Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays: the 32nd edition

Well it appears we have come to another Tuesday and so we meet again for the weekly installment of Tasty Tuesdays. I must admit I am very excited to share today's recipe with you and I'm giving myself the veritable pat on the back as I type up today's post.

As an aside, it's been a bit of a "New Year's resolution" (although I hate to label it as such as I'm fairly opposed to such notions) to not be afraid. You could call this the "be fearless" resolution, if you will, and it can apply to a myriad of things and is both highly subjective and incredibly ambiguous, i.e. I love it.

On that note, I don't know about you, but the thought of making yeast doughs and breads from scratch has always produced a bit of uneasiness (slight fear even) in me. I don't know what I expected or why I thought it was such a scary undertaking, but up to this point in my life, I lacked the confidence to face the dough head on. Well, no more my friends! I took on pizza dough and showed it who was boss and I'm bringing you the recipe to prove it.

(adapted from a Cooking Light recipe)

Whole wheat pizza dough

1 package rapid rise yeast (the original recipe called for regular yeast, but I used the fast acting)
1/4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 C warm water
2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
drizzle of honey
cooking spray

1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.

2. Add all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, olive oil, salt and honey and stir to combine thoroughly.

3. On a floured surface, knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding more flour if the dough sticks to your hands.

Feel free to get some assistance from your sous chef.

4. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray and allow to rise for 45 minutes.

5. Punch the dough down and cover for five more minutes.

Now your dough is ready to use! I suggest dividing it up into 3 equal sized portions for medium-sized pizzas. I recommend lining a baking sheet with non-stick foil sprayed with cooking spray. Roll your dough out directly on the sheet (making it as thin as possible to ensure the dough is able to get thoroughly baked) and add your toppings of choice. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes.

OR, you can be adventurous and use my recipe below. (I told you this was the deluxe addition!)

PGO "Party in your mouth" Pizza

1 portion of the whole wheat pizza dough
1-2 T apricot preserves
1 ripe pear
1 container of crumbled goat cheese
1/2 onion, caramelized
drizzle of balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and roll out your dough as thin as possible on a non-stick foil lined baking sheet (coated with cooking spray).

2. Spread a thin layer of apricot preserves on your dough and top with goat cheese, pear and onion.

3. Drizzle the pizza with balsamic vinegar and bake for approximately 18 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

I know some of you might be a little apprehensive when looking at that ingredient list, but "be fearless" in 2010 and try something new! You can use a portion of the dough to make a "normal" pie (pepperoni, cheese, blah blah boring) and use another portion to try an unusual combination. Make it a pizza party and challenge each other to concoct new and original creations. What about a dessert pizza with nutella and chocolate chips? How about a pizza topped with mac 'n cheese? I smell a potential throwdown...

Cheers and have a Tasty Tuesday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

my top 5.

So I have kind of been slacking on the blog front as of late, particularly in the sordid details of my amazingly exciting life (insert sarcastic tone and obligatory eye roll). This post is my lackluster attempt at remedying that situation.

I give you my Top 5 ways of starting the new year right:

1. Shower my friend, Brookie, with all things baby blue at her baby shower

2. Celebrate the life of a precious friend with wine, cheese, lively games and an
adorable cupcake cake

3. Attend a carnival of sorts where I had the pleasure of watching Miss Haylee ride the ponies and witnessed my sister take down more fair food than should be humanly possible

4. Bake up special treats and don a vintage homecoming dress (circa 2000) to attend a tacky prom-themed birthday party

5. Try my hand at homemade dough and have a rockin' pizza party with Michelle and Hay-Hay

Well, it might not be the most exciting or glamorous life you've ever seen, but might I be so bold as to say good times with good people make up a good life.

monday morning encouragement

This is probably more for my benefit than any of my readers, but I was feeling in need of some encouragement this morning and who better to turn to than the apostle Paul? I was reminded of the verse below from a Join the Journey e-mail and it really spoke volumes to me.

As Paul said to the Romans, "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:38-39

If God's love is truly the only thing I need to sustain me and nothing can separate me from it, then what do I really have to worry about? What do I have to fear in this life? What worldly measures should define me? What past sin should I feel in bondage to? What aspect concerning the future should I be apprehensive about?

