Friday, April 27, 2012

Easy Peasy Pesto

Pin It Now! Ya know how we made homemade pizzas a couple weeks ago?

Well, see, a tomato basil pizza only uses so much basil.  But when you buy basil at the store, ya gotta buy a ton of it.  So after we used all eight leaves of it on our pizza, I thought "Now what in the heck am I gonna do with all this basil??"  Well, duh, make pesto. 

This is a very simple, basic pesto recipe.  Typically pesto calls for pine nuts, but those bad boys were expensive.  I used toasted almond slivers instead and it was just as delicious.  I've also heard that you can use walnuts in place of the pine nuts.  Having never tried that myself I can't back that up, so don't you go quoting me on that now.

Unless you try it with walnuts and it comes out great. Then you can say it was all my idea.

This makes about a cup or so of pesto.  Obviously this is great on pasta.  We've been putting it on pizzas and sandwiches, which is muy delicioso.  Aren't I fancy with my spanish?? 

1 package fresh basil leaves (about two cups)
3-4 garlic gloves
1/2 c toasted almond slivers
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
olive oil

Rinse and dry basil leaves.  In a food processor, blitz basil leaves, garlic cloves and almonds until coarsely smooth (is that a term??)  Add in the parmesan and process briefly.  With the machine running, slowly add in olive oil until the pesto comes together and is mostly smooth.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Week In Photos {Earth Day Week}

Pin It Now! Happy Earth Day week!  Did you and your loved ones do anything fun for Earth Day this past weekend?  I'll admit I could certainly work on my green-ness.  Someday when we have more of a yard than a tiled deck, I dream of having a beautiful garden full of herbs and veggies.  For now the best I can do is make it a point to buy local produce.

What do you do in the name of being green?

Sorry to sound like Kermit.

Here are the week's photos for you!  How appropriate that there are so many flower photos this week... enjoy!

Picnic lunch date with my love... in the very spot where he proposed :)

Absolutely dreamy rose on our walkway

EEEE!!  Can't wait to bust out some of Ree's recipes!

And of course, a pic of my sweet boy :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pizza Night: Margherita Pizza and White Pizza

Pin It Now! Who doesn't love pizza?  I'm a pizza fanatic.  I could probably live on pizza and sushi alone, no joke.  It's hard to decide what I like best - hot fresh pizza from the oven, or cold leftover pizza the next day.  I'm pretty sure there's a law somewhere that says you have to bite the tip off of a slice of cold pizza before reheating it in the oven.

We've attempted homemade pizzas in the past, and for some reason the dough always fights me to the point of wanting to stomp my feet like a child and throw the dough and rolling pin through the window.  Do you have any tricks for getting the dough to roll out without constantly springing back?  Sweet Marina from Yummy Mummy gave me great advice: let the dough come to room temperature.  Marina is a homemade pizza pro (have you seen her pizzas??  Go.  Now.  Stop reading my boring post and go check out her amazing pizza recipes.)  The dough rolled out with ease once it was at room temp.  Thank you, Marina, for saving my sanity!

And my windows.

We decided to make two pizzas: one classic margherita (with a little twist - feta!) and the other a white pizza with garlic cream sauce in place of the tomato sauce.  They were both delicious and extremely simple to put together.  For the white pizza toppings we went with artichoke hearts and bell pepper slices.  Have fun with your combinations.  What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Margherita Pizza
1 prepared pizza dough*
marinara sauce
shredded mozzarella
crumbled feta
tomato slices
fresh basil leaves

White Pizza
1 prepared pizza dough*
garlic cream sauce (recipe below)
shredded mozzarella
toppings of your choice

*Many grocery stores have prepared pizza dough available in the refrigerated sections.  We get ours from a small pizzeria down the street.

Preheat your oven to as hot as it will go.  For us this is 550 degrees.  You want your oven screamin' hot to get a crispy crust.

As I mentioned, the dough rolls out without incident at room temperature.  Save yourself from frustration and set the dough out about 30 minutes prior.  Simply roll out the dough and top with sauce, cheese and toppings!  Bake for approx 8 minutes (depending on thickness, of course).

Garlic cream sauce for white pizza
16 oz. heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching.  Add in garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to simmer on low, stirring often, for approx 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and toss in the parmesan cheese, stirring to combine.  Let the sauce sit while you roll out the dough and prepare your toppings.  Assemble and bake pizza as you would a tomato based pizza.  The leftovers of both sauces make a fabulous pasta sauce.  We combined them to make a sort of "vodka sauce" and made baked spaghetti.

Buon appetito!

Best of both worlds

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Week In Photos

Pin It Now! Hello there!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  We had beautiful weather, starting with heavy rain resulting in beautiful double rainbows on Friday, to a bright sunny Sunday.  I loooooves me some rain, but I will admit that the sunny days following are so beautiful.  Is it me, or does the sun seem more bright and crisp after a good rain? 

Have a beautiful week ahead!  Here are the past week's photos for you to enjoy.

and homeless... and hungry... and jobless...

Isn't the color of this rose amazing??

I LOVE dark stormy days...

...and the stunning rainbows that follow!!

Sushi lunch date with my hunky Hubby <3

Coming to a delicious blog post near you!
Getting sidetracked while furniture shopping....

This is my guilty face.
Yes.  I was chewing Daddy's sock.

Exhausting week! :)


Thursday, April 12, 2012

A new weekly feature: The Week In Photos

Pin It Now!

I'm a major fan of photography.  I'm a photographer's daughter, photographer's wife, photographer's sister-in-law, and a photographer's friend many times over.

And I'm a wannabe. 

Photography is a natural part of life for me.  When I was in 5th grade my dad and I made a pinhole camera out of a cylindrical oatmeal box for my science project.  We covered the bathroom windows with black trash bags to block out all light and turned the entire bathroom into a darkroom, developing photos in the bathtub.  It was spectacular.  I wish we had kept that camera.  (Daddy, wanna re-create??  Summer project!)

I'm constantly taking photos, usually of things that most people would find insignificant.  I take bazillions of photos of our dog, Chico.  I love capturing things like flowers, a sunset, or clouds on any given day.  There's something about the fact that each of those things are infinitely unique that makes it impossible for me not to grab my camera or phone and snap away.  Things change from one minute to the next, so I absolutely have to take that photo of the waves now, so that in 3 minutes when the set has set even lower, and the light has gone from a delicious red-orange to a dull grey, I can reflect on what it looked like.  Tomorrow may bring another stunning sunset, but it won't be exactly the same as this one.

As I was perusing through the 3,500+ photos on my phone (sheesh, I really do like to take pics, don't I?) it occured to me that I should share some of them with you.  At least the somewhat good ones.  Each week (that's the idea, anyway) I will put together a group of the good shots from the week for you to enjoy.  Or laugh at.  I can't promise anything earth shattering, and I can't promise that there won't be a dozen of Chico each week, but they will offer a little snippet of our lives. 

So with that, I give you Easter Week in photos...

 PS - I had planned to post this days ago.  But I forgot.  Pretend it's this past Monday again, okay?
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