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Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

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Homemade veggie pizza has now become a staple in our house.  I make it with a whole-wheat crust and pile on lots of veggies.  It really is delicious.  I’ll share that recipe with you at the end of this post.  I hope you’ll try it – I know you’ll love it!

Two years ago, this month, I began an adventure in a radically different (for me) health plan. I had a “routine” Dr visit which turned into a wake-up call for me. I knew I had to do something drastic if I wanted to feel better and avoid what could be terrible health issues. With the Lord’s help and guidance, this month marks two years that I have been on this health plan. I still have a lot to learn and there are days when I have to talk myself out of having a nice big slice of chocolate cake…  But overall, it’s been amazing.

I literally feel like a different person!  My cholesterol is down, my sugar level is great, my good cholesterol is up, my blood pressure is much lower, I lost 25 lbs., I have so much more energy,  …and the diagnosis I got at the Dr that day is no longer the same!!   Another huge factor is that I haven’t had a migraine for two years!!!!!!  If you knew me, you’d know that is amazing!  That fact alone, was well worth the change in diet.  I just thank the Lord every day for His strength and joy throughout this process, and look forward to continuing in this journey.

I’m not going to write 10 posts about it, tell you what you should & shouldn’t eat… We all know what is healthy and what is not.  I just had to share because I’m so thankful.  I wish I had started eating this way decades ago.  What a difference it would’ve made.  But, I’m happy to have started and looking forward to growing in this process through the rest of my life.

Take good care of yourself, friends.  The saying “you are what you eat” is really true!

And now, here’s that recipe I promised:

Pizza Crust
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 pkg. yeast
1 Tb sugar or honey
2 Tb olive oil

In a small bowl, warm the water so that it’s warm when you dip your finger but doesn’t feel too hot.  Add 1 packet of yeast, and sugar; Stir until dissolved and set aside for five minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the flours, and salt.  Add yeast & water mixture, Add olive oil, and stir until well- blended.  Add more flour if mixture is too sticky.  Knead for 8-10 minutes.  Place dough in a clean, oiled large bowl, cover with clean kitchen towel, and let rise for at least an hour.

Punch down dough gently, and place on floured surface.  I usually cut dough in half to make two 12” pizzas, but you can either use it for personal pizzas (6-8”), or one large pizza (18”).

Building your perfect pizza:
Now you can have some fun with toppings!  I usually brush the shaped pizza dough with olive oil, sprinkle garlic powder, and add fresh ingredients:  basil, artichoke hearts (my favorite!), yellow zucchini, green zucchini, mushrooms, onions, sweet peppers, and anything else you want!  I buy fresh mozzarella, and place some slices over the top.  You can also sprinkle some oregano, and drizzle a little olive oil over the top.

Bake it in a hot oven, 450-500*, for 30-40 minutes.  The crust will be crunchy and the veggies will be cooked and delicious!

Enjoy!

Happy healthy eating,

Daisy

 

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Thank you all so much for the way you responded to my last post.  It’s funny (not in a humorous way, but a thought-provoking way) how through this “blog world” I have made some unexpected friendships that have been a real blessing to me.

I really didn’t expect a lot of response after not posting anything for six months!  But you guys have just made me feel as if I got a hug from each of you!  You didn’t have to do that, so it means all the more.

I’m so looking forward to reading through your blogs and catching up on all you’ve been doing, and what’s been going on in your lives.

………………………………………………….

Now, about edible gifts…

We have several Christmas get-together with Pastors & their wives (with whom we work) in different regions so it gives me a chance to bake some special little things that are really only around at Christmas time.  (Not sure why!  They are good enough to eat all year round! 😊)

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s year I made three different things to go in the gift bags.  Mini Oreos, dipped in white chocolate and rolled in crushed peppermint candies.. Mini Swirl Cinnamon Bread loaves… and Fudge Brownies.

The mini Oreos are so easy. You just dip them in melted white chocolate then roll them in crushed peppermint candies. Place on a wax papered-covered baking sheet, and place in refrigerator (This will keep them crunchy). I was surprised how long they stayed fresh! They are a delicious treat!

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n came these mini Cinnamon Swirl loaves. Just use your favorite recipe, and you can add raisins, dates, or dried apricots – whatever you prefer.

