Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday's In My City...

 Happy Halloween Everyone! There really isn't trick or treating here. They might do it in larger cities but not so much where we are. We headed to Rotterdam to visit friends and return to Kinderdijk to get better photos. I posted about this HERE during the summer and wanted another change to get better photos..who knew you needed to head there during the fall instead of summer to get great shots! The pic above is of a water tower! We have the coolest water towers here!
                    Here's a close up of it.

     The sun came out while we were there. I think the sun gods decided to make up for our very grey weather the first time around.

        I've got a ton of pics to go through but these are the ones I have managed to get done with. I hope you enjoyed your time here. Please head on over to Unknown Mami and see what she is up to along with everyone else who joins in today! See you next week                           

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Leaves

                   They sure are beautiful right now..

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Candy Corn Shaped Sugar Cookies

           Happy Halloween!! I know it's a few days short of the actual day but I don't care :) Halloween isn't celebrated over here wich was a huge let down for my kids. However that doesn't stop us from carving pumpkins when we can find them(I even managed to grow 3 one year),baking goodies,and munching on our favorite candy that our friends and family send us every year. I usually bake something around this time and decided on the popular candy corn shaped cookies I keep seeing everywhere.
       I know you are probably wondering why my candy corns are not the traditional orange,yellow and white color. Funny thing about food's nearly impossible to find here. You need to head to speciality shops and I did go and buy a red one awhile back but I've gone and lost it. I searched for days and days and just decided to go with a two yellow and white theme.

This isn't so much of a recipe as a how-to kind of thing. Basically you take your favorite sugar cookie recipe..I always use THIS one. You need to split the dough into 3 even portions and color one yellow and one orange and leave the last one white. Then you take a loaf pan and line it with wax/parchment paper. You want it to extend over the sides so that you can cover it up and then lift it out when it's ready to be sliced.You basically want to make a pressed sandwich out of the colors. Press the first color on the bottom,then press the second one on top of that, and then the third on top of that one. Pop it into the fridge for atleast 2 hours but can be left in longer.
                  I had slight troubles with mine. I used a silicone loaf pan and the sides were to flimsy to really press the dough down. It looks like a big piece of After you have chilled the dough for a few hours you take it out of the pan and make 1/4 inch slices. Usine a sharp knife make the candy corn shapes. You will get about 6 wedges per slice.
        I baked my cookies in a 375 or 180 celcius oven for 7-10 mins. You just want the bottoms to turn a nice golden brown. Allow to sit on wire rack for one minute and then transfer to a wire rack. Easy peasy. I have seen others dip the warm cookies into sugar after they have come out of the oven and I have seen others dip the top part into a glaze thats been colored. I went ahead and left mine plain. Click HERE for a step by step tutorial from beginning to end.                                

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Highway Driving

 Sometimes you can find the prettiest scenes while driving along the highway. It's Tuesday's Around The World on Communal Global. Link up with us and share your today.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday's In My City...

It's sunday again! the weekend flies by sometimes. This week's theme is "Randomness". I have several photos of this and that saved up. Thanks to Unknown Mami I am able to join in on showing you my city. Please head on over to her site and check out what she is up to along with everyone else.
                           Tulips from Keukenhof
                              Bird house in my front yard
                           See you next sunday!         

Saturday, October 23, 2010

S'Mores Bars

      I should be baking fall like desserts I know but I had a serious craving for S'Mores!!! I spotted this recipe on Let's Dish in September. I bookmarked it and totally forgot about it until this weekend. I had all the ingredients and headed into the kitchen. Everything came together without effort and the whole house started smelling amazing.
      It's very difficult to give these time to completely cool off..infact I sorta failed..wich is why my squares are not very neat looking. If you allow them to cool all the way it will make the cutting alot easier :) These tasted fantastic! part of the marshallow fluff broke through the topping and it slightly hardened. When I took a bite it was perfectly crisp and chewy..almost like a meringue. I actually prefer these bars over the actual s'mores I think. The chocolate was perfectly melted and don't worry about the marshmallow ooze that comes out during baking aswell as when you cut through the bars. Thats all part of the fun :) Thank you to Let's Dish for a total keeper of a recipe!!!

** For my Euro Peeps..use digestive or tea biscuits in place of the graham cracker crumbs..unless you are able to find Graham Crackers**

** It is not advised to use regular marshmallows in place of the creme. I guess the marshmallows disappear while baking**

S'Mores Bars

1/2 cup Butter;softened
3/4 cup Sugar
1 Large Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
1-1/3 cups Flour
3/4 cup Graham Cracker crumbs(about 6 sheets)
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
4 (1.5 ounce) Milk Chocolate Bars
1 (7oz) jar Mashamallow Creme/Fluff

Pre heat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Lightly grease an 8x8 inch pan and set aside. In a medium bowl combine the flour,cracker crumbs,baking powder,salt, and stir to combine; Set Aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg and vanilla,beat until combined. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until combined. Press half of the dough evenly in the bottom of the dish. Spread marshmallow creme over the dough. Lay the chocolate bars on top of the creme, breaking apart as needed to creat an even layer of chocolate. Spread remaining dough over the chocolate. It's easiest if you place pieces of the dough all over the chocolate and carefully press together to form the top layer.

