A Few Days in Vienna

I traveled to Vienna/Wien for the first time recently and couldn’t stop saying “wow” everywhere I turned. The City seemed to have everything I love – coffee shops, paper stores, beautiful buildings, mass transit, bakeries, friendly people, spice sellers, live music and theater, parks, bookstores, monuments to musicians… I was there for only a few days and would love to return. Here’s a few pictures from my whirlwind tour.

I will leave you with this lovely card they gave me in Wiener Seife, a shop selling soap. In English the card says “The very best here on earth is to be loved by you. “

The Paradox of our Age by the Dalai Lama

I purchased this scroll at least 10 years ago from Project Tibet while on a family vacation to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The scroll contains a writing by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The sentiment is still very relevant.

Dalai Lama Quotes ~ Cotton Canvas Scroll ~ "The Paradox of Our Age" ~ Natural White Color

The scroll is available on Amazon.com if you would like to purchase a copy. It is a nice quality scroll made of cotton with wooden dowels and cloth tassles. The scroll which can be hung by the top ribbon or easily rolled up.


Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  So if you make a purchase from a link I provide to Amazon I earn a commission.

Making Soap With Meraki

Meraki – a Greek word which in English means to do something with passion, love and undivided attention.

Photography by Debbie Sultemeier

Making soap has recently become my favorite passion project. Creating soap is creative and unpredictable. There seem to be an infinite number of ingredients that you can add to change the color, fragrance and texture. Soap is also useful and I can try out my creations every time I take a shower or wash my hands.

For Mother’s Day my daughter sent me the book Milk Soaps: 35 Skin-Nourishing Recipes for Making Milk-Enriched Soaps, from Goat to Almond by Anne-Marie Faiola and I’m very excited about trying out the techniques shown in the book. The soap pictured above is made using the Circling Taiwan Swirl technique shown in the Milk Soap book and on Ms. Faiola’s Soap Queen website.


Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  So if you make a purchase from a link I provide to Amazon I earn a commission.

Nirvan Mudra Card

From the card deck “Mudras for Body, Mind and Spirit” by Gertrud Hirschi

One of my yoga teachers lets us randomly select a card before class from a card deck called Mudras for Body, Mind and Spirit: The Handy Course in Yoga The teacher suggests that we set an intention based on the card. This week I picked the Nirvan Mudra card of longing and yearning. The back of the card had an interesting and complex description that I have been thinking about, especially the part about moving up the spiral.

My feelings of longing and yearning are usually for people and places from my past. For example, summers bring a yearning for my grandparents. I vividly remember staying at their house during the summer and going swimming at the town pool or in a nearby river. But I’m interpreting the card’s advice as not to dwell on the past but instead to focus on yearning for future events and even life beyond the present one.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  So if you make a purchase from a link I provide to Amazon I earn a commission.

Be Yourself

Willow City Loop, Fredericksburg, Texas April 2019
Photography by Debbie Sultemeier

This cheerful red flower in a sea of bluebonnets reminded me of the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The book was popular when I was about 10 years old. I remember absorbing a message from the book of being yourself and not conforming. I also liked going to the beach and watching the gulls fly, imagining one of them to be Jonathan.

A few days ago my husband and I drove the Willow City Loop between Fredericksburg and Llano in the Texas Hill Country. The multi-colored wildflowers, meandering creek and rocky hills were beautiful.

Willow City Loop, April 2019
Photography by Debbie Sultemeier

Honey Oatmeal Bread recipe

Today I would like to share a recipe for homemade wheat bread with oatmeal and honey. About 15 years ago I attended a week-long bread making workshop at the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado. Our instructor Elizabeth Perreault gave us a notebook to take home with all the recipes we made that week plus a lot of tips on baking bread. This Honey Oatmeal Bread was in our notebook and I have been making it regularly ever since.

