So we just got back from an amazing trip to Italy!!! Usually after a couple of weeks, it's nice to get back to your own bed and stop walking everywhere (which is basically all you do in Europe), but I think I could have stayed in Italy for a couple more weeks!! We will of course start posting about Italy once we get all our pictures uploaded and organized, but to start I wanted to give a new list of things I'll miss most and least about our trip to Europe.
For Easter dinner, everyone was asked to bring a side dish for the meal. It's been a crazy busy week, so we asked if we could just pick up something from the store - so we were asked to get a dessert. But I just couldn't justify getting a store-bought dessert when we can make such fabulous ones ourselves! So we quickly whipped up this Easter egg cake. No fondant and easy decorations made this cake come together pretty fast. The cake was pineapple with a coconut frosting and coconut shavings!
Ever since we made an awesome wedding cake for Tim & Steph, we have been eager to make more beautiful cakes and try out more cake decorating techniques! So here is an update on our most recent cakes!
I love a full Irish breakfast, I've had several good ones but none compare to my brother and sister's home cooking! They were beating themselves up over forgetting the potatoes but they weren't missed cause everything was so delicious. Tim cooked the ham steak on the grill with a little cinnamon and cayenne, the sausages went on the grill too. Steph made perfect eggs over easy, bacon and beans w/ Jack Daniels! No Irish breakfast is complete without an Irish coffee...and we added an Irish breakfast shot as well for good measure. Just writing about this is making me starving and crave it!
There was this one New Years where I made this awesome cake that everyone at the party LOVED! Of course then the alcohol convinced me that I needed to make everyone's wedding cake so I proceeded to let everyone know this. I could make a pretty damn tasty cake, that's for sure, but my decorating skills pretty much extended to (poorly) frosting the cake.
Turns out Brad had secret cake decorating skills because his dad used to work at a bakery and taught all the kids how to decorate cakes. With his knowledge of cake decorating and my noms cakes I knew we could make a deadly combo. My next obstacle was fondant. Fondant makes cakes look smooth and elegant, but it tastes like cardboard in my opinion so I never felt the desire to use it in a cake. But then I found out that you can make marshmallow fondant and I knew I needed to try it.
When I found out that Brad's brother and sister-in-law didn't have a cake for their wedding celebration, I instantly volunteered myself. They knew I could make a tasty cake, but pretty much expected I would do something similar and add 'Congratulations' on it. Well, we got a tiered cake set from Brad's dad, and it was all fancy-pants from there. Brad mastered the fondant as it takes more strength than I have to knead it and roll it out. He made some awesome roses and I learned how use some icing tips and made the borders. It really was a 50-50 effort on each of our parts!
So the cake turned out pretty damn well in my opinion, and others seemed to think so too. Sure, we could improve a bit, but it looked amazing! By the way, each layer was a different flavor. The bottom tier was a coconut cake with pineapple chunks with a coconut buttercream in the middle and a pineapple buttercream on the outside. The middle tier was a lemon-lime cake with a lemon-lime buttercream in the middle and a raspberry buttercream on the outside. And the top tier was an almond cake with pear chunks and an almond buttercream. So we made a fancy, beautiful cake that also tasted heavenly, a feat which few wedding cakes accomplish!
My brother had told me about doing a dip night and it sounded so good that I requested that he do one while we visited him! The last time he had made queso also but for this dip night we had salsa, guacamole, hummus, and tzatziki - all homemade. Many of the veggies and the peppers for the salsa were grilled, guacamole is always amazing, the hummus was topped with a delicious olive oil from a trip to Italy, and the tzatziki was the best I've had with such a simple recipe that my brother's wife, Stephanie, got from a restaurant in Greece.
We had a variety of veggies and fresh toasted pita for dipping and Katherine and I made a cocktail based off the one we had in Mexico. It has champagne, lime sorbet, tequila and lemon/lime soda. Everything was so good and it was a great combination of so many countries, Germany, Mexico, Greece and Italy!
After a few minutes in Rothenburg, there were already a couple of places showcasing Schneeballen. They are everywhere, in every bakery and in their own shops !! A schneeball is pastry ball that looks absolutely heavenly. They come in all sorts of flavors: chocolate, lemon, strawberry, apple, cinnamon, etc. Here's the thing, they look like they are gonna have an ooey gooey center, especially the ones that have marzipan (one of my favorite things, made with almond paste!), but you soon find out that the dough is hard and crunchy. There isn't much of a filling and it starts to just seem like you're eating sweetened crackers. They looked like you could peel back the dough like on a cinnamon roll, but it was the complete opposite. It was a huge disappointment!!
So our fifth day in Germany pretty much became the day we searched long and hard for quark balls, the heaven food we had at Neuschwanstein. As we left for Rothenburg ob der Tauber, we stopped to grab a quick noms at the Ansbach train station. They had something that looked like a quark ball, so we thought we may as well try it. Let me first say, it was absolutely NOT a Neuschwanstein quark ball, but it was, however, a quark ball. It was decent and had potential. Now that we knew they existed elsewhere, quark balls remained on our minds the entire day!
Florida is a glorious place for wildlife. Though I do not share my mother's obsession with birds, I can agree that the birds of Florida are pretty awesome and unlike anything you see in much of the US.
You see the American White Ibis, egrets, herons, and pelicans all over the place. My best sightings were from the car so I didn't have time to get a picture. I saw a Sandhill Crane, which is an extremely tall bird. I thought for a second I had seen an ostrich or an emu; this bird was the height of an 8 year old child. On the same car ride, I also saw an armadillo. It was on its side so I thought it might have been dead, but at the zoo I discovered they sleep that way, so it possible this one was just taking a snooze. And when we were getting a tour of the Cape, we spotted a wild boar along the side of the road. I had no idea those lived in the area, and from our angle it looked almost like a small rhino. Unfortunately no alligators (though I would want to see one of those from a car only) and no manatees, but I have seen those back when I lived in Florida for two summers long, long ago.
I couldn't go to Patrick Air Force Base and not drive by the place we lived at during the summers of 1991 and 1992. My mom knew it was somewhere in Indian Harbor Beach, a ten minute drive south of the Base, and by looking at pictures she was able to give me the names of two cross streets. It had been so long, yet I completely remembered how the apartments looked.
My mom also remembered the place where we had fed a manatee when I was little. It's actually a designated manatee viewing area, but we didn't see any this time.
Katherine & Bradley
Two engineers with a passion for food and travel! Join us as we eat our way through the world!