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Stammtisch, Stomp Tish and a Little Gastfreundschaft



Posted by on Feb 10, 2015 | 9 comments

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Garden Stammtisch

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
~ Henry Valentine Miller

To say living in Germany changed us is an understatement.


We lived in southern Bavaria which we often compared to Mayberry–the second week we were there I was already running into people I knew at the grocery store.

Dirndl - a German Princess Dress!

Me and my sweet, sweet friend and relocation agent, Vanessa, after we had gone to Oktoberfest and on our way to see FC Bayern Munich play fußball. A FANTASTIC, memorable day!

Germans are a people rich in tradition. From the incredible Christmas markets, to festivals and even clothing (dirndl and lederhosen), they don’t wear pride in country on their sleeve, it is their sleeve.

It’s hard to chose a favorite tradition – they’re all that much fun and interesting – but one in particularly flirts with the top of my list:  Stammtisch

A loose translation for Stammtisch is “regulars’ table.” If you visit Germany and notice signs above tables with a name, it means that table is reserved for a group of people with a weekly reservation.

The German tradition of Stammtisch at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich

Stammtisch signs at the famed Hofbräuhaus in Munich.

No matter how crowded the restaurant becomes, they’ll hold a table for a group they know will show up week after week, even if it sits empty for a while.

During our year there, I attended two Stammtisch gatherings: a dinner one for ex-pats that included my husband and his co-workers; the other for women who speak English, meeting twice monthly for breakfast in homes.

Table Scenes from a German Breakfast Stammtisch - meats, breads, pretzels and more

Images from several of our German Breakfast Stammtisches. A German host would always have assorted meats, cold cuts and sausages–not the traditional Jimmy Dean pork links or ground sausage! We’d always have pretzels and assorted breads, cheeses, fruit, coffee, juices and tea. No grits, no bacon; if an American hosted, we might have muffins or some sort of casserole, but always different than a typical American brunch.


I loved the tradition so much, I was determined to bring it back to the States when I returned.


And after a delay or three, I finally did.

I don’t think I’ve ever thrown as mix-matched a party. Fifteen people had RSVPed, and I had to scrounge for enough coffee cups and plates to accommodate my guests. Though I over invited what I had room for, I trusted the people who were “supposed” to show up, would. Of course I was disappointed not everyone could come, but the up-side was sufficient breathing room in our small entertaining space.

An American Breakfast Stammtisch

Large, soft pretzels are a staple for German breakfasts so I HAD to have some at my inaugural Stammtisch. A few fun mentions in this collage: the candle under the pretzel picture was a gift from my sweet friend, Shelly Wildman; it’s an Ella B. neighborhood candle featuring her hometown scent “Wheaton”–I always think of her when its lit. Also, Jill Anderson gave me the darling “Thankful for…” chalkboard as a housewarming gift when we moved to Macon & I think of her every day when I look at it. Last, I LOVE my gerberas and spider mums in the Queen Anne’s Lace pitcher from Mary & Martha (get one while they’re still available).


I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read A Little Gastfreundschaft {“hospitality” in German}, a companion piece I wrote about Stammtisch for the wonderful new site Grace Table; in it I share how Stammtisch reminded me in a very real sense Who I am, and why I was forced to delay beginning a Stammtisch upon our return home (which also explains why we moved). I’ve also found the pictures I took at the first Stammtisch I ever attended.

Stammtisch has been incredibly formative and affirming, and I’ve been surprised but delighted by the enthusiastic response to Stammtisch here. When we get together, we linger around the table and no one is in a hurry to leave. Each hostess has made the gathering special in her own way.

And maybe the best thing about Stammtisch is it’s never about performance or perfection; it’s about people.

Stammtisch friends


Does this sound like something you’re interested in trying? I’ll cheer you along and help you any way I can. Got questions? Please ask in comments!

(And DaySpring has created a new line to add beauty to your pursuit of friendship–
click the image below to see all the new wonderful things!)


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(Word-)Kiss(es for) the Cook



Posted by on Apr 5, 2011 | 2 comments

I like to cook; and nothin' makes me wanna cook for YOU more than a good compliment.  Two of my favorites?

Just last night from a first-time guest, a high school junior guy–

(Smiling Cheshire big)  "That banana puddin' just hit the back of my mouth and forced me to smile…I couldn't help it, it was an involuntary response….

And always from my friend Julie–

"Your macaroni and cheese is the ONLY mac and cheese in the world worth the calories!"


Blow that kind of air up my skirt and I'll prepare a kingly feast for you.



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Hotel shower caps are not just for your head…



Posted by on Aug 3, 2010 | 2 comments

According to my sister-in-law, they're perfect bowl covers for your leftovers.

DSCF1477Brilliant!  A total V-8-"Why-didn't-I-think-of-that?" moment!

