July 3, 2015

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

Pizza. It's definitely a favorite. Which might be odd, because I was never the "PIZZA IS MY FAVORITE FOOD EVER EVER EVER!!" when I was little. I think one time I wrote "spaghetti with butter and cheese" on the About Me cards in elementary school. Come to think of it, I still really like spaghetti with butter and cheese...

But back to pizza. This certainly isn't the first time I've talked about it. I obsess over rando ingredients here.  I had been using this recipe for pizza dough from 5 million years ago. This was also apparently before I knew how to open a window for natural light! (note to self: update pizza crust post with pictures taken during the day) I even shared an even older (and less well-lit) post about valentine's pizza. Shwew. 

You guys. This crust. It's my new favorite. I love it. No rise time, no pre-bake, and it's thin! Thin crust pizza that isn't soggy! Yesssss!


I'm pretty sure this was a 3-cheese bbq chicken pizza night.


The "hardest" part of this recipe is taking the time to carefully and patiently stretch the dough to fit the pan. Worth it, though!

Thin Crust Pizza Dough
1/2c warm water
1/2 tsp yeast
1tsp honey
1Tbs olive oil
1 1/2c flour

Preheat oven to highest setting (mine is 550F)
1. Mix together your water, yeast, honey, and olive oil. Allow to foam (to check that the yeast is good!)
2. Add flour and mix with dough hook about 3-5 mins, until incorporated (or mix with cold spoon, get that arm workout in!)
3. Place dough on well floured surface and knead about 10-15 times, until smooth.
4. Let rest about 5 mins
5. Slowly flatten dough into a disk, and start to shape, stretch, flatten it to fit your pizza pan. (This step I do on the counter, not the pan itself). If you get frustrated, let it rest a bit! It usually takes me about 10-15 mins, and much patience.
6. Once you have it all stretched out, place the dough on your pan, add toppings, and then pop in the oven for about 10 mins, until everything is cooked through. I usually finish mine off with the broiler for extra browned cheesy bits.


See?

Holy Yum.

Also, this is the recipe that I used when we grilled our pizza!


You do all the same steps except that you put the pan on the grill. I know, revolutionary.

You should try it! It's delish!

Happy Day before the 4th!

L

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June 22, 2015

Basil Teacher Gift DIY


This little munchkin finished up daycare last week, and I was excited to put together my first ever teacher thank you gift! I wanted something unique but that also didn't take a million years to put together. Also, something that didn't include turning on my oven!


I decided to paint some pots with acrylic paint (during naptime!) and then fill them with fresh basil that I propagated from our garden. Did you know that if you trim basil and put it in water it will sprout roots?! I love giving basil to friends and family this way! Our basil always grows way out of control, and this is such a fun was to share the love.


 After the paint dries, fill'er up with dirt, plop in your basil, and make a cute tag! I love fun puns, so our tag said "Thank for helping me grow! <3 Clark"


This was super easy, and most of the things I already had here at home, hooray!

Happy Summer!

L



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June 17, 2015

5 Month Update




5 Month Update!

Likes
Bouncing in the bouncer
"playing" with Coale, aka getting licked by Coale
grabbing his feet
eating
seeing himself in the mirror
grabbing faces

Dislikes
Bright bright sun
hot carseat
peas
being on his tummy

Nicknames
wiggle worm
clark a doo
little man

I want to remember
It seems like you just all of a sudden exploded with energy and movement, Clark! Rolling over to reach things, grabbing at toys, and making yourself heard!


How much you love your bouncer


That time our AC broke and it was waaaay too hot so we sat outside with you half nakey


And this, most hilarious of faces.

***

This month has gone zooming by, and I can't believe how much it feels like we are right on the heels of 6 months! I'm so excited for summer, visiting family, exploring the pool, and hanging out with this crazy little man.

L

June 1, 2015

On Comparison and Being Real. And Mondays.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

We've all heard it, we all know it, but  I for one know that I am guilty of not always living it.

I had big plans to write up some mid-year goals to post today, but am saving that for later this week. I realized that while yes, I do have big goals for this lovely summer break coming up, there was something else I wanted to talk about.