The key is to bake them in paper loaves so you can just wrap them up in cellophane after they've baked and cool.

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last but certainly not least, are the fudge-y brownies, made with dark chocolate chips, if you like that extra chocolatey goodness. These are my favorite!!

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s always fun to bake something a little extra special for people that you know could use an encouraging word, letting them them know that they are appreciated, their work is not in vain, and that they're loved.

What are you baking today? Are you baking something sweet for someone special?

Have a wonderful Christmas season!

Hugs,

Daisy

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This dish reminds me so much of my childhood.

Sweet memories of my Mom, my aunt, and grandmother… this was something they loved to serve because it feeds a crowd.

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It’s kind of like a chicken casserole . . . But so much more!

It’s really Cuban comfort food.   I know you’ll love it!

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Here’s how I make it:

ARROZ CON POLLO

Marinade chicken overnight (if possible).  For the marinade I use:  the juice of 2 lemons (or limes), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp of cumin, 1/2 tsp oregano, 2 Tb olive oil.  Mix in a glass jar, then pour over chicken.  Refrigerate overnight.  I use a large casserole dish to marinate the chicken, or a gallon-size zip-lock bag.  Just before cooking, remove chicken from the marinade and dispose of marinade – do not use the marinade in the arroz con pollo.  

To make the Arroz Con Pollo:   Rinse rice in strainer and drain well.  Heat a 3 quart pan over med-high heat.  Put 2 Tb of olive oil in the pan. Place rice in heated pan and stir frequently until it turns to a bright white color (about 5-10 mins).  It’s important you don’t step away from the stove at this point – the rice can burn easily & quickly.  Add 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of cooking wine.  Add 1/2 tsp salt.  Stir and heat over med. high heat.

In a large skillet with a lid, or a big pot, heat 2 Tb of oil.  Add one finely chopped onion, 3 cloves of garlic, yellow & orange sweet peppers (diced).  Cook, stirring often, for about 3-5 min., then add 2 bay leaves, cumin, oregano, tomato paste, pinch of sugar, and cook for another 3 min.  Add chicken and cook until nicely browned and crusty.  I usually turn up the heat a little bit so that the chicken gets a nice color.  If necessary, add a Tb or two of olive oil so the chicken won’t stick or burn.  Cook for about 10 min., turning chicken to ensure even cooking.  

Add rice mixture to the large skillet (or large pot) with the chicken.  Stir gently until well-mixed.  Place chicken pieces over the rice.  Add green olives and the sweet red pepper strips.  Cover and cook until rice is done and chicken is cooked (About 30 min.).  Do not open or stir!  This will cause the rice to clump and not cook evenly.  

After 30 min, sprinkle green peas over rice (do not stir).  Cover, and cook an additional 5 mins.  Turn heat off and let it sit for about 5 min.

Serve with plantains or tostones.  A nice fresh salad also goes well here.

Note:  If you’re using chicken breasts, either increase the cooking time or cut into smaller pieces to ensure chicken is cooked all the way through.  

INGREDIENTS

     FOR MARINADE:

  • 2 lemons 
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (I also added turmeric for color)
  • 1 whole chicken, cut up, OR a pack of drumsticks and thighs (I buy skinless)

     FOR RICE:

  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 Tb oil
  • 1/2 tsp of salt (you can add more if you like)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of cooking wine

     FOR CHICKEN:

  • (The chicken you hopefully remembered to marinade)
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 mini sweet peppers, yellow and orange, seeds and stems removed (you can also use regular size or just use green peppers)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 small can tomato paste (or 1 small can of tomato sauce)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 of 7 oz.jar of green olives, stuffed with pimento
  • 1 sweet red pepper, sliced into strips (or pimento strips)
  • 1/2 cup green peas

I hope you’ll give it a try!

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Happy cooking,

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Daisy

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I’ve been experimenting with some basic ingredients and healthy foods…

This dish is surprisingly easy and light, but so tasty!

