Here's My Answer

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Well ya’ll…. I think I’m back.

Maybe.

After a 7 month hiatus (can I even call it a hiatus??) I’ve been getting the itch to start blogging again.  But who knows, I could write this post and then take another 7 months off.  Let’s hope that’s not the case though. . .   

Originally, I took a break because, let’s be honest, we were living in a horrible tiny apartment with a horrible tiny kitchen that I hated to be in every second… both the kitchen and the apartment.  There was nothing even remotely inspiring about that kitchen and for that, I blame my hiatus.  Also…. sometimes I really wonder how many people even read this thing, but after looking at the numbers today, apparently people DO read this!  So… no time like the present!

Some things have definitely changed since my last post.  Brad and I bought a house in November and moved in the weekend before Thanksgiving.  It’s an absolute dream come true.  We now live about an hour south of Nashville in a small town called Columbia.  They have a day called “Mule Day”.  Yea, we live in a country town that has a day devoted to mules and it’s sort of the greatest thing ever.  Our house sits on just under 2 acres of wooded land.  It feels more out in the middle of nowhere than it actually is, which is perfect for us.  It’s super quiet, we only have a few neighbors and on any given night, we can see more stars than you could ever imagine.  We are slowly but surely making our home, well… our home.  We built a fence in the backyard (yea, you read that right, we BUILT one), we’ve gotten most of our stuff unpacked and settled into position, and just yesterday and the day before, we painted the dining room and living room and finally got to hang up our wedding photo collage that we have missed so dearly.  This weekend we plan to tackle painting the kitchen which I am beyond excited about and over the next few weeks, we hope to get all the other rooms painted.  

Yes, we’ve been very busy.  But that’s how we like it!

The holidays were nice but very chaotic for us.  We had pretty much the same schedule we always do around the holidays, but this year it just felt more crazy because of the whole driving 5 hours thing.  We were so glad we got to see all of our family.  Unfortunately, Indianapolis didn’t get any snow while we were up there, so we have yet to see snow this winter.  But that’s probably a good thing, I’m just missing it.  

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For New Years this year, I decided I wanted to approach the menu a little differently than I have in the past.  See, we didn’t have the best luck in 2013, what with having to move unexpectedly among a list of other things, so I was determined to do everything I could to bring us some better luck with 2014.  So I made Hoppin John!  It’s a southern thing I guess.  But it has black eye peas and collard greens which are both supposed to bring you good luck in the new year.  Also, I heard something somewhere about it being good to eat things in the shape of circles, so I made donuts the next day.  Or maybe I just wanted to make donuts, who knows.  Anyway, I had never made Hoppin John or ate it for that matter, so I was really going out on a limb.  I got on Pinterest and searched for Hoppin John recipes and settled on a combination of a few different ones.  One was to be made in a crockpot with sausage links, which I didn’t want to do either of and the other I didn’t feel had enough to it.  So I combined the two to make, what I think, was a really freaking good Hoppin John!

It’s got a little kick to it from the jalapeno and the can of Rotel.  But if you wanted to, I’m sure you could skip the jalapeno and sub regular diced tomatoes for the Rotel.  But really- the spiciness makes it for me.  However, I am a lover of all things spicy, so I have a biased opinion.  Either way, it’s served over rice (I went with brown rice to make it a little healthier) and a couple dashes of your favorite hot sauce.  I know it’s past New Years, but I am pretty sure this is a recipe I’ll make again any time of the year!

Happy New Year!  I hope 2014 is a great year for everyone!

Hoppin John
Makes 4-6 servings
Adapted from This Mama Cooks and Holley Grainger 

2 slices of bacon, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can of Rotel Original Recipe
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
About 2 cups of collard greens, ribs removed, roughly chopped 
2 cans of black eye peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup uncooked rice
Salt
Hot Sauce

Cook the rice according to directions on package.  When done, set aside.

In a large pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until a little bit crispy.  Add the onion and jalapeno and saute until soft.  Add the tomato paste and Rotel and stir until the tomato paste is mixed in.  Add the black eye peas and chicken broth.  Stir.  Then add the collard greens.  I didn’t measure how much I used, I just sort of eyeballed it.  When it looked like there was enough in there, I was done.  Simmer on the stove for about 15 minutes until it starts to thicken.  

Spoon the rice onto a plate and pour the black eye pea mixture over it.  Serve with hot sauce if desired.

