Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Reviewing the Green Ogre Drink

The Green Ogre Drink - a healthy alternative to your morning coffee
The Green Ogre, photo via LouannesNation
I came across a variation of this drink towards the end of 2018 beginning of 2019.  I adapted the recipe using products I was able to get here in Australia (where I live) and so was 'born' the Green Ogre Drink.   I should also mention that these products are also available in the US, Canada, UK, NZ & Poland as well.

If you follow me on instagram you would have seen me regularly post about this drink as I have it every day.

I would like to have everybody in the world replace their morning coffee with this drink for 30 days.  I think everyone would benefit from it.

Why Should I The Drink Green Ogre Drink?


I should mention here that I am not a doctor or a medical professional, but I believe it can do a lot of things for you such as -

What's the three ingredients in the Green Ogre Drink
  • increased energy
  • increased focus and concentration
  • improved skin
  • and it could even lead you to both time and financial freedom!
Let me break it down for you ...

The Green Ogre drink uses 3 different Arbonne products (this means it's cruelty-free, vegan, gluten free, kosher & non-GMO), the products are - Greens Balance, Mind Health & Fizz Sticks.

We've talked about Greens Balance before as a good way to get more fruit and veg into your diet.   Imagine being able to get 2 servings of your fruit & veg in place of your morning coffee!   Last year I was following a couple of people on Instagram as they did a shot of Greens Balance every day for their skin health and they were really happy with the results.  This was obviously not a controlled scientific experiment, but it does make sense that taking a supplement that includes 37 different fruit and vegetables would help make your skin clearer doesn't it?

Mind Health includes phosphatidylserine & vitamin B12 both of which helps improve your focus and concentration which is the reason so many people feel the need for a coffee in the morning.

Fizz Sticks are the third ingredient and they contain caffeine to give you a boost of energy along with B vitamins which also helps boost your energy levels.

Fizz Sticks also contain chromium which helps to balance your blood sugar levels.  If your blood sugars are balanced then it's easier to keep your energy levels balanced.

Not All Caffeine is Equal


Now some people say, but hang on why take another caffeine drink to replace one that I know I like?  This seems like a fair question, but not all caffeine is created equal.

Let me explain the differences and why you should be substituting the Green Ogre drink for your first coffee of the day (note I'm not saying give up coffee completely, it tastes delicious after all!)

When you drink coffee the caffeine you're ingesting is acidic which can lead to inflammation in your body (not a good thing), the caffeine also causes you to crash after a while which is often when you grab for another coffee or a hit of sugar, or both!

The caffeine in the fizz sticks is derived from both green tea and guarana and the difference is that it is a more alkalized version of caffeine aka it won't cause inflammation in your body.   I've also noticed that it sustains your energy levels much more effectively so that you don't get that 'crash' that has you reaching for another caffeine hit.

I can't speak for you personally, but I've found that I don't need a drink mid-morning to keep me going when I have a green ogre drink.   I do take a fizz stick in water in the afternoon however, usually between 2.30 & 3.30pm which is a long time after my 8.30 - 9.00 am Green Ogre fix!

Are You Up for the Green Ogre Drink Challenge?


I'd love to hear from anyone who's up for swapping out their morning coffee for a Green Ogre Drink for 30 days - I would love to cheer you on and listen to your thoughts.

I do have to close with a warning though - after 30 days you may find you don't want to go back to your morning coffee, I've found I just don't want to live without my Green Ogre drink in the morning!



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Friday, March 15, 2019

Minestrone Soup Recipe for the Instant Pot

Minestrone Soup Recipe for the Instant Pot
When Bev reviewed the Instant Pot here on Review This Reviews, I knew I had to have one too!  It immediately went on my own Christmas wish list.

Mom and Dad granted my wish and gifted me with an Instant Pot, plus a fabulous Instant Pot Cookbook by Jennifer Smith.  It is listed as a #1 Best Seller on Amazon and there is an excellent reason why.  It truly is packed full of great recipes for the Instant Pot, as well as tips and Instant Pot use instructions.  I was extremely grateful for the use instructions!  The instructions that came with the cooker were not as clear as Jennifer Smith's instructions in her published cookbook.

