Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Shaped Meringues


It has taken me forever to get on here and post something. Last week was Fall vacation for the boys and my oldest become very ill on saturday. It got worse and worse. He had The Flu. For the next 5 days his fever never went below 102 and his poor body was covered in a fever rash. Thankfully, today is the first day with no fever of any kind. He is back to eating a little and continuing to drink fluids. My world stops turing when the boys are sick. I can deal better when it's a simple cold but when their bodies are raging with fever and they are so pale..... I can't think straight. So this week has been a tad on the stressful side and I'm happy to say this week is almost over and I'm glad for it! When he is telling me that he's actualyl so bored that school sounds good, I know he's getting better!

So Halloween is saturday! It's so hard to get into the spirit of it when you live in a country that doesn't recognise it. I see glimpses of it here and there, maybe a witch hanging in the window but thats about it. Last year I grew my own pumpkins and we had enough to each decorate. If I told you the price of pumpkins here you probably wouldn't believe me. This year we aren't doing anything to special. Im going to bake some cupcakes and buy the boys some candy. My cupcakes needed a topper and these super adorable pumpkin shaped meringues fit the bill! I will share the cupcake recipe with you on saturday. They are really moist and delicious! These meringues have a nice spice taste to them and they are perfect bite sized little treats.

Spiced Meringues
2 Egg Whites
1/4 ts. Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
Dash of Gound Cloves
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/8 tsp. Cream of Tartar
2/3 cup Sugar

Preheat oven to 300 or 150 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside or lightly grease it.

In a medium bowl beat egg whites,spices,vanilla, and cream of tartar with electric mixer on high speed till soft peaks form.

Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. ** At this point if you want to make the pumpkins, take a small amount out for the stems and place in a bowl. Add in enough equal parts of red and yellow dye to egg white mixture for the pumpkin color. Take green and add a small amount to the stem mixture and combine. Place mixture into pastry bag and pipe out fat little pumpkins using a large star tip. Take another bag and place green mixture inside and pipe small stems onto pumpkins.**

If you want to make meringues,drop by rounded teaspoons 2inches apart. Bake for 20minutes or till firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Orange Rind Votives!!



Looking for a neat holiday centerpiece..orange rind votives just might be it! I couldn't believe how easy and super cute it was after I made it. I first saw the idea on a friends facebook page but if you want step by step photo directions then head over to THIS website and they will give it to you.

Orange Rind Votives
Oranges
Tea light candles
Cloves



Split the orange in half. Take a knife and run it around the edge. You basically want to gut it almost like a pumpkin. I noticed as soon as I could grab onto the white part that was stuck to the orange it peeled away really easy. When you finish with the top you can use a cookie cutter and cut out a design. I put the cookie cutter on the inside and pushed really hard to make it come out the other side. Make sure to wash off the orange and make sure there aren't any orange pieces left; Dry off. Stick a tea light in,place the top on and enjoy! You can also make a design with cloves or leave it alone. I can't honestly tell you how long these would last but they are super fun to show off anyway. ** This would look really neat with maybe 4 or 5 on a table surrounded by branches and maybe some pinecones. I plan to try that out myself**

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sundays In My City....






Hi Everyone. It's time for Sunday's in My City,hosted by Unknown Mami....make sure you make your way over there to check out her city aswell as everyone else's. This weeks theme is "Mental Vacation". Thats where I've needed to be. This week was fall vacation for my two sons and we've been plagued with bad weather and now colds. Sometimes you need to take a break and go on a mental vacation. I'm taking you to Romo,Denmark. We spent a week there and I sure could use another week there right about now. I have so many photos from this trip and it was hard to pick just a few.

The first one is of our vacation home...don't you just love the roof? thats my dream home by the way. I find these in the netherlands aswell as Germany and I'm pushing for this kind of home when we buy in the next few years. It came with a pool,sauna,hot tub and tanning bed.

The 2nd photo was a typical house we saw in Romo. It seriously felt like you took a step back in time. The island is just amazing.

The 3rd is an old bunker. While taking a nature walk we stumbled upon this. You could actually walk in and there was an eery feeling to it all. You could still see the bullet holes in the walls.

