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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Cowboy Style Pizza

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So, now that I am posting…and eating again, I figured I would do a real update about how we are doing, as well as another recipe.

Monkeybear is growing like a weed (33 ½ inches tall and 27 lbs!), and has been in the process of getting 6 new teeth. Yes, 6; two canines, his bottom molars, and now his top molars. Insane, but he is taking it like a champ. He gets more verbal every day, and wants to explore and climb on everything. He’s currently sitting on a chair at the dining room table with me and trying to type the rest of this post, so I’m sorry if there are typos.

Mr. Parade is doing well; he has been getting ready for Vineman, which will be the last weekend of July, and Ironman Lake Tahoe, in September. Suffice it to say, almost every spare moment that he isn’t at work or with Monkeybear and me, he is training. Even tonight, we are going down to Lake Natoma so that he can get in some more open water swimming. I am always so amazed at his hard work and determination. Drives me up a wall sometimes, but it is amazing nonetheless.

I haven’t mentioned much of the two dogs, nor the cat, so I will take a moment for them, too. Cooper is still a puppy at almost 5, and has lately taken to sniping food from James. He’s also in super guard dog mode, I assume because I’m pregnant, so every sound from outside automatically calls for Code 3 barking. Lucy is…well, not great. She’s becoming more senile, more stressed about everything in general, and is slowing down a lot. It’s really sad to watch, but Monkeybear has been amazing with her. As he gets older, he is learning to be super gentle with her, and give her soft pats, and good cuddling. She is also learning to handle the fact that the Monkeybear is in fact touching her, and that it’s okay. Newt too is finally getting used to the fact that Monkeybear is touching him is not an entirely disgusting thing, and is letting the Monkeybear chase him all over the house.

As for me, I’m doing okay. Though I’m still nauseous quite a bit of the time, it isn’t as bad as it was, which is a plus. Baby-to-be is about 10 weeks now, and I am starting to show, but at this point, most of the “showing” is just my uterus pushing my belly flab into a more prominent position. But there is a definite bump. I’ve also been exercising almost every day, doing at least an hour of yoga, and walking about 4 miles a few days a week with my friend M. I’ve also become obsessed with calories, because while you have to eat about 100-300 more calories while pregnant than you normally would, I also don’t want to gain as much weight as I did with Monkeybear. We’ll see how that goes.

Now, onto the food!

You know those days when you know you need to actually make dinner, but have no idea what you have in the fridge? I was having one of those days just last week. All I could think of was “Crap. What can I make using ground turkey?”

I had tomatoes, which was something. I also had a half-used bag of pre-shredded cheese, and a few leftover green onions. Then I looked in the door of the fridge. You know the place; it’s where all the dressings and sauces get regulated, and often left to expire before you use the whole container. There, nestled between a bottle of Tapatio and a jar of pickles, was the Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce.

It was game on from there. I knew what I was making.

The dough recipe is incredibly versatile, and you can use it with a variety of sauce-based and sauce-less pizzas. If you’re good, I’ll post my recipe for Shrimp and Sage pizza, and it uses this same dough as well. It mainly comes from the food blog Kristin in Her Kitchen, and the link to her recipe is: http://kristininherkitchen.blogspot.com/2011/09/no-yeast-pizza-dough-with-whole-wheat.html. I add a few things to my method that she does not, like rolling out the dough and pricking with a fork. This keeps it super thin, which goes well with this style of pizza.

 

Cowboy-style Pizza

For the dough:

2 c. whole wheat flour

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

¾ c. water, plus 1-2 tbsp if necessary

¼ c. olive oil

 

Toppings

1 tsp. olive oil (regular, not extra virgin, if possible)

1 lb ground turkey

¼ c barbeque sauce

2 tomatoes, sliced thinly and seeded

1 onion, sliced thinly

2 cups grated cheese (I used a mix, but almost any cheese would work)

3 green onions, chopped

 

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place all the dough ingredients into a bowl, and knead until the mixture becomes a smooth dough, about 2 minutes. Place the dough onto a well floured surface, and roll with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4” thick. Place the dough onto a baking sheet and trim any excess. Prick the dough all over with a fork to prevent it from rising, and bake for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.

2.  While the crust is baking, prepare the toppings. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat about 1 tsp olive oil. Add ground turkey, and cook until nicely browned all over. Make sure to break the pieces into bite sized chunks. Remove with a slotted spoon, and reserve.

3. On your prepared crust, spread a thin layer of barbeque sauce evenly over the top. You may not use the whole ¼ c., or you may use more. This is your pizza. Do what you want with it.

4. Layer the tomatoes, onions, and turkey all over the pizza evenly. Sprinkle with cheese, and top with green onions. Bake for 5-8 minutes, and serve.

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Caramelized Mushy Peas

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I understand that the name itself isn’t all that appetizing. Caramelized sounds good, but mushy? Mushy peas? But hear me out on this. Trust me. I gave you zucchini brownies. Have I lead you astray yet?

In the days before Monkeybear and Baby-to-be, Mr. Two-Ironmans-in-a-year-is-a-GREAT-idea and I went to the British Isles for our honeymoon. We’d already been to England once when I was still in high school, but this was to be a three week getaway, and our first as a married couple.

