About Me

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Antwerp, Belgium
Welcome to the new, and improved version of Heaven in Belgium. I am Jientje. "Jientje", like the boys name Gene, followed by "chu"? "Gene-chu", that's how you pronounce my name. Yes!!!!That's it!! So now you know huh? I am an addicted blogger. I was born and raised and am still living in Belgium. Yeah, the "this-is- Tuesday-so-this-must-be-Brussels" kind of Belgium .. There, you see? Maybe you couldn't find it on the map, but at least I'm trying to change that a little by sharing lots of pictures. I really love to cook and create new things, like this blog for instance. I am a mother, not a grandmother,I don't know if I'll ever be, but I'll let you know in due time! Oh and um ... I am a wife too! They say I'm a traveler, and a photographer. Well that's just what they say, I love to make pictures, but I am far from professional ... If my English is not perfect, that would be because it's my second language. I do hope you'll forgive me any possible misspellings or strange vocabulary ... Now, as a result of all of the above, I get way too little sleep and my days are always much too short!

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Heaven is in Belgium

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Endings …

 

 

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"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." 
~ Carl Bard ~

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thematic Photography: Feet

 

I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.
Oprah Winfrey 

 

 

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This week’s theme for Thematic Photography is “ Feet”.
I was at the shopping mall yesterday when I came across this shoe display.
It was late in the afternoon, and the shoes were no longer perfectly displayed, they had this little air of nonchalance, which was exactly what appealed to me.
I quickly snapped a picture, kind of like with the same air of nonchalance because 
I can be rather shy when it comes to taking pictures in shops sometimes, not that they’ll get me arrested for it ( I hope) …  but still …
So when I got home and looked at my pictures, this one came out as one of the best pictures of the day. It’s (almost) straight out of the camera, a natural very nearly black and white, no cropping or effects involved, except for the shadowed corners.


Find more Thematic Photography here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Favorite Recipes … Chocolate Mousse, Belgian Style

People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year,
but they really should be worried
about what they eat
between the New Year and Christmas. 
~Author Unknown~

 


Looking for a chocolate dessert? Look no further.
This one is to die for.
But please don’t die.
I’m sharing my recipe for the best chocolate mousse EVER. 
BELIEVE me.
After all. Belgium IS a country of chocolate LOvers …

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You’ll need :   200g of dark chocolate ( I used a mix of very very dark and … dark)
                     4 tablespoons of very strong coffee.
                     100g of butter ( about 3/4 of a stick)
                     4 tablespoons of powdered sugar
                     4 very fresh eggs

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Break the chocolate into small pieces, add the coffee and melt it. Chocolate should always be melted on very low heat, so I sit the pan in another pan with hot water at simmering point.
We call that a “bain-marie” , (Mary’s bath , LOL!)

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Dice the butter and let it melt in the chocolate mixture before adding the sugar and egg yolks.

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Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt.

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Add the egg whites to the chocolate mixture.
Pour in a large bowl or in individual containers, and allow to set in the refrigerator.
This is CHOCOLATE HEAVEN …

 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Macro Monday, Skydancers

 

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Something came in the mail last week.
When I heard the doorbell around noon, I KNEW it was the mailmangirl.

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My heart was beating faster when I saw the package she wanted me to sign for. 

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Kim from frogpondsrock is one of my very first blogger friends. She had told me she had sent off the “Skydancers” some time ago, but I had no idea how fast they would travel from beautiful Tasmania all the way to Belgium.  
You see, Kim is a very talented ceramist in her part of the world, and when I won a giveaway at her blog she wanted me to be her inspiration. I told her to look up at the sky because Tasmanian skies are usually breathtakingly beautiful. And so she did.
She started taking more pictures and used them to make her design.

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It took me a while to unwrap, I was so excited my fingers got nervous!
The package also included this lovely card with a typical Tasmanian landscape. 
The scenery looks kind of familiar because of Kim’s pictures on her blog. 
  
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Everything was very well wrapped.  

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When I finished unwrapping I found the three most beautiful teacups in ceramic artwork I have ever seen.They’re beautiful!!

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Can you see why she called them “dancers”?

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I love how she even decorated the inside of the cups.

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And how she signed them at the bottom.

Woohoo!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH Kim, I’m so happy with them!



More Macro Monday posts at Lisa’s Chaos.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Weekly Winners, It does not get any better than this …

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This week was all about …

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Wrapping presents …

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Comparing recipes.

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Making chocolate mousse …
Belgian style! 

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A mail delivery from Down Under! 
Woohoo THANK you Kim!!

 

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Almost white sepia Christmas.  
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Keeping an eye on things …


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A  Christmas toast to good health and happiness.   

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Unwrapping …


just the right presents …

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And …

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… good food and sweet apple pie …
Life does not get any better than this!

Merry Christmas!



More Weekly Winners at Sarcastic Mom’s.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day, and Family Traditions


Today, the day after Christmas is commonly known as Boxing Day, or St Stephens day. Unlike in England, Germany, Australia and new Zealand, Boxing Day is not an official holiday in Belgium.

I used to think they named it Boxing Day because it was the day Christmas gifts were exchanged and opened, but a little bit of research told me there is more than one meaning to “ Boxing Day”.

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The name Boxing Day derives from the tradition of giving seasonal gifts, on the day after Christmas, to less wealthy people and social inferiors, which was later extended to various workpeople such as laborers and servants.

The first is that centuries ago, on the day after Christmas, members of the merchant class would give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude much like when people receive bonuses, from their employer, for a job well done, today. These gifts, given in boxes, gave the holiday it's name, "Boxing Day".

The second thought is that Boxing Day comes from the tradition of opening the alms boxes placed in churches over the Christmas season. The contents thereof which were distributed amongst the poor, by the clergy, the day after Christmas. ( Source: Wikipedia)

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Gifts and presents are part of the Christmas fun I suppose. My fun began a couple of days before Christmas gift wrapping everybody’s presents. I always try to put some creativity into that, and this year I cut up old Christmas cards and used them to make labels for my gifts.


We had loads of presents this year…

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I mean … LOADS!!


Some of them, were HUGE!


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Each person gets to pick a present for somebody else.
( That’s when the labels come in handy)

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and opens it …

The rules are that everybody gets to see what he/she got before we move on to the next gift.

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Some of the gifts even had a poem to be read before opening …

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Some had to be fitted.

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Sometimes instruction manuals had to be read.

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Some even needed to be tested!
Ummm … NO we DO NOT DO DRUGS if that’s what you’re thinking!!

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Everything had to either be looked at …



… or sniffed at …

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and thanked for.

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All the while the paparazzi sisters kept their fingers on the trigger shutter.

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It took us over four hours to get through them this year! ROFL!!

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