Monday, April 14, 2014

The Turban

My kids are cringing but I am having a serious moment with turbans. Last week I was able to get a sneak peek and the chance to purchase this one from the May line at work. I didn't hesitate. Since this printed one doesn't go with everything I own, I found myself fashioning others from silk scarves and bandanas all weekend long. 
Sorry kids.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sunday Suppers

I don't know about you, but I love Sunday dinner. It's the perfect day to have a long, lingering meal. And if it occurs in the middle of the afternoon then all the better. This past Sunday we threw two roaster chickens on the smoker early in the morning, I made homemade mac and cheese, grilled some asparagus, and made a big batch of sangria.  My brother and his family arrived around 1:30 with a delicious garden salad and we sat down around 2 to share that midday meal.
Afterward, we played yard games and lounged in the sunshine. By 5 pm my brother and his family were on their way home and we all snuggled up on the couch to watch some tv, relax and mentally prepare ourselves for the start of a new week.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Homemade Pizza

I love pizza. I think I could eat it almost every day and never tire of it. Growing up outside Manhattan has also made us privy to some of the best pizza in the continental United States. Relatives that have spread out to other areas of the country find it mandatory to have a slice, or two, or three whenever they find themselves back East. It's really that good.
Unfortunately, we find the pizza joints around here to be totally inconsistent. One time you will order a pie that knocks your socks off, next time it may be awful. Just when we think we found a new place to order from we wind up sorely disappointed a few orders in.
A few weeks ago we arrived home from work exhausted and hungry and placed an order with a local pizzeria we'd been frequenting for some time. I flipped open the box, stomach growling with anticipation and peered down at a charred circle that looked vaguely like a pizza and was so thin it could barely hold the sauce and cheese that was on top. It tasted as unappetizing as it looked and I was annoyed. You get more consistency from the drive thru window at McDonald's or Taco Bell than these pizza joints around here.
I was resolved to start making my own and two weeks ago I began to do just that. It's quick, it's easy and I can turn out two pies for less than the cost of a single crappy take out one. In fact I announced that first night that it was the best pizza I had had in the past year and I wasn't bragging. I was just stating the truth.

Homemade Cheese Pizza
I have been buying local refrigerated pizza dough from the grocery store as a short cut but I also keep the packets of instant pizza dough yeast on hand. The packets cost pennies, they just take a few extra steps to prepare.
1 ball of pizza dough
1 cup of homemade or prepared pizza sauce
2 cups of shredded mozzarella (or other Italian blend)
This ratio is critical because too much sauce is no good and too little sauce is no good either.

Roll out pizza dough on a pizza stone or other round baking pan. 
Spread pizza sauce on top
 I use the backside of a spoon to spread the sauce around the rolled out dough
Top with shredded cheese
Bake in a 375 degree oven until cheese is melted and dough has firm, lightly browned edges. Takes about 12-15 minutes

*note: Use your imagination! The sky is the limit with toppings. I love a Hawaiian pie so on Friday nights I will chop up any leftover deli ham from the week's lunches to minimize food waste

Friday, April 4, 2014

South of the Mason-Dixon

Last Saturday morning I jumped in the car and headed south of the Mason-Dixon line for the weekend. My heart longs for the South these days and a quick trip to Virginia helped the ache just a little.
It was a wonderful time with my niece, nephew, mama and sister. Even at the ripe old age of 40 there is comfort in knowing your mama is sleeping right next to you.
Sunday we celebrated my beautiful cousin and her baby to be. I will never turn down the chance to be with the world's greatest aunt - I love that lady like there's no tomorrow. 
Time flew by so fast and before I knew it I was back in the car heading home where my children looked more grown up than ever. Funny how that happens....
Luckily I get to do this again in a couple short weeks but I find myself wishing I was heading back tomorrow....