Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Candied Pecans, Feta, and Craisins

First a very Happy Birthday to my friend, Bernie! Hope it is a happy one and a good year ahead!



Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Candied Pecans, Feta, and Craisins


Yield: 6


1/2 cup of pecan pieces

1 tsp of white sugar

Pinch of cardamon

(I’ve also used raspberry vinaigrette)


3 cups of baby spinach

2 cups of romaine lettuce, chopped

1 cup of sliced strawberries

2-3 tbsp feta cheese or goat cheese

2-3 tbsp craisins

Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette (see recipe above)


Make the Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette then set aside.

Heat a small skillet over medium low heat. Add the pecan pieces, sugar, and cardamon. Stir often until the sugar caramelizes and sticks to the pecans and the pecans are toasted. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Combine the spinach and romaine lettuce to a large serving bowl. Top with sliced strawberries, cooled pecans, feta cheese, and pomegranate seeds. Toss with the vinaigrette and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Last Day

Today was the last day for me in Berlin. We took the S-Bahn into Potsdamer Platz and enjoyed the afternoon. My feet were aching before we even opened the door to leave, so we knew that a lot of walking was not in order. Some, yes, but a lot, no.

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We started fairly late, so when we arrived we went right to lunch. Volker and I both had wonderful Wiener Schnitzel,

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and Uschi had Zander, a type of Pike Fish.

It was all very delicious, and we enjoyed the wonderful meal! However after that Uschi and I insisted we walk to burn off all the calories. I’m afraid I would have had to walk to the USA and back to burn up all the calories I consumed, but I did mention a hasty return to Weight Watchers on Wednesday.

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Me with a Lego giraffe!

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Uschi and I with our Healthy strawberry Sundays!

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Volker with his berry delight treat!

We walked around Potsdamer Platz shopping area, and I got several cute camisole tops and a few presents for people back home. We even stopped for the requisite gelato and fruit!

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I love Berlin!

Soon my feet were really barking at me so we decided to head home. We got here just before dinner time and once we got the dogs settled, we went over to our friend, Sybille’s house for “girls night”. Oh what fun it was to enjoy some time with just the girls! Thank you again, Sybille!

We arrived home and I finished my packing, walked Anneliese, and now I am preparing for bed. After all, tomorrow I get up very early, fly all day long, and get home very late! I will be awake nearly 24 hours upon my arrival.

Hubby, get my bed ready! I’m coming home!

Shrek Feet

Okay, I know I have pretty ugly feet. I accepted this long ago. With feet, there is not much you can do about it either. Just cover them up and hope that no one asks to see them, and that your partner doesn’t break off the relationship when he or she does!

Why am I bringing up feet right now, when all my thoughts should be surrounding Anneliese and our trip to Germany?

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I woke up yesterday morning with “Shrek Feet”!

shrek the third SPLASH

See the similarities?

It has been unmercifully hot here in Berlin. Last night when I went to bed it was nearly 90 degrees just in my room and not much cooler outside! So, yesterday morning when I woke up and my two feet looked like meatloaves, I was more than a little concerned.

I decided I needed water. I drank and drank, but noticed that the liquid was just staying put. Uschi and I went to the Apotheke and spoke to the Pharmacist who gave me an all natural fluid pill. Eventually I should get rid of the fluid. (and so far they seem to be working)

We came back home, I drank a ton of liquid and took my pill. Then we both sat with our feet up and watched TV.

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Even Anneliese came out for a while. Uschi’s dog Noah, went outside under the sprinkler, so until he dried off, he was kept out of the house. Anneliese didn’t mind that at all!

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In fact on this trip, Anneliese has made herself right at home. She loves her Uncle Volker and her Auntie Uschi, and considers their furniture, her furniture!

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Yesterday we also went to a discount shoe store and bought a pair of sandals for the trip home. I still cannot get my puffy feet into my shoes, so velcro sandals to the rescue!

On my last day here, we are going in to Potsdamer Platz. It is a wonderful area to shop around, and most of it is well shaded. I am taking Uschi and Volker out for a meal today and Potsdmer Platz has many nice restaurants there. If Uschi’s and my feet hold up, we may walk around the Tiergarten and enjoy the sights. If our feet give out, we will have Volker drive us back home.

