Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wildberry Lemon Sorbet

Okay, I'm officially on a sorbet kick! It is just so so easy to make your own homemade sorbet, so I'm making some in every flavor! I tried it out with a simple Lemon Sorbet recipe and since then I've made a mango sorbet and today's wildberry lemon sorbet. I seriously can't get enough.

What is your favorite sorbet flavor?

Ingredients & Supplies:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1 cup frozen wild berries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice

Microwave safe dish
Measuring cups
Sauce pan
Small metal pan
Large spoon

Combine the frozen wildberries plus 1/4 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and heat in 1 minute increments until the berries are no longer frozen. Puree the wild berries. Then combine the pureed berries and lemon juice in a 1 cup measuring cup (or a bowl) and put aside.  Combine the water and sugar in a pot on the stove. Heat on high, while CONSTANTLY stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar dissolves. This takes just a few minutes. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, remove from heat and let it cool. Once the mixture is cool, pour it into the metal pan. Immediately add the berry/lemon mixture and stir well. Place the metal pan in the freezer. It takes 2-3 hours for the sorbet to freeze. After one hour, stir well. Then stir every 30 minutes until finished. The sorbet will still be soft when it is done.

(Wildberry, Lemon and Mango Sorbet)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lemon Sorbet

Since the weather has been so nice lately, I've had a craving for lemon sorbet. Somehow, I how have managed to not get any in the week since I started craving it...and not for lack of trying! Our neighborhood ice cream shoppe is either remodelling or has gone out of business, the grocery stores I've checked in don't carry any and during my last attempt Alexa decided she was too tired and we needed to head home for nap BEFORE dessert. Finally, I decided I'd make my own.

I scoured the internet (a.k.a. looked on Google) for how to make lemon sorbet without an ice cream machine. I found two recipes that I liked, so I combined the two. Here are the links if you'd like to see the original and here.

Anything that needs five ingredients or less is automatically awesome in my book. Here's what I did.

Ingredients & Supplies:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Sauce pan
Small metal pan
Large spoon

Combine the water and sugar in a pot on the stove. Heat on high, while CONSTANTLY stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar dissolves. This takes just a few minutes. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, remove from heat and let it cool. Once the mixture is cool, pour it into the metal pan. Immediately add the lemon juice and the lemon zest. I used store bought 100% lemon juice from the bottle. You can also squeeze 5-8 lemons for the juice. Now place the metal pan in the freezer. It takes 2-3 hours for the sorbet to freeze. After one hour, stir well. Then stir every 30 minutes until finished. The sorbet will still be soft when it is done, it will not be icy and hard.

I did not care for the lemon zest in the sorbet, so next time I won't include it in the mixture.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Wildberry Whole Wheat Pancake Cups

So, my new obsession is anything that can be baked in the oven in a muffin pan. Sure muffin pans are great for baking muffins, but did you know they're also awesome at baking eggs and pancakes and god knows what else that I haven't yet discovered? This morning was a rough one. It followed a very rough night which followed a pretty rough day and another really rough night. We are tired. Alexa is not tired. Do you see how that clashes? Anyway, I normally make pancakes or french toast or a big hot breakfast on a Sunday, but today I was not feeling it at all. Standing at a stove pouring pancake after pancake onto the griddle was just going to be way too much effort for me. Then I came up with the best idea: I could bake the pancakes in the oven in a muffin pan!!! Would it work? Who knew, but I was definitely giving it a try. Worst case scenario she could have a banana and some cheerios.

I used the basic pancake recipe found here. I did alter the recipe slightly by substituting whole wheat flour for white flour. I also added 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Before mixing your batter, preheat the oven to 180C (about 350F). Add all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir. Then add in the egg, milk, oil and vanilla. Mix well. Once pancake batter is mixed well, fill silicon muffin forms 1/4-1/2 full with pancake mix. The batter makes 12 pancake muffins. I then put approximately 1-1 1/2 teaspoons of frozen wild berries in the center of each batter filled form.  I baked them for 15 minutes total - 8 minutes at 180C (350F) and then I bumped up the heat to 200C (400F) for the remaining 7 minutes. They came out golden brown and perfectly cooked inside.

We drizzled Grade C Acorn syrup over the top and thoroughly enjoyed our Sunday breakfast!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Raspberry Apricot Crumb Bars

I found this great recipe online yesterday for Raspberry Apricot Crumb Bars. Since I've given up chocolate for Lent I have been seriously craving sweet treats at night. I thought these might be a good way to satisfy that craving without eating an entire bag of candy!

I made a few adaptations from the original recipe. This is such an easy recipe to throw together. It absolutely satisfied my sweet craving!


2 cups plus 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup apricot preserves


Heat oven to 350F (175C). Coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Put to the side. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Add melted butter and vanilla and mix well to form a soft dough. Remove 1/3 cup of dough and set aside. Press the remaining dough into the bottom of the baking dish and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. In a small bowl, combine the raspberry jam and apricot preserves. Spread jam mixture over baked crust. Crumble reserved dough over the top of jam. Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan on rack. Once cooled, cut into squares. Makes approximately 10 squares. 

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring has Sprung

We had such beautiful weather this weekend. It was nearly 60F and we took advantage of the sunshine! Saturday was Welt Frauen Tag, or International Women's Day. We spent the day in Neuhofen an der Krems with Michael's mom, sisters and the neighbors. The guys hung outside and washed the car while us gals chatted over coffee and cakes (oh yes, I said cakeS!). My mother in law made her delicious chocolate cake (which I sadly did not eat) and a yummy peach cheese cake. Alexa had a blast running all around the house and getting into everything!

