You see I was supposed to be going to a Christmas Craft Show on the weekend, but due to circumstances beyond my control it didn’t happen.
That means, that besides all the cool unique crafts and handmade stuff that I missed out on, I also didn’t get to buy fudge from some of the amazing fudge making folks that tend to frequent the Christmas Craft Show circuit.
I will also be missing another local Christmas Craft Show next weekend.
It’s not like I need fudge. I mean, really. Does anyone need fudge? No. Of course not.
Christmas Craft Show fudge is so good!
I could just make some fudge, I suppose.
I can never make it the way the super fudge makers make it, though.
It’s just not the same.
I have a decent recipe. A few, even.
There are plenty of recipes online.
There is no shortage of recipes, really.
There is merely a shortage of fudge.
I should just forget about it.
But I can’t.
Help me to feel less kooky.
Is there a treat-y food that you have very rarely, but that when you do have it it has to be made a certain way? Or come from a certain place?
Do you like fudge?
(Do you have some? Because seriously, I have needs!)
Feel free to share a recipe or your thoughts on fudge in the comments.
I will share my best fudge recipe here with you all another day, but have you seen this*?
*A very funny tweep – @evilpez4 – shared that and will be blamed in absentia for any and all fudge related weight gain this upcoming Holiday season.
Make Your Own Pizza Night is a long standing tradition at Chez Peady and I will not be the reason it stops.
Not being able to eat delicious, chewy, crispy, fluffy, flavourful pizza crust (without feeling horrible) has put a serious dent in MYO Pizza night for the last little while and, quite frankly, we’ve had a lot fewer MYO Pizza Nights as a result.
I have had rather hit or miss experiences with making gluten free crusts. I’ve made this cauliflower crust and had it turn out great, but I have also made this exact recipe and had it turn out terrible. There are myriads of cauliflower crust recipes now – most are still just a variation on the same theme – and I have yet to find a sure thing.
So this week when I knew we were going to reinstate MYO Pizza Night, I knew I needed to approach it from a more creative place.
First, I prepped the pizzas for my family using pre-baked pizza stone crusts and the toppings they enjoy most which we, pretty much, always have on hand. Everyone has favourites and MYO Pizza Night is a great time to get what you want!
Daddy-O likes lots of veggies, cheese, pepperoni, and fresh jalapeño slices. Muy caliente!
Thing 1 is a carnivore and if the entire pizza could be fashioned out of meats and cheeses he would be praising cheeses!
Thing 2 likes a variety of flavours just as long as it isn’t too spicy.
The easiest way for me to deal with this, usually, is to have everyone make their own, but in the interest of saving time (there was a movie in our FFFN* plans) I just used the pre-made crusts and whipped up two pies! One for Daddy-O (leftovers were today’s lunch!) and one for Thing 1 and Thing 2 to share (again, leftovers for lunch today!).
They turned out great** and everyone was happy with a very simple MYO Pizza Night to ease back in.
Now what the heck was I going to do?
The trouble with needing a gluten free option is that it does take a bit of planning and extra preparation. Oh look! Two things I almost never do for myself! Shocker, eh?
You know what I almost always do for myself though? Think. So, I thought about what I needed and wanted and came up with a simple idea.
I would make a Pizza-Alike. It would have a tonne of veggies and jalapeños and it would not have a crust at all. Weird? Yup. Delicious? You bet your sweet bell peppers, it was!
Here is what it looked like.
This is what I did.
I used a glass pie plate and lined it with pepperoni slices (you could use another meat as a base).
I added my cheese (mozzarella & cheddar).
I added sliced red bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, some sliced jalapeño and a teensy sprinkle of parmesan.
I popped it into a 400 degree oven until it looked all melty, golden, yummy, and the pepperoni was crisp.
When it was ready, I removed it from the oven to let it cool a bit.
I sliced it into six wedges and placed them onto some paper towel and let them sit for a minute so some of the fat would be absorbed. (If you had a fat free or low fat pepperoni, based on this experiment, I’d say use that!)
