Individual Pita Pizzas

Pizza is on the dinner menu at least once a week for Greg and me.

Not delivery, but Digiorno! Seriously, Digiorno is the. best. Bake in the oven for 20-25 min-ish, shake a little hot sauce on top and you’re good to go. We normally get the Supreme. We can’t pretend these pizzas are healthy in any way, so might as well throw all of those extras toppings on there! It also doesn’t help that there are actually five or six “servings” for one pizza. Depending on how willing I am to pound on those extra cals, Greg and I can sometimes finish the whole thing between the two of us. At least the Supreme has maybe a third of a serving of veggies with some peppers and onions. 
I remember the days Digiorno would go on sale for 2/$10 at the grocery store! That was a deal to be excited about. Over the past several months, we have noticed the inflation. Now they go on sale for 2/$12! Still not a bad deal, but it’s hard to adjust 😦 As a result, our poor freezer doesn’t have the company of a Digiorno quite as often. 
When my pizza craving hit and there was no pizza to bake, I had to come up with something quickly!
Pita bread? Shredded cheese? Fresh tomatoes? Marinara sauce?…That will work!
This was a quick fix for pizza and only took a few minutes to throw together and bake. 
I used relatively small pita pockets, but served with a side salad, it turned out being the perfect portion since I wasn’t too hungry. On a normal day, I could probably have eaten two whole ones for myself.
I posted the recipe below reflecting the ingredients I used, but these can easily be made with any ingredients you already have. I would like to try a white pizza next time, with olive oil instead of marinara, and some basil! 

What are your favorite toppings on a pizza?

Pita Pizzas

Makes 1 individual pizza

1 pita pocket
3 tablespoons marinara sauce
5 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread marinara sauce evenly on pita pocket. Top with sliced tomatoes, then cheese.
3. Place on baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble.
4. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, slice, and serve hot.
*Top with hot sauce or red pepper flakes if desired.

A Truffled Mess

Looks can be deceiving.

Don’t be fooled by the outward appearance of these Peanut Butter and Pretzel Truffles. 

They may look just fine and dandy, but they’re tricking you. I don’t know what happened, but they did not live up to the ‘life-changing’ reviews I read about.

First of all, there are only three ingredients…

Not that I’m complaining about that. It sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Plus, I used the healthy version of each one–Whole grain pretzels, all-natural peanut butter, and dark chocolate. Now that I think about it, maybe that is where I went wrong. These aren’t supposed to be healthy. If I would have just stuck with normal, refined grain pretzels and milk chocolate, they would have been great! 
We may never know. Because I have no desire to go through the trouble to make these for awhile. 
There was a lot of chopping. 
Chop the pretzels.

Chop the chocolate.
Then, after getting a year’s worth of a wrist/forearm workout from stirring the peanut butter and pretzels, you have to wait for the mixture to stiffen in the freezer. 

The freezing seemed somewhat useless, because the second the dough was dipped in the melted dark chocolate, the peanut butter softened and the truffles began to flatten. Not to mention the mess of chocolate being splattered all over my stove.
At this point, I still had hope that although the truffles were not turning out to be as easy or as pretty as I had thought, they might be delicious anyway. 
Wrong again. If it wasn’t possible for a combination of peanut butter and chocolate to taste bad before, it is now. I even added just a touch of sea salt to the top of each one, but that didn’t do the trick. 

I, the daughter of an expert Buckeye connoisseur, failed. I admit it. I grew up watching my mom make Buckeyes (O-H!…), but I have never really done much to help her make them besides dip the rolled peanut butter dough in the melted chocolate. If you don’t know what Buckeyes are (the candy type)….look it up 🙂 And if you have never had one…you’re missing out.
I do know that with Buckeyes, more goes into the peanut butter filling than just peanut butter. They are not as simple as these truffles were supposed to be, but they are 100% better. It is probably time I take a lesson from Mom and figure out how to do a variation of Buckeyes the right way. 
I really don’t even want to share the recipe or the source of the peanut butter truffles, because it comes from a blog that I love so very much and don’t want to offend her for my sorry performance. You already saw the ingredients…so if you want to try it, I would just recommend winging it. You will most likely do better than I did!

