Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Food Exchange

You are probably looking at this photo of goodies and thinking whats the big deal? Well I will tell you what the big deal is..I just received it in the mail today! Blogging has opened up my world. I'm chatting with people I would never normally meet in everyday life and I'm so loving this. Take for instance this package I got today. It comes from another blogger. Kristen over at iCook sent it to me. This is actually my second box from her but I got way to excited the first time around and forgot to take pictures. I made a few comments on her blog and she followed me over to mine and one day after she read that I had to go to germany to buy chocolate chips(wich Im doing tomorrrow by the way) she left a message saying she would swap with me if I wanted. Seriously!? I was so excited. So this is how it goes. She sends me items I can't get here or pay way to much for and in return I send her dutch goodies that she otherwise would never beable to try.

I can buy Chili powder here but it's soo different..like mouth burning hot. The vanilla here is doable but weird. It's clear and the scent is candy like. The marinades are also something I can't buy here. The dutch bbq in a totally different way then we are used to and I find myself scrambling. I dont mind making things from scratch but sometimes you just want to rip open the box/envelope and make the meal already. They don't sell Ranch dressing here and although I now use This recipe,it's always nice to have the other version too. Orange slices are a total childhood thing for me and I actually forgot I put that on my list. All 4 of us happliy munched away on these tonight. I'm still getting used to the yeast packets here and still prefer the ones from home. I'm already planning her next box and I know she's going to love it. Food exchange swaps totally rock:)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Homemade Egg Foo Yung

Back home we ate chinese food atleast once a month. The owner knew my order by heart: Szechuan beef,Lemon chicken,Chicken fried rice and vegetable Egg foo yung. She would giggle after taking my order and then chat away to me. I had to pay attention really hard because I couldn't always understand her with her thick accent and she would talk to me while doing other things throughout the resturant. I would watch her while she would walk around the small resturant and I can still hear the shuffle sound of her feet. She was a small woman but man could she make alot of noise when walking. She would hand me my order and tell me she would see me next month. I really miss that resturant and her smiling face.

My husband fell in love with the chinese food and warned me that when we moved here the chinese food would be really different. Boy was he right. I ate it once when we first moved here 2 years ago and I haven't eaten it since. I was so let down I almost cried. The only thing I will eat from here now are the Loempias and those my friends are huge..they are like stuffed burritos on steroids. I find myself craving certain things that I can't get back home. Right now I have Triscuits and Wheat Thins stuck in my head. I always have chinese food on the brain. So I finally sat down and went searching. We all loved egg foo yung and figured that was the easiest thing to tackle at this point. I wish I could say that I walked away with a life long recipe but sadly I did not. This recipe has some serious potential and I think the more I tweak with it the more I will be happy with it. It doesnt taste like anything I've ever eaten and the sauce is no where near what I loved from my place but I guess you have to start somewhere right? I found the sauce to be to salty and not thick enough for my liking so thats something I will work on next time. Overall not to shabby with some minor tweaks.

Egg Foo Yung.. Blog Chef
6 Eggs
1 cup Bean Sprouts
1/4 cup Green Onion;Minced
1/4 cup Bamboo Shoots; Minced
4 Water Chestnuts; Minced
1/4 cup Slivered Ham
1 tsp. Soy Sauce

1 cup Chicken Broth
1 TBL. Soy Sauce
2 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Vinegar
1 TBL. Cornstarch
2 TBL. Water

To make the Egg Foo Yung place everything into a bowl and mix together. Heat skillet with a small amount of oil or cooking spray and add about 1/3 cup of egg mixture. Cook either as would a pancake ( once lightly browned on one side flip and brown the other) OR fold as you would an omelet for a slightly thicker version. Repeat until egg mixture is gone.

To make the sauce- Add chicken broth,soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar to a saucepan. Bring sauce to a boil. Meanwhile combine cornstarch in water in a small bowl. When sauce starts boiling,stir in cornstarch mixture. Cook,stirring until is thickening and boiling.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sundays In My City....

