Tag: cooking

Pizza Craving

So yesterday I had an interesting experience.  Ever since I started dieting I have been craving 2 things- steak and pizza.  I’m not even that big of a steak person but its jut sounded so delicious. I think it is the iron and protein that looks so tempting.  One of my favorite things is steak cooked with butter, A1 sauce and blue cheese.  Yum!  It’s funny because my mother can’t cook steak (or other red meat) to save her life but somehow I gained a taste for it on my mission.  I know that steak can be healthy in small doses but I just don’t know if I can control myself.  Plus, it is so expensive.

I’ve always loved pizza- especially New York style in a brick oven.  I love traditional toppings such as ricotta, pepperoni and fresh mozzarella.   I did find a great whole wheat pizza dough recipe but it is pretty labor-intensive.  It isn’t the kind of recipe I can make in an hour or so.  Anyway, I just love pizza. It is the perfect combination of flavors.  Italian is my favorite kind of food and pizza and spaghetti are my favorite items.

After months of craving I gave in yesterday and bought a frozen pizza and ate the whole thing.  (Don’t worry. It wasn’t fast food.  I’m still going strong on that goal!).  This frozen pizza is the one moment of weakness I’ve had since I started at the beginning of March and you know what I learned from the experience.  First of all it wasn’t as good as I remembered it and Second, I had heart burn for like 2 days and felt terrible. I guess my body is really beginning to change and eventually it will crave different things.  I am hopeful that when I try fast food at the end of the summer I will have a similar experience where it won’t taste as good anymore.

As I feel these cravings in the future I will definitely look back on this experience and remember that what sounds good doesn’t always taste good.  Still lost another 2 lbs this week! That’s 25 total!

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Dating Chili

This Monday I participated in a chili cookoff at the churchhouse.  It was one of the most enjoyable activities we have had in a long time with everyone talking and enjoying good chili.  Each contestant was responsible for making a pot of chili and giving it a funny, creative name.  I made my own variation on the Barefoot Contessa Parties Chicken Chili recipe by Ina Garten and called it Dating Chili: It’s so good you will want to ask me out after eating it!  I would like to say that the title worked and I got a lot of dates from but sadly that was not the case.  (Plus, there were about 40 girls to 10 boys so the odds were not in my favor).

The competition was pretty fierce with around 10 pots of chili for the judges to try- including one pot made by a professional chef.   Mine was undoubtably the best and the biggest crowd pleaser; however, I just needed the judges to agree with that assesment.  Unfortunately they picked another 😦    It’s like my sister said “ther’s no accounting for taste”.  Afterwards a couple of the girl judges came and said they liked mine the best.  Maybe chicken chili is more suited to a girl’s pallet.  Who knows.  Despite not winning, a number of people have asked for the recipe and I decided my blog is the perfect place for that.

Chicken Chili (Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook by Ina Garten)

  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 red jalapeno seeds and stem removed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (preferably with mexican seasonings or fire roasted flavor)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro plus some for garnish
  • 4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can cannelloni beans
  • 1 (28-0unce) can pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Dice the onions, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic. Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, jalapeno, honey and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, beans, cilantro and basil.  Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

I think it is the yummiest recipe.  I love a big bowl with a little sour cream, cheese and cilantro on top.  Delicious!  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  It does make a large pot of chili so if you are making it for a family I would cut it in half (believe it or not this is already cut in half from the original Ina Garten recipe!).

By the way, I did win best name for my chili, so there is some hope for next time! My only regret is I didn’t take a picture of the delicious chili.  I always forget to take pictures of normal life events.  If you looked at my camera you’d think all I did was go on vacation!

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Simple Pleasures

President Joseph F. Smith said that seeking “to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all man-kind, is the truest greatness. To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman.”

This is one of my favorite quotes because it reminds me that there is nobility in the small, simple acts of life.  There is a part of me that wants to be bold, brave and make an impact on the world.  I just have to remember that often that impact is felt by the simple and not the grand gestures.  The people that I most admire are the ones that lived quiet lives filled with love and service- grandparents, friends, parents etc.

I was thinking about some of the small activities that give me great joy.  I’d love for all of you to share some of your favorites as well.  These are in no particular order:

1. Reading a good book

2. Lazy conversations with friends and family- phone is great but in person even better.

3. A funny joke or story shared with a friend

4. Comics- Calvin and Hobbes, Dilbert and Peanuts are my favorite

5. Hugs from my nieces/nephew and siblings.

6. Morning scriptures and prayer

7. The mountains when they are clear and beautiful/The Ocean

8. The satisfaction of completing a task or job

9. Dinner/lunch with friends

10. Watching a good movie

11. Book clubs

12. NPR- especially Car Talk, Wait Wait and This American Life

13. Holidays

14. The comfort and security of being around loved ones

15. Fresh cut flowers- lilis and orchids are my favorite

16. Great music of all kinds

17. Cooking for myself or others

18. Singing particularly with my voice lessons

19. Shopping and finding a bargain

20. Finding the perfect gift for a friend or family member

So, I could go on and on.  The point is that I have much in my life to be grateful for and many happy, simple things that I can focus on doing well each day.