Monthly Archives: January 2014

5 Things I Would Have Never Eaten Without Going To Germany

So many times I think to myself, “Wow, I would’ve never done that, tried that, seen that, had I not moved to Germany”.  I’m quite sure if you are a fellow expat, you’ve also had these thoughts.

Food can be a big cultural difference and only further exacerbating that culture shock you feel when you move to a new country. While other countries may have similar things, they are typically different in their own way. Think, pizza. How many different styles of pizza can you think of? Exactly. 

Aside from beer and bratwurst, Germany has so many other delicacies to offer. Here are five that were new for me:

Fleischsalat - basically bologna with a sweet mayo type sauce and pickles

Fleischkäsebrötchen or just Fleischkäse also known as Leberkäse - not necessarily my favorite, but not bad either.

Oh. Holy. Yum. If you went to a Christmas market you most likely had one of these; similar to potato pancakes and served with applesauce.

Yum again. You can have these cooked and they taste like the good all beef hot dogs. Or you can leave them out to dry and eat like a beef stick with some hot mustard.

My first Dampfnudel (yeast dumpling) with cherries and vanilla sauce at the Christmas Market this year. So. Good.

Ok, so there is definitely a running theme of MEAT, but I haven’t even begun to share all of the many fantastic sweets you can find here. Don’t worry, that’s soon to come.

What did you think? Any you would try or have tried? What’s a food item you tried for the first time in your new country?

***And don’t forget about the Monday Ante next week where you can submit your favorite post from this week for a chance to be published on this site the following Saturday! 

An Announcement: Fun To Come!

Two weeks ago I began my new series, Cooking For Expats, which has been going great so far! Last week, I shared that Emma, from a Bavarian Sojourn, and I will be linking to each other and working on a way to collectively share our cooking/recipes for expats. As she is from the UK, I’m from the US and we both live in Germany, it’s sure to be a success!

But, all that being said, you may have noticed that I have not been around as much. I’m sorry for that. I have several projects in the works in an attempt to work towards incorporating more writing in my life outside of blogging. I’m working on making a long time dream of mine become a reality.

So, this blog is coming up on its anniversary in March and you guys have been so wonderful! I have met some amazing people and have found such support in both this blogging and expat community.

I want to say, Thank You.

As a way to show you how thankful I am for your continued support and readership, I am starting a link up. Yes, I know, there are tons out there, but listen to why this one is ABOUT YOU.

poker, gambling, ante, bet

The Monday Ante will be a linkup where you come and share your best post. Now, I’m a Vegas girl, hence the title of my blog, so the reason behind “Ante” is you are betting your best work. It needs to be a post from the last week that you think is the highest “bet” you’ve got. You will have through the end of the day that Wednesday to link up. After the link up closes, the house, aka ME, will review the submissions and choose the “winner”. The winner for that week will have their post featured on my blog on Saturday. Yep, that’s right, your whole post will go live on my blog, Saturday morning just in time for weekend reading!

All I ask is that you follow my blog (if you aren’t already) and share the link up on your social media sites to help spread the word. After all, the more participants, the more fun for everyone! 

And that’s it! Your post is published here on C2C, gaining you additional exposure for your awesome work! I will also announce the winner through my social media sites.

The first link up will be next Monday, February 3rd! I can’t wait to see what you’ve got so bring it!

Cooking For Expats: Ground Beef Stroganoff

cooking for expatsWelcome back to the Cooking for Expats series on C2C! I’m so glad you enjoyed the first segment last week and I’m looking forward to bringing you more budget and “Germany friendly” recipes. Also, Emma, from A Bavarian Sojourn, reached out to me last week as she is also going to be starting her “Expat Essentials” series today. We are contemplating a way to work together to make this even better for you guys! As she is an expat from the UK in Germany and I an American in Germany, we have hopes that this could be a great partnership.

If you have any ideas or anything you’d like to see, please share them with us!

stroganoff pinOk, so let me get on with this week’s recipe for Ground Beef Stroganoff. Let me just say again that I am by no means a culinary extraordinaire. I am simply taking “American” recipes and attempting to find or substitute the ingredients needed to make them here in Germany AND do it on a budget. This was my second time making this dish and my husband loved it so much that he asked me to make it again, even after eating leftovers the second day. This dish is also toddler-friendly and approved. My son loved it! And I should also mention that there is no “cream of” anything in this as is usually called for. As you know, you can’t buy condensed cream soups here in Germany; at least not that I have been able to find. But, in all honesty, this tastes better, eliminates the salt and preservatives from the cream soup, and the items you need to substitute are ones you typically have on hand (flour, butter).

  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 1 small diced yellow onion
  • 250g mushrooms (1/4 cup diced and the rest sliced)
  • 50g butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 liter beef broth (fleisch brühe)
  • 200g sour cream (sauer rahm)
  • 450g ground beef (hackfleisch gemischt)
  • 500g pasta (typically egg noodles, I used fusilli as I find it grabs the sauce better and easier for my kiddo)
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic clove - optional (I omitted because M hates garlic)

  1. Prepare beef broth if using the cubes and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add sliced mushrooms and onions (as well as garlic if using). Saute for about 5 minutes.
  4. While you saute the onions and mushrooms, melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan.
  5. Add ground beef to mushrooms and onions and lightly season with salt and pepper. Continue browning meat while making the sauce. The meat can be chopped finely or left in large pieces based on preference. Once the meat is cooked through, turn the heat on low to medium low depending on your stove top. The idea is to keep it warm while slowly carmelizing the onions.  Occasionally stir and continue to watch as you cook the sauce.
  6. When butter has melted, add the diced mushrooms and saute until tender. (about 5-10 minutes)
  7. Add flour to butter/mushrooms and whisk. If it’s too thick, you will need to add more butter. It needs to be a thick liquid (see photo above).
  8. Whisk milk into flour mixture and increase heat to medium high.
  9. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of beef broth. Keep the remaining broth for reserve as you can add this to your sauce if it starts to get too thick.
  10. Bring sauce to a low boil, continuing to stir as sauce should start to thicken. If you’re noticing that the sauce is not thickening, add flour 1 Tbs at a time.
  11. Begin boiling water and cook pasta.
  12. Once sauce starts to thicken, add your meat mixture making sure to scrape the onions and leftovers from the pan. Stir well and let cook on medium low for about 15 minutes. May need to add additional salt/pepper to taste.
  13. Pour sauce over pasta!

