Pizza Rolls

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Sometimes, life is crazy.  Sometimes, life is BUSY!  And then there are times when things slow down.  When the house is so quiet, you can hear the dog snoring from 3 rooms away.  It gets that way when the kids are at grandma and grandpa’s house 4 hours away.  Sure, you could get caught up on laundry and dishes.  Or you could COOK.  Cooking it is!!

This recipe is something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  Kind of like a cinnamon roll, but savory.  Salty.  Cheesy.  Yummy!

Sure, this recipe takes a while to put together, but most of the time is rising time.  Promise.  It’s really not that complicated.  If my kids were a bit older, I would let them ‘decorate’ their own section of dough before rolling it all up.  That would be fun.  Can’t wait.  Well, yes I can.  You two can stay small, okay?

Hope you enjoy this recipe.  And if you’re in the mood for something sweet, this dough makes FANTASTIC cinnamon rolls. :)

Pizza Rolls

FOR THE DOUGH:

  • 1/4 cup warm water (115°F)
  • 1 envelope (2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup warm whole milk (115°F)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
  • 3 cups all purpose flour

FOR THE FILLING / TOPPING:

  • 2 cups (2-8 oz. cans) tomato sauce with basil, oregano, and garlic
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
  • pizza toppings, cut into very small pieces (1/4″ dice), 1/2 cup each (up to 4)
  • Your favorite marinara sauce for dipping
  1. Place warm water in a small bowl with about 1 tsp sugar.  Sprinkle yeast over the water and stir gently.  Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the warm milk, 1/4 cup sugar, eggs and salt.  Whisk in the foamy yeast mixture.
  2. With mixer on low, slowly add the 3 cups of bread flour.  Give it a good whirl, then switch the attachment to the dough hook.  With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the all purpose flour.  The resulting dough should pull away from the sides and bottom of the bowl.  You may need more or less flour depending on the humidity that day.  Once the dough ball forms, let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.  This rest helps the flour to hydrate a bit and will also aid in the formation of gluten while kneading.
  3. Mix on medium speed for 6 minutes, adding flour, a Tbsp at a time, as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a large ball.  Grease a large bowl and place the dough ball inside, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Butter two 9″x13″ pans.  Deflate the dough by gently pushing down and turning it over in the bowl.  Divide in half with a sharp knife.  Return one of the halves to the bowl and recover with plastic wrap.
  5. Roll out the other dough ball into a rectangle that is 1/4″ thick on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper.
  6. Spread tomato sauce over the rectangle of dough, leaving 1″ at the far long end of the dough rectangle.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the sauce.  Top with pizza toppings.
  7. Roll up lengthwise, ending with the 1″ filling-free edge.  Pinch the seams to seal.  Cut into 1″ slices – I like to do this with unflavored dental floss.  Just place the floss under the log of dough and position where you want to cut.  Bring the ends of the floss up over the dough, cross from one side to the other, and pull.  Perfect slice every time!  You should end up with about 12 slices.  Repeat with remaining dough ball.
  8. Place about 12 dough slices in each 9″x13″ pan.  Don’t overcrowd the rolls – they will need room to rise.  Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Bake the rolls one pan at a time, unless you are lucky enough to have a convection oven!
  10. Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.  Return to oven and bake another 20 minutes.
  11. Let cool about 15-20 minutes, then dig in!

VARIATION:

Cinnamon Rolls:

Follow directions through step 5.  Butter the rolled out dough with 4 tablespoons of softened butter, then sprinkle with about 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Roll up, cut, and place in a greased 9″x13″ pan.  Sprinkle a bit more brown sugar and cinnmon on top, then place a little dollop of butter on top of that.  Bake as directed and serve with cream cheese frosting!  For the cream cheese frosting, blend together 1 block (8 oz. ) cream cheese (I use the 1/3 less fat kind) and 1 stick of softened butter.  Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and 2-4 Tbsp milk (depending on how thin or thick you want it).  Spread over warm rolls and enjoy!

