This recipe goes out to my good friend Tobes and anyone who has to pack a lunch.  Not all of us can be like Mr. F and eat a peanut butter sandwich for lunch ever single day of his life since grade 7.  Every. Single. Day.  This is incredible.  He amazes me in several ways and this one is right up there.  He even told me once that he still looks forward to eating it every morning. Wha?!

Well, for those of us who need some variety in our brown bags, here’s a packable salad. I call it greek inspired because I don’t really know what is considered Greek, but I do know the flavours.  It’s got eggplant, red pepper, tomatoes and zuchini  with a vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon, garlic and oregano, all topped with salty feta cheese.  It can be eaten warm or cold and still taste great.  Chicken can be added to make it a heavier meal.  There is a handful of arugula (or rocket?) that may wilt after a day or two in the fridge so omit it if you want.  Overall, this is a good sturdy salad that is delicious to boot.  Let me know how it goes…..

Oh, and it’s been a while since I posted a photo of Little Pea – so here’s a gooder:

if you like to pack this type of salad for lunch try these out too:

Feta and Lime Slaw

Hail to the Kale Salad

Warm Salmon and Bean Salad

Amazing Thai Salad

Greek Inspired Bulgar Salad

1.5 cups dry bulgar (I use large size kernels) boiled according to package directions

1 eggplant, diced

1 zuchini, diced

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, finely diced

a pinch of dried oregano

1 chicken breast, diced (optional)

1 red pepper, diced

2 tomatoes, diced

1 big handful arugula

4  tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp dried oregano

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

Start by putting on your bulgar to boil.  Next, grab a large skillet and with an little oil, saute the chicken breast (optional), eggplant, onion and zuchini.  Add one garlic clove, a sprinkling of dried oregan and salt and pepper.

While sauteing, chop up the red pepper and tomatoes.  These stay fresh, so just throw them in a big salad bowl.

Once the bulgar is done boiling and the veggies are done sauteing, toss them all into the same salad bowl as the red pepper and tomatoes.  Over this, throw in the handful of arugula.

For the vinaigrette, mix together the oil, lemon juice, honey, oregano and garlic.  Pour over top of the salad and toss.

 

Have any of you ever been to Brazil?  I have not – but funny thing – I have two very special Brazilian friends.  How did I swing that?  Well, they were both here in the Netherlands in the exact same predicament as myself.  Our husbands followed their schooling dreams to the TU Delft and we followed right along side.  This kind of left us three women in the lurch.  What should we do while we were here?  Who will we find for friends?  Well, we all made our way to a little group called the International Neighbours Group.  The ING.  I know, it is the same as the bank, which makes it very confusing where talking about it.

The ING is a group sponsored by the university for foreign students and their families.  Every Wednesday there is a handicraft group.  Naturally, since I am keen on handicrafts, I was all over this.  And that is where I met Josie.  We found out that we lived in the same building and that she actually lived directly over top of me.  She was my answer to who I was going to be friends with.  We had coffee dates, we shopped together, we celebrated birthdays together and she was the first one I told about Little Pea.  After one year, she returned to Brazil and I was devestated.

Then along came Renally, another Brazilian.  I actually met her through Josie before she left.  Renally was fun, sweet and outgoing.  Who knew Brazilians were so friendly!  We became fast friends and did everything together.  She supported me through my whole pregnancy and was even there when I was in labour. Then, after her year was up, she moved back to Brazil.  I was heartbroken, but she has already been back to visit!

These two ladies introduced me to the Brazilian culture. They taught me not to be so shy and to reach out to people.  Josie and Renally will always be in my heart as those who were there for me in what could have been a very lonely life here in Delft.  Luckily, after their tutelage, I have made some other spectacular friends here in their absence.

Here is a recipe that Renally left for me to try.  Brigadeiro – a traditional birthday candy.  Super easy and chewy delicious!

ps. I am working on getting a recipe from Josie for Brazilian cheese bread, stay tuned…

Brigadeiro

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp cocoa (plus extra for coating)

sprinkles (coloured or chocolate)

mini cupcake paper cups

Start by melting the butter in a pot on medium heat.  When melted, add in the milk and stir.  Next add in the cocoa and stir until combined.  Continue to slowly stir with a wooden spoon while heating.  The mixture will eventually thicken.  Keep cooking until you can draw your spoon through the mixture and you can see the bottom of the pan.  The mixture should not fold back over the line from the spoon. (see photo)

Remove from heat and let cool until you are able to handle it.  With a spoon, scrape out about 1 teaspoon scoops and roll into balls with greased hands.  Roll balls in sprinkles or extra cocoa.  Place balls in the mini cups. THis recipe makes about 20 brigadeiro.