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Thinly slice 2 large potatoes, and half a small onion.  Fan out the slices of potatoes in a tart pan or pie shell.  (You can add 1/4 cup of water if you like).  Place the sliced onions over the top, and add a drizzle of olive oil over all.  Sprinkle some fresh chopped rosemary (or dried), salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Bake at 375 for 30-45 min, until potatoes are tender.

This is a delicious and light alternative to most potato dishes we see this time of year, (especially if you’re watching your fat or caloric intake).

You can easily customize this to fit your family and tastes – add more potatoes, more onion, or anything you fancy.

Enjoy,

and Happy Thanksgiving week!!

Daisy
xo

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I went to the Farmers Market this week and found they had baskets of tomatoes for $1!

I bought three and went home excited about making tomato jam.

I had never tasted tomato jam until just last year, and I thought it was so delicious, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before, or that it wasn’t everywhere, in every super market, next to strawberry jam or blueberry jelly!  I felt deprived…

So when I saw those tomatoes, I immediately thought, “I could make some jam!  I mean, how hard could it be?

 

 

Five hours later, after peeling five pounds of tomatoes, simmering & stirring the pot, checking the consistency countless times, I wondered if this “soup” was ever going to turn into “jam”.

I decided to go sit down, after all, I’d been standing in the kitchen for hours (I already had met my 10,000 steps quota and it was only 5pm!).  While I was checking my emails and Instagram, I fell asleep…

Next thing I know I smelled a hint of something burning… I jumped out of the chair and ran to the kitchen, exclaiming, “no, no, no…!”

I stirred the pot and realized the bottom was starting to stick, but it wasn’t burned!  I tasted it quickly, hoping there was no burnt taste…

Oh, I have to tell you, I breathed a sigh and was so thankful that it tasted fine!  It was still really, REALLY hot from those red chile flakes, but it was delicious.

I grabbed the jars and filled three of them with about four tablespoons left over.  That’s it!  Three pints from FIVE pounds of tomatoes!  I had to laugh…
 

 

I was so proud of myself.

For years, (since I first got married and went to college in a rural area), I’d wanted to try canning and I finally did it.

It only took a couple decades.

Now, the jars sit it on my kitchen shelves and I can’t wait until next week when I can go to the Farmers Market, buy whatever is in season, and try canning again!

I can almost see it…my kitchen shelves stocked with colorful jars, filled with all kinds of good food.

Of course, what will really happen is that I’ll end up giving these jars away in pretty gift baskets…

…But I love to do that, too!

So it’s a win/win situation 😊

Enjoy summer bounty,

Daisy

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Oatmeal

My doctor gave me a list of foods I need to eat frequently…

Oatmeal was on that list.

Apparently it lowers your cholesterol.

But the oatmeal I was used to eating, was the one that I made
and it included lots of dried fruit, a few (maybe 2 or 3) almonds,
whole milk, brown sugar (or honey), and cinnamon.

I don’t think that’s the kind the doctor meant.

Sooooooo………

I had to come up with a healthier recipe for me to eat
since I have want to have it at least 3 times a week.

Here are a few options I came up with:

 

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I love this one!  It’s an apple topping I thought of one day
probably because I love apple pie and I can’t have that right now.

Apples are also on that doctor’s list, btw.

 

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Apples are on sale again and they look and smell wonderful!!
I just bought 5 lbs today so I can make some apple sauce.
(and oatmeal, too, of course!)

 

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I choose a nice, firm apple . . .

 

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I know all these pictures aren’t really necessary…

It’s like I can’t help myself.

I just love the colors, the apples, …
Thought it would make a great photo…
(I’m always looking at the world as through the lens of a camera —
that’s my only excuse).

Please bear with me.

 

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After I peel, core, and chop the apples,
I add a little brown sugar…

 

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And some cinnamon.

 

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I stir it and cook it in a small skillet or sauce pan (doesn’t really matter)
for about 5 minutes, just until the flavors blend and the apples soften a bit.

 

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The whole house smells wonderful when this is cooking!

 

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While the apples are cooking, I make the oatmeal in the microwave.

I use 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 1 cup of milk, a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon,
and 1 tsp of brown sugar (or honey).  If you like it sweeter, add a little more
sugar.

 

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When the oatmeal is done, and the apples have cooked enough,
I put the oatmeal in a pretty bowl, then spread the apples on top.