And if you DO have need to protect your stylish coiffure, why you've got just what you need for that, too.  

And maybe a snack while you're at it ;).

THIS JUST IN:  Amy passed along another fantastic idea:  use your shower cap to cover the "other" half of a watermelon you aren't yet ready to eat.

The brilliance is without end, I tell ya!

{Photo credit 'cause I didn't have enough sense to take a piccha at the time…!}

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Mouthwatering Monday? You betcha!



Posted by on Mar 8, 2010 | 6 comments

In my quest to not only try new recipes monthly, but to incorporate them into my culinary arsenal, I'm bound to have a combination of hits and misses.  While Southern Living's "Easy Chicken & Dumplings" was an out-of-the-ballpark winner for our family, the "Slow-Cooker Pork Chops" met with mixed approval, and all of us were disappointed in the Sizzling Flounder""; sizzling anything sounds delicious but I'm afraid paprika ruined it for me.  

We went to Carrabba's with friends the other night and I tried a new dish:  Polla Rosa Maria.  

Oh.  My.  Word.

The yummilicity factor on this one is off the charts!  Chicken stuffed with fontina cheese and prosciutto, then topped with mushrooms in a basil lemon butter sauce?  Slap-me-nekkid-and-hide-my-clothes, it was so stinkin' good my husband stole my plate and licked it clean enough to stack back on the shelf!

Then he had the audacity to suggest I cook it for dinner.  

At first I thought he was crazy, but with a lee-tle Al Gore-invention called the "internet", I realized he was CRAZY LIKE A FOX!  We found a copycat recipe in two clicks, and ladies and gentlemen–it might not be a Southern Living recipe, but oh-my-LANTA, it's SCRUMPTIOUS!  My very picky kids even devoured it, so this one makes the cut.

It sounds a little intimidating–i.e., butterflying chicken and stuffing it?–but I promise, it's EASY and downright fancy.  Try it…you'll like it!

Pollo Rosa Maria chicken like Carrabba's

Pollo Rosa Maria (a Carrabba's copycat recipe) 


  • 4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves
  • 4 slices prosciutto ham
  • 1/2 cup fontina cheese
  • 1/2 cup clarified butter – see Notes, below
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sm. yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
  • 4 Tbls. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh sweet basil (use FRESH, much better!)
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Butterfly chicken breasts (they'll do this for you in the meat department) and grill over hot coals for 3-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through; remove from grill and allow to cool.

Holding a breast in your hand, opened like a taco shell, stuff each breast with one slice of prosciuto and 1/8 cup fontina cheese.  Secure breasts closed with toothpicks.  Set aside and keep warm.

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté garlic and onion in clarified butter until tender.  Deglaze pan with wine.  Add mushrooms, butter, salt, and pepper and sauté 1-2 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender.

Stir in basil and lemon juice.  Top stuffed chicken with prepared sauce.


Notes: To make clarified butter, melt butter over low heat; remove from heat and let sit until the milk solids settle to the bottom; skim the clear butter from the top; discard sediment.  **Don't get hung up on this; I think I messed it up but it STILL tasted wonderful!

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It’s as good a reason as ANY to have a party!



Posted by on Oct 12, 2009 | 11 comments

I'm hosting a party on Friday for one of the silliest reasons on the planet.

Once upon a time I would buy anything if it was on sale for at least 75% off.  With great enthusiasm I would justify rationalize explain to my husband "BUT-HONEY-LOOK-HOW-MUCH-MONEY-I-SAAAAVED!!!" while he would just shake his head and praise God that at least I wasn't a retail price binge shopper. 

I swear it was like a druggie getting a fix, the "high" directly proportional to the percentage off.  Once at the Hallmark store, I found decorative clay vases and urns for ONE CENT and flipped in-store cartwheels for HITTING THE MOTHER LODE while the employees–thrilled to get the blasted inventory OUT OF THEIR STORE AND INTO MY CAR and unconcerned it was probably some accounting glitch in their system (Why in the world would they sell ANYTHING for a single penny???)–assured me I wasn't doing anything "wrong" or peculiar by buying a dozen clay vessels.  

I got them home, put 'em in my "sale closet" smugly satisfied that Christmas shopping was done for a few people; though in mid-July I didn't even know who I'd give them to.  

That was inconsequential.

On another visit to the same Hallmark store, I hit the lottery again, this time with a 75% off jackpot. 


I found a dozen soup and sandwich trays reminiscent of blue and white delftware, marked down to $2.50!  Originally $10, I scooped up every one of them!  Imagining my future, I envisioned monthly get-togethers with my girlfriends just for the sake of using the darling plate-trays and soup mugs.  And,
s u r e, to enjoy my friends' company, too.

I've used them once in the decade-plus I've had them.  I'm sure that's a sin of some sort.