 

Hello old friends!  How goes it in the food blogging world?  I have not stopped checking in on you, but I am afraid I have fallen off the wagon.  No, I am not an alcoholic.  I am referring to the lack of posts.  It has something to do with my 7 month old, but really I have losts my imagination in the kitchen.  WTF?!  Where di it get off to?  I must search it out…

In the meantime, I did make something kind of interesting.  A soup that I threw together, on the first day of cold and rainy weather here.  For real, we just came off of a week in the high 20’s!!  Yes, summer was prolonged.  Ahhh, so nice.

This here soup is something that you can throw together in a jiffy.  (Hey, I just thought of something – is that why Jiffy peanut butter is named that? Because you can make a pb sandwich in a “jiffy”? Cool).  This is not one of those slow-simmer-for-hours soups.  This is a soup that you can get you slurp on with in about 20 minutes depending on how big you chop your veggies.  It has an asian flair with the sesame oil essence and the saltiness of soy sauce.  Get creative and add what you like.  Throw in a pair of chopsticks and it’s authentic 😉

Asian Noodle Soup

4 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water

1 chicken breast

1 leak

2 carrots

a small clamshell of mushrooms (button or other of your choice)

1 package thin egg noodles (soba noodles would taste good here too)

a big handfull of fresh snap peas

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp minced or grated ginger

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

Pour in the broth, water and the chicken breast into a large soup pan.  Add the garlic, ginger, oil and soy sauce.  Bring up to a boil.  Meanwhile chop the veggies (minus the peas) and toss in.  After about 15 minutes remove the chicken breast and shred with two forks or rough chop with a knife.  Toss the pieces back in.  Right at the end stir in the noodles and peas.  Let cook according to the package – usually no more than 5 minutes and then you’re done.  Serve with extra soy sauce and sesame oil to add if you like.

 

Look at this little foodie!  She sure would like to take a big bite out of her half birthday cake.  Don’t worry, we didn’t let her.  She’s just starting her solids with rice cereal.  Yum!  Ummmm, I mean bland.  I would want a big bite of this cake too if I were her.  She managed to get her hands right in it and squish it up.  Good girl.

This cake is something I have been whipping up recently.  I wanted to make those cupcakes with the cream cheese centers and chocolate cake outsides.  You know the ones?  I found a recipe online and they are called Black Bottom Cupcakes.  To my surprise, while I was making them, I realized that there was no milk or eggs in the chocolate cake.  Crazy!  Well, Wacky, actually.  That’s what it is called. Wacky cake.  This cake was apparently invented during the second world war when there were shortages of those ingredients.  Anyways, this makes the cake super easy to whip up and super easy to eat the batter with no salmonilla worries.  So, I’ve made them into cupcakes and now I made a cake!

I just poured most (we ate some 🙂 ) of the batter into a mold and baked it until the tester came out clean.  I mixed up a glaze and poured it over top for a thin icing.  Voila – the easiest chocolate cake ever.  Seriously – just as easy as a box.

Chocolate Cupcakes or Cake

This makes 12 cupcakes or 1 small cake.  It is moist and super chocolat-y.

1.5 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp instant coffee (optional)

1 cup water

1/3 cup oil

1 tsp vanilla

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Make a well and add the wet ingedients.  Mix with a whisk and pour into cups or into a small cake pan.  I used a small bundt pan.  Bake at 350 degrees farenheit for 30 minutes or until the tester comes out clean.

For a glaze, put 1/2 cup icing sugar in a bowl add 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Then add water 1 tsp at a time until it forms a glaze.  If you want to ice some cupcakes, mix together some icing sugar and cream cheese.  Easy peasy!

