New York City and Chicago are the pizza capitols of this country - and I was fortunate enough to grow up smack dab in the middle of them. There is no doubt that the city of Cleveland benefitted from and was influenced by pizza makers in both cities. In my humble opinion, Cleveland boasts some pretty fantastic pizza.
Despite all of the incredible pizzerias, my favorite pizza to eat when I was growing up was my mom's homemade pizza. My mom was by far the best pizza maker in town. She always baked her pizza on a rectangle cookie sheet and cut it into slices with kitchen scissors. (The true Italian way. LOL)
I will never be able to make pizza like my mom, but I do like to carry on the tradition of making homemade pizza for my family. We all like homemade pizza night. Everyone gets involved in the process: rolling dough, slicing toppings, sprinkling cheese, spreading sauce. Most of the time we end up with a half and half pizza.
I created this pizza to be just a little bit healthier than my usual thin crust pizza. A little parsley, whole wheat flour and tomato juice really pumps up the flavor of the crust. I loved the added nutrients in the dough but more importantly, we all loved the flavor of this pizza so much that the three of us ate the entire pie for dinner.
Veggie Pizza with Herbed Tomato Crust
1/2 cup whole wheat flour Toppings
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley 8 ounce can pizza sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped 1 bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon active dry yeast 1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 red onion, sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 teaspoon pepper crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups flour
Arrange toppings over sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake 25-30 minutes at 400. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
My mom still makes homemade pizza for us when we go to her house for a visit. She is STILL the best pizza maker in town. My pizza will never compare to hers so I don't even try to make her version. This is a pretty tasty homemade pizza though - you really need to give it a try.
It's a snow day!
Believe it or not - today is a snow day for most of the state of Georgia and I for one am going to embrace it - and bake snow day muffins.
I realize that snow days wreak havoc on travel, school, work and child care schedules but since I work from home, I'm feel like I'm less impacted by bad weather. I'm so thankful and grateful for all of the people who venture out in bad weather to keep me safe and warm in my house and I don't feel like they get enough recognition. Because, while I have the luxury of working from home and spending my snow day cooking and baking, there are plenty of people who make the choice to go outside so that I can be comfortable. I appreciate you.
Instead of baking muffins for myself today - I made a batch of muffins to share with some of the people that I see working outside today.
Todays snow day muffin is apple pumpkin. A generous spoonful of cinnamon apple filling is a great addition to these pumpkin flavored muffins. They really are a delightful treat - whether you're working inside or outside today.
Apple Pumpkin Muffins
1 Granny Smith apple
1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
7 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Drizzle glaze over cooled muffins.
And since they were snow day muffins - I couldn't resist putting them in the snow for pictures. Turns out that temperatures in the teens, really set the glaze quickly. Bonus.
Happy snow day friends. Stay warm.
Anyone else trying to limit their intake of refined sugar this month but still struggling with a demanding sweet tooth? There are all kinds of theories about WHY we crave sweet food but I'm more interested in figuring out HOW to satisfy my sweet tooth without putting refined sugar, syrup or honey in my body. The struggle is real -- I'm trying hard to minimize the amount of sugar that I consume this month - which is exceedingly difficult considering the fact that I make cake, cupcakes and cookies on a daily basis.
Today I'm sharing my simple secret to satisfying my own sweet cravings - dates. Natures natural sweetener. I'm not a huge fan of eating dates on their own but I do love the sweetness that they add to almost any recipe. If you've never tried a date sweetened recipe - these Apricot, Walnut and Coconut Date Bars are a great place to start. These no bake treats are easy to make and sweet enough to satisfy even the most demanding sweet tooth.
Apricot, Walnut and Coconut Date Bars
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup whole walnuts
1/3 cup dried coconut
Pulse dates, apricots, almonds and walnuts in food processor until pea sized pieces remain.
Add coconut and pulse several more times.
Line and 8" square pan with parchment paper. Press mixture into pan.
Refrigerate 1 hour before slicing into 8 bars.
I suggest you make yourself a cup of tea to enjoy with these delightful little treats.
I'm already coming up with new variations of this recipe. Perhaps I'll give peaches and pistachios a try. Or maybe even cranberries and almonds. So many possibilities. Have fun.
It's the middle of January and my garden is looking pretty pitiful. I've got a rosemary bush that's in desperate need of pruning, a patch of oregano that's trying to take over an entire level of the garden and a thyme plant that's growing out of control. I love having winter herbs but I tend to neglect my garden in the winter - until I need some herbs. I also miss the days when I could go out to the garden and bring in bountiful bunches of fresh basil, parsley and mint to use in my recipes.
It seems like Spring is a long way away but the truth is, I could actually start growing new herbs in just a few short weeks. In the meantime, I'll stick to flavoring my recipes with my hearty winter herbs: rosemary, oregano and thyme.
My family loves a great grilled steak but on a cold and blustery January day, the last thing I want to do is to bundle up and go outside to fire up my Big Green Egg. I won't let my wimpy cold weather issues stop me from making a steak dinner in January though. This juicy skillet steak with garlic and winter herbs was exactly what my meat loving family was craving this month.
Skillet Steak with Garlic and Herbs
20 ounce bone in rib eye
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, quartered
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Top with thyme and rosemary sprig and baste with pan juices. Let rest 5 minutes.
Temperatures are expected to be very cold this weekend so it will be cold weather comfort food for me all weekend. Bowls of nice hot soup, freshly baked rolls, giant portions of pasta and steaming mugs of hot chocolate are in order. What is your favorite cold weather comfort food?
To those of who have made the commitment to eating healthier in 2018 or started the Whole30 diet this month - my hats off to you. Even though I haven't jumped on the Whole30 bandwagon, I did do a little research into the program. The idea of avoiding dairy, legumes, sugar, junk food, grains and alcohol for 30 days is very appealing - I'm just not sure how realistic that is for my me.
As I researched the Whole30 program, I started to realize that a lot of the food that I already prepare, falls within the parameters of this diet. Turns out, I've been making yummy Whole30 approved food for years and I didn't even realize it.
If you happen to be participating in the Whole30 program this month - or even if your not - you will want to try these Roasted Pears and Parsnips. This is exactly what your dinner plate has been missing. This naturally sweet side dish is the perfect compliment to chicken, fish, beef or pork.
Pan Roasted Parsnips and Pears
2 cups peeled parsnips, cut into 1/2" pieces
3 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups red Anjou Pears, chopped (any pear will do)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon grainy mustard
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Bring parsnips and water to a simmer in a skillet. Cover and cook 2 minutes until water evaporates.
Uncover, stir in oil, pears, thyme and salt. Cook 3 minutes until parsnips are browned and tender.
Remove from heat. Stir in mustard and vinegar.
Serve with beef, chicken, pork, fish, anything really.
I love this dish but I'm going to be honest with you, my family does NOT share my love of roasted parsnips. For the life of me, I cannot understand why in the world they don't appreciate the delicate sweetness of a perfectly roasted parsnip. There's just no accounting for good taste. LOL
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