Recipe: Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Last night I told you about my renewed plan to get healthy. Here it is in summary:

  • Step 1 – Start seeing a dietitian.
  • Step 2 – Write down what I eat.
  • Step 3 – Keep to 1,500 calories per day (no restrictions on carbs or other food groups, just watch my portion sizes. Eat slowly and take breaks during my meals.)
  • Step 4 – Plan my meals for the week.

Another one of my takeaways is to try to come up with our dinner menus on the weekends. Brett and I often find ourselves wandering the grocery store after work and opting for some bad meal choices. This way, we plan in advance and have everything on hand for later in the week.

Here is one of the first recipes we tried and it is a WINNER! I’ve heard of the rumors of this one for a little while now but was reluctant to try it. Really? A pizza that doesn’t use dough for a crust, but instead uses cauliflower. So, it’s low carb and veggie friendly? Yup!

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Recipe: Disney’s Twinkie Tiramisu

Lots of TwinkiesEditor’s Note: This blog post is featured on the Disney Blog Carnival No. 42. Check out more posts about all things Disney.

It has been quite a while since I cracked open my copy of “Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs.” My last adventure was this key lime pie. But, let me rewind a bit. The whole story began one morning a few weeks ago when I heard on the news that Hostess, maker of the famed Twinkie, was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

I got to thinking…I have never had a Twinkie in my 31 years. How is that possible, let alone for a so-called food blogger? Of course, I’ve had Ding Dongs and Ho-Hos, but somehow that yellow cake filled with cream had eluded me. How, with a mascot like Twinkie the Kid, could this atrocity be possible? I accessed my brain full of memories as a child, what was in my lunchbox in grade school? Fig Newtons, Oreos, the occasional Nutter Butter or the curly-cued Hostess Cupcake. But, no Twinkie. My dear hubby Brett, in disbelief, quickly went to the store and bought a 10-pack of the treats for me to try once I got home from work that evening.

My First TwinkieWith a smile on my face (and a rerun of “The Big Bang Theory” playing in the background), I scarfed down my first Twinkie with the giddiness of a toddler. Creamy frosting all over my face and hands, and a cheek-to-cheek grin.

And with that Twinkie, now deep inside my happy belly, I recalled a recipe in my Disney cookbook for Twinkie Tiramisu, a dish that’s served at the Pop Century Resort’s food court. As Hostess is fighting for its future, I trekked to the store to bulk up on more boxes of the lunchbox staple (it was buy 1 get 1 free!) and make this twist on the classic Italian dessert.

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Review: Tony’s Town Square at Magic Kingdom

Lady and the Tramp at Tony's Town SquareEditor’s Note: This post is featured on the Disney Blog Carnival #39. Read more great posts about all things Disney! The next carnival will be Feb. 6. Submissions are due on Feb. 4!

Who doesn’t love the classic movie of Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp,” a love story of an elitist cocker spaniel who falls for a mutt from the other side of the tracks?

The movie’s classic romantic scene behind an Italian restaurant is recreated on Main Street USA at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant pays homage to the era of the movie, the cuisine and even those playful puppies who are so in love.

Let’s take a closer look inside one of the Disney parks’ sit-down spots that is fun for the whole family…

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Polcari’s Has An App For That

Brett and I went out for date night last night at Polcari’s/Pizzeria Regina on Route 1 in Saugus. At the end of our meal, our server Sheena came out with this little gadget:

iPhone at Polcari's Pizzeria Regina in SaugusAn iPhone (attached to a wooden board) with a preloaded program for guests to input their thoughts about the meal they just had. It’s a simple step-by-step process asking you about your meal, server, cleanliness and how likely you are to recommend the restaurant to friends. The program uses a slider scale from thumbs up to thumbs down for your rating.

It was very easy to understand and input my suggestions and comments. However, at the end when I wanted to submit my thoughts, there was a connection issue that couldn’t be resolved. (I had been checking into Foursquare and Facebook throughout the night in the restaurant so I know my iPhone was working properly.)

Overall, I think it’s a great idea for businesses to make that leap into the 21st Century, using technology to learn more about the people who are sitting at their tables and booths, and creating better experiences based on customer-provided information.

Review: Dolce Vita

Dolce Vita ExteriorOn our last edition of “Write the Caption,” we showed the picture of this guy (see right.) The winner of caption challenge is Pam with:

Sir, may I take your umbrella?

Well, this guy can be found outside one of my favorite spots in all of Boston’s North End, Dolce Vita (which means the “sweet life.”) Owner Franco Graceffa welcomes everyone into his home for an unforgettable meal.

With so many restaurants claiming they are the best in this little neighborhood, Dolce Vita is our go-to place when we want to savor a hearty Italian meal. Franco does just about everything at the restaurant from seating you to taking your order. If you don’t see something you like on the menu, he’ll work with you to create something that you will love.

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Recipe: Garlic Scapes and Basil Pesto

A few weeks ago, we joined a CSA, or “Community Supported Agriculture,” with Farmer Dave’s based in Dracut, Mass. Each Monday, we pick up a share of fresh crops in Beverly, just a little hop from our place in Salem, Mass. The variety of veggies is different each week and depends on field conditions. For instance, this week we had beets, spinach, yellow and green zucchinis, fennel, Swiss chard, lettuce and more.

It’s more than enough produce for the two of us. It is also great since it makes us eat more healthy. We can get creative with our meals (I made some beet cupcakes with an orange cream cheese frosting from our second week’s crops), and we support local farmers.

We especially like the last part after watching documentaries like “Food Inc.,” which details how the government regulates the U.S. food supply. Plus, with the rising cost of fuel, those increases are then transferred to all of our food purchases. So, if we can buy locally, we save a little in the end by not buying produce from across the country or that is out of season. We always know what we have is fresh and local. It’s a good feeling to know that you’re supporting a local, small business, too.

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Add Giada to Your Next Dish

Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby SchuesslerI am off today to San Francisco for the Scleroderma Foundation’s National Patient Education Conference. In the meantime, I have a new guest blogger who recently met one of Food Network’s most-beloved celebrity chefs (and she’ll be cooking for Prince William and Princess Catherine later this week in L.A.). By day, Bobby Schuessler works in NY at Lucky Magazine but today he’s filling us in on some of Giada De Laurentiis’ new cookware for fall available at Target.

Take it away, Bobby!

“Now sprinkle some mozz-u-rrrrela,” Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis exclaimed as she finished making her famous dish for a group of (hungry) magazine editors.

Editors from top publications (including myself) had the honor to gawk at the Italian-American chef as she introduced her new fall products of her Target cooking line. The new line complete with everything from a sleek food processor to beautifully packaged sun-dried tomatoes and pastas had everyone in the room buzzing, not to mention salivating (maybe just me) as she served her perfectly made dishes.

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