I Heart Chicken.

This weekend went too quickly for me. How about you?

The hurricane, or lack thereof, came and went, leaving behind this gorgeous sunset on Friday night.

This was the extent of the damage…

And life goes on. On to dinnertime that is! I had already been snacking on these all night, so I wasn’t too hungry. But Greg was. And Greg wanted Mexican. So Greg got….Mexican.
We had been wanting to try a place nearby called Rio Grande, so that’s where we went! By the time we got there, I managed to work up somewhat of an appetite. Frozen strawberry margarita, check. Chips and salsa, check. 
Burritos Deluxe, CHECK! This consists of two burritos, one filled with chicken, one filled with beef. The burritos are topped with red sauce and served with guacamole salad (very original!) and beans or rice. I got beans. Rio Grande was a hit and I will be back. The service was good and the food was better. I couldn’t finish it all, but it makes a great lunch the following day!
On Saturday, I slept in as late as I could…about 8:30ish. Woohoo! Without having many plans for the day, I made myself go to the gym. A three mile jog and a few sets of weight lifting later, I came back home and treated myself to another one of these for breakfast. 
I was feeling crafty, so decided to take a trip to Michael’s. I picked up some fun, random things like a paint brush to finish a painting I started awhile ago and a cute little tin to store/transport some of my baked creations. 
By the time I was done with my errands, lunch was calling my name. Thank goodness for that Chick-Fil-A right across the street. I needed that Southwest Chargrilled Salad stat!
I admit, eating healthfully can get boring at times. And it can be hard not to order a crispy chicken sandwich and the best waffle fries EVER. But, I honestly think I could eat this salad everyday. Ok fine, every OTHER day. 

Only under one condition, though. I must have it with the Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette. This stuff is Uh. May. Zing.

This salad is topped with (somewhat) spicy grilled chicken, corn, black beans, tomatoes, cheese, and carrots. So many flavors and textures and it always fills me up. For only 310 calories including the dressing, you really can’t get much better than that.
I love me some Chick-Fil-A. Maybe not as much as some of my fellow blogger friends :), but I do love it. My mouth was watering the whole car ride home while this salad sat in the passenger seat beside me. I  forced myself to wait until I got home, because I knew I would make a mess in the car otherwise. Somehow, I did it. And it was well worth the wait. 
To sum up the rest of the weekend, let’s just say it included more scones for breakfast (and dessert) and more chicken for dinner. I’m probably going to turn into a scone…or maybe a chicken. A chicken scone? Ew, I hope not. 
Before I go, look at this shirt I found while shopping this weekend…
I thought it was cute, but A) I definitely don’t have the personality to wear something like this in public, and B) Unless ‘Everybody’ means ‘family and a few random friends’ than it hardly applies to me anyway 🙂 
Have a great week, ‘Everybody’! 

Sunday Blessings – Mind on Things Above

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”- Colossians 3:2

It is all too easy to let earthly things blur our vision of what really matters during our short time in this world. That’s what glasses are for! Just kidding. But I actually did wear my glasses yesterday for the first time in a loonnggg time and I forgot how much clearer the world is with them. Just kidding again. My vision isn’t that bad, but glasses do help a little.

Anyway….back to my point….

We all have our weaknesses.

Mine? A frosted cupcake…ok, TWO frosted cupcakes…a perfectly fitted new pair of jeans, and a second glance in the mirror to evaluate my outward appearance. Obviously, this short list doesn’t nearly cover all of the things that distract me from my relationship with God. It is the devil telling me to eat just one more cupcake or spend more money on clothes that I don’t need. It is the devil telling me I need to put on more make up and evaluate every flaw I find with myself. But it is God who gave us the food and the clothes and our bodies to begin with.

