All Recipes, Cookies

Zimtsterne

Zimtsterne

Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars) are very traditional German Christmas cookies. They are a must on every Christmas cookie platter. You can get them at any grocery store in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but the cookie is also making its way farther across the borders. Some of the international stores of Lidl and Aldi already sell them.

Easy homemade

Zimtsterne are a macaroon-like cookie made with ground almonds and topped with a thin layer of meringue. They are slightly crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and spiced with cinnamon. It is a very delicious little cookie. If you can’t get them where you live, they can easily be made at home. read more

All Recipes, Gluten-Free, Sides

Pumpkin Quinoa Salad with Spinach and Feta

Pumpkin Quinoa Salad

I had made this Pumpkin Quinoa Salad for Noah’s birthday party with the family, back in October. That weekend, we (again) had the most beautiful weather and were sitting outside all afternoon. I always make food, that can easily be prepared or made beforehand and that will feed a crowd. The kids had hotdogs (always a winner) and for the adults, I had made a large Shepherd’s Pie and this lovely, seasonal salad.

Rave reviews

The salad got rave reviews from everyone. There’s sweet roasted pumpkin, flavorful quinoa (cooked in chicken or vegetable stock), spinach leaves and salty feta, all mixed with a simple dressing. When we planned a get together with the family for Sinterklaas, where everyone would bring food, this salad was requested. And once again, everyone loved it. So it was about time that I sat down and write the recipe to share with you all. read more

#MondayMusings, Random Ramblings

Swimming test: frustrations on the sidelines

Zwemdiploma A

Last week, our oldest son was up for his swimming test. He was quite excited and had been looking forward to it. We left early to be there on time. The place was already crowded! Was there already a swimming test in progress? No, there were still a few recreational swimmers in the pool.

Fairly small facility

The Wedert, a public swimming pool where the tests are held, is a fairly small facility with a small foyer and a small cafeteria. From the cafeteria and a window in the foyer, you can look inside the pool area. We thought we got there early, but the cafeteria was already packed with people, both sitting and standing, so I went back downstairs with our youngest. Daddy was already gone to the changing rooms with our oldest. In the foyer, there were already many people standing in front of the window. Though still just a few little swimmers had arrived. read more

All Recipes, Bread, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free

Nut Bread Mini Loaf

Notenbroodje

This nut bread was actually an experiment that turned out extremely well. As I was sorting through my baking ingredients, I found several open bags of nuts, all just scraps. Didn’t want to throw them out though. I could have just put them in a bowl and snack my way through it, but I figured that I could use them in a recipe.

Lonely ripe banana

There was also this lonely, overripe banana lying in the fridge. Yes, you read that right, in the fridge. I always keep banana’s in the fridge. Although there are tips on how to keep bananas from getting brown and turn from green to overripe overnight, like wrapping cling film around the crown, none ever works very well. It prolongs the suffering maybe for just one day. Keeping them in the fridge does not prevent them from getting brown, but it does slow down the ripening process significantly. read more

#MondayMusings, Random Ramblings

Snack Tag: what are your snacking habits?

Snack Tag

Merel, owner of Lotus Writings, came up with the Snack Tag a while ago. A tag in which you spill the beans about your most loved snacks and all other guilty pleasures (snack related that is). Alright, this sounds like this could be the unhealthiest list ever. Because snacking is unhealthy. Right? Well, it doesn’t have to be.

Snack Tag Q&A

But don’t worry, I’m not going to play the health guru now. On the contrary. I’m going to answer every question in all honesty. There’s no denying that there are quite a lot of healthy snacks and sometimes, I do like them better than the unhealthy kind. And, there really are people who actually hate a BigMac or French fries smothered with toppings (well, I’m certainly not one of them). Anyway, I totally liked this tag (as I love to snack, obviously) and decided to fill it out too. So here it is. read more

All Recipes, Cakes, Bars & more

Sinterklaas Muffins

Sinterklaas Muffins

Sinterklaas (or Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children) brings gifts to all good children on the eve before his name day, which is celebrated on the 6th of December. So on the 5th of December, late in the evening and during the night, he and his helpers will climb across the rooftops, to deliver presents all in secret, for children to find them early in the morning.

