Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ham Fettuccine

        I love meals that come together quickly but taste like you've spent a ton of time in the kitchen on it. This is one such dish! It can be made in under 30mins and to make the meal complete, serve it with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad :) 

Ham Fettuccine

12 ounces uncooked Fettuccine
1/4 cup cup Chopped Onion
3 TBSP. Butter
1-2 tsp. Minced Garlic
3 cups cubed full cooked Ham
1/2-1lb sliced fresh Mushrooms
1-1/4 tsp. Dried Oregano
1-1/4 tsp. Dried Basil
1-1/4 tsp. Dried Parsley Flakes
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 cup Meatless Spaghetti Sauce
3/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onion in butter until tender. Add garlic;cook 1 minute longer. Add the ham,mushrooms and seasonings; cook and stir for 4-5minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Stir in spaghetti sauce. Bring to a boil;cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat;stir in cream. Drain fettuccine,toss with ham mixture. Serve with crusty bread and a fresh salad.
** You can leave the mushrooms out all together if you aren't a fan of them**

Yields: 6 servings
Source: Taste of Homes Recipe Card Collection

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

         Heeellloooo from The Netherlands!! I hope everyone is doing well :) today my Sunday's In The City comes to you courtesy of my yard! I've got a few bird feeders in the front yard and boy do the pigeons love stopping by.
     I've been grilling out as often as possible!! I LOVE veggie kabobs!! I wish I could get a package of the all beef hotdogs from home..I miss american hotdogs..like..alot.
        My veggies are loving the greenhouse!!!
           This cutie is a Hungarian Wax pepper
      I've been walking as much as I can. I can't get enough of the sun!
       I taught myself how to bake Artisan Bread..my life is changed forever :) I hope everyone has a fabulous week and I want to wish all of my American friends and family both in and out of the military,a safe and wonderful Memorial Day tomorrow!! Head over to Unknown Mami and join in the fun of sharing your city with us!
Unknown Mami




Friday, May 27, 2011

Coconut Chocolate Chip-Walnut Bars

             I swear I don't serve my family only sweets. I do cook! I have a list of recipes I need to post on here but I always seem to grab the baking ones! I've been busy using our new grill and loving it!! I'm really digging veggie kabobs at the moment :)

I needed to quickly whip something up for my husbands work meeting this week and went with these! I love the ease of bars. You spread it in a pan,bake,cool,cut and enjoy! The secret to these bars is the coconut pudding mix you add in :) pudding mix really makes a cookie or a bar super moist. In truth you could go with any pudding mix. I played around with the original recipe by swapping out the pistachio pudding,adding in coconut pudding,coconut extract, adding in chopped walnuts..because seriously walnuts and chocolate go hand in hand in my book and I'm happy to say these are an A++ recipe in our house!

Coconut Chocolate-Walnut Bars

2-1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Unsalted Butter;softened
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar..light or dark is fine
1/4 cup Sugar
1 (3.4 ounce pkg) instant coconut pudding mix
2 Eggs,room temp
1/2 tsp. Coconut Extract
1 cup Chopped Walnuts
2 cups Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a 13x9 inch pan with foil,making sure to extend the sides for easy lifting when removing the bars;spray with nonstick spray...For thicker bars you can use a 9x9 inch pan..wich is what I used. You will need to increase the baking time but not by much. 

In a large bowl,sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl with a mixer, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy..about 3-5 minutes. Add the pudding mix and beat until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the coconut extract. 

Stop the mixer and add in a small amount of flour. On low speed, beat just until the streaks have disappeared. Slowly add in the remaining flour. Using a large wooden spoon, stir in the chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. Spread the dough into prepared pan, making it as evenly as possible. I ended up spraying my hands with nonstick spray and spreading the dough out that way.

