Thursday, April 28, 2011

My "Kas"

           "Kas" is the Dutch word for greenhouse and shouldn't be confused with "Kaas" wich is the Dutch word for cheese. They both sound so much alike to me that I am pretty sure I told my neighbor the other day that my plants were growing just fine in the cheese! We finally set up our Kas and here are the pics! The above photo is part of my backyard. For Dutch standards I have a fairly large patio area..for me though it's super small and drives me nuts.
      We started by laying all the poles out by their number sequence. We bought the greenhouse specifically with my husband in mind. He is 6 foot 4 and needed to beable to walk inside and stand straight up..so although I knew it was going to be big..it was still a shock when I saw it come together.
    I've lost my backyard space! You'll have to ignore the paint on top of the garage area. I am working on scraping that all off to repaint over it. You can also see my severly cut down Butterfly Bush that is busy growing and getting bigger by the day.
     Ta-Da! all finished :) Thankfully we still have enough space to sit outside and grill this summer. I can't tell you how excited I am that I can walk inside my greenhouse and pick out veggies to throw on the grill! We have 16 pepper plants,2 regular cucumber plants, 2 lemon cucumber plants,4 eggplant pots,one green striped tomato pot and 5 eight ball zucchini pots!! I'm going to beable to open up my own produce stand this summer :)
      Here is a pick of one of my cucumber plants happily growing. Is anyone planting a garden this year? if so, what are you growing?            




Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

        Happy Easter Everyone!! Today was perfect..the temperature was 76 degrees with a light breeze. We enjoyed a nice family meal together in the afternoon and then headed out to go fishing!
        We went to our favorite canal and setteled in.
       I decided to take photos and pass on the actual fishing.
        There was plenty of wonderful things to take photos of.
        I waited and waited for my husband or oldest son to catch a fish...
          I waited a reallllly long time...and then!
           My oldest son caught a Brasem!! They are smelly little suckers..I mean smellier than the regular fish..and slimy too.
        They are bottom feeders and have a really large mouth. He's sorta cute don't you think? We slipped him back into the water and he happily swam on his way..Suddenly I spotted something veeerrrryyy interesting...
        I'm thinking our canal has it's own Loch Ness Monster..either that or it might possibly be a floating stick with a leaf hanging out from the top..but I seriously think it's a mini Nessy. We had a wonderful Easter and hope you all do aswell! Head over to Unknown Mami and see how everyone else enjoyed their sunday!
        
Unknown Mami
             





 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

          The weather has been incredible here!! blue sky,tons of sun and temps are in the 70's!! My container garden veggies are growing like crazy and I will be posting pics soon of what I'm growing :)

Easter is just around the corner and I decided to send in cupcakes for my husbands weekly work meeting. I went ahead and made simple cookie cupcake toppers in the shapes of eggs and flowers to go along with it :)

I don't usually bake up vanilla cupcakes because I have yet to find a recipe that I am in love with. I am on the look out for a moist cupcake that doesn't taste eggy or has a dense texture. Alot of the recipes call for 5 eggs and for some reason all I taste are the eggs. I went with this recipe because it only called for egg whites. The cupcake was more sponge-like,almost crossing over into the muffin category. The eggy flavor wasn't there but it wasn't as moist as I would have liked it either. I really liked the delicate cream cheese frosting that went with it. I no longer like the overly sweet cream cheese frostings that we Americans are so good at making :) This one had a more subtle flavor and wasn't at all sweet..but had a nice fresh dairy flavor to it. You can also top these cupcakes with fresh sliced fruit such as strawberries,blueberries and raspberries.

Vanilla Cupcakes

5 Egg Whites
1/2 cup plus 2 TBS Butter,softened
1 cup Sugar,divided
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2-1/4 cups Cake Flour
2-1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Milk

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces Cream Cheese,softened
1/3 cup Butter, softened
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 tp. Lemon Juice
Fresh sliced fruit,optional

Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Pre heat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a cupcake tin with liners and set aside.

Combine flour,baking powder and salt in a bowl; set aside. In another mixing bowl, cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form and the sugar is dissolved. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into cake batter; fold in remaining whites.

With a spoon, gently fill cupcake liners two-thrids full. Bake for 18-22minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to sit in pan for a few minutes before removing and allowing to completely cool on a wire rack.

Yields: 22 Cupcakes

For icing, in a small bowl, beat softened cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and lemon juice. Spread over cupcakes. Top with berries or cupcake toppers. Store in covered container in the refridgerator.

