Whole Wheat Roasted Red Pepper + Mozzarella Pizza

Roasted red pepper. Caramelized shallots. Crispy bacon. Lots of cheese, always.

I came across this recipe on one of my favorite cooking blogs, How Sweet It Is. Jessica never fails to post delicious recipes and she narrates her blog so well. I enjoy reading her words as much as I enjoy her pictures and the actual food. Going into the oven, I expected this pizza to taste good and as soon as I took the first taste, it far exceeded my expectations. The variety of flavors is awesome-caramelized shallots and crisp bacon are two peas in a dang delicious pod.

So now that I gave everyone the love story of me + this pizza, let’s talk about the crust! Oh. muh. gawd. I honestly could eat the crust on it’s own. Seriously. I’ve posted a whole-wheat crust recipe here before, and while it is good, Jessica’s recipe is better than good. And it’s always better to be better? Right. She adds honey in the crust recipe which I think makes all the difference (in a good way.)

Whole Wheat Roasted Red Pepper + Fontina Pizza with Balsamic Glaze from How Sweet It Is

makes one pizza

dough: (my go-to recipe)

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of your electric mixer with an attached dough hook, combine warm water, yeast, honey and oil and mix with a spoon. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until foamy, then add in flour and salt. Mix on low speed until just combined, then turn to medium speed to knead the dough for 5-6 minutes. If it seems to sticky, add a bit more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Brush a separate bowl with olive oil, add dough, turning once, then set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2-2 hours. Cover with a damp towel.

***I didn’t have an electric mixer, so with a bit of biceps and elbow grease I hand-mixed the dough like they did in the good ole days.


2 slices thick-cut bacon

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 roasted red peppers, cut into strips

1 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

6 ounces freshly grated fontina cheese (I used grated, fresh mozzarella)

2 ounces freshly grated romano cheese + more for topping if desired

1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar

Right before dough is almost finished rising, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy and fat is rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon, then add shallots and stir to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes over low heat, or until shallots begin to caramelize. Set aside. While shallots are cooking, make sure that red peppers are patted dry (if from a jar). If you’d like to make your own roasted red peppers, see here.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Once pizza dough is ready to go, roll/press into desired shape and brush the surface with olive oil and top with minced garlic. Sprinkle on 4 ounces of fontina cheese, then top with shallots, red peppers, and bacon. Sprinkle remaining fontina and romano evenly on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

While pizza is baking, heat vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow to come to a boil, then let simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes until reduced to about 1/3-1/2 cup. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes to thicken. When pizza is finished baking, drizzle glaze on top and serve.

I’ve never cooked with or tasted (that I know of, atleast) shallots. Onions have never bothered my eyes, but as soon as I started slicing the first one my eyes were burning and crying like crazy. You’d think I would’ve gotten pepper-sprayed. Now I refer to shallots as balls of pepper spray, and I fought to the end like a champ. It’s amazing what people do for love.

Me + pizza = Forever and always.


Happy Days

You know those days when you really don’t do a whole lot but it’s just an all around good day? That was my day, today. I think it all started when I slept in until 9 (a big deal, nowadays) and woke up to a sun shining in my face. I love sunny weekends

Breakfast: Maple oatmeal with banana, blueberries, and strawberries. No peanut or almond butter today- just 100% maple syrup!

In one of my many day-dreams last week, I was wishing there was a local pizza joint nearby that offered whole-wheat dough and fresh ingredients. Well what do you know, on my way home from class last night I noticed a new pizza place not even a mile away! I Googled the menu and read reviews on the restaurants Facebook page and was so happy to read they used fresh, local ingredients and free-range meats. All of their sauces, dressings, and doughs are homemade!

As soon as I realized the kind of place it was, I told Seth he and I had lunch plans at Uncle Maddio’s! Uncle Maddio’s is a pizza joint franchise that serves make-your-own pizzas, salads, and paninis and has the “tell us what ya’ want” approach and prepares your meal right in front of you. The above photo was taken right inside of the booth we sat in.

