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Monday, January 2, 2012

Make-ahead Monday and January's Challenge

Happy New Year to all! I hope that you had a great Christmas and New Year, and that you are ready to get back into the swing of things. We've had, for the most part, a relaxing holiday. I've been off of work, and Dennis has had a few days off, too. The best part is, he's been out of school, so he hasn't been driving back and forth to New Orleans or having to fool with much homework. He'll go back a week from today, so Izzy and I are enjoying these last few days of more Daddy around to hang out and help out.

I did get pretty awful sick for about a week and a half, but Izzy and Dennis managed to escape it, and I'm feeling all better now.

Make Ahead Mondays

As I promised all the way back in 2011 (really, only about 2 weeks ago), I'm trading in "Meal Plan Mondays" for "Make Ahead Mondays". It's much easier to eat healthy when there are plenty of meals and snacks waiting in the freezer to be whipped out and heated up/baked/thrown in the crock pot on a busy day.

My plan is to share recipes, and get you to (pretty please) share some recipes, too, so we can have our freezers ready for what may come. For me, I've got a baby coming in May, so I want to be good and ready for those first few crazy months.

I also learned over the past few weeks how invaluable cooking ahead can be in case Mama gets sick. My husband is a very helpful and thoughtful man, but he doesn't know a thing about making dinner. He can, though, thaw out a casserole or throw a bag of prechopped veggies and meat into a slow cooker.

Today, I've had my bread machine and my oven going making up some pizza crusts. Pizza from the freezer section at the grocery store is usually pricey, unhealthy, and/or not so tasty. It's easy to take a crust from the freezer and spread some toppings on it. Ten minutes later, you've got a tasty, healthy dinner!

Here's What You Do:
Make up a batch of sourdough sandwich dough (I used 100% wheat flour this time)
Divide into 6 or so equal parts
Roll out to desired thickness
Bake at 375 for 5-8 minutes, or until just starting to brown

This makes 6 individual sized pizzas. Divide the dough however you like.

I let them cool, stick them in a plastic bag, and pop them into the freezer until I'm ready to use them.

Here they are, being rolled out, and the finished product. I know they don't look all that round...I call it "artisan baking" whenever what I'm making doesn't turn out "picture perfect". I promise they still taste good!

Here are some topping suggestions:
-leftover veggies
-leftover taco meat
-refried beans and mozzarella cheese

One of my favorite, simple ways to top a pizza is with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and generous dose of italian seasoning. It tastes gourmet, and is super easy.

This is a great way to use up leftovers. Invent your own kind of pizza, or get the kids involved and let them each make their own!

January's Challenge

I know we're already a couple of days in, but I want to let you guys in on a personal little goal-setting routine I fell into last year. I don't make resolutions for a long or indefinite period of time. That is too daunting, and I have found that I'm easily overwhelmed. I can easily commit to making a change or continuing a habit for a month, though. Each month, I pick one thing to work on, and try not to compromise for that first month. By the end of the month, it's usually worked into my routine and I can easily keep it up.

Are you ready for this month's challenge?

Read your food ingredient labels.

That's it. We're not giving anything up or adding anything complicated into our daily routines. When you start reading what's in your food, you just may end up being a little more careful what goes in your mouth.

I've kept you long enough for one day, so I'll elaborate more on this point on Wednesday.

Until then, work on getting into the habit or reading the ingredient labels on all of the foods you eat.

See you then!

*update: I've just added a link-up, so you can link up directly to your blog, where you've shared a great make-ahead recipe!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!