Tag Archives: pizza

Calzones and Cupcakes

And so continues the chronicles of the house-arrested Suzie Homemaker,

Doesn’t every Suzie Homemaker start their day with blueberry-orange pancakes and working out with shampoo bottles?

I really ought to get my butt to the store and buy some weights. Big Tresemme bottles don’t work as well as the big butternut squash I was using back when I was obsessed with them. In fact, when I was grocery shopping yesterday, I almost picked two up for the sole purpose of posing as light-weights.

Based on last night’s post, you probably had a hunch cupcakes would be seen today.

You were right. Good ESP!

While everyone’s go-to sources were all wonderful – I ended up with a request for “cinnamon cupcakes.” I immediately thought that this would be my chance to make the Chocolate “Sin”namon cupcakes in ED&BV, thus redeeming myself from making the mistake of leaving out the sugar, but then heard that there was a strict “no chocolate” rule from the individual putting in the cupcake request.

Well, yes sir. A quick tastespotting search yielded snickerdoodle cupcakes and I couldn’t have become more giddy.

Because who doesn’t like to say “snickerdoodle” ten times fast? I mean…I snicker just saying it, really.

I wound up finding tons of recipes that were all basically credited back to Martha Stewart.

Which was all fine and good, considering I didn’t care if they were necessarily “healthy” or not. I mean, they’re cupcakes. Who wants to eat an entirely healthy cupcake, anyways?

…but I just couldn’t bring myself to make cupcakes with 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar. My hand just couldn’t dig in the sugar bowl that many times, I don’t think. Everytime I tried it started spasming a little and the cup would fall from my hand.

Okay, so that’s a lie. Really, I’m just so used to vegan baking that I know cups and cups of sugar are relatively unnecessary and baked goods are still fantastic whether it’s butter or oil. Using that much just seems a little bit facetious to me.

And so, I followed this Snickerdoodle Cupcake recipe, which is just causing me to snicker even more as they were deemed “out of this world.” I even cut it back to 1/2 c. sugar, intending to frost them with a very sweet frosting, but ended up running out of steam and thinking they were “pretty” enough as-is.

I did end up omitting both of the extracts called for and replacing it with 2 t. of coffee extract, though.

I suppose you’re probably thinking to yourself “I wonder why she didn’t just use real coffee,” and I suppose you have a point. In fact, I asked myself that.

I still have no answer.

I also want to point out that I did not pay $9 as the label looks like it says. I’m crazy, I’m not that crazy.

But smelling this coffee extract reminded me of how I wanted to make my own almond butter, and it was decided I would make coffee almond butter.

Potentially something that could go oh-so-wrong, but it worked. It smells like almondy-coffee heaven, but luckily, the flavor is not too overpowering. I guess I’d even consider it more of an essence than truly tasting coffee-y.

This was my first time making almond butter. For some reason, I was under the impression that almonds were way harder than peanuts, making it impossible for me to make my own almond butter.

Almond butter that was also drippy. Because that’s how almond butter should be.

It was drippy!!! Okay, maybe more like…kind of runny. But definitely almond-butter-esque. I was a proud mama. And hellooo, so much cheaper than buying it. Maybe I’ll go into the almond butter business, after making this for, oh $4 tops when I can’t buy it for less than $10.

I ended up with walnuts in the mix, too.

Just ’cause.

  • 1 1/2 c. roasted & salted almonds
  • 1/2 c. walnuts
  • 2 t. coffee extract
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch maple sugar

It was so good I made an almond butter and banana calzone!

Topped with parsley! The usual, you know.

I didn’t fool you? Darn. Well, if I did make an almond butter and banana calzone I’d probably be too cool for school, so I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t.

I’ve been sort of dying to make pizza lately. Probably because I’m sort of going through a bread withdrawal.

The problem: I had no hummus. I like my pizzas with humnut cheese, thank you.

The other problem? Sixteenth-ing pizza dough recipes is too complicated for my mathaphobic mind.

I sucked it up and did it, though. I used the same spelt crust I’ve used in the past for calzones. I just love the nutty flavor the spelt gives, especially with my humnut cheese!

I saw this new hummus at the store yesterday and decided to give it a try. I’m pretty devoted to Cedar’s as you may know, but I liked trying new things, too! The Spinach and garlic flavor, as well as twice the protein, spoke to me too. Truth be told, had I known it was made with more soybeans than chickpeas I probably wouldn’t have bought it, but oh well. It’s really good! I’m all for a creamy texture, and this Nasoya hummus has that – just as good as Cedar’s, dare I say it.

And this is what was really in my ‘zone. Buffalo tempeh!!

…as well as tomato sauce, the humnut cheese, red pepper, parsley, cilanto and red onion. Strangely, the red pepper was what made this out of this world.

