April 19, 2010

Recommended Reading

Oh man! I have been reading some good books lately and of course I keep reading ones were the series doesn't continue until July or October...argh. Oh well...My recommendation this week:

The Maze Runner
This is the first book in "The Maze Runner" Sci Fi book series by James Dashner. It's a crazy story. There is the place called the Glade where all these teenage boys dwell and every month a new boy shows up in this contraption called "The Box." The book starts with Thomas, the newest boy to enter the Glade being transported in "The Box." It's his story of meeting all these boys and trying to figure where he is and why he's there, and why they are all there and why are the surrounded on all sides by a maze??!!? So many questions, no answers. A lot of the boys there have been there for 2 years and they still have no figured out the Maze surrounded the Glade. They have Runners who go out everyday to try and figure it out, find a way out, find an escape. It's a great book, obviously you get more answers at the end. It's a great read. I was in it, I felt scared when he did, I felt anxious and nervous when he did. It was a fun book to read. It reminded me a little bit of the Hunger Games, so I really enjoyed it. And like the Hunger Games this book was recommended to me from my good friend Michele.

There is a 2nd and 3rd book coming out for "The Maze Runner" series. The next book comes out in October and it's called The Scorch Trials. I can't wait. And, sorry to compare, but just like Hunger Games, they end the books with "This is the end of Book One" so they make you wanting more!! Such a good book, can't wait to see what the rest of the series brings!

Happy Reading!


April 16, 2010

Pepperoni Rolls - Reinventing the Pepperoni Bread

So I didn't know what to do with myself today so I decided what not bake something! I took the idea of cinnamon rolls and took pepperoni bread and cut up the dough into pepperoni rolls! They are really cute and delicious and I think would be really fun for parties!

I made my Go-To Pizza dough and after it rose I dumped it out on to a floured surface and stretch it out over the surface into a large rectangle. I cover the dough with mozzarella cheese and tons of pepperoni and a light dusting of garlic powder. I start at the long end and start rolling, rolling, rolling. Making sure that is it tight and everything is tucked in. I tuck in the ends so the pepperoni and cheese don't fall out and normally I would just bake this as the long log but I took the idea from cinnamon rolls and cut them into about 1 to 1.5 inch think piece and stood them on end on a baking sheet.

Before the bake

I put them in a preheated 400 degree oven for 13-15 minutes until golden brown and the bottoms were nice and brown. Next time I think I will brush them with some egg wash to make them browner and beautiful.

Hot out of the oven

They are so good!! And so cute, and I think you could even make them smaller some how and use at parties for a little munchie. I thought this was a great idea and I am glad I came up with it!!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry...and reinvent a recipe!


April 15, 2010

Mini Calzones

Tonight I decided to make some calzones, because I had some leftover sauce with hunks of Italian sausage in it. Plus it has been a while since I made calzones or pizza, so it sounded like a good idea. But I thought it would be fun to make them smaller and more "hand-held friendly". Here is my recipe for pizza dough. It works well for me, sometimes I have a problem with getting the bottom nice and brown and crispy, but that could be a problem with my oven too.

Go-To Pizza Dough

1 tsp. honey
3/4 cup warm water
1 packet dry yeast
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 (or more) all-purpose flour

  • In a large bowl put honey and pour warm water over and mix with a fork until honey is dissolved in water. Add the yeast packet and mix thoroughly with hand, cleaning up sides of bowl, make sure all is incorporated. Let sit for 5 minutes until it is foamy
  • Once the yeast is foamy add in your Parmesan cheese and 1 cup flour. Using a fork combine the cheese and flour into the yeast mixture until combined, will still be sticky and kinda wet at this point. Add in about a 1/2 cup more flour and start my mixing with fork, after a bit it gets less sticky and you can use your hands to finish kneading the dough.
  • At this point, you'll know by the way the dough feels if you should add more flour or not. If it's still sticky you should add more until it feel uniform and smooth.
  • Place bowl on top of the preheating oven covered with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Then you are ready to make pizza or calzones!

Normally I divide the dough in half and use each half to make one calzone, they are usually pretty huge. So I decided to divide the dough into fourths and made 4 smaller calzones.

I am sure you know how to make calzones but here's what I did. I put a small amount of sauce down and then a piece or two of the Italian sausage and some pepperoni topped it all with cheese and then folded over the top and pinched and folded the edges some nothing would ooze out. I make slits in the top with a knife to let steam escape and I bake them at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes. I think I could have baked my longer tonight, they weren't as brown and I was hoping, but they were still delicious!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!


April 13, 2010

Recommended Reading

If you are into the Twilight series like I am, then I totally recommend reading this book. It is the beginning of a new series by Maggie Stiefvater called the Wolves of Mercy Falls Series. Geek Alert: If you are on Team Jacob, then this book is great! It's like getting the Bella/Jacob story you wanted...kinda. These wolves function differently and come into being wolves differently. I don't mean to compare these books at all, but it's hard when you read the Twilight series and find another series with werewolves.

