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Two Peas and Their Pod: February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Turkey Panini

Looking for a quick and easy meal idea? Try a panini! They are perfect for lunch or dinner. We love making them because they are fast, healthy, and we can "build our own."

Josh always puts turkey on his, but I stick to all veggies. We just use what we have on hand, but some of my favorites are: zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash, mushrooms, roasted peppers, onions, tomatoes, and artichokes. I LOVE loading on the veggies. The sandwich smashes down so it is good to start with a mile high panini!

We use whole wheat ciabatta rolls from a local bakery. I always brush the bread with balsamic vinegar and sometimes I add pesto or a spicy mustard. We also add cheese, Josh likes a lot, I like a little mozzarella.

If you don't have a panini maker, no worries. You can use a pan and smash the panini down with another pan. I highly recommend buying a panini maker though, we LOVE ours. We have the Villaware model.

Serve your paninis with a salad, fruit, or side of veggies and you are set!! Get creative and use whatever sandwich fillings your heart desires! The recipe below is pretty vague, I am sure you can figure out how to put together a panini:) Use your favorites and enjoy!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Panini Sandwiches

Whole wheat ciabatta bread (or bread of your choice, thick/hearty bread works best)

Meat (Josh uses turkey, use whatever you like)

Veggies (Add on lots!)

Balsamic Vinegar

Pesto, Spicy mustard, or any other condiment you wish

Cheese of your choice

Salt and Pepper

1. Heat up the panini maker or pan.

2. Cut the bread and brush each side with balsamic vinegar.

3. If using veggies, brush them with vinegar and grill them on the panini maker or pan. I like to do this to bring out the flavor in the veggies before they go on the sandwich.

4. Add meat, veggies, and cheese, condiments, salt, and pepper or whatever toppings you are working with to your bread.

5. Place the panini on the maker and smash...or smash with another pan.

6. Cook for about five minutes.

7. Cut and enjoy!

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Recipe for Oatmeal Berry Muffins

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is true, not just an old wives tale. A lot of people think that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight, but WRONG! You need to eat in the morning to refuel your body and jumpstart your metabolism. Skipping meals usually leads to overeating later on in the day anyway. So do yourself a favor and eat breakfast!!

If you are short on time or don't know what to eat, I have a solution...Oatmeal Berry Muffins! I adapted these from Joy the Baker. They are healthy muffins...before you start whining, listen:)

These muffins are healthy AND delicious. I used whole w
heat flour, oats, and applesauce. The texture is wholesome and a good way:) I also added in cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract...three of my favorite flavors. And now for the berries...I used frozen raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, these muffins are bursting with berries. Biting into a muffin caused an explosion of berry goodness in my mouth...YUM!

I put some of the muffins in the freezer so I always have a healthy breakfast, even when I am in a rush. Just heat them up and enjoy!! Please sta
rt your day off right by eating breakfast. You will feel much better, especially if you eat one of these muffins!

Oatmeal Berry Muffins

Adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used 1 tsp.)
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used chunky applesauce)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (I added this)
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract (I added this)
  • 3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (I used frozen raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. I put in a full cup)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with paper cases or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil, egg, and extracts. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. Fold in berries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. I got 16 regular muffins.

Bake for 16-18 minutes.

Cool on rack. Enjoy! They freeze beautifully too!

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms and a WINNER!

Thank you to everyone who visited and commented on our blog! We hope to see you again! We really wish everyone could win a book, but thanks for playing:)

Now for the big news....the winner is Jennifer Brailsford who said: Who does not love bread? It gets even better because it takes five minutes. I am all for it.

Please email us your mailing information and we will get the autographed book to you!!
Thanks again to Jeff and Zoe, we love your book! If you didn't win, should still buy it! It is definitely worth it!

We were at Costco the other day and spotted portobello mushrooms. They were huge shrooms and very reasonable in price, so we bought a package. I love portobellos in all forms, but my favorite are stuffed portobellos! So that is what I put on the menu for dinner.

