Monday, April 30, 2012

Coconut-Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

       These cookies are seriously addictive...seriously. My husband declared these to be one of the best batches of cookies I have ever baked..and to have him say that really means something. He will happily eat anything I put infront of him but for him to actually go on and on about a specific meal or dessert..yeah that pretty much means I have a winner on my hands.

These cookies hit all the right spots. There is a combination of chopped roasted almonds,cocout and chocolate chips. It's an almond joy in cookie form! The only issue..and not it's not really an issue in my house but I came away with a poop load of cookies. The original recipe stated 3-4 dozen. I got more like 5-6. I don't know how I could be off by that much. I doubt my Dutch spoons are different from back home but the heaping-teaspoon sized portions will leave you with even more cookies than I baked. I started using tablespoon sized portions after the first batch. You get alot of dough and if you don't want to freeze it or be stuck in the kitchen for 5 hours..make them larger. These are perfect for a bake sale or as a gift..or stashed away in the freezer waiting for you to pluck them out five one at a time.

Coconut-Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup Unsalted Butter,softened
1/2 cup Sugar
1-1/4 cup Sweetened Flaked Coconut
1 Lare Egg,at room temperature
2 TBS Water,at room temperature
1 tsp. Vanilla 
1/2 tsp. Almond time I will add 1 tsp.
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 cup Quick Cooking Oats
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 cups Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
2 cups Almonds,toasted (See Tip Below) and Chopped

Preheat oven to 325 or 160 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with pachment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl,whisk together the flour,oats,baking powder,baking soda and salt.

Place butter,sugar, and coconut in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the egg,water,vanilla,and almond extracts,one at atime, beating well between each addition. Scrap down the sides of the bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the chocolate chips and almonds and beat again. I found it easier to mix the last two with a wooden spoon.

Form dough into heaping-teaspoon size balls and place them 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet.  Using the palm of your hand,gently press down on the cookies (You can also flatten them out in your hand prior to placing them onto the cookie sheet.)

Bake until the cookies begin to brown at the edges, 12-15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for a few minutes on the sheet because they are delicate and can fall apart if they aren't allowed to cool down and firm up. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

** Tip** To toast nuts,preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Place the nuts on an ungreased cookie sheet or baking pan and bake until golden,10 mins or so. Keep an eye on them so that they don't burn. Cool the nuts (Allowing the nuts to cool down will give them a chance to really crispin up and will make the chopping alot easier.)

Yield: 3-4 dozen or like me 5-6
Source: Cookies For Kids' Cancer

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday's In My City...

    Life around these parts hasn't been to exciting. On the days when it isn't raining I get outside. Sherman enjoyed his first taste of freedom yesterday. He just loves dandelions.

    We visited a war museum  a few weeks ago. I walked through it in complete silence. I saw things I'm not sure I will blog about. It's one thing to see images while watching a documentary..but when you see them's a whole other experience.

        I've even managed to enjoy a beautiful sunset here and there! I am so ready for summer. We are in yet another cooler stretch here in The Netherlands...enough already!

Head on over to Unknown Mami to see what everyone else is up to this weekend!

Unknown Mami

Friday, April 27, 2012

Honey Walnut Banana Bread

     Happy Friday! I am bringing you my final recipe in my must use overripe bananas that I seem to always get stuck with at the store! I'm happy that I was able to create alot of things with only 8 bananas and my favorite recipe that I made was the Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread. Infact I purchased more bananas to make that bread again this weekend.

I really love banana bread but I am always looking for different recipes for it and when I spotted this one I bookmarked it right away. It uses a combination of brown sugar and honey..and how wrong can you not go with that combination? I went ahead and wrapped the bread up in plastic wrap and allowed it to sit overnight. The flavors are way more intense when you give it a resting period and the bread is even more moist.

