Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fried Aubergine


When moving to a new country you quickly learn that what you call something isnt always what another country calls it. Take for instance our green peppers..here in the netherlands they are called Paprikas..yep just like that spice we sometimes use. However if you want to use the Paprika spice..it's still called paprika. There is even a paprika flavored chip here. Speaking of chips..Cool Ranch is called Cool American because ranch dressing doesnt exsist here!! how can you not have that? Im resorting to making my own now or I swap spice packets with people in trade for ranch packets..lol Anyway my really long story revolves around my trying to find Eggplant or as the dutch call it Aubergine. I always feel like I'm crazy when I cant find a name for something here and noone ever knows what Im talking about until I google it or stumble upon it in a store. I love eggplant! Well I should say I love fried eggplant. I haven't actually had it to many ways but Im going to try more with it and grow my own next year..along with some green peppers..uhhh..Paprikas:) My kids love fried egg plant and we eat them like potato chips..they are that good and super simple to make!
Fried Eggplant
1 eggplant..any size
Flavored Bread Crumbs
2 Eggs
** Peel the skin off the eggplant,slice it semi thin..you dont want it to thick or it wont really xrisp up. Beat your eggs in one dish,add your bread crumbs in another. Dip them in egg and then in your bread crumbs and fry over medium heat in some oil.It doesnt take long,you just want to the bread crumbs to turn a nice brown color.** So simple and so yummie.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Honey Muffins


These are super duper yummie muffins. If you like the taste of honey then these muffins are for you. I send these with the boys but they also go great with any sort of meat and potato dish.
Honey Muffins
2 cups Flour1/2 cup Sugar
3 tspns Baking Powder
1/2 tspn Salt
1 Egg
1 cup Milk
1/4 cup Butter,melted
1/4 cup Honey
** In a bow combine the flour,sugar,baking powder and salt. In another bowl whisk the egg,milk butter and honey; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees(200celcius) for 15-18 mins or until a totthpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Yields 1 dozen..or if you are like me you fill them more and you get 9 or 10.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Banana Muffins


Im on a muffin kick right now. The boys need to bring a snack to school each day and I decided to bake them something rather than buying some sugary crap at the store. They really loved these. I got the recipe from the Nigella Lawson book I have and was super impressed with how they turned out. I loved that there wasnt any sugar in it and the recipe calls for you to melt the butter,vanilla and honey together and it creates the BEST smelling aroma ever. If they havent made butter honey vanilla candles yet, they really need to..lol
Banana Muffins
2 TBLSPNS unsalted butter (I used regular butter)
1/4 cup Honey
1/2 tspn Vanilla extract
2 large very ripe Bananas
1 cup Flour
1 tspn Baking Powder
1/2 tspn Baking Soda
1/2 tspn Cinnamon
pinch of salt
** Preheat oven to 375. Put the butter,honey, and vanilla extract in a pan on a low heat to melt,then remove and set aside for a few minutes. Mash the bananas and,in another bowl,measure out the flour,baking powder,baking soda,cinnamon,and salt. Mix the melted-butter mixture with the bananas and then mix into the dry ingredients. Don't overmix,just stir it a few times to get everything together. The batter will be slightly lumpy wich is just fine. Either grease or line your muffin tins with liners and fill them two thirds full. Put in the oven and bake for 25mins. Leave in pans for 5 mins and then take them out and place them on a wire rack. It will either make 24 mini muffins or 10 regular sized ones. I also added a handful of walnuts in there and it tasted fantastic.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pudding Pops



I had serious doubts about posting the picture of this pudding pop. It looks really naughty..LOL Oh well thats my 13 year old side coming out again. My Dad and step mom sent me a box that included various pudding mixes and two containers to make popsicles. I was really wanting something creamy when I remembered how much I used to love pudding pops! Here is a simple version to make your own at home. I used chocolate and they tasted just like a fudgesicle.
Pudding Pops
1 box of any flavor pudding mix(the one that feeds 4 people)
3 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
** Mix all those ingredients together and pour them into molds or paper or plastic cups. Pop into the freezer and let them harden up** The boys LOVED these and so did the husband:)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Popcorn


