Shared No. 129: “Family Photo Friday!” — by John Spiers (Blog: My Life With Gracie)

arts, Cartoons, Creatures, Gedichte, humor, Kunst, Nature, poems, Tipps, Uncategorized, Zen

How about showing your appreciation and love to your friends?

Let them know, you are always there, even if you don`t see them.
The beautifully illustrated book “Seasons of Friendship” might be a nice gesture to do so.

Or do you like to make a new friend? Then show your true colors… and be kind and mindful!

Same time, you can support the charity work of ladies of the St. John`s Church in Portsmouth / Virginia, who will benefit of the sales.

You are welcome on John` s blog: “My Life with Gracie”, where you can find further details about the eBook for download and its paperback version.

The latter offers the opportunity to make your gift even more special by personalizing the book. You can leave a private message, quote or poem with your signature (you can find many friendship poems here at wordpress).
For a preview of the book, please click here…

John`s first beautiful first book “SEASONS OF FRIENDSHIP”
A collection of heart-warming stories & wisdoms of his charming backyard chickens

“SEASONS OF FRIENDSHIP” now available also as paperback book

This book is perhaps best read outdoors in a shady peaceful spot, perhaps in your own little backyard garden, real or imagined. Whether you read just one chapter at a time, one seasonal section at a time, or the entire book all in one leisurely afternoon, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you choose as a reader, I hope you will imagine Gracie and the others sitting at your feet, bringing you peace and friendship. For more details…


These are the stairs to the St. John`s Episcopal Church in Portsmouth which supports homeless people and all others who need help.
Let`s be kind and care for each other…

Shared No. 128: “Reindeer Moss in Chocolate – a stunning Estonian Recipe” by Ruta (Blog: ESTONIAN CUISINE. EESTI TOIT.)

Creatures, Food, humor, Nature, Oddities, Reisen, Tipps, Travel

Hi all of you,

This recipe is truely special. I am so glad to be able to share it with you thanks to Ruta`s generosity.

Reindeer Moss in Chocolate!!!!!
Amazing. Never heard of it before.
I immediately searched for some information about this eatable moss and its habitat. In Germany, you can find it for example in Mark Brandenburg.
I need to test this recipe and will surprise my family & neighbors with this extraordinary dessert, snack or sweets.

I love culinary experiments. I hope the reindeers will be fine with sharing little bits of moss with us…

It might be a little bit macabre but I cannot resist to mention that I know this moss just as part of traditional grave decoration during autumn and winter time. It is really funny to think of these floral arrangements as dessert or sweets! Incredible! 😀

Note: To British wordpress readers…please, do not harvest reindeer moss in Cornwall. It is protected and not allowed to do so.


No, of course you won` t find any chocolate covered moss in the forrest.
Please follow the link to Ruta` s blog with the Estonian recipe…

In general, Ruta`s blog with Estonian kitchen secrets is highly recommended.


Cladonia rangiferina, also known as reindeer lichen (cf. Sw. renlav) or grey reindeer lichen, is a light-colored, fruticose lichen belonging to the family Cladoniaceae. It grows in both hot and cold climates in well-drained, open environments. Found primarily in areas of alpine tundra, it is extremely cold-hardy.

Other common names include reindeer mossdeer moss, and caribou moss, but these names may be misleading since it is not a moss. As the common names suggest, reindeer lichen is an important food for reindeer (caribou), and has economic importance as a result. Synonyms include Cladina rangiferina and Lichen rangiferinus.

Reindeer lichen, like many lichens, is slow growing (3–11 mm per year) and may take decades to return once overgrazed, burned, trampled, or otherwise consumed.

A similar-looking species, also known by the common name “reindeer lichen”, is Cladonia portentosa.

Cladonia rangiferina often dominates the ground in boreal pine forests and open, low-alpine sites in a wide range of habitats, from humid, open forests, rocks and heaths. A specific biome in which this lichen is represented is the Boreal forests of Canada.

In certain parts of its range, this lichen is a threatened species. For example, in the British Duchy of Cornwall it is protected under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

Shared No. 126: “Korean Ramen with Rice Cakes” — by Jaikyoung (Blog: JK Choice Story)

Food, Insights, Reisen, Tipps, Travel


Korean kitchen secrets, delicious recipes, culture and people…shared by Jaikyoung.

