Spicy Eggs

Eggs in Purgatory

As I was sitting through the rain delay at the farmers market yesterday, I loved reading all your ideas on pairing tomato sauce with eggs for breakfast!  I did end up making something delicious.  So simple and easy and this would be a great idea for a brunch to feed a crowd.  I made this dish two servings, but you could easily multiply it to fit your needs.

I have no idea what the origin of “Eggs in Purgatory” originates.  But all I know is that this is delicious!

Eggs in Purgatory
Serves 2
A savory breakfast that is great for two people, or multiplied to feed a crowd for brunch.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
257 calories
26 g
201 g
11 g
14 g
4 g
328 g
1081 g
12 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
328g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 257
Calories from Fat 98
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
17%
Saturated Fat 4g
19%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 201mg
67%
Sodium 1081mg
45%
Total Carbohydrates 26g
9%
Dietary Fiber 5g
19%
Sugars 12g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A
35%
Vitamin C
15%
Calcium
17%
Iron
17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 cups marinara sauce
  2. 2 large eggs
  3. 4 ounces cooked red potato, diced
  4. 1 tablespoon part skim ricotta cheese
  5. 1 ounce mozzarella cheese, shredded
  6. pinch of crushed red pepper
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  8. 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
Instructions
  1. In a baking dish, lay the diced potatoes on the bottom.  Pour in the marinara sauce.  Crack two eggs on either side of the dish.  Dot the ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese around the dish.  Top with crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.  10 minutes if you like a runny egg.  If you are like me and don’t like a runny egg at all, finish off under the broiler for two minutes.
Notes
  1. Perfect for a brunch!
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calories
257
fat
11g
protein
14g
carbs
26g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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Half of this dish is only 5 smart points.  I toasted one ounce of thin sliced French bread (for 3 points) so I had 5 toasts to soak up all this deliciousness.  So good.  Before I knew it, it was time to get ready to go to work.  Last I checked yesterday morning it looked like I had a 30% chance of rain.  Well, while driving to the shop, this was what I was driving into.

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It took me an hour and twenty minutes to get to the shop alone.  It was raining so hard at some points that we were only driving 10 mph.  It stopped raining by the time I got to the shop, so we loaded up our cars and headed to Lincoln Square.  It was 86 degrees when I left my house and 71 degrees when I pulled into the shop.

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But the humidity and temps rose again.  Once we set up our tent, I checked the weather again:

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We are the only people that sell prepared food and 4-6 is our “dinner hour.”  As luck would have it, it rained from 4:30 to 5:30.

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But then the sun came out and I was able to sell my ass off for the last two and a half hours.  I still ended up making $800, which isn’t bad for a whole hour rain delay.  My boss did a morning market for six hours and only did $565.  We also sold 26 wraps and 4 salads in one hour – I worked with Edmundo – I love that kid.  So organized, neat, multi-tasker and doesn’t get ruffled when it gets busy.

I defrosted a pork chop in the fridge during the day so I could have that for dinner.  I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do with it, but when my neighbor at the market gave me a bag of shiitake mushrooms, I knew they would be involved.

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I cooked the pork chops for 4 minutes a side that I seasoned with Hardcore Carnivore rub (going to be doing an awesome giveaway on Monday – stay tuned!).  While the pork rested, I cooked the mushrooms in Pam for about 3-4 minutes.  I added 1 teaspoon of butter, 1 teaspoon of flour and cooked that for 1 minute.  Then added 1/2 cup skim milk to make a quick white sauce.  After the sauce thickened, I stirred in a tablespoon of Coop poblano mustard and a pinch of crushed red pepper.  Then poured that over the pork chop and sprinkled with dried parsley.  So quick and easy – dinner was ready in about 15 minutes.

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It was nearly 10:30 by the time I ate that, so I wish the picture was as good as this pork chop tasted.  The sauce was creamy, with a punch of heat from the spicy mustard and crushed red pepper, and the pork was seasoned perfectly and so juicy and tender on the inside.  I really, really, like pork chops.  I actually would venture to say that my brother and sister haven’t eaten a pork chop all year!