I love popcorn! I ate it alot when I was back home. I had an airpopper but 99% of the time I used the microwave bags. When I moved to the netherlands a year ago I went looking for popcorn. They sell it here in boxes of 3 and the price is not very desirable. They also only have two flavors: Salt and Sweet. I tried the sweet first and didnt like it at all. It was popcorn and sugar and had no taste at all. I tried the salt next and stuck with that one. I have to admit that I never had plain popcorn with just salt. I always had it with butter but now that I've had this way I wont go back. I hated only getting 3 bags so I set out to find the kernels and the airpopper. Well I found nothing,not one shred of evidence that it even exsisted here. I found a popper finally after being here almost a year. I didn't buy it because I could never find kernels. Well a friend spotted some in Germany and since we are only 10mins from the border we popped over and checked out the store for ourselves. They had small bags of kernels:) I bought two and looked up how to make it online. If you have never made it on the stove,you really need to! The popcorn comes out big and fluffy and the taste is great! All you do is take a large pot fill the bottom with enough oil to just cover the bottom,add enough kernels to sprinkle the bottom( I used 3/4 cup). Let the oil get really hot,pour the kernels in and cover it. They will start popping right away. At this point I turn the heat way down and start shaking the pan back and forth to keep it from burning. The whole process only takes about a minute and you are done. I sprinkle it with salt and stinky cheese(parmesan cheese ). Don't give up if you burn the first batch..I burned the first two until I figured out the oil ratio and turning the heat down.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Snicker Peanutbutter Muffins


I've been reading one of Nigella Lawson's cookbooks called " How To Be A Domestic Goddess". I mean honestly, who doesn't want to be one of those? LOL I have to say though that if I could go back and pick something else...I would have. Im not impressed at all with this cookbook and although I love watching her on TV, this book just doesn't cut it for me. I think I will at some point purchase another one and see if I like it more. I dont like this one because the recipes don't really grab me. She had a christmas section and that really let me down. Im not a fan of fruitcakes..if you bake a fruitcake or purchase one for someone in the U.S. they will automatically know that you don't like them. They are just horrid in every way conceivable. Im not opposed to trying new foods but you will not ever beable to convince me that fruitcake is worthy of anything other than burning in a giant bon fire.


On to these muffins. I found a few recipes that I did want to try and this being one of them. The thought of Snickers and peanubutter together is just to yummie for words. I have a few issues with the recipe. It asks that you put the dough into paper liners and I wouldn't do it. I would also chop the snickers up and leave them out. I would add a part of the mixture,place a few snickers in there and top it with more of the mixture. The reason being is that the snickers stuck horribly to the paper and that was after letting it cool. The snickers needs to be contained inside the muffin somehow..maybe it wouldn't be such an issue if you spray the tins instead and not used the paper cups. The cooking time is between 20-25 mins. I left mine in for that time and the first batch was way to dark. I left the second one in for 13 mins and it was perfect. I also got 15 muffins instead of 12..I dont know why but thats what I ended up with. Over all it's a great snack for the kiddos and maybe I will make it again at some point and try my other methods out.
Snicker Peanutbutter Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius
1 2/3 cup Flour
6 TBLSPNS Sugar
1 1/2 TBLSPNS Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
6 TBLSPNS chunky or creamy PeanutButter
1/4 cup unsalted Butter,melted..I used regular butter and it was fine
1 large Egg,beaten
3/4 cup Milk
3 1/2 regular sized snickers bars,chopped
** Stir together the flour sugar,baking powder and salt. Add the peanutbutter and mix until you have a bowl of coarse crumbs. Add the melted butter and egg to the milk and then stir this gently into the flour mixture. Mix in the snickers pieces and had dollops into the muffin liners. Cook for 20-25 mins( I'd check after 13 mins or so) when the tops should be risen,golden and firm to the to the light touch. Take out and cool on wire rack. Yields 12 muffins

