Spargelparty

Last weekend was the first-ever Markel Family Spargelparty!

When I first came across the idea of an asparagus celebration in one of my Duolingo lessons, I think my family thought I was joking when I said it was something we should do this spring. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could run with the idea of a meal centered around asparagus…(and it even makes a pretty centerpiece, especially when you have all three colors Eckert’s offers!):

I picked five recipes, all of which were at least somewhat new. There was an asparagus tart, bacon-wrapped asparagus bundles, cream of asparagus soup, asparagus and bacon quiche, and sautéed asparagus with (homemade!) Hollandaise sauce. Many of recipes included lemon, nutmeg, or a combination, and I discovered both are great additions to asparagus dishes. The overwhelming favorite was the soup…it was smooth and delicious.

It was a very spring-y meal!

I offered to incorporate asparagus into our dessert, as well (perhaps an asparagus cheesecake?), but no one took me up on my offer. Instead, I used a mix from Dr. Oetker to make a Käse-Sahne Torte. German Girl in America’s website was very helpful in translating the directions on the box, and I also followed her tips of using plain Greek yogurt instead of the quark, which you can only find around here sometimes, and serving it with fresh strawberries. It was the perfect end to our celebration of spring!

For years I’ve told my children the story of how they ring the church bells in Germany when the asparagus season begins…I’m glad I found a way for us participate in this tradition of celebrating the arrival of spring in a uniquely German way here at home!

And Also with You (Revenge of the Fifth)

The Jedi had their day, now it’s time for the Revenge of the Fifth! I didn’t make quite as many dishes today, but we still had a special dinner. I turned back to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook and Star Wars: The Life Day Cookbook for inspiration. For the main course, I made Bantha Surprise (beef stew)…do you know how hard it is to find fresh Bantha around here?!?…and served it with Rorkid Bread (garlic bread dusted with matcha powder).

I made another special drink, the Photon Fizzle, and just left out the gin. I got to work with a new ingredient (boba pearls), which was a lot of fun!

For dessert, I made Mirial Teacakes, which also had matcha powder:

This won’t be the last themed dinner before our big trip…I already have something special planned for the last day of school next week, and beyond that, who knows?!?

May the Fourth Be With You

Happy Star Wars Day!

We have especially been looking forward to this holiday this year, because we’re so excited about our trip to Disney World and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge next month! I planned some special meals to celebrate, featuring recipes from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook and Star Wars: The Life Day Cookbook. We started the day with Five-Blossom Bread for breakfast:

For dinner, I made an Eopie (pork) Roast, Plicated Orga Root (hasselback-style russet and sweet potatoes), and Roasted Rootleaf (cabbage).

We also had a Kyyyalstaad Fizz (lemon and lime juice with sparkling water):

For dessert we had Kashyyyk Cakes (chocolate cake, raspberry jam, and chocolate-mascarpone filling):

We’re not done yet…I have another special dinner planned for Revenge of the Fifth tomorrow!

Easter 2022

Time for a look back at another Markel Family Easter, which started, as it does every year, on Maundy Thursday:

On Friday, I made hot cross buns (again), but this year, I tried a new recipe:

The Good Friday service was, as always, lovely and moving:

On Saturday morning, while we watched Rick Steves’ European Easter, we made our Paschal Candle for the year…I think this may be the nicest job we’ve ever done!

While I did have work to do on Saturday to prepare for our Easter dinner, most of the day was really spent waiting until it was finally time for my favorite service of the church year, the Great Vigil of Easter:

After church, we stopped at Wendy’s for Frostys and fries:

We’re still getting used to the fact that we don’t have to get up for a sunrise Easter service, so we felt a little more leisurely about getting ready. We were still at church early enough to take pictures outside:

And some indoors, including our traditional by-the-baptismal-font Easter pictures:

The church looked especially beautiful!

Ladybug even got to acolyte:

And we got a nice family picture after the service:

When we got home, I made Easter breakfast, which included Kaiserschmarrn (the Kaiser’s torn pancakes) with Rhabarberkompott (rhubarb compote), hard-boiled eggs (this is really the first time we’ve ever dyed eggs…you’ll see why in a minute), and pomegranate juice:

While we watched Easter Parade and My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding, I found time to play a little Animal Crossing: New Horizons so I could visit with Zipper T. Bunny. I also caught up with Roald, who was wearing an egg suit…I wonder if that’s what he looked like when he hatched?

I spent most of the rest of the day working on dinner and setting the table:

I chose an Italian theme for this year’s dinner. I served the same lamb in the slow cooker we had last year (technically Greek, but more generically Mediterranean, so close enough), lemon parmesan risotto, insalata caprese, roasted cauliflower, panzanella, breaded artichokes, capers, olives, Italian Easter bread, and lemon Italian soda.

I stuck with the Italian theme for dessert…we had cannoli and Italian sprinkle cookies:

This was an especially nice Easter. Maybe it’s because things felt more “normal” (I actually shook hands for the first time in over two years!), maybe it was because the church services were so meaningful, maybe it was because this may be the nicest Easter dinner I’ve ever made. Whatever the reason, I’m thankful we had such a wonderful celebration of Christ’s resurrection!

Opening Day 2022

Yesterday was one of the funnest days of the year…Major League Baseball’s Opening Day! And the Cardinals got to start their season at home with a win in Baseball Heaven. Chickadee and I were very excited!