Well it's that time again..another addition of sunday's in my city hosted by the wonderful Unknown Mami. Today I am taking you to the Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. You are not allowed to take photos of the inside but let me assure you every single room is painstakingly decorated down to the last detail. I wasn't to thrilled to see items such as the elephants foot that became an umbrella stand and quickly walked through alot of the hunting rooms but overall I was in total awe of it all. There was a room made entirely of seashells and that was one of my favorites. The back garden was equally if not more impressive than the inside. I really liked the gold fountain and how wonderfully landscaped it all was..I sure would hate to be the one having to keep that all up!! Thanks again for stopping by and I will see you next sunday.Unknown Mami

Friday, September 25, 2009

Homemade Cream Puffs

Yesterday I was sitting on the couch thinking about making homemade pudding. I really miss the pudding mixes from the U.S..The pudding here is so odd. It's not creamy but more airy and frothy and then it can be seriously watery. I'm not sure what their mixes have but it doesnt cut it for me. So I went hunting for pudding and ended up making cream puffs with homemade pudding..yeah I'm sure you could see how those two would come together like that..lol Now I have never eaten nor made a cream puff before so I have some questions..It's a no brainer that you have to use alot of eggs. I looked all over and everyone used atleast 4 eggs. My question is, how do you cut down on the "eggy" taste? I cooked them all the way because they were nice and fluffy on the inside but there was no way around that eggy taste. Is that normal? Even when I mixed whipping cream in with the pudding and filled them, it still had the taste.

Im thinking of adding in a small amount of vanilla or almond the next time I make it because that was a big let down. Im really impressed though with how seriously easy these are to make!! If I can re-work that taste issue I could see myself making these again.

Cream Puffs..makes 12
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Butter
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 cup Flour
4 Eggs
Whipped Cream,Pudding,or Ice Cream,Powdered Sugar

In a medium sauceapn combine the water,butter, and salt. Bring to a boil. Add flour all at once,stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that doesn't seperate..the whole process only takes a minute or two. Remove from heat and cool 10mins.

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees or 200 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. When cooled add eggs one at a time,beating well with a wooden spoon after each one. Drop by 12 heaping tablespoons full onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack.

Fill with whipped cream,pudding or ice cream and sifted powdered sugar on top. I went ahead and poked a hole in some of mine,took the tops off or split them open. I wanted to dry all methods to see which worked best.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Food: The International Language

This morning I heard a knock on my door. My heart always beats a little faster when that happens because I instantly know whoever is on the other side may not speak english. I am slowly learning dutch but it's no where to the point where I could actually speak in a full sentence. Living in the Netherlands has it's advantages for any english speaking person because thats basically the second language here. At any point I can ask someone if they can speak english and chances are they can. That doesn't mean they all can or chose to tell me they can. A life as a foreigner is often difficult,isolating and wonderful all at the same time. I smiled when I opened the door because it was my neighbor who is a older Turkish woman. She lives there with her husband,older daughter and grandkids. She is a short round woman with chubby cheeks and a smile that lights up her entire face. She can't speak a word of english. She hands me a cup full of Baklava and smiles to me. I thank her and give her an equally big smile back and thank her 10 more times before I close the door. I can't tell you how much that kind gesture means to me.

A year ago when they went on vacation to Turkey we spotted someone breaking into their storage building and trying to steal their bikes. After that person left we rushed over and brought the other bikes to our place and stored them. When they came home and found out what we had done, they changed. The next day they cut our hedges and smiled and waved. The day after we were invited over for coffee. We found out we saved the mans livelyhood. He rides over 10miles a day every morning to deliver papers. He is 72. Everything changed after that day. The woman would come over and drop food off to us. I can't tell you how happy I was because that woman can cook. I brought her veggies from my garden and she doesn't know it yet but she is getting baked goods this holiday season. The simple acts of kindness you can show someone goes so far. They have lived here 25 years and have always felt on the outside. I told them I felt the same way.

As a foreigner you are treated differently. People get impatient with me because Im slower when it comes to reacting to things. I'm sure most of you have witnessed a foreigner inline with their kids and the kids do all the speaking because they learn english quicker? Guess what, Im that mom now. My kids do the talking for me. Have you seen a foreigner struggleing to get things done and you get impatient because you don't want to wait? people feel that way about me sometimes now. I struggle to keep up,to not forget certain ways of doing things here and maintaining my sanity during this whole process.

I was one of those people who would get impatient and I can't tell you how many times I gave a dirty look as I was rushing on my way. I wonder if they went home and cried like I have done many times when being treated like that here. I don't want to be preachy but next time you see someone struggling, a kind smile goes along way. If you see someone new in your neighborhood and they may be from another country..bake them something and take it over to them. Even if they don't speak the same language,food and a smile is something that speaks for itself. By they way, the Baklava she brought over is the best I have ever had. It has ground pistachios in it and it's not sickenly sweet like the stuff I have boughten back home. It has the sweetness to it but she makes it differently and it's heavenly!

