Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And The Winner Is.......

The winner for my first "Follower" giveaway is.... Marla from Butts and Ashes!! Congratulations!! please send me your address and I will ship you some dutch and german goodies! Thanks to everyone for entered and I will be having more giveaways! On a side not..I know I haven't posted recipes for a little while but WOW is it super humid here. It kills any desire to head into the kitchen to bake or cook right now. I promise to have some new recipes soon so hang in there.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Expat BBQ

This weekend I finally had the chance to meet my two favorite bloggers; Tammy from Canadutch and Candee from Amongst the Tulips. I've been chatting with Tammy for almost 3 years now and it was so great to finally do it in person! I've often said that I don't have friends here..and that isn't 100% true. I chat with tons of other expats living here both on facebook and through our blogs. However it can never replace the one on one contact that I had all the time back home. An expats life is a different one and you weave your way through people,trying to find a group you belong to. Well I finally found that group!
 There was fantastic food,conversations,and the overall ease of the day was more than I could of ever hoped for.
 Candee has the prettiest flowers and the roses smelled amazing.
 I snapped away like crazy. Tammy and I share the same type of camera so there was plenty of camera talk and lense exchanges.
  We already have plans to meet up again soon and I twisted Tammy's arm into letting me take care of her two adorable dogs for a week and a half..soooo excited about that one. Oh and speaking of adorable dogs...
  I tried my hardest to leave with Candee's adorable dog Daisy,but she wasn't having it. Thanks ladies for the best time ever. I can't wait to do it again soon!
 This is my entry for Communal Global's Tuesday Around the World. Every tuesday we share what our "Today" looks like. I hope you take the time to link up with us. Simply make a post of what your today is,share a link back to Communal Global,link up with us and soon you'll have visitors from all over visiting your today.                                                                          

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday's In My City...

Hello from super hot Holland!! wow is it warm! We go from one extreme to the next here. This is going to be a short post. I went to a BBQ today and met up with my two favorite bloggers. I had the best time. Thanks to Unknown Mami I am able to show you a bit of my world here..Make sure to head over to her site and check out what she and everyone else is up to! The above picture is of out train station...Notice the advertisment..it's in english:) You actually see alot of that here aswell as english commercials.
                               
 On the other side there is a strip of water and the kids love running through it. I thought about doing it myself!
  I've been hanging out in my overgrown backyard snapping photos.
   My butterfly tree is getting ready to finally bloom!
 So is my hydrangea bush:) I'm heading to the couch now with a glass filled with ice water! Have a wonderful week and see you next sunday!
   
Unknown Mami
                                                                          

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tagged By Tammy

Tammy,one of my all time favorite bloggers over at Canadutch has tagged me. She had to answer 5 questions and post 5 of her own. I was picked as one of the peeps to answer her questions. So here are my answers and my 5 questions for the people I picked.

1. Do you believe in ghosts? why/why not: To be totally honest, my answer is still out on that one. I've never seen one but I know of other's who have. So for myself, I do not believe in Ghosts..unless they are Casper then by all means,pay me a visit:)

2.If you are totally honest,do you consider yourself to be a gossip? if so,have you ever gotten into trouble? Everyone has been a gossip at some point..LOL However that was more done in say, middle and highschool than now. If a friend tells me something I know how to keep a secret. I love hearing gossip though..does that make me a bad person? LOL I'm sure I have gotten into trouble over it..espically growing up.

3.Is there anyone that you've lost touch with from your past that you Google or Facebook to find out about them? There is just one person. Her name is Linda and I've known her since I was 7. I've been searching years and years for her and can not find her. I miss her so much.

4.What is your biggest passion in life besides the kiddos. Photography and my love for animals. I wanted more than anything to become a wildlife photographer and spend my time studying the Gorillas and Orangutans and then heading off for an African Safari. I still hope for that.

5.What is the scariest/craziest/funniest/weirdest thing you have ever witnessed?(any of the above) Ok,ok,this one makes me laugh. One time we were driving down the highway back home and I glance over to the other side of the highway and on the side of a road is a woman fully bent over with her pants down,cheeks spread,(stay with me now),peeing. She didn't even bother to go behind a bush or squat down. She just bent over like she was bowing and then was fully peeing. There was a huge pause in the car as we looked at eachother and then laughed so hard we had to pull over. She must of been drunk because who goes to the bathroom like that on the side of the road next to all the cars?? Alot of my funniest..well more like horrible moments happend while having braces. I was laughing one time and giant green bug flew into my mouth and got caught in my braces. I was so horrified  I swallowed the stupid thing before my friends could see what happend. One time someone was pointing at something and I walked into their arm on accident. Well their shirt got caught on my braces and it took several people to help cut it away. That sucked reeeaaalll bad.

