Saturday, January 28, 2012

Craft Supply Winner

Since I can blog from my phone, I thought I would update you all on the winner of the craft supplies giveaway.

The winner was comment number 4. Michell from Girl In Air.

Thank you guys for entering and for all your wonderful comments. I'm so appreciative of all the feedback you guys give me, and the wonderful community I feel like I am a part of.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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Remember how I made some New Year’s resolutions or goals to eat more vegetables and fruit?  Well I am definitely trying to stick to that resolution.  I really want to eat better, explore different foods, and try to cut back on certain things that are really hard for me to give up.  Mostly just bad, worthless carbs.

*I’m not saying all carbs are bad, or worthless. I’m not. Really just the ones that are filled with refined sugars, and white flour…the ones I happen to be addicted to.  Hi, my name is Jennifer, and I am addicted to carbs/food.  (And that sentence might be funny, but it’s also completely true and a lot sad. Anyone who has a food addiction can give me an amen right now!  You know, if you want to that is.)

One of the things I over indulge on, when we buy it, is pizza. Even when it’s filled with toppings like veggies, the part that kills me, and makes my thighs 20lbs heavier with each slice, is the dang crust.  But it’s really hard to just quit eating something you think you love, and something that your mind tells you tastes so so good. Unless you have an alternative. And sometimes that alternative has to taste good, just as good as what you are giving up, or better. Right? 

This cauliflower pizza crust is THE BEST flourless pizza crust that I’ve ever tasted. NO LIE!  Even my husband who can’t stand vegetables liked this pizza, and even requested that I make it again the next day! 

I found the recipe for the Cauliflower Crust Pizza on Eat.Drink.Smile. and I am so glad I did. The crust is made with just a few ingredients, and seasoned with herbs and things you will definitely have in your pantry.  I won’t repost the recipe here because it’s perfect the way it is on Eat.Drink.Smile., but I will post the pictures I took, give you guys a step by step of what I did, and answer any questions about the recipe if you need any help with it.

The first thing I did was “rice the cauliflower.”  All that means, is I cut a whole head of cauliflower into florets, and put it in my food processor, where I pulsed it until it looked like it had a grainy texture.
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My suggestion is to do this in batches, even if you have a large food processor, so that every thing gets chopped up/grated evenly. And it doesn’t come out looking like a puree.

I put all the the cauliflower into a microwavable safe dish, and microwaved all of it for 8 minutes.
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It comes out looking pretty much the same, but it’s now cooked and very hot.  You can let it cool down for a little bit or use it immediately to make your crust.
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If you’re using it immediately make sure that you put the cup of cauliflower into the bowl first, then the cheese and seasonings, and mix it around a bit first. It will cool the cauliflower down, so that you can add the egg and not worry about it cooking before you put it in the oven.
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It should look like this after you mix every thing together.

I recommend baking the cauliflower crust on a baking sheet/pan that is covered with parchment paper. It really does help it not stick to the pan, and makes it easier to lift 0ff off the pan when you’re ready to eat it.  You just scoop everything onto the parchment paper and then flatten it into a circle with your hands.  It’s messy but that’s pretty much the easiest way to do it.
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I also had to lower the temperature of my oven to 425 degrees, instead of 450. The crust got over cooked at the higher temp when I tried it the first couple of times.
The crust comes out browned and looks great. It even tastes amazing just as it is, with nothing on top of it.
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I added my freshly cooked Chunky Tomato Sauce to the top, and a little cheese and lots of veggies to it.
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Then I put it under the broiler for just a few minutes, so the cheese on top would melt, and the veggies could cook a little.
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Just make sure to watch your parchment paper, so it doesn’t burn. Or better yet, do what I did the second time around and trim your parchment paper to fit just under your pizza. Then your crust won’t stick to the baking pan/sheet, and your paper won’t burn.

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You’ll have a seriously yummy pizza, that will leave you wanting more.   And even my kids were fooled into thinking it’s “real pizza”! Nice, huh?

If you try the recipe, I’d love to know what you thougt!


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blogger Mobile app

Now you can write posts from your phone. It's simple and fast. I take my phone every where so now I can blog anywhere I go too. And you can download the app for your iPhone or Android.

