Pizza #35: Oklahoma {+weekend fun}

Standard

I’m sad to see the weekend go. It was nice to be home again and was well spent with family. Tommy and I kicked off our weekend on Friday evening with another pizza. It was my second meal of pizza in one day, because what else do teachers do after taking their kids bowling all morning? Why, order in pizza for lunch, of course! I’m certainly not one to complain about pizza twice in one day, clearly!
Saturday morning, Laura, Katie, a friend of Laura’s, and I had big plans of attending a Piyo class at the public library. {Laura and I attended a couple weeks ago and it proved to be both entertaining and a good workout-we were more sore the next day than we were the day after our half marathon. It’s amazing what targeting different muscles will do to ya!} However, we were disappointed when the instructor didn’t show, so instead enjoyed a bit of a walk through the neighborhood. On our way home, Katie and I made a quick stop at the farmer’s market to grab a few veggies. All the while, Isaac and Uncle Tommy enjoyed some quality bonding time.

IMG_0360.JPG
Katie and I spent the afternoon canning jelly-A small batch of pepper, and finally finished up the Muscadine.

IMG_0361.JPG The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out and visiting until Tommy and I went into town to meet some friends for dinner.
Sunday was a beautiful fall day, so after church and lunch, Tommy and I went out to the park to soak up some fresh air. He read while I graded. I always enjoy seeing how the kids {creatively} answer their questions

IMG_0120.JPG…and what they write about.

IMG_0365.JPG They always keep me entertained, that’s for sure.
Anyway, I suppose I should share our pizza recipe with you before I get swamped by the week’s schedule which includes parent teacher conferences. Yippee! 😐
So….our pizza Friday night was one we skipped earlier…you know, that one from Oklahoma?! I don’t know how we skipped it, but I sure am glad we went back to it. The pizza was filled full with meat and cheese, leaving us full and satisfied! The Big Country pizza is loaded with polish sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and cheddar cheese.

IMG_0128.JPG This pizza was named after Bryant “Big Country” Reeves after leading his basketball team, OSU, to the Final Four in 1995. Due to all the meats, this pizza has a saltier taste, but is hearty and delicious. We’re glad we are no longer missing out on this delicious, meaty pizza.

IMG_0109.JPG

Recipe
Big Country

Crust:
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 Tablespoon rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup warm water
Herbs to season (optional)

Mix all dry ingredients together in bowl, reserving half cup white flour. Make a well in the middle and pour in oil and water. Stir together until all is evenly mixed, adding extra flour as needed. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead in remaining flour until dough is no longer sticky. Let rise while you prepare the toppings.

Sauce:
Tommy’s Sauce:

1 can tomato sauce
sugar
cinnamon
fresh garlic (minced)
salt
oregano
Italian seasoning
crushed red pepper

There are no measurements to the above herbs and spices due to the fact that Tommy doesn’t measure. It’s all a matter of dash and taste. To be honest, I may not have even listed all the items he used, so go ahead, find your spices, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Taste it along the way until it has a flavor you love. Mix it in a sauce pan until a soft boil begins. Pour onto prepared crust and spread evenly.

Toppings:
Polish Sausage
Canadian bacon
Pepperoni
Cheddar cheese
Mozzarella cheese

Top crust with sauce and toppings. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Catching Up and Being Present

Standard

IMG_0076.JPGIt’s been a crazy past couple months here. School is in full swing and I can’t believe the first 9 weeks is already coming to an end. In many ways this year has been much smoother and less time consuming than last year. i.e. planning/grading. In other ways, it’s a tiring year trying to keep up with the kids and their differences. Nonetheless, they’re quickly growing on me and I have no doubt that I’m doing exactly what God has called me to do.
Aside from school/work, our weeks are filled with tutoring, life-group through our church, and Waffle Wednesdays with friends. Weekends have also been packed with friends and family, and mini getaways. Here’s a little recap…
We started September off by babysitting our sweet nephew, Isaac, and taking him to his very first wedding.

IMG_0258.JPGHe made the whole ‘parenthood’ thing seem pretty easy, but I’m sure it’ll be a whole new ball game when it becomes a full time thing for us. {No, we’re not pregnant.} all in all, we loved kicking off the month by celebrating with Luke and Alicia.

