Friday, March 30, 2012

Cardamom and Lemon Cookies

        One of the biggest frustrations I have with living in The Netherlands is the crap t.v. they have here. It's total crap. We get constant reruns of Little House on The Prairie and hey, I'm all for taking a trip back to the good ole' days, but why can't we get up to date shows? they also love showing cancelled ones..I imagine thats because they get a discount on them. When Oprah went off the air, I think we were like almost a year behind with the shows. 

The cooking shows here are either non exsistent or you need to catch them on certain english channels. So far I have watched maybe 10 episodes of Kitchen Boss..seriously I am so sick of hearing Buddy shout out..This is how we do it in Hoboken baby! or..once you try this you will never go back! he needs to stick with cake baking. I do find wonderful cooking and baking shows on the BBC channels! this is where this seriously flavorful,awesome,over the top delicious cookie comes from.

I'm hooked on Hairy Bikers..and no thats not some weird fetish..thats the name of their show. They started a new show called Bakeation ( a play on vacation) They are visiting areas in Europe and trying out their baked items as well as making their own. Thats where these come into play. They went to Norway and these were the cookies they baked. I've never had cardamom before and was knocked over with how delicious the flavor of it is! The longer you let these cookies set the more the flavor mellows and perfectly combines with the lemon zest. They cookies have a texture almost like pecan sandies and they are super simple to bake. The original recipe calls for a cookie stamp but if you are like me and don't have one..use the bottom of a shot glass.. Just make sure to press down to flatten the cookies out a bit.

If I had to change anything about this recipe it would be to add a small hint of salt..other then that, they are total perfection. These are going on my christmas cookie baking list. I hope to find holiday cookie stamps by then. Happy friday everyone!

225 grams Butter,softened..1 cup
150 grams Sugar..2/3 cup cup 
Finely grated zest of one lemon
250 grams All-purpose Flour..2 cups
100 grams Ground Almonds..1 cup..I used almond meal
3 tsp. Ground Cardamom or 1 heaped teaspoon cardamom seeds,ground in pestal and mortar

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl and using an electric handheld mixer, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the flour,almond flour and cardamom until the mixture is well combined and comes together to form a stiff dough.

Roll the dough into 24 balls and place 12 on the baking sheet,leaving space between each one. Press each cookie with a stamp or bottom of a small glass to flatten.

Bake 12-14 mins or until cookie are pale golden brown. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few mins before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Store in airtight container and eat within 7 days..or within 2 like we did.

Yield: 24 Cookies
Source: The Hairy Bikers

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lemon Garlic Tuna Burgers

        As we get closer to summer my need for lighter meals takes over. If my husband had his way we'd eat meat at every single meal..meat and potatoes with salad. Thats his heaven. I am pushing for lighter,healthier and meatless meals atleast 3 times a week. Sometimes it works out and other times it doesn't. If chicken happens to be on sale then I buy it and redo my menu plan or swap things out for the following week.

These tuna burgers are a great meatless meal to serve to the family. I have a love/hate relationship with tuna aswell as all other fish. I like fish..but only when it's deep fried. I have yet to eat a baked fish recipe that I would want to eat over and over again. The whole fishy flavor really gets to me and even when it's mild it still bothers me. I am working on it though and these burgers were a great way to get me to eating more fish recipes. Plus the family loved them so thats of course a huge bonus:)

What I like about this recipe is that it's economical for one but you can also play around with the seasonings and fillings aswell. I think next time Im going to add in shredded cheese and tweak the seasonings a bit.

Lemon Garlic Tuna Burgers

2-6oz cans Tuna,drained and flaked
1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs..I used regular bread crumbs
1/4 cup Finely chopped Green Onions
3 TBS minced Fresh Parsley
2 Cloves Garlic,minced
1/4 tsp. each,Salt and Pepper
Juice of half a Lemon
3 TBS Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt
1 Egg
4 English Muffins or Hamburger Buns
Toppings:Lettuce,tomato slices,cheese,etc

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or 200 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use nonstick spray.

In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Shape into 4 patties ( mixture will be wet), place onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Serve on english muffins or hamburger buns that have been prepared the way you like them.

Yield: 4 Tuna Burgers
Source: Can you stay for dinner?


Monday, March 26, 2012

Banana-Strawberry Bites

          Our weather has been crazy beautiful..and warm. Well it's been in the 60's but for us that's pretty much summer weather. I've been busy in the backyard cleaning it up,mowing the front lawn,washing windows and airing the house out, going on as many bike rides as possible and grilling for the first time this year! We need more days like these and less of the cold grey ones. I even managed to sit outside and get an ever so slight tan. I'm loving it!

