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Filtering by Tag: a recipe

a summer caprese salad

liz lamoreux

This is my current go-to summer meal that often involves a bit of cleaning out the fridge meets a few summer favorites meets one of my best friends: balsamic glaze.

Caprese salads are something Jon and I really love, and I like to riff on the caprese in several ways from putting it onto skewers (that look like this) to turning it into a pasta dish to adding in grilled portabella mushrooms like the Edgewater in Culver used to do when we lived there years ago.

My current favorite involves whatever tomatoes we have, basil, baby mozzarella (which I believe is called bocconcini), watermelon, and all the berries. I sometimes add in avocado or guacamole. And I drizzle balsamic glaze over the whole thing. Yes, it looks like chocolate syrup, but I'm here to tell you I love it even more than chocolate syrup. For real.

My favorite balamic anything is made by Fini (and World Market has the best price I've seen). I love their vinegar and their glaze. Try it on watermelon with a little bit of sea salt and maybe add in some mint. Oh my goodness you will thank me.

Making your own glaze is super easy too. I'm thinking this recipe is next on my list.

What summer foods are you enjoying over in your corner? I'd love to know.

it tastes like...adventure

liz lamoreux

You find yourself on Pinterest a lot these days (4 million followers will do that to a girl). You keep seeing inspiration for caprese salad, a favorite you make from time to time. You've even seen roasted caprese stacks. Yesterday, in the middle of all of it, when you notice you still have a whole lot of basil from one of those "live" basil plants hanging out by the kitchen windowsill, you think that maybe it is time to make something new in the kitchen.

You ask your husband to get some ingredients at the store: little mozzarella balls, little tomatoes, and penne, and armed with this Pinterest inspiration, you are just going to wing it.

Your little family is out on a walk, which means you still have some time alone. Alone. In the kitchen. A few suggestions, add a glass of wine (or cider if that's all you have) and turn up a playlist involving The Beatles and maybe even some Jim Croce and Michael Franti, and just for a minute you might even think you are living a past life where you didn't spend half the day neck-deep in potty training.

So you'll preheat the oven to 350 and slice the tomatoes with the insides facing up and drizzle them with olive oil and Fini balsamic and salt and pepper and even a little sugar (inspired by this recipe). You'll pop them in the oven just as The Beatles finish up "Come Together" and you find yourself with the arms of a three year old wrapped around your legs.

"Are you making dinner Mama Kitty? For me?"

And the past life fades away as you answer, "For us. Yes." 

A dance party begins as you watch them kind of work together clearing a space on the table so you can actually eat there instead of on the couch. There are moments of yelling and moments of giggling and you focus back in.

The tomatoes are doing their thing (for about 12-18, longer if the tomatoes are large) and the pasta water is beginning to boil. You slice the little balls of mozzarella in half, knowing you will use more than you really need because too much mozzarella feels like something you all need.

Pasta goes in. Penne takes a while and you forget how long and the instructions in Italian are nice and romantic but help you not at all. So you just keep winging it. Then you wash the basil and slice it with kitchen shears and admire how kind of gorgeous it is as the smell swirls around you.

You turn the oven off after about 12 minutes knowing it would be easy to forget the little tomatoes are in there because you are needed in the bathroom. Two to three minutes later you pull them back out of the oven and put the slices of mozzarella on top of several. Then pop them back in the oven for 4-6 minutes.

Somewhere in there you tried the pasta and it tasted like a twig, so you went with 5 more minutes.

Then it all comes together. Pasta goes in the bowl, tomatoes + mozzarella piled on top, basil on top next. Stir. Add a bit more olive oil and balsamic to taste.

But of course you remember where you are and put plain pasta + plain cheese + edemame aside for the three year old. Later, she will stir them together so her pasta looks like yours. And although you will try to get her to eat that green stuff that looks like lettuce, you will just be really happy that she gobbles up her own concoction.

You will try though and it will go like this.

"You should try this basil."


"Because basil tastes like adventure."

"Like adventure (said as abebenture)?"

"Yes. It tastes like an afternoon spent wandering in a small town in Italy when you meet someone who takes you back to her home for a huge afternoon meal on a little porch with a large table full of cousins and sisters and brothers and a Grandpa who makes you laugh. And the Grandma will bring out pasta that smells so good you cry. And there will be basil picked that afternoon and mozzarella from a farm down the street. And it will taste like nothing you've every experienced and you will know your life will never be the same."