Monday, September 21, 2009

French Toast Bites

What do you do with cubed bread that was ment to be stuffing until you found out that you didn't have the spices on hand? Well you make french toast bites of course.

I used this recipe and whipped some up this morning. I added in 2 tablespoons of butter at the end to give them another nice coating,placed them into bowls and poured maple syrup on top. I watched the movie Juno and ate my toast out of a bowl..talk about a great comfort moment:)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sundays In My City....

Welcome to Sunday's in My City hosted by Unknown Mami. Head on over there to see her city along with everyone else's that played along aswell. This week I am taking you to a butterfly garden we went to. I can not believe how beautiful the butterflies were! They had a few that I've never seen before..like the see through one I am posting. I've also never ever seen such a large caterpillar before so Im posting that one aswell. He was so thick and juicy looking. I left all the photos big so you can see the detail. Thanks for stopping by and see you next sunday! Unknown Mami

Friday, September 18, 2009

Homemade Maple Syrup

I pay in dollars 4.39 for a bottle of maple syrup here. I discovered that they were selling it last year. I got scared and bought 3 bottles. I finally ran out the other day when I wanted to make some pancakes for breakfast. Instead of waiting until I go shopping I went ahead and made my own. In my effort to cut down on the grocery bill anywhere I can I was glad to see you could infact make your own. I made it yesterday and poured it into our empty syrup bottle. I served it with breakfast this morning and I'm happy to say it went over very well. You will notice differences though.I notice the instant I make something homemade the taste and texture can be slightly off due to the fact that I don't add all the preservitives that the store bought brand has. There is no corn syrup in this version so you don't get the thick syruppy thing and the maple flavoring is a bit different. Once I put it on the pancakes though it was fine,tasted perfect and I think I will just keep making my own. The neat thing is, if you have other flavorings such as butter,banana or strawberry you could replace it for the maple extract and come up with some cool syrup flavors.
Maple Syrup
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar..you can use all white sugar if you want!
1 cup water
1 tsp. Maple Extract
Place everything but the extract in a saucepan and bring to a boil;stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes stirring often. Take off heat,add in the extract and stir to combine. Cool and store in fridge.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Our weather has a serious personality disorder. It goes from dark stormy mornings to beautiful blue skies in the afternoon. I have two big windows in my living room and the front window showed dark grey clouds with rain coming down and the back window had sunlight pouring in from the sun! I've never had such large windows in my house until I moved here. The way the windows open are different aswell. The dutch love their plants and almost every window you see here has atleast two plants in there along with whatever else they want to decorate their window with..but no matter what it is, it's always multiple matching items. So there is always two plants that are alike and two vases. If you drove passed my window you would see mismatched items..yeah I'm a rebel like that. I could go on and on how people just love to stare in your window and how almost everyone has their curtains wide open at night,alot of them have lacey curtains so if they are closed you can still see in and curtains are always open in the mornings right away aswell. It goes back to the puritan times I believe..to show others that you aren't doing anything naughty or something..lol So what does all of this have to do with my cinnamon bread? nothing really. I just wanted to post about that!!!

Ok so on to the bread. I love,love,love quick breads. I really want a quick bread cookbook but havent been able to find one yet. Does anyone know of one? This is perfect to serve to someone coming over for a visit. A cup of coffe or tea goes perfectly with this. It's moist,has a wonderful flavor and takes minutes to throw together. I went ahead and used my mini loaf pans since I have yet to find an american sized loaf pan here. I imagine you could easily freeze it and put the glaze on before you served it.
Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread..1 loaf
2 cups Flour
1-1/2 cups Sugar,Divided
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Buttermilk
1 Egg
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
3 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
1-1/2 to 2 tsp. Milk

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees or 180 celcius. Grease the bottom only of a 9x5x3 in. loaf pan. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour,1 cup sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl combine the buttermilk,egg, and oil. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

In a small bowl combine the 1/2 cup remaining sugar and cinnamon. Pour half of the batter into the pan and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Carefully spread remaining batter on top; sprinkle with remaing cinnamon/sugar mixture. Cut through batter with a knife to swirl.

Bake 45-50mins or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over loaf.

