Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

Looking for an easy, delicious & unique pizza recipe? Well, I got yo’ back. Introducing…

Roasted Vegetable & Pesto Pizza

Yields 1 pizza (approx. 8 slices)

What You’ll Need:

– 1 pre-made whole wheat pizza crust (or homemade if you prefer)

– Pesto

– Mozzarella cheese

– Veggies of our choice (I used green bell pepper, red bell pepper, yellow onion, mushrooms & broccoli)

What You’ll Do:

1. Chop your veggies, lay them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until edges start to brown.

2. In the meantime, spread a generous amount of pesto on your pizza crust. Truth be told, I have an unnatural love for pesto. I really need to learn how to make it. Have a recipe or tutorial? Shoot it my way, please!

3. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over pesto.

4. Pop the crust into the oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

5. Remove both the crust and the veggies from the oven and top crust with roasted veggies.

6. Top the whole pizza with a sprinkle of feta cheese (I was out last night).


Remember, there’s a surprise coming tomorrow!


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I’ve been putting off grocery shopping like it’s my job, which is forcing me to get creative with the little amount of food that we have.

Here’s what was concocted last night:

Buffalo “Chik’n” Salad

Yields 2 salads

What You’ll Need:

– 1 block extra firm tofu

– Buffalo or wing sauce

– Romaine lettuce

– Spinach

– Onion

– Cucumber

– Celery

What You’ll Do:

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and blot tofu with paper towels until most of the water is out.

I know some of my readers are completely freaked out when I talk about tofu, so if you’ve never seen it before, here’s what a block looks like:

While we’re on the topic, a lot of people ask me what tofu tastes like. That’s the awesome thing about tofu – it tastes like anything you want it to! Whatever you season it with is exactly what it will taste like. The texture depends on how you cook it.

– Cut tofu into small chunks and transfer to a small mixing bowl

– Mix with a generous amount of buffalo or wing sauce. I chose Cookies Wings-n-Things sauce (a local brand).

I bet Speed never thought his Wings-n-Things sauce would be used for tofu!

-Transfer cubes to a small baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.

While the tofu was baking, I made a homemade “ranch” dressing to top it all off with by mixing 1 cup of plain greek yogurt with cilantro, parsley, chives & cajun spice.

– After your dressing is made, chop all your veggies and mix it all together.


If you’re hesitant about tofu, try this. Baking the tofu gives it the perfect consistency – nice & crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Such a filling meal, it put us all to sleep.

Let’s Talk.

Have you used tofu? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?

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You get excited about new bakeware!

An awesome friend sent us a 1 year anniversary gift certificate a couple weeks ago and we redeem it for these!

So, last weekend on Labor Day night, in an attempt to avoid greasy take-out pizza and a trip to the grocery store (& to use my new pans!), we scrounged through our pantry and refrigerator to see what we could come up with. And this is what happened…

Easy Cheesy Lasagna Roll-Ups

Yields 8 roll-ups

What You’ll Need:

8 whole wheat lasagna noodles

– 12 oz (approx. 1/2 jar) tomato sauce of your choice (I use Newman’s Own)

– Shredded cheeses of your choice (I had mozzarella & colby on hand)

– Ricotta cheese

What You’ll Do:

– Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions

– Lay one noodle out and spread on spoonful of ricotta cheese.

– Top with a spoonful of tomato sauce.

– Sprinkle with shredded cheeses.


– Repeat for remaining 7 noodles. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until cheese is gooey and melty.

While these were baking away, I dusted some brussel sprouts with a touch a olive oil, garlic powder and pepper and stuck ’em in the oven for 15 minutes.

For a quick, thrown-together meal, it came out perfect!

Kya approved.

And Kota seemed pretty excited when we told her about it.

Let’s Talk.

What creative meals have you come up with when your pantry and refrigerator are low?

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Catching up? Poppers, Shrimp & Family

We started Saturday morning off with this beauty:

Cinnamon crunch bread from Great Harvest Bakery. It was beyond delicious – chewy & a melt-in-your-mouth type of bread & best if eaten plain!