I ended up overbaking it because while I adjusted all of the measurements – I didn’t think to adjust the time!

As mentioned, I had to get mathematical with the recipe. While this is not an original recipe, I’m going to go ahead and post the measurements for you in case you want to make a calzone/pizza that’s not big enough to feed you for days on end! I made one large calzone, half for dinner and half for…some meal in the near future. With a side of sugar-snap peas it was just enough!

Whole Grain Spelt Pizza/Calzone Dough

from Bob’s Red Mill

  • 1/2 + 1/8 t. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 t. sugar
  • 1/4 c. warm water
  • 1/2 c. + 1 T. spelt flour
  • 3 T. white bean flour
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 t. olive oil

For directions, see here. I didn’t quarter the sugar amount because I wasn’t sure if it would affect the proofing of the yeast. I also didn’t quarter the olive oil because it seemed like a very minor amount to begin with! Next time I’d probably use a full teaspoon, actually.

This is definitely not a traditional pizza crust – but as I mentioned, I’m a little bit infatuated with it anyways!

And tht’s all! I’m finally going to get to see Teddie in the morning, after him being out of work for almost a week now! He’ll probably be a little monster for me…and while I felt really guilty almost all day today, I guess he could probably use a little “vacation time” anyways. Right? Right. (of course…with it being the arctic again this weekend – as in, 25 below at night and only getting to a high of 5 during the day -he’ll be getting another vacation here soon!)

So the question today is – when you bake for others, do you follow your own “food guidelines,” or just make whatever? For instance – if you’re vegan/gluten intolerant/dairy intolerant/health conscious – do you adhere to your guidelines when cooking for other people, or no? I said yesterday that I didn’t – but when I went to bake today, I realized I do! I’ve nothing against dairy or butter and what-not…I think it was just the fact that I know that copious amounts of sugar and butter aren’t necessary to produce a delicious dessert, I decided to make something I’d be more than willing to eat, too.

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Filed under almond butter, breakfast, cooking, dessert, dinner, food, food blog, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, hummus, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, tempeh, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, whole grains

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

Oh boy. It’s a wonder I’m always so upbeat when you look at the music I listen to on a daily basis. For instance, tonight was three-in-a-row of Three Days Grace. Actually, it’s a segment of the radio called the “menage a trois,” but we’re still talking about music here, folks!

It definitely made me drive a little bit faster, but don’t quote me on that. It could have just as equally been the dinner I was planning that made me a little bit lead-footed!

Since I had “dinner for lunch” I was dreaming up a pesto-tempeh+hummus+artichoke panini on homemade spelt bread, but I’m not here to talk about that.

I’m here to talk about “dinner for lunch.” AKA last night’s dinner.

If you guessed pizza, you were right! Though I’m not gonna lie…I loved this last night, as did my mom, and we both enjoyed it for lunch today – I definitely felt a little inferior when I went from writing my post last night, to reading Angela’s pizza post.

so lets just call it a flatbread pizza. I’ve never made “real” pizza dough before, and thought you were supposed to roll it out pretty thin. I also had no idea how to form the outer crust…so I just left it, thinking it’d puff up.

I’m not complaining, but it didn’t. I like a thin crust, anyways – and this is just crispy-chewy enough, but next time I’d definitely roll the edges for a bit more “outer crust.”

Well, that or I’d just spread the toppings further to the edge.

Yah, I think that sounds like a better idea…

Ironically, I was thisclose to buying Daiya cheese at the co-op the other day. It was the first time I’d seen it – they must have just stocked it – but I could not justify paying nearly $6 for the bag. Just like I did with the coconut milk kefir, I was standing there in the middle of the cheese section, staring at it, going back and forth as to whether I wanted to try it.

Nah, I finally decided…I don’t use cheese that much anyway. I’d try it once just to try it, and then be satisfied. No sense in spending $6 just to try it.

Last night, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t buy it – wouldn’t it have been fun to try it on a pizza, no less?!

But after I bit into this, disappointment ceased and both myself and my mom fell in love.

Complete, utter adoration, really. You should try it!

Dough (inspired from Moosewood’s Low Fat Favorites)

  • 1/2 T. active dry yeast
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1/2 c. very warm water
  • 1/4 c. quick oats
  • 1/4 c. unbleached bread flour
  • 1 t. basil oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 (generous) t. dried basil
  • 3/4 to 1 c. white whole wheat flour

Proof the yeast: combine with the sugar and warm water in a large bowl. Set aside until bubbles rise to surface and yeast is dissolved – 5-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine your dry ingredients.

