‘In the morning’ – that is this week’s Crea-Cross Challenge and if you ask a food blogger what he/she associates with ‘in the morning’, it most likely is breakfast. Okay, and probably coffee. Coffee is always on my mind, but in this case, breakfast popped into my mind straight away. There are so many great breakfast recipes. I thought long and hard about what I would share. Pancakes, bread, scones, breakfast muffins… I settled for: GRANOLA!
White Asparagus, a.k.a. the White Gold, is only available for a short period of time. The official season usually starts at the beginning of April and ends traditionally on the 24th of June (Saint John). Depending on the weather conditions, the first white asparagus might already be available in March. So most of the times, this vegetable is only (freshly) available for about 6 – 8 weeks.
Each year, our boys look forward to asparagus season. Once they see the first stalls being put up next to the asparagus fields, they will bugger me until I finally buy some. When we pass a stall, they will yell in unison ‘LOOK, THEY ARE SELLING ASPARAGUS!!’.
Spring is well on it’s way and summer is around the corner. That means fresh fruits, berries in particular, are available in abundance. I love to eat all kinds of berries just plain. This time of year, they are so juicy and sweet, absolutely delicious. But I also like to cook and bake with them. One of my favorite things to make? Jam! It preserves the vibrant colors and the sweet taste and I can enjoy them a bit longer. I recently bought 1 kg of blueberries. I know, that’s a lot of blueberries, but they were so good. I simply could not resist. But eating a whole kilo straight up was a bit too much. So I made me some blueberry jam!
This Lemon Crazy cake is egg and dairy free and super easy to make.
Most of you probably know crazy cake, also called wacky cake or depression cake. It is not very known in Europe, at least not by that name. If you search for it’s origins, the first documented recipes date back to the 1940’s. A time where certain foods were hard to come buy or were utterly expensive, like butter, eggs and milk. Hence the name depression cake. You had to make use of what was available and leave out what you could not get or afford.
Make super fast Soft Pretzel Bites using canned dough!
Making soft pretzels or pretzel bites from scratch is not really difficult. I understand that quite a few people find it a daunting idea to make a yeast dough. I used to be one of them. But I’ve learned that it really isn’t all that hard. It just takes a bit of patience. Yeah, I know, I don’t have that in abundance. Plus, you sometimes just don’t have the time to make a yeast dough and wait for it to rise. Or you’re bad at planning, like me (or was it time management?). Anyway, that usually means that I’m simply too late to start on a yeast dough.
Moist and fluffy coconut pineapple cake… put a little sunshine on your plate!
Sometimes, you just need something summery. Although it’s almost the end of April, summer seems a long way away. Spring has briefly popped up it’s head, with a few days of fairly high temperatures for the season, giving us all a feeling of summer. But… temperatures have dropped again and it’s cold and windy. It feels more like fall or even winter (with even freezing temps during the night).
A new way to use up overripe bananas: BANANA WAFFLES!
Yes, you read that right: banana WAFFLES. I have made a fair share of banana bread, bars and muffins in my life. I’ve used loads of (overripe) bananas in smoothies and ice cream (my freezer is filled to the rim with frozen banana). Or pancakes.
Not only do I love the taste, I also love the fact that bananas naturally sweeten your baked goods or other ‘concoctions’, which means no or less sugar has to be added. Always thinking of new ways to use up overripe bananas. But never did it cross my mind to make waffles out of bananas. No idea why not.
These colorful little Easter Nests are definitely a kid’s favorite and so easy to make!
This can hardly be called a recipe, it’s more an edible DYI idea. Since it was such huge hit in our house, I simply have to share. This is really easy. You don’t have to be a good cook or baker to do this. And the kids will be so thrilled! The adults too, believe me. Had a hard time keeping my husband away from them 😉
Nasi Goreng, Indonesian fried rice… a versatile dish that can be adapted to your own liking.
‘Nasi Goreng’ is a famous Indonesian dish and is very much loved by many Dutch people. ‘Nasi’ means ‘cooked’ and ‘Goreng’ means fried, so literally it means ‘fried rice’. Fried rice is of course known in many cuisines, but ‘Nasi Goreng’ mainly refers to the Indonesian variety. What sets it off from other types of fried rice, are the spices and the combination typically used in Indonesian cooking, like Djahé (ground ginger root), Ketumbar (koriander), Sereh (lemon rass), Laos (Galangal root) and Terasi (or Trassi, fermented shrimp paste).
Crunchy Banana Oatmeal Cookies!
Love banana oatmeal cookies? I do. I’ve made loads of banana oatmeal cookies, but more of the breakfast cookie type: thick, chewy cookies, that are rather soft. Not crunchy at all. That’s of course perfectly alright. I love those breakfast cookies to grab and run out of the house in the morning, when you don’t have time to sit down for breakfast. Or take them with me as a snack while traveling.
