Monday, November 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- November 23, 2009

Last week was fine, but I had a lot of leftovers so I didn't get to a couple of things. I'm only going to plan three recipes this week and have enough leftovers incase we need them, but not so many that they can't be eaten before they go off!

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

Salisbury Steaks with Mushroom Sauce

Cauliflower Soup & Melt Sandwiches- I didn't get to this last week.

Crockpot BBQ Ribs- Didn't make these last week either!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fragmented Freewrites- November 20, 2009

Is it really already Friday? I wasn't really participating in the world on Tuesday and Wednesday so it feels like it should only be mid-week! Make sure to check out everyones fragments by clicking on the FF link at the bottom of the post. Thanks, as always, to Mrs4444 for being such a gracious host to such a bunch of hooligans!

  • I can't be the only one not going gaga over the new Twilight series movie, can I? I was so not impressed with the books and the thought of having to experience it in film sorta makes me want to gag.

  • I'm going to dinner with a group of friends tomorrow in Utrecht. I'm pretty stoked! I know the company will be good, so hopefully the food will be good as well. It's crazy expensive to eat out here.

  • My mother in law sent over a huge load of food to put in the freezer yesterday, for which I am very thankful. I was also very thankful that I'd been working on going through what was already in the freezer the past couple of weeks so I had ROOM for the food she sent!

  • I cried at my therapy appointment this week and left feeling better about a couple of things than I had in ages.

  • How is it that my glasses get so filthy? I mean, it's not like I smash dirt on the lenses or anything, but the way they look sometimes you'd think that I spent a lot of time grinding that dirt in.

  • On Sunday, we're having a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving to show off "how it's done" to some people who haven't had the experience before. It should be interesting also to see how other families do it (our host is doing her family's traditional menu).

  • Saturday next week, we'll be having the NAWC Thanksgiving Dinner. My mother in law also found some turkey for cheap in Germany and invited us over. I'm so psyched. Turkey is so expensive here so this is a mega-wild-fantastic treat.

  • I'm getting my cute little pink camera back tomorrow. I feel giddy! I've been using my old Canon, which I LOOOOVED. But, I've been spoiled. It doesn't fit into my pocket like my little Nikon. And the zoom on my Nikon? Holy moley! It will be great to have it back, sans the broken battery door.

Friday Fragments?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Q & A!

Time for another answer to the Ask Me Anything questions!

Brainella asked: If there was one kitchen appliance you could buy (say someone would just GIVE it to you), what would it be and why?

You know the story about "If you give a mouse a cookie... he'll ask for a glass of milk... and then he'll probably ask for a straw... and when he's done he'll need a napkin..." and on and on and on? Well, some of the kitchen appliances I might like would cause this sort of chain reaction! Sometimes I would really like a real oven but If I got a real oven, I'd need a bigger kitchen, which really would necessitate a new house. I suppose you get the picture! Honestly though, my little combi oven is pretty perfect for 98% of the things I'd want to do and the other 2% isn't worth having to move into a bigger house with a bigger mortgage!

I'd also really LOVE to have a bigger freezer. Everytime we go to IKEA and look at their fridges I curse at them for having a model bigger than ours that has a bigger FRIDGE section but not a bigger FREEZER section. I don't need more room in the fridge! Gimme freezer space! Since they don't make a fridge like I'd want, we'd need a stand-alone and my apartment doesn't really have space for a stand alone freezer. Unless we hung an elaborate platform and pully system from the ceiling. I'm not sure how that would affect the resale value of the property though, so I think I'll stay away from drilling giant holes into the ceiling for now.

So if I'm shooting for something realistic, I'd probably say a red KitchenAid. Though, at the prices they cost here I'm not sure how realistic that is either! If I did get one though, I'd get the grinder attachment. Then I'd buy a turkey farm so I could make ground turkey. Oh, and sausages. Really good breakfast sausages!

