Life's too short

Life's too short

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cottage Cheese... Please

I've been trying to eat healthier lately, and I've decided that my granola bars are probably a bit too sweet and not healthy enough for me.  I know that cottage cheese is thought of as a diet food, but it's just not that wonderful to eat plain.

I wanted to see how I could make it more appetizing to me, so I rummaged through the spice cabinet to see what I could find.  I remember putting paprika on cottage cheese when I was young, but I didn't have any in the cupboard.  My brother had purchased something called Bittersweet Paprika once upon a time, and although it didn't sound exciting, I thought I would give it a try.  All I can say is WOW!  I love this stuff.  Basically, it is like adding a smokey flavor to the cottage cheese.  What a complete turnaround my snack is getting.  I had never seen this spice before, but found it online here: Bittersweet Paprika Tin.  Now my snack was tasty, but still lacked texture.  What else was in my cupboard?  I came upon some ground up pistachios.  Perfect!  This combination of the health benefits from the cottage cheese, the smokey flavor and the crunchy nuts make this my go-to snack in the morning. It's not only filling but tasty, and a nice break from the sweet granola bars.

What you may not know is cottage cheese is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates.  And it is packed with protein and calcium.  I found an article on that talks about adding flaxseed oil to the cottage cheese for more benefits.  I'm going to have to try that next.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Backyard Pizza

I just had the most delicious dinner and need to share!  I read some articles about barbecuing pizza on your outdoor grill, and wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I like to try new things, so why not?  The pizzas turned out great, tasted fresher than from a pizza joint, and it was super easy.  Here's what we did...

I bought the dough from Fresh and Easy - it is near their cheese section.  I'm sure other stores have the dough too, I just haven't seen it before.  I bought both the whole wheat and white varieties, but liked the wheat better.  Twenty minutes prior to cooking, take the dough out of the fridge, unpackage it and let it rest.  I put them on wax paper, but it stuck - next time I will spray the paper with cooking oil.  While it is softening up, I prepped the toppings.  We made one Hawaiian style pizza and one with sausage and veggies.  You want your toppings cooked before grilling, so I cooked the sausage and heated the frozen pineapple chunks.  I  left the veggies raw and they were good - I guess it just depends on how you like them.  I was excited to use tomatoes and a pepper from our garden. If making Hawaiian pizza, you can cook the ham steak on the grill first, and then cut into small pieces.  

I took all the items and put them in a bowl, added seasonings, minced garlic, a little olive & garlic oil and mixed it up.  That way it is easy to put on the pizza at one time.  I didn't measure anything - I knew what was left over would make a wonderful omelet.

Once your dough is ready, put some olive oil on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.  Put your dough on the pan and stretch it out. The more you stretch it out, the thinner and crispier it will be.  Flip it over to get both sides oiled.  Place your dough directly on grill and cook for 3 minutes. It won't stick because of the oil you rubbed it in.  No need to oil the grill. Flip the dough over and put on pizza sauce if you are using it.  Now quickly add some cheese, your toppings and then more cheese.  If anything, I was a bit too conservative with the cheese - I think more cheese would have held the toppings on better.  I sprinkled the toppings with more seasonings (oregano and such) and then closed the grill cover.  It should only take 3-5 minutes, and it is ready.  Just don't keep lifting the lid to check on it, as that releases the heat that is melting your cheese.  We ended up turning off the flame under the pizza, and only running the flame on the side.  The dough cooked too fast for us as we took too much time getting the toppings on. I think you will be surprised at how crispy and delicious this turns out.

The one thing I recommend is having all your seasonings and toppings ready to put on the pizza as soon as you turn the dough.  Also, I think you could prep several bowls full of the ingredients and freeze them so you have them on hand for a quick pizza any time this summer.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is it SUMMER yet?

