Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Happy Halloween!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Menu Plan Monday- September 17, 2012

Last week in my kitchen:

All of the brioche that I could find here had a frosting-like glaze on it and I decided that wasn't going to work so I made the Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Brioche with one of the big round Turkish breads that I cut into quarters and then made it into a little triangle pocket. Martijn really liked it but I thought it was missing something. Maybe some fresh chives or green onions. It didn't taste bad it just wasn't quite all the way there for me.

I really liked the bean cups from the Tuna Salad Bean Cups recipe. I used fresh korriander instead of parsley because in my mind that was a better pairing with cumin and I also had some korriander in the fridge and I didn't have any parsley. I went off on my own tangent a little with the tuna salad so I can't say if it was magically delicious or not but the bean cups are a definite keeper.

I didn't make the Mini Tamale Pies because I was too lazy. Surprise surprise.

Beef and Beet Salad- My father in law picked some fresh beets for me the other night and I roasted them up and will use them in this. I might add in some feta since that's supposed to be a good pairing with beets.

Carrot Souffle and uh... something else... maybe fish.

Taco Soup- I don't think I have a recipe for this. It's essentially stewed tomatoes, kidney beans, ground beef, corn, and onion with a few tortilla chips, cheddar and sourcream plopped on top.

Southwestern Chicken Wraps- These look nice and easy and I have some shredded chicken in the freezer.

That's it for this week...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I voted!

Yesterday, I got to do something pretty special.


I took myself and my stempas (voting pass) to the voting station and I voted in my very first Dutch election. I told the ladies there it was my very first time being able to vote here and they welcomed me and were very sweet.

It was slightly disconcerting that the ballot boxes were giant grey wheelie bin garbage cans but I felt quite pleased.

One more thing to cross off my 101 list!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - September 10, 2012

We had a wildly successful time with the new recipes I made last week.

Starting off with the Thai Chicken Enchiladas. You need to make these!! They were most excellent. I used whole wheat tortillas. I think I'll add a little more cabbage and carrots next time but the flavors were spot on.

The rub on the Blackened Chicken Breast and Cilantro Lime Quinoa with Greek Yogurt Avocado Puree was nice and spicy without being burn your mouth off hot. You don't really need Greek yogurt for the sauce. In fact, I think it would be better with a regular slightly runnier yogurt.

I think there are endless possibilities with the Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps. It really needs the sour cream and probably salsa added inside. As written they're a little dry but the flavors are good.

I took the Cheeseburger Muffins to my North American Women's Club potluck. I used half BBQ sauce and half ketchup, added in a whack of horseradish and doubled the mustard and Martijn and I still thought they were a little bland. Still I think with a few more tweaks here and there they have some serious potential.

This week:

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Brioche- Smoked Salmon is on sale this week. I don't know if I'll use brioche. We'll have to see if I can find it.

Tuna Salad Bean Cups- I found this one on my Pinterest. I don't remember pinning it but it looks promising so I'll give it a go!

Mini Tamale Pies- Ground beef is also on sale this week and I think these look tasty.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs- I have lots of rice leftover from the wraps I made last week so sweet and sour and some fried rice should just hit the spot!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Menu Plan Monday- September 3, 2012

I can't even talk about what a slacker I've become in the meal planning department so lets just pretend there hasn't been a huge gaping hole in the past few months and carry on.

Chicken breasts are on sale this week for a very good price so I'm stocking up and planning around that. The Cheeseburger Muffins are for the NAWC potluck on Tuesday so I'll make them Monday night for dinner just to be certain they're not yucky.

Blackened Chicken Breast and Cilantro Lime Quinoa with Greek Yogurt Avocado Puree

Thai Chicken Enchiladas

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Cheeseburger Muffins

Anything delicious on your dinner menus this week?

Sunday, September 02, 2012

August Foodie Penpals Reveal

My Foodie Penpal sender for August was Lin. I knew I was in for some good things when she said she liked to add homemade goodies to her packages, and I was right!