Then I served up a few slices on a little plate with about a tablespoon of pizza sauce for dipping.
MYO Pizza Night Victory!
So tell me, are you gluten free? Do you eat low carb? Are there dietary restrictions *you* need to adhere to so you can be at your healthiest and happiest?
What alterations have you come up with so you can still enjoy your favourite foods?
Leave a comment and share with the whole class!
*Friday Family Fun Night. It’s a thing!
**The pizza crusts came from Costco and were an experiment. I was so happy they liked them. KISS! Simplicity rules!
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something … Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity.*
Can a casserole be considered creative?
I say, if it renders everyone a) speechless or b) leaves them only able to mutter “mms” and other yummy sounds, it can be!
This is such a casserole.
Simple ingredients, easily thrown together at the end of a long and busy day, that results in yummy noises and a happy, full, family.
Here are the things I connected:
Frozen Hashbrowns (the little diced ones)(I’m sure the shredded ones would work, too.)
Dehydrated Onion Flakes
S & P
Grated Cheddar (I used a pre-shredded three cheese blend)
Into a 9 x 13 pan (I use a glass one) add about a table spoon of olive oil and coat the bottom and sides. (I have a teeny silicone brush for this task and it works well.)
Immediately add the frozen hash browns to the pan. (You can use a lot or a little of any of the above ingredients in this recipe, by the way. It’s difficult to get it wrong. Tonight I used an entire 900 g bag because everyone was really hungry.)
Add some freshly ground black pepper and a teensy bit of kosher salt (careful with the salt!).
Sprinkle about a teaspoon of dehydrated onion flakes over the hash browns.
Next, break your eggs (Tonight I used 9, but you can adjust according to your own needs.) and beat them together (with a fork – oh yeah, fancy!) with a bit of pepper and onion powder (trust me..) and cream. You want the consistency you’d be expecting for scrambled eggs, so adjust egg:cream ratio as needed.)
To the beaten eggs, add a cup of cheese (or a handful.. or as much as you’d like.. or need.. or are limited to) and blend.
Add your peppers and tomatoes.
Pour the egg mixture over the hash browns.
Top with the cooked and sliced sausages, spreading the pieces evenly over the casserole.
Don’t be concerned if it seems like the eggs have vanished because they will fluff/rise up nicely while the casserole bakes for the next 30-45 minutes in the middle of your preheated oven.
I use my nose and my eyes a lot in my kitchen. When it starts to smell like supper, you’ll know you are almost there.
When the hash browns are browning (Hello! They’re hash browns.) on the bottom of the pan (score one for the see through glass pan!) it’s time to turn the oven off.
The centre should be set. (No jiggly casseroles, please and thank you!)
Allow it to cool a little bit, and while it does, the kids can help set the table, so *everyone* gets to sit down to a scrumptious, simple supper – together.
Are you pro casserole or do you prefer your foods stick to their separate quarters on your plate?
Leave a comment and tell me about one of your creations that just works.
Oh, and if you try this let me know what you think of it!
*Source: Wired: UK, 2011, Steve Jobs: A Wired Life, reprinted from “The Next Insanely Great Thing” by Gary Wolf, Wired 4.02, February 1996
Despite the fact that Thing 1’s trumpet book was missing, searching high and low was netting zero results, and I had pretty much resigned to the fact it was never going to be seen again.
It felt like a day for getting things done and since I had the car, had some errands to run, and some ingredients to restock, I headed to Costco.
I think that Costco on a Tuesday morning is your best bet. As compared to, say, Saturday – Oh! I see! This *is* the apocalypse – Tuesday was alright.
I typically put my budget blinders on as I walk through the door and focus on the needs (as opposed to the wants). Today was no different, though the list of needs was long, so it took some time to get out of there.
I promise I can justify every single thing that went into my cart. My splurges were a few gluten free ingredients so I can be well prepared for this journey of mine.
