Monday, November 8, 2010

Mamma Mia

Here I go again.  My, my, how can I resist you Pizza!

I think that's how the song should have gone personally.  It really should be re-recorded like that using one of those kid songs systems where the CD personalizes all of the music for your child.  So that you have Abba singing, and then all of a sudden a deep, male voice comes on and growls PIZZA....*

*The above moment of insanity was brought to you by my utter and dire love of all things Pizza.

On Halloween, since I don't go trick-r-treating because 1) I'm too old and 2) It's too allergy dangerous, I made myself some treats at home.  One being this delicious looking pizza!

Mmmmmmmmm.  Tasty looking no?

This time, I made the pizza crust using my allergy-free Sorghum Crust (any all-purpose GF flour would do) for a yummy, healthier, whole wheat feel.  I prepared the crust as directed, then I topped with soy-less tomato sauce, 1/4 lb lean ground beef, and part-skim mozzarella cheese.  I seasoned the lovely with black truffle salt, pepper, basil and oregano.  Result:  Awesomeness personified!!!

It was just as good as my BLT pizza too.  I'm thinking there's an awesome fall pizza in my future too, so stay tuned folks!  For directions on how to make an almost allergy-free pizza crust (it does have yeast) go here.

On a final and cautionary note, I wouldn't go around adding the word "Pizza" to popular Abba songs.  After all, "Dancing queen, young and sweet, only 17 Pizza" doesn't really work as well as the original ;)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

There Is No Good Way to Photograph an Orange Popsicle

Feel free to try and prove me wrong people.  I dare you!  Because with the shape of my popsicle molds and the light orangey color to the popsicle I've created, there is no way to politely (um, how do I put this?) photograph it in which it does not look like an appendage of sorts.

But with this randomly hot weather in California right now (November 90's, what?) it's the perfect time for DIY popsicles.  When you go to buy unprocessed, un-corn syruped, natural popsicles at the store, you're likely to pay anywhere between $3.50-$6.00 for a box of 4.  That's a little expensive for something you can make 6 of at home with a minimal investment in both time and effort.

I know that the below is technically a recipe, but it's so easy I doubt that you'll think of it as one!  With a few accessible ingredients like canned pumpkin and yogurt or milk all thrown in a blender, it's a fun and done way to stay cool and have a sweet treat.  As always, you can adapt the recipe to suit your needs- Dairy Free? Use a substituted milk like rice, hemp or coconut.  Lactose Free?  Lactose free yogurt or milk are both readily available and work well.  Be aware if you use milk or a milk substitute that the popsicles will be icier in consistency.  If you use yogurt though, it tastes a little Pinkberry-esque and isn't too sweet (which I loved!)

Pumpkin Pie Popsicles

See, I told you!  And this was the best one...

1 cup canned/fresh cooked pumpkin
6 oz vanilla yogurt (I love Brown Cow,only yogurt that doesn't make me sick!) or milk or milk substitute
1/2 cup agave
nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger combo or pumpkin pie spice to taste (start at a tsp and add more if desired)
splash of vanilla extract (optional)

In a blender, combine all ingredients until well blended.
Pour into 6 popsicle molds and freeze for at least 5 hours (overnight freezing preferred.)
Go do something else.  You're done!  That was fast huh?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall or Nothing

First off readers, I want to thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement during my little hiatus.  I don't exactly feel better, but I certainly haven't stopped cooking!

I have been taking it easy though, making easy to put together dinners and actually using other people's recipes to bake things *gasp*, but I can't not cook during The Fall.  Oh fall, how you are my favorite food-time of the year!  Squash, pumpkin products, ciders, mulled wine, cranberries.  Um, can you say yum?!  And since I am obsessed with fall foods, the second Spaghetti Squash started popping up everywhere I had one in my cart faster than you can arrest Lindsay Lohan again.  But I digress-

Spaghetti Squash is extremely, extremely easy to roast up.  You give the outside a little wash, poke some holes in it, and roast it in the oven for about an hour and a half (for the big ones), and voila!  Instant entree, side dish or ingredient.  Nature, how'd you know I like my food so easy and tasty?

So because I'm taking it easy, I made a super easy dish with my squash: A Fake Pasta Bake.  I can make a pasta bake in my sleep.  Its a go-to whip together nutritious meal that will satisfy even the hungriest dinner guests.  But every once and a while, even I need a break from rice (shocking I know) so I use spaghetti squash instead of rice pasta.  To keep it lower in fat and cholesterol, I also substitute 1% cottage cheese for ricotta.  When you're baking Italian food, you can't really taste the difference in the end product unless you are very much the authentic foodie.  To the lay person's tongue cottage cheese for ricotta is a sneaky way of being satisfied without sacrificing your health at the same time.  And once you see this thing, seriously, you'll forget to ask what's in it!

Spaghetti Squash "Pasta" Bake

1 large spaghetti squash (prepared plain; here's how to)
16 oz of low-fat/fat-free cottage cheese
1/4 cup-1 cup of part-skim mozzarella cheese
spaghetti sauce to taste (I don't use that much, but certainly you don't need more than a jar)
olive oil
basil, parsley, salt, pepper to taste
vegetables (optional)
egg (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Take prepared spaghetti squash and mix in a bowl with drizzles of olive oil, sauce, cottage cheese, seasoning, and optional vegetables and/or egg or some mozzarella*
*The egg is to help the bake hold up however it is relatively easy to shape up with mozzarella mixed in instead if you have an egg allergy.
I mixed it in the pan because I'm lazy.  This is before anything went in

Dump mixture into a lightly oiled 9x13 pan.
Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake lightly covered for 20 minutes, uncovered for 10-20 additional minutes.
Cut and serve; careful it's hot!

Now that wasn't so hard, was it?  Enjoy this treat as much as you can before the fall foods disappear.  You should see the stockpile of pumpkin I have going on!