I am still watching Gray’s Anatomy – holy balls I am still only on season two and just finished episode 23?!  So I stayed up a bit late last night, but the beauty of having Friday off is that I was able to sleep in.  I didn’t even wake up until 9 this morning!

I have a bazillion bananas that no one has eaten, so I’ll be making something with bananas – muffins, bread – do you have a favorite recipe using bananas?  I am all ears.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Come back on Monday for a great giveaway – you won’t want to miss it. Open-mouthed smile

Make it a great day!

Summer Soup

Cherry Tomato Basil Soup

A week ago Sunday the farmers market was torrential rain for a solid hour.  As luck would have it, one of the vendors (Gray Farms) who sells vegetables was giving away some of his stuff that he didn’t sell due to the weather, and he gave me and Alberto cherry tomatoes.  Sadly, Alberto works a second job after the farmers market and told me that I could have his container.  Score!

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The only problem with that?  I don’t like cherry tomatoes.  Well, let me clarify that, I don’t like to pop cherry tomatoes into my mouth – the inside texture just grosses me out too much.  But guess what I do love?  Tomato basil soup!  This soup is so simple, could be ready in about 15-20 minutes, because I cheat and use pasta sauce in the soup.  I had a jar of Classico garlic pasta sauce in my fridge that needed to be used up, and it was the perfect addition to this soup.

Cherry Tomato Basil Soup
Serves 4
A delicious way to use up summers bounty of tomatoes
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
85 calories
10 g
1 g
5 g
2 g
1 g
174 g
165 g
6 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
174g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 85
Calories from Fat 41
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
7%
Saturated Fat 1g
4%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 1mg
0%
Sodium 165mg
7%
Total Carbohydrates 10g
3%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 6g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
33%
Vitamin C
34%
Calcium
5%
Iron
9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups cherry tomatoes, stems removed
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  4. 1 cup pasta sauce
  5. 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  6. 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  7. pinch of salt
  8. pinch of cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. In a stock pot, add the olive oil and garlic and cook just until the garlic starts to turn brown.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes.  Using a stick blender, puree the soup.  Since this ended up being only 2 smart points per serving (makes 4 servings) I added spinach and cheese ravioli to my dish.
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calories
85
fat
5g
protein
2g
carbs
10g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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This was delicious!  Creamy, smooth, so fresh tasting.  I licked the bowl clean!

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My friends Alison and Cameron started raising chickens, and when I crashed their house the night before last, they gave me four of their fresh eggs.

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These are actually the size of medium eggs.  The shell is a bit tougher than store bought eggs.  Check out that yolk color!

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Since it was a market day, I had a big breakfast – two eggs (4) two pieces of light breakfast sausage (2) three ounces of potatoes (4) and fresh fruit.  A new food find for me, which I used to cook the potatoes with.  Have you heard of it, or used it before?  Worked perfect to get a nice crisp edge on the potatoes.

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And even though I had a long day ahead of me, I still got out for a quick 30 minute walk before getting ready.

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Remember I told you that the weather was supposed to be low 80s yesterday for the market?  Nope – it got up to 93 degrees and the sun was shining so there weren’t as many people at the market.  Still sold $850 in 4 hours though, so not too bad.  The morning market that is an hour longer only made $400!  I made a flour tortilla/ham/cheese wrap for my lunch, with cherries as big as my head.  I also had some Smart popcorn to snack on in the car.

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I scored on the $1 rack with tomatoes. 

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I don’t really have a recipe for my marinara sauce because it really depends on the tomatoes.  Some are sweet, some our tart, so I just have to adjust as I go along.  It always starts with a bit of olive oil, minced garlic and a 6 ounce can of tomato paste that I cook down for about 10 minutes.  This really adds a depth of flavor.  I also always add an ounce of chopped pepperoni to this part as well.  A little bit of fat renders out of the pepperoni that gives the sauce a nice extra kick.  Then I may or may not add a pinch of sugar at the end to round it out.

