Homemade Apple Cider

We recently picked our last apples for the season. It was just one tree left, a winter apple, and it was packed with apples. These apples are fantastic and store very well. We use them all winter long for Scrumptious Apple Cake and pies, apple sauce, homemade apple cider and Feeding Garden birds in fall and winter.

We shared many apples with our family and stored a good amount in our root cellar.

Winter Apples

For my apple cider I pick 7-8 large apples and make homemade apple juice with my juicer until I have about 1 liter of juice but store-bought juice is fine as well.

This homemade apple juice is so delicious that I could just drink it. But I wanted to do something else, so I’ll get all my ingredients.

Ingredients

1 liter apple juice

juice from one orange

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anis

1 piece of ginger (walnut size )

3 cloves

1 teaspoon homemade vanilla sugar

2 teaspoons honey (optional, to sweeten the cider when it has cooled down)

How to cook apple cider

I give all ingredients except the honey in a cooking pot and bring to a rapid boil. As soon as it boils I’ll take it off the heat and set aside for 30 minutes to let all the flavors from the herbs and spices infuse.

After 30 minutes, I pour the apple cider through a sieve to remove the herbs and spices. I add 1-2 teaspoons of honey if it’s not sweet enough.

The house smells incredible like fall and winter and it’s time to enjoy the delicious apple cider!

Storing and to reheat

If the apple cider no longer has the desired temperature, I reheat it on the stove. I’ll keep leftovers in the fridge for another day.

Stay cozy!

If you try this recipe and love it, please leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram here !


Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

The temperature outside has dropped quite a bit the last few days and we had the first night frost.

The need for cosiness brings all the wonderful fall and winter dishes we love to my mind.

One of my favorites is a healthy and hearty vegetarian chili loaded with beans and spices that’ll warm you up. It’s an awesome dish for the weekend when we spend the whole day outside. We just warm up a bowl of chili and garnish with everyones favorite toppings. Heavenly!

Ingredients 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 small onion (diced)

1-2 cloves garlic (minced)

1 carrot (diced)

1 red or yellow bell pepper (diced)

2 cans (400g each) diced tomatoes

1 can (400g) kidney beans

1 can (400g) black beans

1 can (400g) cannellini beans

1 can (200g) black-eyed peas

1 small can ( size 1/2 cup) corn

1 1/2 cups veggie broth

1 bay leaf

Spice mix

2 tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon smoked Salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 tablespoon sugar 

Toppings

Sour cream, cheddar cheese, fresh cilantro, chives, avocado, tortilla chips, baguette

How to cook the vegetarian chili

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven and simmer the diced onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the diced carrot, minced garlic and diced bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, stir occasionally. 

Prepare the spice mix. Combine all the spices (chili powder, cilantro, oregano, salt, cumin, paprika, Pepper and sugar) into a small bowl and set aside.

Drain and rinse your beans.

When your veggies are tender add the spice mix and stir well to cover all your vegetables. Cook for a minute but be careful not to burn.

Add the diced tomatoes and stir. Now stir in the beans, corn and veggie broth and add the bay leaf.

Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. Stir occasionally.

To thicken the chili, remove 1-2 cups of the chili, transfer to a bowl and blend with an immersion blender. You can also use your blender or smoothie maker, but ensure the lid is closed.

Once your mixture is smooth, pour it back into the chili and stir to combine. 

Let simmer for another 2-3 minutes and season to taste.

Now you can garnish the chili with everyones favorite toppings.

Veggie Chili garnished with sour cream, cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro. Served with baguette.

Storing and to reheat

You can store the cool chili in a sealable container in the fridge for 4 days. To heat up leftover chili on the stove top, turn on the cooktop to medium heat and stir the chili constantly while reheating. If the chili is too thick, add a little bit of water.

If you try this recipe and love it, please leave a comment below. Tag me on Instagram @luckyloreleyy


Feeding Garden birds in fall and winter

Can you believe it’s autumn already?

