Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dinner in 20 Minutes, Fresh Mozzarella and Heirloom Tomato Pizza

This meal is a life saver on a busy day, margherita pizza, with garden tomatoes, and fresh mozzerella. It is quick, easy, and everyone loves it. The secret to making this dinner so fast and easy is buying the pizza crust at California Pizza Kitchen. They sell their dough already rolled out for you for ONE DOLLAR. They are smaller pizzas so I normally buy two. In fact I actually just bought six last time and froze the extras for when I need to take a meal to someone, or for a quick weeknight dinner. I always buy the whole wheat multi grain dough, they have wheat or white, because the dough is still light and better for you. Making your own pizza dough would be even better for you, but this is one of those meals in a pinch.
It is hard to tell from these pictures what is on this pizza. What you are looking at is yellow and red hierloom tomatoes from Jacobs Cove Farm, which is an amazing place, they grow so many different varieties of organic tomatoes.
Here is what the crust comes like, already rolled out for you, and ready to go.

Fresh Tomato and Mozzerella Pizza

Caifornia Pizza Kitchen Multigrain dough
Red Sauce
Fresh Mozzerella
Garden Tomatoes
Fresh Basil

1. Spread the sauce on, then top with thinly sliced cheese, and next the tomatoes.
2. Sprinkle on chopped basil, salt and pepper, and a little parmesan on top.
3. I baked mine in a 400 degree oven on a pizza stone for about 15 minutes.

To Make This Gluten Free

I top a portobella mushroom with sauce, toppings, and cheese wrap it in tinfoil and bake it at the same temperature until the mushroom is soft. Then take off the tinfoil and broil the mushroom to melt the cheese.

Or take your favorite gluten free pizza dough and follow the directions above

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Best Light Corn Chowder

This soup hit home, after a VERY long day. The day started off on a bad foot when Isaiah pooped in the tub. I don't know if you have ever had a child poop in the tub, sorry very unappetizing when talking about food, but it was one of those moments that you look around wishing someone else was the mom to step in. The rest of the day included a really fun tantrum at the grocery store and a few meltdowns, on both ends. I wish I could say I never loose my cool, but there are moments, I have to remind myself that I am the mom, when I would love to throw my own tantrum. What does this have to do with soup?? Lets just say food has more than one purpose, than just to stave off hunger pangs. Food can be incredibly comforting and a good pick me up. This soup hit home. It is so creamy, while being surprisingly light for the normal chowder recipes that calls for 2 c heavy cream and a half a pound of bacon. It only calls for a cup of half and half, and one piece of bacon, which I just got in the meat section, instead of buying a whole pack of bacon for one piece. Scottie's response after trying it was, "did you write down the recipe". Often times I can't remember how I got to the end result. Luckily I wrote it down. He loved it, and so did my in laws who came for dinner.

The Best Light Corn Chowder
adapted from Cooks Illustrated

10 ears of fresh corn
1 piece of bacon (optional)
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 T flour, I used a gluten free flour blend
3 C chicken broth
4 medium red potatoes (scrubbed and cut in 1/4 inch pieces)
1 bay leave
1 tsp minced fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp dry
1/2 C milk*
1 C half and half*
2 T parsley
1 pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut all of the corn off the cob and reserve about 4 ears of it.
2. Cook the piece of bacon until crisp.
3. Add the onion and a 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and cook in the oil, until the onion is soft 8-10 minutes.
4. Once the onion is cooked through, add the minced garlic, cook until fragrant ( about 30 seconds).
5. Add the flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes.
6. Whisk in the chicken broth.
7.Stir in the half and half, thyme, potatoes, 3/4's of the corn, bay leaf, and milk.
5. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
6. Take out half of the mixture and blend it, then stir it back into the soup.
6. Stir in reserved corn kernels and cook until they are tender yet still a little firm, about 5 minutes.
7. Discard bay leaf, take off of stove and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chopped parsley.

*Note: I used rice dream instead of milk, because that is what we normally drink. It gave it a slightly sweet flavor that I liked. Rice milk is thinner than 2% milk so I had to compensate and add a cup of half and half. If you use 2% milk you could reduce the half and half to a 1/2 C ,and add a 1C of milk instead.

Whole Grain Banana Pancakes

(Picture taken from Our Best Bites)

Lets just say you will missing out if you don't make these. These are probably the best pancakes I have had. I made extra of these to freeze some, and not one made it to the freezer. Everyone that walked through the kitchen couldn't help grab one and dip it in the peanut butter syrup. Don't skip the peanut butter syrup it makes these pancakes. The whole grain flour blend makes these light and fluffy, but if you don't have a grinder to make the whole grain flour, try white wheat flour. They might be a little heavier with wheat flour.

