Sunday, February 26, 2012

Homemade Pizza

Who: You/you and your loved one/ you and some friends
What: A healthy but comforting meal
When: During the week or a relaxing Friday/Saturday night in
Where: Your place
Why: You’ve had a long week and you’re looking for a quick and simple recipe to make

So….It’s Friday night (we’ll use Friday in this scenario).  You’ve worked some long hours, made it to the gym x amount of times (great job!), crossed items off your to do list . . .  and you’re exhausted.  What sounds good to you right now is getting into some comfortable clothes, inviting friends over, cooking up a healthy dish (one in which you can also splurge on) and popping in a movie.

That healthy dish you’re thinking of is . . . Pizza? Why not go for some Homemade Pizza?  It’s simple and completely satisfies those taste buds. 

Dough ingredients:

1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 package active dry yeast
3 cups of whole wheat flour
Drop of olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Cornmeal (optional – to slide pizza dough onto pizza stone or baking sheet)

Pizza ingredients:

Tomato sauce
Shredded mozzeralla and or parmesean cheese
Peppers (green, red, yellow and or orange)
Mushrooms (thinly sliced)
Garlic Salt

Making the Pizza Dough:

1.     Dissolve yeast in warm water for about 5 minutes (you’ll see bubbles forming).  Make sure water is not hot.  Hot water will kill the yeast.  
2.     In large mixing bowl combine flour, salt, sugar.  Add water and yeast and stir forming a ball. Add water or more flour if necessary. 
3.     Place dough on floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.
4.     Place in oiled bowl and cover with towel.  Let sit for roughly 1-2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.
5.     Turn dough onto floured surface and roll with rolling pin into desired shape and thickness. Keep hands floured from sticking to dough.
6.     Sprinkle stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and transfer dough over.

Cooking Pizza

1.     Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2.     Add tomato sauce, herbs, toppings and cheese (in your desired order)
3.     Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is slightly brown
4.     Remove from oven, let cool and slice

Total time (prep and cook time): 1 ½ - 2 ½ hours


    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    A Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two

    Valentines day candle light dinnerEnjoy a quiet and romantic Valentines dinner in the comfort of your own home.  Not only will it be a fraction of the cost compared to dining at a restaurant, but it’ll be much more intimate.  

    To plan the perfect evening, I’ve got you covered.  Listed below are quick, simple and delicious recipes.  Just grab some candles, a nice bottle of red wine or champagne and enjoy yourself a perfect romantic night in.

    Garlic Herb Filet Mignon

    4 ounce portions of filet mignon, about 2 inches thick, trimmed of fat.
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
    dash of sea salt
    dash of ground pepper
    1 teaspoon basil
    1 teaspoon rosemary
    1 teaspoon thyme

    Preheat broiler.
    Combine all 7 ingredients in small bowl.
    Place filets in pan and rub ingredients generously over steaks.
    Broil each side for approximately 5 minutes.  Check the temperature using a meat thermometer to avoid over or under cooking (140 – 150 degrees F for Medium).

    Kale with Cranberries

    2 bunches kale
    3 tablespoons olive oil (1 tablespoon for nuts)
    ¼ cup pine nuts or walnut pieces
    ¼ cup dried cranberries

    Steam the kale until it’s bright green
    Toast pine nuts or walnuts in pan with a tablespoon of the olive oil.
    Allow kale and nuts to cool then toss together in large bowl.
    Add dried cranberries and remaining olive oil
    Toss and serve

    Homemade Potato Chips

    2 sweet potatoes and 2 russet potatoes (peeled or unpeeled)
    olive oil
    sea salt

    Preheat oven to 500 degrees
    Line potatoes on 2 baking sheets and brush with olive oil. 
    Flip potatoes and brush once more. 
    Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper
    Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

    Healthy Sauteed Tomatoes

    2 medium-large size tomatoes
    extra-virgin olive oil

    Coat bottom of skillet with oil
    Add ¼” thick tomato slices and cook over medium to medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side, or until the tomatoes are soft.
    Transfer to plate and season to taste with salt, pepper and cumin. 
    Serve warm

    Chocolate Yogurt with Berries

    2 cups of plain non-fat yogurt (or vanilla)
    ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    ¼ cup of honey
    berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)

    Pour honey and cocoa powder in separate bowl and whisk to get lumps out.
    Add yogurt to honey and cocoa and whisk together
    Pour into 2 separate dishes (I like to use martini glasses for fun) and add a handful of berries

    …and don’t forget the candles and wine =)

    Pair with a good Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux Blend or Petite Sirah

    Happy Valentine’s Day!


    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Houseplants for your Health

    Houseplants do more than just make an area in your home look nice.  Certain houseplants provide great health benefits.  For example; a flower lily in your bathroom prevents mold, a boston fern in your bedroom helps moisturize your skin and a cactus next to your computer can absorb radiation that is released. Other plants can boost immunity, optimize brainpower, improve your mood and much more. The recommended amount of plants to have in a home less than 2,000 square feet is 15-18.  Seems like a lot right? Start small and gradually add to it.

    Below are rated the best houseplants rated for cleansing areas and improving air quality.

    Chinese Evergreen
    Gerbera Daisy
    Aloe Vera
    English Ivy
    Spider Plant
    Heart-Leaf Philodendron
    Janet Craig
    Devil’s Ivy
    Split-Leaf Philodendron
    Warneckie Snake Plant
    Ficus (Weeping Fig)
    Corn Plant
    Peace Lily
    Madagascar Dragon Tree
    Umbrella Plant
    Arrowhead Plant

    Keep in mind when choosing your plants some are easier to care for than others. Consider the conditions in which they will be growing.  If you’re an extremely busy person you may want to go with those that don’t require as much maintenance (watering) as others.  Suitable lighting, temperature and humidity must be present for your plant to thrive.  Choose a plant that will be comfortable in the location it is placed –full light, medium light and or low light.