Bake 25-30 mins or until a nice golden brown topping forms. Cool completely on wire rack before cutting into squares. Serve with coffee or a big glass of milk :)        

Food Holiday Link Party

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Blog Makeover and A HUGE Thank You!

     I have a new blog layout!!! lookie lookie!! I have my own button..seriously always wanted one of those..AND I have my own signature!! I'm like in the big time now..tee hee..If you like it you have to thank the person who made it for me. Rocio from Mami Picture did all of this!!! isn't she super creative? besides taking out of this world photos she also designs blogs at a very affordable cost. If you are looking for a mini makeover or a big one, please please head over and see what wonderful things she can do for your blog. Thank you so much Rocio for taking the time to make my blog everything I have always wanted it to be but never knew how to achieve. 

Please be patient. I have a ton of things to get in order. I have tabs now for recipes and photograhs but in order for those to work I need to add everything one recipe/post at a time...and there are ALOT of posts to go through. Feel free to snag my awesome button. Thank you Rocio!!!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Popcorn

Popcorn has got to be our favorite snack. When we moved here I was taken back when I discovered there were only two flavors of microwavable popcorn here. You can choose between salt or sweet. Thats it. No artery clogging butter or cheese is sold here. I must say I now prefer the lightly salted popcorn over butter now. 

While zooming around Foodgawker I spotted a recipe for peanut butter popcorn over at My Adventures In Food. I had never heard of that type of popcorn and decided to give it a shot. I really liked it. The boys reallllllllllyyy liked it. When they came home from school and saw the snack waiting for them..well needless to say I was pretty much the greatest Mom ever :) This recipe is just a jumping off point in my opinion. You could drizzle melted chocolate over the top,maybe even some white chocolate,or melted caramel. I could see this paired with pretzels or as My Adventures in Food did..add in some M&M's. I bet this would be great with reeces pieces..the possibilites are endless. 

For my Euro peeps: The peanut butter over here does not contain the salt levels that american peanut butter has. I am going to add a slight amount of salt to mine next time but I don't think you need to if using american peanut butter. I can remember someone giving me a jar of Skippy a few years back and I tossed it out after tasting nothing but salt..yuck. Thank you to My Adventures in Cooking for a killer snack!

It's Tuesday's Around The World on Communal Global. We'd love it if you joined us by sharing a picture of one your "Todays". Please head over and link up with us and visit everyone else who has signed up. 

Peanut Butter Popcorn
1/2 cup Popcorn Kernels
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 TBLS Butter
Add ins: Melted chocolate,M&M's,pretzels,reeces pieces,cinnamon,white chocolate,candy corn.

Pop your popcorn using any method you like. I used the stove top and like the way it tastes more than using an air popper. Place popcorn in a large bowl.

Place peanut butter and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat until melted,about 30-40 seconds. Drizzle the peanut butter mixture over the popcorn and gently toss to coat(I used a wooden spoon). Spread popcorn onto a sheet of parchment paper/wax paper and allow to cool. Drizzle melted chocolate over the top at this point and allow to set. Mix in choice of candy and enjoy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday's In My City...

It's sunday again! If this is your first time here..Hello my name is Sonya. I'm an American living in The Netherlands. Thanks to Unknown Mami I am able to share a piece of my world with you every sunday. Please check out Mami's world aswell as everyone else's who plays along. This week I am bringing you "Mushroom Love". They are out all over the place here.
      Like people,they come in all different shapes and sizes.
                     This one looks like leather.
                       We've got teenie ones
                   There are ones that like to blend in
                     These guys are growing in sand!
                 We've even got flat yellow mushrooms
                  Thank you for stopping by! I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead and I will see you next sunday!   

Friday, October 15, 2010

Smoked Walnuts

Did you know you can smoke walnuts? Usually when you think of smoked nuts you think of the smoked almonds. I am seriously addicted to those..wich is probably a good thing that they don't sell those here. However thats all about to change now that I know I can do this myself : )

I had a bunch of walnuts that needed to be used. I know you can freeze nuts but when you have tiny european freezer drawers like I do, you have to pick and choose what goes in there. I went hunting online to search out some walnut recipes. I came upon a section of spiced walnuts and decided to give it a shot. It takes all of 25 mins to whip these babies up plus additional time to cool off. If you have time and I highly recommend you doing so that you allow the walnuts or almonds to sit in an airtight container overnight. The flavors really come together after that point and have a much better flavor.

