Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

Eggroll Pizza

100_2074Folks, the pinnacle of culinary invention has now been achieved. The world has now witnessed the marriage of two perfect foods, which have become, in their union, a single even more perfect food.

It all started this afternoon when I experienced a craving for Chinese fast-food eggrolls, a craving that was never to be fulfilled on a Friday during Lent. So I took matters into my own hands. I already knew I was experimenting with pizza for dinner, since I recently read a recipe for pizza crust made from cauliflower puree. Why not experiment with the toppings as well?

So I followed the cauliflower crust recipe: Chop up one head of cauliflower into smallish pieces. Pan fry in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until crisp-tender and browning. Puree in a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup cornmeal, two eggs, salt and pepper to taste. Throw in extra seasoning if you like. Line a pizza pan with parchment and pour out the batter. Spread it around to fill the pan. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes.

While the crust bakes, prep the toppings. I used some of my red cabbage sauerkraut, rinsed and drained, matchstick carrot pieces, thinly sliced bell pepper, and about a teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger.

I made an asian peanut sauce from this Rachel Ray recipe. I could eat this sauce everyday, on anything, it’s so delicious.

So, when the crust is baked to your liking, spread the sauce, then arrange the kraut, pepper slices, carrot shreds, and sprinkle the fresh ginger. Bake an additional 10 minutes or longer if you like your veggies cooked more thoroughly. I liked to keep them fairly fresh since I had all that lovely sauerkraut on there. Cooking the kraut kills all the probiotic organisms which are the main reason to even eat the stuff.

I was actually not overwhelmed by the cauliflower crust. It tasted good, but it didn’t hold together and we had to eat the pizza with forks. I can see where I personally went wrong and I’m willing to try it again, but I’m not convinced it’s worth the trouble for me. I added a bit of water to the blender because the stuff wasn’t blending and I probably should not have done that. I think a food processor would work better for this job. I am planning to try these same toppings on a regular pizza crust and see how that goes. I can’t wait!

This pizza satisfied my eggroll craving, and it looked so pretty. Definitely a flashy dish that would even impress company! If you can convince them to try it!

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Seven Quick Takes: July 26

Once again I am joining Jennifer and all the fine bloggers at Conversion Diary for a Quick Takes Friday. I do it when I feel like it, okay. Don’t judge me for my sporadic linking-up.

1. I’m down to two pumping sessions! Tomorrow maybe I’ll do two again, then one on Sunday. If I’m motivated I might do one final time on Monday morning, but Agnes is coming home Monday so I probably can’t be bothered to pump after Monday morning!

2. We’re trying to get the house ready for a fragile newborn. I resurrected my trusty old housecleaning schedule and adapted it for our current house. The important thing will be to keep the carpets vacuumed and the surfaces as dust-free as possible. Agnes has some respiratory trouble. I hope we can make it clean enough for her to do okay at home! Hello, daily vacuuming! Also I need to get my life back in control. The cleaning schedule will help me stay on track and actually maybe accomplish some things around the house in the midst of caring for a toddler and a needy newborn with lots of doctors’ appointments.

3. The cats really like the changing station I set up in the guest room. I’ll probably have to kick them off the mat when it’s time to change Agnes’ diaper.

Cats (l to r): Iggi, Sashimi.

Cats (l to r): Iggi, Sashimi.

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4. My husband delivers pizzas. He gets an employee discount. Apparently as his family, I get the employee discount as well. This could be trouble. In related news, dinner tonight was delicious.

5. Yesterday I wore a pretty new skirt, put on makeup, and even styled my hair before we went to visit Agnes at the NICU. I guess my effort really paid off because one of the nurses made a special trip to Agnes’ cubby just to tell me that I looked “lovely.” That’s why we ladies do it, folks. So the NICU nurses can enjoy our put-together style. No seriously, I feel a lot better these days now that I am taking some time with my personal appearance. And since Agnes is doing so well, I’m not afraid to wear mascara, and I feel much perkier when I don’t look like I just rolled out of bed and threw on a t-shirt.

6. I had my six week postpartum appointment with my OB on Wednesday, even though I was only five and a half weeks postpartum. He’s on vacation next week. I really like several of the OBs at that practice, but it seems like every OB has one question on the brain when meeting with postpartum women: What are you doing for birth control? I always tell them we do fertility awareness, natural family planning. So far I haven’t had any trouble from docs when I give this response, though I suppose I will probably get resistance as I get older. I wish they would give me a little trouble because I would love to explain the process to them and show them that it really works!

7. I really love coffee. I also have nothing else to say for my seventh quick take. So…coffee. It’s the best. I’m a cream and sugar kind of gal. I don’t like flavored creamer because it gets too sweet by the time you add enough to make the coffee creamy. And coffee has got to be strong!

