The Bestest, Easiest Homemade Pizza Dough…EVER

January 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Posted in Recipes | 2 Comments
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I love to make things from scratch.

As many things as I can.

And I have been purposing to cut back on take-out dinners to maybe once or twice a month.

(It’s getting easier!)

Pizza is one of our favorite foods.

(Isn’t it everyone’s?)

Here is the bestest, easiest recipe ever.

I usually triple it to feed a crowd.

(Our family is usually a crowd.)


INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

2 tablespoons sugar or honey

1 cup very warm tap water

3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in very warm tap water.
  2. Allow mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
  3. In the meantime, mix the flour with olive oil and salt in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle.
  4. Add yeast mixture into flour mixture all at once.
  5. Mix on low for a minute or two, until all flour is absorbed.
  6. Turn mixer on medium and allow to mix/knead until the dough becomes a ball and is smooth in texture. (This usually takes about 5 or 6 minutes.)
  7. Remove dough and lightly knead it as you shape it into a ball. You can do this in your hands or on a board with a little bit of flour.
  8. Place dough ball in a large bowl that has been greased with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
  9. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours. (If the weather is especially cool, turn your oven on 200 degrees and set bowl next to it. The warmth from the oven will encourage the yeast to do it’s job.)
  10. Punch down the dough and use immediately OR place in a ziploc and put it in the refrigerator until you need it. Allow 2 hours for the dough to sit out and warm up before using.

Using your pizza dough:

  • cut the dough into 4 equal pieces
  • roll out on a floured board OR stretch using your hands until dough is at desired thickness
  • place on parchment lined baking sheet and top using your favorite things: marinara sauce, cheese, veggies, meats, etc.
  • bake at 400 degrees for about 7 or 8 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly

Caramel Apple Cake

September 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Homemaking, Recipes | 1 Comment
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AppleBake4Adapted from a recipe by Sara Moulton

I found a recipe by Sara Moulton for an apple cake cooked in a cast iron skillet. It sounded amazing!
So I tried to make it.

I realized part-way into the process that I didn’t have all of the required ingredients.

I was out of sour cream and only had brown sugar on hand.
(We’ve been on another island for a week…what can I say?)

So I made a few changes…

and they worked!

The resulting cake was moist, buttery, caramel-apple goodness. 

Ingredients

FOR THE TOPPING:

4 or 5 apples, peeled, cored and cut into six equal wedges

1 3/4 sticks butter

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

 

FOR THE BATTER:

1 stick butter, softened

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 large eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 small apple, peeled, cored and chopped finely

 

Directions

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Melt 1 3/4 sticks butter in a 9″ or 10″ cast-iron skillet over low heat.
  3. Add 3/4 cup brown sugar to the pan and stir to combine.
  4. Place apple slices, wedge side down, in the pan. Don’t pack together, but don’t leave large gaps either.
  5. Allow to cook over medium-low heat while you prepare the batter.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1 stick softened butter with 2/3 cup brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  7. Mix in vanilla and eggs.
  8. Add the buttermilk and mix well.
  9. Gradually add flour mixture until moistened.
  10. Stir in chopped apple.
  11. Remove skillet from heat. Spoon the batter over the top and spread gently to distribute evenly.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until brown and bubbly.
  13. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.

 

NOTE: I put a large sheet pan lined with aluminum foil on the rack under the skillet to catch any escaping sugar mix. I’m really glad I did because quite a bit escaped over the edges!!

 

Wikiwiki Wednesday: German Apple Oven Pancake

August 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Recipes, Wikiwiki Wednesday | 2 Comments
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So yesterday I wrote about making pancakes using brown rice flour for my wheat-intolerant son. They were  great pancakes for a first time try…but if you REALLY want something yummy and comforting, this apple oven pancake is for you. I make it mostly for me and my husband, and it truly is quick and easy. No standing at the stove flipping, stacking, buttering, cutting, repeat…just slice, mix, pour and bake.

Simple.

Easy.