One great recipe in my new cookbook is the Minestrone Soup recipe.  One of my all time favorite soups is minestrone soup, but before I had my Instant Pot, I had never made it at home.  It was always a specialty that I treated myself to when we dined at our favorite Italian restaurant.  However, I no longer have to dine out to have excellent minestrone soup!  


Minestrone Soup Recipe from the Instant Pot Cookbook
by Jennifer Smith 
 

Minestrone Soup Recipe for the Instant Pot
I made few changes to Jennifer Smith's minestrone soup recipe, but they were simple changes.  I add more carrots and less onion.  Plus, I leave out the garlic completely.  I've never been a fan of garlic and find that I prefer this soup without it.

I am sharing my version of the Minestrone Soup recipe for the Instant Pot, but you can certainly have Jennifer Smith's original version if you wish to purchase the cookbook.  It really is worth buying.  There are several other great recipes in it that I have already tried and love.  Without it, I might have ended up returning my Instant Pot.  The recipes and instructions that came with it were confusing and unappetizing. 



Minestrone Soup Instant Pot Recipe


Ingredients

Minestrone Soup Recipe for the Instant Pot
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 of a White Onion
  • 2 Celery Stalks, diced
  • 2 large Carrots, diced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 28 oz can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Spinach, chopped
  • 1 Cup Elbow Pasta or Bow Tie Pasta (bow tie shown, but either is delicious)
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth (I use Simple Truth Organic)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 15 oz can White Beans  (I use Great Northern Beans)

 Directions

  1. Preheat the Instant Pot by selecting Saute.  Add & heat the oil 
  2. Add the onion, celery & carrots.  Saute for 5-6 minutes in the heated oil, stirring constantly
  3. Stir in basil, oregano, salt & pepper
  4. Stir in diced tomatoes, chopped spinach, pasta, broth & bay leaf
  5. Press the Cancel button to stop the Saute function
  6. Close and lock the lid.  Select Pressurecook button and cook on high for 6 minutes  (note:  it takes a few minutes to heat to cooking temperate.  The cooker timer will not start counting down until it reaches the high temperature.)
  7. When the timer beeps, let the soup sit for 2 minutes, then use the quick release valve on the lid to completely release the very hot steam.  Carefully unlock and left the lid.
  8. Add the White Beans and stir
  9. Remove the Bay Leaf that was used for seasoning.  They are not very tasty to eat.

Now, it is ready to serve!



Instant Pot Use Tips
Based on My Personal Experience


The Instant Pot has a few things that are totally different than any other cooker that I have ever used. 

Instant Pot Lid Diagram - Minestrone Soup Recipe
First to note is the steam release valve on the top.  There is a lot of hot steam and pressure that builds up inside the pot and that hot steam must be released before you unlock the lid.  The Instant Pot makes that easy with the release value on the lid, but you need to stand back away from the steam.  I also recommend pulling it out and away from the underside of your top kitchen cabinets.  It will cause a moisture buildup on your cabinets if you allow the steam to release under the cabinet.  The steam release takes at least 30 seconds to fully disperse.  There is a secondary pop-up valve indicator on the lid that lets you know when it is safe to open the lid.

Second to note is the timer and recipe cook time.  The recipes tell you the cook time, but that time does not include the heating time.  The Instant Pot temperature must reach the cooking point before the timer will start counting down.  That takes several additional minutes for my Instant Pot.


Instant Pot Control Panel - Minestrone Soup Recipe
Third to note is the difference in the recipes cooking selection buttons versus how my Instant Pot buttons are labeled.  For instance, this recipe states to "select Manual", but my Instant Pot button is labeled "Pressurecook".  I am guessing that is based on the age or model of your Instant Pot.  You will need to familiarize yourself with your Instant Pot buttons before you start cooking with these recipes.

Selecting and Setting the Timer is a little confusing at first.  It is like a digital alarm clock or automobile clock.  You turn the knob to make a selection on the display and then press the knob to change the timer numbers.  Perhaps that is just me, but I thought mine was broken the first time I used it.
 

