Loaded pizza

Hello friends! We’re back after a crazy spring and summer! Hopefully you all are enjoying this beautiful weather we’ve been graced with… for 2 months ūüôā

I’ve started a new nursing job involving shift work and with that comes a bit more freedom with days off during the week. Today, I’ve decided to make a well rounded meal for me and my hubster… (not a word, you say? I’ll add it to Wikipedia.)

This pizza is inspired by one of my great friends and her love of vegetables on anything and everything! I think it would’ve been even better if I cooked it on the BBQ to give it a bit of a smokey flavor (and to avoid making the house hotter than it already is). Ah well, next time.

To make the crust:

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp quick-rising yeast
6 cups flour (I used 5 cups whole wheat and 1 cup white flour)

Mix sugar, salt, dry yeast and flour. Add water and oil. Knead well, adding more flour if needed. Cover with a wet tea towel and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Divide the dough into two and roll out onto a large cookie sheet or pizza pan. Let rise 5 minutes. Prick entire crust. Bake crust at 425 F (or on the BBQ) for 7 minutes. Remove from oven to cool. You can use immediately or freeze for later use.

Once your dough is ready…

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Throw on your pizza sauce of choice. I like to make my own using tomato sauce and tomato paste, and add my own spices like garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, pepper, and a dash of salt.

Next, slice up the veggies you are craving for the pizza!
I used mushrooms, leftover asparagus from our supper the night before, spinach, and red onion. I also added sliced pork tenderloin from the night before. We occasionally struggle with using up our leftovers so this was a great way to make sure nothing went to waste!

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Voila!

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A beautiful pizza! I just added a bit of cheese and baked it at 425 F for about 10 minutes. I always like to broil it for a couple minutes at the very end to crisp up the cheese a bit. Yumm!

I feel like pizza has created a bad rap for itself because of all of the (delicious) processed junk that often gets added. But you can make it (deliciously) healthy, too!

What are your favorite things to add to a pizza?

Until next time,

Bree

Weekly Dinner Menu… WHAT?

My newest challenge is trying to get a healthy, happy meal on the dinner table, preferably before 9:00 pm. Yes, I find it a lot easier to run to the local fast food restaurant, or grab a quick meal out of the cupboard, but is it really all that healthy? Now with a 1 1/2 year old, I find I¬†want to put more focus around healthy eating so that I can teach my little guy how to eat right from the start¬†and why eating healthy is important. My husband and I have never really put a lot of focus on this.¬†Except for those special times¬†each year, you know what I mean, just before summer when¬†you¬†want to loose some weight for bikini season, or just after Christmas when¬†you managed to eat all of Grandma’s cookies! I feel I need to make this¬†idea of healthy eating a priority in our home, so one day it will be the norm in our home.¬†Now… wouldn’t that be nice.

So last week was my first, planned and successful Weekly Dinner Menu. The key to my success: making sure I gathered all the ingredients on the weekend so that I did not have to frantically run out the day of and grab what I¬†was missing. This made for a successful meal plan. This week, to add to the success, I have implemented meal planners/cooks. I take on two dinners a week and my husband makes two dinners a week. I am also¬†trying to make Pizza Fridays a staple in my home so that I know exactly what we’re having at the end of a busy week. I also have high hopes that my little boy, one day, will be one of the cooks!
This extra help takes the stress off of me to plan and make every meal. Its hard to be creative everyday, especially at the beginning when I am just trying to get a system in place.

Useful tools:

1. I love my slow cooker! I can make the majority of the meal the night before. The next day when I get home from work, the meal is ready and waiting.

2. I have also found prewashing the fruits and vegetables is very helpful. By that I mean, when I get home from the grocery store or market, I wash all perishable items (as required). That way when I need them I just grab and go. So much easier!

So to get started,¬†make sure to have a weekly plan, listing the day, the item and the person in charge… This is my first weeks attempt, which is¬†obviously a working progress but none the less a list. That’s gotta be better than nothing at all!

Screenshot_2013-09-23-11-40-02                        food
(My first attempt at a Weekly Menu)              (My son eating one of the homemade dishes)

With a list,¬†me and¬†my fellow¬†cooks have something to follow. It also comes in handy if a dinner doesn’t work out on the day I had planned… I can¬†swap it for a different day.
I am really¬†looking forward to continuing this with my family, and being more descriptive in my menu planning.¬†I’m working on including¬†exactly what the item will be instead of just “pasta dish”¬†and getting the whole family involved. It’s all part of learning and training¬†myself to do things differently. But I know in the end it will be good for all of us.

Let’s see how the next few weeks go…!!

Any suggestions for me and my family on how to make the Weekly Dinner Menu more successful? How does your family get through the weekly dinners? Are you a ‘meal planner’ or ‘cook as you go’ type?

Until next time,

Elisa

Pumpkin anyone?

Fall is on its way. There. I said it. I’ve decided to embrace this fact and make the most of the spices and squash that come along with it. This morning I woke up with frost on the grass, and cool wind in the air. I, being the cold-blooded person I am 24/7, could practically feel this chill from my bed. I poked my feet out from the blanket and boom. Instantly they turned to ice. I do truly love fall and the beautiful colors of the leaves, and the crisp fresh air. I am trying to embrace ALL of the fall season, even if it may not be so pleasant at the time. So, to counteract my chilled morning awakening, and to embrace the spices and squash, I decided to make this.

ImageA Pumpkin Earl Grey Latte. A great way to start off my morning! No, I didn’t buy it from Starbucks… and yes, it was amazing! And healthy! It practically blew my moccasins off and if you’re a sucker for pumpkin I’m sure it’ll do the same to you. I found this recipe off of the mouth-watering blog called With Food + Love and you can find this delicious recipe here along with many more great healthy and tasty fall recipe ideas.

What makes pumpkin so amazing anyway? Well… for starters, it’s inexpensive and has a fairly long shelf life. But what makes it so healthy? I’ve done my research and compiled the top reasons I want to eat pumpkin everyday.

1. Pumpkins are loaded with fibre to help you stay fuller longer
2. If your making your own squash (which I highly recommend you do…who doesn’t want freshly toasted pumpkin seeds?) toast the seeds for a small snack. The seeds are full of phytosterols that help lower bad cholesterol
3. Pumpkins are full of potassium which is great for refueling your body after a workout!
4. They contain beta-carotene which is a form of vitamin A, an essential vitamin in maintaining eye health and may help to prevent certain types of cancer
5. The seeds also contain tryptophan (yes the one that gets us all at Thanksgiving, causing a mass nap with all your relatives) which helps you sleep better, and improves your overall mood

You can read more information about the health benefits of pumpkin here and here.

I want to know…what is your favorite healthy drink of the season?

Sincerely,
Bree

References:
http://withfoodandlove.com/breakfast-brunch/first-of-fall
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/pumpkin-health-benefits_n_1936919.html
http://greatist.com/health/superfood-pumpkin