Tuesday, November 29, 2011

perfect pizza crust

Pssst... I have a secret to share. Truthfully, I have been keeping this information to myself for several months and it's time I let it out. I found a recipe for the perfect pizza crust. A while back, I had my heart set on finding such a recipe, and luckily the first one I tried was a keeper.

It's thin, it's crispy, and... healthy! Well, healthier than store-bought dough and take-out! With a few simple ingredients, you, too, will be on your way to making gourmet pizza that will impress friends and family! You can thank me later.

Ingredients for 2 pizzas (adapted from SparkPeople.com)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (if you don't like wheat, just use all-purpose)
1.5 tsp (or 1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1/2 - 1 tbsp olive oil
Cornmeal for sprinkling (optional. I didn't use it)
1 tbsp each garlic powder, italian seasoning, onion powder, or whatever spices you want (to taste)
Pinch of sugar

1. Mix a pinch of sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Wait for 10 minutes or until it gets all foamy.

2. Pour into a large bowl and add flour, salt, seasonings, and olive oil. Combine. Let me just say a good dose of garlic salt or powder is an excellent addition and adds tons of flavor!

3. Knead dough for 6-8 minutes until you have a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (add a bit more flour if it's too sticky.)

4. Cover and let dough rest for 20-30 minutes.

5. Lightly grease 2 12-inch pizza pans (or cookie sheets. I made rectangle pizzas.) Sprinkle the pans with cornmeal if you choose. I skip this step.

6. Divide the dough in half. Place each half on a pizza pan and pat it with your fingers until it stretches over the whole pan.

7. Try to make it a little thicker around the edges.

8. If desired, pre-bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. This gets the crust extra crispy! You can skip this step and go ahead and add toppings if you want.

9. Spread pizza sauce on crust and add toppings of your choice.

10. Bake at 425 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until bubbly and hot. Bake 10-15 minutes if you did not pre-bake the crust (step 8).

[half tomato & basil, half pepperoni]

*If you don't want to use all the dough, you can freeze it. Just form the extra dough into a ball, rub a little bit of olive oil over it, and place it in a freezer bag. When you want to make a pizza, take the dough out of the freezer and allow to thaw a few hours before using. One pizza is definitely enough to split between 2 people! [Picture shown is half of dough.]

Bon appetit! xo.

Monday, November 28, 2011

cranberry crush

I am crazy about cranberry this season! As I start to bulk up my cold-weather wardrobe, this color is going to be essential. Whether you add a single item for a pop of color, or go monotone with a berry sweater dress over berry tights (with some brown boots--ooh la la!), this color is gorgeous on every skin tone and is perfect for fall/winter. Here are a few cranberry-hued items that I absolutely adore at the moment. xo.

1. Women's Jersey Maxi Skirt, Old Navy; 2. Velvet Bow by China Glaze (Limited Edition), ULTA; 3. Sparkle & Fade Drapey Open Cardigan, Urban Outfitters; 4. Ribbed Cable Knit Tights, Forever 21; 5. Classic Knit Beanie, Forever 21; 6. LC Lauren Conrad Chiffon-Trim Sweater Dress, Kohl's.

Friday, November 18, 2011

mix it up

Until recently, it was a fashion faux pas to wear the colors black and brown together. Mixing a brown belt and black shoes gave the impression you got dressed in the dark! I am happy to say the times have changed and this "rule" has been tossed out the window. This color combination is beautifully chic and I am obsessed. It takes a little work to make this look appear effortlessly thrown together, but the results are worth it. Happy mixing! xo.

1. 1969 Always Skinny Jeans, GAP. 2. AE Sequin Scallop Tank, American Eagle. 3. 3/4 Sleeve Ruched Cuff Blazer in Camel, Forever 21. 4. Knit Animal Print Scarf,Banana Republic. 5. Dimpled Teardrop Earrings, Forever 21. 6.Ciao Bella Tabby Two Tone Riding Boot, DSW. 7. Front Pouch Pocket Tote Bag, Urban Outfitters.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

holiday party outfits

I don't know about you but I just LOVE a good excuse to get all dressed up! This time of year is usually filled with a few parties and family gatherings so I have put together a few outfits that are sure to dazzle this season! xo

Mesh Insert Sparkle Sheath Dress, New York & Company. Dimpled Geometric Bracelet, Forever 21. Mossimo Prue Satin Platforms, Target.

Off Shoulder Metallic Stripes Top, Forever 21. Classic Skinny Jeans, Forever 21. AEO Glitter Ballet Flat, American Eagle.

