Category archives: i love food

Concorde Colours at Hotel Concorde

Last week, Andreas and I headed to the west and attended a blogger event at Hotel Concorde to celebrate the launch of their new blog, Fresh and French.  We had really no idea what to expect before the event, and were blown away by the generosity and kindness of the hotel and employees.  We were given a tour of the hotel, tasted the champagne and food served in their restaurants (both were incredible) and got to hang out with some wonderful Berlin bloggers- some who I already knew and some who I am lucky to have met that night.  I was a bad blogger and forgot my camera, so all I have are instagram pics from the event- Hopefully they convey a small taste of the great experience.  It was such a lovely night and I feel really lucky to be a part of this great group of Berlin bloggers, and to be a part of the entire blogging community as a whole.  Random Fact: Did you know that all the friends I have made here in Berlin I have met through blogging?  Technology is AMAZING.

Thanks again to Hotel Concorde for such a great event, hopefully there will be more nights like this in our future.

Augsburger Straße 41  Berlin

And an image of the lovely Thea of Sister Mag and me, courtesy of Concorde Hotel’s photographer that evening. For more of their images, check out this album on the Hotel’s facebook page.

blue ribbon banana bread

oh how I miss my kitchen aid mixer!  but they cost 600€ here :(

Once upon time, I joined one of my best friend’s mama and grandmother and entered my chocolate chip cookies and banana bread in the California Mid State Fair.  I did it just for fun, knowing that most of the people who enter the competition take it very seriously, and I am in no way a pro (although I did work in a bakery when I was 15). So when we went to the fair to see the winners of the baking contests I never thought I had a chance.  Surprisingly enough, my banana bread won the blue ribbon (and a check for $6!!!) and my chocolate chip cookies took 3rd place.  I may have jumped up and down and did a little dance in the exposition hall and yes, it is still kind of my claim to fame. ;)
Yesterday I baked some banana bread with my very brown bananas and thought I might share the recipe with all of you.  Happy Friday!

my Blue Ribbon Banana Bread

note: this makes 4 loaves of bread- share the love with neighbors and friends

1/2 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
6 bananas
8 oz. container light sour cream
8 oz. container low fat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 packet vanilla sugar
3 teaspoons cinnnamon
1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (or 3 c. all purpose flour and 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour)
Optional:  1 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans)

2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C)
In a small bowl combine 2 T sugar and 1 t cinnamon and sprinkle in buttered bread pans (four 7×3 pans) or muffin pan.  Make sure the bottom of pans are dusted with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
In large bowl, cream together room temperature butter and sugars.  Mix in bananas, sour cream, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla (vanilla sugar).
In separate small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt and nuts.
Mix flour mixture into wet ingredients 1 cup at a time and beat until throughly combined.
Pour into buttered bread pans and bake until toothpick inserted into center of pan, comes out clean.  Bread pans take around 45-50 mins, muffins 15-20 mins.

To give credit where credit is due, this recipe is adapted from this sour cream banana bread recipe.

I took a loaf of this to our Hausmeister (building manager) this morning and I realized how long it has been since I baked anything just for fun, without having a birthday or holiday to bake for.  Our Hausmeister was so happy and it reminded me how small things can make a big difference in making someone’s day a little brighter.

christmas market time!

As you might already know, I really LOVE Europe’s Christmas markets and have made a goal this year to try and visit as many as possible.  Poor Andreas woke up with a nasty cold today so we kept it local and checked out the Gengenbach christmas market, which I have somehow never visited before even though it is only a 10 minute drive.  Gengenbach is a charming little town whose claim to fame is having the world’s largest advent calendar- the town hall’s 24 windows become the giant advent calendar for the month of December during the christmas market.  Also, a scene from Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was filmed here, offering a quick glimpse of the picturesque little town.  For anyone traveling to Strasbourg’s world famous Christmas Market I would definitely recommend a trip across the border to Gengenbach to experience a smaller version of the festivities.  We definitely enjoyed ourselves, and the food- yes that is a giant bowl of schupfnudeln mit sauerkraut (potato dumplings and sauerkraut aka my favorite German festival food) which could only have been made better had it been enjoyed with a nice mug of glühwein, but it was 3 in the afternoon and I decided to be a good girl today ;)  Can you believe it is already DECEMBER?!?!?!  madness.

hope you all had lovely weekends!


– Cooking is way more fun with bubbles
– We sent our men to the grocery store to pick up a few items and they come home with 3 of everything on the list.  silly boys.
– bride and groom tea towel from my mama
– our men
– nica’s stuffing with a whole lotta butter
– braised turkey thighs have become an expat-thanksgiving tradition.  Cooking a whole bird scares me & they are impossible to find around here.  After 4 years, my German friends think the turkey thighs are a normal part of thanksgiving dinner ;)

Sadly no photos from the finished meal, but I guarantee it was quite a feast.

Just a few silly snaps from our preparations for the second thanksgiving of the week. That’s right, this year we had two thanksgivings.  As someone who almost never eats meat, I definitely got my fill of turkey for the year after last week, and now I am CRAVING vegetables.  The first thanksgiving was spent with an old friend of mine from elementary school who was traveling around Europe with her boyfriend, and invited us to dinner with their friends in Stuttgart.  Our friends Nica and Didier came out from Paris to cook up a giant second Thanksgiving feast for some German friends and in the process we made a huge mess in our little ikea kitchen.  I cannot wait to have an apartment with a dishwasher and kitchen where I don’t have to use the top of the washing machine as counter space.  One more month!!

I realized this was my fifth Thanksgiving living abroad, and even though we had double the thanksgivings, I couldn’t help but feel really homesick this year.  Creating new traditions abroad definitely help, but all the facebook posts of my friends and family back in California together celebrating made me miss them all like crazy.  At least my parents will be here in less than 3 weeks!  I think they might have to fill an entire suitcase with stuff for me and the boy, I might have gone a little overboard buying new winter clothes because I am convinced I will freeze in Berlin.

