Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Easiest Healthy Pizza Crust

So I have been trying to cook healthier with more whole, real food ingredients. Now, I don't claim to be good at it or to do it completely. Trust me, we still eat McDonalds. When that changes, you'll know something big has happened.

But when I cook at home and when I go grocery shopping I try to stay away from things with long lists of ingredients and highly processed ingredients. One thing I was having a difficult time cutting out was pizza crust.

Jason and I love pizza. We could easily eat it a couple nights a week. It's quick convenient and tasty. And we can switch up the toppings to whatever we happen to be in the mood for. We have been trying to make our own pizza because we can limit what ingredients go into it and we can add more veggies too. I'll admit, though, we've been buying store bought, premade pizza crust. It's just easier. I have not found a pizza crust that I love and that is easy to make. Until now.

3 ingredients:
- 1 cup  whole wheat flour
- 1 cup  Greek yogurt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

(If you use self-rising flour you can leave out the baking powder)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and then knead 8 to 10 times. You may find you need a little extra flour on hand for this. Next, roll the dough into a ball and flatten with your hands or a rolling pin. I used a rolling pin just to make it more even. I left the crust slightly on the thicker size and it made about a medium size pizza. I could have easily rolled it out thinner and it would have made a large pizza.

Bake at 450 degrees for 5-7 min. depending on how thin your crust is. Add your favorite sauce, toppings, and cheese. Bake for another 5-7 min.

I doubled the recipe and made two crusts and the same time. I also baked them in the oven together. It worked out fine, but the crust that was on the higher rack in the oven did not turn out as crispy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Dabble in Kids Crafts

Yesterday I had a very fun and exciting night with my two favorite little girls. They are kids of some friends from church. The girls are two and a half and five. We don't have a lot of toys and fun things for kids at our house except for Kaiser, our dog, who seems to be a pretty big hit among the kids.

I only found out they'd be with me for the night just the day before and with the rest of my busy life I didn't really have time to plan any "activities." So this was definitely a thrown together craft with stuff that I just happened to have lying around. A few items from my pantry and we had homemade play dough.

I found this recipe from and it was a huge success!

1 cup flour
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup salt
3 TBS oil
1 package of Koolaid
food coloring (optional - I added a few drops of red because the girls wanted pink or red Play dough. 

Mix in a pot on the stove over medium heat. After a few minutes it will heat to the consistency of Playdoh. Cool completely before you let little hands touch! (If you are reading this JoAnna, I did not find this out the hard way, Don't worry!)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Whipped Shea Butter Lotion

This past winter I had terribly dry skin mixed with an allergic reaction to chemicals I use at work. It was bad. My hands hurt, they were red and itchy. It got so bad that it was spreading up my arms and chest. My knuckles bled. It was not pretty at all.

I tried all kinds of lotions and creams. Nothing seemed to help. So I resorted to the Internet and my "natural" resources. I tried Coconut Oil first and that seemed to help. Then I tried a sample of Shea Butter and I fell in love!

So here is the my recipe. I gathered ideas from a bunch of sources including websites, blogs and books. This recipe contains both coconut oil and shea butter and is the best lotion you will ever use.

Note: Coconut oil can be found at most grocery stores. I bought my last jar of oil from Walmart. Most natural or organic stores will have a larger selection. The shea butter, I found at Everything Natural in Clarks Summit, but other stores like Whole Foods will have a selection.

This recipe will yield about 8 oz. of lotion

1/4 c. Shea Butter
2 Tbsp. Coconut oil
20 drops of your preference of essential oil (I used 10 peppermint, 10 lemon)

Step 1:
Melt the butter and oil in a double boiler or (as I do) in a glass dish in a pot of boiling water.

Step 2:
After it is completely liquefied, remove from heat and cool slightly. I put the bowl in the freezer for about five minutes. I just wanted it to start hardening but not to the point it became solid again.

Step 3:
With a hand mixer and whisk attachment. Whisk the mixture until it becomes fluffy and lotion type consistency. This will probably take about 5-10 minutes. If it isn't fluffing up after 10 minutes, the liquid needs to be cooler.

Step 4:
Transfer to a jar or container. My mixture fit perfectly in a 8 oz. mason jar. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

When I got married, my mom and sister collected recipes from family and friends and compiled them into a cookbook for me. It was one of the best presents I received and still use frequently.

This recipe was included in the cookbook and is from my Aunt Kathleen. I tripled it and made it for our small group dinner at church. It easily fed about 12 adults with some left over.

As you can see it's in a crock pot. I did not cook it in the crock pot, just used it to keep it warm in transport. The recipe below will feed 4-6 people, I tripled it to feed over 12 people.

