maandag 24 maart 2014

What's in my bag?

Writing about food is great and all that, but let's not kid ourselves... I don't cook elaborately every day... (except for the last 5 days, but that's an exception, lasagna recipe coming your way soon!). In those cases you need some other things to write about.

Then I got this great inspiration from a fellow blogger and friend: perlenmama. She is a mommy blogger who writes in German about her daily life with her just-turned-2-year-old daughter, if you know how to read in German or if you know how to work google-translate you should check out her blog! A couple of days ago she wrote a post about the contents of her bag, and since I always get surprised every time I open my bag I thought it would make a fun post for my blog as well!

So this is my bag for winter. It is very practical. Hi, I'm Dutch, did I tell you that already? :P It rains a fair bit here, so you want at least one bag that'll prevent your phone from drowning and this one does the trick. It is a bag from Fossil, which is one of my favorite brands! I've been wearing watches from that brand since I was seventeen ( I bought it in New York ), and when I discovered there was also a shop in my neighborhood I've been buying their bags as well. It looks kind of compact, but it can fit quite a lot! 

This is a list of what you can find in my bag: 
  • A Rimmel lasting finish by Kate in the color 'rossetto - 07'
  • A Labello Repair & Beauty lipbalm (which I don't love... why do I keep it in my bag?)
  • Two of my L'Occitane handcream trio in the knitted pouch
  • A spectacle-cleaning-towlette-thingee
  • A Maalox tablet
  • A hairpin from Oysho
  • Four pens (why do I carry around so many pens... I told you I get surprised every time I look in my bag)
  • My iPhone 4
  • My week planner from Flow Magazine
  • My Tommy Hilfiger wallet I've had since I was 17, I might need a new one haha
  • Peppermint with licorice flavor
  • Mint and Strawberry gum
  • A lollypop I got in Barcelona at a restaurant haha
That, minus a couple of receipts that I threw away when I found them hiding in my bag! Hm my bag is even more practical than I already thought! 

Sooo, now a little update on my week. i've been writing papers again, what a surprise! I did manage to plan in some fun stuff as well, gotta keep things balanced, right?! Last thursday me and Joost made an insane amount of sushi and we washed it down with some really good gin and tonics, on friday I heated up a portion of home made lasagna of earlier that week, which is even more awesome than eating it the first time you make it because you have to put in no effort and still you are enjoying an incredible home made meal! On saturday I had a team-building activity with my committee, we went glow-in-the-dark mini-golfing (yes that exists...) and in the evening me and another committee-member cooked up a nice meal (chicken wrapped up in bacon with oven-baked potatoes and a lot of salad and a tiny apple-pie dessert). Yesterday me and a friend went cycling on the country side and we ate pancakes, had an awesome time and when I got home I made couscous with sausages and ratatouille. Okay that was my week in food haha. Oh and I bought flowers! They are orange and look very cute! 

And now life continues, and I'm writing another paper! 2 down, 1 to go... I'm almost there, almost there!

That was all! I hope you enjoyed this post, I'd love it if you left me a comment if you did ;). Also check out my facebook page over here:

Lots of love,

dinsdag 18 maart 2014

Millionaire's Shortbread

Hey there! Happy Tuesday!

What's that? You've got a craving for chocolate, caramel AND cookies? 
You can't choose? Why would you, when there is such a wonderful thing as millionaire's shortbread?

A famous writer once wrote: 
"Everything in moderation, including moderation"- Oscar Wilde. 
And that is exactly what you should keep in mind when making and eating these delicious treats. You will have bowls that are covered with sticky caramel and melted chocolate that are impossible to get out, so you will feel the strong urge to clean everything with your finger and your tongue. I wouldn't discourage that, but do it in moderation, because you will be to nauseous to even try the shortbread when it's done! 

I made this last thursday with the 'Boyfriend', and he had a jar full of good quality salted caramel from a foody type of birchbox. We just baked the shortbread, spread the caramel on top when it was cooled down and added the chocolate. The recipe does not call for this but I did have some gluten-free flour lying around and we thought it would make the shortbread more crisp and flaky while at the same time we would limit the amount of gluten in the cookie, which for some people is a good thing! 

