Monday, September 29, 2014

Authentic German Pretzel Recipe

With Oktoberfest currently going on, I thought I'd try my hand at German pretzels. Now, the *authentic* German pretzel recipe calls for a dip in a bath of lye. I'm not going to risk my health with a lye bath in order to enjoy pretzels.  The much safer alternative is a baking soda bath.

German pretzel recipe
Authentic German Pretzel Recipe- printable recipe here


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 packet active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 2 quarts water for bath
  • coarse salt


  1. Add yeast to warm water.  Let it settle for about 5 minutes.  Then add the sugar and salt to the yeast and mix in.
  2. Add the yeast, sugar, and salt mixture to the flour. Mix together. I used the dough hook on my kitchenaid and mixed for about 5 minutes on speed #2.  Let dough rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut dough into about 5-6 equal parts. Roll out on a clean surface.  Don't need to flour the surface, the dough shouldn't stick.  Roll the dough in a line until it is about 1/2 inch in diameter, and approx. 16 inches in length.  Then, make a U shape, twist the ends at the top one time, and fold over.
  4. Place the baking sheet uncovered in the fridge for approx. 1 hour. This is key. This helps build a skin making it have that nice crust.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  6. Bring 2 quarts of water to boil. SLOWLY add in baking soda into the boiling water little bits at a time. *caution* this creates quite a bubbly reaction for a few seconds so stand back and don't get burned!  It will eventually simmer down after a few seconds.  Then add more.  You have been warned!
  7. Add the pretzels one at a time into the soda bath.  Let it sit for about 10-20 seconds and then remove. Place on baking sheet.
  8. Sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake the pretzels for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Move to a cooling rack. Grab some honey mustard, nacho cheese, or a slice of cheese and enjoy!
  9. To enjoy the next day, refrigerate and place in the toaster oven. 
hint: I had only rolled out the dough to about 1 inch in diameter and 14-16 inches long and then folded.  As you can see in the pictures, they puffed up quite a bit.  I suggest making it even thinner, maybe about 1/2 inch.  However, they still tasted fantastic!
    German pretzel recipe
    cooling on the rack

Check out my other German pretzel recipes:

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Funny German Words

My Favorite German Words (Meine Lieblingswörter)
In honor of Oktoberfest this month, I thought I would put together a list of my favorite German words.  These are my favorite words for two reasons: 1.The Germans have one word that takes a whole sentence to explain what it means. 2. The word makes more sense than our English equivalent.  And most of them are fun to say as well!

Words that come with a long explanation:

Drachenfutter - Translation: 'dragon food'.  What it means: the gift that you bought your significant other when you've done something wrong.  You are literally feeding "The Dragon".  Be sure to NOT mention the fact that the gift is drachenfutter in front of the dragon. 
yes, this is a REAL candybar that can be purchased!
Kummerspeck - Translation: 'grief bacon'.  What it means: it is the weight that you've gained after emotional stress eating.  
are you an emotional overeater gaining kummerspeck? 
Torschlusspanik - Translation: 'door close panic'.  What it means: It is that feeling you get when it occurs to you that you're getting older and haven't accomplished what you meant to in your life.   
Treppenwitz - Literally 'stair joke'.  What it means: It is that witty remark you think of as soon as you leave the room or a few hours later and you wish you could've thought of it earlier! 
Wish I would've thought of that earlier!!
Schadenfreude. Literally "harm joy". What it means: having pleasure from the misfortune of others.  Why I like it: They have a word that means you laugh at things that shouldn't be funny. Here's an example: when someone falls down or runs into a door, you laugh.  Yeah, I heard you laughing when I fell. Thanks. 
Falling is always funny
Ohrwurm. Literally "ear worm".  What it means: a song that gets stuck in your head.  Why I like it: having a song that's stuck in your head would be like having a worm stuck in your ear!

Wanderlust: literally "enjoyment of hiking". What it means: well, it's also an English word.  The desire to travel/wander. 
Backpfeifengesicht - Literally "back whistling face" What it means: A face that begs to be slapped.
slap his face
 Klugscheißer literally "clever shitter" What it means: a person that consistently corrects other peoples' mistakes in writing, speaking, etc. aka "a wise ass". Why I like it: well, I had to include a word on this list that used the "ß", so I thought this word was perfect.
shitting cleverness

Verbs and miscellaneous words I wish we had:
Umsteigen literally "to change buses/cars/planes/trains" or other modes of transportation. Why I like it: We don't have an exact equivalent in English.  In English we have to say, we will take the yellow line to stop 3 and then get off and switch to the red line and get off at stop 6.  In German you could just say yellow line to stop 3 and umsteigen to red line and get off at stop 6. 
umsteigen from the green to the red line here.

