Tag Archives: Amsterdam

The Oliebollen Bird

That shot of me sharing an oliebollen at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam from my last post was so popular, I thought I’d treat you to more from the series. These were taken by The Complete Package with his new pocket camera. Turns out it has a really cool rapid-capture sports mode that captured our little friend perfectly. So without further ado, I give you The Oliebollen Bird.

If you want to have some fun, use your down arrow to scroll through them quickly. It’s like a poor man’s version of a home movie. For even more fun, once you get to the bottom, use your up arrow key to scroll back through them backwards and see the bird fly in reverse. If you listen closely, you can hear the bird say “Paul is dead.” And if you’re too young to get that joke, do me a favor and keep it to yourself {wink}.

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“NanaBread’s Head” Turns One Today

July 1st marks the one year birthday of my NanaBread blog. Can you believe it? Neither can I. While time seemed to fly by, it feels like we packed a lot into this first year. Favorite recipes, photos of the family, Ziggy’s adventures in… well, snoring. We even started highlighting some of the culinary creations of The Complete Package, my beloved husband. We’ve also seen the grandkids grow at an alarming rate, shared Hoegarden stories about our “ladies only” family weekends, thrown in a few crafts, and shared some of our travel pics. We’ve highlighted local products, spotlighted some of our favorite barbecue joints, and sprinkled in some of the things I love. I think this first year definitely lived up to my blog header in that it truly is a lot like my junk drawers. It’s happily filled with random tidbits, trash and treasures. Mission accomplished.

Overall, it has been a great year, and I couldn’t have done it without you. In fact, you are the reason I’m still here. Your comments and support are what keep this blog (and me) going, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I really do. I appreciate each visitor and value every comment, but those of you who return again and again are more than readers, you’re friends. And that is the gift I most value from my first year of blogging. You. Without you and my family, there would be no Inside NanaBread’s Head. I keep writing because you keep reading. I don’t always understand why, but I’m so happy that you do!

Here is a look back at a few of my favorite posts. Click on any title to see the full post and take a walk down memory lane.

My name is NanaBread and I’m a Peppermint Bath Product Junkie.
In this post, I got a chance to bare my soul and share my addiction – peppermint bath products. I’m not proud that I’m an addict, but if you’re going to get hooked on something, I suppose this one’s pretty harmless. Not cheap, but harmless. And it answered the burning question “Is there such a thing as too many peppermint bath products?” with a resounding “You’re joking, right?”

Menopause, you hateful bitch…
This post still makes me laugh. I was suffering from a particularly raging hot flash when I sat down and let it rip. I don’t rage often, but I let it fly with this one. I felt like life had lied to me by omission, and I didn’t want another woman to be taken by surprise ever again. This one was for the ladies, especially those in the inescapable grip of “the change” like me. It also confirmed for me that if menopause had a rubber wristband, it should be black like my mood swings.

Hidden Treasure Cupcakes: Mocha Fudge Cupcakes with Reese’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Inside
Of all the recipes I’ve posted, this is the one I personally enjoyed the most. I’ve never had an experimental recipe come out of the oven and make my eyes roll back in my head like this one did. Deep down in my soul, I’m a pie girl. But these cupcakes almost converted me. Dark chocolate, coffee and peanut butter? Seriously – it is probably the closest I’ll ever come to cupcake perfection.

Playing With Food: Big Sister’s Rainbow Tie-Dyed Cupcakes

Speaking of cupcakes, the prettiest cupcakes of the year (by far) were my Big Sister’s rainbow tie-dyed beauties. These were inspired by a food blogger I love, but Big Sis put her own spin on it by using one of our mother’s old white cake recipes and a frosting recipe she found on the Tasty Kitchen website. She brought all those elements together to make not only a gorgeous cupcake, but a tasty one. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s adaptable. You can substitute any white cake recipe or mix, and you could use any frosting recipe. But honestly, the one Big Sis found was awesome. For pure fun and beauty, these rocked my world and made me think outside the (cake) box.

Vacation Photos of Amsterdam: Let’s just say it was…interesting.
Of all the stories I’ve shared, this one continues to get regular weekly hits months after it was posted. Evidently, Amsterdam is a highly searched travel topic. Who knew? Maybe it’s the cheese; maybe it’s the weed; maybe it’s the waffles. It truly is a “whatever floats your boat” city. It was a great trip and an interesting place, and months after it was posted this story is still going strong.