Bake 15-25 mins with a 13x9 pan or until toothpick inserted towards the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs. If using a 9x9 pan like I did,start checking for doneness after 25 mins. I used a silicone pan and mine was done at 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the pan to cool on a wire rack. When bars have cooled down, lift them out by using the foil handles. Cut and serve :)

Yields: Depends on pan and cutting size
Source: Une Gamine dans la Cuisine

Monday, May 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

          So here is the cake that Jacob picked out for his birthday this year! A peanut butter chocolate cake with peanut butter chocolate fudge frosting! seriously..you need a tall glass of ice cold milk with this..you've been warned :)

The cake was super delicious..very moist and the frosting was..intense. The longer I am away from home the more my tastes start to change. I can no longer eat the super rich frostings like I could before wich is probably why I never bake cakes until birthdays roll around. I also noticed that what is rich tasting for me, isn't for someone else. So I always hesitate when I do label something "rich tasting". The cake was perfect..using buttermilk in cakes can never go wrong. The frosting was a perfect blend between peanut butter and chocolate and had a snickers like hint to it. A total winner in our book!

Some hints: I had to use two 8 inch cake pans..and I think it really needs the two 9 inch pans instead. I was not able to fit all of the batter into the pans and ended up making 6 cupcakes with it...because of that the cake was really soft and didn't hold its shape very well. The cupcakes didn't hold their shape either and we ended up making trifles out of them so that wasn't a big deal. I think by using the two 9 inch pans you get a more firm cake wich will take the frosting better. I needed to thin my frosting out more to make it spreadable so make sure you get it to the consistency that you like. Thanks to Simply Delicious for an awesome cake recipe!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

2 cups Sugar
1-3/4 cups All-purpose Flour
3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
1 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup Unsalted butter;Melted
1 TBSP Vanilla Extract
1 cup Black Hot Coffee
4 Heaping tablespoons Peanut Butter

Fudge Frosting:

1/2 cup Peanut Butter..I used smooth
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter;room temp
2-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar;sifted
3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder; sifted
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
3 TBSP Milk or Cream
Salted Peanuts,slightly crushed for topping.

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease 2, 9-inch cake pans and set aside.(I went ahead and placed two round pieces of parchment paper on the bottoms and greased those aswell)  Place the hot coffee in a bowl with the 4 tablespoons of peanut butter and allow the peanut butter to slightly soften and melt. Combine the dry ingredients;set aside.

Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla and combine with the dry ingredients. Add in the coffee-peanut butter mixture and whisk/mix thoroughly. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and bake in oven 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted towards the middle comes out clean. If you feel like the cake is browning to quickly turn the heat down by half.

Remove the cakes from oven and allow to cool on wire racks 10-15minutes before removing them from their pans;cool completely on wire racks. 

To make the frosting, beat the peanut butter and butter until thoroughly combined and fluffy. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder until the mixture is very stiff. Add the vanilla and the milk until glossy and creamy..adding in additional milk or cream until desired spreading consistency is achieved. Place one cooled cake on a plate,spread some of the frosting on top,place second cake layer on top and frost the top and sides with remaining frosting. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the top.

Yields: 1- 9 inch cake
Source: Simply Delicious


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

                 I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.
      I hope you have sunshine where you are..
       Beautiful flowers to enjoy..
         Possibly some rain to make everything new again..
      Whatever your day was filled with..I hope there was plenty of beauty to enjoy! See you next sunday : ) Head on over to Unknown Mami and see what everyone else is up to!
Unknown Mami