 

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If it’s too dry, I add a splash more of milk.

 

My husband prefers slicing a banana over the oatmeal
and sprinkling just a tiny bit of cinnamon over the top.

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He also loves some almonds, a few raisins, granola, …
whatever he can find in the pantry that he thinks will go well with it.

I don’t add nuts to my oatmeal because they are a headache trigger,
so it’s just better if I stay away from them.

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I’m always looking for new toppings for the oatmeal,
and I’m really enjoying the nice, warm breakfast it provides.

It’s delicious and very comforting.

Now, not many things are both delicious AND “ordered suggested by your physician.”

This is one thing I can eat and feel great about.

Let me know if you have any other ideas,

Daisy

 

 

 

 

 

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Homemade Pizza

I was craving pizza last night,

but I’ve been away and haven’t had time for grocery shopping,

so I just used what I had in my fridge & pantry…

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The result was an interesting (but tasty) combination
of some random items I normally would never consider putting on pizza.

 

I started out by making the dough for the crust.

I actually love this part.

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Peeking inside the bowl…

I love the smell of dough, and when I let it rise
and come back, it’s amazing how it’s doubled it size!

 

I cover the bowl with a light-weight towel and forget about it for about an hour.

 

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It’s pretty cool how it grows and becomes so soft.

I love this part, too… Now I get to play with the dough
and form the pizza crust.

It reminds me of playing with Play Dough! 🙂

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When the dough has risen, I put a little bit of flour on the counter
and I either roll it out to the size I want, or I just plop it onto the greased
pizza pan (or cookie sheet, in this case).

 

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I like this part, too!  I use my fingers to softly spread the dough
over the cookie sheet.

Someday I’ll buy a pizza pan!
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These are the simple ingredients I used on the curst.

 

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First, I sprinkle garlic powder over the crust,
then I spread olive oil on that.

 

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Then I pour some of the sauce…
Sometimes I make my own sauce, but this time I just decided to make things easy.

 

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I use this cheese for sandwiches…

I’ve never used this one on  pizza before, but it works well
if you like some heat.

I think it would’ve worked out fine…
…but I also put some hot chiles (in lieu of red/green peppers)…
In my defense, …I was tired, hungry, sleepy, exhausted,…
I wasn’t thinking.
…let’s just say the pizza was HOT!
But delicious.

 

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These are the toppings I came up with in my limited pantry:

Corn (I know! I know! It’s not traditionally a pizza topping, but…
I was desperate,…what can I say?)
Black beans (same excuse as with the corn)
Chiles (I didn’t have any red or green peppers so I thought this was the next best thing)
Black olives
Meatballs (Leftover from last night’s dinner) Cut into quarters.

 

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After the cheese, I put the meatballs…

 

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Black beans,…

 

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Black olives, and green chiles…

 

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I’m SO glad I had this cheese!!

I sprinkled it all over the pizza.

 

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It actually looked pretty good.

I baked it for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

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I was surprised at the flavor.

I didn’t expect it to be so spicy
—-(I’d forgotten about the cheese slices underneath everything)

I didn’t expect to like the mixture of the toppings as much as I did.
—-(maybe the fact that I was so hungry had something to do with it?)

 

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 The crust was crispy on the outside and soft on the center.

It was tasty and just what I was craving.

Not as good as the Pizzeria, but a little healthier.  🙂

 

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It’s really not difficult to make pizza
and it’s fun!

Hope you’ll give it a try!

Daisy

 

RECIPE FOR PIZZA CRUST:
1 cup warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 Tb sugar

I warm the water in the microwave;
warm enough but not hot.
Then I add a tablespoon of sugar to the water,
add the yeast, and use a whisk to mix it well.
Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until bubbly.

While the yeast is working, I mix the dry ingredients:
3 cups bread flour
1 Tb sugar
2 Tb olive oil

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, until a dough begins to form.
Transfer to floured surface and knead until soft and smooth.
Place in greased (with olive oil) bowl, and let rise for one hour.
Remove from bowl and either roll dough or use fingers to desired
shape in pizza pan or cookie sheet.

Top crust with your favorite toppings and sauce.
Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees, in preheated oven.
Enjoy!

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