Baker Stone Pizza Oven Box

When we were planning our new backyard living area the Hubs was contemplating building a pizza oven. While I love pizza, I just didn’t feel that we would use it enough to justify the cost. 

After researching alternative options to a built in pizza oven, we decide to purchase the Baker Stone Pizza Oven Box. 

So. Glad. We. Did! For right around $120 we now have an amazing little pizza oven that works right in our existing gas grill.  

This oven cooks a beautiful pizza in about 5 minutes and the crust turns out beautifully baked and toppings are cooked to perfection. 

We have had fun pizza parties with the kids and grandkids and everyone gets to choose their own toppings. There are a ton of great recipes on Pinterest to try and believe me, I have pinned a bunch for future use. This Apple Cheddar Rosemary Bacon from climbinggriermountain.com has become one of our favorites. 

I highly recommend this pizza oven as an addition to your backyard cooking options. You will not be disappointed. 

Oven Baked Cranberry Maple Crusted Chicken with Roasted Veggies

I am loving finding ways to use Cucina Antica Cranberry Sauce in my cooking. It has such a fresh taste and is so so pretty!

I pulled some ingredients out of the pantry, fridge and freezer to come up with this tasty meal. The combination of the savory breading on the chicken and the tart cranberry sauce and the sweet maple syrup was scrumptious. Oven roasted veggies are one of our favorites also. If you haven’t tried roasted broccoli, get on it! Ah-maze-ing! We gobbled it up pretty fast.

Roasting the veggies on the same pan as the chicken made clean up a breeze. The Hubs likes that since we sort of have an understanding. I cook, he cleans up! Win/win. He was used to doing dishes when he was working in the fire station so he doesn’t mind. (Or I like to think he doesn’t mind!)

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did. Let me know if you make it.

Oven Baked Cranberry Maple Crusted Chicken with Roasted Veggies

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

1 egg

1/3 c milk

1/3 c flour

1/3 c pinko bread crumbs

1/2 Tbsp Malibu seasoning

Carrots

Broccoli

Granulated garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

Cucina Antica Cranberry Sauce

Maple syrup for drizzle

 

Preheat oven to 400º.

Mix egg and milk with a fork in a small bowl.

Put flour in another small bowl.

Mix bread crumbs and Malibu seasoning in a third bowl.

Lay out carrots and broccoli on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and granulated garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Dip a chicken breast in the egg/milk mixture to coat. Move to bowl with flour in it and coat with flour. Put back in the egg/milk mixture to coat again. Dip in the Panko/Malibu seasoning mixture to coat.

Drizzle some olive oil on the part of the sheet pan where you are putting the chicken and lay chicken in pan. Repeat with second chicken breast.

Place sheet pan in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until chicken registers 165º on instant read thermometer. Stir the veggies halfway through the cooking time.

Top with Cucina Antica Cranberry Sauce and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Serve with Cheesy Polenta.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Lemony Asparagus, Orzo and Ham Salad

Still have leftover ham from Easter! And leftover uncooked asparagus as well. Fridge is bulging.

Good thing the Hubs has his weekly card game tonight because it is time to use this stuff up. This salad is what I came up with.

This salad looks super fresh and pretty. Beautiful colors in it. Look at those lovely little bits of red pepper peeking out! The lemon vinaigrette that I found online gives it a nice zingy taste.

You really could add anything you like to this salad, making it the perfect “clean out the fridge” salad. I’m thinking broccoli and chicken, asparagus and salmon, make it vegetarian by leaving out the meat. Whatever your little heart desires!

I like to use DeLallo whole wheat pasta in cold salads because it has a little nutty flavor and it stands up to sitting in the dressing. It keeps that nice little bite. But, you could use any pasta you choose.

The toasted pine nuts add a nice little crunch and the avocado finishes it off perfectly. Yum yum!

Hope you enjoy this salad. It really is a “no-brainer!”

Lemony Asparagus, Orzo and Ham Salad

1 1/2 c  DeLallo whole wheat orzo

1/4 c finely chopped red onion

1/2 c medium chopped red pepper

1 rib celery finely chopped

1 lb asparagus, woody part removed, chopped into 1 in. pieces

1 c chopped ham

This dressing. Use the entire amount made. (The only thing that I changed on the dressing recipe is that I just dumped all of the ingredients in a mason jar and gave it a good shaking. So easy!)

One avocado cubed

1/3 c toasted pine nuts

Lemon zest for garnish if desired.

Directions

Bring 3 quarts lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and bring back to a boil. Cook orzo for 8 min then add chopped asparagus and cook two more minutes.