The 4th one is a fishing spot we spent some time at. The sky was so bright and blue..I loved it. The last one is of the beach. I have never seen such a long and wide sand area. We could drive the cars out on there because the water was atleast 2 miles out. It was so flat with more seashells than I have ever seen in my life. I found a sand dollar that fit on top of my pinky nail. We had such an amazing time there. I hope everyone has a wonderful sunday..mine is spent taking care of the kids and wishing we were all in a sunny place in perfect health. See you next sunday!
Unknown Mami

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Caramel Apple Slices


Yesterday the postman brought me a package from home! A friend put together a Halloween box for us. There were Reeces Peanut Butter cups, pumpkin shaped peeps, miniature peanut butter cups, Wheat Thins(Im sooo happy about that one!),Halloween themed Oreo Cookies and Nilla Wafers! I just couldn't believe it. Do you know how sad it is living in a country that doesn't apreciate the peanut butter and chocolate combo? They also don't get the peanut butter and jelly relationship either. They are really missing out..

Yesterday I made the homemade Dulce de Leche and today I used a bit of it. I cored a Granny Smith apple and sliced it up. I crushed some halloween oreos and placed those in a bowl. I took some of the caramel and placed it in a small saucepan with a small amount of milk to help thin it out. I cooked it over a very low heat until it melted. I dipped the slices in the caramel and then rolled some of them into the crushed oreos and set them aside on wax paper to harden a bit. You could roll them into so many different things: cookies,peanuts,chocolate,m&m's, or leave them plain with just the caramel. No matter how you do it, it's sooo good!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homemade Dulce de Leche


If you have a can of sweetened condensed milk and have 3 hours to kill, you too can make your own Dulce de Leche! I can't find caramels here...at all. I can however find sweetened condensed milk. After scoring a ton of different websites on how to make my own I went with this version. It's soooooo good..like reallllly good. Im going to use it with some apples tomorrow..so come back for that.

Basically there really isnt a recipe. Take a can or two of sweetened condensed milk,take the lables off and put them in a big pot on their sides. Fill it with water and place the lid on..super important here. You want the water 2-3 inches above the cans and do not let it go below that! There have been stories of people not doing this and the cans exploding. Bring it to a boil,take it down to a simmer and cook it for 3 hours. I checked it every 15-20 minutes to make sure there was enough water in there and to roll the cans around so they don't always stay on one side. If you want a runnier version you can cook it for less..around 1 hr and 30minutes to 2 hrs.

However I wanted it thicker so I could thin it out the way I wanted. After it's done cooking, carefully take it out and allow it to cool before opening the can up. Store in airtight container in the fridge. I imagine this will last awhile due to the high sugar content. I don't imagine it will last long in our house.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nutella Gelato


During the summer I think about homemade ice cream..everyother time of the year I am wishing I could have the flavors from back home. I realise it doesn't make sense since I can take the time to create the flavors here..wich I am going to push myself to do because the ice cream here is horrible. I have tried chocolate ice cream before but alot of the recipes call for cocoa and I've decided that I just do not like that flavor in my ice cream. I want the creamy milk chocolately stuff and for me I don't get that with cocoa based recipes. I've also noticed if you do want the creamy factor you have to add in egg yolks. I know alot of people are put off by that but honestly you are still cooking up the egg yolks in the mixture and we ate this lastnight and we're still walking around today:)

I spotted this recipe over at What A Dish! I stumbled across her recipe blog months ago and I'm so glad I did. She has the best recipes and she is an expat like me so that makes her twice as cool. The original recipe is from Giada and calls for toasted Hazelnuts to be sprinkled on the top. I didn't have any so I left those out. I will add those next time and maybe some mini marshmallows if I can find them..turn it into a rocky road kind of ice cream. This was seriously creamy good with a hint of the nutella in there. Total keeper for sure!

Nutella Gelato
2 cups Whole Milk
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Sugar,PLUS 1/4 cup
4 Egg Yolks
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread..Nutella
1/2 cup Toasted Hazelnuts for garnishment;Optional

In a saucepan combine the milk,cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves; about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the yolks have become thick and pale yellow; about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat,stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon; About 3-7minutes.

