31 January, 2009

A first! Risotto with Pesto!

For the first time IN MY LIFE(!!) I made risotto tonight and it was SO easy! And good! Now I know what always gives it its "risotto" taste: the white wine!

Risotto with Pesto:

  1. Cook 1 small onion in 2 TBSP of butter + 1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add 2 cups risotto rice (i.e. Arborio), cook for about 2 minutes, then add 1 cup a dry white wine and cook until the liquid is soaked up by the rice.
  3. In the meantime boil 4 cups of water, add some veggie broth (2 cubes) and over the next 30 minutes, keep on adding 1/2 cup of the broth at a time.
  4. Take the risotto off the heat and add 1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese, Salt and Pepper to taste and 1/3 cup store bought Pesto.
I also made some garlic bread:
  1. broil slices of bread under the broiler - any kind, if soft, brown on both sides to make it crispy,
  2. then rub a clove of garlic over the entire slice and
  3. sprinkle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

28 January, 2009

Love at first sight...

... Valentine's Day is approaching, which reminds me of this "Love-at-first-sight" thingy - just SO American! "Oh my gosh, it's so romantic! I looked in his eyes and it was love at first sight." Or, "when I saw him, he blew me away - it was love at first sight!". Yeah, yeah! It's nothing but "blah" to us Germans - just another "Kommerzieller Feiertag"!

But how can it be? How can this "Love-at-first-sight" phenomenon happen in the US of A? Americans don't even LOOK at each other! They don't take a peak at each other while sitting in the train, they don't look at other people while eating or sitting at a restaurant/bar, nor do they look at anybody walking the streets. I did all of the above today and nobody looked! Neither at me nor anybody else! Everybody on the train was busy reading or looking out of the window or talking on the telephone (while trying REALLY hard NOT to look at anybody - but oh boy, did we HEAR the whole conversation! But that's another blog comment!). In the restaurant everybody looks on their own plate, or on their neighbor's plate, or maybe glances up at the waiter.

Germans do look all the time! Germans stare at other people all the time; they look what other people are wearing, they look what other people are doing, they even look if other people are staring back! Now, I'm not saying that staring is going to find you love at first sight, but which country has better chances to find somebody and fall in love at first sight??


To all romantics out there: it's been studied and it's a total myth! There is no love at first sight! This study shows that it is nothing else but selfishness and - shocking!! - SEX! Yes, it's nothing but a narcissistic reaction. We find ourselves attracted to people that find us attractive!

25 January, 2009

Get ready for the Red Carpet!

With Oscar night approaching on February 22nd I just went through the list of all the nominations and am a little sad to say, that I have only seen 4 movies on that list so far: Wall-E, The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder and Iron Man - not the greatest movies of the season, but my excuse is that I have teenage kids *lol*! I'm hoping that our movie theatre will play all the nominated movies and I can go watch them in the weeks prior to this event!

My list of movies I'd like to see:
  1. The Visitor (I liked Richard Jenkins in Six Feet Under and am happy to see him again!)
  2. Milk (anything diverse is for me!)
  3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (alright, this one got a lot of buzz and I don't mind Bratt Pitt either :)
  4. The Wrestler (just to see how fucked up Mickey Rourke looks now)
  5. Doubt (Meryl Streep as a mean and bitchy nun - fantastic!)
  6. Revolutionary Road (Kate any day!)
  7. Rachel getting married (Anne Hathaway not in roll I would expect from her, maybe?!)
  8. The Reader (exciting to see what they made out of this story line!)
  9. Ricky Cristina Barcelona (come on, Woody Allen AND Penelope!! How exciting is THAT!)
  10. Slumdog Millionaire (oh, the buzz it got... and then some hated it and some loved it)
Some German movies made it as well:
  1. The Baader Meinhof Complex (Foreign Language Film: about the RAF, a German terrorist group in the 60s/70s)
  2. Spielzeugland (Shortfilm: In 1942, a German boy believes that his Jewish neighbors are going to Toyland.)
  3. Auf der Strecke (Shortfilm: A department store security guard who is drawn to one of his co-workers makes a fateful decision.)
If I could get a hold of the German movies, that would be SO awesome!