When yeast is frothy, add in dry ingredients and oil. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Oil a medium-sized bowl and place the dough in it, turning once to coat. Cover and set in a warm area to rise, about an hour or until about doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare topping:

Humnut cheese (a la Mae)

  • 1/4 c. garlic hummus
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 2 t. yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • water, just a splash, to thin

Combine all, adding just enough water to  make it easily spreadable, but not runny. Set aside.

Eggplant-Basil Tomato Topping

  • 1/2 of a medium eggplant, cubed
  • 1/4 of a large red pepper, diced
  • 1/3 c. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, mashed
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all, set aside.

When the dough has risen, punch down once. Turn out onto floured surface and knead a few times. Roll out into a thin circle, and place on an oiled baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Form a bit of a larger crust around the outside, and cover for ten minutes.

Spread on the cheesy-hummus sauce and then the eggplant-basil-tomato topping.

Bake in a preaheated 450* oven for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the top with some more fresh basil and feast! I wish it wasn’t all gone, it was that good.

And check at how freaking handsome Teddie is in this picture:

What. a. muffin.

Also – thanks to everyone for the input on “nutrition trackers.” I think I’ll give nutrition data a look! Aaand, I might take a “night off” tomorrow – I have a senior portrait to shoot in the afternoon, and still have some I’m working on from this weekend. I gotta boogie!

What’s your favorite pizza topping?

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Filed under cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, recipe

… In a Jar

Hah – I bet you thought with a title like that, breakfast would be in a jar, huh? No, no – I am still a bit weary of the famous OIAJ…I chose to put other things in my jars 😉 But we’ll get there!

I’m a bit proud of myself lately, actually – I’ve been sleeping in on my off days! Not enough to make me feel like I’ve wasted the day or morning, of course – but between 7 and 7:30. Which, in my eyes, is a great time – I still wake up earlier, but just tell myself to go back to sleep. I think I’m starting to need it more as I start doing more.

Especially because I don’t need to get to the barn until 12:30, and don’t have obligations prior to that, except a hot date with my kitchen and the washing machine.

Unfortunately, the washing machine and I didn’t get to see each other today which makes me wonder what I’ll be wearing tomorrow, but at least my kitchen and I got a little experimental this morning. Ooh, sounds racy!

Considering I wound up with quite the bag of puffed millet to make granola bars, I figured I ought to put it to use to something other than just the half cup the bars call for. It makes a super tasty night-time snack (though not as good as Puffins!) and this morning lent a helping hand while I made waffles!

The waffle batter:

  • 1/4 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. puffed millet
  • 2 T. WW flour
  • 1 T. wheat bran
  • 1 T. wheat germ
  • cinnamon
  • baking powder
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/4 c + 1 T. almond milk
  • spoonful of greek yogurt
  • spoonful of applesauce
  • splash maple syrup
  • 1 chopped date
  • 1/4 of a chopped nectarine

I realize that list makes me look like an insane person who spends hours making breakfast, but really – it’s not that bad, and to answer some questions – these take hardly any time at all. Fifteen minutes, tops – and less if you don’t want waffles with a [ridiculously delicious] topping.

I realize “spoonful” is a bad measurement, but I was watching Guy Fieri the other day and he used “three-quarters of a bear,” as a measurement term (referring to honey) so if he’s allowed to do that, I’m allowed to say spoonful.

The [ridiculously delicious] topping in question today was a nectarine, chopped and simmered in some almond milk and maple syrup, with some chia seeds to give it even more gelification :] Also joining the party was some earth balance spread, chopped hazelnuts, and sunflower seed butter. And since the coffee can never be forgotten, a cup of Green Mountain’s Rain Forest Nut.

I still had a lot of time to kill, so I did a yoga download before getting dressed and getting ready for the barn.

I figured before I started baking that I ought to just head in early – there’s no such thing as too much Teddie time! That and I’m helping Adrienne to make up some ads for the barn, and since today turned out to be gorgeous, I wanted to try to get some photos of the barn, indoor, outdoor, etc.

I packed a sandwich to bring with me, and had some leftover apple wedges. I finished the last of this almond butter in my banana bran muffins (because I was too stingy with my delicious sunflower seed butter to use all sunflower seed butter!) but didn’t recycle the container – I knew it could get cleaner than that!

I think the “jar” gets cleaner from apple wedges than oats, anyways 😉 Of course – this was a small “bulk bin” container, so I don’t think I’d even have been apple to get an eigth of my oats stuffed in there.

The sandwich I packed?

Apple-Barbeque Seitan with sliced gala apple and spinach, on toasted sesame whole-grain.

I almost didn’t pack a sandwich since it’s turned out I don’t eat it until I drive home anyways, but I was glad I did today. Adrienne and I spent so much time talking and shooting that even though I got there at 11:30 – I wasn’t about to get Teddie until 12:30, and decided to just eat while waiting for my mom before working with him.