IMG_0257.JPG
The following weekend, my brother and his wife came to visit with their new little bundle. We were so excited to finally get to meet our newest nephew, Oliver.

IMG_0298.JPGWe had a relaxing, yet fun-filled weekend of antiquing, a trip to the farmer’s market, cool crisp evening walks, game playing, and baby holding.

IMG_0288.JPGTime with family always seems to go by way too fast, but we’re always so thankful for any time we get with them!
The third weekend, we had a quick little getaway to the lake with some friends. Despite the warm weather (Fall has taken its sweet time getting to NE Arkansas), we enjoyed the time away, yard games, and a beautiful view.

IMG_0307.JPG
And to wrap up September, My friend/running partner, Laura, and college teammate, Jessica, ran a half marathon. We trained all summer long, and complained many times about the heat and humidity. However, it was all worth it in the end and we felt quite accomplished.

IMG_0344.JPG The rest of the weekend was mostly spent on the couch, recovering from the run and playing games with Jessica and her boyfriend. This might just be becoming our tradition to have them down for the weekend + the race.
After having something every single weekend of September, I told Tommy that nothing was allowed to be planned for the first weekend of October. I had a to-do list of projects I wanted to conquer as well as relax and spend time with just him. Per my request, the first weekend of October was both
relaxing and productive. Tommy built shelving for our garage, and we got it nice and organized.

IMG_0038.JPG We also conquered our first team canning project: Muscadine Jelly. After a trip to the farmer’s market where we bought a large bag of fresh, local muscadines, we simmered them down for the juice, strained it, and made jelly. We still have enough juice for a couple more batches, but once again we’re waiting for time!

IMG_0337.JPG
This past weekend we headed down to El Dorado for a huge garage sale and family time. It proved to be another enjoyable weekend! To top it off. Tommy and I stopped in Little Rock on the way home to spend some time with Josh. While there, I found a new favorite drink:

IMG_0070.JPG And we went on a lovely walk

IMG_0073.JPG…I think Autumn finally is making its appearance!!

IMG_0077.JPG
And now here we are again, sucked back into another week. While it’s easy to get caught up in our busy schedules, become exhausted from a long, packed week, and wish for the weekend so we can have a break, my prayer for this week is that I’d be present in each individual day. Present to meet the needs of my students, my husband, to intentionally spend time with friends and family…but most of all, be present in what Christ is asking me to do, serve where He’s calling me, and intentionally spend time with Him.

James 4:14 “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

Pizza #38: Rhode Island

Standard

Rhode island’s Summer pizza was the perfect way to end our summer. It’s topped with fresh herbs and corn straight off the cob. We enjoyed gathering our needed toppings at our local Farmer’s Market to capture an extra fresh, summery flavor on this pizza.
This pizza rejoins us with our usual red sauce. As we did on our Parma pizza, we top the crust with the sauce and cheese only to bake, then added the other toppings just before serving to keep them fresh. We used fontina and Parmesan cheese and paired them with fresh basil, oregano, and parsley. After adding the corn, we gave a light drizzle of our herb and red pepper olive oil mix.
This pizza was fresh, crisp, and had a hint of spice with each bite.

IMG_0328.JPG

Recipe
Summer

Crust:
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 Tablespoon rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup warm water
Herbs to season (optional)

Mix all dry ingredients together in bowl, reserving half cup white flour. Make a well in the middle and pour in oil and water. Stir together until all is evenly mixed, adding extra flour as needed. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead in remaining flour until dough is no longer sticky. Let rise while you prepare the toppings.

Sauce:
Tommy’s Sauce:

1 can tomato sauce
sugar
cinnamon
fresh garlic (minced)
salt
oregano
Italian seasoning
crushed red pepper

There are no measurements to the above herbs and spices due to the fact that Tommy doesn’t measure. It’s all a matter of dash and taste. To be honest, I may not have even listed all the items he used, so go ahead, find your spices, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Taste it along the way until it has a flavor you love. Mix it in a sauce pan until a soft boil begins. Pour onto prepared crust and spread evenly.

