Friday, October 28, 2011

Maple Cornmeal Cupcakes w/ Maple-Butter Frosting

       So this week was one of those kinds that didn't want to come to an end. It held on reallly tightly for all it was worth and it almost broke me. Almost. Luckily there was enough down time to regroup and come back out swinging! 

One of the things that helped me get through this long week was baking up these cupcakes! The first thing I said when I took a bite was how much it reminded me of a maple bar doughnut..which happens to be my all time fav when it comes to eating doughnuts..well those and applefritters! I was so happy with how these turned out. The maple flavor is perfect and the cornmeal adds an almost nutty undertone. I used polenta so there was an added slight teenie crunch.

These are sweet cupcakes and sharing them with others is perfect! I also found that these to be best served the same day they were made.

Maple Cornmeal Cupcakes

1-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Yellow Cornmeal..I used Polenta
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Butter,softened
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Maple Extract
2 Eggs
3/4 cup Milk


4 cups Powdered Sugar
2 TBS Butter,softened
2 tsp. Maple Extract
3-4 TBS Milk

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a muffin tine with liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, cornmeal,baking powder and salt.In a large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time,beating well after each addition, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat 2 minutes longer. Beat in maple extract and eggs. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and milk just until combined.

Divide batter evenly among 18 muffin cups,filling each about 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.Cool 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; place on wire racks to cool.

For the frosting:In a medium bowl,beat frosting ingredients,adding enough milk, until frosting is smooth and spreadable. Frost cupcakes.

** As always I halved the frosting recipe and there was plenty of frosting for all 18 cupcakes**

Yields: 18 Cupcakes
Source: Betty Crocker The Big Book of Cupcakes


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cheeseburger Soup

          Homemade soup has got to be one of my most favorite things to make during the cold season. It's cheap,easy and your whole family will smile when you serve up big bowls of  it.

This soup is currently our favorite. I tweaked the original recipe slightly and I will post what I changed along with the original recipe. I was so excited to find this one since most of the recipes for cheeseburger soup calls for velveeta cheese..Not only can we not get that here but that cheese scares me. I was never allowed to eat it growing up and never cooked with it as an adult. It's a hearty soup with great flavor so give this a try!

Cheeseburger Soup

1 lb. Ground Beef,Turkey or Soy Crumbles
3/4 cup Chopped Onion
3/4 cup Shredded Carrot
3/4 cup Chopped Celery
4 cups Diced Potatoes..peeled or unpeeled
1 tsp. Basil
1 tsp. Parsley
3 cups Chicken Broth..I used 4 cups Beef Broth
2 TBS Butter
1/4 cup Flour
1-1/2 cups Milk..I used 2 cups
Salt,Pepper and other seasonings to taste
2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Sour Cream;optional but really worth it

Place potatoes, broth, basil and parsley into a large soup pot. Bring up to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, sautee the beef,onion,carrots and celery until tender and beef is no longer pink;drain if necessary. Add beef mixture to the cooked potatoes and stir to combine.

In a sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add in milk and bring to a boil,stirring constantly until the mixture is thickend and bubbly. Take off the heat, add in the shredded cheese and stir until combined. Pour into the soup mixture,bring to a boil and stir until thickened and combined. Season to taste.

You can either add the sour cream to the soup or top each bowl with it. Stir to combine and enjoy!

Yield: 6-8 servings
Source: She Who  Makes

Monday, October 24, 2011

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

       Buttermilk biscuits bring back wonderful childhood memories for me. I can remember waking up as a kid and getting so excited when I saw that biscuits and gravy were on the menu. Growing up we had a simple breakfast of cereal and toast during the week but on the weekends my mom would make a big hot meal for us. My favorites were homemade hash browns and biscuits and gravy..I wanna be a kid again! 

I now make those same meals for my family and I can hear  the excitement when the boys know that biscuits are on the menu. I made these to go along with a new soup that we tried and I will be posting that one tomorrow! We loved it, so make sure to come back tomorrow to see the recipe.

These drop biscuits are light and fluffy and the melted butter thats combined with the buttermilk really helps with that. The butter will clumb up when you add it to the buttermilk..and you want that. Thats what makes these guys pillowy soft.

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Sugar
3/4 tsp. Salt
1 cup Buttermilk,chilled
1/2 cup Butter,melted and slightly cooled
2 TBS Melted Butter for brushing on top

Adjust oven rack to middl;e position and preheat oven to 475 or roughly 245 celcius. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk the flour,baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl,stir the chilled buttermilk and  melted butter together until the butter forms small clumps. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Using a greased 1/4 -cup measure, scoop out and drop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake until tops are goldne brown and crisp, 12-14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking.

