Thursday, December 30, 2010

Overnight Chicken & The return of bad photos..

 
             I'm seriously embarassed to post this photo. If it weren't for the fact that it was so darn good I wouldn't have bothered. A new light bulb is forever on my list of things to get..but like always..I forget. I need to remember because this is getting to be to much.

This chicken rocks. It has a short list of ingredients and you can basically forget about it while it marinates in the fridge. If you like honey dijon chicken this please give this recipe a shot. The only change I made was to the wonderful marinade. When I took it out of the oven I wanted it thicker. I poured it into a small pan,added a slurry of flour and water,whisked it on high until it thickened and served it over the chicken..yum yummm. There is alot of the sauce by the way. I suggest you save the rest and use it as a dipping sauce the next day with some fries or chicken :) Thanks to Bakedbree for a keeper of a recipe!

Kelly's Overnight Chicken
1/2 cup Honey
1/3 cup Dijon Mustard
1 TBL Curry Powder
4 TBL Soy Sauce
4 Chicken Breasts

Mix all of the ingredients minus the chicken in a bowl. Place chicken and marinade into a resealable plastic bag. Pop into fridge and allow to marinate overnight.


Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Place chicken and marinade into a 13x9 pan. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover,baste and bake for another 15 mins. Serve chicken with remaining sauce. You can also thicken the sauce a bit and it makes a fantastic gravy that can also top fried or mashed potatoes!






Monday, December 27, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

           I baked a meringue pie for the first time! My husband who loves all things meringue and lemon naturally picked this as his birthday cake. I'm not a big pie maker but as time goes on I hope to change that. The one thing that worried me was the pie crust. They don't sell Crisco here(I should say that they do sell it here but it comes in small cans and costs a fortune. I've never been a fan of crisco and prefer to come up with alternatives..wich I have successfully done so far:) and there is a substitute that some people have used but it grosses me out to much to think about using it. I also know that you can infact use all butter to make a pie crust but I am not a crust maker at all. So to solve all of that I used a graham cracker crust!! it worked perfect and we didn't miss the pie crust at all.

The meringue was my least favorite. I did not like the addition of vanilla and will leave it out next time. The lemon filling is out of this world! I tasted the lemon curd while it was cooling down and was a little disappointed in how mellow the flavor was..However, when it cooled down in the fridge for 3 hours I actually puckered up with the first bite. It was perfectly lemony-tart without going overboard. I can see myself using the filling when making Pavlova's or various smaller tarts.
      I hope everyone had a wonderful christmas! As much as I have enjoyed the snow I am ready for it to go away now. I heard we are expected to get more so I had better get used to it :)

Lemon Meringue Pie..Source: Taste of Home
1-1/4 cups Sugar
1/4 cup Cornstarch
3 TBL Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 cups Water
3 Egg Yolks,Lightly Beaten
2 TBL Butter
1-1/2 tsp. Grated Lemon Peel..I left out
1/3 cup Lemon Juice..Freshly squeezed is best

Meringue:
1/2 cup Sugar,divided
1 TBL Cornstarch
1/2 cup Cold Water
4 Egg Whites
3/4 tsp. Vanilla

1- 9 inch baked pie crust or graham cracker crust

Place egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and allow to sit for 30mins at room temp. Place egg yolks in a small bowl.

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch,flour and salt. Gradually stir in flour with a whisk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat, cook and stir for 2 mins longer.

Remove from heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks stirring very fast to avoid making scrambled eggs. Return all of the yolk filling back into the hot mixture and whisk quickly to combine. While stirring constantly bring mixture to a gentle boil, cook and stir 2 mins longer.** you will notice the faster you whisk the creamier the mixture gets and starts to thicken more** Remove from heat and gently stir in butter and lemon peel. Stir in lemon juice just until combined. Pour into crust.
                           

Meringue: In a saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in cold water. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is clear. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.


Beat egg whites and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat in clear cornstarch mixture on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spread evenly over hot filling, sealing edges to crust.