I brushed the mushrooms with
balsamic vinegar and stuffed them with garlic, onion, spinach, roasted yellow peppers, tomatoes, and breadcrumbs. We also topped them with mozzerella cheese! We baked them in the oven for about ten minutes and voila, we had an amazing meal!

The mushrooms were thick and "meaty." I don't eat meat, so I guess I can't really compare the two, but these shrooms were thick, tender, juicy, and filling. So much better than meat:) The flavors were fantastic!

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

2 Portobello mushrooms
Balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 of an onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper, roasted and chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 cups of fresh spinach
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Italian seasoning (I use a blend from Emeril)
Mozzerella cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the stem and gills from the mushroom. I use a spoon to scoop them out.
2. Brush the mushrooms with balsamic vinegar.
3. Heat olive oil in a small saute pan. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until tender. Add in peppers. Cook until tender.
4. Add in tomatoes and spinach. Cook until spinach wilted and "cooked."
5. Divide the filling and stuff the mushrooms.
6. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on the top and add Italian seasoning. Top with cheese.
7. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about ten minutes or until the cheese is melted.
8. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes and a GIVEAWAY!

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes...WHAT??? Yes, you read it correctly. Only 5 minutes a day to enjoy amazing Artisan bread!! I didn't believe it either, until I tried it.

Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois are the geniuses behind this amazing bread baking method. Their book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is ideal for anyone who loves fresh baked bread, but struggles to find the time to bake...which is just about everyone! Who doesn't like the smell of fresh baked bread??? You will love it even more when it takes you no time and effort!!

We recently threw together the master recipe from the book. When I say "threw together" I mean it. We really did nothing...well, we dumped yeast, water, salt and flour together...and then we let it sit in the fridge.

We cut off a hunk of dough the next day and let the bread rest, no kneading is involved! We then baked it for 30 minutes and were smitten by the smell and gorgeous appearance of our loaf. I just kept staring at it. I was skeptical the whole time, but I promise you this method works. We had a beautiful rustic loaf without breaking a sweat! I still can't believe it worked, but I am SO glad it did:)

We still have the rest of the dough in our refrigerator, you can keep it for 14 days. They say the older the dough, the better the bread gets. I can't wait to bake more bread this week. This really is a phenomenal way of baking bread. I am a true believer!! If you haven't read this book, go get it!! You will be amazed.

And GREAT NEWS...Jeff and Zoe are giving our readers a free book!! For a chance to win, please comment on this post by Wednesday, February 25th, 12:00 a.m. (MST). We will pick randomly and announce the winner on Thursday!! Good luck and thanks so much to Jeff and Zoe!! We love your book!

I also recommend going to their website:
// There are some errors in the book, so make note of the changes, they are listed on the website.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Recipe for Soba Noodle Soup with Spinach and Mushrooms

Here we go again with another soup recipe!! I am so sorry if you are tired of my soup craze!! I just can't stop making big pots of soup though!! I love having soup on a cold day...and I love packing it for our lunches, and even freezing portions for later on!

This soba noodle soup is very light, but filling. I love the mushrooms and spinach! It makes a very pretty soup, and it is also very healthy!! If you haven't tried soba noodles before, I suggest you do:) They have a great nutty flavor and are a great source of fiber. Look for them in the Asian section of your grocery store.

If you can't find them you can substitute whole wheat spaghetti noodles.If you want to add protein you could add in some tofu, shrimp, or even chicken!! I will for sure be making this one again!! Enjoy!

Soba Noodle Soup with Spinach and Mushrooms
Adapted from Everyday Food

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces shiitake mushrooms (stems removed), caps thinly sliced (we used button mushrooms because we already had them)
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts separted and thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • Coarse Salt
  • 2 cans (14.5 Ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth (we used vegetable broth)
  • 2tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (we use lite soy sauce)

1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add mushrooms, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, 6 minutes.