It is hard to believe that my time in Berlin is at an end. I so enjoy spending time with Uschi and her family, and going to the beautiful places in this country! Germany will always be my second home!

The Zoo

Yesterday we went to the Tierpark in Berlin.

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It was very hot, but the weather was dry, and the Tierpark gave us wonderful shaded paths and a gentle breeze, so mostly we were very comfortable.

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The Bears at the entrance to the Tierpark!

Uschi had injured her foot, which required her to have cortisone injections in it! She was still in a lot of pain, so she stayed home to rest it, and I went off to meet with Bernie at the Zoo.

As we walked in there was a great pond area with large, friendly pelicans. I have seen pelicans before, when we lived in Florida, but these guys were huge!!!

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I do admit to being a little leery when I approached this guy. He seemed to be the Pelican in charge, and I worried he might come after me.

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But soon he was smiling at me and all was well.

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My Aussie friend, Bernie under a statue of a Kangaroo!

The monkeys, as usual were hilarious. This little guy almost looks like he was smoking a cigarette!

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I can assure you, however, that it was just a twig!

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Another cage had several newborn monkeys in it. I think one had to be fairly young because the mother kept it to her breast the entire time.

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And when another young monkey came by (perhaps her baby from last year?), she chased it away.

Since I can speak a VERY little German I decided it was a good time to practice! I used my limited skills quite a bit, and only made one grievous error, which caused the clerk to giggle, and once she corrected me and explained, I laughed too! That’s okay, I was at least attempting to speak and I think that is the most important thing!

We went to the reptile house, and saw alligators, crocodiles, and iguanas, in all their glory.

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Here is a shot that Bernie took with his zoom lens. I think it came out splendidly!

Because it is the end of springtime here, there were baby animals all around the park. Oh what darling faces we saw as they clutched their Mamas! It is also springtime when the young lady mammals are in season, so we saw many areas that the boys had been separated. One elephant male, was not at all happy by this, but since the Zoo already has one toddle elephant and a newborn.


I totally understood what Papa Elephant had to be kept away, even if he did not!

We walked all around the park, stopping for cold refreshments and we even had a wonderful lunch sitting outside, in the shade. Schnitzel, pomme frites and beer! Very fine, indeed!

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Those of you that know me well, already know I have a great love for elephants. I’m not sure what it is, but I love these seemingly gentle creatures. I know they can go nuts and kill a man, but when I observe them with their young, I am always amazed at their gentleness.

Mama and baby

The mama and new baby elephant playing together in the water!

Yesterday I insisted we walk all the way to the back of the Zoo to the elephant area. There were two babies, one really a toddler and the other was just born in March. The toddler liked to play with the baby, and the two mother elephants allowed this and kept their eyes on the two. At one point the mothers took them to the pond area to swim, and carefully they allowed the two in.

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The toddler didn’t stay in  too long, but the wee baby wanted to swim to China, I think! I got quite concerned, as did Bernie, but the two mothers got on either side of the baby elephant and herded it back to the shoreline and then made a containment area for the little elephant.

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I stood by with many families and children from the area watching this. I think we all were impressed with the gentle Mama elephants!

We had been there walking and taking copious numbers of pictures, when finally at 3:30 we decided to hop the U-Bahn and go make to Uschi’s village. We called from two stops ahead of our destination, and we got picked up by car.

When we arrived back at Uschi’s, it was time for coffee and cake. I’m not sure who started this tradition, but it is one I love and enjoy when I am over visiting!

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Yes, once I get home to America I will have to go to the Weight Watcher’s confessional! And then after saying my prayers of penance, start eating salads and only salads and actually continuing to exercise. I have walked, a lot while I have been here. Even in all of this heat!

We sat down a while later to a grilled meal. Uschi made her potato salad (totally delicious!) with grilled wurst and chicken and pork!