P.S. I still have 11 days to go on NaBloPoMo and I'm so not interesting enough to come up with content on my own, so PLEEEEEEEASE ask me more questions on the post linked below!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mini Yorkshire Puddings

I can't believe we're already 12 weeks into the FNCCC. I think this is probably one of my favorites so far! The chef this week is Danny Boome. I chose to make the Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Roast Beef.

I'll be honest, I can't figure out why these are called "puddings." I suspect it's another case of British vs. American English. Kinda like the word "pants." If you're American you wear your pants proudly, and if you're British you can laugh at all the Americans proudly going on about their underwear! Anyhow, onto the recipe!

Yorkshire Pudding & Roast Beef

Mini Yorkshire Pudding with Roast Beef
Courtesy of Danny Boome

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing (All of the comments on the FN website said to use oil for greasing the muffin tins, so that's what I did)
1/2 pound thinly sliced roast beef
1/4 cup prepared horseradish (I used a 1:1 amount of horseradish and sour cream)
Chives, cut 1-inch long for garnish (I used dried chives in my horseradish sauce)


Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl beat together the eggs, milk and butter. Make a well in the flour and whisk in the wet ingredients gradually until fully combined and smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the batter to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease (I used about 1/2 tsp of oil in the bottom of each muffin cup) 3 mini nonstick muffin tins. Place the tins in the oven to heat up for at least 10 minutes. Give the batter a quick stir and pour it into each muffin cup filling halfway leaving room for them to rise.

Place in the oven and do not open for 30 minutes (start checking at 20 minutes, the first batch I did was rather well done, even at 25 minutes). They should rise after 30 minutes and be golden all over. Remove from oven. Top with a thin slice of roast beef and a small dollop of horseradish on each pudding (I made a sauce with the sour cream, horseradish and dried chives instead of just plain horseradish). Garnish with sprig of chive. Serve immediately.

The Verdict: I went one step further and made some onion gravy to go along with this. We both thought this was an absolutely fantastic recipe! The serving size says 6-8, but I think you could add some zeros on the ends of those numbers. The batter makes GOBS. I'll probably cut it in thirds next time and still have enough for two days worth. I don't think they'll get as puffy with whole wheat flour, but I think I might try half and half sometime down the line and see how it goes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Get out!

To the bug that has decided to take up residence in my body:

I didn't invite you, but you decided to come in and make yourself comfy. I wish I could say that I appreciated your gifts of a stuffed up head and all over body aches but I really don't. I really wish you would leave. Quickly. Please clean up all your crap and get outta here!!!

Your unwilling host,

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Mirrors for the Hall

My mother-in-law has been giving me some crafty goodies over the past little while. Sometimes I have a good project in mind right away, and other things I have to put away and mull over for awhile. This was one of those "mull over for awhile" projects, but this weekend I had a stroke of inspiration!

New Mirrors!

I plan on hanging them in my hallway, but I haven't figured out a good arrangement for them yet.

It's just clothespin halves, some hot glue, silver paint, and mirrors!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- November 16, 2009

Minus not getting to the Paprika Fish from last week (because I lost the recipe and was too lazy to find it), I did pretty well. The white asparagus and blue cheese tart* wasn't bad, but I'd chop up the asparagus next time since it was really hard to serve. I decided to add the Eggs a la Paloma to the "make again" folder. Next time I won't bother cooking the eggs separately because that was time consuming and it is an otherwise quick to prepare meal. I made a couple of weekend meals that weren't on the menu but we liked enough to make again too. I call that success!

*Recipe is in Dutch but if you'd like me to translate it into English let me know and I'll e-mail it to you.

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

I'm hopeful that I won't need to buy many groceries this week as I'm plodding through clearing out the freezer!

Monday is Martijn's dinner group, so I'm just going to have leftovers (and a clean kitchen to mess up on Tuesday!).

Mini Yorkshire Pudding- This is my FNCCC recipe for this week. I hope it doesn't turn into a disaster!