What's wrong with me? I could eat chocolate and chocolate related items, such as Milchschnitte, Soy Chocolate Pudding, Nutella, Küsschen, and Chocolate Yogurt, all day long, without stopping for a split second...

21 January, 2009

Resolutions - where are though?

Although I wrote my list a couple of weeks ago, of what I'm going to work on in the new year, I have to admit that my 2009 is not going according to plan!

There we have:

1. YOGA: Well, the positive is, that in this year I went to more Yoga classes than in the last year! And if you put that in weeks (let's say, once a week, as planned), I'm good for all of January! Alright, I'm so kidding myself, but the quota is up! So, it will look good on paper :)

2. Forgive and let go: Hmmmmmmm, well, that was a much more difficult task and considering, that I had a pretty shitty time over the holidays, there was NO way I could've worked on that. So I'll have to take a couple of steps back and admit my failure. But nevertheless, I'll keep trying! Maybe I can start with shallow waters, before I get thrown into the deep end, alright, Universe?!

3. Don't keep everything: Thank goodness, all the Chili Bowls are not going into my own cupboards, but are being donated for charity! Otherwise, I'll keep a few selected pieces, to see where my progress is leading me!

4. Organize!: ALRIGHT! I made some progress here! I re-arranged a big part of my kitchen after I built some shelfs with drawers. Now I have exactly as much storage in the new kitchen, as I had in my old one! AND I even have some EMPTY drawers!

Conclusion: I'm a great organizer, without any discipline...???

20 January, 2009


... is a GOOD day! Out with old, in with the new!

15 January, 2009

New Bathroom

We had our bathroom re-done... It went from a traditional American white and oak interior to a chic and modern black shiny tiles on the walls, a stainless steel toilet, and a blue lit sink. The floor tiles are heated and the bottom of the shower is extra special, as well, because you cannot see the water going down (uh, mysterious shower!).

My problem with this whole "new" situation is, that now the contractors working on our basement; all big guys, that PROBABLY eat nothing but PORK and BACON (!!!) - show up half an hour early to do their "big business" before they start working... yep, in our NEW F*CKING BATHROOM!!! That of course means I CAN and WILL NOT USE IT!!! How dare they...!!!

14 January, 2009

Adler Planetarium

At the Adler Planetarium in Chicago we learned, that on the night of Saturday the moon was at its biggest. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a clear and sharp photo of it, but the pictures still turned out nicely and very artsy :) Take a look:


13 January, 2009

Deep! And hard to swallow!

“Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

By Nelson Mandela


We went into the Swatch Watch Shop downtown on Saturday and looked at their new line of watches (so cute!). They had 4 salespeople in the store and two of them were "talking movie stars"...

Salesman: "I just LOVE Leonardo DiCaprio! If you can imagine him being in Titanic... ugh, that makes me sick, but it was his, like, big break through!"
Saleswoman: "Yeah, him and Kate Winslet... SO amazing!"
Salesman: "Yeah, but LEO, he is such a great actor! He has played so many, like, cool characters, like, he was all buff for The Departed and he was SO great in Catch Me If You Can! What did Kate Winslet do? I cannot even remember... Can you name one movie she was in? I surely can't...!"

Me thinking: "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, with Jim Carey (awesome movie!), Little Children, The Reader,...

Saleswoman: "Nah, I can't think of anything she did..."

We left without buying anything... I wonder why there are four clueless salespeople in that little tiny swatch shop anyway and hope they all watched the Golden Globes that night, where Kate Winslet got two awards!!! Oh, and Leo lost to Mikey Rourke...

11 January, 2009


When traveling, I always tend to forget to bring one thing... On my trip to Seattle I forgot to bring shoes. New Hampshire: I didn't pack my sleeping suit. California: I left my hair brush at home. Portland: I ended up without socks. This weekend, Chicago: no underwear!