It made so much, I’ll probably have to freeze some of it.  It made for a quick dinner!  I had this pasta in the freezer – 8 smart points for 1 cup (or 3.5 ounces frozen).  It was a generous portion, and because my sauce is basically no points, even with the added zucchini, my dinner was still 8 points.  So good!

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The ravioli was perfectly seasoned, and with the fresh chopped basil on top, basically a party in my mouth.   I am trying to figure out a way that I can have that marinara for my breakfast it’s that good!

Another market day – I am working with my favorite kid Edmundo – the one that is super clean, nice and actually wears pants that fit him so I don’t have to see his ass when he bends over to get a veggie burger out of the cooler like my other co-worker Smile with tongue out

I still have time to get my walking shoes on – the weather calls for 30% chance of rain around 6-7 p.m. tonight – that’s our dinner rush hour, so I hope the 70% applies to where we are and it doesn’t rain.

Hope you have a great day – one day closer to Friyay!  Make it a great day!

BBQ Sauce

Pineapple Garlic Sriracha BBQ Sauce

Yesterday was my weekly WI and I was happy to see a loss of 1.2!  Two weeks in a row, or 2.2 pounds – and I hope to continue the streak next week.  Can a sista just get to the first five pounds so I can get a sticker at the meeting?! Open-mouthed smile

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I normally do a show and tell of my breakfast at the meeting, but for the second week in a row I slept in a bit so didn’t eat breakfast until after my meeting.  I had a couple errands to run after the meeting, so I didn’t end up eating breakfast until nearly 10:45.  Beef is always a good idea for breakfast.  I used my Hardcore Carnivore black rub, and cooked this thick steak for 3 minutes a side for medium rare.  Then sliced 4 ounces for my breakfast (4) drizzled it with my tomatillo salsa, had 3 ounces of hash browns on the side (4) with strawberries and blueberries.  A very filling 8 point breakfast.

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Both Hannah and Jacob had to work, and it was nice to have the house to myself and jam the music I wanted to listen to.  I scored on the $1 rack with three packages of tomatoes for $3.

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I made pasta sauce for my friend Whitney, the one who decorated my house, to drop off to her and her family for dinner and catch up a bit.   It made enough not only for her family for dinner, but I’ll have sauce to use for myself this week, and freeze for another time.

I had beef short ribs on my menu to grill out, and needed to make a BBQ sauce to go with them.  I love the process of recipe developing, because while I have an idea of how I want a recipe to be, 9/10 it turns out to be completely different after tasting and making adjustments.  The base of my BBQ sauce was a 6 ounce can of pineapple juice I found in the pantry.  I have no idea why I bought it, probably for some other recipe I never got around to making.  I knew I would add sriracha for heat, but then I thought I would add the Hardcore Carnivore spice INTO my BBQ sauce, and well – I made the best BBQ sauce of my life.

Pineapple Garlic Sriracha BBQ Sauce
Serves 20
Such a combination of flavors that will rock any cut of meat - spicy, sweet, tangy - delish!
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
32 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
32 min
46 calories
11 g
1 g
0 g
1 g
0 g
41 g
333 g
10 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
41g
Servings
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 46
Calories from Fat 3
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 1mg
0%
Sodium 333mg
14%
Total Carbohydrates 11g
4%
Dietary Fiber 0g
1%
Sugars 10g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
5%
Vitamin C
9%
Calcium
1%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon butter
  2. 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  3. 1 6 ounce can pineapple juice
  4. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  5. 2 cups ketchup
  6. 1 tablespoon sriracha
  7. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  8. 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  9. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  10. 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  11. 2 teaspoons Hardcore Carnivore black rub
  12. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a pan over medium heat and add the butter.  Once melted, add the garlic and cook until the garlic starts to brown.  Add remaining ingredients, stir with a whisk, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Notes
  1. If you don't happen to have Hardcore Carnivore Black rub, you could substitute 2 teaspoons of your favorite dry rub. But the Black rub is the bomb.com. You can find it at http://jesspryles.com/hardcore-carnivore-black-rub/
  2. And FYI, she isn't paying me to gloat about her rub, it is the best rub I've ever tried!
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calories
46
fat
0g
protein
1g
carbs
11g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
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Guys.  I need to bottle this stuff and sell it, it is so good!  I normally am not a sweet BBQ person, but the combination of flavors is so complex, that it works.  You get the sweet from the pineapple juice and brown sugar, the tang of the lemon juice, the spice from the sriracha and crushed red pepper and the punch of extra seasoning from the dry rub.   I had some pork rib tips I bought that I either needed to cook up or freeze, and decided to cook them up for lunch.