The result looks like this, and the ingredient list and recipe you can find below! 

Tiny treats, great for sharing (or not)

Millionaire's Shortbread

1 tin of condensed milk
150g of flour
100g of gluten-free flour
75g of white muscavado sugar 
300 g of flour
125g of sugar
200g of pure chocolate

Start with the caramel, I didn't make this myself but this recipe for caramel is fairly widespread so I think we can assume it will lead to the same kind of result! Of course if you can find a good quality caramel in your shop, you can totally go for that instead.

If you're making the caramel, put the tin of condensed milk covered in a pan with boiling water with a lid on top and boil it on low heat for three hours. Check every now and then whether the water level is still high enough, the tin should be totally covered! After three hours take it out of the pan and let it cool down for 30 minutes. Then melt 125g of the butter in a pan and add the sugar and let everything melt together. Add the caramelized condensed milk and let it warm up for 5 minutes. You can also add some sea salt to make it a salted caramel, the jar I used did have salt and the result was awesome!

Heat up the oven to 180 degrees C. Crumb the two types of flour and the rest of the butter (175g) together and add the white muscavado sugar. Kneed the crumbs together to a dough and press it down in your square baking pan lined with baking paper. With a fork make some little holes in the dough and bake it for 30 minutes in the middle of the oven until it's nice and brown and done. Let the shortbread cool down completely. 

On top of the cooled down shortbread spread your caramel and let it set for a little while. I put it in the freezer so it would set a bit faster and if you do that it only takes 10 minutes to set. While it's in the freezer, melt your chocolate au-bain-marie, and then spread the chocolate on top of the caramel. We also added some sea-salt flakes on top of the chocolate to give it an extra kick! Put it back in the freezer for 10 minutes and then you can take it out. 

Take the Millionaire's Shortbread out of the baking tin and cut it into small pieces. Again, everything in moderation, including moderation. That goes best if you cut it into small pieces, so you don't end up eating half the thing in half an hour and getting completely sick with all of that chocolate and caramel. 

So... good luck with that. I can't stop eating those things, it was a good thing I wasn't at home this weekend otherwise I would have eaten even more... But then again, I had more than enough treats this weekend, I was at my parents place I had so much good food once again! At least now I have some more little treats to get myself through the week haha! 

I'd love to hear your comments, whether you've tried to make them or any other recipe's for me to try! So do let me know how you get on! You can contact me through facebook, twitter, instagram or in the old fashioned way, through the comments below this post! 

Lots of love,

donderdag 13 maart 2014

Healthy Breakfast Favourites

Once again, it has been too long!

I hope you haven't been missing my blogs too much, as time dragged on I was getting more and more ashamed of not writing yet another day, which of course did not help my creative process... So before I get on with the main topic of this blog, a little update on what I have been up to!

I think it is about 2,5 weeks ago since I wrote my last blogpost, since then I have been to The Hague (twice), Breda, Utrecht, Maastricht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. (As I'm writing this down I can hardly believe it actually... I didn't know I've been all over the Netherlands so much haha). I've been on excursions with ESN twice (to Amsterdam and the Hague), celebrated carnaval in Breda, spent some time in the sun in Maastricht, interview consultants in Rotterdam and went about with my daily life in Utrecht.

With some of my best friends in The Hague
Celebrating Carnaval with Joost <3
exploding fields of crocuses in The Hague

Ahhh the daily life, you probably will recognize this, the good times and the bad. Last week was one of those 'bad' times. I like some routine in my days and suddenly I was thrown out of my routine because of a lack of classes and other things. I was so grumpy all week long... So what I've been trying to do to improve my own mood is go for a run two times a week. Having these anchor points in my week (and in my days) help me so much to stay motivated. I push myself to go faster and further every time I run, and I know that when I get back I take a nice shower, have a proper lunch and then have more energy to get Uni-stuff done. It has improved my mood a lot!

