Monthly Archives: March 2013

Pizza dough (totally from scratch!)

If you’re a long-time blog reader (are there any of you out there?) you’ll know that the first summer of this blog’s existence we made grilled pizzas from scratch. But this is going to be like the one I made with store-bought dough, except I made it myself. 🙂

This post will include the recipe for the dough I made (which makes enough dough for 2 medium pizzas) and the finished result of each pizza. The recipe claims this will make dough for 4 pizzas, but seriously unless you’re feeding children I’d say it makes 2 medium pizzas unless you like the crust super thin and then maybe it could make 4, but they won’t be substantial.

I used this recipe for the pizza dough, but used 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 2 cups of bread flour instead of 3 cups of all-purpose flour. Keep reading to see my results!

Ingredients:

1 package of active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
(desired pizza sauce, cheese, & toppings!)

Recipe:

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup warm water.

yeasty

2. Combine the flour and the salt in another bowl.  Add the oil, yeast mixture, and remaining 3/4 cup of warm water and combine until it forms a dough ball. Turn out onto a flat surface and knead 2-3 minutes until smooth and firm.

dough ball

3. Cover dough with a clean, damp towel and let rise for about 2 hours. Divide into 2 equal dough balls and knead these 4-5 times each until smooth. Place under towel and again let rest for about an hour.

stored

covered

risen

4. Roll out your dough on a greased pizza pan, or press dough for a thicker crust.

pizza rolled

5. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings! Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes (may take more or less time depending on thickness and toppings, and desired crispness of crust.)

pizza~

And here is my second pizza.

meaty

Dough will keep in the fridge for about 2-3 days. If you’d like to freeze it, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store this way for up to a week.

Post & photos by: Melissa


St. George Island & Port St. Joe beaches

Last week during spring break I got out to some beaches I hadn’t visited. For a long time now I’ve been meaning to visit St. George Island, and the beach there at the state park. Well I finally made it out and it was beautiful! They also have great facilities (restroom, soda machines, nice roads and picnic pavilions.)

The only thing is that it wasn’t *that* warm and was a bit windy, so I couldn’t stay as long as I would have liked. But I would definitely recommend planning for a warm, mildly windy day to visit this beach.

water pretttttty

saw this birdie

pretty

super pretty

sandy sand

pretttty

pavilion

The other beach I was going to visit was Mexico Beach, near Port St. Joe, but I ended up stopping alongside the roadside at a beach access point in what was called Cape San Blas. It was really pretty, so warm, and pretty clear of people. There are only a few things I want from a beach: Sand, water, a place to change, and peace. And this beach nailed it. The water was just as clear here, but much darker.

approaching the beach

pretty dunes

the water

I also saw a jellyfish. Always be careful on the beach!

Jellyfishes

water

approaches

watery

boop

And we’ve reached the end of this beach adventure.

end of the line

Post & photos by: Melissa


Easy panko-breaded chicken

This is just a quick, simple dinner idea for any cut of chicken (leg, breast, thigh, wing, etc) you happen to have an excess of. All you need is your choice of chicken, some egg, flour and breadcrumbs. Parmesan cheese might be a nice addition and this can be served with pasta, rice, veggies, or any other side of your choosing. You can also salt and pepper the chicken but I didn’t find that necessary.

Ingredients:

~1 pound of chicken (I used chicken breast)
3/4 cup of breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 cup of flour
Oil for cooking

Recipe:

1. Pound your chicken out to tenderize it with a tenderizer or the back of a small frying pan. 

2. Set out a plate of flour, a wide bowl of egg (mixed), and a plate of breadcrumbs. Dip each chicken piece in the flour, coating both sides, followed by the egg and then press in the breadcrumbs.

flour

egg

breadcrumbs

breaded woooo

3. Coat a pan in oil so it covers the bottom about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch. Place each piece of chicken in the pan and cook until golden-brown and crisp and then flip to cook the other side. Remove from oil and place on paper towel-ed plate to cool. Enjoy!

delicious

Post & photos by: Melissa


Strawberry banana smoothie

This isn’t going to be the longest (or best, or most original or most interesting) post but if you’re interested in a quick, easy breakfast or snack and you possess a blender, keep reading!

I used to be a person who never ate breakfast. At other times I would eat cereal, fruit, eggs, toast, or a full breakfast of eggs, hash browns and bacon/sausage. Lately, I’ve been making this smoothie. Not every day, and not always as breakfast but sometimes as a snack. It’s really simple but tastes amazing, almost like a dessert.

The interesting thing about this smoothie is the chia seeds. They really add a nice texture and make this a lot more substantial than just some blended fruit. The greek yogurt adds a nice thickness and the vanilla adds some flavor (though you could use plain if you wanted, I prefer the added flavor and sweetness.) You can, of course, use regular yogurt if you don’t like greek yogurt and adjust the amounts to your liking.

