Pizza Pizza Pizza!!

Well, school’s been back for 2 weeks now.  I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to a long weekend!!  Labor Day just screams family time, cookouts and deeply discounted mattresses 🙂

I’ve been on a “homemade” kick.  Not sure why.  I’ve never been the type of girl who makes things from “scratch”.  Why make it from scratch when Betty Crocker makes a perfectly fine cake mix???

However, Pinterest inspires me to make things from scratch.  I figure if these women can do it, why not me?  A while back, I found this pin.  Like most things on Pinterest, I pin them and visit them weeks later.  This is such a pin.

I have to say, pizza is one of my all time favorite foods.  One of my favorite memories of pizza is when my parents would go out on a date.  We would get a babysitter, rent a movie and my mom would put out a frozen pizza for the baby-sitter to put in the oven for us.  I loved it (and not because my parents weren’t around…I know what you’re thinking mom!).  🙂

I have passed this love down to my kids.  It’s scary to see how much pizza my 8 year-old-son can put away.  I think Cici’s Pizza actually loses money on him!

Typically if we eat pizza, we either go somewhere to eat it (like Cici’s or one of our local pizza places) or I buy a frozen one.  I don’t know if you’ve checked lately, but frozen pizzas are getting pricey.  They’re a lot better tasting than they used to be, but pricey!!  Recently, I have been buying the pizza crust in a tube or buying the pre-made, frozen kind.  With all of the fresh veggies we’ve had in our garden, we’ve been able to come up with some yummy varieties.  My hubby loves the bell pepper & jalapeno pepper toppings.

When I saw the recipe for the pizza crust, I figured I’d take it up a notch.  After all, I did successfully make my own, home made crescent rolls the other day!

The recipe itself is very easy to follow & doesn’t have a ton of ingredients, which I love.  The one thing I changed was to use half wheat flour and half regular flour.  In my opinion, it didn’t really make that big of a difference…and I love wheat pizza crust.  If you don’t, just make it with the regular flour.

I’m guessing the blogger had a ton of questions about making the recipe, so she made this page with tips and FAQ’s.  I highly recommend reading this part before you even start making the crust.  If I had, I would have read where she recommends measuring your dry ingredients by weight, rather than volume.  Luckily for me, it didn’t make a huge difference, but I will definitely weigh the flour next time.

One minor problem I had was the crust stuck to the parchment paper after I had baked the pizza.  I used flour and cornmeal on the surface before I rolled the dough out.  I’m not sure if my dough was a little too sticky or if I’m just not a parchment paper kind of gal.  Next time, I think I’ll spray the paper with non-stick spray first.  I don’t think it’ll make a huge difference in the texture of the crust.

The recipe makes 2 large pizzas.  I thought it would be fun to make several smaller pizzas and let everyone make their own personal size.  I cut the dough into fourths and put the toppings on.  I think for small children, you could even cut those in half & it would give you the perfect size personal pizza.

I have visions of making several batches ahead of time (it’s supposed to freeze well) and having friends over for a “make-your-own” pizza party.  I provide the crust, sauce and cheese…you provide your favorite toppings.  Fun, right??

ImageHere’s my hubby’s pizza.  Garden fresh veggies from our garden…Yummy!

So, next time your significant other suggests a pizza night, why not try your hand at making our own crust??  It’s fairly cheap, lots of fun and not as scary as it sounds 🙂

Happy Friday!

Another Recipe!!

Do not adjust your settings…yes, you are getting two posts in one day.  It’s not that I have tons of spare time today.  I am just that excited to share with you another recipe!  It’s a two recipe kind of day.

One of my favorite childhood meals is pigs in a blanket.  I realize, there may be many of you out there who don’t like hot dogs.  I do.  Please don’t tell me what’s in them.  I don’t mind living in ignorance…at least on this issue.

Perhaps even better than the hot dog is the yummy crescent roll that they are incased in.  I am definitely a bread girl.  I have never met a carb I didn’t like :).  So, when I found this recipe on Pinterest, I was intrigued.  I had never made my own crescent rolls.  Normally, making any type of bread makes me a little nervous.  But, curiosity won over nerves.

Let me just say, this was a pretty easy recipe to follow.  Like any baking situation, you want to follow it 100%.  However, after saying that, I did end up using more flour than she called for.  Not too much more, but it was a little over 5 cups of flour.  I’m not sure if our weather was more humid than hers, but the dough was pretty sticky until I added the extra flour.

ImageThe dough rose beautifully.  It smelled so yummy in my house while I was making it.  I loved that part!!  The dough felt so soft and light.  If someone could figure out how to turn that into a pillow, it would be amazing…it was that soft!!

ImageThis recipe makes 32 crescent rolls.  After you cut them into their triangular shapes, you roll them up and let them rise a little bit more.  They get HUGE (this photo is pre-rising)!  I was so surprised.  The ones that you buy in the tubes in the store definitely don’t get that big.  It was crazy!!