I hope all of you had a lovely weekend and my American friends enjoyed the holiday!

"Rehearsal" Clambake Dinner

I showed up to dinner and Cydney & I were wearing almost the exact same outfit, just opposites.  Obviously why we are friends :)
We started our wedding weekend off with a traditional Cape Cod clambake on Friday night, and stuffed our faces with lobster, sausage, clams, mussels corn on the cob and my dad and brother’s amazing BBQ, and it was DELICIOUS.  After a busy busy week of wedding planning it was incredible to sit down and enjoy a meal with our nearest and dearest and let any of the stresses of organizing a wedding melt away.  It was the perfect start to what was without a doubt, the best weekend of my life, completely surrounded by love.

I promise I will post some actual wedding photos soon!  We have almost a thousand, and there are so many that I LOVE, I will need to spend the weekend picking my favorites to share :)

The Clambake was catered by Treats Catering– If anyone ever needs a caterer in Cape Cod, I highly recommend them!  Great Service and Amazing food.  Looking at these pictures make me hungry….

** rehearsal is in quotes, because there was no rehearsing.. although looking back, it might have been a good idea….

photos by Davina + Daniel  (who we also highly recommend, amazing amazing photographers!)

an expat thanksgiving

This was my fourth Thanksgiving away from my family and our traditional feast.  The few couple years I was really homesick during this week knowing all my friends and family were together, and I couldn’t be there, but I have learning making our own traditions here in Europe truly fill the void.  This year our lovely friends Nica & Didier from Paris took the train to join us make a Thanksgiving or “Fauxgiving” feast to celebrate a few days early and it was incredible.  We braised turkey thighs which came straight from a local farm, Nica made her mama’s butter rich (and delicious) stuffing, truffled mashed potatoes, and roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, my mouth waters just thinking about all the deliciousness.  Sadly we got too busy cooking and no one really took any photos (horrible, I know) and I have nothing to share of the final product, but trust me, it was the some of the best Thanksgiving cookin’ I have ever had.

Thinking about Thanksgiving, I remember how much I truly have to be thankful for: an amazing man who will soon be my husband, an incredible family and fabulous friends scattered around the world who make my days brighter and the world a better place to be.

So thank you, friends, for reading and commenting and for being the fabulous people that you are.


I returned from a yoga and food filled weekend with sore muscles and a full heart, and even though I was exhausted from lack of sleep I am feeling totally rejuvenated. Some how time seemed to be on fast forward, but I tried to cherish every moment of the amazing yoga practice – John Friend is incredible and such an inspiring teacher.

I had an hour between my last yoga class and catching the train home and returned back to Nica and Didier’s just in time for an incredible 4th of July hamburger picnic at the Chateau. Yes, I worked my tail off all weekend to finish it off with a hamburger. damn straight. and it was amazing. Thank you Nica!
for the record, this was my third hamburger in the last 10 years (maybe longer) and while I have never really been a big burger fan, these may have converted me over to the dark side.

Somehow I feel like I always end up going back to the same places when I visit Paris. When I lived there, I found my favorite places to eat and always need to get my fix when I am back in the city- this trip we made it a goal to try new eats during my couple hours of lunch break each day. We hit up Al Taglio in the 11th- and will definitely be adding it to my list of favorites. Potato and truffle cream pizza and the pumpkin and bacon pizza = amazing.

Al Taglio
2 Bis Rue Neuve Popincourt

75011 Paris
01 43 38 12 00
Subway: Oberkampf

and Nica got the most perfect Amorino cone I have ever seen.
So basically my weekend was filled with yoga and food :) and a little shopping in between. Hope you all had a great weekend and showed some patriotic spirit for me!

happy cinco de mayo

Technically it is still Cinco de Mayo in my home state….. so I didn’t completely miss it. Yesterday I was a very very tired little ashley and the few moments I had free I was playing travel agent for my parents’ upcoming trips to Berlin and Paris. They’re a comin! Very excited for some house guests and family time :)
So I hope one of you had a whole lotta mexican food for me and maybe one little shot of Don Julio? What I wouldn’t do for a burrito … :( definitely one of the foods I miss the most, along with Pho, sushi, and the whole foods salad bar. I know there is a Tex-Mex restaurant in Strasbourg and several in Paris, but I am so damn particular about Mexican food I am scared of being disappointed. :( Courtney offered to send me a burrito from the Mission the other day, but I am pretty sure that would be nasty by the time it arrived so I’ll just keep on waiting. just seven more months till California…. perhaps there is somewhere in Boston to fill my craving? For now I will make some tortilla soup :) That usually does the trick to feed my longing for Mexican food, and maybe a trip to my favorite Columbian restaurant?

Andreas eating his very first Burrito on his very first trip in California :)
He will kill me for posting this, but I don’t care!
and fyi, I definitely checked out flights yesterday to fly to San Francisco for a long weekend (yes, I am aware I am crazy, last year I flew for a two day trip) …. Sadly they are $1000 which is a little too much to justify a desperately needed weekend with my girls. :(

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I fell in love with grilled romaine salads at Patrick’s in
Los Olivos, CA something like a million years ago.
Yesterday while perusing Epicurious for ideas
before I went grocery shopping, I discovered a
and decided to break out my cast iron grill pan
I lugged back from Connecticut in January
(they are SOOOO expensive here!) which has been
seriously neglected lately.
It was a bit of an experiment, but turned out pretty good and was
a lovely little Saturday lunch :)

not a great example of my food styling skills, and the cheese refused to be grilled and instead decided to stick to my pan…. but whatever, it tasted good.