You can even add the pictures from your phone.

Finally a Living Room update

This post is LONG overdue. Really, it is. Last year in July I showed you how I painted our wall with the herringbone pattern.
living room project, herringbone wall (16)
But I never updated you guys on how I’ve changed things since then. My bad.  And I’ve been meaning to show you guys the room, or at least this part of the room, for the past 4 months or so, but there was one slight problem. I went for months without lamp shades, and I didn’t want to show you guys my pictures until I had some lamp shades put on the lamps. And then even when I had finally bought lamp shades I still procrastinated in taking some quick pictures.  (Did I tell you guys that I am a really bad procrastinator?)

So here’s what changed:  I sold the dark brown TV stand, moved the turquoise dresser into that space, and took two lamps from our bedroom and put them on either side of the TV. Oh, and I also painted the lamps from a brushed nickel color to sun yellow.
Living_room_update
I would still love to put something up above the TV, or mount the TV on the wall, but I haven’t decided yet on what I will actually do.
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And there is still a lot to do behind the camera in the rest of the room, so one day when I finish all that stuff up I’ll show you that too.

I really want to buy or make slip covers for our couches, since getting new ones is not in our very low budget (think $0). And I also want to add some touches of purple, like an eggplant purple into the room.   So I might paint the other lamp in the room, or add some artwork with some of the colors I want to incorporate. I just really want to do something fun and lively, you know? 

And if you guys have any ideas, I am all ears.  I love hearing from you and what you guys have going on.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chunky Tomato Sauce perfect for Pizza, Pasta, and more


 Thank you to Hunt’s for sponsoring this post and encouraging my culinary skills! Visit Hunt’s Signature Recipe Collection to find tons of delicious ideas for using Hunt’s tomatoes in your meals.

It’s no secret I like to cook. Love it, really.  Learning to cook really started from just experimenting in the kitchen, playing around with spices and herbs and different recipes and foods, it became so easy to throw ingredients together and have healthy, great tasting meals at home.

One of the easiest things to make from a just few ingredients you probably keep at home, is a delicious chunky tomato sauce that is perfect on homemade pizzas, or on pastas, or even as a base for tomato soup.
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I promise, this sauce is easy to make, especially if you follow the *shortcuts* that I will tell you about.  Trust me, sometimes everyone needs a little shortcut.

Chunky Tomato Sauce Recipe
  • 4 Tomatoes diced *(To save time and to use what’s on hand in my pantry I often use a can of diced tomatoes. In this recipe I used Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes that were already seasoned with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano
  • 1 small can of Tomato Paste
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  • a handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 small onion, diced *(If you don’t have an onion on hand, a good option can be to use dehydrated chopped onion. It’s another ingredient I keep in the pantry.)
  • an additional 1-2 teaspoons of thyme, oregano, and basil
  • 2-3 cloves of minced/crushed garlic or 1-2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
If you’re using a fresh onion and fresh garlic, add the olive oil and the onion to a pan and cook on medium high for a few minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
Set your heat to meduim, then add all of the tomatoes, the tomato paste, and the thyme, basil and oregano. Stir together and cook until it it is bubbling. Then drop your heat down to low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.  Your sauce will thicken and you can add salt and pepper to taste.
*If you are using the dehydrated onion and garlic powder then you can pour all of your ingredients into your pan at one time…
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mix together…
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and cook on medium heat until it is bubbling, then set your heat to low and simmer for the 20-30 minutes.
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This sauce really is wonderful on pizza, and on pastas, and if I wanted to turn it into a tomato soup I would add some heavy cream, and maybe some parmesan cheese, to it and let it cook, simmering a little longer.
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But this yummy batch of sauce ended up going on a few pizzas I made at home last weekend.
They were made using a cauliflower crust, and lots of veggies and some cheese…
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YUM, right?! I promise to update you with a post about that recipe too.
But in the meantime, if you’re looking for a recipe to use some of the staples in your pantry, like canned tomatoes or tomato paste and sauce, you can visit www.Hunts.com for more recipes. And you can check out the Hunt’s Recipe Rewards program for some great coupons!


