Category Archives: Appetizers

Italian Herb Flatbread

Going into this weekend I had one thing on my mind…Relax. I was tossing around the idea of heading to the cape for a little escape because I really just needed a little break. Over the past few weekends, we have been painting the house like nuts and then heading out for the normal work week.

Instead, I stayed around and planned on getting back into the kitchen to make something new and different. Flatbread!

It turned out that my sister needed an appetizer to bring to a party last night, so it was perfect timing. I wasn’t really sure how the flatbread was going to turn out, but I don’t mean to too my own horn, but toot toot! Haha.

I am more excited about it because I hadn’t really cooked much with yeast, and this just felt like an accomplishment.

Italian Herb Flatbread

Ingredients:

1 1/3 Cup Warm Water 2 7g Sachets of Fast-Acting Yeast
2 Teaspoons Honey 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tablespoon Diced Basil 1 Tablespoon Chopped Rosemary
1 Clove of Garlic, Diced 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

1. In a tall container, I used a drink jug, mix the water, honey and yeast. I warmed the faucet water for 10 seconds in the microwave. Set it aside until it becomes frothy.

Flatbread Yeast

2. While the yeast is doing it’s thing, take a large bowl and mix the flours, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and herbs. Once the yeast mixture is frothy, add it to the flour mix. Begin stirring it gently and once you can get your hands into it, knead the dough until it is smooth. Leave the dough in a ball and place it into a clean bowl. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and place it in a warm area for 40 minutes.

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3. While the dough is setting, mix 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, 1 tablespoon basil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let the oil sit until the dough is ready.

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4. Once the dough is ready, cut it into 8 smaller balls of dough. Gently roll them out into thin circles. The flatbread will puff up when they are cooked. Brush the top side with the olive oil mix and place it on a cast iron pan at medium heat, oil side down.

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5. Leave the flatbread on the skillet for about a minute, or until the bread is slightly browned. Then spread the oil on the top side and flip it. If the flatbread springs back when you touch it, it’s cooked. Once the second side is cooked, remove it from the heat and dust it with a little salt.

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6. Cook each piece and let them cool before slicing them up. And Finito!

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When Maggie went to grab the dish at the end of the party, it was completely empty and there were rave reviews. “YOU WERE THE ONE THAT BROUGHT THE FLATBREAD?!”

Great success.

I am really quite happy with how they came out and am already trying to think of new ways to mix it up. Maybe an onion spin on it?? Or parmesan cheese??

 

Easter, Easter, Easter!

Happy Easter

 

Easter for my family was fairly low key which was nice. I actually haven’t been home in a while for Easter and I feel like I kind of forgot what the celebration was like. I woke up this morning around 7 and started making some goodies for breakfast. The star of the meal was by far the Apple Cider and Rum French Toast, that was topped with chunky applesauce from Trader Joe’s. YUMMY.

Apple Cider French Toast

 

Ingredients:

4 Slices of White Bread 3 Eggs
1/4 Cup Apple Cider 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Bacardi Rum

Directions:

1. Mix up the eggs, apple cider, rum and cinnamon until well blended.

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2. Soak the bread lightly in the mix on both sides and cook it on a skillet sprayed with non-stick spray over medium heat. Brown it on both sides.

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And ENJOY! These were such a hit. You could really taste the apple cider in the french toast, with a hint of rum. the chunky apples sauce on top really tied it together.

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I also made some soft, hard boiled eggs. Doesn’t make sense…but it will! I am a BIG fan of these guys and I felt like they were appropriate for Easter considering they are shaped like an egg still. If I had thought about it a little more, I may have added a little dye to the water to color them 🙂

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So fun right??! They are super easy. Boil some water and place the eggs in for 6 minutes exactly. When you take them out, place them right into a cold bowl of water. When they are cool, peel them and enjoy! Love them!!

We enjoyed all of this with some bacon and fresh berries. I’d say a solid showing for breakfast.

After breakfast, we headed out to church.

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Then started getting ready for the main event. I took on the job of just one of the appetizer plates. I decided on a festive Bunny Veggie Platter. I had previously made a cornucopia for Thanksgiving and wanted to do something similar for Easter.

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The bunny is simply made of Pillsbury Breadsticks.

Directions:

1. Take a two pieces of tin foil and shape them into the body and the head of the bunny. Place them next to each other on a greased cookie sheet. Start by placing the bread sticks over the bread sticks over the tin foil, making sure you tuck a portion of each stick under the tin foil. This makes sure that there is something to hold up the bunny once your remove the tin foil. Add on a piece for the nose and ears. I had some leftover, so I made a carrot as well.

