Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks…

My mother loved baseball. I remember helping her set up the television on the backyard patio, so she could sit outside and still enjoy the games. She loved Kelly Gruber and John Olerud, and every year had a scorebook so she could track stats all on her own.

A bunch of folks from work were at the Jays game against Tampa Bay last night. There’s really something about watching the local boys play. Well honestly, in my case, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the actual game. I was having too much fun talking and joking around with the people I work with. The expression on the boss’ face pretty much covers what we’re like on a daily basis.

Photo courtesy of Merel van der Wouden

I did notice the Jays played an abysmal game, losing 12-2. We got to see Paredes’ first at bat. His was one of only five hits (the entire game). This is what it looks like when someone bats 1000.

It was a night of fun and bonding over peanut shells. Since you asked… something about a bunch of nuts with nuts. Just assume “nuts” as in “crazy”, and not, you know…

Photo courtesy of Merel van der Wouden

Baseball…a game of skill, statistics, and teamwork. The only thing that could have made it better would have been an open dome at the Rogers Centre. Oh, and if I had taken video of the guy a couple rows in front of us. HE was utterly entertaining!


1 Wine, 2 Wine, 3 Wine, Floor…

It’s my best friend’s birthday weekend, so the girls are celebrating in style. Nothing quite like visiting our favourite Niagara vineyards for a sip, or two, or three…

First stop ended up being Forty Creek Distillery. No other whiskey drinkers, so the stop was pretty much just for me (and a pee break) before continuing on.

It seemed like we were visiting the vineyards in alphabetical order: Angel’s Gate, Aure Estates, Creekside, Featherstone, Hidden Bench, Honsberger Estates, and Organized Crime.

I think I bought the last four bottles of Gewürtztraminer from Featherstone about 3 years ago. Soooo disappointing that they haven’t made any since. All went well anyway, since I found 11 bottles of wine along the way. 

Angel’s Gate has an awesome Icewine and Pinot Gris.


Aure Estates has the only Gamay in the Niagara region. 

And Creekside had a Gewürztraminer from 2013. They only made 90 cases.

We tasted a few wines at almost all of them and found some new favourites. We also made some new friends along the way.   


Addendum: These are NOT all mine!

More shenanigans coming up tomorrow!

Ein Bier Bitte…


I had every intention of writing every day that my son and I were in Germany, but there was so much to do and see! If you have a look at the tourist sites you can get a clear idea of the overload of options we had.

Instead of writing about all the things to do, I thought I’d share all the things to EAT!

My son was super excited about having his first legal beer (legal age is 16 in Germany), and his first authentic schnitzel and strudel. There was a little bakery near our rental in Berlin. The server there was only too happy to sell him the last ones in his shop. The beer was from the Imbiss right next door.


I was looking forward to having a currywurst again. It’s usually a bratwurst with a curry ketchup-type sauce. It’s to die for! Especially when you find it served with bratkartoffeln at a patio restaurant on Cora-Berliner Straße.


On one of our days out we went over to Alexanderplatz, the Rotes Rathaus and the Berliner Dom. We needed sustenance during all of our walking around. My son’s response to what he wanted to eat was either schnitzel, or pasta.

The Piazza Rossa ( accommodated.


We were spoiled for choice, but decided to save the Alt Berliner Wirtshaus ( for our last night. It’s a good thing we did, because we could hardly walk the 50 steps to the apartment.

I opted for the Alt Berliner “Kaiser Wilhelm” Grill Plate which had a slice of beef, pork, a sausage, giant meatball and bacon on a bed of bratkartoffeln and mushroom cream sauce.


Of course, Germany isn’t just known for schnitzel and beer. It’s also about the sweets. There are three places I seem to always go back to, because they’re worth the trip.

The one place is a cafe on a boat at Övelgönne Museumshafen (Klein Huis Gastronomie). It’s a demand stop when you have a look at all the old museum ships in Hamburg.


Then there’s the Bardowick Windmill Cafe (Meyers Windmill Bardowick). I’m pretty sure that next time they’ll know to just slice a huge piece of marzipan torte for me. I’d say, “make it two”, but the portions are enormous. That’s one of those coffee cups that holds two cups at once. You get the idea.


My favorite place though, and I’m pretty sure they know it, is the Nemitzer Heidehaus ( This place is owned and operated by Heike and Dirk Mandel in Trebel. Dirk roasts their own coffee, and Heike bakes the most delicious creations in the kitchen. I gave them the heads up we’d be visiting, and I’d be having the Mandel torte. Mandel because of the almonds, not because of the last name!


All this really makes me hungry….

The soup nazi…

Most people can’t hear the words “mulligatawny soup” without thinking of the soup nazi from Seinfeld. “No soup for you!”

It always makes me think of this restaurant my aunt and uncle took me to in Salzwedel, Germany. Chinese buffet restaurant, owned by a man from India. The combination works, don’t ask me how.  I don’t remember anything else on the menu.

One of his soups was this mulligatawny. To. Die. For. My taste buds remember, so I’ve kind of been obsessing over this. For six months I’ve been trying to find a recipe that’s close.

I found this one:

2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium celery rib, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp. mild or medium curry powder
1 large, green apple, diced (skin on)
2 tsp finely grated lime zest
2 tbsp fresh lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp honey
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup water
1 cup cooked white or brown rice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
Salt to taste

Combine the first 14 ingredients in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on the low setting 5 hours. Stir in the rice, cilantro or parsley, and coconut milk. Cover and cook 10 minutes more. Season the soup with salt and serve.

It needs a little work to match the taste perfection I had before, but this is quite yummy too. Not bad for a first shot at it!


Write drunk, edit sober…

Let’s be clear, I have NOT been writing drunk, though it may not be a bad idea. It is practically the weekend after all.

If I do drink while writing, it’ll be this. A friend shared this on Facebook, and I’ve since seen it half a dozen more places. This one I tried came from I don’t know what it has to do with cupcakes, but whatever. Maybe it’s best to bake drunk too.

Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream

  • 1 cup light cream (I used table cream, which made it a bit richer)
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 2/3 cup Irish whiskey (I’m Canadian, so I used Alberta Premium, but Jameson’s would do too)
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp chocolate syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

All you do it toss or pour these items together into a blender and set on high for 30 secs, pour it into an airtight container, and stash it in the fridge. Don’t forget to give it a shake before reopening (hence the airtight container).

It’ll keep for up to 2 months (watch the date on the cream), but it won’t last that long because you’ll drink it.

This ought to last the weekend…