Yes you read right, fat free.  I know that is so gimmicky and doesn’t sound good at all, but they are – good that is.  This is one of those recipes that came out of my “Pink Book”.  I swear I invented it, but who knows, it was so long ago.  I can tell it was in my dieting phase, since it is beside all the recipes from Kelly-Anne – our nutritionist on the National Team.  I was never what you would call a skinny athlete.   I tried everything, but could only drift 5 or so pounds lighter.  I could somehow drift 10 pounds heavier.  I was working out 2 times a day, 6 days a week and couldn’t get lean enough for the physiologist to be happy.  I got shit reprimanded every time we had anthro done.  Anthro is the fat pinching test.  Yuck.  Now if you want to break an athlete’s spirit tell them they are too fat all the time.  As I grew older I finally grew a spine, stopped dieting and just healthy and my body was much happier for it.

What a depressing story!  Sorry.  BUT, this is how these muffins were invented.  And now that Little Pea is 4 months old now, it is high time I lose this gut.  Oh, and I’m going home to Canada.  Everyone is going to se the post baby body…..Well, with some exercise and eating right I can get back to normal in a few months.  In the meantime I will be snacking on fat free muffins! And salads and soups

Fat free because you use apple sauce instead of oil or butter.  They aren’t sugar free, but if you want to use Splenda or something go right ahead.  Although, I do promote keeping food natural.

Fat Free Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins

This recipe makes 12 medium sized muffins.  You can top them with a crumble or put some raisins or nuts in them.  This is just the basic recipe.  Dress ’em up if you like.

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 egg

2/3 cup sugar (you can try getting it down to 1/2 cup)

1 cup flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

First set the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Next mix together the apple sauce, egg and sugar.  In another bowl mix together the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until combined. Dollop the mix into a 12 muffin muffin tin.   Pop them into the oven and bake for about 12 minutes.  My oven is a little guy, so the timing may not be bang on for your oven. Please keep an eye on them and insert a toothpick to check.  If the toothpick comes out clean then they are done.  They should get slightly golden on the top.  Remember – if you eat the whole tray in one day – that is not dieting 😉

 

 

Whoopie! It’s Father’s Day.  Well, I could not resist…. Anywho, I was trolling my regular food blogs and came across this recipe for Chocolate and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies.  I have always thought that whoopie pies look absolutely amazing.  So big, so soft, so chubby, sooo decadent.  I also thought they would be so hard to make.  But with the encouragement of Shauna from Piece of Cake I thought I would give them a go for the best Dad of the best little girl.  Aaaand, Mr. F loves himself some PB.  He loves it so much that he has continued to eat a peanut butter sandwich for lunch everyday since he was in gr. 7 or something ridiculous like that.  He even told me once that he still looks forward to sinking his teeth into it at lunch time.  Now that is love.  Almost as much as I love him. Gush! Cring!

It may be a little late to make these pies for your Dad or your hubby on Father’s Day, but if you put your mind to it you could really whip these up quite quickly.  I’m serious.  They were way easier than I thought they would be.  They are all that I thought they would be, too.  They are a real Big Mac kinda bite! I cut the recipe in half – down to four pies – since there are only 2 of us able to eat solid foods in this household.  Here’s a link to the recipe and fabulous blog.

*** Happy Father’s Day Dad – Love you!

 

This year for Christmas I got a cookbook from my brother-in-law.  Smart man.  It’s one from the Barefoot Contessa.  I have always loved watching her on the food network and jotting down her recipes, but you can’t find those recipes online.  You gotta get the book.  So, I haven’t made too much from her, but now I’ve got the book….so you might be seeing a few in the near future.

The first one is a gooder.  I have made it several times already and everyone who has had it really liked it.  It sure doesn’t last long on the table.  Dutch etiquette is the reason I have made this so many times.  Here’s the rule: if someone is dropping by or coming over, tea and/or coffee and something to nibble on are a must.  It is considered rude not to have something to share.  Since I don’t love the preservatives in the cakes sold at the grocery store, I try to always bake something of my own.

You wouldn’t believe the aisle of cakes at the supermarket here.  It is shelf over shelf of twinkie-like confections.  Super moist pound cakes, frosted individual cakes, pastry filled with almond paste, waffles and finger cookies.  It is an aisle devoted solely to the rule stated above.  Funny how our etiquettes infiltrate the grocery store.  I heard the reason that not too much baking goes on here is because it used to be considered bad taste to serve your own baking.  Something bought was the way to show your guests that you care.  I don’t know if that is still the reason or if it is just habit now.  Anyways,  I actually feel the exact opposite.  Something fresh from the oven is like a warm hug for guests – saying, “Thanks for coming over!

