Friday, November 2, 2012

Green bean Casserole... Germany style

I attended a recipe exchange- so much fun!

I was assigned a side-dish to bring and share... SO I decided to give homemade cream of mushroom sauce a try... so I could attempt a green bean casserole.

This is what I did.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 4 cups button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 pinch dried basil
  • 2 -3 tablespoons cream
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh basil leaf, to garnish

This includes ingredients for the green bean casserole portion as well :) 

1.  Pull the caps away from the mushroom stalks.

2.  Finely slice the caps and chop the stalks, keeping the 2 piles separate.

3.  Heat the oil and half the butter in a heavy based saucepan and add the chopped onion, mushroom stalks and 1/2-3/4 of the sliced mushroom caps.

4.  Fry about 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, and then cover and sweat over a gentle heat for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. 

6.  Gradually add the stock and milk to make a smooth, thin sauce.

7.  Add the basil, and season with salt and pepper.

8.  Bring to the boil and then simmer, partly covered, for 15 minutes.

9.  Allow to cool slightly and then pour into a food processor or blender (I use an immersion blender) and process until smooth.

10.  Melt remaining butter in a heavy based frying pan, and fry the remaining mushrooms over a gentle heat for 3-4 minutes until they are just tender.

11.  Pour soup into a large clean saucepan and stir in sliced mushrooms.

12.  Heat until very hot but not boiling and add salt and pepper to taste.

13.  Add the cream. (Make your own cream at:

This is what mine looked like done! And I just tasted it... sooooo yummy!

Green Bean Casserole (my mom's recipe, adapted to ingredients I have in Germany!)

  • 1/2 Bag of frozen (or fresh) green beans (or 2 cans if you can find cans!)
  • 30 oz of Cream of Mushroom Soup (see above) (or 2 cans if you can find cans!)
  • 1 T Soy Sauce

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F (177 C)

2.  Put drained beans in a casserole dish.

3.  Add Soy Sauce to the Cream of Mushroom soup and heat (if it's not heated already).

4.  Pour mixture over green beans.

5. Cook for about 10 minutes in the oven.

6. Sprinkle top with french onions (Röstzwiebeln in Germany) or make your own.

7.  Bake for another 10 minutes or until the fried onions are lightly browned.

8.  Eat! Yummmmmm.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Kurbis Suppe (Pumpkin Soup)

Kurbis Suppe
From Susan

This recipe comes originally from a kind German woman... a traditional pumpkin soup (or so I hear) for these parts. They use smaller, cute pumpkins... and everyone raves about the pumpkin soup they make! So today I'm giving it a whirl! Thanks, Susan, for sharing your gems!

First of all, you'll need a pumpkin puree... however you get it. I made mine from 2 of these small pumpkins (that are everywhere right now). I used this recipe from The Pioneer Woman for my puree.

You'll probably want to get your seeds roasting as well... at least, that's what I did. After doing the above, I separated as much of the gook from the seeds as possible (in the sink in a strainer). Then I followed this roasting recipe from All Recipes.

From there, I followed Susan's recipe:

Saute until soft:

8 T Butter
2 Onions, small-medium
4 Apples, small-medium


6 Vegetable Bullion
1/2 liters of water
1 T ground nutmeg
1/2 T ground ginger
1 T cinnamon
Pear juice drained from a can of large pears

Blend well, then puree with an electric hand-held mixer that can be used with hot liquid.


8 C pumpkin flesh (can follow recipe above or do as the German woman did... peel the pumpkin and cook it in the soup!)

Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Puree again.


2-3 boxes (?) of schlag sahne (I think this is heavy cream... I used 1 C of heavy cream).

Serve with roasted pumpkin seeds (see recipe link above).

EAT! YUMMMmmmmmmmm!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies... in Germany

I wanted a great chocolate chip cookie.

The only problem.

There are no chocolate chips in Germany. And all of my cookies, regardless, were coming out flat.

Enter my friend, Susan.

She passed this recipe on to me and, well, it was FABULOUS! Even with my little tweak (though I hope to do it her way next time :) Just to see...

Chocolate Chip Cookies (in Germany)
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar (I used raw sugar)
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 C Butter (I used to mashed bananas instead)
  • 2 1/2 C Flour (plus the 1/4 C flour to make up for German flours)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 400 g. Chocolate chunks (I used about half of a huge Milka bar because that's what I had... Susan uses 3 bars of Zartbitter chocolate)

Beat sugars, egg, and butter first (again, I used banana instead of butter). Add the rest and mix. Drop a spoonful of dough onto cookies sheet until it's used up. Bake 13-15 minutes at 190 degrees Celsius (374 F).

