Dress-up ghosts

19 Nov

Yeah, do you remember that post? Good, for I’ve got news for you!

At the beginning of the year I found strange pajama pants in our laundry. Back then I didn’t think much about it. Our bedroom has a built-in wardrobe, and I thought maybe the previous occupants had just forgotten one piece in a dark corner. It happens, right? We went through every drawer and cleaned everything out while we were at it.

Now, two days ago I was looking for our cats. They like to hide in my shoe compartment and sniff my worn ballerinas. Down on my knees I went, switched on the flashlight, et voilĂ :

IMG_0431White tennis socks. I thought the government had banned those in the eighties?

Anyway, none of us have white socks. (I don’t like cleaning floors.)

IMG_0433Unwrapped mystery. Socks, with tennis.

Right away I called Richard and told him of my discovery. I mean, what would the average guy think when he comes home and find’s a stranger’s socks in the bedroom? We discussed the matter a while and came up with the following theories as to how they might have gotten here:

  1. Someone is living on the roof, entering our flat while we’re at work, eating through our fridge and washing their socks.
  2. A stalker got a second set of keys and comes into our flat during the day to rub himself all over our shoes. Don’t ask me why he takes his socks off for that.
  3. Ghosts are playing dress-up in our wardrobe.

Well, okay, maybe we simply didn’t clean the wardrobe as thoroughly, and those are still from the previous inhabitant. But I like my stories better. Although admittedly it feels a little weird at night being all alone right now. ^^

Extract and oil pictures

14 Nov

IMG_0419[1] IMG_0420[1]

Very exciting, right? But a promise is a promise.

Race for the gift

12 Nov

Yeah, sorry, I have kept you waiting… and then I forgot to take pictures of the gifts in progress, so for now you will have to use your imagination.

We’ll start by making excerpts for baking, since these don’t need much work – only time.

Got your clear booze? Great. Don’t drink it. Instead, take an orange. Cut of the orange part of the peel, as much as possible, leaving the white on the fruit. Then eat the fruit (without the white stuff, that is YUCK).Put the orange peel in a jar of 200-250ml and top with the booze. Close jar, shake and put in a sunny place.

Do the same with the lemon, minus the eating part (unless you want to – I hear hot lemon tea is nice instead).

In a third jar, cut up one vanilla bean lengthwise, top with booze and shake.

With these jars, you won’t have to do much except give them an occasional shake and sniff. Just keep them in a sunny place, on the windowsill or such. The citrus peel jars will turn a nice color and start smelling great after only a few days. The vanilla extract will take a while longer, but don’t worry. In time for the holidays you’ll have nice extracts to give away to your baking friends.

(For those who’d rather drink than bake, you can mix the booze with clear sugar syrup for a nice treat. More on that later.)

And while we’re at it, cut of some more orange peel from two oranges, put them in two jars and add half a vanilla bean to each one, cut up lengthwise. Top with a neutral oil, close jars and shake. This will make a nice Sunny Mood Beauty Oil. But please remember, you have to shake these jars every two to three days!

Pictures later, I promise! So many projects, so little time!

At the end of the week, we’ll make another treat… Vanilla Spice Coffee.

Early winter birds have the best gifts!

3 Nov

Between writing, preparing everything for my upcoming birthday party (“Monster Movie Magic”, yes!!!) and enjoying my time off, I have started thinking about the upcoming holiday season. Sorry if that is a tad early for you, but if you are like me and constantly trying to find wonderful homemade gifts for your loved ones, sometimes you have to start a little early.

Since we are at the Knusperhaus, some of my favorite things to give away come from the kitchen and are for the kitchen – or beauty products (sometimes both). Did you know that you can make your own organic real-vanilla sugar for baking with nothing more than, well, sugar and a vanilla bean? I always have a jar of that stuff in my kitchen and use it in my coffee, baked goods and even hearty dishes. Other things you could make include flavored coffee, vanilla extract, spice mixtures, baking mixtures, teas, … – the list goes on and on.

Over the next few weeks I will show you several homemade gifts that are out of the ordinary and will not cost you an arm and a leg – promise!

