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!
This was a day I both hoped would never come (because to get here, first Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had to pass), and one that I have eagerly anticipated. The Coronation of King Charles III was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me (to date, anyway), and I loved reading through the detailed order of service and watching every moment. It was a beautiful ceremony, and all of the history and tradition contained within it both made a connection with the distant past as well as pointed the way to the future. The music was lovely, from “I Was Glad” and “Zadok the Priest” to “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation.” It was clear watching it that it doesn’t matter if you are crowned when you are young, as was Queen Elizabeth II, or after a lifetime of preparation like King Charles III, the truth of the saying “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” was evident, as you could see the weight of it on both of their faces in archive footage and on live TV. The Princess of Wales hit the perfect balance between tiara and headpiece (although I still wish she’d worn a full tiara), and it was lovely to see her in the robes of the Royal Victorian Order. Princess Charlotte in her matching outfit and headpiece was adorable, as was the way she kept a watchful eye and gentle hand on her little brother. The Princess Royal, as always, “stood tall among men,” riding horseback in uniform in the procession in order to serve and protect her brother the King. I loved seeing the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh front and center, in a place worthy of such hard-working, dedicated (but sometimes overlooked) royals. It was such a thrill to see St. Edward’s Crown being worn, even for a short time. Young Prince George was a splendid Page of Honor, and it was moving to see him carry his grandfather the King’s train. There is something special about seeing the crowned heads of Europe (or their representatives) gather to see an important moment for one of their peers (and often an extended family member, as well). The touching moment when Prince William, “liege man of life and limb,” paid homage to his father and king, as representative of the Royal Family, was one I will always remember. Is there anything more splendid than seeing the coordinated “hip hip hooray” of thousands of soldiers? Prince Louis was so well-behaved at the Abbey, and so animated on the balcony. Hearing “God Save the King” brought a tear to my eye. Even though I was worried the low clouds and rain would prohibit the flypast, we were treated to a grand display by the Red Arrows.
The day began for me at 3:45 a.m., but it didn’t end when the Royal Family left the balcony. I planned a tea party to celebrate this auspicious occasion:
The star of the meal was the “Coronation Quiche,” prepared according to the recipe shared by the Royal Family to be enjoyed this weekend, and especially at “Big Lunches.”
I made a few other favorite items, including chocolate chip scones, an orange-poppyseed cake, and three types of finger sandwiches: egg salad, coronation chicken (ok, turkey), and cucumber:
I dug way back into my files to find a crown we made in school for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 for our centerpiece, and I also tried a new napkin fold called “The Crown.”
The tea of choice was Darjeeling…I don’t know if it’s actually enjoyed by King Charles III, but it’s one of my favorites! It was a lovely lunchtime celebration!
For dinner, I threw it way back to the last coronation, and made coronation chicken (again, actually turkey) served over rice:
And for dessert, what’s more English than a trifle?
I even planned a coronation-themed outfit in Animal Crossing!
This was a very special day, and one I know I’ll always remember!
May the Fourth be with You! (But watch out for the Revenge of the Fifth!) We’ve had another fun two-day Star Wars Day(s) celebration. Most of the recipes we tried this year were new, starting with yesterday’s breakfast of Keshian Spice Bread from Star Wars: Galactic Baking (a new cookbook in our collection):
Dinner last night was a repeat (but so worth it)…I made Ronto Wrappers (flatbreads) from the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge cookbook, and Batuuan Ronto Wraps from The Official Disney Parks Cookbook (just like we had at Disney World last summer and so delicious):
I also made the iconic Star Wars Blue Milk from a recipe on the Disney Food Blog…this one was pretty hit or miss, but it looked pretty!
Dessert was Hoth Cocoa Cream Puffs from Star Wars: Galactic Baking…they were amazing!
For dinner tonight, I made Nerf Kebabs from the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge cookbook, and served Wawaatt Sprouts from The Life Day Cookbook with them:
I modified the recipe for Lothal Spicebrew from the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge cookbook to make it non-alcoholic…it was much more popular than last night’s drink!
For dessert, I baked Sith Cookies from Star Wars: Galactic Baking. The were soft and delicious.
This has become one of my favorite bonus holiday celebrations, and I’m really excited that there’s another Star Wars cookbook coming out later this year, so we can try even more recipes!
As hard as it is to believe since Lent always seems like it lasts forever, Holy Week and Easter Sunday have already come and gone. We had our traditional four day celebration, beginning on Maundy Thursday, with a fun twist for Easter dinner this year! I really look forward to this celebration every year, this 2023 did not disappoint!
