Cauliflower Crust Spinach & Feta White Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Spinach & Feta White Pizza.

I love pizza!

But I’ve been trying to avoid it in an attempt to lose some weight.

I also adore cauliflower, so I finally jumped on the cauliflower crust bandwagon, and O M Geee!  It is awesome!

Have you tried yet?

I did some reading on it before trying and found an important tip that causes many people to be unsuccessful and create a soggy crust…   It is super important to squeeze the water out of the cauliflower rice.  I got almost a whole cup of water out of my large head of cauliflower rice, and the crust turned out so nice and so delish!

I made this last weekend when the family came over for Father’s Day brunch.  It is quite healthy and low fat/calorie.  I used fat-free mozzarella cheese, fresh sauteed spinach and crumbled feta for my toppings.  YUM!

Here is how I made it.  Would love to hear your thoughts if you try it and/or your tips if you’ve made it other ways.

I loved it hot and also loved it cold the next day for lunch at work.  (Though I am one of those crazy peeps who loves everything cold as well!)

Cauliflower Crust Spinach & Feta White Pizza

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Topping:

  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
  • 6 oz. feta cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut cauliflower into florets and “rice” in food processor in batches.  Place in microwave-safe glass bowl with lid and cook for 8 minutes on high.  Allow to cool slightly and place cooked riced cauliflower in 3-4 even batches at a time in a dry tea-towel.  Roll up and squeeze water out of the riced cauliflower.  Squeeze hard and get as much out as you can.  This is an important step in creating a crust that will not be soggy.  You may get up to a total of a cup of liquid out.

Add eggs, cheese and seasonings to cauliflower and blend well using your hands.  Place on a parchment-lined baking stone, and pat into a crust.  Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.

While crust is baking, saute minced garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil until soft and fragrant.  Add fresh baby spinach and cook until just wilted.  It only takes a minute or two.  Remove from heat and set aside..

When crust comes out of the oven, top it with the shredded mozzarella followed by sauteed spinach and then topped evenly with crumbled feta and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Place back in oven for about 10 more minutes.  Tastes wonderful hot (and cold!)

You can also add other favorite toppings like sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, grilled chicken – the possibilities are as endless as your personal palate!  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Iced Orange Cookies

Iced Orange Cookies.

Summer baking calls for bright, citrusy flavors; and ever since painting my lemons last week, I have had citrus on the brain!

I found a great old-fashioned cookie recipe for these cakey iced orange cookies from Taste of Home.   I had just bought a bag of clementines, so I knew they would work great for this.

I gave some to my Dad for Father’s Day and served some to our kiddos at our Father’s Day brunch for Hubby.

Be sure to use freshly squeezed orange juice and zest for the best flavor.  These cookies freeze well and taste amazing right out of the freezer on a hot summer day!

Iced Orange Cookies

  • Servings: 2 1/2 dozen
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Butter Crisco shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp freshly-grated orange zest
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Icing
    • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
    • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
    • 2 Tbsp butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in orange juice and zest.  Add baking powder, salt and then flour to creamed mixture until well combined.

Drop by tablespoon or cookie scoop onto baking stone or ungreased cookie sheet about two inches apart.   Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until edges just begin to brown.  Cool on wire racks.

In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients until smooth.  Drizzle generously over cooled cookies.

TIP:  I refrigerated the cookie dough for a couple hours making it easier to work with and hold its shape.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Lemon Love

Lemon Love.

When life gives you lemons,
paint them!

I don’t know why lemons get such a bad wrap.
(you know – the old, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”)

I guess because they are sour,
but there is so much to LOVE about them!

This year, they are all the rage in summer decor.
I even bought a few faux lemon trees to decorate with.

And then there are ALL the wonderful
things you can bake and make with them!

Give me Lemon Crinkle Cookies
or Fresh Strawberry Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.

Give me Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake
or Lemon Lavender Loaf.

I’ll take Lemon Butter Scallops
or Pan Seared Lemon and Garlic Mahi Mahi.

Give me Lemon Butter Chicken
or Lemon Garlic Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin.

I’ll take it with a crisp, lemony Chardonnay
or Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy!

But for today,
I’ll just paint lemons!

Bright, summery,
happy, sunshiny lemons!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS.  Don’t they look fun on these pillows?

And these bar stools?

And make cute cards?  🙂

(click on the photos for information on how to purchase any of these and many other fun, lemony items in our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY and Society6 shop!)

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

Black Bean & Corn Salsa.

One of my favorite new healthy snacks is black bean and corn salsa.

It makes a wonderful “scoop” with tortilla chips.

It is also great all by itself as a salad or piled on top of a grilled chicken breast or fish.

It is light, healthy, crunchy, tangy, low-calorie, high-fiber, and absolutely DELISH too!

