Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Taking it easy & a yummy pizza recipe

Well, things have not gone so smoothly with the early contraction situation. I thought I was over them and resumed normal activity on Monday morning…but they came back some Monday night and really bad yesterday. Back to the doctor. All thankfully is still fine…I am not in labor but I need to take it easier and make sure I drink lots and lots of water. Easier? I am not sure I know what the definition is, but Jeff defined it for me. For the time being, I am restricted playing with Reed, going to the grocery store and cooking dinner and the rest of the time, I need to be relaxing. Whoopee, right? Just kidding, I actually really enjoy going to the grocery store and cooking. I am VERY into the food we eat and providing my family healthy, yet delicious meals.
Speaking of cooking, this is where I source most of my recipes from these days:
Blog 009 Barefoot Contessa (from all her books), I just love her earthy recipes/presentation that are just good, classic dishes
Everyday FOOD monthly magazine, these recipes are quick, and use easy ingredients to make a delicious meal
Pinterest boards, so many different types of recipes that I use for both everyday & entertaining
and on occasion
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still a Martha devotee…but sometimes the recipes are not practical for my everyday meals. But I do come across some that suit me from time to time and certainly for special occasions/holidays I will put in the extra time. :)
The recipe today comes from the current issue of Everyday FOOD
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bacon and escarole pizza
(I actually used fresh spinach since I couldn’t find escarole and it was D-lish!!!)
I make our pizza dough from scratch because it’s so crazy easy and way less expensive. I used to make it in our bread machine, but tried Barefoot Contessa’s recently and love it so I have just been using that the last few months. If you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, try it, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
You can also buy the fresh dough at your grocery store near the deli, usually.

All-purpose flour, for work surface
1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 cups torn escarole (from 1 head)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Grated Parmesan, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, with rack in upper third. On a floured work surface, roll out dough to a 17-inch-long rectangle. Transfer to a broiler-proof rimmed baking sheet and top with mozzarella, onion, and bacon; season with salt and pepper. Bake until dough is cooked through and edges are golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Heat broiler. Top pizza with escarole, drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Broil until escarole is wilted and slightly charred in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.
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I love making homemade pizza. There was awhile there where I think I was making different variations at least once a week. LOL. I was so daunted at first, but it really isn’t hard, you just have to know some tricks to make it REALLY, REALLY good. You can make sooooo many variations (a great way to recreate your favorite ones from restaurants). Most of the time I make ours vegetarian, but I couldn’t resist bacon on this one. I do love me some bacon. I don’t eat a pound of it at a time anymore, though!
The biggest trick I have discovered to really re-create that gourmet pizza effect was to use a pizza stone. Wow, this has changed everything. You preheat it in a 500 degree oven and when it comes to temperature, place dough on hot stone and it immediately starts cooking and eliminates the soggy crust. I just put the dough on and “dress” the pizza on the stone (just have all the ingredients ready to go) and then pop it in back into the oven until the cheese is melted which is usually about 10-15 min. depending on the size, your ingredients and your oven.
Hope you enjoy!

Friday, June 22, 2012

a little online ordering to cure the boredom blues

It’s not like I have nothing better I could be doing…but the thing is, we had a little mis-hap yesterday with the baby. As in Mommy leaning over Reed’s head as he decided to jump into the air and smack into my tummy so hard it knocked the wind out of me. It was upsetting for all involved and I ended up needing to go get checked out since I started having contractions that thankfully were only braxton hicks due to the blow to the stomach. Baby is just fine and kicking as usual. I am only 25 weeks so this could of been really bad had I been in actual labor. Doctor’s orders to pretty much do nothing and rest until they settle down. So, last night I was in “bed” by 7pm relaxing and catching up on blogs(which was such a treat to have some time to myself). Only so much of that you can do so come today I was at a loss on what to do. I already poured through my Martha Stewart Sewing & Craft books for project inspiration and dog-eared the pages of stuff I want to do. After that, not much was on tv and saved in the dvr…so what’s a girl to do??? That's right, online ordering! LOL!

I am in a crafty, dying to create/design something mood so I think that’s what inspired my book orders from B&N. It was times like this that I wish I had a Nook so I could of had instant gratification, but truth be told, I still enjoy my print version of books & magazines the best!!! I know…not very green, but I like what I like. Can I get credit for at least trying the digital versions?