So there you have it! a wacky look into my life. Here are the 3 people I am tagging and my questions for them: Lizzy,May,and Ria, these are for you!
1.Name one thing you have always wanted to try/do
2.If you were allowed one last meal,what would it be?
3. Name a movie or a book that changed the way you viewed life. What was the name of it and how did it change you?
4.If you had to choose between being blind or deaf,wich one would you pick and why?
5.If you could meet one famous person,who would you pick?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pizza Pasta Dinner

I love pasta in various forms..mostly with the white sauce. I have mentioned a few times that my husband and I are not fans of red sauce. I find it to be way to acidic for our liking. That doesn't stop us from eating but we just don't eat it as much. I wanted to change that though. Both of the boys love tomato based sauces so Im trying new recipes.

I found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine called Family Favorite Pasta. There's 230 recipes in there so I knew I was going to find something! Well I ended up finding tons and tons and hope to cook my way through this wonderful magazine. I made a few changes wich I will list along side the recipe.
 I served this with garlic bread and salad and we all really enjoyed this and I will make it again.

Pizza Pasta..serves 6-8
2 cups uncooked Spiral Pasta..I used 3 cups of egg noodles.
1/2 lb. Ground Beef
1/2 lb. Bulk Italian Sausage..I used 1lb ground beef in total.
1 small Green Pepper,seeded and chopped
1 small Onion,chopped
3 ounces Sliced Pepperoni
1 can(14-1/2 ounces) Diced Tomatoes,undrained
1 Jar (14 ounces) Spaghetti Sauce
1 Jar(4-1/2 ounces) Sliced Mushrooms.I used fresh
1 Can(4-1/4 ounces) Chopped Ripe Olives,drained
1 cup Shredded Mozarella Cheese..I used 2

Boil pasta according to package directions. In the meantime brown the meats,onion,green peppers and mushrooms(if using fresh). Drain if needed. 

Add the pepperoni,tomatoes,spaghetti sauce,mushrooms(if using canned), and olives; cook and stir for 5 mins.

Drain the pasta,stir into meat mixture. Heat through.Sprinkle with cheese. Remove from heat; cover and let stand until cheese melts
    

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I finally found it...

For 3 years I have been looking for these..3 whole years. I would hear from other expats living here that they could find them in their store or the local asian markets..I never could. I found a big one once..came home,opened it up..and it was white..and horrible. I think it was a Yam. Looking back I should of cooked it up and I plan to go back to the store and try. I wanted orange though..so I waited.
While shopping at my favorite store called C1000,my husband stops me. He says look..it's a sweet potato. It even has a label on it(Zoete Aardappel = Sweet Earthapple..potatoes are called Earthapples over here:). I looked..my eyes got big and I snapped it up. I was still a bit worried since they could of gotten it wrong. When I came home I opened it up.
  I snapped a photo of them and then sliced it open....
Aahhh..it was orange..and it was beautiful. I'm pretty sure I skipped around the room a few times..and then I got greedy. There was no way I was going to share these. They were small..just enough for me..noone would love them like I did. I decided to just mash them up with some butter and brown sugar to eat along with my dinner...and then my youngest gave me puppy dog eyes because he too remembers loving them..and then my husband said..well I might like them too. He was a bit taken back with the color of it and how much it reminded him of baby food and what the baby pushed out after eating it..but he was in too.

So I shared...It was soooooo good. I love love LOVE sweet potato's. Im going to hunt online to see if I can grow them myself with using a regular sweet potato. They don't sell those here on a regular basis and Im wondering if I can grow them myself? So my Communal Global friends who are stopping by from Tuesday's Around the World..What does your "Today" look like? I would love it if my regular blogger friends would share a bit of their today aswell(Everyone can join in on the Tuesday's Around the World)..pleassseee!! Link up and let us know!  
                                                          

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lemon Pie in a Meringue Shell

 A couple of days ago I got another big box from my Dad and step Mom. Inside were new Taste of Home cookbooks,magazines,and other wonderful items. I sat down right away and started going through all the cookbooks. I had in the back of my mind what I wanted to make for my husband on Father's Day.

