Weekends are for breakfast at our home. Not just coffee. Not on the run. But a good “sit-down lets talk” kind of breakfast. This past weekend we stuffed french toast with ricotta cheese and topped them with strawberries and Vermont maple syrup. Delectable. Hurry-free. Breakfast.
My sister-in-law Sam is pretty awesome. We all think that my brother Jorge hit the jack pot with her and if we had to chose… lets just say it’s not looking good for my brother :0)
She is a jack of all trades one of which is her love for cooking healthy recipes for her family. A few weeks ago she let us play around with a few toppings to go along with her home made pizza dough…. delish!!!! Here’s her recipe for a strawberry shortcake she shared with me last spring.
Sam’s pizza dough recipe
2 ¼ teaspoons of dry active yeast
1 cup of luke warm water (105°-115°)
¼ tsp of salt
2 tbs of olive oil
2-3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tbs of cornmeal
Mix the yeast and warm water together until the yeast dissolves. Add the oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour. If using a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, attach the dough hook and mix for about one minute, (if using a hand mixer, use the dough hook attachment).
Gradually add the remaining flour (a ¼ cup at a time), until the dough begins to form into a ball and sticks to the dough hook. (It normally takes about 2 minutes).
Grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough in there. Turn the dough so all sides become greased.
Cover the dough completely, letting no drafts get in. Let the dough sit for an hour.
After about an hour you will notice the dough has risen. Gently punch down the dough and roll out on a floured surface, (it helps if you flour the roller and dough also). Preheat the oven now! :0)
Start rolling until all the bubbles are out and place it on a 13” pan that has been coated with cooking spray and about 1 tbs of cornmeal. Then top with what ever you would like. We typically like Hawaiian style with a garlic salt crust. 🙂
Bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Then take the pizza off the pan and bake for 5 more minutes. (I put the pan on the rack under the pizza just incase any spills).
There is something so romantic about making food from scratch. Not sure if it’s the time it takes to develop all of the flavors of a particular dish, or the satisfaction that you get from knowing that no short-cuts were taken regardless of how intricate or simple a recipe may be. Last week, in my efforts to stick with my new year resolution, I opted for the “from-scratch” version of my favorite staple ingredient… peanut butter. It turned out to be creamier, tastier and so much cleaner than anything you could possibly get from a jar and because there are no preservatives I can have it by the spoonfuls!
My favorite way of eating it is over fresh fruit with cracked sea salt over it… delish!
Here’s the easy recipe:
Directions: Blend the peanuts in a food processor for 8-10minutes. I had to stop every few minutes to scrape down the sides and make sure and break up the peanuts. Keep at it… the mixture gets crumbly before it gets creamy. If after the 10 minutes you want a creamier consistency you can add a teaspoon or two of canola/vegetable oil- (I opt out of the extra oil) Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Note: the ingredients might separate over time. Just mix it before you indulge.
On our trip to NYC a few years ago, one of the things I enjoyed the most was going to Central Park, stopping by a street vendor and walking through the park with a hand full of roasted almonds. Since then, I’ve attempted to find a home-made version for these sweet morsels of roasted goodness. Thanks to Pinterest, I found an easy roasted almond recipe that has revolutionized our lives. The best part about this treat is that they’re made in a crock pot which limits your oven use and slowly fills your home with the lovely aroma of cinnamon and brown sugar. I’ve tweaked the original recipe and found that this is what works for our crockpot and taste buds!
1 1/2 Cups of sugar
1 1/2 Cups of brown sugar
3 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Salt
2 Egg whites
2 tsp. vanilla
5 Cups of raw almonds
1/4 Cup of water
Turn the crock pot on high (aside- my crackpot heats up very slowly but once it’s on high it stays really hot) Mix the white and brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. After they’re frothy whisk in the vanilla. Add the almonds and completely coat them with the egg white. Then add the cinnamon mixture to the egg mixture and toss the almonds. (Cooking time varies depending on your crockpot and it’s cooking temperature) Add cooking spray to the pot and add the almonds. Cook with the lid on on high for 2 hours and stir them every 20-25 minutes. Turn the temperature to low, add the water and cook for another hour with the lid off. Continue to stir them every 20 minutes. Line a baking sheet or kitchen counter with parchment paper and spread the almond mixture to cool. Store them in a zip bag in the refrigerator. It took about an hour for the almonds to cool completely. Enjoy!!