Pesto Rolls:

Follow directions through step 5.  Spread with 1 cup pesto and 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Roll up, cut, and place in buttered dish.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup parmesan cheese and allow to rise.  Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes, rotating the pan after 20 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy!!

Pork Egg Rolls

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This summer is just FLYING by, isn’t it?  I haven’t posted a recipe in what seems like FOREVER.  It’s not that I haven’t been cooking.  I just haven’t been cooking as much.  Having two littles at the same time kinda takes a lot of time.  And less sleep.  Heck, they’re 6 months old today and still wake up once a night to eat.  We’ve had a few nights where they’ve slept through the night.  Four nights in a row!  Then teething started.  Poor littles!

So, we’ve been grilling a lot.  Making BLTs and other sandwiches.  Or ordering pizza on the nights that we’re just too tired to even think about what to cook.  Nothing too fancy.

These egg rolls are definitely not fancy.  But they are delicious.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we did! :)

Pork Egg Rolls

  • 1 head napa cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 lbs ground pork
  • 3 Tbsp stir fry seasoning mix (or 2 Tbsp fresh minced ginger and 1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 cups shredded carrots, drained well
  • Egg Roll Wrappers (about 20, in the veggie section of the supermarket)
  • 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • Vegetable or peanut oil
  1. Place cabbage in a large colander and sprinkle with 1.5 tsp salt.  Mix well, then set the colander in the fridge over a bowl.  Let it sit for about an hour, mixing once in a while.  After the hour is up, remove from the fridge.  Place the cabbage in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to get out the excess moisture.  Place cabbage in a large bowl.
  2. In a large skillet (12″) over medium-high heat, brown the ground pork, stir fry seasoning mix, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Crumble as the pork cooks.
  3. Place cooked pork and shredded carrots in the bowl with the cabbage.  Add soy sauce and sesame oil.  Stir well.
  4. Combine flour and water in a small bowl, set aside.
  5. Place the egg roll wrapper with a corner facing you.  Put about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the pork mixture in the middle.  Fold the corner facing you over the filling, then bring the sides toward the middle.  Place a dab of the flour mixture on the farthest corner (the only one not folded in), then roll the egg roll closed.  The flour mixture will act as a glue!  Continue until all the filling is used up.
  6. Fry egg rolls, a few at a time, in oil at 365°F, turning often, until golden brown on all sides.  Serve with dipping sauce like the one I serve with Potstickers.

I hope you’ve had a great summer.  I can’t wait for Fall!  This summer has been a HOT one, and I’m looking forward to sweat shirts, warm mugs of hot cocoa, and walking around the neighborhood with these two…

A&N6Mo

Triple Berry Crunch Cake

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You know what I love about berries?  They taste good.  Know what I hate about berries?  They don’t last very long after they’ve been picked.  So what happens when you get a Bountiful Basket and end up with 2 containers of blackberries, 1 container of blueberries, and 1 container of strawberries?  Triple Berry Crunch Cake is what happens!

I took the recipe for Apple Streusel Pecan Cake and updated it with berries.  The flavors came out great!  Berries go very well with nuts, and the cake had just the right amount of sweetness to go with the berries.

What do you make with fresh berries?

Triple Berry Crunch Cake

Streusel Topping:
2/3 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats (I used old-fashioned)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup pecans, hazelnuts, and/or almonds, chopped
3 Tbl canola oil

Cake:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 container (6 oz.) Greek Fat Free Honey Yogurt
2/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1-1/2 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz. blackberries, 6 oz. blueberries, and 6 oz. chopped strawberries

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix streusel ingredients with a fork until crumbly; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla and eggs with an electric mixer until blended. Add all remaining ingredients except berries; beat on low speed about 1 minute or until blended. Stir in strawberries. Spread batter in pan.  Scatter Blueberries and Blackberries on top.  Sprinkle evenly with streusel topping.

3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Weenie Boats

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Once in a while, you just have to make one of those really weird things that you ate growing up.  This is one of those things.  Sleep deprivation messes with your mind.  It makes you dream up weird stuff using the leftovers in the fridge.  The leftovers used in this recipe were hot dogs (why are there always more dogs than buns?), mashed potatoes from the previous night’s potroast dinner, and cheese left over from taco night.