He is a meringue and lemon fan and when I came upon this recipe in one of the cookbooks I knew I had to make it. I had planned on making a regular lemon meringue pie but when I saw that the crust was nothing but merginue,I couldn't resist.
  It was my first time using a meringue as a base and my first time making lemon curd. I am so hooked on lemon curd! WOW is it delicious and easy to make..well easy as long as you do not walk away from it. I was worried I was going to produce lemon scrambled eggs but thankfully that did not happen.

My one and only complaint is that there wasn't enough lemon curd. By using two cups of whipping cream you kind of mellow out the delicious taste of the curd. I didn't use the full two cups because I felt like that was to much. Next time I'm going to bump up the curd because wow is it delicious! The meringue itself was chewy with a slight crunch to it. Although I must confess to only slighly liking meringue and not loving it..it really was perfect in this recipe. If you don't feel like making a curd I honestly don't see why you couldn't make lemon pudding mixed in with the whipping cream!

Lemon Pie in a Meringue Shell..Makes 1- 9 inch pie
3 Egg Whites
1/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1-1/2 cups Sugar;divided
4 Egg Yolks
3 TBL Lemon Juice
1 TBL Grated Lemon Zest..left out
1/8 tsp. Salt
2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream,whipped.


Pre heat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease a 9 inch pie plate and set aside.

Place the egg whites in a clean small mixing bowl and set aside at room temp for 30 minutes. Add cream of tartar,beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time,beating until stiff peaks form. Spread onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased pie plate. Bake for 25-30 mins. Cool on wire rack.
                             
  In a large saucepan,combine the egg yolks,remaining 1/2 cup sugar,lemon juice and zest, and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture reaches 160 or is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Reduce the heat; cook and stir for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature without stirring.

Fold half of whipping cream into lemon filling; spread into the meringue shell. Top with remaining whipping cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve and remember to refrigerate any left overs.
 ** To make things go along quicker,I made the lemon curd while the meringue was baking in the oven. By the time the shell cooled, the curd has also cooled down**                               

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A semi Wal-Mart experience in Germany

A few expats living in The Netherlands kept telling me to visit a German store called "Real". I guess when Wal-Mart went out of business, this store took over. I was finally able to go yesterday to see for myself. I snapped some photos with my husbands cell phone so please excuse the blurry photo at the top. Although I always say I miss Wal-Mart and Target and wished they were here..it wouldn't do me much good since they would only sell items based on what is popular here..not back home. The store had a little bit of everything.
I spotted packages of "American Mega Burger Buns". I laughed because they are just the regular sized ones you buy back home..but when I see the teenie ones they sell here I can see why they added the mega part to it.
 Here is the produce section. I didn't snap photos of everything because I don't like it when I have people in my photos. I wouldn't want to show up on someone's blog so I do my best not to randomly snap pictures of people in it.
   How about some hard boiled eggs dyed to look like soccer balls? They also came in the German flag colors aswell.
   Here is one section of the frozen food/meat area
     Here is another shot of it. You know what I notice the most? Germans look alot like Americans..or we look alot like them:) They hate to hear it but it's true(not all of them hate to hear it:). 
 How about some Simpson's Toffee Popcorn? Overall it was a nice store to visit and I will probably go back again at some point. I hope all the Dad's out there have a Happy Father's Day. Head on over to Unknown Mami to see what everone else is up to this sunday! 

Unknown Mami
                                                                   

Friday, June 18, 2010

My First Giveaway!!!!!

I finally hit 100 followers..well 101 now. I can't tell you how excited that made me. I've been watching and waiting as the numbers went up and up. It means so much to me to know that atleast 101 people out there think Im interesting enough to want to follow:) So I thank you!

So here is what I'm going to do. I'm going to fill up a box with not just Dutch items,but also German. I live so close to there that it would be a shame not to include something. I know what it's like living far from Europe and never knowing if you are actually going to beable to see it. So the next best thing is to get a box filled with yummy things to eat and look at. So what are the rules? everyone always has rules..so here are mine!

1. You must Twitter about me to everyone you know and tell them how wonderful I am. I will need the link of course to witness this for myself.
2. You need to post about me on your blog,link back to me,have 5 friends also blog about me and have them link up to me.
3. You need to bake atleast one of my items,blog about how much you loved it and leave the link in the comments section.
4. If you just bought a new pet, I would also require that you name this lovely creature after my blog..I will want to have this proven of course by you taping yourself calling the dog by Home Cooking with Sonya.
5. Last but not least..if you live outside of  Europe,please don't bother entering.