Friday, May 20, 2011

Chocolate Amaretto Cupcakes

          I'm officially a mother of a teenager..Wow..just wow. I'm 36 with a 13 year old! It doesn't seem possible. The numbers don't lie though. Every year I whip out the baby books for the boys on their birthdays and we go through the whole day together. They know the stories by heart and they love to tell me the important ones as if they remember it themselves...but they beg me to tell them again. Jacob will say "So what happened again when I was born?" and I say "You screamed and screamed until they handed you over to me. I whispered in your ear that it was ok becasue your mama was here. You stopped crying after that and we just stared at eachother for the longest time" Liam says he wants his story next month when it's his birthday. I am so amazed how fast time is going now. I can't seem to keep up and I am grasping at every single moment I can. I love watching them grow and learn..but it's going to fast. I want to hit the stop button on the clock for awhile. I really wish I could.
     The boys are allowed to take in home baked treats to their class on their birthday. Jacob wanted to take in these chocolate amaretto cupcakes. I wasn't able to get the amaretto so I went with the substitution they gave of almond extract in the frosting. These cupcakes were super moist and fluffy and the frosting was creamy delicious..not to sweet at all. I will be back tomorrow with the cake he picked out :)

Chocolate amaretto Cupcakes

1-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Cocoa powder
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1-1/4 cups Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 cup Milk


3/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
3/4 cup Butter,softened
3-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 TBSP Amaretto or 1/2 tsp Almond Extract


1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips,coarsely chooped
1/4 cup Chocolate Syrup

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Place cupcake liners into 24 muffin cups and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, the cocoa, baking soda and salt;set aside. In a large bowl, beat oil and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about 1/3 at a time, and 3/4 cup milk, about 1/2 at a time, beating just until combined.

Divide batter evenly among cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake foil lined cupcakes 13-17 minutes, paper-lined cupcakes 14-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, remove from pans to cooling racks to cool.

To make frosting: In a 1- quart saucepan, cook and stir the milk and the flour with a whisk over medium heat until thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool completely,about one hour.

In a medium bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Add cooled milk mixture; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in amaretto or almond extract. Add additional powdered sugar,if neessary, to achieve your desired spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes and top each one with chopped up chocolate chips and chocolate syrup.

Yields: 24 cupcakes
Source: Betty Crocker The Big Book of Cupcakes


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Baby Cucumbers!!!!

               Every morning I head out into the green house to check on my plants. I noticed one of my cucumber plants was producing blooms..well this morning I spotted two baby cucumbers growing!! Aren't they the cutest. There is something so gratifying about growing your own food  : )

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday's In My City

          Happy Sunday everyone! whew..I've been busy! Yesterday we headed out to finally buy a gas grill! I love the smell of charcoal but love the convenience of a gas grill. It's mine..all mine and can't wait to whip up some delicious food.
           My container garden is coming along nicely...they really love the green house. These beautiful blooms belong to a Large Red Cherry Pepper.
       These are my Eight-Ball Zucchini plants and my oh my are they going to taste amazing when grilled..or stuffed and grilled..or sliced and grilled :)
         My wonderful husband put up a trellis for my cucumber plants..they are going to get huge..really really huge.
      I even spotted my first cucumber bloom. My husband and I have a wee bit of a contest going. He is growing all peppers and I'm doing the rest..the winner will be the one who produces the most amount of fruits from all of their plants. It's so on.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Head over to Unknown Mami and check out what everyone else is up to..and then join in yourself! 
Unknown Mami


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Snickerdoodle Blondies

            I've been going through blogging withdrawls! Blogger was down for a few days and I couldn't post or respond to other bloggers..hopefully no more problems :)

Snickerdoodles in blondie form rock on so many levels. I can't believe it took me months to make this recipe! If you are a true snickerdoodle fan like I am then you reallllly need to make these. They are soft,chewy, go perfect with a cup of coffee and the cinnamon sugar top crust is snickerdoodle perfection. I'm starting to learn that my husbands coworkers love all things cinnamon and sugar. They raved about these guys..so much so that I am going to surprise them with snickerdoodle cupcakes very soon!