** Since I never keep cake flour on hand I looked up and substitute along time ago. For every one cup of flour,place 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in the bottom of a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill to the top with white flour. I didn't bother adding cornstarch in when I measured the 1/4 cup with flour.**

** To make your own cookie cupcake toppers, I used my lemon sugar cookie recipe, cut out small eggs and flower shapes,placed in the freezer for a few minutes to allow it to firm up and then gently slid in toothpicks through the dough. Place on cookie sheet and bake**

Source: Taste of Home


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

         Even though I live in the city I am still able to find a sense of peace here. When I leave my house all I have to do is cross the street and walk through this wooded path.
     I walk through the path(30 second walk) cross the street and I see an open field before me.
     There is one grade school,highschool,bus stop,play area and several neighborhoods all around me..but I find peace here.
    There's even a canal tucked away in the back of the open field. You can feed the ducks or cast your pole to see what you can catch.
     I usually spend my time scouting out neat things to take pics of. Yep..I do so love my neighborhood :) Thanks for stopping by! Head on over to Unknown Mami to see what everyone else is showing this week!          
Unknown Mami
 
 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Baked Zucchini Fries

        In my determination to provide my family with better food choices I have been looking into more ways to use vegetables as the main dish aswell as the side dish. We all love a variety of vegetables, it's just mainly me not really knowing what I can make with all of them. I'm having alot of fun learning though what can be made with zucchini's,eggplants,bell peppers,cucumbers,peas and tomatoes..it's really really good because thats what my husband and I are growing this year for our very large container garden. Our living room is currently taken over by more than 34 veggie plants and I will be planting  my last round at the end of the month. We are setting up our greenhouse and will post pics of that and of our veggies in all of their containers. I have a feeling we are going to be eating alot of fresh salsa this summer!

Baked zucchini fries have been around forever. It's a basic recipe that you can tweak to make your own. Here are the basics

Baked Zucchini Fries

2 Large Egg whites
2-3 medium zucchini or eggplant sliced into skinny wedges or sticks
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs..dried or flavored
Seasonings; italian,garlic powder,onion powder,salt,pepper,experiement with different ones!
Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 425 or 220 celcius. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside. In a small bowl, beat egg whites with a fork until frothy.

In a shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, seasonings and cheese and mix well. Dip zucchini sticks one at a time into egg whites and then into bread crumb mixture, making sure that all the sides are coated. Place the sticks on the baking sheet and bake for 10 mins, flip and bake for another 10 mins or until golden brown.


Serve these with a marinara sauce or like me, a yogurt dip. I took plain yogurt and added a variety of seasonings to it. Everyone loved it! If you are looking for a main dish to serve this with, we ate Mushroom Burgers with it.








Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tulips!

     Wow my page is all messed up..photobucket is up to something..hopefully they get back up and running soon! It's Tuesday's Around the World on Communal Global and we want you to share a picture of your "Today". Today I am sharing a pic of our beloved Dutch tulips :) What does your today look like?









Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

       Hello,Hello from sunny Holland! Today we are enjoying beautiful weather :) I've been busy working in my backyard..yard work never seems to end! I did the first mowing of the season in our front yard yesterday.
       I picked weeds,replanted some things and swept up dead leaves.
       The really sad part is that you can hardly tell I did anything. I wish I was one of those people who found joy working in the yard..but I'm not. I'd rather be baking or reading..or reading about baking and then baking what I read about : )
Please head over to Unknown Mami and check out what she is up to along with everyone else who is sharing a piece of their sunday..maybe join in aswell?

Unknown Mami
 


 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

       I am forever ruined. I will never beable to eat a regular chocolate chip cookie again. These are so so so addictive,chewy,carmalicious,out of this world fantastic. I sent these in for my husband's weekly meeting and when he came home he told me they went crazy over these. People were coming over to try them after receiving an e-mail from other people telling them how good they were. You just have to..have to make these.

The cookies are so thick and when the melted rolo firms up, you get this awesome chewy caramel flavor throughout the cookie that pairs so well with the chocolate and the nuts. These are fantasic when eaten warm from the oven,but I gotta say that our favorite way is when they have sat for a few hours and the caramel firms up. Thanks to My Baking Addiction for the fantastic recipe! 

I used walnuts instead of pecans in the recipe only because thats what I had on hand. We loved it with the walnuts but I do plan on making them again with the pecans. The recipe states to freeze 30 rolos..I ended up needing 40 rolos. I didn't plan on that and was only able to freeze the 10 rolos for about 30 mins. I have to say they turned out just as perfect as the ones that were allowed to freeze for 2 hours. So to be on the safe side I would have an extra role on hand incase you need more.

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

1-1/2 cups Unsalted Butter; softened
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 TBS Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
3-3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
2 cups Chocolate Chips
3/4 cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
30 Rolos; Frozen atleast 2 hours

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl,combine the butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Mix in the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in chips and nuts..using a wooden spoon if needed.


Roll 1-1/2 tablespoons of dough into a ball and flatten the ball in the palm of your hands. Place a frozen rolo in the centers of the flattened dough balls and form dough back into a ball around the rolo.


Place the rolo stuffed balls back into the freezer for 15-20 minutes before baking. Place the rolo balls on the prepared cookie sheet 2 inches apart. 


Bake 11-13 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft). Cool 2 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.


** I ended up only putting about 6 rolo balls on the cookie sheet. When I added more they spread out for some reason and when I added only 6 they stayed firm in their shape.**


Source: My Baking Addiction


  
  

  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mushroom Burgers

         Are you a fan of veggie burgers? some people like them and others can't stand them. I have tried alot of varities from the store and noticed that although they were labeled "healthy" they actually weren't. I grew up eating alot of vegetarian dishes and loved them. Although my family and I are forever meat eaters, I am working on serving up more meatless entrees.

