirche was being built (the large church where this footprint is contained), the devil did not want any more churches built in Munich. He went to see this new church, and mistakenly thought there were not any windows inside of it. He found the interior to be so dark and dreary, he thought it would be easy to lure souls away from the church.

Rather than destroy the church (which was his original intention), the devil instead made a deal with the builder. If no more windows were added to the church, he would add speed for the church to be built and not destroy it. Years later, the devil returned to see the completed church….

… Imagine his surprise to find windows along the entire outside of the church!! He called for the builder, and was quite angry with him. He demanded the builder's soul for breaking their deal. BUT, the builder hadn't actually welched on their agreement. You see, the windows had always been there. They were blocked by columns that line the church, so the devil had not seen them from the inside.

The builder told Satan to come look inside, and he would see that the windows were hidden and he had been tricked. Sure enough, the windows were not visible from the inside. The devil was so angry, he stamped his foot into the ground and turned into an angry whirlwind. To this day, the footprint remains and Munich is said to have an evil wind that blows around and causes headaches in the people.

Grandma and Auntie at the Hofbrauhaus

I doubt the availability of beer has anything to do with those headaches, what do you think?? (I better say, so I don't get fussed at, that beer isn't my grandma's… I stuck mine in front of her and told her I wanted a pic! She doesn't really drink).

So, the next time you're in Munich, check out the devil's footprint and perhaps the free walking tour. Our day was loads of fun! I'll be back soon, I only have a week left to visit with my grandma before she returns to the States. Until then, happy travels!


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September 23, 2014

Not Yo' Mama's Spaghetti Sauce

Ok, so your mom could totally make a spaghetti sauce like this. But mine doesn't, so hence the title! One day I'll post my recipe for a basic tomato sauce (from actual tomatoes), but I know that most of you will find this recipe more in your comfort zone.


Top three reasons why I love this recipe?

1. The Hubs likes lots of meat in his spaghetti sauce.
2. The house smells ah-maze-ing while this is simmering!
3. This sauce freezes easy for later use.

I make this and freeze in advance whenever we have family visiting. This way, I look awesome for making my own spaghetti sauce, but I don't have to waste precious visit time with cooking. Win win!

Freezing the sauce


Here's what you need to get started:


You also need 1 pound each of ground beef and ground, mild Italian sausage (somehow, they didn't make it into the picture).

I'm going to tell you all my secrets for making awesome spaghetti sauce… simmer, simmer, simmer and always allow your sauce to rest overnight before using. Seriously, my friends, trust me! These two things alone can make or break your sauce. Really wonderful sauce allows plenty of time for those delicious flavors to meld.

Let's get busy!

Add your ground beef and sausage to a large pot, along with ½ of a diced onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Brown the meat, and then drain the fat from this mix.


Next, we add in all our tomato products - 28 ounces of crushed tomatoes, 16 ounces of tomato sauce, and 12 ounces of tomato paste. Also add in a ½ cup of warm water (this keeps the sauce moist during all the simmering). Combine well with the meat, and let the mixture warm up a bit because we're going to add in all the yummy spices next.

For the seasoning mix, I use: 1 teaspoon of fennel seed, 1 tablespoon of fresh basil (chopped), 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley (chopped), 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, and… 2-3 tablespoons of white sugar.

Yep, you heard me right! SUGAR. This is of major importance, peeps. The sugar helps reduce the sharp acidic flavor of the tomatoes. You can add as much or as little as you like, but taste as you go. The sauce will become sweeter as it simmers, so don't add too much. Then, you just wait for the magic to happen! Let your sauce bubble and blend over low heat for at least 90 minutes. Stir it occasionally. Once in a while, sneak a taste. Relish in the joy that is spaghetti sauce.

At the end of 90 minutes, turn off the burner and allow your sauce to come to room temperature before you refrigerate it. This prevents too much condensation on your finished product. Cover and refrigerate overnight before using.

I particularly like to use this sauce in my lasagna recipe, which will hopefully be coming to the blog soon! But it's just as awesome on plain old spaghetti noodles with some garlic bread on the side.


Nom!

I'll be back soon, my friends. I've missed you during this family visit, and I can't wait to be back to blogging. As always, the standard recipe is below.

Until next time, happy cooking!


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The Standard Form:

Not Yo’ Mama’s Spaghetti Sauce
Ingredients:

1 lb. Italian sausage
1 lb. ground beef
½ - 1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce
2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste
½ cup water
2 - 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

Begin by browning the sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic together in a large skillet or pot over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the fat.

To the cooked meat, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and the water. Stir well to combine. Stir all of the seasonings into the mixture. Simmer at least 90 minutes over low heat.


Remove sauce from heat and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight before using. Perfect for lasagna recipes or a spaghetti dinner.  



September 10, 2014

Visitors En Route

Good morning, my friends! The next few weeks in my life are going to be pretty busy. The Hubs and I have more company arriving, for a several week visit. I know what you're thinking, 'Didn't you just have company?' Yep, we did…  but everyone wants to visit now that we're living in beautiful Germany. The B&B that is my house is fully booked all the way through 2015!

This means that our regular schedule has been tossed out the window. We're now in a cycle of prepare for visitors, have visitors, take a few days off, then start preparing for visitors again. Rinse and repeat. 

This time, my grandma and my aunt are coming to tour around the country a bit. We'll mostly be staying within Germany, but I have hopes we'll also visit Salzburg and Prague. I'll try to keep up as best I can with new posts and travel pics.



But don't get mad if I take a few days off, ok? 

Of course, if anyone wants to volunteer to clean my house and cook our meals, I'd have a lot more time for blogging. Any takers??? I didn't think so, but it never hurts to ask, ha. 

I'll be back soon, peeps. Until next time! 



Thanks for reading, everyone!
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