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I salt and peppered the rib tips and seared them in a bit of coconut oil for 3-4 minutes per side.  Then added the BBQ sauce and baked at 225 degrees for one hour.   If you’ve never cooked with rib tips before, they are a super economical cut of the ribs – either beef or pork.  It’s usually what’s cut off to make the spare ribs or baby back ribs look pretty, but they are just as flavorful.  I bought my pork rib tips for just $2.99 a pound.  I trimmed a bit of fat off of them, but otherwise left them as is.  After an hour, because they weren’t that big, the bone just fell off from the pork and I was left with tender juicy deliciousness.  I wasn’t all that hungry for lunch, but managed to eat three of these standing up over my counter in my kitchen – so good!

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Before I knew it, it was time to head to my friends house.  She has the best dog – Winston.  He’s huge, yet so friendly.  He moves a lot, so this was the best pic I could get, and I promise I am petting the dog, not choking him!

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It was great to catch up Whit!  Then my other friends Alison and Cameron’s house is on the way home, so I stopped by to say hello to them as well, and ended up staying long enough to help put the kids to bed – they are so cute!  They also have chickens now, so I am excited to use fresh eggs this morning for breakfast – thanks for letting me crash your house unannounced, and I promise I’ll bring food to you next time!

So my grilling didn’t work out to plan since I didn’t get home until well after dark.  Turns out I almost always have pizza dough in the fridge (shocker!) and I had Dietz & Watson stick pepperoni, so pizza it was.  3 ounces of dough (8) 1 ounce sliced pepperoni (4) and 1 ounce part skim mozzarella cheese (2).

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Today is going to be a great farmers market day – sunny skies and high of 84 today.  Let’s see if I can break my sales record from last week.

I’ll leave you with this – I saw it at the store on the discount rack and have never seen or heard of this before.  Thoughts?!

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Make it a great day!

Believe

Yesterday could not have been a more gorgeous day.  The humidity was gone, and the temps in Chicago were in the low 80s.   I wasn’t sure where my sister and I were going to meet for lunch, or even at what time, so I made a bagel thin egg sammie and grapes before I left to catch the train downtown.  That was 7 smart points.

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I grabbed a giant coffee for the hour and ten minute train ride.  I actually don’t mind it at all – I watched youtube videos the whole way down town.

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As I was walking towards my destination, which I can’t talk about yet, I ran into an attorney I used to work with.  I haven’t seen him in probably 10 years since he left the firm so we caught up for about 15 minutes.  Tony used to always make fun of the way that it didn’t seem to matter where we went, I would run into someone I knew. 

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My meeting lasted longer than I thought, but my sister stuck it out and waited for me before we grabbed lunch.  I think it was just after 2 by the time I got to her office.  She works near State and Madison and the choices of places to eat around there are limitless.  We decided to go to Peach & Green

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I’d never heard of it, but it was a really cute place.   That is just a stock photo from Google. Open-mouthed smile

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We each got the Pilsen Wrap – slow cooked beef, black beans, cheddar cheese, avocado, romaine lettuce, green salsa with a chipotle and cilantro crema.

