parmesan crusted tilapia {updated}

Posted: April 28th, 2015

parmesan crusted tilapia

So I wrote about rest two weeks ago, and then last week ended up with a terrible cold that knocked me down last Sunday night (I went to bed at 8:30) and out for Monday with a fever (Gerrit stayed home from work to take care of me and Evelyn) and had me sniffling and coughing all week long.  I think I’m pretty much better now.  But I bring it up to tell you this: I wrote about rest, and how it’s hard to do and how it’s important, and then I got sick and was walking around Monday with a fever feeling like I should be cleaning up the kitchen or watching Evelyn and apologizing to Gerrit that he had to stay home from work and debating as to whether I was really so sick that I needed to take a nap.  The guilt is real y’all, and I am ridiculous. Read more »

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10 dishes i cook constantly

Posted: April 21st, 2015

I am in a recipe rut.  Sorry y’all.  Right now I’m going to blame it on tax season.  But tax season is over so hopefully I’ll be back with some new food soon.

The good thing about being in a rut though is that I’ve been relying on some of my old favorites.  And it’s good to know that I have so many favorites to keep our dinner menus (and breakfast and sometimes dessert) full during the week.

So, I thought it would be fun to look at 10 dishes that are constants in my kitchen.

maple peanut breakfast bars

1) Breakfast Bars

I make a batch of these for breakfast for myself every week.  I kid you not.  If I make them on the weekend, they usually last me all week for breakfast every morning.  (Also the above pictures is my maple peanut breakfast bars, which I do not make nearly as often but which have a much better photograph.)

 

2) Mushroom Marsala Pasta

This is one of my favorite easy pasta dishes.  If I felt like I could eat this more than once a week, I would.

 

roasted red pepper pasta

3) Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

My other favorite easy pasta dish.  And the bonus here is that half the sauce can go in the freezer for dinner another night.

 

4) Green Beans with Almonds

Green beans are a side dish in our house at least once a week.  Very often to go with…

 

basic baked chicken thighs

5) Basic Baked Chicken Thighs

This is one of our favorite things to have for dinner.  It’s so easy and it always hits the spot.  It’s seriously a weird week in our house if these don’t hit the kitchen table at least once.

 

6) Sauteed Zucchini with Almonds

It’s about to be summer squash season, and sauteed zucchini will show up as a staple side dish.  (And what is it about almonds with green vegetables that is so good?)

 

peanut butter oat balls

7) Peanut Butter Oat Balls

I love having a batch of something homemade to snack on during the week, and this is the perfect solution.  They are sweet but still pretty healthy as far as snacks go.

 

8) Roasted Broccoli

Another side dish that seems to make an appearance at least once a week.  We can dress it up with parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon, but the truth is that we usually just roast it plain with salt and pepper.

 

easy whole wheat pizza dough

9) Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust and Easy Pizza Sauce

I’m so glad I discovered such an easy pizza dough recipe.  And this sauce is the best–you can stir it together in five minutes (confession: I very often leave out the garlic to make it quicker).

 

chocolate peanut butter magic shell

10) Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Shell

When such a delicious topping takes 30 seconds in the microwave, the results can be dangerous.  Usually I make up an excuse to have this at least once, if not twice, a week.

 

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easy whole wheat pizza dough

Posted: April 14th, 2015

easy whole wheat pizza dough

I’ve been thinking a lot about rest/sabbath/time for myself recently.  It seems to be a recurring theme, and I’m not sure if it is because I’m hyper-aware of it or if it’s because I actually am stumbling across other people’s thoughts about self-care and rest more.  In Shauna Neiquist’s new devotional book Savor, she talks about rest being a good thing and a holy work of sorts, not necessarily just because we are tired, but because it prepares us to do the other things in our lives.  Resting helps us to be more caring with the people we love; it helps us to be more productive with what we have to do.  Coming to everything in life exhausted and depleted isn’t fair to anyone.

Saturday night, after a frustrating day that was not at all the Saturday I had hoped it would be, I told Gerrit, “I feel like everyone needs so much from me and I’m running out of resources.”  And then I sat down to read a new book, The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner, and I read the chapter on feeling like you have to be everything to everyone.  Ha.  Ok then.
The truth is, I don’t have to be everything to everyone, but at the same time I feel like just about everything I do right now is necessary, either for me or someone else or both.  I’m not sure what I can take off my plate to create more space for the other things I need, including rest.
I guess the answer might look different each week.  Sunday I stayed home from church and sent Gerrit and Evelyn off so I could do yoga and fold clothes and just have some peace and quite alone.  Next week it might be saying no to something else.  But I do know and have realized recently that it means blogging less often and cooking things that are simple and returning to my tried and true recipes that require little fuss (like this pizza dough obviously, which takes 3 minutes to put together in the morning and is ready when we get home from work).
There’s no such thing as perfect balance all the time (this is a hard thing for me to accept), but I’m at least trying to find a different balance each week.  And when I end a Saturday in tears because my day went nothing like I had hoped, I’m trying to learn the lesson in that.
easy whole wheat pizza dough
easy whole wheat pizza dough