Cauliflower Soup & Melt Sandwiches of some variety

Bourbon Chicken and Fried Rice

Crockpot BBQ Ribs

Going out to eat with friends! I'm looking forward to this bigtime.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A few how-tos!

In an effort to come up with something witty and brilliant to post about today, I was browsing through last year's archives of around this time... and I still got nothing.

Last year I posted a nice picture I drew. This year I won't expose you to the horrors of my drawing skills. Instead I'm just going to post links to previous how-to posts. Maybe it'll give me the kick in the bum I need to FIND MY MOJO!

"Tie" Dyed Eggs- Please don't make fun of me for my typo, I just now realized what I did. I think I need to republish that post with the CORRECT spelling of dyed. Sheesh, how embarrassing. In any case, I think this would be fun to try with blown eggs to use for Christmas tree ornaments.
Silk Tie Dyed Eggs

Brewing Vanilla Extract- If you do this project TOMORROW you will probably have a decent vanilla in time for Christmas baking... but just barely.

Ribbon Blankie- I mentioned this the other day in my Diaper Cake post. They're pretty fast to whip up and nice to have on hand for gifts.
Ribbon blankie

Pillowcases- These are quick to whip up and darn cute if I do say so myself.

Button Wreaths- I ought to make some red, white, and green wreaths like this for Christmas... but maybe I ought to scratch some things off of yesterday's list before I go jumping into another project!
Button Wreath Complete

If I wasn't so tired, I'd probably have just motivated myself into doing something! Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fragmented Freewrites- November 13, 2009

Time for Fragments!

I have a million and twenty-seven half-started projects that I really ought to work on.
  • Mr Jummy is depressed because Mrs. Yummy still hasn't come to fruition.
  • My Christmas tree needs a skirt. My grandma generously donated fabric to make one, but now I need to generously donate some effort to get it made.
  • I still have three sock monkeys that don't have eyes.
  • I have two HUGE cross-stitches that have been languishing in my cross-stich box.
  • This giant stack of felt is begging to be made into some awesome ornaments or decorations of some kind.
  • I have some really awesome papers that I want to do -something- with, but I haven't figured out what yet.
  • I can't even discuss the clothes projects that I have fabric and patterns for. It's hard to fit a pattern on yourself. I need to make a dress form of myself, but I don't know where I'd even store it!
I'm pretty sure I need to approach this the same way as you would approach eating an elephant- one bite at a time. I think I'm going to bat my eyelashes at my cute husband and see if he's willing to assist in the Yummification project. We started it together, we should finish it together!


I need to take a load of things to the thrift store. I have had them bagged up and ready to go for at least 6 weeks! The worst part of this is that we're there practically -every- weekend. I have zero excuses! In fact, I shall make it my goal to take it when we go tomorrow!

The packages that the pieces of "special" cheese used to have little red strips that you could pull on and then it would rip the plastic. NOW they have gotten rid of that and replaced it with shrink plastic that is impenetrable. I'm thinking of staging a protest.

Thus ends this week's Fragments. Thanks again to Mrs 4444 for hosting us!

Friday Fragments?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wordle Wordle Wee!

I'm feeling rather uninspired regarding a post today so I went to Wordle and "wordled" myself the Dinner in a Pumpkin recipe from the other day.

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.


Now, go forth and create your own! Then you should leave me a comment with the link so I can feel inspired by your awesomeness since mine is lacking today!

Original image is here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Diaper Cakes

It seems as if everyone and their cat is having a baby in the next few months or has just had a baby, so I thought I'd share some photos of diaper cakes I've made in the past. Maybe it will inspire you (well you can pretend for my sake, okay?) to make something fabulous of your own! You don't need to spend a lot of money to make these wonderful. Use what you have and scout the discount stores to find little goodies to put on them.