If you don't plan on eating all of the bread at once, you can freeze this without any problems. Have a great weekend everyone! My two boys are off next week for vacation :)

Honey Walnut Banana Bread

3 overripe Bananas,mashed
1/2 cup Butter,Softened
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs,room temperature
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/3 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Salt
1-1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Oats
1 cup Chopped Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease either a 9x5 inch or 8x4 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined..don't worry if there are a few lumps of banana in the batter..lumps are goood :) Using a wooden spoon, add in the flour and oats and mix just until combined. Add 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts and fold in with spoon. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle remaining nuts over top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. I used an 8x4 inch loaf pan and it took a little over 45 minutes to be done. Allow to cool in pan for a few minutes before turning it out and allowing to completely cool on wire rack. Serve warm or wrap in plstic wrap to store overnight.

Yield: 1 8x4 or 9x5 inch loaf
Source: Picture The Recipe 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread

        Sometimes I'm seriously amazed with the internet and what you can find on there. I had honestly never heard of a yeasted banana bread! In fighting back with always getting to ripe of fruit here,I was on mission to use the bananas anyway I could. I had already baked muffins with a few of them and now I wanted something totally different. I could of easily gone with a regular banana bread recipe..and I did and will be sharing that recipe soon..but I wanted to first share this one first can bake a yeasted banana sandwich bread!

I had no idea as to what this bread was going to taste like and if it was even going to turn out. I am not the best at rolling up my dough into a tight loaf yet and I worried that I didn't get the bananas smashed up enough into the dough. I'm happy to say that not only did it taste fantastic but I managed to roll it tightly enough to produce a wonderful looking loaf of bread:) The bread itself does not scream of banana flavor..but that's not to say that you won't beable to taste it right away. It's more of a subtle hint and we all agreed that the crust had alot of the banana flavor. The bread was moist and and was gone within a day. We really loved it toasted with peanut butter smeared on it. I was going to make french toast with it but we ate it to fast. I will be making this super easy loaf over and over again. The King Arthur Website provides step by step photos of the instructions so head over there if you need additional help!

Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread

1 cup Lukewarm Milk
3 cups Bread Flour OR All-Purpose Flour
2 TBS Unsalted Butter,room temperature
2-1/4 tsp. Instant Yeast
1 tsp. Salt
2 TBS Honey
1 medium sized Banana,cut into chunks,about 3/4 cup

In a large mixing bowl,or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients to form a shaggy dough. Knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes or in a mixer for 5 minutes. You may need to add more flour as you are looking for a smooth soft dough with a little tackiness to it. Place dough into a lightly greased bowl, and allow to rest for one hour in a warm spot.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a tightly rolled up log. Lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan and place dough inside loaf pan. Cover the pan with a lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 45 mins to 1 hour,until it's full and rounded ( mine reached that by 30 minutes.)

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 degrees and make sure the rack is in the middle position. Bake bread for 35-40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190 F. I do not own one of those so I thumped the bottom and when it sounded hollow I knew it was done. If the bread is browning to quickly,tent the loaf with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

Turn loaf out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

*** I used All-purpose Flour in this recipe because the bread flour in The Netherlands already comes with yeast in it and that drives me nuts. I never know if there is enough yeast in there to use in regular recipes. So for now I always use all-purpose flour and it turned out fantastic!**

Yield: 1- 8x4 inch loaf
Source: King Arthur Flour

Food Holiday Link Party

Monday, April 23, 2012

Banana,Buttermilk and Brown Sugar Muffins

        Fresh produce blows in The Netherlands. Alot of us expats chat constantly about the overripe moldy pieces of fruit and vegetables we find at the store...and the fact that in me,myself and I continue to buy it makes me really mad. We all know that we are getting screwed over but there is little we can do about it. I spend way more time than I should visiting stores in hopes of spotting fresh fruit that isn't moldy,celery that doesn't bend in half without breaking,potatoes that aren't soft and lettuce that isn't discolored after peeling two layers of it off. I love the open markets here because it's the only time you are able to buy fresh produce directly from the grower alot of the time and everything is fresh,mold-free and tastes amazing!

