Monday, December 29, 2008

Second Wedding Anniversary!

Two years ago today, Martijn and I got married!

Our Wedding

We've had some dramatic moments with me moving to a new country and figuring out everything involved in that, but most of our times are good times! He makes me laugh when I'm in a bad mood and is always there for a hug when I need one. I look forward to the coming years and the new adventures we'll have together.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- December 29, 2008

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

I didn't do a menu plan last week and just stuck to fairly easy stuff since I wasn't feeling well. Martijn was dismayed that he couldn't look at my blog for our menu, so even though I still don't feel good I'm doing the menu plan this week just for him! I'm also going to do the weekend and next Monday since we're leaving for the US in 8 days!

Monday: Gourmet
Tuesday: Gourmet again, we have oodles of stuff for it in the freezer
Wednesday: Slavinken & veggies
Thursday: Going for Chinese at the in-laws!
Friday: Stew
Saturday: Some version of a hobo dinner in the turbo
Sunday: Chicken a la Mayo & veggies
Monday: Something easy like frozen pizza probably!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mr Jummy is trying to replace me!

Since I got Mr. Jummy a few weeks ago we have been having some fun adventures.

He's come geocaching with us.

Picture 1788

And he sneaks in and and steals my place in bed on a pretty regular basis.

Mr Jummy in bed

But last night was the last straw!

Picture 1849

He stole my place in bed, AND my Gameboy! The worst part was, I am pretty sure Martijn was in cahoots with him. I think he's looking for a new MarioKart partner.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

For those of you celebrating today-

Picture 1846

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Brain Fog

This is what it looks like outside today.


Compare that to what I usually see when I look out the window (well, minus the snow cause that doesn't actually happen that often).

I even chose a mildly stormy comparison photo! The plus side is that it's actually been a little bit warmer than usual the past few days.

Other than that, I really haven't much to say. I've been so so sick the past couple of weeks and it's really been making it difficult to want to do much of anything. Coincidentally, the inside of my head feels a lot like that fog photo I posted. Maybe I actually had the camera pointed inside my ear! I'm really praying that I get better by the time we leave for the US in January. I did dig out my jewelry making supplies and have been playing around with that again so in the next couple of days I'll show off my "mad skillz."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crystallized Ginger and Candied Citrus Peels

A few months ago I got the wild idea that I should make my own crystallized (candied) ginger. Then I promptly forgot about it.

Yesterday morning I was perusing the internet and came across a recipe for candied citrus peels. When I saw that I remembered that I wanted to make crystallized ginger and decided that if I didn't do it right then I would forget again.

I jumped on my bike and headed to the market to buy ginger, lemons, and oranges.

When I got home, I used my super high tech spoon method to peel about a pound of ginger. The instructions said to use a sharp knife to cut it into thin slices but I decided to use the cheese slicer that we don't like to use on the cheese because it makes the slices too thick. It worked like a charm!


Since the kitchen was already sticky, I figured I may as well do my citrus peels at the same time and only clean up once! Once again I found the cheese slicer handy to remove the excess pith from the lemon peels. The orange peels were a little less firm so it didn't work quite as well and I used a paring knife instead.


The best part of the whole project? CHEAP! The cost breakdown is this:

Little less than a pound of ginger- €1
2 big navel oranges- €0.60 (if I'd bought more they would've been cheaper but I'd be the only one eating them and a dozen was too many at once)
2 lemons- €0.40
1.5 kg bag of sugar- €1

I didn't use -quite- as much sugar as the recipes called for since I used slightly less of the ginger and citrus peels so the 1.5 kg bag of sugar was -just- enough.

P.S. If you are in my family, maybe you could um, forget that you read this? Cause uh, Christmas is coming up and these are most excellent stocking stuffers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pasta "Lasagne"

Pasta "Lasagne"

Another recipe in the "unphotogenic food files" is this Pasta "Lasagne." Instead of using regular flat lasagne noodles, you use penne!

250 grams (8 oz) penne pasta
250 grams (8 oz) ground beef
1 can (400 g/ 14 oz) tomatoes (stewed or diced work nicely)
1 onion, diced
250 (8 oz) grams ricotta cheese (cottage cheese will work too)
100 grams (4 oz) shredded mozzarella
1/4 parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1-2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Prepare your pasta according to package directions minus a couple minutes so it's not -quite- cooked.

Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Lightly grease a baking dish and set aside.

In a skillet, brown the ground beef and drain off any excess fat. Add the onion and saute until tender. Pour in the can of tomatoes and add the Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, most of the mozzarella (leave a little handful to sprinkle on the top later), and the beaten egg. Mix until it's well combined.

Layer half the pasta, half the meat sauce, and half the cheese mixture in your pan. Repeat and then top with the remaining mozzarella.

Cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 to get the cheese lightly browned and bubbly on top.

Makes 4 generous servings.

Check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays for more yummy recipes!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- December 15, 2008

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

Last week:

The Orange Chicken Leg Quarters in the crockpot were really good. You don't need the molasses, I'm not really even sure why it's there. I only used two leg quarters (seperated and skinned) and made the sauce according the the measurements the recipe has. I have added this to the SAVE file.

Lentil Soup was also good, but I need to cut the recipe in half if I make it again. We ate it two nights in a row, and still have leftovers. I don't even know how big the bowls would need to be in order for it to only be 6-8 servings!

I didn't get to the Lettuce Wraps but I will this week since I have all the stuff still.

This week:

The aforementioned Lettuce Wraps. I have to make these this week or the veggies are going to go dead.

Honey Baked Chicken- I have oodles of chicken leg quarters I can use for this.

Paprika Pork Chops- It's been awhile since we had it, and we both really like it.

Slop on a Plate- I really ought to re-name this. I'm gonna try it with broccoli instead of green beans.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Vintage Thingie Thursday- JAJ Pyrex Finds

Looking through back posts, I realized that I haven't participated in Vintage Thingie Thursday since October! That's too long, so without further ado I present to you my latest British Pyrex finds.

Harvest Pattern JAJ

This is the Harvest pattern, manufactured by JAJ. I think this is a cute pattern, but nothing can beat what I am going to show you next.

JAJ Pyrex Yellow and Orange Dish

Orange and yellow, my two favorite colors! I posted this in the Pyrex Love group on flickr and got some really good information!

In the UK in the early 70’s there was a renewed interest in traditional, even rustic products; Stripped Pine and Provençal pottery came into vogue. In 1974 Pyrex, JAJ introduced the short run ‘Rocco’ and ‘Sienna’ casserole ranges, exploiting a technique of over-spraying enamel colours to give a gentler, shaded effect to suit the new mood.

Your casserole is from the “Rocco” range and the pattern name is Rocco. From your photo of the back stamp I can see the number 509 and also a .5. just below the first letter N in England. The 509 is the cat. number for a 2pt Round Casserole and the .5. is the manufacturing date code, your casserole came off the press in Sunderland England in March-April 1975.

Thanks to Mackem 54 on flickr for this great info.

Vintage Thingie Thursday is now being hosted by Coloradolady! Check out the other submissions for this week and sign up for her amazingly generous giveaways this month.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's beginning to look a little like Christmas!

We live in an apartment on the 8th floor (9 floors up for you people who use a rational numbering system and start with the ground floor being the FIRST FLOOR). A -tiny- apartment. It would be rather crazy for us to have a nice 8 foot tall pine tree in our livingroom for Christmas. It's really just not reasonable. So, we have a small fake tree. The problem is, fake trees don't SMELL like Christmas! They smell like... well, nothing really. Last year my sweet husband decided that we could overcome this by buying a little table arrangement that had pine branches in it. It was a great solution! After Christmas, I tossed the branches and (by that point) gross floral foam and saved the bowl and decorations that were in it and put them away for this year. I found some pine branches at a local garden center for €1.49 and went to town!

From this:

to this:

I also got the tree put up, the stockings hung, and the nativity set up. It's beginning to feel a little more like Christmas!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- December 8, 2008

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

Last week went pretty well in regards to sticking with the plan. I didn't make the Cheesy Gratin of Brussels Sprouts, but went simple- steamed and served next to tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches. The Gourmet Night was great and it was fun to spend a little more time chatting over dinner with Martijn.

This week:

Burritos- I made a big batch yesterday, so we can have leftovers tonight.

