Friday, December 30, 2011

Poking my head out...

You know when you get really busy or slightly unmotivated and start to let things slide a little... and then they keep sliding and sliding until they turn into some huge insurmountable task that makes you want to crawl back under the covers and never come out again? Meanwhile you get further and further behind. People start contacting you to ask if Mr Jummy told you to take a wrong turn and you are lost or dead somewhere in the middle of South Dakota. Everyone you know says "Why did you stop blogging? Don't you like it anymore?!" So you just slink further and further under the covers to hide because WHERE ON EARTH DO YOU EVEN BEGIN?!

First things first I suppose. Martijn and I are not lost or dead in the middle of South Dakota. We had a wonderful but very busy time visiting family and driving and driving and driving and driving. After I sent him home to The Netherlands at the beginning of October I stayed another month and came back at the beginning of November. I'm not going to lie. It's hard coming back after being gone for two months. I treasure my time with my family and friends and it's hard to leave them behind. I said it was a good thing I sent Martijn home a month early otherwise I might not be able to drag myself back here! 

It took me awhile to get back into the swing of things here and I think I'm finally "back" and ready to poke my head out from under the covers again, so to speak.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On the road again...

We made it to Utah safely and are now on the road through Wyoming and South Dakota to Minnesota. Mr Jummy is navigating...
Mr Jummy the Navigator
I wonder if we'll ever be heard from again?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

J/Yummy Ready for Holiday!

Ready for Holiday!
Mr Jummy & Mrs Yummy are going on holiday and have graciously allowed Martijn and I to tag along! We're headed to Utah in the morning and I can't wait to get there and give my mom and dad a hug.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Fragments- July 29, 2011

It's time again for Friday Fragments! I don't feel like I did very much this week but let's see what I can come up with to tell you about!

After completing my goal of a 30km bike ride I decided I would set my next goal a little higher... and bike to Belgium!


This may be slightly less impressive than it sounds because I live within sneezing distance of the border but I was still impressed with myself for doing it.



I came home from my bum-numbing ride and bought a new bike saddle with a little stubby nose. I had to order it online because the only one in that style that I could find locally was a gel seat and I decided "gel" is slang for "you're gonna regret buying this seat if you take any rides longer than 10km."


I'm going to a tapas party tomorrow hosted by two of my lovely friends here. I am bringing teeny one-bite cranberry cream cheese muffins and some phyllo pastry with cheese and ham rolls. I am excited to see what other people bring.


There is some really unclever person who thinks that my e-mail address actually belongs to them. I know it's not stuff I've signed up for because it's a very slight variation on the address that I actually use (periods on Gmail addresses can be omitted or extra ones added and the e-mail all goes the same place). I get weird e-mails from family members that I know I am not related to! Every now and then I get bombarded with password recovery e-mails at my secondary e-mail address while she tries to retrieve "her" password. I get bank statement notifications and I know what's on her Netflix queue. Today she signed up for and part of me wants to do evil horrible things to her profile. Honestly, wouldn't you start to wonder why you couldn't ever log into your e-mail and why you never got the e-mails you thought you signed up for?

I don't really know what to do other than shake my head in wonderment and keep deleting the e-mails.


I'm so mad. I've been wearing my cute hat that I fancied up and it's been a little rainy and I've been sweaty so it's gotten damp. The darn button on the top is a fabric covered METAL button that's rusting. So now my pretty white hat is all marred up with rust spots.

Go visit the amazing Mrs. 4444 at Half Past Kissin' Time for more Friday Fragments Fun (oooh alliteration) I hope everyone has a fun weekend. I think I will!
Mommy's Idea

Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- July 25, 2011

Last week:

We both really liked the Curried Chickpea Salad but the Mushroom Quinoa Stew wasn't very memorable and it actually tasted yucky as leftovers so that means a big fat FAIL in a soup/stew recipe if you ask me.

The Sticky Sausage & Sweet Potato Salad was quite tasty but we both thought I should've used slightly leaner sausages than I did. You need them to have a little fat though because you don't use any oil on the sweet potatoes to roast them.

As for the Nutty Chicken Curry... well I'm not going to make it again. It tasted okay but there are certainly way better curry recipes around.

Sloppy Joe Bake- I'm going to add in a can of kidney beans like it suggests in the "All-American" version. Seems a bit strange to me though as I've never once added beans to my real "all-American" sloppy joes!

Thai Coconut Soup- I love this stuff. I'll post the recipe on Tuesday!

Split Pea Soup- Yes, in July. Unlike the rest of the northern hemisphere we are not having an absurd heat wave at the moment... plus I have a little ham in the fridge that I really ought to use.

Baked Corndogs- I love corndogs. I hardly ever eat them but they're so so good. I'm going to try this and see if they're any good but I think I'm going to change the flour/cornmeal ratio to 1:1. If I'm going to eat a corndog i want it to be CORNY not floury... hah!

Bacon and Egg Casserole with Tomatoes- I'm not sure we'll actually get to this meal this week but it's usually stuff I have in the fridge anyways so if I don't make it it's okay.