As I was leaving, though, I grabbed a homemade granola bar fo’ some mo’ fuelage. These ones aren’t lasting long, either! Mae, these really are the world’s best granola bars! I can’t believe how long I’ve been spending $1.50 – $2 on a single bar. I almost got all math-whiz on myself because I was dying to know how much these cost in comparison.

Then I realized that that was too much math.

After my mom & I got home from the barn, I was ready for the rest of my lunch/an afternoon snack/whatever you want to call it.

No, no…. still not OIAJ – but a concoction so heavenly that as I drove home and it came to mind, I almost killed myself by hitting three deer standing in the middle of the road right after a sharp turn on a dirt road that had just been grated. Gravel + sharp braking is pretty much the same thing as braking on ice.

I’m terrified of driving at night in Vermont because of two things: a. deer, and b. moose. Every since I hit one. A deer, not a moose.

Now they’re haunting me in the daytime, too.

Anyways, this MIAJ (or, puffed millet in a jar) is a bit of a happier subject, so we’ll talk about that instead.

Crammed in a basically empty sunflower seed bbutter jar was puffed millet, chopped dried apricots, cinnamon, and a small sliced banana. Oh, and almond milk, of course! I had to add more as I realized I was doing a poor job of scraping up all of the delicious sunflower seed butter.

A walk through the garden followed shortly afterwards. These are my favorite flowers ever. Mainly because they smell heavennly. Almost like coconut!

...the grass is always greener, i guess...

red or green pepper, can't remember. we've got a couple flowers!

I hope the red peppers growwwww, baby growww! I think they need more sun. At least it was sunny all day today?

Roma tomato

All of my roma tomato plants have got little babies on them – but non of the other kinds yet. We need to tie them soon!

sweet corn!

spaghetti squash

Strangely, the spaghetti squash I planted from some seeds I’d saved, and the spaghetti squash I planted as a plant from the greenhouse look completely different from one another. Weird? I think so. Maybe they sold us some other type of squash…

Spinach is also starting to come up, and my mom’s zuchinni is doing really well. Our basil plant is getting bigger and bigger and I cannot. wait. to be able to use it! We also have more chives than any one person could possibly use, and the lettuce is usable, but if I wanted to make a salad with it we’d be out for the year 😛 It’ll get there!

For dinner, I had to put into action Sarena’s Buckwheat Flatbread! I swear – she is a genius! And, a fellow buckwheat junkie 😉 I’d been having random thoughts of pizza or at least making pizza dough, ever since reading about grilled pizzas in a Hannaford’s booklet.

Granted, this could not be grilled, but I don’t play with the grill alone, anyways.

Our $10 toaster-oven from the yardsale has proved itself to be worth it’s weight in gold lately. Seriously – so handy! I’ve been making jsut about anything baked in it lately – except the muffins and bars from the other day. And today, it was great to not have to turn on the whole oven for just this!

I followed Sarena’s recipe to a T, besides the fact that I just made it a little smaller, and added baking powder after it had sit for fifteen minutes. It was delicious! It stayed nice and moist, but had a perfect crust to it. I baked it on a little bit of cornmeal, too.

For the “sauce” I mixed together some tomatoe paste, garlic hummus, nooch, and water (just to thin it a bit).

I topped that with a mix of sauteed garlic, spinach, and red pepper, and then some fresh hydro tomato slices. I chopped up some seitan and topped it with a leeetle bit of feta, too.

And a balsamic reduction was drizzle over the whole thing.

No, it wasn’t necessary, but I’ve never reduced balsamic before and really really wanted to. Any food related thing you keep saying you’re going to try but haven’t yet?

_________________________

My Pony’s Cuter Than Yours

Mr. Pony was a super-star once again – are you getting sick of me always saying this yet?!

He’s getting really good about just standing for being worked around, and his ground manners have improved ten-fold. I don’t feel like I need a chain over his nose anymore, though I still have it for when he gets mouthy. A gentle tug gets the point across that his mouth should be kept to himself.

The indoor - from the "shoot."

He wasn’t too stoked for lunging today – kept looking at me sort of like “alright, I’m ready…I’m ready…can I come in now?” which of course – just made me have him go longer. I just hopped on for some walk/whoa/back/flex work, and he was very good. Felt very relaxed, though I’d still like to be sure I have an e-brake before doing much more 😉

Outdoor

I’m glad my mom is willing to “put up” with him – she loves him, but sometimes he can be so mouthy still! He’ll stand nicely for 80% of the time now, but when he decides he needs to chew on something, it becomes a game.

He’ll get over it soon – he’s already gotten miles better.

One of the runs - the mares.

Night, lovelies!

