Monday, August 31, 2009

Mini Cheese Tartlets

Every month we have a potluck for the North American Women's group here in Eindhoven, so I try to come up with something new to take. It needs to travel well, since 90% of the time I'm going by bike. Certain things just don't look terribly pretty after they've been jostled around for a half an hour on a bike rack. Luckily, you people see the before bike carnage photos. That said, I don't think these babies will have that problem.

Cheese Tartlets

I started out thinking that I was going to make a taco ring, but after I bought the crescent rolls I decided to do something a little easier to transport.

You'll Need:

1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough*
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used swiss for these)
2 green onions, chopped
1 roasted red pepper (roast your own, or used jarred), chopped
2 eggs
5 tbsp cream

Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F).

Unroll the dough and make a large rectangle. Press the perforations together to form one large piece. Cut rectangle into 3-4" squares. I got 18 from my dough, but I know cans of dough are different sizes so you may end up with more or less.

Grease a muffin tin and lay each square of dough into a muffin cup. The corners will stick out of the tops. Sprinkle a little bit of cheese in the bottom of each muffin cup. Then a few pieces of green onion, and a small amount of the red pepper. There isn't really a set amount to add, just eyeball it and distribute things evenly.

Next, whisk the egg and the cream into a small bowl. Spoon about a tablespoon of the egg mixture into each muffin cup. If you have a bit leftover, just distribute it through the cups, but don't add too much liquid or it'll puff too much and flow out of the muffin tin.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the dough is a nice golden brown.

*Puff pastry would work too, but you'll get a slightly different texture in the dough.

You really could put whatever the heck you felt like in these. I think it'd be fun to experiment with different savory fillings, as well as making a nice little dessert of them.

For more goodies and recipes check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesday @ Blessed With Grace and Tasty Tuesday @ Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- August 31, 2009

It's time once again for another fun filled Menu Plan Monday!

Last week went sortof according to plan. I shall bullet my thoughts, since I am in a using bullets phase.

  • The 44 Clove Garlic Soup was good, as expected!

  • The Endive Salad wasn't too bad, though I'm not sure that I'm a huge endive lover. I think I need to try it a few other ways before I make my decision.

  • As for the Crockpot Coconut Curry Chicken... well, I'm not 100% convinced. It wasn't gross, but it certainly wasn't my favorite thing I've ever cooked. It seemed like it was missing some sort of ingredient that would've made my tastebuds dance.

  • The Greek Chicken with Cheese, however, was pretty tasty. I like chicken recipes that can be made on the stove!

  • I cut the spaghetti squash in half to make it the other day and it was rotting from the inside out and the stem end was all mushy and weird. I don't know what happened, but we didn't eat it.

  • Baked Falafels are going on this weeks menu since I didn't get to them- again!

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

As for this week:

Baked Falafels- I made these for dinner tonight, so YES I FINALLY GOT TO THEM!

Peppers and Eggs- This is basically just scrambled eggs with bell peppers. I'll serve it with some salsa on top of tortillas.

White Asparagus- We have some white asparagus in the freezer and it is taking up A LOT of space. I'm going to bat my eyelashes at Martijn and ask him if he'll cook it for us!

I'm participating in Sarah's Food Network Chefs Cooking Challenge over at I Blame My Mother, so watch for that food post on Wednesday! I'm keeping it a secret until then but I do have my recipe picked out.

The supermarket has their fresh pasta and sauce on sale this week buy one get one free so I'm going to get some ravioli and tomato sauce.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cruise Through the Binnendieze

Den Bosch was founded on a delta area and recieved it's city rights in 1185. In order to protect itself against enemy attacks, a fortified city wall was built. Due to the relatively small area the wall enclosed, in the 14th century, another wall was built. This new wall enclosed the river branches into the city. The system of inner-city waterways is called the Binnendieze.

