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Veggie cheese stromboli

The first time I ate stromboli was a few years ago at 3:00 in the morning after a night out in Fort Myers, Florida. And oooohh my, did it taste delicious! Our friend's mother had made it for us, knowing we would likely be hungry when we got back to her house. My husband and I often reminisce about that late-night meal and immediately we are both salivating as badly as our 6-month-old drool machine, Sammy. Over the years, we have talked about attempting a stromboli recipe ourselves, but we just never did it. Until now!

I didn't want to make just any old stromboli recipe. I wanted to make one that looked and sounded really good. I kept my eyes open for a while and eventually I came across this recipe from Parenting magazine, of all places. It is incredible! We had a friend over at our house when it came out of the oven and the three of us stood at the kitchen counter and devoured almost the entire thing as if we were cows at the trough.

You have to make this! Yes, I'm giving orders. I don't want anyone to miss out.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Coat the foil generously with cooking spray.

Combine in your food processor's bowl:

1/2 cup pitted kalamata or black olives

8-10 sun-dried tomato halves, packed in oil

1 Tbsp. oil from the sun-dried tomato jar

Pulse until the mixture forms a rough paste.

Lightly flour a flat working surface and a rolling pin. Roll 1 pound of pizza dough into a 14x10-inch rectangle. Spread the olive-tomato mixture onto the dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges.

Top with 12-15 slices of overlapping provolone cheese.

Top this with a 10-oz. box of frozen spinach that has been thawed and squeezed (to drain water) and a 12-oz. jar of roasted red peppers that have been drained, patted dry and cut into strips. Make sure the pepper strips run parallel to the longest side of the rectangle.

Fold 1 inch of dough over the filling on the short sides of the rectangle. Then fold the long sides over and pinch the dough together at the corners.

Roll the dough, starting at one of the long ends, as tightly as possible.

Brush the border lightly with a bit of beaten egg and pinch the seam to seal it shut.

Transfer the roll to your prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Brush the entire surface with beaten egg.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when it is tapped.

If a bit of the guts have spilled out, take photos of it so you can show people how delicious it looks.

Close-up of the deliciousness.

Allow it to cool for a bit and cut into 1-inch strips crosswise.

Have you started making it yet?

Veggie Cheese Stromboli

One of my Top 5 favorite recipes of all time. This stromboli is SO GOOD.

Serves: 12

Total time: 50 min

Veggie Cheese Stromboli



  • ½ cup pitted kalamata or black olives
  • 8-10 sun-dried tomato halves, packed in oil
  • 1 tablespoon oil from the sun-dried tomato jar
  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • 12-15 slices provolone cheese
  • 10-oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain excess water
  • 12-oz. bottle roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry and cut into strips
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the olives, sun-dried tomatoes and oil in a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms a rough paste.
  3. Lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin; roll dough into a 14x10-inch rectangle. Spread with olive mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around the dough edges on all sides. Top mixture with overlapping slices of cheese; add the spinach in an even layer. Finally, add the red pepper strips in a single layer, long sides parallel to the long sides of the dough rectangle.
  4. Fold 1 inch of dough over the filling on the short sides of the rectangle. Fold the long ends over the filling, pinching the dough together at the corners. Roll the dough, starting at one of the long ends, as tightly as possible. Before roll is done, brush the border lightly with egg and pinch the seam to seal.
  5. Transfer the roll, seam side down, to the prepared baking sheet and brush with the egg. Bake 30 minutes, until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped.
  6. Loosen the bottom of stromboli from the foil with a spatula; transfer to a cutting board and let cool.




Our taxi is not totally clean

In fact, not many toys in our house are clean. Most things have some level of crud on them. Slobber, dried food, you name it.

I was sitting on the couch last night relaxing, something I do not often do. My husband was at a movie with a friend. The boys were in bed. I looked around the room at the toys that were sitting out, and, aside from realizing that most of them were dirty, I realized how incredibly blessed we are. Our boys have everything they need, and then some. It is so important to me that they understand how blessed they are, how blessed we are.

Since having children, I have struggled with Christmas. All of the expectations surrounding this season make me feel heavy. It becomes so easy to lose sight of what is truly important, and I hate that. I don't want that for my family.

We make an effort to do good deeds for others, especially this time of year, to detract from the "I wants" that we see all around us. I want Christmas to be fun for our boys, and I'm confident that it is, but that doesn't mean we have to shower them with a ridiculous amount of gifts. And we don't. That is not what Christmas is about. It is about Jesus! And celebrating him!

So this is a little reminder to myself to keep focused on that because truly, it is the only thing that matters.


Takin' on a challenge

Flipping through my new Food & Wine 2010 cookbook (which is awesome, by the way), I found myself pointing to recipes and saying, "Oh, that looks tasty! Buuut I would never make it." Then I thought, "Well, that's silly. Why not?" I tend to get stuck in ruts, only making things within my cooking comfort zone. I want to break free of that! To make things that I typically wouldn't make! To challenge myself!

So this is my attempt at that. It's my small scale Julie & Julia-esque challenge that will help me to broaden my cooking horizons.

Every week during the year 2011, I will make one new recipe from the Food & Wine 2010 cookbook and document it on this blog. I will post the recipes every Wednesday. And hopefully by the end of 2011, I will be a much more well-rounded cook!

I randomly selected 52 numbers (one for each week of the year) between 1 and 365 (the number of pages in the cookbook) from I then flipped to each of the 52 pages in the cookbook and picked the recipe on each page (if more than one was listed) that I would be least likely to make. I wrote them down and sorted the recipes by season (salads in summer, squash in fall, baked goods in winter, etc.) and compiled my list.

I'll post the first P&TC recipe on January 5th, 2011 and the last on December 28th, 2011. I won't share the entire list ahead of time, but here are a handful of the recipes I will make in 2011:

Sake-steamed halibut with ginger and cabbage

Minted watermelon popsicles

Greek baked pasta

Chicken sofrito

Bacon, onion and rye bread stuffing

Yogurt-zucchini bread with walnuts

Spinach and pork wontons


Red velvet whoopie pies with peppermint filling

Do you know how whoopie pies got their name? The story goes like this. Amish women often baked these cake-cookie treats (then called hucklebucks) and secretly placed them into the lunchboxes of their farmer family members. When they were discovered, the farmers would yell, "Whoopie!"

If you like cake and cookies and delicious, creamy frosting, you will love these whoopie pies. They were yet another treat that we in our house immediately labeled: DANGEROUS! BRING TO WORK ASAP!

(Source: 100 Best Cookies magazine)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.


1 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat until combined, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl.

Beat in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until just combined.

Add a total of 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 cup at a time, and beat on low speed until combined.

Add a total of 1/2 cup of buttermilk, 1/4 cup at a time, and beat on low speed until combined.

Add a 1-oz. bottle of red food coloring.

Stir. Wow! Red!

Drop batter by rounded teaspoons onto a lightly greased (or parchment-covered) baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes, or until edges are set. Allow whoopie pies to cool.

Spread Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting onto the bottoms of half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, bottom side down.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.

And then yell, "WHOOPIE!"

Click here for a printable recipe!


Peppermint cream cheese frosting

This frosting is very similar to this one, but ever-so-slightly different. I would willingly take a bath in either one. They are both totally yummy-scrumptious-delicious.

(Source: 100 Best Cookies magazine)

In a large bowl, combine:

6 oz. cream cheese

3 Tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Gradually add 3 cups of powdered sugar, beating well.

If necessary, stir in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, in order to make it of spreading consistency.

I'll let you know the measurements after I fill my bathtub and bathe in it.

Click here for a printable recipe!