Place strainer above a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and nutella until it dissolves. Chill mixture completely before adding to ice cream machine. Follow manufacturer's instructions to freeze. Transfer to a freezer safe container until hard.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Apple Turnovers

Do you ever go through periods where you never get around to making anything new? I was like that last week. I have weeks and weeks of always trying something new and then I have a small burn out and need to recharge. I've decided I just need to win the lottery because there are so many things I want to learn with cooking and baking and I need cooking equipment,baking pans,cake molds,and a private instructor to help me out:) Don't we all wish!

This weekend I make Apple turnovers with puff pastry! yum yum. We have whats called Appelflap here and it's just like a turnover. I never really ate them back home but I just love the ones they sell here! It gave me the idea of trying it myself and Im pretty happy with it! My puff pastry is way different than the stuff back home. I looked online and they come in sheets whereas mine was just a long piece. So the recipe Im giving worked with my puff pastry..wich made 6 large ones like in the photo.

Apple Turnovers..Makes 6 large turnovers
1 pkg Puff Pastry..thawed if needed.
1-3/4 cups Peeled,Cored and finely chopped Granny Smith Apples
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 TBS Butter
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1/3 cup Water
1 TBS Flour
1 tsp. Sugar

Preheat Oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Place apples and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil;Reduce heat to simmer and add all other ingredients except for butter. Simmer for 5 minutes or until apples are very tender. Bring to a 2nd boil for 1 minute,take off heat and stir in butter. Set aside to cool.

On a,lightly floured surface roll out puff pastry. Using a pizza cutter slice into 6 squares. Place cooled apple mixture evenly on all 6 squares,fold over into a triangle and seal with a fork. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 20mins or until golden brown.

** You can add ane gg wash on top and sprinkle regular sugar or vanilla sugar on top wich is what I did. You can also make a glaze to go over the top when you pull them out. Use a simple powdered sugar glaze and drizzle over the top.Best served warm**

** To my Dutch friends. I went to AH and bought the puff pastry there. It slices up perfectly to make 6 large turnovers.**

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sundays In My City....






Wow it's sunday again! There is nothing better than peaking into everyone's world. Thanks to Unknown Mami we can do this every sunday. Head over there and peek into more great lives. This week's theme is "Home". I'm taking you back to mine. Before moving to The Netherlands I had a whole other life in Oregon. I'm showing you some of my favorite things. The first two photos are of our house back there. We had a country home on 20 acres. Our local neighbors were the deer,raccoon and coyote! We had a wrap around porch and a beautiful view to go along with it. The other photos are of the Oregon Coast, where I loved to be! I really miss it there because there is nothing like it over here. At a certain point you could walk out onto a worf and see these seals. They were soooo loud! They would sun themselves all day on planks and fight to get the perfect spot.

I miss home around this time. The holidays are coming and I always wonder what everyone is up to and I think back to all my fond memories I have while I work on making new ones in my new home country. I hope you enjoyed viewing a bit of my life back in the states. I will see you all next sunday! Unknown Mami

Friday, October 16, 2009

Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich


It's been a really long strange week. I wish I had something exciting to post about..but I don't. It's been a stormy week wich has kept me inside most of the time. I have spent it working around the house and getting things in order. I'd rather be driving around and exploring new places but thats how it goes sometimes.

Tonight was the first night I made something new. This sandwich is more of an idea than a recipe. It can be made up many different ways depending on your taste. I go through periods where I crave chicken and I get tired of making it the same way. I was thinking lastnight of making buttermilk chicken strips and the idea popped into my head to just make a sandwich out of it all. It worked big time and Im already planning what changes I will make next time. When you marinate chicken in buttermilk it becomes very tender and juicy. I see me slathering it with some honey mustard and putting some bacon on top..or maybe a chicken,bacon,lettuce and tomato sandwich, or some melted mozzarella with grilled onions and mushrooms..hmm mmm good.

Buttermilk Chicken Sandwiches
4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
2 cups Buttermilk
Seasonings of choice
Flour
Toppings: Bacon,cheese,bacon,onions,mushrooms,etc

Place 1 chicken breast between a layer of plastic wrap and pound until desired thinness. You want it to be nice and tender so don't leave it to thick;repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Place chicken breasts into a bowl and cover with buttermilk. Add in choice of seasoning and mix through. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in fridge for atleast 5-6 hours but can leave it over night.

