Friday, August 31, 2007

Strombolis! Calzones! Pizza Pockets! (Whatever you want to call them!)

Oh yum! I just made these tonight for the very first time and they were delicious! A huge hit with everyone!

You will need:

For Dough:
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Sugar
4 cups all purpose (or bread machine) flour
4 Tbsp. bread machine yeast

For Filling:
1 small onion diced small
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. Extra lean ground pork (can use ground Italian sausage of any temp. if you like to go spicier)
Italian Seasoning (can use fresh herbs if ya got 'em)
1 can/jar of your favorite pizza sauce (or about 2 to 3 cups of your favorite homemade pizza sauce)
Approx. 3 cups of mozzarella (or pre-shredded pizza cheese)

Put all dough ingredients into bread machine and set to dough setting. Push start. (This is of course the easy, no fuss version! If you like or if you do not have a bread machine, make the dough as you normally would using any pizza dough recipe you like best.) [On a side note, I got my bread machine at a garage sale for $10 about 3 years ago. I love that thing! Keep an eye out for these at garage sales. People buy them with good intentions but a lot of people find that they just don't use them very often.]

I took my dough out of the bread machine about 30 minutes before it "bing-ed" at me to take it out. I broke it up into 7 equal sized balls and put them in my oven on the "bread proof" setting (100 degrees) with plastic wrap covering them loosely. I let it rise in there for about 30 to 40 minutes.

In a large skillet sautee the onion in a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) until tender. Season with about a tsp. of salt and a few shakes of your favorite Italian seasonings. Add the ground pork (or Italian sausage) and cook until there is no pink left. Add pizza sauce and simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

Roll out one of the balls of dough. Place a large spoonful of filling on half of the dough, leaving about 1/4 inch around the edge. Top it with a handful of cheese. Then fold the empty side of the dough over the filled side and press down around the edges. Fold the bottom layer of dough over the top layer and pinch together again, sealing the filling in. Place on cookie sheet or pizza stone and repeat until all are filled and sealed in this manner.

Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until just golden brown. Remove from oven and enjoy! Caution: They will be very hot inside!

We had them with Ceasar salad. A great combo.

I decided to freeze the leftovers for another time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chicken Soup for the Sickies.

So since we all felt so awful tonight I decided that we needed chicken noodle soup. But I'm sorry, I have had enough of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. Those mealy noodles. Those little bits of chicken that look more like cat food. So, yes even though I felt like poo poo I made homemade chicken noodle soup. Kudos to my hubby for going to the store to get the needed ingredients.

Here's my recipe...

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs (could have bones and skin if you don't mind all the extra work... I'm sure there would be more nutrients in there) cut into bite size bits
30 oz. Chicken Broth
4 Cups water
1 large carrot peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 scallions chopped finely
1/2 tsp. salt (or a little more perhaps)
1/2 cup finely minced fresh parsley (don't even think of using dried!)
1/2 large bag or 1 small bag egg noodles

Put everything except for egg noodles into large saucepan/pot, bring to a rolling boil. Boil for a few minutes. Turn burner to low and cover. Simmer for approx. 20 minutes. Taste check for saltiness. If it needs more add it now. Then add the egg noodles and bring back to a boil. Once brought to a boil, turn burner back down to medium and cook until noodles are desired consistency, approx. 10 minutes.

This was just what the doctor ordered tonight. Hit the spot. Hopefully we'll get back to feeling human again and maybe I'll be my regular blogging self once again.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Posting this here too....

Because of problems with my blog I'm going to post this here for any who could not view all of it on the other blog. Sorry about the inconvenience!

Oh, I just can't help myself. I love pictures!! I love it that I have you all scratching your head over today's mystery post. (It's really not that exciting but hey, it's fun keeping you in suspense!) I'll tell you what it is tomorrow.

When we were on our way to California by way of Amtrak train, we had a bit of a layover in Portland, Oregon. We had to find a place to have lunch near Union Station on a Sunday afternoon. Pleasantly there just so happened to be a street fair going on only mere blocks away. Having been cramped in small spaces with little ones underfoot we were happy to go for the walk and enjoy the afternoon out and about rather than cooped up in the station.