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I chose the Thuringia Bratwurst as this is something I love and cannot get in the states. Uschi is from Thuringia, and so she knows where to get the real and best Thuringia Bratwurst!

For dessert, Uschi made a creamy pudding with fruit and specks of chocolate in it!

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This was also very delicious!

The evening ended about 10 o’clock when Bernie left to head back into the city. He is leaving today for Hong Kong, before he heads back home to Australia! It was wonderful to meet Bernie, and I thank him for allowing me to use many of his pictures on the blog today.

I will leave you with this picture of me horsing around. I just couldn’t help it. Since my childhood hero was Lucille Ball, I have always gone for a good sight gag! Have a great day everyone!!!

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Today we are going to the Berlin Tierpark. The Tierpark is the former East German Zoo, and one of the larger Zoological Gardens in Germany. They have a large breeding program for many animals, but especially elephants. Since I love elephants, going to see them is always enjoyable.

Yesterday I spent time playing auto’s with Uschi’s grandson, Anton! He is such a sweet, loving child and so much fun to be with.

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This was taken at coffee time. He had juice and cookies!

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Then we went off to the large grocery store, to buy all the things we would need for the next few days. Anton joined us and that was even better!

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He got to ride in the children’s toy machine’s, and this made him very happy.

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Then, while Uschi prepared dinner, Anton, Volker and I played auto’s! Anton loves his cars, but he was especially nice to me and allowed me to play with them too!

Anneliese is doing well. She woke me at 5:30 this morning. While I am sitting here writing my blog, wide awake, she has gone back to sleep!

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I can hear the neighbor’s as they prepare for their day at work, or their walk to the local bakery for the morning bread! Oh, what a joy that has been! Freshly baked, delicious, crusty bread!

Yesterday we picked up some leberwurst and cheese to have for breakfast. I can hardly wait!

I hope everyone is well, and enjoying the summer wherever you are!


Monday did not exactly go as I had planned.

We all woke at the correct time, Anneliese behaved the way she should have both here in Berlin, and in the car, but when we arrived at Isegrim’s home, he was just not interested in Anneliese. I mean, they played with each other, and Anneliese definitely wanted Isegrim’s affection, it’s just that he didn’t really want her.


We sat for quite a while and allowed them to play, but in the end, we left, with Anneliese feeling unfullfilled and me feeling more than a little concerned.

Anneliese and Isgrim Day 2

I tried to show him how nice Anneliese is!

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I think she felt rejected afterward, as we drove home.

I know I did. Now I tell myself that perhaps she is pregnant from the one and only time that they mated. It was a good breeding, and everything went like clock-work! I’ll have to wait three weeks until I know for sure.


We drove Anneliese home and dropped back, safely in her room. She was tired and warm and just wanted to take a nap. Meanwhile we decided to go out to Hercules Restaurant for Greek Gyros!

We sat down at the table and the owners brought Uzo to our seats!

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Volker and I each drank one! It’s funny, because I do not like Licorice, but the Uzo tasted just fine!

I asked the waiter what beer they had on tap. “Warsteiner”! My favorite! So I ordered one of those! It was full bodied and cold and tasted wonderful!

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Uschi asked if they made an alcohol free beer and they did. “Warsteiner”! So, she ordered one of those!

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Soon the waiter brought out our lunches. Beautiful plates of thinly sliced meat, potatoes and salad! The real Greek Gyros!

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We ate with pure delight this fabulous meal, and then we dropped Volker back at home with the dogs, and Uschi and I went out to window shop. I love to look at things, and dream…

We saw this statue in one shopping mall, and of course I like to play around, so I pretended to give him a kiss!

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My day ended with Uschi and I watching “The Lake House”, which when translated into German becomes “Haus Am See”. And for those of you who live with me, or know me well, my favorite sing-a-long song is a German song called “Haus Am See”. Neither is related to the other, but it made me smile, none the less!

Today I need to catch up a bit with a few things before Uschi and I are off this afternoon. I need to do a little wash, spend some time in the garden with Anneliese, and write a few notes!

