Week One: A rough road to Germany

Back in 2008 BK (before kids), my wife and I got to take an amazing trip backpacking through Europe.  My wife and I love to travel but let’s face it, travelling with kids just isn’t the same. Most of our focus when travelling with our little ones is seeing the joy on their faces as they experience new things. By the end of the day you are exhausted and there isn’t much alone time.  So what we like to do on At Home Date Night is pretend we are travelling to different parts of the world.  We look up recipes from those countries or areas and try them out.  So come take a trip with us to one of our favorite places…Germany

The reason for the title is when you start to do something out of the ordinary and make your relationship a priority, there will be about a million things that will try to distract you or get in the way of this happening. Week 1 was that way for us.  We had every intention of getting the kids to bed early, but one of our little guys started to spike a fever and the oldest one has been staying up later during the vacation break and having lots of play time with daddy. So what do you do? Give up? Throw in the towel? Curdle up in the fetal position and cry?  HECK NO!!  You grab your partner, embrace for about 10 seconds, put on your super hero pants, slap each other on the butt, give each other a high five and get to it.

For the next 45 min we spent taking care of the kids needs and we just knew date night was going to start late.  I sure am glad we decided not to give up though because our relationship is worth it.  Once the kids were in bed we transported our minds to Germany…although my wife’s attitude was still at home.  Don’t get discouraged by this guys, your wife and you have had a long day and she may be tired and cranky at first but just be patient and give her a second to get herself together.  So the first couple minutes were quiet while she prepared the appetizer and I got the main course started.  We also found some German music on Pandora and YouTube to set the mood.

My wife makes the appetizer because she is the queen of appetizers.  I’m not quite the king of main courses…more like CHEF RAMSAY of main courses (in my dreams).  On our At Home Date Night menu we had Oktoberfest German Beer Cheese Spread for our appetizer and Sauerbraten with Ginger Gravy and Garlicky Roasted Broccoli.  Don’t worry guys, I’ll have a shopping list at the bottom for everything and I’ll try to round up the whole cost.  You can also click on the links to the recipes but I’m going to go over how we made it at the end.

02 2

So my wife started in on the German cheese spread and found us a German station to listen to on YouTube.  We like to talk about a specific topic and we’ve both been watching the documentary about the Last War Heroes of WWII on Netflix.  So we talked about what it would be like if something like that happened now and how America and the world would fair this time.  As we were talking the German music started to sound like some kind of military march.  We looked at the title and sure enough it was some kind of German military march song.  We both looked at each other and immediately switched to something else.  Since we had no idea what they were saying we kind of laughed and hoped we weren’t listening to a Hitler military march or something.  We don’t need big brother showing up to our doorstop on date night.

The next was this weird German Techno so we broke out into our best Techno dance and ate the German Cheese spread with the recommended pumpernickel bread (minus techno dance).  Man oh man was that Cheese spread amazing.  At the end we will also give a rating of each thing we ate.  This was a definite 10 and we will be adding this one to our daily rotation of family appetizer meals.  The cheese spread was simple to make.  It does have beer in it and you don’t cook it so there is some alcohol in it.  If you don’t drink or are pregnant switch out the German beer for non-alcoholic beer.

Next we had the Sauerbraten.  The recipe calls for Beef cubes.  I would recommend buying quality beef because I used beef stew cubes and the meat was a little tough but the sauce was amazing.  The best part though was the Garlicky Roasted Broccoli.  I’m pretty sure we will never eat frozen broccoli again.  IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!  You could eat this for a snack it was so good and simple to make. My wife was eating the stuff like it was chips.


After dinner we like to do an activity of some sort.  So we decided to make a Christmas Savings 2015 shadow box.  The idea behind this is to save the dollar amount of every week of the year.  So this is week 1 so you would put 1 buck in the shadow box this week.  At the end of the 52 weeks you should have $1378.00 dollars!!!  Sounds easy right!! BS!  It’s not easy because everybody can’t save that amount every week, but I think short term savings is important so I’m going to give you a couple different options.  If you choose to do the weekly savings than I suggest doing it backwards, start out with 52 bucks the first week then 51 next week.  This way all the heavy hits are up front and the easy payments are at the end of the year when things are getting tight anyways.  Option 2 is to do this for the first 26 weeks then 10 dollars every week after that. This will give you a total of $611.00.  Or you could just save 10 bucks a week and end up with…..hold on I’m going to do common core math to solve this one…..100+100+100+100+100+100-50-30= $520.00.  I think everyone can save 10 bucks a week. Just sacrifice a Starbucks coffee or some kind of fast food and you will find that 10 bucks.


This was a fun craft that was inexpensive to make.  I will tell you though; I didn’t do much of the decorating. That was all my wife.  I wanted too, but she wouldn’t let me.  Don’t get discouraged by her not letting you do some of the crafts.  She just wanted to get it done at first, but once she got into it she turned into Pablo Picasso and it was her life’s work to make it perfect. My job was to drill the hole in the top of the Shadow Box so we could slip the money in, and I might add….it was a perfect hole I drilled.  YOU GET TO USE POWER TOOLS ON DATE NIGHT!!! How cool is that.

So, week 1 started off rough but in the end we were laughing and so thankful that we didn’t let anything get in the way of our special time.  Below you will find a shopping list, costs, and a walkthrough of us cooking.  If you have questions or need help don’t hesitate to leave us a comment and please share with others. We have opened an Instagram account called home_date_night_duo.  Follow us there and we would love for you guys to share your pictures of your at home date night experience under the #homedatenightduo.