One Shoulder Flutter Dress, Express. Chain Fringe Earrings, Forever 21. GO MAX Suedette Platform Pumps, 15dollarstore.com.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

healthy baking tip

Okay people... I just made some cookies for the Thanksgiving luncheon at work tomorrow, so I'm declaring the holidays are officially upon us and it's time to talk about baking. (They are half peanut butter, half double chocolate chunk if you were wondering.)

You can't taste the difference::
If it isn't apparent already, it should be noted that a.) I LOVE sweets, namely the carb-y kind and b.) I try very hard to make healthy eating choices. I'll admit sweets are my weakness and my downfall--I can't ever give them up! So what do I do? I make ingredient substitutions.

An excellent way to cut some calories and unnecessary fat from your baked goods is to substitute half of the called-for oil with unsweetened applesauce. Hallelujah! It's pretty much a given that most baking recipes will call for vegetable oil, and that stuff has a ton of calories.

 Non-fat yogurt is also a great option to substitute for butter or oil. One more healthy substitute is avocado. Yep! Check it out. I promise that you will not be able to taste a difference in your baking but you will feel great knowing you cut out a bunch of calories! *Make sure you check out the links to learn what the ratios of the substitutes should be. Normally, you only substitute a portion of the called-for ingredient rather than all of it.

Let me know if you try this out and how it worked out for you! xo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

thai peanut chicken lettuce wraps

Love Asian cuisine but looking for a meal on the lighter side? If so, I'm about to make your day! :) I have a quick, EASY dinner recipe that is relatively healthy and has just a few ingredients.

2 servings
2 chicken breasts or 6-8 tenderloins*
1/4 cup Soy sauce or Sesame Ginger salad dressing (optional)
1/2 cup Thai peanut sauce
1 head of lettuce, washed
Rice noodles (optional)
*Ground turkey can be substituted for the chicken.

1. Marinate the chicken overnight in the soy sauce or dressing. This step is optional but it gives the chicken a little extra flavor.

2. Once the chicken is thawed and marinated, cut it into small, bite-sized pieces.

3. Toss the chicken on a frying pan and cook on medium-high heat until no longer pink in the center.

4. Turn off the heat. Put about a handful of peanuts (or however many you like) into the pan along with the peanut sauce. 

5. Stir the chicken around with the peanut sauce and peanuts so everything is nicely coated.

6. Serve immediately on pre-rinsed lettuce leaves. Sprinkle some rice noodles on top for extra crunch, if desired. White rice and broccoli would be the perfect complement to this dish!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

holiday gift guide

It may be a little too early to hear the sleigh bells ring-a-linging but it's not too early to start thinking about gift ideas for the holidays! This time of year seems to fly by and somehow I always end up scrambling on Christmas Eve with the rest of America searching for the perfect gift. Avoid the mad rush this year and start a little early!

I have created a gift guide for the guys and gals in your life of gifts they are sure to love! Happy shopping! xo

1. Kindle Fire, $199, Amazon.com
2. Essie Winter 2011 Mini Cube, $17, ULTA.
3. Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Rollerball, $18, ULTA
4. Carson Trifold Wallet, $30, Fossil.
5. Babycakes Cupcake Maker, $29.99 (sale), Kohl's.
6. American Eagle Suede Moccasin, $39.50, ae.com.
7. GQ Magazine subscription, $15 one year, GQ.com.
8. Dogeared 'Sisters' Reminder Pendant, $68, Nordstrom.
9. Angled Rim Crackle Stemware, $4.99 each, Pier 1.
10. Orka by Mastrad Half-Moon Fondue Set, $38.89, Target.com.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

healthy breakfast smoothie

My husband and I have been really into breakfast smoothies for the past few months. They are simultaneously refreshing, cleansing, and satisfying, not to mention jam-packed with essential vitamins and nutrients that will curb your appetite until lunchtime.

After reading several health food blogs, I've picked up knowledge about various superfoods and what to combine to create a delicious smoothie. With this knowledge I have created an awesome smoothie recipe that is just as yummy as Jamba Juice without the added sugar! Score.

Serves 1-2
1-2 cups frozen berries (I use a mix of blueberries, blackberries, & raspberries)
2 heaping spoonfuls of plain nonfat greek yogurt* (I use Fage)
1 1/2 -2 chopped bananas
1 stalk of kale, cut or pull off the leafy part to use and throw stem away
1 cup orange juice (use light or reduced sugar if you can find it)
4-5 ice cubes
2-3 spoonfuls of orange flavored fiber powder
1/4 cup water
*Can replace yogurt with a scoop of strawberry protein powder

1. Toss all of the ingredients in a blender and use the "ice" setting for a few seconds to break up the frozen berries and ice cubes. If the blender seems to be stuck, your mixture may be too thick--add water or orange juice to help it mix better.