Remove from heat and drain.

Mix orzo and asparagus mixture in large bowl with all other ingredients except for the avocado. Let chill in fridge for at least 4 hours. Gently stir in avocado  and pine nuts just before serving. Garnish with lemon zest.

The Tastes of Kauai

After ten days on Kauai by ourselves, the hubs and I were ready for some company. Our son, daughter-in-love and their two kids (ages 5 and 7) arrived and the trip completely changed from a romantic getaway to a fun filled family vacation.

Snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, swimming, hanging at the beach, playing games and of course eating were all on the schedule.

My son and DIL are experts at finding the best eats wherever they are. They were on TripAdvisor just as soon as they landed and mapped out some places that we NEEDED to try! Some of our favorites were The Fresh Shave, Fresh Bite Kauai, Kalalea Juice Hale, Duane’s Ono Char-Burger, Da Crack, Kealia Poke, Trucking Delicious and NOM Kauai.

The Fresh Shave was amazing. Everything was organic, natural and fresh. Great menu of flavors combos. My favorite was the Dirt Squirrel – cold brewed coffee, cream and sugar. The Caterpillar was a favorite of the kids – orange and creamsicle topped with fresh oranges and sweet cream. YUM.

The acai bowls at Kalahea Juice Hale were so so good and fresh. We told the kids it was purple ice cream and they loved it! It’s purple. It has coconut milk. And it’s frozen. Ice cream. Right?

Yummy acai bowls at Kalalea Juice Hale

I had the Power Salad with added seared ahi at NOM Kauai. It was a large portion and the perfect lo-carb lunch.

NOM Kauai

We bought burgers and fries at Duane’s Ono Char Burgers more than once and took them to the beach for the gang. Good, messy, perfect!

Menu at Duane’s Ono Char Burger

Da Crack was a little family owned hole-in-the wall place over by Poipu. You can pick a burrito, bowl or taco and then you choose your protein, ricin’s and beans, salsa and topping. I had the tacos and they were excellent. And, once again, fresh!

Trucking Delicious in Hanalei serves awesome coconut shrimp and delicious plate lunches. The order of  pork and cabbage fed me for three meals!

One thing that I appreciated about this trip was how easy it was to get good food in Hawaii and not spend a total fortune. Yay for food trucks and hole-in the wall joints! Check out our favorite places to grab a bite on Kauai and enjoy.

Aloha!

Bringing the Aloha Back to SoCal

One of the things that I was looking forward to about our trip to Kauai was being able to cook with island fresh ingredients. That is what made renting a house, rather than staying at a resort, so appealing. A real kitchen! Heaven.

I made a big batch of this pineapple salsa shortly after we arrived. Guys, the pineapples in Hawaii are so big, so fresh, so sweet and so juicy. But you already knew that.

This recipe was a hit with the hubs so I made some more. Then I made more and more! Everyone loved it.

Use it on freshly grilled fish, fish tacos, in salads, or for a fresh new take on chips and salsa. Or, if you are like me, eat it straight from the bowl.

BRING THE ALOHA HOME SALSA

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

Serving size: 1/4 cup

Ingredients:

2 cups diced fresh pineapple (you could probably use canned if fresh is not available, I would just make sure you drain most of the liquid off)

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/4-1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro (or leave this out if you are one of those people who when they eat cilantro it tastes like soap, This is a REAL thing!)

1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (more or less to taste)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2-3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until served.

Calories per serving: 23

Weight Watcher’s Plus Points: 1

Recipe adapted from: Taste of Home

Kauai fun – Just us two

 

 

 

Our first 10 days on Kauai were just for us. This gave us some time to settle in and do some exploring. We rented a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom house in Princeville for the month. It was gorgeous! We quickly unpacked and started our adventures.

One of the first things we looked for was food! We had decided that we were going to eat healthy while we were here. Yeah, that lasted a couple of days. But…the first place we did find was super good for you. No guilt eating here! Take a look at this acia bowl from Kalalea Juice Hale. After convincing the hubs that he would like it we ordered. Amazing! So fresh, healthy and yummy. We ended up making many return visits to this great little place.

We spent time lazing on the beach reading, going for walks and drives, cooking with fresh Hawaiian ingredients and just enjoying each other’s company. The days flew by in a tropical haze.

Fresh homemade pineapple salsa

Since we have been home we have discussed whether it would be better to have our “alone” days at the beginning of the trip, the end of the trip, or split them up. Right now I think we are leaning towards splitting them up a bit.

Next post……. kids and grandkids arrive!