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It was so filling, I was only able to eat half.  Well that, and I was talking so much catching up with my sister.  My guestimate was 10 points for half, but it could have been more?  Before we knew it, she had to get back to work – it was great catching up with you Jenn!

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I walked around for a while, and then sat at the Millennium Park Plaza and enjoyed the breeze with a small beer.  The view isn’t too shabby, is it?!

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My sister told me about Cindy’s Rooftop.  The Chicago Athletic Association was once an all male private club, but in May of 2015 it reopened to the public as a hotel.  Cindy’s Rooftop is on the 13th floor.

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As I was waiting for the elevator to go up, I met yet another attorney that I worked with 16 years ago.  I was his first secretary out of law school.  I had heard that he had a baby, and I don’t know what I thought, but his kids are now 9 and 7!   I guess as we grow older so do our kids!  I just think it is such a coincidence that I met two attorneys from the same law firm I worked at in the giant city of Chicago on the same day.

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My meeting went really well.  And even if it turns into nothing, I wanted to celebrate where I was right then and there.  I believe I can get the job I want and be happy.  It was such a good feeling to stand at the rooftop, look at the beautiful city of Chicago and just believe and feel confident that I am at the right place at the right time.  I can’t explain how happy I felt in that moment.

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I got a lot of walking in yesterday, nearly 12k steps.  I love all the people watching when I am in the city.

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After our lunch, my sister took me over to Naf Naf Grill, which I totally want to go to next time because their falafel looked amazing.  But for $4.50 for half a dozen, we each bought their fresh made pita breads.  These pita breads were soft and warm when we got them, it was all I could do not to eat one on the train ride home. 

I had Greek marinated chicken in the fridge, so I made greek chicken pitas with braised red cabbage and tzatziki.  The quick red cabbage braise was simply chopped cabbage with 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  It took only a couple minutes to cook – I still wanted the crunch, but the acidity of the vinegar really paired well with the well seasoned chicken and creamy tzatziki.

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Today is going to be another gorgeous day.  Low 80s and low humidity.  I am off to WW right now for my weekly WI.  Wish me luck! 

Make it a great day!

Best Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Long time readers know that I have a bit of an obsession when it comes to pizza.  I remember a few years ago there were a string of Friday’s that Tony wanted to go out to eat, which I thought was odd, because he hated going out to eat on crowded weekend nights, but thought – wow – how nice that he wants to treat me to dinner out!  Nope, on the 5th Friday he suggested we go out or carry something to take home, I suddenly realized it had been a month since I last made pizza – he was just trying to avoid having Party Pizza Friday!

Well, Jacob is much like Tony – he could take it or leave it, no matter what was on top of it.  But Hannah, thankfully, has the Party Pizza Friday pants on every Friday like me.  While she’s not into red sauce that much, I am more than willing to make her any kind of pizza she wants.  Which is usually a garlic olive oil pizza with just mozzarella and spinach.  Me?  I like to switch it up.  Mexican pizza, margarita pizza, pepperoni.  But when I saw my blog friend Helen post on Facebook last week that she made a buffalo chicken pizza, I suddenly thought “why the heck haven’t I made that before?!”

I’ve started making a new pizza dough.  My no rise pizza dough is still my go to in a pinch, but I like this one a lot for thin crust pizza – the corn meal gives the dough a bit of crunch when baked.  But first, can we just admire my amazing food photography skills from 2008?

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Pizza Dough (I used 1/6 of this dough for my individual pizza for 5 smart points)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup white corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I used 1/2 celery salt and 1/2 regular salt)
  • 1 cup (plus a couple more tablespoons) water

In a bowl, mix the flour, corn meal, yeast, salt together.  Add in the one cup water, and with a spoon or your hands, mix together until all the flour is incorporated – you may have to add a bit more water to get it combine.  Let sit on your counter for a minimum of one hour to rise.

So my next thought process for this Buffalo Chicken pizza – what kind of sauce should I make?  Then I decided to make a blue cheese bechamel!  A bechamel is nothing other than a white sauce – it’s a great jumping point to other great things.  I just stirred in 2 ounces of blue cheese at the very end.