We'll start off with the first one I ever made. As you can see, my very expensive looking cardboard tray covered with aluminum foil makes a great platter! I tended towards the pastels on this one and used "after dinner" mints in the bottle as a treat.

diaper cake 002

For this one, the platter is slightly more sophisticated: an old deli tray from Sam's Club that we scrubbed off. I stole this yellow ribbon from my mom's stash. If you looked hard enough you could probably find a picture of me as a kid wearing a hairbow made of the same exact stuff.


Since I was leaning towards a slightly brighter color scheme, I put flavored Tootsie Rolls in the bottle to give it a little extra pizazz.


Did you know that Papa Murphy's will give you an extra pizza tray if you ask? Proof is right here! I found this cute little "Got Milk?" baby set at Big Lots! for not a lot of money and used it as my color inspiration and theme. There are probably pictures of me with a navy blue hairbow too.

Picture 016

Lastly we have my most recent creation. This one was a little harder since I made it here in The Netherlands and didn't have access to the store of Mom and everything is just so expensive here. I found little metal tray 2 euros which I then covered up with this little ribbon blankie. The friend I made this for didn't want any bottles since she was planning on getting some special ones, so I found this cute little frog that was folded out of towels. I need to learn how to make these for myself cause I thought he was mighty cute!

Picture 2949

What do you like to do for baby gifts?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eggs a la Paloma

We're 11 weeks into FNCCC! Daisy Martinez was this week's chef. Her recipes are mostly Latin inspired. There wasn't a ton to choose from on the Food Network site, but I understand she also had a PBS show prior to her series on FN. I went for her Eggs a la Paloma since I had leftover chorizo in the fridge and a lovely supply of fresh eggs from my in-laws.

This recipe is proof that some good things just don't photograph well.

Eggs a la Paloma

Eggs a la Paloma
Courtesy Daisy Martinez

Recipe is for 6 servings. You'll need 6 (5 1/2" or similar size) oven safe casserole dishes.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons grated onion

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 (8-ounce can) Spanish style tomato sauce (I just used regular tomato sauce. As far as I can tell the difference is that the Spanish style has peppers and spices as well.)

  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock or water (I used water)

  • 1 1/2 cups (removed from casing and crumbled) Mexican chorizo (I used Spanish chorizo which is a LOT less spicy than Mexican chorizo so keep that in mind if you're making substitutions!)

  • 2 Hass avocados

  • 1 lime, juiced (I used bottled juice)

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray

  • 1 dozen eggs

  • 1 cup shredded Oaxaca cheese (**see notes below**) or mozzarella cheese

  • 1/2 cup crema Mexicana (**see notes below**) or sour cream

  • Minced fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Directions (I pretty much followed these to the letter!)

To make the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is lightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Set the rack about 4 inches from the broiler and preheat the broiler.

Cook the chorizo in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and peel the halves. Cut each half lengthwise into 6 thin slices. Toss together in a medium bowl with the lime juice. Divide the chorizo among 6 oven-proof, individual serving casseroles, about 5 1/ 2-inches wide by 1-inch deep. Cover the chorizo in each casserole with 4 thin slices of avocado.

To cook the eggs: Spray a frying pan or griddle with the vegetable cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add as many eggs as will fit without touching and cook until the underside of the eggs is set, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the whites are completely set, about 3 minutes. Place 2 eggs on top of the avocado in each casserole. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

Divide the tomato sauce among the 6 casseroles, topping the eggs with a thin, even layer of sauce. Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce, dividing it evenly. Broil just until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. Top each casserole with a teaspoon of crema and sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the cream. Pass the remaining crema separately.

**Crema Mexicana is a mildly acidic dairy product with a consistency that makes it perfect for drizzling over finished dishes. It is available in Latin markets and some supermarkets. If you cannot find it, substitute sour cream, thinned down with water (I used the thinned sour cream).**

**Oaxaca cheese is a mild string cheese from the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. It is available in Latin markets and some supermarkets. Whole milk mozzarella is the perfect substitute (I used the mozzarella).**

The Verdict: I was kinda nervous as I was putting this together, but it was a winner! We both really liked it and I'll make it again. It was rather time consuming for me since I cooked the eggs separately but that's more of a "I can't cook more than one egg in the pan at a time without them running together" problem than a "THIS RECIPE TAKES 500 YEARS TO MAKE" problem.

