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Who here remembers pizza pops?  Who here still eats pizza pops?  Who here has searched for pizza pockets to no avail?  Do they make those anymore?  Well, if you are still eating pizza pops, then I got a substitute for you.  Trust me, I am no one to judge what you put in your mouth.  I am known to eat Ichiban noodles, Nacho cheezies and Cheese Whiz.  I know, some of  you are probably dying right now.  I guess, I go by the motto of moderation.  I don’t eat this crap on a regular basis, but  I do enjoy it fully when I do!

Anyways, when I was young, pizza pops were not on the menu.  Mom thought they were full of garbage (or they were expensive?).  One day she came up with the idea of these pizza buns.  Every now and then, she would take a Saturday or Sunday and make a huge batch of cinnamon buns.  Then one time, she put pizza ingredients in the buns instead of cinnamon and sugar.  Eureka! 

Instead of pulling a store-bought pizza pop out of the freezer, we would pull out one of these sumptuous babies.  How can you beat homemade bread wrapped around the stuff kids crave.  Let’s face it, I am an adult and I still crave pizza, so this is a good one for us too.

Actually, this is a really good take to work for lunch.  These pizza buns freeze amazingly.  Take a couple out in the morning and throw it in your “brown bag” or super hip lunch kit or old bread bag.  Speaking of lunch kits, do you remember your old one from grade school?  I had a super sweet metal one, then I got one of those two decker types with the thermos on the top level.  You know the ones?  I wanna bring those back, but who doesn’t, right?  Ok, back from that (awesomely nostalgic) sidebar – put a bun or two in your lunch kit of choice and pop then in the microwave at school/work.  Perfect lunch! 

So, basically with this post I am telling you that anything goes inside a “cinnamon bun shell”.  For pizza I usually go with tomato sauce, ham and cheese, but the possibilities are really endless.  You could really go for it in lots of different ways and you can definitely do the savory and skip out the sweet all together.  If you make a big batch, why not make half sweet and half savory?  Wow, I am getting crazy!  Now you go get crazy with these and your old school lunch box 😉  Oh and if you need a Halloween costume they can double as Princess Leah buns …

Pizza Buns – from Mama Foodlovas’ Pink Book

I halved the original recipe because the two of us can’t eat that many buns!  It makes about 20. 

4 cups flour

1 tbsp quick rise yeast

0.5 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tbsp sugar

1/6 cup oil (half of 1/3 cup)

1.5 cups warm water

400g deli meat of your choice

500ml pizza sauce

2-3 cups shredded cheese of your choice (or a mix!)

The bread: start with 2 cups of flour, the yeast and salt, combine and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the egg, sugar, oil, and water.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir.  Add the remaining 2 cups of flour.  You may need a little less or a little more.  The dough should be firm.  Knead until combined.  Return to bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Prepare the dishes for the buns to bake in with some cooking spray or oil.  Shred the cheese and get other ingredients ready.

When the dough has risen for 15 minutes, take half of the ball and roll it out into a rectangle type shape.  It should be about half a centimeter thick.  Slather with the pizza sauce.  Not too much or they will be soggy.  Next, lay on the meat in a thin layer.  Finally, sprinkle on about 1 cup of grated cheese.  Do not over do the ingredients or the buns will be too full.  Remember that we still have to roll these up!

Start with the long side and roll towards yourself.  Just a little at a time and try not to tear the dough.  I kinda do it like a type writer.  When you have a long snake of a bun, use a sharp knife and slice it into buns, about 2 inches long.  Place the buns in the prepared dishes.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

When the buns are puffed up, place them in a preheated oven of 350 degrees farenheit for 20 minutes.  I had to let mine bake for about 25 minutes.  Depends how much filling you add.  Let cool and then dig in!

Have y’all ever made pasta from scratch?  Wow, I am impressed if you have.  I have stayed away from that adventure like the plague or like pastry dough come to think of it.  These things can be left to professionals like the big or small pasta brands and like Mr. Foodlova.  So, of course, now that you are reading this post, you know I have been wrangled into doing it.  Trust me, I just sat on the sidelines and watched with anxiety…

A couple weeks ago we glided (ok, we roughly crossed) the English channel on a cruise ship.  Ya, I know, weird.  Me and Mr. F like to do things a little out of the ordinary sometimes, so why wouldn’t we take a boat instead of just flying or catching a train over.  And yes, it was a little bumpy on the way over due to high northerly winds, but that just upped the coolness factor of it all.

Ok, back to the pasta.  So we stayed with some friends in London for the weekend.  Actually it was Mr. F’s childhood friend that we copied by moving overseas.  Come to think of it:  he married a girl from Sk, Mr. F married a girl who grew up 60 km away from her in SK (ya, that would be me), they just a baby, now we are expecting, they moved to London, we moved to Holland – see where this is going?  Turns out that we have been copying them all this time and didn’t even realize it!