Some notes:
-Because the flour is different in Germany, you may have to add a little. A good standard is about 1/4 Cup of flour for every 2 Cups called for in an American recipe.
-The dough will seem a little dry (except my way... it just seemed sticky... banana?)
-The cookies often seem underdone when you look at the bottoms of them... but don't over-bake. I find that if they start browning on top, that they get too hard once cooled.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Children Help Simplify Life

This afternoon I had a fifteen minute phone call.

That's it.

I didn't leave the planet. Or even the house.

I sat on my floor (where I'd been cleaning) and had a phone call. My two toddlers were running around, pretending to be good.

I hung up the phone.

I walked out of the room.


"What's that?"

By the perfect shape of the circle cut out of the Children's Bible Title page, I could only guess that my 3-year old had been working on his cutting skills. Though not pleased with his choice of art material, I was pretty impressed with how well he'd cut out a circle.

Where did he get scissors?

He pulls a pair of kid scissors out of his pocket. CONFISCATED.

I finish the cleaning in my room, ignorant to what awaited me.

I casually walk into his room to put something away. I don't even remember why I walked in there anymore.

All I saw were shreds of yarn... and what looked like doll hair. Quick scan. The yarn belonged to my childhood cabbage patch doll. *gasp* Wait a minute. I'm living someone else's life! Haven't I heard this story before? Kid cuts your favorite childhood doll's hair. I'm sure I've heard it before... dejavu.

My son walks in. "Who else's hair did you cut?" I ask him. He whimpers. He picks up a little mermaid doll (also from my childhood). She sports a new fashionable look- hair cut nice and spiky-short toward the top, left long in the back. Hmm... doesn't look too bad in a pony-tail.

Son on timeout, I walk back to my room. What's that? A dollar-tree cowboy hat being shredded by the super-human strength of my 2-year old daughter. Or the weakness of the dollar-tree cowboy hat quality. Either way, it's in pieces.

Okay, there are two ways to look at this. Maybe more.

1. My kids are crazy, scissor-stealing thieves who are trying to destroy every precious thing in my house before they aren't cute enough to get away with it.


2. My kids are helping to simplify my life. Get rid of half the things in my house, right? Isn't that our goal. I can cross off "Get rid of cowboy hat." Yes! I can also cross off "Tear out title page of children's Bible." Shoot, while I'm at it, I can cross of "Cut half the hair off the dollies."

I've found that #2 has become much more my perspective these days. Oh, you broke that dish? One less dish to clean! You shattered my beautiful candle holders? Two less knick knacks to dust!

Apparently my children are entering the developmental phase of learning to cut. Hopefully from here on out I can pick what they cut... and what we get rid of!

In the meantime, thanks for simplifying my life, kids!

p.s. Here's a parent who encourages other parents to let their kids cut their doll's hair. Wish mine had asked first like hers did!!!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Heading to Germany

We had no idea when this blog began that we would be making this announcement today.

We are joining the staff of Black Forest Academy in Kandern, Germany- leaving June 2012. BFA is an international Christian school for children of missionaries, military families, business folk, and local Germans.

How ironic that God would lead us on this journey of living on used things, simplifying our lives, using our money more wisely... not knowing that He'd be taking us half way across the world to minister to His precious children!

How much more precious the theme verse of this blog is: Keep your lives frree from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you."

I'm sure the reality of those beautiful words will only grow into a greater treasure as time proves the love behind it.

That being said, here are more of the details I'm sure you are wondering about!

Kandern, Germany. The next
nearest cities are in
Switzerland and France!
Our church has a missionary family already there, the Carreys, who will be back in the states the very year we go! Jeremy will take the fifth grade teaching position and then potentially move into the Middle School in the following years. I will be raising our kids, writing, and supporting Jeremy and our mission in Kandern. Eventually, I hope to become the counselor for staff and students. This is only my aim once my young ones are in school. And yes! They will be attending BFA as well! Corban's first year (Kindergarden) will be in German!)

Our Pastor and his wife (and family) spent about 7 years at BFA, fulfilling various roles. This is how we were initially connected with BFA.

Now what? Well, we have no idea! We have a training with the sending agency, Teach Beyond, the third week of June. We imagine we will know much more then. We will be support raising soon- and trust that God has all of this worked out for us in advance. We plan on renting out the house, selling just about everything we own... and going for it! Jeremy will blog next about this process for him... how God is affirming this decision over and over... and all of the really neat things this has meant for him as the leader of our household.

Join us in praying through all of the details, PLEASE! And any great fundraiser ideas :) We will be putting together a newsletter, so let us know if you'd like to receive it!

Looking forward to sharing this journey with you!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How the Pantry Challenge Went...

We did it! Today is the first of June. Payday was yesterday and I went grocery shopping!

