Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Burger Buns

My bread machine has really been getting a workout lately! Cooking and baking is what I do when I'm bored, and boy have I been bored these last few weeks. Sara Beth and I have fallen into somewhat of a routine and she isn't taking every moment of my attention anymore on most days. Daytime television is lame; shopping isn't much fun when you're a penny pincher like me; and it's too hot and humid to take Sara Beth outside past 9:00am. So, pretty much after our daily walk with Zilla and some Mommy and baby exercises, I'm just killing time between feeding her and changing her diaper.
Monday night, Adam and I were watching "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on Food Network and I started craving a really good hamburger. So, what did I do Tuesday? I made homemade hamburger buns so we could have burgers for dinner. They came out so good that I thought I'd share the recipe with you. It wasn't much work at all if you have a bread machine. The burgers were juicy and delicious (Thanks to Adam for such a great job grilling them!) and were served with a green bean/mango salad and some leftover zucchini cornbread casserole. I even had Adam grill pineapple for dessert. I whipped up some heavy cream to top it all off. So yummy!

Here's a link to the recipe:
I remembered the pictures this time:
From top to bottom: Portioned out dough after the 1st rise in the bread machine, After the 2nd rise, Fresh out of the oven, and Our dinner plates


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's for dinner?

This is not an actual picture of our pizza. I kind of yanked it off someone else's blog. I have to get better at remembering to take pictures of my food. These kinds of blog entries would be way more interesting that way. Oh well, here's the recipe (more like the process) for last night's yummy dinner.

Grilled Margherita Pizza

Herbed Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (recipe below)
Spicy Marinara Sauce (recipe below)
Fresh basil
thinly sliced tomatoes
Cheese (I had sliced provolone that I tore into smaller pieces and shredded mozzarella, but I'm sure whatever you have on hand will work.)

1. Preheat the grill until it's really hot. Stretch or roll the dough out. Oil the grill. Grill the dough for 2 or 3 minutes or until it firms up a bit and releases from the grates without sticking.
2. Take it off the grill, flip it over, and top the cooked side with your margherita toppings. Our order was: sauce, provolone, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella.
3. Put the pizza on the grill until the dough is cooked through and the cheese is melted. Adam did the grilling so I don't know the exact time. It didn't take long though. . . only enough time for me to whip up a quick salad.

Herbed Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (from Better Homes and Gardens Best Bread Machine Recipes book)
1 1/3 cups water
3 TBS olive oil
2 2/3 cups bread flour
1 1/3 cups wheat flour
1 TBS dried herbs (I used basil and oregano)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast or bread machine yeast (I accidentally used 1 1/2 tsp, but it came out fine)

Put it all in the bread machine and set it for the dough cycle. When the cycle is complete, punch down the dough, cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes. This recipe makes enough for 2 large pizzas so I froze half for another night. 

Spicy Marinara Sauce
*This is actually how I make the topping for my meatloaf, but it tastes equally yummy on pizza when blended into a sauce.
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes 
a few garlic cloves, diced or crushed
a drizzle of olive oil
red pepper flakes (to your liking, but I like it spicy)
salt and pepper

In a small casserole dish or other oven-safe pan, combine all the ingredients. Roast for 30 minutes on 375 degrees. Stir occasionally. Blend roasted tomatoes to make a sauce (I used my stick blender for this).
Leave out the blending step and this sauce equally good for a meatloaf topping, in a spicy shrimp marinara pasta, or for chicken or eggplant parmesan.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Going Green