That’s it!!  I forgot to tell you how easy it is!!


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Holy cow you guys.  I’ve been working on another post but keep forgetting to finish it.  Then I made this delicious beverage and realized I had to stop everything I was doing to post about it.

I stumbled upon this recipe while wasting time on The Berry and knew as soon as I saw it I needed to try it this week.  I don’t know if any of you have had an Orange Julius, but they are pretty good.  But this is actually better.  Not only is it vegan, but it’s freaking healthy!  And it’s super easy!  This is what you do:

Throw a frozen banana, the juice 2 oranges, a splash of vanilla extract and some ice in a blender and blend it.

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Yea.  That’s it.  I had to make some changes though, as our we got rid of our old blender and I gave back the one we were borrowing to my mom, so currently we only have an immersion blender.  It works really well, except not on frozen stuff.  So I didn’t freeze the banana all the way and I added hardly any ice.  And it was still so good.

This is perfect for breakfast, a morning snack, an afternoon snack and even dessert!  I think I’m going to start freezing some bananas and buying oranges from Sam’s Club so I can make these all.the.time.

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Vegan Orange Julius
From Girl Makes Food 
Makes one small serving (I wish I doubled it!)

1 frozen banana
2 oranges, juiced
splash of vanilla extract
1 cup of ice (or less)

Combine everything in a blender until smooth.  And enjoy!


Hi!  I decided that after a good 3 1/2 months off from blogging I might start back up again.  A lot has happened in those last 3 1/2 months so I will try to catch you up on some of it and maybe you’ll understand why it’s been so long since I have blogged. . .

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… oh wait, no, that’s Star Wars.

Ok, sorry.  I couldn’t help myself.  Let’s start with the most important things first.  Brad has a completely new job in a completely new city.  We now live in Nashville, TN.  Yep.  We are Volunteers now instead of Hoosiers.  Let’s be honest though, I never called myself a Hoosier b/c Hoosiers are people that go to Indiana University and I most certainly DID NOT GO TO IU.  I would say I was an Indiana-an.  I loved living in Indiana.  We were certain it was the greatest city for us and that it was a great fit.  However, things happen and plans change and we landed in a tiny one bedroom apartment in Nashville.  We sold our house in record timing (well, we agreed on an offer within a week of putting it on the market anyway), packed up everything we own and moved it 4 1/2 hours south to Tennessee.  Half of our house is in storage and the other half is shoved somewhere in this apartment.

We have learned though that Nashville is actually a SUPER cool city and believe it or not, Nashville is a totally foodie city.  Never would have thought it.  There are a million things to do here and a million places to eat.  It’s turned out to be a pretty great move, minus that fact that all of our family lives in Indy still.  It’s ok though, phones and FaceTime are miracle workers!

So I figured, while I’m unemployed and don’t have much to do expect for look for jobs during the day, I might as well start blogging again.  This way I’ll at least feel like I talk to someone other than the dogs and Brad.  Let me go through the recent happenings that I have documented with my iPhone.  Photos are always nice.

photo 1_3_2_2I went with Brad to Nashville for his job interview.

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Cash had his 1 year birthday and Etta had her 4 year anniversary with us.  So naturally I made them a doggie cake and wrote on it with peanut butter.  We also took them to a park and they cuddled in Etta’s bed.

photo 1_3_2Brad accepted the offer for his new job and we put the house on the market.  That was a weird day for sure.

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We went back to Nashville to check out apartments and ate at a crazy good cafe called Fido.  Yum.

photo 4_3_2Then I turned 26.  That was pretty fun.  My mom made me a brownie, chocolate pudding and whipped cream trifle.

photo 1_3We went out for Brad’s brother’s birthday where I got accidentally drunk and ended the night with an Irish Car Bomb that I actually didn’t drink much of.

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We went to opening night for the Indianapolis Indian’s and then went the next night too.

photo 3_3We got Cash a backpack so now he and Etta match.

photo 1We saw somehow scored almost front row seats for Joe Rogan.

photo 2Brad helped me pack.  I made a point to be crazy organized and it totally paid off.

photo 3We moved Brad down to Nashville where he lived in the apartment with 2 lawn chairs, a tv, an air mattress and a trunk for two weeks.  Total bachelor pad.

photo 4I drove home with both dogs, who decided the front seat was the best spot for the two of them to be the whole 4 1/2 hours.

