Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

  
          Wow it's sunday again! I hope everyone had a wonderful week :) Today I am sharing photos from my recent nature walk. My husband and I make a perfect team when it comes to nature walks..He fishes and I scout out wonderful bugs and butterflies to take photos of!

       

         

        

         
         I hope everyone has a fantastic week ahead! We are finally getting some much needed sun and warmer temps. I plan to grab my camera and head out on my bike! Head on over to Unknown Mami to see what everyone else is up to. 

       
Unknown Mami
                                             





  

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Breaded Chicken with Peanut Butter Noodles

         
              I'm amazed how living abroad has changed my way of eating and even drinking. I hated coffee my entire life. I didn't like coffee ice cream, iced coffee or coffee flavored candy. I move here and everyone and their dog drinks coffee. I got tired of everyone looking at me with pure shock when I mentioned I didn't like coffee so I decided to give it a try. I now love it. The same goes with peanut butter sauce. I could not stand it and it wasn't until a few months ago that I really started to enjoy it. It's not something I can eat a large amount of but every once and awhile I like to eat it.

Thats where this dish comes into play. It has a simple peanut butter sauce that you can tweak the way you like it. At first I thought it had to much of a soy sauce taste so I bumped the peanut butter up by a tablespoon and it was perfect. The other neat thing about this recipe is that is uses top ramen. The spice packets are used to season the chicken and you use the peanut butter sauce on the noodles. It's a pretty cheap recipe to make and it comes together quickly.

So what is something you couldn't stand for the longest time but now love? maybe there are some other things out there that I need to give a try again:)

Breaded Chicken w/ Peanut Butter Noodles

1/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 cup creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Minced Garlic
1/2 cup Dry Bread Crumbs
3 pkg's ( 3 ounces each) Chicken Ramen Noodles
4 ( 5ounces each) Bonless skinless Chicken Breasts Halves
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 can ( 14 ounces) Bean Sprouts,rinsed and drained

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, soy sauce and garlic; set aside. In a shallow bowl or large resealable plastic bag, combine bread crumbs and contents of two noodle packets ( I used 3). Add chicken, one piece at a time, and shake to coat.

In a large skillet, add the oil and fry the chicken over medium heat for 5-6 minuntes on each side or until juices run clear. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.

Remove chicken and keep warm. Add peanut butter mixture to frying pan; cook and stir until heated through. Drain noodles. Add noodles and bean sprouts to frying pan; toss to coat. Serve with chicken.

** As a side not I only used fresh bean sprouts. I dumped them into the boiling water along with the noddle packets. I then drained everything and added it to the peanut butter sauce.**

Yields: 4 servings
Source: Taste of Home Almost Homemade






Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cheeseburger Mini Muffins

  
               Now that summer vacation is finally here my house seems to be filled with nonstop hungry kids! These mini muffins are my answer to the never ending question of "What is there to eat?".

This recipe makes a bunch..as in 5 dozen. You can freeze these once they are baked and later on just take out what you need and nuke them in the microwave for a minute or so. You can switch up this basic recipe aswell. I have swapped the ketchup out for bbq sauce, I've added in spices, different cheeses and I've used diced up cooked chicken instead of the beef. You can swap the beef out for ground pork, chicken or turkey. You could even go a vegetarian route and swap the meat out for veggie crumbles. These are great for dipping in ketchup,bbq sauce, ranch or marinara sauce.

Cheeseburger Mini Muffins

1/2 lb Ground Beef (I've even use a pound)
1 Small Onion, finely chopped
2-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
Additional Seasonings of Choice
3/4 cup Ketchup
3/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Butter,melted
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Prepared Mustard
2 cups (8 ounces) Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 or 220 celcius. Grease a mini muffin tin and set aside. In a skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until beef is no longer pink, drain if needed.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and additional seasonings if using. In another bowl, combine the ketchup, milk, butter, eggs and mustard; stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in beef mixture and cheese. Fill greased muffin tins three-fourths full.

Bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to cool on wire racks. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.