This dish might just surprise you.  It’s stinkin’ easy to throw together, and tastes great!  Salty, creamy, and savory.  Yum!

My mom worked full time an hour away from home growing up.  By the time she got home, it was time to throw dinner together, eat, and get ready for bed.  She needed things that were easy, but that the kiddos would eat.  I think we just liked saying “Weenie”.  Hee hee.

What kinds of weird recipes did your mom feed you?

Weenie Boats

  • Hot Dogs, boiled and hot (I like the all-beef kind)
  • Mashed potatoes, about 1/4c per hot dog
  • Cheddar Cheese, a thin slice, one per hot dog
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Slice each hotdog lengthwise, but not all the way through.  Place it cut side-down on a greased cookie sheet.
  3. Mound heated mashed potatoes on top.  This is where your playing with play-dough skills really shine.
  4. Top each mashed potato mound with cheese.
  5. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 1 minute.  Really, it depends on your broiler and how far from the heat source the pan is.  Just keep and eye on it because burnt weenie boats are not good weenie boats.

Belly Bump Update (37 weeks to birth)

During our 36 week appointment, things were looking good.  The doc scheduled a c-section for March 20th, but the babies had other plans…

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See how it says the babies will be delivered on 3-20?  Well, we went in for our Nonstress Test on 3-18.  Once again, Nadia didn’t pass.  so we went down for a BPP.  This time, both babies failed!  Aidan didn’t do any fine movements, and Nadia didnt practice breathing or do any fine movements.  We decided two days wouldn’t make much difference in Nadia’s growth, so it was time to come out into the world.  This all went on from 2pm to 5pm.  at 5pm, our delivery was scheduled for a few hours  later at 8pm.  The time had come- after 7 years of trying, we were going to be parents!! :)

My Mom was with me, and we called my Dad and husband.  They both got to the hospital as soon as they could.  Ty got in his Daddy scrubs, and I was prepped for surgery.  I dressed in a very flattering gown, got the incision site prepped, and an IV was started with warmed saline.

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Then it was time!  I was wheeled down to the OR where the Spinal Block was put in place.  This was the hardest part of the whole procedure for me.  you sit on the side of the gurney and hug a pillow trying to round your back enough for them to find the space between vertebrae.  curling your back to open those spaces is hard to do when you have a huge belly in font!  They numb things up, but you still feel a lot of pressure, and get a few ZINGS down one side or the other as they try to find the sweet spot.  Once it was in place, i was laid back and my feet felt warm.  That warm feeling spread pretty quickly up my body to just below my ribcage.  a catheter was placed, they made sure i was numb, and Ty was allowed to come in the OR.  After he was settled on his stool, they put up the drape and the surgery began.

Aidan was born at 8:42 pm weighing 4 lbs 15 oz and was 18 inches long.

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Nadia was born two minutes later at 8:44 pm weighing 3 lbs 12 oz and was 17 inches long.

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Both babies were admitted to the NICU.  Aidan swallowed something on his way out and needed some help breathing.  Nadia was too little and needed to gain some baby fat.

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The nurses were WONDERFUL and took such great care of our little ones!  Aidan was in the NICU for 8 days, and Nadia was in for 9 days.

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We got to visit the babies as often as possible, at any time day or night.  We fed and changed their tiny diapers.  We held them and rocked them to sleep.  And we thanked God for healthy happy babies!!

Now the babies are a month old.  I’m tired and sleep deprived after getting up every 3 hours to feed babies, night and day.  Thank God for my Mom.  She is staying with us until the babies decide to sleep through the night.  I couldn’t do it without her!

That’s all for now.  I’ll post the 1-month update soon!

Belly Bump Update (weeks 33 to 36)

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This was a month full of fun!  As you can see from the photos, the belly is growing double-time!  By week 36, my belly is beginning to drop.  Getting closer!

At 33 weeks, we had another growth scan.  Our little Aidan was FINALLY ready to show us his profile.  Little stinker!  First, he showed us his cute little nose and his lips…

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And here is his handsome profile.  If you look closely, you can see that he has his little nose pressed up against the membrane that separates him from Nadia.