Foodie Penpals- August

When the postal delivery person handed me the box it made a sound a little bit like a rain stick... not always a noise you want to hear when taking possession of a package. When I got into the box I discovered the rain stick sound culprit! The box of lavender sugar (little box sitting on the green lid in the picture) had popped open. Lucky for me not all of it had come out so there is still enough to try a little in something. I've not cooked much with floral flavors so it should be interesting. Also included in my homemade goodies was some vanilla fudge (yum yum yum), a spice rub for meat or fish which Lin says is similar to ras el hanout (box sitting on the blue lid), and these stinking cute shaped sugars for drinks (box sitting on the pink lid).

I LOVE Christmas crackers. It's not a tradition we really have in the US or here in NL so I get all wild and (probably overly) excited when I see them. Lin said she likes to serve her guests these mini crackers on their saucer. I think it is such a fun idea. She also sent the cute little dishes that I put the fudge and crackers in for the photo. I have a few ideas of what I might use these for.

Every single time I go into the tokos (Oriental stores) here I see the "take me home and fry me up yourself" kroepoek (prawn crackers) but I've never had the courage to buy them and do them myself. So I was rather delighted to find the bag of them in my box. I offered the Espresso Dark Chocolate to Martijn since he's a coffee fiend and I'm not a coffee lover and he said it's "very dark but tasty." I don't often get my hands on Cadbury chocolate here so that was a nice thing to spot.

Lin, thank you so much!

I sent to Caitlin and you can see her reveal post here.

The Lean Green Bean

Saturday, August 04, 2012

July Foodie Penpals Reveal

I was meandering through the interwebs one day and happened upon someone posting about Foodie Penpals. Of course I got wildly excited and then sad because it seemed very US-centric... so I kept clicking links until I discovered that there IS indeed a European version that Carol at This is Rock Salt takes care of. Of course I filled in the form right after the cutoff for June so July was the first month I could participate.

Meryl was my generous foodie penpal and here are the goods!


Unsurprisingly, Mr Jummy was rather happy about the shortbread cookies.


Also included were some lovely spices from both Cornwall and from her travels in Crete! I'm excited to try the blue popcorn and I think the Onion Pinch Salt might be rather tasty on it. Lasty there is a little bag of beautiful sundried tomatoes. I can plump them up in some water but I might just stash them in my bike bag for a yummy snack on my travels.


Thanks so much to Meryl for the fun package! I'm already dreaming of what wild things I can do with Singapore Seafood Seasoning ;)

The Lean Green Bean

Saturday, June 30, 2012


I'm rather bummed out right now. I was on track to meet my goal of 400km biked in the month of June when DISASTER STRUCK.


Yes, that's a nasty crack in my wheel. That's not the only place either, and unless you really have a death wish you don't really want to be biking on an aluminum wheel that's cracking all over the place.

I ordered a new one last Tuesday that should have only taken a couple of days to come in but when we finally went back to the bike shop to ask about it they still didn't have it. Their supplier sent the wrong wheel... TWICE. If I'm lucky I'll have the right one on Tuesday.

Since I couldn't figure out how to ride a one-wheeler unicycle bike, I failed at my attempt to bike 400km in June.

I did pretty well though... all things considered.


337.28km is certainly not shabby, but it's not 400.

If my new wheel ever comes, maybe I'll try again in July.


This rather late F is for Failure post is part of Mrs. Matlock's fantastic AlphabeThursday.

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Enigmatic E

For some reason I have yet to figure out, I decided that I would make it my goal to bike 400km in June. That's a tad under 250 miles for you un-metric people.

In order to keep things a little interesting, I've been taking routes I haven't been on before and seeing some new sights. Last weekend I was huffing and puffing along and I looked over and standing in the middle of the field was this E. No explanations about why it's there but I saw it and thought "I have to stop and take a picture, it's E week for AlphabeThursday." So, that's just what I did.


Now I think I'm going to have to be on the look out for other mysterious letters just randomly placed throughout the world.

Oh, and if you're curious, I'm at 268.82 km counted so far. I've done a little more but since I have a swiss cheese brain I've forgotten to put my bike computer on a couple of times and lost out on counting those kilometers. Bummer.


