Monday, June 29, 2009

Sew, Mama, Sew! Sewing Machine Meme

June was Sewing Machine Month on Sew, Mama, Sew! Since I am the worlds biggest procrastinator was busy, I didn't fill out the sewing machine meme until today! Hey, it's still June for a a little more than a day, yes? I'm going to talk about Greenie since she's the one I sew on the most!

Sewing Machine- with all it's goodies

What brand and model do you have?
A Husqvarna (Viking) CL8 (1960s era)
How long have you had it?
I bought it on Queen's Day the first year I lived here, so since April 30, 2007
How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
I paid €30, though Martijn says I should've haggled the price down. I was too excited and just said "OKAY" as soon as she told us the price she wanted.
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
Well, I've done a little bit of everything on this machine. It'll sew through just about anything. Currently I'm trying to make a puppet.
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
I seem to go through spurts where I'll sew for several days for several hours each day and then I'll go a few weeks without sewing.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I LOOOOOVE my machine. Her name is Greenie. Yeah, I'm really creative.
What features does your machine have that work well for you?
It is a straight stitch only machine, but it makes nice even stitches and doesn't get all jammed up. It's also a free-arm machine which is nice when I am sewing hems and cuffs.
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
Nothing really. I do need to remember to oil her or she gets cranky, but that's not unusual for a machine of this age.
Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!
I left my sewing machine in Utah when I moved since it weighs approximately 73 billion pounds (okay, only about 35, but still). I was starting to get the "I really need a sewing machine BAD" itch. On Queen's Day, the entire country basically turns into a huge flea market, so when we were wandering around looking I spotted this little green machine in her case on the ground by someone's table. I peeked at it and started thinking about it. We finished walking through the market and I was still thinking about it, so we went back and bought it. THEN came the fun part. This is not a lightweight machine. Like my machine that I left in Utah, this is entirely metal everything and it is not a dainty lightweight, and we'd gone to the city center on our bikes!!! Luckily, we live fairly closeby so Martijn hopped on his bike and sped to get the car. Once he was back with the car, we loaded the machine in and I followed home by bike. Of course, Martijn took it apart and made sure everything was in order before I started sewing on it. About 6 months after that, we took it apart a little more to really give it a good cleaning and we found a very dead BEE inside! Who knows how long that had been there, this machine is from the 60s.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
Indeed I would. It's a good sturdy machine. It's all metal parts, which means you don't have to worry about something snapping off inside and expensive repair.
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
I think the most important thing to consider is what you want your machine to do for you. If you're wanting something that will embroider and do the dishes for you, then obviously my machine isn't the way to go. But if you want a steady workhorse then it's perfect! Of course, price is a consideration. When people ask about a sub $150 machine, I ALWAYS suggest looking used first. You're much more likely to get more for your money that way.
Do you have a dream machine?
Oh you bet I do!
Orange Viking Sewing Machine (1)
This is the ORANGE 6000 series Viking. SOMEDAY I will have my greedy little fingers on this machine. Someday.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- June 29, 2009

There ended up being a couple of days where I didn't need to cook, so there are some carryovers from last week!

First, the recap:

Lighter Sesame Chicken- This is very good, but I think if you make it as written you will feel sad due to the lack of sauce. I used two chicken breasts and didn't alter the sauce recipe. The amount was just about right.

Oven Fried Coconut Chicken- Good, but it needs a little something more. I'm going to try more lime juice in the marinade next time, and possibly a dash of chili powder in the coating. I liked the flavor a lot but it could use a little KICK!

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

Hobo Style Catfish Dinner- This is a carryover from last week. I got a comment from the recipe author saying that the double amount of dressing was a mistake, so it's just a half a cup! Not a half a cup plus 8 TBSP (which is also a half a cup).

Pork Chops- Still working out what I want to do with these, though I suspect I might try something with apples, and possibly do another tinfoil dinner on the grill since I anticipate it being approximately 90 billion degrees this week.

Cold Spaghetti Salad- Again, trying to keep things cool!

Taco Salad

Uh, something from the freezer. Sorry for the half-assed attempt at a menu plan, it's so hot and sticky here it's melting my brains.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Fragments- June 26, 2009

Time again for those fragmented thoughts that aren't quite post-worthy on their own!


