Monthly Archives: January 2013

Chewy Gingersnap Cookies


The past 5 days have been craaazy. Crazy good, mostly! But just ‘crazy’ would work just as well. Starting last Friday, I worked all weekend, and in between that 1.) attended a baby shower for a friend who is due 3 weeks before me (!!!) it was a beautiful shower and she is going to be an amazing mom. 2) hosted some friends we haven’t seen in FOREVER from out of town- we had a blast and lots of pizza and catch-up time. 3) Sunday I had to work 3 1/2 hours past our regular closing hours because there was a staff emergency- which I was happy to cover for, but man. Lack of sleep + getting off work at 9:30 p.m. is killer. Then 4) Joey had hernia repair surgery at 9 am and I had an ultrasound at the same time, at different locations yesterday. Thankfully it all worked out because our family is awesome and helped us both make it to our appointments. And now we are home, surgery and ultrasound went well, and we are tired. Joey more so than I, understandably. Apparently, he did not like the anesthesia and tried to pop a swing at the doctor, so they had to put him all the way under general anesthesia and intubate him. That’s my tough guy.

Phew, catch all that??


Last night we both slept on the couch because poor Joey is still in a lot of pain, and the bed is too flat to be comfortable. I’ve decided that while I love being a nurse, and am grateful that I feel knowledgeable enough in post-surgery care to take care of my man skillfully, nursing is never as fun when it involves your own family. Tooo personal. His pain is my pain, know what I mean?


So while I preoccupy myself with caring for my honey, (luckily I have a few days off to stay at home!) I decided that this house needed to smell like Gingersnaps. Gingersnaps smell AWESOME, and we needed some ‘awesome’ to be wafting through our house. I usually have all the window shades open during the day so the house is bright and airy, but when you are trying to promote rest and recovery, the first thing to go is bright light and noise. So, COOKIES WE SHALL HAVE!!


And…. this is one of those recipes I promised to you guys a while back that never got addressed. Yay for my pregnancy brain remembering to finally post it! Ok, so here’s what’s up. There are no chocolate chips in this recipe. Nor are there any other type of creamy, sugary candies that typically make cookies so wonderful. Somehow, these cookies are wonderful just on their own. They are classified as ‘spice cookies’, which typically is the easy cookie to avoid on the ‘after church’ goody trays, if you know what I mean. Please, for the love of the gingersnap smell… try these.


By the way, each cookie is only 72 calories! Basically a health food.


Have a GRAND week!!


Chewy Gingersnap Cookies

adapted from Southern Living Cookbook

prep: 30 min, makes 48 cookies


3/4 cup shortening

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 molasses

1 egg

2 1/4 cup All purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar, for rolling cookies in


In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer for 30 seconds on med-high speed. Add brown sugar, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat until combined. Beat in molasses & egg. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, then stir in any remaining flour.

Shape dough into one-inch balls. Roll balls in the granulated sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are set and tops crackled. Cool cookies for 1 minute on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack.


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Grape Juice and Ice Cream.

I’m not joking. Weirdest-sounding but best-tasting dessert ever. Especially if it’s following a weekend of feeling under the weather and Christmas un-decorating.

Creamy, grape-y, and YUMmy

Creamy, grape-y, and YUMmy

Can this really be called a family recipe? I believe it’s been passed down a few generations and it has more than one ingredient….two, to be exact. Anyways, it’s one of those cool food items that has some familial attachments so….I’d like to pass it along to some others who may think that root beer is the only liquid you can pair with vanilla ice cream 🙂 Cuz it’s totally not.



Grape Floats


Vanilla Ice cream

Grape Juice (100% Grape Juice is best….I’ve tried cran grape, white grape, etc. and it’s just not the same.)


Carefully scoop a perfect orb of ice cream into a pretty bowl. Pour grape juice over ice cream and enjoy!

