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?

 

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The 12 Days of Gift Guides: For the Hipster

We all know one. Or we are one. Today… we bequeath the Gift Guide to the hipster. For the items they can say they knew were cool before everybody else.

But I’m not gonna lie… some of these are pretty cool. When I got my new job I seriously considered getting the computer mug. But then I realized I’m too #basic for that. Get me a beanie and that shark Christmas sweater and maybe I’ll reconsider…

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1. DIY Viddy Camera  |  2. Cold Bruer Drip Coffee Maker  |  3. Botanicals Coloring Book  |  4. Hipster Owl Print

5. 1920’s Phone  |  6. Computer Mug  |  7. Selfie Album  |  8. Wall Scrabble  |  9. Record Player

10. Shark Ugly Christmas Sweater

Yes, that is actually a selfie album. For the times you just want to look at yourself and a mirror is just not good enough… But don’t just take them with a normal camera. That’s so last year. MAKE your own carmera from cardboard with the Viddy Camera! I’m not going to lie.., that’s pretty cool that technology has come so far that it’s an option to make a camera from cardboard.

Check out last year’s Gift Guide for the Hipster!

But that coloring book? I’ve been looking for a coloring book that had some cool shapes or pictures in it and this one just may be it! Snag me some Crayolas and I’m in for a good night.

With a glass of wine of course.

In my computer mug.    Of course.

Seeing Doubles… of Santa?

So I don’t usually get too excited about the final products of the crafts I make. Mostly because they are not up to my rediculously high standards of having that store-bought look. But I have to tell you. That has all changed.

A few weeks ago I was looking for an easy Christmas painting to try out on one of the many canvases laying in my basement. I looked for a while until I came across this blog.

She showed how she made her very own version of an expensive Pottery Barn painting and for a fraction of the cost! Might I add the original Pottery Barn Santa was over $100?!?  I loved how it looked but wanted a similar look without putting a dent in my pocket. I was sold.

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^^ Santa on the left is my vintage-Santa and the one on the right is my retro-Santa. The vintage-Santa is the print that is used on the original over-priced Pottery Barn Santa.

This project takes very few materials and if you can trace a picture and color in the lines, you can accomplish this one.

The first step is finding a Santa picture you like (or any picture for that matter). I found both of these (A and B). The one on the left (A) was the original Pottery Barn art that I fell in love with, but I also loved the retro-ness of the one on the right (B).

So I tried both.

I printed the images out and with the side of a pencil, shaded the entire back of the image. Then, I flipped the image over so it was laying face up on the canvas. Make sure to tape down the image on your canvas otherwise the paper will slip and you’ll lose your tracing lines.

I then traced the entire Santa face. Tracing it will then transfer the shading from the opposite side onto the canvas. I will warn you it will be VERY light. So after I was done tracing the Santa face, I went over the faint lines on the canvas once more with a pencil. This made it SO much easier to see.

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Now that I had the picture on my canvas, all I had to do was paint! I picked up some paint pens, ones that have a calligraphy tip, to make angles easier. You can pick any color, but I chose gold for my retro-Santa and silver for my vintage-Santa.

I filled in the lines with my paint, referring back to the original image when necessary. And that’s it! If you want, you can add a colorful border which I plan on doing.

Or if you’re feeling extra whimsical, you can go over your paint with clear ModgePodge and then cover it in glitter. I bought gold glitter for my retro-Santa but was so happy with how it turned out, I decided against the glitter.

It was such an easy project and one that I can now use for other holidays. You can really make it as personal as you want since you are the one making it your own. I don’t know why I never thought to do this before.  So please don’t spend an arm and a leg for holiday canvas! Just make your own!

So, tell me! Which Santa do you like better?

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Come back soon to see where I place it in our new placeand be sure to check out A Bowl Full of Lemons  and Ladybug Blessings for other great craft ideas!

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread with Cinnamon Glaze

My favorite kind of recipes to make are the ones where you see a picture and KNOW that it is delicious. You know nothing about the ingredients you just know you must make this delectable, mouth watering concoction of goodness lest you die by means of drowning (because of the drooling obvi).