I gave one of the bread loaves to my neighbor today piping hot straight out of the oven and she pronounced it the best bread in the world. When baked it’s a very smooth bread. Picky eaters may not notice that is has oats or wheat flour. This recipe makes four mini loaves or two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaves. The ingredients I used were:

  • 18 ounces boiling water
  • 3.5 ounces rolled oats (I used organic from the bulk grocery bin)
  • 3 ounces brown sugar (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (from a friend’s bee hive)
  • 2 ounces butter (unsalted)
  • 1 tsp salt (original recipe called for 1 Tbl but that was too salty for me)
  • 2 tsp instant yeast (I buy Fleischmann’s Active Dry yeast in a 4 ounce jar)
  • 7.7 ounces whole wheat flour
  • 17 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
Oats, sugar, honey and butter

Measure the water, oats, sugar, honey, butter and salt into a mixing bowl. Don’t worry about mixing it up or the butter melting. Let the oatmeal mixture cool until it is lukewarm. I left the mixture alone for about an hour until the ingredients were 110 degrees. Add the yeast and the two flours to the mixture. Stir by hand until it is roughly mixed.

Dough mixed by hand

Knead by hand or for about six minutes with a machine. The dough should stay together and not stick to the sides and bottom of the bowl. My house was humid today so I had to add about a third of a cup additional flour. I added it a little at a time kneading with each addition.

Dough after mixing with a machine

Next transfer the kneaded dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise until doubled about an hour. It was about 75 degrees in my home today so it may take longer if you home is cooler.
Today I made the recipe in a stoneware mini loaf pan I bought at a Pampered Chef home show about 20 years ago. For my mini loaves I divided the dough into four pieces and patted and rolled each piece into a log. I then placed the logs in the loaf pan. You can also make the recipe in two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans.

Bread about to go into the oven

I covered the loaves with the plastic wrap and let them rise until the dough was over the top of the pan as shown in the picture. This took about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. My oven takes about 30 minutes to preheat so about 15 minutes into the rising I turned the oven on.

When your oven is at 350 degrees place your pan(s) on the center oven rack. Bake for 30-40 minutes until brown and the internal temperature is at least 190 degrees Fahrenheit. My mini loaves were ready in 30 minutes.

Remove the loaves from the pan and put on a wire rack to cool right side up. I didn’t wait long before enjoying a hunk of bread with melted cheddar cheese. Heavenly!

This was my first attempt at writing a recipe. So please let me know if I have left out information or need to clarify any of the steps. I hope you enjoy baking and eating this bread.

Changes

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska, July 2018
Photography by Debbie Sultemeier

The song “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks beautifully describes the challenge of addressing change and moving through the stages of life. I enjoy meeting new people and experiencing new places. But it’s still hard to leave familiar people and situations. Following are the lyrics to “Landslide.”

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Mmm Well, I’ve been ‘fraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m gettin’ older, too

Well, I’ve been ‘fraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m gettin’ older, too
I’m gettin’ older, too

Ah, take my love, take it down
Oh, climb a mountain and turn around
And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well, the landslide will bring it down
And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well, the landslide will bring it down
Oh, the landslide will bring it down

Songwriters: Stevie Nicks

Landslide lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Sentinels of San Antonio

My husband has been on a quest to photograph the inanimate people that watch over San Antonio. He made this cool video from the photographs along with his description of the project:

Video of the “The Sentinels of San Antonio” photo series, which focuses on the stonework, statues and murals that watch over us, mute and unchanging, as the rest of the world careens into chaos… I based it on the popular “Humans of…” books, but I’m looking at inanimate objects instead. Part of the fun is guessing where the photo was taken – some are obvious, many are not. If you are Puro San Antonio, you can probably guess most of them…. The intentional spooky music is by one of my favorite Irish artists, Enya, including – “Cursum Perficio” “Wild Child” “After Ventus” “Tempus Vernum”

© 2019 P&D Studios, All Rights Reserved peteranddebbiestudios.com

Big Bend National Park Wildflowers

Big Bend National Park April 2019
Photography by Debbie Sultemeier

“Bloom where you are planted.” (Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales)

I made a quick trip with friends last week to Big Bend National Park to see the wildflowers. The flowers are especially impressive because the plants appear to be thriving in a very inhospitable environment. This trip was my first time seeing the Ocotillo plants blooming (picture below).

Big Bend National Park, April 2019
Photography by Debbie Sultemeier