-Martijn brought flowers home for me the other day for no reason which was really nice.

-I had my eyes dilated and they don't use the "help your pupils shrink back to a normal size" drops here, so the entire bus ride home I kept worrying that we were going to get into some sort of horrible fiery crash and the paramedic who is trying to assess my condition is going to either declare I have a very poor prognosis due to my pupils being fixed and dilated OR he's going to think I'm some strung out sort of druggie... especially with the horrible bruise I got yesterday when they drew blood.

-I spent the entire day on Thursday speaking Dutch. Afterwards, my brain needed a nap. The people that I was speaking to probably needed a brain nap as well.

-Speaking of Dutch... my conversation class started on Monday and I think it's going to be good. Nothing too high stress, but enough practice to help out some.

-I'm kinda getting tired of people dying. I mean, I know it's the way things work, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

-The typical Dutch breakfast (and lunch, and sometimes dinner) is a piece of bread with something on it. Martijn generally gets up and eats breakfast before me. After he goes to work I find random bits of sandwich in strange places throughout the house. I think he wanders while he eats and then forgets to eat the last bite. I give him a lot of grief about this... except now I can't anymore. Because I came home from an appointment and found 2 bites of a peanut butter sandwich sitting on my desk, right where I left it this morning.

Friday Fragments?
Click on the Friday Fragments button for more fragmented fun at Half-Past Kissin' Time!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A New Twist on Stuffed Peppers

Using Mrs. D. Lightful's Nestled Eggs recipe as inspiration, I came up with my own version using bulgur instead of rice.


For the filling you will need:
4 or 5 carrots, diced (you could grate the carrot to cut down on cooking time if you wish)
3 or 4 stalks celery, trimmed and diced into small pieces
1 small zucchini, diced into small pieces
1 onion, diced
1/2 head fennel, sliced thinly
1 tbsp butter
1 cup bulgur
2 cups water + 1 tbsp veggie bullion (or 2 cups veggie bullion)

Additionally you will need:
2 bell peppers, halved and seeded
4 eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste

Start by melting the butter in a heavy bottomed stockpot or high sided skillet. Add the carrots, onion, celery, zucchini, and fennel and cook until softened (about 10 minutes). Add the bulgur and mix everything well. Then add the veggie broth, cover and keep on low heat until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

While you're waiting for the bulgur to finish, put the peppers open side up in your casserole dish. Add about 1/4 cup of water, cover, and microwave for 5 minutes. If you don't want to nuke them you can steam them on the stovetop or prebake them for 10-15 minutes. Drain the water off.

Fill the pepper halves about 2/3 of the way full of the bulgur mixture. Put the rest of the bulgur in the bottom of your casserole dish. Nestle the pepper halves into the bulgur. Crack an egg into each pepper half and bake at 150 C (300F) for about 25 minutes. The eggs should be set and cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste!

If you don't want to do the eggs, this still makes a fabulous vegetarian stuffed pepper filling.


Be sure to check out Tasty Tuesday @ Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday @ Blessed with Grace for more yummy recipes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hulling Strawberries With a STRAW!

I stole this tip from Alea over at Premeditated Leftovers, but it's really too nifty to not pass along again.

I'm not terribly handy with a knife. If I can avoid using one, I probably will. It keeps the chances of me keeping all of my fingers higher too! So when I read that you can hull strawberries with a STRAW I couldn't wait to try! And guess what? It works like a charm.

Hulling strawberries with a... STRAW!

You just push the straw in at the bottom of the strawberry and the stem and white bit just pop right out. This made my jam making go oh so much faster. Hop on over to Premeditated Leftovers to read her jam canning instructions. I just did freezer jam because it only takes 5 minutes to mash everything together and put in cups. Canning jam takes more dedication (and mason jars) than I had at the time.

Be sure to check out all of the great posts linked to Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, hosted by Tammy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Jummy Prototype

Sometime last week Mr Jummy walked in sniffling (strangely, his sniffling sounds a lot like Martijn's sniffling). He said he was lonely. So, what's a person to do?