Bake in pre heated 350 or 180 celcius oven for 25mins or until meringue is golden brown. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour and refrigerate for atleast 3 hours before serving.


** As a side not you can start the first part of the meringue mixture at the begining and allow it to cool while you make everything else. I plan to do that next time**




Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday's In My City...

      We officially had a White Christmas yesterday! we were pretty much snowed in for the day..but that was alright. We spent the morning openening gifts and taking it easy.
            The sun even managed to come out for the day!
  This is how we are spending our evening tonight. Every year my husband gets a special booklet from work to pick out a gift. We decided to get ourselves a gourmet wok set. It's really popular here to get gourmet sets in various shapes and designs. The idea behind it is that you place it in the middle of the table,cut up a ton of different meats and vegetables,and everyone is able to cook their own stuff. It's alot of fun because you can chat while you cook your own meal. So every Dec 26th we've decided as a family to eat this way while we chat about the year and what we hope the new year will bring for us. See you next weekend! New Year's is huge here..it's the one day the Dutch are allowed to buy ginormous fireworks and set them off..for Americans think 4th of July only here they actually set off the giant fireworks you see on tv. It scares the poo out of me every single time. The whole house shakes for about 45mins! Head on over to Unknown Mami to see what everyone else is up to today: )


Unknown Mami




Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

 
                I wanted to take a moment and wish you all a very Merry Christmas! We're currently snowed in. I haven't seen this much snow since I was a kid! Everyone in The Netherlands is getting a white christmas :) I finished up my baking today and tomorrow we'll be eating a turkey dinner and munching on christmas cookies. I hope whatever you do tomorrow that it's spent with the people you love.
  


 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mexican Wedding Cakes

      I can not believe how close we are to christmas! I spend all year waiting for this holiday season and then it seems to come at me way to fast. I must admit that this year has been a bit of a"Blah" moment for me. I am not my usual christmassy self and I'm not sure why. I can usually pinpoint a reason..it's usually due to missing home around this time..but not this year. The magic of it all seems to be lacking for me now and I'm not sure what I need to do to get that back.

Last week I mentioned in This post that I was now catering my husband's weekly meeting. I sent in Oatmeal Toffee Cookies and Snickerdoodles. I was so nervous to find out how they reacted towards it. Well I am happy to say that they loved it so much that I got two christmas cookie orders out of it! I never expected that and was over the moon excited. The order was for "Typical American Christmas Cookies". The person has no idea how many typical american christmas cookies there are! Based on what I already know about this person I sent in several of the toffee and snickerdoodle cookies he already fell in love with..and these..Mexican Wedding Cakes(they are also called Russian Tea Cakes).  These are a great alternative to the overload of frosted sweet cookies,cakes and candies..not that we don't all love those, but it's nice to have a mild cookie to go along with your coffee or tea.
      The recipe comes from Betty Crocker's Best-Loved Cooky Treasures cookbook from 1963. I seriously love the older cookbooks. You can find the neatest recipes sometimes. The ingredients list is simple..pick your favorite nut..I used crushed pecans but I've made them with walnuts and even saw a recipe using pistachios..butter,vanilla,flour,powdered sugar and salt are the rest of the ingredients. Thats it..and man oh man are they fabulous. I placed each one inside a petit-four baking cup to making the serving more easier.

Mexican Wedding Cakes..4 dozen
1 cup Butter;softened
1/2 cup Sifted Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
2-1/4 cups Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Finely Chopped Pecans or your favorite nut
Extra powdered sugar for coating

Mix butter,sugar, and vanilla thoroughly. Add in the flour and salt,blend in. Add in nuts. You will notice that the dough is not creamy but kind of crumbly. That's ok. Place dough in fridge and allow to chill. I think I left mine in for one hour but I'm sure anywhere between 30mins-1 hour is good enough.

