maandag 24 februari 2014

Something new: YouTube Video!

Happy monday everyone!

I hope you're all surviving the first day back at work or back in school, and I hope you didn't have any problems getting out of bed this morning! I had to get up at 7 am. It was just not the right time if you know what I mean!

Last week I've been thinking about about what I wanted to do for my blog, since I really like to try new things and trigger my creativity. Unfortunately my creativity failed on me, but the reason for that was perhaps that I was focussing a bit more on some other things. I'll ramble on about those things in a second but in the end I did manage to make something new for you guys: it's a youtube video!

Last week I had another one of those weeks where I didn't cook anything all week besides my breakfast. I know my mother would love to have a week like that but feel really disconnected if I don't cook my own food, I like to know what goes in it and the process of buying the ingredients and cooking everything is very soothing to me. I was also wearing a new (not necessarily pretty) accessory: a borrowed fitbit. If you're a bit into fitness you might have picked up on this hype, it is a little sensor that detects how many steps you take every day, how many stairs you climb, how many calories you burn etc. So at the same time I was focussing on moving around a bit more, but I was eating very unhealthy and I didn't cook anything... That seems a bit unbalanced, doesn't it?

This week I'm cooking again, and I'm also focussing on my fitness because I got some new running gear from my dad, which is a good incentive for me to go for a run. (By the way, if you are in need of some new running gear to get you out of the house, check out the H&M. I got the cutest and most comfortable top in bright orange with long sleeves and a little orange jacket to go with it and I'm soooo satisfied with the quality of the fabrics! And it's H&M so the prices are really wallet-friendly!)

My new flashy running gear :)
Back to the cooking... Most of the time I cook pretty healthy anyways, but I do like to bake. My personal philosophy is that if I have baked it myself it's not as bad as when I buy my treats because I'll end up sharing more and I only put in good ingredients in anything I bake. So when I finished my assignment on sunday afternoon I thought I deserved some little baking-time. I made madeleines again, and if you've been reading my blog for a while you know I have a blogpost about honey and earl grey madeleines, but this time I made lemon and poppyseed madeleines. This change is not really worth writing a whole new recipe so I did something else instead! I made my recipe into a little video!

It was very funny to film because I used my iPad, so I was holding it while stirring or picking things up, so every now and then you'll see me mis-grab something or just being very clumsy in general haha, but in the end it turned out to be quite cute, so I thought that would be a fun thing to start this week with!

I hope you guys enjoy it as well, please let me know if you do because then I know whether I should try to make these little clips more often! You can like it or comment on it or send me a message via twitter or via facebook, in general I just love getting messages from you :).

Lots of love,

zaterdag 15 februari 2014

These are a few of my favorite things!

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels,
Doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles,

Haha just joking! (Although I wouldn't pass on a good apple strudle!)

Happy saturday! 
It's weekend again and my mind has cleared up from all those stress clouds that were so dominant last week! The moment I know things are going well and relaxed again is when I start to notice all those little things that can make you so happy. That is why I am sharing those with you now, maybe you're stressed out and you need a little reminder of life's joys, or maybe you are already on a life-high, in that case we can ride that wave together! High-five! Yeah! (Did i just virtually high-five you...? I guess I did hahahaha)

1. First of all, I got my new glasses! Finally! I've been waiting for 4 weeks before they were ready! I don't really mind wearing contacts, but I hated my old glasses, so every time I would wear them I would feel seriously unpretty. Definitely not a way you want to feel because of something silly as glasses... But now I've got these and I like them ;). What do you think?

My new Vogue Specs :)

2. Yesterday I had the best valentines day ever, and the best thing about it was that it wasn't a big deal for once! It sounds really boring but I really like the security I have with Joost as my boyfriend, while at the same time we go out of our way to do all these fun things together. It's so uncomplicated! We had an excellent dinner though, tapas like they are supposed to be and a good glass of red wine for me and some beers for Joost :).

The best tapas in town!

3. I read somewhere that with celebrating valentines day we also celebrate spring winning the battle with winter, and I totally agree with celebrating that! Spring is about a month early (or so I read), but I started noticing little green buds and pastel colored flowers in gardens and fields. Best time of the year ever! 

