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Love Is Like A Heart-Shaped Pizza

Make Your Own Valentine’s Day Pizza!

Years ago I started buying heart-shaped pizza on Valentine’s Day. I can’t remember the pizza chain that started selling it in town, but there was only one. My sweetheart is a pizza lovin’ guy, so it was a perfect match. Of course, right after you get a tradition started then BAM, that single pizza place stops selling my got-to heart day meal.

Never daunted by food challenges, I decided to heck with delivery, I’m just gonna make my own.

Heart Day Pizza Melts My…Cheese, Of Course.

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Heart-Shaped Pizza Dough: Before

And as if cupid predicted it– making your own heart-shaped pizza is easy. All you have to do is buy pre-made pizza dough at the grocery story and stretch it into the heart shape. What I love about it is that I can make it like a friendship necklace heart; all cheese on one side for my sweetie and lots of veg on the other side for me. These days lots of chain pizza places make heart-shaped meals, but it’s a little more meanginfull when it’s your un-imprefect heart melting with cheesy goodness.

The Trick to Stretching Pizza Dough…

Julia Child taught me this one. To get that specific heart shape, you have to let the dough rest. Here’s what I do…

  1. Flour the dough a little, about 2 tablespoons.
  2. Drape it over the palm of one hand and gently stretch it into a circle with the other.
  3. Lay it down on your cookie sheet.
  4. Start to gently pull and stretch it into a heart, BUT…
  5. Always let the dough rest after each pull. Count to 20, or recite romantic poetry, or something.

Letting the dough rest gives it time to accept the shape you’re pulling it into. Making a heart takes several stretches and pulls, but don’t forget, this is for your true love, so it’s totally worth it.

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Heart-Shaped Pizza Dough: After

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curly-Q Me, Please!

Yes. I bought a spiralizer just to make curly fries.

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I have no shame. I’m also not a cooking gadget girl, so this was truly a spontaneous craving purchase on my part. Luckily the spiralizer and the recipe from Vegetarian Times did not let me down!

Curly Oven French Fries Recipe Review

I love this recipe and keep making it. The seasoned salt is very tasty, so don’t skip it. HOWEVER, I would change one thing. The first time I made these fries, I followed the recipe and boiled them after spiralizing– completely unnecessary and the potatoes didn’t hold up so well. No one wants mush curly fries.

I’ve re-listed it without the boiling and with a link to the original recipe.

Thanks Vegetarian Times!

Curly Oven Fries Recipe with Stephy Adjustments:

Fries

1¼ lb. large Yukon gold potatoes/ or Russet, unpeeled

3 Tbs. vegetable oil

Seasoned Salt

1½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. sugar

¼ tsp. chile powder

¼ tsp. ground coriander

¼ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. powdered garlic

¼ tsp. paprika

Instructions: 

1: To Make Fries: Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2: Cut potatoes into curls with large-toothed blade on spiral slicer. I like the half-moon shapes and loooong curly fries, but feel free to trim them or discard the small fries.

3: Arrange curly potatoes on prepared baking sheets, and season with 1 Tbs. Seasoned Salt (see below).

4: Drizzle with oil, and toss to coat.

5: Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until fries are lightly golden. Might take 20-25 depending on your oven.

To Make Seasoned Salt: Combine all ingredients in small bowl, and set aside.

 

 

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Ginger Pumpkin Pie with a Honey Butter Crust

Hallmark Cards Inc asked me to create a Thanksgiving recipe for their blog, Think.Make.Share. Below are some photos I took to help inspire the illustrator who worked on the post and the link to the recipe. If you like a sweet pumpkin pie with a little gooey honey goodness then this is the pie for you!

http://www.thinkmakeshareblog.com/thanksgiving-dessert-ginger-pumpkin-pie/

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May the Cupcakes Be With You

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is almost here! Being the Star Wars nut that I am, last year when The Force Awakens came out I decided to make the internet famous Princess Leia Cupcakes.

Hold on to your buns– they were fantastic. I’ll warn you, the strands of icing hair was a wee bit time consuming, but as you can see totally worth the cuteness.

Princess Leia Cupcake’s Step-by-Step Transformation:

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I did take the extra step of making my own cupcakes from scratch. Box cupcakes are easy-it’s true. From scratch cupcakes are easy too and they taste SO much better. The quality of the cupcake is richer. Yes, you might have to measure a little more, but just break out the baking soda and do it.

I used Real Simple’s basic yellow cupcake recipe.

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If you need a little extra girl power on your plate this holiday season or are throwing a Star Wars party, go for the cupcakes! Come December 16th, I know I’ll be baking up a batch.

 

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Pancakes Are My Soulmate

To say I love pancakes is the food understatement of the century. Pancakes are my soulmate.

My workplace has one of those 1950’s style cafeterias and every Thursday morning they serve pancakes. When the layoff vultures were circling this year, my first instincts were:

1) Holy crap.

2) Email the cafeteria for their pancake recipe.

They could take my job, but they couldn’t take my pancake joy. Thankfully, the layoff vultures flew away and I got to continue my Pancake Thursdays in the Crown Room cafeteria.

