Pizza Amore

When the moon hits the sky, like a big pizza pie, that’s amoré!!!

Are you channeling Italy yet? Well go grab a glass of proseco and come back to check out this pizza dough recipe. I haven’t shared any recipes in a while, but let me tell you, I’ve been cooking up a storm in my kitchen. This recipe came to me from one of my besties. When I moved into our last apartment, she got me the 100 Pizzas cookbook. Every single pizza in this cookbook is made with ONE recipe of pizza dough.

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The best part of this pizza crust is it’s not too thick and it crisps up so scrum-diddly-umptiously. The pizza dough will make enough for two large personal pizzas or one actual large pizza, depending on how you stretch it out and how thin/thick you like it.

The only not so fun part about the dough? Kneading. But kneading always makes for the best crusts, getting just the right amount of air into them so they don’t turn out too dense. But why not have some fun while kneading? I tried out my time lapse camera setting for the first time while kneading but alas I have no patience for the slow uploading speeds of my computer. Soooo you don’t get to see that video.

But here are your 5 simple ingredients for this versatile crust!

  • 2 1/4 cups white bread flour (plus a little extra for dusting/ you can swap in whole wheat if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (plus extra for kneading)

And that’s it! Now comes the fun part:

  1. Sift the flour (or dump like I did) into a mixing bowl and add the yeast and salt, making a small well or crater in the top. Mix the water and oil together and pour into the bowl, using a rubber spoon to gradually combine all the flous to make a sticky dough. (It may not seem like it will all combine at first, trust me, it will.)
  2. Lightly flour the work surface and your hands and knead the dough for about 10 minutes (20 if you are doubling the recipe. Good luck with hand cramps) until it’s smooth and elastic.
  3. Cover the dough with some lightly oiled plastic wrap or a dampdish towl and let rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size. Don’t cover it too tightly or the platic wrap WILL bust open. At least that’s what happened for me…

Once your dough is done rising, it’s time to start your pizza! I love making pizzas when people come over because it’s fun for others to feel a part of the meal, but also your guest gets to decide how they are going to eat it. I’m thinking this would be a fun meal for kids to get involved in too! My favorite combination I came across when I was studying abroad in Austria: artichokes, banana peppers, and salami. Salty and delicious!

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Bake at 450 for 9-12 minutes or until you’re at the right crispiness for your taste buds. If you’re using a pizza stone, be sure to preheat the stone first. Or you may hear a gunshot-like sound 5 minutes into cooking and look in the oven to find your brand new stone comepletely shattered and your pizza chillin on the oven rack….or something along those lines…3

^^ Our shattered pizza stone go figure…

Before you pop it in the oven, try melting a tbsp. of butter with a few dashes of garlic powder and lathering that all over your crust. That’s of course if you’re not going the healthy route duh…. But I also like to chop up some fresh basil OR if there is no basil in the house I’ll go with a quick sprinkle of oregeno. YUM. Writing this has me dreamin in Italian, scootering off to a piazza to grab some fresh pizza and walk down the streets of Roma. Please and thank you.

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But anyways this is a great recipe for Super Bowl Sunday to make appetizers or quick slices to soak up some of that beer. Try out this easy-peasy pizza and let me know what you think :) How do you like your pizza?

 

The 12 Days of Gift Guides: For the Chef

For day 2 of the Gift Guides, we are focusing on that one person on your list who loves to cook. Or if you are anything like me, that one person on your list who loves to eat.

All the items on the list below are priced really well! Which made them all the more necessary to get on this Gift Guide. So if you are thinking of a gift for little ole’ me (**hint hint David**), I sure do love crème brûlée!

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1. Macaron Kit  |  2. Kitchen Aid Hand Mixer  |  3. Crème Brûlée Set  |  4. “Girl in the Kitchen” Cookbook

5. Choco-Chip Peanut Butter  |  6. Gourmet Salt Collection  |  7. Non- Stick Egg Poacher

8. Muffin Top Muffin Cups  |  9. “This is a Cookbook” Cookbook  |  10. Santa Oven Mitt

 You guys. Those muffin-top muffin cups are equal parts funny and cute. I love/want them. What a wonderful invention.

And that peanut butter? That’s right, you read right. It really is Chocolate Chip Cookie Peanut Butter. Your welcome. I feel like everyone has a someone on their list who either loves to cook or likes the idea of cooking. Either way there is something for them here. Last year’s Gift Guide for the Chef may also give you some ideas!

Shop on, little chefs!

P.S. See you tomorrow for another Gift Guide ;)

The Besto of Pesto

If you haven’t heard, I love green. Green food that is… I mean I’m all about going green without being a hippie and all, but I’m not the first person to sign up for recycling programs (I also waste paper as though Microsft Word was never invented). Sorry guys, gotta be honest.

Back to food, there’s no surprise when I decided to start a garden on my miniscule balcony. Of course there is your occasional tomato or geranium, but pretty much everything else is … well… green!

