Sunday, September 27, 2009

Long Overdue

Have two weeks really flown by so quickly? It's been such a whirlwind lately that I've been a delinquent blogger. I always think of fall as being a time when things slow down in preparation for the dormancy of winter, but this fall has been anything but slow.
This Wednesday we cruised up to Bozeman for the Jason Mraz concert. What an amazing show! Despite my losing our front row seats due to a near fainting spell, the show was amazing. Mr. Mraz is a hippie if there ever was one, and his message of spreading love and joy radiated through the crowd as everyone danced, sang, and soaked up the fantastic music. The impact of a positive mental outlook simply cannot be overrated, and if his joy spilled into listeners and continues to spread to those around us it's a beautiful thing. Hmmm, maybe hippie is contagious?
Last night I tried my new favorite pizza dough with exclusively wheat flour and I'm thrilled to report it was just as delicious as the versions I've tried with half white and half wheat flour. One more way to health-ify an already great recipe. I topped it with carmelized onions, dates, gorgonzola, tomatoes, mushrooms, and fresh basil. It was reminiscent of the Mom Naan and nearly as tasty. Sorry I forgot to take photos- it went from the pizza stone to our tummies very quickly!
Apologies for taking so long to share this fantastic recipe. It's perfect for this time of year when the leaves begin to change and there's a little bite in the air.
The original Corn and Potato Chowder recipe is from Cookinglight, but of course I didn't stick to it exactly. We don't have a grill (well, we have one, but it's currently residing in our overgrown backyard. That's a project for next summer...) and I couldn't find any small sweet corn (I hate the starchy late summer variety) so I simply used a bag of frozen corn. Though Parker was a bit dismayed at my choice to cut this particular corner of the recipe, I think it turned out just as well. Canned corn would work nicely, or of course fresh if it's available and you're ambitious. I also skipped the milk and half and half and substituted almond milk. It was just as delicious and the food processed corn added the necessary creaminess. I used 1 tbsp of butter total since I didn't need any to grill the corn, but next time I'll leave it out entirely- makig this a great, easy vegan recipe. I forgot the chives and thyme from my grocery list and simply relied on salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes for seasoning.
Corn and Potato Chowder
The recipe made four servings, and I quickly ate 1 1/2 and Parker chowded down the rest. Though I love having leftovers, when an entire batch of soup is consumed in one sitting, I consider the recipe a success. I'm looking forward to making this one again. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Happy Sunday :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009


"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."
~ Confucius

Monday, September 14, 2009


For my birthday P not only gave me a beautiful wine rack, but also a SPIRALIZER!!! Or, a noodleizer as we call it around here :) It is fan-flippin-tastic!
Here's the little guy in action:
The first photo is of freshly noodleized raw zucchini- yum!
Dinner tonight was homemade pasta sauce with spiralized zucchini alongside stuffed mushrooms. Pretty darn good for made up recipes!
Pasta sauce:
  • About a dozen fresh tomatoes, chopped (about the size of canned diced tomatoes)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, slivered
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • a few red pepper flakes
  • 3 random peppers from my parents' neighbors' garden chopped into small pieces; sorry I have no idea what kind they were but here's a photo:


I threw everything into a medium sized sauce pan on fairly high heat- about an 8 on my little burner :) I cooked it all for about an hour, reducing the heat as the sauce cooked down, eventually letting it simmer for the last 20-30 minutes, depending on how much liquid is remaining. When we were just about ready to eat I threw the zucchini in with the sauce to heat up. The spiralized zucc tasted almost like pasta and the angel hair noodle consistency was amazing. I can't wait to try the noodleizer with other veggies!

I made up this stuffed mushroom recipe after reading a bunch of others from cookbooks. I wanted to use things I had in the house and simplify the recipe along with making it healthier. Here's the mixture I used to stuff the mushrooms:

  • 1/2 pack frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 3 tbsp low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 c bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp pesto

I combined everything in the food processor and scooped it into 16 (give or take- I could have easily filled 20) mushrooms with the stem removed placed top down on a cookie sheet sprayed with pam. I scooped the mixture into the mushrooms and then topped with a little fresh Romano cheese. They baked for about 20 minutes- or until golden brown on the top- at 400 degrees.


