Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Monthly Obsessions

I decided to add this category because it seems as though every month there is something else that catches my attention and that I'll be totally temporarily obsessed with. Not necessarily hobbies, but random things I find pleasure in.

There are so many topics and issues in the world now that ask for all sorts of negative attention, I decided to add something positive to my blog. Seriously not trying to go into details but the world seems like a very stressful place, with all political debates, racial issues etc. I have to be honest, I started dreading watching the news.

My blog is a place where I would like to focus on positive things like sharing personal stories and inspiring growth, I thought it would be a good idea to share things that give me a chance to temporarily break free from negativity and share them with you so you might be able to experience the same.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Homemade Mustard Sauce

My husband and I are both crazy about this fancy looking yummy dinner dish. I've been making this since I was in my teens, because I love it so much I just had to learn how to make it myself. And once again, good thing, because it is hard to find a good meat department in our area where you can get a good quality Cordon Blue. Of course some restaurants serve it, but I actually love being creative in the kitchen so I prefer to make it myself.

I will present you this recipe with options. Because the traditional way I am used to eating this in Europe, is served with a lemon slice. You're expected to drizzle some squeezed lemon over the crispy bread crust to better compliment the true flavor of the meat and filling. 
However, most recently I tried making Cordon Bleu with a quickly homemade mustard sauce that completely blew my taste buds away, so I'll share the mustard sauce recipe below as well.

For the Cordon Bleu;

  • 4 chicken breasts

  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise

  • 4 slices of Black Forrest ham

  • 8 slices of Gouda cheese

  • Pepper and salt to season

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1 egg (whisked) 

  • 1 cup bread crumbs

For the Mustard Sauce

  • 1½ tbsp butter

  • 1½ tbsp flour

  • 1¼ cups milk (Note 3)

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

  • Salt and pepper
Before you start with the chicken, set up three shallow dishes, on with flour, one with whisked egg and one with the breadcrumbs. Spray an oven dish with baking oil. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Slice the chicken breast in half lengthwise, making sure that on one side the meat is still attached. Fold open and spread mayonnaise lightly on both sides. Place a piece of ham on the open folded breast, then lay 2 slices of Gouda on top before folding the chicken back. First dip and roll the chicken through flour, then soak in egg before rolling in breadcrumbs. Make sure the whole breast is covered. Use your hands to press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken. Lay the chicken gently in the oven dish, then put in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is a golden brown color. Make sure before eating the chicken is cooked all the way through (white in stead of pink). If not, add baking time. After taking out of the oven let the chicken cool slightly before eating, as the filling can stay extremely hot. Poor mustard sauce over right before serving.

Mustard Sauce
Melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan, then add flour. Cook until light brown, make sure it doesn't burn. Poor in half the milk and whisk until mixture is smoothly blended. Add The rest of the milk, followed by the mustard. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper if and as desired.

Who is behind your wheel?

I had a dream last night, about the new Tesla technology. You probably heard it on the news a while ago, Tesla is bringing an automatic vehicle out that drives itself. 

Image result for self driving tesla

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Power in Heels

How do you feel in heels? Do you feel elegant, feminin, sexy, or maybe even wobbly? Does wearing heels make you feel empowered? No? Maybe it's time to rethink that.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I myself don't nessecarily consider myself a huge fan of chocolate. Sure, I'll eat it every now and then when I have the opportunity. But I hardly ever buy some for myself. My husband however loves anything chocolate. Lucky for him I love baking. And that's the way I will actually enjoy chocolate, if I bake with it myself. Like brownies, or chocolate chip cookies.

Working with a little girl who doesn't like chocolate has lead me to broaden my horizon when it comes to baking. And when I say she doesn't like it, I mean won't eat it. At all. Can you imagine that? I might not be a big fan, but I won't say no to it when it stares me right in the face... No chocolate ice cream, brownies, hot cocoa, nothing. 
Except white chocolate... Makes sense, since white chocolate consists more of butter and sugar than anything else. Anyway, she's the reason I decided to change up my winning milk chocolate chip cookie recipe to a white chocolate chip batch. And to really bring out the flavor I added some cinnamon. Let me tell you, I like these better than my normal chocolate chip cookies! Let me share the recipe with you so you can taste for yourself. 

