food, travel, lifestyle, and a hearty serving of motherhood

Month: February 2013

Pizza Party!

Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t a party, and instead, more of a it’s-Sunday-and-I’ve-been-drinking-wine-all-day-with-my-girlfriends-and-now-I’m-craving-cheese-and-carbs epiphany.

Nonetheless, delicious pizza happened this weekend.


Everyone has their own method to making pizza. Some use frozen dough, some make their own. Some are sauce fanatics, some prefer a white pizza. Some indulge in meats galore, some stick to veggies-only. Given the fact that I had a pretty decent wine buzz going on by dinner time, (and the fact that Rich and I stick to seafood when it comes to proteins), I decided to make these mini pizzas with just the basics: cheese, veggies, and fruit.

I had some Filone rolls (similar to small baguettes) lying around, so I sliced them in half lengthwise to use as the crusts.

Next, I added thick slices of fresh mozzarella to each pizza, and then split into two variaties:

Halved red grapes, goat cheese, and rosemary…


And for the other, baby bella mushrooms, oregano, and a generous amount of crushed red pepper flakes…


Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese gets all bubbly and gooey, and you just can’t take it anymore.

My favorite thing about making these little guys — SO EASY!
The bread is ready to house melty and delicious cheese!
No kneading!
No rising!
No rolling!
Easy peasy.

Also, the rectangles remind me of elementary school pizza. Which is kind of nostalgic and oddly endearing.

Yum, enjoy!

Tomato Soup with Gruyere Croutons

The weather here in Apex, North Carolina (the peak of good living) has been all over the place. Sunny and cold yesterday. Cold, dreary, and rainy today.
Should be sunny again tomorrow, whew!

Rich and I made Tomato Soup with Parmesan and Croutons from Real Simple Magazine a few weeks ago, and it was so easy and soul-warming that we decided to make it again.


Instead of Parmesan and homemade croutons, I used baguette slices to make crostini into cute little Gruyere panini with my George Foreman grill.


Really, any kind of bread/cheese combination is delicious with a steaming bowl of tomato soup, right? Okay, well maybe not ANY. But most!


Go to the recipe, and try this easy and scrumptious winter warmer!

French Onion Soup

Throw your Tony Bennett vinyl on the record player (ahem, or turn on the Pandora station), light some candles, and get ready for your house to smell INCREDIBLE. You have to make Tyler Florence’s French Onion Soup for dinner.

There is something so romantic about French onion soup. It’s a soup made with care. The onions take time to caramelize, the wine deglazes the pot, pulling up all of the flavorful bits and pieces, and the salty gruyere and bread combine beautifully underneath the broiler. On Sunday, I knew I wanted to give this soup a try. I assumed that it would be difficult and time-consuming. I was wrong.
This recipe is easy, cheap, and delicious.



I went with a spicy Shiraz as my red wine of choice for this recipe, but this soup can handle any rich, full-bodied red. Choose something that you know you’ll enjoy drinking a big glass of with dinner!

When you get to the end, opt for putting the whole cup (if you have some of the cute little soup cups with handles) in the oven under the broiler on low (or high, but be sure to keep an eye on the bread and cheese!) Make sure you really pile on the gruyere, too. Mmm…



I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I did. It’s going to be a favorite around our house for a while!


Mardi Gras King Cake


I have been to New Orleans once before… around this time of year, in fact. Arriving roughly one week prior to the actual Mardi Gras festivities is wonderful. After sleeping in, enjoying chicory coffee and King Cake for breakfast at
The Burgundy, I was able to experience the hustle and bustle as locals prepare for the event that takes months of planning and organization. As I walked along Burgundy, Dauphine, and Royal Street (on my way to the French Quarter, of course), I watched as men carefully assembled made-from-scratch politically-charged floats to later be inaugurated into the Krewe du Vieux parade.

