Monday, March 1, 2010

Cheesey Hummus Dip and Twisted Italian Bread

My mom and I trade dinners with our neighbors (pretty much the only other people who live in Dayton during the winter). We share a meal, stories, and a piece of our lives together. Last week was our turn to host and mom and I whipped up a Cheese from Overseas appetizer and served our Favorite Italian Chicken along side my homemade Twisted Italian Bread and of course it is important to always have something green, so we made a nice salad to go with too. 
Over dinner my mom and I talked about what we are doing with our blog and since they don't use a computer. We tell them a little about our mission to bring everyone back to the table. Then we begin talking about how they grew up.

Phil is Italian and his wife is from Switzerland, so they have lots of memories to share that are different from ours. Phil shares that once a week on Sunday, his mom would give him and his siblings a dollar and they would go to the bakery and pick out anything they wanted. That was their weekly treat. Madelene laughed and said, "Oh we had desert everyday and my mom baked something magnificent for desert." Phil's mom evidently wasn't, but it comes up later that his mom was the best cook ever and Madelene responds, "Yeah, I don't even try to compete."

I stop on this thought. Isn't that what stops us from doing something great? This idea that someone else already does it better, or more, or we aren't good enough? If life was a competition who would win prettiest, happiest, most successful? That is a great question and my answer is that success and happiness is in the eye of the beholder. I feel extremely successful and I am completely bliss-filled.

However, I doubt that everyone would see it that way. Let's recap... I don't really have a 'job' so to speak, I made next to nothing this past year, and I live with my parents. Pretty much.

That is one way to look at it.

The other way is; I live in the most beautiful place in the country (or so I think), my parents are my best friends, and I am learning how to live minimally. I have enough and I am doing what I love. Writing and cooking and of course sharing these delicious and healthy recipes with you!  Just look at how beautiful this bread is! The swirls make a little heart!

Life for me isn't about 'stuff' it's about living life to the fullest and being happy. I would rather live in a yurt and be joyful in each moment, than live in a loveless mansion.

We all have choices and mine this year was to choose love. I am reminded of a familiar quote, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." I often look up to other people, admire qualities about them, and have found myself being envious of others talents and abilities. However, in the end, I can only be exactly who I am. Coming with that is all the good and 'perceived' bad.

It's hard to say, but my favorite thing about being me is how easy it is. I've let go of comparing and competing. I can only be who I am. There may be people who do a lot of things better than me, like say change a tire, or ice dance, but I will applaud them for their talents and continue on with mine. I have unique qualities to bring to  the table, as we all do. It is our individuality that makes the world a complex and wonderful place.
And these recipes are just that... simple and filled with luscious ingredients that make the flavors pop and your taste buds dance. 

Enjoy the recipes and enjoy exactly who you are!

Cheese from Overseas
4 oz. Low Fat Cream Cheese; Softened
4 oz. Plain Prepared Hummus
1/4 cup Black Olives; diced
2 1/2 tsp. Dried Italian Herbs
2 tbsp. Sun-dried Tomatoes; minced
1 tbsp. Garlic; minced
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt

1. Mix all ingredients together, place in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 

2. Serve alongside sliced celery, carrots, or bread sticks for a delicious appetizer or a delightful snack!
Twisted Italian Bread
1 cup Fat Free Milk
1 tbsp. Honey
1 Package Active Dry Yeast (1/4 oz.)
1 cup White Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 Garlic Bulb, roasted (**Recipe Below)
2 tsp. Dried Basil
1/4 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes; diced

1. Heat the milk in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds. Add the honey and yeast whisking together and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes and the yeast will begin to foam.
2. Combine the flour and salt and pour the milk mixture into the flour. Mix into a workable dough. Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes. Let rest for another 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine the roasted garlic, Italian seasoning, and sundried tomatoes with a fork mashing the roasted garlic into the sundried tomatoes and herbs.
4. Roll dough into an 8 x 12 inch rectangle.
5. Spread garlic mixture over the top of the dough. Roll the dough up, this will create a spiral of herbs inside. Place the dough in a 8 x 4 inch bread pan and set in a warm place covered with plastic wrap to rise for an hour and a half. It will double in size.
5. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. When you slice this bread will make the most delicious looking spiral slices. It is irresistible to your eyes and taste buds!

Servings: 12

Nutritional Skinny:

83 calories / 1 g fat / 16.7 g carbohydrates / 1.2 g fiber / 1.8 g protein

**Roasted Garlic

1 Bulb Garlic
1 tsp. Olive Oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut the top of your garlic bulb off using sharp kitchen sheers. You want the garlic to just be exposed, but you don't want to actually cut any of the garlic.

3. Place the bulb on top of a sheet of aluminum foil. Pour the tsp. of Olive Oil over the top and wrap the garlic bulb up tightly with the foil.

4. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. When roasted the garlic cloves will be soft and after you allow it to cool for a few minutes you can just squeeze the bulbs out of the husk like you would squeeze toothpaste out of a tube! Easy as that!

Mental Health Benefit: These recipes seem like they could take tons of effort, when in reality they are very simple to create. Don't worry, whip them up and make every one feel like you slaved in the kitchen all day. You deserve the praise. Your secret is safe with me! ;)

Wishing you a joyful and 'self-filled' day from our kitchen to yours!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen

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