Monday, December 29, 2008

Second Wedding Anniversary!

Two years ago today, Martijn and I got married!

Our Wedding

We've had some dramatic moments with me moving to a new country and figuring out everything involved in that, but most of our times are good times! He makes me laugh when I'm in a bad mood and is always there for a hug when I need one. I look forward to the coming years and the new adventures we'll have together.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- December 29, 2008

click the banner and "Menu Plan Monday" for more menu planning ideas

I didn't do a menu plan last week and just stuck to fairly easy stuff since I wasn't feeling well. Martijn was dismayed that he couldn't look at my blog for our menu, so even though I still don't feel good I'm doing the menu plan this week just for him! I'm also going to do the weekend and next Monday since we're leaving for the US in 8 days!

Monday: Gourmet
Tuesday: Gourmet again, we have oodles of stuff for it in the freezer
Wednesday: Slavinken & veggies
Thursday: Going for Chinese at the in-laws!
Friday: Stew
Saturday: Some version of a hobo dinner in the turbo
Sunday: Chicken a la Mayo & veggies
Monday: Something easy like frozen pizza probably!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mr Jummy is trying to replace me!

Since I got Mr. Jummy a few weeks ago we have been having some fun adventures.

He's come geocaching with us.

Picture 1788

And he sneaks in and and steals my place in bed on a pretty regular basis.

Mr Jummy in bed

But last night was the last straw!

Picture 1849

He stole my place in bed, AND my Gameboy! The worst part was, I am pretty sure Martijn was in cahoots with him. I think he's looking for a new MarioKart partner.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

For those of you celebrating today-

Picture 1846

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Brain Fog

This is what it looks like outside today.


Compare that to what I usually see when I look out the window (well, minus the snow cause that doesn't actually happen that often).

I even chose a mildly stormy comparison photo! The plus side is that it's actually been a little bit warmer than usual the past few days.

Other than that, I really haven't much to say. I've been so so sick the past couple of weeks and it's really been making it difficult to want to do much of anything. Coincidentally, the inside of my head feels a lot like that fog photo I posted. Maybe I actually had the camera pointed inside my ear! I'm really praying that I get better by the time we leave for the US in January. I did dig out my jewelry making supplies and have been playing around with that again so in the next couple of days I'll show off my "mad skillz."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crystallized Ginger and Candied Citrus Peels

A few months ago I got the wild idea that I should make my own crystallized (candied) ginger. Then I promptly forgot about it.

Yesterday morning I was perusing the internet and came across a recipe for candied citrus peels. When I saw that I remembered that I wanted to make crystallized ginger and decided that if I didn't do it right then I would forget again.

I jumped on my bike and headed to the market to buy ginger, lemons, and oranges.

When I got home, I used my super high tech spoon method to peel about a pound of ginger. The instructions said to use a sharp knife to cut it into thin slices but I decided to use the cheese slicer that we don't like to use on the cheese because it makes the slices too thick. It worked like a charm!


Since the kitchen was already sticky, I figured I may as well do my citrus peels at the same time and only clean up once! Once again I found the cheese slicer handy to remove the excess pith from the lemon peels. The orange peels were a little less firm so it didn't work quite as well and I used a paring knife instead.


The best part of the whole project? CHEAP! The cost breakdown is this:

Little less than a pound of ginger- €1
2 big navel oranges- €0.60 (if I'd bought more they would've been cheaper but I'd be the only one eating them and a dozen was too many at once)
2 lemons- €0.40
1.5 kg bag of sugar- €1

I didn't use -quite- as much sugar as the recipes called for since I used slightly less of the ginger and citrus peels so the 1.5 kg bag of sugar was -just- enough.

P.S. If you are in my family, maybe you could um, forget that you read this? Cause uh, Christmas is coming up and these are most excellent stocking stuffers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pasta "Lasagne"

Pasta "Lasagne"

Another recipe in the "unphotogenic food files" is this Pasta "Lasagne." Instead of using regular flat lasagne noodles, you use penne!

250 grams (8 oz) penne pasta
250 grams (8 oz) ground beef
1 can (400 g/ 14 oz) tomatoes (stewed or diced work nicely)
1 onion, diced
250 (8 oz) grams ricotta cheese (cottage cheese will work too)
100 grams (4 oz) shredded mozzarella
1/4 parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1-2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Prepare your pasta according to package directions minus a couple minutes so it's not -quite- cooked.

Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Lightly grease a baking dish and set aside.

In a skillet, brown the ground beef and drain off any excess fat. Add the onion and saute until tender. Pour in the can of tomatoes and add the Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, most of the mozzarella (leave a little handful to sprinkle on the top later), and the beaten egg. Mix until it's well combined.

Layer half the pasta, half the meat sauce, and half the cheese mixture in your pan. Repeat and then top with the remaining mozzarella.

Cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 to get the cheese lightly browned and bubbly on top.

Makes 4 generous servings.

Check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays for more yummy recipes!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- December 15, 2008

click the banner and "Menu Plan Monday" for more menu planning ideas

Last week:

The Orange Chicken Leg Quarters in the crockpot were really good. You don't need the molasses, I'm not really even sure why it's there. I only used two leg quarters (seperated and skinned) and made the sauce according the the measurements the recipe has. I have added this to the SAVE file.

Lentil Soup was also good, but I need to cut the recipe in half if I make it again. We ate it two nights in a row, and still have leftovers. I don't even know how big the bowls would need to be in order for it to only be 6-8 servings!

I didn't get to the Lettuce Wraps but I will this week since I have all the stuff still.

This week:

The aforementioned Lettuce Wraps. I have to make these this week or the veggies are going to go dead.

Honey Baked Chicken- I have oodles of chicken leg quarters I can use for this.

Paprika Pork Chops- It's been awhile since we had it, and we both really like it.

Slop on a Plate- I really ought to re-name this. I'm gonna try it with broccoli instead of green beans.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Vintage Thingie Thursday- JAJ Pyrex Finds

Looking through back posts, I realized that I haven't participated in Vintage Thingie Thursday since October! That's too long, so without further ado I present to you my latest British Pyrex finds.

Harvest Pattern JAJ

This is the Harvest pattern, manufactured by JAJ. I think this is a cute pattern, but nothing can beat what I am going to show you next.

JAJ Pyrex Yellow and Orange Dish

Orange and yellow, my two favorite colors! I posted this in the Pyrex Love group on flickr and got some really good information!

In the UK in the early 70’s there was a renewed interest in traditional, even rustic products; Stripped Pine and Proven├žal pottery came into vogue. In 1974 Pyrex, JAJ introduced the short run ‘Rocco’ and ‘Sienna’ casserole ranges, exploiting a technique of over-spraying enamel colours to give a gentler, shaded effect to suit the new mood.

Your casserole is from the “Rocco” range and the pattern name is Rocco. From your photo of the back stamp I can see the number 509 and also a .5. just below the first letter N in England. The 509 is the cat. number for a 2pt Round Casserole and the .5. is the manufacturing date code, your casserole came off the press in Sunderland England in March-April 1975.

Thanks to Mackem 54 on flickr for this great info.

Vintage Thingie Thursday is now being hosted by Coloradolady! Check out the other submissions for this week and sign up for her amazingly generous giveaways this month.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's beginning to look a little like Christmas!

We live in an apartment on the 8th floor (9 floors up for you people who use a rational numbering system and start with the ground floor being the FIRST FLOOR). A -tiny- apartment. It would be rather crazy for us to have a nice 8 foot tall pine tree in our livingroom for Christmas. It's really just not reasonable. So, we have a small fake tree. The problem is, fake trees don't SMELL like Christmas! They smell like... well, nothing really. Last year my sweet husband decided that we could overcome this by buying a little table arrangement that had pine branches in it. It was a great solution! After Christmas, I tossed the branches and (by that point) gross floral foam and saved the bowl and decorations that were in it and put them away for this year. I found some pine branches at a local garden center for €1.49 and went to town!

From this:

to this:

I also got the tree put up, the stockings hung, and the nativity set up. It's beginning to feel a little more like Christmas!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- December 8, 2008

click the banner and "Menu Plan Monday" for more menu planning ideas

Last week went pretty well in regards to sticking with the plan. I didn't make the Cheesy Gratin of Brussels Sprouts, but went simple- steamed and served next to tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches. The Gourmet Night was great and it was fun to spend a little more time chatting over dinner with Martijn.

This week:

Burritos- I made a big batch yesterday, so we can have leftovers tonight.

Lettuce Wraps- I'm not sure which of these recipes I'm going to use yet, I need to see which one matches what I have in the cupboards. I'm leaning towards the Asian style ones with a peanut dipping sauce.

Orange Chicken Leg Quarters Crock Pot Recipe- This looks tasty and chicken quarters are on sale this week.

