Monday, November 3, 2014

My Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust

If I let them, E and B would eat pizza several times a week.  They love a well built pizza. In my quest to keep things as healthy as I can, and in an effort to get over my fear of using yeast, I had to learn how to make homemade crust!

I first started out making a crust using Greek yogurt and self-rising flour. It was alright, easy but not the crust I wanted.  After several attempts with different recipes, this one is my favorite.  It is so easy and forgiving.

While you can use the dough immediately, letting it proof for at least a week will add so much noticeable flavor.  The crust has a really good rise when baked so you can roll it fairly thin.  I bake the filled pizza crust in a preheated 425 degree for about 15 minutes or until cooked to desired crispness.

My Favorite Homemade Pizza Crust
Heavily Adapted from:

What you need:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups warm water

What to do:

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer add the flour, oil, yeast, salt. 
  • Using the dough hook, turn mixer on low. 
  • GRADUALLY drizzle the water into the flour mixture until it forms a ball. 
  • If your dough is too "wet" add a little more flour. If your dough is too "dry" add a little more water.
  • Continue kneading on low for approximately 10-12 minutes. The dough ball should be tacky but not sticky to the touch.
  • Cover your dough ball with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise until it's twice it's size.
  • Dough can be used immediately after it has risen (bake in a preheated 425 degree oven); or placed in a plastic zip bag and stored in the fridge.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Weekend Project - The NON Magnetic Chalk Board

Thanksgiving will be in our home this year and I am really excited about it.  There are so many projects I want to have completed before November but it seems really daunting.  It’s mostly stuff that we've put off doing like painting, organizing, building furniture, buying furniture, etc.  

While I work really well under pressure, I want to take my time and get everything just right. So I have decided to take two weekends out of the month for home projects. I will pick several projects from my master list and complete them over the course of a weekend. These will be strictly Saturday posts. I cook, I am NOT a diy-er! LOL  Sounds easy right? 


The first project on the list is the Magnetic Chalk Board Wall.  Getting this all together first required me to sand the walls, paint the walls and to clean and paint the baseboards.  THEN, I will need to prep the frame (remove the current picture and spray paint it) and paint the area, first with magnetic paint, then with chalkboard paint, where the frame will hang.  I hated it.

The magnetic part was a big fat FAIL! The magnetic paint was a runny mess; such that I had to touch-up my freshly painted wall.  After three or four coats of that hater magnetic paint, the magnets did not stick.  I just ended up with a framed chalkboard section...that I didn't like.  I contemplated for weeks about what I was going to do with it. 

I ended up painting the entire wall chalkboard and liked it way better....way!!! All of the frames were either thrifted or ones I already had on hand.  

While this project took way longer than I anticipated and didn't start out how I imagined, I love it better than my initial plan.  I also have plans to make some letter changes eventually.  However, it encouraged me to continue tackling the other projects on my list...which is long and strong y'all! Long. And strong.

Next up: The Family Room Gallery Wall

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I got a new job!

I began a new adventure last month.  I got a new job!  I am very excited about the opportunities that this new position and company will provide me.  I went from being a team of one, performing 95% of the functions to having a team of people to work with.  My department is not just a team on paper, they legit work as a team; the fact that they/we all like each other is a huge, refreshing bonus!  My pay increased to do FAR less work than I was previously. (I will discuss my issue with this later)

My commute!! Let me tell you, this probably makes me the MOST happiest.  My commute has been cut by more than half!  I travel against the grain of rush hour traffic, I don’t have to get on 10 or 45 and there’s minimal traffic returning home because I leave work at 3:30!!  For those that know about traffic on I-10 and I-45, my former route, know that not having to get on either of those freeways at any hour is a happy hour!  My quality of life has increased significantly because of this.  The first week or so of getting home between 4 and 4:15, I didn't know what to do with myself! LOL Getting home early enough to do things other than, immediately, starting the dinner|homework|bedtime routine, was foreign to me.  I have gotten so much of my time back.  E and B have noticed that I am less stressed and “not nearly as pissy” and it has only been about a month.  It is amazing what a couple of extra hours in your day can do! 

The only hiccup, which really isn't a hiccup I guess, is that since there is a team doing what I used to do solo, I was concerned about losing the skills that I’d honed for over seven years.  I discussed this with someone I trust.  She told me I was looking at the situation ALL wrong.  She asked me how long had I been putting off completing my educational pursuits because of my workload (in addition to E’s medical stuff)?  She asked how long would it actually take for me to complete the hardest leg of my goals?  She also pointed out that the college is RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from my current employer.  She informed me that this is my “break”.  The break I have been waiting for to complete the last few classes to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam, to study to get some career specific certifications and to begin navigating a couple of Master’s degrees; the break where E is healthy; the break where I don’t feel overworked and stressed.
She’s right and I am going to take FULL advantage of this opportunity! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Now Churning - Nutmeg Ice Cream

I am 0 for 2 in my fall ice cream flavors.  E and B have disliked them both. 

The ginger ice cream was "too gingery" and this one was "too nutmegy"...dude, that's not even a word! LOL.

While I had high hopes for these fall flavors, I greatly appreciate E and B giving me honest feedback on the new foods or recipes I introduce them to. 

I have two, maybe three, more fall flavors I want to try before I go back to my traditional ice cream creations: Apple Pie, an updated version of my S'Mores recipe using a marshmallow ice cream base and Sweet Potato.  Cross your fingers...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


The women I follow on FB are hilarious.  I mean if I need a middle of the day pick me, I can log on and get a good belly roll laugh!  Last week there was a post on Magic Johnson’s son who'd recently had weight loss surgery. One of the ladies said something like, if he remains “fat-minded” the surgery will be a waste.  After I had a sufficient laugh off of the entire thread, Hills comment about being “fat-minded” lingered.

Since March 2014, I have lost nearly fifty pounds. Most of that weight loss came from stress, when the stress was reduced I decided to try to, at least, maintain the loss.  I have dropped several dress sizes, purged my closet twice (such that I am wearing the same combination of outfits every week) and am learning to fall in love with my body all while remaining fat-minded.
When I look in the mirror I still see size 18/20 TBruce.  The TBruce who hid behind over sized clothes, who wasn’t always mindful of her appearance, who still has forty more pounds to lose.  I don’t see the “slim”, “skinny” person y’all seem to see.  I pick my body apart every time I look in the mirror: my butt needs to be firmer, my thighs are too saggy, my arms need toning, my eyes look extra baggy, do I look bobble-headish?

Also, you would think shopping would be way more fun, but it is not.  I am used to going to [insert any plus size stores name] and getting what I needed.  Even bra shopping has become cumbersome.  I automatically gravitate to what was once comfortable to me.  I have been going to my favorite thrift stores for a few staple pieces but I still have not found a go to store for new clothes yet. I am not a 2XL or even an XL any longer.  However, my mind hasn't caught up with my body yet. Plus, I am not stylish! Pinterest has been a boon for me putting outfits together.  

images pulled from Pinterest

I am also aware that I have become VERY mindful of what I eat now, almost to the point of being neurotic.  I am acutely aware of the old habits that led to my weight gain and I am afraid to fall back into those habits.  The only thing that is keeping me from going full on calorie counting Nzai is that I don’t want B to become obsessed with her body image or weight or food or anything.  She watches and learns from me. I want her to see that I am doing things the right way and not in an obsessive way, if that makes sense.

During the next six months I am going to focus on the final forty that I want to lose.  I am going to employ the services of a trainer to tone me up.  I am also going to be consciously less obsessive about food.  I don’t want food to control me this way (obsessive calorie counting) the way it controlled me the opposite way (anxiety/boredom eating).