Lake Bled, Slovenia

This weekend my husband and I took a much-needed vacation to Lake Bled, Slovenia. It’s a beautiful little town revolved around a huge lake, featuring an island with an ancient church and a castle on the mountainside! I’m glad we went at this time of the year because the bright autumn colors made it even more beautiful.  We visited Ljubljana, Slovenia once in February and liked it, but we definitely weren’t prepared for how cold it was.  The weather made this trip much nicer.

We drove an hour and a half out of the way to reach the city, avoiding the Autostrada so that we could have pretty views. Here are two photos snapped from the moving car:

Once we crossed the Slovenian border, the entire country looked so picturesque–bright hilly landscapes with small houses and bars, with cows and sheep grazing the grass. If I’d had my way we would have stopped every 100 meters to take photos!

When we got into the town the first thing we did was eat! I had a delicious vegetable pizza and croquettes. The pizza was the best pizza I’ve ever had and I actually liked it much more than Italian pizzas!

We went for a walk around the lake, stopping to take picture with the trees.  This is my husband Joseph!

Little wooden boats called pletnas take groups to visit the island.

The church on the island was originally built in the 9th century. What’s standing now is only about 400 years old, but we did get to see the original floor!

Of course I had to sample the town’s famous Kremna rezina, a delicious whipped cream cake.

We went hiking the next day!

This is what I look like when I pretend to be an animal emerging from a cave:

The mountains were covered in miles and miles of trees like this. It was so beautiful!

After one last view of the lake (and castle) we left.

Banana Nutella Muffins

It’s been a while! Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal has been my primary source of nutrients this last week. The lights burned out in our kitchen and my husband and I were both too lazy to replace it! So after 4:30 when the sunset, we had to limit ourselves to food that didn’t require cooking.

But yesterday the light-bulb was replaced! Thankfully, because I was really craving muffins.

Today I made Banana Nutella Muffins:

They were delicious! I might try a touch of cinnamon next time.  They aren’t overly sweet like normal muffins–they taste more like banana bread with a bit of Nutella.  The two are surprisingly perfect together!

Banana Nutella Muffins
Makes about 16

2 eggs
½ c softened butter
½ c sugar
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 c Nutella
¼ c, 3 Tbs milk
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
additional chocolate spread, like Nutella

Beat eggs, butter, and sugar. Fold in mashed bananas. Stir in Nutella (or other chocolate spread) and milk.

In separate bowl, stir together baking soda, flour, and baking powder. Add to to wet mixture and stir until mixed. Batter will be lumpy.

Fill ungreased or lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350F (178C). If desired, lightly frost with chocolate spread.


As per usual, I didn’t use actual Nutella, but a more *adult* version I picked up a few weeks ago. I prefer it to Nutella because it’s much less sweet and has more of a hazelnut taste. The amount of chocolate spread called for in the recipe above may need to be reduced if you’re using actual Nutella.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

I had a bag of Hersey’s kisses laying around and decided to use them in a recipe so that I wouldn’t be snacking on them all day! It didn’t really work out, though–I ended up eating more cookies with the kisses than I would have eaten kisses normally. Oh well!

Recipe from the back of the Hershey’s kiss bag

Makes 48 cookies

48 Hershey’s Kisses
½ cup shortening
¾ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
sugar

Heat oven to 375F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Ad 1/3 cup sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies

I feel comfortable saying these might be the best cookies I have ever eaten, much less baked myself!  They were simple and delicious, and I highly recommend them to everyone!

My husband took these into work and all the Americans loved them.  But it seems butterscotch isn’t common around here, and all the Italians thought it was disgusting, haha!

Altered slightly from this recipe at Allrecipes.com.

Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup margarine
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream margarine, oil, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time; add vanilla. Gradually stir in the sifted ingredients until well blended. Mix in oats and butterscotch chips. Drop from a teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Let sit on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.  The cookies harden as they cool, so they are best if you set your hunger aside and wait a while!

Nutella cookies

I’ve made these cookies twice and they are delicious! The bit of cinnamon really brings these to another level.  They’re kid-friendly and chocolaty but also have a very “adult” taste

Recipe altered slightly from this one at Alpineberry

Nutella Cookies
(makes 30 cookies)

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa
½ tsp ground cinnamon (heaping)
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
7 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temp.
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (I omitted this)
½ cup toasted & skinned hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (I omitted this)

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).

Sift together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.

Cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in Nutella and vanilla extract. Mix in egg.

Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

Drop tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the edges look set. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove to cooling racks.

 

Except I didn’t actually use Nutella.  Instead I used an Italian hazelnut and chocolate spread, which I like much more!  The taste was nearly the same, though.  I’m not sure if this is available in the US; has anyone tried this?

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