Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pizza Heaven

Remember the post about not being able to eat normal pizza? I'm starting to think that is not a problem at all and tomato sauce is just a distraction from the great toppings. We found another winner for the no-tomato sauce pizza. Caramelized onions, pear, and gorgonzola cheese.

My friend Jacqi recommended it to us when she was visiting. She said she used to make it twice a week and until her boyfriend got sick of it. After tasting it, I can see why twice a week would seem like the right thing to do, because it is the most delicious pizza.

We were lucky to get local pears and a big hunk of Hook's gorgonzola from our farmer's market. The crust came from the Willy St. Co-Op after my attempt at pizza dough making flopped (for the first time ever, not sure what went wrong!).

There is no recipe for this pizza because its literally just this: make a lot of caramelized onions, spread them on the dough. Slice some pears thinly and spread them around. Put chunks of gorgonzola all over. Bake and then hide in your room eating the whole thing yourself because you won't want to share.

But I did share... and Kristen thought it was delicious too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Over the weekend, Aaron and I were lucky enough to visit some extended family who live near Duluth, Minnesota. If you look on a map, you'll notice that means driving all the way to the very top of Wisconsin. Northern Wisconsin is a strange place that reminded me a lot of northern Michigan, but with more cheese and tractors. It was also my first time in Minnesota, so I was excited to visit a new state. (Good news about Minnesota: the speed limit is 70, unlike the people of Wisconsin who insist on keeping it at 65.)

On Saturday, we drove literally into the middle of nowhere to the "Little Shack" complete with wood burning heater. We road four-wheelers, got muddy, and Aaron cut up some trees.

A beaver dam.


After stopping at the local bar, which really reminded me that I was in the middle of nowhere Minnesota, we watched MSU beat Wisconsin in a close game.

We were lucky to have a sunny and relatively warm day to actually enjoy being outside, because when we left to drive home the next day the weather was like this:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mac and Cheese and staying positive

After a rough week of mid-terms and a bad cold, its important to focus on things I do well, like making this delicious pumpkin mac and cheese. It helps my health to stay positive. Since Aaron has been doing most of the cooking, I've become pretty disconnected from the kitchen. While I get a lot of school work done while Aaron makes dinner, sitting down to eat isn't as rewarding as when you spend time making the meal.

I made this macaroni and cheese earlier in September before grad school got out of control and it was a really filling, delicious weekend lunch.

It didn't seem right to share it then, since it wasn't really pumpkin season yet. Finally, after the week of sun and warm weather, we've had clouds, wind, rain and general spookiness that screams Halloween. For a while we were anticipating fall and I was planning cozy meals of soup and warm dishes, then it was 80 degrees outside and we didn't want to actually eat anything warm. Now, something like this pumpkin mac and cheese can be enjoyed hot off the stovetop.

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese. (we used aged wisconsin cheddar and think you should too!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Wedding

This past weekend Aaron and I travelled back to Michigan to attend a special wedding.

My Grandma got married! They were both married for 57 years before losing their spouses and now they found each other. We had a great time with family and got to watch Michigan State beat the University of Michigan.

Here is the bride and groom cutting their cake:

Aaron and I are no longer the newlyweds in our family.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Capitol view of Madison

We sorta live in that direction.

Last weekend we took our friend Kristen to the Wisconsin State Capitol and climbed up to the top, where you can walk around the outside of the dome. Here are some pictures in case you were wondering what the view looks like from the top of the largest state capitol building.

Lake Monona/Monona Terrace. If anyone didn't know, downtown Madison is built on an isthmus between two lakes. We live in the isthmus-east area and the campus is west of the isthmus. Its confusing if you don't look at a map. Google it!

Also, those black things are dead birds caught in a net, presumably to stop birds from making nests under the dome. I thought everyone should know when you look at those pretty pictures of the capitol you are seeing a lot of dead birds.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Firefighter's take over the square

This past weekend, one of my friends from college came to visit Madison. It was her first time here and with 80 degree weather and sun, we spent most of the weekend outside showing her around. It was a beautiful weekend (lucky for the 12 or so wedding parties we saw on Saturday)!

October is turning into a busy month. I have my first midterms this week and next and we're planning to be out of town for the next two weekends, then its Halloween, which is a big deal here. I can't promise I'll be posting a lot of stuff, but at least I can share some pictures.

Sunday we wandered into this fire fighter fair of some sort. At first we thought there was a fire, then maybe a parade, but turns out it was the start of "Fire Safety Week."

There were fire trucks everywhere and lots of little kids getting plastic hats.

Aaron: Wants to see which truck has the tallest ladder.
Kristen: Not impressed because her brother-in-law is a firefighter.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Berry and Goat Cheese Pizza

I love pizza and have for as long as I can remember. I have very distinct memories of going to Pizza Hut to get a personal pan pizza after reading so many books for "Book-It." But what was even better than the personal pizza? The pizza lunch buffet, because it had every type of pizza (including my favorite, hamburger) plus dessert fruit pizza! Of course, this was back when I could eat who knows how many pieces of pizza without feeling full. Now I only eat 1 or 2 pieces of pizza at a time, but the idea of fruit on pizza is still very appealing.

So when I found this recipe, of course I wanted to make it. Its like Pizza Hut but probably a little more healthy and grown up. We didn't do the mini's because this wasn't for a party appetizer, it was all for us.

We have made this pizza once before using fresh fruit. This time we used frozen because it looks like we've reached the point where fresh berries are no longer affordable. It didn't make a huge difference, but the pizza was definitely less crisp overall, although the bottom was still crunchy. It helped make the jam more of a sauce, so it was sort-of a good thing.

After telling a few people about this pizza and getting less than excited reactions, I am guessing you might not want to try it. But I'm telling you its worth the effort (which is pretty minimal if you already have your pizza dough made). And you can definitely customize it with any berries, nuts, or cheese that you like.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Diet Number 2

I'm gearing up for another diet. The Elimination Diet helped immensely by pin-pointing nightshade vegetables and coffee as things that upset my stomach, but all is not completely well. I experience some sort of digestion issue on average... once a day! Sometimes I'm lucky and it waits until I'm at home and can lay down and pout about it. Sounds fun huh? There comes a point when you have had enough and are willing to try pretty much anything.

The problem with the Elimination Diet was rice, lentils, and other starches were allowed from the very beginning. While I felt best at this time, I was mostly focused on not having the painful stomach aches that came from eating tomatoes and other nightshade vegetables. After months free from those stomach aches, its time to focus on the other issues. I guess this was inevitable and now is as good of a time as any.

I will be cutting out all starches over the next few weeks, which will mean not eating a lot of my favorite foods: sweet potatoes, pumpkin, bread, tortillas, beans, etc. To compensate for the protein in beans, we'll be having a lot more fish and eggs. It sounds horrible and I'm sure everyone will wonder just what I can actually eat now (I'm brainstorming), but I'm pretty optimistic that it will be worth it.

This week I have had my fair share of pumpkin, hummus, rice, acorn squash and lentils. For next week, I'm focusing on just avoiding rice, corn, and beans/legumes. Its a good start!

I'm going through all of my recipes to find ones that will be acceptable. So far I'm looking forward to trying some different salads and soups, and a lot of spaghetti squash. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!