What's your menu looking like this week?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Monkeys Monkeys Everywhere!

Some might say that Disneyland is the "happiest place on earth" and while I do find it a wonderfully fun place to visit I can tell you it's not the happiest place on earth. I discovered a few weeks ago that the happiest place on earth is actually the Apenheul. The primate zoo where monkeys roam free and there are teeny monkey babies everywhere.

Apenheul 027

Apenheul 090

There was a brand new baby gorilla born the night before we went so that was pretty exciting too!

Apenheul 046

The gorillas live on an island in the middle of the park and there is a "feeding show" every few hours where they'll come for treats like apples and cucumbers. We were really lucky because ALL of them showed up for our show and the hosts said that doesn't always happen. I learned a couple of interesting things during the show. Gorillas can't swim and they have round potbellies because their intestinal track is larger and set up slightly differently than in humans.

Apenheul 065

This little orangutan was so funny. He kept hiding under his blanket and then popping out and jumping and waving... then crawled back under to hide for another minute before popping out again. Orangutan peek-a-boo!

Apenheul 042

If you're ever in Apeldoorn, take the day and go to the Apenheul! They're open from March 30 to October 31st and entry is €18,50 for adults (which I think is plenty but we did have discount cards and now that I've been I would still recommend it even if you have to pay full price).

Apenheul 099


Be sure to swing byUnknown Mami for more Sundays in My City.
Unknown Mami

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Fragments- July 22, 2011

I miss doing Friday Fragments so I'm going to make an effort to participate regularly again.

Martijn bought me a fietscomputer (bike computer) a few weeks ago so that I could track my mileage and speed. It's totally a psychological motivator because I can see how far I went and say "Oh, I can go FURTHER today!!" Counting my 32km trek on Wednesday, I cycled 129km this week!


In other cycling related news, I am considering a noseless bike saddle... and maybe some cycling shorts with a nice padded bum.


I am so pleased with the progression of technology. I have to get pictures of my eyeballs done once a year and every time they dilate my eyes it makes me want to die for the next 24-72 hours while the drops wear off. I get the letter for the appointment about 6 weeks beforehand and then I spend the next 6 weeks moping about it. Well this year I went in and she said "We got a new camera and with your light eyes we shouldn't need to use the drops." I almost hugged her. Seriously!


My mom loves me a lot. I already know this but she sent me some new socks for my birthday to remind me just how much!

socks 002

socks 009

socks 010


Have a good weekend! We're headed to Belgium tomorrow for a family BBQ. Hopefully the weather will be nice.

Be sure to swing by Half Past Kissin' Time for more Friday Fragment fun!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Go on a 30km bike ride without dying

(Alternate title: Why my bum is going to hurt tomorrow)

I don't drive in this country which is okay because it's the flatlands and being in a rather big city gives me pretty easy access to things by bike or if I'm really desperate, public transportation. I go pretty much everywhere by bike but most of my normal treks don't take me more than 5-6km (3 and a little bit miles) away from home. That's why I figured a good challenge for my 101 list would be to take a 30km (18.64 mile) bike ride without dying. The without dying part was especially important because what good is a great accomplishment if you die in the process or before you can brag about it!

I've been working my way up and have done several 20km rides but today I got a wild hair and decided it would be the day to make the longer journey! I got on Google Maps and plotted a route that would get me 29.3 or so and I figured I could just loop around the block once more to get me that extra 700 meters. Thanks to my winning sense of direction it turns out I didn't even need to make another loop around the block because I took a wrong turn somewhere and extended my journey a little.

My handy dandy bike computer tells me I did 32.79km (just a hair over 20 miles).

30 km ride!

And I lived to tell the tale!!

Proof I'm not dead

Monday, July 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- July 18, 2011

Alright, this was a mixed week. The Sizzling halloumi with fava beans and mint wasn't bad but I don't think that it was as good as I'd have hoped. I think if you cubed up the halloumi and tossed it in with the beans and served it as a side dish it would be better.

I thought that the Steamed pork and shrimp wontons were quite tasty. I decided to steam the broccoli for the stir-fried broccoli with cashews and I think there was serious potential for good until I boiled the pan dry and killed the broccoli... and my pan.

As for the eggplant curry... I grilled the eggplant on my contact grill instead of frying it in the pan but otherwise I followed this recipe pretty well. It was good, I will probably make it or something like it again in the future!

This week:

Curried Chickpea Salad with Mushroom Quinoa Stew-- I think I'll serve the chickpea salad on top of arugula or something green to stretch it out a little bit.

Sticky Sausage & Sweet Potato Salad-- I have some sweet potatoes to use and I think this looks yummy! I might cut down on the honey a bit. According to the reviews it's a little too sweet but we'll see what happens when I make it.

Polenta Pizza-- Last time we had this we both quite liked it but I think I'm going to tweak the toppings a little and make a slightly thinner crust this time.

Nutty Chicken Curry-- We're having curry weather here right now. I think this'll be a nice tasty warming dish! I'm going to toss in some other vegetables to stretch it out a little and maybe add another chili like the comments suggest.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- July 11, 2011

We ate well last week.

