Thursday, July 23, 2009

Caesar Wraps with Homemade Croutons

Is it Friday yet? Well, we're getting close!

Caesar wraps are my new favorite lunch item, and homemade croutons take them from not-at-all-homemade to semi-homemade. :) I can't believe this was my first time making croutons. I had so much fun!

There are a hundred ways to make them, but I made these with half of a big loaf of ciabatta bread, cut into cubs; 4 Tablespoons butter; 2 (small) cloves of garlic; and a dash of fresh rosemary and dried oregano. I also happened to have a couple leftover basil leaves, so I sliced those and threw them in as well. Bake on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Stir the croutons halfway through the baking time. Voila!

May I also recommend Girard's Light Caesar dressing. As I'm sure you know, Caesar dressing can have more than 20 grams of fat in 2 Tablsespoons, so beware! Girard's Light Caesar has 8 grams of fat and is still delicious.

I hope you find this little lunch idea helpful. (Lunch is the hardest meal for me—Am I alone??) Anyway, as always, thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Love. Without the Handles."

That slogan cracks me up. It belongs to one of my new favorite products—Popchips. (And no, I don't get paid to do endorsements; I just like to share great finds with you!)

I first sampled these chips at Costco, and I've also seen them at several other grocery stores. They taste amazing and give you all the satisfaction of a fried potato chip, but with much less fat! Twenty-two chips have only 4 grams of fat. As my friend Amber pointed out, that's less than Wheat Thins! So if you miss the days when you didn't know how bad regular Ruffles are for you, then pick up a bag of Popchips STAT. Happy snacking!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jubilee Jumbles!

We had a marvelous time with family in town. In one long weekend we saw the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, four beaches, and two farmers' markets. I've spent the week since then adjusting to real life—Baby T and I are both missing having other people to entertain him 24-7!

To ease us back in to real life, I had to make my all-time favorite cookie. I owe my mom (by way of Betty Crocker) for this fabulous treat. Super soft because of the sour cream, and with a buttery icing I know you'll love—be sure to give these a try!

Betty Crocker's Jubilee Jumbles
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (which always means packed)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dairy sour cream
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
half a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (Our family's addition. Don't skip these!)

Preaheat to 375. Mix all ingredients together. Cover and chill for one hour. Drop dough onto cookie sheet with spoons. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly golden on top.

Start by melting 6 Tablespoons butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in two cups of powdered sugar. Add more powder sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until just barely frost-able. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Frost cookies once they have cooled.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Too Much Fun!

We're spending the week being tourists in our own town, since we have family in town. I'll be back next week!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Texas Sheet Cake

Happy holiday weekend, everyone! Few things say 4th of July to me more than Texas Sheet Cake. (Thanks, Mom, for all the good food growing up, especially around holidays!) This is super easy to make and sinfully delicious to eat. Enjoy!

The cake:
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
5 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour

The icing:
3 1/2 teaspoons cocoa
1/2 cup butter
6 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6-8 cups powdered sugar
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Whisk until clump-free. Spread evenly into a buttered cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
  2. For the icing, bring all ingredients except the powdered sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Then add powdered sugar about a cup at a time until it reaches a slightly frost-able consistency. Poor over the cake and spread evenly.
The rest of our 4th of July menu this year consists of grilled asparagus and cremini mushrooms, root beer, and spicy burgers—topped with roasted poblano peppers and jalapeno slices!

I halved this recipe, as I so often do, mostly because I have a hard time putting 3 sticks of butter into anything! I made it in a 9x13 baking dish...perfecto!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pizza Again?

Are you one of those people who could eat pizza every day for a week without getting sick of it? I hope so! Because I'm posting about it again.

I read this post by Natalie from Perry's Plate, and I knew that if it really tasted anything like Papa John's crust, it would be a winner in this house. And let me tell you—she's right! This homemade crust is the closest I've made to restaurant quality. I still truly love my original recipe (seen here and here), but now I have two regulars. This new one has to be prepped 24 hours ahead, where my other only takes about 20 minutes. So I'll definitely use both.

Pizza Pizzas

From Alton Brown, Food Network (via Perry's Plate)

2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons olive oil
  1. Place the sugar, salt, olive oil, water, 1 cup of flour, yeast, and remaining cup of flour in the bowl of a standing mixer. Spray the dough hook attachment with cooking spray. Turn machine to low and mix until the dough just comes together. Then knead for 15 minutes on medium speed.
  2. Tear off a small piece of dough and flatten into a disc. Stretch it until thin. Hold it up to the light to see if the taut membrane has formed. If the dough tears before it forms, knead the dough for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Place the ball of dough in a stainless steel bowl. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil and toss the dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours.
  4. Preheat oven (between 450 and 500), with stone on lowest rack. Flatten into a disc (or two, depending on the size of pizzas you want) on a pizza peel, and top immediately with toppings for a crisp crust. For a chewy crust, let the dough rest for 30 minutes before topping.
  5. Spread cornmeal on stone (careful - it's hot); slide the pizza on. Bake until crust is golden brown. Let sit for a few minutes after you've removed it from the oven. Voila!