 

Head over to conversion diary for some more fun quick takes! Thanks for reading!

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7 Quick Takes Friday: April 5

Linking up with many fine bloggers at Conversion Diary for the weekly Quick Takes.

1. Pretty much the only productive thing we did today was order a bunch of moving boxes on Lowes.com. It said you can place an order and pick it up in the store, and that the order would be ready today. It wasn’t. We also tried to finalize some details with our U-box reservation, so we went down to the U-haul store thinking it would be easier to do it all in person. It wasn’t. They gave us a number to call and the guy hasn’t called back yet. So, today was a bit of a wash as far as moving progress goes.

2. Since we finished watching Mad Men and Foyle’s War on Netflix, we needed to pick a new show to start. So last night I tried to tempt Jeremy with several options we had added to our queue. He wasn’t interested in any of them; I think he’s still grieving for the end of Foyle’s War. I don’t blame him. That show is extremely engaging with a great many sympathetic characters. Anyway, I convinced him to give Glee a try. We ended up watching two episodes back to back. Jeremy wasn’t sure he would like it, but he did! I loved it but I was already pretty sure I would love it. I can’t wait to watch a couple more episodes. I really need to know what happens! I only have one complaint and one concern so far. The complaint is the over-produced music that plays like a music video when they sing. I wish the sound was more realistically “acoustic” for the setting but I understand that is an artistic choice the directors made and I certainly love the arrangements of the music! The concern is we’ve already seen a bit of treatment of sexuality issues, and I’m 100 percent confident the show is going to continue to blatantly present opinions contrary to my own beliefs as a Catholic. But I think I can handle it since this is just a T.V. show.

3. Yesterday we found a blender sitting out by the dumpster. We have been saying for a while how nice it would be to have a blender, and there it was. We took it home and looked it up: a Breville Ikon Hemisphere 600. This blender sells for about $150 on Amazon, and when we tried it out it seemed to work just fine. Who knows why it was abandoned at the dumpster, but now it’s ours! We’re going to make frappes tomorrow!

Meatball Pizza.

Meatball Pizza.

4. To make up for the lack of moving progress, I prepared two delicious meals using ingredients from our freezer. For lunch I made chicken drumsticks with a spicy tomato sauce and served it over rice. For dinner I made the World’s Best Pizza in meatball and barbecue chicken varieties. Mmmm. So tasty. The meatball pizza is just red sauce, thawed frozen meatballs cut up into little bits, and cheese. The barbecue chicken pizza is barbecue sauce, seasoned and pan fried cut-up chicken breast, and cheese. So simple and so delicious.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza.

5. Stephen has been absolutely exasperating lately with his sleeping. He refuses to take naps in his crib; he’ll only fall asleep if we’re out driving in the afternoon. Which means he only gets a 10 minute nap because he always waits until we’re almost home before nodding off. But he obviously still needs naps. He’s waking up by 6am most mornings and as a consequence, he’s losing his mine by 6pm in the evening. Today he had a meltdown in his high chair so severe, he wouldn’t even eat dinner. Then he started falling asleep in his high chair without having eaten, and it wasn’t even 6pm yet! I got so frustrated I had to leave the room because I was actually making things worse, but Jeremy being the better parent, managed to get Stephen to eat his dinner by using the old choo-choo-train trick. Then I put Stephen in the bath and to bed by 6:45 where he is still babbling and hooting to himself almost 20 minutes later. Grr. He’s probably going to wake up before 5am tomorrow morning, then refuse to nap, then the whole horrible thing will start all over. I just don’t know what to do.

6. Gosh, I still have two of these things left. Well, my baby girl has been moving quite a bit the past couple days. She’s really kicking and punching hard. I love to feel it even though it feels weird because then I know she’s alive and strong, and at least partly normal. I don’t know what’s going on with her brain or why she’s growing so small, but I’m confident she will do well after all is said and done because her heart beats strong and she punches really hard!

7. Okay, last one! Jeremy wanted to try giving Stephen a “horsey ride” so he got down on hands and knees and I put Stephen up on his back. Stephen was nervous at first, making that little “I don’t know about this” noise that he does. But a few bounces later he decided it was pretty cool. At the end of the ride I helped him slide down and Jeremy started to stand up, but Stephen pulled on his legs to get him to do another ride! The second time, Stephen didn’t need my help to stay upright, and he figured out how to dismount on his own. I think he could have kept going all afternoon if Jeremy would have let him. We’ve created a horsey ride monster.