Place enough flour in bowl to coat chicken..2 cups or so. Season flour with your favorite seasonings;I used chili powder,oregano,garlic and salt powder,ground sage,salt and pepper. Take chicken out of marinade making sure to keep buttermilk and place chicken on plate. Dip chicken in flour,then back into buttermilk and then back into flour. Place chicken into heated frying pan with oil;repeat with other breasts. Cook over medium high heat making sure to let the coating crisp up before turning over carefully. This is where you can get creative. When the chicken is done place on a bun with choice of toppings. You can make a CBLT;chicken,bacon,lettuce and tomato or a Honey Dijon Chicken Sandwich,or BBQ. The possibilites are endless.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Butterhorn Challenge


**Please click on photo to make it larger** Hi,My name is Sonya and I used to be afraid of yeast. I still have loads and loads AND loads to learn..but I'm not afraid to get in there and give it a try. I spent years bypassing all recipes that contained yeast because everytime I did try, it always failed for one reason or another. I didn't understand the reasons and never got it when someone would say that you have to get a feeling for when there is enough flour in the dough and not to add more in. Seriously I don't have a feel for it and you can tell by my photos. I wanted to make sure to post Before and After photos of me failing the first time and then asking Coleen for more help. I know alot of us have gone through what I did so I'm hoping someone else will give this a try knowing it can work!

I wasn't going to give it a go again until Coleen and Katy set a challenge for us yeast virgins. Coleen posted a recipe for No-Knead Butterhorns that she got from Menonite Girls Can Cook. I posted that I was going to give it a shot. Coleen even sent me an e-mail saying if I needed any help to just ask..how nice was that! So I made them..and they failed. They were as flat as pancakes. The taste was there but they were flat. Coleen asked me to send a photo of it and she knew right away that I needed to add in more flour. It honestly never occured to me that I needed to add anything extra. So I sent back an e-mail and told her I wasnt giving it another go right away..and I did. By adding in 1/2 more flour..well it was night and day. The dough was still soft but more firm,it rose better and they were soooo soft when we ate them! I skipped around the house and stuffed everyones face with butterhorns. You will see in my last photo that there isn't much frosting on there. Well I ran out of powdered sugar and I live in a country that shuts it's stores down on saturday evening and doesn't re-open until monday. So I had to make due.

I am so so happy and I have Coleen to thank you for this. She got back to me right away with my e-mails and I didn't feel like I was on my own. It's my goal to make rolls for Thanksgiving and cinnamon rolls for christmas morning..It would make me so happy to surprise my 3 guys with those. I'm not going to post the recipe here because Coleen does a step by step photo in her directions and it's much needed for us newbies. So if you are like me, a little weary of yeast then head over there and take on the challenge of butterhorns and then head over to Katy's blog and take that challenge aswell!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sundays In My City....






It's Sunday and you know what that means! yes thats right folks, it's Sunday's In My City hosted by Unknown Mami. After getting your daily dose of my weird life, head on over there and check out everyone's else world:) This weeks post is about things that sound the same, things that are said wrong and how I keep my house warm and how I get my mail..lol

Ok first up we have Gouda cheese..did you know there is an actual town called Gouda where it comes from? Ok here is the kicker..We as in americans call it G00-Duh but did you know it's actually pronounced How-Duh? I bet alot of you didn't. I didn't..not until I said it to my husband and he about died laughing. He still won't let me forget that. However I have my own little thing I like to bring up. It goes like this: One day Edwin and I are driving down an american freeway when he tells me" I just saw a sign asking us to check our Speed-Oh-Meters." I was like what in the heck is a speed-oh-meter and why haven't I heard of this before and where would I go about looking for it. I was silent for about 30 seconds until I kept saying it over and over in my head and then it hit me..and I laughed..and then laughed some more. I thought it was so funny I called all my family and told them the same story. What he ment to say was Speedometer but pronounced it like how it looked:Speed-oh-Meter! I just love him. So go about your life my friends and correct everyone you see..it's How-Duh!!!!