Here is how I make it, but you can surely tweak to your liking.  It would be great with a bit of fresh cilantro, which I didn’t have on hand when I made this batch on Sunday.  You could also switch it up with any other kind of bean you like or other veggies like cherry tomatoes or cucumbers.

Black Bean & Corn Salsa

  • Servings: approx. 3 cups
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Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen or canned corn*
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar to taste (approx. 2 Tbsp)

Directions:

Combine all  vegetables in a bowl.  Stir to combine.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar to taste.

Serve as a salsa for tortilla chips, as a salad, or as a topping for grilled chicken or fish.

Store well in airtight refrigerator container for several days.

*TIP:  When we buy fresh corn on the cob in the summer, we always buy a full dozen, though we never eat all of that for the two of us.  We cut the leftover off the cob, throw it in a Ziploc freezer bag, and toss it in the freezer for the winter months or times when fresh corn is not available.  It is so much better than canned corn.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Fluff Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Fluff Thumbprint Cookies.

These cookies!
Ooooooh these cookies!

Imagine…. a peanut butter crinkle cookie loaded with a scoopful of sweet, heavenly, gooey, magical Marshmallow Fluff so that you taste it in every peanut-buttery bite.

When I saw these cookies featured on Cara Wong’s Instagram feed, I knew I had to make them.

Cara is a sweet lady who lives in McKinney, Texas with her comical, coffee-loving husband and best friend Joseph.  She loves to cook and bake almost as much as she loves her MeeMaw and Joseph.

I’ve become addicted to watching Cara’s daily adventures in search of the best coffee, burgers and meatloaf in town and daily experiments in baking and cooking.   The milkshake-sipping and singing visits with MeeMaw, Cara’s beloved grandma who played such an important role in raising Cara (much like my own Grandma) just warm my heart.  MeeMaw now lives in a memory care facility where Cara visits her regularly brightening both of their days almost as much as they do mine when they sing You are My Sunshine or Amazing Grace.

But I digress.

Back to these cookies…  these glorious nuggets of amazing deliciousness….

These may be my new personal favorite ever.

They are just such a unique combination that I cannot imagine anyone not liking.

Cara took MeeMaw’s old-fashioned peanut butter crinkle recipe and decided to try marshmallow filling.  She used Smuckers Marshmallow Topping (which I had never heard of).  I used a jar of Marshmallow Fluff, which I just happened to have on hand (who knows why?), and they turned out absolutely amazing!

Here is the recipe, shared by Cara, which I adjusted only by subbing Marshmallow Fluff for the Marshmallow topping.  I urge you to try these, and I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Fluff Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup additional granulated sugar for rolling balls in
  • 1 7.5 oz.  jar Marshmallow Fluff

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy.  Scrape bowl.  Add egg and vanilla extract, baking soda and salt.  Mix until well combined.  Add flour, and stir until well combined.

Roll dough into 1″ balls.  Roll balls in granulated sugar to coat.  Place on baking stone or ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake for approximately 9 minutes, until just beginning to brown.  Remove from oven, and use your thumb or a utensil to indent a “crater” for filling.  Allow to cool.

Heat up Marshmallow Fluff 10 seconds at a time just until you can stir.  No more than 20-30 seconds total.  Fill centers with Marshmallow Fluff.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Brussels Slaw

Brussels Slaw.

Who is a Brussels Sprouts fan?

Yes?  No?  Not sure?  Maybe not?

I was chatting with a friend at work last week that said she doesn’t like Brussels Sprouts, but said she wondered how they would be raw in a coleslaw like salad.  She commented that she likes cabbage in coleslaw, but not cooked cabbage.

It got me thinking…..  I am a Brussels sprout fan…. adore them roasted….  but I, too, wondered how they would be shredded and served raw in a slaw-type salad.

Then the universe poked me with a nudge, when I saw bags of  Shaved Brussels at my local Whole Foods Market!  

I bought a bag for me and a bag for my friend.

Trying to eat healthier these days, I decided on a vinaigrette slaw.  My friend made a creamy version using Marzetti slaw dressing, and she and her family loved it.


Here is the recipe for how I made mine.  Hope you will give it a try!

Brussels Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 1 12oz bag Shaved Brussels Sprouts (or you can slice/shave your own)
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Sugar (or sweetener)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all together and let marinade in refrigerator for at least a half hour before serving.

You can change it up by adding sliced almonds or chopped apples or anything else you like.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

St. Patrick’s Day Pretzel Shamrocks

Pretzel Shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.

How FUN are these??!!

When I saw this idea on Pinterest, I knew I had to create some of these.

A few simple ingredients and two minutes in the oven make for a winner of a special holiday treat.

I had a bag of Rolos left over from Christmas, and I knew I could pull some green M&M’s out of the jar I keep full most all the time.  I had some pretzel sticks, but didn’t have mini pretzels, so that is all I had to buy.  The ones I picked up at Fresh Thyme were Gluten Free and made from rice flour, so a bit lighter color, but completely delish!