Whole Grain Banana Pancakes with Peanut Butter Maple Syrup
adapted from Our Best Bites

1 3/4 C whole grain flour (equal parts spelt, brown rice, and barley)
3 T sucanat ( a natural sugar, or try your sweetener of choice)
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C low fat buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 T melted coconut oil
1 large egg
2 medium small bananas

1. Combine flours, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.

2. In a separate bowl combine the liquid ingredients; buttermilk, vanilla, egg, and melted coconut oil.

3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry mix and mix until just combined. Don't over mix. You should still see small streaks of flour in the batter.

4. Place bananas in a separate bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Fold into batter.

5. Cook on a cast iron skillet, or a hot griddle. This batter is a little thicker so would drop a 1/4 cup on the skillet and then smooth them out. Flip one bubbles appear and pop.

Note: In the original recipe she adds chocolate chips, personally I think they are plenty sweet without, but if you are feeling really decadent go for it.


1 C real maple syrup (not the aunt jemima stuff)
1/2 C peanut butter

Melt the two together over the stove until incorporated. Pour over pancakes and ENJOY!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How To Make Whole Grain Flour

Step 1:
You need a good grain grinder. I use Blendtec's Kitchen Mill. I personally love it, but I know there are a lot of other good grinders out there. Do your homework, and pick one. They will run you about 100-200 dollars. Or to save money check on KSL and get a used one. It is worth the investment. Fresh flour produces better, more nutritious, baked goods. A grinder makes it possible to use a lot of different flours and flour blends you can't find in the store, making it easier to get more whole grains in your diet.

Step 2:
Buy your grains. That you are going to make into flour. I buy all of these in big 50 pound bags through grainmix.com, and alpine food storage. To start out making flour I bought the grains in smaller quantities in the bulk section at Good Earth, a local health food store. Buying them in smaller quantities allows you to try them first and see what you like best.

The blend that I have been using lately, and produces wonderful results is: equal parts brown rice, barley, and spelt.

Step 3:

Once you have your grains you are ready to make flour! You will need a big bowl to mix the grains in. Measure into the bowl equal parts brown rice, barley, and spelt. Depending on how big of a batch of flour you want to make varies how many cups of each you will measure out. Mix the grains together, and then grind them according to your grinders instructions.


Use it all up at once, or store the flour in the freezer for a longer shelf life. I like to grind extra so that I have some on hand.

Monday, September 13, 2010

5 Minute Raspberry Jam

Isaiah, Nancy, and I spent a wonderful afternoon picking raspberries at a local berry farm. They were only 2 dollars a pound!! I found the farm on u pick a great website that has a list of different farms that sell their produce already picked, or you can pick your own fruit and save a lot of money. Not to mention it is the freshest you will get it, and most times organic.

Isaiah probably ate a pound of berries himself, "helping" mommy pick them. If you haven't tried a u pick, you should it is a lot of fun, and good for kids to understand how food is grown. With a couple of the pounds I picked I decided to make jam. This has been my go to recipe for jam because it takes 5 minutes and you don't have to cook it preserving the nutrients of the fruit. The jam also has more flavor because it hasn't been cooked out.
My secret weapon to make the quickest jam possible, ultra gel. If you have not heard of ultra gel it will soon become your best friend in the kitchen. The reason I like ultra gel for making jam is the obvious it takes five minutes.
What I like about ultra gel:
  • It doesn't require cooking to thicken whatever you are making

  • You don't have to make a slurry to add it to soups, or other things

  • It has no taste

  • It is gluten free

  • It will keep whip cream from separating

  • You can make ranch dressing without the mayonnaise, or with a lot less for a thicker dressing

  • You can add it to ice creams that are lower fat and they won't crystallize

Wow this sounds like a paid advertisement or commercial. Which I assure you no one is paying me to use their products, not that I would mind that. But I just had to let you in on my little secret to 5 minute jam.

Five Minute Raspberry Jam

4 Cups Raspberries

1 C agave

1 1/2 C sugar

1/2 C ultra gel

2 T lemon juice ( I added a little more, because I like it a little tart)
Mash the raspberries, agave, lemon juice, and sugar. Gradually stir in the ultra gel. It will start to thicken immediately. Package, label, and date. Store in freezer for six months.

**Next time I will try all agave, truthfully I ran out, and I was worried about the consistency

**I have used this recipe with strawberries and it is equally good, but I cut out a half cup of sugar because strawberries are sweeter

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Zucchini Fries

This summer has been a blur of vacations, mostly warm days, and squeezing every last drop of sunlight out of a full day. I must admit I am so sad to see it go it went by too quickly. I think I will have to ease into cooler weather with hikes in autumn leaves, and pumpkin bread. One perk to the end of summer is that all of the fresh produce from the garden is at its peak. Zucchinis are in abundance! Crazy enough I picked up a free one the size of my arm on the side of the road. Someone had left a card table with all of their excess produce with a sign that said free. Way to give back!
I came across this recipe on a wonderful blog, named Two Peas and their Pod. I was happy to find this recipe because I have days of zucchini and we were having my in laws over for dinner. The verdict on the fries, they were a big hit, I followed the recipe to a T, so I will just provide a link to the recipe. We had the fries along with Fresh Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza, I will post that recipe next.