I ordered the Greek side salad to go along with my individual-sized pizza! It contained the typical greek salad ingredients- mixed greens, tomatoes, red onion, olives, banana peppers, feta- and topped with two toasted garlic-parmesan homemade croutons! It was big enough for two or for one with left-overs (aka dinner for me)

The good stuff! I ordered a 9-inch jamaican jerk on whole-wheat. Toppings: tomato-basil sauce, mozzarella, grilled jerk chicken*, red onions, green peppers, pineapples and cilantro. I added artichokes at the last minute! So, so good. I had half for lunch, half for dinner! I will definitely return to Uncle Maddio’s soon.

Even after maple oatmeal, greek salad and pizza, I managed to sneak in a snack around 3! I came across a recipe of Homemade Maple-Cinnamon Almond Butter and jumped right into the kitchen and whipped up a batch in the food processor. I was lickin’ the bowl clean like a kid with cookie dough! I’m not sure if I will purchase store-bought almond butter again. So much more creamier and cheaper when made at home. Extra bonus for knowing exactly what goes into your food.

Have a great weekend, friends!

To: S.O.S.

Love: Me

Since I had a special Valentine to cook bacon hearts for yesterday and I was given a bouquet of roses fruit,  I want you to be my Valentine today. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating a day late. It’s me and you today. Deal?

In true clueless nut fashion, we will be celebrating with food. Personally I think that is the best Valentine ever. Roses and someridiculousjewelryshop bracelet just doesn’t taste as darn delicious as chocolate or bacon or chocolate bacon*.

*Note: I’ve never tried chocolate bacon but everything is better with chocolate.

Will you be the turkey to my bacon?

The fried egg to my cheese?

The pesto to my mayonnaise?

The lettuce to my tomato?

The salt to my pepper?


 And since you declared that to be the most delicious sandwich in the world but demanded something romantic I took my gift a step further. There’s nothing like a bossy and lovey-dovey, mushy-gushy Valentine. Ugh!

I decided to knock out two chocolates with one spatula and baked goodies far better than Russell Stover could. Seriously, I did.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting

[adapted from chocolate lover’s cupcakes]

makes 6 cupcakes

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour

3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk, chocolate milk is recommended in the original)

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup butter (or half a stick), melted and cooled

1 tablespoon sour cream

2/3 cup chocolate chips (I used Nestle’s dark)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add milk, cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Mix until batter is smooth. Line a muffin tin with liners and using a 1/4 cup measure, add batter to each cup. Top the batter with chocolate chips allowing some to rest on top and others sink down. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

**I cheated and used reduced fat whipped strawberry cream cheese spread for the icing. It worked perfect but I’m sure if you search around, a strawberry cream cheese frosting recipe can be found**

I might be biased but I think I may be your best Valentine yet.

Bacon Lovin’

I never really thought too much about Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been a hater of the holiday and have never been a love freak about it either. This year, though, I wanted to do something special for my boy but not too mushy gushy.

What better way to do that with bacon hearts?!

I simply cut 5 bacon slices (3 for him, 2 for me) in half, folded each half into a heart and baked for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Alongside the bacon hearts, I made strawberry cream cheese stuffed french toast with about a tablespoon of strawberry cream cheese spread with sliced strawberries in between two sprouted grain slices of bread, dipped into a vanilla-cinnamon-egg mixture, and pan fried until crisp. Post picture, real maple syrup was drizzled all over the toast.

Yesterday when I was finished with my classes for the day, Seth directed me to his refrigerator and inside was a fruit bouquet!!! I’ve always wished for one, unfortunately though, the small town I am from was never close enough to a place that sold them. What makes my gift 1000487x more special was that he hand made it!! He bought the skewers from Bed, Bath & Beyond and the fruit and garnish(kale and iceburg lettuce) from Kroger. The flower/snowflake shaped pineapple was cut with a cookie cutter I was given. He even bought dark chocolate to be made into a melty dip for the fruit!

