Friday, September 30, 2011

(Another Reason) Why Being a Mormon is Pretty Much the Best Thing Ever.


This, my friends, is a crappy webcam picture 

of absolutely not crappy things. 
Really awesome things actually. 

Two people I'd only met at church once stopped by today, with beautiful flowers and homemade mango-peach jam (Can you say yummy??!?) to see how I was doing and welcome me to Frankfurt.
It was the kindest, sweetest thing ever.
I love the human race.
Have I ever mentioned before how much I love my church?

This made me so happy. It makes me want to do nice things for people, too.
How does fresh baked bread all around sound?
lemme go grab my apron. ;)



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Simple and Delicious: Tomato and Arugula Pasta



Today I thought I'd share a recipe I got from Cooking Light that Steven and I both really loved. It was wonderfully simple and I was able to make it in a matter of minutes with no fuss or frustration. The original recipe is Sausage, Tomato and Arugula Fettuccine but I substituted the sausage for turkey breast and the fettuccine for whole wheat spaghetti to make the meal even healthier. The great thing is, meat can easily be substituted or even omitted completely, and it will still taste incredibly yummy. What makes this dish so fantastic are the cooked cherry tomatoes that, when crushed, create a really flavorful "sauce" for your pasta.

Your Ingredients:


1. Pasta of your choice, in the quantity of your choice.
2. Turkey breast, turkey sausage, or other meat of choice (optional)
3. Cherry Tomatoes
4. Fresh, trimmed arugula
5. 1 clove garlic
6. Olive oil


It's that simple! 
Instead of writing out the directions for you, I'm simply going to direct you to The Video made by cooking light which should show you everything you need to know!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! 


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

For the People Who've Been In My Life Forever


I have been thinking a lot about my friends and family back in the states. I guess that's normal, considering I've so very far away and missing the people who love you is a major part of typical "homesickness." I have a fantastic life here in Germany, new friends and a husband who keep me more than happy, but still there's a little best friend shaped hole in my heart since I've moved away from beautiful Southern California. Given these feelings, I've decided to talk today about the people I miss so much. 


My Parents.

In case you haven't noticed, my mom is seriously hot stuff, and a huge inspiration to me in my life. She decided in January she was going to lose some weight and underwent an INCREDIBLE transformation. Seriously, a huge difference between then and now and all I can say is that she is hot hot hot!
My dad is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, the kind of person you can always count on to take care of you. I miss being Daddy's little girl a lot!
My parents are incredible people.


The Little Brother

Stay off the roads, everybody! I have just received word that my little brother is DRIVING. When did that happen? Seriously, one minute he's shooting me in the back of a head with a nerf gun and the next he's all tall and muscular and has good bone structure and a learner's permit. Say what? Connor is just as ridiculous as I am and definitely funnier.
Just as an example:
(Phone Conversation, 2010)
Connor: You're dating a red head?!
Me: Yep.
Connor: What?! Have you KISSED???
Me: Uh...yes?
Connor: Noo! You have Ginger-vitis! Breathmint, Pronto.

Gosh I miss this kid. 

My two brother's and I - Nathan and Connor 


MY BEST FRIENDS
Each so unique and so beautiful!
From left to right: 
Bri, the first friend I made after moving to California. She is equally as loud and crazy as me. Actually, more crazy. Yes. She's downright insane, and my soulmate. 
Sierra, my partner in crime all throughout high school. We went to Europe together last summer, the trip that inspired me to stay on in Europe and meet my husband. We can talk about anything for hours and hours. She also has fabulous taste in...everything, and bakes fabulous pies
Kasey, my super amazing, super artistic, fun-sized best friend. I am exactly a foot taller than her. She is WAY more laid back than I am and is pretty much the essence of the word coolness. She has been skydiving twice, and is good at pretty much any physical activity she chooses to do. It's unfair. 


My Big Sister Figure

Bethany is pretty much the first person I go to for advice. She makes amazing clothes and fashion accessories, and she's really good at it. Her beautiful family and perfect little girl give me hope that one day starting a family won't be so bad after all. 


My Amazing Artistic Friend

Matt is incredibly talented. I actually met Matt when he asked me to model for him in one of his photo-shoots, and we quickly discovered we were similar in a lot of ways. From then on, whether it was photography, guitar, spray painting, or just going to find new food to eat or music to listen to, I could always count on Matt to help keep the inspiration flowing. I miss our random photo adventures SO much! Check out Matt's photography here.

