Calzones…aka Pizza Pops

When I was at my parents for Thanksgiving, I had a spur of the moment idea to make Calzones.  They’d be ideal to bring to work and school.  Portable, microwaveable, freezable and much healthier then storebought Pizza Pops, which is what they most closely resemble.  The recipe is supposed to make 10.  The first time we made them, I got 9.   Then my mom made some 2 days later and got 24 (!) out of the recipe.  This weekend I got 14, and that was a good number.  There are an infinite variet of fillings to use, you could go traditional pizza toppings or do broccoli and cheese or bbq chicken or anything you can imagine.  My mom made a beef taco filling, which was pretty tasty too.

Calzones

1 1/2 cups soymilk (or regular milk I guess)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp shortening (vegan margarine or butter works well)
3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp bread machine yeast

1. Measure ingredients into baking pan in the order
recommended by the manufacturer. Insert pan into the
oven chamber. Select Dough Cycle.
2. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and cover with a clean towel, let rest for 10-15 minutes.  Divide dough into 2.5 oz portions (should get 14) and roll into 6″ circles.

3. Prepare your fillings (which I would’ve done while the dough was mixing for 90 minutes) and place on one half of each circle.  Add cheese or sauce and fold in half, sealing the edge with a fork.  Cover and let rise in a warm place till doubled in size.

4. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until calzones sound hollow when tapped.  Let cool on a wire rack and freeze.  Reheat in a microwave for about 90 seconds.  Be careful not to overfill them, as cheese and sauce WILL go all over your baking sheet.

Veggie Egg Anytime Wrap

For the last 2 months, this wrap has become a very popular lunch or supper option when I don’t feel like cooking but still want something quick, easy, and healthy.  It’s super tasty, incredibly flexible, and ready in about 5-10 minutes.

Veggie Egg Anytime Wrap

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 zucchini, diced small

1/4 onion, chopped fine

handful of kale, finely sliced

1/4 red pepper, diced small

2-3 eggs, beaten

1 whole wheat tortilla

1-2 tbsp of herb and garlic cream cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat.   Add onions, red peppers, zucchini, and kale.  Season to taste.  Cook till onions are translucent and other veggies are soft.

2. Pour eggs over top, spread out on the bottom of the pan.  Cover and cook on medium until eggs are set, 3-5 minutes.  While the eggs are cooking, spread the cream cheese on the wrap.  Once the eggs are done, place on top of the wrap, fold and serve.

Variations: 

Use different veggies:  Mushrooms, pre-cooked and shredded potato or sweet potato, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, jalapeno, etc

Seasonings:  Dill, rosemary, basil, cyanne pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic

Sauces/spreads (instead of the cream cheese): Salsa, hummus, bbq sauce, ranch dressing.

Other toppings: Cheese (very good with brie melted on top)

Best Relish Ever

This weekend is full of the fall canning I won’t have time for in a few weeks.  It was originally scheduled for September long weekend and wasn’t supposed to be as busy as it’s ended up.  The list for this weekend was supposed to be Spaghetti Sauce (recipe here), Cabbage Borscht (recipe to come), and Dill Pickles (my grandma’s recipe).  The first hurdle we had to jump was that my mom couldn’t FIND my grandma’s pickle recipe.  The second hurdle, which I’m still jumping, is that my mom bought ingredients to also make Salsa and Relish, both of which we made last year and I don’t need any more of.

Now, the thing you must know before I continue is that I don’t like cucumbers.  I don’t like the smell, I don’t like the texture, I don’t really like anything about them.  This dislike extends to pickles and relish.  The only pickles or relish that I eat are my mom’s homemade pickles and relish.  (My mom did a LOT of canning when I was growing up.)  The relish recipe I’m about to share with you is the only relish I enjoy.  We couldn’t find my grandma’s pickle recipe tho, so we found one that my mom thinks was similar and we’ll see how they turn out.

Relish

1 1/2 dozen large cucumbers

4-6 Onions

1 green pepper

2 red peppers

1/2 cup pickling salt

6 cups water

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup flour

1.5 tbsp mustard powder

1 tsp turmeric

2/3 cup pickling vinegar

1. Shred cucumbers, onions, and peppers in a food processor (large shred).  Put in a large bowl and add pickling salt and water.  Let sit for 4 hours.

2. Drain veggies and place in pot.  Add enough pickling vinegar to just cover the veggies.  Add 2 cups of sugar and cook till vegetables are translucent.

