Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower crust pizza has been on my list since it started making it’s rounds in the Pinterest world. It’s even on my cooking bucket list I made last year. Since I got a food processor for my birthday last year, I finally have the tools required! Last night I cooked this delicious, low carb crust and it was better than I even imagined!

I used this recipe from a Pin, but tweaked it slightly. So here it is:

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

1 medium head of cauliflower
2 eggs
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1 TBS almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat the over and a round baking pan to 450. Start by washing and drying the head of cauliflower. Chop off the stem so you’re just left with florets. Add the florets to the food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds until it reduces to a powdery, light “grain”. I had about 4 cups of cauliflower grain. Place the cauliflower in a microwave-safe dish, cover with a paper-towl; nuke for 5 minutes. Carefully dump the hot cauliflower onto a dish towel or cheese cloth and let cool. Twist and squeeze the cloth to drain the water out of the cauliflower. I got just over a cup of water out of my cauliflower. Add the cauliflower “flour” to a bowl, along with the eggs, mozzarella, parmesan, almond flour, salt, basil, oregano and some fresh cracked pepper. Mix together into a dough. Spray a piece of parchment paper with nonstick oil and press your cauliflower dough into a pizza crust, making sure there are no holes. Mine was about a 10-12 inch pizza. Remove your preheated pan from the oven and slide the parchment paper with the crust onto the pan. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until it starts to brown. Remove from over and top with your favorite toppings! I used sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and olives! Place back in oven for 5-7 minutes until cooked. Enjoy!

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yum.    -a

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Eat This Now

On today’s episode of Eat This NOW:

Monkey Salad: unsweetened toasted coconut chips, unsalted roasted baby cashews, and a banana. The recipe doesn’t specify amounts of each ingredient, but I used 1/8 cup of cashews and 1/4 cup of coconut. It was so easy and so satisfying.

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Also, last night I made green bean fries with dinner using this recipe, and they were amazing. Nothing like real fries, obviously, but crispy and satisfying. Be warned, it was super messy and time-consuming to coat the green beans.

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Best x.

Back on Track

The first week of classes is always exhausting (especially on crutches), but I made it; The last first week of classes ever.  I’m so ready to graduate in May that it’s not even funny.

Also, in lieu of school starting, I’m trying to get my life back on track after being lazy and recovering from surgery over Christmas break. I’m trying to get my eating back on track without overdoing it and giving up after the first week. I’ve started making smoothies for breakfast with a banana, almond butter, almond milk, spinach, and protein powder. They’re easy to make and I drink them on the way to class. I’ve also made sure to make my dinners at least half veggies and my husband and I made a pact to stop eating out until Spring Break (with small exceptions for a birthday and Valentine’s day).

AND, I crossed two items off my cooking bucket list last night with the same meal: zoodles and pesto! I bought this inexpensive appliance from Amazon and dusted off my food processor waiting on standby since my birthday (thanks mom!) and put together a delicious meal. I topped my “zoodles” with fresh spinach pesto (pureed in the food processor) and mixed in chicken apple sausage and artichoke hearts. It was delicious; I highly recommend zucchini as a pasta substitute.

Pesto pasta

A

The Lazy Girls Guide to Brewing Beer

Ok everyone, I realize that brewing beer isn’t the healthiest of activities, but it’s fun and it’s tasty and it makes me happy. Also, you can do it too! That’s why I decided to put together this easy step-by-step guide to brewing an IPA (beware, I am a novice). I haven’t done a recipe in awhile and this is kind of like a recipe! You can order many of the ingredients together online in convenient kits to make it easier. Here is where we ordered ours.

What you need:
Gas burner
Propane tank
10 gallon metal boiling pot with lid
Thermometer
1 lb. crushed grain in mesh bag (we used the one from the kit)
6.6 lbs. Briess gold malt extract (syrup)
1 lb. Briess gold malt extract (dry)
3 oz. pellet hops (we used Warrior, Columbus and Centennial)
5 gallons purified water
Water for sanitization
1 packet yeast
Sanitizer
Air bubbler
Large metal stirring spoon
2 Large plastic buckets (one with lid)
2 bags of ice
Large plastic container for cooling
Beer for drinking while brewing (not a requirement, but feels wrong without it)

IMG_4996Step 1:
Sanitize EVERYTHING and setup. Sanitization is vital when brewing. If bacteria gets into your brew it can change the taste and make it taste funky. You want to mix your sanitizer with water as per the directions and keep it around during your brew. Make sure to sanitize your pot, bucket, spoon, bubbler, thermometer and anything that will come into contact with the batch. Attach your propane tank to burner and grab any of your ingredients that are stored in the fridge. Pop open a fresh beer for drinking (optional).

