Tag Archives: mom life

The Story in my Salad Bowl

There is a store here in Germany called Globus.  It’s equivalent to a U.S. Wal Mart, only much nicer.

It’s huge.  It’s intimidating.  Everything is written in German (of course) so most of the time I’m not totally sure of what I am buying.  It was the very first German grocery store I went to and the whole experience was terrifying.  (Seriously.  No joke.)

BUT, I will say they have a fabulous salad bar.  When my MIL said she wanted to go to Globus to get some authentic German Christmas decorations and ornaments – I immediately thought- salad bar!  Let’s go!

At Globus, I filled a plastic container with all kinds of colorful, fresh veggies – tri-colored bell peppers, jade green lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, sprouts and tuna fish.

Then, I made my way to the other side of the salad bar where there was antipasto- stuffed olives, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed peppers, stuffed grape leaves, artichoke hearts and various kinds of  cheeses lying in a pool of olive oil and spices.

With some tongs, I plucked a few of each of these mouth-watering goodies and plopped them on top of my salad.

Then I weighed my container on the scale located at the end of the salad bar, printed out the sticker that said how much I owed and proceeded to the check out line.

As I got to the front of the kasse (checkout), I put all of my items on the black belt.  When the middle-aged lady behind the counter picked up my container of salad, she frowned, looking at me.

In German, she said, “This is not all salad.  Some of this is antipasto.  They are supposed to be separate.”  She shook her head.  “They are different prices.”  She kept shaking her head as she rang up the rest of my items.

And, of course, my daughter, who was standing right next to me, kept asking me questions like, “What’s going on?  What happened?   What is she saying?”

Suddenly, I lost my appetite for my beautiful salad.

I didn’t know those two things were different prices!  I didn’t know they needed to be separated into different containers.

And, yet again, I felt like a stupid American in a foreign country who doesn’t know the rules and just got put in her place by a serious-looking German woman.

(On a positive side note- I did understand everything she was saying in German so at least my German is getting better!)

After I checked out and met my husband in the play area where he was hanging out with our 2 boys, I told him what happened.

He just shook his head and smirked.

“And she didn’t give me any stickers for the kids.”  They typically give a packet of stickers out to the kids.  I put my hands on my hips.  “Why didn’t she give us any stickers?”

He kind of half-smiled and said, “Well, you did kind of piss her off…”

Now, this is just a little thing that happened.  No big deal, right?

But, the thing is, when little things like this start piling up (which they have been doing since we moved here 3 months ago), it starts to get VERY frustrating.  It starts to wear on you.

Will I ever figure this stuff out?  Will I ever be able to go to a German grocery store and just have a “normal” shopping experience?

The good news is, I am not the only one who has had experiences like this.  In fact, I’ve talked to many, many fellow military spouses and here is what they have said:

  • Globus IS super terrifying
  • it takes 6 months to a year to get adjusted to everything here
  • they ALL have stories like this

Here are some things that I know:

  • it will get easier
  • it’s not always going to be like this
  • I am strong enough to handle this

On top of the salad bar incident, there was the beer debacle.

I’ll have myself a German beer every now and then.  After all – they are delicious!

Globus has a getrankemarkt (basically a drink market) where there are rows and rows of different beers – dark, light, hoppy, bitter, sweet – and wine – red, white, rose, blush, sweet, dry – and champagne.

Having recovered from being put in my place by the lady at the checkout counter, I wanted to check and see if they had any pumpkin beer before we left (because that is my ABSOLUTE favorite).

I wandered the aisles, carrying my infamous salad container in my hand.  I didn’t see any pumpkin beer.

I proceeded to leave…and got stopped by the lady at the checkout area of the getrankemarkt (there was only one way out).

She said, in German, “Do you need to pay for that?”

I shook my head.  “No,” I replied.  “I already paid for it.”  (This, I said in broken German because I wasn’t totally sure how to say it.)

She raised her eyebrows.  “Do you have the receipt?”

“Nein.  Meine mann hat die rezept.”  (No.  My husband has it.)

And yet again, I got the “head shake” for the second time that day.

She let me go, however, and you can be sure I high-tailed it out of there!

Here’s the thing – I can give up OR I can keep trying.

I can hide in my house, only go shopping on the American base and pretend like we are not in a foreign country…OR…I can embrace this.

I can learn the lessons.  And not repeat the same mistakes.

And, I am happy to say, that I did go to Globus again after this incident and I DID put the salad in a separate container from the anti-pasto and I did NOT have any issues!

My message, to you today than, is this:  Live your life.  Make mistakes.  Laugh at yourself.  Learn.  And move on.

Lastly, I wanted to share some GREAT recipes for winter salads with you!

Roasted Yam and Kale Salad


Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad



I hope you enjoy!!!!

And don’t forget – share this post on your social media sites and with all of your friends!






Perspective is Everything

It all started with a Facebook post…a Facebook memory, actually, that a woman shared on her Timeline recently.