I love pancakes. Especially pancakes American style, i.e. small, pillowy pancakes. The pancakes we are normally used to around here, are rather flat pancakes and as large as a regular dinner plate. Nothing wrong with that, but I often can’t even finish one. And I love to use different toppings. So the smaller pancakes come in very handy. I can eat a few and top one with syrup (especially if there is bacon involved), another one with strawberry preserves and maybe a third with Nutella. Whenever the kids request pancakes, I mostly make my buttermilk spelt pancakes. Always a winner. But I had recently seen these lovely choc and cherry pancakes over at Food, Family and Fun with Alexis Knibbs and I could not think of anything else than chocolate pancakes.
Love fresh bread, but hate the kneading and long waiting? Or are you like me, simply forgetting that you wanted to bake bread and realize just an hour before lunch that there is no fresh bread in the house? Then soda bread is perfect for you. I really don’t hate the kneading, it can actually be very soothing and relaxing to work a yeast dough for 10 minutes. And the waiting time can be filled with other activities. And I love the yeasty smell of rising dough!
It’s been a while since I last participated in the Crea-Cross Challenge. Every week, Ilse posts a prompt on her creative blog Kreanimo and everyone is invited to interpret that week’s prompt in their own way. If you want to learn more about the challenge, get awesome creative ideas and meet other creative souls, hop on over to Ilse’s blog! There you can read the rules and find all prompts for the rest of the year.
Pancakes are always a hit. Whether I make them for breakfast, lunch or dinner (we looove pancakes for dinner, especially if I make a few with bacon as well), they always go down well. A kid’s favorite, but I think grown ups are just as happy as the kids when pancakes are being served. Our all time favorite probably are the buttermilk spelt pancakes. We make these a lot.
But sometimes, you need something different. Or you want to balance a bit by cutting down on carbs. Or you have friends over, who can’t have gluten. Then these banana pancakes come in handy. I had tried banana pancakes before and really liked them. But somehow, I hadn’t made them since that first try. Why not? Just hadn’t thought about them, really. Now lately, the internet is bursting with recipes for banana pancakes. And for me, the internet works very well as a reminder. Now I was being reminded that I had to make these pancakes again. And: this is just another delicious way to use up an (over)ripe banana. These pancakes are super simply, super tasty, grain and gluten free.
There is so much you can do with soft tortilla’s. They are so extremely versatile. One of the easiest and quickest ways to use tortilla’s is making wraps. You can fill them with basically anything! Just put all the fillings you like on them, roll ‘m up and serve. Also very portable, which makes them ideal to take to school, work, on a trip etc.
Now that’s cold wraps. How about warm wraps? Fill them with minced beef, pork, chicken or turkey, pulled pork or chicken, sliced steak. Add fillings and toppings and you have a mighty dinner ready in no time. Then there’s fajita’s, enchilada’s, taquito’s, top and grill them like a pizza…
Greek Yogurt Mousse
This is one of the kid’s favorites when it comes to dessert. This Greek Yogurt Mousse is light and fluffy and comes together in just minutes. I often use raspberries in this mousse, but you can easily swap for other fruits. Strawberries, cherries, pineapple, blueberries, banana or no fruit at all, like plain vanilla.
Now with Valentine’s day just around the corner, I decided to do something special. Not that we really celebrate Valentine’s day. The day is surrounded by marketing, flowers are more expensive than usual and why should we celebrate love just this one day a year? But I somehow do like all those heart shaped foods and sweet colored decorations. So I decided to serve this mousse in pink, edible, heart shaped dessert cups ?
Dark Chocolate Covered Mixed Nuts with Sea Salt. That’s a almost whole sentence for a tiny snack. No, not tiny, it’s a mighty snack. And I’ll better warn you straight away: these are highly addictive!
I’m kind of embarrassed to actually post a recipe for this. Can’t really call it a recipe, but they are so good, I just have to share this with you.
It’s really just a bag of mixed nuts (take whatever nuts you like), dumped in a bowl of melted chocolate, stirred to get all covered, spread out on a tray, sprinkled with sea salt and voilà… your snack is ready.
National and World Food Days
Do you keep track of all the national and world food days? I don’t. Well, I didn’t. I have now made a list of all the national and world food holidays and hopefully, I will remember to look at it in time. Most of them are celebrated mainly in the US, but are getting more known all over the world. Foodies are more and more taking these food days to promote their dishes and recipes. So how can I not do this and stay behind?
This week was all about our oldest son’s birthday. He turned 8 on the 27th of January and we had a birthday party with his best friends at an indoor playground, we went to a restaurant of his choice (sushi!), he shared homemade dino-cookies at school and we celebrated at home with family and friends. So there was a lot of cooking and baking going on this week.