Shopping List: links should be in blue

Oktoberfest German Cheese Spread

  • 16 oz block of Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese $4.75
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce $ we had on hand
  • 1 ½ teaspoons yellow mustard $ we had on hand
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $ we always have on hand
  • ¼ teaspoon salt $ we had on hand
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper $ really? Of course you have on hand
  • ¾ cup German Beer (or non-alcoholic beer) $ we used Beck’s beer 4 pack. $5.00
  • Loaf of pumpernickel bread (you can use pretzel sticks or cracker too) $2.99

01 2

Total cost : $12.74 (these makes enough for 2 meals. The cheese spread stays good for 5 days.)

Enjoyment Rating : If I could give higher than a 10 I would !!!


Cut up the cheese into small blocks and put in a food processor or blender. We have a ninja so we used that.  Pulse the cheese only about 10 times until it’s finely chopped.

Mix in the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper and start to blend that baby. While blending, pour in the beer through the feed tube and keep blending for about 30 to 45 seconds

The recipe calls out to refrigerate it for 1 hour.  We skipped that because we were hungrier than hostages by that point.  Cut up some pumpernickel bread and start to enjoy. I promise you this is just amazing.

Sauerbraten with Ginger Gravy

  • 3 tablespoons butter $ we had
  • 1 lb beef cubed steaks $ 5.69 for a lb
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped $ .99
  • ½ teaspoon salt $ nada
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper $nada
  • 12 oz jar brown gravy $ 1.79
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar $ we had
  • ¼ cup water $……..
  • ½ cup coarsely crushed gingersnap cookies $4.75 for a box !!!! this is why I didn’t use.
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar $ we had
  • ½ cup sour cream $1.79 for 16oz

Total cost : $10.26

Enjoyment Rating : Meat 5 , Ginger Gravy 10


Put the butter into a frying pan and put the stove on medium to high heat. I put the stove on 5.  Let the butter melt then mix in the beef, salt, pepper, and onions and move around a little (not your body but the meat.) Let it cook like that for about 8 minutes.


Go eat some more cheese spread.

Stir in the gravy(I used an 18oz jar….don’t do this..use 12oz), vinegar, water, cookie crumbs (or ginger seasoning), and brown sugar. Bring to a boil then stir and reduce the heat to a simmer (1 on my stove). Cover and cook for 25-30 min until steak is tender (ours never got tender, I probably did something wrong or bought cheap beef.)

Go eat some more cheese spread. (I recommend doing this as much as you can.)

After the 25 min stir in the sour cream and mix really well.  It’s ready to serve.

You might have a lot of gravy left over…I think you could probably save this gravy and use with some ground beef and noodles or something…just a suggestion.

Galicky Roasted Broccoli

  • 1 lb broccoli ( just buy a head of fresh broccoli) $2.99 …I think I bought organic
  • ¼ cup of olive oil $ we always have
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar (I used white vinegar) $ we had
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed $ again we always have
  • 1 teaspoon salt $ yep…you guess it…we have

Total cost : $2.99 !!!   You know I think the package of florets we normally use are those microwavable ones which you just pop in and it’s done in like 6 min.  Those cost $2.50……NEVER AGAIN !!!!

Enjoyment Rating : 10

I recommend doing this as soon as you put the sauerbraten to cook for 25-30 min.  Pre-heat the oven to 475F. Cut the broccoli into little florets.  You can also slice the stem up but we didn’t. There were more than enough florets.


Then in a mixing bowl dump the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and salt and whisk it around. Dump the Broccoli in and mix with your hands nice and good so all the broccoli is covered. (Wash your hands before you do this.)  Oh, my wife and I have this tool that crushes the garlic…very handy.

Are you still eating cheese spread??  If not you are doing something wrong.

Now line a cookie sheet with some foil if you have it and place the broccoli florets onto the sheet and kind of spread out.  If the oven is ready pop the broccoli in and let it cook for 12-15 min.  We cooked it for 12.  If you do this all right the sauerbraten and broccoli should be ready about the same time.

Enjoy !!

Christmas Savings Shadow Box

Shopping list

  • 8×8 shadow box $ 9.00
  • 8×8 picture $ We printed it out ourselves..but you can go to target and print it out for probably $3.00 or cheaper.
  • Acrylic color paints. $ we had on hand but they cost around $2.00 a piece.
  • ½ drill bit with a power drill $ you are a guy, if you don’t have this then you fail

Total Cost:  $9.00 for us

Ok this was really fun.  First thing is to find a picture…something Christmasy.  Leave that up to the woman fellas and tell her everyone has to be in the picture.

While she is searching for the picture take the shadow box apart.  There should be a piece of glass and then an inner wood frame piece.  Your job is to become awesome and figure out how you drill into the top, the inner wood piece and all that jazz without breaking anything.  I used a ruler and marked out some dimensions. I drilled through the outer frame first, then the inner frame.  I did an awesome job.  If you need help with this or don’t have a drill then you’ll just have to open the back up every time you want to put money in.  If somebody has a better way of doing this I’m all ears.


Ok with hole drilled and picture printed out you can put the shadow box back together.  It looks pretty awesome and you are feeling pretty proud right now.

Now use the paints and write something and put some designs on it. Viola !!!  You are crafty !!!

Oh yeah, drop your 52, 26, or 10 bones inside.  You are going to have to roll that money up pretty tight. Maybe Miley Cyrus has a YouTube video on how to do that….too soon?


You can also get the shadowbox off amazon for around $10.50

Total cost for date night : $32.51  



8 thoughts on “Week One: A rough road to Germany

  1. Chris, Sahyli…I so enjoyed this!!! I had been speaking to Robert about it this week but now I can show him what it looks like. Thank you for sharing and encouraging other couples to give themselves the time and importance every marriage needs in such a simple and fun way. I will be sure to share on this blog or your FB page what we come up with for next week. Life is definitely conspiring against us for time and intention with each other this month, but we will fight back and make this a priority. xoxo Leila


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s