Ingredients:

1 banana, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup-1 cup chopped strawberries
1/4-1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
(water if needed for blending, less water will make a thicker smoothie)

Recipe:

1. Add all to blender.

lookin good

2. BLEND!

mmmm

3. Enjoy.

yay

Post & photos by: Melissa


Sweet potato chips take 2

I had some sweet potatoes left over from when I last made sweet potato chips, and I figured it was about time to use them. I decided to make sweet potato chips again, but to fry them this time. Here’s a recipe for some slightly BBQ-flavored fried sweet potato chips. You can also use regular potatoes, (I’d use yukon gold given the choice) but this is what I had to work with and they tasted great!

Ingredients:

2-3 medium sweet potatoes
Enough oil to cover the bottom of pan about 1 inch

For the seasoning (all can be adjusted to taste):
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Recipe:

1. Prepare your seasoning mix while you heat the oil over medium-high heat to about 350 degrees.

seasoned

2. Slice your sweet potatoes to desired chip thickness (if you have a mandolin or v-slicer that would be great too, but I just used a sharp kitchen knife.) You may peel them or not, just be sure to clean them well.

slices

3. Add sweet potatoes to oil in batches (careful not to splash hot oil!) and cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. When cooked, carefully remove (I used a slotted spoon) and drain on paper towel-lined plate. Repeat in batches until all are cooked!

frying

chips

4. Add chips to bowl and toss with seasoning. Enjoy!

yum

Post & photos by: Melissa


Almond Poppyseed Muffins

Somehow this post got erased, even though I wrote it before. No matter, I’ll write it again..

It started off with something to the effect of a rant about how almond poppyseed muffins and mixes aren’t available here, so I had to make my own. Lemon poppyseed isn’t the same. So I went through a few recipes and decided on this one with a few modifications. I also halved it to make 12 instead of 24 because 24 muffins would be so many.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups flour
1.25 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
~1/2 cup vegetable oil (this suggests much more oil, but I think that makes it too oily)
~1.5 eggs (as close as you can get)
1 teaspoon almond extract (or more)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or more)
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds (or more, to your preferred amount)

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or line your muffin pan. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 

all the dry stuff

 

2. Add your milk, eggs, oil and extracts to preference. Add more for more flavorful muffins. Stir to combine.

mixxxxxxed

 

3. Stir in your poppy seeds.

poppies

 

4. Fill muffin pan carefully and bake for 25-30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Mine took about 27 minutes.

batter

 

baked

 

5. Enjoy! These are so easy to make. 😀

muffinnssssss

 

Post & photos by: Melissa


Spring Break: Orlando/Cocoa Beach – Sunday & Monday morning

On Sunday we went out for brunch at First Watch.

brunch is great!

I had the Parma Hash which they describe as: “Two eggs* any style atop a hash of fresh, seasoned potatoes, Italian sausage, house-roasted Crimini mushrooms, onions and tomatoes with melted Parmesan, mozzarella and fresh herbs.”

As you can tell from the description, it was amazing. It came with an English muffin, but I chose to substitute a fresh lemon poppyseed muffin for $.90 more.

with a cuppa fruit

so cheesy!

After that we went to Cocoa Beach. It was packed, as some spring breaks are occurring at the moment. However, it was really windy and cold. We stayed for over an hour and then went around town a bit before heading back. And of course from my picture you can’t tell it was crowded, you’ll just have to believe me!!

Cocoa beach

The other place we visited in Cocoa Beach was Ron Jon’s surf shop, which if you’ve driven on a highway in northern/central Florida, you’ve probably seen a sign for.

ron jons

RON JON

Apparently they’re open 24 hours. Seems like that would be a big draw in a place where a lot of things seem to close around 5. We ended up going to Downtown Disney to look around and have dinner. We chose Wolfgang Puck Express based on their menu, which included creme brulee and pizza.

I had the 4 cheese & pesto pizza.

pizza

And of course creme brulee. It was very filling.

so big!

The next morning, we went to breakfast/brunch before it was time for me to drive back home. We went to Toojay’s.

Toojay's

I had the Meat Lover’s Skillet, which included sausage, bacon, onions, green peppers, tomato, eggs (obviously), and cheese. It also came with toast and we ordered a grilled blueberry muffin to split.

eggs and such

toasty

muffiny

The muffin was so good. We stopped by Sweet by Holly next door as well, for their Monday special (mini cupcakes for $1 each)

I got a lemon mini and a white chocolate raspberry. I could eat about 50 of those raspberry cupcakes and probably still not get enough; it was amazing. The lemon one was okay.

sweeeeeet

so cute

perf

Post & photos by: Melissa


Spring Break: Orlando – Saturday

On Saturday, we went to the Farmer’s Market in Winter Park.

