Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pesto and mozzarella flatbread

Today I have a super easy and delicious flatbread recipe for you!  When I saw this flatbread challenge I immediately thought of doing something with pesto because it just tastes so good to me right now.  Sometimes in the summer I have made a toasted tortilla with tomatoes and basil fresh from the garden (with feta of course :) ... unfortunately I only had one garden cherry tomato left, so it needed a little help, but that was the inspiration for this recipe. 

My husband mentioned that this would be good with some shredded chicken on it too, and if you're looking for a little extra protein or something to up this to a "main dish" I think that would be perfect.  With only four ingredients this is simple to prepare and comes together in a snap.  The flatbread disappeared very quickly in our house and I was sad it was gone in even less time than I took to make it.  I think it will definitely be making an appearance on our menu again in the near future!   

While making this flatbread I learned some very helpful things about dough as well.  I always struggle with rolling out my pizza dough and getting it to stay put on the pan.  A friend told me that part of the problem is probably that I try to roll it out before it is completely warm (you see, I often cheat and use frozen pizza dough that I thaw in the fridge overnight... but I don't always leave it out very long before trying to work with it).  I left this dough out much longer than I usually do and it was definitely room temperature.  It rolled out so much easier!  Note to self - use warm dough.  Also, when I read about the challenge I learned that Rachel rolls out her pizza dough with olive oil instead of flour.  This seemed a little odd to me but I tried it and was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked.  Good idea to remember for next time.

Anyway, here is the recipe.  Let me know what you think! 
Come join the Fabulous Flatbread Challenge at Rachel Cooks sponsored by United Dairy Industry of Michigan — Win prizes! See the flatbread challenge here

Pesto and Mozzarella Flatbread

Ingredients -
Pizza dough of your choice
1 6oz jar pesto
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
grape, cherry, or roma tomatoes, sliced

Directions - 
Divide dough in half.  Roll each half into a very thin flatbread and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.    Spread pesto onto flatbreads (you probably won't need the whole jar).  Sprinkle evenly with cheese and arrange tomatoes over top.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until desired crispness.  Slice diagonally or into wedges and enjoy!   

Note - This post is not sponsored by anyone.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pumpkin maple ice cream

Fall is here!
One of the things I love about fall is all of the wonderful pumpkin flavors that pop up everywhere.  Pumpkin finds its way into our coffee, our desserts, and our baked goods... and I am more than ok with that :)  One of the restaurants here has a pumpkin milk shake that is delicious, so when I saw recipes for pumpkin ice cream showing up on Pinterest I had to give some a try!

I was not disappointed - this ice cream tastes just like pumpkin pie with surprise maple bits here and there.  It was so good and I'm sad that I only made a half batch!  The maple flavor is very subtle so if you really wanted to accentuate that you might want to add a smidge of maple extract.  Or, you could leave the crumbled cookies out all together if you want to keep it simple.

(Want to make pumpkin ice cream but don't have an ice cream maker?  Check out this recipe from What Megan's Making that you can make from store bought vanilla ice cream) 

Hope you enjoy this yummy fall treat!

Pumpkin Maple Ice Cream

Inspiration taken from blahnikbaker and whatmegansmaking

Ingredients -
1 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
approximately 8 maple sandwich cookies, crushed to desired size

Directions -
Whisk all ingredients except for sandwich cookies until well combined.  Freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions, adding crushed cookies in the last few minutes of mixing.  Serve immediately or allow to harden further in the freezer.  Sprinkle with crushed cookies prior to serving if desired (or drizzle with caramel?!).
Enjoy :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Peach Cobbler

There is something wonderfully homey about the smell of peaches and cinnamon cooking on the stove!  We had a cold snap here in Michigan and it got me thinking that I had better make peach cobbler before “summer” was over.  It certainly felt like fall but cobbler was delicious none the less.

This recipe is my Mom’s.  I may be slightly biased since I grew up eating it, but I think it’s really good and it comes together pretty easy.  And, like I said, it will make your house smell wonderful while you are making it.  So if you’re looking for something to do with those leftover peaches or you just want a simple dessert, give this cobbler a try.

On a side note - we ate all of the cobbler before I remembered to take a picture of it!  So please pardon these pics of half-assembled cobbler from when I was still living at my parents house :)

Peach Cobbler

My Mom’s recipe

Ingredients - 
1 Tbsp cornstarch
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
4 cups sliced peaches (drained if using canned)
3 Tbsp shortening
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk

Directions - 
Combine first four ingredients and cook on the stove top, stirring occasionally, until peaches are tender and sauce is thick.  While peaches are cooking, combine remaining ingredients into dough.  Pour peach mixture into baking dish and immediately drop dough by spoonfuls over the hot mixture.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.     