Blue Cheese Bechamel (I used 1/6 of this recipe for my pizza for 4 smart points)

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1.25 ounces fat free milk
  • 2 ounces blue cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a small stock pot, melt butter.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Slowly add the milk, continuing to stir, until the sauce is nice and thick.  Take off heat and stir in blue cheese, salt and pepper.

For the pizza toppings:  (toppings came in at 7 smart points)

  • 2 ounces fried chicken tenders, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Frank’s hot sauce
  • 1 ounce of mixed cheese (I used provolone and mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery with stems
  • 1 tablespoon fat free ranch dressing

Heat oven to 425.  I use my baking steel, but a pizza stone, or even a cookie sheet is fine.  Roll out 1/6 of the dough onto parchment paper.  Add 1/6 of blue cheese bechamel (which was about 2 heaping tablespoons) to the bottom of the pie dough.  Toss the chicken tenders with the Frank’s hot sauce and place around the pizza.  Top with the mixed cheese and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until desired doneness.  When it comes out of the oven, top with chopped celery, the ranch sauce and more hot sauce if you want.

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As I was making this, I was trying to keep track of the points in my head, and thought this generous sized individual pizza would be 14 points, but it turns out to be 16.  Still totally worth the points, and if you have a buffalo chicken lover in your house – eat half for 8 points and have a salad on the side for an indulgent, yet healthy, Party Pizza Friday.

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It was a hot in our neck of the woods this weekend.  I have to give a shout out to Mo H., a blog reader who stopped by to say hello to me in Glenview on Saturday!  I am sorry I was busy with a customer, I wanted a chance to talk, but it got busy – but I so appreciate you stopping by and introducing yourself!   If you live in that area, I’d be happy to meet up on one of my days off for lunch Open-mouthed smile

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That was pretty much the state of my face for the weekend – dripping sweat.  And yes Mom, I wore sunscreen!  Just seems that my freckles are more pronounced in this picture, since I don’t wear any makeup on my face – it would just melt off anyway!

I had plans to grill this weekend, but after standing in the heat all day, the thought of even lighting the grill, even for something that wouldn’t take that long to grill, was just too much.  Hannah and Jacob were getting off of work around dinner time on Saturday, and Hannah said she’d treat for dinner – score!

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Ah, that hit the spot – a cold Stella after a sweltering day?  Priceless.  And I’ve long since realized that if a place is known for a certain dish, to order it.  Tony had a friend that would notoriously order lasagna in an Irish pub and then talk about how disgusting it was.   This place?  Is known for great burgers.   I built my own:  brioche bun, burger, mozzarella cheese, bacon, hot giardinira and their house made marinara sauce.  Drop the mic people!

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Can we just take a moment to look at all that melty cheese?  And their house made pickles are amazeballs too.  I ended up eating 3 fries (Hannah was going to make hashbrowns with the leftovers) and ate half the burger, which I counted as 15 smart points.

Sunday’s weather wasn’t much better, although there were points of cloudiness which helped it not feel as hot – not sure it felt as if it was 104 degrees, but it was hot!

 

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We ended up getting more rain last night too.  Just happy that both days the rain and storms didn’t come in after the markets were over.

Jacob’s Dad ended up joining us for dinner – just a simple Cheezy Beef dinner with tots was on the menu.  Dietz & Watson was on sale too – score!

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S. Rosen is a Chicago bakery that makes the best buns for beef sandwiches.  They have a bit of texture on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside.  Not that it really matters, because I had a small bowl of au jus on the side and soaked up the bread – I love a soggy Italian beef!

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The bun was 5 points, the tots were 5 points, the beef was 2 and the cheese was 2.  Pure Chicago comfort food for Sunday dinner.