Wow, can I stay on topic for at least a paragraph?!  Ok, so we are staying with J and C. and their smiley baby M.  They throw out there that we should make linguine from scratch.  I promptly agree that it is a super idea and then park myself on the couch and wait for them to do it.  I can not be trusted when it come to thin dough that can be torn and flaked and ahhhh!  So, they got down to business with Mr. F.  and really I was busy watching baby M anyways 😉

The dough was whipped up, then fed through a pasta press and voila, we had fresh linguine hanging from a clothes drying rack.  Ya, we got a little creative, but it worked perfectly.  The pasta was then piled into nests, the creamy scallop sauce whipped up by J and then it all came together in minutes.  I didn’t even get a good pick of the whole thing finished because we were too busy digging in. 

So, yes, I admit that pasta making is not that hard (to watch others do).  Try it out if you are adventurous and good luck!   Here’s a link to a Jamie Oliver basic pasta recipe.

Well, it’s been a while since I last updated the links section of this blog.  I have been frequenting a few more and want to share.  Check out the side bar for direct links and under What I’m Reading for discriptions of 101cookbooks, davidlebowitz and…Ricardo!!!  He has risen from the ashes of his cancelled magazine and has come back in web form with lots of cool add-ons on the new site.  If you could have seen my face when I landed upon this discovery, well, it might have matched my face this weekend when I bought 2 (yes, 2!) new pairs of super-euro-flat-leather-knee-high-boots.  A girl’s gotta keep the tootsies warm when the cold weather descends.  Why not go stylie?  Enjoy!

If you bucked up and made your own pumpkin puree for that Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, then good on you!  Also, you may have a tiny bit leftover.  Ok, maybe you have a boatload left over.  I sure do.  So, without a freezer to store that goodness up, I had to come up with some pumpkin puree recipes.

Turns out, I really like pumpkin containing recipes.  I have this pink notebook that my Mom wrote all my favorite recipes in for me when I moved away from college.  The cover is ripped off then taped back on, there is a phone number scrawled on the front and inside, the first few pages are graced wit my Mom’s gorgeous handwriting and then the rest are from yours- truly (trying to copy that cursive of hers).  The pages are well used, there are stains everywhere on it, but that just shows how much I use it.  Nothing like the homecooked stuff Mom makes.  Through the years I have added many recipes.  Some I have never even made (what?!), others I come back to often. 

The pumpkin recipes are ones that I have added to the “pink book”.  I have 3!  And trust me, I needed 3 recipes to use all this stuff up 🙂

Number 1.  Pumpkin Swirl Brownies.  I am not a huge fan of brownies, I know – who am I?, but that is just a fact.  These brownies really get me going, though.  They are swirled chocolate with a warm spicy pumpkin batter.  They are moist and lovely.  They are by Matha Stewart and blogged about on several other blogs.  Check out this one for the recipe.  Mine were gone before I got the camera out!

Number 2.  Pumpkin Cookies.  These hail from a ways back.  I don’t even know where they come from, but according to my handwriting, looks like it was from around 2001-2002.  I know, I can date my own writing.  Can’t you? These cookies are a little more like muffin tops.  They are light, fluffy and spicy. Yum!  Substitute the raisins with chocolate chips and you will get that sweetness you might want in a cookie.  Or try this number.

 

0.5 cup softened butter

1.25 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 tbsp apple sauce

1 egg

2.25 cups all purpose flour

0.5 tsp ground ginger

0.5 tsp cinnimon

.25 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

Mix wet and dry seperately and then combine.  Drop by the spoonful on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper).  Bake at 350 degrees farenhiet for 12 minutes.

Number 3.  Pumpkin Muffins.  These guys are so right for the morning or for a snack or right before bed or warmed up and spread with butter…. Did I mention that I love these?  It says here in the book that I got the recipe from a program called Fuel For Gold back at the Olympic Oval, but I remember them most from my last roomie – Tobes!  I can’t eat these without thinking of her. 

  

2 cups whole wheat flour

1.5 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp groung ginger

.25 tsp salt

1.5 cups raisins (can substitute in chocolate chips)

1 398ml pumpkin puree (about 1.75 cups puree)

2 cups buttermilk

3 eggs

1.25 cups raisins or chocolate chips

Mix the dry and wet seperately and then combine.  Bake at 375 degrees farenheit for 18-22 mins.  Makes 24 muffins.  If you want to frost with cream cheese icing: combine 1 cup icing sugar with 1 block softened cream cheese.

Now get baking!  And if you make this all and you still have some leftover, ahem, then bake another pumpkin pie.

If you haven’t gone out and bought canned pumpkin yet for that Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, then wait!  I have a little project for you.  Make your own.  You know how I like to make my life harder and make everything under the sun from scratch.  Ya right!  But the sad fact is that I could not find any canned pumpkin over here in Delft.  No friggin’ canned pumpkin.

You wanna know why?  It is because Thanksgiving does not exist here. GASP!  You might find this even more surprising if you know Mr. Foodlova.  Thanksgiving just happens to be at the top of his list for holidays.  He did not even celebrate Thanksgiving at home until he started school and found out about it.  His Dutch heritage did not impart this food fest on his family, but once he got a hold of it he ran with it.