Ok on to the bag of chips. Well you see those two things? they are called the same here:Paprikas. I could seriously spend weeks telling you all of the funny conversations Edwin and I have over mispronounced items and things that are called the same but we both never knew it. He would tell me how he liked Paprika chips but not Paprikas. I was like..how on earth can you not like a spice that our moms put on deviled eggs? it barely has a flavor! He kept saying that he didn't like them raw and I finally asked for him to show me a picture of a Paprika. Oohh..he ment a Bell Pepper! ugh..lol So yep these things are called the same. You have the Paprika spice that is used on these chips and then you have the Paprikas that we know as Bell Peppers...Moving on..

This is how we heat our homes here. There is no central heating..not that I have seen anyway. You get these really neat type heaters. I wasn't to sure about these at first but I compaired them to baseboard heating wich you should never do. When you turn the heat on you can hear the water running into the pipes and that water warms up wich produces the heat! It's so cool. I always put my wet towels on there and they dry them quickly after taking a shower. There is no fear of things catching on fire because it's water. You have them in everyroom..So this one is in my kitchen, I have two really long ones in my living room,one in the foyer,one in each of the bedrooms, and one in the upstairs bathroom! I never turn the kitchen,foyer,or bathroom ones on because it isnt necessary. I've had some people ask me about the burning your hand factor and kids. Well it does get hot, you teach your kid not to touch it, never seen a dutch child with burned hands and you can buy neat looking covers to go over them if you want it.

My mail! This is my mail slot. There are no mailboxes here. Infact the whole mailsystem is really different. It isnt a high paid job here and the whole privacy thing isn't high on the list either. When I get packages delivered to me it's either from a guy with a lit cigarette hanging out of his mouth or some little kid. They take these kids with them,drop them off with a box and go and deliver another one and then come back and get them. My package guy loves to chat with me about what I get. You have to fill out a green customes sticker when mailing overseas and one time my mom put on there that it had socks in there and he laughed at me and asked if I didnt like the dutch socks. When I want to mail something I have to either take my letters to the postoffice or find these reddish orange mail boxes. They have them in all neighborhoods,stores and various other places throughout the city. It's can be a pain sometimes but what can you do?

Well I really hope you enjoyed reading more about my life here and I look forward to posting next sunday! Unknown Mami

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Orange Marmalade Muffins


A grocery store I shop at here carries foods from all over..including certain american foods. I can get Trader Joe's nuts,juices and other snack foods once and awhile. I love walking the aisles because I never know what I'm going to find. I spotted jars of orange and lemon marmalade and bought one of each kind. I've never had it before..I'm a jelly girl myself but I knew you could use it as a base for making other dishes.

When I made these muffins I will admit that I was a bit taken back by the flavor. In all honesty I didn't know much about marmalade and when I scopped 1/2 cup full into the bowl I went ahead and tasted it..thinking it was going to be a thicker version of jam. I wasnt prepaired for the almost slight bitter taste to it and then I spotted all the zest and rind pieces in there. I wasnt sure what to expect from these muffins. I was hoping they wouldn't come out bitter tasteing. I skipped the glaze and made my own because I didn't want to over power the muffin with even more marmalade. I handed a muffin to my husband and took once myself...we were both really surprised at how good it tasted. There is a very slight bitter type taste to it but not enough to make you cringe. If you aren't a fan of zest then this might not be a recipe for you but in all honesty they were really light,flavorful and not at all what I expected. I used a simple glaze of powdered sugar and thinned it out with orange juice. I think next time I will try the marmalade glaze and see wich we like better.

Orange Marmalade Muffins..Makes 12
1-3/4 cups Flour
1/3 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
3/4 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
1/3 cups Milk
1/2 cup Orange Marmalade
1/3 cup Butter; Melted
Icing:
1/4 cup Orange Marmalade
1 TBL Butter; Softened
1 cup Powdered Sugar

Pre heat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Grease muffin cups and set aside. In a large bowl beat eggs; add milk, marmalade, and melted butter. Add dry ingredients; mix just until combined. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cool in pan for a few minutes and them remove and cool completely.