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 1 large pizza

One of the things that has changed my life in the best way is this pizza dough. I'm so grateful that everyone's favorite food blogger went to Rome at the same time I did, and when I fell in love with the pizza there so did she. She made a lot of good points about how surely these Romans have an easier pizza dough recipe than we seem to think (because the pizza is everywhere). I've changed it up a little bit because Gerrit and I have discovered that we love whole wheat pizza crust and with a bit less salt. But the same principles still apply: pizza dough does not need to be fussy; and you can use different yeast amounts for different rise times to fit your schedule (1/8 teaspoon to let the dough rise overnight and through the next day, 1/4 teaspoon for all day rising, and 1/2 teaspoon for a half day).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (190 g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups water

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, salt, and yeast. Add the water and stir until the dough comes together. If it seems a bit dry, you can add more water.
  2. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise all day. (Or overnight + all day if you use 1/8 teaspoon of yeast, or half the day if you use 1/2 teaspoon yeast.)
  3. To use the dough, lightly grease a baking sheet. Use your hands to gently spread the dough out to make one large pizza.
  4. Top with your desired toppings and bake in a hot oven (475 or 500 degrees F) for 12-15 minutes.

Notes

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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http://confessionsofapickyeater.com/2015/04/easy-whole-wheat-pizza-dough/
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two months of baby led weaning

Posted: April 10th, 2015

baby breakfast--blueberries and oatmeal fingers

{breakfast–blueberries and oatmeal fingers, her love for her sippy cup evident}

For those of you who care, I wanted to make sure I did a quick update about how Evelyn’s eating is going.  In short, it is going great.  Most meals she is scarfing down food almost faster than I can get it cut up and put on to her plate.  She regularly surprises me with how much she eats.

1. She eats three meals a day now and nurses 4 times a day.  When I first added lunch to her eating schedule she wasn’t particularly interested in it, but within a few days she was loving it.

2. Favorite foods include: chicken (if we give her chicken she will always eat it first and then hunt around her tray for more), steamed broccoli, roasted sweet potato, blueberries, and banana.  She wasn’t too keen on tomatoes at first (although she seems to have come around) and it’s taken her several tries to eat frozen peas (I think this has to do with her ability to pick them up, which she has started to figure out).

3. I feel regularly flummoxed by the guidelines of foods Evelyn should or shouldn’t eat.  Obviously no milk or honey.  But as to most everything else, the concern seems to be allergies.  The two schools of thought seem to be a) don’t introduce until much later because they might have an allergy or b) introduce early so they don’t develop an allergy.  Honestly, option b makes more sense to me.  (And did you hear about the new study with peanut butter?!)  So far the only thing we’ve given her that was debatable allergy-wise is scrambled eggs, which she had no reactions to and which she LOVED.

4. These days, most food is ending up in her mouth and very little on the floor (which is disappointing to our dog).

5. She LOVES her sippy cup.  As soon as we put it on her tray, she drops whatever food she might be holding and reaches straight for it, mouth already wide open.  It is adorable.

Like I said in my last post, when we first started baby led weaning I was so hesitant.  I was so close to breaking out the purees those first few weeks.  But within a few weeks she had the hang of it, and now she is an eating champ.  I’m so grateful for that—although I’m sure once she hits 2 or 3, as seems to be the case with so many preschoolers, that might change.  But for now I’m going to enjoy it.

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easter 2015

Posted: April 6th, 2015

easter flowers

I feel like for every holiday or big weekend event I say in my head that I’m going to blog about it.  And then when we are actually in the midst of doing something fun and having people over at our house or what not, I completely forget to take any pictures that would be useful here.

But I’ll tell you about it anyway.  It was one of those weekends from which I feel like I need a weekend to recover.  We hung out with friends, we had a birthday breakfast with Gerrit’s family, we went house hunting with Gerrit’s parents, we cleaned our house, we went to a wedding shower, we had our entire family over for Easter lunch, and we capped it with hanging out with neighbors and friends on our back porch Sunday night while Gerrit brewed beer.

I’m exhausted, but it’s a weekend that left my heart full and thankful.  It was a weekend that is evidence of the community we have, even though introvert me is now about ready to crawl into bed and not have to talk to anyone for a day.  It was evidence of the support we have–family babysitting Evelyn while we cleaned our house, everyone bringing food for Easter lunch (I really hardly cooked a thing).  It was a weekend of things that make me happy: sunshine, time with family, a new dress.

Now on to a week that feels like Spring (highs in the 70′s all week!).

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