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Favorite Cookie Recipe


Everyone has their favorite cookie recipe and this is mine. I love cookies that are crisp NOT crunchy along the edges and are nice and soft in the middle. My husband told me once while we were in the U.S. that you wouldnt find soft cookies in the netherlands because a soft cookie is considered to be old. I have to say, I havent really found a soft cookie here. Anyway I cant take credit for this recipe. I stumbled upon it on another cooking blog. If you look to the right click on Bake or Break..man she has the best recipes on there! This is the perfect cookie recipe and although hers calls for chocolate chips I used peanubutter chocolate chips..yum yum. Those were a gift from a friend and I used my last bag today. They seriously need to start selling peanut butter and chocolate chips here..get with the program already! lol It was the first day back to school for my two sons and I wanted to make them something special.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 Cup Butter,softened..make sure you use real butter,it makes all the difference!!
1 cup Sugar
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Flour
1 tspn Baking Powder
1 tspn Baking Soda
1/2 tspn Salt
2 1/2 cups Oats
one bag of your favorite flavored chocolate chips
** Mix butter,sugar,brown sugar,eggs and vanilla..mix until smooth. Add your flour,baking powder,baking salt and salt;mixing until it's combined. Unless you have a powerful mixer..wich I dont yet you should mix the oats and chips with a wooden spoon. Her original recipe called for the oats to be placed into a food processor and blended until finely ground. I didnt do it only because I noticed the oats here in the netherlands are smaller than what I got in the U.S. and I didnt have a processor to begin with. Heat oven to 375 and drop my spoonful onto a cookie sheet. Bake 8-10mins. They are the best when they are warm:o)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Apple Crisp


Is there anyone out there who doesn't like the smell of apple crisp baking in the oven? I love it. Thats odd though because normally I do not like the smell or taste of hot apples or the smell of cinnamon but for some reason this works for me. I usually make applecrisp all the time in the fall and winter. There is just something special about making this dessert on a cold wintery day. My husband mentioned how much he liked it the other day so I set out to make a small dish for us. I honestly don't think anyone can fail at making apple crisp..it's virtually impossible in my eyes. I suppose the only way would be if you didnt bake the apples long enough or did something weird with the topping but other then that anyone can make this..and I hope you do!
Apple Crisp

4
medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)
3/4
cup packed brown sugar
1/2
cup flour
1/2
cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3
cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4
teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4
teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cream or Ice cream, if desired
1.
Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.
2.
Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.
3.
Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Baked Fish


Wow I seriously need to take a course in how to take a picture of food in a more appealing way..lol By the time I have the food on the plate I dont feel like taking a proper photo of it but I can see that I need to work on this a bit..lol
I've been combing threw the pages of the few cookbooks I have with me and I spotted one that looked easy enough and decided to give it a go. Im not a huge fish eater. I don't like the fishy taste so it's important for me to find mild tasteing one. I picked up some frozen Tilapia and decided to use that with this recipe. I think next time I will spend the extra money and get Cod..I wasnt overly impressed with the taste of this fish. I do like the recipe though and everyone ate it all and said they loved it so overall if you like fish give this recipe a chance!
Baked Fish
1 cup Sour Cream
2 TBLSPNS Onion Soup Mix
1 1/2 cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs
2 1/2 pounds Fresh or Frozen fish fillets,thawed
1/4 cup butter,melted
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
** In a shallow bowl combine sour cream and onion soup mix. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. Cut fish into serviving size pieces,coat with sour cream mixture,then roll into crumbs. Place into one or two greased large pans and drizzle with melted butter. Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 2-6 mins longer or until fish flakes easy** I sort of strayed away from the recipe. I didnt have sour cream so I used mayonaise and added in half of the onion soup mix. I also didnt have bread crumbs so I crushed a few handfuls of pringles and added the rest of the onion soup mix. I didnt bother adding any cheese because dang I didnt have that either..lol My husband really liked it. He didnt think the onion soup mix would match with the fish but he said it went really well together. The kids asked for seconds so I must have done something right. I served it with green beans and I boiled some potatoes earlier this morning and fried those up.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Brownies