For icing combine all ingredients and spread onto cooled muffins.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sounds of a foreign country...

videoWhen living in a foreign country the first thing you have to get used to are the new sounds. The first time I heard this I got a little panicky. I hear this every first monday of the month at noon. If I should hear this at anyother time I need to shut all windows and doors and turn on the radio or tv. This is used as a warning system for anything from an air raid to a disaster in a chemical plant. If there were a fire in a chemical plant and there was toxic gases coming out,this sound would go off and everyone knows that they need to get inside and follow the drill rules.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Crockpot Stuffing


ThanksGiving is in the near future and I wanted to get a jump start on it. It goes without saying that thanksgiving in the netherlands is not celebrated. So with that being said there isn't a Stove Top Stuffing box anywhere to be found..I found a sweet potato once and bought it right away. I came home and got ready to cook it. It was white on the inside and had no flavor at all. I think I might have better luck buying them at a vegetable market but I don't get to those very often. I can't find yams or canned pumpkin anywhere. I can go to an american/british food store close to Amsterdam and pay around 8 dollars for a can of the stuff but I don't want to! Last year I paid in american dollars close to 50 for a 23 pound turkey that turned out to be waaaaay past his prime. It was tough and super gamey..never again. So I have learned how to still celebrate thanksgiving but in a new way.

This year there will be no gamey tough turkey. Instead Im going to purchase a fat chicken. I'm going to attempt to make my own pumpkin puree and bake a pie that way..if all else fails I have a back up plan to make pecan pie cookies! I think I may just make the cookies since my husband is totally grossed out by pumpkin pie and to be totally honest Im not a huge fan of it either. However my two sons beg me for it every year since we have moved and it would be a great way to surprise them this year. So this brings me to my stuffing! I've never made it myself and I can't keep asking for someone to take pity on me and send me over some stove top boxes. I found this recipe over at A Year of Slow Cooking and gave it a shot. I love Stephanie's recipes and wasnt let down at all! Wow it was so great,super easy and now I can make it myself whenever we want...does anyone else fall into the odd routine of only making stuffing at thanksgiving and then never again? We really love it and have no clue why I don't make it more.

My only slight issue with this recipe is that the next day it didn't hold up well. The bread was slightly chewier but thats it. This recipe serves about 6-8 people wich is perfect for my family of 4. I left the apples out because Im not a fan of apples in my stuffing. Next time I will add in fresh sliced mushrooms to it and sautee it with the celery in some butter. Also the recipe asks for a loaf of bread. Well that seems normal of course but bread in other countries are different. I actually had to look up how many slices of bread come in a loaf back home! The bread here is larger. I came away with 14 cups of bread cubes.

Crockpot Stuffing..feeds 6-8
1 Loaf of Bread(14or so cups) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Large Onion; Diced
1 cup Celery; Diced
1 cup tart Apple; Peeled and Diced(Im replacing with 1-2 cups of mushrooms)
1/4 cup Butter; Melted
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley; Chopped
1-1/2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth plus 1/4 cup for later if needed
1 TBL Sage
1 tsp. Marjoram
1/2 tsp. Savory
1/2 tsp. Thyme
(If you have Poultry seasoning,use 1 tablespoon and omit the other spices.**I actually did that and it was great.)
1 tsp. Salt...next time I won't add it..I don't think it needs it.
1 tsp. Pepper

Use a 6 quart crockpot if possible so you have plenty of room to toss everything. If not toss in a very large bowl and place into crockpot. Preheat oven to 300 or 150 celcius. Place bread cubes on cookie sheet and cook until nice and toasty. You might have to do this in shifts incase your oven is like mine and only comes with one rack!

While bread is toasting,chop up your onion,celery,parsley and apple. Add to crockpot. Add seasoning and melted butter; Stir well. Add bread cubes and toss very well until cubes are covered in butter mixture, it takes a few minutes to make sure everything is covered so make sure you do that. Pour in chicken broth,toss again. Cover and cook on High for 2hrs. Stir and add the additional broth if needed. Can keep on warm for another two hours if needed.

Everyone has their own version of how they like their stuffing..some like it more moist than dry so keep that in mind. You may even want to add more broth at the end. I actually didn't need any, it was plenty moist for us! Also to make things even more easier on yourself on Thanksgiving you can start all of this a day ahead. Toast the cubes and keep them in a large resealable plastic bag and chop up all your vegetables.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Homemade Croutons


Croutons are so crazy easy to make you'll be asking yourself why you didn't do this along time ago. I asked that same question of myself when I made them this weekend. I was at the store and wanted croutons for a salad but did a double take when I saw the price of the teenie weenie bags they sell here. I picked the bag up and could tell they were really small cubes and seriously rock hard. No thank you! I came home and made my own. The house smelled like garlic bread when I was done and my husband couldn't stop talking about how good they were and how we are never going to buy them from a store again. I couldn't stop eating them either and found myself popping in them into my mouth left and right as I made dinner. I hope you give this a shot. It's easy,super cheap and you can mix and match the seasonings to your liking.