Something else that improves my mood is my breakfasts. Going for a run twice a week has motivated me to have healthier breakfasts as well. The typical Dutch breakfast is a cheese sandwich or a sandwich with chocolate sprinkles or peanut butter and a glass of milk or coffee/tea. But as you can imagine, this is not the best breakfast you can give yourself to stay nourished and full all morning. I started putting more effort in my breakfast and taking a bit more time to prepare something healthy, so here I have two healthy options for you to try if you are looking for some new breakfast ideas!

My first option is best for the colder days: Oatmeal!
I don't think I've ever had this as a child... But I love it now and I think it would be very suitable for children as well. I started making this half a year ago with milk, but these large quantities of milk started to give me stomach aches and made me very nauseous, so I steered away from that for a while. I always thought that making it with milk would lead me to a tasteless, disgusting porridge but actually it is not that bad at all! So now I make it with mostly water and a splash of milk to add a bit of creaminess.

1 portion Oatmeal:

Yummy oatmeal with in-season blueberries

175 ml water
4 heaped tablespoons of steal-cut oats
a splash of milk 
a pinch of salt

Toasted almonds, cinnamon, raisins (and a sprinkle of sugar)
Blueberries, desiccated coconut, cinnamon
Banana, Raisins, cinnamon

Heat up the water in a small pan until it starts boiling. Add the oats and let them cook for about 2 minutes, add the sprinkle of salt. When it starts to bubble cohesively and looks a bit gloopy it's perfect. Take it off of the heat and stir in the milk. Leave it for about a minute so that the oats can soak up all of the liquids.

Pour the oatmeal in a bowl and add the toppings. I gave you three of my favorite versions, as you can see I LOVE cinnamon... I can't help it. I also have a bit of a sweet-tooth, so I always add a sprinkle of sugar. Not too much, just a bit to give it a hint of sweetness... I know I should learn to live without... 

I don't always have the time to prepare my oatmeal, so I used to have some regular cereal that I would eat with yoghurt or milk if I had to get out of the house really quickly. But then I found a recipe to make my own granola! Life changer! It is so damn easy, and so tasty, and I really believe it is a healthier option to buying the stuff in the shop! The reason for that is that you can control the amount of sweetness you add, and I prefer to use honey because it is a natural sweetener and I think that makes it a healthier option to some artificial sugars. Make a large batch of this stuff on the weekend and you'll be laughing the rest of the week! I eat it with some yoghurt and some fresh fruit, and I'm a good girl so I don't add any more sweetness to my yoghurt and muesli, at least that is one step forward ;). 


The result of a saturday morning cooking session, granola with mango
Steal-cut oats (as much as you want...) 
Sunflower Oil
(egg white)
ground ginger

dried fruits
desiccated coconut
toasted almonds

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. 
Pour your oats onto a baking tray and add your spices, then start drizzling some honey and some sunflower oil over your oats. You want all of those little oats to be coated in some lovely sweetness and a bit of oil, it should end up looking a bit sticky. If you would start baking this off now you would end up with a granola that has a lot of loose oats (which I like). You can also loosely whip an egg white and add that to the mixture. The egg white will make sure more oats will stick together and you'll end up with some nice crunchy oat-clusters. Yum! 
As with the oatmeal, the toppings really are up to you! Before it goes into the oven add the stuff that needs toasting off as well, such as the coconut and the almonds. Add the dried fruit after the mixture comes out of the oven so that they don't become too tough. 
Bake off the oat-mixture for about half an hour, or even longer. It really depends on how dark you want your granola! Do mix up the mixture on your baking tray every ten minutes so that every oat gets nice and toasty. 
When you're done baking it, take it out of the oven, and let it dry completely on a cool surface. So take it off of the baking tray and let it cool completely until dry. When it comes out of the oven it might feel a bit moist but that will go away within 10 minutes!

Ahhh I'm glad I got that done... I hope it is as nice to read as it was to write! Please let me know what you think about my 'healthier' breakfast options, what toppings you like to add to your oatmeal and also please let me know if you give making your own granola a try! 

Lots of love,