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We went to Nashville, IN for Brad’s mom’s birthday and spent 4 hours trying to build a fire using a bow drill kit.  We ended up having to give up.  They built a massive fire though!

photo 3_3_2_2_2I packed some more.

photo 4_3_2_2_2Picked up the giant U-Haul.

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I went to the Taylor Swift concert with the most bestest friend ever.  And damn near lost my voice from singing and screaming so loudly.

photo 3_2_2_2Then we moved.  And I took photos of our empty house.

photo 4_2_2_2And we took photos in front of the house.

photo 1_2_2_2_2And in the back of the house.

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We moved all of our things into a one bedroom apartment (we had lots of help of course!).

photo 1_2_2Cash watched Nashville with me one day.  He liked it a lot.  It’s a pretty freaking good show.

photo 4_2_2_2_2The dogs got muddy at the dog park.

photo 2_2_2I’ve been doing a lot of cuddling with the dogs.

photo 4_2_2I made fresh margaritas.

photo 3_2_2I also got my first pair of cowboy boots that I want to wear all day everyday.

photo 1_2I made my first carnitas.  They were crazy good. I served them with a guacamole salad.  (the carnitas were a cross between this recipe and this one)

photo 2_2Cash decided he wanted to chew on one of my old tshirts and was carrying it around like Linus with his blanket.  But then he shredded it to pieces so we had to throw it away.  (it’s a blurry photo but you get the idea!)

photo 4_2I was asked to make a birthday cake for a coworker of Brad’s.  I thoroughly enjoyed that!  It was chocolate cake with cream cheese icing and buttercream for the decorations.

photo 1_2_2_2_2_2We’ve eaten some of the best food ever.  All I ever want to eat is BBQ so that’s been a change.  We did find the best pizza place we have ever eaten.  It’s also the coolest place we have ever eaten at too.

photo 2_2_2_2_2_2The dogs have become very close throughout this whole move.

photo 3_2_2_2_2_2And today I made chocolate/chocolate chip cookies.

There’s definitely more that we have done but that’s all stuff I have actual photos for.

So my plans for this blog now is to keep everyone up to date with what’s going on in our lives in Nashville.  With not working, I have been doing a LOT of baking to keep myself occupied so I do plan on posting recipes still, but my hope is that I will start writing more and sometimes it might have absolutely nothing to do with food.  We’ll see what happens.

This weekend should be interesting.  It’s our first weekend back in Indy since we both moved.  But we won’t be there long.  We’re doing Tough Mudder on Saturday in a suburb of Chicago.  And we’ll be busy doing last minute stuff at the house so it will be ready for the closing.

Anyway, that’s that.  I’m sorry it’s been so long.  It’s been a quick, stressful and crazy past few months!

Oh- by the way.  Some of these photos are from my Instagram.  Feel free to check that out.  I am a little addicted and love posting on there!


Week 1 is officially over… We have made our way into Week 2.  That means two liquid meals a day, one solid meal a day and snacks (thank god for snacks).  We started this morning with a juice that consisted of fennel bulbs, apples and lemon.  Not too bad if you are a fan of fennel!  We ate leftover stir fry that we ate for lunch yesterday (first meal I forgot to take a photo of… Of course) and we are getting ready to make a smoothie for dinner! We’ll see how we feel in a few days now that we are in full on cleanse mode… eek!

So along wit the cleanse comes other things… like supplements. We are taking digestive enzymes and also garlic in a pill form.  Sorry, but you couldn’t pay Garth eat a whole, raw garlic clove.  Ew.

Also a part of the cleanse is drinking tablespoons of olive oil at night.  This is to help “lubricate your digestive system”.  To me… it just sounds like a bad idea.  Well, Brad’s digestive system wasn’t running as smoothly as he had thought during the pre-cleanse week so he decided he would start the olive oil drinking early.  And we made sure to video it.  We might even video me doing it tonight, but I feel like my reaction will make people not want to do this, rather than our hopes of encouraging people to do it.  We’ll see what happens…

Either way, here’s the video we took of Brad drinking two tablespoons of olive oil.  Lord help us both…


We made a video last night and I decided to go to bed before I was able to put it up here.  Things are going pretty well actually!  And believe it or not, we have lost weight.  I can’t really believe it!  Later today or tomorrow I will post recipes for the meals we have liked the best!