(p.s. I realize my blogger to-do list is growing by the day! I’d like to do a seitan post, the recipe for the sunbutter-banana bran muffins, and promised a camera post eons ago! I’ll get with the program soon. I’d also like to do a healthy eating on a budget post. Mainly because I am feeling quite light in pocket after buying a horse, paying a month of board, and buying a saddle all within the course of two weeks. I’m definitely only buying what I need now!)

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, oatmeal, recipe

pHinding a Balance.

Breaking news: I slept in today. Wahoo! I’m so glad, too; I really think I needed it. I woke up at my regular time, but willed myself back to sleep and slept right up until 8:00. A perfect, reasonable time!

And ohhh, today turned out to be a day and a half – it was perfect. Buckle up, here we go!

I was excited for breakfast this morning, too. I knew just what I wanted!

I decided on Peppy Kernels being my next Bob’s product (I’ll have to rank my favorite Bob’s products soon!! Granted – stuff like spelt flakes, rye flakes, etc. can be any brand, but we all know that Bob’s the man. No, I’m not being paid to say this. I probably should be, though. I’d rock a Bob’s shirt!) I also remembered the yellow mango I picked up last time I was in Hannafords.

Now, I really just had the intent of getting a normal mango, but the yellow mangoes were on sale. I’m not sure if it was just a marketing scheme to get rid of their normal mangoes that were ugly since there was not taste difference (it was just smaller) but if it was, I’m a fool for advertising. I will admit that any day.

It was smaller than a normal mango, small enough that I just used the whole thing. Well, that or I just got carried away cutting it since they look so cool when you cube them and turn them inside out. I think it was more the latter. But other than that, it had no noticeable taste difference.

Where was I? Oh, right. Breakfast. It just so happened to be 100% amazing. I think the fact that I woke up while the sun was coming out made me crave the more tropical-y flavors, whereas when I usually wake up it’s still a little dark and I crave the “warmer” flavors of figs, apples, pears, etc.

The Base:

The Toppings:

  • Chia-Flax Icing
  • Naturally Nutty White Choco Coconut PB
  • cashews
  • and a chutney of the rest of the mango, shredded coconut, and maple-sweetened cranberries simmered in almond milk and maple syrup.

I am not lying when I say this is the best bowl so far of the week. That’s really saying a lot considering my diehard love of figs. Maybe it was the new peppy kernels? Maybe it was those awesome chia seeds Rebekah sent me, giving them extra oomph? Maybe it was how long it’s been since I’ve had mango? Maybe it was the fact that the sun was shining and gorgeous? Maybe I should stop with all the maybes?

Enjoyed with a cup of Green Mountain Southern Pecan. In case you couldn’t tell, it’s all I’ve got left other than Wild Mountain Blueberry, and blueberry isn’t an every day sort of flavor.

I love the Peppy Kernels!! I will say, I initially thought I’d opened a bag of birdseed, and then checked the ingreds again and saw hulled millet. That’d explain it. Scent aside, it provides a lovely crunch from the millet and sesame seeds, but is balanced perfectly by the rolled oats, too. I love a mix of soft & chewy/crunchy. Hence why I tend to mix to begin with. Buh-duhm-chhh!

Initial plans for my day off (yes – completely, honestly, nothing to be strapped to) were to play/work at the barn, but there was an unfortunate change of plans and the barn chicka would have to run out mid-day. So, I set out on a mission.

Bread.

Yep. I’ve been buying loaves long enough that I just want to make my own. I got the “bug” last night and tried finding a good seedy bread/dakota loaf-esque recipe but didn’t have much luck. This morning was similar. I thought maybe I could cheat and get a good mix, so ran to the grocery store. I needed fruit anyways.

I could have gotten close, but honestly, I just found it comical that we still have a snow shovel on our deck.

Well, they didn’t have any mixes worth trying, but I did successfully pick up these three random things.

My mom: “Why’d you get a blackberry tree?”

Me: “Why wouldn’t I get a blackberry tree?”

Actually, the blackbeary tree was pretty well received. Even moreso by the black bears that it will attract, I bet.

And red peppers.

And diced canned beets. I dunno. Just because. Give me something to do with them.

Of course, I also got what I actually went for – bananas, balsamic vinegar, beans, and vital wheat gluten. Not worth a shopping trip if the store wasn’t five minutes away and I had a free day, but hey. I also wanted to find a good nutrition magazine. I didn’t.

I can't believe I'm posting this.

In case you’re wondering if I bothered to go to the grocery store looking even remotely civilized, I didn’t.