Vorgestern - literally "the day before yesterday".  Why I like it: Because they have one word to describe the day before yesterday. Way more efficient.
Übermorgen - literally the day after tomorrow. Why I like it: Just like vorgestern, it's the day after tomorrow... but in one word.
Gondolierenliterally to ride a gondola. Why I like it: In English we have to say "we took a gondola ride in Venice."  In German, you can just say "we gondola-d in Venice". See? Way better.
we gondola=d in Venice!
übernachtenliterally to stay overnight.  Why I like it: Instead of saying "We stayed overnight in Triberg" you can say "We overnight'd in Triberg".  
I've uebernachted at this hotel... it was nice!

Fun Words
Leckerschmecker. Literally: "yum yum". What it means: the literal translation is pretty self-explanatory.  They are tasty treats. Why I like it: This is my favorite word. Say it super fast. It's fun!
goats think anything is tasty
Krankenwagen. Literally "sick wagon".  What it means: an ambulance.  But what does 'ambulance' even mean? I'd rather ride in a sick wagon than an ambulance. 
I'd rather take a sick wagon to the hospital
Handschuhe. Literally "Hand shoes". What it means: gloves! But aren't hand shoes the perfect way to describe what gloves really are? They're shoes for your hand! Possibly one of the cutest German words there is.
my hands have shoes
Kindergarten Literally "Children's Garden". What it means: well, it's actually an English word too.  Except we spell it "Kindergarden". Why I like it: you send your children to the garden(aka school) to let them grow. 
Baumschule: literally "tree school". What it means: nursery.  It's funny because trees go to school and children go to the garden. I guess it's because you train your trees to grow, but the children grow in school. 
Liebling literally "darling or favorite". Why I like it: because if you add an 's' at the end of the word, you can put it in front of any word if it's your favorite. Also, it's one of the sweeter terms of endearment in German.  Examples: Is that your favorite handschuh? Ja, that is my lieblingshandschuh. Bonus, you get to say another favorite word again. Example 2: WHOA they have lederhosen here? Those are my favorite! now, with liebling: Whoa die haben lederhosen hier? Das it mein lieblingslederhosen! 
Doch: literally nevertheless, still, yet. What it means: well, there's not an *exact* English translation which is one reason why this word is so good. We could use it! I can't really explain it, other than it's pretty much the perfect retort to everything. Check out this long post that explains it.
Regenschirm literally "rain shield". What it means: umbrella. Rain shield makes way more sense than an umbrella. I vote we switch our words.
rain shield keeps you dry
Schmetterling literally "something that gets smashed". What it means: butterfly! I think this word is funny because Schmetterling sounds so angry (but it's fun to say) to describe a beautiful butterfly.  
Kartoffelpuffer literally "potato puffs". What it means: potato pancakes. Why I like it: Because it's fun to say! And I loooove Kartoffelpuffer! 
Mein lieblingspotato!
Pfeffernüsse. Literally "pepper nuts". What it means: spice cookies.  These are the little spice cookies that are frequently seen around Christmas time.
I confess, I don't like these cookies but they're fun to say!
Eichhörnchen literally "little oak horn". What it means: squirrel!  This word is just fun. To think that squirrels are little oak horns is kind of funny
i have a funny name
Schneeeule literally 'snowy owl'. Why I like it: there are 3 e's in a row.
I have 3 e's in my name
Ausfahrt: literally 'to drive off'. What it means: to exit (for cars). Why I like it: because it's fun to say! Do you know what "entrance" is? Einfahrt! bahaha.
let's ausfahrt right here

einfahrting is forbidden 

Geschwindigkeitsbegrezung: meaning speed limit. Why I like it: well, I don't. Must this word be so long?
Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmütze meaning the Danube steamboat shipping company's Captain's hat. Why I like it? This is one of those great German compound words where you can keep adding things onto the word.  And, there's a set of 3 'f's in a row. 
check out my hat!
What's your favorite German word? Leave a comment!
Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop! Wow us Wednesdays! What's it Wednesdays,  Creative Ways G'day Saturdays,

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Decorating the outdoors with pumpkins

I love pumpkins. I love decorating with them. I love pumpkin in everything... lattes, breads, cakes, soup, cookies, etc.  