Nature changes to fall colors, the temperatures drop and even if we have sunny warm days, the nights can be chilly already. The early mornings are foggy and the smell of burning wood in fireplaces is in the air.

Some of our domestic birds leave us and travel south to warmer regions and some birds come to stay with us for winter time. My heart always gets a little heavy when I see the first bird formations in the sky by the end of summer. But many of our feathered friends will stay with us during the colder fall and winter months and we like to help them when the natural food supplies are least available for them.

Baby Redstart – migratory bird

How do the birds help the environment

The birds control bugs and garden weeds and pollinate our plants and after death, they provide food for decomposers and scavengers.

Flower field in the Black Forest

To survive the frosty nights they have to build fat stores and maintain their fat reserves, they also need to find food for energy. They fluff their feathers during those freezing days and nights to trap the heat.

Did you know that smaller birds need to eat up to a third of their bodyweight each day?

How can we help the birds during the colder months of the year

It’s good to provide fresh unfrozen water and a variety of food. A mix of nuts and fruits, seeds and grains and fat/oil helps a lot.

Maybe you have and apple tree in your yard and share the apples with the birds. Or you can save some of the seeds of your sunflowers to share. Opened walnuts are also a very good source of energy food. We also like to hang up fat balls as support.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to feed our birds

Maybe your family or friends have a fruit or nut tree and would love to share their harvest with you.

Growing native bird-friendly plants is good for the environment and protects our birds…they will also make your space beautiful!

You don’t have to provide a feast, every little thing helps our little friends.

“Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?”

David Attenborough

I would love to hear from you how you care for garden birds. Please comment below or tag me on Instagram @luckyloreleyy!


Scrumptious Apple Cake

Are you ready for fall? For all the fall fragrances and colors and delicious fall food? Are you ready for a scrumptious apple cake?

apple cake with raisins

Since I picked our apples a week ago I craved to bake a juicy apple cake. I wanted to make the sweet and slightly tart flavor of the apples combined with the warmth of cinnamon and vanilla pop. At the same time the cake had to be fluffy and juicy but not soggy.

I used the Holsteiner Cox apples (an old apple variety) from our tree for this cake. My husband and our oldest daughter are very allergic to apples and with choosing old varieties of apples (low-allergen apples) they will more likely be able to eat them. Also cooking the apples helps a lot since it may alter the protein that causes the reaction.

Holsteiner Cox apples

Can you imagine how delightful our house smelled when I baked the cake? It was mouth-watering!

What type of baking pan to use for this cake

There is nothing more irritating than baking a beautiful cake without being able to remove it from the pan in one piece. We have probably all made at least once the mistake of using the wrong baking pan. For this cake I prefer a springform cake pan! If you line the bottom of the pan with baking paper and let the cake completely cool in the pan you can easily remove the ring and transfer the cake to a platter.

Let me share this delicious recipe with you

Ingredients to cook the apples:

  • 2-3 apples
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Raisins
  • 3/4 cup water

for the dough:

  • 60 g butter (soft)
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla sugar
  • 130 g spelt flour
  • 100 g creme fraiche/sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

optional:

powdered sugar to dust the cake

How to bake the cake

  1. Peel your apples and slices them in thick slices.

2. Cook your apples in a pan/pot on low heat with water, vanilla sugar, cinnamon and raisins for 5 minutes or until soft but not mushy.

3. Drain the apples in a sieve.

4. Preheat your oven to 175 C/350 F.

5. Line the bottom of your baking pan with baking paper.

6. Mix your butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and eggs until creamy. Stir in the creme fraiche/sour cream. Slowly add the flour and baking powder.

7. Give the dough to your baking pan and even the top. Arrange the sliced apples and raisins on top of the cake.

8. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the cake from the oven and let completely cool before removing it from the pan.

Toppings that will make your cake even more delicious

Now that your scrumptious apple cake is just waiting to be eaten you can sprinkle it with icing sugar or serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

apple cake with powdered sugar

Apple cake counts as a serving of fruit.

unknown

If you try this recipe and love it, please leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @Luckyloreleyy.