I made the roasted tomato, halloumi, and quinoa salad twice because we liked it so much. I suggest adding some chopped up cucumber to the mix.

We both liked the egg foo yung with chicken and mushrooms but I need to figure out what to serve with it next time because we both had an attack of the "I'm still hungries" a couple of hours later. It's kinda weird though because I would've thought the protein from the eggs and chicken would've made it stick around longer. One thing with this recipe is I don't think you need NEARLY so much oil as it calls for. Use the full amount of sesame oil but cut down on the canola/veg oil.

I didn't make the potatoes in the BBQ Chicken Salad and instead served it with baked sweet potato fries. It's a really good salad but I decided next time to just chop up an avocado and add it to the mix instead of bothering with the avocado vinaigrette. I loved the combo of BBQ sauce and blue cheese though, it's really good!

BBQ Chicken Salad-- Yes, again. It's actually a pretty fast meal to throw together so I'm all over making it again!

Steamed pork and shrimp wontons & Stir-fried broccoli with cashews-- I was looking for recipes to help use up some of the bottle of oyster sauce I bought for the egg fu yung last week and this looks rather delicious.

Sizzling halloumi with fava beans and mint-- I like all of the ingredients in this so I hope they'll be good add mashed together!

Eggplant curry with lemongrass and coconut milk-- I don't make a lot of curries and I'm not really sure why since I quite like them. I'm going to give this one a go and see what happens!

What is on your food agenda this week?

Monday, July 04, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day to all my American friends!

I still haven't made tamales like I wanted to. It got so hot here that the thought of having something steaming in the kitchen for almost an hour nearly had me in tears so I ditched that plan for now. I will revisit it again in the less hot future.

This week:

Turkse Dürüm (box mix)-- We don't tend to eat a lot from boxed mixes but there are a couple I really like. This is one of them and they were on sale last week!

Roasted tomato, halloumi,& quinoa salad-- This is hinging on me finding halloumi. I have an idea where to buy it but I'm not 100% sure. This sounds really good though so I'm rather determined to track it down!

Egg Foo Yung with Chicken and Mushrooms-- I think this looks yummy and it should go together pretty easily.

BBQ Chicken Salad-- I might leave the potatoes out of this, it looks like it'll be pretty filling without.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Fragments- June 24, 2011

It's Friday! Time for my boring fragments!

  • My new vacuum sealer broke the second time we tried to use it. I'm not blaming that on the first person who used it and it may have actually been a blessing in disguise because it wasn't actually that handy to use.

  • Have you been following The Apprentice on the BBC? We like to watch it and cringe at the things people say. The quote of the week was "Are the French very fond of their children?"

  • I hopped on my bike to go to my volunteer job today and it started sprinkling a little bit so I ran back upstairs to grab my rain poncho-esque thingie so I wouldn't get wet. That proved to be a rather futile effort because it was raining SO HARD by the time I was halfway there that the water had soaked through my poncho. My shoes were squishing as I was pedaling and THEN it started to hail. Lucky for me they have white nursing shirts that they keep on hand for the nurses and I could borrow one (which didn't fit very well because I don't think most Dutch people have hips but at least it was something). My shoes were squishy and my pants were soaked but at least I had a sorta dry shirt... Now I'm on the hunt for a good water proof fabric to make myself a less useless poncho.

  • Every now and then I think of something and then I realize how European I'm becoming. Case in point: It's supposed to be in the high 80s and low 90s (F) next week and I'm trying to figure out ways of clearing out my fridge and living in there for the duration. When I lived in Utah I scoffed at these Euro-weenies who were dropping like flies when it was in the 80s. I could survive well into the 100 degree weather without dying! I'm not so European that I don't believe in central air conditioning though. I seriously wish it would catch on sometimes!

  • I somewhat successfully made corn tortillas this week. I borrowed someone's electric press/griddle and had a bit of a hard time getting them so they weren't see-through-thin at first but they still tasted good. I'm going to keep experimenting because I really do like corn tortillas better for tacos, enchiladas and the like and the corn tortillas here are flour tortillas with a scoop of cornmeal... which I say BOO to!

Go visit the amazing Mrs. 4444 at Half Past Kissin' Time for more Friday Fragments Fun (oooh alliteration) I hope everyone has a fun weekend. I think I will!
Mommy's Idea

Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- June 20, 2011

The only new recipe from last week was the fish tacos. I used corn tortillas instead of lettuce to wrap them but they were pretty amazing. I loved the cabbage in them!!

Casselrib (a type of smoked pork) with green beans and tomato salad-- we got some goodies from my mother in law which makes a very easy night of cooking for me!

Mexican Pizza on cauliflower crust-- we both really liked this last time and it's actually pretty quick to put together!

Tamales-- I've never made these before so it might be a little bit of an adventure.

Grilled Chicken and Quinoa Apple Salad with Curry Dressing

Shrimp Enchiladas Verde

I'm having Mexican food cravings. Can you tell?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mushrooms for Sale...