I had to share these pretty displays from Roger's Gardens this year. 

I wanted tons of pumpkins like this to come from my own garden. Sadly, 7/8 of my planted pumpkins have died. The last one is barely hanging on. 

You could place some pumpkins in a birdbath or outdoor pot to spruce the outdoors up with Fall!
Ok, so not a pumpkin, but how cute are these doggy topiaries? 
And these scary black cat topiaries! 
 I also love these blue pumpkins and the white pumpkins.  Some day soon when I move to the Central Valley of California (where everything grows like magic), I will plant my own pumpkin patch with all of these pumpkins! How fun would that be?!

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Owls have landed for the Fall

I love these owls made of natural material.  I have very slowly built this collection of owls.  This is several years in the making! 
This year though, I found the owls a new friend... a squirrel.  Of course there should be a squirrel searching for acorns in the "tree" that the owls are sitting on.

I think the owls are just the cutest.  I also like how they are not very in-your-face which is what I find a lot of Fall decor to be.

You can see now the squirrel sits at the end of the leaf branch.  

Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop! Inspire Me Tuesday, Wow us Wednesdays! What's it WednesdaysCenterpiece WednesdaysCreative Ways,Tablescape ThursdayTreasure Hunt ThursdayHome Sweet Home Feathered Nest Fridays,G'day Saturdays,

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Oktoberfest-themed Tablescape!

Today I'm sharing with you my tablesetting I made for Oktoberfest!  Oktoberfest starts on September 20 this year.  Last year, I had the privilege to visit Germany during the start of the Oktoberfest.  What a sight to see!

I used my Bavarian nutcrackers in the center.  From left to right: an Oktoberfest salesman, a wine maker, and the Bavarian dressed up in full regalia. 

Oktoberfest-themed table
 The Oktoberfest themed nutcracker is seen closer here.  I printed off the Lebkuchenherzen (the gingerbread hearts) and placed them on top of each plate.
Oktoberfest themed party table setting
  If you've been to Germany you would've noticed these little gingerbread hearts everywhere:
Now looking from the other side... another nutcracker comes into view.  You will also noticed scattered around the table I have little steins.

The steins are vintage.  Most people pick them up as souvenirs from their travels. I picked mine up at an estate sale.  Ironically, I've been to all the places that are featured on the little steins... and I didn't have to lug them back in my suitcase and paid a fraction of the price! I call that a win-win!

close up
The official colors of Oktoberfest are blue and white.  However, since it is also a harvest festival, I thought using orange looked good and it compliments the blue.
Oktoberfest themed party table setting
 One last look!

If you are interested in printing off your own Lebkuchenherzen for your own party, here are the links:
I hope you enjoyed my Oktoberfest themed table!  Be sure to check out my other posts about how to throw a great Oktoberfest party.

Bonus - last year when I was at a cow-festival in Austria (basically an Oktoberfest type festival), I took a picture of these cute little kids.  Don't they look straight out of a postcard?
postcard children

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A look back at Fall from last year

As I've been busy decorating for the season this year, I thought I would revisit some of my posts from last year.

Last year's scary cat and pumpkin bear table.  

A beautifully decorated Fall doorway... just not my front door!

A look at Halloweentime at Disneyland 2013

The BEST pumpkin festival I've EVER been to in my whole life! Over 450,000 pumpkins!!

A Fall tablescape

I made pumpkin waffles

and a healthy Fall Harvest Salad

and I shared about antique Clapsaddle Halloween postcards.

I have other posts too, but frankly I'm a little embarrassed by my picture taking skills!  I've learned a lot about photography in one year, especially since I now have a Canon rebel.

Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop! Inspire Me Tuesday, Wow us Wednesdays! What's it WednesdaysCenterpiece WednesdaysCreative Ways,Tablescape ThursdayTreasure Hunt ThursdayHome Sweet Home Feathered Nest Fridays,G'day Saturdays,

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