Friday, September 30, 2011

Corn Muffins

      You can't tell from this photo but that corn muffin is ginormous. I heart it. Alot. So I'm seriously loving my new cookbook..The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. If you are looking for a new cookbook..I would like to suggest this one. It's awesome for beginners aswell as the more advanced bakers. They have the best tips and tricks included in the cookbook and I am so loving that.

   These corn muffins not only rock on the corn flavor but they are extremely moist and soak up the butter that you know you are going to want to put on there. Incase I didn't tell you..these guys are huge. I am one of those none muffin filling offenders. I contstantly think that I am adding in way to much. What happens though is that you get a boring smallish muffin that can come out dry due to baking to quickly. Had I not paid attention to how many these make I could of easily come away with 18 muffins. So trust me on this and fill all 12 of your muffin tins full. I also had to sub some of the ingredients. As a rule I never keep whole milk on hand and was out of sour cream so I used plain yogurt instead. Now go makes these.

Corn Muffins

2 cups ( 10 ounces ) All-purpose Flour
1 cup(3 ounces) Yellow Cornmeal ( I used Polenta)
1-1/2 tsp. BakingPowder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Sour Cream ( I used plain yogurt)
3/4 cup(5 1/4 ounces) Sugar
1/2 cup Whole Milk ( I used Buttermilk)
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter,melted and cooled
2 Large Eggs

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat the oven to 400 or 200 celcius. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin and set aside.

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salttogether in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the sour cream, sugar, milk, melted butter, and eggs together until smooth. Gently fold the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined( do not overmix!)

Portion batter into each greased cup and bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, about 15-20 mins. 

Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 12 Corn Muffins
Source: The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book   



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fluffernutter Cookies

        Did you grow up eating fluffernutter sandwiches? Basically for those who don't know what they are, it's a sandwich with peanut butter and marshmallow cream. I've actually never had one and it's probably a good thing because after I tasted a spoonful of the peanut butter and marchmallow cream..I was sorta in heaven. I felt slightly guilty for enjoying it by myself..but not so guilty that I left my kids know who were upstairs :)

I'm sorta on the fence with these cookies. I didn't love them like I thought I would. I'm a big peanut butter fan and if you are in it for the whole 3 ingredient,can be eaten within 20 minutes factor, then by all means give these a shot. They are really chewy and would go great with a big bowl of chocolate peanut butter ice cream. 

Fluffernutter Cookies

1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 Large Egg
1 cup Marshmallow Fluff

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

In a large bowl, mix the peanut butter and egg with a large spoon until well combined. Slowly stir in the marshmallow fluff just until combined. You basically want a swirled effect with the dough. You want to see both the peanut butter and the fluff.

Drop by tablespoons full onto prepared sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until  baked through. Allow to sit on cookie sheet for 5 mins before removing to wire rack.
** I would caution about allowing the cookies to become to brown. I let the first batch go until almost 15 minutes and that was way to long. You don't want the cookie to become to brown in this case.**

Yield: About 18 Cookies
Source: Picky Palate 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Mushroom Time!

       One of my favorite things about living in The Netherlands during the fall season is all of the wonderful mushrooms that grow here. They come in every shape,size and color you could ever imagine.

       All of these mushrooms were found while taking a simple walk through the woods on saturday.

    As always I have hopes of spotting a fairy peaking around one of them someday :) so what does your "Today" look like? join us over at Communal Global in sharing a piece of your world with the rest of us.  


Monday, September 26, 2011

Potato Kielbasa Skillet

     Believe it or not...summer has finally arrived here in Holland! I think thats what you call an Indian Summer! We went through a massive cold spree and goodness! it's in the upper 70's and beautiful! I've been outside everyday for over a week now soaking up the sun,working in the yard and airing the house out while we still can. I really really needed this.

This dish is also something that I will really really need again soon. I am trying my best to introduce new foods to my family. Growing up I hated and I mean hated spinach. I always had it in the cooked form and it was a giant slimy green goo of a mess. I avoided it all the time after that until i finally decided to just get over it already. I knew I didn't like the cooked form but I never bothered to give the raw form a shot. Well I loved it. I started making salads with it left and right and then moved on to adding it in main dish meals. I still loved it. Gone are the haunting memories of slimy goo wich have been replaced with wonderful ideas of how I can use it even more!

This dish is really quick to make and I love the cider vinegar dressing you put on everything towards the end. If you can't find or don't like kielbasa, feel free to use any sausage that you do like.

Potato Kielbasa Skillet

1 lb Red Potatoes,cubed
3 TBS Water
3/4 lb Smoked Kielbasa or Polish Sausage,cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup Chopped Onion
1 TBS Olive Oil
2 TBS Brown Sugar
2 TBS Cider Vinegar
1 TBS Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
1/4 tsp. Pepper
4 cups Fresh Baby Spinach
5 Bacon strips,cooked and crumbled

Place potatoes and water in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until tender;drain.

In a large skillet, saute kielbasa and onion in oil until onion is tender. Add potatoes;saute 3-5 minutes longer or until kielbasa and potatoes are lightly browned.

Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme, and pepper;stir into skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Add spinach and bacon;cook and stir until spinach is wilted.

Yield: 4 servings
Source: Taste of Home Busy Family Cookbook


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Morning Glory Muffins

        A few weeks ago I ordered myself a new cookbook called " The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book" I'm head over heels in love with it. To be honest I've never heard of the show and we don't really get cooking programs over here ( oh how I miss FoodNetwork). I heard people talk about their cookbooks so I went hunting for one. I picked the baking book to try out first but I plan on ordering the family cookbook next! They have great tips and tricks to make everything turn out everytime..and so far it has paid off! I whipped up some biscuits that went so fast that I didn't have time to take a picture of them. Guess I will have to make some more :)

     These muffins were another recipe that I tried and loved aswell. We are on another muffin kick at the house. I made these to serve along yogurt and homemade Granola for breakfast this week. The muffins are moist and are filled with nuts,pineapple,raisins and shredded carrots!

Morning Glory Muffins

2-1/4 cups(11-1/4 ounces) All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1-1/4 cups  (8-3/4 ounces) Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1/2 cup (8 TBS) Butter,melted and cooled
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 cups Grated Carrots..peel first.About 4 medium carrots
1 (8 ounce) can Crushed Pineapple..drained and pressed dry with paper towels.
1/2 cup  Sweetened Shredded Coconut
1/2 cup Raisins
1 cup Chopped Walnuts or Pecans

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Grease a muffin tin and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla together until smooth.  Gently fold the sugar mixture into flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in the shredded carrots, pineapple, coconut, raisins, and nuts just until not overmix!

Using a greased 1/4 cup measure, portion batter into each muffin cup. Bake until golden and toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes. Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 12-16 Muffins
Source: The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Monday, September 19, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Invasion!

       I totally forgot to post about this! While shopping at one of my favorite stores a few weeks back my husband quickly comes over and tells me to come and see something. I couldn't believe it...Reeses peanut butter The Netherlands! they do not understand the whole peanut butter/chocolate combo and  if you talk to them about it they get this horrible scrunched up look on their face. They eat raw fish for goodness sake yet the thought of eating a peanut butter cup is way to much for them!

    Next to the cups they also had some kind of off brand mac n cheese, mustard, cheese curls and bbq sauce. All the prices are in euros by the way so 2,29 for the bbq sauce equals $3.12. I picked up a pack of the reeses and shared them with the boys. I gotta tell ya..I no longer like them! the fake sugary and crap chocolate flavor just doesn't do it for me anymore..Thats not going to stop me from using them in homemade ice cream or baked goods but it looks like the tastebuds are forever changed! 


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

       Another week has flown by! I'm back to share part two of my Giethoorn adventure! If you missed the first set of photos you can find part one HERE. After we took our boat through the neighborhood we started towards the middle of a huge lake. We spotted a restuarant along the way.


     Although it's a man-made lake it wasn't done on purpose. They dug out a bunch of trenches to get peat out and then eventually they had dug so many of those out that at one point it flooded,filled up and turned into what you see now. It's actually not very deep. I thought it was a normal deep lake but it was breast deep.         

     They have tons of rental homes available.




     We plan to return next summer and hopefully rent one of those wonderful vacation homes! Thanks for stopping by and please head over to Unknown Mami to see what she and everyone else is up to!
Unknown Mami


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Quick Mexican Rice with Black Beans

       I don't know about you but I always have problems with side dishes! The main dish I never have problems with, but I draw a blank when it comes to serving it with something else. I usually end up with either a salad or potato type dish. It gets boring. I've been trying to work on that, to make something equally delicious as the main meal. I think this one fits in nicely with that.

I made cheese quesadillas for dinner the other night and wanted something to go along with it. It's pretty much a no-brainer to serve some sort of mexican rice dish to go along with the quesadillas. I was short on time though and was so happy to find this recipe! It's easy, comes together in no time and tastes fantastic. You can add in additional spices if you like..I added in cumin. You could actually make this a main dish by adding in some cooked ground beef and eating it like that or stuffing a tortilla with it :)

Easy Mexican Rice with Black Beans

3-1/2 cups Hot Cooked Rice
1 cup Black Beans
1 cup Shredded Cheese..Cheddar,Monterey Jack,etc
1 (4oz) can Chopped Green Chilies
1 cup Tomato Sauce,warmed
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Pepper
Additional Seasoning;optional

In a large bowl, stir all ingredients together until evenly mixed and cheese is melted. (I went ahead and placed the black beans in with the tomato sauce as I warmed it up in a saucepan over medium low heat)

Yield: 4-6 side dish servings
Source: Kitchen Simplicity

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Snack Squares

         Monday I posted a recipe for Rocky Road Freeze and I told you I would come back today and post what I served it with..Well here it is.. oatmeal peanut butter squares. They are heaven. I've made these 3 times in the last few weeks..they are that good.

