Friday, March 30, 2012

Dinner 30/3/12 -- Homemade Focaccia Pizza!

I dearly wish I could take pictures of tonight's dinner!  Oh well, just an excuse to make it again since I know it will be absolutely delicious.  I've been planning and looking forward to this homemade pizza all week.  Ever since taking the first bite of that homemade focaccia, I couldn't stop thinking about how delicious it would be as a pizza crust.  Well, the dough has been rising all day and it's almost pizza party time!

I mixed up half a recipe of No-Knead Focaccia from Budget Bytes, with a few minor tweaks.  I used one cup of wheat flour, 3/4 cup white flour, and 1/4 cup cornmeal.  I love crunchy pizza crust so I hope the cornmeal adds a nice crispness!  I also sprinkled some garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, dried rosemary, and thyme into the dough.  I sneaked a sniff of the dough and it smells incredible.  Gets my tummy rumbling already!

I cut up a small green bell pepper, small red onion, and sliced a roma tomato very thin.  I also grilled two links of Italian sausage and cut them into small slices.  After a very thin coat of tomato sauce, I'll sprinkle shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese on top, along with more dried Italian herbs.  I'll brush the edge of the crust with a thin coat of olive oil and slide it into the oven to get crispy, crusty, bubbly, gooey, and delicious!

Oh how I can't wait to sink my teeth into that pizza...

I don't think I've ever been so excited for a meal!

Breakfast 30-3-12 -- Chocolate Wheat Crepes with Bananas and Cinnamon Greek Yogurt

Still no batteries for my camera, boo!  On the upside, I'm feeling a bit better today so should be able to get out and buy some batteries (and more yummy groceries!) soon.

This morning I was craving crepes again.  Big surprise, huh?  I can't seem to get enough of them lately!  I used this recipe for basic crepes but instead of using half white flour, I used all wheat flour this time.  The wheat flour tasted wonderful!  I liked it even better than using all white flour or half-and-half.

We're out of bread and the halved crepe recipe makes two very large crepes in my non-stick pan so the first one was plain and reserved to be used for a wrap for lunch, with leftover steak.

In the remaining batter, I added a dash of ground cinnamon, vanilla, sugar-free sweetener, and a generous amount of cocoa powder (probably about 2-3 teaspoons).  The crepe smelled heavenly while cooking!  For the filling, I mixed a small amount of sweetener with plain greek yogurt and added a generous shake of ground cinnamon.  The cinnamon yogurt was smeared on the fresh chocolate crepe and topped with a sliced banana.  I rolled this crepe burrito-style and took a big bite!  Sooooo delicious!

Hope to have pictures again soon!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dinner 29/3/12 -- Teriyaki Sirloin with Teriyaki Sweet Potatoes

My camera is out of batteries!  I was excited to take pictures of tonight's dinner but I am sick with the flu and probably shouldn't go out to buy batteries, as much as I really, really want to.

The nearby grocery store had a fantastic sale last week on sirloin steaks so we stocked up!  I'm using the last package tonight, trying a teriyaki marinade for the first time.  I've ordered teriyaki steak at restaurants and always loved it so I'm hopeful my homemade version will be just as tasty, if not better!

I tweaked the teriyaki marinade from Budget Bytes (a recipe I dearly love!) to use on my steaks.  I used a bit less sugar and added sesame seeds, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.

I'm so excited to finally try Budget Bytes' Teriyaki Sweet Potatoes to pair with the steaks!  I do plan to cut down the sugar and oil but otherwise will follow the recipe as written.  I've had my eye on this recipe for a while and it will be absolutely delicious with the steak.  There's something about the combination of steak and potatoes that makes my mouth water.  I especially love sweet potatoes for both the taste and extra vitamins!

I'll grill up some of the frozen asian vegetables I have in the freezer and that will complete a delicious, healthy dinner!  Sorry I can't share pictures!

Breakfast 29/3/12 -- Wheat Crepes with Strawberries and Coconut Greek Yogurt

I absolutely love crepes.  They're light, crispy, thin pancakes and are perfect for any fruit filling.  For whatever reason, crepes tend to be expensive to buy in restaurants so recently I decided I needed to learn how to make them at home!  I was amazed to discover the recipe is very simple and easy, so now I can enjoy crepes at home anytime without spending a fortune.

I used this recipe for basic crepes, with a couple minor tweaks.  I made only half a batch and substituted whole wheat flour for half the flour in the recipe.  I also added a tiny splash of vanilla and a pinch of sugar free sweetener, since I would be having my crepes with fruit instead of savory fillings.

Crepes are typically served with cream or chocolate filling and sweetened fruit but I wanted something light and healthy.  I still had a few strawberries to finish and a nearly empty container of plain greek yogurt.  What perfect fillings for my wheat crepes!