Monday, September 29, 2014

Greek salad mix

Greek salad mix is actually a Brick House original!  The idea is certainly not new but the recipe is something I have developed over the years as I tried to replicate a mediterranean wrap I had in college.  The taste is great with the combination of feta and greek dressing... and it is full of veggies.  We like to eat it as a wrap with tortillas and sliced cucumber and I have also recently taken to eating it straight or over greens.  It is easy to put together and keeps well in the fridge.  If you're looking for a simple no-oven meal or something a little different to pack for lunches give this a try and let me know what you think :)

Greek Salad Mix

Ingredients - 
1-2 green peppers, diced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (even better with fresh!)
1 can black olives, drained and sliced
1 red onion, diced  (or less, to taste)
1 container crumbled feta
Greek style vinaigrette

Directions -  
Combine chopped veggies and feta.  Add viniagrette to taste.  Eat plain or enjoy over flat bread with cucumbers and spinach. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ham and swiss sliders

A friend from work gave me this recipe for sliders and it is wonderful (and ridiculously simple).  We ate them all in about two settings and then the next week my husband wanted to know if there was more.  Unfortunately there wasn't :(   The recipe was so easy I decided to take a batch to a friend who was moving.  Her family loved them too and were equally as sad when they were gone so she asked for the recipe.  Thus, it's getting put up on the blog quicker than most things I make!

The sandwiches are relatively quick to assemble and the sauce is quickly mixed and melted in the microwave.  I was a little skeptical about the sauce ingredients but they really come together perfectly in these sliders.  With the mix of flavors and the gooey cheese they are delicious warm from the oven.  And the other good news is that they were just as delicious when we heated them up for leftovers.  If you try them, let me know what you think!

Ham and Swiss Sliders

Recipe originally from Jessica

Ingredients -
12 hawaiian rolls
ham (or other deli meat)
swiss cheese
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp onion flakes
2 tbsp worcestershire
2 tbsp brown sugar

Directions -
Slice hawaiian rolls if not pre-sliced.  Assemble sandwiches with rolls, ham, and swiss.  Place sandwiches in a baking pan (9"x13" was about right for the size rolls I had).  Combine remaining ingredients and pour (while stirring) evenly over sandwiches.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Enjoy warm from the oven :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

When the nursery is a crucible

Nurseries are happy places.  Warm places.  Chaotic places.  Places where little ones learn to share and be kind.  Places where we laugh and are silly.  Places where we sing and dance.

And what happens when the nursery becomes a crucible?

Sure the little ones might think it a place of trial at times as they melt down, too long past nap time, because someone took their plastic asparagus.

But what about when it is the women’s hearts that are melting in this crucible?

When the talk as they set out pretzels and sippy cups for eager hands is not just of cute pinterest ideas or new recipes…
But when the paperwork has been done and she is waiting for adoption circulars, waiting…and waiting… waiting for a baby.
When another is tearful as she confesses she’s had a hard time lately because this is the month her baby would have been born and now she’s wondering, and healing… and waiting for a baby... someday.
When to another it simply seems that the waiting will go on forever because her cycle has started yet again… yet another month of waiting… and waiting for the hope of a baby.
When another doesn’t know what to do with the defiance of her two year old…just trying to make it through the day, waiting on this baby turned child.

When these hearts are melting Lord we cry out.  

We cry for each other, we cry for ourselves… ourselves like little children whining “I don’t want to wait, I want it now” when the word comes softly to our hearts speaking the words of truth...  “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).  
In the chapter that starts out “Comfort, comfort my people” (v.1)... that though there is desolation and bringing low and falling, yet “here is your God! See, the sovereign Lord comes with power…See, his reward is with Him” (v. 9-10).  
But I don’t want to see….for if I see and rest perhaps He will forget?  Perhaps I can do it in my own power?  Maybe I don’t want to trust Him who “sits enthroned above the circle of the earth”(v. 22)… though it is He who “tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to his heart…” (v. 11).
Surely I must know better.  Surely I can fight for my way because His way is not like my plan…. How can it be? For “who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor?” (v.13), He who “has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand” (v. 12), who “stretches out the heavens like a canopy”(v. 22).  He who is “the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth”, He who “will not grow weary, and his understanding no one can fathom”(v. 28).
Yet I am still tempted to agree with Israel and say… “my way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God” (v. 27).  But do I not know?  Have I not heard?  Has it not been taught to me over and over again?  Though the tears fall….“Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?  He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.  Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing” (v. 26).
He who calls out the stars, who knows them and names them… is it not he who calls forth dreams? Calls forth life?  Calls forth babies from the womb?  Calls forth lives of surrender and grace? That though I cannot see, “all the days ordained for me where written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).  That though I stumble and crumble “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (v.29).  That His plan is good and that he has been working all things together for our good since before the foundations of the world.
Each day he calls us forth in strength… he calls us by our name, a new name… and because of his strength we can stand, we can run, we can soar.

So I rise from the place of tears and find it a place of the cross, a place of surrender.

If our hearts need melting Lord, may they be melted into the image of your Son. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Danny's salsa

Today I have a great salsa recipe for you.  This is something I grew up having and now that we're married my husband loves it too.  In our family it is called Danny's salsa because my cousin Danny was the one who introduced us to it, but where the original recipe was from I don't know.   

It is nice as a side but we have also used it on top of grilled chicken and greens to make a different version of taco salad.  It's not at all spicy (which is good for me) and since it's full of protein and veggies I don't feel bad eating it as a meal sometimes :)  
Another plus is that it's very easy to throw together and keeps decently for a few days in the fridge.  It could be a nice addition to your next picnic, potluck, or cookout!

Danny's Salsa

Ingredients - 
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
chopped tomato (equal in volume to the corn)
1 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Directions - 
Combine all ingredients.  You can't get any simpler than three word directions can you?!  Eat with tortilla chips or however the mood strikes you :)