Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cheese,Bacon and Onion Loaf


        Almost 2 months ago my husband surprised me with a series of cookbooks I have on my wish list( I have a reallllllly long list). He'd tell me that I had something coming in the mail soon and did I want to know what it was? I said no because I believed I was way more mature then that. Boy was I wrong. I'm pretty sure I have an inner 5 year old inside of me because the waiting was killing me.


     When the first book arrived I tore into the package and smiled. The Bread Bible by Christine Ingram had arrived. I grabbed a cup of coffe,kicked my feet up and started reading. The first part of the book goes into great detail about the history of bread and how in some cultures the word  bread literally translates into,life. How neat is that? It's true though..bread really is life. A loaf of bread will feed a family for only a few cents. All you need is flour,water,yeast and some salt. The simple act of baking bread fills me with joy that some laugh at. Well, they laugh until they taste the bread and then they smile.The photos in this book are incredible and had me drooling from the get go.

The recipes in this book are broken down into countries and I decided to start with the British Breads. This cheese and onion loaf was one of the first breads I baked from this cookbook. I have since baked this for a neighbor as a gift,friends of ours..infact I will be teaching her how to make this in a few weeks, and of course I have baked this for us..over and over again. I have since tweaked this recipe with the addition of bacon. I can't tell you how awesome this is.


    I have also turned it into a monkey bread. I've added more sharp cheese and each time it gets better and better. This is such an easy recipe to make and adding what you and your family likes can only make it better. How about adding in some olives or pepperoni and making it more like a pizza bread..It's going to be great no matter what. I will give you the basic recipe and below I will tell you my additions.

Cheese,Bacon and Onion Loaf

1 Onion,Finely Chopped
3-1/2 TBS Butter
4 cups (450g) Bread Flour or All-purpose Flour
2-1/4 tsp. Rapid Rise or Active Dry Yeast
1 tsp. Dry Mustard Powder
1-1/2 cups (6oz) Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2/3 cup Lukewarm Milk
2/3 cup Lukewarm Water
Salt and Ground Black Pepper

Lightly grease a 10x4 inch loaf pan or 10 inch tube pan;set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions in the butter until soft and light golden. Set aside to cool.

Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the yeast,mustard,salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and the cooled onions. Make a well in the center and add the milk and water;blend to a dough dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 mins until smooth and elastic ( I needed to add additional flour to reduce it from becoming to sticky.)

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl,cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot,for about 45-60 minutes,until doubled in bulk.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface,punch down, and knead gently. Divide into 20 equal pieces and shape into rounds. Place half into the prepared loaf pan and brush with half of the remaining butter thats been melted. Top with remaining rounds of dough and brush with the remaining butter.


    Cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise for 45 minutes,until dough reaches the top of the pan. Meanwhile,preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.


       Bake for 40-45 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack and carefully tip it out. Serve warm or at room temp.

** Ok here are my additions..I went ahead and sauteed bacon and then sauteed the onion in the bacon drippings. As to how much bacon to use? thats up to you. The bacon over here is not the same as home. It's thinner so I used 10 slices and crumbled them up and added them in along with the cheese and onion. I also add in way more cheese now. I add close to 2 cups of shredded cheese into the flour and then 3/4 cup on top. If you use a tube pan I cut the dough into 4 strips and cut each strip into 15-16 pieces and squish them into tiny rounds. I add half,brush with some melted butter,add half the cheese and repeat with remaning layers. I allow it to rise the 45 minutes and bake slightly less than the 45 minutes but my own tends to run slightly warm.**

Yiled: 1 10-inch loaf or Monkey Bread
Source: The Bread Bible          

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cheeseburger Macaroni


         I was seriously dreading the colder weather but now that it's here..I'm liking it. It's mostly due to the meals that come along with the cooler temps..soups,stews,chili's,casseroles..the meal in one that we all seem to flock to during this time.

 I've got the christmas music on all day long and this weekend we will be buying and decorating the christmas tree. The litle old man that I buy it from never forgets me. I am the only one who comes in to purchase a tree. The Dutch for the most part do not put up their tree until after Sinterklaas..which is on Dec 5. Not me though..nope,I am there bright and early on Dec 1st with a smile on my face. He laughs at me as I walk around all the trees eyeing each one. I am not a picky tree picker..when I see it, I know it and that's that. It usually takes me less than 5 minutes to pick it out. Oh how I love this time of year!

