Pizza Crust Sunday, Nov 30 2008 

I decided to try a recipe for frozen pizza dough I found on a fellow nesties blog.  I have done really well with my quest to give up processed foods.  One thing we have not given up is the frozen pizzas from Costco.  We like to have them on hand for a night that is crazy or we are feeling lazy.  This is a good solution to that problem.

dsc02980

Pizza Dough

  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 1/2 whole wheat and 1 all purpose)

Mix water and oil, then add yeast, sugar, and salt.  The batch pictured above I added 1 tsp of Italian Herbs.  The next batch I added garlic salt.

 Add 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  This was my favorite part!

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Then flatten the dough onto a cookie sheet and put in the freezer.  After it thaws pop it of the tray and wrap in bags or foil.  I made the dough with garlic in it a bit thicker.  I think I am going to use that for a garlic cheese bread.  The other will be a pesto pizza.
When you go to use it just add your toppings while it is still frozen.

Bake 10-12 min at 450 degrees.

Pita Bread! Sunday, Nov 30 2008 

dsc02984

I recently discover pita bread and hummus.  I have discovered I love it!  So I set about making the pita bread on my own.  I will eventually try hummus….baby steps.

I found this recipe online.  It was time consuming, but not at all hard.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast (I have it in bulk so I used 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teapsoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

Preparation:

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.

Combine flour and salt in large bowl.

Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.

Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.

PLace dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.

I did this for longer than 15 and it was still sticky, but was smooth enough that I moved on.

Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.

Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to preheat your baking sheet also.  (A added bonus….you don’t need the heat on in your house while cooking the bread!)

Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick.  (I think I got them too thin, but they still tasted good)

Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.

Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.

Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags.

Storing Pita Bread

Pita bread can be stored for up to a week in a pantry or bread box, and up to a month in the freezer. Be sure to use freezer bags when storing in the freezer.

I don’t think I will ever buy pita bread form the store.  This tasted waay too good!

The best time of year Sunday, Nov 30 2008 

Curried Root Vegetable Soup Monday, Nov 24 2008 

This was outside of the box for me.  I wanted to try something different.  I still cannot decide if I like it. 

dsc029001

 

 

3 medium red potatoes (about 1 lb)
4 radishes with greens
1 small turnip (about 6 oz)
1 large carrot (about 6 oz)
3 cups water
1 large vegetable bullion cube (low-sodium)
1 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp to 1 tbsp brown sugar (to taste)
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste 

1) Boil 3 cups of water in a large saucepan.

2) Scrub potatoes and quarter, leaving on the skins. Peel turnips to remove waxy rind and chop into small pieces. Remove radish leaves and stems, and peel and quarter radishes. Set aside greens. Scrub carrots and cut into large pieces. None of this has to be pretty; it’s all going into the blender eventually. While veggies are cooking, remove stems from radish greens. Wash and tear into small pieces.

3) When water boils, add bullion cube and vegetables. Bring to a boil again, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until veggies are tender.

4) Add radish greens, curry powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.

5) Remove pan from heat and allow to cool for 30–45 minutes.

6) Ladle vegetables and broth into blender and puree to desired consistency.

The soup was a bit sweeter than I had anticipated.  I may add some milk to it to make it a bit creamier.

Mmmm….chili Monday, Nov 24 2008 

dsc02899

 

 

Ben never lets me make chili.  He always makes it and I think it lacks a bit of flavor.  I knew that he would be gone for most of the day taking a test, so I seized the opportunity.  I found this recipe on my friend Julies blog.  When she said that it was a bit spicey I knew I had to try it!

Fireman’s Chili
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1 Green Pepper                                                                                                                                                  
3 cups chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs coarsely ground chuck
1 lb coarsely ground pork
1 T ground cumin
1 t basil
1 1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t black pepper
5 T hot chili powder
1 (28oz) can whole tomatoes, chopped
1 (10 1/2 oz) beef broth
1 C dry red wine(Burgundy)
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1/2 t crushed hot red pepper
1 T salt
2 (16oz) cans dark red kidney beans ( of which I had a can of Archer Farms and a can of Bushs…get the the Bushs)
.

1. Melt butter in large pot and saute peppers about 10 min. Add onions and garlic; cook 5 more minutes. Add beef and pork mixture; increase heat to high. Cook stirring occasionally until meat is no longer pink.. about 10-15 min.

2. Stir in cumin, basil, cayenne, black pepper and chili powder. Stir in tomatoes, beef broth, wine, tomato paste, hot red pepper and salt. Simmer, covered, about 2 hours.

3. Add kidney beans, simmer for an additional 45 minutes serve with extra sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream

I have never put sour cream in chili.  It was a great addition to the spicy chili!  It was not so spicy that I could not eat it.  Just right really.  Julie made hers less spicy by making a few changes.  I think she is a wimp 😉

Of course me father added ketchup to his bowl to make it less spicy….breaks my heart….

