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Posts from ‘January, 2009’

Cabbage pizza?

Many years ago one of my DH's students who was from Wisconsin gave us his mother's recipe for Bierocks. He told us these were very popular up there and they even served them in his school cafeteria. We tried it and have enjoyed these often. Bierocks are basically a turnover with a filling made from ground beef and cabbage.

Here is the basic recipe:
One batch pizza dough (see previous pizza post)
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups chopped or shredded cabbage (my daughter, Megan, uses coleslaw mix with good results)
1/4 cup finely chopped or shredded carrot (optional)
salt, peppper, and garlic powder to taste

Cook the ground beef until it is nearly done. Add the onion and cook until transparent and the meat is no longer pink. Drain well. Add the cabbage and carrot, cover and cook until vegetables are wilted and fairly tender. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I often cook the meat and cabbage the day before I want to make the bierocks. This filling must be cool before you put it in the dough. So, plan ahead.

picture of bierockfilling

When you want to make the bierocks make the pizza dough and divide it into 8-10 pieces. Roll each piece into a circle with a rolling pin. The circles should be about as large as a dessert plate.

picture of fillingbierock

Place some of the filling on one half of the dough and then fold the dough over the filling, stretching if necessary to cover the filling. Seal the edges with a little gizmo like this if you have one, or you can use a fork or just crimp the edges with your fingertips. If you have leftover filling you can freeze it and put it in your next batch of vegetable soup.

picture of gizmo

picture of Crimping

Place the bierocks on a greased baking sheet and brush them with a little oil. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 mins. Serve with cheese sauce or catsup. These freeze well if you don't eat them all right away.

picture of finishedbierock

Here's a basic cheese sauce recipe:
2 Tbsps. margarine or butter
2 Tbsps. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cubed or shredded cheese
Melt margarine in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and salt and cook for about one minute. Stir in the milk and cook until mixture comes to a boil, stirring frequently. Add cheese and continue cooking until cheese is melted.

Have you ever heard of bierocks? I hope you will give them a try.


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In the bleak mid-winter

January is sometimes a rather bleak month, no matter where you live. The house always looks a little dreary after we put away the Christmas decorations but it's still too early to put the "spring" wreath up on the door. Last year shortly before Valentine's Day I got an idea for this wreath from Monica at Homespun Heart. (It's in the post for February 6th - I had trouble linking this one directly.) I couldn't find a styrofoam wreath form so I used a straw one that I found at Michael's.

picture of wreath

I've gotten several ideas for some new recipes from other blogs this month. We tried Deb's Spicy Vegetable Soup from over at Mountain Musings one night this week and really enjoyed it. The recipe is here if you would like to try it. I didn't have any of the Rotel tomatoes so I substituted a can of Hunts Fire-Roasted tomatoes.

picture of soup

We also tried Black Eyed Pea Salad from Ree over at Pioneer Woman Cooks. It, too, was very tasty. I did substitute fresh parsley for the cilantro since neither of us prefer it. Both of these recipes made enough for several meals for the two of us and were just as good later in the week.

picture of salad

So, if you want to try something new this month I highly recommend that you follow these links and give these ideas a try.

Have you tried any new recipes or decorating ideas this month?


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Basic Pizza Dough

My pizza dough recipe has evolved over the years. It seems like every few years I tweak the old recipe a bit and come up with something we like slightly better. I wanted to post my basic pizza dough recipe in this post and give you a couple of ideas for using the dough and then in subsequent posts give a few more ideas.

Pizza dough is very versatile. I found when my children were young that they would eat all manner of things if I served it up on a pizza crust.

Basic Pizza Dough
1 1/3 cups warm water (approximately 120 degrees)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
3 2/3 cup bread flour
1/3 cup cornmeal (this adds a nice texture to the dough)

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Knead for 3-5 mins. or until the dough is smooth and elastic. (I usually do this in my mixer, but you can do this by hand.) Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 mins.

Now you need to decide what you are going to do with this basic dough. To make pizza divide the dough in two and either roll out or stretch the dough to fit your pans which have been greased. I usually use pizza stones, but you can use round pizza pans or jelly roll pans if that is what you have. If you flour your hands and then gently stretch the dough it should easily stretch to fit your pan. The stretching process also creates a rim of thicker dough around the edge.


Crimp the edge of the crust if you would like and then brush on a little olive oil with a pastry brush or your finger tips and then pre-bake the crust at about 425 degrees for 10 mins. These pre-baked crusts can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days or can be wrapped and frozen. It's very handy to have the crusts on hand for a quick meal.