Yields: 5 Dozen
Source: Taste of Home Best Church Supper Recipes 
         
     




 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Curry Chicken

 
        I love dinners that come together quickly but still taste like you've been in the kitchen for hours. This dish comes together in 30 minutes and it tastes great. I know alot of people aren't fans of curry but I for one enjoy it. I do not like the hot and spicy curry dishes but I do like the more mild ones. If you are in the mild camp then you should give this one a try. Infact my one and only complaint was that it was a tad to mild. I ended up adding double the amount of curry that was called for and it still could of used more. Perhaps it was the type I was using and I think I will scout out different brands to see if I can get a better flavor.

The original recipe calls for chopped up tomatoes but I swapped those out for equal amounts of sliced mushrooms. We are more of a mushroom family than a tomato :) This feeds no more than 4 so next time I am going to serve naan bread with it because we were all pretty hungry later on that night. 

Curry Chicken

1 lb. Boneless skinless Chicken Breast,cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tsp. Curry Powder..or to taste
3/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1/2 cup Chopped Onion
1 TBS Oil
1 can ( 14 ounces) Coconut Milk
2 TBS Tomato Paste
3 cups Fresh Baby Spinach
1 cup Chopped Tomato or Mushrooms
Hot Cooked Rice

In a large skillet, add the oil,chicken and onion ( if using mushrooms instead of tomatoes add those in now). Sprinkle the curry powder, salt and pepper over the mixture and cook until chicken is no longer pink

Stir in the coconut milk and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat;simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes or until thickened. Add spinach and tomato;cook 2-3 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Yields: 4 servings
Source: Taste of Home Busy Family Favorites 




Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

       
               Hello from it's never going to stop raining,Holland! It's July and I'm currently in sweatpants,socks and a sweater..so not cool at all! 

      
      A few weeks back I found a book that had a listing for all the nature areas you can walk through here in The Netherlands. I looked up our area and started making plans.

       
      It was a really nice area..a little to crowded but overall a great place to walk on a nice day. I look forward to working my way down the list of places to visit this summer :)

       
     As always I was happy that I was able to spot butterflies!

      
     They are on my top 5 list of most favorite things to take photos of...What's your favorite?

       
       You can even rent a vacation home there :) I hope everyone has a wonderful week! It's finally summer vacation here and my two sons have a whopping 6 week vacation! It seems like a really short time in comparison to what I had growing up..I kinda like it though. I think 3 months is a bit long. Head on over to Unknown Mami and see what everyone else is up to!    
            


Unknown Mami
                                                             




 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Eton Mess

 
                      Eaton Mess has been on my to make list for the longest time. I always see it on the summer episodes of British cooking programs. Eton mess is a traditional british dessert that contains crushed meringue,heavy whipping cream and some kind of berry..usually strawberries. You can make your own meringues or purchase them at the store. I went ahead and made my own since the store bought ones never have the chewy texture that I love so much.

If you want to make your own meringues I have a recipe HERE that is for chocolate chip meringue cookies. You could leave the chocolate chips out or leave them in as an added bonus :) I've also made this dish using a large pavlova and just crushed the whole thing up. I've used strawberries and the photo above is made with a homemade strawberry rhubarb jam :)

Eton Mess

4 cups Strawberries
2 tsp. Granulated or Vanilla Sugar
2 tsp. Pomegranate Juice
2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
Meringues

Hull and chop the strawberries and place into a large bowl. Add the sugar and juice and leave the berries to macerate ( basically you are allowing the berried to marinate in the sugar and juice).

Whip the cream in a large bowl until thick but still soft. Rougly crumble in the meringues into the whipping cream. Take out 1/2 cup of the chopped strawberries and fold in the remaining berries into the the cream mixture. Pour mixture into 4 serving glasses or bowls and top each one with remaning chopped strawberries. 

** I've also made this where I crumble up the meringues and lay those on the bottom and then add the whipping cream and the berries on top. You can make this so many different ways. The original recipe uses a small amount of meringues..but we are a serious meringue loving family and I always add in twice the amount :) I've also left out the juice and only added sugar to the strawberries. You can also sweeten the whipping cream up by adding in a few tablespoons of sugar and some vanilla before you whip it**

Yields: 4 servings
Source: Nigella 





 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies with Maple Syrup Glaze

  
         I'd like nothing more than to tell you that I've been to busy to blog because of the beautiful summer weather..but I can't. We've been hammered with rain,storms and temps so cool that I have been thinking non stop of soups and stews! I've been cooking and baking but have been to bummed out to blog. It's really not fair to have a summer that reminds you of winter..espically since winter hangs around forever here. I'm hoping August will make up for all of this and I can get back to grilling again..I'm so anxious to try my hand at grilling pizza!!

