not always as planned


Saturday I had this great idea to make these mini pizzas. It didn’t work the way I wanted and was totally discouraged. I’m going to share what I did anyways, just to show you dinner doesn’t always have to follow your plan for it to be balanced and delicious.

Here’s where I went wrong: I didn’t look up the recipe. Because I didn’t look it up, my measurements were off. I used 2 pounds of dough, with the intention of freezing at least half of my yield for the week after the wedding. I knew I wouldn’t be up for cooking the first couple days we were home – actually I probably won’t be up for grocery shopping, the cooking is easy. I have the hardest time with pizza dough. I canNOT get it to stretch out and form a nice thin crust. Never have been. I have found ways to make it work like par baking the crust so it doesn’t rise so much and won’t be gooey after we add toppings. So Saturday I knew the general idea of the recipe, put dough in muffin pans, top with goodies and bake. But my normal issue arose and I couldn’t get them flat. So I decided to just cut up the dough in 14 standard muffins and 10 mini muffins. I poked them with a fork so they wouldn’t puff too much and baked them for 10 minutes at 350. Meanwhile I chopped up some turkey meatballs. When the muffins were nearly finished (still a little doughy in the middle) I put them on a rack to cool.

Then a few hours later when it was time for dinner I preheat the oven to 350 and sliced the pizza dough muffins in half like a hamburger. Next was the assembly line. The muffin halves were lined up on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Each half got a dollop of tomato sauce, a sprinkling of meatball and then fresh grated parmesan and pecorino. They went back in the oven for 10 minutes until crispy and warmed through. We served it with a large salad. Not as intended, but still delicious.

We have the muffins left over and so when I am ready to use again I will defrost the night before then when it’s time for dinner I can get these guys ready in about 15 minutes.

Oh and we have a dog now… Unless his owner claims him before the wedding.
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Lemons to spare


A few days ago our friends brought us gigantic lemons from their trees. Softball-sized lemons. So many lemons I couldn’t decide how to use them all. Tonight I managed to use three of them between dinner and dessert and we loved every bit of them.
For dinner I made chicken with capers and green beans. It was delicious and I have leftovers for one dinner maybe when Carver is out bowling. The perfect chicken cutlet, a dash of sauce and about a cup of green beans. Easy.
For dessert I decided a simple lemon cookie would be nice. I had never made lemon cookies before but I knew what I wanted. I wanted a sugar cookie that was not super buttery or sweet. I worked it by adding lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta cheese, applesauce and whole wheat flour. Tomorrow I will share the what and the how of these little treats.
Carver urged me to bake up a few for QA. He is so thoughtful; didn’t want me to waste my time writing about them if they were no good. Nice try honey- I know you just wanted warm cookies before bed.
Anyways tomorrow we are trying out a newish lunch concept for the blog. It’s going to last the next four days. Then who knows maybe I will win him over with the ploughman’s lunch. A healthy take on it anyways.
Have a good night all. See you in the morning

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Chili and bowling


Have you ever been to a bowling tournament? Me either. In fact I would have bet money that I wouldn’t be caught dead at one of these. But here I am. Supporting my future hubby. He made it to the regionals and if he does well here he moves on to the next round in Las Vegas.
Do you have any preconceived notions of bowlers? I did. And for the most part they are dead on. There is still the cliche elderly woman rolling around her O2, the Ron Jeremy lookalike and the man who I swear is still playing Risk on Friday night. Some people don’t fit the mold though. Like the frat guys and the soccer moms. Quite the sight.
Carver did very well, we haven’t heard where he placed but when we left he had the second highest score.
On our way out I scarfed down about 1/2 cup of turkey chili with a dollop of light sour cream and a diet coke. I knew I’d be hungry before we made it home and didn’t want to eat the bowling alley nachos so I stashed a bottle of water and an energy bar in my purse. 3 hours later I was grateful for thinking ahead.

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I missed yoga


For the past few weeks I have been in a fog. I have no idea what I was doing or what I already did. I just can’t seem to remember. I’m late all the time and distracted and few things are making me feel better. I tried to make it to yoga everyday this past week and failed. Partly because I made excuses and partly because work was overtaking things. Oh and we had a rental dog this week. Who wants to do ANYTHING when there is a dog at home to play with?

I was so excited this morning. I had a wedding call with my dad, I started a load of laundry. The house was relatively clean. I was going to yoga. I got my spirits up while driving thinking class would be empty as it is a holiday. I’m not sure if class was empty but the parking lot seemed empty. As I walked up to the door with my mat and bag I noticed the class was finishing the standing postures. Hmm that’s awesome. That means class started at 8AM, not 830AM like I thought. That’s what I mean. ALL week it’s been like that. By the by, it’s written in my agenda that class starts at 8…

After I drove all the way to the studio I decided I should just go home and have some breakfast. Carver was at work so I snuggled up on the couch with my bowl of cereal and consoled myself with some television.

 I am a fan of mixing cereals. It seems more exciting that way. Today I mixed 1/4 cup Post Great Grains, 1/4 cup Quaker Corn Bran Crunch, and 1/4 cup Whole Grain Total. Perfectly crunchy with 1/3 cup of milk and a big glass of water.

Since we spoke last I have had tomatoes grow in on my plant and some beautiful flowers have begun to adorn the front of the house.

     

Also we had a lot of yummy food over the past couple weeks.

