Last year, we celebrated Martinmas (the commemoration day for St. Martin of Tours) for the first time by making Martinsbrezeln (German sweet pretzels) and reading Snow on Martinmas. I really enjoyed this pre-Advent holiday, so we celebrated again this year, with more Martinsbrezeln:
And an added craft…Martinmas lanterns. After all of these years of homeschooling, this was my first experience using Mod Podge, and it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought! The lanterns turned out really well, and are so pretty with the candlelight shining through them!
This is a very natural addition to our rotation of observed Saints’ Days, as Martin Luther and (I assume) Martin Chemnitz were both named in honor of Saint Martin, as their birthdays are both adjacent to his commemoration day. It’s also a fun way to break up the conclusion of the endless green days of Pentecost!
Today I finally got around to preparing our annual family Oktoberfest! Of course I had to wear a dirndl…I think I wore five of my six dresses to various Oktoberfests this year!
I didn’t make fondue this year, but I did make pretzels, and I even experimented with making a few larger ones. I need to work on rolling them out a bit thinner, but they were good!
Of course I had to celebrate in Animal Crossing, too:
I made our favorites for dinner…Schnitzel (which at this point, I think I’ve perfected!), spaetzle, and rotkohl. I still haven’t been brave enough to make sauerkraut from scratch, so that was store-bought. I did make Jäger sauce this year, though!
Yes, our house smells like a German restaurant!
For dessert, I made our favorite Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte…I wouldn’t dare make something else!
It’s been almost a year since the last time I shared a look at the German cooking I’ve been doing, so it’s time for an update. I’ve been cooking at least one German recipe a month thanks to the great suggestions in my Rare Dirndl Facebook group. Some have been new versions of recipes I’ve made in the past (like Kartoffelpuffer, not once, but twice, with two very different recipes and a new serving suggestion of smoked salmon), but most have been new to us. I also made a lot of new German Christmas cookies last Christmas, and I’m really looking forward to making some of them again this year! I really enjoy trying recipes my ancestors might have enjoyed in their home country, and sharing them with my children to help them feel a connection to the past!
Swiss Cheese Fondue
Lemon Strawberry Dutch Baby
Bavarian Obatzda (and pretzels!)
Kartoffelpuffer with Smoked Salmon
I’m looking forward to continuing my adventures in German cooking!
We started the day as we start every St. Nick’s Day…with stockings. The children always receive a new ornament, and this year, the ornaments came from our trip to Disney World. I had such a fun time picking them out at Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square back in June!
We always decorate the tree on December 6th…in addition to our Mickey Ears ornaments (and the final installation of the “12 Days of Christmas”), we also added an ornament made from marble from the steps of the US Capitol that we picked up when we toured the building over the summer:
For dinner, as I did last year, I made Döner Kebab. One more year, and it will be a full-fledged tradition!
For dessert, I stuck with the Disney theme and made Mini Gingerbread Bundt Cakes with Orange-Vanilla Sauce from a recipe on the Disney Parks Blog:
We always have wassail on Nikolaustag, too:
Now I feel like the Christmas season has really begun!
I’ve continued to try German recipes since the last time I shared a look at the German cooking I was doing. Most are new to us (and many of those are recipes I was introduced to through the monthly recipe share in the Rare Dirndl First Looks Club Facebook group), but I also made some old family favorites for Oktoberfest.
Baked Fall Spätzle
I have really enjoyed connecting to my heritage this way, and I’m looking forward to trying even more new German recipes in the future!
It’s a little later in the month than I would have preferred, but today we finally had our annual Markel Family Oktoberfest! It was a beautiful day, and I thought it was very fitting that we sung a hymn in church this morning that I remember my dad singing in German while I played the piano when I was a child.
I was excited to have a dirndl and lots of edelweiss accessories to wear this year:
When we got home from church, we had our traditional Oktoberfest lunch of fondue with brats, German pickles, and homemade pretzels:
I made most our dinner of schnitzel, spaetzle, rotkohl, and sauerkraut from scratch (the sauerkraut was the only store-bought item).
For dessert I made our favorite Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte:
Oktoberfest is a lot of work…like an actual holiday’s amount of work. But it is a holiday for us, and I love having a way share my heritage with my family!
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!
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:
Sticky ginger shrimp with scallion rice
Congee with mustard greens
Xiao long bao
Chinese snowflake cake (raspberry and coconut)
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!
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 SirGawain 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!