Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Backyard Fun

I've been telling Paul for weeks now that we need some sort of backyard entertainment for Taylor. Yes, she loves digging in the rocks, but they are getting everywhere!!! So off to Toys-R-Us he went and returned with a fun climber for little Tay Tay!

Elmo wants to play too!

She was so excited about the slide! Even though it wasn't assembled yet!

Trying to play while Daddy was still putting it together

Peek-A-Boo! I see you!

Is this how you climb up?

Helping daddy


I think I like it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Whole Wheat Pizza

If there's one thing I love cooking more than anything else it's probably pizza. I love pizza. And the fact that I can make an at home healthy version is even better. All you need is a great dough recipe and the possibilities are endless. 

Just recently I finally found a dough recipe that called ONLY for whole wheat flour. Recipes I've used in the past use half white flour and half whole wheat flour.  One of my favorite things about this recipe is how easy it is too make, no special equipment required! 

I found this recipe on which is the website for one of my favorite magazines. I made this recipe last week and today and both times it turned out great! I also made a marinara sauce that was on the site as well and it tastes wonderful on the pizza. Click here for the recipe. Great thing is it makes a lot and you can freeze what you don't use right away (that's what I did!). 

Now for the pizza.

You can do whatever toppings you like, but to get you started here are some ideas. 

Paul likes his pizza with veggies so I saute onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, and garlic with a little S&P and crushed red pepper flakes. I typically top it off with a mixture of mozerella, fontina, and feta cheese. 

I like my pizza with marinara, fontina, and parmeasan. Then after it comes out of the oven I cut the pizza and set some aside for Taylor. Then I put a big pile of fresh arugula on top, squeeze some lemon over it, and I swear it is heaven on earth. I CRAVE this pizza! 

If you decide to make your own pizza after reading this and have never done so before, please listen to this. DO NOT buy bagged cheese for your pizza. You need to use quality ingredients. I always buy cheese and grate it my self. If I'm using mozerella I buy whole milk mozerella. Don't buy yucky rubbery store brand cheese. Your pizza will taste like plastic! Use quality ingredients and you will have amazing pizza everytime. If you don't have time to make your own marinara then buy a marinara sauce you like best. When you buy a sauce read the list of ingredients. If you can't pronounce them, then you shouldn't put them in your body. Also avoid sauces with added sugar.  

Ok, that's my clean eating rant. Now for the recipe!

Clean Eating Whole Wheat Pizza 
recipe from


  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 cup less 1 1/2 tbsp lukewarm water (105° F to 110° F), divided
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast (1/4 oz or 2 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, divided
  • 4 tsp vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided


  1. In a large bowl, mix together honey and 1/3 cup water. Sprinkle in yeast and allow to proof, undisturbed (do not stir or move bowl), for 10 minutes or until yeast is foamy. (NOTE: If yeast does not foam, it is dead and your dough will not rise. Discard and start again with fresh ingredients.)
  2. While yeast is proofing, mix together 2 cups flour, wheat gluten and salt in another large bowl.
  3. Once yeast is foamy, add remaining water and 2 tbsp oil to yeast mixture. Pour in flour mixture and gently fold in with a bowl scraper or spatula until just combined. Mixture will form a very wet ball. Coat the bottom of another large bowl with remaining oil (ensure that bowl is large enough so that, when doubled in size, the dough will not reach the top). Transfer dough to bowl, rolling ball a bit to coat with oil. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to rise for 1 hour. Dough will be very soft and sticky.
  4. Lightly dust counter with about 1/4 cup flour. Transfer dough to floured surface and roll lightly in flour as needed. Gently knead dough, using remaining flour as needed, for about 1 minute. Form dough into a ball and place back into bowl. Cover bowl again tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to rise for 30 minutes.
  5. Transfer dough back to floured surface, adding more flour to prevent dough from sticking, if needed, and cut dough in half to form 2 balls. Lightly knead each for about 30 seconds and reform into balls. Dough is now ready to be formed into crust or wrapped for future use. To store, wrap each dough ball individually in plastic wrap. Dough can be kept refrigerated for 24 hours or frozen for up to 1 month.

Remove dough from fridge and allow to warm a little at room temperature, about 10 minutes. Form a pizza crust. 


Transfer dough from freezer to fridge and let it defrost overnight before following the Use From Refrigerator steps above.
Nutrients per serving (1/8 of each dough ball): Calories: 96, Total Fat: 3 g, Sat. Fat: 0.5 g, Carbs: 15 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 3 g, Sodium: 121 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg.

The recipe did not come with baking instructions, but here's how I do it. The dough can be divided in half, thirds, quarters, whatever. Pre-heat oven to 400. Roll out dough to desired thickness. I like mine pretty thin. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place pizza dough on sheet. Prick the dough all over with a fork so the pizza won't puff up. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it. I bake my dough almost all the way through that way once I put all my ingredients on top and stick it back in the oven I'm just waiting for the cheese to melt. I usually put it back in for another 10 minutes. 