I'm linking this Enigmatic E post up to Mrs. Matlock's AlphabeThursday. Be sure to head on over and check out everyone's E posts!

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Deadwood, South Dakota

Another stop on our epic road trip last fall was Deadwood. Now if you watched the HBO series Deadwood and were expecting anything remotely similar to that you would be in for a big surprise! Not a bad surprise, but it's not the wild wild west anymore.



We decided to take a bus tour up to the Mount Moriah Cemetery where Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are buried.





The cemetery was interesting but one of the best things in the tour was the amazing view from the hilltop.



I think Deadwood is a fun place to spend an afternoon as a quick pitstop from I-90 on the way through to the Black Hills but I don't think I'd put it top on my list of things to go out of the way to see.


I'm linking this D is for Deadwood post up to Mrs. Matlock's AlphabeThursday. Be sure to head on over and check out other people's D posts.

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Château de Franchimont

Another thing on my 101 List is "visit a castle." I'm not sure if I should count this because it's more the REMAINS of a castle!

chateau de franchimont 041

Sitting on the end of a small hill overlooking a small village in Belgium, Château de Franchimont (Franchimont Castle) is thought to be built in the 11th century. Over the centuries it was expanded several times but it wasn't until the 16th century that they built the outer wall and artillery tower. These days there's not too much left of the tower but the remaining bits are where the ticket office is and a small exhibit on how it grew over the years.

chateau de franchimont 001

This is part of the rather steep road leading up to the original entry to the castle.

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Once you walk through the arch you can see the courtyard and some of the remains of the castle.

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chateau de franchimont 027

Back to the outside again. I loved the plant life on the walls!

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Here you can see one of the lovely views of the village below.

chateau de franchimont 031

If you do get the opportunity to go, visitors information can be found on the Château de Franchimont website (in French, but Google Translate does a passable job of translating the important bits). I highly recommend paying the extra €1.50 for the audiotour. It's interesting to wander around in the ruins but it's even more interesting if you know a little more about it!


I'm linking this C is for Castle/Château post up to Mrs. Matlock's AlphabeThursday. Go have a gander over there are find out what other fun C's people wrote about!

Jenny Matlock

Monday, June 04, 2012

Menu Plan Monday- June 4, 2012

Last week was all about not turning on the oven because I didn't want to heat things up. If the forecast holds true for this week, I might be changing my menu this week and using the oven everyday just so I don't cave in and turn the heater on!!

The Speedy Salmon and Leek One Pot was indeed very speedy. I served it with couscous and the fish was steamed just right!

I also thought the Seafood Macaroni salad was a hit. I used half the amount of mayo and subbed Greek yogurt for the rest.

This week:

Sloppy Joes- Martijn requested these and I decided I'd make some coleslaw to go along side them.

Asian Inspired Slaw- Since cabbage is the gift that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving, and giving... I decided I'd make this with the leftover cabbage from the normal coleslaw. I'll grill some chicken to toss in because it's quite tasty that way.

Slavinken and Mashed Cauliflower with Something Green to Accompany It- I am going to check out the market and see what vegetables look appealing and go from there.

Orange Chicken with Fried Cauliflower "Rice"- I was going through my Pinterest boards this morning and discovered I have about 10 different recipes for orange chicken. I need to start trying them so I thought I'd begin with this one and since mashed cauliflower only takes a half a head, I can use the other half to make pretend fried rice.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Badlands National Park

Last fall we took a massive road trip from Utah to Minnesota. Happily, there are a ton of things to do and see along the way. Badlands National Park was on our list of MUST SEES for that trip, and it didn't disappoint.


When we were there the weather wasn't fantastic (read as: REALLY REALLY COLD AND DREARY), so we mainly drove through and stopped at the interest points along the way to take pictures. According to the park website, there are several hiking trails and I think if the weather had been better it would've been lovely to do a couple of those.


The scenery was amazing and I thought it was really interesting to see all of the exposed layers in all of their different colors. A bit like a history map through the ages.