As a teaser & appetizer, please click here…Jaikyoung`s Recipe of Yummy Korean Ramen Noodles with Rice Cakes:

RAMEN with Rice Cakes ❤

ABOUT RAMEN – As far as I know, ramen is a Japanese dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork (叉焼 chāshū), nori (dried seaweed), menma, and scallions. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen.

In Korea, ramen is called ramyeon (라면 / 拉麺). There are different varieties, such as kimchi-flavored ramyeon. While usually served with vegetables such as carrots and green onions, or eggs, some restaurants serve variations of ramyeon containing additional ingredients such as dumplings, tteok, or cheese as topping

You are welcome to visit Jaikyoung`s nice blog “JK Choice Story” to learn more about Korea…

Tipp No. 147: “Poulet Au Cidre” (Brittany Chicken Cider Recipe)

Food, Reisen, Tipps, Travel


6 chicken breasts (approx. 110 g each) You can also use chicken quarters, adjust cooking time accordingly.
2 apples (preferably Golden Delicious type)
3 large onions
4 tablespoons butter (2 oz)
2 cups of brut cider from Brittany
2 tablespoons of Cognac (optional)
1/2 cup of cream
2 pinches of ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste


  • Cut onions into fine strips.
  • Cut apples into small cubes (1cm squared).
  • Add onions and apples to a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes until golden.
  • In a larger thicker pan melt remaining butter. Add the Cognac and brown chicken breasts (3 minutes).
  • Add the cooked onions and apples and cover with the cider.
  • Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Allow to simmer (without cap) until 2/3 of the cider has evaporated, approximately 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken breasts and set aside keeping them warm.
  • Pour the cream into the cider sauce and stir for a few minutes. If necessary, to thicken sauce, add a teaspoon of flour.
  • Coat the chicken with the sauce.
  • Immediately serve with rice or potatoes

Bon Appétit!

Tipp No. 146: “Shrimp Garden Packs” (Recipe)

Food, Tipps
Oven- or BBQ Recipe


  • 1 small zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced into half moons (1 1/3 cups)
  • 1 small yellow squash, ends trimmed, sliced into quarters (1 1/3 cups)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped into chunks and separated
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn
  • 1 1/4 lbs. large (21/25) raw shrimp, peeled and deviened
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste, optional) or chili or sambal oelek
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • 4 lemon wedges, for serving
  • garlic (optional)


Prep Time: 20 min; Cooking Time: 12 min

  1. Preheat a grill over medium-high heat to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut 8 sheets of 12 by 14-inch heavy duty aluminum foil. Use two sheets of foil per packet.
  3. To a large mixing bowl add zucchini, squash, tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, corn and shrimp.
  4. Drizzle over olive oil then sprinkle over garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, paprika, celery seed, thyme and cayenne pepper.
  5. Toss mixture well to evenly coat.
  6. Layer two sheets of foil per packet, with the first sheet of foil laying in opposite direction of the second. Divide mixture among double lined foil adding it to the center in a rectangular shape.
  7. Wrap up sides of first sheet of foil and roll edges several times to seal, then place second sheet going opposite length and wrap while rolling edges to seal.
  8. Grill until shrimp is cooked through, about 12 – 14 minutes, while filliping packets over to opposite side once halfway through grilling.
  9. Carefully open packets as steam will escape. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon juice for spritzing.
  10. Serve with rice, Asian noodles or white bread / Baguette

Shared No. 122: “Mango Lassi Pudding” – Recipe by Chetna (Blog: Spice Culture Cooking)

Food, Tipps

Mango Lassi Pudding

The way to peoples heart is through the stomach,
as we are used to say in Germany.
Let beautiful Chetna seduce you to make a culinary trip to North India!

Chetna shares TRADITIONAL RECIPES of different types of Indian dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, in simplified & easy steps that any everyday cook can follow in their own kitchens and recreate.

Interestingly, she is also offering COOKING CLASSES. For details, please click here:

As a first appetizer, let`s try Chetna`s eye-catching, delicious MANGO LASSI PUDDING…Please follow the link to Chetna`s blog “Spice Culture Cooking”…

Spice Culture Cooking

Here is a variation of the Mango Lassi that turns a drink into a really creamy and refreshing pudding that is perfect for any occasion or event!