My favorite, however has been my herbs. And by herbs I mean my basil because I killed everything else. Apparently I don’t have the green thumb I thought I did. So since the sprouting of my little basil plants, I’ve been researching recipes I want to try it in. Naturally first up was going to be some homemade pesto. Because I put it on everything and it’s too expensive at the store.

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Now keep in mind I used spicy basil for this recipe which was a great idea except for picking it. The leaves are 10 times teeny-tinier than normal basil so it took a lot longer. Word to the wise? Stick to normal basil unless you’re a culinary genius or are exceptionally picky and need to have your fix of spicy basil.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (can be toasted if you prefer)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • juice from half a lemon
  • salt and pepper

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– Load your basil, nuts and garlic into your food processor or blender, depending what you have.

– While it’s running, slowly add your lemon juice and olive oil.

– Scrape your pesto into a separte bowl and mix in your parmesan cheese and season away with salt and pepper.

– Lather over bread and make a panini. Or some pasta. Or a salad. Or a pizza. Or eat a spoonful…what?

Enjoy some more green food lovin’ :)

 

Lessons from Jam

Have you heard that new Miranda Lambert song, Auotomatic? I find myself searching for it on Youtube at red lights in my car because it just finished playing on the radio and I just need to hear it again. It’s currently my jam. For many reasons.

First being that it’s Miranda Lambert and she is just wonderful. As if I need another reason…

Second, I can’t get over how much I love the message.

Hey, whatever happened to waitin’ your turn
Doing it all by hand,
‘Cause when everything is handed to you
It’s only worth as much as the time put in
It all just seemed so good the way we had it
Back before everything became automatic

I have to admit I’m often that person that just wants to get things done now and on my terms. But what a slippery slope to walk on! I’ve noticed the more I bustle through life or take the easy way out, the less I appreciate. Now-a-days we have our smart phones, tablets, head phones, etc. just keeping us distant from one another and doing everything the easy way.

A few days ago I got to appreciate one of those moments where you just put a little more elblow grease and time into something. My mom and I had been talking about going berry picking for a while now (several summers, in fact) and finally a Saturday came around where neither of us were running errands or getting caught up in…well..life. So we went to a local farm nearby and spent some time picking strawberries.

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It was hot and sticky out and I forgot to bring a water bottle with me. But I couldn’t help but think about how much more accomplished I felt after that morning.

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We then ran back to my mom’s house and started to make some homemade jam. Last time I helped do that I was probably about 7 years old and my job was to “stir without burning myself”. Well, let’s be honest. That was my job this time too. But I think I enjoyed myself more this time. Afterwards we had 12 jars of homemade strawberry jam plus some leftover strawberries to make some pies (or for David to just eat, because that’s what he ended up doing. no pies for you).

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I’m the first one to admit that a lot of the time all I’d rather do is take the easy way out or in this case run to the grocery store to get some berries. But sometimes, as adults, I’m realizing we just need a time out. Time to sit and be slow and do things the hard way and rub some dirt in it and make something from scratch.

Hopefully you’ve already learned this lesson and didn’t need Miranda or a berry pickin’ day to come to your senses. But sometimes we just need a reminder, a little push. And the big perk? You get some really good jam at the end of it all (literally or symbolically). Enjoy your jam day!

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Bread and Ze Buttah

I love carbs. Very much. I like carbs dipped in things, smotherd in things and slathered with things. Now I know first hand that too much of a good thing (i.e. carbs) can be a bad thing. Which is why I try to moderate my carb-intake. HOWEVER. You certainly can’t eliminate carbs from your diet, right? Cause they are good for you too! How do you think I have energy this morning? Carbs (ok, anddd protein but that’s another post).

So back to my carbs. I’ve been looking and looking for a good crock pot bread recipe since we don’t have a bread machine. And recently I came across this one at Life with 4 Boys! And by “recently” I mean back during Lent because I made this a lot for bread and water fasting.

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The best part about homemade bread (besides the carbs which I so lovingly touched upon already) is putting something on it. It’s true. There are few (if any) breads that taste bad with something spread on top. Whether it’s some peanut butter or a grilled cheese sandwhich or toasted and dipped in tomato soup, let’s be honest… bread is just better with a mate.

In steps butter.

Along with the bread recipe, I had also come across a blackberry butter recipe. One glance and I was thinkin’, “MMMM…nope. Not gonna happen.” But once I read the recipe and saw how easy it was (this is no churn-it-yourself kind of recipe), I was convinced I had found my bread’s mate.

Both are easy and both are TASTY. Win-win in my book. The bread will make your house smell so homey and I love it toasted and warm with either a slab of the blackberry butter or even some peanut butter. Let me know what you think!

Let’s start with the bread. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp or 1 packet of Yeast
  • 2 tbsp of Sugar or Honey (I’ve tried it with both, I like honey a teensy bit more)
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 cup warm water (not hot!)

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^^Do not judge me for having Christmas plates still out in March when I took this picture…

– Start by mixing together your flour, salt, Yeast and sugar (or honey) into a large bowl.

– Add your oil and water. Stir the mixture until it becomes dough like then switch to using your hands.