This dish would be perfect to serve after a day of tree buying and decorating. It's warm,cheesy and just perfect. Serve in bowls along side freshly baked bread.

Cheeseburger Macaroni

2-1/2 cups Chicken Broth
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup Tomato Paste
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Olive Oil
1 lb. Ground Beef,chicken,turkey or soy crumbles
1 Medium Onion,diced
1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 cups Dry Macaroni
1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese

In a medium bowl,wisk together the broth,mustard,ketchup,tomato paste,garlic powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-hugh heat,warm the olive oil. Brown the beef and onions,breaking apart the meat,until the onions are soft and the beef is cooked through,about 3-4 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and combine. Drain off grease and return to pan to heat.

Give the broth mixture a quick stir and pour it over the beef. Bring to a boil and add the macaroni; Reduce heat to medium, and cover. Continue cooking 10-12 minutes,until the pasta is tender,stirring a few times to make sure the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom.

When done,sprinkles the cheese on top and stir until melted.

Yield: 4 servings
Source: Very Culinary       

Monday, November 26, 2012

Buttermilk Banana Pancakes


        Did everyone survive Thanksgiving? Did anyone venture out and shop the day after? I think I may have gone shopping a total of one time the day after Thanksgiving. I know alot of people go crazy on Black Friday, but it never really appealed to me. The crazy early hours and dealing with massive crowds just didn't make it worth it to me when it came to scoring the deals that were sold out before you even got there. We had a wonderful day..we ate on saturday when everyone was home and chatted while listening to christmas music.

So lets talk pancakes. We love them. I don't think I ever met a pancake I didn't like..unless you burn it and then thats just icky. I love to try new recipes and this one is a huge winner in our house. The boys kept mentioning how much they loved the banana in it and how soft they were. I served this with a simple peanut butter maple syrup and I may or may not have eaten that with a spoon!

Buttermilk Banana Pancakes

2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 TBS Sugar
2 Eggs
2 TBS Melted Butter or Canola Oil
2 cups Buttermilk 
2 Bananas,mashed

Peanut Butter Maple Syrup:
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Peanut Butter
** combine ingredients in a sauce pan and melt over low heat stirring continuously until combined and heated through. Serve warm with pancakes or waffles**

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda,salt and sugar; make a well in the center.

In a seperate bowl,whisk together the eggs,butter, and buttermilk. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix just until combined. Fold in bananas.

Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and pour 1/4 cups of batter for each pancake. When bubbles appear all over the top of each pancake,flip,then cook until golden brown. Remove and reapeat with remaning batter.

Serve warm 

Yiled: 20 pancakes
Source: Iowa Girl Cooks       

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


      I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. This blog has come to mean alot to me and it's all because of you. So I thank you for taking the time out of your very busy day to stop and leave me a comment. I have developed wonderful friendships through this little blog and I'm forever grateful for that. This little spot in the blogging world has become my safe zone,my place to share my ups and downs and all the delicious food we eat on a weekly basis.

So thank you..thank you from the bottom of my heart for your friendship..for it means the world to this small town american girl who lives a crazy life in The Netherlands.

Enjoy your family,friends and food today. We'll be celebrating on saturday when everyone is home. I've already started getting things ready and look forward to eating a meal with my 3 favorite guys.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fall in The Netherlands

       I've been getting some e-mails from readers asking why I no longer share photos of my life here and if I could start sharing those again.


     I can totally do that and I'm not sure why I stopped posting about my life here.


     I don't always think the pictures  I take are all that interesting to anyone but me.


    I have a thing about Dutch mushrooms...


    I've never seen so many different types before..and I kid you not, there are some that stand as tall as I am..and I'm 5 feet 6 inches. Everytime I see those I never have my camera with me.


     I used to be a winter fan until I moved here. Now I'm more about the fall because of the mushrooms.


    So there you go..a little touch of Dutch fall for you :) As always, I share a weekly photo over at Communal Global so make sure you head over there to see the beautiful pics we all share..and then join us each tuesday with Tuesday's Around The World .