Mr Jummy needs a wife
The Future Mrs Yummy

I think maybe it would've been useful to get some sort of structural engineering degree in order to construct this thing, but there has been some progress made. I'm pretty happy with the arms and legs at this point and the head is midway there. I think I need to do some final tweaks on it to make it the right shape. Then the body and actually putting the thing together. Meanwhile, it looks like something very very violent occurred here.

Carnage and mayhem!
Carnage and Mayhem!

Once we get the prototype done, then we can work on a Mrs Yummy (she's going to be an American, hence the Y instead of J)!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- June 22, 2009

I was pretty awesome last week.

The Phyllo wrapped Salmon Filets are quite good and if I get really crazy I'll translate (and fix because whoever figured out the amounts on that thing was up to no good) that recipe. I have extra salmon in the freezer, so I might make it again this week if my other chosen recipes aren't speaking to me (or if Martijn's dinner plans get canceled again and I'm scrambling for another dinner idea).

This Aztec Couscous recipe was also quite nice. I left out the jalapeƱo since they're rather non-existant here (you can get the jarred ones, but I wouldn't use the whole jar and it would just go to waste). We ate it warm for dinner and I had leftovers of it cold the next day. I think I liked it cold better, but it's good both ways.

I also made the Curried Cauliflower Soup and I will make it again since it was quite nice. We had it with shredded zucchini and ricotta melt sandwiches. YUUUUM!

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

Lighter Sesame Chicken- This has been sitting in my "to try" folder for the past year and a half, so I'm going to try it at last. If we don't like it then I need to remember to DELETE it!

Hobo Style Catfish Dinner- I can't quite figure out where the extra 1/2 cup of Italian dressing goes, can you? It looks quick and easy though and I am a big fan of both.

Nestled Eggs- I maybe will fiddle with the filling a little bit, maybe do bulghur instead of rice.

Macaroni Mix- No recipe on this, it's basically mac, little bit of minced meat, tomato paste, and a seasoning mix.

Oven Fried Coconut Chicken- This looks intriguing. It may happen on leg quarters instead of just drumsticks since they're about half the price (figure that one out, more meat for less money, yahoo!).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Fragments- June 19, 2009

While I was browsing the interwebs this week I came across Friday Fragments at Half-Past Kissin' Time. Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. So without any further ado-

*I added a "related posts" widget to the bottom of my posts. I'd love some feedback on it since I can't decide if I like it or if it's just obnoxious. Unfortunately I don't have any control over which posts it pulls.

*I was an invigilator for the Cambridge ESOL exam this week. I think that invigilator is a fancy word for "paper passer-outer," "paper-collector," and "babysitter." Really though, I can't complain too much about making €11 per hour to read and watch people to make sure they weren't cheating off of each other.

*I need to build my biking stamina back up, I have been feeling like a weenie whenever I go out.

*I made strawberry freezer jam. Mr. Jummy tried to steal it and eat it all at once.
Mr Jummy stole my jam!

*One of the ladies from the North American Women's Club has organized a Dutch conversation class. We're going to have an actual Dutch instructor teaching us so it won't devolve into "Dutch is too hard so let's speak English!" I hope it will help build up some confidence in my speaking abilities.

*Martijn came into the kitchen from the bathroom the other day dangling his belt and was wiggling the buckle back and forth. I asked him what he was doing and he said he had been sitting in the bathroom listening to a squeak. He thought we had mice until he realized it was his squeaky belt buckle.

*I'm seriously looking forward to the 4th of July BBQ this year. Now I need to decide what food to bring along.

*There are teeny tiny baby kitties outside our building. I want to smuggle them all upstairs. Maybe I can tell Martijn I got them to take care of the mouse problem!

Friday Fragments?
Click the button for more Friday Fragment posts

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Singer Buttonholer Attachment

I have a confession to make.

I don't actually know how to make buttonholes. Yes, I won a Best of Show and went on to get a blue ribbon at the state fair on the button-up shirt I made in 4-H. But, I still don't know how to make buttonholes. It's something that I could learn to do if I really felt like I needed to, however I don't think I will concern myself with it because I have a MAGIC TOOL that does it for me (boy that makes me sound lazy doesn't it?)!


Meet my Singer Buttonholer (model 160506). I pop the regular foot off of my machine, snap this guy on, drop the feed dogs and put the pedal to the metal!