These cookies are something I whipped up while the weather was cool. It reminds me of Fall, wich is something I shouldn't be thinking about right now, but I am. I've made two batches of these cookies..one following the exact recipe and the other one I added and took away somethings. These cookies are wonderful but I felt like they needed a slight tweak. The cranberries and oatmeal make this a super delicious chewy cookie and the maple syrup glaze makes you want to eat these for breakfast with a nice cup of hot coffee (wich I may or may not have done on maybe one or two occasions). The problem I ran into was that there wasn't enough maple flavoring for my liking. To solve this I added maple extract to both the dough and the glaze. The other thing I changed was the amount of baking soda. I must be hyper sensitive to that stuff because thats all I could taste the first time around. So I cut back to only one teaspoon and that did the trick. These cookies are seriously addictive and I plan to make these again when it is actually fall out :)

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies w/ Maple Syrup Glaze

1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 tsp. Maple Extract;optional
1-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Baking Soda..I cut back to 1 tsp.
3 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1-1/2 cups Dried Cranberries

Glaze:
1 cup Powdered Sugar
3 TBS Pure Maple Syrup
1 tsp. Maple Extract;optional
3-5 TBS Milk or Cream
Pinch of Salt

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the flour,baking soda and salt;whisk and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter,syrup,sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the extract if using and eggs;beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Add in the oats and cranberries and mix with a large wooden spoon.

Drop by tablespoons full onto sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake 7-10 minutes or until cookies are a golden brown. Cool for 3 mins before removing to wire rack.

To make the glaze combine all the ingredients and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. You can either drizzle the glaze over with a spoon or dip the tops into the glaze.

** The original recipe says to drop golf ball sized portions of dough onto the cookie sheet. I was unable to get the middle of the cookies to bake all the way through when using that much dough. I slightly cut back and still came away with really large cookies but they were baked all the way through. I needed to cook mine slightly over the 10 mins to achieve this**

Yields:2-3 dozen
Source: La Kocinera 




 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

  
            My backyard has been a busy meeting up spot for wonderful creatures :)

          
       
             

            

       

           

          
     What's going on in your neck of the woods? Stop by Unknown Mami to check everyone's sunday out and join in on the fun! Thanks for stopping by my Dutch neighborhood!
Unknown Mami
                                  




 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mini Zucchini Bites

  
           My eight-ball zucchini plants are busting those little suckers out left and right..almost to quickly at this point! I'm not complaining at all..I just love walking out into my backyard and picking out what to serve along with dinner.

These little zucchini bites make a perfect side dish or a light snack. They are light and airy..almost puff like. You can switch the cheese to any type you like and add any seasoning of your choice. I'll be making these alot this summer :)

Zucchini Bites

2 cups Grated Zucchini
2 Eggs
1/2 Yellow Onion,finely chopped..I used dried onions
1/2 cup Grated Cheese;sharp,cheddar,mozzarella,etc
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley,finely chopped
Seasonings of your choice


Preheat oven to 400 degrees or 200 celcius. Grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan and set aside.

In a large bowl,add the eggs and lightly beat with a fork. Add in the zucchini,onion,cheese,bread crumbs,parsley and seasonings;mix thoroughly until combined.


Scoop mixture into muffin tin,filling each one just to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until set and the tops are browned.


Yields: 24 Mini Bites
Source: The Naptime Chef


 




 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

     
                What's your favorite muffin? I pretty much like all types but I do have a certain fondness for almond poppy seed muffins. They don't seem to be as popular as other flavors but I love their subtle taste. After heading over into Germany to buy some baking supplies which included agave nectar,sliced almonds and mini baking chips, I decided to whip up some muffins for my husbands weekly work meeting!