What I'm also loving at the moment are these bite sized healthy bites of banana's,strawberries,oats and nuts! Your whole house smells like you are baking oatmeal muffins. These might look like cookies..but they are nothing like it. Infact these are more like oatmeal bites than cookies. It tastes like a warm bowl of homemade oatmeal only in drop form. I must say that I loved them even more when they were stored in the fridge and got nice and cold. I'm weird like that though and love alot more things pizza! I LOVE cold pizza :)

You can make these with no sugar or you can use 1/4 cup brown sugar or maybe honey or agave in place of that. I went with the brown sugar since we aren't really on a no sugar food plan. These are awesome. Go make them! Oh and if you don't like strawberries..maybe try blueberries :)

Banana-Strawberry Bites

3 Ripe Banana's..mine were medium-large
2 cups Oats..I used quick cooking
1/2 cup Applesauce
1 tsp. Vanilla
A generous pinch of Nutmeg
1 tsp. Ginger
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 cup Slivered Almonds
6 Fresh Strawberries
1/4 cup Brown Sugar or other sweetener;optional

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

In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add oats,applesauce,brown sugar or other sweetener,if using,vanilla,spices and almonds. Stir thoroughly with a spoon. Cut the tops off the strawberries and chop them into tiny pieces. Add to batter. Mix until well blended.

Drop by rounded tablespoons full onto prepared sheet. Cook for 20 mins or until golden brown..that was about 15 mins for me. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. You can eat these warm or at room temp. I stored them in an airtight container in the fridge. If you prefer yours warm, just pop them into the mircrowave for 30 seconds or so and you are good to go!

Yield: 3 Dozen Bites
Source: A Sweet Simple Life



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chocolate Cappuccino Cookies

      My husband and two sons laugh now when I show them dessert. They have all noticed that the healthier the item is, the smaller the package is. I suppose thats true. I'm baking some of the smallest cookies on the planet. It's not that I can't bake regular recipes..I can, infact I will be posting those soon, but I like the challenge of finding a recipe that doesn't pack such a high punch in the calorie department. I like saving up my splurge moments and so far as of January I haven't taken any of those moments yet. However, I plan to have a moment around Easter. I am so getting a big chocolate easter egg and plan on consuming the whole thing with a smile on my face. I already warned everyone that they all needed to get something too because there will be no sharing from me :)

So on to these cookies. They are small but their taste is big. They are chewy and chocolatey with a hint of coffee flavor in every bite. We loved them!

Chocolate Cappuccino Cookies

1 TBS Instant Coffee Granules
1 TBS Hot Water
1 Egg White
3/4 cup plus 1 TBS Sugar,divided
1/4 cup Canola Oil
2 TBS Corn syrup
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1-1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Cocoa..I used Dutch Cocoa
1/4 tsp. Salt 

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. In a small bowl,dissolve coffee granules in hot water. In a large bowl, combine the egg white, 3/4 cup sugar,oil,corn syrup,vanilla and coffee; beat until well blended. Combine the flour, cocoa and salt; gradually add to coffee mixture.

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet ( I always line my cookie sheets with parchment paper), 2 inches apart. Flatten to 1/4 inch thickness with a glass dipped in remaining sugar ( I skipped the addition of sugar and was able to flatten them using a shot glass without any problems).

Bake 5-7 minutes or until center is set. Allow to cool for one minute before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

One cookie equals 43 calories.

Yield: 3-1/2 dozen
Source: Taste of Home Guilt Free Cooking 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

      As a baker I find myself being a "collector"of ingredients. I will spot something somewhere, pick it up and think I will use it right away for something. I will fully admit that this doesn't always in point..Almond Meal. I spotted this in Germany and picked it up right away..infact I picked up several small bags because I thought for sure I would use it right away. This was like..a really long time ago.

When I started my journey into healthier forms of cooking and baking I wanted to make sure that I was really open to everything. I am not a food snob nor am I an ingredient snob. If I like it then I like it..if it's vegetarian,gluten free or full fat..I love it. So when I started seeing more and more recipes calling for almond flour, I was so happy that I had those bags waiting for me.