Toppings:
Parmesan cheese
Fontina cheese
Fresh herbs: basil, oregano, parsley, etc.
Corn (cut off the cob)
Olive oil+herbs and red pepper flakes

Top crust with sauce and cheeses. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with fresh herbs, corn, and a drizzle of oil.

Pizza #37: Pennsylvania

Standard

Pennsylvania’s Parma pizza is quite similar to one of our very favorite pizzas throughout this journey. This of course means that the Parma shot up pretty high on our list as well.
A thick, fluffy crust is topped with nothing more than thin-cut prosciutto, mozzarella and fontina cheese, fresh arugula, and a drizzle of sherry vinegar.
We made a few slight adjustments on our pizza and mixed up an herb and crushed red pepper oil to spread on the crust before topping. We also went with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to replace the sherry vinegar.
After making the crust, we drizzled an even layer of our olive oil mix on the crust then topped it with a hearty helping of cheese. Next, we put the pizza in the oven to bake. Once it was baked, our bubbly-brown cheese pizza was finished off with a handful of arugula, which we tossed in balsamic vinegar, and prosciutto. The pizza was bursting with flavor as each bite held a hint of sweet, salty, peppery goodness.

IMG_0330.JPG

Recipe
Parma

Crust:
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 Tablespoon rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup warm water
Herbs to season (optional)

Mix all dry ingredients together in bowl, reserving half cup white flour. Make a well in the middle and pour in oil and water. Stir together until all is evenly mixed, adding extra flour as needed. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead in remaining flour until dough is no longer sticky. Let rise while you prepare the toppings.

Sauce:
1-2Tablespoons olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Italian herb mix
Garlic salt

Toppings:
Mozzarella cheese
Fontina cheese
Prosciutto
Arugula
Balsamic vinegar

Top crust with oil mix and cheeses. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Toss arugula with preferred amount of balsamic vinegar (less is more, you don’t want it to be soggy), then top pizza with prosciutto and arugula.

Pizza #36: Oregon

Standard

Once again, I’ve been slacking on the pizza posts. No, it’s not because we haven’t been making any…trust me, every Friday is pizza night in our house! Well, okay, there are a few exceptions when we’ve skipped, but then we often find a different night to replace it with. Either way, we manage to have pizza weekly :). In the mix of not posting our pizzas, it apparently made us lose track of which we were on, and sadly, Oklahoma got skipped (sorry OK!). But have no fear, we shall return soon! In the meantime, this week I’ll sporadically be posting pizza posts for Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
So first up….Oregon’s Pesto Pizza. This pizza was unique as they totally switched up the crust on us, giving us a cornmeal crust. At first, I wasn’t quite sure how we wanted to go about the cornmeal crust. I didn’t want it to be too fluffy like corn bread; I definitely wanted to keep it pizza-crust worthy. So, I decided to just use my regular recipe, substituting the cornmeal for whole wheat flour. It ended up turning out great- super crispy on the outside, then soft and fluffy on the inside with that sweet nuttiness of the cornmeal. The only downside is it doesn’t do as well for leftovers. The cornmeal crust seemed to soak up all the extra moisture from the toppings and was super soggy the next day. I guess we’ll just have to make sure we can finish it in one sitting next time ;)
Enough about the crust…let me tell ya what goes on this tasty pie! If you guessed pesto, well then, nice job!! Instead of a red sauce, this pizza marries pesto sauce with a thick layer of ricotta cheese for the base.

IMG_0331.JPGIt’s then covered with chopped spinach, fresh, diced tomato, and a bit of shredded cheese.

IMG_0332.JPG Pop it in the oven to bake and voila! you have a delicious, hot, bubbly pesto pizza ready to be devoured.

IMG_0333.JPG

Recipe:
Pesto

Crust:
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 Tablespoon rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup warm water
Herbs to season (optional)

Mix all dry ingredients together in bowl, reserving half cup flour. Make a well in the middle and pour in oil and water. Stir together until all is evenly mixed, adding extra flour as needed. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead in remaining flour until dough is no longer sticky. Let rise while you prepare the toppings.

Sauce:
Pesto sauce (I used a packet of dry mix and followed instructions adding water and oil, but you may also use premade, or better yet, freshly homemade pesto!)