Bright green buds on a tree

4. With spring comes a different set of clothes, not everyone might agree with me but I cannot wear the same colors in winter as in summer. In winter I wear a lot of burgundy, black, dark blue and green (and I think winter has been going on too long according to Joost because he starts to comment on my amount of dark clothes now haha). While in summer I wear more brights, corals, mint greens, white and light blue. My mother is actually a really good seamstress, so today we went to a large fabric wholesale store (the ones participants of project runway go to as well), and we picked up some lovely fabrics for a pair of pants, a blouse and a dress for me. The colors are so bright, you can only get happy looking at them! Love!

Beautiful fabrics for some summary clothes

And then there were all these little other things: shouting at the television because a Dutch ice-skater almost won a gold medal, apart from 0,003 seconds (Koen Verweij, if you read this, we're still so proud!!), finally figuring out a knitting pattern, treating yourself to a Starbucks cappuccino with cinnamon, and it goes on and on and on!

I hope I have inspired you a bit, let me know in the comments what you have enjoyed today and let's keep this happy-wave rolling and infecting many more people!

Lots of love and happiness,

woensdag 12 februari 2014

What I ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Oh what a day haha... This week I'm running around town entertaining a group of international students, mostly in the evening. What a culture shock for me! And no I'm not talking about the cultural backgrounds of the members of my international group, I'm talking about the 'being active in the evening'-culture.

As you might have read I had one of those writing-boring-essays-weeks again last week, which was the reason why I locked myself in my room with my laptop and my books once again. The world outside is so real, and cold, and busy. Luckily I have some time today to curl up with a blanket and experience the outside world through my window, safe, inside the house ;). Haha no I'm just kidding, but I am trying to cope with a never ending hangover, it started as an alcohol hangover and it continued with a lack of sleep hangover, do you know what I mean?

On those days I try to be a bit nice to myself, I'm never really strict with what I eat because I believe that if you keep thinking about all those things you can't have you end up wanting them even more, so I allow myself to eat a couple of things I normally wouldn't have.

What I ate Wednesdays are one of those blogger things, and I thought I'd join in to show you that I don't always cook gourmet meals. Good food might make you feel better though so I do choose what I eat carefully! We're only half way through the day though and I haven't had lunch yet, so I'll just describe to you the things I ate yesterday to make myself feel a little bit better while coping with a massive headache:

  • I started with water and a vitamin supplement, I don't always take those, only when I feel like my body needs a bit more... 
  • I was out of bread and I didn't feel like having my normal oatmeal so I had two mini raisin rolls and a cup of tea, if I had had the energy to cook I would have made oatmeal with water and raisins, some cinnamon and toasted almonds. 
  • Then I went back to bed and around 1 I did some groceries, so when I got back I had two pieces of toast, one with hummus and sliced chicken (such a yummy combo) and one piece of toast with nutella (and another cup of tea)
  • As a little snack I had a couple of 'cranchito snax', it's a new thing from Milka chocolate: corn chips (savory) covered in chocolate. It's really good but you can't eat too many of those...
  • For dinner I made something that I wouldn't cook for myself on a regular day, but a friend told me it was the best anti-hangover cure! I wouldn't want to call this a recipe because we stacked a burger and some things on a bun and called it a hamburger but it was an epic one so below this list you'll find the little 'recipe' of my creation. With the hamburger we had a couple of fries and a little salad to keep it on the healthy side! 
Epic hamburger by housemate Peter

1 soft bun
1 hamburger
an egg
curry sauce and mayo

We toasted the buns, caramelized the onions, panfried the bacon, panfried the hamburger, fried an egg, put the cheddar on top of the hamburger, put some sauce on the toasted bun, put onions on top, added lettuce and tomato, added the hamburger, added the bacon, added the egg, top of the bun on top and done! 

The egg yolk should be runny and when you're finished your face should be completely covered in food, that's the only way to eat it, I assure you! But it made me feel so much better that I had enough energy to go out again till 2 in the morning. When I woke up at 7 today I wasn't that pleased, but hey. It's only for one week. I will survive! 

I hope you liked this post, it was a bit out of my comfort zone talking about what I eat during a day but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. 

What do you like to eat when you're hungover? Do you prefer savory things or do you get a sweet tooth the day after? Please let me know down in the comments below this post or have a look at my facebook-page or twitter to find other ways to get into contact with me :). 

xxxx Floor

donderdag 6 februari 2014

Study food: comfort food (Spaghetti Bolognese)

Happy thursday everyone!

Oh naughty me... I should be working on a paper on Research Methods, I've only got 300 words to go and it'll be finished but damn it, I need to let out some inspiration first before I can finish this boring paper haha!

Me, not studying, in Barcelona, ahh the good times!