It was a colorfest. I loved looking at all of the handmade wares. Everything from clocks, to natural wood carved bowls, handbags (be still my beating heart) to brilliant home decor. On top of all that there was to ogle, the food was gorge-worthy. My husband and I ate the best lamb pitas I think we have ever had the pleasure of coming across. And do you think I was going to let that moment go by without being duly noted in the form of a digital image? I think not!

Drool. Drool. Drool.

Pretty pretty purses.

I loved these baskets. It was a color feast.

And dang, if only I was still into these... I was sorely tempted.

Okay, so that was the street fair. There were a lot more pictures but I don't want to bore the bile out of you.

So you know that we went to family camp at Mount Hermon in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Every week of Family Camp all of the campers take the old train that winds through the Redwoods, on the very railroad tracks upon which I met my husband for the first time, and takes the whole lot of them (campers that is) to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It's a gorgeous trip in an open air train car.

So we all spent the day down by the sea and it was just delightful. The baby experienced sand for the first time ever (poor deprived little soul doesn't have a sandbox at home). He expressed his joy in this new texture by picking it up. By eating it. And by rubbing it right into his cheeks and eyes and hair and every other imaginable spot. Sadly, in doing so, he rubbed off all of his sunscreen and hence had quite a bad sunburn later.

Once he learned not to do that anymore he, like the rest of us, had a wonderfully exhausting day.

I love the Boardwalk. I have so many funny memories there. So many sweet memories. Some stinkin' scary memories. And I love this picture. It brings them all back.

So I love the Boardwalk. But I do not love everything about it. Numero Uno, why on God's green earth is there nothing unfried there to be purchased and consumed? Aren't there enough granola types in Santa Cruz to have created a real demand for organic, healthful, non-artery clogging foods at the Boardwalk? It's despicable. Luckily we had lunches packed so we didn't have to partake in any of the billions of calories that assailed us at every turn.

Secondly, there is one ride there that needs to be put into the world's largest slingshot and sent into another galaxy. It's evil. It's hellish. It's vomitrocious. It's the Fireball. It's what is now known in our house as the Sinister Spinning Pendulum of Death. The beastly ride turns in circles, oh... I'd say at about the speed of light while swinging back and forth. Don't ask me what the world looks like at that speed. I had my eyes closed and every single muscle in my body clenched more tightly than ever. I actually left a semi-permanent indentation in my arm where my bracelet had been so forcefully impressed. The thing was of course attached to the ground but for pity's sake, there is no earthly excuse for that kind of machine. I wanted to hurl so badly and I went to bed that night curled up in the fetal position rocking myself and moaning to my husband, "Why?! Why did I do that?!" He said he had no pity for anyone stupid enough to go on the thing. (This is how we love each other you see. It's a symbiotic thing that you may not understand.) The Giant Dipper on the other hand is pure splendor. And for some unknown reason they sent us on a second go 'round with no explanation as to why. Yay! Almost made up for the horrible Fireball experience. Almost.

We ended our time at the beach by walking down the wharf so as to completely exhaust the children in order to ensure a quality night's sleep that night. (It worked like a charm by the way.) We surveyed the sea gulls with caution (if you saw the very white splattered state of the wharf you would understand the caution.) We watched sea lions. We saw a gorgeous Rolls Royce. Then we caught the train back to camp and fell into our beds.

One thing that I saw while walking along the sidewalk between the Boardwalk and the wharf was this sign:

I thought, wow... rarely do you see such a blatant call for such things. I know I need to change in so very many ways but rarely am I reminded of the fact by street signs. I then quickly realized that this was no spiritual charge to the peoples of Santa Cruz, it was merely letting people know that there was a change machine nearby. Hmph. (Okay so I really knew it meant "change machine here" but still, I thought it could be just the thing for some poor soul who was looking for a sign from God that something needed to give in their life! Had to take the picture.)