I really appreciated that she had readily available substitutions for the less common ingredients.  So much of the time these recipes have crazy ingredients that are really difficult to come by.  I hope to try some more of her stuff in the future.  Especially her churro recipe!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- November 9, 2009

If you didn't see it yesterday, I posted my Dinner in a Pumpkin recipe from last week.

We had pasta and sauce a couple of nights instead of the pasta lasagna and burritos since they were on sale and I was feeling lazy. Otherwise I stuck to things okay.

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

Eggs a la Paloma

Sausages, sweet potato chips, and brussels sprouts

White Asparagus Taart

Paprika Fish

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Dinner in a Pumpkin

This is a fairly straightforward recipe. The hardest part is gutting the pumpkin and even that's not really very hard. Squash would be a good substitute if you can't find a suitable pumpkin. The filling is actually pretty good on it's own, but if you go that route you might want to toss in some green beans or broccoli.

1 small to medium pumpkin, cut the lid off and dig out the guts and seeds
1 onion, chopped and sauteed in a little bit of oil
1 lb ground beef or turkey, browned
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 can (4 oz) sliced mushrooms
1 can cream of chicken soup or homemade equivalent (you'd think mushroom would work as a substitute but it doesn't really taste that good, so go for the chicken)
1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mix all ingredients together (minus the pumpkin because that would just be silly). Put the mixture into the pumpkin shell and replace the lid.

Bake 1 hour and then start checking the pumpkin every few minutes to see if it's done. When you can stick a fork into it with it being nice and soft you'll know it's done.

Dinner in a Pumpkin
I baked my pumpkin in the Turbo with the extension ring because it was too big for my oven

The best way to serve this is to cut the pumpkin in quarters or eighths. Then scoop some of the mixture and put it on top of the pumpkin. Pretend the pumpkin is a little boat and the mix is the cargo.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

So, how'd you two meet?

I'm combining a few more questions from Ask Me Anything since they sortof relate to each other!

Vonlipi said...

How did you meet Martjin?

Cat said...

I just started reading your blog recently so apologies if you've covered this, but how did you get to be a transplant?

Did you want to live in another country or did it just kind of happen?

Unknown Mami said...

I would also like to know the story of you and Martjin?

If you would've told me 10 years ago that I'd be married and living in The Netherlands I probably would've told you to lay off the drugs because they were making you nuts. Leaving the country was never even on my radar. I thought it would be fun to go to Europe and see some of the places my dad told me about but move here? No way!

Love makes you do crazy things, doesn't it?

I met Martijn on IRC (internet relay chat) sometime in 2002. I can't remember exactly when because I wasn't really on the lookout for anyone, ESPECIALLY someone that lived on the other side of the world. Over the course of the next few months I started realizing that he was a rather decent fellow and apparently he thought I was okay too! We visited back and forth from 2003-2006 and decided that it was getting WAY too hard to say goodbye to each other at the end of our visits.

The rest, as they say, is history!


The end of December will mark our third anniversary and I'm looking forward to many many more.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Fragmented Freewrites- November 6, 2009

This week went by alarmingly fast. I can't believe it's already Friday! Thanks to Mrs 4444 for graciously hosting us each and every week.

On Tuesday I went to my NAWC meeting and took these tortilla roll-ups. They were good, I can wholeheartedly recommend them.

I got wildly excited when I walked into the supermarket and they have ORANGE sweet potatoes now! A few weeks ago when I was looking all I found were white ones at the stores. White sweet potatoes! Can you believe it? For a country that lives and breathes everything orange, I cannot believe it took them this long to jump into having orange sweet potatoes easily available. Now let's just hope they actually KEEP them in their assortment. This store has a nasty habit of getting in good stuff and discontinuing it SHORTLY afterwards. Fingers crossed!


