Tag Archives: pizza

Pizza, Pots du Chocolats, and Peat Pot Pests…

It’s been a while since I’ve  had a food post…

I finally had a chance to try out the new pizza stone Kaylee and Scott gave me for Mother’s Day last week.  I made homemade spinach/feta/mozzarella pizza and barbecue chicken/mozzarella pizza.  I also realized what I was doing wrong all this time: Better Homes and Gardens cookbook says to cook the crust before putting the toppings on, and then cook it again.  That’s why my crust used to be so hard!  The secret is just to put the toppings on the raw dough and cook it once!  For the spinach one, I used thawed chopped spinach (I squeezed as much water out as possible) and crumbled feta cheese.  Here are my latest results:

Spinach/Feta/Mozzarella Pizza on the pizza stone...yes...it was as yummy as it looks!

Barbecue Chicken/Mozzarella Pizza on regular pizza pan...

Saturday morning, I got up early and made a batch of chili and some homemade spaghetti sauce.  I used some of our frozen garden tomatoes for both.  We had the chili for supper on Saturday night (Hope was at a friend’s house and isn’t a big chili fan), but even with only six of us, we polished off most of the pot (four cans of assorted beans)!

When I got up (at the crack of 10:30) on Sunday morning, I went out to water the garden.  I was surprised to see a car pulling a trailer come into our driveway and a man unload a rowboat onto one of the lots that are for sale (owned by our landlord).  He then proceeded to pull his boat down to the water by hand.  I momentarily considered how much fun it might be to have his car towed, since I had no idea who he was, and that he was trespassing as far as I was concerned.  I didn’t, and he soon came back to his car and drove away.  I still don’t know if it was somebody my landlord knows or not…

I used the spaghetti sauce I made Saturday to make a lasagna-like thing with elbow macaroni (we were out of lasagna)…we’ll have that for supper tonight.  I also cooked some barbecue chicken thighs to have on Tuesday night: we’ll be rushing out the door for the Saint John Men’s Chorus Spring Concert.  While I was cooking, I reorganized our main pantry cupboard…I found fruit cups from 2008…chucked those out in a hurry!  We won’t run short of barbecue sauce any time soon…there were about eight bottles of various brands in there!  If only we’d get a sunny day to barbecue now…

We went over to Kaylee and Scott’s for supper yesterday, and Kaylee made pizza for us too (check the comments below for her pizza crust recipe).  She put green peppers on her Barbecue Chicken pizza, which I picked off and gave to Jim.  Devin picked off the mushrooms on his, but didn’t give them to anybody!  Elise had “deconstructed” pizza (pieces of chicken, mozzarella, green pepper, and mushrooms), which Kaylee took away once Elise started chucking pieces on the floor.  Released from her high chair, Elise then repossessed what was left of her mother’s pizza on the plate on the coffee table, and started eating that.  She threw it on the floor a couple more times, but it landed topping side up each time…five-second rule applies in that case!  After supper, Hope and I sang the “If You’re Happy and You Know It” song along with Barney on TV, much to Elise’s delight…I pretended not to know what to do when Barney said to “Do all three.”  What I didn’t know was that Anna was taking a video of us acting the fool with her phone…there’s a video I hope will never see the light of day!

We checked out a garden center near Kaylee’s after supper…I was in the market for a magnolia bush.  The ones at the garden center in our area cost more than $200, which is way out of my price range!  Anna didn’t want to get out of the van, even though Hope told her that cute boys were working there!  We didn’t buy anything…they had mostly flowers.  It was a nice drive, but it made me realize how much I love where we live!

When we got home, Anna and I made lava cakes (this recipe is from Food Network’s Chuck Hughes)…note to self: when buying ramekins, check the size!  The recipe called for 4 oz. ramekins…the ones we got were about 7.5 oz.!  The lava cakes were delicious though, and very easy!

Our lava cakes...we doubled the recipe to make eight, and didn't have any ice cream to top them with...

Once the lava cakes were done, I went out to check on my garden.  To my great disgust, something, probably the baby groundhog I saw the other day, had started digging up my transplanted peat pots and chewing on them.  He had no interest in the plants, just the biodegradable pots I’d gotten at the dollar store!