Check Out More Recipe Reviews at
ReviewThisRecipes.com



More Instant Pot Soup Recipes



A delicious recipe for potato soup cooked in an InstantPot will delight your taste buds and fill your tummy.

Potato Soup Cooked In InstantPot ReviewedInstant Pot Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
This instant pot easy chicken noodle soup will surely warm you up on those cold winter days. We are just loving our new Instant Pot.




Minestrone Soup Recipe for the Instant Pot Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse







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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Did You Know That March is National Nutrition Month?

March is national nutrition month
Image courtesy of Pixabay
As National Nutrition Month, March seems a good time to review ways to increase your nutrition in your daily life.   Most people do not consume the recommended nutrients every day to keep their bodies running in peak condition, so let's look at ways we can fix this.

Of course you could use March as an excuse to give your body a reboot aka a spring clean for your body instead of your house!  This is a great way to start creating your healthy habits.

You may think that's a bit too much so let's look at other things you can do -

  • Reduce your caffeine intake
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Reduce your sugar intake
  • Reduce your processed foods
  • Increase your fruit and veg intake


We've all heard these comments before haven't we?   The problem is how and where to start so lets's go through them all one by one.

How to Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

Now if you only drink one cup of coffee or tea a day then you are probably okay, but I know many people drink a LOT more than that.  The problem with drinking too much caffeine whether it's from coffee, tea, cola drinks or energy drinks is that caffeine can cause the depletion of certain nutrients such as vitamin B6.   Not only that but it also interferes with your body's ability to absorb essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

It can be had to cut back as a lot of the time we grab these drinks out of habit, one way that I've gone down from 10 mugs a day to 1-2 a week is by using Fizz Sticks.  Let me tell you more ...

I like to drink what I call a green ogre drink on my way to work and I find that it gives me the same effect as my morning latte that I used to grab on my way to work at my previous job.   If you start off by just replacing one coffee with this I think you'll find you won't need your next one as quickly because you don't get the espresso crash as the effects of the caffeine from coffee wears off.

If you enjoy having a cuppa when you get up or after dinner then try a few caffeine free teas instead such as these -

Why Drink Peppermint Tea?Why Drink Peppermint Tea?
I love the flavour of peppermint so I'm probably biased as to why you should drink peppermint tea! However it does have a lot of benefits from aiding digestion to helping with concentration.


Review of Lifestyle Awareness TeasReview of Lifestyle Awareness Teas
Lifestyle Awareness is a brand of organic tea and this review focuses on just two of the teas in the range - Immunity Now and Serene Slumber. These teas have medicinal benefits to them as well and we can all use help with boosting our immune systems!



Or I do enjoy a cup of Twinings Chamomile, Honey & Vanilla before going to bed on a cold night.

If you're more of a soda drinker or you feel like you need an energy drink to keep you going then Fizz Sticks are definitely something that you can substitute for them.   You will find that the effects last a lot longer so that you don't need to drink as many. They come in four different flavors and contain a lot less sugar as well as being a lot healthier in other ways too.

How to Reduce Your Salt Intake


Too much salt can adversely affect our sodium/potassium balance and let's face it everywhere you turn you're being told to cut down salt aren't you?

Salt is one of those foods that are often in hidden in the foods you eat, one product that is usually high in salt is commercial stock (especially the convenient stock cubes).   A simple way to deal with this is to make your own vegetable stock, it's very easy as you can see here - how to make veggie stock - and you can make big batches to freeze down.   Using this you can monitor exactly how much salt you add to your food.

Reducing the amount of processed foods will help a lot (more on that later) and reading labels to build your awareness will be quite a shock to you.

How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake


Sugar is empty as far as nutritional value goes and it's also addictive.   I would try and use other products to sweeten things for example when my daughter was younger I would half the amount of sugar a recipe called for to make sweet muffins and throw in a mashed banana to use for sweetness instead.