Lettuce Wraps- I'm not sure which of these recipes I'm going to use yet, I need to see which one matches what I have in the cupboards. I'm leaning towards the Asian style ones with a peanut dipping sauce.

Orange Chicken Leg Quarters Crock Pot Recipe- This looks tasty and chicken quarters are on sale this week.

Lentil Soup and melt sandwiches.

I think we'll have leftovers from a few of these things, so we'll probably have a random leftover night at the end of the week.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Jummy Jummy!

Every now and then a company has an ad campaign that is so brilliant you can't help but really really REALLY want to buy their product.

Mr Jummy (the Dutch j sounds like an English y, so pronounce it as "yummy") and the band of hunger monsters from Sultana are a very good example of this. I don't normally post youtube videos cause I usually don't watch them when they're posted on other people's blogs, but these are too good to resist, seriously. The basic premis is everyone has their own little hunger monster inside of them and if you eat the Sultana biscuits, you will calm the monster!

I think this is the concept video, because it's in English and you don't see these monsters in later videos

This is my all time favorite. Him trying to spear the fish is priceless.

It's just so stinking funny.

This summer they started advertising a promotion where you collect four stamps from their packages and then turn them in along with 4€ and you can get your VERY OWN Mr Jummy handpop (hand puppet). Since I didn't really buy these biscuits on a very regular basis, it took a couple of months to collect my four stamps. Little did I know that I should've just gone and bought four packs the day I found out about the promo, cause by the time I had mine collected the Mr Jummy's were no more!

I was bummed, but not completely defeated. Martijn looked on the Sultana website and it said they had a higher than expected demand (duh, look at the guy!) and they'd be making and sending out more in November. So after months of waiting I finally got an e-mail saying they'd have them available on November 25th. I told Martijn I was going to camp out at the post office so I could get mine and then, of course, I promptly forgot all about it that morning. I went to the post office on November 26th, one measly day later and they were COMPLETELY GONE AGAIN. I am telling you, the drama involved in getting one of these puppets was ridiculous. Again they sent an e-mail saying check back in a couple days. So I did. And they still didn't have any. I persisted and I'm telling you, I got my workout cycling to and from the post offices trying to get my hands on this fellow.

I'm now happy to report that Mr Jummy and I are having quite a lot of fun with each other.

Mr Jummy and ME!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Gourmet Night

According to wikipedia, gourmet is een typisch Nederlands fenomeen (a typical Dutch phenonemon) similar to the Swiss tradition of raclette. Basically you have some teeny little pans and lots of yummy little things to cook in your teeny little pans.


They make electric versions of these, but ours runs on brandspiritus (which is denatured alcohol I think).


Flames don't photograph very well, apparently.

We like to use mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, and other softer veggies since they don't take as long to cook. Smaller pieces of meat work best, and so we chop up some chicken, make little mini meatballs, and use shaorma or other strips of meat. This time I cheated and bought a gourmetschotel (a gourmet platter) that had marinated chicken, some little sausages, shaorma, mini hamburgers, and tiny little slavinken (bacon wrapped ground meat). Since it's just the two of us, I was able to split the package in two and put the remainder in the freezer for next time.

The small gourmet pannetjes (literally "small pans") are also a great size for pancakes. Not the typical American fluffy pancakes, but the more European flat ones that I would call crepes. They're good for little omelettes too, but we didn't end up using any of the eggs I put out since we had enough other goodies.

Special thanks to Martijn for pausing during his pancake flipping so I could snap a photo.


One of the nicest parts of gourmet is that it's rather laid back and slow paced. You can take your time and don't feel the need to rush through dinner. I highly recommend it!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- December 1, 2008

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

Last week:

Well, I didn't stick to my plan very well. We did have the Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup. It wasn't bad, but it didn't really wow us, so I probably won't make it again. Instead of the freezer drumsticks I just used some seasoning I had since it was faster. The fish sloppy joes turned into fishcakes (which were yummy, I'm going to make them again) and the spaghetti turned into a lasagna-esque dish. I didn't have to buy different groceries than what I had planned on though so that's all good!

This week:

Roast Chicken in the turbo, Brussels sprouts, and potato wedges

Won Ton Tacos- I have a North American Women's Club meeting Tuesday, so I'm making a huge batch of these and setting some aside for us to have for dinner

Cheesy Gratin of Brussels Sprouts- Looks simple enough, and since sprouts are in season they're dirt cheap right now! 59 cents a kilo!

