Oktoberfest in Connecticut

Getting all my friends together for a night is difficult. We all work in media so our schedules are very unpredictable. Luckily this Friday night in September all of our schedules aligned for a beautiful fall evening. I decided to make Oktoberfest style food for everyone, because it’s a crowd-pleaser and everything I made was so easy and ready in a flash.pretzel-and-cheese

The menu included a big Bavarian pretzel (along with little pretzel nuggets) with beer cheese spread and mustard, bratwursts marinaded in German beer and then grilled, healthy apple slaw and to end the night with s’mores by the fire.

the-fest

Most of this German-fest was brought to by Stew Leonard’s grocery store. We love going there because they have local produce and it isn’t your typical grocery store with aisles. It takes you on maze through the store with fun farm animals all around that sing! If you’re ever in the CT or NY area and pass by one, check it out.

We got 2 lbs of brats to put in the crock pot to bathe in the beer. All you need is your brats, a bottle of German beer and one onion sliced up. Dump it all in the crock pot abratsnd turn it on low for 4 hours. I poked holes in the brats with a fork to make sure all the beer got in there.

Next I made the apple slaw. I used Skinnytaste’s Gina Homolka’s recipe for this one. I added about a cup of pea shoots (I just had some off hand) and I didn’t make my own poppyseed dressing. I didn’t think I could find another use for the poppyseeds so I just bought a fat-free one for $2 (and also – who’s got time for that??). For this recipe having a food processor is so helpful! You also need a spiralizer for the apple. I realize this is a specialty tool but if you don’t have one they’re worth the investment. I love mine! I make a lot of healthy veggie noodles with it and this apple slaw! You can find affordable hand spiralizers or if you want to splurge a little try the Williams Sonoma one I have in my kitchen. All you have to do is chop up 2 cups of green cabbage, two cups of red cabbage, spiralize the apple, toss in the pea shoots and top it with dressing. And you’re done! That was so easy. I put the dressing on a few hours before everyone arrived. Because it’s cabbage it won’t get soggy like regular lettuce. It will also let the flavors marinate a little. Here’s the recipe below (with instructions for the poppyseed dressing if you want to try it out):

apple-slaw

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 granny smith apples, stem removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp golden balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Read for directions for dressing

Next is the best part – beer cheese dip! You also need a food processor for this (thanks for the best Christmas present ever, Mom!) recipe. All you need to do is put everything in the food processor (except for the beer), start to blend the ingredients and stream the beer into the hole of the food processor, then beer cheese complete! Just make sure to refrigerate it for about an hour before serving. All that’s left to do is heat up your pretzels in the oven so they’re warm and soft. Here’s the beer cheese recipe –

beer-cheese

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1½ teaspoons yellow mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ cup German beer (or non-alcoholic beer if you don’t drink or are pregnant!)

 

Everyone arrived including my friend’s 9 month old little boy Brady! Such a cutie. We ate all the German delights and enjoyed some German beers right from Europe and some an hour away in CT. It was so nice to enjoy everyone’s company outside of a wedding (even though those are always fun, too). We ended the night by the fire with s’mores as desert. It was such a great evening with friends. I hope we get to do it again soon!

bon-fire

Did you have an Oktoberfest celebration? Do you have a favorite German beer? Let me know! This German would love to hear about it.

xoxo,

Erika

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11 Things as Seen in my Purse 

My fall/winter purse needed some cleaning out and changing over to a Spring style. I had to go through my items to decide which ones were essential to have with me always. Here are 11 items I can’t live without having in my purse. 

1) J Crew sunnies – Eric put these in my stocking this Christmas and they’re great! They are also unisex. I keep them in my purse to have on me when I leave my other sunnies in my car. They have a great look to them like the Ray Ban Clubmasters but for a much more reasonable price. Factory Retro Frame Sunglasses $14.50 Photo Apr 04, 2 22 10 PM

2) Altoids – I love these little mints. They are really strong and good in a pinch especially after coffee time! Altoid Mints, 2 Pack $3.49 Photo Apr 04, 2 22 15 PM

3) Burt’s Bees – Living in New England the cold air really dries out my lips and Burt’s is perfect for those cold days. I also have sensitive skin so my lips get burnt in the summer if I’m not careful. Burt’s to the rescue! Beeswax Lip Balm $3.30Photo Apr 04, 2 22 20 PM

4) Benefit High Roller Mascara – This was a birthday gift from Ulta and I was so excited because Benefit is my favorite brand of makeup. This mascara is perfect to keep handy for touchups after you get out of work or if you just need to look freshened up. I would go on and on about Benefit products I’m Lynn Love with but that’s a post for another day. Benefit High Roller Mascara (full size) $24 Photo Apr 04, 2 22 44 PM

5) Purell – Let’s face it, you can’t always find a bathroom to wash your hands. This handy mini-sized bottle is perfect for your purse. After I go out and get ice cream and my hands are a little sticky? Purell. After a hike? Purell. Purse essential for sure. Purell Flip Top 2 oz 12 Pack $17 Photo Apr 04, 2 22 50 PM

6) eos Lip Balm – Okay, I have two go-to lip balms but eos adds a little more gloss than Burt’s for when I need a little more glam than healing power. I have Sweet Mint right now but I also love the smell of Summer Fruit. eos Lip Balm in Sweet Mint $2.99  Photo Apr 04, 2 23 05 PM

7) Tide To Go – If you’re like me you’re bad at wearing white because you spill something on it almost every time you wear it. I carry this around with me to help my clothes stay clean and it’s pretty effective! Tide To Go Pen Mini $2.99Photo Apr 04, 2 23 11 PM

8) Matches – You never know when you may need some. I’m not a smoker but they’re good to have handy in case of an impromptu bonfire or a candle burns out. My boyfriend likes a cigar every now and then so having these on me helps him out too. Note: never light a cigar with a lighter… just don’t do it. These matches I got from my favorite bar in Chatham: The Squire. I like having little memorabilia from my favorite spots. You can do the same! Just grab some on your way out if they have a bowl out for the taking.Photo Apr 04, 2 23 17 PM

9) Hand Lotion – Having some hand lotion is always a must. My hands get dry every now and then in the colder months. This French Vanilla scent is also great to freshen up on the go. I bought this one at Target on clearance and it has been discontinued but Target has some other great options. Find the best that works for youPhoto Apr 04, 2 23 27 PM

10)  Sunscreen – I keep this mini Nuetrogena sunscreen handy in the Spring and Summer months in case I find myself sitting outside in the sun and I haven’t put sunscreen on. I can quickly put this on my face for protection. Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30 (full size) $13.99 Photo Apr 04, 2 23 34 PM

11) Coasters – Eric and I visit a lot of bars and breweries tasting craft beer. We are beer connoisseurs and like to collect coasters from new places we try. Those usually end up in my purse and live there for a little while until they make our coffee table at home. This one is from High Horse, a brew pub in Amherst, MA. Loved their atmosphere and their beer! Photo Apr 04, 2 23 41 PM

 

xoxo, Erika