food

Semi-homemade Pizza

This recipe is a regular around our household.  And while we know we need to switch to a wheat dough, I’ve heard that Publix’s wheat dough doesn’t hold a candle to the one we currently use.  So if you know of a good healthy easy pizza dough that I can sub in, feel free to chime in!

So here are my ingredients:

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Publix pizza dough (pictured below)

All purpose flour

Olive Oil

Minced Garlic

Basil Pesto

Mozzarella Cheese

Goat cheese

Sun-dried Tomatoes

Kalamata Olives

Wine to keep you company while you cook.

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Here’s a pic of the pizza dough….the instructions are printed right on the back so it’s easy as (pizza) pie:

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Roll out the dough like so and spread a couple of tbsps of olive oil around.  Please meet my lovely Sous Chef, the handsome hubby:

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Next, take 2-3 tbsps of pesto and a tbsp of minced garlic and repeat the spreading.

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Take some spinach leaves and cover the center of the pizza.

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Take some mozzarella and place on top of the spinach.  We always keep the string cheese version on hand for quick snacks, so we just peel it apart to put on our pizza.  Feel free to use the normal shredded kind to save yourself some trouble, although I think that might be a fun helping task if you have any kids.

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Next, have some fun with toppings.  We sprinkle crumbled goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, and kalamata olives (only on my portion) and it is delish.  The combos are endless though so get wild and crazy.

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Pop it in the oven according to the directions on the dough.  WARNING:  ours usually comes out before the full amount of time has passed.  I think 15 minutes is about the norm for us, although it could just be our oven.

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And YUM!  This one was left in for 18 minutes (my bad) and it was a tad overcooked.  Don’t mind the dirty stove–real people live here!  Use your leftover spinach to make a salad to go with it and you have a hearty meal for 3 adults.  That concludes today’s lesson of Cooking for Dummies..now go make some yummy food!

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Redneck Fridge

Our fridge quit cooling on Friday afternoon.  The joys of being a homeowner.  A repair man came out today and fixed it (praise Jesus!), but all weekend, we’ve been eating out of a cooler on our back deck since it’s much colder outside.  I wonder what our neighbor thinks. At least our friend the possum seems to be staying away.  We ordered Chinese takeout tonight and, since it’s still going to be a few more hours until our fridge temp is where it should be, we had to make some real sacrifices to make room in our redneck fridge for our Chinese leftovers.

I was just about to complain about how unexpected repairs are really a pain in the arse, but then I thought about people who don’t have the luxury of a fridge, or electricity, or even food.  And that smack to my face puts it all back into perspective.

The crazy thing is, my household is among the richest 1% in the world (although we won’t be once we have children).  Is yours?  An interesting article about the world’s wealth.

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Giving Thanks

I know it’s been a while, but believe me when I say that November has been a BUSY month.  First of all, my mom (Barb) moved in with us!  She has lived too far away for too long and, since we have the extra space, we decided to move her on in with us.  We hope to get her a place of her own one day, but this arrangement is working out great for now.  Her domain is the basement (don’t worry, it’s nice down there) and we live upstairs.  Of course, we do hang out, but I think it’s good to have our space too.

Secondly, I participated in my very first craft fair.  I will share pictures later.  Let’s just say I was very nervous, but things went well.

Third, we hosted Thanksgiving for the first time ever.  We had 8 people over for dinner (plus the three of us), and 6 of those folks spent the weekend with us.  Our overnight guests included my MIL, FIL, sis and bro in law, granny in law, and cousin in law.  I was very excited to have our friends Lynne and John join us for dinner (their families live in Michigan and what’s Thanksgiving without an awkward family gathering?).  I thought I would be stressed to the max, but I kept my cool for the most part, mostly because this woman helped me cook and keep the house somewhat clean.

I wish I would have taken pictures of all the food, but alas, I’m still a novice at this blogging thing.  We had squash casserole, sour cream and onion mac and cheese, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, dressing (I believe you call it stuffing up north), giblet gravy, rolls, sweet potato souffle, cranberry sauce, sauteed green beans, pumpkin cheesecake, gooey pumpkin butter cake, chocolate covered peanuts, and peanut butter pie. Our turkey looked kind of like this, except not quite so much bacon.  For my first turkey, I think I did pretty well.  It seemed to be a hit.

Here’s a pic of the dining setup.  I pulled our dining room table and a folding table into our long living room so we could all eat at one long table.  As Claire from Modern Family said, “If it was good enough for The Last Supper, it’s good enough for us.”