2. Add broth and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Add soba; reduce to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes. Add spinach; cook just until tender, about 1 minute. Add lime juice and soy sauce. Serve topped with scallion greens.

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And the Winner Is...

Thanks to everyone who commented on our giveaway post! It was great to hear from so many of you. We loved hearing about your favorite vacation spots! We have a lot of traveling to do:)

Luckily, we have been to a lot of neat places. My favorites are Italy, France, Switzerland, San Francisco, Ponte Vedra, Chicago, San Diego, and now I love to go home, to good old Oakley, Illinois. I have a lot of favorites:)

So now onto the big announcement...the winner of the bag giveaway is Kara, who said: I heart Sedona, AZ...the red rocks look like castles to me. And they feel so old and wise. I love the energy of the whole area.
We are so going to make these pizzas!

Congrats Kara! Please email me your name and address and we will get the bag sent out to you!!
Thanks again to everyone for your comments. We hope to do more giveaways in the future!!

Come back later for another tasty recipe! I have some good ones to post:)


Friday, February 20, 2009

French Bread Pizza and a GIVEAWAY!

Josh was begging for pizza AGAIN, he never gets sick of it. I was not in a creative or cooking mood, so I let him take charge in the kitchen.

He decided to make French Bread Pizza. This has to be the easiest meal ever! We bought a loaf of french bread from our local market. I recommend buying a big fat loaf instead of a little french baguette. The baguettes are a little too crusty and chewy for pizza!

We cut the loaf in half lengthwise and then into four portions. We tore some of the bread out of the middle so the pizza wouldn't be too bready! Then we toasted them under the broiler for a couple of minutes. While the bread was still warm, we took a fresh garlic clove and rubbed the bread down. I love this trick. It really add
s a lot of garlic flavor.

Luckily, we had leftover homemade pizza sauce in the freezer, so we used that for the first layer. Josh piled on the pepperoni for his pizza, but I stuck with lots of fresh veggies. We topped the bread with some mozzarella cheese too!! We baked them in the oven for about 15 minutes!

I actually liked this meal. It was quick and easy...and I liked the nice crunch of the bread. It was fun trying a different type of pizza!

And now for the big giveaway!! This is our first blog!! Cait, from Crabbybags, has donated on
e of her trendy bags to give to our readers! I adore her bags!! They are so fun! They are perfect to take to the grocery store. You can shop in style and save the environment!

Cait only uses high quality home decor weight fabric and reinforces them with thick interfacing, so these bags are very durable. They make wonderful reusable grocery bags, but of course they can be used for just about anything!!

To view Cait's other bags visit this site:
I am sure you will want one of each! Thanks for a fabulous giveaway!!

To enter the giveaway, please answer the following question, "
Where is your favorite vacation spot?" Please comment on this post, the deadline is Sunday at 12:00 a.m. (MST). We will announce the winner on Monday!! Thanks!!

French Bread Pizza

1 loaf of French bread
1 clove of garlic
Pizza sauce, of your choice
Mozzerella cheese
Italian seasoning

1. Slice the loaf of French bread in half, lengthwise. Then cut it into four pieces. Tear out some of the bread so the pizza isn't too bready:)
2. Place the bread on a cookie sheet and put it under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes.
3. Take the garlic clove and rub it all over the bread. This will add a nice garlic flavor.
4. Spread your sauce on all four pieces of bread.
5. Next, add your toppings. Josh used pepperoni, I used veggies.
6. Cover with cheese and Italian seasoning if you wish.
7. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, just until the cheese melts.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is a classic comfort food. It is one of those recipes that just makes you feel better, right? I know when I was a kid, I always ate chicken noodle soup when I was under the weather. I don't eat chicken anymore, but Joshua does:) So we made a big pot of soup to ease the soul!