If you or your children like using flavored drinks instead of water then why not look at putting cubed watermelon in your water pitcher as this fruit contains electrolytes.  Berries or citrus are also great ways of  adding flavor.

Looking on sites such as Pinterest can help with ideas for sugar free or low sugar recipes and I find myself using dates, bananas, apples and even maple syrup in my cooking as a way to keep the sweetness while raising the nutritional value of a dish.

How to Reduce Processed Foods


Processed foods can be devoid of many nutrients as well as containing high amounts of sugar and/or salt - this is especially so with low fat processed foods.

Now I'm not saying you have to totally embrace the whole food movement (although it's really great!), but being more aware of what you're eating is a good place to start.   The best way to reduce processed foods is to start cooking a few things from scratch.

Now with our busy lifestyles it can be hard to imagine cooking everything from scratch so I would recommend starting with one meal a week and cooking double quantities, one lot for that meal and one lot for the freezer which means the next week you have your 'new' meal plus the frozen meal from the previous week.

Snack foods can be the biggest fall down for many households when it comes to processed foods so I like to make sure I have fresh fruit available and have vegetables such as carrot sticks prepared and ready to eat.   I also find making protein balls or bliss balls a great idea.

How to Increase Your Fruit & Veg Intake


We're all told to increase our fruit and vegetables, but how?  If you're starting to cook more from scratch and having it as snacks as well you will find that you start to increase your intake.

I try to throw extra vegetable into my meals when I'm cooking them for example when I cook a lamb or beef satay I will always add green beans.   I also add diced zucchini (courgette) to a number of dishes as it takes on flavors really well.

Another easy way to add vegetables into your diet is by using it to substitute some of your other foods for example use a spiralizer to make vegetable 'pasta' or using cauliflower or broccoli in place of rice.

Another thing that I do is I have a scoop of Greens Balance every day - this contains a rainbow of fruit and veg - and this can be taken on it's own, popped into a protein shake (or the green ogre shake above) or even added into something when you're cooking such as bolognaise.

I did see someone added the greens balance to banana muffins for her fussy child and he ate them because he was told they were made from monsters!

If you don't like eating breakfast or you have a child that doesn't like eating in the morning or at lunchtime then why not try a shake or a smoothie bowl - it's a great way to add in berries and other fruits as well as spinach, kale or a good old scoop of greens balance.

Reviewing Smoothie Bowl RecipesReviewing Smoothie Bowl Recipes
Essentially a smoothie bowl is a thick smoothie served in a bowl with different toppings and it is delicious. You can have a myriad of different flavors and there's really no rules as to what you can pop on top


Tropical Fruit Smoothie Recipe ReviewedTropical Fruit Smoothie Recipe Reviewed
The tropical fruit smoothies taste really good and they are very easy to make. Simply gather your favorite tropical fruits and the blender and you have a quick and healthy snack for breakfast, lunch or after dinner!


Healthy and Delicious SmoothiesHealthy and Delicious Smoothies
Feel more energized and healthier by adding a smoothie to your day, from tropical fruit to green smoothies and so many other recipes in between.



baby step ways to improve your nutrition for national nutrition month and beyond


So, Over to You


What are you going to do to improve your nutritional intake this month?




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Friday, February 8, 2019

Stonewall Kitchen Pancake Mix, Maine Syrups & Gift Set Reviewed

Stonewall Kitchen Pancake Mix, Maple Syrup & Gift Set Reviewed
I love cooking for my family, therefore a gift for my kitchen is always the right gift.  

When I received my Stonewall Kitchen gift set this year from my husband, I was immediately thrilled by the pretty blueberry batter bowl.  I admit, my one weakness is mixing bowls.  I love them, especially if they have a spout.  

I was also pretty excited to try a new pancake mix.  Turns out, I prefer the Stonewall Kitchen pancake mix to any other that I have ever tried.  That is rather surprising since I have used a popular grocery store brand for decades and have always liked the flavor and texture of the store brand.  However, the Stonewall Kitchen pancake & waffle mix has a better taste. 