They were surprisingly filling and tasty. I'm not always a huge spinach fan so I'm always trying to find new ways to incorporate the green stuff into recipes without having the taste overpower everything else. Parker declared it a "repeater." If only the Bills had won, it would have been a perfect evening ;)

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~John F. Kennedy
~homemade birthday thank you cards~


"If you want to know your experiences from the past look at your body now. If you want to change our body change your experiences now." ~ Deepak Chopra

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Variations on a Theme

We've been on a pizza-making kick lately. I think it's because I'm so excited that I can make homemade ww crust and the topping possibilities are endless. Last week I made a batch of dough for dinner one night and froze the rest to use this week. Half a batch of dough was more than enough for dinner for the two of us and some leftovers for lunch the next day.

Here's the pizza pie I whipped up last week:


His (right side):
Homemade sauce, fresh sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and a sprinkle of fresh basil (added after baking)

Here are the ingredients for the homemade sauce:
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar

I dumped everything into a saucepan and reduced until it was the right thickness. Since it's fresh tomato season I'll use about 5 chopped tomatoes next time. I don't bother removing the skin or seeds because I don't even notice them (and I'm too lazy to mess with all that!).

Hers (left side):

Caramelized onions, blue cheese crumbles, fresh sliced tomatoes and a sprinkle of fresh basil (added after)

Here's a link to the original post that includes the crust recipe.

And here's the pizza I made this week using half of the leftover ball of dough (1/4 of the original recipe):


My pizza toppings were a thin, thin layer of pesto, fresh tomato slices, goat cheese and mushrooms. I also added fresh mozzarella after baking. Parker got his own pizza topped with the leftover sauce (the recipe last week made enough for two or three pizzas so I froze the rest), fresh sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, and tons of sliced mushrooms. Unfortunately the photos didn't turn out :(

The pizzas were extra good this week because of a fantastic birthday present from the Blakeslees- A PIZZA PADDLE! Mom gave me a stone for Christmas and I'd used it for crisping pitas, tortillas, etc, but hadn't had a chance to use it for fresh homemade pizza. It was so much fun to roll out the dough so it was extra thin and then transfer it from the paddle to the stone. I loved how the crust got extra crispy and the stone gave it much better flavor than just using a cookie sheet. Thanks Matt and Kate for the great gift!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Zucchini Chips

This time of year always seems to offer an overabundance of produce- zucchini included. I found this recipe at and gave it a shot last week. Tasty, crispy, delicious. I decided to recreate the "chips" tonight with a few changes.

The following steps yeiled baked, crunchy, flavorful fall zucchini:

1.) Slice zuccs into approx 1/4 in thick "chips"
2.) Dip into milk (I used almond milk) so the breading sticks. I put the zucc chips in a tupperware, poured in a little almond milk, adhered the top and shook the whole mix so the zuccs were coated
3.) Mix together approx 1/2 c bread crumbs, dash of salt/pepper, and lemon pepper (or a "flavor packet" of your choice). Last time I used cayanne but I wanted a more acidic flavor this time
4.) Move zucc chips from milk to breading mixture and toss a few at a time so they're evenly coated
5.) Spread chips on a baking sheet coated with Pam
6.) Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes
7.) Remove from oven, turn chips, and sprinkle with a little fresh grated parm
8.) Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes or until lightly brown

The end result:


They're such a great side dish. We enjoyed them this evening along with sloppy janes (with fresh tomatos- yum!) and sweet corn. I'm not sure late summer meals get much better!

Hope you enjoy! :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


So I have a wee confession to make: when cooking, I RARELY follow recipes. When I bake, I measure everything, use the right ingredients, and follow directions. When cooking, however, all bets are off. I use cookbooks, cooking magazines, and other flogs as a huge source of inspiration, but it's seldom that I use the exact ingredients and methods described. I like using what I have around the house or know I can easily buy and adapting recipes to make them quick and easy. Sometimes, this is disastrous (Sorry again about dinner on Monday P!) and other times it's amazing.

Case in point: I found this recipe for black bean burgers with mango salsa at The little wheels in my head started to churn as I realized I has almost all the ingredients in my kitchen and mangoes that needed to be used much sooner than later. After previously trying this recipe from with moderate success, I figured I'd blend the two together and see what happened.

The results? Amazing.


Here's a big bowl of the delicious salsa:


  • 1 mango
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 small tomatoes
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper

I assembled my burgers much differently and stuck with the more traditional approach suggested in 101 cookbooks and used an egg as the "glue." I also skipped slicing the "burger" in half and just piled all the salsa on top. I was hungry :) The fresh corn and asparagus rounded out a perfect summer meal.

Just because a recipe seems odd or looks intimidating doesn't mean it's not worth a try ;)