Thursday, July 11, 2013

Trains, Planes, Automobiles, and Muffins

Our Europe trip took us on many various forms of transportation.

First we spent 10 hours flying to Zurich.
Then we took the train from Zurich to Basel. (It was my first actual train ride. I was expecting an old timey choo choo train, but the fast and high tech European train was nice too, if not quite as picturesque.)
Our adventure had us ride on both a tram and a bus to get to the ancient Roman ruins of Augusta Raurica.
Every city was located on the water, so we took the opportunity to have a couple of boat tours.
Bikes, the standard mode of transportation in every city we visited, helped us get around the countryside of Holland.
Finally, we took a taxi to the airport from our hotel in Amsterdam. Unlike here, the taxi drivers over there buy their own cars, so they get to choose which type they like. Our taxi driver happened to have a Mercedes. It was the nicest taxi ride ever.
As I have mentioned before, the train system in Europe is amazing. You can get just about anywhere by train, and they are really modern and fast. We used trains to get between all of the cities as they were only about 30 minutes away from each other. Well, all of them except Amsterdam. I wanted to utilize all the daylight possible, so we booked tickets to take the night train.
The train was amazing. We had out own little apartment with bunk beds and a little cabinet that pulled out into a sink.

We had breakfast on the train before getting out at Amsterdam. A lady came around to flip the bottom bunk into a set of chairs, put up a little table, and deliver surprise breakfast boxes to us.
There are some good surprises, and some bad. The pop out sink in the train compartment was a good surprise. The mystery breakfast box was a bad one. The only thing that we recognized or were able to stomach were the muffins. Even they made airplane food look like a five star meal. (We missed our French pastries.) Since today is Blueberry Muffin Day, I am going to try and erase the memories of the train muffins with those of devouring these amazinf blueberry oat muffins. (Although, it was fun to try to decode all of the mystery cheeses, packages, and not so orangy orange juice.) Enjoy!
Blueberry Oat Muffins (2)
Blueberry Oat Muffins
makes 10-12 muffins
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 ½ cups oatflour
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas
2 tbsp oil
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
½ cup blueberries
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and oil a muffin pan. Blend the bananas, yogurt, oil, and eggs together. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Last of all, stir in the vinegar and blueberries. Immediately pour the batter into the oiled muffin pan. Fill each hole almost to the top, but leave a little space for the muffins to rise. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

My craft and pancake recipe of the day are not related to transportation or muffins, but they are both fun to make. I made them both with Harper, and enjoyed spending the extra time with her. It really takes a ten day European vacation to realize how much you love your sister. (And how peaceful the world can be without a six year old chatting your ear off. :) ) The card (above) is keeping with the Christmas in July theme. (Snowmen in July aren't that far fetched anyway. We met two girls from Australia in Amsterdam, and they said it was freezing back home.) The pancakes are s'more flavored, topped off with mini marshmallows and chocolate sauce.
smores pancakes (4)
S’mores Pancakes
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
2 sheets graham crackers, crushed
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
2 tbsp chocolate chips
2 tbsp mini marshmallows
Whisk together the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and graham crackers. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together. Finally, add in the marshmallows and chocolate chips. Preheat a nonstick pancake pan to medium heat. Scoop out a few tablespoons of the batter at a time onto the pan. Flip the pancake over when the top starts to bubble and look dried out. Remove the pancakes from the heat once they are done.

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