The town continued to expand, but for safety reasons, citizens weren't allowed to build outside of the city walls. Instead, they began to build over the waterways. 12 kms of waterways, 20 crossings, and more than 100 bridges made up the Binnendieze. In addition to being an important trade route, the Binnendieze was also used in leather, metal, and brewing industries and in households for drinking and cooking water and sewage. The importance of the Binnendieze began to decline in the early 1800s when a new canal through the city was dug.

Up until the 1960s, it was only being used as an open sewer and the city made the decision to fill in the waterways. That plan couldn't be immediately implemented due to the homes needing new sewage systems first, and luckily some people recognized the historical significance of the Binnendieze. Instead of being completely filled in, a vast restoration project began in 1973. It took 25 years and over 25 million euro to complete. Now 3.5 km of waterways remain.

Binnendieze Collage

All of this brings us to today, when Martijn and I decided to do the Historische route rondvaart (Historic route canal tour). More information on the tours can be found on the Kring Vrienden van 's Hertogenbosch website (in Dutch). I totally recommend doing this, I really enjoyed myself!

Picture 2792

Picture 2781

Picture 2782

Binnendieze Buildings

I hope you enjoyed this Sunday in My Someone Else's City! Click the link below to go to Unknown Mami's blog and see more!

Unknown Mami

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fragmented Freewrites- August 28, 2009

I've decided to combine "Friday Fragments" and "Friday's Freewrite" into "Fragmented Freewrites" in my head, and if I get really ambitious I'll change the blog tag to reflect this! The little bits and pieces from the week that don't justify an entire post on their own, random thoughts you have while you're in the shower, and/or funny things you read or hear on the street all make great fragments. Read more about it by clicking on the link buttons at the bottom of my post.

  • I haven't been feeling very chatty lately. I'm alright, I just haven't had much to say.
  • I got to see my friend Bobbi Jo on Wednesday. We went to the market, the oriental store, and to lunch. It was an awfully nice day! PLUS the weather was nice so we could enjoy being outside.
  • It's not looking likely that I will be getting my fabulous orange sewing machine after all. The lady is incredibly flaky and doesn't respond to e-mails. I might try one more time to get in touch with her, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm sad about it.
  • To make myself feel better, I went and bought two giant bags of orange bell peppers and put them in my orange and yellow bowl.

Orange Peppers
  • I also got some orange and hot pink flowers, but I didn't take a picture of those (yet).
  • I'm so excited, my dad finally got his passport so he can come visit! My mom has already been here once, so it'll be fun to have her here again and to have my dad come. It probably won't be for several months but it's something to look forward to!
  • I've been toying with the idea of changing the layout and design of my blog but haven't made any concrete decisions. I'm having troubles designing a banner that I like, which is holding everything up. I have a pretty funny picture that would make a good header, but the colors in it are more blue and I don't think I really want a blue blog. I'll have to play with it some more and see what I can come up with.
  • I got a -wee- bit engrossed in the new Professor Layton game on my DS and passed it already. I really should've paced myself because the new Mario game doesn't come out until September 14.
  • We should be having a pretty laid back weekend. Martijn wants to go to the city center and do some window shopping tomorrow and Sunday we may go to Den Bosch to do a historical tour. Both of these things hinge on the weather being decent, so keep your fingers crossed!

Join on in by clicking on the buttons below!

Friday Fragments? is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

The Honest Scrap Award given to me by Christi at The Journey (she also has a cooking blog here) ! I'm quite flattered, especially as I'm terrible at passing these things along. I am trying to turn over a new leaf and be a better blog award getter! I kinda like Mrs 4444's slightly wicked approach to receiving awards- she makes you do a stupid human trick before she'll pass it along. I however, will do no such naughty thing in this case!

Here are the rules:

In accepting this award, I need to do the following:
1) Say thanks and give a link to the presenter of the award.
2) Share "ten honest things" about myself.
3) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.
4) Tell those 7 people that they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving.