 


Ok… so here’s the deal.  Brad and I are going on a little adventure.  We have decided that with all the heavy eating we have done since Thanksgiving and all of the not working out we have done since… well… June… We needed something to kick our butts into shape.  As you know, we are doing another Tough Mudder in May… but we have lacked quite a bit of motivation and this could be the key!  Anyway… I’ll be posting recipes online and I’ll post our videos here as well so that everyone can stay updated.  I hope you enjoy watching our videos and by gollies wish us luck because this is going to be a loooong 4 weeks!

Oh and here’s a link to the CLEAN website!

And a link to the book we bought!


Welp, I guess today is the last day of 2012.  Is anybody else trying to figure out where the year went??  I thought I would take a second to write a New Years Eve post while my cannoli tart is baking in the oven.  I feel like this every year and I’m really starting to wonder who is making time go so fast.  Whoever it is better stop it.  Now.

We had a pretty busy yet fun year… the superbowl was in town,

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we did Tough Mudder,

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we got a puppy (and Etta hated us for it),

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we did the Mutt Strut,

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we went to the Indy 500,

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we went to lord knows how many baseball games (including one in Cincinnati!),

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I turned 25 (and we went to New Jersey to celebrate it!  Oh, and Brad had a huge beard then),

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Brad turned 28,

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we had our 2 year anniversary (that I recreated our wedding meal for),

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we went to the Brickyard 400, we went to the motorcycle races at the track (I have no decent photos from those),

Brad took me on my first trip to the State Fair and I ate fair food for the first time,

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we went hiking and camping a few times,

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we went on our annual vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my family,

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we went to a couple Purdue football games,

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I got a new job working at a bakery, I started this new blog website, and we had a blizzard!  Dang!  That’s a lot of stuff!  Crazy thing is… there’s probably a lot more that I just can’t think of at the moment!

Yea, 2012 was a really great year.  I’ll miss it, that’s for sure.  As for 2013… who really knows what will happen.  I’m stumped.  I know that we’ll do Tough Mudder in May and we’ll go to the 500… but that’s about all we have planned.  I’ve never really been big on New Years resolutions… I’ve tried them but they never really work.  I think it’s because new years never feel different to me.  Like tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be 2013.  But it will mostly be just a Tuesday.  So in my mind, since it’s a normal Tuesday, why would I magically change??  Nah.  There are always things year round that I like to work on improving.  Maybe eating healthier (something’s definitely brewing on that subject, you’ll find out soon enough), skipping eating out, not worrying so much about things, maybe get off my butt and exercise… it’s all the same ol things.  So I think rather than making resolutions, I’ll just keep working on what I have already been working on.  That makes more sense… right??

I don’t know.  2013 could be a life changer for all I know.  But what I do know is that I am happy where I am.  I love Brad, I love the family Brad and I have created with our 2 dogs.  I love our house, I love my job, I love living in Indy, I love all of my family… I just love it all.  And I guess what it all comes down to… is that I am just really excited and fortunate to live another year of my life.

Well, my tart has been out of the oven for awhile now, but I need to go cover my nails with sparkles and get my beef bourguignon going…

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Years Eve tonight.  And most importantly, I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2013!!

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Oh, and I just thought everyone needed to see this to start their night off right.

Happy New Year!!!!!!

 


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Last Wednesday I had the day off of work and I decided I was really going to use the whole day very wisely.  So I got up, walked the dogs with Brad, showered, did some Christmas shopping, came home, made some crumb cake, went to Sam’s Club with Brad and then made some chili.  Oh and then went to our town’s Christmas Main Street lighting thing and drove downtown Indy to see all the Christmas decorations.

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Like I said, I wanted to use my day wisely…  I think I accomplished my goal.

Ok, so every once and awhile I get on Pinterest.  Is Pinterest sill the thing to do?  I jumped on the wagon a little late and I feel like now no one uses it anymore, but I don’t really know.  Either way, I probably get on it once a week because I feel like the same recipes are always on there, but usually if I get on once a week I can find something new.  Anyway, so I was on Pinterest and realized that I am a dork because I have pinned some 100 recipe but have pretty much never made any of them.  And what better thing to do on a day off than to make some random recipe from Pinterest!?