Pumpkin Bruschetta Tuesday, Nov 18 2008 

Are you tired of the pumpkin posts?  Hope not since I am very excited about this.  Not only did I make a yummy bruschetta but I made bread for the first time!  I was a little nervous, but I think it turned out well.  So without further ado-

Ingredients

Pumpkin Bread:

  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, from a 15-ounce can, reserve the rest for the bruschetta topping (of course mine came from my freezer and not a can) 
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Flour

Bread Dip:

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Dash garlic powder

Bruschetta:

  • 5 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 grinds black pepper
  • 18 to 20 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon tomato vinegar (I left out since Ben could not find it at the market)
  • 2 teaspoons salad vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons water

Directions

To make the Pumpkin Bread: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix ingredients together in a food processor with enough flour to create a soft dough and knead for 5 minutes.   Honestly, I think this could be done easier in a bowl with a spoon and your hands.  Allow dough to rise, covered, in a warm, draft-free place for 30 to 45 minutes. Punch down dough, recover, and allow to rise again for another 30 minutes. Punch down for a second time. Shape into a long, slender loaf. Place the loaf on a greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. I forgot the cornmeal part and it turned out fine.  Rub the top of the loaf with water. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

dsc02888

I am so stinkin proud of this stupid loaf of bread.  It was very warm and yummy.  I was tempted just to eat it all right there.  I ama carb baby who has been dieting for too long!

To make the Bread Dip: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine ingredients for bread dip. When bread cools, slice thin and dip each piece (each side) of bread into mixture. Bake bread with mixture on a cookie sheet until crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes, turning once.

To make the Bruschetta: Mix ingredients for bruschetta together with the remaining pumpkin and chill in refrigerator. Top bread with bruschetta and serve.

dsc02895

Result?  Yum.  I cut the bread slightly thick.  It was warm and gooey, which was a nice contrast to the tomato and pumpkin.  We both really liked this!

The cutest blogger in the blogosphere Monday, Nov 17 2008 

dsc02863

I am insane, but Eleanor will not starve Monday, Nov 17 2008 

I decided to attempt making my own baby food.  I have tried to elminate processed foods from our diets.  Shouldn’t I do the same for my baby?  Also, have you priced organic baby food? It hurts.  So I spent six hours of my life, yes six hours, stocking our fridge with a nice variety.  She won’t eat them until around the first of the year, but I wanted to get it done before the holidays.

dsc02874

We used a steamer for the green beans, corn, peas, and carrots. 

dsc02875

I used the oven for sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and pumpkin (yet another use).

dsc02877

We don’t have a blender so we used a food processor. It did the trick just fine.  The pears and bananas did not have to be cooked at all.  The pears had been in the freezer since I was afraid they were going to go bad a couple days ago,that made them watery enough.

dsc02882

I put the food in ice cude trays in the freezer.

dsc02885

Once the food froze I put the cubes in baggies to make it easier to thaw as needed.

dsc02887

And now a quarter of my freeezer is full!  I can’t remember exactly how much baby food Corbin went through, so I am not sure how long this will last.   But I spent less than $15 for this endeavor.  I am still going to let Gerber provide meat.  I may also consider tofu.

Pumpkin Cake Cookies Monday, Nov 17 2008 

dsc02873

This was another attempt to use the pumpkin currently in our freezer.  I needed a treat to take to book club and found this on my google reader.  It was very good!

Iced Pumpkin Cookies
slightly adapted from allrecipes.com
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Cookies:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream (I used the heavy cream)
1/2 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then spread icing over top.

To Make Icing: Combine all ingredients and beat with elextric mixer. Add milk as needed, to achieve spreading consistency.  I actually used more of the cream instead….made it very creamy.

dsc02872

I really liked the cake-like consistancy.  The pumpkin flavor was very subtle.  I think we are going to make them to take to Thanksgiving dinner.

Ziti with Pumpkin: Ziti alla Zucca Tuesday, Nov 11 2008 

I searched the entire Food Network website for recipes using pumpkin. Mario Batali is one of Ben’s favorites, so I thought this recipe would be perfect.

dsc02862

Ziti with Pumpkin: Ziti alla Zucca

Recipe copyright 2000, Mario Batali. All rights reserved.

Show: Molto MarioEpisode: Osteria Towards Tuscany

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound pumpkin, cut into julienne
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Pinch hot chile flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pound uncooked ziti (we used whole grain penne, could not find ziti in whole grain)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (We mixed parmesean and romano)

Directions

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over high heat and add the onion, garlic, and pumpkin and cook 1 minute. Add the water, salt and pepper, lower heat to medium and cover, cooking until the pumpkin is soft, about 8 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and parsley and keep warm.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cook the ziti according to the package directions, until tender yet al dente. Toss the pasta with the cooked pumpkin 1 minute over high heat. Divide evenly among 4 warmed pasta bowls, topped with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. 

This was super easy.  I thought it was really good…a bit too much onion, but good.  Ben did not think it was very filling.  We probably should have had a salad with it.

I think I am going to add salmon to it when I take it to the office for lunch tomorrow.

Next Page »