This recipe was one of those recipes. At first I thought maybe it was just the photoraphy skills on this one were just really up to par. But then I made it and thought… eh… no it’s just plain good all around.

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This is a chocolate pumpkin bread with a super easy cinnamon glaze. It could probably be called ‘cake’ and it would make more sense but by calling it bread it sounds like there is more nutrional value in it, you are insinuating you can eat it other times besides dessert. Which is what I did. Many times.

I got the original recipe here, from Heather who is a fantasical cook and deserves many gold stars for her ability to conquer in the kitchen.

This ‘bread’ is mouth watering. It’s extremely moist (because of the pumpkin) and it looks much denser than it actually is. The cinnamon glaze adds the right spiciness to it and can be compared to Starbucks’ chocolate cinnamon bread, which I believe they discontinued…damnYouStarbucks. Although this IS a better substitute anyways.

Before I get into the ingredients, I would suggest adding a little more pumpkin than what is called for, as when eating it, there really is no pumpkin flavor. It’s more of a moistener. Also, the batter is going to seem outrageously thick and you may wonder (if you’re anything like me) how you screwed it up. Don’t fret my friend. You didn’t screw it up. It is supposed to be that thick. Promise. It won’t seem so thick once it’s baked.

Okay. With those disclaimers in place, here are the things you’ll need for your new favorite fall dessert:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Cinnamon Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350. Spray your loaf pan with non stick spray.
  2. With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. It’s suggested to use a standing mixer but because I am KitchenAid-less, I used a hand mixer and it worked fine.
  3. Next add your eggs and mix until creamy. Add vanilla and pumpkin and mix.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and partially combine.
  5. Add the milk and mix until creamy/smooth.
  6. Transfer your batter to the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.
  7. Once the bread is done, let it cool for a while. It needs to be cool enough that it won’t melt your glaze.
  8. ONCE it’s cool, in a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, cinnamon, heavy cream and salt until smooth.
  9. Lastly, remove the bread from the pan and drizzle your glaze all over the bread.
  10. Now lick the bowl :)

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This is a great recipe if you are having guests over as it looks pretty but is easy to prepare. Also good for kids. Sticky fingers love this kind of stuff, or so I’m told. Check out the other recipes I’ve tried on my “Made it and Loved it” board on Pinterest!

The Stinks of Life

Sometimes life just stinks. And sometimes there is just nothing we can do about it. But sometimes, we find a little something that makes it stink just a  little less.

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Before I say anything more about this post, you just need to watch this video. Because 1. It’s hilarious and 2. You’ll have a better idea of where I’m going with this.

Ok. Now that you’ve seen that, this post is going to make a lot more sense. I saw this product a few years ago and I thought it was brilliant. I even added it to one of 12 Days of Gift Giving for the Jokester in your life. Let’s be honest. Who likes to be the… well… stinky person at work or a friend’s house? No one! I’m a lady and let me just say I like to smell like one too!

So when I was introduced to essential oils of all things, I was MORE than pleased when I came across a homemade version of PooPourri. If you’re not familiar with essential oils, I know some incredible ladies who can help you out. Just let me know! Oils are great for keeping your family healthy and giving you the extra boost in your day. They are also wonderful at making your “pit stops” to the ladies room a much more pleasant experience all around.

This is all you’ll need!

  • One 2-4 oz. Metal Spray Bottle
  • Water filled almost to the top
  • 15-20 drops of each of your favorite smelling Essential Oils. (I used Lavendar, Lemon, and a touch of Peppermint and Eucalyptus from doTERRA. I recommend using their Citrus Bliss blend and/or Grapefruit instead of Peppermint and Eucalyptus. I did this in another batch for a family member and it was AMAZING.)

Fill the bottle with your water and oils, give a brisk shake before you use it each time, and 2 sprays into the toilet bowl before you tend to your “business”. The way it works is basic 1st grade science. Oils don’t mix with water right? So the oils that come out (after shaken) of the spray bottle create a thin film over the top of the water in the bowl. It’s like a stink-shield. It keeps all the stinkiness below the surface. Genius right!

Yes, I suppose these are the things that are hush hush in life. But everyone does it and everyone stinks sometimes, so I think everyone can benefit from taking a little stink out of their life, amiright?!?

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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