Toppings:
Ricotta cheese
fresh spinach leaves (chopped)
Fresh tomato (diced)
Shredded cheese (I use the pizza blend bag mix)

Bake at 450 F for 15-20 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Making Brittney Lane our Home

Standard

Like I said, WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!! We enjoyed our apartment while it lasted (mostly it’s view), but were certainly ready to get out. God opened the doors at the perfect time and guided us to a new home-sweet-home of our very own. Our good friend, Lindsay, had just become a licensed relator and was more than happy to help us on our hunt. She went above and beyond helping us find the right home and answering every question we had, as well as putting us in touch with the right people along the way.

20140715-090141-32501750.jpg
Our hunt only consisted of a few different houses before we started feeling at peace with this specific one. It was actually the very first one we looked at, and it just kept growing on us as we looked at other options. The fact that it’s in a little neighborhood is not something we planned on, but it’s on the edge of town and in a quiet cul-de-sac which we love. I have about the same distance of drive to work, but can now conveniently swing by Starbucks whenever I want :). Tommy is closer to work and we are now only 7 minutes from Katie, Chris, and our sweet nephew, as opposed to the previous 20+ minutes depending on traffic. Such a win-win all around.

The house was move-in ready, but we decided to do some painting before moving things in to make it our own and freshen up the space. We have a good amount of yard-space both in front and back with lots of potential. We’ve already done a little sprucing up in the front (weeding and a few potted plants) but have lots of dreams and ideas to add color, character, curb appeal, produce and….chickens!!!!

For now I’ll give a quick little tour and show you some before/afters…

entryway
Before…

20140715-090653-32813743.jpg
After…

20140715-090725-32845687.jpg

living room
Before…

20140715-090755-32875519.jpg
After…

20140715-090823-32903329.jpg

20140715-090822-32902287.jpg

kitchen
Before…

20140715-090901-32941229.jpg
After…

20140715-092701-34021564.jpg

20140715-092718-34038006.jpg

master bedroom
Before…

20140715-091137-33097579.jpg
After…

20140715-091158-33118249.jpg

bedroom 1
Before…

20140715-091327-33207216.jpg
After…

20140715-091351-33231366.jpg

bedroom 2
Before…

20140715-091445-33285625.jpg
After…

20140715-091510-33310862.jpg

We still have a few small ‘projects’ for in the house, but overall we are nice and settled. I told Tommy when we started looking that I wanted to be in a house before school started. I’m so thankful we found our home quickly giving us plenty of time to be settled before I go back to the ole classroom. I can’t imagine trying to do it all at once.

I’m sure I’ve said this a million times now, but we are absolutely loving having our own place and more space for entertaining. :)

Pizza #34: Ohio

Standard

It’s no secret that our pizza adventure has been neglected. When I broke my wrist, I couldn’t knead the dough, so pizzas in general we’re missing from our weekly menu. Then I went missing from blogging for far too long. Now that I got back on, I found this pizza that never got posted. So let me share with you the last pizza we made, and hopefully this will resume our journey through the states.
This long lost pizza comes to you from Ohio. You could eat this pizza for lunch or supper, but we chose to have it for a Saturday morning brunch. Ohio’s Sunnyside pizza was the perfect way to start our day, and can be for you, too!
We topped our homemade pizza crust with a thin layer of Tommy’s sauce . Then, we sprinkled it with provolone cheese, layered on salty pancetta, cracked a few eggs on the top, and sprinkled on a generous amount of cracked black pepper.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of our pizza, because, well, our eggs got a liiiiitle dark. I’d hate to show such an image that may turn you away from giving this pizza a try. So instead, here’s the picture I was presented with, straight from the Food Network Magazine.

20140713-173440-63280363.jpg
See! Doesn’t it look delicious? {despite the fact it’s a picture from a magazine..} Truth be known: It. Was. Fantastic. (Dark eggs and all). Maybe I’ll just blame it on the morning hours. Next time, I’ll make sure I’ve been awake a little longer ;)

Recipe:
Sunnyside Pizza

Crust:
Homemade pizza crust

Sauce:
Tommy’s sauce

Toppings:
Provolone cheese
Pancetta
3 eggs
Cracked black pepper

Bake at 450 F for 15-20 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.