2. Once the slightly irritating grating noise of breaking ice has quieted down, switch to the "puree" setting and continue blending for about 30 seconds to make sure the kale gets very finely chopped. We want to minimize the chances of getting green things in our teeth (though it still happens occasionally. Just brush really well after.)

3. Divide the smoothie into two cups if you are sharing. If you aren't sharing, this makes one BIG awesome smoothie.

If you want a little something extra with your smoothie, do what I do and eat a half of a grapefruit! I split one with my hubs every morning, and it is delicious. Visit the ladies at the Tone It Up! Blog to read about the amazing health benefits and qualities about grapefruits. xo.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

a cozy nook

I recently purchased a papasan chair from Pier 1. It has been on my wishlist for as long as I can remember; every time I would meander through that heavenly retail paradise, I would faithfully seek out those chairs and be reminded just how amazing they are. 

Now, I am in the process of creating a lovely reading nook in my 
 cozy bedroom. I LOVE to read, but reading in bed never ends well for me. Zzzzz...

Here's a little inspiration board I created of items for the perfect cozy reading nook. What do you think? xo.

Papasan Chair, Pier 1. Chunky Tassel Throw, West Elm. Jane Eyre eBook, Amazon Kindle Store. Charles b 18" pillow, CB2. Large Curved Basket, West Elm. Holman Shelf, Pottery Barn. Yale Gurney 'Love on the Brooklyn Bridge' Canvas Art,Overstock.com. Home Arc Floor Lamp, Target.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

enchiladas all around!

This week I decided instead of grabbing random food items at the grocery store, I would pre-plan my meals for the week and get only what I need.

Tonight I have planned slow-cooker chicken enchiladas. Hooray! Who doesn't love Mexican food? They are so so easy to make and a healthier option than restaurant enchiladas. Plus, they make great leftovers for lunch the next day, if there are even any left! Below is the recipe I created tonight. You can alter it according to whatever you have on hand.

2 servings
Chicken, 2 breasts or 6-8 strips [Frozen or fresh. I use frozen.]
1/2 cup salsa [not pictured. darn!]
2 tsp. taco seasoning
Red enchilada sauce, 10 oz.
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
Dash of chili powder or ground cumin (chili powder contains cumin, so that is what I used)
Dash of Adobo seasoning
Diced green chiles, 4 oz. [warning! these are spicy!]
6 corn or flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Mexican blend, cheddar, colby jack, whatever you like!)

1. Place chicken breasts or strips in your slow cooker. Chicken strips take a little less time to cook, so I am a fan of these!

2. Add salsa, taco seasoning, minced garlic, chili powder, and Adobo seasoning on top of the chicken. Set the slow cooker on high for about 2 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Keep an eye on the chicken to make sure it doesn't get too dry. My slow cooker is very efficient so sometimes it cooks faster than most recipes call for.

3. When your chicken is cooked all the way through (no pink in the middle!), turn off the slow cooker and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred the chicken, just pulling it apart.

4. Once the chicken is shredded, dump it in a pan with the green chiles. You can add more seasonings or salsa if you wish. Turn the stove on low heat to keep the chicken warm and let it "marry" with the chiles.

5. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Warm up the tortillas in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Scoop a few spoonfuls of chicken into each tortilla and roll them up.

6. Spray a glass baking dish well with non-stick cooking spray. Place each chicken enchilada into the dish side by side. Pour the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas evenly until covered. Sprinkle the cheese on top and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

7. Remove and serve immediately. Dig in!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

scarf style

A scarf is probably one of my favorite accessories in the fall and winter. I love scarves with fun details, whether it's an interesting print or a vibrant color. They can really spice up a ho-hum outfit!

Below, I have rounded up a few gorgeous scarves for some fashion inspiration. Stay warm! xo

1. Large Polka Dot Scarf, Zara, $29.90; 2. Feather Print Scarf, Zara, $29.90; 3. BDG Popcorn Knit Ribbed Eternity Scarf, Urban Outfitters, $29; 4. Manhattan & Co Houndstooth Scarf, JC Penney, $17.99 (Sale); 5. Manhattan & Co Bright Plaid Scarf, JC Penney, $17.99 (Sale); 6. Zigzag Pattern Scarf, New York & Company, $19.95; 7. Mini Polka Dot Scarf, JC Penney, $16.99 (Sale).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...