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Beet the Goat Pizza and Other Stories

With yesterday’s news and all, I’ve been thinking about food a lot. I have always tended toward stress eating and mostly I am able to control it. Luckily, or else I would weigh 300 pounds. Yesterday after my doctors appointment, I did come home and go straight into the bedroom and I ate four of the remaining cookies. Then I decided I needed to bake a pie. Blackberries were on sale last week for 99 cents for a 6 ounce carton so I bought two. How can you resist a price like that? You just can’t. So I turned them into a pie. Unfortunately 12 ounces of berries is not enough to make a pure, unadulterated fruit pie, but it is enough if you make a fruit and custard pie! I’m sorry, no pictures because it actually doesn’t look that great, plus I think there might be only two or three slices left in the pie plate. I swear I had help eating it!

Today I ate a piece of pie with breakfast because if I know one thing, it’s that a baby with a brain condition needs mama to eat pie for breakfast as often as possible. But the real adventure was for dinner this evening…

Beet the Goat Pizza.

I named the dish myself with the powers of my creative mind.

Last week, I was telling Jeremy that I really wish I could try fresh beets, because the canned veg just doesn’t do it for me and I’m sure I would like beets if only I had the opportunity to appreciate them in their finest form, only it’s a shame they’re always so exorbitantly priced and wilty-looking besides. Then I read the Alberson’s ad and lo and behold, fresh bunch beets were on sale for 99 cents per bunch. So I bought a bunch, not really knowing what I might do with them but wanting to seize the moment.

This morning I had a brain wave to put them on a pizza. Remember I told you about Jim Lahey’s pizza that I make all the time, and it lends itself so well to bizarre toppings. Beets are pretty bizarre. Since I know nothing about beets, I referenced a couple cookbooks to see what flavors are usually combined with beets. I discovered that they are usually presented simply, with just salt and pepper, and maybe a dressing of olive oil or vinegar and lemon juice. Jim put some goat cheese in his beet salad.

So I started with my process for making a potato pizza topping and peeled then sliced the beets super thin. From reading a couple beet recipes, tt seemed that moisture was desirable in beets, so I didn’t soak them in brine to draw out their moisture. I tossed the beet slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then spread them on the pizza crust. I crumbled up some goat cheese and sprinkled it over all, and 25 minutes later, Beet the Goat Pizza popped out of the oven, all purple and amazing and bizarre looking.

beet pizza

 

Sorry the color is weird. Jeremy took the photo with his phone (where oh where is my camera hiding).

I’ll admit, I’m not already a huge beet fan. I really want to like them, but I have to train my taste. The first bite or two of pizza was odd, but it grew on me as I finished my slice. Jeremy offers, “This stuff is really good,” which is great because he already liked beets and presumably knows how they should taste. Next time I will put on more goat cheese, since it would be ideal to get cheese in nearly every bite. The flavors really compliment each other.

Let me know, would you try beets on a pizza? Do you even like beets?

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Pizza Tonight!

For dinner tonight I made pizza. It is the best pizza in the whole world, and I’m not just saying that. The crust is delicious and thin and crispy and crunchy. The toppings are flaming hot and starting to char on the edges that stick up. The whole thing has a wonderful olive oil accent. The crust has actual flavor!  I would totally post some pictures of this magnificent pizza, but I can’t find the camera. I think it’s still in a box from when we moved into this apartment 5 months ago. That also explains why I don’t have any recent pictures of my toddler…hmmm…

Back to the pizza! Oh yes, and also speaking of my toddler, he loves the pizza!

My favorite part of the pizza is you can put all kinds of crazy things on for toppings. Tonight I did one pizza with red sauce, diced bell peppers, pineapple, onion, cheese. Amazing! The other pizza was olive oil, ground black pepper, onion, sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes! And guess what? That one was also very amazing. That’s the one my toddler devoured like he would never eat again ever in his entire life. For some reason this pizza crust gives you permission to go wild with the toppings, and everything always tastes amazing!

Now, before you go all congratulating me on my culinary expertise, I would like to give credit where it is due. This pizza recipe that I use comes from Jim Lahey of the no-knead bread phenomenon. See his website here where I’ve conveniently sent you to the pizza page. Feel free to browse and drool all over the rest of his site as well. It’s actually his idea to put potatoes on pizza, btw. The only adaptation to his recipe that I made is to sub in a portion of whole wheat flour for some of the bread flour. That’s because I like whole wheat flour. Also tonight I did have a bit of a bread flour shortage issue…but that’s neither here nor there.

So, in conclusion, Jim Lahey’s recipe for pizza pretty much rocks the socks off the whole universe, and you can make it at home in the comfort and convenience of your very own kitchen. Also you can put whatever the heck you want on it and it will be super. Cauliflower! Sweet potatoes! Chicken! Meat substitute “meat” balls! Red sauce! Barbecue sauce! No sauce! That weird shredded cheese you found in the bottom of the freezer and it doesn’t look like it has mold on it! Everything tastes great.

A dinner the whole family can enjoy.

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