Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I'm Thankful For

It's Thanksgiving and as always, I stuffed myself! We went over to Betsy and Jason's house. Since none of us has ever hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, Betsy was daring enough to take on making the turkey and the rest of us brought a few side dishes. I took my Grandma Jack's Sweet Milk Rolls and the Thanksgiving standard Green Bean Casserole.

Well, on to the traditional "What I'm Thankful For" speech.
- Most of all, I'm thankful that even though we are in a foreign country, we still had the chance to spend the holiday with family. My sister, brother-in-law, and niece are here visiting!
- I'm thankful that Jake and I are finally married. We are both really enjoying married life.
- I'm thankful for my new friends here in Italy that have become like family to me, and glad we were able to share the task of making Thanksgiving dinner together.
- I'm thankful for the health and happiness of our friends and family.
- I'm thankful that we are heading to Montana in January, it was on of our top bases of choice!
- I'm thankful that we will be in Missouri in December and will get to spend Christmas & New Year's with our families.
- I'm thankful to see Shannon in two weeks to talk wedding plans!

Here's wishing that you also have a lot to be thankful for today!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Haha...that stands for Aviano Community of Enlisted Spouses and Breast Cancer Awareness Walk. When I first joined ACES back in August, they were talking about planning their annual BCAW. I knew I would only be here until December, but I also knew I wanted to get into at least 1 committee while I was in Aviano, to add to my resume to show that even though I didn't have a job while living in Italy, I did volunteer my time. Well, the BCAW committee seemed like the perfect opportunity, since this event traditionally took place during October (BCA month)

My friend Meagan and I both joined the committee and got started right away, designing flyers, designing and ordering t-shirts, rounding up volunteers, etc. We chose two possible dates to hold the walk. The base kept telling us they could not approve our dates for the walk yet. The president of ACES was calling everyday to check on the status and was always told it would be just a few more days until it could be approved. Well, our first possible date passed, then our second possible date passed. Finally once October was almost over, we found out the event was approved for November 7th, and we had 2 weeks to pull it all together!

We had a few frantic days of changing and printing off flyers, then rounding up volunteers again to pass out flyers at the base BX, finding donations of water and granola bars, gathering decorations and supplies used in past years, and rounding up more volunteers to bake muffins and cookies. It was a busy few weeks, but we made it and had a fantastic event! Lots of people made it out for 8am on a Saturday morning and we raised over $4200! YAY ACES! And a big thank you to Jake, who came with me at 6:30 that morning to set up tables!

Bavarian Chicken

If you remember my Oktoberfest post, I LOVED the chicken we got there. We decided to try to make it, and found an incredibly easy recipe online. It said to stuff the inside with a huge handful of parsley and put lots of butter on the skin. How much easier could it be?

Well, again our Commissary failed and had absolutely no whole chicken, frozen or fresh. We decided to settle with a few frozen cornish game hens. We stuffed them full of parsley and rubbed butter all over them. It did taste good, but Jake thinks that was just because of all the butter on it. It still wasn't anywhere near as good as the Oktoberfest chicken.

I served it with french fries, just like they do at Oktoberfest, and the meal was incredibly filling, so we put the leftovers in the fridge. The next day the skins looked so wrinkly that I couldn't bring myself to eat it anymore. I don't know if I'll ever try to make it again with a big chicken. I might just let myself remember the chicken we had in Germany as the best chicken ever and never try to match it!

Vegetable Soup and Grandma Jack's Sweet Milk Rolls

I got a very easy recipe for Vegetable Soup from church friends Charlie and Beth Brandhorst and this Homemade Roll recipe from my Grandma Jack.

Vegetable Soup:
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion (chopped)
30 oz. spaghetti sauce
2 cups water
1 can beef broth
salt & pepper to taste
16 oz frozen vegetables

Brown ground beef and onion, then combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
It was very good, but almost too much spaghetti sauce. Next time I might try less tomato sauce and maybe more beef broth.

Grandma's Sweet Milk Rolls:
1 package yeast (the regular kind, not the quick one)
2 cups warm (not hot) milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. melted butter (and more to grease the pan)
1 tsp. salt
4-5 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in milk, when bubbly add sugar, butter, and salt. Mix well. Add 3 cups of flour, beat smooth, then gradually add more flour until soft dough forms. Knead 6-8 minutes. Let rise double, about 30 minutes. (I let mine rise about an hour)
Butter bottom and sides of dish. Punch down dough. Make into 12 balls and spread out in the pan. Let them rise double again.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and butter the tops.

Jake and I both loved the rolls! In fact, I've made them 3 times in this past month. I am also planning to take them to our Thanksgiving feast at a friends house.

This whole meal was great for a cold and foggy day!

Calzone Take 2

A while back I tried a recipe for a Calzone made with frozen bread dough. The one I made was with refridgerated french bread dough and ended up tasting great but looking like a mess. This time I tried it with 2 loaves of the refridgerated french bread dough, so I would not have to stretch the dough so thin. It was much more successful and I was so proud of how it turned out that I feel I can now share pictures of it!

The two loaves flattened side-by-side

After twisting strips together over the filling
Fresh out of the oven!

I'm sorry....

to my few readers! We have been having internet problems. Well, I guess you wouldn't really call it problems, we just don't have internet anymore. Jake had regular internet when he first got to Italy, then when he was deployed, he had it turned off. He tried to get it reconnected when we both got here, but the company was never able to get it connected correctly. I believe we never should have had to pay for the set up fee, 2 months of use while we were trying to get it working, and the cancellation fee when it never even worked, but that's the way Italian companies work, they do whatever they want. So we stopped paying them for nothing and started buying pay-as-you-go internet. We ended up paying about 25 euro and our supposed 100 hours would actually only last us about 15 hours. Anytime we would get disconnected, the time we had spent would be rounded up. I really don't like how Italian companies can get away with ripping people off. There is no accountability with these things. Can you tell I'm ready to be back in the good ol' USA?

Now that I'm done complaining, long story short, we have no internet unless we go to the base to use the free wi-fi. Thus explains why I have not blogged in a WHOLE MONTH! I promise to try to get in at least 1 blogging day per week from now on!

Now, on to play catch-up!