Psalm 30:5

"...across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter." --Psalm 30:5

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Other uses for Spinach

We got two large tubs of baby spinach from church this week, so my challenge this week has been to find ways to use it!  It went into the Stromboli last night, and it's going into the vegetable soup tonight.  But it's also been a huge player in salads and smoothies for the week.

Mike is pretty picky about his lunch, and he likes to make it himself, but we're gradually finding some things that he'll let me prepare in advance.  One is a salad-in-a-jar.  Normally, I'd put the dressing in the bottom, but Mike prefers to take the dressing separately.

This one has (from the bottom on up): cucumbers, tomatoes, grilled chicken, feta cheese, spinach, bacon, and candied walnuts.  The dressing is a balsamic vinaigrette (garlic, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and olive oil).

I've also been making smoothies each day as part of my efforts to eat less "junk".  I usually just shove the spinach in to about half way up the blender, add some frozen berries, 2-3 oz of yogurt, add some juice, and a third of a banana.  The spinach really helps me get through those afternoon snack cravings!  Looks disgusting, but I promise, you don't even taste the spinach!  Sierra loved hers this morning.  :-)

What do you use spinach for?  (Seriously, I still have 3/4 of a tub to use up!)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Signs of Civilization

Sierra seems to be a perfectionist.  She watches and listens to things for a LONG time before she attempts them.  She's also pretty conservative (ie: not adventurous).  She didn't walk till about 16 months, started climbing stairs around 17 months, and has only recently (23 months?) started to full sentences.

She's had no interest in using a fork until recently, partially 'cause she couldn't hold it like Daddy and Mommy did.  But she's getting there.  So it was so nice to see this at dinner last week.


And then this was the next night....where she's trying to eat out of the cup...with her mouth....

...oh well.

Some Sort of Stromboli

Every weekend, I ask Mike if he wants anything specific for dinner that upcoming week.  He usually doesn't have a whole lot to request, but this week, Mike made a request for Stromboli.  I'd never made anything like this, so it's all been trial and error, but the reviews were wonderful!  The wonderful thing is that you can adapt this to whatever sort of fillings (or leftovers) are available!

I started by tossing some ingredients in my bread maker on the dough cycle--man, do I LOVE that thing!

Pizza Dough
1 cup water, room temperature
3/4 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 2/3 c bread flour*
1/2 c plus 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour*
1 3/4 tsp yeast

When the dough finished, I rolled it out and brushed it with a bit of olive oil.  Then, I layered on my "stuffing": today, that meant baby spinach, diced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken / bacon / feta cheese (leftovers from last night's salad!), some Parmesan and oregano, and then a bit of onion for Mike.  I think the only problem was that I had too much good stuff in there!

(Jordan munched on some Cheerios while I worked, though he preferred the frozen peach that came next!)

I put the roll on a greased and floured baking sheet or bread pan and set it somewhere warm to rise for 20-30 minutes.  (On a winter day in a cold house, I often turn the oven on to low for a bit, turn it off, let it cool a bit and just let the bread/dough hang out in the oven with the heat off for a while.)
I brushed the top with olive oil just before baking for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

I let it cool for a few minutes and then slice and then we ATE!!  SO delicious!