Here’s a pic of my place setting, complete with dollar store pinecones (12 for $1) as place card holders, pumpkins, leaves from the driveway, and a borrowed tablecloth from Lynne.  You can see remnants of casseroles and sour cream mac and cheese on my plate, which I savored with some sweet tea and red wine.

Here’s a picture of my beautiful sis-in-law, Whitney, mid-mouthful.  Notice Davison’s sweet granny at the head of the table.  While she was visiting, Whitney put Granny’s clothes in the guest closet, which is the same closet my husband uses since I booted him out of the one in our master bedroom.  Granny’s memory ain’t what it used to be, particularly because memory loss is a side effect of her medications and on Day 2 she came out of her room wearing one of my husband’s polo shirts.  She is so adorable.  She hides money when she leaves because she doesn’t want anyone paying for her food.

Of course, no Davison household event is complete without a little Rock Band.

 Zeph, my bro-in-law, was tearing up the vocals, so I got a few close up shots so you could feel the emotion.

For most of the weekend, the boys worked on a house project that I can’t wait to show you, but it’s not quite finished.  I will give you a hint.

And I’ll leave you with a picture of my fall mantel, because I realized today that I had not shared it since I completed it.

I’m so grateful to have such wonderful people to share my life and my home.

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Asheville Part II – FOOD

Finally finished writing up the second part of our Asheville trip!

Day two of our Asheville whirlwind trip started out with a delicious breakfast at the B&B.  The main dish was some sort of Spanish quiche, and there was also a fresh fruit salsa and a berry parfait.  And I know it was bona fide (how am I just now finding out that bona fide is two words?) fresh because the innkeeper headed to the farmer’s market as part of her weekly ritual as soon as breakfast was over.  I should have taken a picture of my plate but since you eat with strangers when you stay at a B&B, I thought they might think I was a weirdo. Gotta get over that!  After breakfast, we headed to Asheville River Arts District, which was awesome!  There are so many open studios there and you just walk in while the artist is working away.  One of our favorite artists that day was Jonas Gerard (google him) so we took home one of his prints on a 8×10 tile.  I’m sure it will make an appearance on this blog when we hang it although we aren’t sure where its new home will be just yet.

River Arts District Studios

After seeing lots of AMAZING art, it was time to get back to the real purpose of our trip–FOOD.  When we were looking for stuff to do in Asheville, we found the Asheville Food Tour, and it had gotten rave reviews.  For $35 apiece (we got a discount through our B&B), hubs and I got to visit Asheville restaurants, talk to the chefs, owners, or managers, and sample a bit of the goods.  I was kind of unsure about doing a tour–I don’t like doing typical touristy things and it sounded like something old people do.  But it was our favorite part of the trip (well, tied with the drum circle).  I did not take pictures of the dishes(again, we were eating with strangers) so I apologize, but here are the places we visited.

We tried the Ecstasy Blossom Truffle (described on their website as dark chocolate with lemon zest, ginger, and saffron, topped with a candied violet) and then a sea salt caramel dipped in milk chocolate.  It was then that I realized I’m a simple girl and I don’t need a candied violet atop my chocolate truffle.  The sea salt caramel was probably the best piece of chocolate I’ve ever put in my mouth.  We met with the owner, who was quite charming, and he told us how he was retiring and his daughter was taking over the business.  She has a  fine arts degree and he told us how she comes up with the formulas and designs for the chocolate.  The place has really grown in the last few years and now they ship all over the country.  We will definitely be revisiting.

At Green Sage, we tried a veggie wrap and some lentil soup.  Both very good.  My favorite part of this place, was its green philosophy.  Natural, local, organic ingredients.  Solar panels.  Compostable take out materials (to go boxes made from potatoes!).  Bicycle for deliveries. It had separate recycling bins for different materials and even a compost bin!  How many restaurants have compost bins?!

Next we went to Fiore’s where we had some delicious gnocchi with white wine.  Yummmm.  Definitely will be revisiting.  I really liked the atmosphere as well:

  


For our next stop, we went to a barbecue joint— 



There were over a dozen sauces to try and we sampled quite a bit.  We had bbq sandwiches and cole slaw.



Next we stopped at this cute little shop, called “Olive and Kickin’.”  They gave us samples of olive oils (which you drink straight out of a little paper sample cup and it was so good.  I never thought I would enjoy drinking straight olive oil, but I’m a fan.

see my cute hubby back there?



