Tasty Tuesday–Exploring My Heritage Through Cooking

I’ve always enjoyed ethnic cooking, especially German, Austrian, and Hungarian recipes that reflect my own heritage (two of my family’s favorite dishes that I’ve been making for years are spaetzle and Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte). For the last six months or so (ever since I started doing German lessons with Duolingo and wearing dirndls), I’ve really been trying to introduce more personal ethnic recipes into our meals, so I’ve been doing a lot of German cooking, mainly with recipes from Dirndl Kitchen and the Easy German Cookbook. It’s been a lot of fun trying new things, and it really helps me feel to connected to the generations who have come before me. Here’s a look at the recipes we’ve sampled since I began this little project:

  • Döner Kebab on Pide Bread (A Turkish Recipe by way of Germany)
  • Linsen mit Spätzle (Lentil Stew with Spätzle)
  • Berliner (Jelly Filled Donuts)
  • Linzer Augen (Jam Filled Cookies)
  • Schweinelendchen mit Pilzrahmsoße (Pork Medallions with Mushroom Cream Sauce)
  • Haschee (Meat Sauce)
  • Goulaschsuppe (Goulash Soup)
  • Blitztorte (Lightning Cake)
  • Hühnerfrikassee (Chicken Fricassee)
  • Kabbeljau mit Senfsoße (Cod with Mustard Sauce)
  • Königsberger Klopse (Prussian Meatballs in White Caper Sauce)
  • Milchreis (Rice Pudding)
  • Kartoffelklöße (Potato Dumplings)
  • Senfbraten (Mustard Roasted Pork Loin)
  • Versunkener Apfelkuchrn (Sunken Apple Cake)
  • Speckbohnen (Green Beans with Bacon)
  • Quarkbällchen (Jelly Filled Donut Holes)

I’m not done trying new German recipes by any means…I haven’t even made it all the way through the cookbook yet! But this is a look at where I’ve been so far, and as I try more new dishes, I’ll make sure to update the list!

2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Wrap-Up

Beijing 2022 certainly did go by quickly! We can never dedicate as much time to the Winter Olympics as we can to the Summer Games, either in school, or just watching for fun. We did try to fit in as much Olympics as possible though, which always begins with trying new recipes that reflect the cuisine of the host nation, starting with our dinner for the Opening Ceremony and continuing through the events with special meals here and there:

  • Scallion pancakes
  • Sticky ginger shrimp with scallion rice
  • Bok Choy
  • Don tot
  • Mango pudding
  • Congee with mustard greens
  • Chinese crullers
  • Xiao long bao
  • Chinese snowflake cake (raspberry and coconut)
  • Potstickers
  • Chinese noodle soup
  • Nai Wong Bao

We also managed to fit in a few crafts…Chinese plum blossoms, unique medals for the Winter Olympics, and an adorable dragon made out of cupcake liners:

Here’s a look at our completed medal chart…I was really hoping that by some miracle, Jamaica would win one medal, but no such luck! At least every other country we were following made it to the podium.

This was a complicated Olympics, and I’m left with a feeling of ennui about the whole thing, but I think we still managed to enjoy ourselves, and I know we liked trying new foods! I will say that I hope this is the last Olympics I see competed in front of empty arenas…here’s hoping for better from Paris 2024!

2021-22 School Year–Week Twenty

It’s so hard to fit school in when the Olympics are on!

We did still have a busy week of school, though. Ladybug did more work with the Pythagorean Theorem in geometry, this time with 45-45-90 triangles. The first subject of the school year has been finished, as she completed the last lesson in vocabulary. We talked about Darwin and the difference between macroevolution and microevolution in biology. She read about Sargon II in history. We started fit four of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Chickadee learned how to calculate perimeter, area, and volume in math. We read about crustaceans in science. She started her study of US geography…we began close to home, with a few midwestern states. She is almost done with her study of Greek mythology…this week, we read the stories of Theseus and Oedipus.

While we don’t have as much time to dedicate to the Winter Olympics as I would like, we have managed to work a few things into our school days. Taking a cue from the Opening Ceremony, which focused on the coming of spring, we did a fun plum blossom craft. In addition to our Opening Ceremony dinner, today we also tried a recipe for congee, a rice porridge, topped with mustard greens…it was surprisingly popular!

We also took some time to recognize the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II this week. In addition to the tea party we had on Sunday, we started working on a fun yarn craft, which will hopefully turn into a bunting we can hang up in the school room:

I have a few more Olympics-themed activities planned to go with our school days next, too!

Tasty Tuesday–Dinner for the Opening Ceremonies

The Winter Olympics have arrived!

Do I feel good about the 2022 Olympics? Not especially. Am I going to watch, anyway? Of course. Can I still use this as a good opportunity for us to learn about another culture? Without a doubt!

I never do as much for the Winter Olympics as I do for the Summer Games, because it’s just so difficult to try to fit it in with everything else we’re doing at this time of year. But I did make a special dinner for the night of the Opening Ceremonies, starting with scallion pancakes served with a tasty rice vinegar-soy dipping sauce, which were definitely the hit of the evening!

