I cannot tell a lie, I love pizza. Well, I don’t love it, but I love pizza night and I do get real cravings. I am not a pepperoni greasy pizza kind of gal, I admit I am a bit high maintenance in my pizza toppings. When we lived in Virginia I loved Zpizza and still miss it! Zpizza was awesome for it’s creative pizza toppings AND because they had a vegan pizza my dairy free kid could eat. It was the first time he could have delivery, small things in his food allergy life mean big things to mom.
I haven’t gotten around to making pizza since we moved in August. I don’t know why exactly. Perhaps pizza night just wasn’t the same. But that all changed today. I was texting back and forth with my extremely talented friend Catherine and she mentioned she was making pita pizzas for dinner. Pizza kept going through my head. Mmmm. Pizza.
I already had dough at the ready thanks to the big batches of dough I always make and throw in the fridge for when I need it. I had picked up almond “mozzerella cheese” just to have for my lil’ one. BUT I didn’t have any tomatoes! I created my own sauce using 4 big squirts tomato paste, 2 little squirts anchovy paste, chopped basil and oregano, big dip of olive oil, dashes of balsamic and apple cider vinegars, chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and thiiiiiis much water. (might I add it was delicious! and I may have to make a vat of that concotion to have on hand)
He rolled out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. Then we put it on a wooden cutting board sprinkled with cornmeal (ok, hominy) to rest for 20 minutes. Then he shredded the “cheese”
My kid doesn’t eat junk food. I know, I know. But he really doesn’t care to. The only real weakness he has is Ikea meatballs. So, feeling nice I chopped some up that we had in the freezer for our “Junkfood Secret Movie Nights” (where we eat ikea meatballs with different jams and have ‘real’ popcorn) and put them on his pizza.
My pizza had the same sauce, leeks, blue cheese, and kale. Delicious also.
Cook at 525 for 8-10 minutes and serve.
He saved 2 pieces for his lunch tomorrow, but I am sure if I had just made a second pizza for him he would have eaten 2 pizzas minus 2 pieces.
I am so tired of people complaining, blaming, and not taking responsibility for their own actions. But the bad stuff is cheaper. But the drive thru is more accessible. But, but, but. BUT STOP.
Eating healthy takes a change of mentality from the habits of easily accessible junk foods and premade dinners. Start making the changes, aim for 4 nights a week you make dinner. Great meals can easily be done in less than 30 minutes. And if you don’t have that long, cut up an apple or some fruit or vegetable, sprinkle on some chopped nuts or seeds, put it over lettuce a little balsamic and oil mixed together drizzled over and call it a day. That takes what 5 minutes? Saute some hardy greens with some onion and garlic and put it on a big piece of toast, shave some cheese on top. What’s that take 8 minutes tops? Roast a whole bunch of vegetables on Sunday and throughout the week put them over rice, on top of toast, in pastas, over salads, add broth to make soups…15 minutes?
Don’t snack on the chips and cookies and junk, don’t even bring it into the house. Buy carrots (not baby or already cut sticks, they are more expensive) slice up the carrots into sticks, put them in a glass/mason jar topped with water and keep them on the eye level shelf in the fridge. Grab when hungry. Do the same with celery. Have apples and oranges regularly available for the grab. Put hummus next to any of these for a great meal or snack.
STOP BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE.
Eat in season, it’s cheaper. Buy whole chickens instead of parts, it’s cheaper. Buy the less popular meats, tougher, that have to be braised to bring out their awesome flavors, it’s cheaper (and very satisfying). Don’t eat all that meat in one meal. Have meat as an ingredient not as a star in your dish. Add braised meats to stews, stir fries, add in more vegetables and broths to stretch it out. Get out that big slice of bread.
Take that leftover chicken, mix it with rice, dried fruits, chopped vegetables, nuts, a touch of mayo or mustard and make a salad in a lettuce leaf. Stretch it out. That rice could be leftover from 3 meals ago- you were already making it, so make a double batch. Do the same with vegetables, you are already cooking, it takes no longer. Nobody eats dark meat in your house? chop it up and add it to this and trust me, they’ll love it.
Drink water! Add a slice of lemon or lime. People forget that beverages have stuff in them too.
Get smaller plates where smaller portions will seem large. Eat at the table, not at a tv. Eat with people not in a car.
Enough already with the excuses.
Don’t bring the junk into your house and they won’t be able to eat it. “but it’s cheaper”. No it’s not, it’s really not. Our family of 3 (with a dairy allergy so I do have to buy special products occasionally) spends less than $300 a month on groceries. We buy 90% from our farmers’ market. I make 98% of what we consume from scratch.
You can do it. I am always happy to help. Email me at email@example.com any time for tips on how to help your specific household get on track.
I love love love when people ask if I have, could come up with a recipe for an idea or ingredient they have. Please fill my inbox with requests! Any time you see something at the farmers market or grocery store that is unfamiliar to you, pick it up. Contact me and within 24 hours I will get a recipe for you! Or want to try something different with the same ingredients you have been using, message me.