It is one of those weeks again, two paper deadlines and of course I've left it to the last minute to write them, I never seem to learn the trick do I? :P I'm not particularly stressed out either, I just don't want to do it, if I was stressed out I might have spent a little less time on facebook and twitter, but that's not the case for me this time! Still, most of the time this week I've been trying to concentrate on writing my papers and during those weeks I want easy, tasty comfort food. And what's better than making a whole pot full of delicious sauce that is too much for two people so you get to save a little bit for another meal during the week! It always makes me feel so satisfied... not having to think about what I'm going to eat in the evening and not having to do groceries every night of the week!

So last monday I decided to make Spaghetti Bolognese. Multiple reasons for that: it's easy, you can make a large pot, it's super tasty and it contains basic flavors that won't bore you after one night (which is necessary if you're planning to eat something more than once during a week if you ask me). Another personal reason was that my boyfriend thought he didn't like Spaghetti Bolognese, and I'm not bragging when I say this but everybody loves my Spaghetti Bolognese. I stick to a very basic recipe and I'm very keen on only using good products, fresh products, and I don't use any silly supplements.

In the Netherlands there is a commercial on television at the moment of a fake Italian chef who makes Spaghetti Bolognese with this 'powder', I've never really understood people who use powdered food... I've tried it, and when I first started cooking I did use it from time to time but the flavors are so bland and boring... With a couple of herbs, onion and garlic you can get so far and it isn't more difficult than popping a bag of powder in a pan with some water... So if you're one of these people who, out of habit, uses powdered food a lot, do me a favor and promise me to at least try this recipe. I can promise you that it is the easiest thing, you don't need a ridiculous amount of ingredients and you'll feel so satisfied and proud of the dish you've made from scratch!  (The only exception I make is for stock-cubes... It really takes a long time to make stock, and you can get pretty good quality versions of those stock-cubes).

I cooked this on monday and posted a little comment about it on twitter. A fellow blogger called 'perlenmama' commented on my tweet saying that she couldn't wait for the recipe even though I initially wasn't planning on doing a blog post about this week haha, but because she was looking forward to the recipe I decided to share it with you anyway, even though I didn't take a lot of pictures of it!

Spaghetti Bolognese

The final result

Makes 4 portions

a swig of olive oil
500 g of mince meat (half pork half beef)
a couple of slices of bacon, cut into pieces
1 large carrot
2 sticks of celery 
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tin of tomatoes
half a stock cube
1 small can of tomato concentrate
1/2 tsp of dried rosemary or oregano
25 ml of milk
Spaghetti (or any other type of pasta)
-optional: 100 ml of red wine-

Start by heating your pan and add the olive oil. When the pan and the oil is nice and hot add your bacon and fry that off for a couple of minutes. It doesn't need to be crispy, you just want to get the flavors going. When the bacon is cooked add the minced meat and fry that off until it really is nice and brown and you have some bits sticking to the bottom of your pot! At first, some liquid might seep out of the meat, just leave it on a medium heat so that it can evaporate and your meat can brown, no need to drain it because then you'll lose some of the great flavors!

While the meat is browning cut your vegetables in teeny tiny pieces, when they go in the pot you want them to almost melt in the sauce, Bolognese is not a sauce that's all about the vegetables (I feel a lot of students make this mistake...). The vegetables give the sauce it's flavor and sweetness but you'll need to prepare some vegetables on the side with this dish to make it a healthy one! When that's done add everything to the pan and make sure all of those little veggies go soft and yummy and release all of their sweet flavor.

When the meat is yummy looking brown, add the wine if you are using it. You want to use it to get the brown tasty bits off of the bottom of the pan and melt into the wine-sauce that you're making. The alcohol should evaporate immediately and you should be left with a wonderfully smelling kitchen! Then add your can of tinned tomatoes and stir it in. 

Now make a cup of stock-tomato tea: get a large mug, add half the stock cube and the tomato concentrate and some boiling water. Stir everything so that it starts to look like a strange tomato-soup and then add it to the pan! This is actually the first time I'm flavoring anything, the stock-cube will add some saltiness and the tomato concentrate with some acidity. 

As a last step add your dried herbs and spices (either the rosemary or the oregano, I used rosemary just because... I love the smell, sometimes I prefer oregano). Also add some pepper and some salt to taste: TO TASTE, that means that you should grab a spoon and taste what you've got so far! 

