Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Homemade Iced Coffee

I had every intention of photographing this glass filled with iced coffee. However things took a turn when I sampled it and then sampled again and again. I sat down,kicked my feet up,closed my eyes, and smiled. This is exactely what I needed on this super humid day. Up until 2 years ago I never ever drank coffee. I hated the smell of it and the only way I could stomach a sip was if it was made into iced coffee with add ins..like chocolate or vanilla. When I moved the to the netherlands I discovered what a serious pass time coffee drinking was here. My husband drank it by the bucket loads and whenever we went to someone's house the first thing they asked is if we wanted coffee. I always said no and their eyebrows would shoot up like they couldnt believe I didn't want any. I don't know if it was due to just wanting to fit in with the cool kids or what but I poured myself a cup and added in 3 fake sugars and some milk and I never looked back. I'm totally hooked.

However in the summer I stop drinking coffee because of the warmth. There is nothing worse for me then having to consume a warm beverage on an already warm day. I looked around for iced coffee or cappuccino but don't really see it that often. When I stumbled upon One Particular Kitchen and saw the super simple recipe on there, I knew I had to give it a shot. I did and I am so so sooo happy. This seriously couldn't be easier. If you like iced coffee then you really need to give this a try. Since I take my coffee with sugar I followed her instructions on making a simple syrup to go along with it since sugar was not going to dissolve in the glass. I will also include the easy recipe for that aswell.

Iced Coffee
2/3 cup Coarlsy Ground Coffee
1 quart mason jar
Add Ins: Vanilla,Caramel,Chocolate Syrup,Simple Syrup

Fill jar with coffee and then fill with water. Let it set for 12 hours at room temperature. Strain coffee using either a paper filter,sieve, or cheese cloth into another jar. When you want to make a glass mix half concentrate with half milk or water depending on how you like your iced coffe and enjoy(for my glass I added in 1/2 cup of concentrate with 1/2 cup of milk) Store the concentrate in the fridge. She mentioned that hers was still strong after 3 weeks in the fridge. She also mentioned you could make some coffee ice cubes and pour the mixture over that. Your drink will never taste watered down after that.

Simple Syrup
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
Pour ingredients into a pan on medium heat and continue to stir until sugar has dissolved. It basically looks like water when it's done. Cool and pour into a jar and store in the fridge. I believe this is also the base for homemade lemonade so you could make some of that aswell!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bananarita Smoothies

As the weather gets warmer I rely on smoothies alot. They are a quick snack or breakfast or just a way to cool down for awhile. The humidity in the netherlands is awful sometimes and smoothies are a great way to fight back against it! I first spotted this recipe over at Mommy's Kitchen and she had gotten it from Southern Plate. I frequent both of those places alot and find nothing but wonderful recipes there. All 3 of my guys loved this recipe and it will be one I will making alot this summer. Please forgive the bad photo. I took a bunch but for some reason the lighting in the living room was really off. Plus I just wanted to hurry up so I could enjoy it aswell!
Bananarita Smoothie..makes 4 generous servings
4 Banana's Fresh or Frozen..I always use frozen fruits
1/2 cup Milk..I used coconut milk and it went great!
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Lime Juice..I used real limes
Fill blender with ice and the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and enjoy! add more milk or ice to your desired likeness.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nigella's Walnut Brownies

We're having a streak of what we consider hot weather. It's only in the upper 70's but when you add in the humidity factor it can become down right unbearable very quickly. When I woke the boys up for school this morning I fed them breakfast and started in on these brownies right away. The house was already warm so I threw open all the windows and got busy. In previous posts I have mentioned my dislike for Nigella's How to be a domestic goddess cookbook. I just wasn't that impressed with the recipes. However I spotted her brownie recipe and finally managed to get everything I needed to make them. I was very impressed with this recipe for sure. They were thick,dense and the addition of walnuts were perfect. I can't eat brownies alot becuase of how rich they are but from now on when I need a fix, Im going for this recipe.
Nigella's Walnut Brownies
1 2/3 cup unsalted ButterLsoftened
13 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate
1 TBLSPN. Vanilla
6 large Eggs
1 2/3 cup Sugar
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/3 cup Walnuts; chopped
Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a 13x9 both on bottom and sides with parchment paper or foil...I did it with the parchment paper and it was a pain in the butt. I will grease and flour next time. Mix the flour in one bowl with the salt. In another bowl combine the eggs,vanilla and sugar;beating until combined. In a large saucepan melt the butter and the chocolate. When it has melted,let it cool a bit before pouring into the egg and sugar mixture;beating until combined. Add in walnuts and flour,beating until smooth. Pour into pan and bake for 25mins. When ready the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle,but the middle still dark,dense and gooey. I needed longer than 25mins because it was to raw for my liking and even after cooking it for another 15mins I discovered after cutting into it that the middle was way way way to gooey.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Limber de Coco