Here’s what should be arriving next week:

It’s never too early to start planning my dream kitchen for our next home
Book 1

I love re-inventing furniture, accessories, etc so always looking for new inspiration

I am really focusing on organizing & storage, but it needs to be pretty.
Book 1

Don’t get me wrong, I will do anything to make sure they baby stays safe, but doesn’t it figure that I had big plans of projects this weekend and we were supposed to have the neighborhood dinner at the pool tonight. Isn’t that always the case???

Have a great weekend!

P.S. I made some D-lish vegetarian meals this week that I will share with you next week!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

favorite way to begin my day

I am definitely not a morning person! I could lounge in bed for hours…so thankfully I have a toddler to entice me out of bed so I am not a “lazy bum”. HA! I am fortunate that Reed will play in his room until I come get him. These days I am waking up around 7:30/8am so not too bad from where we have come when he was a baby waking up at 5:30!!!! Ideally, I need some time to get going so I love days where we don’t have any place we need to go and we can be a little more leisurely.
After I get Reed settled with milk and a show while his breakfast is cooking, I love to curl up on the bench at the kitchen table with a BIG cup of coffee or two (half decaf while pregnant) and my morning “paper” aka laptop with Pinterest & Google Reader with the sun streaming in (I love when kitchens get the morning sun). Catching up on inspiration out there keeps me from being lazy gives me some gusto to get going for the day!

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These days, I get to do this at least a few days a week. :) I cherish them as I know in a few months when the new Greenway joins us, my schedule and free time will be all different at least for awhile…
Currently, the accompaniments to this are this “robe” (sorry for this pic-I couldn’t find it on Anthro’s website). During the summer, I am a cami & shorts kinda pajama girl so this gives me just the right amount of “warmth” in the morning. See, I was meant for the south-what kind of person needs a robe when it’s 90’s and humid out? LOL!

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and this mug from Pottery Barn
PB Mugs

Ahhhh, now don't be too envious...I am off to "cleaning day". Thursdays have been dedicated to cleaning day. More on the new weekly schedule I have put together in another post! It's really keeping my head on straight these days...

How do you start your day?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

almost over-ripe bananas

We buy bananas every week. I always get some that are just ripe and some that need to ripen for later in the week and it why does it seem like the ones that need to ripen do it overnight no matter how green they are when I bring them home so they are never worthy of eating plain by the end of the week. Reed loves bananas, but they better be just ripe or it’s a struggle to get him to eat them (which when you’ve had a perfectly ripe banana, I do admit, it is hard to beat). He has very discerning taste, ha ha.

So, I have resorted to finding alternate ways to preserve an almost over ripe banana. I do alot of freezing. I can use them in smoothies , baked goods, and even in the fudgsicles I recently made.

I recently came across this fun “freezer pop” idea on Pinterest, of course. You cut up bananas, insert a lollipop or popsicle stick in, dip in melted chocolate and put on the sprinkles. What a fun and healthy treat!

Freezer Pops

Surprise your kids with these!

I can’t wait to bring a tray of these out for dessert tonight, Reed will be so excited!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I miss my old garden

Here are some fresh cut flowers from my new pseudo garden, aka “Trader Joe’s”. $5.99 for these 3 massive beauties!

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I did have them in a wider vase when I brought them home Friday, but thought it was a wee bit sparse…didn’t realize they would almost double in opening. So pretty. They make me happy every time I sit at the kitchen table.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My lunches

We eat lunch at home most days so I sometimes buy specific ingredients to make, but usually it’s about using up leftovers from dinners or getting creative with the ingredients not used up from dinner menus.

This week is no different.

Yesterday I put together a margherita pizza on a pita
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it couldn’t be easier…
take a pita bread, add your favorite marinara sauce(we use Trader Joe’s Basil Marinara), tear fresh basil leaves (I love growing fresh herbs-you never have any waste and they always at the ready) and I tore the rest of the fresh mozzarella I had
You can also sprinkle a little salt & pepper to bring out all the flavors, too
Bake at 300 degrees until cheese is melted. After about 10-12 min, you have this…

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have the kids make their own pizzas too and they sell the mini pitas to make it fun for the kids to make different little pizzas, too!
I also had peppers, cucumbers and hummus as a side to get my veggies. Honest, I did!!!

Today, I had dinner leftovers-Tuna Melts but I often make this specifically for lunch because it’s so quick & easy.
Tuna salad is best if made a few hours ahead of time-here’s my “RECIPE”. I just kind of eyeball the ingredients and do it to taste and consistency.
4 small cans of white albacore tuna in water, drained
1/2-2/3 cup mayo or in our case I used Vegenaise
3 or 4 green onions, white & green parts
1 Tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. celery salt
salt and pepper to taste ( I start with less and let it flavor up a little in the fridge and add if necessary so it’s not too salty)
For the tuna melt:
toast english muffin (we use whole wheat)
slice tomato
slice cheese (my favorites are white sharp cheddar or swiss) for lunch today, all I had left was regular cheddar, but it was still yummy. :)
Layer tuna salad, tomato and top with cheese and broil on high about 4 min until cheese is all melted.