In no particular order whatsoever, here are 10 honest things about myself:
  • I am useless at coming up with things for these lists. If I repeat some from past lists, I apologize. I'm really just hoping people that read my blog have the memory span of a goldfish (quite like myself, actually) and will always think that I've come up with new and fabulous content.
  • I don't have a drivers license here. My Utah license is renewed and valid, but it's not good here after I've been here 6 months... which I think is kinda silly. I mean, they let you drive on it for 6 months but then suddenly say "You need to take some courses and pass the drivers exams." Either make me do the exams up front or don't make me do them at all I say! Here's the super honest part of this tidbit: I'm not sure I want to drive here. Drivers here scare the hell out of me.
  • I really really want one of my friends to name one of their children after me. They're all having babies left and right, but no one will do it! Kim's a perfectly good name, and it's even uni-sex.
  • Sometimes I can't tell if Martijn is pulling my leg or telling me the honest truth about something. I never believe him when I should, and totally fall for it when I shouldn't.
  • I'm forgetting how to speak proper English. The worst part is, my Dutch is still terrible! Now I'm unintelligible in two languages, it's patheic really.
  • I have lots of plans for when I become filthy rich. I am still on the lookout for a money tree.
  • I need to figure out a new trade. Being a salesperson isn't very useful if your vocabulary parallels that of a mute 3 year old. I'm thinking of being a cobbler, but how do you even get into that trade? I don't know of any elves that could get me into the business.
  • If you don't hear from me for the next few days it is because I have been sucked into Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box. I figure out the puzzles Martijn can't, and he figures out the ones that I can't. We're a brilliant team!
  • My hair is awfully short right now, and I'm considering if I could get away with the ever so popular bedhead hairdo. I'm pretty sure if I tried it Martijn would get that "yes dear, whatever you say" look that he gets when he's thinking "are you completely bonkers?"
  • I considered accidentally omitting the rule about posting 10 honest things about myself. That's not very honest now is it?

I am now going to bestow this lovely award upon the following bloggers:

Julia of Brainella the Librarian- Check out her pottery, it's seriously amazing folks.

Kelly of (un)Deniably Domestic- I came across this blog in my perusals of the Vintage Thingie Thursday link-ups. She makes terribly cute knit hats. Am I too old for an apple hat?

Alea of Premeditated Leftovers- This blog has made me extremely conscious of my food waste and how I can make a better effort to use things up instead of throwing them away! She's got some yummy recipes posted too.

Katie Lane of Sunshine and Bubblegum- Katie Lane is the brains behind Traveling the Blogosphere.

Keetha ofKeepie DaNieces Eclectic Stuff- I love reading her VTT posts, they kinda make me want to sneak over and fill my pockets. I wouldn't, but I'd think about it!

Shari of My Practically Perfect Life- I'm not sure which one of us found the other first, but she's been a very supportive friend and I really appreciate it! I love how blogging brings people together.

And my cute friend Leslie who I had a glorious locker partner friendship with in High School. It's really smart to pick someone a foot shorter than you as a locker partner, you can both be in there at the same time and not even notice each other!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- August 24, 2009

I only made one new thing last week, the Zucchini, Olive, and Cheese Quesadillas. They were alright but both Martijn and I thought it could've used a little something extra. I did end up using the feta, so they weren't boring because I omitted a key ingredient!

I posted a quickie how to of the Salsa Crockpot Chicken on the bottom of my latest Friday Fragments post.

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

This week:

Endive Salad and 44 Clove Garlic Soup- This soup will make the house smell for the rest of the week but SOMEONE has been hinting that I haven't made it for a long time and they think I ought to... I'm not naming names, but he looks a lot like Martijn.

Crockpot Coconut Curry Chicken- I seem to have a plethora of random chicken parts in my freezer, so I'm trying to use them up. I thought this looked interesting!

Baked Falafels- Repeat from last week, I didn't get to it.

Greek Chicken with Cheese- Again with the gobs of chicken, plus I have some feta from last week that needs to be eaten.

Spaghetti Squash- My in-laws are growing spaghetti squash in their garden this year and so I have one to try. I've not made it before, so I haven't decided what I'm going to do quite yet. Just that we'll be having spaghetti squash one night this week!