This is my first time using almond flour (well I used almond meal but there doesn't seem to be to much of a difference).. I can say that it totally won't be my last! the flavor you get from using ground up almonds is incredible! My cookies don't look anything like the original recipe and thats because I went ahead and rolled them into tiny balls..and boy do I mean teenie weenie. You are using a one teaspoon level scoop of dough for these cookies and based on the calorie content for one, I really wouldn't see these as a healthy choice. Each weenie cookie has 58 calories but the joy from eating one is huge. These are very moreish though and thankfully I only ate two before my family swooped in for the kill.

These were chewy..almost macaroon like and was a real winner for us. The downside is that they are so small you just really want to keep popping them in left and right :)

Almond-Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup Almond Flour
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 tsp. Salt
2 TBS Canola Oil
2 TBS Agave Nectar..I used Honey
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Semi-sweet Mini Chocolate Chips

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

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour,baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, agave nectar and vanilla. Pour wet mixture into dry and stir until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a teaspoon measuring spoon,scoop up a level amount of dough and place onto cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. ( I found the dough to be more sandy than firm and worried about it not holding together after they were baked. I went ahead and put the teaspoon of dough into my hand and shaped it into a ball and slightly flattened it before putting it onto the prepared sheet).

Bake 7-8 mins. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 5 mins before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

** 1 cookie has 58 calories**

Yield: 24 mini cookies
Source: Recipe Girl


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spicy Italian Focaccia..No Knead!

         I've made this bread twice in one week and we are still talking about how much we loved it. I've piled on the cheese,added different spices,plan on piling roasted peppers and mushrooms on top and I'm trying to work it in again for another meal this week!

Thats how awesome this bread is. It's chewy,easy,tastes's NO KNEAD, you can switch it up in any way you like, make a big salad to go along with it and you've got a cheap meal..did I mention it's NO KNEAD?? I promise you that this is one of the easiest yeast recipes to tackle.

I live in a more humid climate and noticed when I was supposed to go and poke the holes in the dough that mine was more of a "wet dough". The second time I made the recipe I made sure not to add anymore flour to the recipe because we loved it just the way it was. I also allowed the second rising of the dough to go on longer. I was able to get a really puffy chewy focaccia that actually allowed me to split it in half and make sandwiches out of it. So no matter if you get the puffy focaccia or the thinner focaccia it's all a win win here.

Spicy Italian Focaccia

3-1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 envelope Rapid Rise Yeast ( 2-1/4 tsp.)
1 TBS Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
3-4 TBS Olive Oil,divided
1-2/3 cup Warm Water
2 TBS Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp. Basil
1/2 tsp. Oregano
1/2 tsp. Thyme
1/4 tso. Garlic Salt
1/2-3/4 tsp. Dried Onion
1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes,optional

In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, salt and yeast. While mixing, slowly pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm water. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. Transfer dough to a well greased 13x9 inch pan. Spread out dough with a rubber spatula. Cover and let rise for 30 mins in a warm spot ** Make sure your plastic wrap has been lightly sprayed with nonstick spray so that the dough doesn't stick onto it** ( When it's to cold to leave dough out to rise, I like to pre heat my oven on a low setting and then turn it off right before I place the dough in there to rise).

In a small bowl, combine seasonings and cheese. Set aside.

After the first rise, poke holes in the dough with either lightly floured fingertips or a greased woodspoon handle. Drizzle with remaining 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkles spice and cheese mixture evenly over the top. Allow dough to rise again for 15 mins ( I bumbed it up to 30 mins).

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 5-10 mins.

** Again you can add in more cheese,add spices to the dough itself and top it wih additional ingredients**

Yield: 1-13x9 Focaccia
Source: Baked by Rachel


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday's In My City...

       This is my one and only photo for this week. We have sun!!! Dutch winters are so brutal in the color department. It's nothing but grey and when you spot the slight hint of sun you head straight out to enjoy it. I was able to capture this before the clouds came back. I miss the sun and the warmth on my face. I'm missing home this week and wondering if we can make the changes to head back. I know the economy is crap in the U.S...but it's home..and it's calling me back louder than ever.

Head on over to Unknown Mami to see what she and everyone else is up to this week!
Unknown Mami


Friday, March 9, 2012

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

        Happy Friday Everyone!! The sun is out and although it's still rather chilly..the sun is out!! I can't tell you how much I needed this! Dutch winters are so grey that you crave that bright beautiful sunshine that seems to ignore us for months and months.