I sincerely disliked fish at the time. Now that is not the case, but at the time, I really didn’t care for it. But I decided one evening, before seeing Spamalot (which was a riot), that I would try traditional Fish and Chips.

The fish was decent. I didn’t have any trouble eating it. The chips, which to us are really steak fries, I enjoyed. On the side of the plate, however, was this green almost-mashed potatoesque lump of…what was it? Oh. “Mushy peas.” Already out of my comfort zone, I took a bite.

I love peas, but I was in heaven after that. Words cannot describe how marvelous these were.

A few years later, watching a YouTube video on how to make fish and chips, (which in and of itself was interesting. The recipe called for pureed bell pepper instead of egg) I saw them again: the mushy peas. I was instantly reminded of my experience with the real thing in England, and had to make them again.

Now, this is a recipe that has been conglomerated from a few different ones, and I in no way, shape, or form claim that these are anywhere near traditional. But these are one of the few things I have been able to eat during my first trimester, and I have never had my mushy peas turn out anything less than brilliant.

I dare you to try these. Once you see the ingredients list and method, I think you won’t be nearly as turned off by it. I hope.

 

Caramelized Mushy Peas

 

3 cups peas (either fresh if you can get them, or thawed from frozen if not), patted dry with paper towel

1 tbsp butter

1-2 tbsp milk

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

1. In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter until it is just turning light brown. Add the peas, and stir to coat the peas in the butter. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Some of the peas should be caramelized by the end. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

2. Add in one tablespoon of the milk, and mash using a stick/immersion blender. Some peas should be left intact, but not many. Add more milk if necessary; it should be about the consistency of mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Whole Wheat Gnocchi

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So, as a result of being pregnant, I find myself not wanting to eat… well, a whole lot of anything really. The other night, Mr. This is NOT a Parade and I were watching Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and Jabba’s Palace made my stomach turn.

I have watched countless drunk people vomit all sorts of fantastic colors. You’d think I’d be able to at least LOOK at Jabba. Nope. Not even for a little bit.

This was something I think I could eat any time. Gnocchi is a potato pasta-like dumpling, so its main purpose is to be awesome in some form of sauce. I chose an Alla Vodka sauce (that wasn’t very good, to be honest, but that’s what I get for buying it in a jar) and some peas, but the gnocchi really did end up being the star of the meal.

The first time I made gnocchi was an absolute disaster. I boiled and steamed the potatoes as instructed, and ended up having to add a ton of flour and at least 3 eggs to get it to turn out. I have, however, figured out the secret to non-soggy gnocchi dough: baking the potatoes. Or, you can use my cheat, which will make some of you cringe, but I have no shame in it whatsoever. I microwave my potatoes. The average potato will be perfectly cooked in the microwave by popping one in there for five minutes on each side, so ten minutes total. If you do two, increase the time per side to 7.5 minutes. And make sure you prick them all over with a fork, you don’t want them exploding. Microwaving the potatoes gets them done faster than my oven can (which oftentimes picks and chooses what it will or will not bake, and it will NOT bake potatoes even under threat of death), and they turn out perfectly fluffy and cooked on the inside.

I very much multi-tasked during this recipe. Once I had the potatoes cooked, I set my water boiling, and then made the dough. Once I had the dough made, I made the gnocchi, and put them into the water as they were ready, while continuing to roll out more of the awesome potato dumplings. The way I did it was much quicker than the traditional method of baking the potatoes, making the dough, making the gnocchi, boiling the water,  cooking the gnocchi in batches, then eating. Nope. Not going to happen.

I will say this: this recipe from start to finish took me about 2.5 hours. So this is not a quick weeknight meal. If you do it right, it can still be a weeknight meal, but don’t expect to put it on the table in 30 minutes.

 

Whole Wheat Gnocchi

2 lbs potatoes (choose a Russet or a Yukon; stay away from the waxy potatoes)

1 c. Whole Wheat flour

¼ tsp. salt

1 egg

 

Method:

1. Bake the potatoes; either on a baking sheet in the oven for 50 minutes or on a plate in the microwave for 10 minutes, five on each side. Once cooled, peel the skin off the potatoes, discarding the skins and placing the innards into a bowl. Using a potato ricer, process the potatoes in small amounts until all of them are “riced”.

2. Set a large pot filled with salted water on high heat. Bring to a boil while you do step 3.

3. Add the flour, salt, and egg to the bowl, and knead with clean hands until it forms a dough. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces.

4. Taking one of the eight portions of dough, roll it out on a clean surface until it forms a rope about ¾ of an inch in diameter. Cut the rope into segments approximately 1 inch in length. Roll each individual segment into a ball. Taking a fork, roll each segment along the back of the fork, so that there are ridges from the fork on one side of the dumpling, and an indentation from your thumb on the other. Place the dumplings into the boiling water as you make them. Continue this process on the remaining 7 portions of dough until they are all done.

5. Take the gnocchi out of the boiling water using a slotted spoon or spider once they pop up to the surface, about 2-3 mintues. Shake off any excess water, and reserve until needed.