To keep with the food lovin’ theme and since he works tonight, we celebrated love day last night with more food. He roasted a pork tenderloin and we enjoyed the lean cut meat with baked sweet potatoes and sautéed broccoli.

Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 lean-cut pork tenderloin
  • freshly-squeeze lemon juice from one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • half a package of fresh rosemary
  • about a tablespoon of minced garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients to make the pork marinade. In a shallow dish, marinate pork tenderloin using the lemon-rosemary mixture preferably overnight or for a minimum of 3 hours. In a large skillet, sear the tenderloin to lock in all of the fresh juices and to produce a nice, browned crust. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. After browning all sides of the tenderloin, transfer to a baking dish and place into heated oven. Season with more salt and pepper. Bake for 2 hours or until a cooking thermometer reads the desired temperature (160 F-170 F). Garnish with fresh lemon slices and rosemary twigs if you wish. Enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

P.S. I just realized I covered a breakfast and dinner idea and the fruit can serve as dessert. Left-over pork for lunch tomorrow. How’s that for a made with love full meal idea (for me and you!?) You’re welcome.


The Goods

I always love to see and hear about what other people eat and what they have stored in their fridge. I decided to do a post on what I typically buy at the grocery store. I bought most of it today on my weekly grocery trip, but some items were pulled from the pantry or fridge from past trips. All of my vegetables and fruits aren’t organic and most of the meat I buy isn’t always grass-fed, but I suppose they are far healthier than a number 2 at Mickey D’s.

I ❤ fruit! I normally let fruit serve as my snack (apple + PB or 2 clementines) or top it on my oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast. I like stuffing peanut butter into the SunMaid pitted dates for pre-workout fuel.

Organic gala apples. cuties (clementines). strawberries. blueberries. pitted dates.

Eat ya veggies! From salad toppings, sandwich add-ins, scrambled with eggs, chili, pasta bakes, a dipper for hummus.

Broccoli slaw (made into skinny cole slaw with light mayo and greek yogurt) broccoli florets. romaine lettuce mix. baby carrots. red onion. sweet onion. lemon. limes. sweet taters. roma tomato. fresh rosemary.

Grains! The number one thing I look for when buying grains and breads are the first ingredient reading 100% whole-wheat flour, oat flour, rice flour, or a healthier alternative to enriched bleach flour (stay away from whites!) The Food for life brand is great as it is sprouted-grain bread and  baked with crunchy seeds.

Old-fashioned oatmeal. Keen wah (quinoa). thomas light english muffins. food for life genesis bread. multi-grain tortillas. 

Dairy and protein. I always buy low-fat dairy and lean meats. Greek yogurt (plain) can serve as a substitution for mayonnaise, sour cream, and sometimes butter in baked goods. I use almond milk in my oatmeal because it is lower in fat than cow’s milk. All of the cheese I buy is always made with 2% milk (should say so on the front label) When I was in high school my mom would buy the Horizon Organic low-fat milk cartons and I buy them when they are on sale. The chocolate flavor is great after a intense workout!

Ground turkey is leaner than ground beef and taste awesome in chili, spaghetti, or pasta bakes. I wouldn’t normally buy the strawberry cream cheese or full-fat bacon but this week has a special day coming soon!♥♥♥

Almond breeze almond milk. 0% vanilla chobani. 2% shredded sharp cheddar. 2% pepperjack slices. low-fat cottage cheese. strawberry cream cheese. eggs. 1% horizon chocolate milk.

Beans, beans they’re good for your ♥, the more you eat them, the more you….. 🙂

dry black beans and red northern beans. canned black beans. tomato sauce. garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) I use the dry beans for chili, and the canned beans for salad toppings, wrapped in a tortilla, or scrambled with eggs.