(Between you and me that is some kind of crazy mashed up scene from Letters for Juliet meets Eat Pray Love meets that movie about the wine with Keanu Reeves that might be called A Walk in the Clouds meets some sort of dream I have about being brave enough to just go to Italy and wander and meet people so that I can host a retreat there soon.)

She will smile at you.

And she won't try one bite.

About five minutes later she says, "Mama Kitty, does basil taste like a dream?"

"Yes, honey. Yes, it does."

it tastes like adventure caprese pasta inspired by Pinterest

Wing it. Do whatever tastes good. Have fun. Check out Pinterest. But if these photos look like your kind of thing, here's a place to begin:

  • Two pints of cherry tomatoes (we used yellow and red, some were oval so I sliced them the long way so they would lay flat)
  • One container of small round mozzarella balls (you certainly don't need to use them all, but you could)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp if sugar (optional)
  • Heavy drizzlings of olive oil + balsamic
  • Basil (about one cup)
  • Penne pasta (we used about 12 oz)

1. Heat oven to 350.

2. Slice tomatoes and then drizzle olive oil and balsamic to taste + sprinkle salt and pepper to taste + sugar if using.

3. Cook for 12-15 minutes (this will vary depending on your tomato size). Watch for the tomatoes to begin to blister.

4. While tomatoes cook, put pasta water on to boil. Salt it if you want. Put pasta in when water boils. (Follow directions for cooking pasta that should be on the package. Or wing it if they are in Italian.

5. Slice mozzarella balls in half (eat one or two because you know you want to).

6. Wash and slice basil into strips.

7. When timer goes off, take tomatoes out of oven (you could turn oven off at this point) and balance mozzarella slices on as many tomatoes as you have cheese. Put back in for 3-6 minutes (watch them as you want them to just be melting but not browning).

8. When pasta + tomatoes and cheese are done, put them in a big bowl together. Add basil. Stir.

9. Add more olive oil and balsamic to taste.

10. Make up a story about how basil tastes. That will be the best part. Well, right after the eating part.

Makes about three adult servings + one three year old sized serving if it's your main meal and you are the Lamoreux family.

If you need things to be more precise, here are a whole bunch of caprese pasta recipes to peruse.


Over here in my corner, I'm trying to "use Pinterest for good." I really see it as a community of people trying to see the beauty and possibility in their lives. I'm adding a few new features here on my blog inspired by or directly about Pinterest as a way to invite others to look for this beauty within a social media community. I look forward to seeing how it all unfolds. Connect with me on Pinterest here

snow and pizza (the story of today)

liz lamoreux

This was going to be a post about the stew and soup I made this weekend (both really really good), but then we had this delightful day that included playing in the snow and making pizza and dancing in the kitchen and coloring and lots of toddler giggles as snow continued to fall outside, so I am sharing this story + recipe instead.*

(More than Just a) Simple Pizza: A Cooking Experience

Before you begin to make this simple pizza, set the scene. Having music on is a very good thing. (Current favorite is radioIO Acoustic Café using the Pocket Tunes App for ipod/iphone.) Then have your family nearby so you are reminded that you are making this meal for people you love. Of course, being totally solo in the kitchen singing along with Adele is an equally delicious way to approach this meal, and since this pizza isn't huge, it would be perfect for dinner for one and then lunch the next day. 

Then, take premade pizza dough from the fridge, remove it from the bag, and let it sit for 20 minutes on a floured surface. (My friend Christine recently mentioned that Trader Joe’s has a great pizza dough in their refrigerated section, so we tried it today. It is awesome! Your local store should have Pillsbury or another brand near the pre-made cookie dough if you don't have Trader Joe's nearby.)

Preheat oven to 450.

