Saturday, April 25, 2009

Safe Flight and New Sewing Room Cabinets

I have decided that I never want to fly again if I can't sit in the exit row. SO MUCH LEG ROOM!

stretching my legs

Both flights were pretty uneventful. It was rather windy when we were landing in Minnesota so I was very thankful when we finally touched down. I think my guts might not have lasted too much longer without deciding to spew if it had gone on too much longer!

The past couple of days I've been awfully busy. We tore out an old awful ugly hearth from the family room in the basement and then my grandpa and I installed some awesome new cabinets for my mom.


Since the insides are almost as cool as the outsides, here are some shots of those as well.

The bottom row is full of nice deep drawers that pull out the entire way so that you can get to everything inside of them. The rails can be moved so you can adjust them however you need which is pretty nifty.

The upper row of cabinets is equipped with shelves.

The best part is the witch in the corner watching over everything.


Can you see her?

Next on the agenda is picking a paint color for the walls and getting knobs on the cabinet!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On My Way!

In a few short hours I will be squished into an aluminum tube hurtling through the skies towards Utah.

I'm planning on having a Dutch Goodie Giveaway (I had fun shopping for treats yesterday), so look for that in the next few days. And don't worry too much if you don't hear from me for a couple days, I'll be busy uncreaking my legs and overcoming jetlag!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Easy Meatloaf... in the Microwave?


Okay, I have to admit I was rather skeptical when my mom told me you could make meatloaf in the microwave. It's not that I didn't believe her that it would work, it's just that I didn't believe her that it would work very well. However, it does work, very well, and it's VERY tasty. If you have access to homemade catsup, use it because it will be even BETTER that way!

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cup oatmeal
one medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup catsup
1/8 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp horseradish
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup catsup
1 Tbsp horseradish
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp prepared mustard

Combine all of the loaf ingredients. Mix together well. For the next part you have a few different options. You can use a microwave safe ring mold and pack the entire amount in there or you can form two loaves by hand and cook them on a glass plate. Or you can get completely wild like I did and separate the mixture in half, make one big loaf and two little loaves to freeze so your husband doesn't starve while you flee the country for a month.

Microwave at 70% (I have a 1000W oven, so this was 700W) for 15 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes. While it's sitting, whisk together the glaze ingredients. After it's sat, spread the glaze over the top and microwave on high for another 3 minutes.

That's it. It's THAT simple! I froze the mini loaves that I made (already cooked) so that Martijn can just take one out to thaw before he goes to work and reheat it when he gets home. My mom said if you don't have horseradish that sweet-hot mustard works really well too!

Check out Tasty Tuesday @ it's new home- Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday @ Blessed with Grace for more yummy recipes.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

That's NOT a photo!

I'm not sure if I should post this or not. It's a bit risqué, but it's so funny I can't help myself.

The basic gist is a couple moves into a new house. The man is sweaty and grubby so he says he's going to take a shower. While he's showering his wife is setting up the new mobile internet. He walks out while drying himself and the following conversation takes place-
Man: Funny picture of your mom!
Wife: *pause* That's not a picture.
Mother-in-Law: Hi, Martin.

I am not kidding, I've CRIED watching this commercial because it's so funny. Most of Martijn's and my communication for several years was via MSN/IRC and using the webcam, so this is a rather plausible scenario.

A Touch of Dutch has written several posts on the subject of the wild world of Dutch commercials.

I'm going to go giggle myself to sleep now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yah, it's more Pyrex- try to act surprised!

I'm such a Vintage Thingie Thursday slacker. I need to amass collections of awesome things to show you people every week, but since I am in a one bedroom European sized apartment (people living in refrigerator boxes under the freeway overpasses have more room than me) I need to keep it reasonable. I have found quite a lot of Arcopal (French Pyrexy things) and a few JAJ pieces but I decided to only buy the ones I really really love and leave the others for someone else.

After I posted my last VTT lamenting the fact that I needed to find more casserole size dishes, I managed to find about four the next week! Sticking to my "Do I really love this?" creedo, I only brought two home.

New Oval Casserole

This is the oval casserole dish from the Fiesta series, manufactured in the late 60s.

Picture 2328

The pattern name on this one is Kent and it's a rectangular casserole.

Check out more Vintage Thingie Thursday fun @ Coloradolady!

P.S. If you're here from clicking on the Mr Linky on coloradolady's blog, you might want to read my post yesterday about Snap Links!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Snap Links

It seems like a lot of blogs use Mr Linky to do their blog carnival link ups, and this is a good thing because you have a handy dandy list of links to click on instead of having to dig through comments and find links that way. It can, however, be a bit tedious to click on all 30-40 links (or 300 if you are talking about Works for me Wednesday's Mr Linky).

I have found a solution! It's called Snap Links. It allows you to open multiple links at once, and I loooove it. I even put off upgrading to Firefox 3 until they had a compatible version.