Serves: 6-8 people


  • 1 cup of plain OR vanilla yogurt
  • 1 packet of Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 box of Vanilla Pudding (6oz.)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 full can of Alfonso Mango pulp (can be found in any Indian grocery store)
  • 1 fresh mango – cut in cubes (optional)
  • 1 or 2 scoops of mango or vanilla ice-cream (*garnish)
  • 1 tsp of ground cardamom (finely ground) + 1/2 tsp extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream (*use for garnish)


  1. In blender, mix yogurt, unflavored gelatin, vanilla pudding, sugar, mango pulp, fresh mango (optional), and cardamomom, till smooth and creamy.
  2. In your individual serving bowls or dessert cups, put 1 Tbsp of heavy cream in bottom of each…

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Tipp No. 40: “Palatine Steamed Yeast Dumplings” (Pfälzer Dampfnudeln) – German Recipe

Food, Insights, Reisen, Tipps, Travel


Triggered by a recent conversation about “Dampfnudeln” and the method of their preparation, I wrote this post in memoriam of my grandma. “Dampfnudeln” is namely one of her signature dishes…

To begin with, steamed yeast dumplings are a traditional dish from Southern Germany (like Palatinate = Pfalz, where my Dad comes from) and Austria but they are also very popular in the Czech Republic, and in Poland.


Please, note: the steamed yeast dumplings are no “Germknödel” or “Buchteln”, as often asserted abroad. These “relatives” need different recipes including other upgrades & methods of preparation.

Of course, there is a wide range of local “Dampfnudel” (= steamed noodle, literally translated) variations.

In the Pfalz (Southern Germany) e.g. the dumplings don`t possess any filling. They are served with a delicious wine foam créme sauce instead of with conventional vanilla sauce.  And the Palatines don`t serve a poppy seed dumpling topping either. The beautiful “Pfalz” (Palatine, see photo below) is namely one of Germany`s historical wine-growing districts.


“Dampfnudeln” can be served as a dessert but in our family (including the Northern Germany branch, I belong to), it is served as a main course or even as a side dish together with Palatine potato soup ( also called  “Grumbeersupp”) – a fantastic combination, I swear.



Servings:  9 dumplings


The Dough
500 g flour (or gluten-free flour mix)
75 g sugar
2 tbsp psyllium husk powder
50 g butter

Yeast Mixture:
1 cup plant-based milk lukewarm (250 ml)
40 g fresh yeast
1/2 tbsp sugar

For the Pan
3/4-1 cup water
3 tbsp oil
1/3 tsp sea salt

Optional Ingredients
150-200 plum jam (or jam of choice or no filling at all);
2 tbsp poppy seed/sugar mix: 1 tbsp ground poppy seeds and 1 tbsp sugar;
vanilla sauce (see recipe below);
or “wine foam creme sauce” (see recipe below)
or fruit sauce of different berries


In a bowl, combine lukewarm plant-based milk (should not exceed 105 degrees F/40 degrees C), yeast, and 1/2 tbsp sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes to proof the yeast. If it get’s frothy your yeast is fine. If not, your yeast is most likely old and cannot be used.

In a big bowl, combine all dry “dough ingredients” (flour, psyllium husk powder, sugar) and mix with a whisk. Once the yeast has proofed add the yeast mixture.

Add the soft butter as well and knead the dough with your hands. It might appear too wet at first (depends on which flour mixture you used) but the dough consistency will be fine after a few minutes and should look like this:

dough-for-vegan-gluten-free-steamed-yeast-dumplings-beforeIf the dough is too dry though, add a little bit more plant-based milk. If it appears too wet, add more flour. Put cling foil or a kitchen towel on top of the bowl (you don’t want the dough to dry out) and let it rise for about 30-60 minutes at a warm place. Please, avoid any draft.  After that, it should have risen quite a bit:



Divide the dough into 9-10 parts (90-100 grams each) and fill each dough ball with plum jam (or jam/jelly of choice …or with “anything” but love).
Seal the filling and roll between your palms to form a ball. Put all dough balls on a floured plate and let them rise again for about 20 minutes (preferably covered with a towel). Once more: It is very important not to shock the dough by a drop of temperature.


Once the time is up, heat a pan over medium heat, add oil, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Add about 5 dough balls (if you have a big pan you can add more) and put a lid on top of the pan/skillet). Steam for about 25 minutes and do NOT lift the lid, otherwise the dumplings will collapse. I know it`s tough to resist the temptation to have a quick look at the dumplings but you`ve to stay strong! …A transparent glass lid might be a solution to calm your impatience.