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IMG_4999Step 2:
Steep your grains. Pour 3 of your 5 gallons of purified water into your large boiling pot and heat your water to between 150 and 155 degrees Fahrenheit. When it reaches temperature, add your mesh bag of grains into the water and maintain the temperature while it steeps for 45 minutes to an hour. You don’t want to let it boil.

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Step 3:
Remove your grain bag and place in a bowl. Set aside. When cooled, lift out mesh bag and drain excess water into bowl. Add back the remaining liquid to your brew. Discard grains (can be great compost!)

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Step 4:
Bring your grain liquid to a boil. Turn off burner and add all malt extract. Stir to prevent malt from sticking to the bottom and sides of your pot. Turn burner back on and bring back to boil. Maintain the boil for 55 minutes stirring often and ensuring it doesn’t boil over (you will be adding hops during the 55 minute boil). Feed excess malt to dog. (ok don’t do this, she just loved it)

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IMG_5040Step 5:
Add hops! There will be 3 hop additions. Set a separate timer after malt is added for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes it’s time for your first hop addition. Pour in your first bag of hops and stir. Set another timer for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes is up, add the second bag of hops and the third bag (the aroma hops) is added when your 55 minute timer for the boil goes off. After addition of last hops, turn off burner, cover pot and let sit for about 3 minutes.

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Step 6:
Cool your wort! Add your ice to a large plastic container and fill with water from a hose or tap. Make sure your container is large enough to accommodate your plastic bucket (fermenter). Immerse your fermenting bucket into the ice water. Add the remaining 2 gallons of purified water to the fermenter. Carefully pick up you boiling pot (WITH GLOVES OR OVEN MITTS) and add wort to the water in the fermenter that’s resting in the ice water. This will cool your wort so you can add your yeast. You don’t want to add the yeast before you cool the wort or the heat will kill it and your beer won’t ferment! Stir the wort often to allow it to cool uniformly. Cool to around 74 degrees Fahrenheit, roughly room temp. (We had to guestimate because someone *cough husband cough* dropped and shattered our thermometer).

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Step 7:
Add the yeast. Sprinkle in the yeast packet and stir vigorously with a sanitized spoon to aerate the brew. Tightly seal the bucket with the lid. Fill bubbler to fill line with sanitized solution of purified water and affix to bucket.

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Step 8:
Store your batch. Store it in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 2 weeks before it’s ready to bottle or keg!

THE END.

Afternoon Bake Fest

Yesterday I suddenly had the urge to bake, and I hate baking.  I think it’s because I like to be able to only vaguely follow a recipe and with baking it’s more of an exact science. Rising, kneading, mixing; it won’t work unless your measurements are right! Plus, I like what I cook to look pretty (it’s the perfectionist in me), and whenever I bake….it’s not pretty.

I can't wait to bake!

I can’t wait to bake!

I decided to use this sudden baking compulsion to begin on my cooking bucket list. My sister joined in on the festivities and we picked 3 different recipes. I chose to bake a pumpkin pie (100% from scratch), my sister chose to bake orange chocolate chip scones and then we ended the evening with a pretzel twisting competition.

I used this pumpkin pie recipe. It was actually hard to find one that called for fresh rather than canned pumpkin. Honestly, the pumpkin pie crust was a struggle, and my little pumpkin’s yield was low; I was very skeptical, but it still turned out delicious!

Baking CollageKatie’s scones were delicious; crisp on the outside and soft on the inside ! We paired them with whipped cream, because what doesn’t taste better with whipped cream?

Baking6But, my favorite recipe of the day ended up being the soft pretzels! The recipe was so simple, but I was so impressed! It was also fun rolling, twisting and shaping them- there were some REALLY fat, misshapen and ugly pretzels. I don’t think my sister or I have a future career in pretzel-making. They paired perfectly with the sweet dijon sauce.Baking Collage2 Baking

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Best x.

