Pizza Party

The property that we rent is full of various features.  We have a brick laid patio, a small water feature, a recreational pond, and a wood fired oven.   The wood fired oven was built by our landlord.  It may take a while to get heated up, but it cooks super quick once it is to temperature. So far we have made spatchcock chicken, steak, a variety of vegetables, and of course PIZZA!

For my  birthday we decided to invite people over to make their own pizzas.   We had a variety of toppings and made the dough from scratch.  I will have D write down the dough recipe for me.

My niece and I formed about 25 pizza crusts, so that the process moved a bit quicker.   It took us a while to get the hang of it, but she wanted to help.

booger butt

Once everything was set up, we headed downstairs and began the serving process.  Each pizza took about 2 minutes to cook.  As one pizza was in the oven, the next person was making theirs, and over 30 minutes, everyone was happy and fed.

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This pizza was the flavor winner!

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Just look at that face!

 

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Toppings included spinach, olives, sundried tomatoes, onions, feta, and so many more! Another favorite pizza topping combinations is pears, gorgonzola, bacon, and basalmic glaze.   Of course you can put ANY topping that you want onto pizza.

 

Overall, for our first pizza party, this one was a succuess!

 

R.

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How to keep a plant green forever.

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If you are anything like me, you will kill any living plant that is brought into your home.  Yes this includes the so called “hearty” plants.  I have found a solution. Faux succulents.  But not  the plastic ones that will sit on your shelves and collect dust. These are made out of wool, through a process called felting.

Felting can be done in several ways, my favorites are needle and wet felting.

Needle felting can be used to make shapes. The needle is super sharp, and has several barbs.  The barbs help make the felt fibers bind together. The more you poke your project, the tighter and more defined it will become.  This process teaches patience, you can go super fast, but you will probably stab yourself.

 

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The second process is called wet felting.  The way I felt, uses a zip lock bag, soap and water.  I begin by picking out my colors and layering them until I have a decent amount. Next I put the layered felt into the zip lock bag with water and a little soap. At first you just want to press the felt into place, you do not want to mess up the pattern. After a few minutes, you can then start to shift the bag more.  Again the more you move the felt, the tighter it will be. Once I feel like it is tight enough, I rinse it in the sink. You can alternate between hot and cold water to get the fibers to bind more. Typically with this method, I will tighten the fiber bonds with my “felting gun” before I cut.

Once the mat is as tight as you want, you can then cut out select shapes. After you have about 20 petals, you then use the needle to join them together.  I like to start from the outside and work my way in.

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After you have formed you succulent, you can put it into a votive, or attach it to another artsy item.

The best think about roving wool, is that you can find it in TONS of colors. The succulents do not have to be just green. If you would like a custom product just reach out!20180831_154714

Happy Crafting!

-R

When Life Gives You Giant Brussels Sprouts

Every two weeks we get a delivery of ugly produce from Imperfect Produce.  The company sends produce that is “ugly” around the United States.  What qualifies produce to be ugly?  Too large, too small, too many, or just oddly shaped.  You can follow this link to receive $10 off your first box.  If they do not deliver in your area, just keep checking; they are rapidly expanding.

https://www.imperfectproduce.com/register.php?referral=382306

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On our last delivery, we recieved GIANT Brussels sprouts, like the size of my palm giant.

I did a quick google search, and watched a few videos to decide what we could make with them. We decided to make Stuffed Brussels sprouts.  It takes about 15 minutes to prepare and 15 min to cook.

 

Begin by washing and cutting the Brussels Sprouts in half.

Next, blanch until bright green. Make sure to put them cut side down in the water.  You want the insides to be soft, but the outside layers to remain crunchy.

Once blanched, gently remove the inside layers of the Brussels Sprouts, you want to form a cup shape.  This may take some practice and patiences.   Place the middles layers in to a bowl, until all of the Brussels Sprouts are  shaped.

 

Next, finely chop the middles. If you want to save time, you can add your fresh herbs to finely chop.  Once they are chopped up, place them back into your bowl.

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Next, you want to add the garlic, black pepper, panko bread crumbs, parmeasean cheese, and goat cheese. We happened to have some blue cheese dip  ( from Keystone Sports Review in Indianapolis), that was left over, so I threw that in too.  Mix well.

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Once mixed, spoon mixture into the Brussels Sprouts cups, and place on a foil lined baking sheet that is sprayed with oil.   If you have any left over filling, you can place it into an oven safe dish and heat it up.  Enjoy it like a dip.

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Place in an oven at 450 for 10-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

 

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Enjoy after they Cool!