Lentil Soup and melt sandwiches.

I think we'll have leftovers from a few of these things, so we'll probably have a random leftover night at the end of the week.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Jummy Jummy!

Every now and then a company has an ad campaign that is so brilliant you can't help but really really REALLY want to buy their product.

Mr Jummy (the Dutch j sounds like an English y, so pronounce it as "yummy") and the band of hunger monsters from Sultana are a very good example of this. I don't normally post youtube videos cause I usually don't watch them when they're posted on other people's blogs, but these are too good to resist, seriously. The basic premis is everyone has their own little hunger monster inside of them and if you eat the Sultana biscuits, you will calm the monster!

I think this is the concept video, because it's in English and you don't see these monsters in later videos

This is my all time favorite. Him trying to spear the fish is priceless.

It's just so stinking funny.

This summer they started advertising a promotion where you collect four stamps from their packages and then turn them in along with 4€ and you can get your VERY OWN Mr Jummy handpop (hand puppet). Since I didn't really buy these biscuits on a very regular basis, it took a couple of months to collect my four stamps. Little did I know that I should've just gone and bought four packs the day I found out about the promo, cause by the time I had mine collected the Mr Jummy's were no more!

I was bummed, but not completely defeated. Martijn looked on the Sultana website and it said they had a higher than expected demand (duh, look at the guy!) and they'd be making and sending out more in November. So after months of waiting I finally got an e-mail saying they'd have them available on November 25th. I told Martijn I was going to camp out at the post office so I could get mine and then, of course, I promptly forgot all about it that morning. I went to the post office on November 26th, one measly day later and they were COMPLETELY GONE AGAIN. I am telling you, the drama involved in getting one of these puppets was ridiculous. Again they sent an e-mail saying check back in a couple days. So I did. And they still didn't have any. I persisted and I'm telling you, I got my workout cycling to and from the post offices trying to get my hands on this fellow.

I'm now happy to report that Mr Jummy and I are having quite a lot of fun with each other.

Mr Jummy and ME!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Gourmet Night

According to wikipedia, gourmet is een typisch Nederlands fenomeen (a typical Dutch phenonemon) similar to the Swiss tradition of raclette. Basically you have some teeny little pans and lots of yummy little things to cook in your teeny little pans.


They make electric versions of these, but ours runs on brandspiritus (which is denatured alcohol I think).


Flames don't photograph very well, apparently.

We like to use mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, and other softer veggies since they don't take as long to cook. Smaller pieces of meat work best, and so we chop up some chicken, make little mini meatballs, and use shaorma or other strips of meat. This time I cheated and bought a gourmetschotel (a gourmet platter) that had marinated chicken, some little sausages, shaorma, mini hamburgers, and tiny little slavinken (bacon wrapped ground meat). Since it's just the two of us, I was able to split the package in two and put the remainder in the freezer for next time.

The small gourmet pannetjes (literally "small pans") are also a great size for pancakes. Not the typical American fluffy pancakes, but the more European flat ones that I would call crepes. They're good for little omelettes too, but we didn't end up using any of the eggs I put out since we had enough other goodies.

Special thanks to Martijn for pausing during his pancake flipping so I could snap a photo.


One of the nicest parts of gourmet is that it's rather laid back and slow paced. You can take your time and don't feel the need to rush through dinner. I highly recommend it!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- December 1, 2008

click the banner and "Menu Plan Monday" for more menu planning ideas

Last week:

Well, I didn't stick to my plan very well. We did have the Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup. It wasn't bad, but it didn't really wow us, so I probably won't make it again. Instead of the freezer drumsticks I just used some seasoning I had since it was faster. The fish sloppy joes turned into fishcakes (which were yummy, I'm going to make them again) and the spaghetti turned into a lasagna-esque dish. I didn't have to buy different groceries than what I had planned on though so that's all good!

This week:

Roast Chicken in the turbo, Brussels sprouts, and potato wedges

Won Ton Tacos- I have a North American Women's Club meeting Tuesday, so I'm making a huge batch of these and setting some aside for us to have for dinner

Cheesy Gratin of Brussels Sprouts- Looks simple enough, and since sprouts are in season they're dirt cheap right now! 59 cents a kilo!

Gourmet- I'll post more on this the day we do it. You basically have teeny little pans over flames and cook your meals at the table. It's really fun.

Something creative with the leftovers from the chicken carcass!
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