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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a cruel April Fool’s Day


What do you do when all of your dreams come true? You sit back, appreciate it and think of what comes next. I think you do the same when your dreams don’t come true, when you are at a loss for words. You give thanks for what good things you still have and you reassess. And then, if you’re me, you bake cookies. I made muffins this morning in anticipation of the impending decision, and managed to screw up my own recipe. The muffins are hideous and a little moist but they are still a muffin thank goodness. Though I do have 24 ‘not quite’ muffins and more batter in the fridge to deal with now. The cookies however, I started yesterday before my nerves got unruly. I knew I would need something in the oven when I learned of my fate – good or bad. And something idiot proof… think scoop & bake. Easy.

My future husband  is a cynic while I am superstitious, he’s not so sure about religion and all while I’m pretty spiritual. Our difference here comes into play during situations like this.  He says try again, just keep pushing whilst I try to figure out the bigger picture and the message within it all. Who’s right? Not a clue. I can’t tell if it’s some higher power telling me that maybe I should reassess my goals or if it’s my hurt pride that doesn’t want to be rejected again. Maybe a bit of both? Only time will tell.

Here’s what I know I am: a wife (close enough), a daughter, a sister, a friend, a two-time internship/grad school reject…. ouch.

What do you make for your first meal after such a heartbreak? Scallops. With brown rice, a touch of bacon, and some green beans. You stay on plan because now isn’t the time to completely jump ship. Now is the time to zero in on priorities. Now is the time to really take care of yourself and what says taking care of yourself better than a healthy dinner with a dose of bacon with a chocolate chip cookie chaser? Not much.

Heart-Break Scallops

  • 10 ounces scallops
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon, quartered
  • Chicken stock
  • Salt, Pepper
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon according to package instructions. Once browned remove to plate with paper towel to drain.
  2. Season scallops with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until tender and opaque, about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Meanwhile, steam green beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes in the microwave.
  4. Remove scallops from pan and let rest with bacon.
  5. Deglaze pan with a splash (about 3 tablespoons) of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Be sure to scrape the browned bits up and let the sauce thicken.
  6. Add scallops, green beans, bacon and tomatoes to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes ensuring all ingredients are coated by the sauce.
  7. Serve over brown rice.

Lumpy Path Cookies

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients – salt, baking powder, flours, chocolate, oats and coconut; set aside.
  2. Cream butter, applesauce and sugars together on medium speed of electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until light, fluffy and well-combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet in thirds until just combined.
  4. Let the ingredients marry – allow the mix to chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and spraying with non-stick spray.
  6. Bake 16-18 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through cook-time.

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.

                 



I was reminded of something useful this week. Yesterday I tried to implement a ‘Wedding-Free’ day; I called it Wedding-Free Wednesday. It was out of desperation and necessity – my sanity is wearing thin due to wedding-related nonsense. What I was reminded was Murphy’s Law exists and you can’t expect people to read your mind. I may (possibly) have forgotten to give my closest buds a head’s up on this wedding-free request. Murphy’s Law comes in to play because yesterday was the day everyone decided to ask about details. So I’m throwing it out there – The next six Wednesday’s will be my break from all things Wedding. I need it. Carver needs it. So thanks for understanding. I feel better already.

I’ve started two new things since we last chatted: 1. Bikram yoga, 2. Gardening. AND I had an interview with an internship site (fabulous news for those of you who may be wondering). And I also got word that my application for ASU has finally moved to the department for their review. Whew… More waiting but at least we are one step closer to having an answer.

So Bikram – have you tried it? Do you know much about it? Basically it’s the original hot yoga and there is a prescribed routine of 26 postures (read same routine every class at every studio). I had never tried it but have been researching it for at least 4 months. Reading his book, talking to current students, and reading all details for the local studios. I had to mull it over, but I finally committed. The studio I chose had this fantastic deal – 30 days of unlimited classes for $30. I have taken 3 classes so far (fourth will be this evening) and have enjoyed them all. Well the first two were awesome and uncomfortable, the third was just uncomfortable. That was something I had come across in my research but class #3 was my first chance to experience it. It was a lesson in taking care of your body and preparing properly – I didn’t drink enough water in the 24 hours prior to class and I also didn’t eat enough at the right time… Basically I got so busy at work I forgot to eat/drink so when I got home I was famished and ate everything in sight and nearly died in class. Maybe not literally died but at the time I was pretty sure I should have a will.

I should be honest about that garden too. I do have one plant, it’s a tomato plant I bought at Costco on Sunday. It’s beautiful and has some nice blossoms already. It’s still in the pot though. My plot of land isn’t quite ready for it to be planted yet. Luckily this guy should do just find in the pot for the next couple weeks. Here is his first close up.

Last night I made us a special treat of pasta with tomatoes and ricotta which was very easy and delicious.

 


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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Quality time with mom


So a few weeks ago my mom came to visit. It was a whirlwind weekend, but we got a lot done and it was nice to spend some quality time with her. The majority of our work was for the wedding but we did some serious eating while she was here to. There were 3 places I had to introduce her to. Pita Jungle, Sprinkles, and Seasons 52. Yummy… Such a yummy weekend. Falafel, hummus, cupcakes and salads… Especially because she brough cake pops! oh my… I must make these once I have guaranteed someone to help me eat them (Jen, Gina… ahem).

I did so well taking photos early in the day… But by the time we scarfed down cupcakes I was almost comatose and thus there are no dinner photos. Please forgive me. I promise to return to Seasons 52 to get you photos… Maybe a lunch shot would be more successful.

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Tomato-Beet Salad


I believe my taste is fairly simple. I like things clean and classic and well executed. I like foods the way they were intended. Tomatoes for example – a good tomato with a drizzle of oil and S&P is a delight. Equally delicious is  a perfectly cooked or served crimson beet. I found two recipes for tomato salads that just screamed of summer. I liked them so much individually I was convinced they must be joined. I plan on eating this for lunch this week along side a chunk of artisan whole wheat bread. YUMM

Tomato Beet Salad

  • 2 medium beets, cleaned and peeled
  • 1 pound fresh tomato, variety of sizes/colors
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bag arugula, rinsed and drained

 

Preheat oven to 425. Place beets on piece of foil on baking sheet. Spray with non-stick spray and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Fold foil around beets and roast for 45 minutes. (If you buy the beets that are already cooked, like Trader Joe’s in the packaged produce section, use the whole package and rinse them then roast them as instructed but for only 7 minutes.)

 

Let beets cool for approximately 10 minutes. Rinse tomatoes… now it is time to cut your produce. You can cut these however you would like, though I would suggest dicing the tomatoes and beets or slicing them in to ½” thick coins.

 

In a large bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, shallot and oregano. Add in the beets, tomatoes and arugula. Toss to coat.

 

Serves 4. 3 Points Plus per serving. If you would like, you can also crumble in 1 ounce semi-soft goat cheese before serving which increases the points by 1.