So now you've been introduced to some of the people that I love (not counting my husband or new family, of course!) I miss them all SO much and I'm proud to call them friends and family.


 Seriously, how lucky am I???

While you're here, you should definitely watch this video. It was made by my friends and I in 2010.
We are covering This is the New Year by Ian Axel. 
I'm playing the piano (not too well, listening now!) and my friend Bri and I are singing together. :)
I will not lie, it's sweetness will overwhelm you. 






Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We Encourage: Kind Words from a Friend




The other day I recieved the kindest message I have ever read, written to me by a friend from High School:


Dear Daryl,


I think you are one of the happiest people I have ever met. You find small reasons everyday to be grateful and excited and for that you are one of the best people I have ever met. As I was looking over your blog I was invigorated with the spirit with which you live your life and MAJORLY impressed with how you take pride in simple yet amazing things. I've been working on myself a lot and I just felt like writing to let you know how much of an inspiration you are to me. You're out there living the dream, and I couldn't be happier for you (and not even the kind where my jealousy overcomes my happiness, its the kind of happy where another person's happiness fills you up inside). I know this message is kind of random, but just thought you should know what an inspiration you are to others around you.


Cheers and all the best, Heather


I stared at the computer screen in shock for a few moments after I had finished reading, and then I (in a typical Daryl fashion) started to cry. I had been having a not so stellar day and the message was like instant chicken soup and a soft blanket, and absolutely what I needed to turn the day around. 
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am incredibly grateful for the kind people in the world. The people who make each day a little more bearable for the people around them. A note, a random gesture, a smile, an offer of comfort...these seemingly innocuous acts are sometimes the highlight of one's day, or even their month. 


Not only did this message lift my spirits, it also was a subtle encouragement for me to remember to show kindness to those around me, and a lot more often.


Have you been kind to someone today? 

Thank you, Heather!!! 











Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu Plan Monday!


I didn't get around to cooking a couple of things last week. We had a spontaneous date night, went out with friends, and one day we just didn't feel like cooking.  That's okay though, the weekly meal plan isn't set in stone...it's an organizational aide. I had fun putting together this weeks meal plan. I'll be cooking more vegetarian dishes in the future for two reasons. 1) Vegetarian dishes tend to be lighter and healthier and 2) they are significantly less expensive to make. I love eating meat and could never go completely without it...but it will probably be better for our health (and our wallets) in the long run if we opt for meatless dishes more often than not. 

So here it is!

Monday
Turkey, Tomato and Arugula Spaghetti

Tuesday
Rasberry Glazed Rosemary Chicken and Sauteed Vegetables

Wednesday
Pesto and Butternut Squash Pizza (With homemade dough!)

Thursday
Waldorf Style Salad with Rasberry Vinaigrette dressing

Friday 
Healthy Corn Casserole 


What are you cooking up this week?



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekend Update: Sushi, Ice Cream, and Mocktails

Blazer: H&M. Top: Zara. Pants: Mango. Bag: Promod. Bracelets: Thrifted. Necklace: H&M

We had a blast this weekend! 
Steven and I took the street train into downtown Frankfurt (about a 15 minute ride) on Saturday night to meet some friends for Sushi. By the way, did I mention I LOVE sushi? Steven and I both tried it for the first time in California and were skeptical at first...well, it was just as good the second time around!

I was a terrible blogger and did not take a picture of my sushi. I know. I have to work on this. My friend Errissa invited some people she knew to eat with us and we all had a really good time! I was really happy to make some new friends.

After sushi, we went out for ice cream in the Frankfurt Old Town. It was surprisingly warm for late September and I beaming from ear to ear as we made our way down the cobble stone streets, caught up in how absolutely stunning the night was. I couldn't help but thing about how lucky I am: how many people get to sit and eat delicious ice cream with a view of a gorgeous church built in the year 1290?!


Yes, they take their ice cream very seriously in Deutschland. Yes, I ate that whole thing.