On Maundy Thursday, I made hot cross buns. This is definitely a tradition now…what started as an experiment in 2020 when I was only grocery shopping once every two weeks and couldn’t plan on purchasing them has become an expected part of our Holy Week observances! I did try a new recipe this time, and I think we all liked it even better than the other ones I’ve made!
The evening church service was, as expected, lovely, especially the music.
Everyone had off of school on Good Friday, which was nice. I dedicated my day to baking. I made what were probably the best buttermilk biscuits ever, as well as blueberry muffins:
We were back at church that evening for another moving service:
Would you be surprised to know that I was back to baking on Holy Saturday? I made my first-ever angel food cake…keep reading to see how it turned out!
We also made this year’s Paschal candle…I think this was our best effort ever!
The Great Vigil of Easter is still my favorite service of the whole church year…I love the meaning behind each different part!
On the way home, we stopped at Wendy’s for Frostys and fries:
Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful!
One of my favorite traditions is taking pictures of the Fab Five by the baptismal font:
Of course, I took other pictures, too:
We also got a very nice family photo:
When we got home, we had Easter brunch (our first brunch of the day…stay with me!). I made biscuits and gravy, and we also had scrambled eggs, sausage patties, and a variety of mini donuts. And pomegranate juice, which has become something of a tradition.
It was a great first meal of the day!
We watched some of our favorite Easter specials, and I visited Zipper T. Bunny when I wasn’t working on our big meal.
I learned how to turn our napkins into flowers for Easter!
I love how pretty the Easter table always looks!
For Easter dinner, we had Easter brunch (again). But this was a fancier brunch suggested by Turkey, including eggs Benedict, breakfast casserole, bacon, waffles, a salmon and radish tart, fresh fruit, gouda tea sandwiches, blueberry muffins, and a cheese board.
It was fun (and delicious!) to do something so different for dinner!!!
For dessert, we had the angel food cake I made, served with strawberries and a cream cheese filling/frosting…it was really good!
Easter is, of course, the highlight of the church year, and our celebration this year at church and home was especially lovely!
Yesterday was Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, and the Cardinals opened the season at Busch Stadium. It was an exciting day…Jordan Walker, the 20-year-old rookie who just got the call to the Big Leagues, not only started the game but got a hit in his first at-bat. Tyler O’Neill hit a home run for the fourth consecutive Opening Day, which tied a Major League record. We got our first look at our new catcher, Willson Contreras. Adam Freaking Wainwright sung the National Anthem before the game! But it was also bittersweet…how strange was it so see an Opening Day without Yadier Molina behind the plate? Wainwright, who should have been our starting pitcher, instead started the season on the injured list. Speaking of injuries, our brand new catcher took a 103 mph wild pitch to the knee. And in the end, despite scoring nine runs, we still lost (I think our pitching needs some work!). So it was a fun day, as always, but it didn’t quite go the way we had expected. That didn’t stop us from enjoying our traditional Opening Day feast, starting with a new addition of Cardinals sugar cookies that turned out surprisingly well, even though decorating cookies is not the thing I’m best at (I blame my poor handwriting skills for that!):
We had ballpark-style nachos as an appetizer…no matter how good they are, though, they’re just not the same as eating nachos at Busch Stadium!
For dinner, we had Chicago-style hot dogs and brats. They stopped selling neon relish in our area (the nerve!), but Ryan stopped at a new Chicago-style restaurant nearby, and they kindly gave him a cup of relish. Too bad I forgot all about the onions I chopped, though!
For dessert, we had ice cream sundaes, and I even got out the dish we got at Busch Stadium last summer:
I love Opening Day…it’s like baseball Christmas, and something I look forward to every year!
Ladybug has been wanting to prepare a meal (or two!) using recipes from The Ultimate Final Fantasy XIV Online Cookbook, and we decided that spring break was the perfect opportunity. So last Wednesday, we had a day of Final Fantasy XIV-themed foods, starting with a “Sandwich Basket” for lunch. It included egg salad, roast beef with horseradish sauce, and lettuce, tomato, and avocado varieties:
For dinner, she choose “Deep-Fried Okeanis,” which was pretty much a schnitzel that would also work well for pork katsu sandwiches. It was served with some herb roasted potatoes that were really good.
Every good themed meal needs a special drink, so we made “The Black Shroud Lemonade,” which had a simple syrup made of honey and sugar…that gave it a unique flavor that I really enjoyed!
And for dessert, we made a “Rolanberry Cheesecake,” which had a combination of cherries, strawberries, and raspberries in the sauce. It was really delicious, and it didn’t crack at all!
I’m not really familiar with the game itself, but it certainly did provide us with a lot of good food!
The holiday season is officially over, so let’s take a look back at all of the festive feasts and holiday baking we enjoyed, starting with Thanksgiving. I think the turkey turned out especially well this time around!