Today I bought some mushrooms...

Mushroom Vending Machine


Mushroom Vending Machine

Sometimes it's really hard being so far away from home but then I do something like this and realize how much I do actually like this country.


Be sure to visit Unknown Mami for more Sundays in My City.
Unknown Mami

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Fragments- June 17, 2011

It's been AGES since I've done Friday Fragments. I need to get back into the habit!!! I've been missing my fragmenty friends.

**I booked our flights to the US. We're headed westward on September 7th. I'm very very much looking forward to seeing my family and friends! We're planning on a road trip through Wyoming and South Dakota into Minnesota. I would like to drive the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway (Needles Highway) and stop at Mount Rushmore for sure, but after that the plans are still a work in progress. If you have any amazing insights on MUST SEES on the way I'd love to hear them!

**I bought a vacuum sealer the other day. Mr Jummy decided he needed to test it out.

Sealed for freshness!

He claims Joey just "fell in" but I think he's up to his usual naughty tricks!

**Don't you think the name Benedict Cumberbatch is the perfect name for an actor who plays Sherlock Holmes? If you haven't seen any of the BBC Sherlock series you NEED to! I love it.

**Speaking of the BBC. I think they need to not have evil mid-season breaks of Doctor Who anymore. I'm too addicted to keep having these months-long interruptions.

Enjoy your weekend and make sure to swing by Half Past Kissin' Time to visit the other Fragmented Folks!

Mommy's Idea

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Daring Cooks Challenge: Slimmed Down Potato Salad

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

After browsing through some of the other freaking amazing recipes people came up with this time around I think my Daring Cooks recipe is rather undaring but it did taste good!

Slimmed Down Broccoli Potato Salad

1 kilo (2.2 lbs) small potatoes, quartered (use red or white or a combination of both)
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
4 hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt (I used 0% Total)
1/4 cup mayo (if you use yogurt mayo you won't need to add any sweetener as it's rather much sweeter than normal mayo)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar or sweetener of your choice
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp horseradish powder
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 small red onion, diced
1 small sweet onion, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, diced

Place the potatoes in a pan and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 12 minutes. Drain and cool for a half an hour or so.

Chop up the hard boiled eggs. You can leave out the yolks if you want to slim the recipe down a little more but I like to add them in.

In a large bowl whisk together the yogurt, mayo, vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt. Add the potatoes, eggs, and veggies and toss to coat.

Chill in the fridge for about a couple of hours and serve cool.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- June 13, 2011

Last week went over pretty well.

  • Everyone at the potluck liked the Thai Minced Chicken Salad.
  • The Mexican Pizza on cauliflower crust was quite tasty. It's not -really- pizza but it's close enough to make me feel quite happy! This would be a good one to turn vegetarian by leaving out the chicken since it's still pretty filling without.
  • Now the Seafood Stuffed Peppers... I substituted quinoa for the rice and they were good but a little bland. I think if I were to make this one again I'd add some seasonings in to jazz it up a little.
  • I didn't really follow the recipe for the almond crusted fish but I did make it! I really like using almond meal to crust fish... I ought to do it more often!

For this week:

Lettuce Wrap Fish Tacos- This came across in my Google Reader yesterday and I knew I had to make it. It looks so so tasty. Plus I can try grilling fish on my snazzy new contact grill.

Asian Inspired Slaw- Since I'll have leftover cabbage from the fish tacos I thought this would be a good way to use some of it. I think a head of cabbage is like the gift that keeps giving... and giving... and giving... and giving. I'll toss in some chicken for some added protein to make it a main course.

Pork Sate- It's been ages since I made this and I think it will probably taste good with the leftover slaw that will inevitably be there!

Since today is my birthday (yay me!) we're going to the in-laws for dinner and I don't have to cook (yay!).

Monday, June 06, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- June 6, 2011

Last week:

I loved the grilled eggplant. The Fusion Chicken was okay but I felt like it was missing something so I probably won't make it over and over again.

The Chicken Rollatini with Spinach a la Parmigiana was tasty but MESSY to make and looked a bit of a disaster on the plate. I used almond flour to crust it instead of breadcrumbs and that worked pretty well.

I didn't get the Almond Crusted Fish made so it'll move over into this week.

This week:

Thai minced chicken -- One of the guys in Martijn's dinner group made this for us last week and it was really good! I plan on taking it to the NAWC potluck on Tuesday so I'll just double the recipe, save enough for dinner, and take the rest.

Mexican Pizza on a Cauliflower Crust-- I've been having wild cravings for refried beans so I think this'll be extra tasty.

Seafood Stuffed Peppers-- I have oodles and oodles of bell peppers in the fridge. I thought this would be a yummy recipe to use some of them.

Almond Crusted Fish-- Carryover from last week because I didn't get to it.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

New template is live!

Out with the old:


and in with the new:


I also made a new blog button!

If you want to snag it the code is over yonder in the sidebar -------->

I also updated my recipe index. Everything has a thumbnail photo to go with it, so be sure to take a peek there too!