That is a weird word. It’s also weird that I consider basic ingredients to be splurges. Maybe it’s the sheer volume of stuff inside Costco. I’d like a bulk sized bottle of Lemon Juice. Sure I would, but I don’t want two. Where the heck would I put it?
It just feels so … so … excessive. It is weird, isn’t it? (But I digress …)
So, basics were covered (including the awesome chicken that went into our Taco Tuesday dinner!), meal plan ingredients were procured, and I completely avoided certain parts of the store.
Who does that?!
Actually, maybe it’s less weird and more practical… possibly even wise.
Then I caught sight of the Mums.
Did you know I was on Mum Watch? True story.
I have been looking for the giant Costco Mums since August. I am sure that when I was in Ottawa, if I waited until September I was out of luck! So, I am not exaggerating when I tell you I was thrilled to see so many beautiful Mums just waiting to come home with me. So, I did what any wise woman, who just so happens to be trying hard to remember to put herself on her own priority list, would do.
I bought two!
Tuesday was shaping up.
I came home and put everything away. Revved up the CrockPot. Put the giant Mums outside. Turned the pots. Turned them again, so they would be putting their best Mum foot forward. It was a sunny day and I felt very happy I went with my gut instinct and chose YELLOW*. It was a good choice. So pretty!
It was wedged between his dresser and the wall of the closet (which is where the dresser lives) because of course!
I went into the closet to assess the mess and before my heart completely stopped I saw the teeny corner of pink paper and my brain said, “Wait! Don’t die from the shock of the mess just yet. I think that is something.” (Thanks, brain! So specific of you.)
So, I reached down and pinched that little pink corner and whipped out “The King of Pride Rock“. No, no, *not* Mufasa, silly! The sheet music from band.. from last year… which is always tucked inside the trumpet book and ZOMG! THE TRUMPET BOOK!
Okay! I am done** with Tuesday! It’s been excellent and frankly, I do not want to tempt fate by asking for a single thing more.
How sweet it is.
Now, what kind of payback can I come up with to make sure this never happens again? Thing 1 owes me. I can’t get my time back, but I am sure there’s a life lesson*** in this whole scenario.
I’m taking suggestions.
*Well YELL is right in there, so you have to!
**Nope. I managed to get dinner going, go for a walk with my NS BFF, and just before bedtime took the jammified Things for a little drive to return library books and DVDs we had borrowed. The last time I returned DVDs, this happened. Tonight we saw a fawn. So beautiful! It’s been a lovely day.
In a skillet put browned ground beef (or brown it!), leftover burrito filling use it up!), corn (frozen), red pepper diced. Using up lots of bits from previous meals.
Add lime juice and cilantro. About a half a lime’s worth and cilantro to taste. (This is from an organic tube of cilantro in olive oil)
Add chopped tomato and refried beans (leftovers in this case).
Thing 1 took this “action” shot of one of my tricks. I’m snipping red pepper strips with my kitchen scissors. Easy peasy!
Since this is “to taste” I added a bit more red pepper and corn.
Turn off heat. Let mixture sit for a few minutes. The flavours will just keep blending beautifully. This is a good time to melt your butter.
Yes. Butter! (About 1/3 cup. Melted. To be brushed on the wrapped Chimichangas.
Gluten free tortillas, Traditional and a single smaller leftover tortilla from Burrito night. Perfect size for Thing 2.
See? Much smaller! Just right for a teeny tummy.
Once they are wrapped and the seem side is down, brush with the melted butter.
It looks so sinful, doesn’t it?
The butter will coat the tortillas and make a nice crispy Chimichanga, without deep frying. A little brush of butter goes a long way! (and as you can clearly see a lot just rolls down to the sheet pan.)
Here is my GF tortilla. It’s pretty stiff. I brushed it a bit first in hopes to soften it, but it didn’t really work.
I managed to fold and roll it up, but you can clearly see where it ripped/
Here are all the Chimichangas. Only mine is buttery at this point. (pre-brushed)
My cracked Chimichanga. Boo hoo!