Vegetarian Pasta Alfredo – One Skillet Pasta

This one skillet vegetarian pasta dish is super yummy with its creamy sauce. It’s simple and fresh and for my pasta loving family just the perfect lunch or dinner. The sauce is holding to the pasta and the peas give a little bit of color to the dish.

This creamy Alfredo is a good meal when you don’t have much time to cook. It always depends on how long the pasta you use needs to cook but with this recipe you can have your dish on the table within 20 to 30 minutes.

Vegetarian Pasta Alfredo Ingredients

4 Servings

  • 230g pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp vegetable broth powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

How to cook Vegetarian Pasta Alfredo

Heat a little bit of oil in your heavy pan and cook the minced garlic for a few seconds. Stir in the pasta, the water, your veggie broth powder, salt and pepper.

Bring to boiling and reduce the heat. Simmer your pasta until tender (but still firm) with the lid on to keep the liquid, since you’ll turn your broth into a delicious sauce in the next step.

When your pasta is cooked stir in the peas, whipping cream and parmesan cheese and cook until heated through for about 3 to 5 minutes, stir a few times.

Toppings or sides that go well with Vegetarian Alfredo

Serve with a crisp side salad and some tasty ciabatta bread!

If you are like my daughter a bacon lover, why not sprinkle with bacon bits. Or maybe you like an extra dash of parmesan cheese on top?

Storing and how to reheat

You can store your pasta in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Allow your dish to cool completely before storing.

Reheat your pasta slowly on the stove top and add a little milk.

If you try this recipe and love it, please leave a comment below.

Tag me on Instagram @luckyloreleyy


Classic Lemonade and Red Currant Lemonade for Hot Summer Days

These two lemonade recipes are the perfect summer drinks!

Who doesn’t love a refreshing drink on hot summer days? Fresh from the refrigerator and not too sweet, that’s how I like my drinks. If you like it sweet just add your favorite sweetener to your lemonade.

Classic Homemade Lemonade Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • a couple of lemon slices
  • lemon balm or peppermint leaves

Start by mixing your water with the honey in a large pitcher.

When all the honey is dissolved pour your freshly squeezed lemon juice into the honey water. I use a sieve since I’m not a big pulp fan.

And ofc we can not forget about LOTS of ice and some lemon slices in our lemonade. I also like to add some lemon balm or peppermint leaves to the lemonade.

Red Currant Lemonade Ingredients:

  • 1 part red currant juice
  • 3 parts water
  • a few stems of fresh lemon thyme
  • fresh currants

For the lemonade mix the juice and the cold water in a pitcher. To add some extra flavor I use a few stems of lemon thyme and fresh currants. Let the lemonade chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes for the thyme to infuse it’s flavor .

Serve over ice.


Sugar free Pancake Mix

Pancakes with Raspberries and powdered sugar

If you ask me, there is no specific time of the day where pancakes should be eaten. You can enjoy them in so many different ways, that makes them just right for any time of the day.

For this easy sugar free recipe you only need 4 ingredients and the dough is ready to cook within a few minutes.

Take a large bowl and mix together the milk and eggs. Add a pinch of salt and whisk in the flour, a little at a time until you have a smooth dough.

Now it’s time to heat up a little bit of oil in a pan. When hot, give about a half cup of the mix to your pan and cook on medium heat until bubbles pop up on the surface. Flip your pancake and cook for another 15 to 20 second or until the underside is light golden.

Once your pancakes are cooked get creative!

Eat them with your favorite syrup and berries or maybe you like them with chocolate spread and bananas. Or how about peanut butter and bananas? They taste delicious with raspberries sprinkled with powdered sugar. Strawberries or blueberries are also good choices.

If you like it savory maybe add some cheese and cold cuts.

There is now right or wrong when it comes to pancakes.

Ingredients

For about 12 medium size pancakes you’ll need:

  • 500 ml milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250 g flour
  • a pinch of salt

Scrumptious!


