Sunday, August 22, 2010

Margarita Pizza

Not sure what's happening with my pictures - they won't load the right way!  Sorry about that!

This was one of my favorites pre-surgery and this is the first time I've tried to make it after surgery.  In fact, I never made it before - I always just ordered it whenever we went to an italian place.  This version is just a tad healthier ; )

Whole wheat pizza dough (I bought mine in the refrigerated section of the grocery store)
1 tbsp. oregano
8 slices or 8oz. of mozzarella cheese
1/8 or 1/4 cup fresh basil (Mine came courtesy of Ms. Andie Stone!)
6-8 oz. of tomato sauce (Fresh would be good, but I use Prego for ease)
3 med. roma tomatoes
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees.  Put pizza dough on pizza tray.  Spread olive oil on both sides of dough.  Spread tomato sauce on dough, leaving about a 1 inch edge.  Cut tomatoes into rings and lay out on top of sauce and dough.  Sprinkle with oregano and torn up basil (reserve a few pieces of basil for top).  Layer cheese over tomatoes and lay the last remaining basil leaves on the top.  Cook for 10-12 minutes on top rack at 500 degrees.  Serve HOT!

YUM!  (Only downside of this recipe - left overs don't keep very well.  So make sure you've got a group to eat it all if you have a problem wasting food.  We tossed the rest because it still was much cheaper to make than what we used to spend ordering out!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Whole-Grain Zucchini Apple Bread

This recipe is from my clean eating magazine that I rave about.  I kept everything the same except I added 1/2 tablespoon of baking splenda and used the food processor for the apple and zucchini.  Thanks to Andie for inspiring this recipe with her HUGE zucchini from her garden (also referred to as our private farmer's market in the office).

Pam cooking spray (Baking if you have it)
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup spelt flour (I found this at our specialty grocery store - Stauffers.  The brand that we use is called Red Mill.  You can find it here)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt (we use the kind that has the grinder on it)
1 granny smith green apple (finely grated in food processor)
1/2 large or 1 small zucchini (finely grated in food processor)
1 egg
1/2 cup of low fat plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 8x4 or 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
In large bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and splenda.  Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together grated apple, grated zucchini, egg, yogurt and honey.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined. 
Spread batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown. 45-50 minutes total.  Serve warm with margarine.

Ryan: It's good.  But basically, it's like a sweet wheat bread if I had to describe it.  That wheat taste makes it a little funky, but it's good.  Visually, it looks like a tuna salad loaf.  (That's a direct quote folks!)
Mel: Not my cup of tea.  Close enough to sweet apple bread, but not quite there.  It either needs to be more savory or a full on sweet bread.  Next time, I might use less yogurt and add another fruit like some raisins.  It was easy enough to make though!  Let me know if you try it and what your review is.

Broccoli and Bacon Salad

So this is the second recipe from this weekend that involved using left over veggies.  My mom made this kind of salad for us growing up, but I used equal instead of real sugar.  Ryan again said "I'm not sure on this one..." and he ate nearly half of the bowl for dinner tonight!  Very easy and is best if you let it sit overnight.

1 large head of broccoli - cut into smaller, bite size pieces
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
12 packets of equal
4 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled into small pieces

Clean, trim and chop broccoli into large bowl.  Add onion, raisins and sunflower seeds. 
In a separate bowl mix together mayonnaise, milk, vinegar and Equal and stir until smooth.  Pour dressing over salad and stir.  Cover with saran wrap and let sit overnight or at least 2 hours before serving.  Before serving, sprinkle crumbled bacon over the top.

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

Ryan and I went to a murder mystery party at his boss's house last week.  We brought a veggie tray to the party and there was a ton of broccoli and cauliflower left over. Solution: 2 recipes that work with both!  The first is cheesy cauliflower soup.  Ryan said "If you make that, what am I going to eat for dinner?"  My response: THIS!  He loved it!  Andie at work tried it too and she asked for the recipe.  She's a great cook - so that's how you know it passed the test =)

2 cups of fresh cauliflower, steamed
2 cans of condensed cream of potato soup
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tbsp. of butter or margarine
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 cups of milk
1 can of whole kernel corn, drained (7-8.5 oz size)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/8 tsp. pepper

Steam cauliflower in Ziploc steamer bag for 4 minutes.  While cauliflower is steaming, saute carrots and onions in 1/4 c. of water and 2 tbsp. of margarine.  Stir in soup, milk, corn and cauliflower.  Heat through.  Right before serving, mix in shredded cheese and pepper until melted.  Serve with whole wheat rolls or whole wheat crackers

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's Official - We're Moving!!!

For the last couple of months I've been looking for houses to rent closer to work for me.  We knew our lease at our current place was up at the end of September and we weren't sure if we could find a house closer to the college.  Needless to say, any of the houses listed with the rental companies around this area were insanely priced.  Let's just say - 1600 a month for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house (not owning it) was too much for us to pay in this market!

So I got frustrated and then I got gutsy (that's usually how it works).  I found a great house for sale by owner about a half mile from the college campus.  It is HUGE and I thought, no way.  But it was priced under market value and the owners had been trying to sell it themselves for a couple of months.  So I fired off an email letting them know we'd be interested in renting or at least talking about if they would consider it.  I mentioned in the email that I worked at the college and we're originally from Iowa - not sure how long we'll be here - hence the reason we're still motivated to rent.

About a week later I get a call on my office phone from the owner.  They had looked me up at the college to see if I was legit.  They said not interested in renting at this time - I said, if you change your mind, let us know.  They changed their minds about 4 weeks later!!!  We think it didn't sell because it's much too large of a house for an older couple to take care of and the inside needs cosmetic updates that might be too expensive for a younger couple.  That's where we come in.  We rent - so all major things fall to the owner, but they are going to let us change ANYTHING we want about the inside of the house.  Our first priority is to fence off the yard for Bentley and replace the carpet in the living room.  The carpet that is down now is very nice, but it's a hideous shade of red/maroon that HAS TO GO!  Then we'll go from room to room and paint and update as we save.  We're just so excited that it's big enough for our needs for the next couple of  years (Okay, lets be honest - at least the next 10 years) and that we're able to make any changes we want to make it feel like a home.

Here's the run down of what the house has:
5 bedrooms, 1 full bath, 2 half baths, 2 1/2 stall detached garage, a full cellar basement and full walk-up unfinished attic. Other rooms in the house include the living room, dining room, mud/laundry room, sun room/office, kitchen and screened in porch. The lot is a half acre and looks like our very own park (see pictures below).

We're putting fencing up and putting new flooring down on labor day weekend  - will start to move in on September 15th and need to be out of our current place by October 1st.  There will be a massive garage sale in our development on September 18th. So if anyone is in need of clothes and/or furnishings, let me know.  We'll be doing pre-sales in advance like I did before.  Right now I have size 18-28's available.  A lot more 18-22's this time! Everything MUST go - I refuse to move it to the new house!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Waldorf Salad

Tonight we had our version of Waldorf salad.  We use sliced almonds instead of walnuts and don't serve it on lettuce.  In the pictures you'll see a slice of bread.  Ryan had his as a sandwich and I just ate mine with a fork.  It would have been great with crackers too.  I might do that for lunch tomorrow with the left overs!

3 stalks of celery - chopped
1 cup of grapes - quartered
1/2 apple - chopped
1 large can of chicken
1/2 cup of light mayo (use more or less depending on preferred taste)
1/4 cup of sliced almonds
(Black pepper is optional - we prefer it without, my extended family prefers it - so it's pictured)

Cut/chop all ingredients - mix together in a bowl.  Serve on toast, crackers or lettuce leaves.  YUM!