I made these mushroom burgers the other day and my two boys couldn't stop talking about how much they loved them. I have to agree with them because I loved it too and plan on making them again this weekend. My husband the hardcore carnivore said he really liked them but still prefered a burger over these(sigh). You can play around with the ingredients aswell..maybe add in some diced garlic, bell peppers, black beans maybe? These are a cheap to make,taste great and come together quickly.

Mushroom Burgers

2 cups Finely Chopped Fresh Mushrooms
2 Eggs,lightly beaten
1/2 cup dry Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Finely Chopped Onion..I used Dried Onions
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Dried Thyme
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1 TBS Vegetable Oil
4 Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

In a large bowl, combine the first 9 ingredients together; mix until completely combined. You might think the mixture is to dry but keep mixing it, it will come together. Shape into 4 patties.

In a large skillet add the oil and cook the patties over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until crisp and lightly browned. Serve on buns with your favorite toppings and condiments.

Source: Taste of Home

 

 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Orange Chicken & Vegetables

      I could seriously eat chinese food every single day and never tire of it! I am always looking for new take out meals to make at home on the web. I came across this one from Mommy's Kitchen and she got it from Jamie Cooks it Up. The dish features breaded chicken with an assortment of vegetables. In truth you could use whatever you like. I added in sliced mushrooms and bean sprouts to the mix and went lighter on the sliced carrots and left the onions out.


You can save yourself some time by slicing everything up in the morning and by dinner time it will come together much quicker. This is a great dish and one that will be added to our chinese take out meals made at home rotation :)


Orange Chicken and Vegetables


4 Boneless skinless Chicken Breasts,cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 TBS Olive Oil
5 Large Carrots, julienned
1 Small Onion, Cut
2 Bell Peppers any color, cut into chunks
4-6 Celery Stalks, Sliced
Salt and Pepper,to taste


Orange Sauce

3/4 cup Fresh Orange Juice
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp. Ginger
2 tsp. Rice Vinegar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Sesame Oil
2 TBS Corn Starch
1 cup Chicken Broth
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes;optional


Combine flour,salt and pepper to a small bowl or large ziplock bag. Toss the cubed chicken in the mixture until it's covered. Heat up a large skillet or wok. When it's hot add in the 1 tablespoon of oil and add the chicken in batches..you don't want to crowd the chicken so make sure to cook in batches of two.


Cook chicken until it's golden brown and cooked through..about 10mins. While your chicken is cooking,cut up your vegetables if you haven't already done so. When chicken is done place on a plate or pan lined with paper towels. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to pan. Add your veggies and cook over medium high heat until crisp tender..about 10 minutes. While your veggies are cooking,add all of your sauce ingredients into a pan. 


Whisk sauce ingredients in pan until combined. Bring to a boil. Once the sauce starts boiling it will start to become thicker; whisk until desired thickness..it doesn't take long so make sure you watch it. When your veggies are done, add the chicken back into the pan and pour the sauce over the top and stir to combine. Serve over steamed rice or noodles.


 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches

        It feels so good to be heading into some warmer weather! Dutch winters can really drag on sometimes and you wonder if you are ever going to see sun again. I was never the type of person who got down when winter hit. Growing up in Oregon you had your fair share of grey dull days that were filled with nonstop rain..but it never got to me until I moved here. I was always a Fall/Winter fan and now I can't drop kick those seasons fast enough. I need sun and warmth! 

To celebrate the beautiful weather we had on saturday I whipped up these delicious sandwiches! I've said it before but I am seriously blessed with a family that will try anything. They may not like it but they will atleast give it a try. I've got one son who loves everything to be spicey and hot and another son who is more of a plain eater and a husband that eats every single thing that I put infront of him. I could burn the food and he would still eat it while telling me it still had some good points. I'm lucky I tell you:)

The curried chicken salad was a big hit. We loved all the different textures and flavors in the sandwich. I wasn't to sure about the dried cranberries but that along with the walnuts turned out to be my favorite part. The curry lends a nice subtle flavor and the longer you allow the flavors to mingle the better the taste is.

Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches

2 cups cubed Cooked Chicken
3/4 cup Chopped Apples
3/4 cup Dried Cranberries
3/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup Chopped Celery
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 TBS Chopped Green Onion;optional
1 tsp. Curry Powder
6 lettuce Leaves
6 Croissants,hamburger buns;split

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients expect for the lettuce leave and buns. Stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the fridge atleast 1 hour or up to a whole day. When ready to serve, place lettuce leaves on buns and top with salad mixture.

Source: Taste of Home




Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

        Hi Everyone! if this is your first time here..Hello my name is Sonya. I'm an American living in The Netherlands for almost 4 years now. I thought I would show you our canal thats in our neighborhood. My oldest son loves to fish here during the summer. I love little areas like this..stuck in the middle of an industrial area and a neighborhood.
    This is on the industrial area side and the canal is over there to the right. We had beautiful weather..70 to be exact! I hope everyone else was able to enjoy wonderful sunny weather :) Head on over to Unknown Mami and join in on the fun of sharing a piece of your life with everyone else.
Unknown Mami