Bananas seem to be something that is always hit and miss at the store. I can buy a set of bananas that on the outside look firm,the peel has no spots on it and within a day they are bad. So this is me fighting back. I took the 8 bananas and turned them into muffins,two types of banana bread and smoothies. Here is the first recipe I am sharing with you! These are healthier muffins..low in sugar but still have a wonderful taste. These do not beat my Favorite banana muffin recipe but when it comes to low sugar, these are pretty darn tasty. When I baked these muffins up I was taken back by how freaking huge they were. When I looked at the original photo that came with the recipe, his muffins didn't rise as much as mine did. I'm not complaining because I do love me a fatty muffin but incase you notice the same's alright..fat muffins rock!

Banana Buttermilk and Brown Sugar Muffins

Wet Ingredients

1 cup Buttermilk
1/4 cup Canola Oil or other neutral flavored oil
1 Egg
2 very ripe Bananas
1-inch fresh piece of Ginger,grated OR 1/4 tsp. Dried Ginger
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Dry Ingredients

2-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
2/3 cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt

Drizzle Ingredients

1 TBS Melted Butter
1 TBS Dark Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray and set aside.

Combine the wet ingredients in a blender and blend on high until very smooth..If you don't want to use a blender like me, then just whisk the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.

In a large bowl,whisk together the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Divide the batter into the muffin cups. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of drizzle over each muffin.

Bake until golden and toothpick inserted comes out clean,about 25 minutes.

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: Herbivoracious


Friday, April 20, 2012

Placement Test Baked Cake Doughnuts

        On wednesday I had my placement test for the language class. I actually wasn't nervous about this because I knew this wasn't some big to-do sort of thing. You take these placement tests to figure out which level of learning works best for you and that way you don't end up in a higher level class if you work best in a medium level. Everyone I spoke to about the test all had different explanations. There was some who never had to take one and the majority was of those who had to take an hour long test on the computer.  The letter I received said to expect an hour long test and thats when I knew I would be getting the computer one aswell.

I show up with my husband because I'm 5 years old and can't do anything without him over here. The letters I receive are in Dutch and all the meetings I need to go to..are in Dutch. So there is no point in me going alone when they may or may not feel like speaking english to me on that day. The same woman I had to speak with 2 weeks before then is the one giving me the test. We go into the same room we spoke to before and she hands me a booklet. A booklet? I was expecting a computer test. The booklet only has 6 pages and she tells me to read the two sentences in english that explain what Im supposed to do. Then I panick. The test is one of those what comes next,put these in the box they belong in,tricky questions  that leave the door wide open for you to you know.. get wrong.  

I turn the page and notice that she isn't leaving. The room is small and she is sitting directly infront of me and she isn't leaving! Not only is she not leaving but she starts talking to me. Why is she not gone but still talking to me? You understand everything,yes? she says to me over and over. Yes I understand. I am one of those people that likes to take a minute and think before I do a test..but she won't stop talking. I should also tell you that the practice questions are 5000 times easier to get than the actual test questions. So it's then that I start to go into overload. My brain starts to kick in and it's talking nonstop to me. You are 37 and sitting in a dinky room with a 20 year old who won't shut up,keeps staring and you and wants to know if  you get it.  Then it starts running through the alphabet because thats what my brain does when it really goes into overload. I'm looking at the questions and nothing is making's as if I have no common sense..Thats not a total shock mind you, but I like to think that I am not a total ding a ling. The woman however has her doubts because the more she is watching me the more she won't shut up and the more I keep thinking I'm doing this wrong or why else would she keep asking me if I get it. I do one page and then other and I skip one whole page altogether and she keeps saying..People really over analyze these tests and there is no need to. It's then that I know I'm not only doing this all wrong but I'm going to kill her. I was going into total nuclear meltdown on the inside and I no longer cared. I finished the test and listened to her tell me that atleast I didn't get in lower level! Like I freaking cared at that point. I never once cared what level I was going to be in aslong as I got into a class that worked best for me.

So, 25 sweaty-I'm going to smack you-minutes later, I leave with my signed contract of agreeing to do the classes and now waiting for my next letter that says come on in and lets get you signed up. I swear the amount of letters you get for "invites"to come in and talk with people amazes the crap out of me. I come straight home and head for the kitchen. When I've reached my limit..and it doesn't take much these days to get there..I need to bake something.