We started on Wednesday right after school with hot dogs at home. Then we took 8 boys to this awesome indoor playground, called Discovery Bay. It’s like a pirate world complete with ship wreck, waterfalls, a suspended bridge (very cool!), sandy beaches, rocks to climb etc. We adults (i.e. mom and dad) actually had some quiet time, as the boys went off right after changing into their swimming clothes and only came to us for food and drinks (and the occasional FYI of ‘I’m going to the bathroom now’). They had the time of their lives!
I absolutely love Asian cuisine. Chinese, Thai, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean… I love them all. All have their own typical tastes, a great variety but also similarities. I love the simplicity of stir-fry’s, but also the complexity of stews.
In a busy household, with school, work, sports, hobbies and social activities, having dinner ready in a minimum of time is often crucial. And home-cooked meals can be a challenge. We do eat take-out once in a while or go to a fast food-restaurant, but we try to keep that to an absolute minimum.
If you’re living on the northern half of the globe, like me, you probably wonder why I am posting a recipe for ‘Frozen’ Hot Chocolate in the middle of winter. With freezing temperatures (for me, that’s basically anything below 20°C/68F), I’d rather curl up in a cozy blanket and warm up with a nice cup of tea. But, I’ll gladly make an exception for this! And I can still curl up in a cozy blanket, right?
Four days into the new year. Have you made new year’s resolutions? I haven’t. I don’t really believe in New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe in reflecting on your life and deciding to change things, in setting goals, making plans. But I don’t think this should only be done once a year and particularly on the first of January. Why wait for New Year’s Day to start to change your life?
I don’t know about you, but after all that baking, cooking and eating, I crave the more simple things in life. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to bake and cook (and eat) a lot, I can spend hours, even days, in the kitchen preparing the yummiest and most scrumptious foods. But it doesn’t always have to be that fancy and my stomach currently screams ‘NO MORE MULTIPLE COURSES’ at me.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking… ‘please, not another Christmas cookie recipe’. You can’t open any of the social media without being slammed with recipes for Christmas cookies. Or posts and ads for crash diets to get you in shape, just in time for Christmas. Never knew you needed to be ‘in shape’ for Christmas. No thank you, I’ll prefer all those Christmas cookie recipes.
It’s the festive season, Christmas is less than three weeks away. Which means getting started on all that Christmas cooking and baking. And eating…
Not really the most healthy time of the year. But instead of denying yourselves all that deliciousness, enjoy it! No, I don’t mean to go binge on it all. But don’t feel guilty for it either. Just enjoy a nice buttery, sugary cookie here, a luscious dessert there and counterbalance those with some healthy meals.
These are prefect as an after school snack or breakfast on the go…
Every week, I buy banana’s. Now the only one in our household who actually eats banana’s (the banana and nothing but the banana) is our youngest son. I do like banana’s, but to eat them as is, they should be just ripe enough to eat. They should still be mostly green. If they are all yellow, I don’t like them anymore. And somehow, they seem to magically turn from green to yellow with loads of brown spots overnight. Ugh.
After splurging on these extremely delicious, fudgy, decadent brownies, I needed to counter balance a little bit. No, really. I ate way too much of them. Just could not contain myself. I lose all self control around these brownies. Well, any brownies. No, anything chocolate. I can’t contain myself around anything chocolate.
Okay, losing track again. Back to counter balancing. Which is really, really, REALLY necessary. Cookies and carrot sticks. It’s all about balance. Right? Right. Ok, now I’m babbling.
When it comes to brownies, I don’t kid around. This is serious business. There are many good brownie recipes out there. Almost all claim to be the best brownie recipe there is. Now you can’t argue about taste. What you like best, is very personal. There are actually several brownie recipes I use over and over again. Which one I use, depends on the result I want to achieve. Small batch brownies, brownies for a crowd, do I want to frost them or not, incorporate cookies, peanut butter, cream cheese, fruit… Or use alternative ingredients to fit a certain diet? Gluten free, low-carb, dairy free… All good and delicious in their own way.
Hamburger Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole is an easy and delicious dish. Ok, it’s not the prettiest dish. But it does deliver on taste! The boys loved it (very important) and they keep requesting that I make it.
Ready in no time
As it’s super simple and ready in no time, it’s the perfect dish for busy week nights. Or weekends, when you don’t feel like slaving in the kitchen for too long. And as an added bonus, it’s low carb and gluten free. You really won’t miss the carbs, I promise, but please feel free to add a cup of cooked rice or cooked pasta into the mix, if you want to.
To me, cooking with dried legumes was always kind of a daunting idea. I love to cook, no doubt about that. And I don’t mind spending a lot of time in the kitchen. As a matter of fact, I LOVE spending a lot of time in the kitchen. But… with our busy lives, dishes should preferably be easy and fast to prepare and cook. No time (or better: patience) to soak some dried beans for hours, before cooking them… for hours. Until I realized that lentils are a different matter. Especially red lentils.