                 


Spicy Breakfast for dinner


The other day I mentioned a frittata I made. It was one of those fantastic things that you create with the random ingredients you have on hand. A few weeks ago I picked up my Bountiful Basket and also got a guacamole pack. There was so much food I was running out of inspiration to use everything before it went bad. I had this genius idea to make a Mexican-inspired frittata. You know, eggs, jalapeno, avocado, salsa, cheese, etc. I have only made a few frittatas in my day and only one of them has turned out well. Oddly enough it was the first one I ever made and I have not been able to duplicate the results until this Mexican frittata. Do you have some goodies laying around? Or feel like going out of your way to try my concoction? Here’s what you will need…

Mexican Frittata

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons shredded reduced fat cheese

Preheat oven to 350. In an oven-safe medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and stir to coat pan evenly. Meanwhile whisk together eggs, egg beaters, pico, milk and jalapeno until well-combined. Add mix to skillet slowly. You want to work the egg mixture gently in the pan but keep the liquid moving so all portions get heated. This is just to start the process of cooking before placing pan in the oven. See this video for a visual (Giada). Next, I bake it for 7-10 minutes. You want the eggs to be set and the top to be a light golden brown.

You will get four servings out of this. I served ours with roasted potatoes and onions (1/2 pound potatoes, 1/2 medium yellow onion, 1/2 jalapeno diced; roasted at 400 for 35 minutes with oil, salt, and pepper) but you could also add a side salad and or some crusty bread.


I climbed a mountain


Remember I said a few weeks ago that it has been crazy around here?? Well it has and it hasn’t slowed down yet. I am in the final stretch on all of my projects.

  • T minus 3 days until applications are due (accepting prayers and positive vibes)
  • T minus 48 days until Match Day (when I learn my fate…)
  • T minus 69 days until the wedding (dun dun dun….)

Plus there’s this new home thing going on so we are constantly cleaning, and working on projects around the house. I have spent my days cooking and FLYING and shopping. I am sooo ready for a breather… I am anticipating one this coming weekend when applications will be done and invitations will be mailed out. Then the week after is our tasting which should yield some FANTASTIC photos!! Can you imagine a foodie’s wedding when they have full control over the menu??? It’s a bit like heaven…

So what have I been cooking and doing?? Well I recently found Bountiful Baskets which is my new favorite thing. It’s like Chopped but at home. Pick up a mystery basket or two of food and try to make a week or two’s worth of food out of it. If there is a location near you I highly recommend it – one warning is wait to do your produce shopping until after you have taken home and inventoried your loot. It is very affordable and high quality produce; plus you are supporting local growers. Here are a few shots of my first two pick ups.

             

Also on the project list was some quality time in the kitchen. I made a delicious cake for a dear coworker’s birthday, I threw a party for that big football game (which was a total disappointment) a couple weeks ago, I made my two favorite breads (this one and this one), and a few soups (this one, a recipe-less chicken and veggie soup, and this one). Oh yah… and homemade Oreos. Yep. I did that. I have been addicted to a new cookbook my mom & I bought for each other this Christmas. FLOUR and it’s amazing… I have made: snickerdoodles (awesome), chocolate chip cookies (dear God the best CC cookies ever…), sticky buns, and the homemade oreos. Mom’s list looks like that but with a few extras including the bran muffins and a few others. Here are some drool-worthy photos of the goods.

            

Also on my project list – crafts… tons. I’ve been sewing curtains, and pillows, and cutting fabric for invitations and assembling invitations… I’m so looking forward to receiving RSVPs mainly because it will mean I am done with invitations. Please tell me (current/past brides) that you feel me on this…

Enjoy this shot – I (literally) climbed to the top of a mountain today. That’s a first and it was a pain in the butt… Though I will probably be back, just never EVER on a Sunday morning again.

I have a bit of an emergency on my hands currently — less than 1/2 cup of butter in the house… and not enough peanut butter~ Off to load up.


Taco Salad – dinner and lunch


Taco salad is one of Carver’s favorites and one that I haven’t tried previously with any success. The recipe came to us from Donna. I made up the proportions and they seemed to work well. This recipe yielded four servings- two for lunch and two for dinner. The salad is so hearty that it held very well from the evening to lunch the next day. The only thing I would recommend is to keep the chips and dressing separate (from the other ingredients and each other) and add on right before eating. No one likes a soggy salad or chip!

Taco Salad

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped and divided
1 pound ground beef (96/4)
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ounces doritos, crumbled and divided
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 ounces low-fat cheese, cubed
1/2 cup light French dressing, divided

Cook beef in large skillet over medium high heat until cooked through. Drain off any excess fat and add in taco seasoning and 1/2 cup warm water; stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until sauce is thickened.
While sauce thickens prepare salad. Combine romaine, beans, avocado and tomatoes in a large bowl. Mix well and then divide up. Half of this will be for your lunches. Once the beef has cooked, give it a good stir and put half of the beef towards the dinner salad and the remainder for the lunch salads. Now to add in the chips, cheese and dressing. Mix away. *note: remember the dressing and chips shouldn’t go right in with the lunch salads yet.
That’s all. Yep. That wasn’t so bad, right? In about twenty minutes you have managed to get a healthy and balanced dinner on the table and tomorrow’s lunch in the fridge.
This is also a great option for last-minute guests. Super easy and tasty.

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