Guten Tag Munich!

Ok, maybe this isn’t grammatically correct, but you get the point.  Good day Munich!  We got to spend five days in Munich last summer and I thought I’d share some pictures and details on this great travel spot.

When you think of Germany, do you think of beer, pretzels, lederhosen and Birkenstocks?   I do, too!  Those are just some of the great things about this spot, but there are many more things that make it worthwhile to visit.  We flew into the airport around mid-day and took a couple trains to the Marienplatz.  From there, we walked the rest of the way to our hotel.  We got lost, so it took about 30 minutes instead of 15.  My husband speaks German so it was definitely helpful, but a lot of the locals speak some or very good English, so it was easy to understand and communicate throughout our whole stay.

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Marienplatz

 

After checking in to our clean, slightly modern and well located hotel, we headed right for the Viktualienmarkt which was less than a block away.  This lovely market has been around since the early 1800s and you will find candles, flowers, beer, sweets, fruit and our personal favourite, schnitzel!  We had a big lunch of schnitzel and beer before we started to wander around.

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The next day we took one of the hop on hop off bus tours and saw the city and surrounding area.  We love these tours as it really highlights the popular attractions and usually shows you something you may have not heard of.

This area is great for walking and is super bike friendly. Actually, all of Munich is bike friendly.   We rented bikes and spent one day pedalling through the Englisher Garten (English Garden).  This city garden is one of the largest in Europe and has many paths to walk or cycle, beer gardens, monuments and water features.  There is even a spot to surf on one of the rivers!  From there, we went to the Olympiapark to see where the 1972 Olympics were held.  More beautiful paths, a little lake with paddle boats and some amazing buildings were all there for the viewing.

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Munich Olympiapark

We also spent a day at the zoo.  Say what you will about zoos, but this one was pretty good.  It was a 5 km walk to get there from our hotel, but we wanted to see the the city so we ventured on.  I brightly plenty of sweets and treats to keep the kids going and I have to admit, they didn’t complain as much as I thought they would.  Once we got to the zoo, we were not disappointed.  It was very well laid out and had a great amount of animals to see.  Some of the habits looked so natural you might even believe the animals were in the wild.

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Welcome to Hellabrunn Zoo

 

On our last day, we drove to see the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.  It was only a couple hours by car and it was a beautiful drive to see this part of Germany – so close to the Alps and Austrian border.  This castle was built by King Ludwig II and was the inspiration for the Disney castle.  As we didn’t buy tickets ahead of time, we weren’t able to get inside for the tour.  Instead we took a bus up the hill and were on the grounds of the castle. We  were amazed at the detail and the how difficult it must have been to build a castle in this location.

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Castle Neuschwanstein

We probably had some of the best meals of our whole trip in Munich.  Our hotel served an amazing German breakfast every day.  We had schnitzel in various beer gardens for lunch  every day and dinner was usually at an Italian restaurant.  The pasta and pizza at dinner was delicious.  I’m not sure if it is because of the proximity to Italy (it’s not that far north of the Italian border), but it was indescribably good!  We love German food!

If you are considering a trip to Germany, make sure to add Munich as a destination.  We found it laid back, family friendly and overall it had a nice vibe for us to enjoy.  Please let me know if you have ever been to Munich and what you thought in the comments.

auf Wiedersehen!

linking up with:A Little Bit of EverythingNot Dressed As LambBy BMGCalypso in the Country

 

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Pumpkin Mmmmuffins

I originally posted this recipe 3 years ago!!  I’m not much of a pumpkin spice coffee lover (am I the only one??), but I do love these muffins.  Try the recipe, you might like them, too!

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Although I don’t have them often, the pumpkin chocolate chip muffin is one of my favourite treats. There is a little bagel shop nearby that makes and serves them fresh everyday. They are moist, delicious, and quite large – almost a meal in themselves!

When on maternity leave, I would aimlessly push my stroller through the neighbourhood desperate for my child to sleep. My walks would usually take me by this bagel shop, and I would always stop in to grab a muffin and coffee.

Fast forward a few years, I realized I could try and make these muffins myself. A little search online lead me to this recipe. They are less than half the size of my bagel shop muffins, but they were moist and delicious. My family loved them.

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Here is the recipe Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from allrecipes.com:

Ingredients:
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin ** I used the whole can
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.

Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Enjoy!

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linking up with: Curly Crafty MomI Should Be Mopping the FloorGood Random FunSincerely, PaulaThe Pin JunkieMom Home GuideShelbee on the EdgeA Little Bit of EverythingDesign, Dining and DiapersNot Dressed As LambClaire Justine

Smoothie Time

For the past week, I’ve had a cold and the chills.  Today the cough arrived.  Tis the season as some would say.

But I decided to fight back and try the Flu-Fighter Sunshine Smoothie from Oh She Glows. I received this cookbook at Christmas and I’ve already made a few things from it.