I've got one more muffin recipe for you and I promise that next week I will have all non muffin recipes to share..unless of course I spot another one thats begging to be made :) I baked these muffins espically for me. They only have 93 calories per serving! I have one for breakfast each morning with my low fat yogurt. The original recipe calls for old fashioned oats..the kind that need to be soaked..not instant. However I didn't have any and went with the instant ones instead. I will include both ways that I made these. They are a slightly spongy muffin but very moist with a simple taste. I sometimes crave more simple flavors and these do the trick.

I hope everyone has a great weekend..I'm hoping to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather!

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup Old Fashioned Oats ( Not Instant)
1 cup non Fat Milk
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce ( I used chunky)
2 Egg Whites
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
Raisin or Nuts;optional..I left out

If using the old fashioned oats, soak in milk for one hour. If using quick oats,skip this step and add the milk later on in the recipe. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or 200 celcius. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray and set aside. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine soaked oats, applesauce and egg whites and mix until combined ( If using instant oats,add the oats to the dry ingredients and the milk with the wet ingredients) Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until combined. Stir in raisins or nuts if using.

Spoon mixture into muffin tins evenly. Bake 20-25 mins..You really need to keep an eye on this time. I think they will be done between 15-20 mins. I took mine out at 20 and they were on the verge or being over cooked. So start checking at 15. Cool for a few minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
 One muffin has 93.5 calories.

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: SparkRecipes 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mini Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Muffins

             I don't know what it is about miniaturised food but I just love it. If I could serve all meals in mini form I totally would. I've seen miniature cakes around the blogging world and I plan on making one of those..because..don't we all deserve to have a mini cake of our own?

These muffins are super cute,delicious and who doesn't love the peanut butter and chocolate combo? ( alot of Dutch people,thats who :( These muffins are perfect after school snacks or something small to have with a cup of coffee or tea. They freeze beautifully and if you are totally against the mini can infact bake 12 boring sized regular muffins.

Mini Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Muffins

1-3/4 cup All-purpose Flour
2/3 cup Packed Brown Sugar
2-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Egg
3/4 cup Milk..I used fat free
2/3 cup Chunky or smooth Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1-1/2 tsp. Vanilla
2/3 cup Mini semi sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 or 180. Line a mini muffin tin with liners or spray with non stick spray ( I did half and half and actually prefer the ones with no liners).

In a large bowl,combine the flour,brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg,milk, peanut butter, oil and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill mini muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake for 15-17 mins or until toothpick inserted near center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Cool for 5 minutes in pan;remove and cool completely on wire racks.

** If you decide to bake regular sized muffins, grease a 12 cup tin and bake for 22-25 mins**

Yield: 4 Dozen Mini's or 12 Regular sized muffins
Source: Taste of Home Baking

Monday, March 5, 2012

Simple Chocolate Muffins

          We're on another muffin kick at our house so hang on because I've got several new recipes to share this week! We needed a snack while walking around Amsterdam and these guys did the trick. They have a nice chocolate flavor to them and although they weren't as moist as I would of liked,they were still delicious.

I went ahead and added in 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and vanilla. Each one contains 155 calories so you can indulge without feeling guilty :)

Chocolate Muffins

1-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Sugar
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Milk..I used fat free
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 Large Egg,beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or 200 celcius. Grease a 12 cup muffin or a 24 cup mini muffin tin.

In a medium bowl,sift flour,cocoa powder,sugar,baking powder and salt. 

In a large bowl,whisk together the milk,oil,and then the egg. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Cool for a few minutes on wire rack before removing and allowing to coole completely.

Yields: 12 Muffins..155 Calories each
Source: RecipeGirl 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday's In My City...

        We've had a busy week! The boys had a week vacation and my husband took a week off aswell. We slept in,took walks when it wasn't raining,went on bike rides and visited Amsterdam! I wasn't to impressed with the fact that it was grey as hell..but thats Dutch weather for you. The top photo is of The Royal Palace  in Amsterdam. 

    You can't not take photos of the beautiful canals they have there. Although I prefer summer photos when the sun is out and everything is lush..there is something beautiful about canals no matter what the season.

        Tulip bulbs for sale. You will find these all over the place when walking around.

    Here is a fun way of exploring Amsterdam! there are all sorts of boat tours you can go on and it's a must for any visitor! We had a great time walking around and stopped off at an American/British expat store. This is where you can walk in,grab a bag of chocolate chips and plunk down 9 euros or close to 12 american dollars for the package!!!! I went ahead and left those there for someone else to enjoy. I have a hard time parting with that kind of money for chocolate chips. Still if you are missing home it's a good place to visit. Head on over to Unknown Mami to see what everyone else is up to this weekend! 

Unknown Mami