I'm pretty psyched that it's done. Please let me know if you run into anything that's not working.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Under Construction

Remember back in the good old days of the web when everyone had a poorly designed Geocities or Angelfire personal webpage with horrible loud colors, blinking fonts, and the like? I think there's a good possibility that 99.7% of those good old personal webpages also had at LEAST one "Under Construction" animated graphic. Well, I thought I'd bring some of that nostalgia back today.

Today I'm installing my new web template that I've been working on and off on for quite some time. Hopefully all will go well but you know how things go. If things look slightly deranged for a little while be patient and come back in a few hours. If you're reading this via RSS on a reader, boy aren't you lucky? You don't have to witness the carnage in person!!

This is an interesting read on Geocities and's attempts at saving and archiving things before Yahoo nuked the service in 2009. I snagged my Under Construction graphic here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- May 30, 2011

The pies I made last week for Martijn to take to work were a hit. They didn't even save a sliver for me... which if I'm being honest isn't a completely bad thing!

On to the eats for this week:

Fusion Grilled Chicken and Grilled Eggplant- Chicken and eggplant were on sale this week so I took it as a sign that I needed to make this!

Almond Flour Crusted Fish- I need to use some fish we have in the freezer. The last almond crusted fish we had was really good so hopefully this will be too!

Pork & Veggie Stir Fry- I admit to being lazy for this one. I totally bought the stir-fry veg and meat pre-chopped which made this a 10 minute meal!

Chicken Rollatini with Spinach al la Parmigiana- I just think this looks delicious. It's probable that mine won't look nearly as good but hopefully it'll taste amazing!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- May 23, 2011

This week is a short one because it's Martijn's birthday and we're going to his parents for dinner that night. The next day he's got his weekly dinner group somewhere else so that makes two easy days for me.

Veggie Thali- According to wikipedia "a thali is a selection of different dishes, usually served in small bowls on a round tray... Typical dishes include rice, dhal, vegetables, roti, papad, curd (yoghurt), small amounts of chutney or pickle, and a sweet dish to top it off." I've made this once before (with a few tweaks here and there) and it's quite tasty.

Chicken Cordon Bleu and Potato Salad- I'm using pre-made chicken cordon bleu since I'm laaaazy.

Potato, Green Bean & Tuna Salad

Since Dutch tradition dictates that you bring pie to work on your birthday I'll be making a lime pie, cherry blueberry pie, and a nut pie for Martijn to take on Wednesday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lime Pie Recipe

It was Martijn's turn to cook for his dinner group this week so I offered to make the dessert. We had cilantro-lime rice with dinner and I decided to carry on the lime theme by making lime pie! Plus it gave me an opportunity to use my little whipped cream gun that I decided I REALLY REALLY needed a few weeks ago and have only had the opportunity to use once. You could use key lime juice for this if you want to but since I didn't have urges to search 100 places to find them I just used normal limes for the juice.

Lime Pie

125 grams (1 cup plus a little bit extra) graham cracker or digestive biscuit crumbs
85 grams (6 tbsp) butter, melted

1 can (395 grams or 14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp lime zest

Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F). Grease a 9 inch (23cm) pie plate. Mix together the cookie crumbs and the butter and press into the pie plate to form the crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

Using an electric mixer (or your wildly strong arms and a whisk), beat the egg yolks until they've lightened in color and become creamy (about 3-4 minutes). Slowly drizzle in the sweetened condensed milk and mix until combined. Finally add in the lime juice and lime zest and mix well. Pour the filling into your crust and bake for about 15 minutes. You want the filling to still have a little jiggle if you wiggle the pan but not much.

Let it cool on a wire rack and then poke it in the fridge for a few hours.

Decorate with whipped cream and enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Diaper Wreath Baby Shower Gift

My standard go-to gift for baby showers the past several years has always been a diaper cake but a few weeks ago the lovely Lori turned me onto the next big thing: Diaper Wreaths. They appeared to have all of the cute and about half of the work as a diaper cake. Since we needed a gift for someone we both decided it was a brilliant plan and she went shopping to find awesome cute things to use for it. I was in charge of supplies and assembly and buying a few things to "fill in the holes."

If you google you'll find a gaggle of different ideas and techniques for making them so I'm just going to show you the finished product and some random commentary in bulleted form on the process.

  • You probably don't want to use a straw wreath for the base. They are poky and kinda messy. If you do use a straw wreath this can be overcome by wrapping it all the way around with some wide ribbon and pretending you meant to do that all along.

  • I had 9 diapers leftover from the last diaper cake I made and they've been sitting in my closet forever. I've nearly thrown them away about 80 times but I always felt guilty about that so in my closet they sat. Since the wreaths don't take nearly as many diapers as the cakes I thought this would be enough. It's not. I don't think diapers come in smaller quantities than 50. I understand this to be because babies are pooping machines and you can probably go through that many diapers in about 12 minutes flat but it isn't very useful to me when I only need about 6 more.

  • Tulle is magic. And it can make it look like only 9 diapers was a well thought through plan.

