Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hot wine or Gluhwein

During Christmas season in Germany each town has a Christmas market. Vendors sell many items for Christmas. Lots of glass ornaments, wreaths, handmade toys, and lots of crafts. And then there are the food vendors, ahhh the smell of sweets nuts that have been roasted and and tossed in cinnamon sugar. Very skinny bratwurst in a small roll with lots of senf (mustard) and the most notable of all market food is the hot wine. For a few German marks ( it's the Euro now) you got a small ceramic mug of wine. If you gave the mug back you got most of your marks back. We kept ours.  Most of the mugs are brown with a village scene on them. This recipe is adapted from Authentic German Home Style Recipes by Gini Youngkrantz.
1 bottle of red wine
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1/2 lemon ( sliced)
1/3 cup of sugar
Mix all ingredients into a large pan and heat until almost to the boiling point DO NOT LET IT BOIL. Serve warm.

I make a big batch of it every Christmas eve. I use oranges instead of the lemon and I use more cinnamon sticks. I use box wine since I make a lot. It only gets better as is sits.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday

On November 20th I celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary by renewing my wedding vows in Las Vegas. When we got married the first time we were married in a courthouse the day before my husband was deployed to Desert Storm. This time I wanted a fun and lighthearted celebration. Well, I think I got it. We celebrated in a big way. We renewed our vows 4 times. The first was in the drive-thru at The White Wedding Chapel, then it was on to The Wee Kirk of the Heather, which is the oldest wedding chapel, the big grand ceremony was at the Las Vegas sign by an "Elvis". Elvis sang three songs, we danced we laughed and had a great time. The last ceremony was after dinner at the Eiffel Tower restaurant by the best man reciting the wedding scene from  The Princess Bride. Friends and family joined us for the festivities.
Each ceremony was great and different in it's own way.
The White Wedding Chapel has the drive-thru and the pink cadillac.
The Wee Kirk was a very traditional ceremony that had everything a bride could want. Traditional taped music that was worn out from too many ceremonies. It made everyone break out in laughter as soon as it started. But the best part was the fact that our ceremony was filmed by a Japanese travel show film crew! And then they wanted to interview us.
The sign ceremony was performed by a very buff and tan Elvis. We put on our Elvis glasses and sideburns and joined in on the fun. We were serenaded by Elvis and then he performed the ceremony while tourists looked on. The rain held out while we were at the sign and  then rained as much on this day as the ceremony 20 years ago.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Making homemade Pesto

Basil from the garden

Garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and pine nuts

Fresh basil ready in a few seconds
As the weather turns colder and frost forms on ground it is time to gather up the remaining basil that I grew in the garden this summer. It is quite easy. Simple ingredients, basil, olive oil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Grind the pine nuts and cheese in the food processor, add the basil and slowing pour the olive oil in slowly until combined really well. The aroma is overwhelming of summer and it freezes really well. So, in the darkest part of winter  I'll pull it out of the freezer and celebrate the goodness of summer.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pastry shop in the Golden Nugget


While wondering around in the Golden Nugget I came across a small pastry shop. The pastries and chocolate looked delectable and with reasonable prices for homemade chocolates. I am now sorry that I did not buy any. Well, I guess I'll have to wait until next trip.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The other side of Vegas

While we were vacationing in Vegas we took a side trip/tour to the Neon Graveyard. For $15.00 you are taken on a guided tour of the final resting place of the Vegas neon of yesteryear. We had a wonderful tour guide who, while walking through the graveyard, told us the down and dirty stories of the by gone era that put Vegas on the map. The murder, the mayhem, and the stories of the buying and selling of properties. It seemed to be a sad end to the bright lights of Vegas.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Via Las Vegas

When you tell people you are going to Vegas for a week what comes to mind? 99 cent shrimp cocktails, foot long hot dogs, cheap all you can eat buffets?
There seems to be a food lovers dilemma in Vegas going on. It seems that if you are anybody you have a restaurant in Vegas. All the top chefs do it seems. Upscale choices and different as you can get.
So, when I bought my travel guide book of Vegas I didn't looked up celebrity chef spots I looked up the spots where the locals go. We tracked down the old establishments like the Bay City Diner which is now called Du-Par's for the best pancakes in town to Vic and Anthony's steakhouse that has been around since the Rat Pack performed in Vegas. It features steak so tender you could cut it with a fork, so I did, and the biggest baked potatoes I have ever seen (loaded with fixins of course). We had great chili dogs at Pinks that could give Ben's a run for the money.
Pinks Hot Dogs

Frozen Hot Chocolate

Well now that was good

Bay City Diner now Du-Par's

Still has the signs up

Enjoying the counter

Legendary pancakes

Frozen custard

Yes you do need the bib

Could not get enough of these sweet potato fries

Sweet and juicy shrimp

The remnants

One messy table
The next spot was Serendipity 3 where the four of us polished of the famous Frozen Hot  Chocolate. The best discovery was a place that serves the most sweet and succulent crawfish and shrimp place- Hot and Juicy Crawfish (it's been featured on the travel channel). We could not get enough of the sweet potato fries. If you want the best frozen custard then you must to go to Luv it Custard. You'll need to go early because they only feature about 5 flavors a day and once they sell out that's it. The best deal seems to at Mr. Lucky's  24/7. The $7.77 surf and turf special that is not on the menu. I have to say the steak was extremely tasty and juicy for something that's only 8 bucks. So, take a chance, roll the dice and pick a local spot any spot and I think you'll be amazed.