Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Today I went for a run which is pretty monumental.  I have been trying to run more often lately since 1. I have nothing better to do at the moment and 2. Andrew really wants to do a half marathon sometime in the future.  Well, it turns out that will have to be in the very, very distant future because running is awful.

I am not a good runner.  I get bored and then my mind starts playing games on me.  It does the thing where I can hear every single one of my labored breaths 100 times louder than humanly possible.  It also has this funny way of repeating "This is boring. I am tired. I  think I am getting a side ache." Over. And. Over. And. Over.  Then, power of negative thinking, I get a massive side ache and have to jog with my hand clutching just below my rib cage while going -2 mph.

Not a cute look.

I can just think of what the people driving by must think,  "Man that girl is slow.  And she runs funny.  Looks like she's in a lot of pain, too."

Humph.  I can beat this.  So let's start by eating a little healthier to get those side cramps gone.  Alfredo sauce is healthy, right?  It has to be.  Yeah, it definitely is.

I really have something against the Alfredo sauce that comes in a jar, though.  I used to think I hated anything with Alfredo because it was just so disgusting.  Bleck.

Good news, making homemade Alfredo sauce is 1,000,000 times more delicious annnnnnd it is insanely easy.  All it takes is 4 ingredients and about 5 minutes.  Wonderful.

I topped mine with some fresh basil because I am obsessed with basil and guess what!  Like everything else made with basil, it was delicious.  Yep, a great addition.


Alfredo Sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. In a large sauce pan, combine all ingredients. Stir constantly over medium heat until smooth. 
  2. Add a little more milk if too thick.
  3. Toss precooked pasta lightly with sauce, coating well.
*Makes enough for 4 people.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pizza Done Four Ways

I was sitting here at the table with my head resting on my knees, type type typing away when suddenly I sneezed.  It was a big sneeze, and I totally did one of those head jerks you do when you’re sneezing and my eye socket connected hard with me knee cap.  Yes, I socked myself in the eye with my knee. Now I am having sinus problems.  Yes, my coordination astounds even me. So pathetic.

And I am serious about the sinus problems. I am not sniffing like crazy and my vision is blurry. Oh the woe.

Moving on to the pizza… here is the thing, I am addicted to pizza. If I were stuck on a desert island I would bring pizza. It is as simple as that. Pizza is my survival food, hands down.   So, I have spent the last fewish months looking for yummy pizza dough. Let me tell you, good, homemade pizza dough is hard to come by.  Don’t you worry though, I found a great recipe.  It’s thin, tasty, crunchy, and I like it.  All the things that matter in life, check.

Then once I found the dough, it was time to start experimenting with toppings. 

Pizza 1: inspired by Nicolitalia Pizza in Provo.  Chicken Alfredo pizza with spinach, artichoke hearts, and bacon crumbles.  I make my own Alfredo sauce because I hate the stuff in the jar and because it is super easy.  Very scrumptious and impressive. 

Pizza 2: Margarita pizza inspired from Abountifulkitchen.  Perfect summer time treat when everything is fresh and in season.  I couldn't help putting up multiple pictures because it is so pretty!

Pizza 3: Not pictured because I am an airhead.  Anyway, it is a pepperoni pizza with caramelized onions and goat cheese sprinkled on top. The toppings though make this pizza really great.

Pizza 4: Traditional pepperoni pizza. Pepperoni pizza may be dull, but it is definitely my favorite pizza.  I like to add a little Romano cheese for a little something-something extra.  Can’t go wrong with pepperoni.  I put some of the pepperonis under the cheese on this pizza and would not recommend it.  It prevents them from getting good and crunchy-ish where the start to curl at the edges.

Any other ideas for pizza toppings? What do you like best on your pizza?


Thin Crust Pizza Dough

 *Makes 2 10-12 inch pizza crusts so I usually cut this in half which can get a little tricky.
  • 3/4 cup warm water 
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Pour 3/4 cup warm water into small bowl; stir in yeast. Add 1/4 tsp sugar. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes.
  2. Brush large bowl lightly with olive oil. Mix in 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, and salt.. Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil; process until dough forms a sticky ball. Slowly add remaining flour. Transfer to lightly floured surface.
  3. Knead dough until smooth, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky, about 1 minute.
  4. Transfer back to bowl and cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Place on floured surface and roll out very thin!  Add toppings, transfer to pizza stone or cookie sheet.  Cook for 15 minutes at 475 degrees or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
 Traditional Pizza Sauce