10 January, 2009


We saw "The Seafarer" last night at the Steppenwolf Theater and I highly recommend that you see it if you can! It's all about the Irish, alcohol, christmas and how one struggles with his own demons. What you see is hardly what you get in this play and that makes for a very deep, entertaining and funny Christmas eve in Ireland!

One more thing that makes me happy:

Shopping is usually not on my favorites' list - especially when shopping for clothes I need to be in a special mood. Usually I run through all the stores and find absolutely NOTHING . My luck changes when I go shopping with my husband... Oh, and every woman envies me for my clothes-shopping-loving husband; he doesn't just sit there or even worse, spends most of his time in the electronic store and the food court, but he actually sits near the dressing room, ready to hand me clothes he would like to see on me, look for different sizes and tell me how cute this shirt is and how sexy that skirt is on me. I know, I know, your eyes are watering, your lips are twitching, but don't ask me if you can borrow him for a day or a week or so...

Today I went to Oilily downtown and my heart almost skipped a beat: 40% off everything! The stupid thing was that my hubby had decided to take a nap... and believe me, I called him TWICE to see if he was available, but no answer, to my total dismay... Oilily is just a Gods' sent to me and I remember driving all the way to Luxembourg city, an hour away from my home, when I was 10 or 11 to shop at the only Oilily store in a 100km radius!

I did good without him... I'm not saying how much I spent, but every girl should have 2 purses, 2 winter coats, 2 jeans dresses and of course assessories en masse, right?! RIGHT, hubby?!

08 January, 2009

10 things that make me happy:

(not in this order, but however it comes to mind)

#1: empty studio early in the morning
(a little creepy being in that basement of a studio so early, all by myself, but how great is it to spread out, work without having to talk to somebody - or listen, for that matter - and hum to yourself!)

#2: my kids
(there were times when they were like siamese twins, but lately they were like an old married couple, nagging, bitching, and swearing at each other. thank goodness their seperate boarding schools have tought them how much they actually like one another :)

#3: skiing in the canadian rockies
(i always thought beach vacations with tons of sun, sand, and ocean are the non plus ultra - until my husband took me to canada 3 years ago. i skied for the first time and from this time on, no more boring beach vacations but skiing, skiing, skiing ANY day!!)

#4: my hubby
(i know he doesn't like the movie theater and would rather watch a DVD at home, but he goes because he knows i love it and that makes me happy - even though we do not watch the movies i would REALLY like to see...)

#5: downtown
(it's such a cool city and there is so much to see; Chicago to me is culture, art, diverse, classy, calm, rich, clean, friendly, cute, beautiful, hot, full of life, entertaining)

#6: muesli in the morning
(lots of fresh berries, top with a spoonful or two of muesli - with chocolate! - and mix with your favorite joghurt)

#7: omega 3
(my favorite foods: raw or smoked salmon, avocado, strawberries, and peanut butter)

#8: my bed
(since we travel a lot it always feels good to come back home! and our tempurpedic mattress is awesome!)

#9: massages
(i have the best massage therapist out there - and the best cure against stress. i tell him that he is better than a whole week of yoga and i mean it!)

#10: my living room
(we built an addition to our old living room and now our kitchen/dining/living room are covered in glass, with huge glass doors. this summer was such an awesome one, simply because outside was inside pretty much - except for the mosquitoes!)


$16 for Sushi (lunch with my friend)
$ 5 for coffee (I brought my own cup!)

I'll be going downtown tomorrow until Sunday, and then up to WI until Monday night, so spending stop will be on hold (but I'll still try my best!).

P.S.: Can you believe I pay $5 for a medium Soy Latte at Caribou? Not that Starbucks is cheaper, but 5 BUCKS is ridiculous!

Money, money, money....