These dougnuts are the answer to wanting to eat something super sinful that you will probably pay for later on so you pull yourself back and go for the healthier option. Let me be honest in telling you that healthier baked doughnuts are nothing like the delicious fried doughnuts that are covered in maple icing( I really miss maple bars.) These did hit the spot and put a smile on my face so that alone makes these a winner in my book. Baked doughnuts are best eaten within a day or so because they tend to dry out really fast and don't taste as good. I think next time I will add a tiny amount of butter extract to give the doughnuts more of a flavor.

Baked Cake Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze

2 cups Cake Flour,sifted ( or use 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Fat Free Milk
1 TBS White Vinegar
2 Large Eggs,lightly beaten
1 TBS Unsalted Butter,melted

Chocolate Glaze

1/2 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
2 tsp. Corn Syrup
1 TBS Canola Oil
1 tsp. Water

Preheat oven to 425 or 220 celcius ( I thought this was to high and lowered the oven temp to 400 or 200 celcius and made sure the oven rack was on the lower level.) Grease a doughnut pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a small bowl,combine the milk and vinegar and let stand 5 minutes to turn into buttermilk. In a large bowl,sift together the flour,sugar,baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whish together the buttermilk,eggs and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until combined. Carefully spoon batter into the doughnut pan about 2/3 full. Bake 7-8 minutes, or until the tops of the doughnutsspring back when lightly touched. Allow to cool in pan for a few minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the glaze, microwave all the ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power 1 minute,stirring in-between,until melted. ** I never have luck with melting chocolate in the microwave so I combined the ingredients in a small pan and cooked it on low while stirring constantly until it was melted** Add additional water in 1/2 teaspoon measurments if the glaze is to thick. Dip the tops of each doughnut into the glaze and allow to dry on wire rack. Sprinkle the tops if you like!

Yield: 18 Doughnuts..106 calories for each one

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gluten-Free Chewy Ginger Cookies

          I'm not sure what type of weather everyone else is having but the Dutch weather seems to be going back a few steps. It's cold,it's raining,it's pretty much not like spring at all. I say this of course fully knowing that this is not abnormal. We have crappy weather here and thats all there is to it. You'd think after living here for almost 5 years I would be more used to it by now. I don't think I will ever get used to this. Ever.

I'm counting down my last few moments of free time. I have started the process of signing up for language class and that includes volunteering somewhere to help with understanding and speaking of the language better. I'd like to tell you that I'm excited about that part,but I'm not. I'm sure after a few months of learning the language I will be more ready to get myself out there and make crazy mistakes as I offend people with my half-assed ability to speak the basics of it all. There are words in the Dutch language that leave the age of 37 in giggling fits because it's so unnatural for me to say them without expecting someone to come along and smack me upside the head for using that word. It amazes me how one word can mean something totally different in another language and getting myself to say them without a smart ass tone will be very very hard. 

In the meantime I am enjoying as much time in the kitchen as possible. I am bringing you another recipe using almond flour. Seriously if you haven't tried it yet, you really need to. You can get almond flour and almond meal. I love the almond meal more and thats what I used in this recipe. The only difference between the two is that almond meal is ground almonds with the skin left on. I like to use the meal in cookies because you get a chewier texture and more intense almond flavor. These cookies are spicy,chewy and delicious. These would be great around christmas time aswell and remind me of a Dutch cookie called Pepernoten which is the equivalent to pfeffernuse. 

Chewy Ginger Cookies

1-2/3 cup Almond Flour or Meal
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup White Sugar
4 TBS Unsalted Butter,melted
1 Egg,whisked

Preheat oven to 300 or 150 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl,whisk all the dry ingredients together expcept for sugar. Add sugar, butter and egg and stir just until combined.

Using either a small cookie scoop or tablespoon,scoop cookie dough balls onto prepared sheet,about 1 inch apart.

