With COVID-19 cancelling Octoberfest celebrations around the world my parents and I decided to hold our own celebration this year. During the first weekend of Octoberfest my family and I celebrated the occasion with a big German meal. Aldi, a German company, came in handy by providing some yummy shortcuts to our meal.
German Items From Aldi– With Aldi being a German based company the discount food chain offers some limited items during the fall season to make your Octoberfest authentic! I read online that Aldi sells these imported German favorites two times throughout the year, so if you missed buying them this fall you’ll have another opportunity in the spring, usually around Easter.
For our Octoberfest meal I looked to Aldi for their imported dried spaetzle (a small dumpling popular in southern Germany). Another limited favorite is Aldi’s red cabbage with apples, delicious and good for you too. I always get my sauerkraut from Aldi (imported from Germany and found at Aldi year round.) And you can’t have a proper German celebration without a yummy dessert and the caramel apple strudel from Aldi did not disappoint. It was the perfect ending to our meal. The strudel comes frozen and is available in apple, caramel apple and mixed berry.
Schnitzel Prepared Hunter Style– I make pork schnitzel (breaded and fried pork cutlets) throughout the year and usually serve it plain or with a slice of lemon. This time I wanted to make a Hunter Sauce to go with it and my dad and I cooked up the sauce together. Hunter Sauce is a creamy mushroom sauce with onions and it is so good! After pouring the rich sauce over the schnitzel, we garnished the dish with real bacon bits and fried onions. The main dish was delicious and cooking with my dad was fun! CLICK HERE for the recipe.
Big Shark Lemon Radlerby Urban Chestnut– I love radlers (beer mixed with lemonade or lemon lime soda) and I found a local radler brewed by a Saint Louis brewery, Urban Chestnut. Urban Chestnut’s radler is hands down the best radler I’ve ever had in the states. During the summer I enjoyed their Big Shark Grapefruit Radler and it was delicious. I wish they brewed them year round! We drank from mugs decorated with my hometown flag, a city founded by German immigrants.
You don’t have to be German or come from a family with German heritage (my maternal great grandmother was a German immigrant) to enjoy Octoberfest! You simply have to love beer, good food and family fun!
It was a Tuesday afternoon and my daughter and I were on our weekly shopping trip to Aldi. While waiting to pay for our groceries a friendly lady, with only a few items in her cart, joined us in line. She smiled sweetly and commented on my daughter’s cuteness and good behavior. Since we had a cart full of groceries I motioned for her to go in front of us. She graciously thanked us and approached the cashier. She appeared to be a local celebrity because the cashier, along with the rest of the workers, seemed to know who she was and she was greeted with smiles, friendly waves and hugs! As my daughter and I were bagging our groceries the lady thanked us once again for letting her go ahead of us and asked, “Can your daughter have candy?” Although I was taught to never take candy from a stranger, this lady was clearly a regular shopper and I trusted the miniature candy bar she was offering my three-year old was safe to eat. As my daughter embraced the candy in her little hands, the lady thanked us for our kindness and wished us a good day. I helped my daughter unwrap the chocolate goodness and used this encounter as an opportunity to teach my offspring that when you do something kind for others, you get kindness in return.
Fast forward a month and you will find my daughter and I enjoying a spaghetti lunch with my mom and dad at our local Fazoli’s. A friendly lady wearing a beautiful cross necklace said hello as she passed our table. My dad complemented her on the delicate cross necklace and a few minutes later the lady returned asking if my daughter could have candy. When I responded favorably she showered our table with chocolates. My mind raced to the lady who gave us candy at Aldi’s and I quickly realized we were having another sweet encounter with the candy lady!
This time I discovered the candy lady is Edy and that she never leaves home without a bag of chocolate. She finds joy handing out candy to workers at the establishments she frequents, bringing a little sweetness to others in what may otherwise be an ordinary day. In return, they look forward to Edy’s visits and she is treated with kindness and respect. In the fast paced world we live in we often don’t take the time to connect with others. How many times have you been guilty of being on your cell phone while a cashier rings up your groceries? Or being distracted by your little one or your lengthy “to do list” or the many other stresses in your life that you barely make eye contact with the worker who fills your order? Edy reminded me how important it is to take the time to be kind and considerate and to let people know, “You are important, I notice you and I appreciate the work you do!” And as a parent I need to remember there is a little person watching my every move, observing my actions and reactions and striving to be just like me! Through a smile, a friendly nod or a simple “thank you,” we can all be like Edy and together we can make the world a sweeter place.