Singer Buttonholer

The templates (the little bits there on the left of the photo) control the size and the shape of the button holes. The switch you see on the side is the adjuster for the width of the stitch.

This buttonholer was in pretty tough shape when we got it but with some disassembly, cleaning, and some new white grease it now works like new.

Singer Buttonholer

For more vintage fun, check out Vintage Thingie Thursday hosted by Coloradolady!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finally responding to some suggestions (part 1)

Remember last month when I bribed you with candy asked you what you'd like me to blog about? I have been working on going through them at last!

Amy has recently discovered she has Dutch ancestry and likes to read the posts about holidays and Dutch customs.

From the end of May until December there aren't really any Dutch holidays so my postings about them might be a little sparse until we're in the "thick of the season" again! In the meantime A Touch of Dutch has a great many posts about feestdagen (holidays).

Erika would like to know more about living in The Netherlands. The pluses and minuses of living in another country. She'd also like to know how the cooking is different.

I would say that the biggest minus is the distance between my family and I. Another is the language barrier (although, I'm working on that). On the other hand, I get to be with my fantastic husband and see a part of the world that I probably wouldn't otherwise have been able to explore.

As for the cooking differences, where do I start? I don't have a "real" oven for starters. We have a microwave/convection oven combo unit. It works for us, but it's not very big. No cooking big turkeys in this baby! Another thing is the availability of ingredients. You would think that baking soda would be something you could pick up just about anywhere, but it's not stocked in normal grocery stores! I go to the Asian market for that, otherwise I'd be buying it from the drugstore (it can be used as an antacid afterall) at a rather steep price. Buying in bulk is a rather foreign concept. The bags of flour I buy are 1kg (2.2 lbs), which seems rather tiny to me! Another big thing is converting between different sets of measures. I will say it does make more sense to measure ingredients by weight, but I have 3 sets of US measuring cups that I use on a pretty regular basis. I think I'll add to this in a separate post since I could go on and on!

litchicky wants me to post more of my jewelry.

I guess I better get busy making some, hadn't I?

Noodle likes to hear about our excursions, my projects, and thinks I have been neglecting to update on what mischevious things Mr Jummy has been up to.

She has a point there, doesn't she? I haven't written much about Mr Jummy since he tried replacing me as Martijn's Nintendo parter. I think next time we go somewhere, he'll be tagging along! Maybe he'll even help me stuff some sock monkeys.

ikkinlala enjoys the recipe posts and the tutorial posts.

I really need to work on these a little. It gets so dreary and grey here that it's hard to make nice picture tutorials with no light! We have been having a few days of sun here and there though, so I should make the best of them!

I have lots more suggestions to go through, so watch for a couple more posts like this in the next couple of weeks!

For no other reason besides "I can," I am going to show you this picture of my father-in-laws birthday present from a couple weeks ago.

Het Blauwe Schaap
Het Blauwe Schaap

I just have no words to describe this. Do you?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's not going to explode!

After I made Nettie's case, Ned (and Martijn) started getting the idea that they needed one too! Of course, Martijn's tastes are a little more, shall we say, subdued than mine. He needed a MAN CASE! I had this piece of corduroy in my stash and we bought a piece of tan fleece for the inside. The faux leather button finished it off nicely I think!

Ned's Case

Now, to address something else. There seems to be a misconception that fleece will cause static sparks and damage, explode, or otherwise destroy your laptop. Taking into consideration that MANY of the commercially available cases are lined with fleece and both the Simplicity and McCall's patterns I looked at called for fleece as a lining, I thought I should be hearing a LOT more about fleece related static damage. It seemed to me that the manufacturers would've taken this into consideration, and guess what? They did.

From the craftzine blog:
Laptops are designed to handle and dissipate static electricity through a safe channel. As long as you're not sticking the thing up to a Van de Graaff generator, a little shock now and then won't harm it. You'll see static warnings when you go to do things like add more RAM to your computer, because those chips and the exposed circuitry is sensitive to static, but when it's all closed up, the metal bits that the shock goes to are most likely connected to the computers common ground, directing the static away from any sensitive parts.
I e-mailed a case manufacturer about the possibility of their fleece-lined cases causing damage to the laptops. Their response was that they'd not had any customer complaints regarding static damage that they felt could be caused by their cases.