What are YOU eating this week?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sundays in My City: Eindhoven Railway Station

Today's Sundays in My City is brought to you by the grumbly in my tummy that asked for a döner kebab sandwich for lunch. The kebab place is at the train station, so that's what you get to see!

Can you find my bicycle in this chaos?*
Bikes at the Station

This is the front of the station. It's designed to look like an old timey radio.
Eindhoven Station

See the antenna?
Eindhoven Station

And the dial?
Bikes at the Train Station

Stay tuned for next week's episode of Sunday's in My City which might be sponsored by something besides my growling stomach! In the meantime, go check out everyone else's links at Unknown Mami's blog.

Unknown Mami

*It's really there, but I can't find it in those photos either!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Fragments- August 21, 2009

Fridays Fragments & Freewrites are brain dumps. Bits and pieces of the week that you haven't otherwise mentioned. Strange thoughts that come to you while you're in the shower. Odd things that happen to you on the street. They can be completely random and unrelated and that's why I loooove them. It's easier for me to write about things in short sentences or paragraphs than trying to write an entire post. What can I say? It's because I'm lazy.

My in-laws came over for dinner tonight. I made the Rice with Mushrooms, Seafood, and Artichokes along with some zucchini bread before. You should've seen my mother-in-laws face when I told her it was courgettecake. I think she was convinced I had tried to pull a fast one on her! I'm glad I can share amazing things such as zucchini bread with them.

On Wednesday morning I got up before the crack of dawn to ride to Germany with one of the ladies from the NAWC. We were taking some friends of hers to an airport to pick up a rental car. You'd think, why not just rent a car in The Netherlands? Apparently, they saved €500 ($715-ish) by crossing the border! Anyhow, after we dropped them off we went to a little cute place called Kevelaer to do some grocery shopping. German grocery stores have a way bigger selection of a lot of things so it was fun to poke around and see what we could find. I bought some Schwip Schwap (orange flavored cola) for Martijn and a couple of food mixes and some guacamole seasoning for myself.


After the fun in Germany, I had to make a not as fun trip to the doctor to get moles removed. It didn't hurt, but they burned the one on my armpit off and that did not smell nice (the burning mole, my armpit smelled just fine thank you very much). I always seem to have mole-regret after I get moles removed because my body parts never look quite right afterwards. They put them in little jars which -I- then had to deliver to the lab myself. I'm not sure what's worse... carting my moles along on my bike, or the pee jars!

You know how after you say a word several times in a row it stops sounding like a word? I'm feeling that way about mole right now.

Orange Sewing Machine Lady flaked on me, and so I was feeling cross and grumpy and put out. She did e-mail me late the night we were supposed to meet, but I've been pouting about it and haven't responded. My mom told me to e-mail her back because it was stupid not to get it because I was mad. She's right, but I'm still mad.

After writing about Picnik last week and the problems I had been having, it seems to be behaving a little better. It doesn't like to do more than about 4 or 5 pictures on Nettie before it starts flipping out and making me restart Firefox, but it's not having the weird unfixable errors like it was having before. This is good news!

It was STIFLINGLY hot yesterday. Being from the desert, I can handle the heat... but this humidity is ridiculous. It was making me long for nice cool airconditioned spaces. It's usually about 10-15 degrees cooler in the basement where our storage closet is. I've considered on more than one occasion running a really really long CAT5 cable out the window and down into that room so I could just hang out there. I've not completely discounted it as being an option in the future.

I've had several people ask about the crockpot salsa chicken recipe. It's so simple I'm almost ashamed. Toss your chicken in the crock, dump in a jar or two of salsa (I wouldn't use fresh since you're cooking it all day anyways), and half a block of cream cheese. Cook on low 6 hours, then toss in a can of corn and a can (or equivalent) of black beans. Cook another hour or so and there you go. I like making it with leg quarters since I prefer the flavor of the dark meat, but that's a little messier than if you make it with breasts.

Join on in by clicking on the buttons below!