ANYWAYS. I finally found a recipe to try. I’m not sure if it was a “I’m so sick of looking at recipes I’m just going to use this one,” effort, though. It’s really hard to find “seedy bread” recipes. Do you have a go-to? Anyways, I ended up using all whole wheat flour, added sunflower seeds, and some vital wheat gluten in hopes to make up for using all WW flour. Oh and I used 1 T. honey and 1 T. molasses. Rather than 2 T. honey. I’ve gotta thank Bonnie for this, though – couldn’t have been made without the local (from Texas) Honey and sunflower seeds she sent me!! Edit: it might help if I link to the recipe I used for those changes to  make sense. Here ya go.

I could have cropped this so it wasn't questionable as to whether I have thumbs - but I found it more comical like this.

I sort of prayed to the bread machine gods (yes, I also wimped out and went the bread machine route) and happened to look at the clock when it was 11:11. Am I the only one who still thinks “quick make a wish!” when they see 11:11 on a clock? Anyways, I wished the bread would work.

While I figured out the programming modes on le bread machine and finally got it running, I nommed on a caramel Oikos with some dried cranberries using a crooked spoon.

A crooked spoon. Not to be confused with Crooked Teeth.

And did a YogaDownload.com video. Ee gads. I might be becoming an addict. Kaia wanted to join me, too.

What else I’m addicted to? Seeing how many different variations of el panino I can come up with. Take #95:

Locally made apple rum walnut conserve spread on my last two slices of dakota loaf (okay, so I actually cut them so they were like, 3/4s of a slice…two whole slices of this bread is always way too filling for me and latelyI don’t feel as bad wasting stuff that the horses will eat. They eat all of our banana peels, stems from greens, bread – pretty much everything but onions, apples, potatoes, and peppers.) and then some of the apple-maple tempeh I baked the other day, plus some baby spinach, gala apple slices, and red pepper. I wasn’t sure if the red pepper would be too out-there, even for me – but I ended up loving the contrast of flavors, and the nice crisp crunch it provided. I’ve been red-pepper obsessed lately.

How’d I make that apple-maple baked tempeh? Well, I did it the lazy way. I just mixed up some unsweetened applesauce, maple-dijon mustard, and a splash of maple syrup and then slathered it all over the tempeh before baking it, flipping halfway in between.At the time I only had one apple left, or else I would have just thrown chopped apples, maple syrup, and a splash of water in a baking dish and then tossed the tempeh in it & baked that way.

I enjoyed this all with a boatload of cottage cheese and plain greek yogs with some honey-roasted peanuts and more dried cranberries. (what is with me & the dried cranberries lately?) I forgot all about the rest of my apple until I was cleaning up and saw it sitting on the cutting board. I was perfectly content so I donated it to the “horse salad” bowl before just deciding to make a direct donation to the Jiggy Foundation.

Apple? Mom, Just give me the apple.

Thank you!

I cleaned my car. Kaia thought we were going for a ride.

Found loot hiding in there.

Hoodies, shoes, socks, mittens, and negatives. I made bank on that cleaning mission.

And my first camera.

Do the contents of your car describe you as well as mine do me? Empty nut jars...

(kidding about the first camera thing. I’m not that old.)

I must have gotten bit by the cleaning bug because then I decided to clean the kitchen…and then found a present at the front door!

I was surprised my coffee came already – it said delicery in 5-7 days. Then I said “Wow, Jess, you’re really dense. It’s Green Moountain coffee. Coming from the green mountain state. Why would it take the full five days if it’s coming from next door?” D’uh. I don’t really talk to myself, but sometimes I do wonder what on earth I’m thinking half the time.

Snagged a few spoonfuls of this

This ice cream (er - frozen dessert) is really sweet and really chocolatey - but for some reason, I still really like it.

before deciding I wanted this

April’s protein cake – made with 1 T. Tera’s Whey bourbon vanilla, 1 T. oat bran, baking powder, applesauce, and egg whites. Smeared with Crofters. And a side of Snyders with Sunbutter. This is actually a snack I have commonly at night, but since I was home I wanted it now. Same goes for the So Delicious.

And eventually, my bread was done.

Have cutting board, will travel.

I split the end slice with my mom fresh out of the “oven.” Verdict? It’s okay. It’s definitely edible, and I think I’ll like it for paninis (it’s got a nice thick crust) but it’s not quite a bread that I would love just as much simply toasting and smearing with a dab of butter, you know? So the hunt is still on for the perfect seedy bread recipe. Preferably a mock Dakota bread recipe – never would have thought it’d be so difficult to find one. I will say, there’s nothing wrong with it – it cooked up quite nice and is a nice, moist loaf – just not what I was aiming for, nah’mean? It was a confidence booster, if you will – I think I’ll go back to baking my own now 🙂

Then we went for a short horseback ride before dinner. I used one of her western saddles rather than my english – and felt so weird! I think western saddles make me nervous because I can’t feel the horse. Sounds backwards, but oh well. Eventually I learned to just relax and enjoy it for its’ comfort – because it was comfortable!