Limber de Coco basically means coconut cream popsicles. In our house they are called "please make those yummie coconutsicles again". I found this recipe at The Noshery and quickly made these. All I can say is WOW! They are creamy,oh so coco-nutty and the cinnamon really adds a great touch. If you are a coconut fan then these babies are worth the simple effort it takes to make these. The only thing I left out was the egg yolk but thats only because I forgot. It's left as an optional choice and I believe it's used as a creamy factor. However I never noticed a difference when eating mine. They were perfect as is.
Coconut Cream Popsicles
1/2 can Evaporated Milk
1/2 can Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 Egg Yolk-optional
Cinnamon to taste
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
Mix all ingredients together and add additional sugar and cinnamon to taste. Pour into molds and freeze until hard and enjoy!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baked Rigatoni

Have you ever experienced so much stress that you can't imagine dealing with anymore and yet thats exactly what you do..deal with more? Thats been my life for the last few months. My husband and I are prepairing ourselves for what will be a very tragic loss to our family. I've learned that being an adult comes along with so many heartbreaking moments that at times I just want to close the curtains,turn off the phone and stop living. However there are also those breath taking moments that you want to live over and over again. I guess thats how you balance yourself out. My posting will be here and there for awhile. I notice my ability to get in the kitchen and bake something comes and goes along with the stress level. On to more happy things!

I found this awesome recipe over at Recipes of a Cheapskate. I was drawn to it right away because it used a homemade white sauce,much like the ones you use to make macaroni and cheese and not the traditional red sauce. I had everything in my kitchen and made it tonight for dinner. It was a huge winner. My youngest son for whatever reason doesn't like home made or boxed macaroni but yet ate all of this without complaint. He's goofy like that. This will go into my rotation of recipes. It's pretty cost efective aswell and that's a huge plus these days!

Baked Rigatoni..serves 4 with leftovers
1pkg (16oz) Rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Flour
4 cups Milk
2 cups Mozarella Cheese;Shredded
1/2lb Ham;thinkly sliced. I used deli ham for sandwiches
Seasonings of choice;pepper,onion powder,etc.

Preheat oven to 425 or 220celcius. Grease a 13x9 pan and set aside. Get water boiling for pasta and add in pasta;cooking until the al-dente stage(just starting to get soft). In a seperate saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and blend until smooth. Add milk and continue to stir until sauce has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon. Add in seasonings,ham,and cheese. Stir until cheese has melted. Drain pasta,add to sauce and pour into pan. At this point you can leave it alone like I did or do as she suggested and smooth the top,sprinkle with additional cheese and place pats of butter on top. Bake for 25 mins or until bubbly and brown.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baby Cukes

Growing up we had a garden. There was corn,peas,carrots,squash and some other things. This was when I was fairly young so I never really paid attention to the ins and outs of it. I decided that this year I was going to try it myself. It's my way of fighting back against the rise in fruits and vegetables here. I compair living in the netherlands to living in New York. It's costly,cramped, and you make due with what tiny space you have in the backyard..if you are lucky to have a backyard. I have a rather largish concrete space with a small amount of dirt running along the side of the fence line. I also have a square patch where I actually grew pumpkins last year. This time I decided to try a container garden since that was the only way to actually grow several things. I planted cucumbers,egg plant,bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. As you can see my cucumbers are coming up! I am so excited about this. I am really hoping my egg plant comes up aswell. This is what started my desire to start a container garden. In the store they are in american dollars about 2.35. They are super small,as in palm size. It's my hope to freeze both the bell peppers and eggplant to use threwout the year since after summer they will jack the price up again. Is anyone else gardening this year??