** Because I used smaller loaf pans I didnt use half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Keep that in mind incase you do the same thing**

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chicken Tetrazzini

As I type this post it's raining outside. It's one of those typical fall/winter days where the sun never seems to come out and although it's only noon you have to turn the lights on. I love those days. It's those types of days where you will find me either crafting or in the kitchen baking something delicious. I dream of casseroles,quick breads,soups,stews and christmas around this time. Later in the week it's supposed to get back up into the 70's but for now, I am really loving this weather.

The other night I made this casserole and must of taken a dozen photos. I really don't think there is a good way to capture a casserole...None the less, this is really good. It comes from Giada De Laurentiis and I found the recipe on food network. I have had chicken tetrazzini many times but in reality it was made with cream of mushroom soup. I'm in no way knocking that version but I wanted a real version since they don't make cream of anything here. You can buy a dry mushroom soup packet and add in less water and voila you have the cream you want but I wanted to real deal this time around. I have mixed reviews though. Giada's version has you seriously working your butt off in the kitchen when it isnt necessary. If I would of done it her way I could of easily spent over an hour in there and still come away wondering if it was worth it. She has you cooking the pasta at the end where it should be done right away. She wants you to cook 4 chicken breasts where as I used chicken thighs that were cooked in the crockpot,shredded and put away for future use. These steps clearly cut your time down. If you want the original you can head over here to get it. This is my version,using her recipe but tweaked to help things along. The taste is very good but something was missing..I still don't know what yet. This makes alot wich I was happy about. I was able to freeze half of it to be eaten later on this month.

Chicken Tetrazzini
3-4 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken
1 3/4 tsps. Salt
3/4 tsp. Pepper
1 lb. White Mushrooms,Sliced
1 large Onion,Finely Chopped
5 Cloves Garlic,Minced
1 TBL. Fresh Thyme Leaves;Chopped
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
1/3 cup Flour
4 cups Milk,room temperature
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream..room temp
1 cup Chicken Broth
1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
12 ounces Linguine..I used spaghetti noodles
3/4 cup Frozen Peas..I left out
1/4 cup Parsley Leaves; Chopped
1-2 cup Parmesan Cheese;Grated..I used parmesan and cheddar
1/4 cup dried Italian-style Breadcrumbs

Pre heat oven to 450 or 230 celcius. Grease a 13x9 baking dish and set aside. Place chicken in large mixing bowl and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook your pasta until it's tender but still has a slight bite to it; about 9 minutes; Drain and add it to chicken mixutre along with the frozen peas.

Meanwhile in either a large saucepan or deep large frying pan add 1 tablespoon of butter and oil and add mushrooms; cook until liquid from mushroom evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden- about 12 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the chicken.

Add 1 tablespoon to same pan over medium high heat. Add flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk,cream,broth,nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Increase to high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens slightly,whisking often, about 10minutes. Pour sauce over entire chicken mixture and toss until well blended. Add in 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Transfer mixture to casserole dish. In a small bowl combine parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs;stir and sprinkle mixture over mixture. Bake uncovered,until golden brown and the sauce bubbles..25 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sundays In My City....

I'm loving this sundays in my city thats being hosted by Unknown Mami. Head over there and go peek into her world aswell as everyone else's that has signed up. Today I'm showing the two things Im currently obsessed with: Dutch Windmills and mushrooms! weird combo? maybe, but they are so amazing to look at. The windmill Im showing you is one that if you show up on certain days of the week you can buy flour thats been ground inside there. I never ever get tired of looking and taking photos of all the windmills I come across..and I come across alot living here.

Believe it or not the 3 photos are of real mushrooms that I have spotted here. My favorite is the red mushroom with white spots on there..I call it the fairytale mushroom. The orange one was actually growing in my inlaws backyard! I thought it was a piece of coral they put out there at first. The last one looks almost like the bottom of a horses foot. I again have left them all large so please click on them to see all the detail! Thanks for stopping by!
Unknown Mami

Friday, September 11, 2009

Homemade Caramel Corn aka "Crack Corn"

So yesterday I told you what I would make with my homemade corn syrup today? Well sadly it didn't turn out yet again. It stayed in liquid form for about 15 minutes and then it crystalised again. I have no clue whats going on. So I was out of sugar. I looked up substitutions for corn syrup and it mentioned honey. This was seriously turning into a big pain in the butt. I wanted to surprise my two boys with caramel corn when they came home from school and what should have taken me a short time was turning into hours at this point! Not to be broken I pressed on. I'm glad I did because this stuff seriously rocks. I need to change the name to " Crack Corn" because it's super addictive.