My mom and I spied a white eggplant last time we went grocery shopping together, and luckily she is as much of an eggplant lover as I and was pretty intrigued by it, too. I’ve held off on using it because I wanted to wait for a day we were both home to try it for dinner. Tonight was the night! I thought I’d just go for an eggplant parm (I’m running out of eggplant recipes — what’s your fav?!) but then was greeted by Nicole’s eggplant pizza in my google reader. I love how when I’m searching for a recipe, I can never chose one…yet when I’m not, one will immediately jump out on me and I’ll say “I’m making this.” Note that that was actually sarcasm. I hate how that happens.

Anyways – after coming in from riding to make dinner, I almost opted to make a stuffed eggplant similar to my stuffed pepper – but wasn’t sure if my mom would be a fan of quinoa (even though she loved my red pepper, haha) so I played it safe, and just made quinoa for the side. Ironically, she raved about the quinoa. Yay! It was mighty good – and so was the eggplant! I loved this dinner. Simple, too.

For the eggplant, I did basically the same as Nicole – but used kale to line it, fire roasted diced tomatoes, and canned mushrooms. Added some roasted red peppers and in the final minutes of baking topped with some feta.

For the quinoa, I just prepared two servings and added the eggplant innards that I had cubed. Also added in some balsamic and the rest of the canned mushrooms and tomatoes, as well as some feta. It was great!! Love the idea, too 🙂

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pHinding a Balance

I know what your thinking, and yes – I intended to spell “finding” with a ph. Aren’t I clever? You’ve probably heard random bits about finding the perfect balance of body pH. If you’re like me, you also didn’t quite understand all of it. I am no science junkie. As soon as you start getting all “alkaline-vs-acid-pH-balance” on me, I’m bound to just squint my eyes and look at you like you’re speaking Tibetan. Because to me, you are. But, since I’ve seen talk of body pH becoming more and more prevalent, I decided to see what I can make out if it, and try to understand the role of pH when it comes to your body.

Recap of chem: pH=potential of hydrogen. <7= acidic, >7=alkaline. That means water is neutral, a car battery = 1, and bleach=12.5.

An ideal body pH is 7 or slightly alkaline. When your diet becomes out of balance and the majority of your food starts to fall to the side of being acid-yielding, low-grade metabolic acidosis has the tendency to develop. Say whaa? Basically, it contributes to the decline of bone and muscle mass, typically in aging adults. Why? Since your body’s pH has lowered from all of the acid-yileding foods (for instance, a diet comprising primarily of refined grains, meats, dairy, eggs, and seafood)your body tries to out-smart you, having your kidneys coordinate activities (sounds like a military in there – the kidneys are sending out troops to battle acid!) involving your bones releasing calcium and magnesium, and your muscles breaking down to produce ammonia. Sounds scary, right? Ammonia is strongly alkaline, hence being released in efforts to reverse your body’s acidity. While it may “work,” it leaves the integrity of your bones and muscle lacking.

Now, don’t get all worried and start thinking if you go a couple days, weeks, months even – living off of those primarily acidic foods. These effects won’t be noticed for decades – so basically, you’d have to be eating like this for years. This is why often times, metabolic acidosis is simply confused with old age. Makes sense, right? As people age, their bones may have a tendency to decrease in integrity, so for a while – this was an honest mistake by doctors, and also the reason why body pH has been overlooked. And like anything in the world, there are advocates saying body pH is the most important thing to maintain, and just as many dieticians saying it’s all flak.

So, if it takes so long to see the adverse effects of an acidic body pH, why even bother? Well, why not? It’s not like it’s difficult – all fresh fruits and veggies are alkaline yielding (even if it may be an acidic food, like oranges and apples) Eating enough of them – and surely we all do – helps the body to stay neutral. (think: 35% of your daily calories)

Other acid-yielding foods? as mentioned, dairy – but in addition, fowl, grains, legumes, meat, nuts, rice, and sugars.

Seems scary at first glance, right? I live on legumes. And grains. And nuts. But that’s where balance comes in – I also live on fresh fruits and veggies!

How about you – what do you know about body pH? More than me, I bet – but I hope I explained it okay! It’s one thing I find quite interesting, though can’t necessarily say I put 100% of my faith in, you know? I think I’d get a kick out of taking a body pH test, won’t lie, haha. At first I thought “oh, good – look at all these acid-yielding foods I eat. I’m going to have kidney failure and frail bones and die in a year!” But – I don’t think any of us have anything to worry about, because there is that balance we find, looking to fresh fruits and veggies for a better part of our meals.