Anyways, if you are having friends over for a chat or you are out visiting someone in their home, it is a pretty nice “rule” to follow.  Trust me – people will definitely appreciate this super moist cake if it is lightly sitting on a plate next to their tea.

Blood Orange Yogurt Cake – adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

Ina Garten published this recipe using lemons instead of blood oranges.  I had a net-full of blood oranges and switched it up using them instead.  I must say that I preferred the tartness of the lemons to the sweetness of the blood oranges, but I am sure you could make this with any citrus you have on hand and it would be delicious.  She also pours on a glaze, but I omitted it since I think the cake can stand alone without any added sweetness.

1.5 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup sugar (for the syrup)

3 large eggs

2 tsp grated blood orange zest (2 blood oranges)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (from the oranges you zested)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit (180 celcius).  Prepare a loaf pan by greasing and flouring it.

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, orange zest and vanilla.  Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet.  Then add the oil and fold in with a rubber spatula.  At first it will look like there is no way to combine the two, but keep folding and the batter will combine and be a beautiful shiny pale yellow colour.  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

While the cake is in the oven, combine the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and the 1/3 cup freshly squeezed juice in a sauce pan.  Warm it on the stove until the sugar is all dissolved.  Let cool.  This is your syrup.

When the cake is out of the oven, let it rest for a good 10 minutes.  While it is still warm, run a knife along the edges and tip it out gently onto a plate.  I poked the top with a skewer but Ina says you don’t need to.  Drizzle the syrup over the top of the cake.  Do it slowly so that it will leak into the cake and not just flow over it.  Let it sit in the juices to soak up all the goodness.  Serve by itself or with whipped or iced cream.

Yes, I proclaimed this when I took my first bite of this dish. Mama’s back!  Lately I have been deep in sleep-deprived mode and I have been happy just to get dinner on the table.  Literally get anything to eat on the table.  Little Pea (aka LP) has been our focus for the past 12 weeks.  12 weeks!  How they have flown by.  LP has gone from 9lbs to roughly 14lbs and has developed a little personality.  We have settled into a routine of eating, activity, sleeping and some time for myself.  This time has been spent out in the stroller or sling getting errands done and visiting with friends.    It is ten after nine right now and I just got LP to sleep.  She likes to do this crazy crying sometimes right before bed.  That is awesome.  That was pure sarcasm….  But I guess that is where the expression “cried herself to sleep” comes from.  Besides that little tidbit, she wakes up laughing and puts her charm on for the remainder of the day.  She’s so cute I could just squish her!

So, I’m back, but don’t get too attached….I will be back and forth but hopefully I’ll be posting something new pretty regularly.  Maybe a Banana Cream Pie 😉  At one point, I thought this site was a feature of my past, but when you are in the baby fog, you cannot see the end so clearly.  At last, I am here.

I think I raised my fork in the air and yelled to Mr. F “I’m back!” and he laughed his jolly laugh and agreed.  He liked this recipe I came up with too.  I had some leftover arugula from a variation of this recipe  in the fridge and racked my brain on what to do with it.  Arugula is not something that we usually have in the fridge.  It has become more normal since being over here, but that doesn’t mean I really know what to do with it.  What do you do with it?!  It has a such a distinct peppery flavour.  So, I went out on a limb and thought that like spinach, it might wilt down quite nicely in a pasta.  Add a little cream and then some lemon juice for brightness and we had something going!  This is what I like to call a “warm” dish.  It’s not hot, but it’s not cold, it’s just right.  Just right for the spring.

What is your favourite dish in the spring?

Warm Arugula and Spaghetti – by me

3 big handfuls of fresh arugula

250g spaghetti

1 boiled chicken breast, shredded

1/4 cup cream

1.5 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp ground garlic (or to your taste)

s+p

Some grated pecorino or parmesan

Ok, here’s how I did it.  I put the cleaned arugula in a big serving bowl.  I brought water to the boil and cooked the pasta, drain it and poured the pasta over the greens. In the meantime, I also boiled a chicken breast in a little water and then shredded it with 2 forks. Toss the shredded chicken over the pasta.