Yumza.

apple-pancake-3German Apple Oven Pancake

serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced very thin
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Put a cast-iron or oven proof 9″ skillet in the oven with 2 tbs. of the butter. 
  2. In a bowl, combine the apple slices with brown sugar and cinnamon, making sure apples are coated.
  3. In another bowl, mix flour with salt.
  4. In a large cup, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining 1 tbs. butter.
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  6. Remove pan from oven, swirl butter to cover entire bottom. Arrange the apple slices over the bottom of the pan. Pour batter over the apple slices.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until puffy and lightly brown.

NOTE: DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DURING BAKING. IT WILL CAUSE PANCAKE TO FALL FLAT.

Try-It Tuesday: Brown Rice Flour

August 25, 2009 at 8:31 am | Posted in Homemaking, Natural Living, Parenting, Recipes, Try-It Tuesday, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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brown rice flourMy son Judah is 8 months old and has a wheat allergy. This hasn’t been confirmed by an allergist, but I kept track of the foods I’d introduced and noticed a pattern of rash forming after eating foods containing wheat flour. Since removing all wheat products from his diet, he’s been rash free.

Judah is at the age where he notices everything his big sisters are eating and desperately wants to eat it too. Pasta, bread, pancakes…we are definitely a family that enjoys it’s carbs. My intention is to gradually remove wheat from all of our diets and replace it with an alternative grain. 

Brown rice flour is the first alternative I will be trying. I chose it rather blindly when I happened to run into the health foods market, but I figured that I love brown rice and so does Judah, so it can’t be that bad, right? I purchased a package of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Brown Rice Flour ($5.48 for a 24 oz. package. It’s cheaper online!)

When we got home I went online and started doing some research on how to use it as a wheat flour substitute. Here are some things that I discovered:

 

  • Brown Rice Flour is milled from unpolished brown rice and has a higher nutrient value than white rice flour
  • this flour contains bran and has a shorter shelf life than other flours; it should be refrigerated
  • it is best to combine brown rice flour with several other flours to avoid a grainy texture
  • excellent source of protein, fiber, and minerals such as magnesium and selenium

BAKING WITH BROWN RICE FLOUR:

  • replace up to 1/4 of any wheat flour with brown rice flour
  • baked goods made with rice flour tend to be crumbly, so consider substituting a mixture of one part arrowroot or other thickener plus four parts rice flour
  • adding more eggs is another way to reduce crumbliness
  • since rice flour absorbs more moisture, you may need to add more liquid to recipe
  • FOR YEAST BREADS: replace up to 1/5 of the wheat flour in a bread recipe, and try increasing the yeast so that the bread rises more

Try-It Recipe: Brown Rice Pancakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp honey, fruit juice concentrate or sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

PREPARATION

1. Beat egg until frothy.

2. Add buttermilk, oil, and honey and beat until well blended.

3. In another bowl mix brown rice flour and the remaining dry ingredients.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquids. Stir until well blended. Do not over stir. Batter will be stightly lumpy.

5. Lightly grease a frying pan and fry pancakes.

cooking pancakesFrying on the griddle

cooked pancakeBrowns nicely!

judah eatingJudah loved them!

Momma’s Verdict:

The pancakes turned out very nicely. They were quite crumbly, so I will be sure to add additional liquid next time–I’m thinking plain yogurt would be a good thing to add. I also may try to add a thickener such as cornstarch or arrowroot. My two girls didn’t notice the difference between these and their regular pancakes…and that’s saying something! I froze the leftovers so I am curious to see how they will thaw and reheat for another quick breakfast.

 

 

Wikiwiki Wednesday: Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken Soup

August 19, 2009 at 10:04 am | Posted in Recipes, Wikiwiki Wednesday | 3 Comments
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soupThis week’s Wikiwiki recipe is a family favorite! We have it almost every week. It’s warm with spices but not too hot for the kids. I usually serve it with a cheese quesadilla for dipping.

SLOW-COOKER SOUTHWEST CHICKEN SOUP

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound chicken, diced 
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
  • 1 4 oz. can chopped green chile peppers
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14.5 oz. can chicken broth, or 2 cups homemade stock
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put all ingredients EXCEPT for black beans and cilantro into the slow cooker. Stir until well combined.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  3. Add black beans and cilantro approx. 1 hour before soup is done.

Wikiwiki Wednesday: 2 Meals, One Prep

August 12, 2009 at 9:37 am | Posted in Homemaking, Recipes, Wikiwiki Wednesday | Leave a comment
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crockpotEveryone needs a slow-cooker. If you don’t have one, run out and get one ASAP! They save so much time and make everything taste amazing!

