SavoryGirl’s Favorite Recipes for a Great Pizza Making Night
Showing off our Pizza Perfection As I'm coming up on my last day of the Whole30 I can't seem to stop thinking about pizza! So I found some photos from a pizza making class I took a while back that was fun, delicious and totally worth sharing with all of you so you can make these great pizzas yourself. The class was at the San Francisco Cooking School , which I highly recommend, and their dough and sauce recipes are fantastic. Super fun for a Sunday family/friend dinner experience that will bring everyone together for a good time to connect, cook and eat some yummy food.  Buon appetito! First things first, let's make that pizza dough so it has ample time to rise...
Breaking News!

SavoryGirl's Perfectly Cooked T-Bone

This is going to be short and sweet, but wanted to share some exciting news with all of you.  Starting in October, SavoryGirl is now going to be a monthly guest blogger on Omaha Steak's blog SteakBytes.com!  So why am I so excited about this?  Well first and foremost I actually truly do enjoy Omaha Steaks' products...so getting an opportunity to try out 2-3 each month is a big win for my belly and weekly menus.  But secondly, I'm excited because this will get SavoryGirl more exposure and maybe start to turn this into a bit more of a legitimate blog vs. the hobby that it has been for me over the past 4 years.  So I'm hoping a side-benefit of this is that it will make me start to focus a bit more and provide new, updated content more often like I used to when I first started out.  Win-win for me and my readers!

So just to be transparent...how does this work?  At the beginning of every month I'll get to choose 3 Omaha Steaks products which they'll ship to me for free.  I then get to use them however I'd like...make up my own recipes, use them in existing recipes, entertain with them, etc...  From there I write 2-3 blog posts about the experience and send it off to Omaha Steaks within 2-3 weeks to be published that next month.  I'll send them photos too, but more often than not they'll use their own stock photography.  Now the cool thing for me, as someone who always has a lot to say, is that they actually don't want these posts to be product reviews and focused on the product alone.  So I'll still get to write in my true SavoryGirl voice about the recipe or party or experience like I always do...just mentioning which Omaha Steaks product I used at least once. Easy breezy way for me to still feel as though I'm being authentic. Especially since this is a brand I already know, have bought myself, and do enjoy...I would have never accepted the opportunity otherwise!

Stay tuned...I'll post links to my SteakBytes articles here of course and can't wait to hear what you think!  In the meanwhile, to get you salivating check out my past post on how to cook a perfect steak here.
The Key to My Healthy Eating…Sunday Prep
Sunday prep sets every week up for success!

Sunday prep sets every week up for success!

It's really easy to fall into the trap of "too busy" and let the simple but important things in life get left behind.  You know what I'm talking about...the gym, taking walks, reading for pleasure and most importantly for me, healthy home-cooked food. It happens to the best of us, but the Girl Scout in me knows that preparation is your best friend for these situations.  So over the years I have developed what I consider a fool-proof plan to ensure that at the very least I'm eating healthy, homemade breakfasts, lunches and dinners throughout most of my week (leaving room of course for spontaneity and fun!). I'm not going to go into the dinners...because honestly that's what my weekly menus that I post every Sunday are all about so I think you all get my strategy there.  Plan the full week of dinners in advance, do all of the grocery shopping at once and then just stick to it ensuring you plan your leftovers for the busier nights of the week. If you're new to SavoryGirl here is my original post explaining my weekly dinner menu philosophy. What I haven't shared is what I do for weekday breakfasts and lunches...it's pretty simple and many might call it boring but I figure weekends, dinners and eating out are where I get my variety so if being a bit boring during the weekdays keeps me healthy so be it!

Breakfast...my go-to  choice here is a smoothie and a hard-boiled egg.  The beauty of this plan is that I make a full batch of smoothies up and boil/peel all of my eggs on Sunday so all I have to do is grab them out of the fridge in the morning and enjoy while I'm getting ready (see - efficient with morning getting ready time too!).  My smoothies are pretty straightforward...for 5 smoothies I puree 2-3 bananas, a mix of 2-3 frozen fruits (blueberries, pineapples, peaches, mangos, whatever you prefer), about a cup of OJ, another 1-2 cups of almond milk, a Tablespoon or so of wheat germ and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.  If you want higher protein then you can also add a couple spoonfuls of almond butter or peanut butter. Basically you want a full blender to make 5 servings...then pour them into 3 glasses (freeze the other two so they last until the end of the week) and put saran wrap on the top, making sure to push the saran wrap down to the surface of the smoothie so no air gets in and pop them in the fridge.  For the eggs I simply boil them up, peel them, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and pop them in an air-tight container in the fridge.  In the morning I just microwave my egg for about 20 seconds (I prefer them a bit warm, stir up my smoothie  (they can separate a bit in the fridge) and enjoy!  All of this prep takes 20 minutes max once you get in a routine.  Easy breezy.

Fad or Fixture? One Week After the Whole Living Detox

It's been a little over a week since we ended the three week Whole Living Detox, and a lot of people have been asking me if there are any lasting effects on our diet or if we've completely fallen off the wagon and returned to our old eating habits. To be honest, it's a little bit of a mix.  The first few days off the detox we fell off the wagon hard...I mean it's Girl Scout Cookie and Cadbury Mini-Egg season after all! But there were a few things that we found ourselves maintaining with relative ease...likely because they were the components of the detox that we also felt made the most different in our lives. So here is a run-down of each detox component and where we stand:

Meat - this is a resounding no...not going to give meat up. We both just love meat too much, but even before the detox we only ate red meat 1-2 times a month so I don't feel too badly about this.  We do eat fish, chicken, turkey and pork relatively often but we try to balance it week by week so that we eat fish at least once a week and one other meat only one-two other times each week with the rest being vegetarian or eggs. One of our favorite new vegetarian meals is the one shown above from the detox...Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew. Delish.