I go a little light on the cheese for me, but when I make it for other’s it’s dripping down the whole top, Jeff doesn’t like it when I am stingy with his cheese…
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and see, veggies and hummus again. When we had it for dinner, I made HUGE mixed greens side salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and homemade balsamic dressing. I try to get in as many veggies in us as I can. :)
I have enough tuna salad to probably enough tuna salad to have this the next couple days for lunch.
So, there you have it…my lunches this week. 

I hope either of these ideas give you something new to try.
So tell me, what do you eat for lunches?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies

Good morning! Hope you had a great weekend. It’s hard to go back to a little 2-day weekend after we just had a 3-day one, right? It goes sooooo fast.

We had a great weekend. Saturday I had planned to run off to the outlet mall about an hour north of here. To my shock, Jeff said he wanted to come with, so we made it a family affair. It was a BEAUTIFUL day-seriously not one cloud in the sky and only reached the high 70’s by 4pm so great outside shopping weather. My main draw to go up there was there is a Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware outlet. Also a Williams Sonoma one to my surprise. I found a few things, but you know how it is when you have birthday $$ to spend, you can never find “anything to buy”, right? Jeff is still replacing his wardrobe from all his weight-loss. His closet is so sparse (we both only unpacked our “skinny” clothes when we moved in), when you lose 65+ pounds, we are talking complete overhaul of needing everything in a smaller size, even undies, you know??? I also bought some baby stuff…and a few things for Reed. It was enjoyable (but for me shopping always is) but seriously a LONG day. We left at 9am and didn’t get home until 4:30! Reed took a quick nap in the car on the way home, but we all went to bed early and got a great night’s sleep. :)

Saturday’s excursion must of still had me wiped me out because I just couldn’t get really going. When Reed went down for a nap, I started working on our guest room/craft room (my mom is coming to visit for Reed’s birthday in a month). I did it for about an hour and then called it quits. I got a sneaky brilliant idea to bake some chocolate chip cookies. Once they were in the oven, I could sit in the kitchen waiting for them to bake and do some blog reading/web surfing yet still feel like I was accomplishing something, ha ha. Plus, Jeff said he was a little grumpy so what other than fresh-baked cookies to cheer someone up?

I used this recipe. Yum, they sure won’t last long!

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They must of worked, because he was in a much better mood afterwards… :)

Hope you give them a try and make someone’s day!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Some new things

Happy Friday! Wow, this week sure went fast. I am ready for the weekend, though!
I am just sitting down for the first time today…I have been cleaning like a mad woman all day. I am wiped out!
I wanted to share with you a few fun little home accents I have picked up in the last few weeks. I really have been trying to reuse and edit what I already have. But with a new home, there always seems to be a few little things needed and then in the process you find just some fun little things! :)

Fabric Basket

I just tossed some magazines in it for now, but what I loved about it is the many different uses…TP, toys, books, etc. I can't quite decide just how I want to use it. 
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Powder Room

I just loved these towels & rug, they remind me of something from Anthropologie.

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Reed’s room

The rocker/glider & ottoman is slated for the nursery, so we planned on getting Reed another chair for us to snuggle and read books in.  I left the ottoman in the soon-to-be nursery so I could get used to not having an ottoman. I hated not having one! I even used his big orange ball once at naptime to rest my feet on and then the idea popped into my head to get him a pouf. I thought this was perfect for his room since it is smaller in scale.
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This older home doesn’t have any ceiling fans, so we definitely needed some fans in the bedrooms for summer. I like to crank up the fans before I turn the air up.
I got this oil-rubbed bronze one for Reed’s room.
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Master Bath

We are back to one double vanity to share (I roughing it) so storage & countertop space is limited. I think you can never have too many drawers. I am going to use one for makeup and one for jewelry, I think. I am itching to go to Container Store to see what fun organizing things I can get for this.
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The rugs we had in the IL home were too big for the area in front of this vanity. I really wanted a one cozy long rug, but this vanity space was only 63” long so all the rugs I found were either considerably shorter or too long. Drats. Oh well, I found these for a steal at Home Goods.
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I must admit, it sure is fun to have an excuse to get new stuff…LOL!

Have a great weekend!