As usual, we had a special Opening Day dinner. We started with the traditional ballpark appetizer of nachos:

Hot dogs and brats were the star of the meal…with root beer, of course!

For dessert, I decided to put in a little extra effort…I made baseball cake pops!

This is going to be such a special season for the Cards, with Yadi, Waino, and Albert riding off into the sunset together. It’s just the beginning of our fairytale ending…I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!

Kirby Day

Happy Kirby Day!

The Fab Five, and especially Turkey, have been looking forward to the release of Kirby and the Forgotten Land for a long time. Today was finally the day, and I decided to make the most of it.

We started with pink donuts for breakfast:

We managed to find a Target that had decorated their bollards for the occasion:

I improvised a recipe for a pink Mocktail that was absolutely delicious…it combined white cranberry-strawberry juice, frozen lemonade concentrate, and 7-UP, with some raspberries floated on top:

For dinner we had tomato soup (tomatoes restore Kirby’s health) with Kirby-themed grilled cheese sandwiches:

It was a pretty fun dinner!

For dessert, I made strawberry cupcakes (and I made sure Keeby was represented, too!):

I like finding fun things to celebrate!

Only Nineteen but His Mind is Older

This year, to celebrate his 19th birthday, Turkey had a two-day birthday celebration! We started with a low-key observance on his actual birthday, with cinnamon rolls and Brazilian lemonade for breakfast, and one of his favorites, Stromboli, for dinner:

Today was his birthday (observed)…just like the Queen! I think I was almost as excited about him opening his presents as he was!

For dinner, we had Thanksgiving in March. This was the most normal birthday dinner we’ve had since 2019…we had three additional guests at our table, and that was amazing!

He requested a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting…and then I threw in some lemon curd as a filling. It was pretty delicious!

Even though he had to wait a day for his full birthday celebration, I think having two birthdays is pretty fun!

St. Patrick’s Day 2022

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the whole year (and one of the most delicious!)…St. Patrick’s Day!

We set our leprechaun trap:

We still didn’t manage to catch Lucky, though he did leave us a treat:

I wore green, glitter, and rainbows on a St. Patrick’s Day trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden. We didn’t find any shamrocks, but we did read a few of our favorite St. Patrick’s Day books while we were there.

I also had fun choosing just the right outfit in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I have a full-on leprechaun suit and a clover dress, but in the end, I decided to go with fusion fashion…a green dirndl!

We had our traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage, roast carrots and potatoes, and soda bread with Irish butter. This year, I picked Ski soda to go with the meal, mostly because the bottle is green (and it’s nice to support local businesses).

And our favorite Guinness cake for dessert. I don’t know if it was just because I decorated it with chocolate sprinkles, but it looked even more like a donut to me than it usually does!

Up next…a two-day celebration of Turkey’s 19th birthday!

The Markel Family Tour di Pizza

Today we wrapped up the first-ever Markel Family Tour di Pizza!

Last year, we came up with an idea to try lots of different styles of pizza from places we don’t normally frequent. We decided the perfect day to start this event was on MAR10 Day (March 10), and we decided to kick it off with Jet’s Detroit-style pizza, which was delicious!

On Friday I made Chicago-style pizza, since there’s just no place around here that makes it as well as I do. This was definitely the most familiar item on our list, but you can’t have a Tour di Pizza without stopping in the Windy City!

On Saturday we had the craziest day of our experiment with California-style take and bake pizzas from California Pizza Kitchen. Their pizzas are pretty small, so we tried three varieties…the ever-controversial Hawaiian, shrimp scampi, and California Club. Even though they were unusual as far as pizzas go, they were all delicious (although the shrimp scampi variety did fall apart a bit in the oven!).

Since I had some time on Saturday, I made the perfect dessert to accompany pizza…cannoli! I don’t think I could have made them any better…the shells were perfectly flaky and crispy, and my work to thoroughly drain the ricotta paid off, making the filing just right!!!

Yesterday we tried New York-style pizza from Papa John’s. I don’t know if it’s because I have a bias against New York-style pizza as someone who grew up in Chicagoland, or it’s just that Papa John’s isn’t my thing, but this was my least favorite pizza of the event.

We wrapped up our Tour di Pizza today, 314 Day, with St. Louis-style pizza from the hometown favorite, Imo’s. I’m not going to lie…this generally isn’t my favorite type of pizza (it’s a crust thing…I like something with more substance than a Saltine), but I do really like that they use provel cheese, and it’s not so bad for a special occasion!

Since today was also Pi Day (convenient that we could have pizza pies for dinner, don’t you think?), I made pies for dessert to cap off our dinner event…s’mores and chocolate hazelnut, with decorations courtesy of Bunny:

This was a really fun, silly thing to do for a few days, and it also gave me a break from making dinner for a few nights, which was really nice!

Tasty Tuesday-Mardi Gras

Happy Mardi Gras! I decided to do something a little different this year, so instead of buying or making Pączki, I made Berliner. They’re practically the same donut (I think the main difference is that the Berliner dough is made with less eggs), and they reflect our family’s ethnic heritage, plus they’re super delicious! I filled them with homemade custard, and made a chocolate glaze to go on top:

For dinner, I made cajun stuffed peppers with a side of hush puppies:

I baked a King Cake for dessert…it’s been many years since I attempted this, and I don’t remember being impressed with it the last time, but this year, it was a huge hit!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!