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. When you pick the dough up,allow it to warm up in your hand for a few seconds. The heat will warm up the butter and allow you to shape/roll it easier. Place 1 inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet (the cookies do not spread so you can place them closer to eachother). Bake 10-12mins, or until set but not brown. While still warm, roll into powdered sugar and place on parchment paper or wire rack to cool. Re roll in powdered sugar once they have cooled.   

 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday's In My City...

               The snow started at night one week ago..and it hasn't left and we keep on getting more and more.
      So I've been staying inside alot..lighting candles..
     Taking pics of christmas ornaments...
      And briefly running outside to take more pics when the snow has calmed down a bit. We are expected to get more snow up until christmas day! This could be my first full on white christmas! Head on over to Unknown Mami to see what everyone else is up to this weekend!
Unknown Mami


   
 


  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies


      So last week my husband comes home and tells me that I am going to be catering his weekly meeting with my baked items. I sent in Buttermilk Banana Nut Muffins months ago and I guess they have been talking about them ever since. I sent in more last week and he jokingly told them that I could send in baked items once a week for them to have during their meeting. They said yes. I guess they have been super curious for the longest time about the things I bake and how much they want to try everything..including the peanut butter combination that noone is really familiar with other here. The only item I am not allowed to put into the baked items is..meat..Hmm.. I guess I won't be trying hamburger cupcakes anytime soon..Ha!
  I am beyond excited about this by the way. I have a mile long list of baked items I want to make and the fact that I have noone else to share them with has stopped me from making alot of them. I'm excited to let them taste and see that American baked items are not these horrible sickingly sweet and evil things they tend to believe here. That doesn't mean we don't have those items..if I sent in anything with a cream cheese frosting they would hate it. I decided to start out slow and send in cookies..the Dutch love love LOVE their cookies. I sent in 3 types..Snickerdoodles,Chocolate Crinkles and these bad boys..Oatmeal Toffee. My friend Lizzy brought me back a bag of Heath English Toffee Bits on her recent trip back to the U.S. I'd never had those before so I was excited to give them a try. This recip does not disappoint! I will go so far as to say that they are my favorite oatmeal cookie. They are soft,chewy..both from the toffee bits and the flaked coconut and my coconut hating husband gave these two very big thumbs up.

The cookie base in my opinion allows all kinds of changes. You can use another flavor like chocolate chips instead of the toffee..leave out the coconut and add in chopped pecans. Since I only had one bag I won't beable to make the Heath version anymore..but I will be trying the chocolate and pecan version again soon! I hope they like what I sent in..it will be a new experience for them to try 3 soft cookies. All cookies here are crunchy based on the opinion that a soft cookie is an old cookie. I am a total soft cooking loving gal :) The original recipe can be found on the Hershey's website.

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies..4-5 dozen       
1 cup Butter, Softened
2 Eggs
1-3/4 cups Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
3 cups Quick Cooking Oats
1 cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes;optional
2 cups Packed Light Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla
1-1/3 cups Heath Toffee Bits

Heat oven to 375 or 190c. Lightly grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
Beat butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, beat until blended.


Stir in oats, toffee bits and coconut with large wooden spoon. Drop by rounded teaspoons full about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 mins or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 min, remove to wire rack.


** I followed alot of the other suggestions and baked them for only 8 mins. They will be pale when you take them out but to get a nice soft cookie you need to take it out before it gets to hard. Incase you are not able to get the toffee bits feel freeze to use any type of milk chocolate toffee candy bar. I would place it in a plastic bag,free it for a few mins and that will allow you to smash the bars easier**
              



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pink Sunrise

      Now that's a sunrise!! I couldn't believe it when I spotted it in the early morning hours. 
   I love mornings like these : )
      On a side note..we got slammed with a ton of snow over the night. Winter Wonderland once again!
  I hope you come and join us over at Communal Global's Tuesday's Around the World. Every week we want you to link up with us and share a piece of your today..whatever that maybe :)
    

               






 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday's In My City...