After a slow-going morning, we finally got around to lunch, which consisted of build-your-own sandwiches, complete with Great Harvest Dakota bread. I’m not lying when I say this: It is the best bread I’ve ever had in my life. It literally put me in a good mood just eating it. It was such a hit, I couldn’t even snap a picture of it! You’ll have to take my word for it…and go buy it (or order online). Now.

Now, if you ever come to visit us in Sioux Falls, you will not leave without seeing Falls Park. We’re mighty proud of it. And that’s exactly where we swept our house guests off to next.

We took a break from climbing for ice cream, naturally.

Played around

And hopped a ride back to the car (well, some of us anyway).

Later that night, we came home for a taco bar and a vicious tournament of ladder ball.

But only while Chantae serenaded us with Justin Beiber tunes.

It was an awesome weekend with family filled with lots of laughter, fun and food. We’re already looking forward to next time.

Let’s Talk.

– Do you get to see your family a lot? Do you have a tradition of some sort that you always do when you’re together?

We ALWAYS play lots of games and laugh until our cheeks hurt. 🙂

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Well, my in-laws made it out alive.

The first ones of the bunch arrived around 6 p.m. on Friday and I was prepared for hungry family members who began to gather in the kitchen. Here’s what we went with:

Baked Jalepeno Poppers


– 12-15 whole jalepenos

– 3 oz. low-fat cream cheese

– 1/2 sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

-1/4 tsp. garlic powder

– 2 eggs (salmonella-free, preferably)

– Whole what breadcrumbs


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut your jalepenos in half & hallow them out (be sure to get all the seeds!).

3. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, shredded cheese and garlic powder.

4. Stuff your peppers.

5. In a small bowl crack your eggs and mix ’em up. In a separate bowl pour a handful of whole wheat breadcrumbs.

6. Dip each pepper into eggs, then in breadcrumbs.

7. Bake for 30 minutes and enjoy!

To keep hunger under control while dinner was on the grill, we also prepared some Grilled breaded shrimp.


– Approx. 20-30 uncooked shrimp

– 3 Tbsp. olive oil

-3 garlic cloves, crushed

– Whole wheat breadcrumbs

– 1/2 tsp. dry seafood seasoning

– Cocktail sauce


1. In a small bowl combine olive oil and garlic. Let stand for approx. 20 minutes.

2. In another bowl combine breadcrumbs and seafood seasoning.

3. Dip each shrimp in the olive oil mixture then in the breadcrumb mixture.

4. Thread shrimp onto skewers and grill for approx. 2-3 minutes or until shrimp are pink.

5. Serve with cocktail sauce and eat ’em up!

For the main course we made goat cheese stuffed chicken. Remember this recipe?

This time I skipped the red peppers and used spinach instead of arugala & they were even better! We served the chicken with grilled red potatoes and fresh corn on the cob.

After dinner I set out the whoopie pies and held my breath.

Whoopie pies for the birthday girl!

They were a hit! As in, I had one and was left with no leftovers. Phew!

The rest of the night was spent catching up and laughing.

Stay tuned for Saturday’s activities and FOOD!

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What a fabulous weekend! I’m finally feeling like a true South Dakota-ian. We have our drivers licenses in hand and our license plates in tow. There’s no going back now!

Friday I was introduced to the fabulous (apparently that’s my word today) Brandi Carlile when a friend from Des Moines came up for a visit. Seriously, how did I not know of this talent before? I’m in love. Here’s (one of) my favorite song from Friday’s concert:

We laid around all day Saturday listening to Brandi Carlile on repeat before we were out the door for a friend’s birthday party. We met more new friends and acted like we were in college again, playing some vicious games of flip cup.

Sunday was more of the same until Dillon took me out to see Eat, Pray, Love. I just finished reading the book a couple weeks ago and was looking forward to seeing the movie despite all of the bad reviews. I loved it. And, it sparked some pretty intense conversation between Dillon and myself afterward. I love a man that can hold riveting & intelligent dialogue. 🙂


Now, for some lessons in the kitchen.