The gift set also came with Wild Maine Blueberry Jam and Wild Maine Blueberry Syrup.  By now, you have probably guessed it was a blueberry themed gift set.  He also gave me a bottle of Wild Maine Maple Syrup separately.  Actually, he probably bought that for himself, but it was included with the gift.


Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake & Waffle Mix


 Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake and Waffle MixCheck Price If you love pancakes, and you prefer using a mix, you will want to try the Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake & Waffle Mix.  As I said in the introduction, I was extremely surprised to find that I prefer it to the brand that I have used for a lifetime.

The mix requires that an egg, milk & melted butter be added, but I always have those on-hand, so no problem.  I quickly whipped up the batter and made our first batch of pancakes.  I wasn't sure what to expect since the batter was a lot thinner than other pancake batters, but my fears were unfounded.  The pancakes were delicious.

When we sat down to eat, neither one of us was talking, we were too busy eating!



My Preferred Method for Cooking Pancakes


 Oster Electric Skillet, 16 Inch, Black/Stainless SteelCheck PriceIt is important that I note how I cook the Stonewall Kitchen mix pancakes.  I use my electric skillet, set to 350°, with about a half-inch of Crisco vegetable oil covering the bottom of the skillet.  In effect, I am frying my pancakes in oil, uncovered.  I turn the pancakes when bubbles start to form on the side that is up.  I only turn them once.

Because the clean-up is easier, the second time I made these pancakes, I used my Cuisinart Griddler.  I can also cook more pancakes at one time since the Griddler opens out flat which allows me to cook on two grills at the same time.  I didn't expect there to be much difference, but there definitely was a difference.  The pancakes were simply not as good.  They still tasted okay, but after the first batch cooked in the electric skillet, they were disappointing.

Therefore, from now on, I will always cook my Stonewall Kitchen pancakes in oil in my electric skillet.


The Stonewall Kitchen Syrups


I am a huge fan of blueberry syrup when it is really good, but I hate it if it tastes artificial.  My husband prefers Maple syrup, but like me, he is selective.  It has to be real maple syrup.

Few blueberry syrups live up to my standards.  Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine Blueberry Syrup is, by far, the best I have ever eaten!  

Believe it or not, my husband has said that the Stonewall Kitchen Maine Maple Syrup is the best maple syrup he has ever tried.  Big wins there for Stonewall Kitchen!  We are both very picky when it comes to our pancake syrup.

Oh, and the bottles are really cute too!



 Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast Gift Baskets and Sets (5 Piece Blueberry Gift Set)Check PriceMy Stonewall Kitchen Blueberry Gift Set


Yeah, I know.   Now you all want my gift set too.  Well, you can't have mine, but you can have one like it.  I can tell you from experience, this is a great gift for the cook.

Do note though that the blueberry set comes with blueberry syrup.  You may also wish to purchase the Maine Maple Syrup separately like we did.

The gift set includes everything you see in the picture and comes wrapped in the cellophane bag tied with a Stonewall Kitchen ribbon like mine in the top photo.  

Gift Set Includes:
  • Farmhouse Pancake & Waffle Mix
  • Blueberry Batter Bowl
  • Wild Maine Blueberry Jam
  • Wild Maine Blueberry Syrup
  • Blue Spatula

 

 
Stonewall Kitchen Pancake Mix, Maine Syrups, & Gift Set Reviewed

 

Related & Relative Articles


I am not the only blueberry loving Contributor!  Olivia has previously revealed her love for the fruit too. Plus, you may have recognized the phrase I used in the introduction, "my one weakness".  That is actually a quote from Lark Rise to Candleford.  Dorcas Lane uses that descriptive phrase several times in the movie and it always tickles me to hear her say it.

You may have noticed the Stonewall Kitchen Pancake Mix is also for waffles. Literally, it is named Farmhouse Pancake & Waffle Mix. You can make those waffles in a really cute heart-shaped waffle maker that was reviewed here by Bev Owens.

Olivia reviews some of the best recipes, as well as a cookbook recommendation, for all of us who love to consume this delightful bit of heaven on earth!