Thank you again to Hunt’s for sponsoring my post. Find more ideas for cooking with tomatoes at Hunt’s Signature Recipe Collection. I was selected for this opportunity by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own. #HuntsRecipe #spon

Friday, January 20, 2012

Purging my craft stash and a follower Giveaway

Okay, for a while now I have been meaning to do a giveaway for some of my favorite crafty items. Just haven’t really had time to put it together. Actually I have had time, but procrastination is something I am really good at.
But it’s time that I started doing some organizing and follow through on my plan to do a follower giveaway for you guys. I love all the support you guys have given me through the last year or so, and am so appreciative that you guys take the time to read my blog and comment, and connect with me.  You just don’t know how much it means to me.

Okay, now it’s time to tell you what I am going to giveaway.
A set of Martha Stewart Crafts decorative stencils.
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A bottle of fabric medium, a package of foam pouncers, and a package of foam rollers.
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And a box set of 10 multi-surface, Satin finish, craft paint.
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Here’s a look at all the goodies together.
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I am a real fan of the Martha Stewart decorative paint line. I’ve done many projects with the paint and stencils, and think this product line is fantastic.

This GIVEAWAY is open for followers only. (so if you’re not following, now’s the time to start! hint, hint!)
That means if you follow me on Google Friend Connect, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or if you subscribe to my RSS feed, or subscribe to emails you can enter this giveaway. Heck, even if you follow me on Pinterest you can enter!

***Leave me a comment telling me how you follow along with me and my blog. You can leave me a comment for each way that you follow.***

PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL IN AT LEAST ONE OF YOUR COMMENTS SO THAT I CAN CONTACT YOU! OR MAKE SURE THAT IT’S ATTACHED TO YOUR BLOG/USER PROFILE!

This giveaway STARTS Friday, January 20, 2012. And it ENDS Friday, January 27, 2012 at 11:59 PM.  The winner will be announced via Facebook and Twitter, and sent an email.

**This giveaway is in no way sponsored by Martha Stewart or Plaid. I purchased these products with my own money and am just wanting to share products that I love, with you.**

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA

I hope you’ll be seeing a lot of people and companies in support of saying no to SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act).
stop-sopa
To learn more about how this could effect the internet and you personally visit http://sopablackout.org/learnmore/

Monday, January 16, 2012

Braided Chicken Alfredo Calzone

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Uh huh, I know you’re thinking about how awesome that calzone looks. And it’s totally okay if you are drooling right now.  
This is one of my favorite things to make in the kitchen.  Pretty much anything with Alfredo sauce and veggies is going on my favorites list.  And I definitely fill this calzone up with a ton of veggies too (cause it’s one of the only times I can get my husband to eat some).
In this calzone I did steamed broccoli, fresh zucchini and tomatoes, grilled chicken, shredded cheese and the best Alfredo sauce one has ever tasted.  I use Ree’s recipe for Alfredo sauce every time I need an Alfredo sauce. (I swear, angels sing every time you eat this sauce.)
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Recipe for Dough:
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour 
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dry milk powder
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 pkg) yeast
3 tablespoons oil
1 cup very warm water
Directions
Combine 1 cup of the flour, sugar, salt, milk powder, and yeast in a large bowl. Add the
warm water and oil and mix.
Stir in remaining flour slowly until dough is soft but not sticky.
Knead until smooth.
Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out flat, and cutting it to make the braided calzone.
Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned, and the inside sauce is bubbly.
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You can fill the calzone with any ingredients that you love. And the braiding makes the calzone look like something from a pizzeria.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookies

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A few weeks ago my husband came home and told me one of his coworkers had made cookies using the new mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. You know, the ones that are little, and don’t even have wrappers on them? They are super yummy.  And my husband wanted me to make some just like them.
Here’s the recipe:
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 bag of Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cookies
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Beat butter with a mixer until creamy, add brown sugar and beat until smooth.  Add eggs, yolk and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a medium bowl and stir together. 
Add flour to butter mixture and mix until combined. Stir in mini peanut butter cups.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, then enjoy!
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