I just had a brilliant thought come to my mind! Since it is always SO stressful to buy new things (unpack, give it a new designated place, recycle the package, throw out the old, etc.) I'll just try to NOT buy anything new for as long as I really do not need it! How smart is that? That'll also go for my coffee (which I'm almost out of, BUT I've been wanting to switch to Green Tea for the longest time!), groceries (my fridge is packed and my pantry overstuffed!), toiletries (thanks Aveda, for making 2 liter bottles of cream cleanser :)), and I'll only have Starbuck's if I bring my own cup! This will exclude dog food (I have three large(r) breed dogs, who are aweful when hungry!). Let's see how far I'll get with this!

07 January, 2009


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Only in America...

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation's largest and oldest provider of pet health insurance, scoured its database of more than 466,000 insured pets to find the most popular dog and cat names of 2008. (Animals not insured by VPI were not included in the survey.)

Top dog names:
1. Max
2. Bailey
3. Bella
4. Molly
5. Lucy
6. Buddy
7. Maggie
8. Daisy
9. Sophie
10. Chloe

Most unusual dog names:
1. Rush Limbark
2. Sirius Lee Handsome
3. Rafikikadiki
4. Low Jack
5. Meatwad
6. Peanut Wigglebutt
7. Scuddles Unterfuss
8. Sophie Touch & Pee
9. Admiral Toot
10. Spatula

Top cat names:
1. Max
2. Chloe
3. Tigger
4. Tiger
5. Lucy
6. Smokey
7. Oliver
8. Bella
9. Shadow
10. Charlie

Most unusual cat names:
1. Edward Scissorpaws
2. Sir Lix-a-lot
3. Optimus Prrrime
4. Buddah Pest
5. Snoop Kitty Kitty
6. Miss Fuzzbutt
7. 80 Bucks
8. Sparklemonkey
9. Rosie Posie Prozac
10. Toot Uncommon

I guess my dogs have just plain boring names:
  • Lili (aka Amelie "Lili" von Kiva Cove),
  • Floecki (aka Ahnold "Floecki" von Schwarzenberger),
  • Sebastian (aka Herr Schmitt)

My Facebook Status:

Melanie is reborn - my new year starts tomorrow!

Everybody is finally G.O.N.E.... Back to my normal relaxed and happy life!!!

added 01/08/2009

P.S.: for some reason I sang "
Ding Dong! The Witch is dead." all day long...

Macbeth II

We saw William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" last night and although I didn't understand that much (old British English) and I actually had no idea what the play was all about, I was amazed, how they still brought the storyline across. The stage set-up was very plain in the beginning, but throughout the play they used light, stage props and video to kick it up. It was a very modern play. Maybe you would think that doesn't work out with the Shakespearean language, it all worked out very nicely - for as much as I understood! It wasn't what I expected, but I liked it anyway!

06 January, 2009

Church II

Oh, and yeah, I totally forgot to go to my first meeting last Sunday at The Chapel...


I'll be seeing Macbeth at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier today!

03 January, 2009

The Next Food Network Star

I am a little bit of a Food Network Junkie. It would be on 24/7 if my husband wouldn't turn off the TV once in a while... I love Giada! I love Ina! I love Ellie Krieger! I love Alton, Mario and Tyler! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE Michael Chiarello!

The other day I was watching the marathon of "The Next Food Network Star" - a show I had yet to see! But, to my surprise, after the first commercial break, I already knew who the winner was... Very disappointing! What sense does it make to roll a full marathon afternoon and during the first commercial break introduce "The Next Food Network Star" to an audience that was too impatient to wait through weeks of competition and is now trying to get it all in on one afternoon???

I'm not sure what to make of Aaron McCargo, Jr., who won the competition yet - his new show "Big Daddy's House" looks just like any other show - a (n ugly, I might add!) kitchen, a funny chef, good food... BUT I saw previews for the other Next Food Network Star Adam Gertler's new show "Will Work For Food" and that will probably be a cool show! Tune in on January 19th at 7:30 central time!