Sunday was even warmer than Saturday and we were so lazy! We spent the morning relaxing and watching cartoons. (Rather, I watched cartoons while Michael slept and Alexa spread her toys all over the apartment.) When we finally got up and moving, Michael worked on cleaning up our balcony garden. He even planted our tomato seedlings into yogurt cups with dirt. We have had them in a bowl with wet cotton balls for the last few weeks. We also started some basil seedlings in wet cotton.

Alexa and I went out for a walk with her tricycle and she had me laughing hysterically the entire time. She was riding around with one hand on the handle bars and the other hand waving Miss America style to everyone we passed. She greeted them with an exuberant "HI!" and a very lovely pageant queen wave as she rode on by. It was as much a sensory walk for her as it was for me.

She took her bike for a walk by pushing it all around at the park. I even let her "walk" home on her own.

I pushed the bike and she walked (read: ran) back and forth on the sidewalk. She would get easily distracted by pebbles, people, bike riders, roller bladers, dogs, was a fun walk! She even found her shadow.
That was pretty cool. She leaned down and tried to grab her shadown and then started running after it.

It was amazing to see the world through her eyes for just a short amount of time. Everything is so new and exciting! Pebbles can occupy her curiosity for minutes, while for me they are just an inconvenience; always getting stuck in the bottom of my shoes or in the wheels of the stroller. A shadow is a new friend! A bike, roller blades or a skateboard spike new interest. Watching her take in the world around her is truly amazing.

How did you spend your weekend?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hiking with a little bean

Last weekend we hiked around a lake with some friends. We drove about an hour away to go hiking around Offensee, a lake in Upper Austria. This was the first time we attempted to do something outdoors like this with a mobile bean. It was a great success and I can't wait to go hiking again with her.

Another first for me was carrying Alexa like a backpack in the baby carrier. I found it substantially more comfortable having her on my back. She, however, was not as impressed.

The lake is gorgeous and in good weather (or in our case, decent weather) you can see the mirror image of the mountain in the lake.

We had a blast walking around and taking in our gorgeous surroundings. We let Alexa get down and walk a little bit. She thought she was so cool walking on the paths in the woods.

 She was a little cautious about the squishy ground where we stopped for lunch.

 She enjoyed looking around at all the logs and sticks that were scattered around and on the path.

She didn't even have proper shoes on, but that didn't stop her once she got comfortable. She is definitely going to be an outdoorsy kid, just like her Papa.

What kind of outdoor activities do you like to do with your family? Happy Hiking!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Eggless Cookie Dough Recipe

I found this AH-MAZING eggless cookie dough recipe somewhere online a while back. Unfortunately, I do not have the original website where I found it. I wrote it down and stored it in the spatula drawer so I would always have it on hand. (Yes, I'm that ridiculous.)

It is quick and easy to make. My favorite thing to do is to roll the dough into 1-2" balls and then freeze them in a zip bag. Then, when I have a craving, I pop one out of the bag and into my mouth and it is an ice cold delicious treat! 


3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 to 6 tablespoons water

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, salt, vanilla and chips. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until you have reached a cookie dough consistency. Makes 2 cups. You can freeze it in little balls (that may or may not get dipped in chocolate) to eat later. It holds for 3 months in the freezer.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Coloring Wall

For Alexa's first birthday party with her friends, I put up a coloring wall in our hallway. I had purchased an activity tablecloth in the party section of a store in the US, but didn't end up having a table to cover it with. It was such a quick and easy thing to do so that the kids could have a little bit of freedom and fun at the same time.

We used tape to attach the top and bottom sections of the tablecloth to an empty wall in the hallway. I used a plastic container to hold about 10 crayons and left them there for the kids to play with. It was a hit! Even the older kids had fun doing the mazes and tracing the dot-to-dot pictures on the tablecloth. I think this will be a must have at parties in the future. 

I left it up for a few days after the party and Alexa did well grabbing some crayons from the container and coloring on the coloring wall. Once she started taking crayons into other rooms and coloring on my oven and balcony door I took the coloring wall down.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Faschingdienstag - Fat Tuesday - Carnaval - Mardi Gras - Shrove Tuesday

Happy Faschingdienstag! Today is the last day before the beginning of Lent. Here in Austria, people celebrate this day by dressing up in costumes and eating krapfen (donuts). All over the world people celebrate with parades, pancakes, costumes, masks and trinkets. All of this celebration and excess comes before the fasting time of Lent.

Alexa and I decided to celebrate in style! We started off our day with apple cinnamon pancakes for Shrove Tuesday. I then got her dressed up in her Tinkerbell outfit and we headed to the Grottenbahn high above Linz to celebrate Faschingdienstag.

The Grottenbahn is a dragon train that runs in a circle under the Pöstlingberg (the Pöstling Mountain). The Grottenbahn itself follows a small circular track with dwarf scenes on each wall.

After riding the Grottenbahn around three times: 1st time the dwarfs on the left are lit up, 2nd time the dwarfs on the right are lit up and the 3rd time the entire cave is colorfully lit up; we ventured down into the mini village. The mini village is a child sized miniature replica of the city of Linz from 1900. There are also fairytale characters in the hallways, or the streets of the town. It is so cool!

Alexa had a blast running around a city that was her size!

We ended our Faschingdienstag with mini cheeseburger sliders, roasted cinnamon sweet potatoes and corn. It was a delicious, food and fun filled day!

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Little Bean is One Year Old!

I cannot believe how quickly the last year has passed. I feel like just a few months ago we were bringing her home from the hospital, our little polar bean, and now she is a walking, talking (sort of), noise making, curious little thing. Time really does fly by.