Brush the baked biscuits with the extra 2 tablespoons melted butter,transfer to wire rack, and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve Warm. **If you don't have a 1/4 cup measure then just use a large spoon or ice cream scoop**

Yield: 12 Biscuits
Source: The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book 


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

           Is it cold where you are?

       We've got cold the cold crisp mornings now...

      It's followed by the super bright and sunny days..

         Plenty to see while out walking..

    They are predicting a rather harsh winter for us here in The Netherlands, so needless to say I plan on enjoying the crisp sunny days as much as I can! Head on over to Unknown Mami to see what everyone else is up to today!

Unknown Mami



Friday, October 21, 2011

Apple Pie Muffins

         Appearance wise these muffins are a fail. The tops are ginormous and I wondered if they were going to beable to stand up after I took them out of the pan. It's funny sometimes how you can make the exact same recipe as someone else and come away with total opposite results.

Taste wise however they were wonderful! Infact these muffins were actually made for someone who was recovering  from an illness they picked up while vacationing (how horrible is that! thats not the kind of souvenir I want to bring home with me!) Anyway he told my husband that his girlfriend said they were the best muffins she had ever eaten. I love that kind of feedback! I have to say that I liked these muffins even more the next day..the muffin was even more moist and the flavors really came through. So if you know of someone who could use a little pick me up then these muffins just might do the trick  :)

Apple Pie Muffins

2-1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp.Pumpkin Pie Spice..see not below
1 tsp. Baking Soda 
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Egg, room temperature
1 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup Butter,melted
1 tsp. Vanilla
1-1/2 cups Packed Brown Sugar
2 cups Chopped Granny Smith Apples..peeled or unpeeled

1/2 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/3 cup All-prpose Flour

1/4 cup Rolled Oats
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
3 TBS Butter,melted

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Line 12 muffin cups with liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla and brown sugar. Whisk until sugar has dissolved.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Gently fold in apples. Divide batter amoung muffins cups evenly,making sure to fill to the top.

In a  small bowl, combine topping ingredients and mix until well blended. Sprinkle over the tops of muffins. Bake  for 25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completly.

** Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe**
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4  tso. Ground  Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
Mix to combine

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: My Baking Addiction

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blue-Ribbon Upside Down Apple Cake

        There is something so old fashioned about upside down cakes. It's something you expect to see being served at your grandmothers house:) I'm a huge fan of This recipe wich features pineapple, but this one has equally become a favorite aswell.

This recipe has you cooking the apples in with the caramel sauce and by doing so, you thicken the juices which in returns lessons the chances of having a soggy cake. The only change I would make to this cake is maybe use butter  extract in place of the vanilla in the cake. I think it would work really well with the caramel sauce.

Blue-Ribbon  Upside Down Apple Cake

1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup Packedlight Brown Sugar
1-1/2lbs(3-4) Granny Smith Apples,peeled,cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/8 tsp. Salt

1/2 cup Sour Cream,room temperature
1 Large Egg, room temperature
1 Large Egg Yolk, room temperature
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1-1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Butter,cut into 8 pieces and softened

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan.

For the apples: Melt butter in a large heavy bottom skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cook,swirling the pan occasionally,until the sugar looks dark brown (like dark brown sugar), about 2 minutes. Stir in the apples and salt and cook,stirring often,until the apples have softened slightly and juices are thickened and syrupy,5-7 minutes. Scrape the apple mixture into the prepared cake pan and lightly press into an even layer.

For the cake: Whisk the sour cream,egg,egg yolk, and vanilla together in a small bowl. In a large bowl,whisk the flour,sugar,baking powder,baking soda,and salt  together. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed,beat the butter into the flour mixture,one piece at a time,about 30 seconds. Continue to beat the mixture until it resembles moist crumbes,1-3 minutes. 

Slowly beat in the sour cream mixture until combined, about 30 seconds.Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth and fluffly, about 1 minute. 

Spoon the batter over the apples and gently spread into an even layer. Gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 35-40 minutes,rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Let the cake coolslightly in pan, about 10 minutes. Place as serving platter over the top of the  cake pan, invert the cake,  and let it sit until the cake releases itself from the pan ( do not shake or tap the pan), about 1 minute. Gently remove the cake pan and serve warm or room temperature.