Exiting time

The weeks leading up to Sinterklaas are very exciting for all children. And for the parents and other family members, who will do everything they can, to keep this tradition very much alive and make sure the children believe in Sinterklaas for as long as possible. Wish lists are written, homes are decorated, songs will be sung and… loads of sweet treats will be eaten. There are many sweets, cookies, pies and more, that will typically be eaten this time of year, such as chocolate letters, speculaas (spiced crunchy cookie, kind of like ginger snaps) and Kruidnoten (spiced, bite-sized cookies). read more

#MondayMusings, Reviews

Photo on Canvas – the perfect gift idea

Photo on Canvas

After more than 5 years in this house, we still have no photos on the walls. I think it’s a combination of laziness and not knowing what we want. We do have a few picture frames standing here and there and we’ve recently hung up a few paintings. But we still miss a nice picture on the wall. We’ve talked about a photo on canvas, but we had not yet decided which photo.

Providers

During our summer holidays, we took a really cute picture of the boys and I wanted to do something with it. Once you know, which picture you want to use, you have to go find a provider. There are loads of providers out there. Almost everywhere, where you can print your digital photos, you can order wall decorations. How can you possibly decide which provider to use? read more

All Recipes, Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Sides

Roasted Fennel

Geroosterde Venkel

Have you ever tried fennel before? It is a wonderful vegetable, with a very distinct flavor that reminds you of anise. Some even associate the flavor with licorice. Fennel can be eaten raw in a salad or fried, grilled or roasted. It pairs great with all kinds of food: meat, fish, fruits and vegetables.

Roasted

I love fennel that has been soaking in a nice vinaigrette for a couple of hours, almost liked pickled fennel. It’s also great sauteed, but my absolute favorite way to eat it, is roasted. Its easy, it’s fast and delicious. Prep time is maybe 5 minutes and you need just a couple of ingredients. Roast it to your preference and you’re ready to dish up. read more

#MondayMusings, Reviews

Expo Dino World: top or flop?

Expo Dino World 2017

Expo Dino World in Brussels: we’ve made it just in time before the exhibition stopped. With two dinosaur fans, we simply needed to go see it. The boys had seen commercials that the world’s biggest dinosaur exhibition was going to end within a couple of days. Mummy, mummy, mummy, please let’s go, after Sunday we can NEVER go there anymore.

Fall break

Alright, even though we had already visited a dinosaur park, we succumbed. To finish fall break in the best way possible, we ordered tickets on Thursday night to go there the next day. We had to give a time slot in which we had to arrive, but after that, we could stay there as long as we’d like. Daddy had to do a bit of work in the morning, but with the time slot of 10 – 12.30h we would still be able to make it. read more

All Recipes, Cookies, Dairy Free, Gluten-Free

Healthy Oatmeal ‘Kruidnoten’

Gezonde Haver-Kruidnoten

Kruidnoten are a traditional spiced, bite-sized cookie that is eaten around ‘Sinterklaas’ in the Netherlands. Sinterklaas is based on Saint Nicholas, who was the patron saint of children. Sinterklaas is the feast that celebrates Saint Nicholas’ name day on the 6th of December. It is often celebrated by giving presents and sweet treats to children on the 5th of December, Saint Nicholas Eve.

While ‘Sinterklaas’ is celebrated in other countries as well, Kruidnoten are typically Dutch and have almost become an integral part of the festivities. The last couple of years, more and more varieties on the traditional cookie are hitting the stores. The most exotic combinations can be found. If you happen to get the chance, check out Van Delft Pepernotenfabriek, they have several stores now across the Netherlands. But be warned, they have so many great and unique flavor combinations (and they let you taste test them), your self control will be put under a lot of pressure there. I tried a few and managed to leave with ‘only’ three bags… Limoncello, Sweet Chili and Seroendeng (Seroendeng is used in Indonesian cooking and is a mixture of seasoned and roasted coconut with peanuts). read more