     There's no butter or eggs in this recipe..nothing but peanut butter, brown sugar, flour and oats..oh and some chocolate :). They are thick, almost brownie like and the peanut butter to chocolate ratio is spot on. You could add in nuts..I added in chopped walnuts in one of the batches and we really loved that. I think they are best served warm with a giant scoop of ice cream on top but if you don't have ice cream don't let that stop you from making these. They go great with a giant glass of cold milk  : )

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Snack Squares

1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour..I used All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 TBS Vanilla
1/2 cup Milk
1/3 cup Mini Chocolate Chips
Additional Add Ins: chopped nuts, cinnamon,various chocolate chip flavors.

Prea heat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Grease an 8x8 inch sqaure pan,set aside. In a bowl of an electric mixer, add peanut butter and sugar and mix on high speed until fluffy-about 2-3 minutes. Add in vanilla and mix until combined.

Reduce speed to medium and add in the baking soda, salt, flour and oats. The dough will look crumbly and you want the peanut butter mix to be broken up into clumps. Reduce speed to low and add in the milk;mix until a dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts if using and make sure the chips are completely combined in with the dough.

Roll dough into a ball with your hands. Place ball in middle of prepared pan,pressing to fit. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until set and golden on top. Let cool on wire rack before cutting into 9 squares.

Yield: 9 big squares
Source: How Sweet It Is             

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Unusual Mushroom

       So I'm outside on saturday afternoon getting ready to mow the lawn when I spotted..this! yep thats a mushroom! I was totally grossed out. At first I thought it was a creepy slug of some kind and then I started laughing because I couldn't believe the funny shape and color it comes in. I had my husband look up the Dutch word for this mushroom to figure out what it was. It's basically called a 'Stink Mushroom' and the smell attracts the flies and when they walk on the mushroom the spores attatch to them and they carry it with them to their next stop. They come in a variety of colors..white,red and multi color. I mowed over the sucker and the next day it was sticking straight up again!

So that's my "Today" for you :) It's time to join us again in Communal Global by sharing a bit of your world with the rest of us. So link on up!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Rocky Road Freeze

            Although summer is quickly coming to an end I just had to post this recipe. Is there ever a bad time for ice cream? I'm determined to use my ice cream maker more often. I use it all the time in the summer and then stop for the winter. I miss peppermint ice cream that we would buy around the holidays and I'm going to make some for sure this year!

So what if you don't have an ice cream maker? well you are in luck because this recipe does not require one! All you need is two bowls and a few ingredients to make this. I hesitate in saying that it tastes just like rocky road ice cream. It's a good substitute but not the real deal. We all loved it though and wait til you see what I served it with..check back on wednesday for that : )

Rocky Road Freeze

1 can ( 14 ounces) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup Chocolate Syrup
2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1 cup Mini Marshmallows
1/2 cup Miniature Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Chopped Salted Peanuts or Walnuts

In a bowl, combine milk and chocolate syrup;set aside. In another bowl, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in chocolate milk mixture, marshmallows, chocolate chips and peanuts.

Transfer to a freezer-proof container;cover and freeze for 5 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: About 1-1/2 Quarts
Source: Taste of Home Winning Recipes 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday's In My City...

          I finally went to Giethoorn,Holland. It's been nicknamed "The Venice of The Netherlands". You can rent boats and tour the town through the canals.

     It seriously felt like I was in another in a Thomas Kinkade painting.

      See what I mean? the homes are beautiful. It was a perfect day.

    You can pull your boat to the side and walk in an out of stores.

       If you have a very large chunk of change you could buy this lovely home :)




   Next week I will show the more pictures of Giethoorn and the lake we spent a few hours on..I hope you come back! Please head over to Unknown Mami and check out what she and everyone else is up to today. Even though I am now living in The Netherlands, I have not forgotten about 9/11 and those who were killed that tragic day. I can still remember where I was when it happened and the complete sense of loss,fear and hope I felt during that time. I will never forget.
Unknown Mami


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dijon-Crusted Chicken Breasts


            School is back in full swing! My oldest son is 13 and over here you start high school at that age. However, high school here is waaaay different than high school in the states. The biggest difference is that his day can start anytime between 8 am and 11 am and he can get home anywhere between noon and 4 pm! It's almost like going to college. He can have an hour in between classes to do what he wants and a class can be canceled all together and he has that free time until his next class. If you are confused..then join the club because so am I! I wrote his schedule down to make sure I atleast know where he is supposed to be throughout the day. I have a feeling he is going to be maturing alot this year.

In between getting everyone on a schedule again and keeping track of who needs to be where and at what time, I've been trying some new recipes! Chicken has got to be my favorite ingredient to use when making dinner. You can do so much with it that I never get bored. This recipe is super easy and Im sure most of you have the ingredients already in your kitchen. The best part however is that if you keep your chicken breast weighing in a 4 ounces each, it comes in at 169 calories per breast!  

Dijon-Crusted Chicken Breasts

4 Bonless skinless Chicken breast halves( 4 ounces each)
1/3 cup Dry Bread Crumb
1 TBS grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried Thyme
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
2 TBS Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Reduced-fat Margarine

Place bread crumbs, chesse and seasonings in a shallow bowl. Brush chicken with mustard on all sides;roll in crumb mixture.

In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil and margarine over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked and the juices run clear.

Yield: 4 servings
Source: Taste of Home 30-minute Light Entrees