Beth asked if I knew of a stuffed cabbage with quinoa instead of rice. I love cabbage and quinoa and had both on hand. The wheels started turning with what other items I had in my pantry and I began getting really hungry for supper where I would put the idea that was brewing into a test drive. Sometimes my creativity and my palate don’t see eye to eye so I always like to try a recipe that I think would taste good before sending it out.
Stuffed Cabbage with Quinoa (this can be done without the meat which would make it vegan)
2 cups of any winter root vegetable lying around- salsify or sweet potato would be great here, peeled and diced
1 onion or leek or shallot (whatever you have on hand), peeled, diced
1 tart apple, peeled, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 pound bulk sausage or ground meat, any flavorings you prefer, cooked and strained or use sausage links and slice 1/2 inch. Use what you have on hand or eliminate if you don’t want meat.
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1/2 cup of raisins or dried berries
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
24 oz jar of strained tomatoes
1-2 leeks or 1 medium onion or 2 large shallots, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup apple cider (or stock or water or wine)
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons balsamic or sherry vinegar
2 or 3 dashes of cinnamon
a dash of nutmeg
a dash of ground cloves
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil a large pot of water. Trim bottom of cabbage and cut an X into core Cook cabbage for about 5 minutes. Remove and Drain. Trim bottom of cabbage and cut an X into core.
In a roasting pan toss all stuffing ingredients together except quinoa and dried berries, coating well well with olive oil. Roast till soft, about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally throughout.
Make sauce while stuffing is roasting. Combine all sauce ingredients in a sauce pot and stir over medium heat until simmering. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Taste to season accordingly.
*The stuffing and sauce steps can be done a day or three ahead of time and refridgerate. Feel free to make extra sauce to keep in the freezer for this dish again in the future and extra filling is great to use for raviolis, over salads, pastas, grains, soups, on pizza, etc. Just make sure all has cooled completely and you store in a freezer safe container and date it. On day of cooking defrost ingredients, cook quinoa, boil cabbage and assemble.
To assemble, preheat oven to 35o degrees.
Lightly oil a baking dish. Cut a 1/2 inch off the bottom core and gently peel of the leaves one at a time, trim any leaves that have a thick spine. Set aside.
Combine roasted stuffing with quinoa and dried berries. Mix well.
Lay a cabbage leaf in front of you, add a spoonful of filling in the center. Fold in the sides of the leaf and roll it up. Place seam side down into bakin dish. Repeat. Fill pan with stuffed cabbage, should fill 4-6 leaves. Pour sauce over stuffed cabbage and bake for 30 minutes.
*You can do all of these steps ahead of time and keep covered in fridge for up to a day, just cook for 45 minutes.
Even if the Mayan prediction isn’t right I am going to treat 2012 as the end of the world. Each day will have a moment of aw and wow and nothing taken for granted. It should be how we treat every day, doom lurking or not, but sometimes a big dark cloud looming somehow makes us seek the small special things. And by the time 12-21-12 rolls around I will be well into the habit of Carpe Diem that 2012 will be a fantastic lead in to 2013.
I love New Year. I think we need a marker that gives an end and a fresh beginning. An opportunity to say “ENOUGH” to things that are weighing us down and an opportunity to reflect on what went right. Goals are good, even if it is just putting last year behind.
My husband is at work tonight and my date for the past 5 years is asleep. It’s my turn to quietly reflect on the past and anticipate the future.
I seem to have not unpacked my 2011 resolutions so I can’t tell you if I got a pass/fail according to how I felt a year ago. I do know what we have done this year and I am feeling pretty good about it as a whole. I lost a wonderful friend at the beginning of the summer in the same week as one of my dearest friends’ had their first baby- so that kind of evened it out. My husband found out he had melanoma, yes, the real kind, early in the year, and we recently found out that we will be starting the year with a surgery to find out what is further wrong internally. I don’t really have a positive to counter that one quite yet, but I can say we bought our first house, in his dream area on the water, a year before our 5 year plan had it scheduled. We had an earthquake and a hurricane within a week of moving into our new house. I took my husband and son to their first Monkees concert with another Monkee loving friend. Our son is doing unbelievable in his new school. I became a beekeeper. My brother got engaged. It was a good year.
I do know the resolution that is on my list every year once again didn’t get crossed off, but again for 2012 it is going on again. I will write and publish my book. I even had a dream of what the book is and it is completely different than my original thoughts for a book. This year I need to focus on my life goals and achieve a dream I have carried since I was in 1st grade.
So here’s to a new year, it may even be our last, and here is to enjoying every day. This year pause, look at those around you, take a walk every day, think about who you are, how you interact, and how you can better yourself, someone else, your world. Forget that grunge, forgive that person. This year let’s turn off the electronics for an hour a day and reconnect with ourselves, our neighbors, and our planet.
PS I think I will teach myself the ukulele