I found this recipe from Our Best Bites. I seriously love that blog and have so many things bookmarked to make it's not even funny. I had to change the directions slightly because they made it using the microwave and I wanted to use the stove top. If you want their directions head over there and check it out. We totally inhaled this wich I should probably feel guilty about but I don't. Needless to say I walked extra long today..2.5 miles to be exact. That way I can keep eating this stuff without feeling to guilty!! On a side note when using honey as a substitute..keep in mind that using it can and will change the over all taste of what you are making. It worked really well with this caramel corn but that doesn't mean it will work with all the other things you can make with the syrup.

Caramel Corn
12 cups Popped Popcorn
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Karo Syrup OR Honey
1/2 tsp. Salt (is using salted microwave popcorn,omit the salt)
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Vanilla

Place popcorn is a really big bowl(bigger than you think you will need. It makes mixing the caramel corn alot easier if you have plenty of room to work with)...Make sure there are no un-popped kernels!; set aside.

Place brown sugar,syrup,salt and butter in saucepan. Bring to boil stirring constantly and then leave alone without stirring for 3 mins-5 mins while it boils. It will start to foam and turn a pretty caramel color. Take it off the heat and mix in the baking soda and vanilla.

Pour mixture onto the popcorn and mix with a wooden spoon fairly quickly before it starts getting harder to work with. At this point you do one of two things. You can eat it as is..kinda chewy but not crispy. The second is to cook it on the oven at 300 degrees or150 celcius for 30 minutes,stirring every 10 minutes. Spread it out on a cookie sheet or sheets and give it a quick stir. I poured it into a bowl after it was done and when it cooled I broke it up and served it. I baked mine in the oven but next time Im going to eat it without that step. I really loved it when it was super chewy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Homemade Corn Syrup

You can add corn syrup on the never ending list of things you can't get in the netherlands. I know there are some items that are supposed to be like it but I have never seen them. In reality it's not to hard to make this yourself..I say this of course after ruining the first batch and praying the second one works because I have no sugar left after this. The important step is making sure you stay within the " softball " stage and no going over like I did. The first time around it was grainy,goopy and not at all like it was supposed to be. I honestly don't know what I did wrong because I used a candy thermometer both times. Oh well, it turned out the second time:o) It still isn't totally like the store bought stuff but as long as it does the job then it doesn't matter. So do you want to know what I made with it? I hope so..lol Come back tomorrow and I will show you!! ** UPDATE: It clumped again..I have no idea what I'm doing wrong***
Corn Syrup
2 cups Sugar
3/4 cup Water
1/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar..you need this,don't leave out
1 pinch Salt
Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to a boil,stirring constantly. Reduce heat to simmer and cover the pan with a lid for 3 minutes to get the sugar crystals off the sides of the pan. Uncover and simmer, stirring often until it reacher soft ball stage.. about 235 degrees.. Cool and store in covered container at room temperature for up to 2 months. Makes about a cup or a little over.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Yogurt Muffins...

Wow Im so glad we're all feeling better. I got lucky and only had some mild symptoms. I don't know about you, but when someone is sick in the house I get the overwhelming urge to clean everything and air the house out when it's over! I have a feeling that today and tomorrow are our last warm days so I took the opportunity to wash all bedding and open up every dang window in the house.

I also made some muffins this morning and the house smells like pineapple :o) muffins are a great way to get a nice breakfast into you or the kiddos. I served these with some scrambled eggs and the boys loved them. You can use whatever kind of yogurt you want. I will give the original recipe but I mixed and matched this time around with pineapple yogurt with lemon zest. The muffins came out moist and you get a nice hint of whatever type of yogurt you put in there. I imagine if you used a bolder flavor like orange or lemon combined with the zest the flavor might come through more.

Orange Yogurt Muffins..makes 12
1-3/4 cups. Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp. finely shredded Orange Zest
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Egg; Beaten
1- 8 ounce Orange yogurt..or other flavor of your choice
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar..optional
1-2 tsp. Orange Juice..optional

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees or 200 celcius. Grease 12 cup muffin tin and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour,sugar,zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl combine the egg, yogurt, oil, and vanilla; mix until combined. Pour all at once into flour mix and stir just until moistened..it's ok if there are lumps :) Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 mins or until golden. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack. ** If you want a glaze to go on the muffins combine the powdered sugar and orange juice;drizzle over muffins**

Note: You can easily mix and match the flavors. I took a pineapple yogurt and added in some lemon zest. I am not a big fan of zest so I almost never use the original amount when called for.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sundays In My City....