The other night I thought I could do it all. I planned to make a new recipe and bake cookies (another new recipe) for Dillon to take to work. Bad idea.

After a rousing sand volleyball match with friends, we came home to prepare dinner. It was close to 8 o’clock, mind you, which is much later than us 80 year-olds usually eat. But, using an enormous $1 zucchini I scored at the farmer’s market, I was determined to make this pizza.

Lesson #1: Prepare.

Knowing that I would be getting home later, I should have prepared the pizza beforehand to have it ready to slide into the oven. Or, at the very least, glanced at the recipe before 8 o’clock.

The recipe ended up being simple, but I was rushed (read: hungry!) and sped up a few steps. If you plan to make this pizza, let me let you in on a few little tips:

1) When she says to get as much of the “zucchini water” (who knew?!) out as possible, get as much out as possible. In the end, this made a difference, as my pizza toppings were a bit soggy.

2) and…Lesson #2: Adjust. Being in a hurry, I also decided that it would be best to follow her recipe verbatim. What I didn’t realize was that she was using a much larger crust than I, so the amount of ricotta cheese vs. crust was a bit off. Let’s just say ricotta was eating the crust.

But, it was still good.

Lesson #3: Be patient. I get so giddy when I’m in the kitchen making new things that I wish they could just magically appear. Next, I attempted to make these cookies despite the fact I’ve never been keen to baking (I once made brownies on a cookie sheet. Umm. Yeah.).

The first (of many) attempts left me with a pile of mush. Tasty mush, to be exact. I got impatient and didn’t let the mounds of butter caramelize. When I opened the oven to check on them, I had a buttery mess on my hands (err, oven).

So, after sending Dillon out for more flour and butter around 10 p.m. and multiple attempts later, I finally had some edible cookies! They weren’t the prettiest things you’ve ever seen (darn you, Jenna, for having such delicious photos!), but Dillon brought home an empty plate and assured me no one was poisoned the next day, which put me at ease.

I’m off to yoga class! What’s for dinner tonight?

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Read 1 Year Anniversary Part I & II here and here.

Sunday (August 8th) was our actual anniversary day, and instead of waking up in a puddle with stiff backs, we woke atop our fluffy, pillow-top mattress. How every morning should start, if you ask me.

As I began to unpack from our little adventure, Dillon had to run out to finish something up for my present (typical ;)). However, when he returned he came bearing a surprise frappacino and powdered donuts! Does my hubby know me, or what?!

Later in the day we exchanged gifts. Ironically, we both stuck to the traditional 1st anniversary tradition and gave each other something made of paper, but both put our own personal spin on it.

Then came the best part of the day…dinner!

We’re always ones to celebrate a special occasion by getting all gussied up and eating somewhere fancy, but this time we decided to stay in and make dinner together. So, we opted for Jenna’s Linguine with Shrimp & Tomato Cream Sauce. You can find her recipe here.

We also shared a bottle of wine that we brought back home from our honeymoon in Cancun a year ago.

All together now.

We paired our pasta with a fresh baguette and olive oil dipping mixture. The entire meal was beyond delicious.

Dillon even went so far to say it’s the best meal we’ve ever made! He also said I had a huge smile on my face the entire time I was cooking. Couldn’t have been when I was shredding the fresh parmesan cheese on top. Or when I chiffonaded the basil. No, couldn’t have been. 😉

After dinner we cut into our wedding cake! The top tier of our cake has been in the freezer for the past year and it was finally time to dig into it!

And, it’s true what they say – it is still as delicious 1 year later!

I didn’t think it was possible, but now we actually have too much cake on our hands! Is it possible to re-freeze it? Seriously, I’m asking.

And that ends the wild celebration of our 1 year anniversary. At the very least we can say an anniversary camping trip will not become a tradition. We’ve been through a lot more than we could have ever imagined in the last year, but we made it out alive!  Here’s to the next one… 🙂

Do you have any anniversary traditions (doesn’t have to wedding anniversary…)?

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