Last but not least, I sent a support request to Acer. I asked if using a fleece lined case was safe. Their response:

Kim, it is safe to use fleece lined sleeve for covering the system.
So, there you go. It isn't an issue to use fleece on your laptop cases. I wouldn't open it up and rub fleece all over the exposed circuitry, but who would do that in the first place?!

P.S. Here's the new button on Nettie's case, it's actually functional and not just cute!

Netbook Case v 2.1

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nettie's New Clothes

Netbook Cover v 2.0

I've been busy. I sewed a little case for Nettie the Netbook (now I have my own so I don't have to steal Ned from Martijn all the time). This is actually the second case I made. The first was a simple sleeve, but I decided to get all fancy with this one. It's lined with fleece so it's nice and soft inside. I did have to change the button since I took this photo since the one on there was a little too tall and was a pain in the rear to button and unbutton. Now it's a green button with a little yellow one on top to give it some ZING!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- June 15, 2009

Last week went fine. I didn't make anything new, so nothing to report there!

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

Curried Cauliflower Soup & Melt Sandwiches

Phyllo wrapped Salmon Filets and green beans

Chicken Quesadillas (no recipe, I'm going to wing it!)

Aztec Couscous

Nasi (we have a mix)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Three Things Meme

I have surreptitiously (or not, since I'm confessing and all) stolen this meme from FlyAwayFamily.


… places I’ve visited: Texel, The Netherlands; Marshall, Minnesota; Newcastle, England.

… cars I’ve owned: '96 Ford Taurus, '90 Subaru Mini Jumbo, 2006 Chevrolet Kalos (technically the last two are Martijn's, but I am a passenger).

… foods I love: Jello, bananas, chickpeas

… jobs I’ve held: retail monkey at RadioShack, sales support for Qwest, sales consultant for

… authors I love: Clive Cussler, C. S. Forrester (though I'm a bit put out that he died before he finished the Hornblower series!), Elizabeth Peters (the Ameila Peabody series is absolutely hysterical)

… places I’ve lived: Layton, Utah; Rifle, Colorado; Eindhoven, The Netherlands

… favorite hobbies: crochet (I am trying to practice with yarn again instead of wire, but it's so floppy!), blogging & taking pictures, cycling

… bones I’ve broken: Luckily I haven't broken three bones, just one- the outer bone on my left foot.

… TV shows I watch: NCIS, Bones, Ghost Whisperer

… songs that make me turn up the volume (and dance in my chair!): Canned Heat by Jamiroquai (yes, the Napoleon Dynamite song), This is How a Heart Breaks by Rob Thomas, Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees (DON'T JUDGE ME!)

… favorite drinks: Diet Coke, Diet Coke, Diet Coke (I should probably found a Diet Coke Addicts Anonymous group)

… fun board games: Scrabble, Quiddler, Scattergories

… stores I could spend a whole day in: IKEA (sometimes we go there for breakfast and are still there when it's lunchtime), the Smitje (an awesome haberdashery shop here), Hobby Lobby (how I miss you!)

… chores I put off as long as possible: Only three?! Laundry (mostly the putting away of, I don't know what my objection to that is... I've already done all the hard parts), scrubbing the stove top, cleaning the bathroom (I put this off so long that I never do it! I love my husband)

… chores I kind of like: cooking, watering the plants (when I remember, I'm so awful), changing the sheets

… things I would rather chew glass than do: talk on the telephone in Dutch (heel moelijk, though strangely, chewing and gargling the glass might help with certain pronunciations), ride in the elevator with a certain rude neighbor and his very stinky dogs, head to head confrontations

… reasons I hate attending parties: I have no answers for this one so I'm going to pretend I didn't see it!

… favorite dog breeds: I like the ones that are actually cats instead of dogs!