This is a simple recipe. We used a pressure cooker to cook the chicken breasts and then we shredded them with two forks. Super easy!! We also
chopped up onion, garlic, carrots, and celery...the basics for any good soup! We didn't have time to make our own noodles for this one, so we bought wide egg noodles from the store and they worked out fine.

This is a great "go to" recipe for the winter months...or when you are feeling down! This really is chicken soup for the soul!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock or broth (we use low sodium)
  • 1 package of wide egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits

I am not a Southern gal, I grew up in Illinois and now live in Utah, but I do enjoy a good biscuit...and by good I mean tender, flaky, buttery, hot, melt in your mouth good! I love my biscuits with honey or homemade jam. My mouth is watering right now:)

I recently tried a recipe from Pinch My Salt. She really did her research on how to make the perfect buttermilk biscuit. I suggest you read this post! It was extremely helpful in my biscuit making adventure.

I followed all of the tips and tricks...used really cold bu
tter, used some cake flour, didn't twist when cutting, etc. I am glad I did because my biscuits were everything I wanted them to be..and then some!! If you are a biscuit lover, do your research and then get in the kitchen! You are going to love these!

You can find the reci
pe and tips here! ENJOY!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Recipe for Lemon Drop Cookies

I had a bunch of lemons I needed to use so I came up with a new cookie recipe. I am calling these lemon drop cookies! Do they still make lemon drop candy??? I haven't had one in years! Anyways, these cookies remind me of lemon drops!! They are similar to my lime coconut snowballs, but obviously there is no lime or maybe they aren't that similar:)

I love that these cookies are bite size and full of lemon flavor. I used a lot of zest, fresh lemon juice, and they even got drizzled with a lemon glaze. You can never have too
much lemon if you ask me. The more I pucker up, the better:)

I think these cookies would be perfect for a part
y! They are elegant and bite size...and really easy to make! You can make the dough ahead of time if you wish...and they also tasted great for a couple of days!

If you are a lemon lover
like me, try these cookies. They are LEMONICIOUS!

Lemon Drop Cookies

1/2 c. butter softened
1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
zest of 1-2 lemons, I like a lot of zest!
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

For the Glaze:
About a 1/2 c. powdered sugar
Juice of about 1 lemon

Lemon zest-just guess!

-In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and whisk to combine, set aside.
-In bowl of stand mixer, combine butter, sugars, lemon zest and beat on high until light and fluffy, you want it really creamy!
-Add the lemon juice and beat until well combined.
-Turn mixer to low and add in the dry ingredients, a little at a time.
- Turn the mixer up to medium to incorporate all of the dry ingredients into the cookie dough. Be patient, it will take a couple of minutes to get everything well mixed.
-Roll the dough into little balls, you want them little so they are bite size and cook evenly.
-Chill the cookie balls for at least 30 minutes. The dough can be made in advance!
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpats.
-Place the cookies on lined baking sheets and place into oven to bake for 10-12 minutes. Don’t overcook!! Take them out when the bottoms are very slightly browned.
-Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheets.
-To make the glaze-mix powdered sugar, lemon juice, and zest with a whisk. Whisk until smooth.
-Using spoon, drizzle the glaze over each cooled cookie and let it run down the sides.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Crunchy French Toast

We are still at the cabin, it has been the greatest weekend ever. Josh loved the surprise getaway! We really didn't do much and that was the best part!! We needed a long weekend of R and R!!!

The cabin is in a beautiful location, just east of Kamas, Utah. It was snowing some of the weekend...we enjoyed watching the flakes tumble to the ground from the window. I am glad we were snuggled up inside!! We watched a lot of movies, some sports, read, slept, went on a scenic drive, etc. It has been so nice!!

I made Joshua breakfast yesterday. I fixed crunchy
french toast with fresh strawberries...and sausage for him. He was pleased to have some "man" food! We love french toast and sometimes we go for a crunchy version! We normally have it with a corn flake crust, but this time I used Honey Bunches of Oats for the outer coating. It paired nicely with the cinnamon and vanilla flavored french toast! Next time you make french toast, give the crunchy version a try!! We love it!