Friday Fragments? is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mini Raspberry Crisps

Since I've had the opportunity to pick berries this summer, I'm putting them to good use! These little crisps are made in a muffin tin. I imagine you could use whatever berry you like. I've tried blueberries and raspberries so far. I bet blackberries would be way good, and maybe even strawberries. If you're going to get all wild and crazy I think peaches or nectarines would be good too. I guess what I'm saying here is: Get creative!

Raspberry Crisp

Mini Raspberry Crisps

1 cup (approx) raspberries
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
Pinch of salt
6 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).

Mix together cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, salt, flour and oats. Add the butter and mix well.

Measure about 1/4 cup of "crust" into each muffin round. Press it into the bottom and up the sides a little to make a little bowl shaped crust. You will have some of the mixture leftover.

Bake for about 10 minutes.

Add 5 or 6 raspberries into each crust, and sprinkle the remainder of the mixture on top of the berries.

Bake 15 minutes. Leave in the pan to cool.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- August 17, 2009

I made everything on my menu last week with the exception of the Squash Chili. I just wasn't feeling it, so I've bookmarked it to try in a few weeks.

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

This week:

Zucchini, Olive, and Cheese Quesadillas- These look terribly good. I'm not sure if I'll use the feta or not, it's not really my favorite of cheeses.

Microwave Meatloaf- I'll make the full recipe and freeze some so we can have it on a day when I'm feeling very very lazy.

Baked Falafels- Haven't had these for awhile and I started thinking that they'd taste good!

Salsa Chicken in the Crockpot- If you're really lucky, I'll share my "recipe" sometime this week. I can't make any promises though, it's not a very photogenic meal. Martijn is in charge of this one, it's for his dinner group.

Rice with Mushrooms, Seafood, and Artichokes- We're having the in-laws over for dinner on Friday and Martijn suggested I make this. I suspect that means he liked it!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sundays in My City: A Ride Through Veldhoven

The ever mysterious Unknown Mami has started hosting a Sundays In My City feature on her blog and I'm planning on trying to participate at least semi-regularly. It's a fun feature and you can explore little corners of the world you might not see otherwise!

This Sunday in My City is actually "Sunday in my neighboring city that's really closer than some parts of the actual city I'm living in." Whew, say that three times fast!!

Here are some shots I took on a bike ride with Martijn through a section of the city of Veldhoven, in The Netherlands.

I liked the little balcony on this house. I think I'd sit out there and read a book if I lived there. I'd probably have to rig up some sort of chair umbrella though.

House in Veldhoven

This is a sign from a furniture store. I thought it was neat looking.

Furniture Store Sign

I liked the sewing machine shop sign! The machine shop is next to an Asian restaurant and has what I assume to be apartments above the stores.

Picture 2651

Unfortunately, this picture turned out a bit blurry, but I liked the colors so I'm posting it anyways! It's a garden center. During the holiday season they sell lots of cool Christmas stuff, so we like to go there and check it out. It's where I bought the pine branches for my Christmas centerpiece last year.

Picture 2652

I'm really mostly posting this picture because I took it while in motion and was rather impressed that I managed to not maim myself or others in the process. The "action" setting on my camera seems to do an alright job of things!

Picture 2654

I find it really interesting that Eindhoven and Veldhoven are within spitting distance of each other, yet the architecture of the houses has very distictive differences.

Picture 2657

That's it for this week's installment of Sundays In My City! Join in by clicking the button below.

Unknown Mami

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Fragments- August 14, 2009

It's Friday and that means it's Freewrite and Fragment time! Thanks to Mrs 4444 of Half Past Kissin Time and Sara at Ordinary and Awesome for hosting the fun each week.

I went and picked raspberries on Tuesday. I was going to make jam with them, but then I ate too many and there wasn't enough left. Or maybe there was and I was just enjoying eating them too much to bother with it.

Raspberry Fields

I bought a Picnik premium account a couple weeks ago and I can't decide if I'm happy or having buyers remorse. I like the features it has, but it's been buggy and annoying and generally is ticking me off. It does have a lot more features than Picasa, but Picasa doesn't break every 12 seconds... and it's free. I'm not giving up yet, but I'm sortof wishing that I'd just splashed out on the 3 month plan instead of the year plan.