Dairy  - we have actually made a change here. When it comes to milk I'm no longer using it at all and Christian is only using it for his coffee in the morning.  Otherwise we use either Soy or Almond milk depending on the situation.  Soy milk steams beautifully for my morning Chai Tea Lattes and almond milk works well for cereal, oatmeal and all other purposes.  The reason we use both is because we are a bit wary of using too much soy...all sorts of research about potential negative hormonal side effects. Let's be clear though...I will never give up cheese completely.  I am being a bit more discerning about when I choose to indulge in it though, so no more automatic cheese on sandwiches or scrambled into my eggs. It has to be a really yummy cheese and worth it.

Coffee - Christian didn't even give this up during the detox, so no change for him here but I did give it up and am fully satisfied with my new Chai Tea Latte morning substitute.  This isn't the powdery, sugary mix that most coffee shops have, but instead it's simply a Black Chai tea back brewed with half hot water and half steamed soy milk.  I add a bit of honey or agave nectar and I have a fabulously decadent tasting morning beverage. I will likely indulge in the occasional latte after working out on the weekends, but for the most part I think my giving up coffee has improved my sleep habits so I'm going to try to stick with it.

Roasting Red Peppers at Home

Roasted red peppers are one of those ingredients that immediately elevate a dish to gourmet. So sweet, so smoky and so amazingly delicious. The problem is, however, that we like to eat them quite often and the store bought roasted red peppers are quite expensive and usually soaking in oil. So a few years ago we tried our hand at making them at home and haven't turned back since. If you have a gas stove they're incredibly easy to make, much healthier, less expensive, and...bonus...make your house smell incredible.

So let's get started! Place a clean red pepper directly on the flame of a gas stove set to medium-high. Using heat-proof tongs, turn pepper as each side begins to burn and blister until entire pepper is blackened and crisp. Usually about 1-2 minutes per side or about 5-7 minutes in total.  Sometimes you need to use the tongs and hold the pepper over the flame at an angle to get in the crooks if it's a bit more more misshapen.

Once the majority of the pepper is blackened, take the blackened red pepper off the flame and immediately place into  a tightly covered dish (plastic wrap will do if the dish doesn't have a proper lid) or you can simply place the pepper back into your plastic produce bag and tie it closed. This latter option is good for less clean up if you're just doing one pepper.
SG’s Favorite New Kitchen Gadgets!

I was a lucky girl during this holiday season...surrounded by family and good friends and healthy and prosperous enough to live a life that allows me to experiment with cooking and travel.  Maybe not quite full-time yet as I would like, but still, I know that I am indeed a lucky girl.  Another reason I'm lucky is because my family and friends know how much I love to cook so the gifts that I get tend to center around the kitchen.  Some women may hate getting household appliances for a present, but as long as it's for cooking and not cleaning I'm all in!

So this year, I got two items that I wanted to share.  Not because I'm promoting specific brands or getting anything at all from the manufacturers but because they honestly have made my life in the kitchen easier and more comfortable.  Both of which are extremely important!  The first was a gift from my mom and the second a gift from the fabulous hubby...
VIDEO: Making a Small Kitchen Work

 

The more I blog & talk about SavoryGirl the more I hear people assuming that I must have an amazing kitchen to do as much cooking and entertaining as I do.  Ha ha, I wish!  The reality is that I live in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment in San Francisco with a tiny and not very cooking friendly kitchen so I thought I would show you around my kitchen and provide some thoughts on how to make fabulously healthy & gourmet meals regardless of the kitchen you have.  Really,  if a small kitchen is set up properly it can be your best friend and you can stop cursing it's compact size...lots of famous chef's got their start in very difficult tiny kitchens after all!  The high-level points on the video are below, but it's short and sweet so click above to watch. 

No More Crying Over Chopped Onions!

I'm sick of crying like a baby every time I chop onions, aren't you?  I mean, I have tried every trick in the book.  Partially freezing the onion first, keeping the root intact, holding a piece of bread in my mouth to absorb the gas that the onion's now broken cells are emitting, etc...  And to be perfectly honest, I am an efficient and effective onion chopper so I do it pretty quickly too!  But despite my knife skills I am extremely sensitive to the gas that onions emit so I am crying like a baby within a few cuts....like mascara running down my face crying.  And that just sets me up to chop a finger off since I can't see what I'm doing despite my good knife skills!

So I say, enough is enough!  And poor Christian shouldn't have to be the designated onion chopper in our family all the time. So despite how ridiculous it makes me look, I have been chopping onions happily for the past month wearing my swimming goggles.  Ridiculous? A bit.  Effective and time-saving?  Absolutely.    
A Family that Cooks Together…

...stays together.  Isn't that the way the saying goes?  No?  Huh.  Well, that's how we feel in our house at least.  And honestly, it's one of the main ways that we are able to crank out so many delicious home-cooked meals while both being extremely busy working professionals.  So my SavoryGirl tip for today is two-fold.
First, if you haven't yet found your partner in life when you're thinking about who to settle down with make sure it is someone who has similar life goals to you.  Now this may sound obvious, but I can't tell you how many people I have watched be upset when their husband is content eating fast food for dinner but the wife wants to spend time/money/energy on home cooked meals and then ends up bitter because she feels under-appreciated (or vice versa).