Meeting An Old Friend

I’m truly amazed when I meet someone that I have known for years online, and they turn out to be just who I have always known them to be! Such was Sunday, here in Berlin. My friend Bernie from Aussiepomm (Australia) is in Berlin on business and today was his free day, so we got together and walked around the Müggelsee and stopped there to have lunch.

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The day was bright, hot and beautiful, and the three of us walked and ate, and talked and enjoyed. It was fabulous. We stopped at a great gelato shop, and had coffee in a little cafe as well, before returning to Uschi’s home where we sat for hours on the balcony talking some more.

What a pleasant time we all had, talking, laughing and joking with each other! Just how I knew it would be when two friends got together! Best of all, he got to meet Uschi and her husband as well!

The sun set quite late, as Berlin is pretty far north, and eventually Uschi and I drove Bernie to the S-Bahn to get the train back into the city.

Monday we drive back to see Herr Isegrim and complete the love match between Anneliese and her man!

The First Breeding

Saturday morning we got up, had breakfast and then prepared Anneliese for her meeting with her husband, Isegrim. The ride was a tad long, but went quite smoothly. Uschi’s husband drove us and we settled in the back seat with Anneliese and prepared her for the events to come.

Anneliese on her way to Isegrim

It was another beautiful day here and when we reached Isegrim’s home, he was waiting for us!

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I went to the door and pushed the bell and waited for the family to greet us.

Arriving at Isegrim's house

Soon Steffi and her mother came out with Isegrim

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and the dance of love ensued. Isegrim is quite the Romeo, and he knows exactly what to do to win over his lady love!

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Then the real fun began and Steffi and I were there to assist.


It was a very good mating, and after we had a nice time chatting until the dogs were completely done.

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Uschi made herself comfortable in the cool grass.

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And before we knew it, they were done for the day!

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It was quite amazing, as I believe that they remembered each other from last year. I know one thing, Isegrim certainly remembered me!

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And Uschi!

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So the first breeding is done and we will go back on Monday for the second one. It was so nice to sit with Isegrim’s family afterward and have a nice visit!

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When we got back to Berlin, we were all exhausted. Everyone took a short nap, except me. I reworked some of the pictures that you have seen here.

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Have a great Sunday everyone!!!

Beautiful Day

Friday was about the prettiest day Berlin has seen in many weeks. Perfect temperatures, bright sunshine and a gentle breeze that kept people from feeling too hot.

I woke at 1:30 AM and I was wide awake. I got up and wrote Hubby a note and then went back to sleep until 5:30 when Anneliese woke me with her gentle kisses. After a brief walk around the back yard, in the already bright sun, I went back to bed and slept until 7:30 when I forced myself to get up.

Breakfast was some of the wonderful fresh German rolls, some cheese and some yogurt. Also two cups of Uschi’s wonderful coffee!

We headed out in the late morning and to the S-Bahn into Alexanderplatz for a day of window shopping and a chance for me to see all the changes to the city.

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The Neptune Fountain

I was shocked and awed by all the building and new business in a place I once knew quite well.

Finally our feet and our stomachs demanded we stop for lunch. Since it is still Spargel Season (asparagus) here, we both had wonderful while spargel, with hollandaise sauce, a kraut salad and boiled potatoes! Oh my goodness, was it good!

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Our lunch




Maribeth with a nice cold one!

We walked down Unter Den Linden, until it met up with Friedrichstrasse

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and then went along to the S-Bahn station where we took the train home.

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We stopped several places looking for Anneliese’s food, as I only brought a few days worth, but they do not sell it here! So much for Iams! I bought Royal Canine for dackels and I have mixed it with the Iams and hopefully it will sit okay.

Saturday we go to see Herr Isegrim. I know my little coquette is looking forward to her trip. She is giving me very clear signs that she is ready to accept his affections!

I am having a wonderful time and Uschi and I seldom stop talking. In fact it was very funny today at a shop, Uschi had been speaking English all day and when a salesgirl spoke to her in German she began to answer her in English! We all laughed so much at that!

Time for me to unwind and settle down for the night. Wish me luck on Saturday! Or should I say, wish Isegrim luck! After all, women can be very temperamental!