The next time I make these I am going to use almonds. Although the flavor was excellent,maybe even slightly to mellow,it didn't blow me away with the walnut flavor. I will use 3 cups next time,bump the smoked flavoring up by another 1/2 teaspoon and I think that will be a winning combo. The other thing you need to be careful of is the actual baking of the walnuts or almonds. You do not want them to burn. The nuts need to be totally dry but don't allow them to start turning dark..a semi burnt walnut is sorta icky.

Smoked Walnuts
1 large Egg White
1 TBSP Water
1 tsp. Hickory Liquid Smoke
2 TBSP White Sugar
2 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
3-4 cups Walnuts or Almonds
2 tsp. Kosher Salt

Pre heat oven to 325 or 160 celcius..make sure your oven rack is not at the top. You want it in the middle or even one below that. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the egg white and water until the white is nice and frothy/foamy. Add in liquid smoke and the seasonings minus the salt. Stir in walnuts and gently stir until walnuts are evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt and stir once more.

  Spread out onto baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 mins stirring twice. Start checking for dryness towards the end. I should of pulled mine out around the 15-20 min mark. It's ok for the walnuts to be lightly browned but nothing beyond that. The mixture needs to be dry and not wet. Cool thoroughly before transferring to an airtight container. The walnuts will continue to crispin up as they cool off. Can be left in container for up to a month at room temp..not that they will last that long : )                                    

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

I'm not sure what the weather is like where you are but it's cold here! I decided to warm the house up by baking a delicious fresh apple cake : ) The recipe comes from Monica over at Lick the Bowl Good. I love how she will take a large recipe and scale it down. Although we are a family of 4 we don't need a 13x9 cake..we might want it but we don't need it. 

The recipe is super simple to make..aslong as you pay attention. The cake part I had no problems what so ever..and then I went to make the brown sugar glaze. As I was mixing it I turned around to take care of something else and it was at that moment that I never should of left it. It got super hot and I thought I burned it. I poured it over the cake and watched it..harden.
  It kept getting harder and then really in glass like shiny..candy like shiny!!! I took a spoon and tapped the top of it..sure enough it made that hollow hard as rock sound. I cooked it way to long and it was to hot. I let it sit while we ate dinner and then started serving it. We all laughed because the top broke into a million pieces.
    We laughed even harder as we ate it and made really loud crunching noises(like the scene from Christmas Vacation where they are all eating that crispy dry turkey). It tasted fantastic and although the topping was..slightly break a filling in your tooth crunchy,we all loved it.It wasn't overly sweet at all. I added slightly more walnuts than the recipe called for only because we love them. So pay attention while making the glaze so this doesn't happen to you : ) Thanks Monica for a wonderful recipe that I will be making again!

Apple Cake w/ Brown Sugar Glaze

1-1/2 cups Flour
1 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Oil
1 tsp. Vanilla
1-1/2 cups Finely Chopped Apples
1/2 cup Pecand or Walnuts,chopped(optional)

Brown Sugar Glaze
1/2 cup packed light Brown Sugar
3 TBL. Butter
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 TBL. Heavy Cream

Pre heat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease and flour an 8 inch round or square baking pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda,salt and cinnamon. Stir with a whisk to mix everything together.

In a large bowl,mix the eggs with a hand mixer until light in color and foamy. Add in the oil and vanilla and beat well.

Stir in flour mixture with a spoon and continue stirring the batter until the flour disappears. Add the apples and nuts and stir to mix them into the batter. ** At this point I noticed the batter was way to thick. I added in under 1/4 cup of water to thin it out more**

Scrap batter into prepared pan and bake 40-45 mins or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Place the hot cake on a wire rack. While it's still hot, make the glaze.

Combine the glaze ingredients into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a gentl boil. Cook for 3-5 mins.

Spoon the hot glaze over the still hot-from-the-oven-cake. Let glazed cake cool completely before serving straight from the pan.

**I cooked my glaze for about 5 mins but next time I will do it for the 3 mins and see how that works**                                   

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fairytale Mushrooms...

It's that time again in The Netherlands..when Fall hits the mushrooms come out to play. These by far are my favorites.
     Everytime I spot one I imagine a fairy sitting on top.
                  Kinda like that...Big thanks to my husband who does 3-D modeling! He created a fairy to sit on top of one of my mushroom pics.  It's tuesday you guys and Communal Global wants you to share your day with with all of us. So link on up and post a link to communal global in your post so others can take a tour and sign up aswell!