After Ice Cream we parted ways with our new friends, and Steven, Errissa and I decided to head back over to Nachtleben for some drinks before heading home. This is my third time mentioning Nactleben in Weekend  Updates, in case you're counting. Errissa, the hubs and I have now decided that this little lounge/underground club is our McLaren's. (Name that show! Anyone? Anyone?) 


It works for us, this place. It's not too loud, not too crowded (but crowded enough!), reasonably priced, and located DIRECTLY next to both the subway entrance and the "night bus" terminal. We dig it. 


Walking along the Zeil, or giant outdoor shopping street heavily populated with cool restaurants and bars.

I love my life, my friends, my husband, and the city I live in! 
Another fun weekend :) 


P.S. I managed to snag a REALLY sneaky picture from quite far away (hence the grainyness) of a man in a kilt, riding an ATV. In this photo it is parked right outside of Nachtleben...I guess he needed to stop for a drink! Oh, the funny people in the world. 





Saturday, September 24, 2011

FALLing in Love...


Guys! Everyone! Listen! It's Important!
IT'S FALL. 
ahahahahahaha!
I mean, I know the first day of fall was officially yesterday.
BUT when Steven and I went out this morning to go to the grocery store...it really felt like Autumn. 
The air was crisp and cool and refreshing and the ground was already littered with colorful leaves. It will be a few weeks before things get really colorful, but it's enough to get me thinking about warm apple cider and pumpkin patches and all of the amazing things that make this season wonderful.

I mean, October-December is by far the best time of year. Hands down.
October in particular. I will tell you why in this neatly organized list:

WHY OCTOBER IS ABSOLUTELY THE BEST:
  • All of the leaves start to change, making the world a much more gorgeous place.
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month! 
  • You can find random corn mazes everywhere, which makes for awesome spontaneous activities. 
  • You can go apple picking, and the picking part is more fun than actually eating the apples. 
  • It is German American Heritage Month! 
  • My birthday is in October. 
  • I saw Regina Spektor in concert in October
  • The conditions become perfect for both leaf-raking and leaf jumping. No, you are NEVER too old for leaf jumping. 
  • Steven and I had our first kiss at the very beginning of October. Sitting on a big pile of haybales. In a field. Next to a pumpkin patch. With two German castles visible from where we sat. The sun was setting too. No, I'm not lying. Yes, it was the most romantic thing ever. 
  • October is also the month I told him I loved him, while sitting on a blanket in the middle of a colorful forest. (We were out leaf jumping, FYI) 
And that, my friends, is why October is the best month ever. 

Photos from October, 2010:


Steven surprised me with a romantic picnic in the forest. He's carrying a tray with kinderpunsch, an amazing German drink available from October - January that tastes, quite literally, like liquid Christmas. And joy. And warmth. And other good feelings. 

When we reached the place Steven had picked, I was surprised and elated to see that there was a giant pile of leaves there waiting for us. Steven had gone there ahead of time and raked up a pile for us. (He'd remembered a fond childhood memory I'd shared with him weeks prior about how my brother and I LOVED jumping in fall leaves when we lived in New York.) 



We have pretty mad jumping skills if you ask me. 



So yes, ladies and gents. I am in the midst of my favorite season. I shall not cease to be happy about it, not even when the season is over. Because AFTER fall comes winter, and we all know there's plenty of joy and holiday cheer to keep me happy then.


Source
What's your favorite season?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Simple Things...A date night!


It is absolutely astounding how much good a simple "date night" does for a marriage.

Tuesday was a special day for Steven and I. We were celebrating one year of being together and decided to get dressed up and go to a nice dinner after work. We picked out a little restaurant not too far away from our place and took the street train to get there. It felt so magical to be walking along the city streets (before and after being on the train) holding hands and just enjoying our time together.


I decided not to be cheesy and take pictures inside the restaurant...so I stole this photo from the restaurant's website.

We had a really good time! The restaurant was nice and had good food, but Steven and I had fun laughing at the odd mix of music that was playing and the shirt the waiter wore that I'm sure was straight out of the 1970's.

Still, a really nice evening!


Steven looking dashing.


Outside of the restaurant.
Dress: H&M Boots: German shoe store. Wrap: H&M. Necklace and Bracelets: Greece! 

Needless to say, I'm a huge supporter of date nights. They need to happen way more often!




P.S.