I love my new bike. I ended up swapping the new seat for the squeaky one on my old bike since it was made for bigger bums and it more comfy.

Check out my Daring Cooks challenge post. It's a Spanish recipe for rice with seafood and artichokes.

I finally saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I got a ride to the theatre so I wouldn't have to cycle through the rain. Only it didn't start raining until AFTER the movie when I needed to walk to the bus stop. I would've gotten home faster and less wet if I'd just cycled in the first place. I can't stay dry in this dang country no matter what I try.

HOPEFULLY I will be going to get my magic orange sewing machine this weekend. The lady isn't the worlds greatest communicator though, so I'm still waiting on her to get back with me. I hope this deal doesn't fall through, I'll be sad sad sad if it does.

Join in on the fun by clicking on the buttons below!

Friday Fragments? is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Daring Cooks Challenge: Rice with mushrooms, seafood and artichokes

A few months ago, I came across The Daring Kitchen website. It was started by two ladies who decided to challenge themselves to make pretzels using the very same recipe. They liked it so much they went onto another challenge the next month, and thus the Daring Bakers were born. After awhile it looked like the cooks were feeling left out, so there's also a Daring Cooks challenge for those of us who are baking challenged!

Each month someone hosts the challenge by picking a recipe and posting it in the super secret forums of the Daring Kitchen website. This was my first attempt.

This month's challenge was hosted by Olga from Olga's Recipes (English) and las casas de olga (Spanish). She chose a Spanish recipe: Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish, and artichokes by Jose Andres. You can see how he makes the dish on this YouTube video.

While I was reading through the recipe I started getting nervous. For starters, I didn't even know what a cuttlefish was! I looked it up and decided it was going to be rather hard to come by so I started looking for alternatives. Olga mentioned using squid, shrimp, chicken, or vegetables instead. I couldn't make myself be daring enough to get a fresh squid and had settled on shrimp when I found a frozen zeevruchten mix that consisted of mussels, shrimps, octopus, clams, and surimi. I also decided to toss some chorizo in to give it a little extra zing.

You can see the original recipe on Olga's blog. I'll share my version with you here! We'll start with the sofregit and allioli recipes first.


Sofregit is a well cooked and fragrant sauce made with olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, and onions and oftentimes has other vegetables such as bell peppers and mushrooms.

You will need:
2 tbsp olive oil
5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (I used red)
4 or 5 garlic cloves, chooped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 small can (70 g) tomato paste*
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
sprinkle of cumin
sprinkle of oregano

Put all ingredients together into a high sided frying pan and saute slowly until all vegetables are soft. Salt to taste. I let this simmer about an hour and a half just so everything could blend and be fabulous.

*Tomato paste is optional. I only had 3 really good tomatoes and the rest were a little meh, so I added the tomato paste to give it a little more flavor.

This makes a lot more than you'll need for the rice recipe, but it's fantastic sauce and should freeze well to use for pasta and other dishes later on.



Allioli is a sauce made from garlic and olive oil. The traditional method involves making a paste from the garlic with a mortar and pestle and slowly adding oil until you get a nice thick paste. This was what I did, but I didn't yield much and think I should've added quite a lot more oil.

You will need:

4 garlic cloves, peeled
Pinch of salt
Few drops of lemon juice
Olive oil

Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.

Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)

Add the lemon juice to the garlic.

Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.

Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go.

Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out.

This takes time—around 20 minutes of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce.

A little of this goes a long way, but it really really compliments the flavors of the rice.


Rice with mushrooms, seafood, and artichokes

You will need:

Glug or two of olive oil
1 can artichoke hearts, cut into eighths
12 mushrooms, cut into quarters
2 bay leaves
125 ml white wine
150 g zeevruchten mix (seafood mix- cooked)
75 g chopped and fried Spanish chorizo
Sofregit- see recipe below
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups fish stock (I used fish bullion and water)
Pinch saffron powder (turmeric can also be used)
Allioli- see recipe below


Heat a glug or two of olive oil in your pan.