 

 

 

 

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Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

12 Large Brussels Sprouts
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
fresh herbs- oregano, parsley, garlic chives, thyme ( or dried italian seasoning)
1/4th cup shreded parmeasean
1/2 cup goat cheese
(1/4th blue cheese dressing )
1/4th cup panko bread crumbs

Preparation

  1. Preheat Oven to 450F.
  2. Wash, cut and blanch Brussels sprouts. When blanching place cut side down.
  3. Remove the middles to form cups with the outer layers.
  4. Finely cut the middles of the Brussels Sprouts. Chop herbs at the same time. Place in bowl.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix well.
  6. Spoon mixture into Brussels Sprout cups.
  7. Place on a foil lined tray (sprayed with oil).
  8. Bake at 450F for 10-15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restored table

Have you ever driven past a discarded object on the curb and decided you HAD to have it? That is where the story of this table begins.  I was driving to work, when I noticed two tables. I immediately turned around, to get them. However, my car doors were too small for the large table so, I was only able to take the small one.

The table is made of walnut, so my neighbor says. It has 3 tiers, two of which are glass. I instantly knew that it would be used in my bedroom, for all of my nail supplies.  Why? Because every time I do my nails, I drag so many supplies out, and then leave them scattered all over the house. It is a horrible habit that I am sure D will appreciate its disappearance.

This is the third piece of furniture that I have restored this year.  I love the way that old furniture holds up.  We have many hand-me-down pieces at FroHHill, in all kinds of conditions. But how do you start?

 

I begin each project by removing any hardware. Remove any knobs or fixtures that may get in the way of sanding.  I usually like to leave the project in one piece, I don’t want to create any new holes or problems down the line.

 

Next you want to sand it down.  We really like our Ryobi sander. It is lightweight and affordable. Make sure you sand off any old varnish or paint, if it is left on, the stain will not take.

 

Next, wipe down the surfaces to remove any dust. On this particular project I hosed it down and then let it dry in the sun for a few hours.

 

Once it is dry, recheck all surfaces to make sure you have removed any previous coating.  If it is all off you can begin staining.

 

When staining wood, you simply brush it on. I personally like the foam brushes, the tend to cut back on the dripping. I made sure to cover the top of my glass, as well at the edges with painters’ tape. Once you have brushed the stain on, and it has set for about 5 minutes. Take an old towel and wipe it away. Make sure you use a clean section of towel each time. The longer you let the stain sit, the deeper the color.

There are a variety of colors that you can choose from today. Typically, the small cans are enough for one project. We got the pint, and It has been used on all three pieces that I have done this year. And I still have enough for one more project.

After the wood is stained and dried, you can then add any painted detail.  For this projected, I chose a copper hammered metal look for the bottom tier, as well as the wood you see under the glass.  I felt that this would be a nice addition to the project, and that it would brighten it up.  The hammered metal paint is supposed to be used on metal, but it worked just fine on the wood.

After all of the detailing is completed, you can then add a layer of polyacrylic. It is important that you do not shake this. If you shake it, then bubbles will appear on your surface, and it will not be easy to remove. Paint it on in a smooth fashion, and with the grain of the wood.

Once the first coat has dried, lightly sand it down, and remove any dust.  You are then ready to add your next coat. Again, keep it smooth, remove any drips as soon as you see them.  Repeat the process until you are satisfied.

I decided to add wheels to the table. I found some that fit the legs at the hardware store for about $5. They are able to swivel, but do not have a lock. The important thing to note, make sure you drill the hole deep enough.  I made sure the wheel was flush before securing the socket.  Once the hole was deep enough, I gently hammered the socket in, and then pressed the wheel into place.  The first one I placed, was not deep enough, and when I tried to drill it further, I bent the socket. Don’t do that 😊.

And that is it.  To recap, you need to find your project. Sand it down, remove dust, add stain, seal it, and enjoy.

Happy Creating

-R

Everything Pita Bites with Lox

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Do you love everything bagels smeared with cream cheese and lox? I know that I do, but what I don’t love, is all of the unnecessary carbs that are present.  I decided to get my fix, using pita crackers that I found.  This recipe is super easy, it also makes for a quick 5-minute appetizer if you have a party coming up.

Ingredients:                                                                                   Calories

12 Townhouse Pita crackers                                                     140

2 tbsp light cream cheese                                                          60

1 oz Lox or smoked salmon                                                       55

Everything bagel seasoning                                                       5

 

The above amounts are what I used to make a decent snack for myself.  It may not be the healthiest option, but it is way better than a WHOLE bagel.

