Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New England Apple Maple Crumble

Come September, without fail, I will start missing New England. Nowhere in the world is fall as beautiful as in the New England States and I will dream of pumpkin fields, hot cider, leaves in the most stunning colors and maple syrup bought from local farmers. You will not find a house there that isn't decorated for the Indian Summer.

All I can do, miles and miles away, is burn pumpkin spice candles and feed my family apples in huge amounts.

New England Apple Maple Crumble

 5 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and sliced,
2/3 cup good quality maple syrup,
1/2 cup butter,
1/2 cup brown sugar,
3/4 cup all purpose flour,
3/4 cup rolled oats,
1 pinch salt,
a bit of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (or around 190 degrees C.)
Place the apples in an 8x8 inch baking dish. Pour the maple syrup over the apples and sprinkle them with a bit of cinnamon. In a bowl, whisk together the butter and brown sugar. Add the flour, salt and oats. Sprinkle mixture over the apples.
Bake in preheated oven for around 35 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Very, very delicious and won't take longer than 10 minutes preparation time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Fuggerei

A few months ago son had to give a report about "The Fuggers" in his history class. Besides the Fuggers being very clever, a bit ruthless and very successful merchants from Augsburg, Germany, (similar to the Medicis from Florence, Italy), I couldn't remember anything about them. Apparently I wasn't paying too much attention during my history class.
After looking through the books I had bought for son and doing some online reading, I found one thing that did fascinate me about the Fuggers: The Fuggerei in Augsburg.

Jacob Fugger, the Rich, founded the Fuggerei in 1521 as a social settlement for the poor. The annual rent was and still is 1 Gulden (ca. 0, 88 cents) and three prayers a day for the Fugger family. There are still 67 buildings that are being used. The people inhabiting the apartments nowadays live there for a few cents and daily prayers. Not much has changed there since 1521.

The Fuggerei is the oldest social settlement in the world... 

...and I really wanted to see it with my own eyes. 

It has a church, a little shop, eight lanes and seven gates with a wall surrounding the city within a city. 

There is a gate guard, dressed in old fashioned clothes, guarding the main gate which is still being closed at 10pm every night. If you need to get in or out the Fuggerei later than that the inhabitants have to pay him a little fee.

At one point Franz Mozart, the Grand-, Grandfather of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived here.

Two apartments are open for visitors. One is furnished like the apartments people live in today, the  other one looks like on the day the first inhabitants moved in...

...and yes, with that little handle you can open the outside door, scaring the wits out of somebody standing outside...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Cows Of Garmisch

All of last week husband had to attend a class in Garmisch, Bavaria. Whenever he was talking to us on his cell phone we would hear the loud ringing of the bells the Bavarian cows carry around their necks. "Where are you?", we would ask him and he would always answer "I am surrounded by a bunch of cows. They keep on nudging my arm. You need to come and see this by yourselves!".
So of to a weekend in Garmisch we went... 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Elmhurst Art Museum

There are only 3 private homes in America that architect Mies van der Rohe designed. All of them in Illinois. The McCormick House was originally a prototype for a group of row houses planned for development in Melrose Park, Illinois. The row houses were never built but the McCormick house in Elmhurst, a suburb of Chicago, became home to first the McCormicks and later to Ray and Mary Fick who left it basically unchanged. When the house was sold in 1992 a group of people who were planning to built an art museum, purchased it and incorporated it into the museum complex.    

While walking through the Art Museum/McCormick House we came upon this table and chairs. I knew the chairs are called "tulip chairs" and were designed in the 60's. What I didn't know was that it was the first one legged chair, designed by...

...Eero Saarinen, the same architect that was responsible for the arch in St. Louis!  

The McCormick House is located next to a very nice park called Wilder Park in Elmhurst, Chicago and definitely worth a visit!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Summer Time

Touch the Mississippi, 100 degrees, butterflies, humming birds and chip monks, delicious home cooked meals, a new, very cute and very fast Mini, fishing, paint balling, mosquito bites, walks with Heidi, Whole Foods, backgammon, Rum Chata, driving a golf cart, long conversations, visiting new places and old ones.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


In Illinois, close to where the Mississippi River and the Missouri River merge, there is a tiny, picturesque village of the name Elsah. It is really the most charming, perfect place and you will not find one neglected garden or ugly house. You will feel like you are walking through a coffee table book. 

It was good to see though, that while clearly having an eye for beauty, the people of Elsah also have a great sense of humor. Look at this truck parked in one of the little streets!

While admiring the truck from all sides, I saw daughter's eyes widen more and more. "We can do that, too!", she said. "I will glue all my little animals on your Mini as soon as we get home!" 

I don't think so.

But we did have lunch on the side of the road, having ice tea, onion rings and ice cream with peaches. They even sold frog legs, caught fresh out of the river but we did pass on those.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hannibal - Mark Twain's Hometown

The most amazing thing I did on this trip was paint Tom Sawyer's famous board fence and go on a riverboat dinner cruise on the mighty Mississippi.
I have been wanting to do that since I was 8!
Thanks Helenchen!

This is the little cute cottage, right downtown, that we stayed in.

Hannibal is a small village, situated along the Mississippi River in Missouri...

...it's where Sam Clemens, alias Mark Twain, spent his childhood years, got in trouble, painted fences (or had other boys do it for him), had a crush on Becky Thatcher (real life Laura Hawkins) and hung out with Huckleberry Finn (Tom Blankenship). It's where he skipped school and went fishing instead...

...and we got to visit his boyhood home...

...Huckleberry Finn's boyhood home before...

...having dinner on the riverboat...