Friday, June 12, 2009

Buttermilk Chicken Strips

I love chicken strips. I love crispy and moist chicken strips. If you like those exact same things, then please make these. Alot of bloggers have been making these courtesy of Coleen's Recipes. I am no stranger to her recipes. I have already made the ranch dressing mix and loved it! The chicken strips were really moist wich I think had alot to do with soaking it in buttermilk for a few hours. My 3 favorite guys couldn't stop gushing over these and asked me to make them again soon. Thanks again Coleen for another great recipe.

Buttermilk Strips
6 Boneless,skinless chicken breasts
2 cups Buttermilk
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 cups Flour
2 Eggs,Beaten
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
Combine buttermilk,beaten eggs,and garlic powder and pour into large resealable bag.(I poured it into a large bowl). Cut chicken into strips and then add to buttermilk mixture. Refridgerate atleast 2 hours. In another resealable bag combine the flour,salt,pepper,and onion powder.

To cook drain chicken and pour liquid into bowl. Dip chicken into flour mixture,shaking off any excess. Dip again into buttermilk,back into the flour and then into a heated pan with 1/2 inch of oil. Repeat with all chicken and discard liquid after use.Cook until done and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Creamy Mushroom Sauce

I love white sauce. I know the red is more healthier for you but I have never liked tomato based sauces. I think it has to do with acidity of it and well I just like tomatoes cold and not all squished up and hot. I have the same thing with peaches,cherries and apples. I hate them when they are cooked. Wow I really got off track there. So getting back to this super simple white sauce. I wanted something to go over chicken breasts. I had a bunch of mushrooms that needed to be used and I had a cup and a half of creme fraiche. So really there is no real recipe to this.I cooked the chicken breasts with a little bit of olive oil and then when they were done I put them on a plate and covered it with foil. I then sauteed the mushrooms in the same pan with some butter,added the creme fraiche,onion powder,seasoning salt and pepper. I cooked it on low until it heated up and then poured it over the chicken breasts. It was a huge hit. It's not something I will make all the time due to the fact that creme fraiche has alot of calories in it but for a special occasion this really works. I think it would go great over pork aswell. You could also cut up the chicken,add it to the sauce and then serve it over some white rice.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cupcake Trifles

Trifles are fun to make and super easy. I had frozen a bunch of unfrosted lemon cupcakes and pulled out 4 to make these. I went into germany this weekend and headed to my favorite store to pick up some much needed chocolate chips. While I was there I spotted huge strawberries that were calling my name. I picked some up and knew right away what I was going to do with a bunch of them. I layered mine with homemade whipping cream and I gotta say..it blows cool whip clear out of the water. I love love love whipping cream. When I first made it here I hated it. The reason being was that it wasnt sweetened with anything. I found two very much needed ingredients to put in there and now I love it more than cool whip..wich is a good thing considering they don't sell cool whip here.
Strawberries and Cream Trifles
4 cupcakes..I used lemon flavored ones,torn into pieces
1 large Banana;peeled,split down the middle and chopped up
8-10 strawberries;hulled and chopped up
Whipping Cream
Take a drinking glass and put in enough strawberries and banana's to cover the bottom. Layer whipping cream on top and then take half of a torn up cupcake and make a layer with that. Repeat with whipping cream,strawberries and banana's,the rest of the cupcake and more whipping cream. Repeat process with other glasses. Super simple dessert that eveyone will love. You can play around with any ingredients;maybe using pudding instead of whipping cream. The posibilites are endless.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Easy Salisbury Steak