When I first saw this recipe for low carb caramelized apples, I was intrigued right away. Although I’m not a die-hard low-carber, I like to experiment with low-carb recipes. Lisa over at Low Carb Yum is really a master when it comes to low-carb recipes. Her recipe is for Low Carb Zucchini Cinnamon Apples just kept sitting at the back of my mind and I had to try it.
I was a bit skeptical though. Zucchini being used as surrogate for apples? Couldn’t really get my head around it. I slightly adapted the recipe and made it single serve. You, know, give it a try first.
This Cabbage à la Carbonara is a great low-carb alternative to one of the most classical dishes from the Italian cuisine. It’s an easy, no fuss dish with just a few ingredients. It’s rich, tasty and very comforting.
Cheese and eggs
I see a lot of carbonara recipes where cream is used, but that is not how traditional carbonara is made. Though I do use cream in my cooking, also for a quick carbonara-like dish, I made this cabbage à la carbonara the traditional way. As far as traditional goes without using pasta.
Say what?!?! Yes, it is a thing. Homemade peanut butter combined with white chocolate… this is heaven on earth!
Yep, you read that right. White Chocolate Peanut Butter. Outrageous? Yes. Good? Definitely!!
Peanut butter and chocolate. Familiar combo. But peanut butter and WHITE chocolate? Never had it, never even heard of it. But with so many things, once you google it, you get I don’t know how many hits. But I didn’t dare google this. Maybe I am the first, maybe there have been many many before me who have tried and tested this combo. Which most likely is the case. I’d like to be the mastermind behind this, though I seriously doubt that. But hey, I can have those dreams just once in a while. Because, really, this is good. I’m so chuffed!
Practically carb-free and high in protein, these ‘cloud bread’ buns are soft and pillowy, just like little clouds!
Cloud bread. I’ve been holding it off for quite a while, but I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Just google ‘cloud bread’ and you’ll get over 24 million hits! If it’s shared so many times, there must be something good about it right? I mean, something else than just being virtually carb-free and a good source of protein. And… it’s super easy.
If you’re trying to cut down your carb intake, you most likely start with omitting pasta and rice from your evening meals. You might be familiar with substituting rice with cauliflower, like I did in this very simple coconut rice or curried rice. It’s prefect for Asian dishes. But have you tried risotto yet?
Risotto was one of those dishes, I had not tried yet. I love a good creamy risotto. And although we’re not strictly on a low carb diet, we try to eat less of those little buggers. Mind you, carbohydrates aren’t bad, it’s just that we eat way too much carbohydrates for our bodies to burn up (and all the excess is stored as fat). Unless you’re an athlete burning thousands of calories a day. Which I am obviously not. So, I have to watch how much I consume.
Soft, tender banana muffins made in the blender. Tasty can’t get any easier!
I make a lot of banana bread. I bake one almost every week. We don’t like to eat ripe banana’s, and even though I keep my banana’s in the fridge to prevent them getting ripe within two days, I still have loads of banana’s that are too ripe for our taste. So I make banana bread a lot. If I still have banana’s left, I cut them uo and freeze them to use in milk shakes, smoothies and instant ice cream.
Low carb & gluten free Spinach Patties, delicious as appetizer or as a side dish!
This was on my to-do list for quite a while. I wanted to create a spinach patty that’s low carb. But it got so low on my list of things I want to try/doctor up, that I completely forgot about it. Until I saw a picture of spinach balls a couple of days ago. Usually, these patties/balls/tots are made with flour and/or bread crumbs. And I figured that I could easily swap these for another low carb option.
A super moist, lemony, low carb mug cake to satisfy that sudden sweet craving! Guilt-free!
Mug cakes. The new love of my life. Coming to my rescue when I get this sudden craving for cake. Which is usually later in the evening. And of course, those cravings hit when I don’t have a single crumb of cake in the house (yeah, I know, how is that even possible?!). And as I’m then the only one (my husband usually doesn’t fancy cake, only if it involves white chocolate), I make myself a single serve mug cake.
Celeriac is a great winter vegetable. Around here, it’s readily available during winter months and it’s fairly cheap. It’s great as addition to or a sub for mashed potatoes and it makes a great comforting soup. Or cut into cubes and roasted in the oven, it makes another great side. It really is a versatile root. And as I’m kind of into spiralizing these days, I thought I’d put my spiralizer to work and make celeriac noodles.
Ever heard of blondies? It’s like the blonde sister of a brownie. Sweet, fudgy, totally not good for you. A treat I tremendously enjoy. But just once in a while. And as it’s really one of my favourite treats, I decided to make a somewhat healthier version.
Not only did I swap a few ingredients for a little bit healthier options (let’s be real though, it’s still cake with sugar), I only made it small. No overeating. Unless you eat the whole thing in one go. If you think this is too small, simply double the recipe.