Bake 13-15 minutes or until cookies are slightly firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 1 minute before removing cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 32 small cookies
Source: All Day I Dream About Food

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Quinoa Mac N'Cheese

      I LOVE love love Quinoa! love it. I can't say enough positive things about it. It tastes great,seriously versatile and it's good for you. I use it in place of rice and pasta alot of the time and I am having so much fun learning new ways to incorporate it into our meals.

Take this recipe for instance..First lets get it out of the way that of course this isn't going to be like regular mac n'cheese. There is no pasta obviously..but my family hasn't missed it one bit. This recipe uses all of the regular ingredients and on top of's low cal! YES! If you want to add in some sort of meat in there..diced up ham would be great or maybe left over chicken. I don't think it needs it though. You can switch up the veggies in this recipe aswell. I used a combination of regular onions and bell peppers simply because thats what I had on hand. Do not be alarmed when you put the casserole into the oven. It's going to be seriously soupy and you will have a hard time believing that it will firm up..but it me!

Quinoa Mac N'Cheese

2 tsp. Olive Oil
1 medium Leek,white and green parts halved and sliced
1/2 cup diced Tomato or Bell Peppers
1-1/2 cups Quinoa..rinsed and drained
Pinch of Salt
2 Garlic Cloves,minced 
3 cups of Water or Stock
2 Large Eggs
1 cup,low fat,full decide!
1-1/2 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese..or cheese of choice. You can use more but in order to keep it lower in fat stick with this amount.
 Optional Toppings: Panko Crumbs,Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Coat a 13x9 casserole dish with nonstick spray and set aside.

Heat oil in a medium/large saucepan over medium heat. Add in leeks,tomatoes(or whatever veggie combo you want),cover and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in quinoa,garlic and cook,uncovered,3-4mins, or until grain turns opaque.( They will not be fully cooked yet.)

Add the water or stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil then cover,reduce heat to med-low and simmer 15-20 mins or more ( depends on what type of Quinoa you use) or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl,whisk together the eggs and milk. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese. Stir well and allow some of the cheese to melt. not worry that it will appear "soupy". It will firm up. Top with  bread crumbs if using and bake in oven for 25-35 minutes,or until browned around edges.
Divivded into 6 servings it's about 339 calories per serving.

Yiled: 6 servings
Source: Monica Nelson Fitness


Friday, April 13, 2012

Ham,Cheese and Onion Crustless Quiche

      Believe it or not..this was my first time baking a quiche! I've eaten them plenty of times before but never made one myself. I can asure you that I have been bitten by the crustless quiche and plan on making tons more!

I apologise for the bad photo..It was Easter though and we were hungry. So I snapped a few shots and served the meal. We all loved it and it was super simple to make.

Ham,Cheese and Onion Crustless Quiche

3 TBS Fine Dry Plain Bread Crumbs
1 medium Onion,diced
1-1/2 - 2 cups Diced Cooked Ham
1 TBS Unsalted Butter
2 cups (8ounces) Shredded Cheddar Cheese..or cheese of choice
5 Large Eggs
1 cup Heavy Cream..I used evaporated milk
1 cup Whole Milk..or milk of choice
2-3 Grates of fresh Nutmeg;optional
Fresh Chives on top;optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or 200 celcius with oven rack in middle.

Butter quiche dish, and sprinkle all over with bread crumbs.

Cook onions and ham in 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat,stirring occasionally,until pale golden,about 5-8 minutes. Spread in dish,then evenly sprinkle cheese on top.

Whisk together eggs,cream,milk,1/2 teaspoon pepper,nutmeg and pour over cheese. Top with chives if using. 

Bake until golden and custard is set in center, 20-25 minutes( if it's browning to quickly on top and the center is still not set, loosely cover with foil and place back into the oven 5-8 minutes or so) Cool slightly before serving.

