Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pizza.. My favorite!

I love pizza. Thick, crunchy crust, gooey cheese, crisp veggies.. mmm. And Im not talking pepperoni and cheese. No way. I actually cant remember the last time I ate a pepperoni pizza. And I definitely prefer homemade to one of the big box places. Have you ever made your own pizza before? This recipe is great, because, well, you can put whatever you want on it! We love it on those nights we work late, and throw it together with the ingredients we already have.

pizza
INGREDIENTS
crust
sauce
cheeses (mozzarella and parmesan)
veggies (bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, olives, hot peppers... really whatever you can think of!)
fresh basil

For my crust, we usually buy the active yeast that is labeled for pizza crust, and follow their directions (no rise time!)

The sauce I make from either fresh tomatoes, or whole canned tomatoes (usually just whatever's handy!) Start by heating olive oil over medium, add fresh, chopped garlic and saute for a minute in a sauce pan. Then add chopped onion and red bell pepper. Let these saute for about 5 minutes. Next, I chop up the tomatoes and add them to the mix. Let these all simmer for another 15 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Now I add a dash of S&P, a few red pepper flakes, and a couple tablespoons of red wine vinegar and cook about 2-3 minutes longer. The final step is to pour the sauce into a food processor to make it nice and smooth.

Roll the crust out onto a baking sheet (I use a Slipmat-- it helps the crust get browned all the way. If you dont have one, just blind bake a few minutes prior to adding the goodies!) For whatever reason we are obsessed with parmesan cheese. Dont ask. So, we put a nice layer on the bottom first, then add the sauce, then all your veggies. Top with fresh mozz and torn basil. Bake at 450 for about 12 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted and the crust is brown.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blake's Famous Chicken Alfredo


Ok, its not really famous... yet. But, it is his specialty. And mmm it is good. I have no idea exactly how he makes it, though. So, no recipe here, but Ill get him to right it down. The problem is, unless we are following a recipe, its usually a little of this, a little of that until it tastes right. For whatever reason, my alfredo sauce is just never as good as his is.

Anyway, the chicken is the breast cut in half (to make them thinner-- I think this is a good mind trick to eating less) and encrusted in panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and Parmesan cheese then pan fried in a little olive oil. We typically will eat whole wheat pasta, but we had some regular fettuccine on hand, so we used that. Our salad is our old stand by: baby arugula, Parmesan and cracked pepper. The salad dressing is simply lemon juice, 3 times that amount in olive oil, and S&P. Its delish!

We always use fresh cheese. The pregrated stuff out of a bag freaks me out. Its covered in corn starch--or something else equally as unappetising. Making things from scratch is really inexpensive, and way more fun! Plus, you have more of a sense of accomplishment. (Not too mention actually knowing whats in your food!(

I have yet to make those sugar cookies....... Ive had a lot to do when I get off work lately, it just hasnt happened. Maybe on Sunday....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Greek Salad.. with a twist!



I love my iPhone. There's no secret there, but one of the things I love about it is all the cool Apps I can have. Blake and I were obsessed with the show Food Revolution with Jamie Oliver a few months back. It was all about getting all us stubborn Americans to realize what most of us eat is not ok. The shows primary focus was converting school food lunches from frozen "food" to being cooked on site, fresh daily. He proved it could be done with even the same staff and budget.

Anyway, not to ramble, but through all this, we found the Jamie Oliver 20 Minute Meals App. It is awesome. We have tried so many new things because he  breaks them down into super simple steps, and everything has been super easy. Blake and I love to have a small salad with dinner with a fresh lemon/ olive oil dressing, but rarely do we feel they are hearty enough to stand alone. We wondered across the recipe in the App, and thought it was worth a shot, (We will usually try anything at least once!!), and boy did it pay off! This was a very filling, delicious salad and was minimal effort.


the not-so-greek salad
INGREDIENTS
2 ripe avocados
1 lemon
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 small red onion
6 large ripe tomatos
1 handful black olives (which we omitted because Blake refused to eat them) :)
romaine lettuce
6 oz feta cheese
red wine vinegar
olive oil
S&P

DIRECTIONS
Slice the avocados into thin, small pieces and place into a large mixing bowl (this will eventually hold the entire salad, so make sure its big enough!) Grate the lemon zest into a small bowl, then slice the lemon and squeeze in all the juice. Use a spoon full of the juice to toss in with the avocados so they do not turn brown. Sprinkle half of the dried oregano in the bowl with the lemon juice, and add three times as much extra virgin olive oil. Add a dash of S&P and taste; then adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Place the finely chopped red onion in another small bowl and mix with a dash of red wine vinegar and S&P.

Cut the tomatoes into rough chunks and add to the avocado. Roughly chop the olives and add them as well. Wash the lettuce then tear into small bite sized pieces and add to the avocado bowl. Give the dressing a quick stir then pour it over the lettuce, tomato, and avocado mix. Add the marinated red onion and toss.

