Saturday, March 28, 2009

Holy Smokes! Great Pizza Dough!!

I have a copy of the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" and have seriously considered making a couple of the recipes from it for quite some time. As a matter of fact, I bought a couple 6 quart lidded containers to keep dough on hand in my fridge, but had not made it until a couple days ago. I had made the dough and put it in the fridge but hadn't used any of it until tonight.

What took me so long? This stuff is fabulous!! Tonight the boys wanted homemade pizza and I was getting ready to make dough from my regular recipe, then I remembered the dough in the fridge. Pizza dough is basically thin bread dough, so I thought, "What the heck, let's give it a try."

This dough is different from most dough in that you really need to use it from the fridge when it is cold, or it gets sticky. I worked it from the center, stretching it thin, then put it on parchment paper to thin the edges out. I stretched the second pizza dough until you could almost see through it and it turned out to be the one we liked the best. This dough does rise more during the baking process, which is great for bread rounds, but thinner is better for pizza. After I got it thinned out to the point I liked, I topped it with pizza sauce ( 1 can tomato sauce, 1 small can tomato paste, 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning--brought to a simmer then allowed to cool..I also add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, but you can dress it up the way you like...) and added toppings like drained canned mushrooms and chopped black olives, pepperoni and whatever else we feel like at the time.

Holy Smokes, this is good stuff. I think this is going to be my standard pizza dough recipe from here on out. I love that it is ready in the fridge whenever we get the hankering for pizza (and we can use the dough for boule bread loaves when we need it for dinner) and it save a ton of money, not to mention time.

Try it and let me know what you think. As I said, I bought the book, but the New York Times has one recipe from the book here. This is the one I used, although I did have a pizza stone in the oven, I spread my dough out on baking parchment paper and didn't do the broiler pan with water since I was doing pizza, not bread loaves. I'm going to try to find a pizza peel though so I can try the recipe the way it was written. I'll report back on that later this month.

Down time

Let's see...This week I finished the first scarf from my lace I class and started on the second one. The brown one is a feather and fan stitch pattern done in Rowan yarn and so is the Horseshoe lace pattern scarf below. I finally learned how to read a charted lace pattern. Luckily this pattern is pretty easy and doesn't require an insane amount of concentration. The week after I had this class, I took the lace II class and started on the Branching Out scarf. That one is going to take my full concentration, so I am working it slowly. The Lace III class actually makes a triangular piece so that will be interesting. While it calls for lace weight yarn, I can tell you already that I will be using fingerling weight yarn. I've already had a run in with lace weight yarn and really don't want to go back there again!
Neither of these have been blocked, so this is not their final look. Blocking will open up the pattern and give the stitches the proper definition. I'm hoping to get the horseshoe lace scarf completed this week so I can wear it. Since our weather has been pretty darn warm lately, I thought I would be working on the scarves for next season, but look what we got yesterday:
SNOW. A LOT OF SNOW...and ice.

This is not a good picture to show just how much, but I think more snow got dumped on us last night than we've had all season. It started out raining ice -- Karen described it on Twitter as raining snowcones...good description! And as it pelted you, it felt like little needles...ouch.
The bad thing was that I had gotten up yesterday with the intention of going to the grocery store before the storm hit. On the way to the store, I stopped in our old neighborhood to see if our old neighbor (that the kids adopted as "Grandma" when we moved in) needed anything. We ended up visiting long enough that the storm had moved in by the time I left. I ended up going to our local Homeland store, which I generally avoid because they are notorious for having frozen food that has been thawed and refrozen.. I didn't buy anything frozen, but I did join half of the town in trying to get provisions.
The sad thing is that I fully realized the storm was not going to be lasting more than a day or two, but I stocked up on canned goods like I was expecting Armageddon! What's with that?!
It was nice to be forced to shut down and stay home knitting all night though.
I had anticipated it snowing and icing all day today, but the sun is out and it is melting...there goes my excuse to putter all day..But I am still hanging out knitting and baking cookies. Hubby wanted peanut butter cookies, so I made a batch this morning. Tonight I will make homemade pizza and look at chicken coop plans. Next weekend we are going to build the enclosure for the chickens that we are going to get. I haven't decided on a chicken coop design, but I'll probably just show hubby what I want and let him do his magic. He's pretty good at that.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Back From Iowa

Not a very clear picture, but trust me, these were SOOO good. Probably not a single bit of nutrition in these but they contain the Southern trinity (FLOUR, SUGAR, FAT) so you know they've gotta be good!