Dug-up peat pot with lone leek seedling sticking out...

Something is also nibbling the occasional bean plant and some of the sunflowers too…most of the seeds I planted last week are up, with the exception of the lima beans.  I don’t know if my transplants are going to make it or not…they got very dry sitting out in the sun.  I’ll probably have to replace all of the cruciferous vegetables, and most of the peppers and tomatoes.

Jim and Devin went out last night and trimmed some trees…one of the largest trees in the back yard suffered some damage due to the big snowfalls during the winter.  There was a big branch hanging down over my garden, which was providing unwanted shade and a hazard for me!  They got rid of that one!  Jim also made a path for me to the hose (the outdoor faucet has a large pine tree in front of it, and I was scratching my arms every time I tried to water my plants).  I appreciated the new nozzle Jim had picked up for me earlier in the week…the old one hadn’t survived the winter well, and was giving me more water than the plants!

It’s raining today…weeding will be my next task in the garden once the rain stops!

*Note to my blogging buddies: I am running about a week behind with my reading…I’m not ignoring you…I will be visiting soon!  WM

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Things I Learned This Weekend…

Here are a few of the things I learned this past weekend:

1. That we have a new bird hanging around our back deck.  Anna called me on Saturday to let me know that we had a brown-headed cowbird.

Brown-headed cowbird (photo from allaboutbirds.org - couldn't find Anna's photo!)

  

2. That the Habitat for Humanity ReStore has neat stuff.  We went on Saturday morning.  In addition to every building material known to man, there were used books (nothing I wanted for the store though), brand new 1″ binders, used furniture and appliances, and even scented candles!  We were looking for lumber to extend our fence posts higher.  We got two bundles of nine 2″x 2″‘s, 8 feet long for $10 each.  We will string twine between them and put streamers and ribbons on the twine to hopefully prevent the deer from trying to jump the fence.  As the teenage boy loaded the wood into the back of the van, I drew a blank on how to thank him:  He was only about 17, so he wasn’t really a “Sir”.  I didn’t want to call him “Son”, because he wasn’t my son, and I didn’t want to sound ancient.  So I said, “Thank you…dear!” which is what Saint Johners call people that they’re not on a first-name basis with.  I don’t think he heard me… 

3. That Kaylee makes better homemade pizza than her mother (yes, I said that).  We had supper at her house on Saturday, and she made three awesome pizzas using essentially the same dough recipe that I do!  I need to get some pizza stones…

4. That 19-month-old toddlers are great imitators.  Scott set his ice cream bowl down on the floor for the cat to lick, and a couple minutes later, Elise bent from the waist, stuck her tongue out and her bum in the air, and tried to lick the bowl too!  We all wished we’d had a video camera going at the time.

Elise getting fit with mommy's weights...

5. That our van registration expired over a month ago.  As we drove home from Kaylee’s, there were four Rothesay Police vehicles setting up a roadblock…they waved us through.  Jim asked me to check the van registration in the glove compartment just in case…it’s a really good thing they didn’t stop us…it would have been a $185 fine! 

6. That even the deer don’t like Rebecca Black’s song.  When we came home from Kaylee’s house, there were about 5 deer grazing in the side yard.  They stood and looked at us as we got out of the van.  Then Hope had an idea:  she did a perfect rendition of Rebecca Black singing “Friday”, complete with nasal congestion.  All the deer took off running immediately! 

7. That people running extra-curricular programs in our schools expect way too much from the kids (and their parents).  Hope had a two-hour cheerleading practice on Saturday, followed by 8 hours of competition and another 2 hours of practice on Sunday.  Devin spent more than 24 hours at his school on Saturday and Sunday doing backstage stuff in preparation for the upcoming musical.  He’ll be at school every night this week until about 11.  Anna has two 5-hour+ cheer practices this week to get ready for their first competition on Saturday (about 7 hours).  At least, Jim enjoys driving… 

8. That I’m too old to stay up until midnight three nights in a row.  Late nights Thursday, Friday and Saturday led to a Sunday migraine.  I missed Hope’s cheer competition and my sister-in-law’s birthday party (Happy Birthday, Tracy)!  On the plus side, Hope’s team didn’t get any deductions this time (but she managed to leave her track pants and jacket at the host school – we hope to get them back tomorrow!).