- 1lb. ground beef
- 1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
- 1/4 c. milk
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp. minced onion
- 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 can pineapple tidbits in syrup
- 1/3 c. vinegar
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 green pepper chopped

Step 1:
Mix first seven indgredients together. I know, I hate handling raw ground beef too! Yuck!

Step 2:
Form into balls. You can make small balls if you are using this for an appetizer or larger balls for a meal.

Step 3:
Place meatballs on baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the balls.

Step 4:
Mix brown sugar and cornstarch in a skillet.

Step 5:
Stir in pineapple with syrup, vinegar and soy sauce. Heat to boiling. Stirring constantly.

Step 6:
Reduce heat. Add meatballs, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 7:
Add peppers and simmer for 5 more minutes

Step 8:
Serve over rice and Enjoy!  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Yummy Blueberry Muffins

Ok, I love these muffins. Jason thinks I need more sugar. I'll let you decide.
- 2 cups  flour (I used Whole Wheat although I suggest using All-Purpose because these tasted a little dry and "cardboardy")
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup milk
- 4 egg whites
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup blueberries, I used fresh, but you can use frozen

Step 1:
Combine dry ingredients. Stir until mixed.

Step 2:
In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (minus the blueberries).

Step 3:
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Be careful not to over mix, the batter should look slightly lumpy.

Step 4:
Fold in blueberries.

Step 5:
Pour into paper-lined muffin tin. Sprinkle the top of the muffin with a little sugar. This is probably where I could add a little more sugar to make them sweeter

Step 6:
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fabric Flower Headband Tutorial

I don't know if you guys have noticed a trend, but headbands are coming back. Not those big fat puffy headbands we wore in the 90's. Accessory stores are selling headbands right and left for at least $10. But I've made several headbands for a lot less. Here is one of them. I got the idea from

Here is what you need:
Some sort of silky fabric - I got mine from the costume section of the fabric store and it is 100% acetate
Hot glue gun and glue
stretchy headbands - I got 8 for a $1 at the Dollar Store
small piece of felt
small clear glass beads
candle or lighter for flame

Step 1:
Cut out several circles out of a Synthetic Silk fabric in various sizes.
I cut out five different sizes from round household objects. You can see what I used sitting behind the circles.

Step 2:
Hold the edge of the fabric to a flame to singe the edges.

Note: If the wick is not deep inside a glass jar you are less likely to burn your fingers.

Step 3:
After all circles have been singed around the edges, hot glue the circles together with the largest on the bottom.

Step 4:
Add a drop of Hot glue to the center of the flower and sprinkle with small glass beads. Let completely dry.
Step 5:
Cut out a piece of felt and hot glue headband in between flower and felt.

You are finished!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Amy's Mom's Homemade Bread

Ok, so I have never made any sort of bread homemade before. I love those fancy breads that are like four dollars a loaf at the grocery store. I know that I could make the same type of thing for a lot less. To be honest, I've just been scared. It seems like a lot of work and a little complicated. But today, I tried.

A couple of months ago, one of my best college friends sent me her mom's easy bread recipe. I made a few changes and halved the recipe. So I'll include the original recipe as well as my modified one.
 The original recipe:
2 pkg yeast
2 teas. salt
1/3 c. oil (vege)
1/3 c. honey
2/3 c. milk
2 eggs
2 c. warm water (barely warm on your wrist)
7 c. flour

1. Mix the first 7 ingredients and 3 cups flour

2. Add 2 cups flour and mix

3. Add the last 2 cups of flour

4. Knead about 100 times

5. Cover, and let sit in bowl for 1 hour

6. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

7. Form into loaves and let rise a bit in greased/sprayed pans

8. Bake for 30-35 min, or until brown on top

This recipe will make about 3 loaves (depending on the size you make the loaves). Amy said what they usually do is with one of the loaves they will roll it out like pizza dough and spread some butter and cinnamon and brown sugar on the dough. Roll it back up into a loaf and bake. That sounds delish!

Ok so here is my modified recipe. Since this was my first attempt I didn't want to go overboard and make 3 loaves of bread if I ended up messing it up. Next time I probably will . . .

1 pkg yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tbsp. oil
2 1/2 tbsp. honey
1/3 c. milk
1 egg
1 c. warm water (barely warm on your wrist)
3 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. of oatmeal
2 tbsp. of ground flax seed.

Then I followed the step by step recipe above. I baked it into one loaf in a large loaf pan. I didn't let it rise a lot in the pan just because I wasn't sure how long to let it rise. I garnished the top with a little bit of oatmeal, just to make it look "pretty" and here is the finished product:
It turned out delicious and filling. I had it just this morning for breakfast with a banana. Hope you all enjoy the recipe and have as much fun making as I did!