Dorina's help with my pantry was so inspiring. I'd almost venture to say that we had more goodies around than usual because I had ideas. I made blueberry muffins (Simonian Farms had a BOGO on blueberries and then gave me an extra one with my total purchase!) and granola. The granola (pictured right) was a HIT! That's made a permanent place on my pantry shelf and for very few dollars! No more luna bars for us!

I made wonton chicken cups with Chinese Fried Rice. We had green bean casserole, home made pizza (with whatever variety of cheese I had left in the fridge, most of which were NOT mozzarella. The pizza had a cream of mushroom sauce which ended up being REALLY yummy!

I used left over wonton cups for lunch the next day. I filled them with peanut butter and served with sliced apples.

I also made bread for sandwiches since we were out. Saturday we ALL had pb&j on our home made bread. It was SO good. I finally found a recipe that my bread-maker can actually manage! Check it out here.

It was definitely rough to start- but such a fun challenge to figure out how to feed my family until payday! The last couple of days included a trip to visit my husband's sister in the Bay area. She was sooo generous! She let us crash her condo, made us breakfast, got a couple of our meals out on the town... and was just all around wonderful! She made our final days even better! Hopefully the small tokens of appreciation that we left behind will keep the invitations flowing! :)

As I said in my last post... Dorina would LOVE the challenge of giving you meal ideas for your pantry too! Just leave a comment on her blog (including your pantry's ingredients) and she'll send you a list of meal ideas too! I couldn't make every recipe with every ingredient... but I was able to make them with what I had. In fact, there are a couple of meals on my meal list for THIS week that carry over from our pantry week. Praise God!

Comment on Dorina's blog here:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Pantry Challenge- Feeding Your Family With What's Left

We are making progress on "halving" our home! It's almost June... halfway to next January and I have a LOT more to do! But there pressure usually only motivates me.

On that note- we've also discovered that May is an exceptionally long month and our food budget is at zero. Our refrigerator is a sad reflection of our end-of-the-month financial status as well. Bummer.

Fortunately, I have amazing friends. One in particular. I can rattle off a list of ingredients and she can respond immediately with meals I can make with those ingredients. Seriously.

Rather than hog her incredible ability to make meals out of random pantry items and keep her to myself- I decided to share her.*
          *See my P.S.S.S at the bottom of this post to see Dorina's free special offer to do the same for you too!

Her name is Dorina. She has a blog and you should follow it: Health-full: join us on our journey to eat, play, worship God and live life more fully. She's amazing for a million other reasons, but I'm going to focus on this one for a minute.

This is my evidence of her incredibleness. Tonight I texted her the contents of my pantry (I'm a little ashamed of some of my pantry's inhabitants, but the reason they are still in there is because... well, they aren't all super healthy- this is my disclaimer!)

Here's what I sent her: Green chilis, canned chicken, cream of mushroom, lots of different beans, tomato sauce and paste, coconut milk, ramen, rice, various flours, noodles, corn meal, bread crumbs, chili beans, wonton wrappers, edamame, applesauce, pumpkin puree, honey, peanut butter, instant oatmeal, marshmallows, raisins, green beans, raw and brown sugar, flax, lemons... stuff like that.

And that's pretty much it. My fridge is nearly empty. I have 1/2C coconut oil left. 1/4C butter. Sad.

This was her response:

  • Casserole: Chicken, beans, mushroom soup, bread crumbs on top or corn meal

I should mention that her response came sporadically, with lots of excited "ooohs" and "ahhhs" and smiley faces. She even offered to send me direct links to her blog for the recipes. Uh-MAY-ZING.

My brain DOES NOT work this way. It sees a list of really random things. Hers sees meals. I LOVE IT.

So follow her blog. She even has a whole section on the Pantry Challenge... living off what you already have. (Trust me, she knows from experience!)

In our family pursuit to live simply, holistically, and abundantly, we have found the area of food and eating to take a primary role... as a stress-causer and stress-reliever!  It's usually only a stress-reliever if you have access to amazing friends like mine. Now you do. Follow her and your pantry will never be the same!

I'm off to plan some meals for our week! I suddenly feel less stressed about it and a lot hopeful about getting us to June 1st with the food we have, as little as it seems! If you need me, you'll know where to find me. HERE.

P.S. She's also an incredibly talented children's author and has the cutest book called Cora Cooks Pancit (complete with recipe!). While you're following her blog, you should buy her book. Just sayin' :) 

P.S.S. You can follow her here too :) @GilmoresinHaiti 

*P.S.S.S. Dorina just read my post and offered her talent to you all too! Leave a comment on her blog listing your pantry items, and she will send you meal ideas too! What a bargain!