In the pot that I cooked the pasta in, I mixed the cream, garlic powder, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  The cream will thicken a little due to the effect between the cream and lemon juice (ie – buttermilk trick).  The warm pot will warm the sauce.  Pour the sauce over the the chicken, pasta and arugula.  Toss it all together. The arugula will wilt a little from the heat of the pasta and the chicken.  Top with the grated cheese and serve family style!

To my utter surprise I have found myself totally indifferent to food.  For the last 10 days I have found myself completely enamored with a new little bundle.  Mr F and I welcomed our baby girl into the world on February 21.  I reckon the problem with the indifference to food is her cinnamon swirl hair, juicy apple cheeks, deep water blue eyes, soft as cream skin, deliciously sweet smell and her sugary little personality.  This beautiful little pea is the best reason to not think of my foodlova side.  It will be a while until I get a chance to post again, so feel free to check out the recipe box for some good old favorites. Until we speak again!

**picture via Tigerpup Cards

We are super lucky here in Delft since there are 3 market days a week.  The booths go up the night before and the vendors set up the next morning rain or shine.  They even go in the winter!  Well, winter here isn’t quite winter like I know it in Canada, so that may not be saying much, but they do set up on the super windy rainy days which is quite brave.  There are stands selling many things including: fruit, veggies, cheese, clothing, bathing suits, yarn, material, candy, specialty foods, spices, electronics and of course, flowers.

The one thing I am missing here is the fudge stand.  I’m sure they have some little cubes at the candy store, but it is just not the same.  In Calgary, I would frequent the Grassroots Northland Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays.  There was the bread lady, the kettle corn and the fruit and veggie stand with athletes doing the selling.  We always went for our regulars, but ever few weeks the fudge stand, Meg and Mom Fudge, would catch my eye.  Buy 2 and get 1 free or something like that.  What a deal!  I couldn’t help but try a sample or four of their handmade fudge.  Maple walnut, mocha, OH and chai. Mind blowing.  The lady told me to put it in the freezer and take it out when I wanted some.  She even suggested to melt a cube into coffee.  Good idea.

Needless to say, I had a small stash in my freezer through the whole summer.  Since it wasn’t in front of my face, I would forget about it and then bike home from training as fast as I could on the days that I remembered it was sitting there, chilling, just waiting for me to take a tender bite of the rich sweetness.  The good thing about fudge is that you don’t need to eat a lot at once to be satisfied.  If you do eat too much at once, you get what I call “sweetness in the belly.”  Sounds good, but it is gut rot from too much sugar.  Not nice.

Before the holidays I found this recipe on Cookies and Cups, my go-to sweets site.  The pictures alone made me want to make this candy.  Since I am treating these last few weeks of pregnancy as the chance to make everything I won’t have time to make after the baby, I got down to business.  It was surprisingly easy!  And the result is rich melt-in-your-mouth fabulousness with some oreo cookie crunch for texture.  Now I just need that chai fudge recipe…

Cookies and Cream FudgeCookies and Cups

3/4 cup butter

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup marshmallow fluff

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups white chocolate chips or bars chopped up

2 cups crushed Oreos

1 cup coarsely chopped Oreos (for the top!)

Start by preparing all your ingredients.  This comes together quite quickly and you don’t want to be caught frantically stamping Oreos on the floor while you are worried that your mixture is going to set.  Not like I did that or anything.  Prepare a 9 x 9 inch pan (or there-abouts) with tinfoil and spray it with cooking oil so to prevent sticking.

For the fudge, start by melting the butter and sweetened condensed milk together in a pan on low to medium  heat stirring occasionally.  When the mixture comes to a boil, turn heat down slightly and simmer while continuously stirring for 2 minutes.  During the boiling you might experience some separation.  Don’t worry, it will turn out in the end!  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate and stir until it is all melted.  Next add the vanilla, marshmallow fluff and crushed Oreos.  Stir to combine. Pour out into prepared pan.

Finally, take your coarsely chopped Oreos and sprinkle them over the top pressing them down lightly into the mixture so that they stick.  Slide the dish into the fridge and wait about an hour until it is set.  Waiting overnight ensures a strongly set fudge.  Yum!

Foodlova

I'm an ex-Olympian and I have a serious passion for food. I guess you could call me a food lova! What about you?

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