Easy Peasy? have fun and can't wait to get all the wonderful comments filled with links!!!! whoo hoo


JUST KIDDING!!! lol I'm sorry, I just had to do that. It drives me totally bat sh** crazy when I see all these different things you need to do in order to sign up for a giveaway. So here's the real deal.
1. I don't care where you live..seriously, I will mail anywhere.
2. My only requirment is that you be one of 101 followers of mine. No need to Tweet or blog about me because it's all about you..my Followers. I will have a giveaway later on where anyone can join..but for now, this is my way of saying..Thank you. If you come on here and leave me comments all the time but don't follow me..go ahead and sign up. I like you too and I know enough of you to know who follows me,who doesn't but still leaves me comments. So leave me a comment letting me know you wanna enter!!!!!


Sign ups are until next week. I will mail the box off at the end of the month. If you have an allergy let me know. I will seriously do my best to not buy that said item..but it's hard to get something that doesnt say it wasn't made in the same air space as peanuts. I promise to send both items you can bake with aswell as eat right away. I hope you are ready to take a taste through The Netherlands and Germany!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken..Take 2

I never EVER get tired of trying new sweet and sour chicken recipes. The sauce is always the thing that differs slightly from each recipe. You usually coat the chicken,fry it up and then add the sauce. My forever favorite is This recipe but this one is equally delicious. The sauce is sweeter but I love how you pop this one into the oven. You stir every 15 minutes for 1 hour and out comes a deliciously sweet chicken that reminds me of the mall sweet and sour chicken:)

Thanks again to My Kitchen Cafe for another keeper of a recipe! Tomorrow I am posting my first giveaway!!!! So come back for the details!

Sweet and Sour Chicken..serves 4-6
3-4 Boneless,skinless Chicken Breasts,cut into bite sized pieces..I used 5
Cornstarch
2 Eggs,Beaten
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

Sauce:
3/4 cup Sugar
4 TBL Ketchup
1/2 cup Vinegar
1 TBL Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Garlic Salt

Pre heat oven to 325 or 170 celcius. Heat oil in a large pan. Dip chicken pieces into cornstarch and then into beaten egg. Fry pieces until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a 13x9 pan. 

Combine sauce ingredients and pour over chicken. Bake for 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes. My Kitchen Cafe says you can make extra sauce to serve along the side. I personally don't think it needs it but if you want to make more,simply whisk up the sauce ingredient in a sauce pan,bring to a boil,reduce heat to medium and whisk on and off until thickened and slightly reduced..about 6-8 mins.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quick Soft Breadsticks

I'm still in awe over my ease now with using yeast. I no longer have this nervous feeling when starting to make the dough. I actually look forward to it now and Im constantly bookmarking new yeast breads to try.

The other night I needed something to go along with our dinner. I wanted some kind of bread to go with it but realised I ran out of time to let the dough rise for a few hours. I came across this recipe and decided to give it a shot! Im really glad I did. It's almost like working with a biscuit dough. You roll it out after mixing it and then let it rise for as little as 20 minutes or longer if you can allow the time. I went ahead and let it rise for about 40mins. It's a great quick side dish to add to any meal and it's basically fool proof.

By the way....I've hit 100 followers. I can't tell you how long I have been waiting for this moment. I'm so excited and thankful. Please come back tomorrow..espically if you are a follower of mine..you will realllly want to come back tomorrow:)

Quick Soft Breadsticks..12-18 breadsticks

1 cup Warm Water
3 TBL Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup Oil
3 cups Bread Flour
2-1/2 tsp. Rapid Rise Yeast

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Grease or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix all ingredients together either by hand or with a mixer. Roll out dough into a 10x12 inch rectangle. Cut into strips about 3/4 inch wide.

Give each strip a twist and place onto cookie sheet. Let rise for 20 mins or longer. Bake for 10-15mins or until lightly browned and done. Brush tops with melted butter and choice of seasonings,cheeses,whatever you like.
                                

**I felt weird about not kneading the dough. I went ahead and kneaded it for a few mins and then rolled it out. The directions didn't call for any kneading but thought I would put that out there incase anyone else thought the same thing.**

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Animal Love...

