Saturday, December 27, 2014

More mail

I forgot to mention... I got a postcard from Ajdin! I think it got misplaced in the pre-Christmas excitement. Thanks Ajdin!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Hullo! Life got kind of busy before Christmas and so I didn't have a chance to post too much! We had an Advent calendar up... every little elf had a sack with... chocolate! Yummm

The tree did get put up eventually... whew!

And we had lots of wood stock-piled to cozy up in front of the fireplace. In case you're wondering... the fireplace surround is... yes... that 1970s lava-rock stuff. Ugh! It is even worse than the brass chandelier!

Of course, all my Christmas stuffie friends came out of hiding. They all have such fetching sweaters!

And... on December 24, I got three letters in the mail from my pals!!

This one was from Little Fox - he did up a super creative card with pictures of his 2014 adventures. Thanks!

And then there was a card from Bob T. Bear - Thanks!

And finally... a card from Jerry & Ben -with a super pretty red bird in snowy branches. We don't have any snow... at least not so far.

Now... on Christmas Day, I noticed this bear hanging out under the tree... all wrapped up with a pretty bow on his head. He says he's a gift for Grampa. But he looks awfully familiar to me?? Does anyone recognize him? Is he related to anyone we know?

And there were two presents under the tree for me!!

Ohhh... a book... This sounds like a sad story - the Little Teddy Left Behind!! Oooohhhh... but Mama says I'll have to read it to figure out what happens. I wonder if she'll ever write stories about me that will get published?

And then... of course...

The Sherlock Holmes outfit!! I am such a lucky bear!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Vancouver - Baking 101 or How my Marathon Baking Session got Photobombed by Rose!

Hello bears and not-a-bears. Today we are going to do some baking! We are baking two types of cookies... traditional German Spritzgebäck and... Ben's World Famous Beary Yummy Cookies!! So, let's get started... First off... we measured the ingredients for the Spritzgebäck - basically, sugar, butter, flour (and then an egg, some vanilla extract, a smidge of baking powder and salt). Apparently Spritzgebäck recipes vary slightly all across Germany and get passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter... (to little bear!)

We used the "purist" method and pulled out the old weigh scale to measure the dry ingredients.

And then hauled out the extension cord (really??).

In order to make the cookies, you also need a meat grinder. Uh-huh... stay tuned and you'll see how it's used!

And then you... put... everything... sigh.. I got photobombed by Rose!!!

Anyhow... whip up the butter, add sugar and egg... then vanilla and flour... and watch it whirl around...

There... that looks good...

Now, you take apart the meatgrinder (leave the spiral thingie inside) and add a special do-dah to the front... see how it has 4 different patterns? It is for extruding the dough!

Then you get your trusty assistant to man the handle...

And the dough goes through the meat grinder and comes out the other end.... it gets cut off into short sections...

Which then get placed on parchment paper and baked in the oven at 375F for 10 minutes... more on them later.

You can also just roll out the dough...

And make cookie cutter cookies!! I wanted to use the one that Jerry and Ben sent me!

There we go... And I have to warn you... the raw cookie dough is super yummy!!! Gramma could never figure out where all the dough disappeared to so quickly when Mama and her sister were growing up... and why they always ended up with tummy aches after making these cookies!

And then you bake them... and... ummm... another photobomb!!

 Sigh... if you can't beat 'em... join em!!

Then... after the cookies have cooled... you can paint the ends with melted chocolate!!! And do funny bear outfits on the bear cookies!

Next up... Ben's World Famous Beary Yummy Cookies (see his link for the recipe!) You need peanut butter and icing sugar...

We sieved the icing sugar just because we always heard that's what you're supposed to do...

And there you have it... sieved... oh heck... another photo bomb!

Then you put it in the mixer and... sorry you can't see much... too many heads in the way!

Now... once the dough is ready, you need to have melted chocolate ready to coat them...

Whew!!! That was hard work!!! But there we go... it is all done!! I have to admit, baking is not my part of my natural skill set... but... I think we did an OK job! And Mama's sister had already baked some Berliner Brot (Berlin Bread... don't ask), marzipan and a few other things. I am set for Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Vancouver - European Importers

Now... I know Little Fox would not be happy unless I had a back alley deal... soooo... here goes. There is a hidden place in Vancouver, tucked under the Georgia Viaduct, that beary few people know about... It looks a bit scary and you have to know it is there...

It is the European Specialty Importers!!

It is cold inside (it is a warehouse)... but they have all sorts of scrumptious delicacies that you can't get at your local Safeway...

There is a whole section devoted to Chocolate!

And they also had a Christmas section...

These are Nürnberger Lebkuchen (ummm... sort of a soft gingerbread thingie).

A bit of shopping was done here!

Oh... more chocolate!!

Chocolate ladybugs (I wonder if Hammie would like these?)

And Gummi Bears!

Mama and her sister (heh-heh... caught her on camera!) walked away with oodles of stuff! I, of course, was left in the vehicle for this expedition... and in this area of town too!!!

They could have at least brought Daisy along... I'm sure her ultra-chic pink sweater would have scared away any would-be scary folks!