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Teppanyaki at Home

My hubby gave me a break from cooking this weekend cuz I was feeling a bit under the weather. And let me just say, when he cooks- he goes all the way. I plan on picking up the cooking tomorrow morning with some of M’s English Muffin French Toast….makes getting out of bed early look worth it! I’ll let ya know how it goes 🙂

Anyways, I was spoiled with eggs and toast on Saturday and yesterday he first tackled my messy kitchen and then made some teppanyaki for lunch! So. Good. He was kind enough to share his recipe and techniques so you all can have a shot at making it!

Here’s a glimpse of the dish:

Mmmm...all those veggies make my mouth water!

Mmmm…all those veggies make my mouth water!

It’s a great way to make a $60 restaurant dinner for under $15 at home 🙂





steak or chicken ( we bought whatever was on sale, and the normal serving for two in your household)

3 zucchini squash, sliced

1 c mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 large carrot, roughly chopped

House of Tsang Szechuan Spicy Stir-Fry Sauce (this is the sauce we chose because we like spicy spicy. There are milder versions)


Chop all ingredients to about the same size.

In a large frying pan or wok, heat the oil on High. If you choose to do chicken and steak together like they do in the restaurants, cook the chicken first so it’s done all the way through. Then cook the steak to your liking. When your meat is just about done, add enough sauce so that it coats all the meat. Remove meat from pan and cover to keep hot. Do not rinse pan!

Now, add a bit more oil to the pan before adding all the vegetables. Stir often while letting vegetables caramelize for about 5 minutes or so until veggies are done. Again, when they are nearly done, add enough sauce to coat the veggies.

Serve piping hot.

Feeds 2 1/2 people. (Curtis usually has seconds, I don’t. Hence, the 1/2. :D)

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Filed under Family, Food Stuffs.

English Muffin French Toast

Before I get to the good part, I need to take a step back and talk to you about a few things. Have a little heart to heart.


Don’t be nervous, this is all on me. It has come to my attention that I have developed a nasty habit of ‘mentioning’ recipes, promising to ‘get back to you’ about them, and totally NOT getting back to you. It’s amateur hour over here, folks. Anyways, next week will be a redeeming blog week and I’ll make sure to get all of those to you! I’ll start by adding (today) the bomb-diggity Oliebollen recipe that was given to me by a dear family friend. This is her grandma’s special recipe that has been handed down the generations– so I hope you try it and treasure it! I wanted to get her permission before posting it to the Internet, of course. In her words, “My grandma would be honored!!”. I felt honored she would share such a special recipe!



Moving on! This morning I was about ready to default to the usual yog/bluebs/cereal bowl that has been my breakfast for ages- but then my eyes rested on a lonely english muffin that was sitting by our toaster. And I remembered that we only had ONE egg left in the fridge… all this lonely food in our house! Ah-HA! My mind jumped immediately to an idea I saw somewhere… but can’t remember where, so if this was your idea, let me know so I can give you credit!


I give you: English Muffin French Toast.  It truly is ten times better than plain ol’ french toast. So good in fact, that I may or may not have licked my plate clean.



Grody- I totally did lick it.



English Muffin French Toast

serves one


1 english muffin, separated

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon maple extract


Plain Greek yogurt for topping (optional)

Syrup for topping (optional, or use honey)


In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, maple extract, and cinnamon. Separate the english muffin into halves, and soak in the egg&milk mixture, flipping to soak both sides. Cook in a small pan over medium high heat until browned on both sides.

Top with greek yogurt and syrup, and enjoy!

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Filed under Food Stuffs., Fridays




Well well well… here we are in 2013! Now that we are a couple days into the New Year, hopefully you have had a few moments to slow down and take a breather after all the holiday festivities! I’m finally taking a break to sit, write, and think about all the things that this new year is going to bring… the chart topper being Baby Vander Schaaf coming in just a few short weeks!! I think its safe to say that this is going to be a GREAT year- despite the upcoming sleepless nights and countless other warnings of ‘New Parenthood’, most of the advice we have received has been more along the lines of, “the best thing you’ll ever experience.” Sounds like a good plan for 2013 to me!