I kept seeing these at various bakeries so I think they are a regional thing. They are basically fried doughnut crescent with an outrageous pastry icing inside and hit with a dusting of powdered sugar. One of these and you were done!! I only had one this trip since that seemed to be all I could handle without needing an insulin adjustment at the hospital--and I'm not even diabetic...

While in Iowa, the boys and I headed down the street to West Branch,Iowa-- birthplace of Herbert Hoover and the sight of his presidential library. It was really pretty interesting. There is a small section of the town that was preserved that contains his birth home. Above is a picture of his birth home. Probably no more than a couple hundred feet of living space at the most!!

There is a statue of Isis on the grounds of the presidential museum that was presented to President Hoover by the children of Belgium for his relief and humanitarian efforts. We toured the museum and came away with a whole new perspective of President Hoover. He is often the scapegoat of the Depression era. But in reality, he had been warning of the fall long before it happened and nobody listened. There was a short film of some of the European citizens that were children at the time of the war that detailed how thankful they were to get "Hoover Rolls" and food in general after starving for so long.
There was also a traveling exhibit about Abraham Linclon at the presidential library so we got to see it too. Very interesting..

We got back to Kansas on Wednesday, but after driving that many hours, I have been pretty much down for the count. Instead of driving straight from my son's house in Iowa back to Haysville, I did a little detour to pick up a rigid heddle loom from a wonderful lady in Lawrence, Kansas, so the trip back home was extended a bit. More on that detour in a future post.

We spent a lot of the time in Iowa running around Iowa City/Coralville and Cedar Rapids. Of course I had to hit the Half Price books in Cedar Rapids since they seem to always have the best stash of knitting books. I hit gold again. I found copies of "Creative Weaving" AND " Creative Spinning" for $7 each, 2 WONDERFUL Jo Sharp pattern books for $7 (they are normally $27 each according to the publishers price, so I was really happy) and a couple other goodies. While I didn't stop at the Half Price Books in Clive, Iowa and Overland Park, KS like I usually do, I did make a stop at the Penzy's Spice store in Clive to pick up a couple of their cooking magazines and some spices. It gave Jeremy and I an opportunity to get out of the car to stretch our legs and take a mental break from the road.
We also spent an hour walking around Bass Pro Shops. Next time we are going to sidetrack to Cabella's also since the boys love both places. Since Kansas City is only 3 hours from us, we might have to ride up there sometime to just check them out. I bought a Garmin GPS for this trip and it was a life saver. There were only a couple quirks to it, but these can be dealt with since overall it was a really accurate tool.
This season promises to have a lot of travel and learning opportunities for our family.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Don't you just hate all those commercials for "male assistance" drugs that you get hammered with when trying to simply watch a little TV? Well tonight that's just what happened, but...

One of my teenage sons was watching TV with me when one of those commercials came on. The obligatory disclaimer that states "seek medical attention for an erection lasting longer that 36 hours"came on.. Teenage son got quiet then said "How do you break that one to your doctor?"

Of course I just about fell out of my chair laughing....kiddo got up and went to his room to watch TV.

I'm probably going to have to leave it up to his father to have "THE TALK". There aren't enough therapists in this town to cover him if it's left up to me!


Later note to the above: Son has corrected my post information--apparently the ad says "for erections lasting longer than 4 hours..."That makes sense to me.

If anything is still "functioning" after 36 hours, that means the county medical examiner is examining you--for "rigomortus"..

I guess that's pretty important...

Sunday, March 08, 2009


March and April are shaping up to be really busy months here at Casa Crazylife.

What is going on? Well, here is the brief shakedown:

1.Lace knitting:
Lace knitting classes are being taught at Twist this month and next, so I jumped in and enrolled in all three (Lace I,II and III).

2.Iowa travel plans:
Spring break is right around the corner, so I am planning to hit the highway and go to Iowa again. I probably won't be heading that direction for another couple months since April is going to be crazy busy also. We will be running around Iowa City more. Last time I was there, we drove through Iowa City and I was smitten with the energy of the city. It is a college town, so the vibe is very young and full of energy.