Gourmet- I'll post more on this the day we do it. You basically have teeny little pans over flames and cook your meals at the table. It's really fun.

Something creative with the leftovers from the chicken carcass!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I made it!!!

Coming up with something to blog about everyday for NaBloPoMo (it still sounds dirty) has been a bit of a challenge. I realize that some days I really just don't have anything interesting to say. The little blue finger monster doesn't have anything to say either.


See him shrugging in befuddlement?

It's been a -good- challenge though. I have some set ideas about what I want to post and have a vague idea of a schedule for them (recipes on Tuesdays, for example). I think I'm also going to start writing ideas that I have on post-it notes! I will have a good idea and forget it by the time I get back to the computer, so that'll be a good solution.

Thirty straight days of posting- I'm glad I did it, but I think I'm more glad it's over!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Have You Seen This Bicycle Bag?


Picture 337


Name: My Awesome Bicycle Bag
DOB: Sometime last year
Missing: Sometime during the night or early morning of November 28th or 29th, 2008
Height: Average bicycle bag height
Weight: Not terribly much
Missing from: The front of my apartment building

My Awesome Bicycle Bag was last seen on the evening of November 28 in front of my apartment building. Details are sketchy at this point, but this being treated as a kidnapping.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of My Awesome Bicycle Bag please contact me using the e-mail in my profile.

If you are the person who kidnapped My Awesome Bicycle Bag, I hope you put some priceless very breakable object inside there and the bottom falls out.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I want to ride my bicycle!

I live in a country where bikes are more common than people. When you've got a population creeping up towards 17 million, that's a lot of bikes.


This is my main mode of transport these days. I have since replaced the headlamp (my bike has a headlamp!) because it was dying and I didn't feel like finding out how much the fine was for having a dead light.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

image created and courtesy of

I am thankful that...

  • Martijn's job is flexible enough that he can take the morning off and rush me to the dentist when my teeth revolt
  • we finally got the authorization letter from the insurance for my medicine
  • I managed to get through the second part of my Dutch courses without being jailed for assaulting the terribly unpleasant teacher
  • I have found a good group of ladies around here that I'm getting to know better
  • I have the awesomest family in the world and I get to go visit them for almost a month very soon now
  • I am getting to be a better cook (Martijn is probably thankful for that too)
  • the elevator (usually) works and that I don't (usually) have to trek up 8 flights of stairs with perishables that need to go in the fridge
  • after months and months and months of healing my ankle is finally to where it doesn't bother me much at all anymore
  • Martijn can completely crack me up laughing

I am thankful for...

  • super cheap voip service so that I can call and talk to my mom whenever I feel like it
  • my cute husband who works hard to support us and takes such good care of me
  • my mattress warmer
  • thick fuzzy socks
  • my mp3 player, Big Daddy, and audiobooks
  • my bike and the bicycle paths
  • lower gas prices
  • my kitties, even though they can't live here right now

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Case of the Meh's

I'm sneaking in right under the deadline here today.

I half wrote 5 or 6 posts but I really wasn't "feeling" any of them. I am battling after effects of the antibiotics (which I -thought- was dealt with but it CAME BACK) and as I was chewing tonight the crown on my tooth fell off. So I'm grumpy and a little bit miserable. I have a definate case of the "meh's" (yes, that's the technical term).

On the good side, tomorrow is a new day. Martijn will call the dentist, I will go get a couple of things from the health food store to help me combat my afflictions and with any luck things will be set right again before I know it!

In other news, we did have -actual- snow on Sunday and Monday!

It's all melted by now, but it was quite pretty at the time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cranberry Relish

It's no secret that I love Jello. In fact, I would probably be happy eating Jello for just about every meal until I started getting sick and dying from vitamin deficiencies. Even then I'd still probably keep eating it because it just glides down the throat with very little effort on my part.

Here's the problem: You can't buy sugar-free Jello here. You can find some flavors of gelatine, but not the real stuff, and certainly not sugar-free. So whenever I get my grubby hands on a box, it goes into my stockpile only to be used on very special occasions. My stockpile keeps growing (thanks Mom, Grandma M, Liz, and Bobbi) and I'm not eating it. This is really silly so I've decided to make a Thanksgiving resolution (I don't wanna wait another month and a few days til New Years) to EAT MORE JELLO!