3. Make a thin paste of the flour, mustard powder, turmeric and 2/3 cup vinegar.  Add to pot and stir till thickened.

4. Add 3-4 drops of green food colouring (optional, it’s very yellow without it) and put into hot pint jars.  Place new, sterilized seal lid and ring.  It’s safe to let it sit at room temperature unless it doesn’t seal.

Yield – 7-8 pint jars depending on the size of your cucumbers.

Update :o

So I’ve decided to post again a bit.  I’m starting to feel more like myself, but some days are still rough.  I still haven’t been cooking much for myself, it’s been all quick easy foods or a lot of takeout unfortunatly.  I want to make minestrone this week and found a recipe for curry beef stew which sounds interesting.  I also want to make biscuits to take to work isntead of buying them from Tim Hortons.  I have all this meat in my freezer that I was saving for when Adrian was up here, but since that’s not happening I don’t really have to store it up anymore.  I also haven’t really felt like eating much meat in the last few months.

I’ve been able to register for University courses, but I’m on a waitlist for 3 of them.  One of them is a compulsory course for my degree that I might not be able to take till next semester.  I’ve decided to take introductory french this year to brush up on my french, hopefully it’ll be an easy-ish credit.  Textbook prices are making me cry.  I’ve already bought one, but have more to get.

I still need to go see a doctor, but haven’t.  I dont have a family doctor in Winnipeg and hate going to clincs for serious stuff, but I dont have a choice really.  I don’t know when I’ll have time tho, so we’ll see.  I still have August 20th off so I might go then.

Hopfully I will have a more substantial post soon.

Vegetable Lasagna

I had my first vegetarian lasagna ever while working in the kitchen of an assisted living home in Winnipeg.  It was one of the easiest suppers we served and quickly became my favorite meal to make.  We didn’t really follow a recipe and I still don’t follow a recipe for lasagna, something with amazes and confounds my mother.  I’ve become very comfortable cooking things without a recipe, especially easy things like lasagna, chicken parmesan, and stirfry.  Harder recipes are also sometimes made without an actual recipe, but normally tweaking is required like my granola bars.  Baking things, however, always requires a recipe.  Baking is closer to science then everyday cooking and requires much more precise measurements and such. 

Because I often share recipes with my mother, I do need to write things down and estimate measurements for her benefit.  She never, ever cooks without a recipe, so if I want her to try something new, I need to provide her with a recipe.  Having said that, here is my recipe for vegetable lasagna.

Vegetable Lasagna

1 box oven ready lasagna noodles (whole wheat if you can find them!)

1 can salt free tomato sauce

2 tsp italian seasoning

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1tbsp olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic

2 carrots, diced

1 onion, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 red or green pepper, diced

3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup frozen sweet corn

Motzarella cheese

Fresh Spinach

1.  Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan or wok.  Add the onions, carrots and celery, sauteeing until soft.  Add the garlic and rest of the veggies (except spinach).  Sautee untill all the veggies are soft and have released their juices.  Drain and set aside. 

2. Mix the tomato sauce with the spices and sugar.  Lightly grease a 9×13″ pan with pam or olive oil.  Put a layer of tomato sauce down, then noodles, veggies, spinach,  tomato sauce, and motzarella (can user ricotta or cottage cheese).  Continue layering untill you reach the top of the pan with a layer of noodles.  Put some tomato sauce on top of the noodles to make sure the cook, top with a thick layer of motzarella cheese.  Bake @350 for about 30-45 minutes or until the noodles are cooked through.

Lasagnas can be covered in tin foil and saran wrap and frozen for up to 6 months.  Let them thaw in the fridge overnight before baking as above.  The veggies are very flexible, I used what I had on hand but you could throw in eggplant, cauliflower, sweet potato, squash, red potatoes sliced thin, asparagus, or use kale instead of spinach.  The possibilities really are endless with lasagna.

Thinking ahead to Winter Part 1 – Freezing

This is the first year ever where I’ve had my own apartment and really want to start canning and preserving things for winter.  The easy stuff is making sure I have fruit prepared and in the freezer for winter green smoothies and baking. I’m going to be doing a 2 part series on preparing foods for winter.  This is the first post and will be all about freezing food for later use.  I mostly freeze my own berries, I usually buy pre-frozen veggies.