ImageI used some of the crescent rolls for pigs in a blanket, I baked a few (to do a taste test) and then I froze the rest for future dinners.

The results??  My son loved them!  My hubby said they tasted very fresh and a lot like a dinner roll.  They were a hit!!  

It was a lot of work, so one thing you have to decide is:  Is the time worth the savings? YES!!  I calculated approximately how much it cost me to make these.  For the entire batch, it was $3.12.  It worked out to be about $0.10/crescent roll (yes, I actually calculated this).  

We have a store in our town that sells groceries at drastically reduced prices.  The problem is their inventory changes all the time.  Sometimes, I might be able to find the crescent rolls that come in a tube that you pop open for $0.99 for a package of 8.  IF I can find them, it still works out cheaper to make them myself.  If I can’t find them at this store, to buy the same 8 pack at another grocery store would cost almost as much as making 32 home made ones!!  It’s a no brainer for me!  They taste yummy, the family likes them, it didn’t take too terribly long to make (the hard part was patiently waiting while the dough was rising), they’re way cheaper to make and I have over half of the recipe frozen in my freezer, waiting for our next meal 🙂  

As always, there is something so satisfying in making something from scratch…something you could go buy in the store already done, but you decide to make it yourself.  I really like that feeling.  

So, take some time this weekend and make some home made crescent rolls.  While you’re impatiently waiting for the dough to rise, watch a little Duck Dynasty 🙂  Did you catch the premier of Season 4 last night???  I LOVED IT!!!  So sweet.

Happy Thursday!

A Fast Slow Meal

Every so often, I get tired of making the same old stuff, so I peruse Pinterest, in search of yummy, healthy & easy to make recipes.  The other day, I found such a recipe!

I made it last night & it got rave reviews!!  Here’s the link for it.  My hubby & I loved it!!!  I think the kids tolerated it (especially my 3 year old), but I’m calling it a hit, nevertheless 🙂

A couple of things I did:  To make it healthier, I used Weight Watchers reduced fat cream cheese and low fat cream of chicken soup.  Since this was the first time we had it, I don’t know if it was a lot different than if I had used regular cream cheese & soup.  The sauce was still very creamy to me, so I’m guessing it probably didn’t make a huge difference.

Something I would change:  The recipe instructs you to put the cream cheese & soup in the slow cooker for about 30 minutes to let it soften up, then mix it up in the slow cooker before adding the chicken.  I think next time, I will just let the cream cheese soften up at room temperature and mix everything together in a bowl, then add it to the slow cooker.

It’s not much to look at…the chicken mixture is just kind of white.  The chicken is white.  Add that to rice or noodles, and well, not a lot of color.  However, the taste more than makes up for the bland look of the dish.  This will definitely be one I will be keeping around!!

Tonight, I’m going to tackle home made crescent rolls!  I’ll let you know how that goes…unless it goes poorly, then you’ll never hear about it 😉

What Makes You Happy Happy Happy?

So, I’ve made it now secret that I love Duck Dynasty.  You can imagine how excited I am for Wednesday to get here…Season 4 begins!!  I’ve been watching reruns for months now & I always find something new to laugh at.

I am far from a redneck girl.  Phil Robertson would probably refer to me as a “yuppie”.  I am trying to de-yuppify myself a bit (but not too much!).  I’ve taken up canning this summer…my hubby started hunting last year.  We kind of live in the country.  These are small steps, but that’s how I roll :).

This past weekend, we had a Yard Sale.  Well, let me clarify.  We had a sequel to a yard sale we had last weekend.  We had so much left over from yard sale #1, that my hubby thought we should try again (this all ties in with Duck Dynasty…well, kind of…hang with me).  It is truly amazing the amount of stuff a family of 4 can accumulate over time.  Most of it was kids clothing.  I’m not a hoarder, but I do save things for later usage.  When we had our son, I kept all of his clothes, just in case we had another boy.  When we had our daughter, I kept all of her clothes, just in case we had another girl.  Later, we decided that 2 is enough & have called it quits in the baby department.

So, I had a ton of clothes and high chairs and strollers and more.  I felt bad for the elderly  more mature couples who came to our sale.  We really had nothing of interest for them…unless they had grandkids younger than our kids.

Okay…back to the yard sale.  I wasn’t overly excited to have Yard Sale #2, but I figured it would be easy…everything was still set up from the previous weekend.  

My hubby had just finished reading “Happy Happy Happy” by Phil Robertson.  He would read some right before bed & would just bust out laughing in spots.  I’d ask what was so funny & he kept saying “You’ll just have to read it”.  When he finished, he said “you really need to read this before season 4 starts”.  So, he let me read it on Friday while he ran the garage sale pretty much single handed (thanks honey!!).