These were pretty good. I didn't fall in love with them like I had hoped and I'm not sure why. The flavor was good,the texture was moist and fluffy, but it just didn't knock my socks off. Everyone else really liked them so I guess thats all that matters :)

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

3 Eggs
1-1/2 cups Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1-1/2 cups Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 tsp. Almond Extract
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1-1/2 TBS Poppy Seeds
1/2 cup Sliced Almonds

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a muffin tin with liners or grease with nonstick spray;set aside.

In a large bowl,whisk together the eggs,sugar and vegetable oil until thoroughly combined. Whisk in milk, vanilla and almond extract.

In a medium bowl,combine the flour,salt and baking powder. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and stir just until combine. Stir in poppy seeds. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with sliced almonds. Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack.

Yield: 24 Muffins
Source: Let's Dish




Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Pavlova

  
          I wanted to take a moment to wish all of my American friends and family both here and back home a very Happy 4th of July!! Since I am anywhere between 6-9 hours ahead of everyone back home I thought I would post a quick dessert that we had today...and you still have time to make one yourself!

We are huge pavlova fans! I just love how chewy the meringue becomes. You can top it with so many different things. I went with a red white and blue theme. I used THIS recipe and spread the egg white out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. I baked it for 35 mintues and allowed it to cool in the oven for an hour. I whipped up two batches of whipping cream and dyed one blue. I sliced up some strawberries and assembled the flag with help from the husband :) It was fantastic!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and light a firework for us! 





 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

  
          Dutch weather can be a real pain. We can go from 92 degrees with massive humidity to 62 degrees with rain..within a 24 hour period. I'm so glad I have a green house because I'm pretty sure I would of lost everything I had based on the temperamental weather. Above is a lemon cucumber.

       
       My butterfly bush is finally blooming! I can't wait for the beautiful butterflies to arrive.

       
         I was taken back when I saw this beautiful yellow squash. I had planted only eight-ball zucchini's..and this is no eight-ball. I'm thinking a summer squash? I can't wait to see what it turns into!

       
      These beautiful flowers belong to my green zebra tomato plant..really can't wait to see those!

         
       My hydrangea bush is also blooming. My backyard is a magical place right now.

        
      My houseguests are back and these are the kind we actually look forward to having :)

        
     There has been tons of cuddles and long walks..I don't know if I can give them back! I hope everyone who is celebrating the 4th of July has a safe and wonderful time! We'll be grilling over here and missing home for sure. Please head over to Unknown Mami to see what everyone else is up to this weekend! 
     
Unknown Mami
                     






 

Friday, July 1, 2011

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Treats

   
              We got hit with some realllly warm weather this week. We hit 92 degrees and it was about 88 degrees in our house..and it was humid. It was the kind of humidity where you have to slide yourself off of the couch and move around like a sloth. It started on monday,hit by tuesday and then dropped back into the 60's by wednesday. I've needed the rest of the week to recover from it.!

I'm back to share a 3 ingredient treat that doesnt require you heating the oven up. I've seen these all over the net. The original recipe comes from Picky Palate and she used oreo cookies in her base. I went with Bakergirls version of using chocolate chip cookies since thats what I had on hand. As soon as my husband and I took a bite we both started mentioning that it reminded of us something we ate back home..and then it hit me..A Charleston Chew Bar! the compairison to these has been a rice krispies treat but using crushed chocolate chip cookies instead of the cereal. I will go with that and one up it by saying it tastes just like the charleston bar. You could get away with using any type of cookie I would say..maybe some nutter butters (oooh how I miss nutter butters). These are pretty rich so make small squares out of these :)

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Treats

1-16 ounce package of Chocolate Chip Cookies
5 cups of Large Marshmallows
4 Tablespoons of Butter

Line an 8 inch square pan with foil and set aside. Place chocolate chip cookies in a food processor and pulse until crumbly, but not ground. I went ahead and used a large ziplock bag and used a rolling pin to crush them up.

In a large microwave safe bowl,melt butter and marshmallows until puffy, about 1-1/2-2 minutes. Remove and pour in ground cookies. Quickly stir to combine and transfer to prepared pan. Allow to set for 10-15 minutes. Remove bars out of pan by the foil edges. Cut and enjoy! ** These bars will be soft so don't expect them get hard**

Yield: depends on the size of the slices
Source: Picky Palate and Bakergirl