** Ok here are my notes. I put the oven rack one position lower and preheated the oven to 375 or 190 celcius. I used nonstick spray and skipped the bread crumb part. I don't know what the usual size quiche pans come in but mine was a 10-inch. I kept an eye on the time and mine was done at 25 minutes. Feel free to leave the ham out if you want a vegetarian option or add in soy crumbles! **

Yield: 4-6 servings..depending on the size of the wedges
Source: Care's Kitchen


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Strawberry Cake

       For Easter I wanted to keep things simple. I wanted a light meal that ended with a dessert that complimented that feeling..Fresh strawberry cake pretty much fit the bill!

This cake has an old fashioned taste to it. The cake itself is fluffy and has a great vanilla flavor. The topping is nothing more than fresh sliced strawberries. My slice doesn't look nearly as good as everyone else's. My strawberries sat on top without sinking in while it baked and I worried that the center was raw. It turned out perfect though and we all loved it. 

Strawberry Cake

6 TBS Unsalted Butter,softened
1-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Sugar..I used 3/4 cup
1 Large Egg
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 pound,Strawberries,hulled and sliced
2 TBS Turbinado sugar,for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven 350 or 180 celcius. Spray either a 10 inch springform pan, a 9 inch springform pan OR a cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside. 

Sift flour,baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.Set aside.

Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and blend until pale and fluffy,about 3 minutes. Add in egg,buttermilk and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.

Gradually mix in flour. Transfer batter to pan and smooth out the top. Arrange strawberries slices on top of cake and sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 or 160/170 celcius. Bake cake until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 50-55 minutes. Let cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve. Store cake at room temperature,for up to two days.

Yield: 6-8 servings,depending on the size of the wedges
Source: Two Peas & Their Pod 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip"Cakies"

         I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! It's a 4 day break over here and everyone heads back to work and school tomorrow. We had a really nice meal and I will posting recipes for it this week!

My continuing journey into healthy baking has really been an eye opener when it comes to using bananas. I knew they were great in breads,muffins and cakes but never really took the time to realise they were a perfect replacement for sugar in alot of things. The more ripe the banana is the better chance you have of getting the intense flavor you are wanting in the baked item. I'm not anti sugar at all but love knowing I don't always need sugar to make my baked item taste great.

These cookies..or cakies as they are called are fantastic. They are a cross between a seriously moist cookie that wants to take a step over into the cake side but not willing to make the final jump. I'm a huge soft cookie fan so these guys were perfect for me..and for my family who ate them all within hours of baking them.

Banana Chocolate Chip "Cakies"

1 cup Mashed Ripe Bananas..3 or so depending on size
2 TBS Creamy Almond Butter..I used Peanut Butter
1 TBS Apple Butter..I used Applesauce
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Baking Soda..I used 1/2 without any problems
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt..I used 1/4 tsp.
1-1/4 cup Almond Flour
1/4 cup Chocolate Chips

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

In a bowl, blend togather the banana,almond butter,apple butter,vanilla,baking soda,cinnamon and salt using a hand mixer. Add in flour and chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Using either a 1-1/2 inch ice cream scoop or spoon,drop dough onto prepared sheet.

Bake 11-14 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing to wire rack. These guys are super soft so make sure you give them a good 3 minutes to cool down and firm up.

Yield: 18-20 cookies
Source: Multiply Delicious


Friday, April 6, 2012

Ham and Spinach Couscous

          Happy Friday! Yesterday I had my first appointment for my Dutch language class. I go in on the 17th to take a placement test and I will be on my way to learning Dutch! I would be seriously lying if I told you I was excited about this. I'm not. I don't mind learning the language but I'm not crazy about the process they put you through in order to get your permanent residency card. It's ok though..the outcome will be me being able to speak Dutch and I won't face anymore problems when it comes to immigration. The life of an expat is never dull I tell you!

Now on to my latest recipe! I am really into speedy meals these days and with my language class coming up and volunteering work I will need to do, these types of dishes are really going to come in handy. The recipe alone doesn't give this dish much flavor. I highly suggest adding a bouillon cube to the water to give the couscous more flavor. You could also sautee onions and mushrooms and then add those in aswell..swap the ham out for chicken if you like!