Shiver is the first book in the series and it centers around 2 main characters, Sam and Grace. Grace was taken as a child into the woods by wolves and was left, considerable unharmed, but to this day she still watches the woods and sees a wolf is always watching her. She becomes infatuated, obsessed, with this wolf with yellow eyes, "her wolf", that seems to be waiting for her in the woods behind her house. Sam is that wolf with the yellow eyes. He saved her from being killed by his pack of wolves, all werewolves, has been watching her ever since, for 6 years. It is a great teen love story. Very sweet, and romantic and a great first love story. I really loved it, I read it in a day...It was so good!! To me it was "Twilight-good!"

The next book in the series in titled Linger. It is due out in July. I can't wait for it to come out, I am really excited. Definitely anticipating whats gonna happen. I love the chemistry between Grace and Sam and I really want to see what more can come from this story, cause I know they are gonna have some difficulty of some sort with the way the first book ended pretty happily.

April 2, 2010

Gorgeous Day for a Picnic and the Best Sammich Ever!

So today was a beautiful, gorgeous day in Cleveland and the hubs was supposed to have a half day, because of Easter, but he decided to take the whole day off and we were going on a picnic! We love going down to Edgewater Park and sitting under a nice tree and having some good eats. The other night I had a "family" dinner with some friends and I picked up some Focaccia Bread from Blackbird Baking. Oh. My. Goodness. This bread is amazing!! It's real simple with just rosemary and some coarse salt on the top, but its so airy and had a nice butteriness to the crust. We just pulled it apart and had chunks with dinner but I thought it would make a great sammich! I always get this sandwich from Panera, the Sierra Turkey, and it comes on an Asiago Focaccia, and it's very good. So I took the idea of using this bread from that sandwich.

I got some Cajun seasoned Turkey from our local store and got some nice Spring Mix lettuce, provolone cheese and a little bit of mayo...and I kid you not...best sammich ever made!!! The bread has the nice saltiness from the coarse salt on top, and the turkey had nice spice and the lettuce was a nice cooling crunch.
This sammich was huge too. I wanted to get a small focaccia but they only had the larger loaf left, so I made a huge sammich for us. I only ate half of mine, gonna take the rest for a nice lunch for work. We made a simple picnic with some deviled eggs (made from the Easter eggs we dyed this morning), Sun Chips (who has a new compostable bag), and Vitamin Water and got some very good brownies from Blackbird as well.

It was a great day! Very relaxing laying on our blanket after our feast and just feeling the wind...so nice. I am thinking I may have to make another one of these sammiches if we go to Blossom for some concerts with my parents...hmmmm :) Hope you all got to enjoy your day too!! Hope your weather was just as nice!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry...and go on a picnic!


April 1, 2010

Books to Check Out

Wow, I haven't posted anything in 2 weeks! I haven't really made anything that creative I guess so I just was posting a lot and took a break, I don't know. But this time around I am gonna talk to you about some books that I thought were great and really interesting.

I am recomm
ending the Hunger Games series. It's a teen series, but that doesn't matter cause I still think its a great series and you can really get into the characters and the story, and I started to almost get emotionally attached to the characters as I read these books. Right now there are only 2 books out, but #3 is coming out in August, which I can't wait for!

The first book in the series is The Hunger Games. Basically this is set in post-apocalyptic times, and there are 12 districts left and every year there is a drawing, called a "reaping" where one boy and one girl tribute is chosen to fight it out in the Hunger Games. Basically, this boy and girl from each district are literally fighting to the death so their family can have food and can live in these tough times. These "Hunger Games" are televised and the families get to watch as their son or daughter gets killed off for the fight of food and their families protection. You get emotionally connected to the main character Katniss, she is a stong young woman, only 15 or 16 and she volunteers to take her sister's place in the games, after her younger sister's name is called in the reaping. It's all about her survival in the games, and how they change the rules...and well, I am not gonna tell you everything.

I just read the 2nd book in the series Catching Fire. This book was great! Even more emotional driven, for me anyway. I would text my friend Michele, who has read these, and I would tell her how attached I was and how I wanted to cry at points...haha. But this book really was a page turner for me, because there are twists and turns you don't see coming until more than halfway through the book where you didn't think things were going to happen because you thought she wouldn't have to do certain things...I don't want to ruin anything!!

The next book in the series, Mockingjay, doesn't come out until August, and that is gonna be a long wait!! These books just tend to end with a good cliffhanger and now you have to wait months until it's even release! Torture I tell you!!

I just though
t these were fun books, and they were page turners for me because of the emotional connection I had and the adventure and survival details. I think these books are great.

Happy Reading!