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Author: Cindy Williams

Germans in Texas; Texans in Germany

German Asparagus Soup

You may think of potato soup as a quintisential German dish, but did you know Asparagus soup (which typically includes potatoes) is also popular? 

Asparagus gradually made its way to Germany in the 1500’s.  Currently the Deutsch are the 4th largest producer in the world.  When you are in Germany during Asparagus season, which is  early summer, you will find it prepared every possible way in restaurants. 

Texicureans visited with Barbara Laner in the Black Forest area of Germany to learn her time honored recipe. 

German Asparagus Soup

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes


  • 1 cup butter
  • 6 cups Asparagus, (peeled if larger than 1/2 “ Diameter) and cut into 2” pieces
  • 6 cups peeled and chopped potatoes
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • pepper to tasts


  • Melt butter in large cooking pot
  • Add chopped onions and stir until slightly cooked.
  • Add vegetable broth and heat until almost bubbly.
  • Add potatoes and asparagus, stir and let cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes.
  • Stir and use either an immersion chopper, or place in increments in a blender until smooth.
  • Stir in sour cream
  • Sprinkle in nutmeg and ginger
  • Add pepper as desired.
  • Let sit with lid on for a few minutes.
  • Ladle in bowls and garnish with chives or parsley.



  • You can also substitute squash for the asparagus in this recipe!

Mexican Flan

Mexican Flan

Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8


  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • tbsp Adams Extract Vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 325.
  • Place the 1 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp water in a saucepan and bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and stir until syrup becomes a light caramel color.
  • Pour into baking pan, and spread evenly across the bottom.
  • Blend the remainder of ingredients until smooth in a blender.
  • Pour mixture into baking pan and cover with aluminum foil. Set pan in a larger baking pan and add warm water to about 3/4 inch.
  • Bake for about 60 minutes or until flan appears firm. (Flan will continue to cook after removing from oven)
  • Let Cool. Run a knife around edge of pan. Place serving plate over flan baking dish and invert quickly.



  • I have also made this flan without the sugar topping with great success. It cuts the sugar a bit.
  • It’s very important to preheat your oven for this recipe.

Hibiscus Tea

We still have warm days that call for a refreshing drink.  For a change of pace, try Jamaica or Hibiscus tea.

It’s healthy for you, has a lot of vitamins and its a beautiful, refreshing drink.

Simply add the dried hibiscus flowers to boiled water with a little sugar, a sweetener like stevia, or honey and let it steep.  Strain out the flowers, let cool and pour over ice.  Serve in glasses over ice.

I have even added a little lemon juice and mint for a slightly tart flavor.

You could also add sparkling water for a little fizz.

This is a drink you find quite often all over Mexico,  Its even quite common to serve a Hibiscus Margarita!

Hibiscus (Jamaica)Tea

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 10


  • 1 package dried Hibiscus Flowers
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1-2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
  • ½ cup sugar


  • Rinse and drain the hibiscus flowers.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  • Add the hibiscus flowers and sugar
  • Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes or so.
  • Strain
  • Chill and Serve



  • I cut the sugar in 1/2 from the package recommendations, so you can adjust according to your taste.
  • If you just divide the dried flowers in 1/2, one package will yield 2 pitchers of tea.

Texas Trails: Diez y Seis de Septiembre & Texas: Celebrating Independence

Chiles en Nogada


Chiles en Nogada

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


Base Ingredients

  • 8 medium poblano peppers
  • 1 pomegranate fruit
  • 1 small bunch of finely chopped parsley

Picadillo Ingredients (meat filling)

  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 red or white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 roma rip tomatoes, blended into a smooth puree
  • 1 clove garlic to blend with tomatoes
  • cups water to blend with tomatoes
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup cranberry raisins
  • ½ cup dry candied pineapple
  • ¼ cup fresh, finely chopped apple
  • ¼ cup chopped bleach almonds
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp know chicken bouillon seasoning
  • ½ tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Nogada Ingredients (Pecan cream sause)

  • cup pecans
  • cup water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, creme fraiche, or sour cream



  • In a large deep skillet, at medium heat, add oil and quickly sauté onion and garlic. Then add ground beef. Cook until done. Drain excess water after done.
  • Blend to puree ripe tomatoes with water end garlic clove until smooth, using a strainer when adding puree to meat.
  • When the meat and sauce start changing color to orange, add 1 cinnamon stick.
  • Continue adding the rest of ingredients, stirring slowly on low heat, letting picadillo cook until all juices are completely absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Let picadillo rest completely and cool before stuffing the chiles

Roasted Poblano Peppers:

  • If you have a gas stove, use tongs to roast the peppers directly over the fire while turning them around the flames. Once the skin starts blistering all around and still hot, wrap the chiles with paper towels and set them inside a large zip lock bag and seal. Let the chiles rest for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully peel charred skin of chiles in slow running water in your sink.
  • Make a small incision on the side of each Chile to take out the seeds and veins. Pat and dry chiles.
  • Stuff chiles carefully with the prepared picadillo and set on a platter.(Note: you may also roast chiles in a 425 F oventurning them over until the skin blisters)


  • Puree all pecans in a blender with 1 cup of water. Add water little b y little until very smooth. Add sugar and salt.
  • Add cream with a spoon until well mixed. Refrigerate.