Snickerdoodle Blondies

1-1/3 cups All-purpose flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter;softened
1 Egg
1/2 TBSP Vanilla Extract


1 TBSP Sugar
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease an 8x8 inch pan;set aside. In a bowl,combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; whisk and set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the butter and brown sugar together for 3 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread the batter evenly into pan..(the dough is almost like a cookie batter so you may need to use either a greased spatula or your hands)

Combine the topping ingredients and evenly sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted towards middle comes out clean. Cool in wire rack before cutting. ** Recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9x13 pan**

Yields: depends on how you cut the bars


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hummingbird Cupcakes

           I have seen these floating around the cooking blogs for awhile now and always wanted to try them. You can either make a cake with it or cupcakes. I went with cupcakes and whipped these up with the boys on Mother's Day.

They were a huge hit. They taste like a banana nut muffin but in cake form. Soooo delicious! The frosting of course is cream cheese and you can never go wrong with that. I found that I had more than enough frosting for my cupcakes..infact I have leftovers..but if you are one that seriously loves their cupcakes piled high with it, then I would double the recipe.

Hummingbird Cupcakes

2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
11 TBSP. (155 grams) Butter,Melted and cooled
1-1/4tsp. Vanilla Extract
1-1/3 cups Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1-1/3 cups Mashed ripe Banana
2/3 cup crushed Pineapple,drained
2/3 cup Chopped Walnuts (optional but really worth it)
2/3 cup unSweetned Coconut


8 ounces Cream Cheese,softened
5 TBSP (70grams) Unsalted Butter,softened
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar,sifted

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a cupcake tin with liners and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon;whisk and set aside.

In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter,vanilla and sugar and beat until blended and smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Mix in the mashed banana. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour mixture just until combined. Gently fold in nuts and coconut with a spatula until evenly mixed. Divide the batter between the liners,filing each about 3/4 full. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 5-10mins before removing and transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl with an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until incorporated, increase the speed and beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Source: Annie's Eats


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

             Happy Mother's Day to all of those who celebrate this wonderful day. I was pretty spoiled :) I got flowers and two new cookbooks..they know me soooo well :) I got the cookbooks a few days before today..wich translates to..gosh I hope you make something out of there for us to eat on sunday. :) So I did..recipes to follow this week! Stop by Unknown Mami and see how she is celebrating today!

Unknown Mami


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Supa Dupa Easy Lemon Bar Recipe

       These lemon bars were soooo hard to photograph! I don't know what was up with the weather,location and massive glares but I about gave up. I am a huge fan of natural light and don't care to much for the stark sterile lightbox photos but sometimes it's hard to get the picture you want! 

I happily put up with the frustrations of the photos because these babies were worth it! I was chatting on facebook about how much I love having the time now to bake desserts I never had time/or thought to make before...lemon bars being one of them. As much as I love lemon desserts, this was my first time baking and eating a lemon bar! Wow have I been missing out! the yummie shortbread crust goes so well with the not overly sweet or tart lemon filling. The boys went nuts over them and my husband ate half the batch in one sitting!! needless to say, his co-workers won't have alot to eat at this weeks meeting.

These bars couldn't be more simple..I don't make hard things people so give these a shot! Thanks to In Erika's Kitchen for a fantastic recipe that will be made again for sure!

Easy Lemon Bars

Bottom Layer:

1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, melted
Pinch of Salt

Filling :
1/8 cup Flour
2 Eggs
1 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Spray a 9x9 inch pan with baking spray, then line with foil making sure to extend over the sides slightly to create handles wich will be used to lift the bars out later on. Spray the foil with nonstick spray and set aside.

To make the bottom layer, combine the flour, powdered sugar, melted butter and the pinch of salt with a fork until a crumbly dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared pan so it covers the bottom and up the sides by 1/2 inch. Bake the crust about 15 minutes or until it just startes to turn golden.

While the crust is baking prepare the filling by whisking together the 1/8 cup flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder and lemon juice. Pour lemon mixture over the warm crust and return to the oven. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until the center no longer jiggles when you shake the pan.

Cool the bars in the pan for 30 minutes, then refrigerate atleast 2 hours before cutting ( this allows you to get a nice clean cut with even edges) Lift the bars out of the pan; Cut into 9 bars or like me into much smaller pieces to feed more people. Dust the bars with the 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar just before serving.

