Saying Good-bye

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Losing someone is probably one of the more surreal experiences of human existence. With the recent loss of my uncle I have been even more reflective on the process of letting go and saying good bye.

It takes our brains a while just to process the very idea of someone no longer being in our lives. When I was initially told he was gone I spent the next few  hours just trying out the sound of the words, “he is dead”. It sounded so final and I was struggling with that very thought. It meant that I had to integrate this huge concept of him no longer being not only in my life, but living at all.

I was okay that day because it was still a concept. A foreign idea that needed time to really sink in. My main sadness was for his family and how they must be struggling.

The next day I was not okay. I knew he was dead and that there was no return. The idea that this is a natural part of our existence just seemed to make it all feel so much more confusing. I had a hard time wrapping my head around what was making me so sad.

At first I thought it was all of things he would miss out on. I thought I was grieving his loss. Instead I realized my grief was for the physical  loss I felt. The removal of him from my life, my cousins life, his wife’s life and all of the other lives he had touched. The hole that was left be his dying.

I started to really feel the hole that this loss made. He would never again be a part of any of my new experiences. I only had the past. Memories of him kept bubbling to the surface. Memories that had formed my understanding of him as a man and the place that he held in my life. I also saw how he was a part of my foundation and was intertwined with the very core of my being.

As I explored this hole I also started to feel grateful.  I could honour him by continuing to live in a way that was meaningful. He wasn’t as gone as I had thought because I had a part of him with me forever. I could nourish those parts and carry them on to my family and the people around me. I can share who he is by being me.

The hole now feels a little less gaping and more a space that I will hold and treasure. It is his place and I have no need to fill it.

Good bye is still painful and I know there are still many tears to fall but I am okay to move forward. I can support those around me now and be there as they find their own way.

Peter Beltgens  July 2, 1954 - February 19 2014

Peter Beltgens
July 2, 1954 – February 19 2014

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Creamed Spinach, Bacon and Caramelized Onion Pizza

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I am so excited to finally write out this recipe. I think it  is quite possibly one of my favourite pizzas ever and will possibly become yours too. It is inspired by a Cooking Light Magazine recipe that I found at least 5 years ago. I used to love that magazine and still have stacks of issues that I just can’t part with. Of course I added all of the fats back into every recipe. Some may argue that defeated the purpose others will recognize that’s just good sense.

This recipe is not low fat by any means but I would say that compared to other pizzas it is a far cry from the heavy weight contenders you could have. Using a creamy garlic sauce reduces the need for lots of cheese and the toppings add so much flavour that a little goes a long way. I also have butter and olive oil hanging out together. The butter adds flavour while the olive oil lightens it up a bit and adds some healthier fats too.

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The original recipe called for the spinach to be cooked in a small amount of bacon fat and then spread over the pizza. The problem with this is spinach’s miraculous ability to shrink into almost next to nothing. It made spreading it at all almost impossible and it was pretty skimp. Instead I have taken the bacon fat right out and added the spinach into the cream sauce. I have used both frozen and fresh and it works great either way. This makes a pizza base that reminds me of creamed spinach, hence the name…

It also means that I felt totally justified adding in two more strips of bacon then the original :0

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Using Balsamic vinegar helps to sweeten and caramelize the onions quickly. I don’t have time most nights to patiently wait for my onions to slowly cook down so I find this speeds up the process and adds a little extra flavour too.

If you are a vegetarian please don’t ignore or overlook this recipe! I made it for a veggie friend and without the bacon it was still amazing. I had considered making the coconut vegetarian version I have seen on Pinterest but got tired and decided it was just fine without it.

This recipe makes two pizzas.

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I use Bobby Flay’s Pizza Dough Recipe

Preheat your oven to 425

Caramelized Onions

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 medium onions thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
tsp of sugar
1/4 cup stock (chicken or veggie)
Salt to taste

In a sauté pan over medium heat melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onions, sugar and the balsamic vinegar and allow the onions to soften. Pour in the stock and continue cooking until the stock has reduced and the onions are soft and caramelized. Season with salt to taste.

Spinach Cream Sauce

1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Tbsps flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 finely chopped clove of garlic
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 bag frozen spinach, thawed and drained or One 5 oz package of fresh spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan over medium low heat melt the butter with the olive oil. Whisk in the flour and continue stirring until a thick paste is formed. Warm the milk in the microwave for about 1 min. Slowly pour the warmed milk over the flour and butter constantly whisking. Continue until all of the milk has been added and the mixture is smooth. Thicken the sauce until it is able to coat the back of a spoon.

Stir in the nutmeg, spinach and garlic. Cook about another minute and then remove the sauce from heat.

Add in the parmesan cheese, stir and season sparingly with salt to taste.

Bacon

6 slices of Bacon

Slice the bacon into small pieces. In a pan over medium heat crisp the bacon. Once crisped remove the bacon from the pan and allow to drain on paper towel.

2 cups grated extra old white cheddar cheese

For each Pizza spread one half of the creamy spinach over the crust. Top with half of the caramelized onions and half of the bacon. Sprinkle one cup of the grated cheese over the top.

If you’re like me and don’t have a pizza stone or a wood burning pizza oven, preheat your pizza pan in the oven while the oven heats. When it’s hot sprinkle on just a little cornmeal and then lay out your pizza crust. I find this helps crisp up the crust and prevents a soggy bottom, (very undesirable).

Bake in 425 oven for about 15-17 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling

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I’d love to know what you thought, leave me a comment or just say hi.

If you’d nightly ideas for supper check out my Facebook page www.facebook.com/myweeklydish. I share meal inspiration, recipes and tips and for feeding your family and friends