Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pizza and Sausage cups

Homemade Pizza and Sausage Cups

For those of you who know me well know that....I LOVE PIZZA.  Dave says I could it every day and never tire of it.  He might be right. ;-)  Growing up my brother and I loved making Chef Boyardee Pizza for dinner.  I still like them but have opted to using the JIFFY brand pizza crusts.  They are easy and cheap.  I also use the store brand jar pizza sauce.  Yes, I could make my own but I don't.  I have never made my own sauce because I'm lazy.  My cousin makes a delicious homemade pasta sauce so maybe I should enlist her help in making my own pizza sauce.  We'll see what the summer brings to tackle that project.  So, I usually "doctor" up the sauce and/or the dough.  I sprinkle basil, oregano, rosemary, etc on the crust and prebake it.  Then I add the sauce along with the toppings of choice.  I usually use hamburger that I have browned with sweet basil, oregano, and garlic and it gets extra flavor this way too.  I use whatever cheese is on hand and then grind more herbs on top.  We have not had a bad pizza yet! 

The sausage cups are an item my mom turned me on to.  They are nothing more than browned sausage (I like to use the HOT variety), dried ranch dressing powder mix (I use half of a package to one roll of sausage), and shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, your choice of flavor and amount).  You make these in a muffin tin lined with a won ton wrapper .  Fill with a couple spoonfuls of the meat mixture and then bake until the edges of the wrapper start to brown.  Watch carefully or they will burn!  Serve these as an appetizer.  They also freeze well.  I will unthaw what I need and just warm them in the oven before serving.

Organic Trail Mix

Organic Trail Mix = YUM!

Dave and I are big fans of granola and were constantly buying the pre-made kind.  We started really paying attention to the labels. Wow, they have alot of sugar in them!  I decided to make our own to combat the sugar intake.  We used a box of Wild Harvest Organic Honey Flax Granola cereal. We then paired it with organic dried cranberries (which is hard to find without added sugar), dried unsweetened blueberries, unsweetened dried banana chips, raw cashews and almonds, unsweetened flaked coconut and some mini chocolate chips.  I would recommend the Trader Joe's chocolate chips. 

This was a fantastic mix of flavor and easy to make.  Just dump everything into a mixing bowl and stir.  We packaged into little plastic containers that were great for the "always-on-the-go" people we are!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring is in the air!

Spring is definitely in the air!  I am so glad to see it this year. 
I love the opportunity to share in all four seasons but this year I am happy to be done with winter.
Yes, cold weather be gone! 

I absolutely LOVE fresh cut flowers so imagine my excitement when I walked into Trader Joe's and saw one of my favorite flowers sitting there!   I had to get them.  This specific yellow tulip is beautiful and as well as the early daffodils that I purchased.  I used to work as a floral designer for a number of years and really miss working in that field.  When the occassion arises that I can find flowers for a relatively affordable price I will treat myself.   These were a pretty good deal!  I was able to purchase ten tulips and twenty daffodils for $8.  Not too bad.  I was able to design three vases full and brighten up the house.  It was a good feeling.

Which brings me to this blog entry...I could go crazy buying flowers so I decided, in order to be more economical, that I needed to have my own cutting garden.

For those of you who know me, I am not a gardening fan by any means.  I will do it if I have to but it is not my first choice.  There are bugs!  Eww!  Not a fan!  Since owning our home we have had four large trees removed which has given way to large empty places.  So, I gritted my teeth, put on my gloves and long sleeved shirt and spent last summer and fall trying to establish flower gardens that looked to be worth something.  My wonderful husband planted approximately thirty surprise lilies, that were given to us by our neighbor, in the front yard by our garage.  Our backyard holds alone holds four flowerbeds and the front yard has four too.  Today, we will only talk about the backyard.

There's my cute little corner garden in which I planted some surprise lilies, lavendar, rosemary, foxglove, and delphinium.  I also tend to plant a variety of annuals in the mix here just to change it up year to year.

We also have these two large beds that when we bought the house were already somewhat established. 
The front one had about eight large hostas as a border.  Great!  But, when the people we bought the house from left they took every other one out and left us with four hostas and four gaping holes!  I was a little annoyed by this to say the least.  I had no idea what to fill the holes with.  Not too long after we had moved in we were given a gift.  A neighbor brought us a bag full of giant purple irises from her garden.  I, honestly, had no idea how to plant irises so I just planted them like I thought you should. Yea, irises like to be near the surface and not buried.  It only took me two years to figure this out once I got serious about having a cutting garden.  Who knew?!?  I did my research and found some perennials that I liked and got to planting.  In the front garden there are basically bulbs that will provide me with flowering all spring, summer and fall.  It contains hostas, alium (purple ball looking flowers), surprise lilies, orange asiatic lilies, dark purple irises, pink phlox, a red lily, blue bells, and a little flowering purple shrub.  The back garden used to be nothing but this giant tree which we had taken out.  This is the one I started from scratch.  It now contains peonies, delphinum, lavendar, black eyed susans, echinachea, a strawberry plant, dianthus, meadow sage and coreopsis.  It did pretty well and I hope that it is even fuller this year!

There is another giant spot where a tree used to be that will be one of my projects this year.  It already has lots of established orange asiatic lilies and hostas.  I need to decide what to fill the middle in with.  I am thinking possibly forsythia, peonies or more hydrangeas (my absolute favorite!).  We'll see what strikes me when I head out one day to look at the possibilites! 

Until then enjoy the sunshine!