Lark Rise To Candleford ReviewLark Rise To Candleford Review

Enjoy Lark Rise To Candleford the BBC series which inspires, enlightens and entertains the entire family. The Lark Rise to Candleford series is based on the semi-autobiographical novels by Flora Thompson

Mini Muffins- Bake Ahead and FreezeMini Muffins- Bake Ahead and Freeze
Mary Beth shared her own personal recipe for blueberry apple oat muffins here. She also gave us the basic recipe for her bake and freeze muffins which could include many different fruits & nuts.

Heart Waffle Maker ReviewedHeart Waffle Maker Reviewed
Bev reviewed this heart shaped waffle maker to make our waffles in the shape of a heart as an expression of our love. Small and lightweight this heart shaped waffle maker can be a fun addition to any kitchen.




Stonewall Kitchen Pancake Mix, Maple Syrup & Gift Set Reviewed Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Review of Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans

Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. (Source: Wikipedia)
Cafe Du Monde is a famous coffee shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  It was opened in 1862 and is famous for it's chicory-blend coffee and Beignets.  It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except for Christmas Day (and the occasional hurricane).  Luckily, this famous cafe suffered only minor damage during Hurricane Katrina.

I've visited Cafe Du Monde twice on visits to New Orleans.  It has a charming atmosphere and the Beignets are the most delectable pastry you will ever taste.  I do have to admit, though, that I personally find the famous chicory coffee 'undrinkable'.  I do not like the taste of chicory and I dislike strong coffee.  But if you love chicory coffee or Vietnamese-style iced coffee, you will love the Cafe Du Monde coffee, particularly their Cafe au lait. 


Cafe au Lait




Cafe au Lait  (Image Source)

Cafe au lait is coffee with hot milk added.  This is different from coffee known as 'white coffee', which has cold milk or other whitener added.  Cafe au Lait simply means “coffee with milk”. 


Beignet




Beignets (Image Source)

Beignet is a French pastry that is deep fried and served topped with powdered sugar.  It is so light and flaky and irresistible! 

The allrecipes site has a recipe for you to make your own Beignets at home if you are not able to visit Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. 



Beignet Recipe

Ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions:


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, evaporated milk, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the shortening, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
  2. Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fry in 360 degree F (180 degrees C) hot oil. If beignets do not pop up, oil is not hot enough. Drain onto paper towels.
  3. Shake confectioners' sugar on hot beignets. Serve warm.


There are also box mixes of Beignets available if you do not care to go to the (delicious) trouble of starting from scratch. 

The word Beignet, of course, means donut.


Visit Cafe Du Monde




The original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand is located at 800 Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In 1985 a second cafe was opened and today there are 8 Cafe Du Monde locations in the New Orleans Metropolitan area.  

The Cafe Du Monde coffee stand is a 'must-see' and very tasty attraction for any New Orleans Visit. The literal translation of Cafe Du Monde means “Coffee of the World”

Related Links:













(c) 2/2/2019. Article by Wednesday Elf




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Monday, January 14, 2019

Reviewing Sam's Pizza Crust Recipe

Pizza crust from scratch is easier than I thought.
Over the years I have tried to make homemade pizzas. And over the years I have repeatedly failed. But today I made homemade pizza, just the way I like it, using a pizza crust recipe from Sam's Place. My little pizzas turned out great and I can't wait to bake some more.


Sam's Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe

Sam's Place is a blog site with a collection of recipes. Sam's recipes are generally easy and tasty. He writes about his passion for "preserving family recipes and creating new ones". I visit his blog regularly and see that he shares quick and easy recipes. 

When I decided to try to make pizzas at home again, I went directly to his blog. I found his dough recipe here. I only needed yeast, oil, water, flour, and salt. 


I spread the dough out on the pizza stone - baking stones are great! I pressed the dough into a thin crust with my fingers. I didn't worry that they weren't round. On each pizza, I added sauce, mushrooms, cheese, and  coarsely ground black pepper. Yes, that is one of my little pizzas in the photo above.