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks) 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Combine the butter with both sugars in a different bowl, mix on medium speed until the the consistency becomes light and fluffy. After that add the salt, vanilla, and eggs and mix on low speed until smooth. Add in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use a tablespoon to drop perfectly sized dough balls about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until their get a soft golden color on the edges, between 8 and 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the cookies to make sure they come out soft in the center. After removing sheet from the over leave cookies to cool for 5 minutes before moving to a rack. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Seven Sins of Social Media

Let me start by saying that I am not writing this post because I am against social media. In fact I am fervent user of Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and won't hesitate to admit that. I love how easy social media it makes these days to get and stay in touch with other people. Friends, (foes ;), family, acquaintances, prospect clients, business partners or prospect employers etc. 
For me personally, it's how I keep in touch with some of the most important people in my life, amongst which are my mother and my best friend of all best friends who both live in the Netherlands. Even though we're on different sides of the world, these social media allow us to keep in touch and follow what goes on in each other's lives. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Classic Tomato Frito sauce

How spoiled I am by having grown up in a country where you can buy this amazing sauce base readily made by Heinz in any given grocery store. However, after I moved to California I had to come up with a plan. Because Heinz Tomato Frito isn't sold here anywhere. Imagine my disappointment when I found out I couldn't just get my go to sauce base for many of my favorite recipes... I use this sauce for making home made pizza, Mac n Cheese, mini lasagna cups, and the list just goes on! So I started experimenting. And after many tries, I've come up with a recipe that might not be perfect, but pretty darn satisfying to my tastebuds!

  • 1 lbs tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Basil
  • Salt and pepper to season

Dice up the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Toss all ingredients in a slow cooker (or crockpot) and turn on low for four hours. After cooking time is over, spoon the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Let cool before putting sauce in a jar. Can be frozen. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

How well can you read people?

Can you tell these emotions apart from each other?

Or how about these? 

As you are probably realizing right about now, it is not as easy to read faces as we like to think. Certain expressions can look a lot alike, and most of these expressions often don't show very long. It is hard to read the truth off of someone's face. And even more difficult to determine whether we are indeed being told the truth or not.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Sweet Tooth Affair- Appetizer

First off, if you don't already know this about me... I have a ferocious sweet tooth. Insatiable most days. Luckily I am able to balance this sweet tooth out with lots of yoga and martial arts training... But some days I just can't help myself. I need to go to my happy place. Those of you lucky enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area might know what I'm talking about when I tell you about my happy place. Most likely the ones who live on the east side of the bay. It's called 'A Sweet Affair'. Ring any bells yet? A sweet affair is this magical place (known as a bakery), where you can get my favorite sandwich ever. It's called a roasted turkey sandwich. Some of you might raise eyebrows when I start summing up what the ingredients are, but trust me when I say that hardly a day goes by that I don't think about this perfect combination of sweet, savory, creamy, crispy and crunchy. The sandwich has creme cheese, cranberry jelly, roasted turkey, avocado, crispy lettuce and sprouts on whatever bread you desire ( my taste buds usually vote for butter crust).  

Before I give you the secret to my sandwich inspired yummy party rolls, I should also mention A Sweet Affair's salted caramel cupcakes. If you should ever find yourself in downtown Walnut Creek and close to this magic bakery, don't withhold yourself from ending your lunch with this desert. Best cupcake I've ever had in my life. And I'm addicted to making, baking and enjoying cupcakes, so that should tell you something!

To the point, and back to my favorite sandwich. I decided to use this as inspiration for a kid friendly party snack. What I like to do for parties, is turn this delicious go to sandwich of mine, into a quick and easy appetizer roll. So let me list the ingredients;

  • Flour tortillas
  • Roasted turkey lunch meat
  • Avocado
  • Red berry jelly (works with straw-, rasp- and cranberry as long as it's got a slightly tart flavor)
  • Lettuce 
  • Sprouts (can be omitted and/or substituted with sunflower seeds) 
  • Cocktail skewers

These appetizer rolls are super quick and easy to make. Lay out a tortilla. Spread creme cheese on one side and jelly on the other. Cover lengthwise with roasted turkey lunch meat. Slice avocado thinly and spread out over turkey. Cover with lettuce and if desired top with sprouts or seeds. Roll up the tortilla lengthwise so all ingredients are perfectly spread out over the length of the roll, use jelly and creme cheese to make the roll stick together nicely. Pin with skewers before slicing in even inch-thick slices. Display on a serving tray and enjoy! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Have you met the new Barbie?

We all know the 'good old' Barbie, Mattel's blonde skinny stick figure doll with the itty bitty waist, perfect perky boobs, endless legs and last but not least perfectly pointed toes ready to wear whatever monstrously high heels she came with. Not a very empowering impression of a real woman. 

I don't know about you, but I grew up with a whole army of Barbies. I envied that doll sometimes. Not only did she have the perfect body, but who would not want to be rolling around in a hot pink convertible, living in a pink dream house and by far my favorite.... Have an enormous closet with fashionable outfits for every occasion and gorgeous heels in every shape, size and color. Although after getting older the first three may have become less attractive, I have to admit that I'm definitely working on the last one. Ha! 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

5 Tips & Tricks for parents with young children

Dear parent,

I see you. I see what you do, I see how hard you work. I see what expectations you face. Life is expensive. Especially in this area where we live. And you're trying to make the best of it. Working to be able to afford just living. And then there is the other side. The recreational side of you. Trying to still spend time with friends, family, do fun activities and also try and take care of yourself and your family while doing all that. I see you. And you're doing so well juggling all of these different aspects of your life. You amaze me!