– Work the dough with your hands for a few minutes. Work it into a ball. If it gets too dry, add a dash of more water. If it stays too sticky, add a dash of flour.

– Continue to knead the dough for 5-6 minutes. If easier, put some flour on a surface and knead there. Your hands may become tired after a few minutes.

– Line the crockpot with parchment paper. Place the dough into the crockpot and close the lid. Cook on high for 1-1.5 hours. Lift the bread out with the parchment paper to make sure the bottom is browning. After it has the brown-ness (not a word I know) that you want, place it under the broiler for a few minutes (if that) to brown the top. Be careful because I burned my first loaf in the broiler. Me and the broiler are still getting to know one another…

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And your done! NOW let’s move on to the Buttah! I found this recipe here at The Lazy Daisy Kitchen (such a cute blog name if you ask me). Keep in mind you can cut this recipe down as needed. It makes a pretty good amount of butter, which is nice if you’re looking for gifts to jar up. For D and I? It was a lot so make accordingly…

You’ll need:

  • 1 pound salted butter, softened
  • 1/8 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of black berries

– Whip together the butter and honey until fluffy.

– Add in berries and mix together allowing the berries to burst until the desired look is met. I left some  berries in tact.

– Add in any more honey or berries to taste.

– Store in a jar OR if you want a log of butter, scoop the butter onto some plastic wrap, wrap it up and mold to the shape you want, then wrap that in foil and refrigerate.

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Martha Stewart who?!

Now grab a cup of tea, cut into that warm-fresh-out-of-the-crockpot bread and slather on a heap (yes a heap) of butter and enjoy! Enjoy those carbs. Enjoy them.

Birthday Quick Takes

It’s Friday. Which means Quick Takes with Jen :)

1. Today is my last day being 23. I feel like I should do something incredibly epic, like skydiving… but turning 24 isn’t really considered a big milestone I guess. I’ll save it for when I turn 30. No but seriously, I’m excited it’s my birthday but it’s weird now that I’m at that age where when you get older, you get older. Not in a bad way. I enjoy getting older and seeing what each year brings. But just makes me think. Maybe I’m jumping the gun, but I’d love to be one of those older ladies who doesn’t dye their hair and has beautiful long silvery locks and what looks like the most perfectly proportioned wrinkles. Gosh that imaginary old lady I have in mind is one classy dame…

2. Being that it’s birthday weekend (tomorrow is actually day), I have no idea what that entails. I’m pretty sure David is taking me to one of those pottery places where you make whatever you want. Also Go-Karting. Cause although we are (or will be) 24, we are never too old for Go-Karts. Outside of that, I’ve got no clue what we’re doing. David won’t even let me go into our second bedroom cause my present is in there. He keeps going in there periodically, he says it’s to put some food and water in there and clean up a mess… But I KNOW he’s joking. Because when I asked, he said he got me a pony. So I go along with it. His name is Henry, just in case you were wondering and I can’t wait to meet him.

3. Last weekend one of my best friends came and visited, Graceanne. I love when she comes to visit because it always comes at the perfect time. When I need a serious dose of girl time. There are just those people in life who make you feel so at ease. The weekend was filled with catching up, laying out by the pool and making chocolate covered strawberries. Oh, and watching 19 Kids and Counting. Yes, yes we did. I’m surprisingly really liking that show…

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4. Proud wife moment right here! I know David is a big fan of Red Lobster’s Cheddar bisquits (never was the biggest R.L. fan myself but those BISQUITS.whoa.) so last night I made a knockoff version to go along with this random Mexican  bean and rice dish I’d thrown together the night before. Like most things go with me, I wasn’t 100% prepared to make them so I got half way through the recipe when I realized I needed buttermilk (only had milk) and sharp cheddar cheese (only had mozzerela). But I would not let this Pinterest recipe defeat me. So I made them anyways. And David’s exact words were, “I think these are BETTER than Red Lobsters”. And let me say he is VERY honest about his opinions when it comes to my cooking. I’m sayin’ brutally honest. So I was quite pleased with his bisquit assessment :)

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5. When I was a kid, my mom would experiment with curling my hair in different ways like rag curls, pin curls, hot rollers or sponge curlers. I remember how well it used to work so last night I experiemented. I cut up and old shirt and thought I’d give the rag curls a try. No. Just no. Such a bad decision. I rolled them, went to sleep and this morning I took them out and resembled Merida from Brave minus the ginger look. I forgot that when I was a kid I had pin straight hair PLUS REALLY curly hair on a little kid is cute. On a 23-almost-24 year old it’s not so cute. I was going for wavy beach babe. I got 80’s fro instead. I may play around with them again, but this time I’ll be MUCH more careful.

 

6. Another blogger friend let me know that today is National Donut Day? Guess what I’ll be doing on my lunch break ;)

7. Lastly, I’m finishing with a little wish list. Just some things I’ve had my eye on that would be so cute for summer. And David needed some ideas for my birthday, so here ya go, D!

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1.  //  2.  //  3.  //  4.  //  5.

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