Snap Links only works on Firefox, which I'm sure all of you very smart clever people already use. If not, you can download it here. Then you can download and install Snap Links here. Once installed, all you have to do is right click (keep holding the button down) and drag the box until it selects the links you want to open.


Let go of the button and the links you've selected will pop up in new tabs.

Geez, I have a lotta bookmarks in my quick-link bar... but look at the opened tabs! Those are the links that were selected in the previous screen shot.

In addition to using it for Mr Linky posts, I also like to use it when I'm doing a random Google search and want to check out several of the hits at once. It's also good for "Link Roundup" posts. Maybe I'm just really lazy but I hate clicking and going back and forth between tabs and windows when I don't have to!

I don't recommend clicking on all 300 links at once because your computer will likely have an aneurysm and then you will be sad. 10-15 links seems to be a pretty good number, and it also breaks the list down into bite size pieces! After you've read your snapped links then you can go do something else for a little while, it's almost as good as a kitchen timer for allotting a certain amount of time to computer time.

So, Snap Links works for me! What works for you?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ham and Cheese Pastry Thingies

I love puff pastry. I use it for Pot Pie crust, turnovers, and these babies:

Ham & Cheese Pastry Thingies

I have given them the very descriptive name of Ham and Cheese Pastry Thingies. I am able to buy puff pastry in 15cm (around 6 inch) squares in the freezer section for a reasonable price, so that's what I use for these. I like to make these every now and then when Martijn and I are home on a weekend and are having an attack of the munchies. They're quick to put together and quite tasty!

This is tricky to really classify as a recipe because it's sooooo easy, but here goes!

For each "Thingie" you'll need 1 sheet of puff pastry, 1 tbsp shredded cheese, and one slice of ham that you've chopped into bits.

Spritz some baking spray into a muffin cup and lay a sheet of puff pastry over it. Press it into the muffin cup gently to make a little "pastry cup." Sprinkle the cheese and ham into the pastry and then bring all of the corners of the pastry together. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for 15-20 minutes or until the puff pastry has "puffed" and is a nice golden brown.

Ham & Cheese Pastry Thingies

Really, you can put whatever filling you'd like into these! Some other ideas that I've had are broccoli and cheese, red bell pepper and cream cheese, turkey and swiss... the possibilities are endless!

Check out Tasty Tuesday @ it's new home- Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday @ Blessed with Grace for more yummy recipes and for more helpful kitchen tips see Kitchen Tip Tuesday @

Monday, April 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- April 13, 2009

Geez, I haven't been doing a very good job at planning menus the past few weeks, and this is the last one for a few more weeks! I planned through Monday next week since I fly to the US the next day.

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

Southwest Chicken

Garlic Soup and Egg Salad Sandwiches

Modern Day Hutspot
- We're having my in-laws over for dinner before I fly to the US and Martijn and I both really like this recipe. We've decided it's nothing like real hutspot, but it uses most of the same ingredients!

Brown Bag Burritos- This seems to be the most requested recipe in this household now. I'm going to make the whole recipe and freeze the rest for Martijn to eat while I'm gone.

Meatloaf- My mom said she has a good new recipe, so I'll post it after she e-mails it to me (hint, hint, Mom!)

Pasta with Chicken and Olives- Martijn's dinner group is meeting here this week, so HE is cooking this one!

Kebabs and Meat on the Grill- I'm hoping for a few more days of good weather!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

The Easter Bunny brought me a new tripod for my camera! I am quite happy about this as I don't have the most steady of hands when it comes to taking pictures. My new camera has image stabilization in it, but it will be handy to be able to just leave my camera in one place and swap out "props" as needed. I gave Martijn a bug net because he's been having to hunt down and eradicate computer bugs at work. It's been a little stressful, so I thought maybe him having a net would make him laugh a little. It did, so mission accomplished. Martijn's Easter Bunny present is backordered and will be hippity-hopped here eventually.

I also silk tie dyed some more eggs. I'm having so much fun with this it's ridiculous. I'd like to get my grubby mits on some blown eggs and see if I could get that to work. I know I can blow the eggs myself, but the ones I find here have ugly pink date stamps on them that I haven't been able to get rid of. Plus, if I have to blow them myself, I might NEVER actually get around to it.

Silk Dyed Eggs Collage

The two photos on the bottom are the front and backs of the same eggs. The wrinkles in the fabric make kindof a neat effect. I also tried a couple of brown eggs. I think they turned out neat, but I don't think they'd work terribly well with light colored ties. I think my favorite (besides the orange checked ones of course) is the one on the top right. It turned out so VIBRANTLY! I just love it.

Just More Shots of the Eggs

These two found a nice little home in my awesome yellow and orange Pyrex dish.

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Artists Rendition of Dinner

We had absolutely brilliant weather yesterday and today (well, up until about 7 PM, then it started with the thunder and the lightning and the rain). I decided to take advantage of that by making some kebabs and putting them on our little electric grill (another flea market find). I made them pretty and colorful with zucchini, yellow and red cherry tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and red and yellow bell peppers.

