Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge- Pizza

Mama Mia, our challenge for the Daring Bakers this month was Pizza! What a great challenge our host Rosa's Yummy Yums planned for the bakers this month. I was glad I was able to get myself together to make this challenge. I actually finished the challenge last night for my families dinner. The pizza turned out delicious and my family devoured it. I followed the regular recipe and it was very easy to make. On the first pizza, I just made a basic pepperoni pizza that my family loves. Nothing really exciting, but just really good. The last picture is my experimental pizza. I cooked the pizza dough first and then sliced it through the center. I spread a mixture of goat cheese mixed with cream cheese and topped it with prosciutto. I added the top of the pizza dough and drizzled the top with olive oil and shredded fontina, provolone and Parmesan cheese and more prosciutto. Oh boy, was that terrific. I am just happy I was able to complete the challenge with everything that has been going on in my life. Make sure you visit some of the other Daring Bakers and see what creative pizza's they came up with. Check out Rosa's blog for the recipe.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Great Soup Recipe and an Update

The calendar says its October so it should be cold. Here in Northern California the temperature hit 83 degrees today. I am still in the mood for soup, so I pulled out one of my favorite recipes and made Meatball soup with escarole and rice. I found the original recipe years ago in a Bon Appetit magazine. It is easy to make and highly adaptable. For instance, I forgot to buy the escarole at the store today, so I am omitting it from the recipe tonight. I also changed out the orzo pasta in the original recipe for rice. I precooked the rice and added about 1/4 cup to each bowl before I ladled the soup in the bowl. I will give you both recipes and you decide which you like best.

On another note- I have decided to stop my other blog A Gluten Free Journey. I am having a hard time keeping up with both blogs, so I think I will just post my recipes on Honey Pickles. My hubby and other sons don't eat gluten free (YET!) so I still have plenty of regular recipes as well as yummy gf recipes that I would love to share with all of you. Thanks for all the support!

Meatball Soup with Escarole and Rice (adapted from Bon Appetit)

1 pound lean ground beef
1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs ( or fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread)
1 large egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

7 1/2 cups low salt chicken broth, divided
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped

For GF recipe: 2 cups of hot cooked rice
1/2 cup orzo
1 small head of escarole, coarsely torn

Blend beef, 1/3 cup cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Using moistened hands shape meat mixture into 3/4 -inch meatballs. Heat 1 1/2 cups broth and oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and simmer until firm enough to hold shape, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to bowl. Boil broth until reduced to glaze, about 6 minutes. Add carrots, celery and onion to pot. Stir until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 6 cups of broth, (pasta, if using) and meatballs with any juices. Reduce heat. Simmer until pasta( if using) is tender, about 10 minutes. Add escarole and simmer until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If going gf, add 1/4 cup of cooked hot rice to bowl and ladle soup over rice. Serve with remaining 1 cup of cheese.

Note (10/26/08): I re-heated the soup today for lunch and instead of the rice, I added some mashed potatoes to the soup. It was a real winner. I think I like the soup best with the mashed potatoes. It gave the soup a creaminess as well as a terrific flavor.

Mixed Media

This is what I have been working on lately. I just don't like it. It has been sitting on my craft table for some time and I slowly have been adding to it. I liked the initial piece which was the old dictionary page that I stitched the heart to. I added that piece to some stretched canvas and it seems to have gone downhill from there. I first painted the canvas a bright blue and green and then I stamped all over it. That seem to look okay, but then I added paper that I just didn't like. I painted over that as well to try to cover some of the paper. The stitched heart was cute, but I don't think it fit the piece. The upper left of the canvas, I hand drew a tree and slightly smudged it. The tape on the piece with writing is some neat Washi tape I found. The last thing I did was add the glass tiles. I think I didn't edit well and I think my canvas was too big. I have been finding it hard to get back into my creative rhythm. Time will heal.

On another note, I found a great new stamp shop in Roseville. It's called The Stamp Art Shoppe and it has the neatest art supplies. She has the Tim Holtz line and all the Ranger products. I spent a lot of time looking around. Tim Holtz is going to be there teaching classes next weekend. How fun!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Apple Hill

We made our annual trek up the hill to spend a beautiful day in Apple Hill. Apple Hill is about an hour drive out of Sacramento on highway 50. It is a beautiful place to drive to and visit all the apple orchards. There are over 50 ranches from everything from apple orchards, berry farms, organic produce and Christmas trees. It is always a fun way to spend the day. We have our little routine when we go to Apple Hill. We always stop at High Hill Ranch first. The boys love to run around and roll down the hills there. They also have a trout pond where you can fish. There are lots of crafters with their wares for sale and of course all things apple. As we wind our way around the ranches we work our way to Rainbow Orchards. They have the best apple cider donuts. They are made fresh for you ! We also picked up fresh apple cider and of course apples. Since hubby was able to come with us, we had to make a stop at Jack Russell Brewery. The boys ran all over their grounds and played on their rocks will hubby was able to sample their brews. Overall, it turned out to be a beautiful day.
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Jelly Belly Tour

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The boys are off for fall intersession and its has been a challenge to occupy them. Hubby works out of our home, so it's crucial I keep my gaggle of boys out of the way. I took the boys on Tuesday to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield. We have been on the factory tour many times, but heck who doesn't like jelly beans. We got a late start so once we arrived the first thing the boys wanted to do was eat lunch at the Jelly Belly cafe. Not my favorite place to eat, but I went with it. The boys love their jelly bean shaped pizza. After lunch we went on the tour of the factory. It was fun an usual and after the tour they fill you up with jelly beans. Not a bad way to spend the day.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


This has been a very trying week for our family. All the activities and planning leading up to my mother-in-laws funeral has made this one tough week. We have been truly blessed by all of our friends and family who gave us such tremendous support. We were thrilled to have our out of town family stay with us. My husbands aunt and uncle from Chicago and one of their daughters from Oregon. The boys loved having company at the house and it was such a treat to get to know our extended family better. I feel that these wonderful people have truly touched our lives.
I know that the weeks to come will be at times difficult, but I know we will make it through.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Faith, Hope and Strength

So here is the finished piece. My little guys hand prints in wool felt with stamped words for Faith, Strength and Hope. I wish all of these things for my little guy and more.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Barbara Ann 1928-2008

It is with great sadness that I write this post of my mother-in-laws passing. She had bravely battled cancer off and on for the last 20 years. She finally succumbed to cancer this Friday and passed away with all of her family around her. She was a truly amazing woman and had so much inner strength and a tremendous faith. She will be greatly missed. We love you Barbara!

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