Croutons
3 slices Bread; cut into small cubes
3 TBLS Melted Butter OR Olive Oil..I used butter
Garlic;Minced (I used minced garlic from a jar)
Seasonings:Italian,Garlic Salt..whatever you like

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees or 200 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Pour bread cubes into bowl. Melt butter and add minced garlic and seasonings of choice. Take off heat and add a small amount to bread and toss to coat,add more butter and toss again. You want the bread cubes to be totally covered so keeping tossing until all butter has been added and bread is covered. Pour onto cookie sheet and bake until toasty and brown**Keep an eye on them because they can brown and become toasty fairly quickly..about 5-7mins or so** Stir half way though cooking. You can also cook at a lower temp,say around 350..it will just take a few minutes longer to crisp up.

This amount was enough for the 4 of us to have some on each of our salads. You can make as much as you want, just adjust ingredients accordingly.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sundays In My City....






Welcome to Sunday's In My City,hosted by the ever popular Unknown Mami. Head over there and see the rest of everyone elses sunday photos!

Today my sunday is dedicated to all things Fall. I spotted a spider that that had all the colors of candy corn, a rooster/chicken that was a beautiful orangy brown- white,a fall leaf thats just one of a zillion falling in my back yard.The last of my tomatoes that are holding on, and on a stretch of backroad there was this sea of sunflowers. We are heading into some serious wacky weather so I'm really curious what my photos will be of from here on out. It ranges from super dark afternoons to a burst of bright blue sky and back again. Thanks for taking the time to stop by. Enjoy your Sunday!
Unknown Mami

Friday, October 2, 2009

Honey Dijon Smothered Chicken


Fall has hit The Netherlands. We have gone from bright blue sunny skies to grey,rain and cold. The leaves are falling out of the sky like snow and I'm loving every single second of it. I say this now of course but trust me 4 or 5 months from now I'm going to be begging for signs of spring. For now though I love it. I love the dark days,the first signs that winter is coming and hopefully a day of snow. We don't get alot of snow here but enough to make a decent snowman.

Yesterday was a cold one and I wanted to make something hot. I found a winner. My husband couldn't stop talking about how much he loved it and my oldest son was caught licking his plate. Sadly my youngest isn't a fan of mustard of any kind so I made something else for him. I don't usually do things like that but if I know one of them specifically doesn't like a certain ingredient I don't torture them with it. Luckily I have seriously good eaters so that doesn't happen often. This really was a great meal. The chicken was smothered in homemade honey mustard and covered with cheese,mushrooms and bacon. You can not go wrong with this combo. It isn't the most heart healthy meal but it sure was good! The recipe was found on the Taste of Home website.

Honey Dijon Smothered Chicken
1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup Honey
4-1/2 tsp. Oil
1/2 tsp. Lemon Juice
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 cups Sliced Mushrooms
1 cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1 cup Shredded Cheddar(I used all cheddar since they dont sell the other here)
8 Bacon Strips;partially cooked: I hate limp bacon so I cooked mine up and crumbled it over the chicken.

In a small bowl, combine the mustard,honey,1-1/2 tsp oil, and the lemon juice. Pour 1/2 cup into a large resealable plastic bag; Add in chicken. Seal the bag and turn to coat; Refrigerate for 2 hrs. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.

Heat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Grease an 11x7 dish and set aside. Drain and discard marinade from chicken. In a large skillet on medium heat brown chicken in remaining oil on all sides. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to baking dish.

In same skillet sautee mushrooms in a bit of butter until tender. If you want you can also cook the bacon along with the mushrooms wich is what I did. Pour remaining marinade over chicken. Top with cheese,mushrooms and bacon. If using partially cooked bacon place on top in a criss cross pattern over chicken. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.