Today was a lazy day. It was pretty humid out so what did I do? I made a batch of brownies and watched re runs of the Roseanne show! LOL I am buying the complete series off of a dutch website called bol.com. They have an english section and I just happend to think about it and typed it in. Sure enough they have them. I just finished watching the complete first series over the last few days. I could of been doing a million other things but I didn't care. The brownies I made today are far from perfect. I'm super picky about my brownies. I don't like frosting on them and they need to be dense and chewy. I got this recipe off of a Hershey's website because I had all the ingredients it called for. It's almost cake like wich I didnt like. If I wanted a chocolate cake I would have made that. However if you are in a pinch and dont have baking chocolate on hand to melt like most recipes call for then I suppose this will do. Im in search of the perfect brownie recipe though.

Hershey Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup(1 stick) butter,melted

1 cup sugar

1 tspn Vanilla

2 Eggs

1/2 cup Flour

1/3 cup Cocoa

1/4 tspn Baking Powder

1/4 tspn Salt

1/2 chopped nuts(optional)

** Heat ven to 350.Grease a 9 inch square pan. Stir together the butter,sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Add eggs,beat well with a spoon. Stir together the flour,cocoa,baking powder,and salt; gradually add to egg mixture,beating until well blended. Bake 20-25 mins or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely in a pan in wire rack. At this point you can either frost them or eat them as they are.**

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sloppy Joe's

I love making meals from scratch. I dont have anything against box mixes and will even use those occasionally..however since I moved to another country Im learning more and more everyday the need to create something from scratch that I remember from "home". Sloppy Joe's is one such meal. We all at some point ate these when we were kids and then fixed them ourselves for our children. You make these a few ways..either by popping open a can and adding the mix to hamburger meat or using a spice pack. I cant just run out and get that here so when I spotted this recipe in my Taste of Home cookbook I knew I had to try it. I made it tonight and it was an instant winner. It tastes very much like what I grew up on but somehow it's better. It's tangy but not overly sour tasteing. The original recipe calls for onions but I have never been a fan of onions so I instead chopped up one decent sized red pepper. I diced it up finely and my youngest didn't bat an eye when he ate it..infact they licked their plates clean. Along with this dish I made potatoe wedges. Simply slice a few potatoes up,throw them into a bowl with some oil and whatever spice you want. Toss to coat,lay them out on a pan and cook them while you are cooking the sloppy joes. I put them in a 400 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes and turned them over half way threw cooking. Serve with sliced apples and for the kiddies a glass of cold chocolate milk.

Sloppy Joe's

2 pounds Ground Beef
1 large onion (or one decent pepper if you prefer..seeded and chopped finely)
1 1/4 cups Ketchup
1/2 cup Water
1 TBLSPN Brown Sugar
1 TBLSPN White Vinegar
1/2 tspn Salt
1/2 tspn Ground Mustard
1/2 tspn Chili Powder
1/4 tspn Ground Allspice
8 hamburger buns
** In a large skillet cook beef and onion(pepper) over medium heat until meat is no longer pink;drain. Add the ketchup,water,brown sugar,vinegar,salt,mustard,chili powder and allspice.Bring to a boil.Reduce heat,simmer uncovered for 35-40mins (stick your potatoes into the oven at this time)** On a side note I coudnt find ground mustard or allspice here and there really was no change in the flavor. Instead of Allspice I sprinkled in some seasoning salt.