My fault? I am a little addicted to sodium – and I think that will prove to be a perfect future post in itself 😉

Have a great night lovemuffins! (aha…I’m laughing re-reading this. dang, I eat a lot. )

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SuperCharge Me

Friday, Friday!! I woke up super-charged to start the day – likely because we’re finally almost to the weekend and warm weather. Here I thought we’d never see it again.

I had complete indecision for breakfast this morning, though. Hate that! I’ve been having it lots lately. I always gravitate back to normal, traditional bowls though. With coconut. Hey, haven’t used ginger in a while though.

So, it probably comes as no shock that this morning I had yet another bowl of coconut-themed oats. Am I boring anybody yet? Should we place bets on what I’ll have tomorrow?

Of course; with that being said – I love each and every one of them, so you can probably expect to see lots more 😉

Base-ic bowl of CocoCherry Oats:

Topped con:

  • chia-flax-acai icing (a little…)
  • cacao bliss
  • Naturally Nutty White Choco Coconut PB (I had indecision…what can I say?)
  • candied walnuts and pecans (chopped pecans, drizzle with a tiny bit of agave and sprinkled with coconut & toasted)
  • and a mix of frozen chopped sweet cherries, a few dried cranberries, and coconut simmered in some almond milk.

Dined with this month’s favorite, Green Mountain’s Southern Pecan. And that just made me realize…this month is over after today. Holy cow! Does anybody know where it went? If so – let me know, STAT, please.

Unfortunately, pony lady didn’t call last night, nor e-mail. We’re taking that as a negative. Ahh, well! The funny thing about horse shopping is that what someone may see as their prime selling point isn’t necessarily what a buyer will see as the biggest sale-point. For instance, this pony drives, which is her reason for being a little high in price. For us – well, we’d never drive the guy! Before leaving work I e-mailed about a couple new ads…so at this point, with the auction tomorrow, my mom and I talked about it and if she does call back, we’re just going to say we’ve got a few more lined up to look at now.

My working mid-morning snack was a banana and a quinoa muffin. I think before I post the recipe, I’m going to play with getting them to stay moist. Any ideas on doing that? More oil/applesauce/almond milk? The first day and second day they were fine, I noticed yesterday they were starting to get a touch dry. Not crumbly, oh-my-god this is sawdust in my mouth dry – but they taste so dang good I’d like to perfect this one!

I had intentions of going back to my veggie-packed lunch ways by sauteeing up extra eggplant last night – but when I got to packing lunch this morning just wanted my chickpea & conserve sammie again! So I acknowledged my cravings and did tha dang thang. Except – we’re all out of good bread, so I wrapped it. I didn’t mind – it was certainly easier to fit all the mixture in there! Of course…all that extra room allowed me to get a little crafty and rather than just chickpeas and conserve, I did spinach, almond mozzarella, sliced apple, and then some of the mashed chickpea and apple-walnut-rum conserve mixture. Just a dash of conserve since I figured there would be plenty of apple and sweetness from the actual apple. If you think this is gross, I don’t blame you – but considering it was fantasmic, I think you should try it before ya hate. I tried thinking of a rhyme there but came up short.

I wish I had the dedication to making salads as I do when it comes to making other things. I just…wimp out. I end up throwing spinach in a bowl and drizzling with some mustard and call it done. Mreh. So, I paired this with a Dr. Kracker pumpkin and cheddar flatbread with its partner in crime, PB & Co Cinnamon Raisin PB. It’s a match made in heaven. The usual plum also made its debut, but was camera shy this morning. Use your imagination.

Another even that ocurred this morning? I decided to replenish my bar basket. And…gasp…I’m down to just about fitting them all in there!!

There’s a few duplicates in a ziploc baggie located elsewhere, and this is sans Katie’s Larabars (I have a special, personalized Larabar bin. Only half kidding.) but…look how good I’m doing!! I opted for a Luna Dulce de Leche this morning. Um, new favorite flavorite? I think maybe.

See? I pay full price too.

Work seemed to drag by even though it flew by at the same time. I think because I’m really looking forward to this weekend – but luckily it was quite busy so my mind wasn’t left too idle 😉 I was feeling a quick dinner tonight, and since I hadn’t planned much, a naan pizza sounded perfect. I love naan pizzas! I just threw everything together on the george foreman, too – hardly any cleanup.

I used the eggplant I prepared last night for today’s lunch as the main star. On half a whole wheat naan, I spread garlic lover’s hummus, then topped with garlic and herb feta, baby spinach, diced tomatoes, red pepper, crumbled tempeh, fresh basil, artichoke hearts, and the eggplant. Hit the spot!! I am a new fan of artichoke hearts, as well 🙂

I hope all you lovelies had a great day, too. Live up the last day of April! What’s one thing you discovered? New blog, new food, sudden life realization??

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