Welcome to another addition of Sundays In My city..brought to you by Unknown Mami. Head over there and click on all the others who joined in on this and visit their city. Today I am taking you to Hoorn. It was founded in 716 and is a harbour town that was used as a port for the ships that came in with spices and other precious goods that they brought back from the far east. I love this town. It almost feels like you have taken a step back in time. I love the canals in front of the homes and that is something you see alot here in the netherlands. I have left the photos large so please click on then and look at them closely. Thanks for stopping by. See you next sunday!! Unknown Mami

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Greek Chicken Stuffed Pitas

The first cold of the season has hit our household. Everyone has it but me..wich I'm very thankful for. There is nothing worse than being sick yourself while trying to take care of everyone else. I'm showing the first symptoms of the cold and I'm hoping I can beat it. We're also waiting on confirmation of a possible swine flu case in my oldest sons class. This should be really interesting to say the least.

Before everyone got the sniffles we ate this wonderful meal that came from Cassie Craves. She has awesome recipes so make sure you head over there to check them out for yourself. The chicken tastes really refreshing and the Tzatziki sauce that is served with it really makes the meal in my opinion. I went ahead and took a shortcut and bought the sauce already made. They sell it all over here and we love it. You can also slice up grannysmith apples and mix some of the sauce with it as a side dish..yum yum. If you want the recipe to make it, head over to Cassie Craves and get it there.

Greek Chicken Stuffed Pitas
Boneless Chicken..I used 5
4 cloves of Garlic;smashed
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
2 TBL. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBL.(heaping) Plain Yogurt
1 TBL. Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper
Sliced Tomatoes
Sliced Red Onions
Pitas or Gyros

Whisk together the garlic,lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt, and oregano in a bowl. Add the chicken and rub marinade in. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat large skillet or grill over medium heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, saute until cooked. Transfer to plate and cool slightly,slice chicken into pieces. Heat Pitas or gyros and stuff with chicken,tomatoes,onions and sauce.

** Ok on to my changes. I went ahead and chopped up all the chicken into bite sized pieces and then marinated it. I left out the onions and instead added in lettuce to make the meal go farther. Serve with a side of salad.**

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Diner Style Hashbrowns

My hasbrowns used to be a total failure. There, I've said it. I could seriously spackle the walls with my sticky gooey concoction. I tried all sorts of ways to make them better. I microwaved the potatoes for a few minutes,I let them soak in water, I prayed to the potato god to please let them turn out just once. Nothing worked. Until now.

I was missing diner food from back home. You don't eat out here like you do there. My days of getting up and going out to breakfast are over..way over. Infact I don't think there is even a resturant here thats open for breaksfast. The reason for that? the dutch live off of bread and cheese for breakfast and sometimes lunch aswell..seriously. Bread,cheese and bucket loads of coffee. It's no wonder these people are so darn thin. However while in Amsterdam I did notice that they had places open and they advertised a true english breakfast wich included sausage,eggs,toast and BAKED BEANS! thats another no no. Anyway as always I'm getting off track..lack of normal contact with english speaking people I think. I found a website that had some great diner style recipes and one being the hasbrowns. I made them. They were perfect in every way you can think of. So incase there are others like me out there..give this recipe a shot!

1/2 lb or more Potatoes,unpeeled and quartered
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 T Butter
2 T Vegetable Oil
2 T Finely chopped fresh chives or Parsley; Garnishment
Grated Onion;Optional

Place potatoes in a saucepan with lightly salted cold water to cover the potatoes. Place lid on and bring to a boil. Uncover,reduce heat medium and simmer no more than 5 minutes.** They should be barely tender when pierced with a fork. ** Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. (I made these the night before and popped them into the fridge.)

Shred the potatoes on the large holes of a box/shredder held over a mixing bowl. Toss lightly with salt and pepper and add in the onions at this time if using them. Over medium heat melt butter and oil together.

Place hashbrowns in pan; with back of spatula, gently press down to form a compact even mass of 1-1 1/2 inch thick. Don't worry if the edges are uneven. Fry until underside becomes crispy, about 5 mins. Flip and cook for another 4-mins. Sprinkle with chopped chives or parsley.