Comparison.

It's easy to get sucked into that, isn't it? I know that this is not a novel concept. We've seen people talk about it and how social media plays a huge role. How, while we are looking at everyone's most instaworthy photos, thinking about how much fun/easy/awesome/adventurous/artsy their life is (unlike our own normal life of course) we in turn post only our most instaworthy shots, thus continuing the cycle with our own circle of friends and family.

So this Monday morning, I'm gonna buck the trend. If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen this;




My sweet family enjoying the lovely weather while grilling a pizza. Believe me that I am so grateful for these photos and the memories that we will have from the delicious first pizza of the season. But you know what? Mondays are hard. So I'm here on this Monday to tell the backstory to this picturesque scene.

Our A/C is broken. It's totally fixable and it will get fixed. But apparently the start of the season is when everyone else finds out their A/C is broken, too. The guys came out on Saturday to assess, and we are waiting for parts, and hopefully it will be up and running soon. What you don't see in the pictures above is the wallowing we did on Saturday before deciding to pull ourselves together.

What you don't see is the trashcans in the background because the side of the house was the coolest, not the back.

What you don't see is all the hard parts.

And I'm okay with that, I mean, instagram is meant to show the best parts, right?! Right.

But hello Monday. Hello high of 92. Hello I need a haircut so I'm jamming all my hair around a headband today so I don't have a heat stroke. Hello I want to whine a bit because the air will likely not be back on this evening either. So hello real. Now I'm going to show you the picture that better represents yesterday evening. Ready?



The best part, I think, is not my crazed "look up here baby!" face, but the confused face that my baby is actually making. Also, hashtag trashcans.

Happy Monday folks! I hope it is awesome and wonderful and that if you are at work you are thankful for your conditioned air (I know I am!). Here's to being real.

L

Linking up with Molly, and letting it shine!

May 28, 2015

10 Pieces of College Advice for my Baby Sis!

**My baby sister is graduating high school this year!!!! I'm so totally biased but I think she is wonderful and gorgeous and has potential to do all the amazing things and win all the awards and get all the good grades. As a counselor, I can't help but think about advice that I have for her, and all seniors really, as she embarks on her college career. So now I'm going to totally embarrass her and post my favorite pictures from her senior shoot, along with an open letter to all the high school seniors on their way to college. But really, a letter to Mia. (sorry not sorry, Mia)**


Dear Mia, 

As you embark on your college journey I hope that it is full of laughter and fun and amazing and all the pizza your stomach can handle. Also ice cream at 2am. And also not too much alcohol. Know that I am so proud of you no matter what and the fact that you are going to college might seem normal but it's such a privilege and you've earned it and you deserve it!! (Because you've earned it!). While your brain is likely full of what to bring on your first day (sheets! toiletries! lip gloss!!), I want to also send you off with some advice that (in my totally biased but also experienced and counselor-y opinion) I hope you keep with you for all four years. (Because, yes you've earned it, but you should also go ahead and plan to finish in four years).

1. Bring a toolkit. Are you rolling your eyes yet? This seems trivial but there's nothing more annoying than "assembly required" and also it's a great way to a)make friends on your hall and b) prove you really are independent and can put together that new ikea furniture, dangit! 

2. Read the syllabus. Your professors will hand them out, and you can write down all your tests/project due dates asap in your planner (get a planner). This will make you feel prepared and will also keep you from the "oh crap!" moment when you walk into your class on test day. Or at 12am the night before.


3. Eat Bojangles! Order pizza! Drink the milkshake! But also enjoy the gym (or join a team! Hello awesome and huge state school with your awesome team assortments). You will never have as much time to eat all the things and try all the workout classes/sports teams FOR FREE as you do right now. For real. Enjoy it. Gym memberships are spency.

4. Get involved. Mia, I know this seems like a no brainer for you, my SGA queen, but it's easy to get caught up with friends and pizza and think "eh, I didn't really want to try ______ anyway". Read my words; go anyway. Bring your friends. Get involved in all the things your heart desires. The time is now!


