Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sara Jane: A Bavarian Feast and Outdoor Waterbed

I will apologize in advance.  This is going to be a LONG post.  We have had a really fun week and I wanted to share all of it with you.

First up...the food (of course!).

For this week's Olympic meal, I made German food.  Normally, we wouldn't eat this type of a meal in the summer (we're mostly veggies around here) but we HAD to for the Olympics, right?

For our Bavarian feast, we had sausage, latkes, fondue and pretzels.  This is another rather time consuming meal but if you're up for it, I would recommend it all the way.  It was absolutely delicious!  

Here we go....

(Potato Pancakes)


2 large potatoes, peeled and shredded (I use regular baker potatoes.  After I shred the potato, I set them aside in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from changing color.)
1 medium onion, diced
1 egg
2 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil, plus 1/2 to 1 cup more for cooking


Combined oil, onion, egg, flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt, and about 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.  Add drained shredded potatoes until combined.

In a skillet, add enough oil to be about 1/8 inch thick on the bottom.  When the oil is hot, using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop cup fulls into the oil.  I usually only cook 2 or 3 at a time as to not overcrowd my skillet and lower the oil temperature.

Cook the latkes until they are a deep golden brown (about 2 to 3 minutes per side).  When they are done, remove them from the oil and drain on a paper towel.  Sprinkle with salt.

If you are not going to eat them right away, keep them warm in a 200* oven.

Traditionally, these are served with apple sauce.  I prefer mine by themselves.

These pretzels are delicious.  I searched and searched for a good recipe for pretzels and found one several months ago.  It is mostly the recipe I am about to give you but I can't remember where I found it.  I changed a couple of the amounts of ingredients.  It is a very basic recipe that I have never had turn out badly.  Try it.  You won't go back to your old method...I promise!



1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon of yeast
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 to 4 1/2 cups of white flour
1/2 cup baking soda


Preheat oven to 475*.

In a large bowl, combined the water, yeast and sugar.  Let proof for 3 to 5 minutes, or until frothy.  Add flour, one cup at a time.  If, after you have added the 4 cups of flour, the dough seems too sticky, add another 1/2 cup.  Knead dough for a few minutes until nice and smooth.  You can let the dough sit or use it right away.  

In a large pot, boil 4 cups of water (or about half a pot full) and 1/2 cups baking soda.  Add the soda to the water BEFORE you turn on the burner.  If you add the soda to the water after the water is boiling, you will have a huge mess.  Trust me :)

When you are ready to begin, cut off small (about golf ball size) pieces of dough.  Shape them how you like (sometimes we just do pretzel sticks, especially if we are dipping them into cheese) and drop them into the boiling water/soda.  Boil them for about 30 seconds.  Most of the time they will float to the top when they are ready.  Again, do not put too many in the pot at once.  A few at a time.  Once they are done boiling, place them on a greased cookie sheet.

When your sheet is full, cook them in your preheated oven for 8 to 9 minutes, until golden brown.  When they come out of the oven, you can brush them with butter (or not) and sprinkle salt (or cinnamon sugar) on them.

My kids love pretzel dogs.  If you want to give those a try, simply wrap a regular hot dog in a rope of dough, boil for 30 seconds and cook for 8 to 9 minutes.

Sorry folks.  I don't make my own sausage.  I wish I did but...I don't.  We buy our favorite sausage at our local grocery store and cook it until it is ready.  Its that simple.  

As for my fondue recipe, I simply used the cheese from my mac and cheese I made here.  

Just in case you were wondering what was going on while I was making this delicious dinner....

Bea found some water AND dirt! Lovely!

Next up...I've seen the outdoor waterbeds all over Pinterest lately so I thought I would give it a try, too.

Here's what I used for my waterbed.  Gorilla tape (next to the duct tape at the store), 2 heavy duty shower curtains and a pair of scissors.

If you have an old water toy that has one of these nifty hose hook ups, cut it out and use it on your waterbed.  It made filling it SO much easier!

To start, I laid my shower curtains out flat on my family room floor, one on top of the other, and then I started taping. It took about 30 minutes to tape the entire thing together.  After taping each side, I would then tape the inside too to prevent too much leaking.  When I got to the fourth side, I cut a small hole out for my hose hook up, placed the piece in the hole and taped all around the hook up.  Then I finished taping the fourth side.  Before I began filling the bed, I went back over my tape job to make sure I didn't miss anything.  Then I started filling.

After a good 20 minutes of filling, the bed was finally ready for the kiddos to play on.  

At first, the kids just enjoyed laying on the bed.  I purposely put the waterbed in the shade so it would stay cool.  It was perfect.

 Then a leak sprang.  No worries, Bea was there to catch all the water.

 After a few hours, we did need to refill the bed but it was totally worth it.  If you have the time, I would definitely recommend making your kids one of these before the summer ends.  It provided hours of fun for my babies.

Sara Jane


  1. First off, your food looks AMAZING!! I want to eat all of it. :) Second, you are such a fun mom! The waterbed looks so fun! I NEED TO LIVE BY YOU! :)

  2. Everything looks fabulous, Sara! I've seen those waterpads and wondered how they were made! It really looks like it would be fun for little ones! And we tried to make pretzels once and they didn't turn out. You've inspired me, though, to try again!

  3. I can't wait to make those pretzels . . . yumm!

  4. I made this feast for dinner one night and everyone loved it! The kids had fun making the pretzels in different shapes. My family didn't like the taste of the baking soda although I thought it gave the pretzels the right texture. So next time I made the pretzel dogs and skipped the baking soda bath and just baked them and they still turned out great, just more like bread.
    Thanks for all your great ideas! I enjoy reading all the posts and trying the new recipes!