Love it!

The university is among the best in the nation for writing, so there are a lot of bookstores and activities going on at all times.

3. More lace knitting, travel and weaving class:
April will include more of the lace knitting classes and a trip to Lawrence, Kansas the second weekend so that I can take the rigid heddle weaving class offered at The Yarn Barn. While we're there, hubby and I fully intend to completely pig out on Indian food. India Palace has an awesome buffet! We go every time we are in Lawrence.

4. Overseas travel!!!
At some point in April, I am taking an overseas trip with a friend that loves to travel. With the rate we are going to get for airfare, it would be crazy NOT to go. We are discussing either Italy (she wants to wander around the Coliseum, I'd love to go to Vatican City and tour it, or go to an art museum), Greece, Amsterdam (I REALLY want to see the Van Gogh museum), New Zealand, or a couple different spots. We are keeping it loose so we can see what destination has the best options right before we book. Amsterdam sounds like it would be the easiest to cover in the limited amount of time that we have....I'll know in the next couple weeks, I guess. I am pretty excited about it though.

5. We are getting a couple chickens.
Yep, I said chickens. We can only have a small number here in our city limits, so I will have probably 4 or 5. These will be for fresh eggs and as pets. I had a pet chicken when we moved to Kansas and I really enjoyed her. As silly as this sounds, she had a very lively personality. I'll be getting everything in place before we actually get the girls, so it will be after I get back from overseas. This will also prevent cute man from having to take care of chicks while I'm gone. He's a great guy, but I figure asking him to chicken sit might tip the scale. Once they are older and in a coop, they take less monitoring, but chicks require a lot of tending. I am looking forward to having fresh eggs, although it will be at least 6 months-possibly longer-- before the chickens are at laying age. That will give me time to tame them and make them pets. Luckily I have found someone who wants to split an order of chicks (that will be the subject of tomorrow's post-the story highlights what a small world it is), so I can pull out/pay for a few and we share shipping. It's a win-win for everyone!

6. Gardens, built and planted:

I am planning raised beds this year to help with the condition of the soil and to cut out some of the digging. I am going to raise lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes (of course!) and a couple different kinds of melons. At some point I might pick up seed potatoes at the farm store, but I'm not sure when. I saw someone who planted them in bags of soil by sitting the plastic 50 lb bags upright, cutting drainage in the bags, cutting the top and putting their plant in that. Supposedly it is a great way to grow melons too. I'll report back as I try this. It can't hurt to give it a go. I am also planting squash and some other things that are notorious for beetle issues. That's where I'm hoping the chickens help out...we don't kill tomato worms though, because they are the larva for the Sphinx moth. When we homeschooled the boys, we had a garden. One day we found what we thought was tomato worm eating the tomato plants. Instead of killing it, we did some research and found out that the worm we had was a tobacco worm (they look similar, but the spikes at the end of their tails are certain colors) and that the huge moths that come from these are actually in decline and are quite beautiful. so we had one plant dedicated as a safe haven and a relocation place for these creatures.

So there you have it. BUSY but exciting!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Amber Alert--please look

Amber Alert issued for missing girl

Kansas City police are investigating the death of a 27-year-old woman and the disappearance of her 4-year-old daughter.Officers were called about 9:15 a.m. Friday to a home on the city's east side where the woman's body had been found. Police say they are treating the death as a possible homicide. They say the woman's daughter, Allyson Corales, is missing from the home. An Amber Alert has been issued for the child. The family vehicle, a red Kia Sportage with a Missouri license plate, also is missing. Anyone with information about Allyson is asked to call the TIPS hotline at 816-474-8477.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Riddle Me This....

Q: What do you call the little sports car that weaves in and out of traffic, cutting other drivers off at a REALLY FAST rate of speed?

A: Cop Jerky

'cause when a cop catches that little twit, he is going to chew his salty little hide!

I was driving on I235 today and saw an idiot almost run multiple drivers off the road and himself to boot. OK, if he had ended up in the ditch it would have been no great loss. Just don't take an innocent person along!

It really made me realize that you can be the most careful driver in the world and all it takes is some little twit to wreck your world. DRIVE NICE PEOPLE!!

OK, I'm done with the Mom lecture. You can roll your eyes now...