Here is the super simple “recipe.”  Do you have some friends or loved ones you’d like to share them with?

St. Patrick's Day Pretzel Shamrocks

  • Servings: as many as you like
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Mini Pretzels
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • Rolo Chocolate Candies
  • Green M&M Candies

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.  Lay pretzels out in the shape of shamrocks on parchment paper lined baking sheet or stone.  Place a Rolo where all three pretzels meet.  Bake for 2 minutes for Rolo to soften.  Remove from oven, and press M&M in center of Rolo.  Cool completely and/or place in freezer to chill.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad.

I found another gem at our new Fresh Thyme Farmers Market this week – beautiful fresh golden beets!

I love beets – red or gold – but since these are a little harder to find where I live, I was excited to get them.  Golden beets are slightly sweeter and a little less earthy than red beets.  I actually love the earthiness of red beets, but those that don’t might enjoy these.

I love beets hot or cold, plain or fancy, so I decided to make a bit of a fancier salad for our Sunday supper this past week.  Here is my recipe.  Hope you will give it a try.

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small gold or red fresh beets (or a combination of both), cooked* and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Small bunch of arugula or mixed greens of your choice
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 small clementines or oranges
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a small skillet, heat pecans or walnuts until warm and beginning to toast.  Add maple syrup and cook and stir to coat.  Remove from heat.  Spread out on cutting board or parchment or waxed paper to cool.

Prepare dressing by squeezing juice of clementine or orange into a small bowl.  Drizzle and whisk in vinegar and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Place a small bunch of arugula or mixed greens on each of two salad plates.  Top each plate with equal portions of the cut-up beets, followed by clementine or orange slices, toasted candied pecans or walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese.  Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with additional coarse black pepper and salt to taste.

*To cook fresh beets, cut greens off top to about an inch from beet.  Place unpeeled fresh beets in a saucepan of water to cover and bring to a boil.  Boil for 20-40 minutes, depending on size, until beets are fork-tender.  (When you stab with a fork, the beet should slide right back off when done.) Drain under cold water and remove skin with paper towel.  Cool completely for salad.  Cut up after beets have cooled.

Enjoy!

Nothing beats a fresh beet!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Homemade Cherry Pie

Homemade Cherry Pie.

On a recent visit to an awesome new grocery store that opened up near us called Fresh Thyme, I discovered they carried big 2.5 lb bags of red sour pie cherries.  I was so excited!  This is something hard to find where we live.  You can find dark sweet cherries everywhere, and they are delicious for eating, but to make a good old-fashioned homemade cherry pie, you have to have the sour cherries.

I snagged a couple bags and was excited to get to make a cherry pie for hubby for Valentine’s Day last week.

If you are lucky enough to find sour cherries, here is the simple, old-fashioned recipe I use to make a classic cherry pie.

Bake a little love!

Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine cherries, sugar, tapioca, and almond extract.  Mix well, and let sit while preparing pie crust.

Prepare crust and place bottom layer in pie plate.  Fill with cherry mixture.  Top filling with dabs of butter followed by top crust, being sure to cut slits or a shape to allow bubbling and steam to escape.  Spread a small amount of milk or water on top crust, and sprinkle with an additional tablespoon of sugar if desired.

Place pie in oven.  Cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning.  Bake approximately one hour.  Remove foil and continue baking until filling bubbles out of top and crust is beautifully browned.

Allow to cool completely to set.  Serve with scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips.

I’ve been trying to eat a bit healthier and make better food choices.

It’s hard.

While some people crave chocolate and sweets, I am a salty, savory girl.  I will take a crunchy pretzel or chip any day over a Hershey’s Kiss or cookie.

So when I heard about making homemade sweet potato chips, I had to try.

And HOORAY!  They totally satisfied my salty, crunchy chip-loving craving.

These are so easy to make, so delicious to eat, and healthy enough to not feel guilty!

The only tricky part is baking them long enough to get crispy without burning them.

This recipe is what works in my oven in my area.  I have an electric convection oven.  Your baking time may vary.  Just keep watching – and tasting – until you achieve your best results.

The batch pictured here is ONE sweet potato!

Here is how I made them:

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder or dry rub or your favorite seasoning (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Thinly slice sweet potato with a mandoline slicer and layer on a baking stone or cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and combine to coat well.  Sprinkle with salt and seasoning.  Re-spread evenly on the baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes.  Toss and flip slices.  Continue baking for 10 minutes.  Toss and flip slices.  Bake 10 more minutes or until edges are browned and chips become crisp.  Remove to paper towels to dry and drain off any excess oil.   Serve immediately and enjoy!

TIP:  Some type of mandoline slicer is really a must as well to get super thin, even slices.

Hope you enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  Do you see a familiar furry, four-legged friend in the first photo who also loves these sweet potato chips?  (Charlie says “Hi” and wants you to know how good these are!)