Pomegranate (Seeds)

  • Carefully cut the top of the fruit, then slice the sides to take the thick skin off. An easy way to collect pomegranate seeds, is to submerge the fruit in cool water. The seeds will float and you can collect and drain.

Preparing to serve:

  • For an individual serving, set one stuffed poblano pepper in a dinner plate and generously pour creamy nut sauce over all. Add abundant pomegranate seeds and banish with parsley.
  • To make a casserole style you may arrange all the stuffed chiles in a deep platter, cover totally with creamy nut sauce and pomegranate seeds. Garnish with parsley.



Chiles en Nogada are generally served at room temperature, but some people like to eat them warm. So, before you serve them, you may only warm the stuffed chiles, but NOT the Nogada cream sauce. Add sauce after warming.

Gazpacho with Coffee Glazed Bacon

Love tomatoes, colorful peppers, and cucumbers? Gazpacho is the combination of all those combined in an iconic Spanish cold soup. Try it for a great way to chill on hot summer days at lunch or supper.

This recipe elevates the spicy, bright and rich soup with coffee glazed bacon and sour dough croutons. You may even say that they all become best friends in your mouth! After all, what isn’t better with bacon on it?

Just save some of that morning coffee and see what happens!

Gazpacho topped with Coffee-Glazed Bacon

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Course brunch
Servings 10



  • 1 organic or hothouse cucumber
  • 1 each red, orange, and yellow peppers (cored and seeded)
  • 8 plum tomatoes
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 32 oz organic tomato juice
  • ½ cup rice or white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup Texas EVOO
  • tsp kosher salt
  • tsp freshly ground black pepper

Sour Dough Croutons

  • 4 slices sour dough bread cut into 1" square pieces
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Coffee Glazed Bacon

  • 12 oz bacon
  • ¾ cup strong coffee
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch of pepper and salt



  • Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell pepper, tomatoes and red onions. (Add the garlic to the red onions)
  • Pulse each vegetable separately in a food processor
  • Combine in a large bowl and add tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Chill in fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Sour Dough Croutons

  • Toss with Olive Oil and bake at 375 for 6 minutes.


  • Cut the bacon into narrow strips about 3 inches long
  • Heat the pan and place the bacon in the pan, cooking until no longer raw.
  • Pour in the coffee and maple syrup. Add salt and pepper. Cook until the coffee completely evaporates from the pan and bacon is dark and carmelized.



To Serve: Pour into individual bowls and top with croutons and bacon.

Zucchini Brownies

If you have ever raised zucchini you have probably had this happen:  You walk into the garden and discover the gargantuan of all zucchini that was previously hidden under a leaf!
So, what to do?  Here’s an idea that is a crowd pleaser and healthy at the same time:  Zucchini brownies.
Moist, with just the right amount of chocolate sweetness – you will surprise the folks you share them with when you share the secret ingredient.
The icing is great, but my friend Karen prepared it sans the icing and served it to rave reviews.  So, you choose – to ice or not to ice!

Zucchini Brownies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 24


  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • cups white sugar
  • 2 tsp Adams vanilla (can use up to 1 tbsp)
  • 2 cups Texas flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and vanilla.
  • Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly in to the prepared pan.
  • Bake 25 - 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.


  • Melt together 6 tbsp cocoa and butter (or margarine, but I always suggest butter)
  • Blend together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.


Adventure Ready

Texas is a plethora of adventures waiting to be explored. Rivers, lakes, hills, forests, and trails all await our discovery. Being physically ready to tackle a hike, navigate a river in a kayak or enjoy a day walking the beach, simply makes it more enjoyable.

Below  Jessi Oehler shares with you some key exercises that you can do in your own home for a few minutes a day thereby developing muscles ready to tackle a fun outing.

5 Rounds

10 – 15 squats to bench or chair

5 – 10 push ups to bench or chair

10 -20 Alternating Lunges

10 – 15 Knee Raises

View the video below for a demonstration

Meal Prepping

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • Chicken Breasts - Number dictated by # of Meals
  • Whole Pork Butt or Shoulder
  • Low Sodium Canned Black beans and corn
  • HEB prepared Pico
  • 2 - 3 Veggies of choice


  • Baked Chicken: Dice raw chicken breast, season with your favorite seasonings and place in oven on 375 for 20-25 minutes.
  • Crockpot Pulled Pork: Place pork butt or shoulder in crockpot with 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce. Cook on high for about 4 hours
  • Pico: Combine low sodium canned black beans and corn with HEB prepared pico. Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Roasted Veggies: Chop veggies of choice and place on a baking sheet. Season with your favorite herbs. Can toss with a little EVOO if desired. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for about 10 - 15 minutes.