Right now, I want you to write a grocery list and, the next time you go grocery shopping, remember to bring the following ingredients:

  • A bunch of organic oranges and lemons
  • 3-4 vanilla beans, organic if possible
  • Coffee beans
  • One or two kinds of nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecan, macadamia, … )
  • Neutral taste honey
  • Sugar – raw organic cane sugar would be best, but really, anything might work.
  • Cardamom, ground
  • Cinnamon
  • Dried ginger, ground
  • Good-quality (but not too expensive) neutral clear alcohol such as vodka
  • Good-quality neutral oil, e.g. sunflower or canola

You should also start looking out for nice jars (I collect empty nut butter jars) and a few bigger (500-1,000ml) as well as many small (50-100ml) bottles. We will commence by making flavored extracts and oils (vanilla, nuts, orange and lemon peel), for these take longest. Another great gift that needs some time to absorb and mix the flavors is a jar of roasted nuts covered in honey. Sounds good? I told you so! (The other things on the grocery list can either be stored in cool/dry places – I freeze my coffee beans until I use them – or bought later. It’s just easier to have everything on hand and make a little something everytime we have a few spare minutes on our hands.)

The red coat

29 Oct

“My, what a lovely red coat you have! Waiting for christmas, aren’t you!”

I smile, and say nothing. It’s grey outside. The new moon is approaching. I don’t wear red to honor a jolly red man. I think of the blood that brought me into this world, of the life given to keep me here. Maiden, mother, crone – each one gave life, so I would become. There are those who die to nourish me, plant life and animal life alike, and I honor their sacrifice. No life can be had on this earth without paying for it in blood. It’s a terrible mystery, and a wonderful gift.

I wear my red coat, remain silent, and smile.

Unsung heroes: Carrot stew

21 Oct


This is one of my unsung fall heroes, and I am really surprised not more people are singing its praise.

This is carrot stew.

It is cheap and versatile.

Even when using all organic produce, the basics only cost about four bucks for four generous servings.

My family has many different recipes for carrot stew, and wars have started over which one is the best. Most of them, however, start the same:



  • 1 tbsp oil (e.g. coconut)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1,000g carrots, cubed
  • 750g potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1,000ml vegetable broth
  • Salt, pepper

Fry onions and garlic in oil on medium heat until fragrant.

Add carrots, potatoes and broth.

Simmer for 30-60 minutes, mash if desired, season.

I like to fry some spices (ginger, coriander, cumin) with the onion and garlic and add a generous bunch of parsley at the end – that’s what you see in the pictures. A vegan comforting healthy and cheap fall meal. Other versions include:

* Add 1lb ground beef to onion and garlic and fry until well-done, then proceed as described.

* Add a dollop of cream cheese at the end.

* Simmer pork meatballs in stew, add a pinch of nutmeg and some laurel.

* Add celery and leek.

* For the brave: Add some ketchup on your plate.

* Exotic: Fry some yellow curry paste with onion and garlic, add a splash of coconut milk and coriander greens.

* Adventurous: How about a bit of flaked tuna and some chili?


Proof that I could have fed three more people last night. Instead I put the other portions in the fridge for handy use at work.

And since I am always looking for new stews to try – what are your cherished fall recipes?

The things we do because we’re stubborn…

20 Oct


Recently I read somewhere on the infinite source of wisdome and trollery that is the internet how some girl was berated for saying she ran her first 10K although she was obese. “No way a fat chick can run more than I!” – “You’re making that up to make yourself feel better about those two pizzas!”

So what is a woman of about 200 pounds (yes, that’s me – I double-checked before the race to give you a real number: 195.77lbs of pure witchpower) to do? Right. Register for and then run a 10K. So that’s what we did on Sunday morning. I nagged Richard and a friend into coming along, so I would not back out at the last possible moment. “Well, I made you get up in the dark to torture yourself for a good cause, but I am a flower wayyyy to dainty to be pestered with such…” The trains were on strike, but our friend made it in time, we collected him at the station and then ran our 10K in the sun, with a group of about 800 people, and we were not too bad, if I can say so myself.

This friend had to do it in under 50 minutes, of course, that poser. ^^

Richard breezed past me around the eight-kilometer mark and made it in 1:09hrs.

I crossed the finish line at 1:10hrs – as expected, although of course not as fast as I had hoped.

What does this tell us? First, OF COURSE fat women can run 10K, mostly better than most trolls online – if we spend our time training instead of making fun of others. And second, I fully deserve to whine and complain about every movement today.

(We celebrated with burgers and cheesecake, just so I could keep my weight and boast about it today.)


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