I switched commenting from Blogger to DISQUS. It made all of the previous comments you lovelies have made vanish :( However, I think it will be much better for use in the future!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How Pinteresting - Warming Up Your Wardrobe for Fall

It is definitely fall here in Germany. It is getting cold and I'm starting to see leaves on the ground! One of my favorite things about fall is the fashion - although most of my fall clothes are back in America as I only came to Germany with two suitcases...sigh.

 My solution to this problem is simple. I'm using my summer clothes and finding different ways to layer them to create cute, temperature-appropriate outfits. I spent this morning on pinterest looking for more inspiration!



Summer to Fall: The Sundress

Summer:



Fall: 



Summer to Fall: The Denim Mini Skirt 


Summer:

Source


Fall

Summer to Fall: The Chiffon Mini Dress

Summer:


Fall: 




I did my own "warming up" today, too! 


I bought this fabulous skirt at Anthropologie several months ago. It was perfect for the summer months: I could wear it with a tee shirt or a lightweight blouse and a pair of sandals or flats. Now I'm excited to carry it over into fall with me. This is what I came up with to face today's cold weather:



Skirt: Anthropology. Red Blouse: H&M. Cardigan: Thrifted. Hat: Thrifted...in Paris! Scarf: Foreign Exchange (Free with my "Black Friday" purchase) Tights: Forever 21. (Combat) boots: Random German shoe store, name forgotten. 


What are your favorite fall looks?



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We Encourage: Counting Your Blessings



      The past couple of weeks have been a little hard. Homesickness has been coming in waves - sometimes subtle ones and sometimes waves of the knock-the-wind-out-of-you variety. With the fall season upon us, my mind constantly goes back to those American Autumn traditions I know I'll be missing out on. Hearing about my friend's adventures in America doesn't help much either. I wasn't homesick all the time, far from it, but when it did come it hit me hard.

Lately, however, I've been blessed with little reminders of how wonderful my life is. I'd like to share an example with you from this morning: Steven and I had to wake up early so we could go to the buergeramt (government building) and get some paperwork for my German visa. It was a cool, crisp morning and sleep was still hanging heavily in my eyes as we drove there. We got the papers we needed and made our way back to the car, only to see a collection of tents and trucks set up in a nearby parking lot. Right there, on a random Tuesday morning, was a beautiful little farmer's market.


    Stands were set up selling festive Autumn wreaths, fresh fall produce, and it absolutely wouldn't be Germany if there weren't five or six different trucks selling different variations of German sausages. The smell of fresh baked rolls and cinnamon floated through the air as Steven and I wandered through the makeshift alleyways the rows of stands had created. We stopped at one of the stands and bought fresh brezel-brötchen (Pretzel rolls). In Germany a common breakfast is a fresh roll sliced open with different varieties of meats and cheeses inside, eaten like a sandwich. Our rolls were served with brie cheese and tomato...absolutely delicious! Even though we both had work and a ton of things to do that day, Steven and I found a seat at a table, ordered some hot chocholate and had a wonderful breakfast together.


I look back on it now as a wonferful, perfect memory of a spontaneous morning spent with the love of my life.
I am so lucky to have mornings like that.

I am living in a beautiful place. It is a place of life and vibrance and culture. It is a place full of history and interesting people and random farmer's markets on Tuesday mornings.  I am blessed to live here, and one will never hear me complain about it again. (Unless I'm complaining about the lack of Doctor Pepper, or authentic Mexican food.)

I am so blessed.
So blessed to be living here with a man who exactly one year ago today asked me to be his girlfriend.
A man who now, a year later, calls me his wife.
A man I love more than the world.

Am I getting mushy enough yet?


xoxo,
Daryl

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Yummy Caprese Pizza With Homemade Honey-Rosemary Wheat Crust


Today's recipe is a super delicious, surprisingly easy to make Caprese Pizza. 

I was pleasantly surprised when trying out this dough to find that it really didn't take much more effort than the premade dough I usually use...and the taste was MUCH much better. Here's the recipe:

The Crust:

1 (25 oz) package of active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey 
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

The Pizza: 

1 cup tomato sauce
Mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced 
1 large handful of fresh basil leaves
Balsamic Vinegar, drizzled 


Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

2. In a small bowl (I used a coffee mug!) dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let it stand until creamy, about ten minutes. 