Usually, you can trust your ears. You will hear when the water has evaporated and the crispy, golden-brown and salty crust (my favorite part of the dumpling) begins to form.


Another tipp: Lift and remove the lid quickly (if the Dampfnudeln are ready) to avoid that condense water (from down-/inside of the lid) drips on the dumplings. Otherwise the water might damage the smooth skin of the dumplings (cellulitis alike). Dampfnudeln are very sensitive!


Enjoy warm with vanilla sauce and poppy seed sugar…or give the Palatine variant (wine foam créme sauce recipe, see below) a try.

Recipe Notes:

For a gluten-free flour mixture, you can use:
300 grams rice flour (equal amounts of brown rice flour and white rice flour)
200 grams starch (equal amounts of cornstarch and tapioca starch/flour)

You can use 2 1/4 tsp of dry instant yeast instead of fresh yeast

The steamed yeast dumplings taste best when you serve them immediately. You can store leftovers in the fridge (covered). They will become a little bit dry with a paper-like skin the next day but you can simply steam them again for 3-4 minutes with a tiny bit of water and they will be soft again. The leftover dumpling are delicious for breakfast too. You can dip them e.g. in hot chocolate or Café au lait.

Recipe of Vanilla Sauce:

1 cup plant-based milk
3-4 tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp sugar
1 vanilla bean

Bring all ingredients in a saucepan to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes.

Recipe of The Palatine Wine Foam Créme Sauce:

1 egg
2 egg yolks
50 – 60 g powdered sugar (dependent on the wine of your choice)
1/8 l White wine (semidry)

Put water in a pot (about 1 cm high water line) and boil it, then let the water cool down to medium heat. Put a bowl on top of the water pot and mix egg, egg yolks, powdered sugar and white wine with a whire wisk (or blender) until a thick foam is created (like preparing Zabaione). As soon as rills appear in the course of frothing, the céme will be ready.


By the way, to use cheap/low-quality wine for cooking is very much out of favour in Germany. In most cases, we use the same wine for cooking, which is served for drinking.

And here is finally a picture of the “Pfälzer Dampfnudel” (no filling and no topping but with the special wine foam créme sauce)…

dampfnudel pfalz


And please, don´t forget to share not only the dumplings but also the rest of the  white wine with your family & guests.

Tipp No. 41: German “Grüne Sauce” with 7 Fresh Herbs (2.000 yrs old Vegetarian Superfood for all purposes)

Food, Insights, Reisen, Tipps, Travel

The Traditional German Green Sauce Dish (Frankfurt-style)


The basic Green Sauce recipe is probably from the Near East and, as such, is probably at least 2.000 years old. Roman legionaries brought it to Italy, from where it was exported to France and Germany. Evidence suggests that it was introduced in Kassel by the Italian trading families Bolongaro and Crevenna around 1700.
A possible origin of the German variant are French Protestant immigrants emigrating to Kurhessen in the 18th century. The German variant uses a different mix of local herbs, since Mediterranean herbs were not available in Germany more than 300 years ago.

The German “Grüne Sauce” is therefore related to the Italian Salsa Verde as well as to the French Sauce Verte. The latter again inspired the creation of the “Californian Green Goddess Dressing”.


Grüne Sauce is a specialty of the German state of Hesse. Centres of popularity are the cities of Frankfurt am Main (where it is sometimes called “Grie Soß” or “Grie Soss”) and Kassel, which lay claim to its origins. The Frankfurt-style is made exclusively from seven fresh herbs, namely parsley, chives, chervil, borage, sorrel, garden cress, and salad burnet together with sour cream, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and added hard boiled eggs.

Variants of other local areas, often due to seasonal availability, include dill, shallots, lovage, lemon balm, and even spinach. In more frugal times, daisy leaves, broad plantain leaves, and dandelion leaves were also used.

While both Grüne Soße and Mayonnaise have an egg base, there are major differences. In Grüne Soße, the eggs are hard-boiled, then sieved or pureed before being mixed with sour cream to form the creamy base of the sauce. The fresh chopped herbs are then added. Some variations use buttermilk, quark, or yogurt instead of sour cream. In the city of Kassel, a combination of sour cream and Schmand is used.

The sauce is served cold with peeled boiled potatoes or just with rye bread, as an accompaniment to either hard-boiled eggs or roast beef brisket.