We had our “pick out dinner” on Christmas Day:
And our “fancy” Christmas dinner two days later. I never want to prepare a beef tenderloin any other way!
On New Year’s Eve, we had our traditional hot chocolate bar, but we made it fancy, with the addition of homemade hot chocolate bombs!
And on New Year’s Day, we had our traditional pork tenderloin, with an untraditional (for us) side of twice-baked potatoes:
On to the baking. Of course there were pies (seven!) for Thanksgiving:
We made five types of German Christmas cookies in Christmas School:
And another ten types of Christmas cookies besides!
There were eight different cakes throughout the season:
And some other various treats including Christmas cracker candy and lussekattes:
This was a fun and delicious season, but now the kitchen is closed!
“Fast away, the old year passes Fa la la la la, la la la la Hail the new, ye lads and lasses”
Can you believe it’s already 2023? 2022 (for the most part) just zoomed right by! Here’s a look at how we celebrated New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day this time around.
I like a theme, so we started the day yesterday with hot chocolate rolls:
We spent a lot of the day decorating sugar and gingerbread cookies. Mickey Mouse shapes were very popular this year!
I also (finally!) made eggnog:
We decided that 2022 deserved one more Disney Dinner, so I made one of our favorite recipes from Delicious Disney, Monte Cristo sandwiches:
After Apollo 13, we had our traditional hot chocolate bar, with the addition of hot chocolate bombs that Ladybug and I made!
Another new addition was hot chocolate Chex mix:
My only motivation to stay up until midnight is ringing in the New Year on my Animal Crossing island, and I made it!
New Year’s Day is the perfect excuse to wear something sparkly, am I right?
Of course we started the year with a special dinner, so I set the table with the china again, and this time, I learned a new napkin fold to make things a little fancier!
Pork tenderloin is a fairly traditional New Year’s Day main course here, although I did prepare it differently this time. I also made twice-baked potatoes, roast carrots and parsnips, and for the first time, spiced apple rings, since you apparently can’t buy them in a jar anymore.
It was delicious, and not as much work as Christmas dinner (and way, way less work than Thanksgiving!).
For dessert I made a hot chocolate cake, complete with homemade marshmallow creme (I told you I like a theme!).
So that’s how we said goodbye to 2022 and hello to 2023…and now I’m looking forward to giving the kitchen a bit of a break!
Our celebration started, as always, on Christmas Eve, with Christmas Crunch for breakfast:
I played Animal Crossing early, because I knew that might be my only opportunity to deliver gifts for Jingle and say “Merry Christmas” to Roald:
The Fab Five completed this year’s Advent project, the Lego Disney Castle.
Speaking of Disney, Ladybug and I made red velvet Mickey Mouse waffles for lunch:
And then we went to church. It was quite early for us…3 p.m. It was definitely different to go to Christmas Eve church when it was still so bright out!
It was even bright when we stopped to see the city of St. Louis Christmas tree after church…but that made it easier to see the snow on the ground. We finally had a white (and very cold) Christmas!
It was also still pretty bright when we drove through the Way of Lights, but after all these years, it was kind of cool to see it in a different way:
I took lots of pictures when we got home:
And we enjoyed some cake:
We played a couple games of Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries. I suffered one of my greatest losses of all-time in the first game!
The theme for this year’s Christmas jammies was (surprise, surprise) Mickey Mouse:
I still always set up the Little People nativity scene before bed:
We almost kind of got to sleep in on Christmas Day…but just barely. Stockings were the first order of business:
And then our traditional Christmas morning coffee cake:
And then we headed back to church for the Christmas Day service.
We found time for a nice family photo:
After we got home, we opened presents.
And then I got to work putting together the “pick out dinner.”
I was once again very pleased with how my charcuterie board turned out!
It’s such a fun and delicious meal!
We had another little reminder of our vacation when I burned the Christmas candle we picked up at Disney Springs:
Yesterday was a pretty quiet day because we waited for today for our fancy Christmas dinner. The table looked especially nice with our (kind of) new glasses added to the place settings:
For dinner, I made a beef tenderloin, which turned out beautifully. We also had sautéed mushrooms, hasselback potatoes, roast Brussel sprouts with a balsamic glaze and dried cranberries, our favorite cherry Jell-O, and rolls:
It was delicious and elegant!
For dessert I made a pair of yule logs. I tried a new recipe for a red and green variety, which was delicious, but not as pretty as I wanted it to be. I also made a favorite gingerbread variety, which was delicious and pretty!
The whole season of Advent went by quite quickly, and so has the beginning of the Christmas season, but I’m looking forward to making the most of the days ahead!