Out of gratitude, I started taking pancake portraits of all of Thursday breakfasts and posting them to Facebook. Just because a pancake has personality doesn’t mean I’m not going to eat it’s sweet, sweet face.

I am a Crown Room pancake expert. I can tell, by taste, when there’s someone different working the griddle. Yeah, it’s intense. I’ve decided the key ingredients to the fabulousness of these pancakes are: Gold N’Sweet pan spray and, of course, the buttermilk.

Behold– for prosperity’s sake–The Hallmark Cards Crown Room Pancake Recipe:

Ingredients:

Canola Oil 2.72 Ounce

Milk Low Fat Buttermilk .5 Gal 1 Pound + 8 3/8 Ounce

Eggs Easy 2/20# 4.32 Ounce

Flour All Purpose Bulk 13.76 Ounce

Baking Powder .8 Ounce

Sugar Gran Bulk 1.28 Ounce

Salt .32 Ounce

Baking Soda .16 Ounce

Directions:

  1. COMBINE ALL LIQUIDS IN MIXING BOWL: OIL, BUTTERMILK, AND EGGS.
  2. MIX TOGETHER DRY INGREDIENTS: FLOUR, BAKING POWDER, SALT, SUGAR AND SODA. 3. ADD DRY INGREDIENTS TO LIQUID. MIX UNTIL JUST MOIST.
  3. USING A LEVEL 8 OZ DIPPER MAKE ROUND PANCAKES–4 OZ COOKED WT.
  4. SPRAY PREHEATED HOT GRIDDLE WITH GOLD ‘N SWEET PAN SPRAY. FRY UNTIL GOLDEN BROWN ON BOTH SIDES.

Pancake On, People.

 

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Need a good vegetarian gravy recipe?

Hold on to your brunch biscuit, people.

Recently, I posted this photo of me and a giant breakfast bowl swimming in gravy.img_0040

And I got several comments about the lack of decent vegetarian gravy recipes. This my food friends is the real deal veg gravy. Trust me because I pretty much ate all that AND had the gravy on mashed potatoes the night before. It was a gravy drenched weekend.

So, where did I eat the BEST vegan biscuits and gravy?

My favorite of all veggie restaurants, The Chicago Diner. If you’re ever in Chicago– just go. Seriously. I’ve gushed about this place before and you’ve gotta eat there. Everything on the menu is a vegan/vegetarian dream come true.

Yeah, but it’s brunch time, HERE– I need a veggie gravy recipe now.

Luckily, I’ve bought all their cookbooks and below is the recipe for ultimate gravy goodness. Eat hearty and enjoy every last lick of that plate.

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The Chicago Diner’s White Sage Gravy from The New Chicago Diner Cookbook

Yield: 4 Cups

Vegetarian Gravy Ingredients:

1 cup vegan margarine like Earth Balance

2 cups minced onion

1 cup rice flour

2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon dissolved in 1/4 cup soy milk

8 cups water or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons fresh chapped sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage

1 tablespoon dried marjoram

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

1 tablespoon white pepper

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

How to cook gravy:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine. Add the onion and saute until it is  caramelized.
  2. Slowly sift the flour into the saucepan, whisking constantly until it is completely blended. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until a golden brown roux forms.
  3. Slowly add the vegetable stock and water to the saucepan, still whisking constantly.
  4. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the saucepan. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer the gravy for 8 minutes, until the desired thickness is reached. Remove from the heat and transfer to a gravy boat.

Cooks’ Note: You can easily thicken up a too-thin gravy by slowly adding 1 tablespoon of flour or nutritional yeast flakes, but be sure to whisk vigorously and constantly while adding it to avoid lumps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Pie That Changed My Life

  
5 years ago I saw the movie Waitress for the first time. I liked it. I wouldn’t say I loved it, but it did make me want to make a pie from scratch–AND that one pie did change my life.

It made me wake up at dawn to practice my pie crust every week. It made me give pie away to others. It made me work with my hands, my brain, and most importantly, my heart. It made me look at my world in a whole new way, through my tastebuds.

It made me want to live a whole pie life–AND I do. Any time I doubt who I am, or why I exist, all I have to do is make a pie and remember when I decided to actually start living and licking all my pie plates clean. 

What was the pie that changed my life forever? The Falling In Love Chocolate Mousse Pie from Waitress. It helped me fall in love with cooking, no telling what it might do for you? 

Recipe:

Falling In Love Chocolate Mousse Pie

Ingredients:

9 inch baked pie crust

1  14oz can of condensed milk

2/3 cup of water

1  4 serving package of cook and serve chocolate pudding

 1 oz. of unsweetened dark chocolate

1 pint of whipping cream

How-To:

In a saucepan, combine condensed milk, pudding, water and mix well.

Over medium heat, add chocolate and stir until melted. Whisk the mixture until it thickens.

Remove from heat. Cool then put in fridge to chill throughly (an hour is good).

Stiffly whip cream using a mixer. 

Fold whipped cream into chilled pudding mixture and beat until smooth.

Scoop into pie crust. Put it in the fridge and chill until set.