What is left to do is leave it for about an hour. Put the heat on low, you don't want it to 'boil', you want it to 'simmer' lightly. This is probably the most difficult part for anyone starting to learn how to cook: things get better over time! Thats not only the case for cheese and wine, but definitely for sauces as well. You want all of the flavors to marry and become one big family in a pot. 

After that hour (or 45 minutes if you really can't wait) add a tiny bit of milk to taste. In the ingredients list I said '25 ml' but that's just an estimation. The milk helps to correct the sharp tastes if there are any, this Bolognese sauce is all about the round and soft flavors. So grab a spoon and give it a taste, does it need that bit of milk? Does it need a bit more salt, some more pepper perhaps?  

During this last stage you should have also cooked your pasta according to the directions on the package. It usually takes about 10 minutes or a bit less for pasta to be done. 

Serve with some parmesan cheese and a green salad on the side then it should look something like the picture at the top of this article! 

I hope you enjoyed this post :) I feel it was very chatty in comparison to what I usually do haha. Please give the recipe a try and leave me a comment if you liked it! Also check out my twitter and my facebook page if you want to get in touch! (The last couple of days I've had loads of people from the philippines like my facebook page haha, hey everyone, I don't know how you found my page but I'm hoping you like the things that I put on there!)


maandag 3 februari 2014

Cheer up recipe: Scones

Happy monday everyone!

Have you survived your weekend? Did you manage to drag your but out of bed this morning? I know I had some issues this morning... I still had to do all these boring house chores and find time to finish writing a paper, so very boring...

But I have the best way to help you cheer up! It takes you half an hour in total and you instantly feel a lot better! Have one of these scones in the afternoon with some tea and take some time to feel proud of all those boring things you ticked off your to-do list! (On top of that, the amount of sugar and butter that goes into these delights is, if you ask me, very limited, so you don't have to feel guilty for having a treat). If you don't get the monday blues you could also bake these scones for a friend, it's always nice to help someone else feel better ;).

I made these with one of my best friends a little while ago when we had our own little tea-party. We don't get to see each other very often so we always need a lot of time to catch up when we do, so I made these scones and she made some lovely sandwiches! A couple of days later I saw a video of Fleur de Force who had filmed the making of her own tea-party with one of her friends, such a funny coincidence! You can watch the video below if you'd like :). But she made fairy cakes and I really prefer scones :) (or maybe she doesn't have a good recipe for scones... Maybe I should send her this link haha...). Anyway, it is a good thing to make for yourself, but even better to share with friends, as goes for all baking I guess!

Buttermilk Scones

makes: 10 scones

450 g of selfraising flour
1/4 tsp of salt
100g of cold diced butter
85g of sugar
284ml of buttermilk (Dutch: Karnemelk)
2 tsp of vanilla extract
a splash of milk or a beaten egg

I've tried a number of different recipes but I discovered this one recently and it is definitely the easiest one I've come across and (if you have all of the right ingredients) it is a real no-brainer!

Start with pre-heating your oven to 200 degrees Celcius.

Add the diced butter to your self-raising flour, make sure it is self-raising, I forgot to do this last night and my first batch was a total failure haha. In case you don't have self-raising flour you could just take normal flour and add 1 tsp of baking powder for every 100 g of flour. 

Add the butter to the self-raising flour

Using only the tips of your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until you get a sandy texture. It is important to only use the tips of your fingers because that will ensure that you don't melt the butter with the warmth of your hands. If you've done it right the mixture should a little bit like this: 

Butter and flour mixed together
Now add in the sugar and the salt and mix it a bit more with your finger tips. After doing this take a cup and mix the vanilla extract with the buttermilk. Put the cup in the microwave for half a minute on medium heat, you don't want it to become 'hot' but you slightly want to heat it up. 

Vanilla + buttermilk

Now take a separate bowl and add a bit of the flour mixture to the bowl, add a bit of the vanilla and buttermilk and mix it together either with your hands or with a spoon. Keep repeating the process until everything is more or less mixed together. 

Mix the wet and the dry ingredients together

Make sure you don't over mix it! So when everything is almost combined, turn the bowl over on a clean work-surface dusted with some flour and slowly use your hands to really bring everything together (you want to use all of those ingredients, don't leave anything behind!). 

Finish it off with a bit of kneading to make a dough

You now want to flatten the dough a bit, it should look like a really thick cookie, about two fingers high. Then use a round cookie cutter or a small glass to cut out little rounds. 
Put the rounds on a baking tray lined with baking paper and glaze the scones with some beaten egg or some milk to give them a nice brown color. If you have the feeling your dough is not really cohesive and it is a bit flaky, don't worry, you've done well! 