Other items. Most of the boxed and processed foods are buy are the healthier versions of popular foods. Hence the 100 calorie buttered popcorn and the rice and wasa multi-grain crackers.


Special K protein plus cereal (2 g of sugar!!). nut harvest roasted almonds. organic crunchy peanut butter.

There you have it! My shopping cart. I unintentionally left out sugar and spices and baking items but they’re your typical items you would generally buy and use [aka Kroger brand ;-)]

What I Ate {at Highland Bakery} on Wednesday

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! I’m a sucker for themes, and while I was thisclose to not posting because I have been just plain lazy and not feeling up to it, I noticed Jenn gave a LOVE your veggies theme for the month of February and I jumped straight to uploading pictures of my recent eats. I do love my veggies but this post, however, doesn’t include lots of em’ unless a carrot cake mini counts as a vegetable? Let’s freakin’ hope so!

Breakfast is my favorite meal and when a cute boy I like a lot asks me out on a breakfast date to one of Atlanta’s best bakeries, I never decline. Today was only the second time I’ve been to Highland Bakery as we are ‘broke college students’ trying to save any and every way we can but we considered it a treat and have no regrets! I ordered the shrimp -n- grits with jalapeño foccacia off of the breakfast menu. Soooooo delicious!

Shrimp and grits

Stone ground grits with sautéed seasoned gulf shrimp and a creamy jalapeño foccacia with chopped cilantro.

The best part about the jalapeño foccacia is the stringy cheddar lining the bottom of it. Mmmmm

The reason why I love this bakery so much is the passion they put into their food items. They mill their own grains and pretty much everything is made from scratch just the way it’s supposed to be. Nearly every item on the menu is considered a southern comfort food but the fresh and sustainable process they take into making their food is what makes it so much more enjoyable. The following information is copy + pasted from the about us page on their website, more info can be found at at www.highlandbakery.com.

It all started with Stacey thinking about coffee.

She likes really good coffee, and figured other people would, too. So she set up some coffee carts around the city and began schooling Atlantans on how to change their morning ritual from “coffee, please” to “double tall skinny half caff bald latte, please.”

Then she started thinking about cycling. And she quickly learned that a body cannot run on coffee alone (no matter how good it is).

So she started thinking about muffins. Really good muffins. The kind of muffins that are stuffed with clean healthy delicious fuel a body craves.

And she started thinking about breads. Whole grain, chemical free breads. Not the sandy Patchouli and Birkenstock kind of breads, but the kind of breads foodies would love.

That got her thinking about her Mama’s cooking, and how good southern comfort food can be. And she figured other people would think so, too.

And as she was thinking these thoughts, her pondering was interrupted by the sound of opportunity knocking. So she answered it, and here we are.

But now the muffin and bread ideas have expanded to include a full and abundant array of bakery goods, from cookies to radical pastries to highly decorative cakes.

And Mama’s southern comfort has broadened its horizons, growing into a full menu that stretches comfortably from crabcake benedict to ricotta pancakes, to cornbread panzanella salad.

And you can still get your double, tall, skinny, half-caff, bald latte.


The first time Seth and I went to HB, we left with a happy and full tummy and chose not to order the goods. This time with a happy and full tummy again, we chose to order the goods and I’m so, so glad. He ordered a huge Red Velvet cupcake and I ordered 4 mini cupcakes. When I got home, I split the minis into two and tasted each. While they were all the best cupcakes I’ve tasted, the hi-top peanut butter is my favorite and the red velvet is right behind it!

{Left to Right}: Carrot cake, red velvet, german chocolate, peanut butter hi-top

Split and saved until another craving hits! Have a great Wednesday, friends.

P.S. I get it. I need a camera, and you’re probably thinking the same thing! I think it’s hilarious when bloggers apologize for using their iPhone for photos but that’s the only thing I have for now. Maybe one day I will be able to purchase a fancy, schmancy camera but I don’t think a little fuzz and blur will hurt anyone. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!!