After serving between the plates, top with crumbled feta (and we added Parmesan....and bacon.) :)

Yeah, yeah. I realize, its not much of a Greek salad once you remove the olives, and added avocado and bacon, but... its our little twist! And it was amazing, so who cares what kind  of salad it was! We also served ours with toasted Whole Wheat Artisans Bread from Trader Joe's with Parmesan cheese on top. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Confessions.

So. I confess. Ive been neglecting my blog. Im sorry. Truth be told, we are moving in a month to [hopefully] a bigger place, but possibly, a smaller one. Since we aren't sure, we (we...as in Blake) have decided to hold off on purchasing furniture for the moment.

This is the reason I didnt buy these awesome pieces when I was in Florida last...






They would have been a real steal. And we found these, and left them, right after Mom and I got done telling Jami the rules of junking..... the numero uno rule being, if you like it, buy it. (Unless its too expensive, then dont worry, you will most definitely find something else.) And these two pieces were definitely not too expensive, and yet, we still didnt buy them..... We even went back a few hours later, but of course, they were gone.




In the meantime, while Im not working on anything too exciting, I have decided to post about our food. If you know us (especially me) very well, you will know that we have become very weary of what we eat. We are doing our best to eat healthy every night, but more importantly, make things from scratch. It was no easy conversion at first, but we are trucking right along, and are heading in the right direction. We try to limit our intake of red meat, and try to rarely eat out.

While we were in Raleigh over the weekend, we stopped at Trader Joe's. I had read about it on a few blogs, and someone at work recommended we stop there... And oh my, it lived up to every expectation and then some. It was AMAZING. Basically, it is very high quality products at affordable prices. Most things are under their own brand, and I can guarantee you wont find anything that says "Kraft", or "high fructose corn syrup".

We dont eat sweets too often, but lately, I have been in the mood for sugar cookies. So, instead of buying them in the grocery store, Im going to make them. From scratch. Even the icing. Ill try to post some pics up later... hopefully they will turn out beautiful! (and tasty!) Even though we are technically eating "junk food", at least I can name every ingredient in it, and not one of them is hard to read or pronounce! :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Linkin' Up

Its been a long week, with minimal junking (minimal, as in none... but theres always tomorrow!), and minimal free time. I am hoping to change this tomorrow, though. Anyway, check out this great blogs Im linkin' up to!



Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special



Chic on a Shoestring Decorating








Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Bed

Remember this little piece?


Well, you should see her now......




 Initially, I was going to simply paint her white, then distress her by removing parts of the paint, (like I did with the dresser on the left). The only problem was, I was afraid the puke green would still show through. My mom has been glazing the pieces she has redone and they have all turned out really nice, but I was skeptical, and scared.




 After I painted this white, I was very content, and actually didnt touch the piece for about a week. But, deep down inside, I knew it needed something more.




 I had already purchased the glazing/ antiquing items weeks earlier, so they were already on hand... It was just a matter of finally doing it.




 Once I started, I actually liked the look. A little here, a little there..... and I was constantly wiping and smearing with a clean, wet rag. The entire process took about 10 minutes. (Which was the best part.)




 I am very happy with how she turned out. Hard to imagine what she looked like before! And the best part, is my guest room is finally looking like a guest room! At least until these items sell.... :) Speaking of, be sure to check out the link to my new "For Sale" page at the top! Please help me get this business up and running so my husband will let me keep buying new furniture to restore!!



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

14 Hours and $56 Later..

This past weekend Blake, the puppies and I loaded up in the car and headed south to Florida for the weekend to visit family and friends. It was a quick trip, but action packed for sure. We spent Friday afternoon outside enjoying the weather. While Blake prepared to hunt the next day, Copper and Sadie played with the other furry girls in the yard, and I rested quietly on the swing. Before I knew it, Mom was home and our weekend began. We had already planned to spend Saturday Junking, but we did not anticipate it starting early! We found a few items outside of a house that they were giving away for FREE!! My mom had said about a hundred times she was looking for a French Provencal dresser..and they had one.. for free!! They even let us go inside to find an ornate cabinet, matching wall unit, and a piano. (We did not take the wall unit or piano....but we should have!!)

We were up and at'em bright and early Saturday stopping at tons of garage sales. As the morning grew later, we transitioned into thrift stores and second hand furniture stores. We ended with our first auction.. where we were scolded for having fun! Check out all our loot!! 1 dresser, 1 cabinet, 2 chairs, 79 dishes, 1 candelabra, 5 books, and 3 bars of soap. 


The chair on the left was our most expensive piece... $20. The one on the right came from the auction and needs A LOT of work! But it was only $2!



The candelabra is for Halloween, and the big white pitcher is mine.. I love it. I have decided I collect pitchers. Ever since I broke the one my mom gave as a wedding gift..)



The reason for the auction. 67 pieces of Ironstone (that Mom is obsessing over) for $10.



This beauty is from 1897! Isnt she beautiful?! She came from a garage sale.



The silver pitcher in the middle is really mine. But, Im sharing with Mom. :)



The bottom book is from 1952 and titled, How To Make Your Own Groceries. Right up my alley!  (And those are soaps in the front right, "Scrub-A-Mutt" and "Hunter's Soap")


I cant wait until Mom and Ashlie visit in a few weeks so we can go junking up here one last time before I move!