I know you are very busy. That's just what life is, busy. As a person and especially as a parent, you get busy. I understand. I just want to make sure that you still make time for what is really important. You. And your child.
So here's my advice to you, as a professional who has been working with a lot of different families with young children, for years.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

7 Tips to find your perfect wedding dress

consider myself an expert on this subject. Not that I have gotten married several times or anything... Well, twice actually, to the same man. But that's not why I consider myself an expert, no. I thank watching every single episode of "Say Yes to the Dress" ever made for that. It started out as a fun activity to do with my mom while relaxing after work. In the end I think both of us spent so much time with Randy that we ended up with a new GBF; gay best friend. (Position in real life still open, feel free to ask for application) 
Little did I know, that I'd eventually buy my own wedding dress at a Dutch affiliate of the show in Rotterdam: The Honeymoon Shop. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Family Favorite Sangria

The recipe I am about to share has been a family favorite for years now. I like to bring a big pitcher filled with pink bubbly goodness to every spring, summer or fall party. We live in California so the temperature is pretty much always right (sorry to rub it in for those who don't live in such a nice warm area!) 
The first few parties I brought this treat I made the mistake of only making one pitcher. Boy, was that one empty quick! Apparently the ladies in my husbands family have a sweet tooth (for drinks). 
And just a heads up, it packs a pretty serious punch! The sangria tastes like delightful fresh lemonade, but is anything but a thirst-quencher.

Here's what goes into the sangria;

  • 2 bottles Pink Moscato
  • 2 shots of rum 
  • 1 shot of Cointreau 
  • 1 can grapefruit soda (like Squirt) 
  • 1 scoop lemonade powder
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 handful of red berries (I prefer strawberries)
  • 1 cup of ice cubes 

First you want to peel the lemon and orange and cut into slices. Make sure you take out all the pits. Cut the crowns off the strawberry and cut in four quarters. Next, poor the moscatos in the pitcher and wait until foaming stops. Measure and mix in the shots of rum and Cointreau, then stir. Add the soda, followed by a scoop of lemonade powder. Make sure you aren't filled to the top yet, as the lemonade powder tends to make the wine foam up a little. After the foam has disappeared you can add the sliced fruit and the ice. As soon as everything is combined in the pitcher, gently stir. 
It is crucial that you give the sangria enough time to refrigerate before serving, it simply tastes much better when served nice and cold. Especially on those hot California summer days! 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hey there, hotshot! ;)

Self confidence is more than just looking at yourself in the mirror, pointing your finger whilst winking at your reflection and telling yourself "hey there hotshot/sexy beast, looking goooood!" (feel free to still do that though, I'm sure it can't hurt) 

A little while ago, somebody pointed me to an audio questionnaire by Katherine Woodward Thomas with 20 questions about the ability to love yourself. Feeling intrigued after all of the personal development work I do, I took the test. Before I started I thought I had a pretty good idea of the concept of self confidence. I was also convinced that I would score a pretty decent number on it. Because 9 out of 10 days I feel pretty good about myself.

However, after I took the test, the author of this particular test started explaining what truly loving yourself entails. And it is more than what most of us think. Which is why I'd love to share these realizations. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Healthy Mini Lasagna Cups

These are very easy to make, as you can make them as skinny as possible. They're the perfect appetizers, or snacks. Or just a single size serving. 
I like to make everything from scratch so for this recipe I use homemade Marinara sauce (I'll share that recipe next time). As well as home grown basil. If you don't have that option, no worries. I am just extra lucky because my husband is a wizard with green finger who can grow some incredible veggies and spices in our own garden. You can always use canned Marinara and dried basil. 

For this recipe you'll need a cupcake or muffin tin. You'll get about 12 lasagna cups out of this recipe, depending on how generous you are with the cheese and the sauce.

  • 2 Italian sausages (organic) 
  • 24 pack Square 2 inch wonton wrappers 
  • 1 cup or can Marinara sauce 
  • 1 cup Mozzarella 
  • 1 cup Ricotta 
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • Handful Fresh basil 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile heat up the olive oil in a pan while you cut the sausages in little cubes. Toss the sausage in the pan and bake until brown and well done. Drain out the excess grease and then poor the marinara over the sausage and stir until well combined. Turn the heat down slightly and wait until the sauce is boiling. 

Coat the muffin tin with oil spray and line the bottom with a first layer of wonton wrappers. Cover each with a tablespoon of sauce. Then scoop half a tablespoon of ricotta over the sauce. Cover with a second layer of wonton wrappers, then repeat sauce and ricotta ritual. Sprinkle mozzarella over and to top it off festively, shred basil over the cups. 

Place cups in the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the wonton wrappers have a golden brown color. Serve hot!