To say I could’t put it down is an understatement.  I read the whole thing in one day.  The book takes you back to the time of Phil Robertson’s, (founder of Duck Commander and family patriarch), childhood, the rough times he went through, the beginning of the company and finishes up to where they are today.

One thing I love (and I think most of America) loves about this family is how “real” they are.  I’ve heard countless stories about how people meet them at book signings or other public appearances and the phrase you hear is “they’re so genuine” or “they’re just like they are on tv”.

A refreshing theme in the book is how Phil Robertson credit’s his success in life and his business to God.  He led a rough life before he came into a relationship with God.  After he obeyed the Gospel, you notice a drastic change in his lifestyle.  You can’t help but notice how things started looking up for him, once he changed his ways.  He took what he learned and started telling others about what Jesus did for him.  30+ years later, he hasn’t stopped.

That’s the thing about Jesus.  Once you’ve seen what he’s done for you, you can’t wait to tell others and show them how they can experience what you’ve experienced.  At least, that’s what should happen.  I am guilty of keeping this good news to myself, worried that someone might reject my message, worried I might offend.  I dream of the confidence that Phil Robertson & his sons have.  The conviction that we read about Peter and John having in the Bible.  While standing in front of the Sanhedrin, they were ordered to not speak or teach about Jesus.

“Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.  For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  Acts 4:19-20

It’s not that they couldn’t summon up the courage to approach someone about Jesus. They weren’t afraid of what people would say (or do) to them.  They couldn’t contain themselves!!

I encourage you to watch the new season of Duck Dynasty.  I highly recommend you read “Happy Happy Happy”.  I pray that you search for the truth that is found only in the Bible.  Learn from Phil Robertson.  It’s not fame, fortune or duck hunting that has made him “happy happy happy”.  It’s creating a relationship with God and following His Will.

My Vacation…Unplugged

Happy end of summer!!  I’m sure, like me, you are gearing up for the beginning of school.  Next week on my list:  registering my son for school & buying school supplies.  Of course, we have fall ball practice starting tomorrow night.  Our garden is producing veggies faster than I can can them (ha ha!).  It’s a crazy time of year.

So, my family had a little vacation this past week.  First of all, we celebrated our 13th anniversary on Monday with a trip to the beach.  It was perfect beach weather.  Not too hot (surprising for August), not too much wind (surprising for the beach) and not too crowded (surprising for summer).  It was a quick trip…drove up and back in one day.  But, it was fun.  We ended the day at one of my new favorite restaurants…Carrabba’s.  I’m a sucker for Italian food 🙂

Tuesday, we went to a friend’s cabin in the George Washington National Forest.  It wasn’t too far away from home, but it felt far away…let me explain.

There was no cable.  No internet.  No wi-fi.  No cell phone service.  It’s what my hubby would call paradise.   There was a land line phone…remember those??  Of course, no long distance, so we really didn’t need to use it, because the people (our family) we normally call are all long distant.

I texted my family the land line number, in case something catastrophic happened while we were gone & we need to be reached immediately.  When I told them we wouldn’t have access to our phone service, text messages or emails on our vacation, my brother texted back “Ummmmm…what kind of vacation is it without phone and internet :)”

I have to be honest…I kind of felt that way too.  I mean, no phone, no Facebook, no e-mails????  What were we going to do???

Well, we went old school!  We took some old VHS movies (the cabin had a small…I mean small TV with a VCR hooked up to it).  At night, we popped popcorn in an air popper and watched the kiddos favorite movies.  During the day, we played horseshoes, badminton, basketball, volleyball, etc.  I taught my son how to play Pick-Up-Sticks.  We visited the neighbors horses.  We slept in.  We stayed up late.  My hubby and I actually read books (remember those…well, he read a real book, I read my Kindle…I had to have some technology).  We went fishing.  We took in the beautiful scenery.

Image

The conclusion?  It wasn’t too bad.  I actually enjoyed not having to respond to every little beep or chime on my phone.  I didn’t have to charge my phone over night.  And guess what??  I didn’t have as many text messages, emails or missed phone calls that I thought I would.  I did giggle a little bit one night when my hubby wondered if the neighbors had wifi…

When we pulled in the driveway to our home, our daughter started crying…a lot.  We couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  We finally got it out of her.  She wanted the other house!  We laughed about that for a while!  It’s not like the cabin was the Taj Mahal.  There was no AC and lacked in all of those other amenities I talked about above.  Maybe she missed the seclusion?  Maybe she missed having our 100% attention?  Who knows how the mind of a 3 year old works???

I do think that our family may visit that cabin again.  We survived a few days without the technology that occupies so much of our time.  I felt like maybe we grew a little bit as a family.  We got back to our “roots” if you will.  We spent quality time together.  The kiddos are growing so fast.  Soon, they’ll start getting wrapped up in the world of gadgetry & we’ll miss these slow moments where we weren’t so plugged in.