This is my Grandma Russell's cranberry relish recipe, complete with Jello.

Cranberry Relish

You will need:
16 oz cranberries (I think this is a regular sized bag in the US, but the ones here are smaller)
4 apples, cored
3 oranges (mandarins work okay, but you'll want to use a couple more)
Rind from one of the oranges, grated
2 (small) packages or one large package red Jello (use a flavor you like- raspberry is good, but any of them work really)
2 cups sugar (Splenda works but it doesn't set as firmly, and I've found using less is okay too but it depends on your tastes)

Grind all the fruit together. If you have a nice big food processor, this is a good job for it. I used Little Choppy's choppy bit and the stick blender part to grind stuff up in batches. You don't want to completely puree it, it's good with a little texture left! Add the sugar and let set for 1/2 an hour. Make the Jello using only 2 cups of water. Let it cool down a bit and pour over the fruit. Chill until set. You can make this ahead and freeze it until you need it too, which is rather handy.

Check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays for more yummy recipes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- November 24, 2008

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

Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup in the Crockpot

Fabulous Freezer Chicken Drumsticks

Fish Sloppy Joes

Mini-Thanksgiving since we already celebrated on Saturday
I'm going to try to find a little chicken to roast, and we'll have stuffing and some sprouts!

I'm leaving one open day this week, but if I must cook I'm probably going to make spaghetti!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving Stuffing

I got this recipe from my Grandma Mortensen. I think it's the best stuffing recipe I've ever had!

Thanksgiving Stuffing
2 quarts (8 cups) bread cubes
1 cube margarine or butter (115 grams), melted
1/2 cup water or turkey bullion
1/2 cup melted honey
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sage
1 tsp rosemary, crushed
1 apple, grated
1/2 cup carrots, grated
1/2 cup celery, cut small
1/2 cup onion, grated

Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the bread cubes. Stir until bread is covered. Bake at 350 F (175 C) for 45 minutes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Celebrations

We had a wild blizzard last night.

First Snow!
Okay, okay, maybe blizzard is overstating it a little bit. It was a little exciting though because the only time it snowed last season was when I flew home to Utah in March, and then I saw real snow.

Living in another country during the holiday season can be a challenge. The celebrations and traditions are different and it's very easy to fall into being homesick and lonely. I feel really grateful that the North American Women's Club has a Thanksgiving celebration each year because there's no way on earth I'd be able to cook a turkey in my micro-sized oven, let alone everything else to go along with it! One of the ladies is gracious enough to let us invade her house on a Saturday around Thanksgiving and we gather together and share good company and good FOOD! She cooks the turkey (which our club dues go towards every year) and then everyone brings a dish to share. I took cranberry relish and stuffing! Both of which I will be posting recipes for in the coming days.

Thanksgiving Table

I really wish I'd snapped a picture when everyone was sitting down and all the food was on the table. It was so so good! We had turkey (of course), mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry relish, stuffing, corn pudding, salad with tons of veggies and a vinegar dressing, sweet potatoes, green been casserole, pea casserole (just like the green been casserole, but with peas), cornbread with corn in it, and for dessert someone made pumpkin pie and someone else made a pecan pie.

The best part was just getting together, like a big crazy family.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Coolest Postcard on Earth

I am really scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of what to write here folks, and I still have NINE more days to go.

I got a haircut.

Picture 1712


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kitty Wallhanging- in progress


In my horrifying stack of unfinished projects I have this little wall hanging. Which has really been in the unfinished projects far longer than I care to admit to. I put it on my 26 before 27 list so that I'd have some sort of goal. I got quite far with it initially and then got hung up on how I wanted to do the appliqué stitches. It's felt, so technically it would probably even be okay if I just let it be, but it didn't really look -finished- that way.


I decided to do a blanket stitch around the kitties. I've done quite a bit more stitching on it since I took these pictures, but I think I'm going to pull out the black and do it with one strand of floss instead of two. I did the maroon parts on the grey cat with a single strand of sewing thread and it's a lot less obtrusive. I want it to be visible but I feel like right now it's a little thicker than I want it.