… things I just don’t get: nasty rude people who seem to have nothing better to do than to try to make others miserable too, Martijn's job (I think he's really a magician, things he does with computers can't happen naturally), how the wind manages to shift directions so that I'm always trying to go against it (I swear, there is some sort of conspiracy against me here)

If you decide to do this, let me know, I'd love to read your answers!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Hashbrown Crusted Quiche

I bought a bag of potatoes for Martijn to cook with last week and there was a bad one in the bag that was going to spread it's badness to the rest if they didn't get used up fast. So, I decided to make a breakfast casserole!

Layered Breakfast Casserole

You will need:

2 cups cooked, shredded potatoes (you can use thawed frozen hashbrowns if you can get them)
2 TBSP melted butter
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/4-1/2 lb ground beef, sausage, or bacon
1 small zuchinni, thinly sliced
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper (any color), diced
1/2 cup peas
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt

Press the potatoes down into the bottom of your casserole dish. Pour the melted butter over the top and bake at 200 C (400-ish F) for 25 minutes. This will make your "crust."

Potato Crust
You should probably not forget about it like I did because then the edges get a little browner than the middle.

While your crust is cooking, brown your meat of choice. Drain off any excess fat, and set aside. Saute the onions, bell pepper, and zuchini until they're just starting to soften. Mix in the peas and let them warm through. Beat together the eggs, milk, and salt.

By this time, your crust should be about finished cooking. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the potatoes. Then layer the meat, then the veggies, and then pour the milk and egg combo over the top. Finally, sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top.

Bake at 175 C (350 F) for 30 minutes.

This would be pretty tasty without any meat if you're looking for a veggie meal too.

As always, be sure to check out Tasty Tuesday @ Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday @ Blessed with Grace for more yummy recipes.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- June 8, 2009

The only new thing we tried last week was the Inside Out Burgers. They were good. Next time I'll use horseradish in the stuffing.

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

This week:

One of the supermarkets here has these "choose and cook" meals in which you can mix and match a starch, some sort of vegetable mix, a meat, and a sauce. They're usually something like €13.50, but they were on sale for €7.50 this week so I got one with red rice and chicken sate. It's a pretty substantial amount of food so it should cover two meals!

Fish and Chorizo Chili- We haven't had this for quite some time and it's quite good.

Stuffed Zucchini- I think instead of putting the filling in the zucchini boats I'm just going to chop them up and fry them up with everything else. That way I won't have to heat up the apartment with the oven.

Chicken Drumsticks and salad- Still deciding how I want to do the chicken. Maybe I'll do a "baked fried chicken" recipe.

Melt Sandwiches and Tomato Soup- I might do this on the night Martijn is out if he has a dinner meeting this week.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Mystery of the Discombobulated* Taste

The other day I started noticing this awful bitter taste in the back of my mouth. At first I thought I'd somehow inhaled some of my sunscreen (yah, I know, not so smart) and a drink of water when I got home would take care of it. That didn't seem to work, so I figured brushing my teeth and giving my tongue a good scrub would make it go away. That didn't seem to work either.

So now I'm going through the list in my head-

Heavy metal poisoning?
Brain tumor?
Tongue leprosy?
Bubonic plague?

None of these sounded terribly plausible, but I am the girl who is allergic to the sun so I wouldn't have really put it past my body to pull some horrible trick like that. While I was contemplating my impending doom, Martijn says to me "Did you buy a different kind of coffee?" I told him I hadn't and he said "This tastes terrible. I'm having this horrible taste in the back of my mouth!"

Never being one to overreact, I think "OH NO, NEUROTOXINS ARE BEING RELEASED INTO THE AIR."

Martijn had a much less reasonable explanation- it was something we ate.

He did what any nerd would do. He googled it.

If you google "bittere smaak in mijn mond," (bitter taste in my mouth) the very first hit and the three following it are about pine nuts causing a nasty bitter and metallic taste at the back of the mouth! Apparently, this is not an uncommon occurance and it only happens with pine nuts that have come out of China. Since the about 99% of the pine nuts I've consumed came from local sources in Utah, it explained why I'd never heard of it. It lasts about 5 days in most people, but some of the lucky ones get to live with the nasty nasty taste for 3 weeks or more. We're on day 7 and it's just now subsiding!

As far as I can tell, there are no other ill effects from the Chinese pine nuts, but I can seriously recommend STAYING AWAY. Your tastebuds will thank you for it.