I found a place just north of the city that has u-pick raspberries that will be ready in a few weeks.  These people purchased the land last fall and found out that there’s 5 acres of raspberry bushes!  They’re also selling plants, but I don’t have anywhere to grow a raspberry bush so unfortunately can’t take advantage of that, but at least I can go pick my own raspberries.  Raspberries don’t travel well and go bad very quickly after they’re picked so it’s impossible to buy a large quantity from the grocery store, especially if you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them.  My plan for the raspberries is one ice cream pail frozen and a batch of raspberry jam.  I looooove raspberry jam, but store-bought is never sour enough for me.

The other frozen goods I’m planning on are strawberries, blueberries and I still have rhubarb from last year.  I’m now thinking that I should maybe go pick my own corn and freeze a bunch of that…that’d be good too, I love sweet corn and add it to pretty much everything!

Frozen stuff is easy to prepare.  First you wash everything and make sure you got rid of any bugs/dirt if you picked them or got them directly from a farmer.  If you’re doing strawberries, you then remove the green tops and cut them into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the berries.  Once they’re cut, and for every other berry, the next step is to line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or saran wrap and spread out the berries in one layer.  If you have more then one layer worth, make sure you put another layer of parchment paper or saran wrap in between the layers.  The point of freezing them in one layer is so that they don’t freeze into one huge chunk of berry, making it easier later on to take out the amount you need while cooking.  Place sheet pan in the freezer and let freeze till solid.  Once they’re frozen, store in ziploc bags or 4L Ice cream pails.  My preference is Ice Cream Pails.

I usually try to have at least one ice cream pail of raspberries, and two ice cream pails each of blueberries and strawberries.  Strawberries and blueberries are integral ingredients in my green monsters.  If I can find nice peaches I would probably do some of those as well, but they require blanching which I’m not terribly familiar with but can probably get my mom to help.

Weekend Biking

The last bike I purchased was in the mid-ninety’s…I can’t remember the exact year, but it was about ’94-’95.  It’s a 15 speed, 20″, men’s Norco Cherokee bike in dark green.  It’s also been sitting in my parents shed for the last 7-8 years.  The last time I touched it, I got one of the tubes replaced and the tire was still going flat so I gave up.  I was also never in an area that was really good for bike riding…downtown Winnipeg and Edmonton are scary enough as a pedestrian!  I suppose Kitimat, BC would’ve been a good place, but bringing it there would’ve been expensive and I wasn’t terribly concerned about it.

When I got Sheol last November, my goal was to get my bike in spring and teach him to run beside the bike.  I thought that would be great incentive for me to get moving more, but that all crumbled when I had to find him a new home right before christmas.  Even tho I don’t have a dog to share in the fun, I decided to get my bike together anyway this spring.  I brought it to the city when I went to my parents place for a weekend in May.  The back tire needed some work, new spokes and a new tube/tire.  My current roommate took a look at it and goes, the rim is cracked and you need a whole new tire.  That sucked.  I don’t have money for a new tire.  My dad had already replaced the front tire with a spare tire from my mom’s old bike.  He then decided to see if the back tire would fit as well, which it did!  Roommate then went and filled the tires with air when I wasn’t home, which was awesome.

I decided to take it out on Friday.  I went for a ride down Churchill Drive and then through some of the streets in the area, was about a 20 minute ride all together.  My butt was sore, but otherwise I felt ok.  Saturday morning I decided to go for a longer ride!  I ended up going all the way to the end of Churchill Drive, just south of Jubilee Ave and back.  On the way back I went along the trails by the river, which was much more interesting and kept me involved.  I looked it up today and that trip is a total of 8kms, that’s almost 5 miles!  It took about 40 minutes, which I don’t think is too bad all things considered.  Today was going to be a rest day, but I ended up doing 20 minute yoga for strength from yogadownloads.com, a 15 minute stretch workout and then went for another bike ride down Churchill Drive, down to osborne and back for a total of 6 kms or 3 miles in about 20 minutes.

Today’s eats were a tuna pita with romane lettuce, honey mustard dressing and spinach, and then a tuna wrap for supper.  Along with supper I had an apple with peanut butter and a few pieces of a chocolate hazelnut bar.  I also made potato leek soup and peanut butter chocolate granola.  I’m going to be prepping some overnight oats for breakfast tomorrow and I’m hoping to get up early enough to go for a bike ride or maybe do level one of Jillian Michaels 30 day shred before work.