Friday, September 26, 2008

pizza nite

Several times a year I get one of those e-mail chain letters asking me to submit a recipe to top person on the list, with the promise that I will get oodles of recipes emailed to me in return.

Well, it has never happened. Receiving recipes, that is. I usually get a couple return emails telling me "thanks but no thanks" from friends who have tried this way to build up their recipe files, but have been unsuccessful as well. And then I get embarassed!

Truly; I've dutifully sent the edited email out to "10 or more of my friends" and received (1) a "recipe" suggesting "breakfast for dinner" of pancakes and sausage and (2) a "cut-and pasted" recipe from the Everyday Italian website (you know, the Food Network show hosted by the girl who eats half a cupcake and says that "oh, I'm just so fullll!" IMO, her hair is too long not to be pulled back while she's cooking and her blouses are cut too low! But enough of that!) that was far too complicated for me and used ingredients you'd have to buy at a specialty store! With apologies to the last author of said email (BF!), here is a recipe for anyone - and you don't have to forward it to anyone! (But you CAN! And you can email ME a recipe back if you want! LOL!!)
This is one of our favorite suppers. One, because everyone gets just what they want, another, it is (believe it or not) fast and easy. It only takes a total of 45 minutes from start to finish.

Pizza Dough Recipe ("tweaked" from the Tightwad Gazette II):
3/4 cup warm water (including any leftover milk I have from a kid's cup in the fridge left over from lunch) (unless you're coming for company then I omit this part) (maybe)
1 scant tablespoon dry yeast (or one packet, but it is cheaper to buy yeast in the jar and store it in the fridge)
1 scant tablespoon sugar
2 cups AP flour, plus a little more (I use bread flour for all my baking, don't think it would make a huge difference)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
couple shakes of Parmesan cheese, if desired

Combine about 1/4 cup of the water with the yeast and sugar in a large stand mixer (or food processor if you don't have a stand mixer). Let sit about 5 minutes until bubbly. Add the oil and salt and mix together with dough hooks (process a few bursts with the food processor). Add the rest of the water and flour and mix until well blended. If using dough hooks let it mix for about 3-5 minutes, if a processor, maybe let it roll around the bowl 25 times or so. If dough is way sticky, add a handful of flour. If not, pat it into a ball (get all the dough off the sides of the bowl) and let it rest with a towel over it for about 10 minutes.
Next divide the ball in half and mash out on a pizza stone or in a jelly roll pan, OR, in a cast iron skillet. I usually use my marble roller to get an approximate circle, then mash the rest of the way with my fingers. If using a skillet, it makes a great "pan" pizza. Mash into a pizza shape slightly larger than the pan bottom. Pour a little melted butter and/or olive oil over the bottom of the pan to cover and then lay the crust in the pan.
"Par-bake" the crust for about 8-10 minutes at 425. At this point you can take it out, top it with your favorite toppings and return it to a 425 oven for about 10-15 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is bubbling. The girls like spinach, broccoli, fresh tomato and cheese - and Italian sausage if we have it. Andy prefers traditional pepperoni and cheese. Mama just LOVES spinach, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese, but will settle for anchovies and tomatoes and mushrooms. Yum!
If you don't want to eat it now, after par-baking, let the crust cool, wrap it well with plastic wrap, label it and put it in the freezer for later. Allow it to thaw somewhat before putting it back into the oven topped with toppings.

Lemme know if you've made it or tried it and what you think!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

babies on the tracks!

We went to Clifton Forge yesterday to poke around at the railroad tracks.....and return library books.....

No, no, no, it wasn't an active line! Jeez Louize, think I'd let her play amongst the locomotives?

Its not like she's a big fan of danger, or anything....on second thought....this is what I typically see when I leave her unsupervised for more than a few minutes:After she empties out the napkin basket, its on to seasoning herself with salt and pepper! Argh!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Doesn't this look sooooo good? It was one of the last! I canned the rest of my homemade marinara sauce this morning with the last of the maters.
Next year, I'm going to do sunflowers right. I only had a couple packs of seed; I think these came from Dollar tree and my birdfeeder. Should have planted more, More, MORE!
The bees didn't mind!
See my gourds? They aren't harvested until after the first frost, then I'll hang them up in pantyhoe from the rafters in the attic to dry. For months.

OK, and then last week we went for a short walk over in Falling Spring near the Jackson River Trail. Part of our walk was on an abandoned road and bridge. We saw beautiful wildflowers....

beautiful bugs....look closely at the pink blooms....

more wildlife (allow me to draw your attention to the knees).....
and of course, pure beauty.....

then it was time to go home.
But I picked a couple handfuls of sumac berries and when we got home we enjoyed some refreshing sumac tea. Mmmmm! Tasty! And so good for you!

Monday, September 15, 2008

the word is out!

A man of many talents.......


Um....about the new JOB - you know - over in Clifton Forge! Hurray! I am so proud of you - you go boy!

Yes, it is official. My DH will be moving over to Clifton Forge October 1 as their new Housing Code Official (I may have gotten that title wrong, but it's close if I did) (I'm sure he will let me know!). He was so sorry to leave AC, and I am too, because we both really love the folks he works with there - but the GOOD NEWS is that he will still be working with them to some extent, right? And D and T will still sit behind us in church on Sunday mornings, right? You will, right? (After all, he'll be working in YOUR town!) And uh, CL, any more pointers on, we don't want to burn any bridges, right?!