Sister-party Soooo…when my beloved blog sistah, Amber, began encouraging others to host a girlfriend party, the wheels started turning in my head.  She reminded me that nurturing friendship requires intent; I realized it had been a long, long time since I hosted a gathering in my home for "no reason" other than the sake of investing in others' lives.  Sowing friendship; reaping tenfold the same.  

While I love The Matrix the blogosphere and my imaginary friends the wonderful writers I've met in personand the ones I've yet met but whose blogs I adore–I realize it's way too easy to invest in those friendships at the expense of the women who will pick up my kids from school when I'm in a pinch, bring me dinner when I need it, or hug me when I need the touch of kindred soul.  And much more important, how will I know when they need a kind word or touch or dinner when they're too sick to get out of bed if I'm not in on-going relationship with them?

So, yes, on one hand I'm hosting a party on Friday for one of the silliest reasons on the planet:  to use my soup tray-plates & mugs.  But on that other hand?  It's to share life with special friends…just because it's passed time.  For both :).

YOUR TURN:  How are you investing in the lives of your friends?  How have your friends surprised or blessed you lately? 


Wanna host your own Sister Party?  Visit The Runamuck for details.

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Cambria Cove ~ a feast for the senses!



Posted by on Aug 22, 2009 | 61 comments

CONGRATULATIONS TO Stacey at Tree, Root & Twig!!!

Thanks to all who commented, tweeted, facebooked and/or stumbled–you're all winners for having discovered Cambria Cove, right? (keep them in mind for future shopping!).  BTW, I loved your stories about "favorite gifts" so much, I'll be blogging about it soon :).

Picture 7

During the Blog Hop a few weeks ago, I learned about a wonderful site that had eluded me prior:  Cambria Cove.  They wrote me to ask if I'd be interested in sharing their site with PENSIEVE readers (and Blog Hop hoppers).  Though I didn't broadcast it then, I was traveling that week, so I wasn't able to investigate Cambria Cove until later.

white and dark chocolate tulip shaped dessert shells Oh…my…word…it's the kind of shopping that sends me into HappySensoryOverload!  The more I looked the more I liked and I noticed something:  this ain't the bargain basement.

But, then I noticed something else:  Cambria Cove wants to distinguish itself as a retailer that offers remarkable products that will never be found at the end of an aisle marked 75% off.  Their offerings are artisan crafted; there's a story behind every item

When you give or receive a gift from Cambria Cove, it's not only about the product itself, it's about memory, inspiration, thoughtfulness; it's gift-giving (or personal reward?? 🙂 ) that communicates value to the receiver. 

In an economy when many are forced to evaluate every purchase, you have to know you're getting what you're paying for.  Beginning with the way products are packaged and shipped, you'll find immediately care has been tended to your purchase.

CLICK FOR A CLOSE-UP OF THE BEADED NAPKIN RINGS! Perfect w/the lime green napkins! To give me a taste of their products, Cambria Cove sent a beautiful box full of lovies for my kitchen or dining room:  a colorful table runner, lime green napkins and four beaded napkin rings THAT I SWEAR YOU COULD WEAR AS BRACELETS!  It's like Cambria Cove was a BFF of mine and they knew just what make me squeal :).  We typically reserve cloth napkin use for special occasions, but now I find myself wanting to plan a special occasion around the napkin rings–how crazy is that?

Cambria Cove is a high-end retailer but there are products in most every price range; you can buy a darlin' set of "Fabulous Friends" notecards for $30 or if you have a lee-tle bit more to spend, this Mandarin Burst set of correspondence cards starting at $320 (yikes!).  For forty bucks, I'm considering this personal stamper to replace my return address labels–two words:  Dar.  Ling! 

But this is only the beginning; to see their full range of product and gift items, it's worth a few minutes of your time to check out Cambria Cove's site.  If you like what you see (and I don't see how you won't!), I'll be giving away a $100 shopping spree to one lucky reader!  To enter, after visiting their site, comment how you might spend $100 if you win (<— must be done to qualify for additional entries —>).  Additional entries may be earned by:

  • Tweeting this post/giveaway using this link:  Then comment the URL for your tweet.
  • Sharing the above link with your Facebook friends then commenting the link to your page.
  • Stumbling, Kirtsying or Digging this post {does it not seem like bloggers speak their own language??  Geez…!}
  • Commenting about the favorite gift you've ever been given and why {<– I like this one…it's about you, not about me, and though the other requirements are a means to an end {{introducing Cambria Cove to a broader audience}} if you do one {or more} of those, I might just show favoritism to those who do this one.  That's random, right??
  • Entry deadline is 11:59 EST Tuesday, 8/25/09.  Bloggers & non-bloggers are invited to enter!

Okay people, enough from me…time for YOU to giddy-up!!


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