Now since I posted about it, I'm hoping my dear faithful readers will occasionally say "Hey, how's that little kitty wall hanging of yours coming along?" Because then I -have- to finish it. I can't let you people down!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Picture 1675

This is a picture of a luchtalarm (an air raid siren). I marvel at the fact that I live in a place that actually -has- air raid sirens. I know that in some of the midwestern states they're used as tornado alarms and the such, but we didn't have them in Utah.

On the first Monday of the month at noon they test the sirens, and though they're now used as an emergency siren instead of an air raid warning, one of us will undoubtedly scream "THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!" If the siren goes off at any time besides noon on the first Monday, you are to go inside and close all the doors and windows and turn on the radio or television to find out what sort of ramp (disaster in English) you are facing and how to proceed. Luckily that hasn't happened since I've been here!

Speaking of disasters... The first time Martijn visited Utah, we were driving to my grandma's house and had to get on the interstate. As in many places you need to go up an onramp to get on the freeway, and so it was nicely labeled in big bold letters "RAMP." So this funny little voice exclaims "OH NO! We're headed for disaster!" I think my friend Liz and I are still to this day laughing about it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No Bake Cookies

I was frantically trying to think of something to make for dessert tonight that wasn't the standby "go to the store and buy two random flavors of pudding." Since I don't feel that fabulous I also wanted it to be something FAST. So I was staring in the cupboard and it dawned on me that it's been -ages- since I made these babies:

No Bake Cookies

No Bake Cookies

115g butter or margarine (this is the same as one stick in the US... I don't recommend using a whole stick of Dutch butter- your arteries will stop working immediately).
2 cups sugar*
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Before you start, line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set aside.

Melt the butter in a pan over low heat.

Add the sugar, cocoa, and milk.

Turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil.

Let boil for two minutes and remove from the heat.

Add the oats, peanut butter, and vanilla and stir until the oats are all covered with the mixture and the peanut butter is melted in.

Quickly drop spoonfuls (you decide the size of your delicious cookies) onto the cookie sheets and let cool.

I suggest eating these with a very giant glass of milk.

*I am going to attempt a half batch at some point with Splenda, when I do I shall let people know of my results.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday- November 17, 2008

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

I have lots of carryovers from last week's plan partially because we weren't around and partially cause we had leftovers one night. I did make enough Crockpot BBQ Ribs for two nights in a row and the Chicken Chili wasn't bad. I might try kidney beans in it next time instead of white beans cause I think they have a more interesting flavor.

This week:

Pasta with Cauliflower and Aged Cheese- I made this tonight and it was good. I had no light for a photo so I'll try to take a picture of it tomorrow when I eat the leftovers for lunch.

Boeuf Stroganof (recipe is in Dutch)- It's Martijn's turn to cook in his weekly dinner "club." Strangely, his turn means I'm cooking.

Curry Sprouts- Still planning on making this one, I really liked it the first time we had it.

Gestoofd varkensvlees met kidney bonen-- Stewed pork with kidney beans. This is a carryover from last week.

Ham and Egg Quiche- I still have the mix for this, might as well use it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Trekking through Zeeland

Today the weather ended up being okay enough that we could go do our geocache! It was in a nice area along the coast and I snagged a marble out of it and placed a little stuffed turtle inside.

We needed to do a little bit of calculating to find the final coordinate, and since there were no tables handy, Martijn made use of my back. I told him to never say I didn't do anything for him!

Picture 1684

I seem to be coming down with something, so I slept a good part of the afternoon and felt a bit better afterwards. I think I'm going to lay low this week and hopefully I'll feel better in time for the Thanksgiving celebration that the North American Women's Club is doing on Saturday. I'm bringing the stuffing and the cranberry relish!

Here are some more pictures of our treks, and a sea urchin (it was dead)!

Picture 1679

Picture 1676

Picture 1683

Saturday, November 15, 2008


If you were to gauge how interesting my life is by the amount of traveling I've done in November, you might conclude that it is very interesting indeed. You would, of course, be wrong.

Martijn's folks booked a place in Zeeland for the weekend, and that's where we are now. It's not bad, but I don't find it to be as cozy as the bungalow we stayed at in Texel.