Preparation:

Smear cream cheese on to the pita crackers. Add a 1/4th inch of the lox and sprinkle the everything bagel seasoning over.  That is it!  Like I said, this is a super easy, yet delicious recipe.

If you want to get really fancy, you can use fresh carrot chips or celery.

 

Enjoy

-R

Ranchy Chicken Salad

The other day, I made a whole chicken for dinner.  But, after a while you get tired of eating the same chicken day after day.  This recipe is a great way to take the left over chicken to the next level, while still being healthy. When I have made this recipe in the past, I always used mayo or ranch dressing to hold the chicken together. I have even used an avocado, leftovers did not look pretty. This recipe uses shredded zucchini.. weird I know, but stick with it, it does work. I promise!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken – diced
  • 2 cups zucchini – shredded
  • 2 tbsp ranch powder
  • Additional spices from the herb garden- basil, oregano, rosemary
  • pepper

Preparation:

  • In a medium bowl, mix zucchini, chicken
  • Add in ranch powder and additional spices
  • Additional veggies can be mixed in as well, we liked tomato or carrots for a crunch.
  • Enjoy on a sandwich, with Ritz or club crackers, or on fresh veggie slices.

 

Have a great day!

-R

Crunchy “pasta” salad.

Its the middle of summer, which means vacations, cook outs, and pool parties.  Are you running out of “healthy” side dishes to serve?  This recipe may be the one for you!

This recipe was first created as a way to clean out the refrigerator.  A few days before I made it, I had made a Zucchini Tomato Salad ( Recipe to post later), this bright recipe is full of herbs, especially dill, spices and dill. Super easy to make.  But I wanted something extra.  Since I had spaghetti squash already cooked up, I just mixed them up. And it was FANTASTIC, and one of my go to recipes now.

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Ingredients

  • Vinegar to taste- start with 1/4th a cup.
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh or dry herbs- try a mixture of basil, rosemary, oregano, and dill.
  • 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash – cut in to bite size
  • diced vegetables- carrots, tomato, broccoli, olives … anything else you may have around

 

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Preperation

  • Mix the vinegar, oil, and spices in a small bowl
  • wash and cut vegtables
  • in a large bowl, mix squash and vegetables
  • pour vinegar mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat.

If you want to spice it up even more, try adding cheese or pepperoni.

I hope you ( and your guests) enjoy this healthy pasta salad.

 

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet and Spicy Sauce

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This sauce was something quick that I threw together. I wanted something to dip my egg rolls in, but we didn’t have anything.  The amounts listed below can be adjusted to make more. The current amount was enough for 2 people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp hoisen
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2tbsp rice wine vienagr
  • Optional – ½ tbsp red pepper flakes for spice.

 

To give this sauce an extra kick! You can add pineapple ( I am allergic).  I feel like it will give the sauce an extra sour boost.

Baked Egg Rolls

 

 

Hey Friends!

The other night D and I wanted to have some Chinese food, but rather than take out we made Beef and Broccoli  with Crab Ragoons at home.  But that left me with a ton (OK 10) wanton wrappers. So today I decided to make some egg rolls.  This recipe is super simple, and you can make a bunch with in 45 minutes.  Which is great for kiddos in the summer, or for when unexpected guests stop by.   I will post the other recipes later!

Ingredients

  • Cabbage- can be precut, think coleslaw mix
  • 1 bag
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • Grated ginger
  • ½ tsp ( or a few shakes) of ground cinnamon
  • Precooked ground sausage if desired.
  • Wanton wrappers ( I find these near the produce section)

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • On stove top, warm olive oil.
  • Add cabbage, stir to coat
  • Add in soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, ginger and cinnamon. Stir to mix.
  • If adding sausage, make a hole in the center of pan. Push cabbage mixture to edges.
  • Once sausage is warm, mix throughout cabbage.

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  • Place 1 wanton wrapper on a clean cutting board, corner pointed towards you.
  • Add a spoonful (about 1/4th cup) of cabbage mixture on to wanton.
  • Fold corner up, then the 2 sides. Making sure the filling stays inside, roll the wanton.
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  • On the upper corner, dab water to help seal edge. Place on foil lined baking tray
  • Repeat until all of the cabbage mixture is used.
  • Spray both sides with cooking oil of your choice.
  • Place in oven for 10 minutes,
  • Flip each role to the other side, cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, let cool and Enjoy!

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*Tip, pair this recipe with the Crab Rangoon for a fun Asian night.

Makes 10 medium egg rolls.

Feel free to comment  or ask questions!

 

Need a dipping sauce?  Check out this recipe https://creativelyserved.com/2018/07/11/sweet-and-spicy-sauce/ .

 

-R