Here is the balsamic vinegar buffet–flavors like pomegranite, espresso, and jalepeno.  I had no idea there were so many options.  You could mix and match and I could have stayed there for several hours.  Next time, I will be bringing some home.



Next we went to a fancy-shmancy restaurant called Restaurant Solace.  The head chef here buys produce from local farmers and sells to the public whatever he doesn’t use in his kitchen.  It’s his way of supporting local farmers.  I wasn’t that impressed with the fancy chicken over a potato cake, but the Arnold Palmer we had with the sample was delicious.



Our second to last stop was The Soda Fountain, where we had some lime sherbet ice cream.  The Soda Fountain is located at Woolworth Walk, a venue full of local arts and crafts.

The Spice & Tea Exchange was our last stop and is another shop where I could have spent hours. No samples, but wall to wall spices to sniff.  Makes me want to cook more.  (If you look closely, you can see the jerkwad in the reflection that asked if Hubs was my spouse OR MY SON.  Talk about a blow to my ego!  Now, I know my husband does look extremely young even though we are only a year apart, so I know I shouldn’t listen to this Kramer look-alike, but it stung nonetheless.  People, think before you speak.  That would never be a smart question to ask.  It ranks right up there with “Are you pregnant?” and “Why don’t you have kids yet?”)   


So, needless to say, we were stuffed and content by the end of the food tour.  It was great to try so many of Asheville’s flavors and talk to the shop owners.  Asheville is a beautiful and interesting city and we can’t wait to go back.   

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Healthy AND Yummy

This weekend, Hubs and I tried a new recipe that I found on Pinterest.  That site is crack y’all.  (P.S.  I know true Southerners spell it ya’ll and get all fired up about it, but I am a grammar nazi that firmly believes the apostrophe is supposed to take the place of the missing letters).  Okay, that got way off topic really quickly.  Anyway, the recipe is from a website I had never visited before, called Tasty Kitchen.
http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/cheesy-chicken-and-rice-bake/

It’s called cheesy chicken and rice bake, and it was delicious!  The only changes we made were leaving out the can of green chiles (just a personal preference) and using two of the frozen cubes of cilantro that you can buy at Trader Joe’s instead of fresh cilantro.  We just can’t seem to use cilantro before it turns brown in this house so we’ve resorted to cheating.  (The cubes say not to defrost before using but I didn’t know how to spread it evenly otherwise so I was a rebel and let it melt in a cup before spreading it on the top.  It seemed to work fine).  Since we cheated on the cilantro, we made real brown rice instead of minute rice as the author suggested.  Not because we are snobs, but because that’s what we had.  The dish was great, although we did have to add a good bit of salt (and some Cholula hot sauce–yum).  Here’s a picture, although the picture on the Tasty Kitchen website makes my picture look like a science project.

Kind of broccoli casserole-ish?  Luckily, we don’t care how things look in this household, as long as it tastes good.  And it did.  After this dish, Hubs and I decided that we will never go back to sour cream; we loved the Greek yogurt.  I know I’m late getting on that bus, but I love my sour cream, folks.  And here’s a picture that’s not orange and green:

Although it was delicious, we are trying to simplify recipes, eat more vegetarian meals, and reduce costs so we discussed cutting out the chicken next time and doubling the beans and corn.  YUMS.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Asheville Part I

So hubs and I took a much needed vacation the week of July 4.  Anytime we have some time off from work, we always debate if we would rather spend money on a trip or on a house project.  We have so much we want to do around here but we also love getting to know a new city, so we came up with a compromise.  Most of the week would be spent working on stuff around the house, a staycation if you will.  And then, for just one night, we would travel to the exotic and faraway land of Asheville, NC, which registers a mere hour and fifteen minutes away from Gville.  In fact, I don’t think either of us realized just how close Asheville is, as we have now lived in Greenville for 3 years and never made the trip.  I have to say, I’m in L-O-V-E.  It’s got such a funky, artistic, laid-back vibe.  If I wasn’t absolutely devoted to our little blue house, I’d pack up and move in a heartbeat.  So here are the deets from our trip (I will warn you 90% of our trip will be about food):

After doing some research on hotels, we ended up staying in our first B&B because it cost the same (or less), has much more character, had a two-person jacuzzi (ye-ahh!!), and hello?—-can you say gourmet breakfast?  None of that make your own waffle and mini-boxes of cereal junk.  So….we stayed at a B&B called Bed of Roses.  Isn’t the house adorable?  It’s actually more teal than in photographs.  And below is our exquisite jacuzzi and our bed with plush bathrobes hanging on the door.  Now hubs and I are anything but fancy, so we were quite out of our element here.