The architecture of New Orleans is unique and, for the most part, constant. Homes and buildings destroyed during Katrina are slowing being rebuilt in their original creole style. Shotgun houses lines the ever-flat and pot-holed streets, where it appears easier to walk or ride a bike than drive a car. Wrought iron balconies and gates either glisten with a fresh coat of paint or rust with time.
As I wandered the streets of New Orleans, I promised myself that I would return one day.

Richard and I have booked our flight to visit New Orleans in December.
I know, it’s far away… but we are departing on a cruise out of NOLA! It will be his first time in New Orleans; and, I cannot wait to share the food, the architecture, and the jazz and creole history (did I mention the food?) with him. I fully intend to visit inside Preservation Hall this time (if I’m lucky enough to scoop up tickets to a show!), eat even more beignets and oysters than last time, and explore some hidden treasures of New Orleans.

As far as King Cake goes (which isn’t very far, considering the one I made last night is almost gone), try your hand at making one homemade! It was a lot of fun, and easier than one would think. I used an Emeril Lagasse recipe that I found on Food Network, but there are PLENTY of King Cake recipes out there. Just find which one looks most appetizing to you!


Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone!

Roasted Corn and Poblano Soup

So far, I have failed to post as often as I’d like to. (Self, work on this!)

Not to worry, though, as I am diligently hoarding ideas for future posts, so that I always have something to share.

Last week, I made Roasted Corn and Poblano Soup from Martha Stewart Living: January 2013, and OMG was it tasty. It’s a hearty and decadent soup featuring nearly ZERO calories (I know, what more could a girl want in the Winter?), and I’m going to share it with you.


Let’s begin with what you’ll need:

2 large poblano peppers
1 large onion
5 or 6 scallions
2 cans of corn
1 tbsp coarse salt
4 cups plus 3 tbsp water, divided
2 tbsp cornmeal or masa
Queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled, for sprinkling




Start with a few scallions, the poblanos, and the onion (quartered lengthwise, with the root end kept intact).


You’ll also need 2 cans of corn, some cornmeal or masa (I used this oatmeal blend that I had lying around… anything similar to cornmeal works, as we are just using it as a thickener), black pepper (simply to taste), salt, queso fresco (or feta!), and some water.

Yep, this summary of ingredients pretty much sums up why there isn’t much of a calorie content. Psst, that just means you’re allowed to make something heavenly for dessert, right? Anyways, you first want to broil the scallions (reserve 1 or 2 for garnish), peppers, and onion on a baking sheet on your high broiler setting for about 25-30 minutes, turning a couple of times until each side gets nice and charred. The scallions will finish a little earlier than the other veggies, though, so keep an eye on them and take them out early.


Mmmm… the house will start to smell amazing, I promise.


Can we eat them yet?


When your veggies are thoroughly blackened, transfer the scallions to a blender. As for your peppers, peel and discard the charred skin, and begin by cutting them open at the top and throwing away the seeds and stems.



Next, you’ll want to slice the peppers length-wise, so that you get nice thin strips to add to your soup.


You should end up with a little pile of poblano strips!


Ahem, don’t eat them yet! Head back over to your blender where the scallions are waiting. To them, you will add 2 1/2 cups of corn and 2 cups of water…


and 1 tablespoon of coarse salt…


Blend this for about 1 minute, and then transfer the mixture into a skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 8 minutes (until thickened slightly). While waiting for the soup to thicken, whisk together 2 tablespoons of cornmeal with 3 tablespoons of water. When your 8 minutes is up, add the sliced peppers…


Add the reserved 2 cups of water. Also, I added what was left of my canned corn, just because I like a thicker consistency…


Now you may add your cornmeal mixture!


Allow the soup to simmer for a few more minutes. The goal is for it to have, according to the magazine, “the consistency of porridge”. Divide the soup among 4-6 bowls (depending on your appetite), garnish with some extra chopped scallions, sprinkle with cheese, and serve!


With roughly 97 calories in 1 serving (Richard and I only split our soup into 4 total servings), this soup is definitely comfort food without all the fat! By the way, this soup does pair well with a cold Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus (yep, that’s what it’s called).

And again, no judging — I’m on a diet! Well, last week I was.

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