Put a bit of milk or egg on top of the scones

Bake the scones for about 15 minutes or until you feel satisfied with the way they look, some ovens work a bit different than others :). This is the way they should look when you take them out of the oven:

Nice golden brown little scones

They're best when they are still warm and with a bit of clotted cream and jam or lemon curd! In the first picture you see I also have dried apricots lined up, and that is what I sometimes like to do: add some raisins, some dried diced apricots, maybe some lemon peel and poppy seeds... whatever you like! But this is a really good basic recipe, at least: it's the best one I've tried! 

So give it a go and let me know how they turned out! Or some other suggestions you have for added flavourings for scones, or what you like to eat your scones with (a cup of coffee, cup of tea?). And do you have any other way to cheer yourself or your friends up? Let me know! You can send me a facebook message, a tweet, an instagram, or a comment, whatever you like :) 


zaterdag 1 februari 2014

Seasonal necessities: January

 Happy saturday everyone!

What a week what a week... First of all: wow! I have hit the 1000-visitors-in-one-month mark! That is insane... I think that is the first achievement I have reached with my blog, I know that for bloggers who have been doing this for a longer time it might not be a very big deal because they get 1000 visits from different people every day, but still: I am very proud! And thank you again for visiting my blog, it means a lot to me to know that there are people who are willing to read the things that I write :).

On my Facebook page (yes I have a Facebook page, if you look in the right bar, right above my photo you will see a Facebook-button that will take you to the page) I announced that when I would hit that first mark I would celebrate with some nice recipe this weekend, or to be more precise: today. And then this happened:

My mum's pie

I meant to bake and write about some scones today, but if my mom makes a carrot cake with coconut and a creamcheese topping it feels a bit... Too much to bake scones. But don't worry, I'll bake them tomorrow and take them to Utrecht and I'll give you the recipe to my perfect scones tomorrow night ;).

Today I treated myself to a pampering day, I had an exam on friday afternoon so I think I deserved one :P. Today I went shopping, had coffee with my best friend, I'm writing a blog post for you guys now and I'll be taking a nice hot bath tonight. I bought some things that are really fit for this season (and in fashion) so I thought you'd like to know what I got :). Below you see a picture of my friend Manouk haha, she was so happy with her (belated) birthday gift, and she said that she was kind of offended I hadn't talked about her on my blog yet: so here you go Manouk! :P

Coffee and cake with your best friend, always a treat!

The first thing I got was this handcreme trio, and guess what: it was free (hey, I'm Dutch, don't judge me)! L'occitane is a french company that originally made soap from marseille and products with lavender from the provence (as you might know, the provence is known for their lavender fields). Their products are quite high end, and everything is therefore of SUCH great quality! The hand cremes are super nourishing and you get three scents in a cute woolen cover. I already have two of the hand cremes (the 'normal' one with shea butter, and the one with cherry blossom scent) but the almond scent is new to me and very nice as well! I can absolutely recommend every product from this company, everything makes you feel like you're on a holiday in France. I just wish I had a bit more money to spend so I could buy some more of their products :). 

The second thing I bought was this shark T-shirt for Joost (if you're new here: my boyfriend). The past week he's been kind of... Dare I say it?... Obsessed... With the trend of very outspoken prints on clothing for men. Hawaii flowers, squirrels, sharks, anything goes for men apparently! And he went crazy for this shirt from Bershka with super cool sharks. Since he had to work he asked me to pick it up for him, and I also bought him something else, but I know he'll be reading this so I wont't write here what I got him ;). 

The shark t-shirt

Detail of the cool shark T-shirt

I also bought some bath foam that was intended for babies but I forgot to take a picture of it haha, but its a very mild scent and produces a lot of bubbles! I. Can't. Wait! I did go into Lush, I know a lot of beauty bloggers go crazy about Lush hauls, but sorry, I don't have enough money to spend €5 per bath... Too bad, so sad :P. Maybe if my blog gets  REALLY successful! 

I hope I have been able provide you with some entertainment, and if you have any tips for cheap, mild scented bubble producing bath products please write me a comment! If you just want to send me a random message: please feel free to leave me a comment as well, or tweet me, or send me a facebook message, whatever you like!

And again, thanks for reading my blog! 
Lots lof love, even more than usual!
Xxxx Floor