We learned a few interesting tidbits from reading the info-boards along the way. The grasslands used to look black, covered with enormous herds of buffalo. These days, the black patches you see in the grasslands are the results of controlled burns. Early settlers to the area didn't think the native grasses to be very "pretty" and planted a lot of non-native species which threaten to take over the native ones. The park does controlled burns in an effort to get rid of some of the invading species. The native species are more "fireproof," meaning their root systems go a lot deeper and they can survive the grass fires better than the invaders.



The visitors guide (links to the site to download a PDF guide) for the park suggests you only need an hour to drive through but if you only budget an hour you won't have time to stop and get out. It took us closer to 3 hours to drive through and that was with us not staying out of the car for extended periods of time (generally 5-10 minutes at each pull off through the park).

The entry fee was $15 for our car and worth every penny if you ask me. You can check out the park opening hours and other "things to know" here on the Plan Your Visit link to the park.


I'm linking this B is for Badlands post up to Mrs. Matlock's AlphabeThursday. Go have a snoop around over there are find out what other fun B's people wrote about!

Jenny Matlock


In other exciting news, I get to check another thing off of my 101 list! Visit the Badlands is DONE!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - May 28, 2012

Last week was a bit of a mixed bag.

The Sweet Potato Falafels I was so excited about were... not good. When you first put it in your mouth it started to be okay but then when you begin to chew something goes horribly wrong. This is a DO NOT REPEAT. It's a pity too, I was really looking forward to it.

We both liked the Sweet Chili Bangers. I sprinkled in some cayenne to give it a little more of a kick. I think this would be good on regular hotdogs too.

I cheated on the Sticky Salmon. It's been SO hot the past few days I just couldn't make myself turn the oven on so I spread the honey and oyster sauce on the salmon and just tossed it on the grill. And then I steamed some veggies in the microwave. So I can't rightly say this is a wonderful recipe because I didn't really make it. What I can say is that I liked the salmon with the honey and oyster sauce and I'd do that again!

This week:

I spent a day in the heat of doom from last week baking for Martijn's birthday so this week I decided I'm NOT turning on the oven. It's supposed to cool down later in the week but unless it falls below freezing (which it won't), the oven is on vacation... sorta. I'm going to use the microwave and since we have a combi unit the oven will be used, just not on the oven setting!

Speedy Salmon and Leek One-Pot

Microwave Meatloaf

Seafood Macaroni Salad

Polenta Pizza- I'm not going to bake the "crust." I think it will be plenty good just with a heap of polenta with the spinach and bacon on top!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ask Me Anything... Again!

Ask Me Anything

Trying to get the bloggy juices flowing again and I had fun when I did "Ask Me Anything" last time so I'm going to do it AGAIN!

It's simple. Leave me a question you'd like me to answer in the comments. It can be about anything but keep it clean please!


Mrs. Matlock is starting a new round of Alphabe-Thursday so I'm linking up. Go check it out, there are always oodles of fun posts and I almost always learn a couple of new things!

Jenny Matlock

Monday, May 21, 2012

Menu Plan Monday- May 21, 2012

Ugh, sometimes I feel like I seriously fail at life. I have good intentions of getting back on track with my blog and then I don't do anything with those intentions but stick them back under the desk again where they've been for the past 6 months.

Now though, I really need to get the grocery budget back on track. I KNOW I do better when I menu plan so I'm going to try to sit down every Sunday evening and look at the ads and plan my menus. Even if I really don't want to, I know I can extract 15 minutes from my "not doing anything whatsoever" time budget and do it!

This week I am going to dig through the freezer to make room for the ice cream machine clear out some of the older things that need to be used.

Stir-fry with leftovers and noodles from the cupboard

Sweet Potato Falafels- How handy that I have a sweet potato just languishing on the counter and a bag of chickpea flour hanging out waiting to be tested!

Sweet Chilli Bangers- I have some sausage in the freezer and I think I'll fry up some onions and serve them in buns with whatever sort of vegetable is on sale this week.

Sticky Salmon with Chinese Greens- There is some salmon in the freezer and I think I have everything else in the pantry aside from the greens! I might be a rebel and add red bell pepper because I have quite a lot of that in the freezer too.
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