Monday, March 24, 2008

What a nice relaxing weekend!

Flowers do make everything prettier!

This weekend was one of my favorites. Nothing stressful or out of the ordinary happened. My oldest daughter had a horrible hive outbreak on Thursday but it was under control come Saturday. So they went skating and then we really just relaxed and enjoyed spending time together. We played a couple of games and watched a bit of TV. And oh yeah - we ate.

Our meals were pretty much a mishmash of things. On Friday night I roasted a chicken and we had this big, beautiful salad along with it.

Basic Vinaigrette Recipe

2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of vinegar (try different types)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup of Olive Oil
1 tsp mixed chopped fresh herbs (I used fresh Greek oregano and basil)

  • Shake or whisk all ingredients together. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld together!

On Saturday night we were going to go out but the girls decided that wanted pizza and I tried a new whole wheat crust which was incredible and so easy to work with that I think it may be my next go to pizza dough recipe!

We make 2 cookie sheet size pizza's and the girls get to choose their toppings. One won't eat sauce or pepperoni, just plain cheese, and the other one wants it all. This way we all win!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook)

makes 2 thin 12-14-inch, one 14-inch deep-dish, four 8-inch, 6 individual crusts, or one 17-by-11-inch rectangular crust (we made 2 cookie sheet size pies)
1-1/3 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp SAF yeast or 2-1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
  • Place all the ingredients into the pan according to the manufacturer's instructions. Program for the Dough or Pizza Dough cycle and press Start.
  • When the machine beeps at the end of the cycle press Stop and unplug the machine. Immediately remove the bread pan from the machine and turn onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into the desired number of portions. Flatten each portion into a disc by kneading a few times then folding the edges to the center. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for about 30 minutes or until the dough has increased about 20 percent in size.
  • Roll out and shape the dough as you desire or place the dough in plastic food storage bags and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To use let rest for 20 minutes at room temperature before rolling out.
  • The dough balls can also be frozen and used within 3 months. To use allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Yesterday we had soup. I had the chicken bones from a couple of nights earlier so I made a nice chicken soup. I know it wasn't very Easter like but it sure hit the spot. We added quinoa to the soup and it made it nice and hearty.

Light, fluffy, buttery biscuits!

I also found a really easy and good biscuit recipe. No hand work and they were ready to go in the oven within minutes!

Buttermilk Biscuits (How to Cook Everything-Mark Bittman)

2 cups all-purpose or cake flour, plus more as needed (I didn't need anymore but to flour the board)
1 scant tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2-5 Tbsp cold butter (more is better - imagine that?)
7/8 cups plain yogurt or buttermilk
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl or a food processor (i used the food processor and would now not use anything else!). Cut the butter into small chunks and cut into the dry ingredients or wizz in the food processor. All the butter must be thoroughly blended before moving on.
  • Use a large spoon to stir in the yogurt or buttermilk, just until the mixture forms a ball. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it 10 times; no more. If it is very sticky, add a little flour, but very little. Don't worry if it sticks a bit to your hands.
  • Press into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle and cut into 2 inch rounds. Place the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat this with the remaining dough. It should make 10-14 biscuits.
  • Bake 7-9 minutes (something must be wrong with my oven-I had to bake them for about 11 minutes.
  • Serve within 15 minutes for them to be their best!
Okay so their you have my food weekend in a nutshell! Hope yours was shared with friends and family!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!



Peter M said...

Holy S*^%$, you used edible flowers for the salad?

It would be so sad to eat the salad but they are going wilt anyways, right?

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Yes I sure as S*^%$ did! The kids loved the novelty of it! Yeah once they have been picked they are as good as dead so I didn't have the picking on my conscience~

Thistlemoon said...

That is a beautiful salad, Judy, and perfect for ringing in springtime! :)

Nice pizza dough recipe - perfect and exactly what I was looking for - except I don't have a bread machine... :(

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Jenn-Maybe you need to ask for one for a wedding gift??? The recipe was perfect. It wasn't sweet like they normally are. Everyone loved it.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Spending time with your family was the best part of the weekend Judy...of course the nasturtiums in the salad are a close second...and the discovery of a new favourite:D

Heather said...

Is this like five posts in one? Sheesh, woman!

I do love nasturtiums, though. :) Happy spring, Judy!

Emily said...

You're so nice to let your kids pick their pizza toppings.
If I had kids, I would probably take control of the pizza, and do what I wanted to do. I would force them to eat olives, peppers, goat cheese, etc.

Everything looks great. The flowers are beeeeeautiful.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Hi Val-You hit it right there. I love Holidays when they are real holidays and I don't have errands and everything else that I can get done!

Oh Heather-It just seems that way! I tend to forget things and get distracted so I can't procrastinate. So you got a bunch of stuff altogether!

Hey Emiline-One of my pet peeves is people making separate meals for their kids than what they are eating. This is really the only meal that they get a choice and we do it specifically for that reason. Otherwise the girls eat exactly what we are eating! My kids love goat cheese, olives, peppers etc. but this is how they like their pizzas!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful salad, Judy. The pizza looked great too. Well, all of it looked great, as usual.
I am thinking of getting a bread machine. My sister keeps telling me how wonderful hers is.
Can't wait to try some of these new recipes.Thanks

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Oh Farmgirl-I would highly recommend a bread machine. I have had mine for years but am only in the last year really using it. I used to make all my bread by hand and was really disappointed by the bread machine. It doesn't give you that great satisfied feeling of kneading a form the dough but...It does free up a lot of my time and give us good, healthy, bread. My time is worth that slight sacrifice!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Mmmmmmmmmmm! I am salivating here! Everything you made just looks so darn good!
I envy you, in a good way, for your excellent and creative cooking skills. The salad did me in. I have never eaten flowers in my salads. It looks so scrumptious and festive!

I have a breadmaker, but though I used to be able to bake anything in it, I'm having trouble, now that we are living above 7,000 ft aboce sea level.
Got any tips?

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

I would be no use to you at all about the bread machine as we are 7 feet above sea level here! Just keep trying. My book says to try reducing the amount of sugar and yeast you are using to help hamper the rising process. Great book is "The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook"

Deeba PAB said...

WOW...was that some cook-a-thon Judy. FABULOUS!! This is a neat recipe...yum yum! I remember adding nasturciums to my winter salad once, & my son thought I'd lost it completely!