“Buy Local” Spotlight: Salt Lick BBQ
This post will always be special to me because it was the first time one of my stories was selected as a FoodPress feature. It got attention from around the world, which seemed to open my blog up to an expanded global view. I received comments from exotic locales, and gained a few subscribers from far away places who visited and decided to stick around. For that, I am eternally grateful. It left me wondering if good BBQ might be one of the keys to world peace.

In Honor of Mother’s Day
This was by far my most read post of the year thanks to a feature on the WordPress “Freshly Pressed” homepage. I don’t know how they select stories to feature, but I was blown away that this one garnered their attention. It was highlighted on the Friday before Mother’s Day and left up the entire weekend. Because of that, it got over 8,000 hits in 3 days. Some bloggers hope that their blogs will hit the big time, but in all honesty this one made me a nervous wreck. That kind of attention brought a lot of spam and more than a little anxiety, but it also provided an opportunity for others from around the world to share memories of their mothers and siblings, or lack thereof. It was both an emotional and enlightening experience for me. It also provided my mother with more than 15 minutes of fame, which was fun for her. She deserved it.

In honor of my first blogging birthday, I’m extending the celebration to one lucky reader. That reader, selected randomly, will receive a gift box containing some of my favorite things from my first year. Gift box items include:

1 bottle of Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla bean paste
1 jar of Dickinson’s Black Raspberry preserves
1 jar of Salt Lick BBQ spice rub, not pictured
1 set of small Nordic Ware spatulas
1 set of colorful measuring spoons
1 set of colorful measuring cups
1 set of Le Creuset silicone measuring prep bowls
1 bar of Garden Botanika oatmeal & peppermint soap
2 boxes of Stash tea – Chai Spice & Black Currant (decaf)
1 ladies print kitchen apron, handmade by NanaBread

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED TO COMMENTS. THE WINNER OF THE DRAWING HAS BEEN NOTIFIED BY E-MAIL, AND WILL BE POSTED AS SOON AS I HAVE A CONFIRMED MAILING ADDRESS. THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED.

CONGRATULATIONS TO SUSAN FROM FLORIDA. YOU’RE A WINNER! I HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR GIFTS. -NB

Here are my rules:

1. Leave a comment on this post.

2. The selected reader will be notified by e-mail. Once I have a confirmed mailing address, I will announce the recipient of the gift box on my blog.

3. Participation is limited to residents of the United States.

4. One name will be randomly selected on Friday, July 8th at Noon (Central).

Disclaimer: All gift box items were purchased by me with my own money except for the apron, which was handmade by me. None of the products were donated or sponsored in any way, shape or form. They are simply items that I love, shared with one lucky reader.

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a reader of my blog. Your support and friendship over the past 12 months has meant the world to me, and I look forward to seeing what the next year will bring.

Hugs & birthday kisses to you all,
NanaBread (Jeanne)

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Vacation Photos, Part 2: Amsterdam Let’s just say it was…interesting.

Amsterdam - it's an extraordinarily unique city

Okay, so after 7 days in The Hague, The Complete Package and I jumped a train back to Amsterdam for a weekend of sightseeing. I was excited. I’ve seen photos of Amsterdam with its gorgeous architecture and its stunning canals and houseboats. I expected to love it. I mean really love it. Instead, I’d have to say I found it interesting. After some thought, I think a good example would be to compare it to Manhattan. If The Hague is comparable to the upper east side, then Amsterdam would be Times Square. It was crowded, vibrant, always open, and a little seedy. Where The Hague was peaceful, professional and dignified, Amsterdam was a party. And not just any party. It was more like a bachelor party in Las Vegas. It’s been many, many years since I’ve been exposed to that much beer and weed. Really. Like the early ’80s. When I wore layered Polo shirts and boat shoes and cut my hair to look like Lady Di. **nostalgic sigh**

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam don't sell coffee. Seriously. Did you know that?

We stayed in a hotel near Dam Square, which is probably why I’m comparing it to Times Square. It’s a large, open square surrounded by shopping, restaurants and bars crisscrossed by a myriad of trains, trams and buses and sprinkled with a gorgeous old church, a Madame Tussaud’s, a royal palace and this guy.