I am actually headed to Chicago today!  Can’t tell you yet why, but I am going to meet up with my sister for coffee/lunch/walk – or whatever fits into her work schedule today.  It’s a gorgeous day – temps in the low 80’s and blue skies.  I’ll leave you with this picture (Shelley, I know you’ll appreciate this – ha!)  Side by side pics of us being Sia on Snapchat!  Jenn is on the left and I am on the right.  Too funny!

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Jenn knows how to take a picture without those icons below, but because she knows I can’t stand it when she leaves them, she keeps them there. Smile with tongue out

Alright, time to make a quick breakfast and get ready to head to the train station.  Make it a great day!

Hot Day!

Yesterday was a long day for me.  I was on the road by 8:00 a.m. to attend the funeral of the Mom of some dear friends – my friend Jacky, her sisters Jody (who is a Cross Fit fanatic and wants me to start Cross Fit and stop drinking hazelnut creamer in my coffee!) Terry and Kelly.  I didn’t know their two older siblings because they are older than me and we wouldn’t have ever been in school together.   I only met their Mom on a couple occasions and didn’t know her well, but Jacky’s son Andrew did the eulogy and did an amazing job describing his grandma – Andrew is the oldest grandchild, thus has the most memories of her.  She was the life of the party, a die hard Democrat, loved her happy hour, and most importantly, loved her family and friends and her husband of nearly 55 years.  What a blessing to be married to your spouse for 55 years!

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Egg white McMuffin for the drive into River Forest.  Traffic wasn’t too bad at that time of day and it only took me an hour and fifteen minutes to get there.  7 smart points, and for the record, I was stopped, and not driving and taking pics. Open-mouthed smile

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This is the church in my hometown, St. Luke’s.  I had no idea they have a massive reconstruction going on outside, but the inside of the church is beautiful.  It’s been years since I’ve been inside.  The service was lovely, I got to see some people I haven’t seen in a long time, and I was happy to be able to give all the sisters big hugs.

I had to work my Lincoln Square market yesterday, so after the service I had enough time to go to Whole Foods and grab some lunch.  I always drool over the cheese area – check out this goat cheese – only $38!

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I ended up getting the salad bar, and then accessorizing with some grilled rosemary chicken from the prepared foods aisle.

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$10 salad – but it was really good and hit the spot.  It kept me full for a long time, and around 6 I ended up eating my snacks – 1/2 cup of grapes, 1 cup watermelon and this snack pack of rice crackers and hummus (that was on sale at Jewel for 10/$10) and 4 smart points.

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I was working with Edmundo, the 18 year old that has an amazing work ethic and most importantly – he’s super organized and clean – check out the sample cups he put together.

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So yesterday when I told you that sales is my jam, and that I had just broken a record at that market?  Well, turns out you need actually customers to sell to – it was such a ghost town at my market.  I get it, it was hot – the temps dropped to 82 on the drive to Chicago, but were back up to 92, with 80% humidity, and I guess everyone wanted to stay inside.

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That picture was taken at 5:30 – normally we are swamped with wrap orders for a solid hour.  Oh well!  One of the things I love though is that all the vendors look out for each other.  I’ve had people help me with my tent when I was new and didn’t know what I was doing, and across the way was a guy that was selling mushrooms and he was struggling a bit with his tents, so I ran over and helped him out. 

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Not long after, Daniel came over and handed me a paper bag as a way of thanks – mushrooms!  Long time readers may remember that I never really liked mushrooms, but in the last few years, I’ve become to love them.  Nothing like a sautéed mushrooms on a perfectly grilled steak.  You can check out the story of River Valley Kitchens here.

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I didn’t post my dinner on Instagram last night, because it was just two pieces of leftover frozen pizza that I broiled in the oven.  I didn’t end up getting home until 10:00 p.m. and I didn’t have the energy to cook anything, or eat the soup that I made the other day.

Do you guys use the app Time Hop?  So crazy how you think your life doesn’t change all that much day to day, but looking year to year – wow!  Let’s take a journey back, shall we?