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2. Mix 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon of water in a small bowl. With a brush, generously paint it on the bunny. Season with salt to taste and garlic powder to taste. Bake the bunny (and carrot in our case) in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are nice and browned.

 

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3. Once the breadsticks have cooled, flip them over carefully and peel out the tin foil. This is why it is important to tuck the breadsticks around a bit. It won’t have anything to stand on if you don’t.

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Once the tin foil is out, you are done! Place chopped veggies around it to make it look nice. I used two olive slices for the eyes because the dough ones moved a bit when it came out of the oven. One of the eyes baked onto the ear. Not a good look for a bunny.

I think this turned out really well. So festive 🙂

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We had some family come over and had little easter egg hunt for the little girls. It was a lot of fun to watch them run around the yard looking for eggs and getting all excited. I was thinking that maybe we should hide beer and have an adult easter egg hunt. That may just happen next year…

Over all, it was a really fun Easter. Nothing too crazy, but exciting enough!

What is your ideal holiday?? Low key with family or wild and crazy?!

 

Easy and Fresh Tomato Soup

Since moving up to Boston, Brent and I have been planning on buying a house simply because we are both absolutely sick of renting. I don’t really want to throw away rent money anymore and really want to put it into something that has some sort of return. We’ve been talking to some realtors just to get an idea of what is out there and where we stand. She suggested that we just go out and start looking at houses so we know exactly what we want. That way when it pops onto the market, we can swiftly take it off 🙂

Brent had emailed me with a house to consider last week, and the house looked perfect for what we were looking for. The only problem…the address. It was less than a mile from my parents house. I’m thinking we could just break out of the neighborhood that I grew up in. We went looking anyways…and it really gave us a good idea of how to look at the pictures online and translate it into actuality. I think if we were ready to buy a house, Brent would have been all over this one.

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It had a cute little backyard for BBQing, and around it, a perfect little Oreo pen.

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It was definitely a good idea to take a look at a house that we would consider buying, just to get an idea of what’s out there.

After I got back home from the open house, I went to work making some dinner. I wanted to make a soup and ended up making this Fresh Tomato Soup that was delicious and really light. I added some mashed potatoes to give it a little more weight and substance.

Fresh Tomato Soup

 

Ingredients:

3lbs Fresh Tomatoes (Any Kind)
1 Bulb of Garlic 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Thyme, Chopped Salt and Pepper to Taste
2 Potatoes 1 Tablespoon Parsley, Chopped
Parmesan Cheese to Top  1 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth

Directions:

1. Pierce your potatoes with a fork several times and place them on a baking sheet. Cut the top of the garlic bulb off and sprinkle about a teaspoon of olive oil over the bulb. Place it in tin foil and put it alongside the potatoes on the baking sheet. Bake the potatoes and garlic at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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2. While the potatoes and garlic are in the oven, spread out your tomatoes on a baking sheet, lined with tin foil. I used two different red tomatoes and some Sunburst tomatoes. You can take the stemmy heads off the tomatoes now, or after they bake. Whatever is easiest for you.

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3. Over the tomatoes, sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and the chopped thyme. Then put them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the skins split.

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4. Once the skins have split on the tomatoes and a fork goes smoothly into the potatoes, it’s ready to start smashing. First, put a colander over a bowl, and smash the tomatoes. The juice will fall into the bowl below while keeping the chunks in the colander.

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5. In a large pot, smash the potatoes. Use the juice from the tomatoes to help the process.

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6. Next, mash in the garlic from the roasted garlic bulb. They should be easy to just squeeze out of the cloves. Stir in the chopped parsley, the tomato chunks and even some more thyme if you would like. Finish it with a cup and a half of chicken broth. Let it heat for 10 minutes under low heat.

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Serve it with some parmesan cheese on top and enjoy! The potatoes really help to add some substance to the soup without over doing it. The soup is extremely light and full of the tomato flavor. It doesn’t have the big chunks of tomato if you don’t want it to and it’s crazy healthy!! All good things!

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I was planning on keeping some for lunch the next day, but everyone kind of cleared it out. This soup will be making an appearance again. It’s very easy on the labor end, so when you don’t feel like making something, this is the perfect answer.

Do you like your tomato soup to be smooth or full of tomato chunks??