Funny story about that jacuzzi.  When we were filling up the tub, I poured in some body wash in an attempt to make bubbles.  It didn’t really seem to work.  So I poured in more.  And more.  And then I was disappointed cause it didn’t look like were going to have bubbles…..And then we turned on the jets!  Yep, we almost had a bubble catastrophe.  Can you picture us getting banned from an Asheville B&B for filling the entire first floor with suds?  Well it almost happened.  Luckily, I think quick on my feet (or in the buff as it may be) and remembered from my childhood days that soap kills bubbles.  Did you know that?  I did, because I remember waiting until the last minute to wash as a child because I knew the second I put the soap in the tub, all the bubbles would pop.  So here we are, 6 inches of bubbles about to spill over onto the floor, and I am rubbing the soap furiously to make the bubbles dissipate.  Not our smoothest hour.  But it worked.  On top of that, hubs got the water too hot, so I had to climb out of that ginormous thing not once but twice to turn on the air conditioner and fan, and get us some water.  Eventually it was too much for us and we gave up before we had a heat stroke.  Not exactly the romantic event we had planned and hubs didn’t feel good for the rest of the night after that.  I’m happy to report we tried the jacuzzi again the next morning and it was a successful, relaxing excursion.

For lunch on day 1, we went to 12 Bones Smokehouse.  Apparently, Obama stopped there in 2008.

I read the reviews beforehand and everyone said to get the blueberry chipotle.  So I got those, hubs got the brown sugar ones and we split them down the middle.  I have to say two things.  1.  The reviewers were wrong and the brown sugar ones were way better. 2. These were the most delicious flavored ribs I have ever had.  Now hubs thinks we have had better in St. Louis, but I think his memory may be playing tricks on him.  If you want to know about sides, the damn good corn pudding (yes that is the actual name) and the jalepeno grits were our favorites.  The others weren’t really worth mentioning because who needs sides when the ribs are that good?!  The pulled pork was good quality, but the sauces (there were four to choose from) weren’t really that great.  I worked in a bbq joint in high school so I am VERY particular about my bbq sauces.

That night we explored downtown Asheville and we couldn’t have been more delighted.  We loved seeing the street performers (although hubs was burning through our cash like a madman).

This woman froze like a statue until someone put money in her bucket and then she lit up that snare drum.  She was beautiful and very talented.

 And then we got to see a drum circle.  If you don’t know what a drum circle is, it basically means that a bunch of people from the community all show up with hand drums, someone starts a beat and the rest follow along.  It’s awesome to see the community come together like that, young and old, all races, and income levels.  And then the crowds show up to watch and they start to dance along.  Kids, old preppy ladies, hipsters, women dressed like clowns, an asian woman in a tweety bird night gown and crocks with a cane.  Everyone gets in on the fun.  I imagine heaven will look something like this.









We capped off the evening by dining at Tupelo Honey Cafe.  Yum.  If only we weren’t still full from the ribs….
First they bring you out a fantastic homemade biscuit with—you guessed it—Tupelo honey.  Sidenote- I’m not sure why my husband has his wedding ring on the wrong finger in this picture.  When I showed it to him, he was just as baffled as I was and asked how I did that, as though it was some sort of photoshop wizardry.
Below is the goat cheese plate for two appetizer.  This was heaven and I WILL be getting this dish again.  Crisp, toasted sourdough, creamy goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, and some delish olives.

For our main dish, we split the Shoo Mercy Shrimp and Grits.  It was really good, although we only took a few bites before we had to stop because there was just no more room in our bellies.  This is probably the first time in our lives that me and hubs did not finish a plate of shrimp and grits.  AND to top it all off, we really weren’t supposed to use the fridge at the B&B (although we didn’t ask) so we ended up tossing a $20 plate of food in the trash when we got back.  SAD.  My only solace is that THC did forget to put the andouille sausage in it.

And that sums up our first day in the beautiful city of Asheville.  Day 2 details to come…

Also, sorry for all the weird spacing between pictures.  Blogger is being a jerkface and I’m about to go throw a tantrum.

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