This is a super quick week day meal you can make in no time. You can change up the gravy if you like..wich I sometimes do by using cream of mushroom soup with a packet of mushroom gravy. Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans to round out the meal.
Salisbury Steak
1 lb. Ground Beef
3/4 cup Saltine Crackers;Crushed
1 Egg; Beaten
1/4 cup Onion;Chopped..optional
1/2 tsp. Salt
Pepper to taste
2 packages of Gravy..I used 1 brown and 1 mushroom
Combine ground beef,cracker crumbs,egg,onion,salt and pepper in a large bowl. Form into 6-9 patties. Brown patties in large skillet on one side. In a saucepan combine both gravies and 2 cups of water. Thicken the gravy and take off the heat. Flip burgers,pour gravy over the patties;cover and cook until done. Serve with gravy over patties and mashed potatoes. Also if you have a slightly larger family you can up the meat to 1 pound and slightly under 1/2 more. I have done it many times and still used the same measurments every where else.

Lemon Cream Cupcakes

When I'm stressed or just have something I need to "work through" I head for the kitchen. It's theraputic for me to go in there and concentrate on something else that requires my attention. Today was one of those days. I needed an escape and these moist and delicious cupcakes gave it to me. The "cream" part of this recipe comes from sour cream but I used creme fraiche instead. The sour cream here is really grainy tasting with a weird tartness to it. I have never been able to get used to it and once I was introduced to the wonders of creme fraiche, I never looked back! wow is it good and super cheap here. This recipe makes alot of cupcakes..I got 36 out of it. I left 12 out and froze the rest and will use them at a later time in triffles or just as a quick snack. They have a nice lemon flavor and although the recipe called for 2 tsp of grated lemon peel I was only able to use 1 since I didn't have enough lemons. They still tasted great.
Lemon Cream Cupcakes..36
1 cup Butter; Softened
2 cups Sugar
3 Eggs
2 tsp. Grated Lemon Peel
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 1/2 cups Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 cups Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche
Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. In a bowl combine dry ingredients and set aside. In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Add in eggs one at a time and mix well after each one. Add lemon peel and vanilla; mix well. Take your dry ingredients and add them to cream mixture alternately with sour cream(the batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper lined cups 3/4 and bake for 25-30 mins or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool and frost with desired frosting.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Spoonbread is something that is eaten in the south. I had never heard of it until I bought a cookbook from Gooseberry Patch and one of the recipes in there was spoonbread. If you google it it's defined as something thats eaten in the south and it's a sweet cornmeal based dish and although it has the word "bread" in there it has more of a consistency and flavor of savory puddings such as yorkshire. I made it tonight and the verdict is still out on if we like it or not. It got some really mixed reviews. I looked up all kinds of recipes and the were pretty much the same. There were some that added in cheese and ham and some suggested pouring a small amount of maple syrup on top(wich I ended up doing) or sugar and cinnamon. I'm not sure if it's ment as a side dish,brunch dish or breakfast dish. I'm guessing it could be for all 3. I wanted to like it and a part of me does but it still has a different taste that has to be worked around. I guess Im not a fan of the cornmeal taste when it's used as a cream base..it reminds of malt o meal. When I added in the maple syrup I liked it alot more and understood the attraction to it after that. I'm not saying this is a bad tasteing dish by any means. My husband really liked it but Im not sure if it's worth all the effort into making it. I'm open to suggestions with other recipes if anyone has them. I guess next time I could try cheese and ham and see how that goes. Over all we ate it but I threw half of it away and saved one portion to try again at breakfast. I don't consider this an over all success.

4 cups Milk
1 cup Cornmeal
3 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 TBLSPN. Butter
3 Eggs;Seperated
Pre heat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease a 2 1/2 Qt dish lightly and set aside.In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups of milk over medium heat until bubbles form around sides of the pan. In another bowl combine the cornmeal,sugar,salt and remaining milk and stir until smooth. Slowly whisk cornmeal mixture into hot milk. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 mins, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Sprinkle baking powder over mixture,add the butter and mix until blended.
In a small bowl, beat egg yolks and add in a small amount of cornmeal. Mix together and then add into cornmeal mixture;mix well. Combine egg whites in a bowl and beat with mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold a 4th of egg whites into the cornmeal mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites until blended. Bake for 40-45 mins or until golden brown. Serve immediately.