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The reason why I had originally “pinned” this recipe and decided to make it was because it literally looks exactly like the crumb cake we spent like $20 on from Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, NJ (aka Cake Boss) when we went to visit friends over my birthday in March.  Brad had seen it out of the corner of his eye in their case and asked that we get it and I, of course, was not going to pass it up.  However, we had thought we’d be getting just like a slice of it, maybe the size of an index card, but that’s not really how they do things there.  Instead we got a whole slab of crumb cake that was at least the size of a sheet of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper.  When I saw the girl put it in the box I thought to myself that we would never eat it all and that I hoped it was ridiculously good because I knew we were going to really pay for that thing.  Luckily and not surprisingly it was incredibly delicious.  Delicious enough that I am pretty sure we ate every last crumb of that thing within like 2 days.  It was basically too good to be true.  And so when I saw the photo on Pinterest and realized it looked exactly the same, I knew it was worth a try!

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Now, it doesn’t taste exactly like the one from Carlo’s Bakery (I swear theirs had a hint of lemon to it), but this was still pretty freaking good.  It it’s made with ingredients that most people have laying around the house.  The only thing is that it requires cake flour.  The recipe states at the very beginning to not sub all-purpose flour, but I’m a dork and thought I had more cake flour than I actually did.  So I cheated and used all-purpose flour for the crumb part.  And what do you know, just as the original recipe said, it was dry.  And of course, just as I had put everything together, my mom called me about something and I told her that I was making a crumb cake and that I cheated and used all-purpose flour and exactly like a mom, she told me I could make my own cake flour easily.  Wah.  It was too late.  But I’ll supply a link below to help you not have this situation yourself.

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Ok, so like I said, you should have most, if not all, of the ingredients and it’s really not complicated to make at all.  It probably took me 10 minutes to whip it all together.  It takes about 40 minutes to bake and in case you are wondering what you can do in those 40 minutes, I’ll tell you: You can eat the remaining 5 leftover steak fries from the night before, lick both the batter bowl and the crumb bowl clean, wash those bowls and all the other dishes including the ones that should have gone in the dishwasher had you thought to wait to start the dishwasher instead of doing it 1 1/2 hours before you made this crumb cake… dry all those dishes, clean up some dog vomit (twice) because one of them (I still don’t know who) got freaked by the FedEx man knocking on the front door… and after all of that, you will still be able to watch a good 15 minutes of Parenthood.  You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish in 40 minutes!

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Anyway, the crumb cake is easy and awesome and I am really excited to make it for Christmas morning because it just seems like a good thing to make for Christmas morning.  It would also make a great gift!  Everyone loves a crumb cake, right!?  Oh and warning: it is pretty crumbly, but let’s face it, the crumbs are what makes crumb cake so amazing.

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Crumb Cake
Taken straight from Smells Like Home (found on Pinterest)
Makes 1- 8″x8″ pan

For the Crumb Layer:
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cup cake flour (don’t have cake flour?  Learn how to make it HERE!)

For the Cake Layer:
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still solid, cut into 6 chunks
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk (don’t have any?  Learn how to make it HERE!)

Powdered Sugar for dusting (I forgot this part.  Oops)

To make the topping: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with a spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut parchment paper to cover the whole inside of the an 8″ pan.  I did this in 2 pieces, it works better.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer.  Break apart crumb topping and spread it evenly over the batter. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving (but not while it’s still hot!).  YUM!


I’m tired.  Like, it’s not even 8 and I am ready to go to bed.  However, because I love everyone so much and, well, mostly because I love this pizza so much, I am staying up to write this post.  So if I start rambling and then switch to something else completely unrelated (which I actually do more often than not), don’t panic.  It’s because I’m lost in my many thoughts and probably half sleeping and dreaming.          

Anyway… the story behind this pizza is the following:  A couple Friday’s ago, we went the First Friday Food Truck Festival downtown Indy.  We hadn’t been before, but I heard great things about it and the cupcake truck from the bakery I work at was going to be there.  Plus, I got free admission passes, so it was pretty much a done deal that we were going.  I was craving pizza that night and was planning on getting a certain slice of New York style pizza, however, the truck wasn’t there!  So as we walked past all of the 20 some food trucks, I saw a grilled pizza one!  And even though they only had 3 or 4 options to choose from, I was sold when I saw the “specialty pizza”.  It had everything I could have ever wanted on pizza.  And it was grilled.  Pesto, artichokes, tomato, ricotta, mozzarella, and spinach.  Rack em up!  If only I bought an entire pizza.  That would have been nice.  However, I had to save room for the nachos and bites of Brad’s tacos and his no-bake cookies and the banana pudding… yea, an entire pizza wouldn’t have made sense.

