Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week 37 Menu

Scott was out of town, and this week is my turn. Away from Scott & Shelby for the whole week! Then, my parents are coming in on Friday! So, it's going to be a no-frills menu! I cooked up a vat-ful of rice as a go-to "toddler alternative." So, they should be set!

Sunday: Out with friends visiting from Seattle
Monday: Applesauce Pancakes (made mix ahead of time...and the applesauce! Yum! I hope there's some left when I get home)
Tuesday: Burgers on homemade buns
Wednesday: Chicken on the grill
Thursday: Pasta
Friday: Italian Beef in the slow cooker
Saturday: Out with the grandparents
Sunday: Out with the grandparents

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Asian Pizza

It's no secret the Lawrence family loves pizza. We are disciples of Joseph's in Atlantic Beach & Mellow Mushroom in Jax Beach. But, these days, we are in love with homemade pizza! We've played around with a lot of different topping and crust combinations.

Well, I think we've got it this time! We had originally planned on having Asian Lettuce Cups for dinner, but we made a game day decision to have pizza. I wasn't really prepared for pizza, but I put on my Iron Chef smock and looked in the fridge to pull together a pizza.

I decided to go for broke. I would make an Asian pizza. I had the topping (lettuce cup filling), but I got stuck on sauce. I had the Schezuan Sauce in mind, but I didn't want it to be as complex since the topping was already well-seasoned. Mixing the basic components (peanut butter, olive oil and soy sauce) gave a good "glue" for the pizza.

I also made one other change. I really like Smitten Kitchen's pizza dough recipe. But, I've put my own spin on that one, too. Deb's recipe makes a thin-crust pizza, but we like a thicker crust. So, I made a 1.5x batch and it was just right! I also substituted 1/2 cup of the total flour for whole wheat flour. I figure: yeah, it's carbs, but at least it's a little healthier that way!..Hey, it works for me!

The result was absolutely fabulous! It was a big hit! And, surprisingly filling. California Pizza Kitchen, here we come! Here's the final recipe:

Asian Pizza

Pizza Dough
1 1/3 cups white flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/3 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2/3 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil

See Pioneer Woman's Asian Lettuce Wrap recipe. Prepare to topping ahead of time to be able to throw together the pizza quickly!

1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

1/4 cup peanut butter
1-2 tablespoon live oil
1 splash soy sauce
1 splash vinegar

For the dough, stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.

Knead it for just a minute or two. Lightly oil the bowl (a spritz of cooking spray perfectly does the trick) where you had mixed it, dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it undisturbed for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size.

Dump it back on the floured counter, and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under that plastic wrap for 20 more minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat your oven to its top temperature. Roll out the pizza, spread the sauce on the dough, then the topping, cheese and finish with cilantro.

Bake it for about 10 minutes until it’s lightly blistered.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Slow Cooker Ribs

My Mom used to make ribs when we were younger. It was a special occasion. They were meaty, tender, and messy. Oh, were they messy! We loved them, but would never eat them at a restaurant....too barbaric. When we would eat The Ribs, we'd gather at the table (a fresh package of paper napkins open), and lower the blinds lest the neighbors witness us feed like lions on the Serengeti!

I saw a recipe for slow-cooked ribs in the oven. Of course I immediately thought how I could adapt the recipe for the slow cooker. The recipe called for 6 hours in a 200-degree oven. So, I was a little concerned about over-cooking them in the slow cooker for 8-9 hours. No worries! They turned out pretty well. We've always had wet ribs, but this recipe called for a dry rub. The brown sugar, cumin and chili powder were just the right combination!

And, even better: everyone love them!

Sweet and Smoky Oven Spareribs
Adapted from Deb in the Smitten Kitchen

Servings: 2 1/2 pounds will be generous for 2 people

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoons chili powder (ancho is recommended) or paprika
1 teaspoons salt (see Note above about increasing it)
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 pounds spareribs, cut into 4 slabs, rinsed and patted dry
1 teaspoons mild or hot pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar or red or white vinegar

In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili powder or paprika, salt, garlic powder, cloves and cinnamon; you can do this easily with a fork. Place each slab of ribs on a piece of foil that will fit into the slow cooker. Sprinkle spice rub over the ribs, patting it in generously on all sides — you’ll be glad you did. Turn the ribs meat side down and tightly fold the foil to make sealed packets.

Place the foil packets in the slow cooker seam-side up. Cook for 8-9 hours on LOW or until a fork easily penetrates the meat.