Old Stone Oven Round Pizza Stone




Why I Tried Making Pizzas Again


Recently I was watching a cooking show on television. Lidia was making little pizzas for the grill. She gave me a craving for pizza. Grocery store pizzas are okay, but not my favorite. Pizzas delivered from a local restaurant are divine but expensive. And I never end up eating the entire pizza. Even if I try eating all the leftovers, I either forget or I grow tired of eating pizza and inevitably I end up wasting food.


In the past I have tried making my own pizzas. I don't remember making any pizza that tasted better than the cheapie pre-made pizzas in the freezer section. Frankly, I eventually gave up.


But after watching that television show with the grilled pizzas and remembering Sam's easy dough recipe, I gave it a try. I dug out my baking stone and started up my KitchenAid mixer. Also, I have had good luck using SAF instant yeast. Previously, I failed when baking anything with yeast. But between using the SAF yeast and the fact that my water comes out of my tap at just over 100 degrees, I have been successful making breads. And now I'm successful with making homemade pizza crust.


Imagine making your own pizzas, personal sized or extra large, thin or thick crust, just exactly the way you like them!



The second pizza I made today. Doesn't it look tasty?


Related Links:


Cynthia reviewed the Kitchen Aid Pizza Wheel. She recommends it because it is "strong, durable, and ergonomical". Take a peek at her review for more details. I need one of these.


I bought my KitchenAid mixer two years ago. I had always thought it was an extra and over-priced gadget that I didn't need. But since I have it, I LOVE IT!  This is a purchase I've never regretted. 


Heather has been a KitchenAid Artisian mixer fan longer than I have. In fact, her review helped convince me to get one of my own. Heather's article also includes information about the annual timing of sales on these mixers. Get that important information here

Sam also has a Fresh Tomato Spinach pizza recipe. I'll try that next. 

Because Lidia's Kitchen show is what started this recent pizza craving, I'm including a link to her Grilled Pizza recipe. Yum! 


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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe Reviewed

Much Better Than Canned Soup

tomato soup
Make your own tomato soup
After trying your own homemade tomato soup, you will never open a can of soup again. At least, I am not sure I could stomach it after having made my own from this recipe. 

One of my most favorite lunches is tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. For me, it is comfort food at its very best. I love tomatoes so when Mom would fix tomato soup and grilled cheese when I was a kid, I was in heaven. Now, Mom never made it from scratch and to be honest, as a child, I never realized that my most favorite of all soups came from anywhere other than that famous red and white can. 

A few weeks back, I expressed that I hoped that I would get an Immersion Hand Blender for one of my Christmas gifts. Santa did not bring me one but I did use a gift card that I received to purchase one for myself. Want to guess what the first thing I made with it was? I'll give you a hint; it starts with tomato and ends with soup. Oh my goodness! It was so very good and really very easy!

Tomato Soup Recipe

1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 garlic gloves minced
1 28 oz can peeled plum tomatoes 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 shallot diced
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon fresh basil
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Place the olive oil in a large pot with the shallot and garlic. On medium heat cook the onion and garlic for about 4 to 6 minutes or until the shallot is translucent. Add the remaining ingredients including the juices from the canned tomatoes and stir. Bring the soup to a boil and then turn the heat down to a low simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for about 20 minutes with the pot partially covered. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup to your desired consistency. 

Serve in a bowl with a grilled cheese sandwich and you are in for a real taste treat!

I will offer a tip on the tomatoes. You can use either whole peeled tomatoes or you can use the ones that are already crushed. The only difference is that the crushed ones take less time with the immersion blender. Both work well. Personally, I love the taste of the plum tomatoes but you can also choose regular tomatoes for the recipe. It just boils down to your taste buds. 

As I said earlier, once I made my own tomato soup with this recipe I won't be able to open a can of soup again. This is so delicious and easy to make that I can't believe it took me this long to try making it from scratch. By the way, it passed the husband test, too. He absolutely loved it! 

How about it? Do you think that you might try making your own sometime soon? I can promise you that you will not be disappointed! 