3. In a large bowl combine wheat flour, wheat germ and salt. Make a "well" in the middle and pour in the honey, chopped rosemary, and yeast mixture. Stir well with a large wooden spoon to combine. 

4. Roll doll to desired thickness onto a pizza pan. Make sure the pan (and rolling pin) are well floured! 

5. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, spread desired amount of tomato sauce evenly over the pizza dough. 

6. Thinly slice the tomatoes and lay them over top the sauce. 

7. Crumble (or slice) mozzarella cheese and arrange over the tomatoes along with the fresh basil. 

9. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over top the pizza  

10. Bake at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes

That's it! Enjoy this fresh, delicious meal! You'd never know that it was healthy. 


Menu Plan Monday...whoohoo!



Okay, I have to admit I'm super excited for this week's menu. It took a while to compile, and I found a TON of new recipes in the process which I'm setting aside for later weeks. To give you an idea about my compulsive recipe collecting, my recipe word document has now reached over 65 pages. Yikes! :)

Here's what I plan on cooking:

Monday
Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas 

Tuesday
"Healthy" Oven Fried Chicken with Cauliflower Gratin 

Wednesday
Honey and Soy Glazed Salmon, served with an Asian style salad

Thursday
Zucchini/Potato Soup with Mint and Crispy Chickpeas 

Friday
Dining Out: Sushi with Friends!

Saturday: 
Slimmed Down Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Sunday: 
Sauteed Veggies with Rice

As always, Saturday and Sunday's meals are tentative. Spontaneous adventures could result in substitution or omission!
What are you cooking up this week? 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Weekend Update: What Foodies do at Carnivals.

German Carnival Sweets.

Yesterday was a fun day.
A REALLY fun day. Night. Thing.
I haven't consumed so much food in one short period of time since my best friend and I stayed up all night in a cabin in Big Bear. (More on that one later!)

Why did I eat so much, you ask? 
The dippemess was in town. AKA the county fair of Frankfurt am Main.
We were there from 8 till 12 and didn't go on a single ride...we just ate and ate and ate some more.
Bliss I tell you.
Sweet, Salty, Greasy Bliss. 

My friend Errissa and I. Bein' Sly.  Note the German biergarten*  behind us. 

After arriving at the fair, we started off with some German Bratwurst. Because, you know, we wouldn't feel right about consuming so many sweets without a nutritious meal first.  This is no ordinary hotdog...they take their sausage very seriously in these parts. And hot dog buns? Not a chance. They're served on delicious brotchen...fresh German rolls!

My new friend Kim and a whole lot of chocolate!

We immediately followed our super healthy dinner with a delicious selection of chocolate covered fruit! Gosh I love this stuff. Strawberries and bananas on sticks, coated in milky chocolate that isn't too soft or too hard!

Too bad this isn't real...THAT would be fun. 

After eating our delicious chocolate covered fruit we decided it would be a sin to stop eating now, considering there were so many different types of cuisine so readily available. The world was at our fingertips! I was actually shocked at how many options there were...traditional German food? Cheese? An entire booth/stand devoted to different kinds of cooked mushrooms? It was dang near overwhelming. Luckily we had giant chocolate covered marshmallow's to settle our nerves (Hard to see, but pictured above!) 



We took a break from the sweets with some good old fashioned Pommes Frites**. We had the choice of about 15 different sauces but I decided to stick with the traditional German mayo. (When I first came to Germany I thought Mayonnaise with french fries was sooo strange...but it's actually pretty dang good!)


We couldn't leave out the giant rope candy! Mine was strawberry flavored.


Carnivals make us excited, apparently. 


This was such a fun night, spent laughing and talking and eating and eating and eating. We were shocked when the clock struck midnight and the fair began to close...We hadn't gotten around to a single ride yet! Not wanting the night to end, we took the street train to Nachtleben. We didn't go downstairs to the dance club this time, instead choosing to stay in the lounge above and continue to relax and hang out. 

In Nachtleben. 

And tell me, my friends, what's an end to a night without some yummy heisseschocholade?***


Yum. Yum Yum. 


One also can't forget the random dancing. It's a requirement of any truly fun night out, did you know?
Sorry Errissa! xD


What did you do this weekend?


* Beer Garden
** French Fries
*** Hot Chocholate

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