When warm, add the artichokes, mushrooms and bay leaf.

Saute until the artichokes are a golden color, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the wine and mix.

Add 3 or 4 tablespoons sofregit and mix well.

Pour in the fish stock and bring to a boil.

Add the rice and boil under a high heat for 5 minutes.

Add the saffron, seafood and chorizo and stir slightly.

Turn down the heat and boil for another 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let sit for a couple of minutes before serving with the allioli.

Daring Kitchen August Challenge

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Wheels!

On Saturday, we went to get a new part for Martijn's bike.

The sprocket that the chain goes around was in pretty bad shape. By bad I mean: "Wow, it's a freaking miracle the chain could even still catch on this thing."

A Very Broken Bike Sprocket

We went to the bike shop, and left with a little something extra.

New Bikes

Yes my friends, that is indeed the most expensive bicycle sprocket you will ever see.

Now I have a bike that's actually the right size for my crazily long legs!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- August 10, 2009

There weren't any deviations from the menu plan last week, so I'm pretty happy about that. The experimental crockpot chicken was good, in case you were worried.

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

Farm-Style Green Beans, Chard and Chicken Schnitzel

Squash Chili- This calls for yellow sqaush, which doesn't seem to exist in this country... but we have a zucchini the size of my arm from the in-laws garden, so I think we'll be okay there!

Potato, Green Bean, and Tuna Salad

Blueberry Pancakes

Lemon Chicken and Fried Rice- I picked up a lemon sauce thingie from the Oriental store, so hopefully it's good!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday Fragments- August 7, 2009

The melons this year have been fantastic. Sometimes you get them and they're flavorless and blah, but this year they are GOOD!

We were watching Mythbusters and Martijn commented that he didn't like the "new voiceover" guy. I had to break it to him that the "new" guy was actually the original guy. For some reason, Discovery Channel does different voiceovers for Europe and America but this new seasons episodes have the American voiceover guy.

One of my recipes was featured over on Meatless Monday.

Martijn likes weird music. Imagine Madonna... only to polka music. I'm not kidding. Though, I will admit to liking the GreenDay bluegrass covers.

Tomorrow will be a day of errands and more bicycle repair. We get to take the sprocket off of Martijn's bike and replace it. I'm optimistic that it will go smoothly, but don't be surprised if you start seeing some blue air around the Eindhoven region. You might want to plug your ears if you have a nervous constitution.

I HATE WORD VERIFICATION! I don't often post comments on blogs that have word verification on. I really really dislike it.

While we're on the subject of blog comments, I really hate it when I get a comment from a fellow Blogger user and I try to reply to it via e-mail and get the EVIL e-mail address. It makes me cry. Here's how you can fix it.

I got my organization project done this week. I'm so impressed with myself.

I am ALSO impressed with myself for knowing that the neighbor was asking me for a bottle opener when she came over earlier. I'm not sure if I could've figured it out this time last year.

There were several comments on my 10 Random Facts post wondering how I managed to burn my head on a refrigerator light bulb when I was little. You know the side by side fridge/freezer units with the split freezers? Well, I'm telling you those half doors look like doors to a secret wonderful place. A secret wonderful place that will BURN YOUR HEAD if you walk into them. Don't say you haven't been warned.

I'm sure if it wasn't a billionty percent humidity and HOT that I could figure out something else clever to say here, but my brain is a puddle and I still think my sinuses are filled with crud. Therefore, I shall end this posting with links to Friday Fragments and Friday's Freewrite.

Friday Fragments? is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Airing the Dirty Laundry!

My Week One goal for Operation Organization was the laundry room. Now if I'm honest, I don't really have a laundry room. It's more of a laundry, food storage, workbench, and miscellaneous stuff storage closet. Since it serves many many purposes it's important to keep it somewhat organized. That's also the reason that oftentimes it looks like complete and total mayhem.

Operation Organization

I spent a little while each day on sorting through some things and general tidying. Now, I can actually walk to the washing machine without tripping and falling on my head!