   
   Hi Everyone! It's sunday again:) I decided to show you a crazy day in photos of our weather. The morning started off with tons of snow.
     It was beautiful..and then it stopped and cleared up.
    Out of nowhere the blue skies we had briefly left and everything went a weird grey shade.
       The snow came down with a vengeance for about 5 mins...and then..it was all gone.
      The beautiful bright blue sky and sun popped out and melted all the snow. I guess we're due for more by the end of this week..I'm ready for more :) Thank you to Unknown Mami for bringing us Sunday's In My City. Thanks to her I've gotten to know several people through them signing up and I love checking up on everyone once week. Please head over there and see what she is up to along with everyone else who signs up!     
 
Unknown Mami
                                



 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Baked Potato Soup

  Hands down this is one of the BEST soups I have ever tasted! I've seen this soup every year on blogs and always had it on my list of things to make but never got around to it. I'm so kicking myself now because this is like your bowl clean good. If you like the taste of baked potatoes then you are so going to love this...you will get every bit of a baked potato flavor in this soup. 


You can save yourself some time by baking your potatoes during the day aswell as cooking your bacon. By doing this you cut out alot of the time of having to bake the potatoes,waiting for them to cool, and then peeling and mashing them. I went ahead and left out the green onions since we aren't reall fans of those and instead of 6 slices of bacon, I added in 12. I added the crumbled bacon to the soup instead of using it as a garnish. On a side note..feel free to use reduced fat products in this recipe such as reduced fat milk,cheese, and sour cream. The original recipe can be found at MyRecipes.com


Baked Potato Soup..Serves 6-8 depending on bowl size 

4 Baking Potatoe (about 2-1/2 lbs)

2/3 cup Flour
6 cups Milk
1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese,divided
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Sour Cream
3/4 cup Chopped Green Onions,divided
6-12 Bacon Slices,cooked and crumbled

Pre heat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Wash your potatoes,prick and bake for one hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes and coarsley mash.

Place flour in large saucepan/dutch oven. Gradually add in milk,stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly ( about 8 mins). Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese,salt and pepper, stirring until cheese has melted. Remove from heat.

Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions. Cook on low heat 10mins or until heated through. Do not allow to boil.
  Place soup in bowls and sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese,bacon,onions and additional pepper if desired.

** I went ahead and added all the cheese to be melted and added the bacon in with the sour cream**

  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Snowy Drive...

 
    It's tuesday again and that means we at Communal Global want to know what your "Today" looks like. Link up with us by sharing a photo of what your today might look like. Today I am bringing you a glimpse of my husbands today. When the snows starts falling and the roads begin to freeze this is what his drive to work looks like...because he works out in the country they don't bother to salt the roads. I worry until he gets home everynight. I've been on those roads on a good day and they are narrow and pretty unforgiving during that time. Luckily he's a cautious driver : )


So come on and join in the fun! Make a post of your today and link up with us and please remember to leave a link on your post back to Communal Global:)





Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday's In My City...

 
Hello Everyone! It's sunday again..time to share a bit of my world. Thanks to Unknown Mami you too can share some of your world with everyone else. Head on over there and sign up and check everyone's sunday out. As you can see we have the tree up :)
     This is where I went to pick it out. The guy remembered us from last year. We're the only Dutch/American couple to show up early for a tree :)
      I'm one of those people who love personalised ornaments and I remember where each one came from and the meaning behind it.
      I've got a thing for The Wizard of Oz.
     I bought this one in..yep you guessed it..London,England. I can't wait to go back there someday.
     My oldest son made this for me last year. We both sat on the couch and I taught him how to make the stitches. I love these kinds of memories.
     The boys know how much I love christmas..So every year on my birthday they buy me some sort of a decoration. They've started buying me snowglobes in all sizes. I can't tell you how much joy it brings me to know that they go to the store together and pick me out a gift. They can barely contain themselves as I open it up.
         Life is magical right now and I wish you all a wonderful week ahead!
                
Unknown Mami