If your a mom like me then get the pizza ready during nap time. Top the pizza with sauce and toppings, stick back in the fridge, and then when it's time for dinner all you have to do is pop it in the oven and dinner is ready in 15 minutes!!!

This is a pic of the wheat gluten and whole wheat flour. Wheat gluten is found on the baking isle with the flour. 


Taylor is such a girly girl! Every morning when I'm in the bathroom getting ready she comes in, takes my hair brush and brushes her hair. Then she points to my flat iron and wants me to do her hair too. It's normally not on in the morning so I pretend that I'm doing her hair which suits her just fine. 

The other night after she had her bath and hair blow dried I decided to curl her hair... just because :)
It looked so cute! This kid was blessed with great hair!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Perfectly Clean Muffins

I know my previous posts about baking have been about sugar loaded sweets. And while yes, I do love sugar, I try to avoid it as much as possible! I workout very hard and try not to destroy my efforts. That's why I was so excited when I came across these while I was browsing through my Clean Eating Cookbook. I had most of the ingredients on hand and just needed to pick up a few things at the store to bake these up. 

They are delicious! The perfect amount of sweetness, great texture and a little crunch. The only problem is not going back for seconds!

morning glory muffins with apple pie spice
recipe by Tosca Reno, Eat Clean Cookbook

Dry Ingredients:
3/4 c whole-wheat flour
3/4 c oat-bran cereal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp apple pie spice (recipe below)
1/2 c sucanant
1/2 tsp seat salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 banana, mashed
1/2 c kefir
1 egg white + 1 whole egg, well beaten
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract, best quality
1 carrot, peeled & grated
1/2 c chopped, pitted dates
1/2 c chopped walnuts

1. Place a shallow casserole dish full of water in the bottom of the oven. Pre-heat oven to 425
2. Line muffin tins with silicon or paper liners or by spraying with cooking spray
3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
4. Combine all wet ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well.
5. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined. Do not overmix or your muffins will come out flat and rubbery.
6. Spoon batter into muffin cups until 3/4 full. Place in hot oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack. 

apple pie spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well to combine. Store until ready to use. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Austin Kite Festival

In all the years I've lived in Austin I have yet to attend the Kite Festival. Well I'm a virgin no more!!! Last weekend we took Taylor down to Auditorium Shores with some friends to experience it first hand. Although the wind didn't really pick up until we left we had a great time. We were way overdressed (the day started out cold!) so we ended up stripping Taylor down so she could run around. Good thing she wore a onesie! Taylor was really cute. She kept waving "hi" to all the kites! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Happy 5th Anniversary

Yesterday Paul and I celebrated 5 years of marriage. Pre-baby we would have gone for dinner at a fancy restaurant but now a days we enjoy the simple things (don't get me wrong! I still LOVE fancy dinners). Paul gave me some beautiful flowers and we popped open a bottle of wine we bought last year in Napa. I couldn't have asked for a better evening. Happy Anniversary Paul! I love you!

Friday, March 4, 2011


Taylor loves cheese (who doesn't?!?!). I showed her how to dip her quesadilla into the queso, but she much preferred dipping her fingers and licking them. Ahh! The simple joys of being a kid!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

Wow! Have I really not blogged since Valentines Day? Things have been busy around here! Besides keeping up with my almost 15 month old I hosted a baby shower and went to a bachelorette party. 

My very good friend Whitney and I threw a baby shower for a friend who we met in our neighborhood. Whitney and I being the bakers we are went all out! 

Whitney created a beautiful vanilla cake layered with raspberry cream cheese frosting and lemon curd, and then covered the cake in fondant. It was nothing short of amazing!!!!!

Whitney also made vanilla cupcakes to accompany the cake and I made chocolate. 

For the party favors I made sugar and chocolate cookies and packaged each one in a bag for every guest to take home.

Last weekend I attended a bachelorette party for a friend of mine from high school. She is moving this weekend to Paris with her fiance for 3 years so we needed to do the party before she left. The wedding will be at the end of summer in Aspen which I am WAY looking forward to. My friends are always commenting on my baking photos so I wanted to make them some special treats since they all live in Houston and haven't tasted any of my creations. 

I made lingerie sugar cookies since we threw her a lingerie shower the night before. I didn't have a "butt" cookie cutter so I used a dog bone and cut off the straight part. They turned out pretty good for my first try. I made bras, thongs, briefs, and regular panties. As much as I enjoy making sugar cookies I don't think I'll be making more any time soon! It took me 4 hours just to decorate them!

And since I loved Whitney's cake soooo much I wanted to bake cupcakes just like it! She was so kind to let me have her leftover lemon curd and borrow some raspberry jam. I put a squirt of lemon curd in the middle of each cupcake before icing them with the raspberry cream cheese frosting. They turned out beautifully!

Ok! No more baking posts for a while! I'm taking a break from sugar!