  • I need a personal shopper! Lori found such cute things for this and I would've been laying on the floor in the department store weeping trying to figure out what to use.

  • I bet you're just really wishing I would get to the point and show you a picture of the darn thing, aren't you?

  • I'll show you if you promise to act like it's completely normal to hang a wreath on a laundry drying rack, okay?

Diaper Wreath

I kept having "How am I going to make this look like a monkey didn't assemble it??" at times during the process but I LOVE the way it turned out and I sure hope the recipient loves it too!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Remember way back in October when I applied for my Dutch citizenship?

Well after many many many months of waiting I'm the proud new owner of THIS BABY!


They say you can't smile in your passport and ID photos anymore because it messes with the facial recognition systems. I used to wonder why they couldn't program the facial recognition software to just figure out the smile vs. angry convict face. But now I believe that the disgruntled unsmiling expression is becoming the standard facial expression by all passengers at the airport these days... so it's just easier to have your passport face match what you're actually going to be looking like as you're being felt up searched by the TSA.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- April 18, 2011

Last week:

I tried two new recipes.

The Sweet Potato & Caramelized Onion Quesadillas were really really good. I didn't think they were going to be gross but I wasn't expecting to enjoy them as much as I did!! Definitely a keeper.

The Almond Crusted Salmon was also good. It calls for honey mustard but I think it would be yummy to try other varieties instead and see what other flavor combinations you could come up with.

This Week:

Spicy Bean Burritos and Cilantro Lime Rice

Thai Salmon with Cucumber and Dipping Sauce

Potato, Green Bean, & Tuna Salad

Spinach, Ground Beef & Eggs

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gluten Free Carrot Pineapple Cake

With my abundance of carrots, I've been experimenting a little bit and trying some new things. I started with Nigella's Venitian Carrot Cake recipe and took some creative liberties with it. It uses almond flour instead of wheat flour so it's a more dense "cake" than what you'd normally think of when you think carrot cake. This also means it's gluten free!

Almond Flour Carrot Cake

For the cake:

1/2 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin)
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup golden rasins
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple (I don't know why canned wouldn't work but I used fresh)
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup sugar or sweetner of your choice
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

You'll also need a 9" springform pan.

Mix the raisins with the pineapple and pineapple juice and let them soak while you work on other things.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the base of your springform with parchment paper or grease it really well.

Pat the carrots dry with a towel to blot up excess moisture.

Whisk the sugar and olive oil together. Whisk in the vanilla and eggs. Fold in the ground almonds, carrots, raisin pineapple mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the lemon zest and juice.

Pour the batter into the springform pan and smooth the top the best you can. It will be rather thin, probably only an inch or so high in the pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out mostly clean. It was done in my oven at about 34 minutes, so just keep your eye on it.

Let cool for about 15 minutes on a rack before you pop the sides off the springform.

For the topping:
250 grams (about 1 cup) Mascarpone
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together well and spread over the top of the cake.


Be sure to swing by and visit Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for more Tasty Tuesday recipes!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- April 11, 2011

Last week:

Okay, so I made burritos with black beans and sweet potatoes and I didn't use a recipe. Maybe that was my downfall... they weren't bad but there was something off about them and I didn't enjoy them nearly as much as I hoped I would. Oh well, it was worth a try!

The Polenta "Pizza" with Spinach and Bacon got four thumbs up but we both thought you could probably decrease the amount of polenta for a slightly thinner less dense "crust." It was really really good though. I highly recommend it!

The Stroganoff Skillet Dinner was tasty too, and pretty quick to put together.

This Week:

Sweet Potato & Caramelized Onion Quesdadillas - Meatless meal for this week... I know sweet potatoes have got to be good for more than just sweet potato fries and eating plain with sugar and butter and cinnamon!

Chopped Salad with Fried Garbanzo Beans- I liked this last time I made it but I think I might roast the chickpeas in the oven this time instead of frying them.

Almond Crusted Salmon- Salmony goodness, what more needs to be said?

Smoked Salmon BLT- Once I got having salmon into my head I had to make these too.

Somewhere in all of this I'm going to be making MORE with carrots. I have a wild abundance of them... I'm still open to recipe ideas.

What yummy things are you eating this week?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Carrot Salad with a Kick

Since the last slaw recipe I made was such a hit at the North American Women's Club meeting, I decided to try out another one this month. The fact that I have a giant box full of carrots also influenced the decision. I really like the sweet chili sauce in this. It gives it an extra spicy kick without it being burn your face off hot!

Carrot Salad with a Kick


4 carrots, grated or julienned
1 small head (or half of a larger head) of cabbage, shredded
15 grams fresh cilantro, stemmed and chopped
Handful of peanuts, chopped and toasted

2 limes, zest of 1 and juice of both
1 inch fresh ginger, grated finely
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp sugar or sweetner (mix everything together first and add until it's sweet enough for your tastes)

Mix together the carrots, cabbage, and cilantro. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the carrot mix. Sprinkle the peanuts on before serving.