While worldly desires can tempt us to sin, at the same time, these things can remind us of how great God is.

Food brings people together. Going out to eat is more than just a meal, it’s an event. Family dinners, at home or at a restaurant, are a display of God’s love. (Just be sure to say a prayer before you eat 😉 )

And baking all of those sinfully delicious cakes and cookies with your best friends is about more than the end result. It’s about the memories of the night in the kitchen and the quality time spent together. 

Life isn’t about what car you drive. But renting a cute little sports car for a road trip (ok, Greg might not like me calling it cute since he was the one driving) is a fun way to get from one place to another. 

So, I’m definitely not saying that God doesn’t want us to enjoy life and all that it has to offer. He wants us to be happy. But we can’t let these things come above God. Thank Him for these opportunities and thank Him with every last bite of that tasty meal.

Oatmeal Raspberry Chocolate Chip Scones

Scones are not something I have very often. If I am going to splurge on breakfast calories, a donut or muffin will usually win out. Even when I am not the one doing the baking, a scone is rarely my first choice at a bakery. 
As you know, I have already made both donuts and muffins recently, so it was time for a change. 

The first scones I ever made were blueberry scones (recipe to come another time). They turned out great, but took a lot of work. These were much, much easier than my first experience. I had two raspberry scone recipes saved and couldn’t decide which I would make with my fresh berries. 
Oatmeal Raspberry Scones? Or Raspberry Chocolate Scones? Tough decision!
Why not do both!?
That’s exactly what I did. I basically followed the recipe for the oatmeal scones, and added chocolate chips into the dough at the end. Problem solved. 

These are best eaten warm out of the oven and topped with butter. Maybe even a hot cup of coffee along side? Mmmmm! I think I’ll have another.

What are you having for breakfast?

Oatmeal Raspberry Chocolate Chip Scones
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, grated or cut into small pieces
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
1/3 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat over to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet (or two) with non-stick spray.
2. Whisk together the egg and buttermilk and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add the butter to the bowl and mix with a fork or pastry blender until crumbly. Pour the egg and buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Gently fold in the raspberries and chocolate chips.
5. Divide dough into about 8 even portions and place on baking sheet.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Hurricane Through My Kitchen!

Ok, ok…Hurricane Irene didn’t actually come through my kitchen. But it kinda looked like it. My mom would not approve.
I have been unbelievably busy at work this week and have had no energy by the time I come home, which hasn’t been until 10pm some days. By no energy, I mean zero energy. But a girl has to eat. So I somehow managed to find the strength to make dinner each night, but by no means had any interest in cleaning up. Needless to say, the dishes have been building and it was not pretty.
My dinner last night consisted of blueberry pancakes and wine. No, I’m not kidding. Pancakes and wine. I don’t know how or why I decided to combine the two, but it happened. Stress can make you do funny things. And all I can say is, ‘Don’t knock it ’til you try it.’ 
Something else you need to try….Red velvet cookies.
Allow me to introduce you to Red Velvet Cookies. Maybe you have had one before, but I hardly knew such a thing existed. I love red velvet cakes so I had a good feeling about these. I didn’t make them myself. In fact, they’re not even homemade. These are store-bought red velvet cookies. But they are Lofthouse brand. And if you are buying cookies from the store, you can’t go wrong with Lofthouse. 
A co-worker brought these into the office the other day right before I was about to eat my lunch, but I couldn’t resist. They were as just good as I expected. I have made sugar cookies that taste just like Lofthouse’s, but now I can’t wait to try red velvet! 

I left for work this morning, not looking forward to another crazy day. I didn’t even have time to put a blog post up. Then, at lunch I was told by a co-worker that our managers were discussing the possibility of closing early because of the hurricane headed our way. He said not to get my hopes up, but that was the best news I could have heard and my hopes were up!