RV Kitchen Essentials

Being prepared makes hitting the trail so much easier and faster.  Whether you are a tent camper or RV’er, having a list of basic items assures you’ll be ready to take off for adventure!

Megan Traeger shares her list of staples she keeps in her RV.  If you are a tent camper – you might keep a plastic box  stocked with essentials.

Happy Exploring!

Must pack in the kitchen of the airstream:

  • S’mores ingredients (if you want to skip out on extra packing, buy the Keebler’s fudge stripe cookies. Chocolate and graham crackers in one.)
  • Kreutz Pancake mix (with mixin’s like fruit or pecans or chocolate chips)
  • H‑E‑B trail Mix (everybody can grab their flavor of choice and they come in resealable bags!)
  • Pasta (probably the most versatile thing I carry. I can add red sauce or just olive oil, or I can add cheese and taco seasoning. I can cook a cup of it or cook the whole bag and save the rest for leftovers.)
  • Cereal (for those mornings that we need to quickly pack up. Our kids will typically pour cereal into a cup, and some milk and a spoon and take it to the truck for on the go breakfast.)
  • Hot sauce and Tortilla chips (no further explanation needed. We do love grabbing salsas or queso when we stop at different places to try their stuff.)
  • Tortillas (another versatile item. I can make breakfast tacos, or quesadillas with leftover chicken or beef from the night before. Or I can heat them up, add some butter and sugar and call it dessert.)
  • Bread (I don’t skimp on my bread so I always buy Dave’s Killer Bread. I have yet to NOT find it when traveling!)
  • Fritos and bean dip (this is a don’t ask don’t tell snack.)
  • PB/J (sometimes you make sandwiches for your kids. Sometimes you just make them for yourself. I’m also a huge fan of packing Justin’s peanut butter packets for hiking snacks. And jelly will be used at breakfast sometimes too)
  • Granola (we buy the Bear Naked cacao and Cashew butter bag. I can eat this for breakfast, snack, or dessert. I typically will toss it with some Greek yogurt.)
  • Dried fruits (hours in the car can lead to useless snacking. Might as well eat some dried mango or banana chips!)
  • Pita chips (clearly can be used with some hummus. But the other day I had tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar. I used the pita chips as my base for all of it and they were perfect bite sized bruschettas.)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper grinders
  • Coffee (we love that when we travel we can find some really great and unique roasters throughout the country.)
  • Milk (for cereal and kids)
  • Creamer (for coffee to deal with kids)
  • Eggs (I usually only pack half a dozen for space saving.)
  • Peppered Bacon from Granzins (sometimes I’ll make this to go with pancakes, or in breakfast tacos. One time I threw it in cabbages that we were taking to a potluck. Or I can smear some Nutella on it for dessert. Best bacon I’ve ever eaten!)
  • Butter
  • Sandwich condiments 
  • Lunch meat and cheeses
  • Fruits (we eat a ton of fruits so this is a revolving door. It’s especially fun to get local produce that is native to an area.)
  • Hummus
  • Bell peppers (slice them up to throw in a omelet. Slice them up to dip in hummus. Or slice them up to sauté for dinner.)
  • Sparkling waters
  • Pound of ground beef 
  • Shredded Cheese (another thing that can be added to a ton of things.)
  • Sausage (use it for breakfast, snacks, or dinner.)
  • Large Greek Yogurt (at home I hardly buy the big containers of yogurt but on the road we always have one in the fridge.

Quick and fun breakfast
Banana split breakfast
Cut banana in half, scoop in yogurt instead of ice cream
Top with fresh fruits and granola
Sometimes I’ll add some chocolate chips or sprinkles to the girls.

On the run lunch hack
I always buy paper food boats. That way if we are in a pinch, I can throw a sandwich and some goldfish and some fruit gummies in a tray and call it lunch for the kids. In the adults trays I may cut up some bell peppers and scoop in some hummus to take in the car. Easy clean up.

Dinner suggestion
When planning your dinners be mindful of how many dishes you are getting dirty. I like to simplify and try to stick to one pot meals if possible. I’ll load the ingredients into a paper bag to keep them all together in the fridge. This then becomes my trash bag as I cook.

After dinner space saver
If I know I’m making chicken or beef and may possibly have extras, I’ll cook all of it and then put the remainder of the cooked meat in single compartment meal prep containers (from H‑E‑B) to keep in the fridge. I can reheat the meat the next day and add it to lunch as a quesadilla or to top a salad.