Operation Organization

As you can see, I have a few plastic baskets for things, but I'm also using a lot of cardboard boxes from products at the supermarket because they're readily available and FREE. I also discovered that we have enough haircare products and bodywash to last until 2032.

I know the shelf above the dryer doesn't actually look very improved, but I went through a bunch of things and found a huge empty storage bin that I can use somewhere else for something. I was hoping it would be huge enough to store our down comforters in, but it's just a tad too small for that.

I think for week 2 I will be going through some of the clothes cabinets in the bedroom. I asked Martijn if he'd help me go though some of his 900 million tee-shirts and see if there are some that can go! I have plans for some of the discards... maybe I can use the giant storage bin I found to store them in until I get to that project. We'll have to see what happens.

If you missed week 1, you can still join in! Click the picture below to find out more about Operation Organization, hosted at Coming Clean- Confessions of an Imperfect Parent!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

10 Random Facts

Lynette over at Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground is having a blog hop party today. The idea is to link up your blog and, if you'd like, write 10 interesting or fun things about yourself.

Here we go:

  1. I like British detective series! Right now we're on a Midsomer Murders kick, but I really like A Touch of Frost, Lewis, and Morse as well. I think the US is seriously missing out on something with these.
  2. When I was a little girl, I burned my head on the lightbulb of a fridge. Impressive, eh?
  3. I am a clumsy clumsy person. I've usually got at least one bruise somewhere from running into something... Don't get me started on how often I drop things. It's ridiculous!
  4. I get really frustrated when I go shoe shopping. No one who takes a size 12 or 13 shoe needs a 4-5" heel!!
  5. I really like monkeys. I would like a helper monkey, but Martijn says no because it might bite my face off.
  6. I knew some of Martijn's friends before I met him, but I didn't actually know that until I started feeling interested in him. I mentioned it to one of them and they said "OH! I know him quite well!"
  7. I like to give things strange names. Well, maybe not "strange" but overly obvious. Usually the name ends with an "y" or "ie". We got a little dustbuster vacuum and his name is "Little Sucky." Oddly enough, I haven't named my mobile phone or camera... but pretty much everything else. It's partially Martijn's fault though, he helps me come up with horrible names!
  8. I enjoy historical fiction. If you've read anything good in that genre lately, I'd love suggestions!
  9. The wedding present that I use the most is... My Nintendo DS Lite. I'm so being serious. My co-workers got it for me and it is awesome.
  10. When I'm filthy rich and have a giant house, I'm going to have a bathtub that's at least 7 feet long.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- August 3, 2009

I was a little bit of a slacker last week. I knew I wasn't going to need to cook more than a couple of days so I didn't plan a menu. I can't be a slacker this week though, so here we go!

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

Bistro Dinner Salad- I really liked this when I made it before, so we're going to have it again. I will probably make mushroom soup to go along with it.

Tuna Melt Pitas and leftover soup

Crockpot Salsa Chicken- I am going to wing this, I've found a couple recipes I will combine and if it's good I'll post about it next week. If it's not good, we shall never speak of it again.

Tortilla Pie- Martijn batted his eyelashes at me and requested that I make it this week, how can I refuse that?!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Rainy Sunday Stroll!

I was reading Friday Fragments last week and came across Unknown Mami's blog. She does a feature called Sundays In My City. The idea is to get out and share something about the place where you live.

So, I decided to take a walk this morning... in the rain.

First off, we have a pretty common sight- the bike paths!

cycle path

I wandered past this garden near a church and one of their planters was a bathtub. I thought that was pretty fantastic.

Picture 2601

It was nice to see some pops of color on such a grey day.

Picture 2602

Here are some of the houses and buildings along the way.

Sunday Stroll

I love the colorful brick on this one!

Picture 2614

I loved all the flowers on this person's balcony.

Picture 2578

Of course, after I got home it stopped raining and the sun came out, but it's a more interesting story if I can tell you that I managed to take all these shots while standing under my umbrella.

You can check out the rest of my photoset on my flickr HERE.

Unknown Mami
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