Zeeland is the south-westernmost province in The Netherlands and is made up of several islands and a strip of land that looks like it should really be in Belgium. Much of the province is below sea level and is actually reclaimed land. Wikipedia has a rather interesting article about the Delta Works which is the name of the projects built in the southwest of the country to protect it from flooding.

We did one geocache today and then took a nice walk along the beach. Afterwards, we headed to Goes to pick up my sister in law from the train station. If the weather holds out, we'll do another geocache tomorrow and then head home on Monday morning.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tortilla Pie

Tortilla Pie

4 tortillas, I used flour ones because that's what I can buy here
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 small can (70 gram) tomato paste
1 lb ground beef (really, I think you could cut this in half and not miss it)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 can corn
1 can tomatoes (can be whole or chopped, if they're whole just smash them up)
1 can* chickpeas
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced thinly
1 cup shredded cheese

I have made this in a round casserole dish with no problem, but it really looks awesome if you use a springform pan (you can see the layers of deliciousness).

Pour a little olive oil into your pan and add the onion, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Stir in tomato paste, then add hamburger and garlic. Cook the hamburger until it's done, and drain any excess oil. Remove the hamburger mix from the pan and toss in the zucchini slices. Let those cook for a few minutes until they start getting tender. Add the corn, chickpeas, and tomatoes to the mix. Stir in the hamburger mixture.

Put 1 tortilla in the bottom of your springform pan. Spread 1/3 of the veggie/beef mixture and sprinkle with a small amount of cheese. Repeat twice, and then add one more tortilla on top and sprinkle liberally with the remaining amount of cheese. Bake in a 175C oven for about 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite salsa and guacamole, and a little sour cream.

*I used dry chickpeas. 1/2 cup dried beans will yeild about 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans, which is exactly what you need for this recipe.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why I'm not an artist

It's only day 13 of NaBloPoMo and I'm running out of things to say.

So I drew you a picture...


It's a portrait of Baron von Sockmeister.

He didn't approve.

Picture 1108

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ribbon Blankie

I was invited to a baby shower in a couple of weeks and started having this panicked feeling about what I was going to do for a gift. For many of the recent (uh, recent being before I moved) showers I've attended, I'd put together diaper cakes. I had it down to a science and I knew where to buy the most economical supplies for said diaper cakes. Here I struggle to find GROCERIES sometimes, so I decided that probably wasn't an option for this one. I was kicking around the idea of making a teddy bear, but quite frankly my teddy bear skills are still in their infancy and I didn't want to give a bear to a child who would be merrily playing with it only to have it's head fall off or one of the limbs detach. Talk about trauma!

So I was at the thrift store browsing through the fabric that they sometimes have and I spotted a very bright funky piece of fabric. I asked Martijn if he thought it was unisex-ish enough for a boy gift and he said yes. Now I just needed to figure out what to do with it! I did a little brainstorming and decided it would be perfect for one of those little ribbon tag blankets. I went to my favorite store on the planet, the Smitje (a shop with every kind of crazy little sewing notion you can think of) to get some ribbon, and to the market to get a piece of fleece for the backing.

Since it was probably going to be barfed on at some point in it's life, I prewashed all the fabric and ribbons and dried them in the dryer to make sure there wouldn't be future shrinkage. I cut a 20 inch square from both the cotton and the fleece, and then cut all the ribbons I'd found into 5 inch pieces.

Picture 1663

Then I folded the ribbons in half and pinned them to the right side of the cotton fabric. To make the sides somewhat even, I found the center of each edge and placed the striped ribbon exactly in the middle. I then measured two inches from either side to place the next two ribbons, and then two inches out again from there. That seemed to work pretty well, but if all of my ribbons had been as wide as the yellow one or the striped one, I might've used less ribbons per side.

Picture 1664

Next, just lay the fleece right side down onto your square and pin it. Stitch around the outside edges using about a 3/8" seam allowance. For extra security you can reverse over the ribbons, but I found it faster to just go around the whole thing twice. Make sure to leave an open edge for turning it right side out! Turn it right side out and poke the corners out so that they lay nice. With the bulkiness of the fleece, mine had a slightly rounded edge. Whip stitch up the hole you left to turn it right side out. Then top stitch around the outer edge. I used a decorative stitch because I could, but it's certainly not necessary.

Ribbon blankie
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