I got a delicious bagel sandwich for breakfast/brunch, which I forgot to take a picture of! It was an asiago cheese bagel with ham and swiss cheese inside. I wanted to get bacon but they had run out, because we weren’t there very early. We also split some fantastic garlic/thyme/asiago cheese fries and had fresh orange juice and strawberry lemonade, and popsicles.

fries

popsicles are great

Both of those sold-out flavors sounded amazing but I settled for the strawberry lemonade, which was still great!

so gooooood

We waited in line to make sure we got some kettle corn as the market was closing down too.

After that, we went shopping for a few hours… then out for dinner at Shin Jung Korean Restaurant.

shin jung

This was my first Korean BBQ in a while and it may have been the best one I’ve been to. We each ordered a different meat and then split everything. The three we chose were the Kalbi, Bulgogi, and pork belly.

so amazing

And then of course there was the salad and the sides.

salad

sides

And the meat, cooked to perfection.

SO GOOD

I think this was easily the best meal of the trip. It’s a good thing I don’t live near this place, because it wasn’t cheap.

We ended the night with some wine, cheese, chocolate and kettle corn. 🙂

lots of food

Post & photos by: Melissa


Spring Break: Orlando – Thursday/Friday

Last Thursday I drove down to Orlando to visit a friend for the weekend. That night, we went out for Thai food at Thai House.

thai house menu

I had Thai tea and chicken fried rice, because I pretty much always order the same thing, as I’m looking to find the best Thai fried rice in existence. It was pretty good. 🙂

thai tea - yum!

fried rice~

We didn’t get to do much else Thursday night because it was so late. However, Friday morning we got up early-ish, bought some cheap sunglasses at Target, and sandwiches/snacks & water for the park and headed to Universal Studios Orlando Islands of Adventure.

universal

It was crazy busy but not too bad to get around. Our first stop was Harry Potter World.

the hogwarts express

We saw the castle.

castle

And a friendly snowman.

snowman in the sun

And also got some butterbeer.

butterbeer cup

Which was delicious. So smooth and creamy. But also a lot of foam.

honeydukes

more castle

And some more of the impressive castle.

mooooore

We went on the rides in Harry Potter World and I’d say they were worth it. The wait for the dragon one was pretty crazy but it was probably the best roller coaster at the park (or at least the most frightening) and the castle ride was more intense than I thought it would be too.

We went through the entire park, but we didn’t go on all the rides (but we did most!)

jurassic park

RAR

We visited Dr. Suess Land as well. I waited for the guy with the hoodie/hat/cape to leave but he didn’t seem to be going anywhere.

one fish two fish hoodie guy

cat in the hat!

quote

We also found this sign.

what could this mean?

Then, and I had no idea this would be a part of the park, we also went to the comic book area.

comic strip cafe

This was by far my favorite part of the park. I lovelovelovelovelove comics. But not the new ones/superhero ones/Marvel. Classic comics.

Like this Cathy ice cream shop. (Ben & Jerry’s!)

cathy

Or Flash Gordon.

flash gordon

Blondie’s/Dagwood

BLONDIE

Boris & Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle.

boris and natasha it's moose and squirrel

Or Hagar

hagar rarrrrr

AND MY FAVORITE. Betty Boop!

boop boop

She was so cute! Kinda made me want to be her.

so cute

We finished off the night by going downtown and out for a few drinks. Downtown Orlando is really fun at night! Next I’ll be posting about Saturday, followed by a joint Sunday/Monday post.

Post & photos by: Melissa


Another macaron recipe (raspberry buttercream)

Today I attempted another macaron recipe that I found through one of my favorite youtubers. Honestly, though, I need to work on my piping skills. I even bought a piping bag! I am just not great at it. A few of these looked really pretty (I thought) but I do not prefer this recipe to my last attempt, other than the way the cookies looked…

I baked these for 40 minutes, despite the fact that her recipe says 20 minutes, because last time some of my shells were hollow and that is likely due to undercooking. These didn’t burn, but I would say they were a little sharper/crunchier than I would have liked and while they were not hollow, they weren’t correctly chewy. Sigh. But, enjoy my illustrations and click on the recipe above if you’d like to see Entertaining With Beth’s recipe, which I followed (without the cream of tartar.) My food coloring also didn’t come out as pretty as I’d hoped and the cookies were essentially brown.

pretty meringue

cookies not piped well

the cookies

squiiiiish

nom nom

Some were really messed up since I piped them poorly… Il’l even show you that.

eek

That front one is a beast. But the top one is lovely. Anyway, they still taste good, but not as good as the ones from the last recipe (only difference is this one calls for more powdered sugar.) I would recommend following the last recipe, though these did turn out pretty.

Post and photos by: Melissa