It was a picture of her daughter, 2 years ago, sitting poolside, in a tankini, eating a sandwich.  It was summer.  The sky was a crystal clear blue.   The sun was glistening off the gentle waves in the water.

The caption she wrote with the picture reads:  Really missing our pool days this year.

See, her daughter, who is 7, is fighting cancer for a  second time.  And instead of spending the summer outside, drinking up the sun and swimming, she and her daughter are spending their time rotating between the children’s hospital and The Ronald McDonald House.

Here is where the perspective part comes in…

I have three, healthy children but they have been driving me crazy this summer.  There’s been a lot of bickering and not listening and acting out because Daddy is away at school.

I have found SEVERAL gray hairs that were not there a few months ago.  I have had more wine in the past couple of months than I have had in the past year.

It takes 2 hours, literally, for us to get ready to go to the pool.  There’s the packing of the pool bag (which is often interrupted by breaking up fights between my children) – change of clothes for 4 people, snacks, water bottles, extra swim diapers, baby wipes.

Then there’s the part where I have to get all the kids changed into their swimsuits.  I have to fight with my toddler to put it on because everything is “no” these days.

Then there’s the part where I have to get them into the car.  This, as many of you Mamas know, is like herding cats.  All of the sudden they can’t find their shoes that I have been asking them to put on for the last 30 minutes.  And then the baby makes a dirty diaper and I have to change him.  And then my daughter decides she needs to bring 5 books, 3 dolls and a pen and paper so she can writer her own book.

“Can you carry these, Mommy?”  She asks me as she thrusts her superfluous items into my hands, which are already full with a  pool bag, diaper bag and a baby in a car seat.

By the time I get everyone strapped into their seats – I’m exhausted.

There were days this summer that I found myself hoping it would rain so that going to the pool wasn’t an option.  Sometimes I would find excuses as to why we couldn’t go.  Sometimes I found myself rolling my eyes and losing my patience as I tried to get everything ready while they yelled at each other about whose turn it was to play with the little red car.

And then…that post popped up in my Newsfeed…and I thought – Well, shit.

Those two, that Mama and her daughter, would give anything to be able to go to the pool every single day, no matter how long it took them to get ready.

This weekend, I took the kids to the pool every day.  And as I wrestled my toddler into his bathing suit, stopped to feed the baby and packed the millions of things into the pool bag, I was grateful.


So grateful that I could take my kids to the pool…that we could spend the afternoon there and play Sharks and Minnows and eat watermelon.

Life is ALL about what you make of it.

There are some things you can’t control, of course.  BUT – there are some things you most definitely can – like your thoughts and perspective.

If you change your perspective, does that change everything?

My answer:  YES.  (Case and point:  I happily packed up the pool bag this afternoon PLUS packed dinner for all the kiddos and the whole time I was thinking – even as my toddler, in nothing but his swim diaper, ran away from me as I tried to get him changed – this is going to be fun)

NEVER lose sight of what is TRULY important.

We live in a busy world.  It’s easy to take things for granted.

I will continue to try to do better.  I hope you do, too.

If you would like to learn more about this little girl’s story or how you can help through monetary donations, then go here:


Weekly Recipe Round (9) Up

Weekly Dinner Menu round 9


Here are your weekly dinner recipes! As always, they are TASTY and HEALTHY!

If you haven’t noticed, I typically have a theme for each weekly roundup. This week’s theme?  Greasy comfort food…


That’s right. Sometimes I just want some kind of greasy, hearty dish that satisfies…like some greasy Chinese takeout or some thick, Cajun gumbo… BUT without the grease, unnecessary calories and fat.

Tricked ya, didn’t I?

So…these recipes are all about revamping the greasy, fast food you order at your favorite takeout place, restaurant or shady hole in the wall (because you and I both know that those places usually have the best food and are also, typically the best place to get food poisoning…but that’s neither here nor there).

If you also haven’t noticed, I have made it my personal mission to show YOU that you can eat healthy and still enjoy food! You don’t have to eat a piece of lettuce and a carrot to lose weight!

No way!

You CAN eat HEALTHY, cook HEALTHY and feed your family, the people you love most in the world, HEALTHY, NOURISHING food!

I am giving you the tools! I am saving you the time of having to go search for these recipes yourself!  I am showing you the way!  Heck, I’m doing everything I can except go to the grocery store for you!

STOP saying – “I can’t” or “I don’t know how” or “It’s too much work” or “I don’t have time”.

You CAN and you DO know how and yes, it is work but it’s also WORTH IT and yes, it does take some prep-work and time on the front end, but on your back end (literally and figuratively) you will be HAPPY you invested that extra time! I promise!