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Monday, January 7, 2019

Chicago Metallic Commercial II Non-Stick Perforated French Bread Pan Review

Baguette loaf bread pan.
Years ago I purchased a bread pan that I really liked. Currently, with the cold and gloomy weather, I've been in the mood to bake some bread. I have a couple of bread recipes that I can rely on producing successful loaves of bread. The Chicago Metallic Commercial II Non-stick Perforated French Bread Pan is the pan I depend on when I want baguette-style loaves of bread. 

The Chicago Metallic Commercial II Non-stick Perforated French Bread Pan has nearly a 5 star rating on Amazon which supports my belief that the pan is a main reason I'm successfully able to bake these small bread loaves.

The first time I used the pan, I made a small Wheat Irish Soda Bread loaf. I was afraid the dough would stick badly in the perforations and I was afraid the loaf would break. I sprayed the pan very lightly with cooking spray. After the loaf was baked, I ran a spatula along the sides of the bread to make sure it wasn't stuck before I tipped the loaf out of the pan. I was concerned for nothing. The bread was not stuck to the pan at all.  Also, because of the holes and the shape of the pan, the loaves come out evenly baked, nicely shaped, and delicious. 

The Chicago Metallic Commercial pan is non-stick and clean-up is super easy. When I am finished baking and after the pan has cooled a bit, I soak the pan for a couple of minutes in hot soapy water, to get any bits of bread out of the air holes. I follow the soak with a rinse in hot water.

I'm not much of a baker and my skills at baking bread are fairly new. I started with Irish Soda Bread. It was my first success at baking bread because it did not require yeast. It was also a very dense, heavy bread. Later, I became really good at baking two different breads that require yeast: Peasant Bread and Patara's Bread Recipe

I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this pan. I think that everyone who enjoys baking bread should have one of these highly recommended bread pans. I purchased the two-loaf pan but for those of you who bake more than I do there is also a four-loaf pan available.




The next bread I want to learn to bake is a Subway Sunflower Crunch bread. Their bread is delicious. I feel more confident experimenting while using the Chicago Metallic Commercial pan. I hope I am able to find a sufficient copy cat recipe. Wish me luck.

Related Link: 

Sam on Ahead of Thyme blog shares a sunflower seed bread recipe. I have chosen this sunflower seed bread recipe to try first because the ingredients list seems to be the closest to what the Subway restaurant version tastes like to me.





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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Yummy, Gooey, Chocolate, Vanilla, Delicious Dessert - Recipe Review

Reviewing a Delicious Dessert 

I imagine that this dessert has an official name in a cookbook or an online cooking or recipe website somewhere.  But when I first acquired the recipe from a co-worker who had brought the dessert to work to share, she called it 'yummy, gooey, chocolate, vanilla delicious dessert'.  And that's how it has been known in our household ever since! We have made it many times and always enjoy it immensely.  

If you are looking for a non-fattening dessert, you won't find it here among the cream cheese, powdered sugar, Cool Whip, butter, puddings and milk. Not to mention the walnuts and Hershey Bar. But for a delicious dessert, it is unparalleled in taste!


Recipe for Delicious Dessert 



CRUST:


  • 1-1/2 stick of margarine or butter – melt
  • 1-1/2 c. chopped walnuts (pecans)
  • 1-1/2 c. flour



Mix & press into bottom of oblong pan.  Bake at 350◦ for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

LET COOL COMPLETELY

FILLING #1


  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. Cool Whip (buy 9 oz carton – more goes on top)



Spread on cooled crust.

FILLING #2







TOPPING:


  • Spread remaining Cool Whip.

  • Shave Hershey bar over the top.


CHILL

SERVE


SUMMARY NOTES



The most interesting part of this dessert (which makes a WHOLE lot, filling the 12 x 10 x 2 inch pan I use as seen in these photos) is that it KEEPS really well and tastes even better the longer it is kept chilled in the refrigerator. Of course you could make a smaller batch, but we most often make it for a larger gathering or a party occasion. And this yummy dessert seldom lasts long enough to store more than one or two days around us! 








(c) Wednesday Elf 1/5/2019

#All images are personal photos by (c) Wednesday Elf


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