Be sure to swing by and visit Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for more Tasty Tuesday recipes!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- April 4, 2011

Last Week:

The Chicken Chimichangas were alright. I might keep looking for a REALLY good recipe.

The plan was to have Martijn make the Greek Lamb Kofta with Lemony Rice but he got held up at work so I did most of the prep work for him. I didn't mind though cause they were GOOOOOOOOOOOD!

I also made Pop-Up Pizza Pie but I wasn't wildly excited about it. I think if I want pizza I'll just have pizza!

This week:

Black Bean Sweet Potato uh... Somethings- I've seen several recipes around for black bean and sweet potato burritos. So I'm putting my spin on them and making tortilla bowls to put the fillings in. I hope they're good!

Polenta "Pizza" With Spinach & Bacon- More experiments with polenta! This time with slightly less bacon grease than in the previous attempts.

Beef Stroganoff Hamburger Dinner in a Skillet- Sometimes I wonder if Food Network chefs get paid by the number of words they can cram into a recipe's title.

Melt Sandwiches and Carrot Soup

My mother in law bought 20 kilos of carrots (that's 44 POUNDS) and shared some of her bounty with me so most side dishes and meals are going to have carrots somehow incorporated into them even if they're not listed in the ingredients of the recipe! Do you have a favorite carrot recipe? Please share!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Organ Donor Registration in The Netherlands

One of the things on my 101 list is to sign up to be an organ donor. I hadn't done it before here because I wasn't really sure about the process. It's SO simple I feel silly for not doing it sooner! Unfortunately, all of the forms are in Dutch but they're pretty self explanatory.

In The Netherlands there is a national donorregister (donor registry). Anyone registered living in a Dutch municipality over the age of twelve is eligible to register for organ donation.

There are a couple of ways to register to be a donor. The easiest way is to do it online with your DigiD (Digital Identification). If you're unfamiliar with what a DigiD is or need to get one, you can visit their website for more information. The second way is to print out the form (link is a PDF file) and mail it in.

After you fill in your personal details (name, address, birthdate, and sex) there will be 4 options to choose from.

The options on the form are as follows:

Keuze 1: Ja, ik geef toestemming (Option 1: Yes, I give permission)
Keuze 2: Nee, ik geef geen toestemming (Option 2: No I don't give permission)
Keuze 3: Mijn nabestaanden beslissen (Option 3: My next of kin will decide)
Keuze 4: Een specifike persoon beslist (Option 4: A specific person will decide)

If you choose Option 1, you then need to decide which organs and tissues you give permission for transplantation. I had to look some of these up since my Dutch body-part knowledge is still in it's infancy!

alvleesklier - pancreas
darmen - intestines
hoornvliezen - corneas
longen - lungs
bloedvaten -arteries
hart - heart
huid - skin
nieren - kidneys
botweefsel, kraakbeen en pezen - bone tissue, cartilage and tendons
hartkleppen - heart valves
lever - liver

Options 2 & 3 don't require anything else to be filled in.

For Option 4, you do need to fill in the personal details of the person you wish to give permission to make the decisions regarding your organ donation.

Lastly you need to sign and date the form (not neccesarry to do if you use your DigiD to fill in the form online). The address to mail it in is listed at the bottom and you don't even need to buy a stamp!

After you've completed the form (online or mailed in), you'll get a donor card in the mail. Make sure to look at it and check that your information is correct and that's it. It takes 5 minutes (or 7 if you have to look up what a botweefsel is).

Donor Registry Card

I hope this has been a little bit helpful to some of you. I know I just put off doing it forever since I didn't know how to go about it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

101 Things in 1001 Days

My slightly devious lovely friend Lori made a 101 in 1001 days list and strong-armed suggested that I do one to. Since I'm prone to cave under peer pressure pretty awesome, I decided to take the challenge on for myself.

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a 'Bucket List'. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

This list of 101 goals was started Mar 29, 2011 and is scheduled to finish Dec 25, 2013

I've broken my list into vaguely formed categories and I'll make a tab in the navigation bar with an updated "Master List" of my progress.

Bloggy Related
1- Post my menu every week for 6 months
2- Do 3 tutorials on my blog
3- Finish blog re-design
4- Set up categories and tags and "index" all blog posts
5- Blog everyday for a month straight
6- Post monthly updates about 101 project on my blog
7- Participate in 5 o'clock Fridays every week for 3 months straight

Food & Cooking

8- Try cooking with almond flour
9- Make homemade corn tortillas
10- Try 10 new cooking "techniques"
11- Try 5 new foods
12- Make sourdough bread from scratch (including the starter)
13- Buy a cheesemaking kit and make 3 types of cheese
14- Make homemade ketchup
15- Have a meatless meal for dinner at least once a week
16- Make 15 recipes with Jello in them
17- Try cooking rabbit
18- Participate in at least 10 of the next 12 Daring Cooks challenges
19- Make a custom recipe book
20- Do all of my food shopping at the market for 2 weeks (nothing from the grocery store)
21- Have a tea party
22- Buy a contact grill (thrifted if possible)