 

 

 

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Brent is a big fan of anything buffalo flavored. ANYTHING. If you are staring at a menu, it’s not hard to guess what the man will get. So, I know this is a bit late, but for the Superbowl, I made a buffalo chicken dip with shredded chicken mixed into it. It’s super easy to make, and much healthier than you think!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

 

Ingredients:

1 8oz Package of Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
1 Rotisserie Chicken 2 Tablespoons Buffalo Sauce
Blue Cheese to top it off

 

Directions:

1. Peel the chicken off the rotisserie chicken and shred it into thinner pieces. Mix it with the room temperature cream cheese (just to make it mix in easier). Then add in the buffalo sauce. Add it in to your liking.

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2. Put it into a flat pan, I used a pie plate. You can top it with blue cheese. Then bake it for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. You want the top to brown slightly and it to be warmed throughout.

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I ended up doing it half and half with the blue cheese and half without because Brent isn’t the biggest fan of blue cheese. The dish was a hit though. It’s very simple, light tasting and over all one of the healthiest buffalo dips. Everyone really liked it and you can really make it as spicy as you would like!

 

If you are having some people over for a movie, a game or anything, this is a great dish. I’m positive this will be a winner because it is healthier for you, and packed with buffalo flavor.

 

What is your favorite dish for game time??

 

I love anything dippy. Chips and dip, veggies and dip. Munchy and dippy for me!

 

Slow Cooked Buffalo Chicken Flatbread

This morning, I woke up at 6 to try out the Jillian Michaels Yoga DVD Workout. Today was supposed to be my rest day after the 7 mile run yesterday. Instead, I wanted to give her DVD a try because it was low impact and yoga does great things for healing muscles. I have also heard GREAT things about her DVD workouts and really wanted to give one of them a go.

I actually really liked it! She has a different take on yoga in the sense that she doesn’t focus on the static movements that many others do. I find yoga to be slightly boring, but Jillian incorporates deliberate movements that target just about every muscle in the body. FOr an early morning workout, it’s perfect. All you have to do is roll out of bed and flip on the TV. Not much to it. And she will DEFINITELY make you sweat.

After the workout, I sat down at the computer for some work. whipped up some breakfast and headed out on the road. For breakfast I indulged in a LOVELY Spinach Protein Smoothie. OH GOOD YUM.

 

Ingredients:

1 Frozen Banana 1 Handful of Spinach Leaves
1/2 Cup Frozen Blueberries 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
2 Full Tablespoons Chocolate Protein Powder

It may not look all the pretty, but it was good. I have been dying to give the spinach deal a try just to see how it went and I really enjoyed it! You will definitely be seeing a few more smoothies with spinach leaves in there!

Work was crazy. I just ran around all day. I also had to deal with some shenanigans trying to find the pups a place to stay on saturday night because Brent and I are going camping with some friends. That was a headache. I got a new dishwasher! Fun! But it’s legit been washing the first load for the past two hours…annnnnnd it’s still going. Mer.

For dinner, I delved into that Slow Cooked Buffalo Chicken and made a little flatbread! Oh and did I do good things! LOVE! It had some spice, and some zest and some SIZZLE! Yup, I said it!

 

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Slow Cooked Buffalo Chicken 1 Tablespoon Jalapenos
1/4 Slice Muenster Cheese, Shredded 1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
Buffalo Saice to Taste 1/4 Cup Onion, Sautéed

Directions:

1. Sautee your onions. Place all of your toppings on your flatbread and bake at 375 for 5-10 minutes depending on how crispy you want it. Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

This was actually very low calorie as well! The bread I used was only 60 calories, and with all of the toppings, we are talking about 200 calories! AWESOME. Now, you obviously need more than that to fill the tank, so pair it with a salad, or in my case…Moose Track Ice Cream!

 

I mean really?! What doesn’t complement something spicy better than something sweet?! Hahaha.

Oh well! I’ve got Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp waiting for me in the morning! She’ll definitely zap the ice cream right out of me.

I was supposed to start the program on Monday, but really needed to get a solid 7 miler in. My plan is to use Tina’s Bootcamp as cross training during my half marathon training. It’s only 6 weeks away! That’s actually terrifying to me. I am only at 7 miles and that’s just a bit over half…Tina’s going to help…I hear she does wonders like that.

What’s your favorite DVD workout?? When do you like to turn them on?? In the morning? Or when you just can’t seem to get the motivation to drive to the gym??

I am really only experienced in Insanity. I LOVE insanity. It gives me no excuses to NOT workout. All you have to do is press play! (I may or may not have stole that line from a Shaun T commercial for insanity)