*Makes enough for two pizzas so freeze half for later!
  • 14-ounce can whole tomatoes 
  • 11/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried or 1/8 cup each: chopped basil, parsley and oregano
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large saucepan bring all ingredients to a simmer.  Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to about 1 1/4 cups. Cool to room temperature.
Alfredo Sauce
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  1. In a large sauce pan combine cream all ingredients, stirring constantly until smooth.  Add a little more milk if too thick.
Chicken Alfredo Pizza
  • 1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced OR one can of chicken
  • 7-10 jarred artichoke hearts OR 2-3 fresh artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 TBS bacon bits
  •  8-10 oz mozzarella cheese
  • Alfredo sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • Pizza dough
  1. Spread Alfredo sauce on pizza dough, sprinkle garlic salt over the entire sauce.  Place spinach over the sauce.  Cover with almost all the mozzarella cheese.  Add artichoke hearts and chicken.  Add rest of mozzarella cheese.  Add bacon bits.
Margarita Pizza
  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced or 8-10 oz grated mozzarella
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaved
  • Traditional pizza sauce
  1. Spread pizza sauce on to pizza dough. Cover with mozzarella.  Top with tomato slices and cook.
  2. When  you pull the pizza from the oven, let sit one minute then add basil leaves.
Pepperoni and Caramelized Onion Pizza
  • 1 pkg pepperonis
  • 1/2 large purple onion, sliced
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 2-4 oz goat cheese
  • 8-10 oz mozzarella cheese
  • Traditional pizza sauce
  1.  In a small sauce pan, cook the sliced onions in brown sugar and butter until onions are soft and pliable.  Remove from heat.
  2. Spread the sauce on the pizza dough and cover with mozzarella cheese. Add the onions, then pepperonis, then sprinkle on the goat cheese.
Pepperoni Pizza
  • 1 pkg pepperonis
  • 8-10 oz mozzarella cheese
  • Traditional pizza sauce
  1. Spread the sauce on the pizza dough and cover with mozzarella cheese. Add the pepperonis and bake.  Top with Parmesan cheese and shreds of basil, if desired.

Man this took a long time to write.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


You know, sometimes I have a lot to say and ramble about here, on my blog. But today, well, today is different. I am tapped out of ideas to type about so I will revert to the classic, fall-back topic that everyone goes to when they don't have anything else to say. Yes, I will talk about the weather.

Provo is wet. And kind of cold. It has been raining off and on for two days now and I sort of like it.  I would like it more if summer (or at this point I'd even settle for some springtime weather) would arrive and bring the sun along with it.  I mean, it is the middle of May and I don't think I have felt anything about 65 in weeks.

It is pretty though, this rain. Everything is green and misty. I enjoy that.

Perfect weather for making bruschetta. Though it is a great any weather snack.  Hot, hot summer days are great for bruschetta. Cold, rainy, not-so-spring days are also ideal.  It is obviously the universal treat.

Gotta love those meaty Roma tomatoes combined with strings of sweet basil and fresh mozzarella.  That stuff cures heart breaks and hunger, it's that good.


  • 5 Roma tomatoes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 TBS olive oil for the tomatoes, plus more for the bread (1/2 cup - 1 cup)
  •  1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped in a food processor
  • 3/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded 
  • 1/2 loaf of sourdough bread (or other crusty stuff)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. 
  2. Cut the tomatoes in half, get rid of all the seedy stuff in the tomatoes and cube them.  In a bowl mix the salt, oil, and tomatoes.  Spread on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, making clean up much easier.  Bake those tomatoes for about 45 minutes or until they are super squishy.
  3. Cut up the basil and mozzarella and place in the bowl you had the tomato mixture in.
  4. While your tomatoes are cooking, slice your bread into 1 inch thick pieces.  Pour a whole bunch more oil in a bowl and coat each side of each slice of bread.  Use a brush, your fingers, or whatever you have on hand!  Fry your bread in a pan until each side is golden brown.  You can also grab some garlic and scrape it along your now semi-crunchy bread. 
  5. When your tomatoes are finished, remove them from the pan and return to your mixing bowl.  Mix in the mozzarella and basil.  Spoon the tomato stuff onto the bread when you're just about to eat it.  Letting it sit too long on the bread will bring about sogginess.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Peach Mango Guacamole

Have you ever had the peach-mango salsa that Costo sells? That stuff is seriously good. So when I was making guacamole, I decided that if mangoes and peaches are good in salsa, they’d probably be good in guacamole too.  The power of deductive reasoning. 

This guacamole turned out to be delicious.   And I know I say that about everything I post but what you don’t know is that I only post the good stuff.  There are tons of things I make which fail and then I simply leave them off the blog. It’s like it never happened that way. It is good for my self-esteem.

But really, this guac is unordinary and slightly sweet and just really good.

Disfruta!  (That means enjoy in Spanish. You know, sticking with the theme here.)

Peach Mango Guacamole
  • 2 ripe avocados (should be buttery soft) 
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped (I like to use Roma tomatoes) 
  • ½ large, ripe mango 
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion 
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped 
  • 2 TBS peach preserves (apricot preserves works as well) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste) 
  • juice of 1 lime
Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit, and strip away the skin. Place the avocado meat in a large bowl along with the diced tomato, cut up mango, red onion, jalapeno, peach preserves, salt, and lime juice. With a fork, smash until desired consistency is reached.  Grab a handful of tortilla chips and dive in.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Snicker Doodle Cupcakes

Yesterday I ate 23 snicker doodle cupcakes in honor of my 23rd birthday.

Just kidding. There’s no way I could eat 23 cupcakes and be healthy enough to be typing right now.  If I ate 23 cupcakes I would be on my bed in the fetal position, clutching my tummy.  