No created thing can come between me and the love of the Father. Nothing in the past, nothing in the present and nothing in the future. His grace covers it all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays: the 31st post

Well, another weekend has come and gone and we're faced with preparing another week's worth of meals, be it dinners or lunches or both. Meal planning can be a fairly daunting task and if you're packing your lunch, things can get pretty mundane if you've found yourself in the sandwich rut.

Well, I'm here to help. I've said it before and I'll say it again: making a big batch of soup at the beginning of the week makes weeknight meals a snap OR packing your lunch a no-brainer. I really encourage you to try doing this if you haven't already. As an added bonus, several of the soups I make average about $0.60-$0.70/serving. Take that dollar menu!

Today's soup features my beloved legume, the beauteous black bean, and reminds me of the black bean dip from Gloria's. Like the tomato-basil soup from last week, it is ridiculously easy to make and only requires a handful of ingredients.

(Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe...shocker, I know.)

Salsa-Black Bean Soup

1 T bottled minced garlic
1/2 tsp olive oil
3 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
3 C water
1 jar of salsa (16 ounces)
1 T taco seasoning

1. Saute garlic in olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.

2. Stir in beans, water, salsa and seasoning.

3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for a few minutes.

4. Allow soup to cool and then puree (using a blender) in batches.

I suggest topping this soup with crumbled goat cheese and serving it alongside a baked sweet potato. But if you prefer a more traditional route (i.e. you're scared), shredded Monterrey jack would be fine as well. Throw together a quick quesadilla and you have yourself an instant Mexican fiesta. Ole!

Until we meet again, have a Tasty Tuesday!

Friday, January 15, 2010

feelin' fine in '09: the life and times of the year that flew by

Is it just me or did 2009 feel like half a year? Don't get me wrong. SO much happened this past year and it was literally jam-packed with birthday celebrations, weddings, showers, births, milestones and list goes on and on. BUT, it feels like we just rung in the 2009 year.

Since we have bid 2009 adieu, I would like to properly send it off by recapping the highlights and giving you the sordid details of how I said farewell (i.e. what I did on New Year's Eve). So, here goes nothing:

1. I started 2009 off right by hosting brunch at the 2-1-1. It was a delicious start to a new year.

2. celebrated Valentine's Day with a weekend trip to Austin

3. completed (albeit less than successfully) my first race: the Cowtown 5K

4. celebrated my Dad's and roomie's birthdays

5. had adventures in Pine Cove

6. attended a shower in the gardens

7. got lost in an afternoon in wonderland

8. hosted a Pretty in Pink shower for my sister and baby girl #2

9. blessed with the birth of my 2nd niece, Miss Meredith Hope!!!

10. enjoyed the first of many weekends at my fousin's lakehouse

11. took the blog in a new direction with a new name and Abundant Life was born

(not really a photo op with this happening)

12. launched the Tasty Tuesdays concept on my blog

13. attended the wedding festivities of Lianna and Ed

14. found out Brookie was preggo

15. participated in my first culinary throwdown

16. found out my "little" cousin Lianna was preggers

17. threw Meg's bachelorette party

18. served as a bridesmaid in the wedding of Meagan and Bryan

19. made a LOT of these

20. toured my first "winery" and tasting

21. traveled back in time to Old Hollywood for my birthday

22. blew out the candles on yet another year

23. attended a fiesta for Pearl's (Haylee's) 3rd birthday

24. hosted a Caddyshack bash for Meg's birthday

25. celebrated a major milestone, Michelle's 30th birthday, with a classy affair

26. dressed up as a fairy and danced 4 hours straight on Halloween

27. took on and completed two challenges in the month of November: National Blog Posting Month and the Thanksgiving Challenge

(no real photo op on this one either)

28. threw down Thanksgiving style with the fousins

29. toasted the anniversary of China's life on this earth (i.e. her birthday)

30. hosted the 2nd Annual Jingle Mingle

31. celebrated the birth of Christ with the family God has graciously blessed me with

32. attended 2 showers for my cousin, Lianna and baby on the way (Sophia Rose)

33. brought in the New Year with precious friends

34. found out this girl is PREGNANT!!!

Yes, the final one is the official announcement on my blog if you haven't already seen it on hers and her sister's. I cannot believe my best friend is having a baby, but I could not be more thrilled for her and Jon. What an amazing way to start the new year!!!

Here's to 2010. May every word we speak and every action we take seek to further the kingdom of God.

John 10:10