Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Santa Brought Me An Easy Bake Oven!"

Just imagine the squeals of delight when girls (and boys, too-thanks to Jamie Oliver!) open their gifts on Christmas morning to discover that toy of toys:  The Easy Bake Oven.  Or maybe you have experienced this excitement for yourself.

Internet EBO Photo Circa My Era (Stop Smirking, I'm OLD)

Well, I experienced that joy today as I set about baking some Christmas cookies.  Our IKEA oven is my own personal Easy Bake Oven.  *Insert squeal of delight here*  All of you Wolf and Viking owners are so jealous, I can feel it.

My Grown Up Easy Bake Oven

Actually, I'm lucky that the cookies made it on to the baking sheets and into the oven.  My Kitchen Aid mixer plug would not fit into the converter.  And I thought I was being Miss Smarty Pants when I packed the Kitchen Aid for the move.  I was even a Miss Smartier Pants when I discovered the price of a Kitchen Aid in Vienna is close to $900.  Heh, I have a crap oven, but I've got my Kitchen Aid to keep me warm.  Or so I thought.

Uh, Houston, We Have A Problem
I now know that I have no mixer and rather than give up on the peanut butter blossoms and chocolate chip cookies, I mixed them by hand.  Yep, the old timey way for me.  Hey, if you had an Easy Bake Oven, why would you expect to have other modern conveniences?

My Mixer
Yeah Baby!
The Easy Bake Kitchen
I've got a couple of batches to go, but I need to let my chiseled biceps cool down.  Or perhaps venture out to buy a hand mixer tomorrow.

Happy Baking friends!

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Tale of Two Markets

Right now, you can't swing a schwein schnitzel in Vienna without hitting a Christmas Market and the scenery is beautiful.  However, I've also discovered the same vendors hock their trinkets at multiple markets, which is probably why I now head straight for the food and drink huts (ok…..mainly drink)  instead of the shopping.  Listen, if you've seen market after market full of huts selling the same wooden toys, alpaca wool socks and ceramic frog salt & pepper shakers, you would shout "drink please!" too.

Last weekend was different.

We discovered 2 markets worth keeping on the list for next year at Stilwerk Design Galerie Wien and the Mittelalterlicher Adventmarkt at The Arsenal.  Consider these two the "polar" opposites of Christmas Markets in Vienna.

Normally, Stilwerk Design Galerie is a multi-level mall filled with stores catering to the avant garde of Vienna's contemporary minimalist, modern and mid-mod interior design for every room of the home.  One could outfit a bare apartment from studs to reveal with one visit to Stilwerk.  During weekends in December, the shops and individual artists display their wares for the Christmas season.  It was lovely to wander the mall, surrounded in warmth and beauty, looking at all of the displays and shops.  Inspiration everywhere!

A return to the Middle Ages was waiting for us at The Arsenal.  Cauldrons of bubbling wine and rotisseries of meat filled the cold air with the smell campfire vittles.  This market was a 9 year old boy's dream:  handmade swords, shields, knives, slingshots, bows and arrows.  We told Jake he could buy a weapon if he would dress up with Mom and Dad in the "Robin Hood, Maid Marian and Friar Tuck" costumes for sale.  Surprisingly and lucky for us, he declined.  The food at this market was spectacular, the vibe Middle Ages and the artisans turning wooden furniture legs on "people powered" machinery fun to watch.  It is a shame this Market only runs for 4 days.  I would return for more and probably end up with both a costume and slingshot.