DIY Tile COASTERS

DIY COASTERS

Do you also enjoy little crafts as much as I do?
Today I finally made my DIY tile coasters, that I had planned some time ago.
You’ll find this kind of coaster in many stores now but I was eager to create my own.
They look so pretty on the table, it makes me want to get more tiles and craft more coasters. Maybe with colors and patterns for each season?

It was an easy and quick craft but it was fun!

We bought some cork coasters on our last IKEA haul and beautiful tiles at a hardware store close by. I was looking for extra/leftover tiles at home but they were all to big. They would make nice coasters for hot pots and pans though. 😉
The hot glue gun and the craft knife I used I already had at home.

I removed the mesh from the back of the tiles to separate them and heated up the glue gun.
Now I added some glue to the back of the tiles and pressed a cork coaster on it. The cork coasters where a little bigger than the tiles, so I cut off the overlapping cork with my knife.
And my coasters were ready to use.

For the rest of the summer I’ll leave some outside on the porch so we’ll always have them to hand for our drinks and won’t leave more marks on the table. 
Cheers!


How to keep slugs and snails out of your veggie garden

How to keep slugs and snails out of your veggie garden

After we settled in our new home in Germany we had the idea to grow our own veggies. Not to many though, just a few to eat during summer.
We already had lots of fruit trees and currant bushes on our property but in 2017 we added a small raised bed for carrots, shallots and radishes and another bed for tomatoes and cucumbers.
Well, you know how it is….once you started,  you like the idea to add more.
 In 2018 we planted a few berry bushes and built a roof on the tomato bed (they like their feet wet but their  head dry as my dad says).
Still not enough, this year we started creating a little farmers garden. It was such joy and excitement to plan everything.
In spring my husband prepared the area where the veggie garden would go. We included a very old currant bush which still gives us tons of currants.

 We built wooden frames for the beds, dug them half in the ground and placed an arch as the entrance.

We figured which plant grow best together and eventually started sowing.
It is an awesome feeling when everything flourishes and prospers and you walk through your garden and gather your homegrown treasures to cook a healthy meal. Of course there comes work with a garden. You have to water the plants and clean the beds from weeds. Also you have to check for plant pests and remove them.
 In this gardening season we have learned so much, but still there is so much more we don’t know yet. But we know one thing:

A garden can create peace of mind and contentment!
In 2017 we had the rainiest summer I have ever seen. It just wouldn’t stop raining. There was mud everywhere and the rubber boots were our best friends.
 And with the rain these guys came: 

 SLUGS AND SNAILS

Something had to be done… and we tried an easy solution which would not injure or kill just repel them.
We used simple copper wire! 
We got ours from old electrical cable (thanks dad) but you can also buy it at a hardware store. We stapled the copper wire around the two beds we had back then and when we built the new beds this year we did the same to those.

Not one snail or slug was seen again in our garden beds, it really works! 
We are looking forward to harvest and enjoy more delicious fruits and veggies and maybe even preserve some if we have enough.
Cheers!


Pumpkin (Pie) Spice

      Pumpkin (Pie) Spice

As fall approaches the leaves start to change colours. The days are getting shorter and the nights colder. In the morning we need to wear jackets and in the afternoon we can go outside in T-Shirts to enjoy the warm sun rays. The air feels and smells different somehow. It feels like an in between season, one day you go to the pool…the next day you watch the stormy weather and seek more coziness. 

Since we had a few of those cooler rainy days lately here in northern Germany, I thought it was time to prepare some pumpkin (pie) spice.I have to admit, I never tried pumpkin pie while we lived in Georgia, USA… but those pumpkin spice lattes you could get everywhere, they were delicious! And that’s what I did today, I made pumpkin spice and had a nice pumpkin spice latte and it brought the fall feeling right into our house.

For my spice mix I use:4 parts ground cinnamon
1 part ground nutmeg
1 part ground ginger
1 part ground cloves
1 part ground piment/AllspiceI measured the parts in tablespoons.

Happy fall y’all!

Cheers!