Pad Thai

Never attempted to make this before, but surprised at how easy it is. We loved it so much that we had it two nights in a row. Easy and hilarious recipe here.

Advertisements

Weekend Wrap Up

Hey friends. So last week, I was really jazzed about doing this weekly post. Until I really didn’t do much this weekend and don’t have anything to write about… Awkward silence.

Okay, that’s not true. I did do stuff. I do things when my husband travels for work and I don’t tag along. When you live in a foreign country and are not planning on ever currently working, there is no excuse. There is always something new and cool to check out. I will write a separate post about my thoughts on traveling while being an expat wife this week actually. Stay tuned!

So Thursday (my weekends can start when I want them to). Thursday started my weekend. I saw the forecast, saw a bright, sunny sun, and 15 degree temps, so I headed to a popular warm weather destination here is the Netherlands – Scheveningen. This coastal town, just a skip from Den Haag, is our very own version of the Jersey Shore. No, I don’t mean Snooki or MTV, I mean a huge boardwalk filled with tons of sidewalk cafes and lots of activities for the kiddies. Tons of people were strolling around (on a Thursday, suspiciously), and enjoying the sunshine. Like this scene in picture #1:

Scheveningen's beachside cafes

And this is just the very end of the boardwalk. It stretched quite a ways in the other direction (aka: In the direction of the sun. aka: Horrible front-lit photos.) Notice how huge the beach is also? Can’t wait to party here in the summer!

On Friday night, I had some girlfriends over for dinner and cooked the delicious feast seen in picture #2:

Dinner with friends

You can’t tell because I didn’t spend the time to take a decent picture, but it’s stuffed chicken & baked goat cheese salad with bacon-wrapped scallops and a gigantic plate of cheese. Yum!

Saturday was a bit of a bust for me. I’ll admit it. I just wasn’t feeling like going out and the inevitable consequences I would have to deal with on Sunday. So what did I do instead? Maybe picture #3 is a hint:

The Blue Mosque

No, I didn’t escape town for the day, I booked a new trip! That’s right – Jaro & I are going to Istanbul, Turkey! After experiencing the incredible culture of Morocco that I wrote about at length here, here & here, I’m so curious about and excited to visit another Muslim country. Jaro has been there and swears I’ll love it, which makes me that much more pumped. We’re going at the end of April, which I hear is a great time to go. Yay!

Sunday I woke up at 8am. Feeling refreshed, excited and, guess what, not hungover! So I hopped on my bike and pedaled off to Vondelpark and the city was the quietest I have EVER seen it. Pure bliss. It was a bit soggy outside, but I managed to snap this beautiful shot for picture #4:

Spring has sprung in Amsterdam!

When I actually love on my camera a bit, it loves me back! I then had lunch with one of my high school teachers who is also an expat in Europe. It’s incredible to me to have these new connections and re-connections with people here (as in, across the pond) from my life back home. Gives me that good “it’s a small world after all” feeling. Love it.

So there you have it. My weekend wrap up. Did you all have a good weekend? Anyone else out there flying solo and making the best of it?

xxx

Penne with goat cheese cream sauce

Image

Yum!

Made this looker recently based on a recipe I had talked about here. Instead of rigatoni, I used whole wheat penne. Much healthier and you can’t really taste the difference! I just notice the texture is a little different in whole-wheat pasta, but that is not a big deal. Also, I jazzed this up with some sauteed mushrooms & green beans and some shredded roasted chicken. Roasted chicken sounds fancy, but it isn’t. Trust me. All I did was throw it (“it” being three whole chicken breasts) in a baking dish, coat with olive oil, red pepper flakes, S&P, and lemon slices. Then, you bake it for about 45 minutes at 160 Celsius. Viola. Finito. This is a good meal to make a huge batch of and then eat for lunch for the next day rest of the week!

xxx

Spaghetti & (mozzarella-stuffed) meatballs

Image

One of our favorite meals

You want a good plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Look no further. We use the (in)famous Scott Conant’s recipe for his mouth-watering Scarpetta spaghetti. You can check out a pretty good adaptation of the recipe here. It all comes down to the ingredients. As in, they better be the freshest of fresh. We took it a step further and even used fresh, handmade spaghetti noodles found at our Noordermarkt, but that’s your call. Just don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

As far as those huge balls of meat, we like (who is surprised) Giada’s recipe found within here. They are each stuffed with a perfect oozing cube of mozzarella. Do yourself a favor and make sure that is fresh too. You won’t regret it!

Vietnamese chicken soup

Image

Perfect rainy weather meal

Amsterdam is known for its constant rain, so a good way to combat the winter blues? A hearty soup! I sort of made this up as I went along, but basically boiled vegetables (hearty ones like carrots, celery & onions) in chicken broth and in a separate pot, boiled pieces of chicken in water. Once both were done, I threw the chicken in the soup and used its water to boil vermillion (you can sub this for rice noodles) and added that to the rest once it was cooked. Go ahead and salt & pepper to your own taste (for me, a lot). For garnish on top, I added cilantro, mint, bamboo sprouts and a squirt of lime juice. The lime juice is essential! It really gives the dish its Asian flair.

Chimichangas

Those of you that barely know me know that I love Mexican food. It might have something to do with my heritage. Guess what? It’s not too easy to come by in Europe! Go figure. I have had a hard time finding corn tortillas (finally did at 9Euro a bag), decent salsa (Tostitos brand will have to do for now) and I’m still on the hunt for real chorizo (might try to make my own!). But, we did have a glorious Mexican feast made right at home recently.

Behold the Chimichanga.

I used the recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Spoon Fork Bacon. (Note: Since I like my Mexican extra caliente, I subbed out the poblano for two spicy red peppers. Also, I used Cholula, my absolute favorite hot sauce, instead of the Sriracha, and larger tortillas since this was no appetizer.)

Rigatoni & goat cheese

Made this a couple nights ago for some girlfriends. Not the most beautiful presentation/photograph, but the flavor made up for it. You can find the original recipe HERE. I should have served it up in our ramekins to make it prettier. Maybe add chopped basil on top. For shame, Julie, for shame. We also had roasted chicken and garlic green beans, but those were even less picture worthy (i.e. sort of ugly).