I wasn’t let down either. Although there hasn’t been too much rain (yet), I got off at 3:30. That gave me more than an entire hour of extra free time. What a nice Friday surprise 🙂

And if my day wasn’t already getting better, I got home to find a perfectly clean kitchen! Dishwasher emptied, dirty dishes washed, counters cleaned, and trash taken outside. I didn’t realize I had a cleaning genie! Or maybe I just have a handy boyfriend 🙂

Unfortunately, I had to cancel happy hour plans with a friend. The rain and wind is only supposed to intensify from here on so I wanted to be safe and not worry about driving 25 minutes into downtown, over bridges, etc.

Fortunately, now I have some time to blog and bake like I wouldn’t have been able to do before!

So here I am on a Friday evening, blogging away and enjoying some warm freshly baked goods…that will most likely be my dinner. What did I bake you ask? You will just have to wait and see tomorrow 🙂

Not Your Average Sloppy Joe

Remember how I said I’m such a girly-girl?

I made an exception.
Sloppy Joes aren’t exactly the most ladylike food. But I don’t have the appetite of your average lady either (MUCH bigger). 
I always rely on Greg to make requests for what I should cook and Sloppy Joes were a no-brainer. A big Sloppy Joe (or two) is probably his favorite dinner. I think it would be safe to say I was always much too picky of an eater in the years before I met Greg to have even tried one of these messy sandwiches before. Ever since I discovered their tastiness, I have been sticking to the Manwich canned Sloppy Joe sauce. After Greg put the request in writing up on our refrigerator, I knew it was time to try something more advanced. 
Enter: The Pioneer Woman. I knew I could trust her recipe and I already had most of the ingredients on hand. 

After browning the meat, you want to add the chopped vegetables and spices. Then just that sloppiness simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, it was time to start the side dish: Sauteed squash.

This really can’t get much easier. Slice up some zucchini and yellow squash, throw them on a skillet with olive oil over medium heat, and let cook for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to allow for even cooking. When just about done, shake some salt and pepper over top. 
Now back to the main event.

The Sloppy Joes. I added extra hot sauce and chili powder to the meat while it cooked, because dinner without extra hot sauce just isn’t dinner to Greg. I like my foods relatively spicy these days as well. 
I also toasted our buns. Yes, I TOASTED our BUNS. I know how silly that sounds. But it adds a nice touch to the finished sandwich. 
Speaking of buns – I have been buying our sandwich buns straight from the grocery store bakery recently. It may cost a little more than the generic brand 8-pack, but I HATE wasting food more than anything. And we can never, ever seem to finish a whole 8-pack of buns. So I spend about the same amount of money to buy only the amount that we need. But at least we’re not being wasteful 🙂 And they taste more like the buns you get in a restaurant, also a plus.
The bakery had a limited selection/quantity so we had to mix-and-match with both white and wheat buns. Greg had one of each. I had a single sandwich on wheat. I think either type would be just as good as the other. 

With all of the stress from work over the past week or two, it was so relaxing to spend some time cooking in the kitchen again. And not just throwing a turkey wrap or salad together, but really taking my time and cooking an entire hot meal from start to finish.
It was only icing on the cake to have it turn out so perfectly. It really was perfect. Even if I didn’t have that cold glass of white wine 😉
Now…can someone get me some of that cake I was just talking about??? A spoonful of icing will work too. 
Sloppy Joes
(Adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
Makes about 4 sandwiches 
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 yellow or white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 tablespoons hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
4 sandwich buns
1-2 tablespoons butter
1. Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain and discard grease.
2. Add bell pepper, onions and garlic to meat. Stir ingredients and let cook for about 3-4 minutes.
3. Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili powder and water to skillet. Stir to combine and turn heat to low. Add red pepper flakes, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Continue to stir and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. 
4. Meanwhile, spread buns with butter and toast in oven at 325 degrees for about 5 minutes. 
5. Spoon meat mixture over the toasted buns and serve.