Once finished, open each packet carefully and pour the accumulated juices into a saucepan. Boil the juices and reduce them by half, at which point you will have a syrupy sauce that easily coats a spoon. Stir in paprika and vinegar.

Remove the ribs from the foil and either coat them with the sauce or serve the sauce alongside the ribs. For extra caramelization, the ribs can be finished for a few minutes under the broiler, before being coated with sauce.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 36 Menu

Scott is out of town early this week. So, those meals are fairly simple (Read: Can be prepared while minding an almost-2-year-old Spider Monkey!).

Sunday: Steaks and craisin couscous
Monday: Big salads with leftover steak
Tuesday: Cilantro rice
Wednesday: Sweet & Smoky Oven Ribs (from Smtiten Kitchen)...holdover from last week
Thursday: Chickpeas with Paprika and Cilantro (from Three Many Cooks)
Friday: Asian Lettuce Wraps (from Pioneer Woman)...freezer stash
Saturday: Out.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Shelby has a fixation with Mickey Mouse. She can express her opinon with words now. She can turn on the TV now. She can turn the channels now (after pressing enough buttons).

Her attention span is getting longer so she lasts longer than just the intro. We have four episodes of The Mouse on On Demand. We know those episodes by heart. We just recently got a DVD of four new episodes! Hooray! Last weekend, both Scott and Shelby were enjoying the lazy day and the new episodes!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 35 Menu

Sunday: Leftover pizza & pancakes
Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie (from the freezer)
Wednesday: Spareribs in the slow cooker (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Thursday:Eggplant Parmesan (from the freezer)
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Freezer Cooking - September

I've done my September freezer cooking in steps. I haven't had any days off work lately. So, I'm doing a little every weekend. I'm starting to get a bit more bold and adventurous with what I'm freezing. You never know until you try, right?!
Here is what's on my agenda:
- Hamburger buns (2 batches) - done
- Pizza Dough (4 servings) - done
- Eggplant Parmesan (2 batches) eggplant plank frozen separately from the ragout - done
- Curried Carrot Soup (1 batch) stored in 1-serving containers - done
- Peach Jam (1 batch) - waiting for the peaches to ripen!
- Chicken marinated in Schezuan sauce (4 servings) - tomorrow
- Asian Lettuce Wrap filling (2 batches) tomorrow

Friday, September 10, 2010

Shelby Dust Buster

She has overcome her fear. I think she drops food on the floor on purpose - just so she can use the dust buster!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Weekend, Part 2

On Sunday, we asked Shelby if she wanted to go to the pool. She said, "Beach!"

Usually we'll load up all our gear into the car, drive around for a while looking for a spot, then haul all of our gear onto the beach. Today, we thought: well, we moved to be close to the beach. Let's take advantage of it and ride our bikes to the beach!

We loaded up Shelby and our towels/toys into the bike trailer and took off! We took the straight shot over to the beach (~1.5 miles) with only two traffic lights in our way. We chained our bikes to the access ramp and wheeled the trailer onto the beach. It was so easy!!!! We'll think twice about driving to the beach again!

Shelby has no fear when it comes to the ocean. There was a nasty undertow and some crashing waves (for Northeast Florida), but she still ran right into the surf screaming and laughing!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fun Weekend

We had such a great time this weekend! We managed to spend most of our time on our side of the Intercoastal. It was so much fun.

On Saturday I had to work (boo). But, we went to The Third Street Diner for dinner. It's a retro diner with American and Greek food. It's a good thing Shelby doesn't sit in a highchair anymore. The diner's two highchairs were already occupied by two adorable girls. The three babies couldn't take their eyes off each other: pointing and smiling the whole time. Afterward, we went up to Neptune Beach. We came across a drum circle at Lillie's Coffee Shop. They meet the first Saturday of the month and they call themselves: Perk-cussion....perk-cussion? Get it?! They had a bunch of blocks, drums and maracas for the kids to play. Shelby thought it was fantastic!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Week 34 Menu

Sunday: Steak and toasted green beans and grilled pears for dessert!
Monday: Seared tuna and Grill Watermelon (from Bitten Word)...we're going to put Dad to work this weekend!
Tuesday: Red beans and Rice (from Jane's menu last week)
Wednesday: Grilled chicken marinated in Schezuan sauce
Thursday: Coq au Vin (from Three Many Cooks) - didn't get to it last week
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out?