My Top Ten

Monday, August 23, 2010

Homemade Pizza

Bodhi is quite the little kitchen helper. He has "his" stool that we get out and he will help with cooking. Dough is a kid friendly venture and one that he enjoys, as seen in above photos!
So, go grab your own little kitchen helper and get to it!

Homemade pizza dough recipe:

In small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon yeast with 1 1/2 cups warm [120 degree] water and add in a spoonful of sugar to get those little yeast-lings a bubbl'n.

3 c flour (mix whole wheat & white 50:50)
Jazz up your pizza dough by adding herbs & spices to the flour; ones I commonly use are parlsey, oregano, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, flax seeds or flax meal and salt. Dry whisk the flour to incorporate the spices.

Make a well in the center of your flour, pour in the active yeast and 1+ tablespoons olive oil. Work your dough until it comes together to form a nice ball.
Sometimes, it takes a bit more oil to pull the dough together, sometimes 1 tbspn is enough.

Cover & let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Punch down, knead, cut the dough into (2) equal parts and let rest another 15 minutes. Roll out one or both of the dough balls into your pizza crust. If you won't be using both dough balls for dinner tonight, it'll keep in your fridge for a few days (hello homemade cheesy garlic bread with spagehtti?!?) or it freezes well.

If you like crispier crust, bake the crust at 425 for about 10 minutes and then top with sauce, toppings, cheese and bake. If you like softer, fluffier crust; then do not pre-cook your dough. Simply spread out your sauce & choice of toppings and bake away.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Muffins, chocolatey yummy muffins

I have been having a diversion in the grocery store for the gluten-free section. I do not have Celiac disease, thankfully. It's a challenging disease that is popping up more and more in the general population, it affects 1 in every 133 persons. And it's the type of disease that will completely change your life, because wheat is in EVERYTHING. You would probably be surprised how often wheat is used in all kinds of products; from ones we consume to cosmetics. Not to mention, a person with celiac disease cannot eat rye, barley, triticale, and some oats. You might be asking: Lish, why are you on the gluten-free kick? Well, we consume a lot of wheat in America. So, I figure it's a great way to try and round out the intake of wheat versus all of the other wonderful grains that are out there. I am into baked goods this pregnancy, and the Udi's brand gluten-free muffins have been hitting the spot. I have tried them all: Lemon Struessel, Blueberry, and Double Chocolate (as well as their bagels & cinnamon rolls, two thumbs up on all Udi's products). The double chocolate is soo yummy. We've been warming the chocolate muffins, putting vanilla ice cream and sliced strawberries on them and eating them for dessert. Yes, that is how yummy they are. The only problem, they are a bit expensive. They're not outrageous, but I know how much money I could be saving if I'd just make them myself. Thus, this is my first (probably of many) attempts at a gluten-free muffin that tastes as good as my new friend Udi's. I used Bob's Red Mill Quinoa flour and Bob's recipe found on the back of the Quinoa flour package for the "Sour Cream Fudge Muffins".
The verdict: I am not in love with the strong taste of the quinoa flour; but blending a couple of different types of grains is probably the best way to go. So, if you do want to try making these muffins, maybe do a 50/50 mixture with another grain.
If you'd like to give the recipe a try, you can find it here.

Don't worry, I have no plans of completely abandoning you Udi, I am happy to support a local business (Udi's Bakery is located in Denver) and will grow increasing lazy about baking as my belly expands over these last 10+ weeks. But for today, I give myself an "A" for effort!

On a more serious note about Celiac disease, it can be extremely debiliating to a person who has it, but doesn't know it. It is very hard on the body and makes them feel miserable each time they eat, which is a lot of a person's life. If you know someone who has been "perpetually sick", you might be doing them a favor to mention getting tested for a gluten allergy. It goes un-diagnosed in about 97% of people.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers, really, are one of my all time favorites. It goes back to highschool when my friend Gina introduced me to them, or should I say Gina's mother Leslie introduced me to them. Leslie made them, Gina and I were just good at eating them. I have loved them ever since and always think back fondly on those high school memories of eating stuffed peppers with Gina when I make them. This meal is a "re-do" as I like to call it. I often have these key items hanging out in my fridge from previous meals; leftover beef from tacos and leftover rice from soup. Ba-da-bing! Throw in some vegetables & spices and you've got a new, yummy dinner. Bonus, in the summer, you can grill the peppers instead of baking them which makes them even more enjoyable, in my opinion.

2 cups Brown rice
2 cups Ground beef, Ground buffalo, Ground sausage
or a mixture, go crazy here. I dare you.
1/2 of a medium or 1 small zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
bit o' parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Sauce: (puree in your food processor or blender)
1/2 red onion
4-5 roma tomatoes
2 garlic cloves

Mix the filling and sauce in a frying pan on medium-low heat until it's thoroughly warmed.

While you are heating up the "stuffing" for the peppers, grill your peppers until they are lightly blistered and soft, about 10-12 minutes. Most chefs/restaurants remove the charred skins before serving, but we crazy Gildeas happen to like the charred skin. So go on personal preference there.
Allow peppers to cool so they are safe to handle & then cut off the stems and de-seed the peppers. Stuff 'em and eat 'em. Enjoy!