It may also be served with cooked fish or roast beef, or as a side dish to barbecue. A local schnitzel specialty, called Frankfurter Schnitzel, is always served with green sauce, along with apple cider (Apfelwein) as a traditional accompanying drink.

By the way, Green Sauce was supposedly Goethe’s favourite condiment; a legend that his mother invented it is likely apocryphal.

The local importance of the dish is shown by the abundance of green sauce at local markets and by the Green Sauce Monument installed in Frankfurt-Oberrad in 2007. The latter consists of seven small greenhouses with the main herbal ingredients and was part of the Luminale, a local art and light event.

Packages with herbs for Green Sauce that are available on regional, weekly markets

In many Hessian families, Green Sauce is part of the traditional meal eaten on Maundy Thursday, relating to its German name Gründonnerstag (literally Green Thursday).


Ingredients (4 servings):
2 large egg yolks (hard-cooked)
1 tablespoon oil (walnut or other neutral oil)
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
2/3 cup quark
2/3 cup Greek yogurt (full cream; of course, you are free to use low fat products as well but fat is a taste-enhancer…)
2/3 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
10 to 12 ounces fresh herbs (roughly equal amounts of parsley, cress, chives, borage, salad burnet, sorrel, chervil– see Variation above-mentioned)
Dash freshly ground pepper
Dash salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or to taste)
4 potatoes (in their jackets)
8 large eggs (hard-cooked)

Step No.1 In a medium bowl, mash the egg yolks with the oil and mix to form a smooth paste. Add a teaspoon or two of lemon juice.

Step No. 2 Mix in the quark, yogurt, and sour cream. Add the herbs and then season to taste with pepper, salt, and lemon juice.

Step No. 3 Transfer to a food processor or blender and process until herbs are reduced to very small pieces and cream is bright green. You can choose to sieve the mixture into a bowl to remove large pieces of herb or egg yolk.

Serve cold over hot, boiled potatoes and hard-cooked eggs. For further inspiration, please find a few green sauce dishes below…


The traditional sauce is in fact very chummy. Nowadays, there are many green sauce combinations / “updated” dishes served…


Green Sauce Potato Nests


Green Sauce & Beef


Smoked salmon & potato pancakes with green sauce


Green Sauce (possible upgrades: garlic & Avocado) on roasted / grilled bread


Spaghetti with chicken and green sauce


Schnitzel (cutlet) with Green Sauce


Mushroom-Michel (casserole) with green sauce


Ice cream (made of green sauce) accompanied by white chocolate mousse

Well, basically People from Hessen are shameless and drown everything in green sauce.

Healthy living People, vegans and vegetarians love this regional specialty in particular. The Sauce contains a lot of proteines, many vitamines (the fat content of Joghurt is required to solve / digest the vitamins provided by the fresh herbs) and can be served to many low carb & fat dishes. The sauce is also used as an ingredient of casseroles and as a dip for all kinds of vegetable, kebap or cheese sticks.

…And you can put it on your face as an anti-aging mask too! No! I am just kidding…  😉

Shared No. 115: “Rare Rump Steak with Pesto and Asparagus Gnocchi” – by Gemma (Blog: Plates & Places)

Food, Tipps

Plates and Places

This dish is perfect for a Friday night in or if you’ve got someone coming over for dinner and want to impress without having to spend hours in the kitchen. Rare rump steak with pesto, asparagus and tomato gnocchi – served with a really punchy red, perhaps – might sound fancy, but it’s super easy and is really just a case of good timing and careful assembly.

You don’t have to cook the steak rare. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should have your steak. It’s food snobbery and I won’t be a part of it. However, I won’t be telling you how to cook it any other way because I just don’t like the taste, texture or aesthetic as much. Other steak tidbits include: get the best quality you can afford, preferably from the butcher, mix up the cut – sirloin, rib-eye, flank  – if you prefer, and…

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Shared No. 112: “Prosecco Wine-Fresh Berries with Semi-Whipped Cream” — by mad & delicacy

Food, Tipps

If you have a bunch of strawberries, or of any other fresh berries, a glass of a sparkling Prosecco wine, a cup of fresh cream, and five minutes of time, then this recipe is tailor- made for you. We wish to thank the Granarolo group for letting us try their fresh cream. 🍷Francesca & Marinella🍴

Prosecco Wine-Fresh Berries with Semi-Whipped Cream — mad & delicacy