03 March 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #29: Febtoberfest and a Happy Birthday

One of the great things about being here in Moose Jaw are the people we get to spend time with.  The military base provides us with a close-knit community of friends and we are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by talented, awesome people!  We all love getting together and last weekend was no exception with our first ever Febtoberfest celebration!  Why an "oberfest" in Feb and not Oct, you ask?  Well, it's cold here, we have a long stretch of work days ahead of us, and it was time for some celebration and cheer in the month of February following an incredibly successful Robbie  Burns day!

Dave and I got our cooking on and made brats (for the meat eaters), a German potato-bake (really yummy, and I'm putting the recipe below), sauerkraut, a German lentil stew, and -- the stars of the show -- home-made pretzels.  So good!  Folks brought over their favorite beverages and we had good German music playing in the background.  It was a delicious night and a great way to spend a Saturday!

Yesterday, March 2nd, marks the day Dave was brought into this world!  We celebrated with lots of balloons, a home-made Happy Birthday banner clinging to the wall, stout-steamed mussels (we let our vegetarian/vegan guard down for one evening), and home-made pumpkin bread pudding.  Dave is the reason I was introduced to Moose Jaw in the first place and the reason I am making my new home in Canada.  I'm just going to indulge myself for a moment and write down a few of the reasons I'm so glad my husband was born:

1.  Dave is calm.  Truly, truly calm.  Under pressure, not under pressure, when things are good, and when things may not be so good, Dave is your guy.  He provides such an excellent balance for me and I am extremely grateful for this yin to my yang.

2.  Dave truly values the people he surrounds himself with.  I am astonished and impressed by the company he keeps and he truly engages and wants the best for the quality people in his life.  I believe you can tell a lot about a person by those they keep closest and I can honestly say that Dave has picked amazing friends to be part of his urban family. 

3.  He's opinionated and isn't afraid to say what he thinks.  As someone who over-thinks things, seeing someone so confident in their beliefs and feelings is pretty outstanding.  He is never harsh or rude when expressing his opinions and they are always said with intention and thoughtfulness.  I love discussing big-ticket items with him and am always impressed with his approach to situations.

4.  Dave is my best friend.  Enough said.

5.  Dave is really smart, and talented, and funny.  He flies a jet, he teaches others how to fly, and he keeps a good sense of humour about everything -- knowing the difference between the big and little things in life.  He is always teaching me something I didn't know and I love that when we talk about stuff, he gets my mental gears going.

So, as we celebrate Febtoberfest and birthdays, I realize more than ever how happy I am to be here and calling Moose Jaw my home for now...

German-Style Potato Bake

2 pounds potatoes, unpeeled (use your favorite kind)
4 tablespoons Earth Balance spread (vegan butter) divided (1 TBSP and 3 TBSP)
1 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beer (if you don't want to use beer, add 1 cup of veggie broth)
1 cup veggie broth
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/2 large jar of good sauerkraut
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Slice potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.  Cook potatoes, covered, in a pot of boiling water to cover. Depending on size of potatoes, they will probably need to cook for at least 20 minutes. When potatoes are tender, drain and allow to cool. At this point, potatoes can be covered and refrigerated overnight.

Spread a little Earth Balance in a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Arrange the potato slices in prepared baking dish. Set aside.

Add 3 tablespoons butter to the pan and heat until melted. Add chopped onion and sauté until tender. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle in the flour, stirring until smooth. Return to heat and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually add beer and broth, stirring until mixture is smooth. Return to burner and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in sauerkraut, mustard, horseradish and black pepper and simmer for about 5 mins.

Pour sauce over potato slices. Bake, uncovered, in preheated 375-degree oven for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated through and bubbling around the edges of the dish.

Just before serving, sprinkle parsley over the potatoes. Yield: 5 to 6 servings.

Our Febtoberfest, erm, costumes...and friends!

The Birthdaymobile

Pondering Birthday Wishes....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This made me cry out of happiness and appreciation. Happy birthday to your hubby and I miss you dearly. -SEM