We also had sticky ginger shrimp with scallion jasmine rice and bok choy with oyster sauce:

For dessert, I made don tot, which are egg custard tarts, and mango pudding:

I’m hoping to try a few new recipes before the end of Beijing 2022, and keep an eye out for a few fun craft projects, too!

2021-22 School Year–Week Nineteen

Our school week was punctuated by a winter storm which left us with lots of ice, and finally snow (and three snow days for Turkey, Bunny, and Moose!)!

Ladybug learned how to move a radical out of the denominator of a fraction in geometry. We started discussing the Methodist church in her study of denominations. She did a great job on her biology test, which included a large Punnett square! We continued reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. She read about Homer writing the Iliad and the Odyssey in history.

Chickadee learned some geometry terms in math this week (line, ray, point, etc.), and also learned how to identify different types of angles. She started memorizing one of my favorite poems…”Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (perfect for the weather this week!). We finished Another Trip Around the World with a visit to India, where we made lassi, a yogurt-based drink…next, we start US geography!

For the next two weeks, our school days will be mixed with the Olympics!

Tasty Tuesday–Cooking with “Another Trip Around the World”

Time for a look back at the dishes Chickadee and I made with Another Trip Around the World! I don’t know how authentic they all were in ingredients and preparation techniques, but we tried a lot of new recipes that included new flavors and combinations, which was kind of the point!

Here’s the full list:

  • Empanadas from Panama
  • Dessert Empanadas from Panama
  • Pan de Jamón from Venezuela
  • Butter Cookies from Argentina
  • Dulce de Leche from Argentina
  • Cheese and Apple Crumble from South Africa
  • Banana Fritters from Nigeria
  • Rugelach from Israel
  • Kourabiedes from Greece
  • Casse-croûte from France
  • Orange Granita from Italy
  • Malinoviy Kisel from Russia
  • Lassi from India

If you missed our first Trip Around the World, you can see those dishes here.

2021-22 School Year–Week Eighteen

We had another busy week! Ladybug solved problems using the Pythagorean Theorem in geometry. In her study of denominations, she read about the Anglican/Episcopal Church. She learned about genetic mutations and how hereditary conditions are passed down in biology. We started reading the third fit of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. She diagrammed sentences containing helping, linking, and/or action verbs in grammar.

Chickadee read about Elijah and Elisha in religion. She practiced time zone math. We read about all 12 of Heracles’ Labors in Greek mythology. We finished up the section on sharks in science. She started memorizing the list of prepositions in grammar. We were busy in our study of world geography…we learned about France, Russia, and Italy, and made Casse-croûte for lunch one day, Malinoviy Kisel (a raspberry drink), to go with a dinner, and an orange granita for dessert one night. I think we only have one country to go (India), before we move on to US geography!

I’m hoping to devote a little time to the 2022 Winter Olympics in the next few weeks, and we’ll also be taking a look at the reign of Queen Elizabeth II in honor of the platinum anniversary of her accession to the throne on February 6th!

Chickadee Thursday

Chickadee has been busy making recipes from around the world this week…and since I’m trying to escape the January doldrums, I thought I’d do something different, and make it a black and white photo!

Happy Birthday Robert Burns!

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the great Scottish bard Robert Burns. In honor of the occasion, I’d like to share a poem he wrote about the season of his birth, “Up in the Morning Early.”

“Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west,
The drift is driving sairly;
Sae loud and shrill’s I hear the blast,
I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

Up in the morning’s no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a’ the hills are cover’d wi’ snaw,
I’m sure its winter fairly.

The birds sit chittering in the thorn,
A’ day they fare but sparely;
And lang’s the night frae e’en to morn,
I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

Up in the morning’s no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a’ the hills are cover’d wi’ snaw,
I’m sure its winter fairly.”

And here’s a look at the Burns Supper we enjoyed over the weekend…our menu is pretty much always the same (cock-a-leekie pie made from the Scottish Arms recipe, with sticky toffee pudding according to the Schlafly recipe for dessert), but someday, I just might make Scotch eggs!

“And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.”

2021-22 School Year–Week Sixteen

Is there ever a good time to get back to schoolwork after a vacation? I don’t think so, but at some point, you just have to jump in, and that’s what we did this week!

Ladybug worked on calculating the surface area of different solid figures in geometry. She started a unit on Calvinist church bodies in religion, beginning with Presbyterians. Her new literature study is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In biology, she began to learn about genetics, how different traits are passed on from parent to child, and how to create Punnett squares. She worked on using foreshadowing in a story in writing. We also took a break yesterday to visit the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit that is currently on display in St. Louis…it was really cool!

Chickadee got right back to working on long division in math…how thrilling. We backtracked in her overview of the Bible…after going through all of the Christmas and Epiphany stories, she’s back in the Old Testament with Kings David and Solomon. The new chapter in her science book is about rays and sharks. We continued to read Greek myths, including stories about Pan, Narcissus, and Daphne. After our break from world geography over the holiday season, we moved on to Africa, where we learned about South Africa and Nigeria, and made a a cheese and apple crumble and banana fritters.

Next week may be a bit bumpy, as Turkey and Bunny start a new semester of college, and we all learn our new schedules!