Please let me know what you think and feel free to suggest ideas for recipes or ask any questions you may have! I hope you enjoy and if you make it, come back and tell me!


*Recipe adapted from The Country Cook and The Foodie Army Wife.

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A Boy Mom’s Guide To Survival

“Boys are easier”, they said.

“Boys are so fun”, they said.

Yes, they are fun, but easier? Maybe in an alternate universe where there they are not constantly a danger to themselves. From one mom on the verge of having a heart attack to another, here are some tips for survival safety:

  1.  If he can stand on it or sit on it, he will jump off of it. (anything, usually the couch)


  2. If he can stand on it or sit on it, he will try to skateboard with it. (think laundry basket lid, cushions)
  3. If he can stand on it or sit on it, he will try to surf on it. (think gliding ottoman)
  4. If he can sit on it, he will try to ride it. (his toy wheel-barrow - he turns it over and makes it into a car)
  5. If he can’t reach it, he will find a way. (see next)
  6. If it’s at all climbable, he will climb it. (chairs, tables, tv stands, toys, beds, nightstands…you get the idea.)
  7. If the ottoman and the living room table are close to each other, he will do his best planking move. (don’t bother moving them, see next)

  8. If they aren’t close to each other, he will move them. (can you cement furniture to the floor?)
  9. Anything in his hand is a potential weapon, to you or himself.
  10. The more dangerous something is, the more he likes it.

So what if all your preparations fail? What next??

Make sure you are well-versed in head injuries, concussions and broken bones. Keep ice packs readily available as well as coffee for your sleepless nights.

Most importantly, be friends with your family doctor. Have ALL of the numbers to reach said doctor at any time day or night on speed dial. Keep them hanging on the refrigerator, in your cell phone, at the school, with friends, frankly, anyone your son is with.

When all else fails and hopefully the boy is safe and sound (which only happens when he sleeps), have your alcohol of choice on hand.

Pour, drink and repeat.

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor….

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Cooking For Expats: Bolognese Sauce

cooking for expatsWelcome to a new series here on C2C! As I am getting more settled in my new home, I am rekindling my love for cooking. I have to admit, it has been really hard trying to improvise, find substitutions and convert measurements and temperatures in attempts to make “American” recipes here in Germany. I have had some help in this regard from Connie at FoodEssen, a lovely site you should also check out. To make this even a bit more difficult, we are a single income family so I also try to make things as budget friendly as possible.

That all being said, I thought I would share some of my “creations”  here with you. I am in no way claiming culinary perfection or creativity here, but thought these ideas might help someone else in my shoes. I know I searched high and low for things like this when I got here, not knowing even the basic of things. And while yes, I have a German husband, he works long hours and this responsibility is mine to learn. My biggest problem in sharing these with you is that I often don’t measure ingredients, but cook by taste. I will do my best to nail down measurements in hopes that you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

So, for this week, we will start with the basic of the basic: Bolognese Sauce. I have Italian heritage and let me tell you, I have been working on perfecting my homemade sauce for years…..and then I moved here AND got put on a strict budget. Here is a German-shopping, budget-friendly recipe.


1 TBS EVOO (we use Sunflower oil, but olive oil is best)tomato, onion, mix

1 small yellow onion

300ml hot water

500g Tomaten Passiert (tomato puree)

400-500g ground beef (a pound is about 450g - we actually use “Hackfleisch gemischt” which is a mix of pork and beef so it’s a bit less fat)

2 packages of Knorr or Maggi Quick Fix Spaghetti Bolognese

Salt & pepper


  1. Heat oil in medium-large pot over medium high heat.
  2. Finely dice onion and saute for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add meat and lightly season with salt and pepper. Brown meat and “chop” into small pieces. You can leave them larger if you like, but I like the meat ground pretty fine.
  4. While meat is cooking, measure out 300ml of hot water and whisk in both seasoning packets.  photo 2
  5. Once the meat is done, drain and rinse if you prefer. This particular meat doesn’t leave much to drain so I don’t, but I know many prefer to do so.
  6. If you have drained the meat, put back in the pot and add the water mixture keeping the heat on medium high.
  7. Then immediately add the tomato puree.
  8. Stir together well and bring back to a low boil.
  9. Turn down heat to low and let cook for a minimum of 20 minutes. I let mine cook for a minimum of one hour. I think cooking it that long really allows the flavors to come together with the meat being more tender and seasoned. But, this is optional.
  10. Taste after about 15 minutes to see if you like the flavor. Add more tomato puree/water to have thinner sauce. You can also add a can of diced tomatoes or fresh tomatoes if you like them in your sauce.
  11. Depending on how long you cook your sauce, start your making your pasta about 20 minutes before your are ready to eat.

bolognese sauce

This sauce is thick and usually has enough leftovers for lunch the next day. I would also add some crushed red pepper if you like more spice to it, but I typically don’t since that would be too much for my son.

Hope you enjoy it! If you make it, come back and let me know what you think! Or, if you have ideas for additions or changes, let me know!