Today I was able to snap some photos of animals. My two favorite types of photography are flowers/nature, and animals. I'm actually not that excited by taking photos of the food I make..mostly because I need to work on lighting,set up,and everything else that drives me nuts. Everything is already present when taking photos of animals and nature in general.
 I sometimes have mixed emotions about petting zoos. I love that I am able to get up close with some of the animals, but at the same time I feel so bad for them. I wonder if they ever get a chance to roam out in a big open space without screaming kids trying to get their attention.
  I sometimes feel trapped like they do..always looking on the outside and wondering if I will ever get my chance to break free.
 What does your "Today" look like? Link up and let us know.
                                       

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bourbon Chicken

World Cup fever has taken over our house! The Netherlands is just about to play so I figured I would come on here and get this posted right away. My poor husband wasn't able to get off of work early to watch the game so I told him I would watch it for him..lol They actually have a tv set up at work for it but he has a meeting. My kids will be watching the game at school..this is how crazy it can get here when the Dutch play:)

I made a new chicken recipe on saturday and we all loved it. I go through periods where I will make a bunch of new recipes and then I take a break to make everyone's favorites again. I found this recipe over at My Kitchen Cafe and it was a real winner with us. It's slightly spicey due to the dried pepper flakes in it..but my 10 year old ate it without mentioning anything and thats saying alot. He can really detect onions,and peppers in a meal and anything with a kick in it and he is downing the water and telling me he's full. I'll be posting a few more new recipes this week so stay tuned.  Thanks to My Kitchen Cafe for a winner of a recipe!


Bourbon Chicken...serves 4
2 lb Boneless,skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
4 TBL Oil..For Frying
Cornstarch for dusting the chicken with..optional only


Sauce:
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 cup Apple Juice
1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
2 TBL Ketchup
1 TBL Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup Water
1/3 cup Soy Sauce

Dust chicken pieces with cornstarch. Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan and fry chicken in batches until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

In a bowl combine the sauce ingredients. Pour into wok or pan and bring to a boil. Add chicken pieces,reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins. Serve with white rice or fried rice.

I'm off to watch The Netherlands play..Hup Holland Hup!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday's In My City...

Hi everyone..it's sunday and you know what that means! Thanks to Unknown Mami we can zoom around the world and peek into eachother's lives :) Head on over and check out her sunday aswell as everyone else's. Today is my youngest boys birthday..He's a whopping 10 years old. I officially have two kids in double digits. I feel old.
  I've been working on taking pics of various things with my new lense. 
   Bird photography is hard. They move so quickly.
     Flowers are much easier thank goodness.
Photos along back country roads are even better! I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Our sun is heading back our way again and I can't wait! See you next week:) 
    
Unknown Mami
                                                                            

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Box of Goodies!

I always keep a running list of items for my Dad and step Mom. It's so so sooo nice to get a few boxes throughout the year of items I can not get here. I know it doesn't seem very exciting since most of you can just head to the store and buy this yourself. However for someone like me who lives far far from home..well it's heaven in a box:) I was so excited when I opened this box on Tuesday.
   There was a bag of mini marshmallows,2 boxes of peppermint extract and a frog ornament(I have a thing for frogs). I want to use some of those marshmallows in a homemade rocky road ice cream. I can find marshmallows here but not minis and alot of the time,they taste odd to me..not like the ones from home.
   Oh Shake n Bake, how I love thee. Ok so I know in general shake n bake could be considered semi ghetto..but I love it..espically the BBQ flavor. I also got two bottles of liquid smoke wich allows me to make my own bbq sauce, and I like to add in into my hamburger meat. It tastes like you grilled it outside..nice treat during the winter:)
  I got tons and tons of different marinades. I am soo happy about that. They do not grill/bbq like I am used to and because of that it makes finding really good marinades a hard thing to find. Yes I realise I could make my own..but seriously sometimes I just want to open up the packet and be done with it already. I also got yeast packets. The yeast over here is not rapid rise and although I have finally cracked the problems I've been having with it, I love the ease of rapid rise yeast. It's so nice to get ranch packets. Speaking of ranch packets! Frau was ever so kind to ask her husband to pick me up some while he was on a quick trip to the U.S. She is heading back home so she sent me her stash of  cold pills..seriously I NEVER thought there would come a day that I would be over the moon with having cold pills. I'm funny like that I guess.
 Double acting baking powder is always a dream to see..and spices..oh how happy I was to see all of these! McCormick needs to tap the marker over here because the spice sections here need some serious help and don't get me started on the lack of decent side dishes. I will have to hit the kitchen again and come up with some new mixes. I sure miss Rice a Roni:) I am already dreaming up new things to make in the kitchen with my supplies. Thanks Dad and Carole :)