Ham and Spinach Couscous

2 cups Water
1 cup Chopped Fully Cooked Ham
1 cup Chopped Fresh Spinach
1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
1 cup Uncooked Couscous
1/4 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Add ins: bouillon to help falvor the water,sauteed onions and mushrooms,additional seasonins of choice.

In a large saucepan, combine the water, ham, spinach and garlic salt. Bring to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat;cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and serve with shredded cheese.

** I went ahead and dissolved the bouillon in the water and then added everything else. You could also use chicken stock in place of the water**

Yield: 4-1 cup servings
Source: Taste of Home 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kidney Bean Burgers

           Have I got an awesome vegetarian burger recipe for you! I know alot of people panic when you mention vegetarian anything to them..My husband happens to be one of those people. Oh he will happily eat whatever I serve but the compliments he gives me on veggie items are never as enthusiastic as they would be for a chicken recipe. I'm ok with that. We all have different tastes and likes but I also feel that it's important to be open and willing to try a wide variety of foods.

 I'm constantly amazed how simple ingredients can end up blowing all of your expectations away and leave you smiling and feeling very proud of yourself. I'm an odd one, I know. These burgers are so cheap to make and they are slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. You can eat them with a bun or wrapped in lettuce leaves piled high with ingredients..Thats what my friend Lizzy, over at Lizzy Goes Dutch did when I told her about this recipe. She loved it as much as I did. I gave her the tip of adding in liquid smoke because I felt like it made these burgers that much better. She agreed. Thats the only thing I changed about this recipe.

Kidney Bean Burgers
1-15 ounce can Kidney Beans, drained,rinsed and mashed with a fork
1/4 cup Pecans,coarsly chopped
1/4 cup Onion,finely diced
1 Clove Garlic,minced
1 Egg White
2 TBS Flour ( can use chickpea or oat flour)
2 TBS Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 TBS Ketchup
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Sweet Yellow Curry Powder..I used regular mild
1/4 tsp. Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Liquid Smoke;optional

In a large bowl, combine the mashed beans and the rest of the ingredients. Mix until thoroughly combined and chill for 15 minutes.

Form into 5 burgers and fry in a pan with a small amount of oil or nonstick cooking spray on medium heat. ** I found the mixture to be super wet and nearly impossible to form into patties. I went ahead and dropped the mixture into the pan and quickly spread it out into a patty shape using the back of the spoon**. I cooked these until I felt like they were heated all the way through so make sure they aren't gooey in the middle!
126 calories per burger

Yield: 5 Burgers
Source: Eating Well...Living Thin(er!)


Monday, April 2, 2012

Low Fat/Low Sugar Apple-Oatmeal Muffins

      I hope everyone had a good weekend! Friday we headed off to Amsterdam for passport renewals for our two sons. When they are younger than 16 you need to get them done every 5 years. I can't believe I am coming up soon on my 5 year anniversary of moving here. Lots of changes going on in my life at this point. It was so much fun heading to the American Consolate office because..well..everyone spoke english :) I saw a big American flag blowing in the wind and I just smiled. I chatted with the soldiers there and actually didn't want to leave!

I knew we would want a snack for the trip back home so I made sure to bring along these muffins. These low fat/low sugar super moist muffins were pretty darn good. I think next time I will add a little more salt and swap the ground cloves out with either more cinnamon or use apple pie or pumpkin pie spice. I was really surprised at how moist these were and they will go into my muffin rotation list.

Apple-Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup All-purpose Flour
2 TBS Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
1 cup Buttermilk
1 cup Quick Cooking Oats
1 Large Egg,lightly beaten
2 TBS Melted Butter or Canola Oil
1 Medium Apple,peeled,cored and cut into 1/4 inch dice

Preheat oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Lightly grease muffin tin with nonstick spray,set aside

Combine the buttermilk,eggs,melted butter and oats in small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just until combine. Gently mix in diced apples.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full with batter and bake 12-14 minutes or until toothpick inserted towards center comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few mins in pan before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: My Gourmet Connection