Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Prepping the Plot

(Pictures from last year's garden)

It's time to start our garden for this year and I'm super excited...but a little hesitant at the same time. Last year I planted more than I could ever dream of using and had to find lots of willing people to take the times, if you can believe it, that was hard.
This year I have to tone down my excitement and try to plant only what I can use or store for use during the winter. I also have to get right to work this weekend planting since I only have a couple of weeks left before our new addition is due to make his/her arrival.
This year I plan on planting the following:
two varieties of peas
green/red peppers
1 plant of cucumbers and 1 of squash
1-2 varieties of tomato plants
4-5 varieties of flowers
I opted out of planting corn, potatoes, watermelon, patty pan, brussell sprouts, and I've cut the number of tomato plants by about 15. I like all of these, and had fun growing them last year, however I needed things that were a little less water dependant and plants that have shorter growing seasons. Many of the things I selected this year will mature and be ready for use in a short amount of time like the lettuces, radish, peas, basil, and some of the flowers. This way I can decide later on if I would like to have a second planting or just leave some of the garden open and give myself a break from the watering and tending that comes with such a large plot. Many of the other things I plan on planting a smaller amount of, say, half of what I planted last year.
As long as the weather cooperates I will be out digging in the dirt this Saturday. I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Stuffed Bread

I ran across a picture of these on Tastespotting (one of my favorite sites) and I followed it to a blog by the name of Eating Out Loud. After reading Allen's account I couldn't agree with him more. Like him, I sometimes see things on other blogs and I don't even take time to bookmark it...I disconnect my laptop, carry it to the kitchen, and set to work on whatever I've gotten my head wrapped around. Today, he did that very thing to me. I read his blog entry, carried my computer to the kitchen, and whipped up my own version.
I took a few liberties and I morphed them from dainty appetizer-sized portions to a much larger dinner-sized portion. My version made about 10 stuffed breads and I filled them with a combination of bacon, onion, and chicken. My filling was made out of things I found in the fridge...but I must say they turned out super tasty. I started out with about 4 slices of bacon that I sliced and put in a pot. After a few minutes rendering time I added in a whole sliced onion and 2 chicken breasts that I diced up. I seasoned it with salt and pepper and let it cool. It was a knock-out filling that I will definitely be duplicating in the future.

Dough Recipe
based on:
Eating Out Loud

½ cup lukewarm water
1 package active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
½ cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water (in the bowl of your kitchenaid if you have one) and let stand for about 5 minutes. Add milk, sugar, salt, oil, and eggs. Mix until combined. With a dough hook, add 3 cups flour and mix on low to medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes. Put the dough into a large clean bowl, drizzle with oil and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in bulk.

I cut the dough into 10 pieces and then shaped them into balls. I rolled them out one by one with some flour and a rolling pin. I then filled them with enough filling to cover one half the dough. I folded the dough over and crimped the edges. I baked mine on a large baking sheet lined with parchment. They took about 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Picnic Lunches and Cake

Today was my day to host the playgroup that Gabe and I are a part of and I wanted to do something different. I normally like to make a big always varies and I try to make it fun. I've done a taco bar, make you own pizza day, pasta day, soup and sandwiches, etc.
I decided on a picnic theme today since the weather is getting warmer and it seemed fitting to have one in the living room followed by some outdoor fun for the kids. I can't wait for even warmer days when we can actually take the picnic outside.
I had 6 moms and 8 kids to prepare lunch for so I decided to designate a brown gift bag for each family. I decorated the bags with a nametag and then filled each with enough food and supplies so that everyone had some options to choose from. There was nothing earth shattering in the bags, but everyone devoured their goodies and seemed to love the idea of eating on blankets...which is quite a feet. It isn't easy to please 8 children between the ages of 1 and 3.
I liked the idea mainly because I was able to prep most of the lunches last night and finish off the sandwiches and pasta this morning before our guests arrived. There was nearly no clean up afterwards since empty bags were tossed and leftover food was easily packed away or taken home. Being nearly 8 months pregnant, I can't help but try to make things a little easier on myself, so I don't feel too bad about trying to avoid mess and clean-up.
Each bag contained the following: 1 apple, 1 mini-water per person, 1 ham and cheese on pretzel bread, 1 container basil pesto pasta with pine nuts, 1 snack bag of cheese and 1 with crackers, 1 applesauce per child, and 1 granola bar per person. Extras included forks, spoons, straws, and plenty of napkins.
Gabe and I will be recreating these picnic lunches often this summer since we both love getting out and spending the day at the park. I can hardly wait for that warm weather!

The other yummy creation I made recently was this layer cake. I am not a member of the Daring Bakers, but I do love to see what they create each month. This month's Perfect Party Cake looked completely irresistable, so I gave it a try...twice. I made it at the beginning of last week for my mom who flew in for a visit, and then again on the weekend for a get together with the neighbors. I altered the shape by baking a half recipe in a small cookie sheet and then slicing that into thirds. The first time I layered it with raspberries and raspberry jam, the second time I layered it with fresh strawberries and strawberry jam. Both were extremely delicious and got rave reviews. You can find the recipe all over the blogosphere...but here are the two sites that my cakes were based upon.
Cookbook Catchall

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

BLT Pizza

This BLT pizza is a great alternative to the traditional pizza and toppings we usually opt for. This happens to be my favorite type of pizza when we go out to California Pizza Kitchen so I thought I would recreate it at home. It turned out just as tasty and was a hit all around. Needless to say, we'll be having it often!

BLT Pizza

2 cups mozzarella cheese
6 strips bacon, browned and drained (you can cut before cooking or crumb it afterwards)
1 tomato, diced
3 cups lettuce, shredded
1/4 cup mayonnaise
olive oil
Prepare pizza dough and preheat oven to 500 degrees.. Brush flattened pizza round with olive oil and sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly on round. Bake 8-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool while preparing lettuce.

Toss lettuce with mayonnaise (use as much or little mayo as you like...we go for moderate) and spread on slightly cooled pizza. Sprinkle with bacon. Toss tomatoes with salt and pepper and then spread evenly on pizza. Enjoy.

Posts You Might Enjoy

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...