You can see right inside. I kind of expected to see a big mess.
I baked them at 350 for about 15 minutes, before adding cheese. Then I forgot to take a photo of the cheese, so I pretty much stuck my face, hands and camera into a 350 degree oven to get a shot.
The lengths I will go to for you sweet readers! Ai yi yi!
Melted cheese on a crispy Chimichanga.
I like the lacy cheese crisps.
Comparrison: GF vs. Gluten full.
I want this one soooo bad!
Or this one.
Here is Thing 1’s plate.
Here is Thing 1 digging in.
My Gluten free Chimichanga.
*Bonus! How to fill and fold a Chimichanga for leak-free baking!
**Bonus bonus! “Homemade” Guacamole with Rick Bayless “Frontera” enhancement.
Friday was Mexican Pizza day on the “Tex-Mex Week” menu and it was awesome!
First of all, here is another meal where everyone gets to express their creativity or, depending on personality type, maintain creative control. This ensures everyone eats and everyone likes what they eat or at the very least everyone is responsible for their liking and/or not liking of what they make. Shall I over explain some more?
Secondly, I was extremely pleased to find La Tortilla Factory tortillas at Pete’s Frootique (I *love* Pete’s!) and then blissfully happy to find a gluten free tortilla made by the same company. There may or may not have been happy dancing in the bread aisle. (Who’s to say? It’s a mystery, really. Well maybe that nice lady who smiled as I danced saw, but I can’t be totally sure, but I digress…)
Thirdly, we took our time getting around to making them and it was really relaxing because there wasn’t a whole lot of prep for anything. The crusts were easy (tortillas). The cheese was pre-shredded (nacho cheese blend, fyi). The sauce was from a jar (Mrs. Renfrew’s Medium Salsa). The tomatoes were speedily sliced. Dicing the red pepper is always fun anyway, so it was enjoyable to make that happy little dice of red pepper “confetti”. The most effort came from slicing a jalapeño which was fun to show the Things because I could explain how most of the heat came from the seeds and pith while I removed them. (The seeds and pith, not the Things!) Oh! I did slice the red onion excruciatingly thinly, but that was really more about entertaining myself than anything else. (In other news, I have mad knife skills, yo! You could practically see through the slices!)
Fourthly, (yeah I’m going with that) the pizzas turned out to be some of the yummiest on record at Chez Peady. Here, have a look!
Jalapeños. Cut in two.
Uh oh! Now we’re getting jalapeño business Mr. Jalapeño! Here are all the seeds and pith. You can tell I removed a lot!
Perfect red pepper from Pete’s!
Freshness is always a great pizza topping.
Tomato (vine). Perfect.
Why are red peppers always so happy?
Strips and dice.
Nacho cheese. (It’s mine. Silly!)
Inexplicably happy-making find.
Here’s a La Tortilla Factory Olive Oil tortilla with 12 g of fibre.
Pizza night’s are great nights to use up leftovers. This is burrito filling.
Delicious. Not too hot. Not too chunky. Worked great as sauce for the pizzas.
Trying a different brand.
Not pretty. Not soft. Not perfect. But! Gluten free pizza crust!
Red onions are cool, aren’t they?
I think so.
Can you see me through that?!
Big ol’ mess of onions!
You know it’s been a choppily chop chop kind of meal when…
Frozen corn. Always on hand for moments such as these.
Thing 1’s pizza. See the jalapeños?
Nice job, Thing 1!
Thing 2’s pizza is smiling. On purpose.
Even happier when done!
Thing 1 is very specific about his pizza eating.
Thing 2 loved hers.
MINE!! Mine all mine and I’m not sharing!
In they go.
It’s getting hot in here.
The risks I will take for you readers! HOT!
Can’t you almost taste it?
I try to make my food pretty. Also, even. Don’t judge.
Ba ba ba ba… ba ba baa…
Thing 2 chose this as his “treat”. Yup.
Hee hee hee hee. Yes. I believe those were his exact words.