This time of year brings many fond memories back to the surface for me.  I woke up this morning to the most spectacular fall day.  Sun shining, blue skies, that smell only fall can bring and the deliciously crisp air.  That fresh air, washing away the sweat of summer, always begs me to put on a cozy sweater and go out to stare at the colourful leaves fluttering against the bluest of blue skies.  It’s the weather that reminds me of the start of the skating season and the feeling that anything is possible for the year to come.  It reminds me of family, like when Dad would get us all to rake leaves (ya right!  we only jumped in the piles – right, Dad?).  It reminds me of great friends gathering around a giant table, just big enough for all of us and small enough to fit into the apartment of the J family.

This year we are missing out on the succulent brined and barbecued turkeys of the past curtosy of the Jez, but we are excited to introduce the day of thanks to our cousins over here in Europe.  Wish me good luck on this venture and pray that they will love pumpkin pie!

Whoever you are celebrating Thanksgiving with this year, I hope it is a great gathering of food and love.  I am thankful for my great adventure in the Netherlands, for my loving husband, my great friends, my amazing family and the new little pea growing inside the pod.  I hope you have lots to be thankful for and I know that whoever you serve your pumpkin pie to will be thankful that you made the puree from scratch 😉

Pumpkin Puree – straight from The Pioneer Women (alt cooking style is from yours truly)

2 small pumpkins or 1 large

All you need for this recipe is that!  Slice the tops off of the pumpkins.  Then cut it in half.  Use a strong stemmed spoon and scrape out all the seeds and gunk.  Make sure you keep the seeds we will use them in the end!  Once cleaned out, slice the pumpkins into segments and line on a baking dish.  No need to peel, yet.

Put in preheated 350 degree farenheit oven for about 45 minutes or until the pieces are very soft.  Remove from oven and peel back the peel.  Break the pumpkin into smaller pieces.  Use a food processor or blender or potato masher (old school!) to turn it into puree.  You may need to add some water if the pumpkin is dry. 

For the alternate cooking style, you can toss the chunks of pumpkin into a pot and steam them.  I ended up having to do this since I did not bake them long enough!  Both ways work, the goal is just to soften up the pumpkin enough for it to be mashed or processed.

Now for the seeds – clean off the pulp and spread out on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle lots of table salt all over them.  Slide the baking sheet into a preheated 200 degree oven and bake for about an hour or until they are golden brown and crispy. Enjoy the bonus!

Everytime I navigate to a food blog I always wonder where their top picture came from.  You know, the one at the top of the blog that features some sort of food.  The Wednesday Chef has some herbs, POC has some lemon rind and mine has some cherry tomatoes looking like juicy red jewels (look up).  Were these pictures taken especially for the top banner or were they part of a photo taken while cooking.  I bet you are just dying to know?!!

Well, ok, you might not be that interested, but I will tell you anyways.  The cherry tomatoes are from a picture I took while making this here recipe.  Now you know!  Mystery solved.  See you next time.

Oh, you want to know the recipe?  (I am so lame.)  Well, it is a snap.  It is quick to whip up and is a really nice meal or side.  Who doesn’t like caprese anyways?  Those short towers of fresh mozzarella, a slice of ripe tomato topped with a leaf of basil and showered in olive oil.  All this recipe does is warm everything up and add some pasta.  You’re gonna love it.

Warm Caprese Pasta Salad

This is one of those recipes that I saw somewhere or watched on tv and made it so many times without a recipe that I totally forget where it comes from.  So…it’s mine now?

1 small clamshell of cherry tomatoes cut in half  (you can substitute in grape tomatoes or diced large tomatoes)

3 tbsp olive or veg oil

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 large buffalo mozzarella ball or several minis

1 handful of fresh basil

2-3 cups dry pasta (your fave)

Start with heating the oil in a pan.  Add the garlic and cook for about 1 min, until the garlic is fragrant.  Add in the tomatoes.  If you are using cherry or grape tomatoes, cut them in half and place them cut side down in the pan (like in the photo above).  Simmer the tomatoes on medium heat and do not stir.

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil for the pasta.  In a large serving bowl, tear up the mozzarella and the basil into bite sized pieces.  I usually go heavy on the basil since I want that heavenly taste with every bite!

Check in on the tomatoes.  When they are soft, you can press them down with a fork.  This kind of mushes them up and turns them into a sauce.  You can now stir and get everything moving. If you want your sauce on the liquidy side, then cover with a lid and simmer on low.  If you less liquidy sauce then let the tomatoes simmer without a lid.

Once the pasta is ready, drain and toss it into the large serving bowl already containing the mozza and basil.  Pour over the sauce and stir.  The mozza will melt and become stringy and the basil will be oh-so-frangrant.  Serve as the entire meal, vegetarian style, or add to a meal as a side.

Foodlova

I'm an ex-Olympian and I have a serious passion for food. I guess you could call me a food lova! What about you?

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