I love citrus and had all the ingredients to make this.  It was simple and quick to make.  Here’s what you need:   2 peeled oranges, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1-3 teaspoons of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a few ice cubes.  After a minute in the blender, it looked like this:

Gorgeous colour!

It tasted great and I’m already starting to feel better!  What makes you feel better when you have a cold or the flu?

Black Bean Soup

While my daughter was in preschool, we had a weekly trip to a local cafe every Wednesday for lunch.  We both always ordered the black bean soup and it was delicious.  It was so good that my daughter asked me to make it at home.  So, I researched many recipes and did some trial and error until I was able to make a batch that the whole family declared the winner.  It’s not like the one at the restaurant, but it’s pretty darn good and it’s oh so simple!

Ingredients:

1/2 medium onion
1 – 2 garlic cloves, smashed & chopped
3 cans (medium size) of black beans
1 cup of broth (I use low sodium chicken)
Cumin, chilli powder, salt, pepper

Directions:

Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil – season with salt & pepper
Add cumin & chill powder (min 1 tsp – more depending on your taste)
Add 3 cans of black beans – including the liquid from the cans
Add 1 – 2 cups of broth (1 if you like it thicker, 2 for a bit thinner)
Bring to a boil
Simmer as long or as little as you like – min 15 mins.

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Use your immersion blender to blend the soup but leave small chunks of beans.

Taste and add more seasoning if needed.

When you are ready to serve, pour into bowls and add sour cream, cheese or my kids’ favourite, chopped hot chilli peppers on top.

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Also tastes good served with nachos or tortilla chips and an icy cold beer.

No matter what you are cooking, try and use the best ingredients you can.  When you use organic and fresh produce, meals usually taste better and are healthier for you.

With the push towards more vegetarian eating and Meatless Monday, give this soup a try with your family.  Let me know if you like it!

 

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linking up with: The Jenny EvolutionCurly Crafty Mom

Pinned & Tried – Food

Today’s Pinned & Tried is the food edition.  It’s no secret that I like Pinterest and I pin many many pins.  But how many do I really try?  As you may have guessed, I don’t try as many as I would like to.

This week though, I tried this:

nutella banana bread

The recipe was a little different than my Mom’s banana bread recipe as I have never had to mix baking soda with water before adding to the mixture.  That said, I followed the recipe exactly.  Well, sort of.  I substituted chocolate peanut butter for Nutella.  We’ve been buying chocolate peanut butter over the past year as it has slightly more protein than Nutella.  The kids love it on toast and on sliced bananas. You may think I am splitting hairs on this, but that’s how I am selling myself on any chocolate spread these days.

My gas range oven cooks quickly and 45 minutes later, voila:

chocolate banana bread

Once it cooled, I made myself a latte and enjoyed a large slice.

coffee and banana bread

It was delicious and was the perfect afternoon snack.  Try it here at The 36th Avenue.  I bet you’ll like, too.

This was one successful Pinned & Tried – Food Edition!

linking up with: Curly Crafty Mom

What’s For Dinner?

It’s kinda sad, but I feel so accomplished when I use the slow cooker and am not scrambling to figure out dinner at 5 o’clock when everyone is hungry and needs to be somewhere. Tonight we’re going with pulled pork (couldn’t get any easier) which I will turn into sliders or tacos depending on what everyone wants.

I’m blending a Betty Crocker recipe I found online with a different recipe I found on 100 Days of Real Food. Here is the spice rub I put on the pork shoulder. It was pretty simple: paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme.

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It looks like this when you rub it into the meat.
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It sits on top of cut onion and I’m going to add a half-cup of water, set the cooker on high and let it go. Fingers crossed!

Beer Can Chicken

I admit I am not a great cook and I am also dealing with not having an oven in
my kitchen right now.
However, I do have a BBQ and beer and therefore tonight we had Beer Can Chicken.
Sounds a little cheesy or South Park like? Well let me tell you something…it was delicious!

So simple! So Juicy!

Here goes:

Take a 4 lb whole chicken and remove the neck and giblets (gross). Rinse the whole thing and pat dry with paper towels

Season the inside and out with salt and pepper. Use your favorite spice rub on the outside of the chicken ( I didn’t really have one so I used Mrs Dash Grilling Blends for Chicken).

Open a regular sized can of beer and take a couple big gulps as the can only needs to be half full. Safeway only had Tecate beer available in single cans tonight so that’s what I used.

Set the can on a flat surface and place chicken on top as shown below.

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Cook chicken over medium-high indirect heat on BBQ grill for an hour then check it. No flame should actually touch the chicken during the cooking. It is ready when juices run clear when stabbed or when internal temp reaches 180 degrees F in the thigh or 165 degrees F in the breast.

Let it sit for another 10 minutes after removing it from the grill then carve and serve.

Future hub says while it was tasty and certainly moist (I hate that word) he thinks it might be easier to just buy a roasted chicken in the deli department. I say if I can cook a chicken that taste just as good if not better then I’ll definitely cook a chicken over a beer can again!

 

linking up with:  The Jenny Evolution