Source: In Erika's Kitchen

Yields: Depends on what size you cut the bars.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Canal Rowing

              The canal we like to go to for fishing comes alive once summer gets closer. I usually see something new each time I go. This time around I spotted a mama duck and her babies and a group of rowers. I must admit that this photo was taken inside of our car. It was cold you see, so while my husband and oldest son sat there and fished, my youngest son and I sat in the car and periodically opened the door and shouted encouragement before shutting the door again. I did jump out when my husband caught each of his 3 fish.
       This is a Brasem and I don't think they are in the U.S. They are bottom feeders and have huge mouthes and lips to suck up all the gross things they like to eat. So we snapped a few pics and slipped him back into the water.

So what does your "Today" look like? join us on Communal Global by sharing a picture of your today : )  


Monday, May 2, 2011

Cheesecake Squares

        It's been awhile since I posted a recipe of any kind. I go through periods where I will make something new almost everyday and then my family starts asking for old favorites so I take a break for a little while. I've got several new recipes to post this week so stayed tuned for those!

First up we have these cheesecake bars. I am a serious cheesecake freak..serious freak. I am also a purist when it comes to my cheesecake. I want it plain and so thick the cheesecake sticks to the roof of your mouth. Everyone is different though and this recipe is for those who want a lighter cream cheese taste. I whipped these up for my husband's weekly meeting last week and they went over great. I wasn't a fan of the crust and thought that it overpowered the light cream cheese taste. I was the only one with that opinion though because everyone seemed to love the chocolate/walnut combo with the cream cheese!

Cheesecake Squares

1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
3 TBL Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Cold Butter;diced
1 Egg Yolk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 cup Finley chopped Walnuts


1-8 ounce package Cream Cheese,softened
1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 TBL all purpose Flour
2 tsp. Grated Orange Peel
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Egg
1 Egg White
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preheat overn to 325 or 160/170 celcius.Line a 9 inch square baking pan with foil and allow the foil to extend over the side to use at handles later on; grease the foil with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the egg yolk, vanilla and walnuts. Press onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, flour, orange peel and salt. Beat in egg, egg white and vanilla on low speed just until combined.

Pour over warm crust. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour.

Refrigerate overnight. Using foil, lift out of the pan and either remove the foil at that point or cut into 1-inch squares.. making sure to remove the foil after that. Store in airtight container in fridge.

Yields: About 2 Dozen

Source: Taste of Home


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

         Hello from beautiful sunny Holland : ) There is a place thats about a 30min bike ride from the house (we are buying bikes this summer to get out and enjoy this country) that we love to go to. It's huge,it's open,it's got water,wild cows that love to charge you..what more could one ask for? well a bathroom sure would be nice but that's asking to much for The Netherlands. They aren't porta-potty happy like the U.S. is. I've actually talked about this place one before Here. Each time you come you can take a different route and see something new.
       We came on a saturday evening wich is why you don't see 500 other people biking and walking around..saturdays are usually reserved for grocery shopping and just shopping in general. Plus saturday was Queen's Day here and there are several celebrations and parads going on in various cities. Why didn't we go you ask? My husband had to work and to be honest we aren't big parade going people.
        But we do love to walk..so walk we did!
                                          I think that I shall never see
                         A poem lovely as a tree.
                         A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
                         Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
                         A tree that looks at God all day
                         And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
                         A tree that may in Summer wear
                         A nest of robins in her hair;
                         Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
                         Who intimately lives with rain.
                         Poems are made by fools like me,
                         But only God can make a tree.
                          ~Joyce Kilmer, "Trees," 1914
         There is even a nice place to sit and enjoy the water.
        He sure did! I hope everyone has a wonderful sunday and a great week ahead! Head on over to Unknown Mami and join in on the fun of sharing your city with us!
Unknown Mami