So…without further ado…here are your weekly recipes!

chow mein


Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

Source: http://littlebitsof.com/2014/10/spaghetti-squash-chow-mein/


1 large spaghetti squash

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari (or coconut aminos to make paleo)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon brown sugar (or coconut sugar)

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally

2 cups cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)



  • Cut a spaghetti squash in half length wise and scoop out seeds. Lay skin side up in a 13 x 9 pyrex and pour 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until flesh is very tender. Once done, scoop out flesh with a fork so it breaks apart into strings, set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and white pepper; set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and celery, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cabbage until heated through, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in spaghetti squash and soy sauce mixture until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Eat and Enjoy!!


Tip: You can easily add your meat of choice to this dish!

Another tip: You could do zucchini noodles instead of spaghetti squash!


Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers


philly cheesesteak


8 oz. Thinly Sliced Roast Beef

8 Slices Provolone Cheese

2 Large Green Bell Peppers

1 Medium Sweet Onion – Sliced

6 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms – Sliced

2 Tbs. Butter

2 Tbs. Olive Oil

1 Tbs. Garlic – Minced

Salt and Pepper – to taste


1.Preheat oven to 400°.

2.Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and remove ribs and seeds.

3.Add butter, olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, onions and salt and pepper to a large sauté pan and cook over low-medium heat.

4.Sauté until onions and mushroom are tender (approximately 30 minutes).

5.Slice roast beef into thin strips and add to the onion & mushroom mixture. Cook for 3-5 minutes until heated through.

6.Line the inside of each pepper with a slice of cheese and fill with the meat mixture and top with another slice of cheese.

7.Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown.

  1. Eat and Enjoy!

Tip: Serve with some roasted sweet potatoes!


7 Layer Taco Trifle

7 layer taco trifle



1 lb. ground beef

1 tbsp homemade taco seasoning* (or 1 package from store)

16oz. Pico de Gallo (I used Nature’s Promise from Stop & Shop) or you can make your own using this recipe

3 avocados

2-3 tbsp jarred salsa (I use organic salsa from Costco)

½ tsp cumin

1 lb. crispy bacon bits

1 6 oz. can black olives, sliced

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Juice from 1 lime


◦In a large skillet, cook ground beef thoroughly. Add taco seasoning & mix well. Leave taco meat in pan but remove from heat to cool.

◦In a large soup pot, cook chopped bacon into bits. I place a metal colander over a metal bowl to separate the cooked bacon from the drippings. When drippings are cool enough, transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate for later use. (I use bacon fat for coking eggs, topping on vegetables, sweet potatoes, etc.) Make sure to leave some bacon bits for the garnish.

◦Scoop out flesh of avocados into a medium bowl, add jarred salsa & mix to make instant “homemade” guacamole. If I were serving guacamole as a dip I would make it fresh using this recipe. Feel free to do that, but since this guacamole is going to be covered I opted for a quick & easy shortcut.

◦Using a trifle bowl layer the ingredients in the following order: taco meat, pico de gallo, guacamole, bacon bits, black olives, scallions, and cilantro. Sprinkle bacon bits on top of cilantro for garnish. Drizzle juice from 1 lime on top.

◦This can be served in a few ways. To keep it paleo, serve with bibb lettuce. For a more traditional approach serve with organic yellow corn tortilla chips. It can also just be eaten as is with a plate and a fork or on top of mixed salad green to make it a meal.


Homemade Taco Seasoning (This stuff is AMAZING and does not have all that other crap in it!  I ONLY make mine and NEVER buy the packages!)

¾ cup chili powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (leave this out for less kick)

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tbsp paprika

¼ cup + 2 tbsp cumin

¼ cup sea salt

¼ cup black pepper

◦Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Transfer into an air tight container. I use a 16 oz. canning jar and use 1 tbsp per pound of meat. Making tacos once a week, this jar lasts me about 9 months

paleo gumbo

Paleo Gumbo




1/4 cup (60 mL) bacon grease

3 tbs. coconut flour

3 tbs. almond flour

2 cups onions- chopped

2 cups celery- chopped

2 cups green pepper- chopped

3 cloves garlic- minced

1 quart (1 L) can tomatoes

2 cups (500 mL) seafood or chicken stock

2 bay leaves

1/2 pound (225 g)lump crab meat-picked over for shells

1 pound (450 g) shrimp

1/2 pound (225 g) andouille sausage- sliced

1 tbs. file powder




  1. To make roux, heat bacon grease over medium high heat and whisk in coconut/almond flour. Stir continuously until roux has a dark brown color (think dark peanut butter).
  2. Add onions, celery, peppers and garlic and saute until onions are translucent and celery somewhat soft.
  3. Add tomatoes, stock and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
  4. Stir in the crab meat, andouille and shrimp, cooking until shrimp are cooked through.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in file powder.
  6. Serve with cauliflower rice or all by its lonesome.
  7. Eat and Enjoy!

Tip: Serve this with paleo cornbread and fresh greenbeans!


Sharing is Caring!!! Share this post and this recipe with the ones you care about!  I also LOVE to hear from you so comment below!!