Not familiar with Clifton Forge? Lookie here.

Anyways, can you tell I am excited? This is one of the transitions I was writing about and I could barely stand it not to spill those beans. Now, though, I can quit worrying about THAT and direct my full focus to the Good Humor Man.

Today was day 2 of a low/no-sugar, low/no-artificial flavors & preservatives diet for our girl. She did great. I think we may be on to something here, although I am not wholly convinced. For sure and for certain she did not have such highs and lows in her behavior, and I think it was due to blood sugar stabilization. My neighbor, Heidi (!) (chef of the delicious meatballs) is a dietitian (or a nutritionist. maybe both. I keep forgetting), anyways, she said to increase fats, cut out simple carbs and add complex carbs. Did it and am seeing improvement. I've been reading a bunch of books - the Feingold diet is one, and that is where I got the idea of going preservative free. Basically, organic. This is the truly amazing part - she went to bed tonight (Han, not Heidi) at 9PM without a fight. I am pretty stumped about that one. Oh, and for Daddy-o, not me, b/c I was in with Abba. Mmmm... interesting.

Any advice or suggestions for me about proactive approaches to hyperactivity and impulsivity with a little oppositionality thrown in? (Ideas from the pantry, not the medicine cabinet).

Well, thank you for being happy for us. We are excited about Andy's career move. I think he is amazing, to tell the truth. Did you know he has gotten all of these certifications in just a couple years? He is all that AND a bag'o'chips.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Hey! Would you keep us in prayer when you think about it? We are going through some transitions and as we all know, sometimes change is difficult!

We're trying to transition Hannah away from her pass (pacifier), and yes, yes, yes, I know she will be a great big girl of 4 next month, but nonetheless.....she has a very strong attachment to it and it has been very difficult. For her mom and dad. See, I thought they were all gone, but then she spied one she had lost perched prominently on her car seat in Daddy-o's truck. Well, its got some holes in the plastic and its the absolute last one in the house so she is guarding it ferociously. And I do mean ferociously.

Andy is transitioning to a new medication regimen for his HBP. Now, he may not like me blogging about this, but maybe if you see him or talk to him you can ask him how he is doing. We've got a new doctor who is REALLY good - (Dr. Scott in Covington, for all you local readers!) - and who has been very diligent in keeping track of Andy's progress. Still, changing medications is physically painful for him - makes him feel like he has the flu or something.

If you know my daughters, you know that one of them can (please allow me to switch to my professional social worker mode:) exhibit some behaviors that her parents find challenging. As the parent in close proximity to said child for the majority of waking hours, I can report that "challenging" has many defintions and includes a wide and varying range of emotions!

Thank goodness that I am perfect, so I have no issues of my own to work on.


But right now, I can't focus on me (sigh.....), so I'll just dedicate all of my time and energies to my family. [Placing palm of right hand to forehead and leaning back in chair, closing eyes....] Ohhhhhhhh, the sacrifices I make as the Mama!

Seriously, though. GOD IS GOOD! And I can't figure out why, but He has been so good to us over the last several years. I mean - I can't figure out why I should receive blessings when I am such "a wretch" and why others who seek Him have the struggles they do. I really have been blessed with Andy, Hannah and Abigail. Although we each have our own challenges in relationships with our personalities, characters and so on, I am always thrilled when I think that God planned for us all to be together and that He has knit us together as a family.

Better go. Gotta get suppah started and the upstairs freezer cleaned out. Can't fit anything else in it and I am afraid of being knocked out by a pot roast when I open the door - ack!

Tonight's supper: pork butt roast in the crock pot with pepper and seasoned salt, green beans from this summer's garden, mac&cheese from the stockpile, apple sauce from the stockpile and bread pudding using up (hopefully) most of the frozen bread out of the upstairs freezer for dessert. YUM!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

please disregard....

the recipe I posted last.
is the recipe to end all recipes.
one stuck mercilessly to the pan, and while it tasted good, was more trouble than this, which is infinitely better.
you come to our home for supper, you can count that this will be the dessert. It is that good.

1 graham cracker crust
3 cans sweetened condensed milk

Fill crock pot 3/4 high with water. Set on high. After an hour or two it should be simmering, if not outright boiling.
Peel labels off cans of sc milk. Place cans in crock pot - do not open, do not poke holes in them, just put them in whole. Without labels.
Ensure that water is covering cans, if not, add more so they are covered.
Place lid on crock pot.
Once the water begins to boil again, start your kitchen timer.
Boil for 3 hours.
Yes, you are reading this right. You have 3 unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk in your crock pot, boiling away for 3 hours.
Take 'em out after 3 hours and let them cool to the touch - or put them in the fridge for later.
When you are ready to make the pie, use a can opener to open cans. The contents will be a pleasing caramel color. Stir (whip) with a fork until they are smooth. Pour into graham cracker crust. Hint: cut off other end of can so the contents will slide out easier. Do the same with all 3 cans Hint: I only needed 2 1/2 cans for my crust. Your mileage may vary.
Chill pie for at least 1 hour, preferable a couple.
Slice thin....this is VERY rich and is delicious with a cup of black coffee on the side.

Takes awhile, but how easy is that? Let me know if you made it and what you thought!