The slogan is everywhere these days. It's on T-shirts, bumper stickers, and even the topic of decorating shows on HGTV. "Going green" is very trendy right now. I guess whether it's a trend or not, it's still good for the environment. We're doing our part by using cloth diapers and cloth wipes and by taking full advantage of Shreveport's curb-side recycling program. We need to do more, I know, but any little bit helps.
Recycling-- It bugs me beyond measure when I drive past a blue recycling can filled with trash. How hard is it to throw paper, plastic, glass, and metal into the blue bin instead of the black one? You don't even have to separate it! We overflow our little recycle bin in the kitchen twice as often as we take out the trash. Soon we're going to start composting too. That should cut down even more on the trash that we produce.
Cloth diapers-- Tuesday, when our weekly supply of clean cloth diapers were delivered, it came with a note from CottonTails saying that we had already saved 547 diapers from being thrown in the local landfill. Isn't that amazing? We've been using cloth diapers for less than 2 months so far and have already used that many diapers. Crazy! We are really enjoying the cloth diapers, by the way. Sara Beth hasn't had any sign of diaper rash. I guess cotton is good for her little bottom. It's super easy once you get the hang of it-- not much harder than disposables. I definitely recommend using cloth diapers, with or without the diaper service, to anyone with a baby.
Cloth wipes-- At first, I was using disposable wipes. I mean, we had a closet full of them from our baby showers. Why not use them up? But, after I saw how quickly those disappeared, I decided to give cloth wipes a try. I looked into purchasing some online, but they were too expensive for frugal me. Then, while on the internet, I saw a post about how you could cut up flannel receiving blankets and make wipes out of them. Great idea! I had an overflow of blankets that I needed to do something with anyway. It was really easy. I just cut the blankets into 7 inch by 7 inch squares and sewed 2 squares together. Ta Da-- close to 100 2-ply reusable cloth baby wipes for free! It doesn't even add much to my laundry stack either. Even if I washed all of my wipes at the same time (which I never do), it would be like washing 8 baby blankets. No problem! 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summertime Swimming

Last night we headed out to Keithville to visit with the Williams clan. There was a house full of adorable kids. Carol invited us over for dinner and swimming. We had so much fun (even though Sara Beth wasn't in the best mood)! Carol's daughter, Jaime, along with her husband, Theo, and their two kids, Carter and Olivia, were in town from Colorado this week. They are such a sweet group! Jaime uses cloth diapers too, so of course we chatted about that. Carol made a delicious smorgasbord of salads and other yummy treats for us to enjoy.
The highlight of the evening was Sara Beth's first time in the pool. She finally got to show off her cute swim suit and matching hat. The water was warm and it seemed to calm her down. She didn't make a sound while we swished her through the water and bobbed up and down. "Thanks for such a fun evening, Grandmaw Carol!"-- love, Sara Beth (notice how she speaks with such robust vocabulary already. She's advanced like that!)  :)

Getting my swimsuit on
Playing with my new friend, Olivia. She is a cutie!
The family

Thursday, June 3, 2010

One Month

Wow! Time has flown by! I can't believe that Sara Beth is already one month old. She is doing great! She's doing what babies do best. . . eating, pooping, and sleeping a lot. So much has changed in a month's time. At birth, she weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz. Now she's 9 lbs. 5 oz. She is much longer too. She's already outgrowing some of her newborn clothes. She is able to focus a lot better with her eyes now. She looks so much like her daddy with those big eyes of hers! She likes to hold her head up and look all around. It's pretty amazing how good she is at it considering she's only a month old. Of course, there's only so long she can hold it up, so it usually ends up banging into your shoulder or face when you are holding her. Sara Beth has been very healthy so far. No problems to speak of except for a blocked tear duct that left her eye really goopy for a day or so. She is perfect! We couldn't be more blessed!

I'm finally starting to get this mommy job under control, I think. Breastfeeding is going well. I feel so blessed to be able to feed my child from my own body. God is so smart! He created us perfectly, didn't He! I'm beginning to get back to cooking. I've made a few really fabulous things, but mostly it's just been whatever I can throw together in 30 minutes from what I have in the pantry. For the first couple of weeks, I felt trapped in my house because I wasn't able to take Sara Beth anywhere. Now, though, I strap her in the car seat almost daily in order to run a few errands (and sometimes just to get out of the house). She usually falls asleep when she goes for a car ride.
I went back to Dr. Shattuck yesterday for my 1 month check-up and she gave me a clean bill of health. She said that I could start exercising again too! I can't wait to get back to Mosley's Movements soon. Now Adam and I just have to figure out how to work it so that we both get a chance to exercise and still get to see each other.

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