*Martijn thought I made up this word the first time I said it, but HE is the one that suggested I use it here.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Thrifty Finds!

From about March until the end of May, the Dutch have about seventy-three national holidays. I swear I'm not exaggerating. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but it really would be handy if they could SPREAD THEM OUT a little bit because from now until about Christmas there's nothing!

Since today was the last holiday for a long while, Martijn and I decided to go to a rommelmarkt (also vlooienmarkt- flea market in English). We managed to hit up a good one! I found a magnifying lamp to use when I sew for €4, a new (well, to us, it's actually quite old) double tosti-ijzer (sandwich grill) for €1, and some crummy old rusty chairs with potential for €7.50.

Crummy Looking Chairs

This picture doesn't really do justice to the flaky filthy ick of these chairs! BUT, aren't they cute? I have been looking for some sort of folding chair to put out on our balcony. We've got some plastic chairs out there right now, but they don't fold up so they take up a lot of space. We've already taken a wire brush and some sandpaper to these and purchased paint to pretty them up! Now we just need to wait for the weather to cooperate. It's been raining on and off all afternoon and we don't want to suffer from "paint that never dries" syndrome. Once we get them repainted we can grease up the joints so that you don't have to have muscles of steel to open and close them. I'm quite chuffed with the finds!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Potato, Green Bean, and Tuna Salad

I never in a million years thought that this recipe would be edible, but it was one of those things where I had all of the ingredients and I thought "why not?" I don't know why I was so weird about trying it, everything IN it is good... but I have heard a story about some sort of chocolate chicken so I'm wary of trusting things even when all of the ingredients are good!

Potato, Green Bean, and Tuna Salad

500 grams (about 1 lb) new potatoes
500 grams (about 1 lb) green beans
1 small (about the size of a jumbo egg) red onion
1 can tunafish, drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/3 cup sliced olives (or one small can)
75 grams (about 3 oz) arugola

Scrub your potatoes up and cook them until just soft. Trim up your beans and snap them in half. Cook your beans for about 5 minutes, just until they're softening but still have a bit of a crunch to them.

While you're waiting for your beans and potatoes to cook, dice a small red onion. Combine the onion, tuna, mayo, and olives and mix well. When your other goodies are done cooking, let them cool for a little while and then add them to the tuna mix.

You can serve this warm or let it cool completely for a couple of hours in the fridge.

Serve on top of a bed of the arugola. If you can't get ahold of arugola, just substitute with whatever greens you can find!

**Quick Tip- I am hooked on using the Ziploc Steam Bags. I usually just toss the potatoes and green beans into a steam bag and steam them. It's fast and easy, and let's face it- I'm lazy! I think I like the potatoes cooked better this way really, they don't get all squishy.

What do you do to save prep time in the kitchen?

As always, be sure to check out Tasty Tuesday @ Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday @ Blessed with Grace for more yummy recipes.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- June 1, 2009

I'm pretty impressed with myself. I goofed up a little (I really need to use a Sharpie to mark stuff in the freezer), but was able to improvise and it wasn't a big deal. Martijn's dinner got cancelled so we ate a weird mash of leftovers one night and I think we ought to do that more often. It's like random buffet night! Anyhow, here's the week in review-

The Tortilla Pie, as always, was a hit. Martijn batted his eyelashes at me and asked me to make it for his birthday, so how could I refuse that?!

These Tuna Balls are VERY good. I'm going to make them again for sure. I am trying to decide if they'd freeze okay or if they'd fall apart. I did use seasoned breadcrumbs in them rather than plain. I think they'd have been kinda boring without.

I'd planned on making that Chicken with Cornflakes, but I actually thawed out pork instead. Oops, so I improvised. It's not something I'd make again so I won't share it with you, but it wasn't deadly either!

My intention with the corndogs was to figure out how to bake them. I just ended up frying them and they were delicious. This is one of those "Once every 5 year" recipes, otherwise you'll die of hardened arteries.

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

This week is going to be pretty easy-


Taco Salad

Paprika Pork Chops

Inside Out Burgers

My father in laws birthday is this week, so we're going over there for Chinese one night and hopefully Martijn will be having his dinner so he'll be cooking one night.

What's everyone else eating this week? I need more ideas for future menus!
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