I still need to embroider some mouths, but I'm probably done with sock monkeys until I get a new load of socks. I posted a couple yesterday, and here's the motherload!

My new minions!

I've made some concrete goals about getting my inburgerings portfolio (proof of "integration" basically) completed. The blood bank has a volunteer position that I need to go ask about to complete some of the things. I hate putting myself out there for stuff like that, and it's even worse when I'm uncomfortable trying to speak coherently in another language. I know I can do it, but if I have a heart attack from anxiety in the process it's a little bit of a problem!

I think having a warm drink keeps my feet warm. They were freezing straight off before I had a cup of tea. I need to remember this!!

Delta is making me have rage. Since they ruined merged with Northwest I've somehow gotten on their "please spam me every 12 seconds" list. Even if I unsubscribe they're STILL sending me crap. Boo Delta, BOO!

Speaking of unsolicited spam, if you haven't seen my "Ask Me Anything" post, go read it and leave a comment!

Friday Fragments?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Funky Monkey(s)

I've had several good questions in my "Ask Me Anything" post. I'll address a couple of them now!

helcat1639 asked me what the photo in my banner was supposed to be... and my dear sweet husband and friend Leslie told me that I needed to make a sock monkey post.

Here's the original photo:
henrietta helping

It's Henrietta the Sock Monkey helping me sew on my 1960's era Husqvarna "Greenie" sewing machine.


I made her awhile ago, so here are a couple of my newest creations.

Joey the Baby Monkey:
Baby Joey Sock Monkey

This guy still needs a name, but there's a definite 80's vibe going on if you ask me!
80's Glam Monkey!

So much so that Martijn told me I needed to make some leg warmers! I couldn't stop at leg warmers alone, so I had to make wrist bands and a sweatband for it's head too.
80's Glam Monkey!

Any good ideas for names?

Also, if you think of any other good questions, be sure to go ask them!! The button below will magically transport you back to you can comment there.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Buttermilk Pecan Chicken & Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Claire Robinson is this week's FNCCC chef. I was looking forward to trying some of her 5 ingredients or less recipes since some of the previous challenges had ingredient lists as long as my legs... and I have VERY VERY long legs.

I chose to make the Buttermilk Pecan Chicken and Crispy Brussels Sprouts.

Now, this is usually the place where I put the picture. This time you'll have to use your imagination. The sun has started disappearing earlier and earlier in the day and it's darn near impossible to take a good picture with crummy light. This could also just be my cover story for the fact that I might've let the pan get too hot and had "Blackened Buttermilk Pecan Chicken" instead. Don't you worry though, I'll still post the recipes and my oh so witty and helpful review.

Buttermilk Pecan Chicken
Courtesy Claire Robinson


2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup toasted pecans (if you can't find already toasted pecans, just toss them in the oven for 5-10 minutes and they'll be great!)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I don't think you need this much oil, just eyeball it until it is enough to cover the bottom of your pan)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place each chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and gently flatten with a meat mallet or heavy flat object to an even 1/3-inch thick.

In a shallow bowl add the chicken and the buttermilk. Cover and marinate for 1 hour (or all day) in the refrigerator.

In a food processor, pulse pecans until finely ground. Transfer the pecans to a large rimmed dish and add the panko bread crumbs. Mix to combine well.

Remove marinated chicken breasts from buttermilk and shake off excess. Dip chicken in breading mixture, evenly coating both sides (I'm not sure what the problem was, but I had a really hard time getting the breading to stick).

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil (but don't heat it too high). Add breaded breasts (and pray that the coating will stick better once it hits the pan) and shallow fry about 4 to 5 minutes (I think it takes a little longer than this, but I may not have managed to pound mine as thin as she suggests) on each side until golden (not black) in color. Remove from oil to and drain on paper towels. Immediately season with salt and pepper and place on a serving platter of individual dishes.

Next, the sprouts!

Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Courtesy Claire Robinson


4 ounces thick slab applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1/4-inch pieces (I used the pre-cut bacon blocks you buy here since "thick bacon" isn't that easy to come by)
1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, and halved lengthwise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts (I used pecans because I had some from the other recipe and walnuts make my mouth hurt)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a sheet pan, lay out bacon slices. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned and the fat has rendered. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. (I fried the bacon on the stove) Carefully toss Brussels sprouts in the hot pan, and season with salt and pepper (I used the bacon grease from the frying pan to toss the sprouts in since it seemed to me that was what the recipe was going for). Return the pan to the oven, and roast, turning once, until golden brown, about 20 minutes (I don't know in what world sprouts will be golden brown AND tender in 20 minutes. It took at least 40 for mine to be done inside and crispy on the outside).

Remove from the oven,the walnuts and apples and toss to combine (Is this even a complete sentence? It's how it was on the site! Anyhow, I think it means remove the sprouts from the oven, and ADD the walnuts and apples. Then toss to combine). Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter, top with the bacon, and serve warm.

The Verdict: The chicken was good. It would've been better if it wasn't cajun style but the flavor was nice. I think I would salt and pepper the chicken before marinating in the buttermilk and maybe add a sprinkle of garlic powder or onion powder to the breading mixture. The sprouts were just okay. I'll stick with my normal method of steaming them in the future though!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Tortilla Roll-ups

Tortilla Roll-ups

I needed a quick and easy something to take along with me to the NAWC meeting this month so I did some thinking and decided tortilla roll-ups would fit the bill!

You'll Need:

Tortillas (I used tomato ones because that's what I had)
Cream Cheese (I doctored mine up a little with a pinch of veggie bullion powder and some dried onions)
Thinly Sliced Ham
Shredded Cheese
Roasted Red Pepper Strips OR Fresh Red Pepper Strips
Veldsla (in English it's called corn salad, but I've never come across it in the US... baby spinach or regular spinach would be a good substitute)

Spread a thin layer of cream cheese onto the tortilla. Starting at the far left side, sprinkle a little bit of cheese from top to bottom. Then lay the ham next to the cheese, the red pepper on the edge of the ham, and the greenery of your choice next to the red pepper. Starting at the side with the cheese, roll the tortillas up as tightly as you can without tearing the tortillas. Cover in cling film and either put in the freezer for 45 minutes (if you're like me and don't make things far enough in advance) OR in the fridge for a few hours so they can firm up. After they've chilled, cut them into 1/2" (1.a little bit cm) slices.

If they're falling apart when you cut them, A: they're not cold enough or B: you didn't roll them tightly enough.

I think you could really do whatever the heck you wanted with these. Use cream cheese and salsa with some black olives and cheddar, or you could do sweet ones with PB and bananas (probably not on tomato tortillas though, that sounds slightly revolting to me).

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

Monday, November 02, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- November 2, 2009

Someone has hinted to me that he appreciates it when I post a menu, so I'm trying to get back into the habit again!

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

Chicken Stew with Dumplings- Martijn made this for his dinner group and we'll be having leftovers sometime during the week as well. It's quite good!

Fish Sloppy Joes- I'm trying to use up some of the fish in my freezer!

Dinner in a Pumpkin- Recipe to follow sometime this week!

Pasta "Lasagne"

Brown Bag Burritos- I love this recipe especially since it makes so many and I can toss some in the freezer for quick "no thinking required" meals!

What are YOU eating this week?

I'd love it if you take a peek at yesterday's "Ask Me Anything" post and ask away!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Ask Me Anything

I must really hate myself or something because I'm doing NaBloPoMo again this year. In an effort to give myself blogging fodder, I'm going to kick off the month by initiating an "ask me anything" post!

Ask Me Anything

Leave a question you'd like me to answer in the comments below. It can be about anything, but please keep it clean! I will answer in a separate post to the best of my ability but my brain can hold only so much information, so if you ask me deep philosophical questions about the meaning of life and so on I might just answer with "42."
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