We had a blast for our New Years celebration with a few close friends of ours- we went to Torii, a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant with Jon and Katie to end the year with a bang- highly recommended for a fun evening out! Teppanyaki (for those who don’t know) is the style of cooking where they use an iron griddle to cook your meal right in front of you! If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a chef who will flip the food into your mouth as he cooks. I’m happy to say, you don’t eat your whole meal via the chef tossing it to you- otherwise I would have starved. I only caught 1 out of 4 flips!! Ouch. The group even got persuaded to try sake bombs for the first time! I was fine with my iced tea 😉








After dinner, we drove around a while looking for an open frozen yogurt place. We tried >;;>;;3<;;<;; different froyo places before abandoning our quest for the sweet treat- no place was open!! It seems no one but us thinks that frozen yogurt is necessary on New Year’s Eve!? Sad Panda.


Frozen Yogurt IS going to happen for me and Baby Judah. And soon.


Anyways, fast forward to New Year’s Day, I was able to coax the secret family recipe for Olie Bollen from a dear family friend of ours- which I promptly set to preparing so that we could bring it to a few families who work with Joey on the dairy. Every year, they bring us tamales on Christmas Eve, and we reciprocate by bringing OlieBollen on New Years! Its a sweet deal.


This recipe is absolutely incredible.. it helps that I have mastered the skill of yeast doughs now, too. I made one batch of apple, and one plain for the families on New Years- they turned out awesome! Last year I made them too big and the insides didn’t get cooked all the way. Totes embarrassing. I’m happy to say that this year was a redeeming year for me in the OlieBollen department!


In fact, it was such a great recipe that I made ANOTHER batch this morning to take over to Joey’s family- they just got back from a family vacation to Hawaii late last night and totally missed out on all the fresh Oliebollen! If you’re Dutch, you know that is pretty much like missing Christmas. (The fam went to hawaii to celebrate my in-laws’ 30th anniversary! We were so bummed to stay home, but we decided to be safe and not fly over the ocean this late in the pregnancy)

So we got OlieBollen TWO days in a row. 2013, I love you.


Now, time for a Green Monster and maybe froyo for dinner?



By the way, HAPPY anniversary to K and Curtis! Today marks the third year of marriage for them- they are truly meant for each other and I’m praying that 2013 brings their family yet another year of God’s richest blessings!


Here is the Oliebollen recipe! I got permission to share this with you all, and hope you love it! I know we did.

Dutch Oliebollen

recipe from Ann Jean Vander Veen


2 packages yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)

1/2 cup warm water

1 tsp sugar

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

3 TBSP melted butter

3 cups warm milk

6-7 cups flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

3 cups chopped apples, OR 2 cups raisins, OR leave dough plain (choose which flavor you’d like)


Mix together the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a small bowl until the yeast activates and rises. Set aside.

While the yeast is activating, beat together in a separate bowl the eggs, sugar, and melted butter. Once mixed, add in the warm milk and yeast mixture and stir ’til combined.

Then add: 6-7 cups flour (one at a time) stirring until completely mixed in with each cup. Also add the cinnamon & salt. (and the apples/raisins, if desired.)

Mix until combined, then let rise for 3-4 hours. My mom taught me a good trick for a prime ‘yeast-rising’ environment- it has worked for me every single time. Set your oven to preheat to the very lowest setting (my lowest setting is 170 degrees.) Once it has reached 170, turn OFF the oven, let a little of the heat escape, and set your covered bowl of dough inside the lukewarm oven for the duration of time it needs to rise. **You do not need to continually RE-preheat the oven to stay warm!**

Once the dough has risen, heat up vegetable oil in a deep saucepan (or deep fryer) to 350 degrees- once heated, drop by tablespoon into hot oil, turn when browned on one side, and remove and drain on paper towels. It is important to keep the size of the balls smaller- this allows the insides to get cooked all the way.

Roll fried dough in a mixture of cinnamon sugar, and eat!


Filed under Family, Food Stuffs., Holiday, Holiday Baking