Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More Halloween creepiness

They're outside! They're watching us! Gaaah!

May I add that, apart from the-neighbours-that-must-die- because-their-stuff-is-much-cooler-than-ours, we're the only people who set up any Halloween decoration? There's hardly any children around here. Well, I guess that means more candy for us...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Autumn waiting


Friday, October 20, 2006

Clubhouse


Here's some pictures of our apartment community; clubhouse with fitness center, spa, coffee bar, business center; and the POOL :-))



It looks like "Welcome to Poshville", but it's really not that bad...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Melty bead goodness

While looking through Craftster recently, I discovered a great new hobby: Bead melting! As described here (on page 3 there's some particularly nice specimens). You basically take the cheap plastic beads (pony beads) from Walmart or any craft store, clear and/or solid colored, arrange them in any oven safe bowl/plate, and melt them in the oven (350-400F for anything between 10-30 Minutes). The result is a stained-glass-like effect in solid plastic. Since the melting plastic emits some pretty bad and possibly toxic vapours, I've been using my toaster oven on the balcony for this, finishing each session by heating a bowl of water and vinegar in the oven to get rid of any smells. So what can you make out of this?

Bowls and Plates
(the pointy edges still have to be smoothed down):




and Suncatchers
(although I haven't quite figured out yet how to get a hole in those):

Monday, October 16, 2006

Cheesecake! Cheesecake! Cheesecake!

Any decent German person will laugh in your face if you suggest baking a cheesecake with cream cheese ("NOOH! Zat iss not how yu do zat!"). A "real" cheesecake has to be baked with Quark, and not much else. Quark is similar to the farmer's cheese or queso fresco that you can find here in some supermarkets; a drier, less fatty version of sour cream. I make Quark with my Quarkmaker *DUH* which is nothing but a glorified yogurt maker that you fill with buttermilk instead of regular milk and let stand for 16 hours. It'll heat the milk just enough that it slightly curdles over time. Afterwards you strain the still pretty liquid Quark through a cheesecloth for several hours. Repeat. About three days later, you will have a sufficient amount of Quark to bake a cheesecake. Or, and this is what I did, you just use plain yogurt and let it drain in the aforementioned cheesecloth (or just some paper towels) until it gets kind of firm. This would be called yogurt cheese (or YoChee, if you want to be cutesy). Here's our old family recipe for

No-Crust Cheesecake for Lazy People:
  • 125g (a bit less than a stick) butter/margarine,
  • 200g (a bit less than a cup) sugar,
  • 1 tsp vanilla,
  • 3 eggs,
  • 2 tblsp lemon juice *or more to taste*,
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder,
  • 1 pack vanilla pudding (now THAT is the tricky part. You'll want the cook-and-serve stuff with cornstarch in it. I use the German kind by Dr. Oetker which contains no sugar. If you want to try this with Jell-O, use less sugar and be prepared for anything!),
  • 2 tblsp semolina/farina,
  • 2 lbs Quark/yogurt cheese,
  • (1 handful raisins, washed, optional).
Mix everything (except the Quark) in a bowl with an electric mixer for at least 3 minutes. Add Quark, mix well. (Add raisins). Put into a greased springform pan and bake at 340 F for 50-60 mins. Cover with foil if it gets too dark. My cheesecakes usually get burnt but I kind of like them that way. Guten Appetit!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rare Bird Finds


A blog whose motto is "Shopping Discoveries that are Anything but Ordinary": Rare Bird Finds (with links to lots of very unique shopping ideas - ooh the wiener dog bag!!!) - bookmarked! Also, you can win great stuff if you participate in their contest and tell them about your favorite unusual shopping sites. I did. I'm gonna win.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Here's a groundhog, there's a groundhog...

Groundhogs all over the place. For the second day in a row we've seen a groundhog sitting right by the road on the edge of a wooded area. Yesterday I was all freaked out that he might had gotten run over (he was kind of crouching to the ground), but today he was just sitting there, happily munching away on grass like an enormous guinea pig. There's really some great other names out there for groundhogs: "woodchuck", "whistlepig", or "Murmeltier" in German (literally "mumbling animal". Ha, ha. Several jokes were made about that one).

In other news, I'm making yogurt with my Salton yogurt maker (say THAT three times fast!). Hopefully I'll get enough out of it to bake a cheesecake! Hmm, cheesecake.

Oh, and it's warm here. It was in the 90s two days ago, today it's nice and bearable, but it'll go back up to the 80s again by Saturday. Weird. Global warming? Oh, shush.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Five years in Hell

Just kidding. Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!!! Thanks for the flowers!!! Wuvvou!!!



My new tiny succulent garden (MUST NOT water every day!!!) - very zen:




and speaking of plants: my magic bean in a can (50c from the Dollar Store! Who would have thunk it that this actually works! How on earth do they get that message on the bean??)