 5. Give nice people the time of day. One of the things that makes college so much better than high school is that you get to choose who you give your time to. Everyone's social "ranks" have essentially dissipated. You can always switch roomates/move seats/choose a different study group.  Give your time and energy to people who lift you up. *also, be that friend to others, too*

6. Don't worry if you don't find your new lifelong bff right away. Remember that everyone is an adult (all of a sudden!) now and everyone else is navigating the scary "meeting new friends" field just like you. You might not click with people right away. Some people seem great and turn out terrible, some people you wont meet till senior year. Give yourself time and grace to make your lifelong friends.


7. Use a lifeline, call a friend. (If you remember this reference, that's bonus points). You are an adult and I totally trust your judgement (mostly) but don't be too proud to call a friend! Or a sister, ahem. There will be problems that seem unsolvable and situations that seem impossible. Pick up that phone.

8. Make Flashcards. This is so elementary, but I'm an advocate for flashcards all the way through your entire education. I contemplated writing "make sure you study" but nope, too vague. There are many techniques to studying, but I really truly believe that the act of writing out questions/keywords/potential problems and then quizzing yourself is tried and true. Plus, you can wrap a rubber band around those suckers and study anywhere! On the bus! Waiting for a professor! In the dining hall!


9. You don't have to be out of your mind to get out of your mind. This is totally big sister talk. There will always be the opportunity for drinking, smoking, and getting mind-smashingly out of your mind. But know, there are also opportunities to get out of your mind while still being in control of your mind. Does this make sense? There's PLENTY to do that will distract you from the horrible econ test or bad breakup, and will allow you to still function the next day. I know that college is supposed to be fun (trust me, we all did super college-y things that we regret) but there is tons of fun to be had, that can also be remembered the next day.

10. College is what you make it. Everyone's experience is different, but know that your experience will go as far as you want to take it. The campus is your oyster so go out there and work hard and make the best of the awesome four years that you have ahead!

That's it! Now to the color coordinating sheet sets and posters that you need for your walls.

Love you to the moon and back!!!

Love,

Lauren


***

Did I miss anything!? 
What advice would you give?! (I'd love to hear!)





May 21, 2015

Greek "Meat" Balls


These are, so far, my favorite meatless meatballs that I've made. Ever. They key is definitely to make a meatball that is not intended for spaghetti and sauce. Because, to me, there are a very specific flavor/texture combo for spaghetti and sauce. And never have I ever had a lentil/blackbean/seitan ball that recreated that for me.

These meatballs are meant to taste more eggplanty and greek. They are mostly made up of eggplant and chickpeas, both greeky flavors. I added lots of spices, and finished them off with a yogurt sauce over rice. Yum.

Greek "meat" balls
1 eggplant, sliced
1c cooked chickpeas
1 egg
1/2c breadcrumbs
2 Tbs mayo
greek spices to taste (I have one of those "greek flavor" spice combo shakers. But I know that fresh herbs would be oh-so-much better!)
oil for pan frying

1. grill/pan eggplant pieces until soft
2. combine cooked eggplant and chickpeas in food processor until it's a chunky slightly pasty consistency.
3. put into bowl, and mix in breakcrumbs, mayo, spices, and egg by hand
4. shape balls and pan fry in oil about 5-10 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Turning to brown evenly
5. Serve over white rice, cover in tzatziki sauce, and enjoy!





Happy Friday Eve!

L

May 18, 2015

4 Month Update


Happy Four Monthaversary Clark-Man!

Likes
bath time
getting tickled (but still working on his laugh!)
being held
seeing all the action. In the kitchen! At the table! In the living room!
exploring his "screamy" voice

Dislikes
loud noises
hunger!!!!

Weight
about 15 lbs

Nicknames
Clark-Man
Little Squeak
Fuzzy Head
Stinky Head
Cheesy Boy

I want to remember
His stinking adorable outfits that were still stinkin adorable even when he was clearly too large for them


How he makes grumpy old man faces

This moment. Hanging out in his room on Mother's Day


I can't believe another month has gone by! I'm so excited for the summer as we have planned visits with family, and he is starting to being more interactive every day! It feels less like we are planning our schedule around him, and more like we are planning how to schedule things so he can be a part too!

Happy Monday!


L
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