Today’s Wikiwiki tip: Cook a beef pot roast for dinner tonight, and turn it into beef vegetable soup tomorrow. 

 

CROCK-POT POT ROAST

  • 3 or 4 lbs. beef roast
  • 1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 lb. celery, chopped
  • 3 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup water

Put carrots, celery and 1/2 of the potatoes on the bottom of the pot. Add the roast. Sprinkle meat with the onion soup mix. Top with the remaining potatoes. Pour water over all. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

 

SAVE ANY LEFTOVERS…


CROCK-POT BEEF VEGETABLE SOUP

  • leftover beef and veggies
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 small bag frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 14.5 ounce can beef broth

Put everything in crock-pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2 hours.

Try-It Tuesday: Natural Household Cleansers

August 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Homemaking, Natural Living, Recipes, Try-It Tuesday | 1 Comment
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vinegar-_baking-sodaToday’s try-it is in line with my desire to live a more natural, chemical-free, sustainable life. I’ve been using Clorox Green Works products for about a year now, but it doesn’t take a chemist to know that there are still some far-from-natural ingredients in their products. So, after a little internet research and reading through some natural parenting books, I’ve come up with several recipes to try today as I scrub, wash and disinfect. These are the ones I will try today. My bathroom is looking a little scary!

 

ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER

Mix the following in a large container. Store and use to clean mirrors, windows, water deposits in showers, chrome fixtures, etc. 

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water

 

BATHROOM MOLD BUSTER

  • MIX 1 part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray directly on mold and wait at least one hour before rinsing.

I’ll update again later to let you know how it all turns out!

 

RESOURCES

eartheasy

Green Living Ideas

Cupcakes Part 2

August 6, 2009 at 7:34 am | Posted in Homemaking, Recipes | 1 Comment
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cupcale

Magnolia Bakery Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake papers.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, using medium speed on an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth.
  4. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated.
  7. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  8. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula making sure all is well-blended.
  9. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake paper lined tin, filling each liner about 3/4 full.
  10. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  11. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes, remove and cool completely.

judah cupcakeMagnolia Bakery Vanilla Buttercream

INGREDIENTS

Makes enough to ice 12 cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, 2 cups sugar, milk and vanilla.
  2. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating for about 2 minutes after each addition, until icing reaches desired consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

***NOTE***
The original recipes were for 2 dozen cupcakes.

I halved the cupcake and icing recipes to make a more reasonable amount for my family.

The recipes above are exactly half of the originals. To make 2 dozen, simply double the recipes. 

Wikiwiki Wednesday: Organic Turkey Burgers

August 5, 2009 at 8:11 am | Posted in Recipes, Wikiwiki Wednesday | Leave a comment
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A quick and easy recipe for a healthy alternative to beef burgers. Organic ground turkey costs a bit more than ground beef but is an excellent source of lean protein. One serving of turkey provides more than half your body’s protein requirement, with half the fat of beef and 30% fewer calories.Turkey also contains the trace mineral selenium, plus niacin and Vitamin B6. 

turkey_burgerOrganic Turkey Burgers

Makes 12 bun-sized patties

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lbs. organic ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (you can also use coconut oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. I find that my hands are the best tools for this!
Use a 1/3 cup scoop to measure out patties. This ensures even cooking time.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil (or coconut oil) in a large skillet over medium heat. 

Cook patties 4 min on first side, 3 minutes on second or until nicely browned on each side.

Serve with your choice of buns or other starch and veggies.

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes

August 4, 2009 at 8:24 am | Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment
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cupcakeWho doesn’t like cupcakes?

I found this recipe for Magnolia Bakery vanilla cupcakes on Cupcakes Take the Cake. It is very easy to make and results in a soft, dense, buttery cake–not as heavy as a pound cake but definitely sturdier than the regular boxed cake mix. They held up to the heavy buttercream frosting very well! And the best part is…they stayed soft and delicious for three days!

Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes

Makes 2 dozen BIG cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until smooth using an electric mixer. 
  4. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Scrape down the bowl a few times during this process.
  7. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove, and let cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
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