I went to take a picture and started wondering to myself who not only misplaces their primary battery, but also their spare battery? Oh, right... that would be me. I found one of them, but it was the dead one (which I -probably- took out to charge, but who knows at this point).

So I drew you a picture instead.

Artists Rendering of Dinner

They were delicious, by the way. And if you are wondering, I found my other battery. In the kitchen.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

"Tie Dyed" Eggs

I'm so excited to share with you lovely people my latest conquest! I dyed some eggs today. WITH TIES! I went to the thrift store, bought some silk ties (I need to go to the cheaper store tomorrow because I feel like I just got robbed), chopped them into pieces, and used them to dye the eggs with! I was pretty amazed, and now I am feeling rather impressed with myself.

Picture 2432

Now do you want to be as awesome and impressed with yourself as me?

Gather up your supplies! You will need:

Picture 2416

A glass or non-reactive metal pan
1/4 cup vinegar (which I forgot to take a picture of)
Silk scraps (big enough to wrap around the eggs)
White fabric scraps (big enough to cover the silk wrapped eggs)
Raw eggs, washed and patted dry
Twist ties

If you are using old ties to do this, go ahead and rip out the seams and iron the fabric flat. Cut the pieces big enough to wrap around your eggs.

Silk Dyed Egg Steps


1- Wrap your eggs with the pieces of silk. Make sure to put the printed side towards the egg! You'll want to get the fabric as smooth as possible (there will be wrinkles, but smooth them out as much as you can).

2. Wrap the white cloth around your silk wrapped egg. Make sure you've got it nice and tight so it holds the silk onto the egg. Secure your little bundles with a twist tie (rubber bands or string would probably work too).

3. Put your eggs into your pan and cover with water. Add your vinegar and bring to a boil. Once you reach a boil, turn the heat down and let them simmer for 20-25 minutes.

4. Fish your eggs out of the water with a pair of tongs. Set in a plate or bowl and put in the fridge until they've cooled.

Now you can unwrap your little beauties!

silk dyed eggs

I read that you can rub your eggs with a little veggie oil to make them shiny, but I thought these were rather neat as is! I hope to do a few more of these if I can find some silk ties that aren't 1.75 euro each (what can I say, I'm a cheapskate!).

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Cruising to Newcastle

Martijn and I hopped on a boat and sailed to England last weekend.

Picture 2411

In keeping with our history of weird sleeping arrangements, our cabin had bunk beds. Which was okay since a real bed wouldn't have actually fit in there.

Picture 2408

We boarded this ship in IJmuiden on Sunday evening. On Monday morning we arrived in the port in England and hopped a bus to Newcastle.

Our first stop was the Discovery Museum. There were some interesting exhibits on the history of Newcastle and quite a bit on maritime history. I was a little disappointed because a ton of the exhibits were being refurbished for their anniversary celebration in July, but the admission was free so I can't complain too much.

After we were done with the museum, we walked over to the Grainger Market. This market opened in 1835 and is one of the biggest indoor markets in the country. They had lots of food stalls with tempting looking treats, and a book stall with some dirt cheap paperback books. I got a couple to read on the boat. I hate how expensive books are in The Netherlands. It's not even just that English books cost a fortune, the Dutch books are just as expensive!

Grainger Market

Most of the geocaches in Newcastle were micros (usually just a logbook in a film cannister) but we decided we ought to do one there just to say we did! We ended up walking down a very steep hill and then back up approximately 7283 stairs. I was rather thankful they weren't Dutch stairs, because I probably would've died right then and there!

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering about, finding a bite to eat, and enjoying ourselves.

Picture 2391

Picture 2382

Picture 2380

The bus picked us up and took us back to the port on Monday night where we set sail to come back home! It was a quick little trip, but I really enjoyed myself and I hope we do something similar again.

Also, I now FINALLY can say that I've been to England! I don't really count the time I sprinted through Heathrow to catch my connection.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

We're Fleeing the Country

Be back Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Quandary of Laundry

This week's Works for Me Wednesday is backwards. Instead of ME imparting my vast knowledge of everything* on you, I ask you for help.

I grew up in a desert climate. This meant you could wad up your towel into a ball and leave it somewhere and it would likely just dry out and not end a smelly mildewy musty disaster. Now that I'm living in a swamp very humid place I have been having issues with musty laundry. I figured out if I wash stuff on hot that takes a lot of the yuck out, but I have a lot of clothes that aren't hot water friendly and doing all my laundry on hot is not electricity bill friendly. I started putting vinegar in the rinse cycle and that's helped a bit but it seems like after I get wearing my stuff the smell starts to make it's way back, especially if I get wet (which happens a lot here).

So, my question is this: What do you do to get musty gross stubborn smells from your laundry?

Check out more backwards Works for Me Wednesday and pass on your smarts there too!

*Haha, April Fools. I don't know everything, just almost everything!
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