My Cooking Bucket List

In an attempt to rev up my passion for cooking I’m creating a cooking bucket list. A list of foods that I want to make (or try to make) from scratch. I need a challenge and I’m tired of my old recipes. (I’ve linked to the ones that I’ve completed!)

  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Pasta
  • Stuffed Peppers
  • French Onion Soup
  • Croissants
  • Gnocchi
  • Fish Tacos
  • Lemon Curd
  • Pesto
  • Cauliflower Pizza Crust
  • Zoodles
  • Perfect Grilled Salmon
  • Lettuce Wraps
  • Tortillas
  • Egg Rolls
  • Ratatouille
  • Pad Thai
  • Grilled Pineapple
  • Crepes
  • Gumbo
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Crab Cakes
  • Yorkshire Puddings
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Ricotta
  • Bagels
  • Almond Milk
  • Scallops
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake
  • Hummus
  • Macarons
  • Sushi
  • Tandoori Chicken
  • Fried Pickles
  • Ketchup
  • Waffles
  • Black and White Cookies
  • Scones
  • Bread Pudding
  • Shrimp and Grits
  • Pretzels
  • Risotto
  • Something with Rhubarb
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
  • Swiss Chard

Panera Bread Autumn Squash Soup

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Ever since I first tried Panera’s Autumn Squash Soup, (paired with the Fuji Apple Salad, yum!) I fell in love. It’s so creamy, sweet and delicious; the perfect comfort food. I began searching the internet for the recipe. Panera doesn’t reveal the recipe, but there are plenty of copycat recipes out there. This one in particular looked easy and delicious! I used it as inspiration for my soup! Now that the soup is no longer being offered at Panera (it’s seasonal), I realized I needed to cook it myself!

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Panera Bread Autumn Squash Soup Knock-Off

1 package of frozen squash (12 oz) defrosted
1 can of pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1 onion finely chopped
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sweetener (I used turbinado sugar)
1/2 cup cream or half and half
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Salt to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp)

Heat butter in a big pot over medium heat. When heated, add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes until soft. Add in pumpkin, squash, apple cider, broth, salt and spices. Heat for about 10 minutes, turn down if it begins to spit. Add in honey and sugar and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Lastly add in cream and heat through. Using a hand blender on low, stir the soup until it reaches a smooth, creamy consistency. Serve hot.

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How to Build the Perfect Breakfast

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I’m a HUGE breakfast/brunch fan. It’s my favorite meal to cook. Until recently, breakfast to me always included cereal, toast, oatmeal, pancakes, bagels, waffles or other grains. It was always high in sugar and I would feel hungry a couple of hours later. In September I did the Whole30 Program and was completely lost as to what to eat for breakfast. I started out just eating eggs and that was it. I knew I had to be more creative so I started playing around in the kitchen. My on-the-go paleo breakfast will always be egg muffins (recipe here), but when my morning is a little more relaxed I love to make a big roasted breakfast! If you are following a strict paleo diet use sweet potatoes, coconut oil, and remember have your coffee black!

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1. Start with potatoes. Red potatoes, fingerling potatoes, sweet potatoes, any potato of your choice. Wash well and cut into small 1/2 inch cubes. I like to leave the skins on because they taste delicious and crunchy when roasted. Put your potato cubes in a large bowl and mix in the seasonings! Definitely sprinkle some salt and fresh ground pepper on the potatoes followed by any spice of your choice. I like using garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika (for a little kick). Coat the potatoes with a small amount of oil. I like using olive oil or coconut oil! Roast your potatoes at 425 for about 20 minutes or until crispy!

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2. Load up on veggies. I always struggled with adding vegetables to my breakfast. I just found it hard to stomach greens in the morning. I found that if I roasted the vegetables though they were much more enjoyable. I like using broccoli, carrots, peppers, kale, zucchini, cabbage and mushrooms. Chop up veggies of your choice, coat with a little bit of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes on 425. You’ll find yourself loving kale for breakfast in no time!