I mixed a tablespoon of unsweetened dried coconut, a dash of coconut extract, and a pinch of sugar free sweetener into the plain yogurt.  YUM!

Once my crepe cooled a bit, I was ready to begin working -- and eating!

I spread the coconut yogurt mixture onto one half of the crepe...

...and topped the yogurt with a generous amount of sliced fresh strawberries.

My non-stick pan is very large, which makes my crepes large.  I folded it into fourths to be more manageable!  I paired the crepe with a protein smoothie made of vanilla protein, milk, and half of a frozen banana.  Time to dig in!

Dinner 28/3/12 -- Stuffed Pepper Soup with Brown Rice

Ever since a couple weeks ago when I saw the recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup on Skinny Taste, I've been dying to try it!  I was always lacking some ingredient so last time I went to the grocery store I was sure to pick up anything I was missing.  Let me assure you, excitement was completely justified!

This soup is somewhat similar to how I make chili, except without the beans and chili spices.  It's hearty, chunky, and very tasty.  It actually does taste like a stuffed pepper, only much easier to make!

Stuffed Pepper Soup with Brown Rice on the bottom!  Can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Lunch 28/3/12 -- Turkey Gruyere Apple Wraps with Mixed Berry Protein Smoothie

Today for lunch I wanted something very simple so I looked in the fridge to see what needed using up.  Voila, deli shaved turkey!  I also had a very tiny piece of gruyere cheese left from a dish I made a couple weeks ago and while it's somewhat of a waste to use such good cheese on a sandwich, I knew it would be delicious with the turkey.  I love both turkey and chicken paired with apple and cheese so I also grabbed a lovely mottled red and green apple.  I wish I could remember the type of apple; it was beautiful!

I layered lettuce, turkey, gruyere, and apple into a whole wheat wrap.  I didn't use any other condiments.

I made a smoothie with vanilla protein powder and frozen mixed blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries.  I cut the rest of the apple into slices and also added a small bunch of grapes.  The lunch was simple, delicious, healthy, and -- of course -- pretty!  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Breakfast 28/3/12 -- Banana Strawberry Walnut Maple Oatmeal

During my last trip to the grocery store, I bought a ton of fruit.  I've been scrambling to eat it all before it spoils so lately my oatmeal (and other meals!) has been filled and topped with plenty of delicious fruit!  I don't mind that one bit!

I love to use ripe bananas in oatmeal and smoothies because they add a nice sweetness and creaminess.  One of my favorite oatmeal combinations is mashed banana, cinnamon, maple, and walnuts.  Tastes just like banana nut bread!  Since I have strawberries to use up and strawberries plus bananas are an awesome pair, I thought, "Why not banana strawberry nut bread?"  With my tummy rumbling, I ran to the kitchen to begin preparing my oats!

I cut a small banana in half then cut that half in half and placed the halves in a microwave-safe bowl.  Say that ten times fast!  I microwaved the banana for about 30 seconds to soften it.

Mash the softenened banana with a fork...

...then add a splash of milk and stir the mixture to a nice pudding-like texture.

Break up a portion of pre-cooked steel-cut oats and add milk.  Add diced strawberries (I used 2 medium strawberries) and mix the mashed banana, oats, milk, and strawberries.  Add any spices and sweeteners you'd like!  I used maple syrup and a bit of cinnamon.  Microwave the oats for 2-3 minutes, until warm and creamy.

Cut the rest of the banana half into small pieces and slice a few more strawberries to top the oatmeal!

Top the warm oats with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of chopped walnuts.  Eat and be merry!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dinner 27/3/12 -- Tandoori Grilled Chicken Salad

I still had a bit of Tandoori Grilled Chicken left from dinner last night, even after making a sandwich for lunch!

I was trying to decide between having the rest hot or cold when I realized it would be delicious in chicken salad! Spicy Indian food tastes very good (to me) with sweetness so adding it to chicken salad with grapes and dried fruit seemed like a perfect match.

Just one note -- I apologize for the lighting in these pictures.  The sun has set and the light over our table is one of those funky-colored energy saver bulbs.

Mix shredded chicken, about 2 tablespoons of mayo, halved grapes, chopped celery, a miniature box of raisins, small handful of dried currants, and whatever spices you'd like!  I added Mrs. Dash, black pepper, onion powder, and celery salt.

Chicken salad with lettuce and multigrain crackers was the perfect light dinner!  Just what I was after!

...and that was the end of Tandoori Grilled Chicken.  You were delicious and shall be missed!

Lunch 27/03/12 -- Homemade Focaccia with Tandoori Grilled Chicken and Mango Smoothie

Last night for dinner I tried a very tasty new recipe, Tandoori Grilled Chicken.  I found the recipe in the George Foreman Grill cookbook and had everything on-hand, so figured 'why not?!'  The chicken was fabulous and I made enough for leftovers, which made a wonderful lunch when paired with the focaccia sandwich rolls I baked earlier.