1 year ago:

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A year ago today was when the beginning of my whole living room reconstruction.  What I thought was going to be a quick $1,000 dry wall job, quickly turned into a $20,000 because the whole front of my house was rotten and had to be rebuilt. 

2 years ago:

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Two years ago today I was standing in the elevator at Extended Stay America where I was a finalist for a cooking competition – who knew that just a few months from them I’d actually be taking to Sunny Anderson!

Three years ago:

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Three years ago I was already on Day 52 of Insanity – I am hoping by reposting pictures like this it will give me the inspiration to get that motivation back.

I am off work today, so I slept in – hence the late post of this blog today.  I was given cherry tomatoes by a vendor last Sunday, so hope to make a roasted tomato soup with them for lunch.  Hannah and Jacob will be having mushrooms tonight – Jacob’s on a steak, and Hannah’s vegetarian with pasta.  Me?  Um, it’s Party Pizza Friday!  On my menu thanks to Helen?  Buffalo Chicken Pizza!  In my head it turns out – you’ll just have to follow me on Instagram to find out.

Hope you have a great weekend and I hope the rain stays away during my markets this weekend.  I’ll be in Glenview on Saturday and Frankfort on Sunday – the Frankfort one is my favorite Open-mouthed smile

Make it a great day!

Sales is My Jam

I actually love my night farmers markets because it gives me time to actually prepare a decent breakfast and not be rushed.  It was already near 80 degrees when I woke up yesterday morning, and the forecast was temps in the low 90s, with a heat index near 100!  Perfect for working a farmers market, no?  Actually, I don’t mind the heat as much as the rain and storms, at least people will still come out if it’s hot, but not if its stormy.

My breakfast was egg white tostadas.  10 smart parts for the two and super filling and delicious.

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In case you are wondering what a day in the life of a food blogger looks like – here it is.  I tool this picture on my living room floor.  Apparently, someone thought this was for her!

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Shelley, you’ll be happy to see my blue toenail polish! Open-mouthed smile

And here is Rummy’s look when I tell her it’s not for her:

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So I packed my lunch for the market.  A ham and rotisserie chicken wrap with pretzel thins, Stubbs BBQ sauce for dipping my wrap, and grapes.  Not shown was watermelon and a banana.  Around 5:00 I got hungry and took one bit of my wrap and it just tasted . . . off.  I think it was the deli ham.  I took the last of it, but it made the sandwich taste like ass, so I ended up eating just my grapes, watermelon and banana.  It held me until I got home.  Another misstep was to place the pretzel thins in the container with the wrap, because sitting on the ice block just turned them into mush.  Lesson learned!

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It’s funny because when I work the markets, I really have no idea how well or bad I am doing.  I talk to so many people, that keeping track of sales in my head as I go is near impossible.  Numbers and I don’t mix all that well – God gives and he takes – I can cook, but math isn’t my best subject.  I knew I did a lot of credit card sales, so that makes it even harder to figure out how well I have done.  Um, turns out, I broke a sales record yesterday for that market!  Whoop!   And at least half a dozen people wanted to know how long I’ve owned this business.  Open-mouthed smile

As I was driving home, I was thinking that I didn’t know that I was or could be a good sales person.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I am the quintessential salesperson.  At one restaurant I worked at we sold a lobster bisque soup for $8 a cup.  But, I could upsell that by adding fresh lump lobster to the top and a side of a shot of sherry and 9/10 people would order it just the way I suggested it – which suddenly became an $18 cup of soup!  And I am competitive by nature, so there is that – I want to be the best no matter what.

So remember how I said I didn’t want to eat carbs on the nights I worked the markets and ate dinner late?  Well, after only having 10 points going into dinner, the fact that I was really hangry at that point, I bought a $5 Tombstone pizza and ate three slices.  I had 20 points going into dinner, so I am not too worried about it.  I also drank about two gallons of water yesterday, and today the temps are going to be closer to 100, so it will be a sweaty balls kind of day today.  Again, as long as the rain stays away, it’s all good.

Alright, time to get this show on the road – make it a great day!