Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of Year Review, Ciabatta Pizza and A Look Ahead

I am quite proud of what I've accomplished in this blog this year. Although it hasn't been a whole year that I've been writing it, keeping track of the delicious things I've made, bought, and baked, I have written more than 50 posts and gotten almost 1500 views. That's pretty amazing. I have to give thanks to my friends and family that have read this blog and promise you all (and myself!) that I will continue posting to it in 2014. 

Before I think deeply about where I've been, I want to add some photos that I didn't write a blog for in December. (It's been a crazy month!) 

This blog was named for my mother and all the meals she ever cooked for me, which I will never forget because there were so few. Okay there really weren't that few, but there were a couple tried and true favorites that we rotated through. One of these was Boboli pizzas. Boboli sells plastic-wrapped shelf-stable pizza crusts that you can spread sauce on and add your own veggies and bake and presto, you have delicious pizza without the hassle. (I've discovered that I love making my own pizza crust, but oh well. Having the crust already made is an amazing luxury sometimes.) 

Whenever we'd make Boboli pizzas, no matter what toppings we'd use, Mom would always spread shredded carrots under the sauce and cheese. She thought I didn't notice, and maybe I didn't for awhile, but then I realized how tasty they make the pizza. (And we're not the only ones who love this - Domenica's has a roasted carrot pizza that uses carrot paste instead of tomato sauce. It's wonderful - and half-price from 3-6 p.m. every day!) 

I had some yummy ciabatta that needed to be used so I made pizza, complete with shredded carrots. 

It tasted much better than this photo makes it look - New Year's resolution #1: TAKE BETTER FOOD PHOTOS! My phone takes pretty good shots but the lighting sucks in my New Orleans kitchen. Hopefully it'll be better in my Connecticut kitchen...

What a fun year it's been. I succeeded in the Eat Local Challenge and failed in my own "no gluten for 30 days" challenge. I've been feeling okay with some up's and down's, but not terrible enough to believe that I actually have a gluten intolerance. Perhaps I'd be better off without as much of it, but I cannot, in fact, live without cookies. I love them so much.

At church on Sunday I talked with a friend who "doesn't eat sugar." I wish I'd asked her if that includes honey, because I could probably do all right cooking and baking without table sugar but boy... if I had to give up honey I think I'd be very sad. It must take a long time to wean oneself off sugar. I admire her a lot.

I'm happy to say that I didn't gain any weight over the holidays but I could be fitter than I am. So I'll work on that next year. As far as eating goes, I really do love to eat and don't really want to give up things. Even though your life is probably better and longer if you don't eat certain things, I believe that we should be happy too, and being happy includes eating sugar and bread and ice cream and all the bad stuff now and then. I would like to work on restraint, though. It's incredibly hard to say no sometimes.

My mother is going to start juicing in the New Year. I've gone back to having smoothies for breakfast but I just couldn't drink all of my meals. I admire her a lot for her determination. Go Mom! You inspire me every day.

Much love to all of my readers and fellow food lovers - happy munching!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Six Months in the Making: 100% Local Chicken Soup

I guess I had a little too much fun this Thanksgiving because I got sick. The changing weather isn't helping either; for a few weeks it was frigid and now it's humid and in the seventies again. I hear it'll go back into the fifties next weekend. Oy.

Sunday I started feeling a sore throat, then Monday it was still sore and I developed a cough, and then Tuesday morning I had a razor-blade coated throat and productive cough (are you hungry yet?) and took a sick day. I slept until 11 and got up and cooked chicken soup.

It wasn't exactly a restful way to start the day, but I'm proud to say that I made pretty good chicken soup and cornbread. I used up the chicken stock from the whole chicken I bought a few weeks ago and added half a sweet potato, two small heads of broccoli, some herbs and salt. After letting it cook until the sweet potato cubes were soft, I had a bowl. Then I realized that I had just made a 100% local meal. Joy!

- Local chicken from the Crescent City Farmer's Market

- Local broccoli from the same vendor as the chicken at the CCFM
- Local sweet potato at the CCFM
- Local oregano and thyme from Hollygrove Market and Farm
- Local salt from Breaux Bridge, LA (leftover from the Eat Local Challenge!)

That's a lot of work for local food. I guess that's what it means to eat local. It was pretty good but I can't figure out how to make chicken soup taste like boxed chicken soup. (The key ingredient is probably MSG... oh well.)

Hooray for local! Now to get better...