But these guys are yummy enough to tempt me to eat more than my fair share.  It’s the cream cheese frosting that does it.  I am instantly addicted to anything with a cream cheese frosting.  The “snicker doodle-ness” of these cupcakes is kind of a stretch but the resemblance is close enough that I am allowing them to keep their name.


Snicker Doodle Cupcakes
For the cupcake:  
  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour 
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder 
  • 1 tsp Salt 
  • 1 cup Butter, Room Temperature 
  • 2 cups Sugar 
  • 4 whole Eggs, Room Temperature 
  • 1 cup Milk, Room Temperature 
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2  TBS Cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cupcake tray with liners.
In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and cream with the butter for 7 minutes, scraping the bowl when needed (batter should be nearly white and fluffy). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Turn the speed to low and alternately, add the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with flour until just mixed. Add vanilla until just mixed.
Divide the batter into the cupcake liners until 2/3 full (I used an ice cream scoop which was the perfect amount to fill 1 cupcake). Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out just clean, about 20 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes on a rack.
*Adapted from here
For the frosting:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 3 c powdered sugar
Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and beat just to combine.

Slowly add sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.

Frost cup cake and dust with cinnamon-sugar mixture (optional).

*Adapted from here
    Cinnamon-Sugar mixture (optional):

    Combine the following:

    • 1 tsp Cinnamon
    • 2 TSP Sugar

      Wednesday, May 11, 2011

      The Grand Canyon

      So I am  back from my week-long hiatus. I have been roughing it in the great outdoors.  Well, roughing it might be a bit of a stretch.

      Andrew and I spent the last 6 days, 5 nights rafting the Grand Canyon. It was an experience of a life time. We went with these two crazy kids, Carrie and Andrew, and had a blast.  They are great travel buddies, fyi.  We went with Western River and it was delux. Salmon and steak dinners, huge breakfasts, they took care of all our sleeping arrangement including giving us sleeping bags, cots, tents, etc. It was camping at it's finest.

      Here is some photo documentation for your viewing pleasure.

      Our camp site,  night one:


      My rocking sweet head lamp:

      Our neon rain gear that we wore in the morning because the rapids were cold and you get drenched:

      Our rafts, aka J-Rigs:

      The best group of campers, ever:

      The Grand Canyon:

      The groover... I had a really hard time with this part of the trip:

       It was an amazing trip, groover and all.

      Monday, May 2, 2011

      What to do with that left over buttermilk...

      ...from those buttermilk pancakes I made the other day.

      Well, if you're me and have food cravings like a lunatic, then you make buttermilk pie because you had it at Maggleby's about two weeks ago, feel in love, scoured the internet until you found the recipe, and now cannot rest until your addiction is satisfied.

      Must. Have. Buttermilk. Pie.  Whoa there crazy lady.

      But if you're not like me and completely sane, you'll still make this pie because it is just that good.

      Brief description: This pie's like a cake in pie crust. It's not too sweet and when served warm it is heavenly. Maggleby's served it with raspberry sauce and whipped cream, so of course I had to too. Well, minus the raspberry part. I had to sub in strawberries because the raspberries that I bought to go on top of the pie were eaten plain because they were just sooooo delicious that I couldn't stop snacking on them. I have no self-control.

      A word on the pie crust: I made Mama Shaw's pie crust and it was delicious and simple. I highly recommend it since store bought crusts often are dry and this was really, no trouble at all. Plus it is everything you'd hope for in a crust: super flakey and yummy.


      P.S. Thanks to those of you who tell me when you make things I post. It makes me ridiculously happy to hear. So, if you've ever made anything I've posted, please let me know!

      Buttermilk Pie
      Mix in Meduim bowl:
      • 1 1/4 c. sugar
      • 3/4 c. flour
      • 1/2 tsp baking powder
      • 1/2 tsp baking soda
      In a separate bowl:
      • 2 eggs, beaten
      • 1 cups buttermilk
      • 1 T. lemon juice
      • 1 tsp. vanilla
      • 1/4 c. melted butter (added at the very end)
      • One pie crust (store bought or homemade)
      1. Beat buttermilk and eggs, then add lemon juice and vanilla and whisk well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk. Add melted butter and whisk again until thick and no lumps remain.
      2. Pour into the pie crust and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Rotate pie and bake an additional 40 minutes. (If the center of the pie still jiggles at this point, rotate it again and cook for longer. If your crust starts to brown before the center is done, cover just the sides with foil and keep baking.)
      3. Serve with raspberries, boysenberries or blueberries and fresh whipped cream. You will not be disappointed.
      Mama Shaw's Pie Crust

      Cut in together with a pastry cutter:
      • 1 cup flour
      • 1/2 cup shortening
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      Stir in with fork:
      • 1/4 cup cold water
      Stir to blend. 

      Roll out on a floury surface. Place in an ungreased pie pan. Bake according to pie directions.

      Raspberry Sauce
      • 1 cup raspberries (or other kind of fruit)
      • 1 TBS sugar
      • 1 TBS water
      1. In a blender of food processor, pulverize the fruit, sugar, and water together. If too runny, add more berries and sugar.
      2. Bring to a boil in a small sauce pan while stirring constantly. 
      3. Turn heat off and pour on pie.