Crusty bread, spicy tandoori chicken, a dab of mayo, crisp lettuce, and tomato slices -- this sandwich was awesome!  I paired it with a protein smoothie made with vanilla protein and frozen mango.  The mango tasted so delicious with the spicy Indian chicken!  Yum!

No-Knead Focaccia

The nearby grocery store makes the best deli sandwiches around.  The rolls they use are crusty but not hard, just thick enough, and just dense and soft enough.  Next time I buy one I'll be sure to take a picture before devouring the deliciousness!

I've been on a mission to find a recipe for similar rolls so I could enjoy fresh bread and a good sandwich at home anytime.  I love the cooking blog Budget Bytes and remembered the website several recipes for bread.  After looking through each one, I narrowed it down to either focaccia or ciabatta bread.  I absolutely love focaccia and, though it's not exactly what the grocery store deli uses, decided to make a (half) batch!

I began with the No-Knead Focaccia recipe from Budget Bytes.  For my first batch, I decided to make only half the recipe just to be sure the bread wouldn't go stale (yeah, right!  It barely lasted 2 hours).  I used half whole wheat flour and half white pastry flour, since it's all I had on hand and I figure the lightness of pastry flour may help balance the heaviness of the wheat.

After only 10 hours rising, my dough had expanded from a tiny ball to a large, sticky mass!  Next time I will definitely allow for 14-16 hours of rise time but today I was so excited to sink my teeth into some fresh bread that I just couldn't wait any longer!!

I decided to make small sandwich-size rolls instead of a large loaf.  The half-recipe made six and I thought I'd top each one with a different combination of herbs/seasonings so I could decide which I liked best!  I have Italian seasoned, rosemary and kosher salt, sesame seeds, Italian plus garlic, rosemary plus garlic, and Parmesan plus black pepper.

After an hour and a half the dough had expanded even more!  Good thing I only made a half-batch -- my pan is even too small for six rolls!  I poked small indentations in each one with my index finger and put the rolls in the oven to bake.

Warm, crusty rolls fresh from the oven, ready to be part of the perfect sandwich!

I was relieved the ratio of wheat and white flour worked out favorably.  Next time I make this I will definitely increase the rise time, which will only make the bread even fluffier!  Yum!

Breakfast 27/03/12 -- White Chocolate Nectarine Strawberry Ginger Almond Oatmeal

Steel-Cut Oatmeal

I eat oatmeal almost everyday for breakfast.  I love how hearty, chewy, warm, and satisfying a big bowl of oatmeal mixed with fruit and berries is in the morning.  Oatmeal is also very versatile!  Add any of your favorite spices, fruit, nuts, or whatever you'd like to customize your oats.

Lately I've been experimenting with using dry instant sugar-free, fat-free pudding mix in oatmeal (and protein shakes, but that's another story!) and I love how the pudding adds richness, extra creaminess, and delicious flavor to the oats.

I had a ripe nectarine so this morning I came up with a new oatmeal combination!  Nectarines are somewhat similar to peaches so I decided to pair it with sliced strawberries, which I also need to finish eating before they spoil!  I like ginger with both peaches and strawberries so I added just a pinch over the fruit.  I chose white chocolate pudding since the flavor is mild.  Almonds are good with everything so of course a small handful made it on top of the oats!  Everything was mixed up and microwaved for a few minutes and thus... White Chocolate Nectarine Strawberry Ginger Almond Oatmeal was born -- and happily consumed!

I begin with pre-cooked steel-cut oats.  I typically make enough for three days or so (1/2 cup of Bob's Red Mill steel-cut oats plus 2 cups of water, simmered for 20-30 minutes), split into portions, and kept in the fridge.

Add a portion of pre-cooked oats to a microwave-safe bowl.  The oats stick together like a little brick once cooled!

Break up the mass of oats with a spoon before adding milk.

Add just enough milk to coat the oats.  

Stir the milk and oats until the consistency is something like this!

Add seasonings.  In my bowl is a spoonful of dry white chocolate pudding, a dash of vanilla, and a pinch of ground ginger.

Add any finely diced fruit you'd like to soften while cooked in the microwave.  I used about half my fruit in the oatmeal and saved the other half to put on top.  The combination of warm, soft fruit and cool, fresh fruit is wonderful!

Microwave the oats in 1-minute increments, stirring between each.  It should be warm enough to eat after about 3 minutes.  Pudding can make the oatmeal boil over easily so be sure to stir after each minute!

Once the oats are warm, top with additional fruit.

I added a small handful of sliced almonds and another small pinch of ginger to the top!  
Ready to thoroughly enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

First post!

Hi Mom!

I made this blog to share with you recipes I've found and tested, plus pictures of my dishes (when I remember to take them!)

Hope you like it!