Ok, so come Sunday, I was trying to come up with dinner ideas and I knew pretty much instantly that I was going to recreate that delicious slice of pizza.  It actually almost didn’t happen though.  I had forgotten that I had to make both pizza dough and pesto.  How I forgot that, I do not know, but I started all of this a little late, but that’s ok.  As long as I was going to get to eat my pizza, I was going to survive.          

Now, let me tell you… this pizza is just incredible.  It’s so delicious and so different.  It has so much going on that you might think there’s too much, but somehow it all works so well together that you don’t even realize there are 6 toppings.  For me, the pesto is what brings the whole thing together.  I like pesto, but I don’t entirely love pesto.  So I tried to go a little light on it.  I accidentally added a little too much basil when I made the pesto and I forgot to add garlic (I guess I was really struggling that day), but overall, it did what it was supposed to do and when it was on the pizza, I couldn’t really tell that I messed it up.

This pizza is perfect for the summer.  You could grill it outside on your grill, or just bake it in the oven on a pizza stone (our choice, we never have good luck cooking directly on the grill).  It’s great for all those extra tomatoes you have growing in your garden that you can’t use for salsa anymore because you already have 3 containers of it.  You can use store bought pesto and it will work perfectly.  I made mine because my mom had given me a ton of basil from her garden and she gave me some pine nuts too.  I skipped the ricotta cheese when I made my pizza only because last time I tried putting ricotta pizza, it didn’t work very well.  I think that’s just one of those things that only works when other people do it… for me anyway.  This is a really fresh pizza and it’s even fresher if you use… well… fresh veggies.  I’m not sure what else to say, I feel like all I’m doing is telling you how awesome this pizza is but really, you just have to make it to fully understand.

Ok… it’s bedtime now!

GARDEN VEGGIE PIZZA
Idea taken from Bryne’s Grilled Pizza Food Truck in Indy!

For the Pizza Dough: (word for word from Eat, Live, Run)
Makes 2 pizzas
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/3 cup warm water
1 package of yeast (1/4th ounce)
2 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water and yeast.

Stir in the salt and flour and mix on medium high speed on your KitchenAid for 5 minutes. While the mixer is going, drizzle in the olive oil.

When the dough is soft and elastic, take out of the bowl, rub with olive oil and then place back in the bowl, cover with a dish towel and let rise for one hour.

After the dough has doubled in size, cut in half to make two large pizza doughs or make mini doughs. You could also do what I like to do and freeze the dough in a plastic baggie for another time! When you are ready for your pizza, roll out the dough, cover with your toppings and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.

For the Pesto: (again, word for word from Eat, Live, Run I actually didn’t use a recipe I just threw a bunch of stuff in the food processor, but I think this looks like one of the better recipes I researched)
3 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves

Combine the basil, garlic and two tablespoons of the oil in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend on high until everything is smooth and combined. Then, with the blender on low speed, slowly stream in the remaining oil, along with the lemon juice and the cheese. Taste and then season with the salt and pepper.

To Make the Actual Pizza:
Makes 1 pizza

1/2 of the pizza dough recipe above
2-3 tablespoons of pesto, either homemade or store bought
1 tomato, thinly sliced
Handful of spinach leaves, stems removed and rinsed
1/2 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 red pepper, roasted in the oven for a few minutes
1/2 green pepper, roasted in the oven for a few minutes (I thought there were peppers on the original pizza, but their menu doesn’t mention it.  I thought they were good on the pizza)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 Fresh mozzarella balls, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Ok… Now that the list is complete… assemble!  Roll out your pizza dough, or mash it down with your fingertips to get a thicker crust.  Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes until the crust is cooked enough to handle ( I like to do this because then the crust is crispier).  When the crust is out of the oven, spread the pesto over the whole thing and sprinkle with just a little of garlic powder.  Then top with tomatoes, artichokes, spinach, peppers, mozzarella and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  Pop back in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is browned and then cheese is melted.

Warning: this can get soggy with the tomatoes being so juicy and the fresh mozzarella.  It definitely is soggy when it’s leftover.  So just be aware of that.  Other than that, it’s quite a yummy pizza!!