Yield: One 9-inch round cake
Sourece: The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book


Monday, October 17, 2011

Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Bread

       Everyone needs to get their fall baking hats on because I've got some great recipes coming your way! I am in a quick  breads, muffins, casseroles, soups and stews overload..and I mean that in a good way:)

Today I am sharing a lovely quick bread recipe that makes two loaves..That means one for you and one for a neighbor maybe..or a friend or just someone who deserves a pick me up? I think instead of random acts of kindness we could also add in some random acts of bakeness. I bet we could all come up with someone who deserves some bakery love.

As with all quick breads, I think they are best eaten the  next day. You wrap them up in plastic wrap after they have completly cooled and it gives the loaf some resting time. All the ingredients settle and mingle a bit..and what you get a super moist loaf that tastes amazing. Give it a shot..and this recipe too!

Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Loaf

2-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1-1/4 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Butter,softened
2 Eggs
1-1/2 cups Mashed Riped Bananas( about 4 medium)
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup Mini Chocolate Chips
3/4 cup Shredded Coconut
1/2 cup Chopped Nuts;optional

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease bottom and 2 inches up the sides of two loaf pans with nonstick spray. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda;set aside.

In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mix until combined. Using a large wooden spoon, add in bananas, buttermilk and vanilla and mix until combined.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Gently mix in the chocolate chips, coconut and nuts if using. Pour batter evenly into two loaf pans and sprinkle additional coconut on top if desired. Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes in pans before removing and allow to cool completly on wire racks.

** I used two 8x 4 inch loaf pans and the original recipe states that it takes about an hour for the loaves to bake but mine were done in 40-45 minutes.**

Yield: 2 Loaves
Source: This Week for Dinner





Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

      I took a walk this weekend along the Dutch/German border.
     This is how close we are. The dirt road on the right is Germany and the field to the left is The Netherlands. It's amazing to me even now that I live here.

     So I spotted some cows..and as it turns out, they were just as curious about me as I was of them.

     So there I was, knee deep in a blackberry bush trying to touch a cow for the first time. I was shocked over how big they really are! They kept sniffing the air trying to figure out who I was.

   They were so soft to the touch..almost like touching a horse.

   I gotta tell ya..I love cows. I'm so going back there again soon  : ) Head on over to Unknown Mami to see what everyone else is up to this sunday!   

Unknown Mami


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joe's

          I debated on if I was going to post this recipe because it doesn't taste anything like a philly cheesesteak..not even close..not even kinda sorta if you close your eyes and try real hard close. It drives me nuts when someone tries to spruce up a recipe by giving it a more snazzy name. I totally fell for it too and I should of known better when I saw the ingredients list. 

This is nothing more than a regular sloppy joe recipe with a cheese sauce..nothing more, nothing less. I'm totally ok with that but atleast call it like it is. I've had cheesesteaks before and I wonder what type Rachel Ray has been eating because clearly there is a difference.  There is also something clearly wrong with me if I went ahead and made this based on the ingredients I knew not to be in the normal cheesestake recipes:P

With all of that being was good. The cheese sauce was a nice addition and I added in diced peppers and mushrooms when I saw that Cassie Craves had made it aswell.

Sloppy Joe's with Cheese Sauce

1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb. Extra Lean Ground Sirloin..I used regular beef
1 Large Onion,Chopped

1 Bell Pepper,Chopped; optional
1 cup Sliced Mushrooms;optional
1/4 cup Steak Sauce
1 cup Beef Stock
 Salt and Pepper to taste 

1 TBS Butter
1 TBS Flour
1 cup Milk
1 cup Shredded Provolone Cheese..I used Cheddar

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and brown the ground meat  about 5-6 mins. Add the onion,peppers and mushrooms and cook for another 3-4minutes, until the onion and peppers start to soften and the mushrooms are browned.  Stir in the steak sauce and the beef broth, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook for about 2 minutes.

While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a medium sized skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, bring up to a bubble and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese until it's all incorporated and melted through.

To serve, place meat on a roll and top with cheese sauce.

Yield: 4 servings
Source: Rachel Ray


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Fall!


       There is no denying it now..fall has finally come to The Netherlands! Are the leaves changing where you are? What's your favorite part about fall? do you love the crisp morning air, the changing of the leaves,halloween? or do you love the baking and the warm comfort foods? I'd love to know!


Monday, October 10, 2011

The BEST Molasses Spice Cookies

       There is no denying fall has finally arrived here in The Netherlands. It's downright cold! We've got those dark mornings which are followed by the grey,windy wet  afternoons. We've been on a soup kick aswell. We can't seem to warm up!