Next, gather your toppings. Cut up your veggies; then find the cheese you want to use and put it in a pretty bowl just because it makes you happy. When someone says, “We are going to have more cheese than that, right?” you can reassure him that yes, we will but this bowl looks pretty for photos

At this point you might realize you have 12 minutes until your 20 minutes are up. Here are some options:

a) Dance with your family in the kitchen to a song or two.
b) Fill one more grocery sack with items from your cabinet full of too many glasses and put on the porch to take to Goodwill.
c) Give your one year old her very first orange pepper slice and then proceed to feed her about 10 more pieces because she keeps saying, “good!”
d) Begin to clear the table of all your beading supplies so you can sit at it to eat.
e) All the above (as you realize 12 minutes is much longer than you think).
f) Make a quick salad that would pair nicely with pizza and give you more greens. (Next time. Yes. Next time)

Now you are ready to roll out the dough onto a floured surface. It is a good idea to let go of having a round pizza, especially if the surface you are using is rectangular. (And when you cook it, it somehow finds its way to being mostly round. Of course, later I thought about how I would roll it out on the pizza stone next time. Ahem.) And if someone stronger than you is around and offers to roll it for you, well, say yes. (It wasn’t that hard though and reminded me of standing at the window at Noble Romans watching teenagers make pizza decades ago.)


(Now this next step is one you should insert up there right before “dance with your family,” but when it comes at this point instead, give yourself permission to roll with it.) Next, remember that you have chicken sausage in the fridge that you want to add to the pizza. 

Cook the sausage if you are adding it. If someone else is cooking it (thanks Jonny), you might be able to wire-wrap 10 beads and dance with your daughter.

Next, put pizza dough on a pizza stone if you have one (if not, use a pan). Then, assemble your pizza. I layered as follows: olive oil, thin layer of cheese, mushrooms and orange pepper and small bits of chicken sausage, then lots of cheese.

Bake for 8-12 minutes. You know it’s done when the bottom of the dough is browning. I baked ours for about 15 minutes though and it was perfect, so do adjust the time based on your oven and dough thickness.

When you take it out, gather your family to oooh and ahhh at the pizza’s beauty.

Take a few photos.


Have toys on hand for your toddler to play with when she decides she is full from all the pepper slices and won’t eat while you are eating. She can color or build things and you will be much more likely to enjoy your pizza if she is content.

Because this is a food that Ellie eats and since it really was so easy to use this dough (and felt really satisfying to roll it out and even has me thinking about making my own dough), I imagine making pizza a few times a month and sometimes making it for the two of us for lunch during the week (EJ and I are more likely to do no meat, less cheese, more veggies). So, this means, I am totally creating a pizza Pinterest board to save recipes I want to print out and add to my recipe binder. Just started using the binder because I am learning that I simply need that “oh right, I could make pizza this week” reminder that seeing a recipe in a binder gives me.

An invitation: I would love to know your favorite homemade pizza toppings/recipes. Please share them in the comments.

*The story behind the story: In some ways, this is the most important paragraph of this blog post, so I hope you made it to here. In the past few months, there haven’t been a lot of days that could be described like the romantic “wow, aren’t they lucky?” paragraph that begins this blog post. There are moments of beauty and love each day, but there have also been some of the toughest moments Jon and I have experienced as a couple. Today, as I wrote this post, I kept thinking about how the slight changes I have been making as I continue to focus on leaning into whole(ness) have been creating space for more laughter, for listening, for sharing (because we are talking with one another when we sit at the table), and for intimacy as we work together in the kitchen or as he talks to me while I cook or as we read or work together after she goes to bed (or naps) because we just want to continue to be together and not turn the television on. 


Here is a simple version of this recipe in case you have a binder like me and would like to print it out.

The "Anyone (this means you too) Can Use Premade Dough" Pizza


Premade refrigerated pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s)
Veggie toppings of choice
Meat toppings of choice (I used Trader Joe’s breakfast chicken sausage)
Cheese of choice (I used pre-shredded mozzarella from Trader Joe’s)
Olive oil (I used Annie’s infused with basil)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. UPDATE: I now heat our oven to 500 so it takes less time.
  2. Take dough out of packaging and let sit 20 minutes on floured surface.
  3. Chop veggies, cook meat if applicable, grate/slice cheese as needed.
  4. Roll pizza dough into a round(ish) shape, continuing to keep surface floured to avoid sticking (it’s a good idea to follow directions on your dough’s packaging).
  5. Spread olive oil over dough.
  6. Add toppings of choice (keeping to thin layers to avoid weighting down the dough)
  7. Bake for 8-12 minutes (longer as needed depending on oven/dough thickness).