Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Slow Cooker Autumn Pumpkin Chili

              Time sure is a funny thing sometimes..It seems to be slipping away from me quicker than I realize. I apologize for the long absence. I am still very much here and doing well.

It's that time of year again..the weather is colder and we received our first snow warning. It's too early for that. But let me be clear..It will always be too early when doing everything by bike! Speaking of which..biking has gone well. I've been caught in the rain more times than I would like but it is what it is. I am loving the money saving aspect of it all and the amount of extra exercise I am getting. Between that and my general work outs I am smashing my goals left and right. Plus its allowed me extra desserts here and there without worry of it hanging on in the form of weight. I suppose as we enter into the bitter cold Dutch winter my thoughts might change but I have gloves,coat and a knitted cap and so far so good!

I've got a quick and frugal chili recipe to share that my entire family loves. It's a super basic recipe that honestly needs some extra help in the flavor department. I am going to give you the recipe as is and then give you tips on what I do to boost the flavor and serving sizes up a bit. I am feeding a small army these days.

Autumn Pumpkin Chili

1 medium Onion,diced
1 Green Pepper,diced
1 Yellow or Red Pepper,diced
2 Garlic cloves,diced
1 lb. Meat of choice
1 (15 ounce) can of Pumpkin Puree..or 1-3/4 cups homemade
1 (14 ounce) can Diced Tomatoes,undrained
4-1/2 tsp. Ground Chili Pepper
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1 tsp. Salt

Sautee the onion and peppers in a small amount of oil until tender. Add garlic,cook for one minute longer. Crumble meat into pan and cook over medium heat until no longer pink-drain if necessary.

Transfer to a greased slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients. 

Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours.

** Here are my additions**
1 TBS Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon..trust me..it works
Beans of choice..to bulk this up a bit I added in pinto beans one time and have added in black beans and even chickpeas. I keep these on hand in my freezer but one normal can of beans that have been drained and rinsed will work just fine.
You can use any squash puree..pumpkin,sweet potato,butternut...whatever you have on hand!

Top each bowl with sour cream and shredded cheese and serve with homemade bread or rolls.

Serves 4-5 big servings based on my additions
Source: Taste of Home 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pane Bianco Bakealong

            King Arthur Flour has started a bake along challenge. Each month they will announce a new challenge where they encourage you to bake along with them. This was the first challenge. I've seen this bread many times and always had it in the back of my mind to make but for one reason or another never got around to making. I am so glad I finally did! The taste is amazing and the shape of it looks so neat.

I am going to include the link to the recipe and it will take you step by step through the process and includes pictures as well. Good luck and hope you join in! They have already listed the second challenge!

Click HERE for the recipe! 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Spiced Spelt Blueberry Scones

              During the summer I have a bad habit of purchasing large amounts of blueberries and baking up as many things as possible only to freeze them all to enjoy at a later time. In theory there is absolutely nothing wrong with that..but when you finally get around to blogging the recipe it's unlikely that anyone has fresh on hand. Yes you can use frozen but sometimes fresh is best.

So in case there is anyone out there who can still get their hands on fresh blueberries..bake these beautifully fragrant scones that are amazingly soft and so good for you ingredients wise. I have no doubts that you could use frozen berries of your choice or even diced apples..apple season is almost upon us!! I've been pinning apple and fall inspired recipes like crazy and even found an apple pie filling recipe that does not need to be canned. It hangs out in the fridge and impatiently waits for you to pull it out within a week to use. So.Making.That.

Anyway..bake these. Spelt flour is a beautiful thing. So is Greek yogurt.

Spiced Spelt Blueberry Scones

2 cups Spelt Flour
1 TBS Baking Powder
3 TBS Coconut Sugar
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup Melted Coconut Oil
1 TBS Maple syrup or Honey
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 cup Milk of choice
1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 cup Fresh Bluberries
1/2 cup Old-fashioned Oats

Preheat oven to 400c/200f. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl,whisk together the first 7 ingredients.

In a medium bowl,whisk together the coconut oil,maple syrup, vanilla,milk and Greek yogurt. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Gently stir through the blueberries.

Roll dough into a ball. Pour 1/4 cup of oats onto counter and press the ball of dough on top of the oats. Using your hands,press the dough out until its 1 inch thick. Moisten the top with a bit of water and sprinkle the remaining oats on top and gently press down to make sure they stick.

Cut into 8 wedges and transfer to prepared pan.

Bake 20 mins or until golden brown.