This summer a dear friend of mine sent me a goodie box from home. Inside, among other wonderful items was a jar of blackstrap molasses. I've never baked with that before. To be perfectly honest, I don't even think I have baked with light molasses either. I put the jar away and knew it would be time to use when the weather  got cold  and  the  leaves started changing. Well the day finally arrived  :) I went searching online for blackstrap molasses cookie recipes. I was able to find one that looked very promising. The dough was simple to work with and it smelled like christmas in the house while the cookies baked.

I was seriously hooked with the first bite! The salty,spicy,chewy-cake-like combo was out of this world. I couldn't stop at just one and cursed the fact that I needed to share with everyone else. When my two boys came home from school they made a beeline right into the kitchen.When my husband came home he got a huge smile on his face and asked right away what I baked. These are seriously one of my all time favorite cookies..and I don't make that statement lightly. These are right up there with my lemon sugar cookies and I can say without a doubt they will be making the cut in my christmas baking list!

The original recipe states that the recipe makes 18 cookies...18 very large cookies. I went  ahead and made them in all different sizes and came away with several dozen. I could serioulsy see myself making them large at some point but then making sure that I don't need to share them with anyone else:P 

Molasses Spice Cookies

2-1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda..I used 1 and it was just fine
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground Ginger
1-1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Allspice
3/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
3/4 cup Unsalted Butter,softened
1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar,Packed
1/2 cup Sugar,plus 1/3 cup for rolling cookies
1 Large Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/3 cup Blackstrap Molasses

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice;set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 2 minutes.Add the brown sugar, and 1/2 cup sugar and beat until light and fluffy,about 3 minutes with mixer on medium speed. Add egg, vanilla and molasses;beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

Switch mixer to low speed and add in the flour mixture,  beating just until combined,about 30 seconds.

Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Using about two tablespoons of dough at a time, roll into balls. Roll balls in sugar and then place on an ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Bake until the outer edges of  the  cookies are set and the centers are soft and puffy,about 11-13 minutes. Cool on sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to wire racks.

Do NOT overbake these cookies. You want them to be kind of soft and spongy in the me on this!

Yield: Depends on the size 18-several dozen
Source: Simply Recipes


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Roasted Chickpeas

       I'm sorta guilty of buying things based on cute factor in one way or the other. Take chickpeas..the Dutch word for chickpeas is Kikkererwten..wich means..are you ready? Frog Peas!! is that not the cutest name ever?  I bought a can of it just because of the name. I know I'm weird. I'm ok with that. So now I needed to figure out what to do with my frog chickpeas.

I decided to roast em! I've seen recipes galore for these all over the blogging world and there isn't much to it. You drain em', rinse em', dry em' , drizzle with olive oil, season em', and bake em' until they are crispy.  Easy peasy :) They are sooo addictive. I found myself munching on them like potato chips while watching tv.

Roasted Frog Peas

1 can of chickpeas..any size you want
Olive Oil
Seasonings of choice.

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 clecius. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place chickpeas between papertowels and blot until totally dry.  Toss chickpeas with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl and pour out onto a cookie sheet evenly. Bake 30-40 mins or until brown and crispy. Turn every 10 minutes so they don't burn. Season to taste and serve!

You can season them before putting in the oven aswell. Get creative with your spices. I've used smoked paprika,cajun seasonings, a simple salt seasoning and lemon pepper seasoning. All have been great!

Yield: 4 side dishes or one giant snack serving for you! 


Tuesday, October 4, 2011


          I know alot of people don't like spiders..but I do. Well from a photography stand point I love them. I think they have beautiful details on them that we don't take the time to really see. This lovely fellow lives outside my front window  :) The Dutch word for him is Kruisspin and if I translate the page it comes out as Garden Spider. I love the cross pattern he has!

It's Tuesday Around the World again on Communal Global. So please join us in sharing a piece of your world with us!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

          The Netherlands has been hit with a massive streak of beautiful sunny weather..I do believe thats called an Indian Summer. Im just loving it! It's quickly coming to an end but it was fun while it  lasted.

   The mushrooms are back in full force and it's one of my favorite things about living in The Netherlands during the fall season.

    Meet Sherman, the newest member of the family. He was given to us by our friends that we dogsit for. She knew I had a massive love for him and I was so excited when she asked if I wanted him:)

     I happily spend my afternoons picking weeds for him to snack on. It's love I tell you!

    Dew drops are on my list of favorite things right now. I hope you all have a wonderful week and please stop by Unknown Mami and join in the fun of sharing your world with us!  
Unknown Mami