Neptune at Amsterdam's Dam Square - it's certainly one of a kind!

I think I experienced sensory overload standing in Dam Square. I’m not joking when I say we had a “coffee shop” right across from our hotel. For those who haven’t heard, a coffee shop in Amsterdam is a place to purchase and smoke marijuana. It’s not legal, mind you, it’s just tolerated. If you want that machiatto or latte, you’d better ask for a cafe. As for the weed, you don’t really need to buy it to enjoy it. I think I inhaled enough second-hand smoke around town to enjoy an unintentional two-day contact high. No wonder I was craving McDonald’s. Especially the fries. And pancakes. Oooo…Dutch pancakes are divine.

Amsterdam's canals and neighborhoods are lovely

Once you get away from Dam Square, you find peaceful neighborhoods with stunning canals, traditional architecture, street markets, quaint squares, gorgeous old churches and fabulous museums. We were lucky enough to be there just as the Winter Wonderland markets set up across town. We particularly enjoyed the one at Rembrandt Square. The food is the main draw (after the quaint holiday decorations). Our first experience was a mind-blowing waffle swimming in melted milk chocolate. Oh, my. Still brings tears to my eyes.

You're lucky we got a photo before we destroyed this thing

Waffles are a popular sweet treat here. And they cover them in everything known to man…chocolate, nuts, fruit, whipped cream, candy coatings…I could go on and on. I think we ate at least two over the weekend. Maybe more. There were so many awesome vendors. I’ll let the photos tell the story:

Waffles...oh, sweet waffles. You are so delicious!

Okay, this koffee shop actually sells coffee (with booze, no less)

Churros and popcorn being sold from a giant Santa stall

A typical sweet shop at the winter market (notice the olliebollen on the right?)

That's an 18" bratwurst on that grill. Just thought you should see it.

In addition to the winter wonderland markets, there were also great street markets in Amsterdam. From clothes to antiques to cheese and produce, you can find just about anything in a street market here. It’s a great shopping city. Here’s a peek at some of the market vendors we loved, and a look at Amsterdam’s famous flower market:

A woman on TV once said that good cheese "smells like the feet of angels". Ewww.

I can't identify some of these mushrooms, so I'll just call them delicious

There's something for everyone at Amsterdam's street markets

An example of a flower stall in Amsterdam's Bloemen Market

Amaryllis for sale at the flower market - gorgeous!

And now you know how to say DON'T TOUCH in five languages!

Cyclamen are beautiful in every country. These are stunning.

If there’s one thing in particular that Amsterdam is famous for, it has to be their canal system. It’s what keeps the city humming. Boats are everywhere, from sightseeing boats to delivery boats, houseboats to floating museums and bed-and-breakfasts. Water and controlling it are vital to Amsterdam’s existence. It also makes for some beautiful real estate (and vacation photos). Take a look:

Four main canals ring the city of Amsterdam.

A gridwork of bridges cross the canals to connect each ring.

A charming collection of houseboats line each canal.

And a handful of tour boat companies ferry visitors around the city.

And now, here’s a little collection of various photos I took from around Amsterdam. They don’t fit any specific category, but they’re still worth sharing.

I just can't get enough of this architectural style. So very charming.

A cheese cave? Holy crap! It's a cheese cave!

Our hotel room - a step down from the Hague Hilton, but that bed was comfy!

Walk these streets for long, and you'll call them hobblestones, too!

Yup. That's a public urinal, and men really use them.

Oude Church, Amsterdam - my winner for best organ pipes. Ever.

The Bulldog bills itself as Amsterdam's original coffeeshop. Coffeeshop = no coffee

I never thought the words "beautiful" & "train station" went together until now.

I would have loved to include photos from the Rijksmuseum (Dutch masters) and the Van Gogh museum, but they don’t allow any photos to be taken. I did get to see some great Van Goghs including some sunflowers, and I got to see a great collection of Rembrandts at the Rijksmuseum, including The Nightwatchmen. That painting was HUGE, and it was awesome! I love art museums. Okay, kids. That’s it for Amsterdam. Thanks for reading along. Coming up next, my holiday dream trip to Germany (thank you, TCP, for making it come true). Stay tuned!

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