This is the last of the “official vegan week” recipes.  Yea… like I said, we didn’t make it very far.  Actually, there’s a fourth recipe, but I have no photos so like I said in the previous post, I’ll just tell you it.

This tortilla soup is actually based on Pioneer Woman’s chicken tortilla soup, however, I cut out the chicken and the chicken broth to make it… Vegan!!  And if you ask me, it’s still pretty good!  I subbed vegetable broth for the chicken broth, that’s pretty much the only difference between the recipes.

The original recipe is fantastic.  It’s pretty much the best chicken tortilla soup ever (I have to say McAlister’s is a pretty close second though!)  It has lots of beans and veggies and adding a little cornmeal at the end to thicken it is key.  Knowing how delicious this soup is, I was nervous about how it would turn out without 2 of the key ingredients… chicken and chicken broth.  To my surprise though, it was fantastic!  There wasn’t a whole lot of difference really.  As Brad put it “it tastes like the same soup only I got a bowl without any chicken in it”!  I’ll take that!!

As I was getting started cutting up the veggies, I noticed that I still had a couple of ears of corn leftover from our trip to the farmer’s market that past weekend.  So instead of using frozen corn like I usually do, I cut all the kernels off the ears and used them!  It gave the soup a whole new, fresh flavor that I really enjoyed!  I just cooked the corn in the soup pot, but I’m thinking that I could have Brad grill the corn next time to get a char on it… that would really add some good flavor!  Frozen corn does work really well, but if you have any leftover corn from the night before or just want to try fresh corn, I highly recommend it!

Anyway, I think this tortilla soup is a great vegan alternative to chicken tortilla soup.  It’s just as tasty and just as filling (even more so because I added some extra beans!)  While it’s not exactly the best meal for a 100 degree day, it’s still just as delicious as it would be if we were eating it on a winter day!  There’s a good chance I’ll start making this instead of chicken tortilla soup from now on!

Oh- real quick!  The other vegan recipe is a burrito that we made to take to the track with us!  This was when we were still on our vegan diet on Friday.  It was one of the best burritos I have had it was ridiculously easy!  They were just black beans, Spanish rice and guacamole wrapped in a tortilla!  That’s it!  I’ll include a recipe at the bottom of this post, but unfortunately I don’t have any photos.  But they are so worth sharing!  They are perfect for a picnic, day at the track, or just a really quick, easy dinner!  And if you use Wholly Guacamole like I did… they are even quicker and easier!

Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s chicken tortilla soup
Serves… a LOT.  Not sure how much… at least 8 servings though

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels removed (or 1/2 – 1 cup of frozen corn)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 – 10 oz can of Rotel (original diced tomatoes with green chiles… there are 2 in the photo above but I only used 1 can)
32 oz vegetable broth
2-3 cups of water, depending on how thin you want the soup
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons of cornmeal
5 corn tortillas, cut into strips

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat.  Add the corn and cook for about one minute.  Then add the onion, green pepper and garlic.  Cook for another couple minutes.  Then add the cumin, chili powder and garlic powder, stir to combine.  Add the tomato paste and mix in.  Then pour in the Rotel, vegetable broth, water and beans.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Mix the cornmeal with a small amount of water (about 2 tablespoons maybe?) in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Pour into the soup and stir everything together.  Simmer for another 20 minutes.  Add salt according to taste.  A couple minutes before serving, add the tortilla strips and stir gently.

Serve in bowls with guacamole or salsa on top.  Crispy tortilla chips go really well on top too!  Adds a nice crunch!

Bean, Rice and Guacamole Burritos
Makes 3 burritos

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package of cooked Spanish Rice (I used Uncle Ben’s Spanish Rice that cooks in the microwave for 90 seconds.  Super easy!)
1 package of Wholly Guacamole of your choice (I used the guac with pico de gallo) or use homemade guacamole if you would like!
3 burrito size tortillas
Foil

Heat the first tortilla in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to get nice and soft.  Spoon 1/3 of the beans in the middle.  Top with about 1/3 of the rice and 1/3 of the guacamole.  Fold one side over the filling and then tuck the sides in and roll over to close.  Wrap in foil (if taking it to go, but the foil also helps hold it together).  Side note: you can heat up the beans in the microwave before putting in the burritos.  I didn’t though because the burritos were going into a cooler for about 6 hours so we just ate them cold.  See!?  Couldn’t be easier!!



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