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.

1

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!

2

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.

5

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?

 

Advertisements

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.

10076797924_874f5c481c_c

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 :)

10076791014_b851191b06_c (1)

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!

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.

IMG_1537

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!)

123

^^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…

IMG_1534

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.

IMG_1537

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.

Banana Brain Freeze

I am a sucker for ice cream. As a little kid, I would listen very intently for the ice cream man to come down my street in the summer time. When I’m craving something sweet, it’s almost always something that can be cured with ice cream. Good, ole’ fashion ice cream.

photo-3-(1)

Now, when it came time for D and I to register, I gladly went through the store going scan-happy, scanning in anything and everything we may want or need. I came to an ice cream maker and sadly enough talked myself out of it. “We don’t need it.”…”It’s impractical”… “We can always just stop by Dairy Queen”…. While many of these are solid reasons not to spend the money on something as frivolous as an ice cream maker, I can’t help but wish just a little that we had made the scan.

But since we are ice cream maker-less, I have resorted to other means. Guess. If you said Pinterest then you are correct. I came across this recipe and didn’t have high hopes for it. Mostly because it sounded too simple to be any good. But what do you do when you have browning bananas but not enough for banana bread? Well now you make this.

Banana ice cream. Have you ever had the Banana Cream Pie Blizzard from Dairy Queen? Well if you haven’t then you should try it soon because these are definitely comparable!

Here’s my tweaked version of what you’ll need:

  • 2-3 bananas
  • 3-4 tbsp of peanut butter (I used crunchy to give it some extra texture)
  • a dash of milk (optional)

– Start by cutting the bananas into slices and placing them on parchment paper or foil and popping them in the freezer until hard.

– Throw the frozen banana pieces into food processor or blender. Add peanut butter. I added a little milk to help move the bananas around and to make it a little creamier. Blend and DONE!

photo-4-(1)

 

Wait, what? Done already? Yup. That’s it. The consistency will be similar to very soft serve ice cream, but if you like it a bit firmer, then just pop it into the freezer and it’ll turn out like hard ice cream.

I love this because on more than one occasion it’s helped curb those ice cream cravings and it’s a LOT healthier than your typical Häagen-Dazs (although there IS a place in my life for that as well).

photo-5-(1)

My next ice cream endeavors will include adding dark chocolate chips, crushed vanilla wafers or graham crackers, and/or other fruits. If you have some bananas at home that are starting to reach their last days, then I HIGHLY suggest trying this out. What better way to get your daily dose of fruit?!? :)  Enjoy and be sure to check out some other great finds with Julie at This Gal Cooks for her Monday linkup!

photo-5-(2)

 

Be sure to visit Daniela over at Put a Bird On It for the Link’n Blogs Link Up. There is really great stuff over there!

Put A Bird On It

 

 

My Kind of Comfort Food: Buffalo Chicken Bake

So I originally had this awesome bread and butter recipe I was going to share with you today. Crock pot bread with blackberry butter. BUTTTT… long story short I accidentally deleted the photos for it so I’ll switch it up.

But today’s recipe is nothing like bread and butter. It’s a little more hearty than that. A Buffalo Chicken Bake. One of the easier / lazier meals I’ve made which is great for days I don’t have too much time. Plus I’ve been on a huge buffalo sauce spree lately. So to say I’ve only made this once would be a lie.

Oh, and I’m also linking with Sarah Mae over at Raising Homemakers for the first time! Check out her beautiful blog!

photo-4

Latley David has had to work later hours so I’ve been trying to prepare dinner for him on those days. This is another reason I loved this meal. It was easy to make and leftovers are the best to throw in a tupperware for when he has to do dinner at work. Who doesn’t love cheesy, buffalo-y, chicken-y meals?!?

Here ‘s what you’ll need:

  • 3-5 Chicken Breasts (depending on how much meat you like.if you want leftovers)
  • 1 12 oz. bottle of Frank’s Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 packet of dry Ranch dressing seasoning
  • 1 tbls. of Butter
  • 1 box of Pasta
  • shredded cheese of choice (blue cheese always goes well with buffalo)

– Throw your chicken, buffalo sauce, ranch seasoning and butter into the crockpot. I like to throw a little garlic in there as well, but it’s up to you. I’m a lover of all things garlic. Turn your crocklpot to low for 6-7 hours. And then chill for a bit :) Or in my case, go off to work and don’t worry about dinner!

– After the meet is done cooking, use a two forks to shred the meat. Set it to the side.

– Boil your water and prepare your pasta. When your pasta is just right, drain it and mix in your chicken. You can mix in how ever much you want. We like it very meaty but we still had enough to put in a seperate bowl for leftovers (buffalo chicken sliders for leftovers :)

photo-1

– Once the pasta and chicken are all mixed, transfer everything to a casserole dish, sprinkle some cheese on top and toss in the oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until it gets a little crispy and the cheese is all melty.

Voila! Now hunker down and enjoy! See how easy that was? This is my kind of comfort food.

photo 2

 

photo 4

A+ Chewy Granola Bars

Ever since I’ve been changing the way I eat and workout, I’ve been trying to take advantage of less processed foods and more whole foods. It’s definitly hard to make the transition, I won’t lie. But finding a few recipes that work for me is what has been really helpful!

photo-2

About a week ago I came across this recipe for homemade granola bars. I had everything in the hosue, except for dates, so I just ran to Trader Joe’s grabbed a box of dates and headed home to try it out. I would say it took me about…hmm… 10-15 minutes to make these? Not bad.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted (deglet nour or medjool; I used the medjool dates, nice and squishy)
  • 1/4 cup honey (or sub maple syrup or agave for vegan option)
  • 1/4 cup creamy unsalted natural peanut butter or almond butter (recipe org. calls for salted peanut butter I only had unsalted, still delicious anddd less sodium)
  • 1 cup roasted or raw unsalted almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (toasting your oats is also an option, but not necessary)

– Start by processing your dates in a food processor. I actually don’t have one but I do have one of these. A blender would work too!   Once the dates form a mooshy paste/dough, mix the dates with your almonds and oats in a bowl.

– Warm your honey and peanut butter in a saucepan on low. Once mixed all the way through, pour over your nut/oats mixture and combine all the ingredients, breaking up the dates along the way.

– Transfer the mixture into a 8×8 pan lined with saran wrap. Slide them into the freezer for about 20 minutes. Then take them out and slice them up. Transfer them to a sealed container and store in the fridge.

The recipe makes about 10-12 granola bars. You can also add other items to your bars. Next time I plan to add some mini dark chocolate chips and possibly some cranberries or dried cherries.

photo-3

They are crazy simple and taste great. I bring them almost every day to work and have one as my late afternoon snack when I normally would be craving chocolate or fried food. So it’s a win-win. David even really liked them and every now and then I found him eating  them straight from the tupperware. Another plus? It’s cheaper than buying a box of 5.99 granola bars that only come with 6 bars. The dates I bought alone cost 4.99 but that’s allll I had to get. Plus you can make 2-3 batches of these with one box of dates. So 24+ granola bars for 4.99?!?  Now that’s just unheard of.