To complete the pizza top it with sauce and your favorite toppings. Here is an easy sauce recipe:
Pizza Sauce
8 oz. canned tomato sauce
6 oz. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Combine all ingredients and use to top your pizza. Add cheese and any additional toppings you desire such as ham, mushrooms, cooked ground beef, sausage, pepperoni, olives, onions, etc. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 mins. depending on how well browned you like your pizza. Makes enough for two pizzas.


Another option for using your pizza dough is Stromboli. Since I'm just cooking for two most of the time these days I usually make one pizza and one Stromboli.

Here's what you need for Stromboli:
1/2 of the pizza dough
about 1/3 pound of thin sliced deli ham
6-9 slices of Genoa salami
about 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Italian seasoning

Roll out the dough into a rectangle a bit smaller than a laptop computer. Place a layer of ham on the dough.
Top with a layer of cheese. Sprinkle with some Italian seasoning. Place a layer of salami next, followed by another layer of cheese and finally some more Italian seasoning.


Roll this up like a jelly roll and pinch the seam together on the bottom and tuck the ends under to make a tight roll. Brush off the excess flour and place on a jelly roll pan. Make several slashes across the Stromboli to help prevent it from cracking and then brush it with olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 mins.

picture of Wholestromboli

To serve this slice it and serve with heated spaghetti sauce.


This would probably serve about three people as a main dish. For a bigger crowd you could make one large Stromboli using the whole batch of pizza dough (double the filling ingredients) or two smaller ones. The end pieces are not as meaty, but they are good with soup.

How about sharing your pizza dough ideas? I know some of you do some creative things with dough.


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Another little project

Aren't these just the cutest little mittens? They are for our little grandson, Drew, who as my DH says, "lives in the tundra." (Michigan)

picture of mittens

Actually I did not knit these. My DH, Rob, did. He learned the basic knitting stitches from his grandmother when he was a child. He did not touch knitting needles again until one winter when we were living in MI and were snowed in for several days. He picked up a rather ambitious knitting project that I had started and took off with it. The rest, as they say, is history.

picture of book

He completed all the squares in this book, combined them to make the afghan, and has become a very accomplished knitter.

Here is a sweater he knit for our daughter Nora. He has knitted many other things for our family and for baby gifts. He is working on a project for me right now that I will post about in the future.

picture of sweater

Did you know that many men used to knit? It's true. Knitting was, in fact, an activity reserved for men. The book No Idle Hands includes many interesting facts about the history of knitting here in America.

picture of book

Firemen used to knit as they sat around the station waiting for the alarm to ring, especially during war time when socks, scarves, gloves, etc. were needed for the soldiers. Sailors also used to knit while they were out to sea. They would knit distinctive patterns into their sweaters which could be used to identify them if they came to an untimely end. (This always reminds me of Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities, who encoded the names of those who were to be executed into the shrouds she knit.)

I'm not much of a knitter any more. I have enjoyed knitting dish cloths the last couple of years. I stick to this basic pattern that doesn't involve a lot of counting. It's relaxing in the evening to knit a few rows before bed or to knit while we are traveling in the car.

picture of dishcloth

Here's the pattern:

Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth
Designer: Unknown, modified by Rob.

Materials: Sugar and Cream yarn; Size 7 needles (US)
Cast on 4 stitches
Row 1: Knit 4
Row 2: Knit 2, yarn over, knit across the row.
Repeat Row 2 until you have 50 stitches on the needle.
Row 3: Knit 1, SSK, yarn over, k2tog, knit to the end of the row.
Repeat Row 3 until you have 4 stitches on the needle.

You can now either bind off or do a round of single crochet and make a little loop of chain stitches in one corner so you can hang the cloth to dry when you are finished using it.

Are any of you knitters? If so, what is your most ambitious project to date?


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The first apron

picture of apron

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about a new book I had received for Christmas. Last night I finished up the first of several aprons I hope to make from the book, A is for Apron. During Christmas vacation my daughters and I went out to Hobby Lobby (where the book was purchased) and while we were there Megan chose some fabric for an apron. Since then Nora has purchased some fabric and chosen a pattern that she would like and I plan to make one for myself as well. So, I should be in the apron business for a while yet.

The first step in making the apron was to get the pattern from the book enlarged 400%. The friendly woman at Kinko's figured it all out and printed my pattern for me on a large sheet of paper.

picture of pattern

I thought the apron turned out pretty well and hope Megan agrees. This apron is cut on the bias and I did have a slight bit of trouble stitching the waistline seam without puckers. I think if I make this one again I will add a little bit of gathering on either side near the ties. I did find the general directions in the front of the book for working with the bias tape to be excellent. I had fun making this and am looking forward to trying some of the other designs.


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