Hope in her sparkly eye makeup from the cheer competition…

9. That Anna will do laundry if I’m sick.  She even came up and asked if we had any darks in our hamper she could do for us!  It’s a good thing I was lying down at the time.  Now, if I can get her to pick up her dirty dishes off the family room floor…

10. That the price of lactose-free milk can jump by 25 cents a litre in one go.  We now pay $5.19 for 2 litres (a litre is a little bigger than a quart) of Lacteeze (three people in the family are lactose-intolerant).  We go through about 3 litres of Lacteeze a week, in addition to 4 litres of regular milk.  Thank goodness gas prices only go up 2 to 3 cents a litre at a time!

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A Premature Passing; Pecans, Pesto, and Pizza; and the Plowman Pops In…

The past week was pronounced…no matter how I persevered, people persisted in being a pain in my patoot:

1. A Premature Passing.  On Wednesday night, I was poking into the family photo albums, looking for the prized pictures of phenom puck-passer, Wayne Gretzky, for the post I published for his prestigious birthday.  As I perused the pages, my dad was peering over my shoulder.  “Oh, was that when Anna was cremated?  You looked good there!” he proclaimed.

Taking pains to prevent the peals of laughter that would probably provoke my pop, I parried with “I think we’ll wait until after Anna dies to cremate her (my very much alive 16-year-old was standing next to me at the time).” 

Putting on a pained expression, Dad picked up on his mistake.  “You know I meant christened,” he pouted.

Anna...not quite ready to be cremated...

 

2. Pecans, Pesto, and Pizza.  Thursday, the “powers that be” proclaimed a snow day for public school pupils.  My “pets” pronounced it “Piss Off A Parent Day.”  Anna and Hope passed the day at the bookstore with me, plundering my purse for every penny.  They prevailed that they were “parched” and might “perish” if their pleas for payment were pooh-poohed.  When not pestering me, they picked at each other.  Anna proposed patronizing Pomodori for supper.  Jim and I permitted it, since I had no prior plan for our evening meal.  I ordered the Spinach Salad with Sugared Pecans, Feta, and Figs, something I’d been pumped to partake of.  The progeny both had Chicken Pesto Pizza, and Jim got Spicy Italian Sausage Pizza with hot peppers.  After paying with pre-purchased gift cards, we polished off our plates, and the girls took some pizza home in a package.

3. The Plowman Pops In.  I preach to people I know that I’ve got “the best plow guy in the world.”  He was that every other day but last Thursday.  On our way home from Pomodori, my phone rang.  My dad called to tell me he was stuck partway down the driveway…he had tried to power his way through the plentiful snowdrifts…the plow guy had not been there at all that day.  As we approached, we saw Dad shovelling behind the paused vehicle.  That was when the plow guy made his appearance, approaching from the other direction.  Jim parked by the side of the road, and the girls and I plunged through the knee-deep snow towards the house to get more shovels.  When we got there, we were exhausted.  I changed my socks and was at the door putting on my boots, when the plow guy came to the door.  He asked if I wanted to pay him!  I was more than a little peeved, thinking I’d be more inclined to pay him if he’d shown up before my dad’s car got buried up to its rims in pesky precipitation!  I wrote him a cheque (a preposterous amount, since he hadn’t asked for payment all winter!), and then waited as he plowed near the house so that I could get back out to where Dad’s car was.  I made it just in time for his car to be freed, and for Jim’s battery to die at the end of the driveway.  Dad parked his car in front of the garage, and then helped me push Jim’s car until it started again.  It was after 8 by the time we got in the house!  We plunked down on the couch.  We were all pooped!  Our pooch was pleased to see us…he parked himself on my chest and pushed his head up under my chin.  After a few minutes of “puppy love” the pains of our predicament were forgotten…

Puppy Love...(photo by Hope)

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They Call Me “Typhoid Wendy”…

It’s the story of my life…just when I get to love something, it gets taken away…I’m the kiss of death!