We have to head back to the city sad!! But it was the perfect weekend!! Thanks again to the Dewey's and Gram for letting us stay at the cabin. It was very relaxing and peaceful. Just what we needed!

Crunchy French Toast

1 egg
3 egg whites
Splash of skim milk
Cinnamon-we like a lot
1 tsp. vanilla
Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, crushed a bit
Maple Syrup

1. Whisk together the egg and egg whites. Add in a splash of milk.
2. Mix in cinnamon and vanilla.
3. Crush the cereal on a plate.
4. Dip the slices of bread in the egg mixture. Then dip each side into the crushed cereal.
5. Cook each side of the bread on a hot griddle.
6. Serve hot with syrup and berries if you wish!

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Heart Shaped Blondies

I hope everyone's day is filled with love and lots of sweet treats:)

I kidnapped Joshua yesterday!! He had no idea I have been planning a surprise! It was so fun being sneaky!! When he got home from work yesterday I had his favorite cookies and a card sitting on the table. In the card, I asked him if he was ready for a weekend adventure, luckily he said yes! I had all of our bags packed and we took off. He didn't know where we were going:)

First, we drove up to Midway, Utah. It is a gorgeous place and someday we hope to build a home there. So we looked around and then had lunch at a tasty Mexican restaurant. Then we drove to the Dewey's cabin, the grand surprise!! It is gorgeous, especially with all of the snow!

Lincoln was my secret spy...he helped me get the cabin and set everything up. Josh was so excited when we got here. We LOVE the cabin. We came here right after we were married. Today is our 8th month anniversary! I am lucky to have such a wonderful and handsome husband!! He brings my life much happiness!

So this weekend we are just relaxing...and of course I brought up tasty food! That is a must!! A big thanks to the Dewey's and Gram for the perfect weekend away!

Have a great weekend everyone! We don't have work on Monday so we are really going to relax!!

I made these heart treats the other night to take to our neighbors. They were really easy! Just make your favorite blondie or cookie bar and cut them into heart shapes. I also threw in Valentine M&M's for color!!

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Recipe for Whole Wheat Veggie Pizza

Josh is a pizza fanatic! He would eat it for every meal if I let him:) I usually convince him to eat something else, but the other night I gave in and we made pizza!

This time we made a whole wheat crust. We used half whole wheat flour and half all purpose. The best part about this dough is that it really doesn't have to rise, you only let it "rest" for 15 minutes!! We made it in our food processor too, so it was a breeze!! I was amazed at how quickly we put together a homemade pizza. Faster than any pizza delivery boy could get to your door, I promise!!

I made a simple homemade sauce and we topped our pizza with cheese and veggies. We used green peppers, red onion, tomatoes, and zucchini. I love making my own pizza so I can load it with veggies and limit the cheese. I always put more on Josh's side because he loves it!

We made a salad to go with and were eating healthy delicious pizza in no time!! We really enjoyed the whole wheat crust. It was thick, chewy, and had a nice nutty flavor. We will for sure make this one again!! Oh, and we got to use our cool new pizza cutting tool from Williams and Sonoma! Another reason to keep making pizza:)

Next time you are craving pizza, give this recipe a go! You will be amazed at how fast everything comes together!!

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough

To make 1 pound dough:
1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 package quick-rising yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup hot water (120-130°F)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Use whatever toppings you wish! I made a homemade sauce and we topped ours with mozzarella cheese and veggies!

1. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.

2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.

3. Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack;preheat oven to 500°F or highest setting. Roll and top the pizza as desired(we suggest a 13-inch circle) and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 10 to 14 minutes. Serve immediately.

Make Ahead Tip: Store in a plastic bag coated with cooking spray in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

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