Health & Fitness

23- Get up before 8 a.m. everyday for a month
24- Take a yoga class
25- Go on a 30km bike ride without dying
26- Do the 30-Day Shred
27- Do the 200 sit-ups challenge
28- Drink 2 litres of water a day for a month
29- Get contacts
30- Get my wisdom teeth pulled
31- Sign up to be an organ donor
32- Go to the doctor and do something about my hairloss

Sewing, Crafting, & Making

33- Sew 5 new shirts for myself
34- Make a new purse
35- Use up at least 3 pieces of fabric from my stash
36- Crochet a pair of slippers
37- Make an underwear pattern and some new undies
38- Make 10 projects from my retro craft books
39- Make and drop a toy for the Toy Society
40- Make a long pointy elf hat with a huge pom-pom on the end
41- Make a t-shirt rug
42- Make a denim rag quilt
43- Make mini "emergency" kits for purses
44- Make significant progress on my cat & sewing machine cross stitch (at least 1/4)
45- Make some fabric shopping bags
46- Make 10 new Christmas ornaments
47- Make a new wallet
48- Do a painting workshop at the Delft Factory
49- Make a birthday calendar of close friends and family and send cards
50- Make a photobook for my mom

Photography Related

51- Do the 100 snapshots project
52- Take a photo of the same place every month for a year and then turn it into a calendar for the next year
53- Make or buy a light tent/box
54- Have a family portrait taken

Places to Go & Things to See

55- Visit 5 new museums
56- Visit Mount Rushmore
57- Visit a castle
58- Visit the Badlands
59- Visit a zoo I've not been to before
60- Visit the Dr. A. F. Phillips Obervatory
61- Visit the button store in Amsterdam
62- Check out the local Stitch 'n Bitch group
63- Take a road trip
64- Go to the Apenheul
65- Go to the Albert Cuyp Markt in Amsterdam

Moolah Related

66- Save €10 for every task completed
67- Save €100 in €2 coins
68- Save €100 in €1 coins
69- Sell 10 sock monkeys
70- Re-open my etsy shop
71- Throw away, donate, or sell 50 things
72- Start a price book for groceries
73- Sell my extra sewing machines

Education-esque Things

74- Study up on European Geography (especially Eastern Europe)
75- Do the w3schools CSS tutorial
76- Take another Dutch course of some kind
77- Read every book that has won an Newbery Medal
78- Become a Dutch Citizen
79- Vote in a Dutch election

Organization & Household Chores

80- Finish clearing out my stuff from my parents house
81- Organize my craft cupboards
82- Shred and discard old un-needed paperwork and find a workable storage solution for the rest
83- Organize photo collection
84- Assemble 72-hour kits for the family
85- Paint the bathroom

Nice Things for Others

86- Get up and make Martijn breakfast everyday for 3 weeks on the weekdays
87- Make 10 "quiet books" for Humanitarian Aid
88- Send a random someone a care package

Just for Fun

89- Get a cool basket for my bike
90- Buy a piece of art from an Art-o-Mat machine
91- Do a big jigsaw puzzle
92- Have a picnic in a park
93- Host a game night for friends
94- Replay all of the King's Quest games
95- Participate in a quiz team
96- Finish watching the final season of Battlestar Galactica
97- Get a manicure
98- Go to a dinner theatre show
99- Have a font made with my handwriting
100- Try Letterboxing
101- Go to the taping of a TV show

Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- March 28, 2011

I found a meal planner called Dinner Tool. I'm still playing around with it a little but it looks like it might be kinda useful. You can plan your dinners and it will make a shopping list for you. One downside seems to be the recipe archiive didn't have a ton of recipes that I was feeling wild about, BUT they do allow you to add your own and share them. You can drag and drop your meal choices into the planner or click on I'm Feeling Hungry (which totally cracks me up for some reason):


Anyhow, like I said, I'm still playing around with it some so I didn't use it to do this week's menu... but I thought I'd share in case someone else finds it to be of use to them!

Last week:

I made the Quinoa & Black Beans and loooooved it. I only used one can of beans and canned corn instead of frozen. This is a keeper folks!

The Mexican Red Lentil Stew was also really good. I added some chicken to stretch it out a little and chopped up an avocado and added it into the bowls when I served it.

I took some creative liberties with the Lentil Shepherd's Pie. I changed the seasonings up a bit. I made pureed celeriac (mixed with a little instead mashed potato) for the top and sprinkled cheese over it. I really enjoyed the lentils in it and I think I'd make it again if I could remember the alterations I made!

I also made this Strawberry Spinach Salad even though it wasn't on my menu. You should make it too. Martijn even gobbled it up, and he's not much of a fruit man.

This week:

Chicken Chimichangas- These look tasty... I think I'll bake them instead of frying though.

Greek Lamb Kofta with Lemony Rice- Martijn is cooking this one for his dinner group this week.

Pop-Up Pizza Pie- I think I'll toss in more veggies and use real eggs but I think this looks really good.

Apple & Melted Brie Sandwiches with some kind of soup... Any suggestions?

What's on your menu this week?
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