This weekend, one of my favourite live music venues is closing after eight years: The Blue Olive in Saint John, New Brunswick.  The owners have decided to put a new restaurant in the space.  We loved going to shows there because there are very few places for people like us in the city…when I say “people like us,” I mean folks who like to be home by 11 after enjoying a fine evening of entertainment accompanied by a couple of drinks (maximum).  I also enjoy exiting with most of my hearing, unlike other venues populated by somewhat younger patrons, where the thumping of the bass remains in your head like a piledriver until the next morning.  The entertainers who performed at Blue Olive were high-quality acts and reasonably-priced for those of us who have hungry teenagers to feed.  The Blue Olive helped fill the void left by the closures of venues such as Tapps, Melvin’s and Sessions Café, other places I used to hang out in before…it’s all my fault!

Jim and I had one of our first dates there...we saw Lenny Gallant...

Bands have broken up shortly after I’ve discovered them: Madrigal, Modabo, and Vetch…all fine regional acts from the late 90’s and early 2000’s which are now defunct, thanks to my adoration!

Oh, Modabo...Where are you now?

I’ve also been the cause of many restaurant closures in Saint John…sometimes the restaurant didn’t close…they just took my favourite thing off their menu!  Do you remember Wendy’s beautiful thick Chicken Wraps from the late ’90’s?  Gone.  I must have bounced too many chunks of chicken off of Hope’s head as she slept in her Snuggli while I ate lunch there on Saturdays!  Also gone from Wendy’s are their wonderful Spinach Salad and the Mandarin Chicken Salad…why?  I liked them…it’s all my fault!  When was the last time you saw the Mushroom Swiss Burger on their menu?  I killed that one too!  You’d think I’d get special consideration since they named the restaurant after me (sorry…that’s a lie…but Dave Thomas, the guy who started Wendy’s, is a fellow Ohioan)!  I dare not try their Natural-Cut Fries with Sea Salt…

My restaurant let me down...

Every Tuesday at the Saint John City Market, I used to go to Yogel’s for vegetable pie.  One day, they told me they didn’t make it any more…”not enough demand.”  Apparently, a customer travelling on a bus every week from the West Side to get their pie wasn’t enough.  I never ate there again, and sure enough, they closed within six months! 

Other eatery demises I caused were Keystone Kelly’s (club sandwich with sweet potato fries), Boilerworks (California pizza), Café Soha (Flipwiches), D’Amico (spinach salad, thin crust pizza and amaretto chocolate mousse cakes), Ming’s (Chinese food), and Barton’s (chicken burger platter).  I hope nobody finds out I like the spinach salad at Urban Deli or the chicken pesto pizza at Pomodori!  Oh, no…now I’ve done it!

I love their chicken pesto pizza...I mean, it's okay...

 

It happens with TV programs too!  I’ve lost track of the number of sitcoms I’ve killed.  Jenna Elfman rebounded from the end of Dharma and Greg to star in Accidentally on Purpose (cancelled after one season).  David Hyde Pierce of Frasier was a cast member on The Powers That Be, a satire about the First Family in the early ’90’s which had only a 20-episode run.  Before he hit it big in Modern Family, Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell) was in a smart, funny sitcom called The Class, another one-season wonder.  His “sister” in Modern Family, Julie Bowen, appeared in Ed, one of my favourite defunct dramedies.  [whispering] I love Modern Family!

Jesse and Julie in a scene from "Modern Family"...re-enacting a childhood ice skating routine...

They’ve cancelled dramas I love from every setting…Cop shows: The Commish, The DistrictThird Watch  and Hill Street Blues…War shows: China Beach and Tour of Duty…Hospital shows: Chicago Hope, St. Elsewhere…School shows: The Education of Max Bickford, and Boston Public.  Even my favourite soap opera, Another World, was cancelled!  I love Kyle Chandler…he’s survived two dramas I loved: Homefront, and Early Edition.  I’m afraid to watch him in Friday Night Lights!

Kyle Chandler...I hope he doesn't strike out a third time...

So, to all the fans of the above places, bands, foods, and TV shows, I extend my humble apologies…maybe if I pretend not to care, the things I like will stick around a little longer!

DisclaimerThis is a satirical piece.  I’m pretty sure I’m not responsible for any of these things disappearing.  But I would be really happy to have some of them back!

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