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3. Bacon. Regular bacon, turkey bacon, veggie bacon….just any kind of bacon. You don’t need much bacon to add flavor to your dish. If I’m cooking breakfast for my husband and I, I use 3 slices (2 for him and 1 for me). I usually like it crunchy and chop it up to add to the mix. If you absolutely don’t like bacon try using black beans!

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4. Top it off with an egg! I like cooking my egg over medium because I love to dip my veggies in the yolk.

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5. Avocado. Avocado. Avocado. I LOVE avocado. I always think the best combinations are bacon & avocado and egg & avocado, so obviously all three together are amazing! So slice it up and don’t be afraid of the fat! It’s good for you.

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6. Coffee. No breakfast is complete without a  hot cup of coffee!

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Zucchini Pizza Boats

I love Thursdays because it’s the day that my husband and I both have off.  It always starts with coffee in bed while we watch crappy TV, followed by epic brunch. Today we got our butts out of bed and took the dogs for a walk at the park. I can’t deny that autumn in Savannah is beautiful!

Epic brunch- roasted potatoes and broccoli with mushrooms and black beans topped with an egg and avocado

Epic brunch- roasted potatoes and broccoli with mushrooms and black beans topped with an egg and avocado

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For dinner today I wanted to finally try my hand at a recipe idea I’ve seen floating around Pinterest for years now, zucchini pizza. There are about a billion different recipes online already so I decided to ignore all of them and make up my own to add to the mix! I decided zucchini pizza would pair perfectly with the glass of Cabernet I had my eye on for tonight (P.S. they went perfectly and perhaps I had another glass). For this recipe I decided to keep some of the zucchini “pulp” you scoop out to make room for the toppings because it seemed wasteful to throw it away. Just mix it in with the sauce and you won’t even notice! Also, I found these adorable mini pepperonis that were the perfect size for the pizzas. Feel free to jazz the recipe up a little with any topping of your choice.

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Easy Zucchini Pizza Boats

3 large zucchini
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup mini pepperonis (or topping of choice)
Fresh pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Wash the zucchini well and dry with paper towels. Cut off the stems and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inside of the zucchini into a small bowl leaving about 1/4 inch around around the edges (I used a grapefruit spoon to scoop it out!).  Chop the zucchini pulp and mix half of it with the tomato sauce, discard the rest. Using your hands, (if you’re a messy cook like me) rub the zucchini down with olive oil. Line zucchini on the baking sheet and fill with tomato mixture. Top with pepperoni, cheese, and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.

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Healthy Turkey and 3 Bean Chili

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I love eating a big bowl of chili in the winter time! I always load it with veggies and beans so I don’t feel guilty about eating it. Whenever I cook chili, I usually just throw in whatever veggies are just hanging out it the fridge and I never measure anything when I cook. I decided to actually put it in writing to share with you! I use low fat turkey instead of beef and 3 kinds of beans, but you could really use any kinds of beans you want. Make sure to rinse the canned beans before using because those canned beans are loaded with sodium. My husband absolutely loves this chili and his father is a firefighter, so he knows good chili! I usually make one big pot and we will eat it throughout the week for lunch or dinner. Leftover chili always tastes better anyway because the spices and juices have had time to really develop their flavor. Sometimes I serve the chili over brown rice or with a slice of whole wheat toast, or you can just eat it by itself. It’s that good!

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Healthy Turkey and 3 Bean Chili

1 lb ground turkey
2 cans tri-bean blend (or any beans of your choice) drained and rinsed
1 can 28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 bell pepper chopped (I used an orange one)
1 onion chopped
1 zucchini chopped
2 stalks celery finely minced
1 carrot chopped
1/2 small head of green cabbage shredded
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 32oz carton veggie broth
4 TBS olive oil
3 TBS chili powder
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 TBS garlic powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBS italian seasoning
1/2 TBS pepper
salt to taste

Brown the turkey in a small skillet over medium and set aside. In large pot add olive oil and heat over medium heat. When heated add onion and sauté for about a minute. Add the pepper, zucchini, celery, carrot and cabbage. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until vegetable are tender. Add the turkey to the veggies and add in all your spices. Stir over heat for a few minutes until you can really smell the spices cooking. Add in the beans, crushed and diced tomatoes, corn, and vegetable broth and heat to boiling. Cover and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. Serve hot.

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