Friday, February 24, 2012

Greetings From Amsterdam!!

Well, we have been in Europe for a week now! Oh, by the way I don't think I really said anything, we planned a 2 week trip to Europe. Which a week has gone by already. time flys! 
We landed in Amsterdam last Thursday, and headed straight to Germany. We drove all over Germany, parts of Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic. We will be heading to France tomorrow and England on Sunday.

Waiting at the Houston, TX airport, we spent the night in Houston before we flew out the next day at 3:45 P.M. and arrived.......

in Amsterdam, Netherlands 9 hours later at 8:15 A.M. 
I slept an hour and a half the entire flight!! I was pretty excited to get here and to get that nice little stamp in my passport book.

We met our friends, Brady and Kelly Briggs in Amsterdam. They picked us up at the airport, on their way in from Belgium. They are living in France and we met up to take the tour of Germany and surrounding countries together.
We drove from Amsterdam straight into Germany.

This is the world's largest church, it is located on Cologne, Germany.

It is HUGE!! And very, very cold inside.

We spent a night at the Frankfurt Temple. The buildings on the right are room and board for those who have to travel a ways to visit the temple.

We stopped in Heidelberg, and saw the Heidelberg Castle. 

It was a beautiful place! 

Makes me wonder when the side fell off, and why it didn't fall forward?
You MUST try the Heidelberrie flavored ice cream when you go into the town of Heidelberg. 
It was awesome!!

We headed from Heidelberg to Switzerland, this is us somewhere on the drive through the Alps.

Brady and Dave decided to throw some snowballs.

We got to see a gorgeous sunset while driving through the Swiss Alps.

I will have to post about our stop in Zurich next time we have internet service. I kind of regret not updating as we have gone along our journey, but I either haven't had internet service, too busy or too tired to write. We are cramming a lot into the amount of time we are here. 
It is freaking awesome!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter? Nutella? Combined?
Go perfectly together!!
I don't make a lot of peanut butter cookies, I must admit it's not at the top of our cookie list. 
Adding Nutella put a whole new twist on the how I view peanut butter cookies.
I don't really use a lot of Nutella, I opened a jar the other day to make Nutella chocolate chip cookies (which would have been good if I hadn't try to soften the butter in the microwave). I decided I needed to use Nutella a little more often after trying the cookies that didn't look good at all, but actually were pretty good! 
When I saw these recipe on Pinterest the other day, I knew I need to try it!
These will go great with a nice glass of milk. 

Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
Approx. 1/4 cup Nutella 

Preheat oven to 350° F. 
Cream together butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Gradually add the flour, baking soda and salt. Drizzle Nutella on top of the dough then swirl it through the dough with a butter knife.
Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes. Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls and use a fork to gently flatten the balls and create a criss-cross pattern. P
Bake for 7-10 minutes.

Recipe From: Lovin' From the Oven

Monday, February 6, 2012

Easy Ricotta Gnocchi

I remember the first time I tried Gnocchi, it was at a little Italian place in Park City, Utah. My husband and I went there for an anniversary dinner one year. Or was it for my birthday.......I fear I am losing my mind slowly. I usually have a pretty good memory but lately I haven't been remembering much of anything lately. 
I always like to try new dishes when we go out, and gnocchi was something I don't think I have heard of at the time. 
I loved it! We both loved it. 
Dave ate about half my meal cause it was better then the dish he got.

The gnocchi I got at the restaurant, which I can't for the life of me remember the name of (refer back to the comment of me losing my mind). The gnocchi was made with potato, this gnocchi is made with delicious ricotta cheese. 
It is a very simple recipe, it took my a half hour from start to finish to make this.

We have tried another recipe for ricotta gnocchi, it was very dense and just wasn't quite how I remember gnocchi being. 
I really liked this gnocchi recipe, the hubby commented that it was a lot better then the other gnocchi he made. It was nice and light and a was closer to how I remember gnocchi being.

Easy Ricotta Gnocchi

1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese 
1 large egg
1 tsp olive oil 
approx. 2 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 tsp salt 
10 cranks fresh cracked pepper 

 In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, olive oil, egg, salt, and freshly cracked pepper.

 Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until it forms a soft sticky dough (about 1.5 cups)

 Begin boiling a large pot of water. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in about another 1/2 cup of flour or until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. The dough should still be very soft in texture.

 Divide the dough into six pieces. Roll each piece out into a rope about 1 inch thick. Cut the rope into 1 inch sections. If desired, roll each piece of dough on the back of a fork to give it a ridged texture.

 When the water is boiling vigorously, drop the dough pieces into the water. As the gnocchi boil they will begin to rise to the surface. Once all of them are floating on top, let them boil for about 30 seconds to one minute more to ensure thorough cooking. Drain in a colander.

 Top drained gnocchi with your favorite sauce or garlic butter, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!

Recipe From: Budget Bytes

I liked to pair my gnocchi with the homemade Alfredo sauce I got from The Pioneer Woman

Alfredo Sauce

1 cup heavy cream 
1 stick butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan or skillet, warm butter and cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Grate Parmesan cheese and place half of it into a large serving bowl. Pour warm butter/cream mixture over the top.

Drain pasta (or gnocchi) and immediately pour it into the bowl.
Toss a couple of times, then sprinkle in the other half of the Parmesan.

Toss to combine, thinning with pasta water if necessary.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crash Hot Potatoes

This was a great way to have a side of potatoes.
This picture above is a picture of a perfect meal for my Husband, he is definitely a meat and potatoes kind of guy.
The Hubby wanted the cheese added on top of his so we topped all of them with cheese. I think they would have been a great topped with sour cream and chives too. 
I do think that the red potatoes I got were a little on the big side. When I smashed them they broke apart more then I was hoping them to. I don't think I boil them long enough, they were a little hard to smash. 
Definitely will be having these again soon though!

Crash Hot Potatoes

12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt To Taste
Black Pepper To Taste
Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste
Preparation Instructions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe From: The Pioneer Woman