Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spinach Stromboli Recipe

This is one of my favorite things to make.  I make all kinds of Stromboli and I'll include ideas at the end of the post for other variations.  This one, however, is Superyumalicious!  I know that's not a real word, but it's my word and I'm stickin' to it.  There are other ways to make this recipe that would take more time - fresh spinach, make your own dough, etc.  But, let's face it, if you're like me you don't have a ton of time on your hands so sometimes you need a shortcut.

Spinach Stromboli

10 oz frozen chopped spinach - thawed, drained, dried
1/2 Cup shredded Italian blend cheese
1/2 Cup chopped black olives
1/2 Cup chopped pepperoni
2 Tbsp EV olive oil
1-2 Tbsp fresh minced garlic - to your taste
1 can of Pillsbury pizza crust - original (not thin crust)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil in a skillet with garlic on medium until it just starts to sizzle.  Add the spinach and saute lightly until warmed through.  Add the olives and the pepperoni, mix well and warm through. Remove from heat and cover while you do the next steps.

Unroll dough onto a cookie sheet (I prefer my Pampered Chef large bar pan).  Using a roller, roll the dough lightly to spread evenly to near the edges of the pan.  Add the ingredients from the skillet onto the dough and top with the shredded cheese.  Reserve a small amount of cheese for the next step.  Here is what it should look like at this point.
Next, roll the dough carefully lengthwise.  Pinch the edge lightly to seal.  Then sprinkle the top with the remaining shred cheese.  Here is what it should look like now.  I always make two because it's so yummy!

Bake on the middle rack for about 25 minutes.  Every oven is a little different so you may want to check it at 20 minutes and use your judgment.  It should be golden brown and the dough should be cooked through.  Here is what it should look like...

Let it cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.  Use a sharp knife and try not to press the dough down while cutting.  This is best when served hot/warm but I also enjoy it cold.

Now, for some variations......

Spinach - add mushrooms; use turkey pepperoni  or light cheese for less calories/fat, but I don't recommend fat free cheese

Ham & Cheese Stromboli - use sliced deli ham or leftover ham from a ham steak or spiral along with cheese, like cheddar

Meatball  or Sausage Stomboli - slice meatballs and sausage (or just one) and mix with red sauce and Italian Cheese

Chicken & Broccoli - shred or cube cooked and seasoned chicken with slightly steamed chopped broccoli florets with cheddar cheese

Breakfast Stromboli - scrambled eggs, your favorite breakfast meat (ham, bacon, sausage), your favorite omelet veggies (onion, mushrooms, peppers) and cheese if you like

There are many, many more possibilities.  I've made all kinds because they are simple and delicious.  They are kid friendly and great for gatherings and celebrations.  What will your Stromboli be? 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Apologia - Who is God? - Review

Who Is God?  And Can I Really Know Him?

That's the question Volume 1 in the What We Believe series from Apologia Press asks, investigates, and answers.  This beautiful hardcover book designed to intrigue children, ages 6-14, was my latest blessing as part of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew.  And...when I say blessing, I mean "abundant, God sent, blessing".  When it arrived at my home I was so eager to open the package!  Then, when I saw the book I just said, "Wow!".  Here is what it looks like...
This hard cover book drew me in immediately with its colorful illustrations and inviting text.  I scanned through the Table of Contents to find those pertinent questions that my son is beginning to ask - How can I know what's true?, What is God like?,  If God created the world, why isn't it perfect?

I knew this was going to be great...

Among the first pages was a section titled How to Use This Book.  Ahhhh, those sections are just what Moms like me need.  I like to have a little guidance with a new curriculum or study.  That section gave me a breakdown of each lesson, a sample schedule, a description and understanding of notebooking, additional teaching materials, a beautiful platform on why one should teach a biblical worldview, information on the course website (to gain additional support and materials), and all the contact information you would need.  Would my son be as excited as I was to get started?

There is only one way to find out...

So, I handed the book to my 11 year old son, Matthew and asked him to take a look and tell me what he thought.  Of course, I did my best to mask my overwhelming excitement and urge to plunge into Lesson 1 right then and there.  I wanted to know what his first impression was - without my influence.

He went to his room with the book and didn't come out for quite a while...

As the clock ticked on I figured it was getting time (well, past time) to get started on the day's lessons.  So, I went into his room and asked him what subject he wanted to start with today - math?, spelling?, language arts?  His answer..."Can we do bible lesson?" Well, praise Jesus!  That's music to a Mama's ears!  So, we sat down together on the couch to begin our 1st Lesson in our new Apologia Volume 1 Who Is God? book.

My natural tendency was to follow the sample lesson suggestion in the beginning of the book.  I like structure and predictability.  LOL even though that doesn't happen too often in my household.  But, reality sneaked in and put a halt to that.  I realized quickly that we would just simply have to go at our own pace and cover whatever portion of the lesson that suited our day's time.  Each lesson is set up a little different, so we just read and discussed until we thought we had covered enough for that day.  I found that each Lesson has taken us about 1 week to cover.  Here are some of our favorite parts of the lesson
  • There are fun and interesting stories that apply the lesson being taught to everyday life
  • There are simple and applicable memory verses.  Matthew likes to write them on index cards and hang them on his bathroom mirror.
  • There are discussion questions that are designed to open up a dialogue between you and your child so both of you can explore and discover God together
  • There are simple little "notebooking" assignments that encourage the child to journal about his thoughts about the lesson.  By the way...I love this part especially because it has gotten Matthew writing more and expressing himself more deeply - without him even realizing it.
For the first time, Matthew is really taking his Bible lesson to heart.  He has always enjoyed learning about God and the Bible, but it seems that something in him has ignited because of this particular book.  After a section we read and discussed in Lesson 2 I found him outside, up in a tree.  He told me he wanted to be in the tree so he could look at all of  God's creations.  I captured this picture of him and you can read more of the details of this event in my previous post.
    Boy, the authors John Hay and David Webb really are gifted.  Their writing style is so captivating.  I know that the target age group is only up to 14, but I think that is an understatement.  I mean, I'm a little older than that (teehee) and I can barely put the book down.  I've learned just as much as Matthew and I'm so pleased we are able to journey through this book together.  Enjoy this Sample Lesson for yourself and I'm sure you'll agree.  I could try to paraphrase a description of what this book entails, but the Apologia website does it best and here is what they have to say...

    Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?, introduces the concept of worldview while laying the foundational truths upon which the evangelical Christian worldview is built: God is truth and He reveals His truth to people; He is the one true and almighty God; He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; He created everything; we are God’s children and are made to love and to praise Him; God meets all our needs; sin keeps us from God; and Jesus is the only way to God.

    I'm sure that after reading my input and looking at the Sample Lesson you are just as excited as I was to get started.  Just click HERE to order your own book for only $39.  While you are there, you'll notice that there are 3 more volumes that procede Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?  They are:

    Volume 2 Who Am I and What Am I Doing Here?
    Volume 3 Who Is My Brother and Why Do We Need Each Other? (available this Fall)
    Volume 4 What On Earth Can I Do? (available 2012)

    I was so happy to see this was only the first in a series.  We'll be all set through 8th grade I believe.  To top it off, imagine my glee to read in the Apologia catalog that coming this Spring will be a Notebooking Journal ($24) available. The Notebooking Journal for Volume 2 will be available this Summer in perfect time for me to order both the Volume 2 book and the Journal together.  God is good!

    I look forward to hearing how God has changed you and spoken to you through your study in Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?  God Bless!

    Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.