It's cold and windy here in the desert today, and I'm itching for some summer sunshine!  So I went on Etsy and created a treasury of some cute summer items that remind me summer is just a stone's throw away.  Check out my treausry here:  Is it SUMMER yet?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Adobe Illustrator CS5

I have been making glass tile pendants for my Etsy store, and have recently begun making pocket mirrors, purse charms and magnets as well.  For the artwork on these items, I have been using a really old and no longer available graphics program called Microsoft Picture It.  Although it has been very easy to use, it's buggy and crashes a lot.  I have a friend who is letting me us his Adobe Illustrator CS5 and I am very excited to learn the program because it looks like I will be able to create far greater graphics than I have in the past.  I've decided to purchase a book to learn the program and if all goes well, possibly get the program for myself.  I'm looking at this book because I have another Digital Classroom book, and it is well written and easy to learn from.  I always love to learn new things, and with this economy, it won't hurt to have more skills, like the ones I learn from this book.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Granola Recipe

With New Year's Day behind me, and healthy eating in the future, I was looking online for some healthy snack recipes.  I found several variations of homemade granola recipes, and using those recipes as guidance, I created my own version.  Now I must say, being a cookie dough-eating person, I had to try the "raw" granola, and I especially loved it before it was cooked.

Granola can be used as a quick snack, breakfast cereal or a yogurt topper.  You can even use granola as the topping in a fruit crisp recipe or make a breakfast parfait with fruit, yogurt and granola.

I resisted the urge to add chocolate chips, since I am trying to be good, but thought the cocoa roasted almonds fit the bill perfectly.  Now keep in mind that you can add and subtract ingredients to make this recipe fit your tastes.  Have fun and come up with your own amazing combination of ingredients.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Healthy Granola

5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups cocoa roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
½ cup coconut flakes
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt

¾ cup applesauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 300F.

1. In a very large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, craisins, pepitas, coconut, sunflower and sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

2. In a small saucepan, warm the fruit puree with the maple syrup, honey, and oil.

3. Mix the fruit mixture into the dry ingredients until thoroughly dispersed, then divide and spread the mixture evenly on two baking sheets.

4. Bake the granola for about 45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until the granola is deep golden brown.

5. Remove from oven, and cool completely.

Store the granola in a large, airtight container. It will keep for up to one month.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cornmeal Bread Machine Recipe

This has been my favorite bread machine recipe of all. It is excellent with a sweet butter (honey butter, maple butter, etc.) on it. The cornmeal gives it a wonderful texture. 

The cookbook says you get 22 slices out of the loaf, but I like a nice thick slice of this bread. There is no way I would get 22 slices out of this loaf!  I especially love it on a cold winter morning with a nice hot beverage.

Cornmeal Bread
2 lb bread machine recipe

¾ cup milk
1/3 cup water
3 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs margarine or butter, cut up
¼ tsp maple flavoring
3 cups bread flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

I just put the pecans on a small pan in the toaster oven and use the light toast setting. Do this before you add the ingredients to the machine, so they are ready by the time you have filled the machine.

Add ingredients to the machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. Select the basic white bread cycle.

22 slices - per slice: 126 cal, 3 g total fat (0 sat fat), 1 mg chol., 126 mg sodium, 22 g carbo., 3 g pro.

The maple flavoring can be found in the baking aisle at your grocery store (by the vanilla).  It has become one of my favorite additives in many recipes.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

DVR Expander - Another one of my favorite things

I purchased a few of these a couple of years ago, for our TVs and to give as gifts.  I only wish they had the Tetrabyte size back then.  These are super easy to hook up to your TV cable box.  What it does is give you more room to record your favorite TV movies and shows off of your DVR recorder.  Where you might only have approximately 70 hours of recording space on your DVR, this will give you so much more.  I think mine was 500 MB, and it gave me a total of 300 hours recording space.  I often come close to using it all up with the movies I record, so the 1 TB or higher versions would be a better buy.  Plus, they are less expensive nowadays (as electronics usually are).  This costs less than I paid for half the space.  I know this comes too late to purchase online for Christmas, but maybe you can find them at a local electronics store.  Or just treat yourself to a New Year's gift and order online.