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And, yes, our little ones are still breech, and are still sitting with their heads together.  My goodness, they like to conspire!

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Babies were estimated to be 4.0 lbs (Aidan) and 3.6 lbs (Nadia).

We started going in for Nonstress Tests (NSTs) this month at 32 weeks.  Every week, we went in to the hospital and 3 monitors were placed on my belly.  One for Aidan’s heartbeat, one for Nadia’s heartbeat, and one to check for contractions.

Our first couple of weeks went very well.  They are looking for the babies’ heartbeats to accelerate at least 15 beats for 15 seconds.  Both babies passed with flying colors weeks 33 through 34…

Then week 35 happened.  Nadia quit behaving.  She didn’t want to accelerate no matter what they did to her.  When babies are not quite responding to Mom nudging them from the outside, the nurse brings in a little instrument that buzzes them.  She didn’t want to wake up for that, either!  Luckily, she barely passed.  My doctor decided to increase the frequency of the NSTs, so then we went in every 3-4 days.

The next NST, Nadia FAILED.  Our one hour appointment turned into a 5 hour hospital visit.  We were taken down to Ultrasound and a Biophysical Profile (BPP) was performed.  Each baby had 30 minutes to practice breathing 3 times, make 3 tonal (flexing) movements, and 2 gross (big) movements.  Both babies passed this test.

A few days later, Nadia failed again.  The doctor ordered a high level ultrasound at 36 weeks to try and determine what was going on.  In this ultrasound, they did the BPP again, measured bloodflow, and took growth measurements.  Aidan was estimated to be 5.1 lbs, but Nadia was only estimated to be 4.1 lbs.  The scans also showed that the bloodflow from her placenta was restricted.  We continued testing every few days, and the doctor put me on orders to only work from home so I was closer to the hospital if I noticed the kiddos weren’t moving as much.  I was also told to be prepared in case we had to do an emergency delivery to get Nadia out.

Thankfully, working from home seemed to do the trick!  With less stress, Nadia began to perk up and is now passing her NSTs.  She doesn’t have a lot of belly fat, so we have to be prepared for her to spend a little time in the NICU while her body learns to regulate blood sugars and temperature.

Most twins are born between weeks 33 and 35.  Here we are at 36+ and still cooking!  My doctor scheduled a C-Section for us on Thursday, March 20th, when I am 38 weeks.  That’s the plan as long as babies don’t decide to come before then!  We are praying they are a bit more patient, and that Miss Nadia decides to pack on some baby fat between now and then. :)

Veggie Cream Cheese

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One of my very favorite things is going to a bagel shop and ordering a sesame bagel with veggie cream cheese.  The veggie cream cheese tastes different from the stuff in the dairy section at the store.  It tastes BETTER!

I didn’t feel like driving to the nearest bagel shop- its over half an hour away. So, I decided to make my own.  It was pretty easy!  Plus, it can be customized to fit your tastes.  Don’t like red bell peppers?  Leave them out!  Addicted to kale?  Throw some in there!  Whatever floats your boat!

And when you’re done making this cream cheese, you can slather it on toast, toasted bagels, crackers, celery sticks, etc.  YUM!  And the breakfast BLTs made with this stuff are AWESOME!  I use this cream cheese instead of mayo, then pile the bacon, lettuce and tomato on my toasted bagel.

I couldn’t find sesame bagels at the store that would work with my ‘lower carbs’ diet, but I did find the Thomas Bagel Thins in the Everything flavor.  They’re pretty good- especially with freshly made veggie cream cheese.

Seriously- go make some!!

Veggie Cream Cheese

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced scallion
  • 2 Tbsp minced celery
  • 3 Tbsp minced carrots
  • 2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper
  1. Bring cream cheese to room temp.  Whip slightly in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Add garlic and veggies.  Stir well.
  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to let the flavors ‘meld’ before using.
  4. Keep in fridge- should last a week or two in a tight lidded container.  Enjoy!!