Yield: 8 scones
Source: The Macadames

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Early Morning Gifts..

                  For the last few months my new wake up call has been 3 am..I chalk it up to my new work out routine and needing that personal time. I've picked up Yoga and various challenges that promise to whip my weak stomach muscles into shape. I am allowing more time for myself these days and if it needs to come at 3 am then so be it.. Every so often I am given a beautiful sunrise to take in..It's worth getting up for!

I have a stack of bread photos and recipes that need to be posted. I am thinking of changing this over to nothing but bread and general ramblings about everyday life with some photos thrown in..it's basically what it has always been but not so much of everyday recipes. I am burned out and need a switch and as we move on to the second stage of our lives I will chat about that more.

In the meantime I wish you a wonderful summer that is slowly turning into fall! Once my 16 year old heads back to school in a few weeks I think I will head back over here and post some delicious bread recipes.   

Monday, April 18, 2016

Car Free and Other Updates

                  So..we're a car free household. Have been for a few weeks now and will continue to be until the next chapter in our lives comes into play. It's a strange world when you don't have a car. There is this mentality of sticking it to the man when you decide to ditch the car and all the fees that come along with it. You suddenly feel more in control of what you do,where you go,and the game you play of cramming in as much as you can into the saddle bags and crate.

That's my bike. The saddle bags you see in the back have been upgraded to 60 liter saddle bags and let me tell you..I can pretty much fit all my groceries in there plus a small child. This is how you function Dutch style. Back home I wouldn't dare go without a car. It's to dangerous and everything is so spaced out anyway that not having a car would be insane. Plus,bikes and American drivers just do not mix. Over here, I am Queen of the road.

Most Dutch neighborhoods are equipped with various grocery stores,pharmacy,doctors office,mailing office,butcher shop,hair salon,clothing store, and anything else they can cram into the shopping section. I can be at my doctor's office and grocery store within a 5 minute bike ride. I can head to the city center and train station within that amount of time as well..it always takes longer by car when you sit and wait for the lights and then fight like mad dogs to claim a parking spot. I can now zoom in and out without any issue. This country is made for bikers. The rules regarding biking here are incredible and I honestly feel safer on a bike than in a car. The biking routes and paths are vast,beautiful and quick. So all in all..it's been fun. I will probably change my tune when winter hits again and we then need to deal with the rain,sleet,ice roads and snow. I will plan accordingly and I can always have my groceries delivered if need be.

Plus..I don't get care what the weather is anyway. The money we save from not having one that then goes into savings makes me so happy I could weep. Times are changing and plans have been set in motion. My time is coming to an end here.

I have so much I want to say. So.Much. But I can't. There will be a time when I can write and speak about things that I love,things I am working on,and my hopes for my future with my husband and two teenage sons..which by the way, one is about to turn 18!! 

I would love to tell you that I have been outside enjoying the summer like weather but I keep waiting for it to actually arrive.... 

Monday, February 22, 2016

DIY Flavored Coffee

             I've talked about this many times but one of the habits I have picked up since moving here in 2007 is coffee. I never drank it before then. I think I tried it a few times but hated it. I hated the taste,hated the smell,hated everything about it.

I never understood anyone's love for Starbucks..AND I will stand by that statement. I do not get anyone's love for that overpriced sickeningly sweet processed drink. 

I do understand the love for coffee now though. I love it. I love the smell of it. I love the act of making it. I love the smile I get when I take my first sip. I get it. I really really do. I also get the need to have some kind of flavor..not a sickeningly sweet flavor but even then..I might not like  it but more power to you if it brings you some joy to swing by somewhere and pick one up. What I am after is a hint of a flavor that doesn't require anything more than what you have in your cupboard.

You can make the coffee with any spice you like. I have tried cinnamon and apple pie and pumpkin pie spice. All have worked. All you do is sprinkle the spice on top of your coffee grounds and the flavor will drip down into the coffee pot as it brews. That's it. How much you use will depend on your taste buds. My husband isn't a fan of anything other than straight black coffee so when I make it for myself I only brew enough for two cups at a time. I maybe and it's a big maybe add in 1/8 of a teaspoon..like I said it's just a sprinkle. You don't want to ruin the whole experience so start out small and see how you like it.

Flavored coffee without all of the additives. It's a good a thing. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Japanese Milk Buns


                   I'm alive and well..I've been doing my own thing,experimenting in the kitchen with dough and loving it once again..working on this blog and hope to revamp it soon..To be continued.....