Thursday, 15 December 2011

Best Homemade Pizza Ever!

I've recently found the perfect combination of the best pizza crust recipe and the best pizza sauce recipe to create the best homemade pizza ever - if I do say so myself. ;)

And, in the spirit of Christmas, I'm going to share it with y'all!

Finding the perfect crust recipe to impress my husband was the most difficult part of all. I would think I'd found the winning one, and it just wouldn't quite cut it. But this time, I nailed it! The instructions will be using a KitchenAid mixer, but you can obviously also kneed it by hand.

Premium Pizza Crust - adapted from
1 1/2 tsp yeast (I use quick rising)
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups flour (approx)
1/2 tsp salt

In your KitchenAid bowl, dissolve yeast in the water and add 3 cups of flour along with the salt. You will likely need about 3 1/2 cups flour in total (this is always different depending on the altitude and humidity of where you live). Basically continue adding flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If kneeding by hand, until it is smooth and barely sticky. If you add too much flour it gets too heavy - I'd rather err on the side of too little, cause you can always add more when rolling it out later.

Allow the dough to rise in a greased bowl, covered with a towel, until doubled in size (about 1 hr).

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide into two equal pieces and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.

Put pizza pan in the oven and preheat both to at least 450F.

Meanwhile, prepare pizza toppings and roll out dough into the size and shape of your pizza pan.

When oven and pan has finished preheating, carefully remove the pan, spray it with Pam and sprinkle with cornmeal (in my opinion, the perfect way to get a non-sticky yet non-soggy crust), carefully place dough on top of pan, spread with Exquisite Pizza Sauce and desired toppings and sprinkle with paprika (secret from working at a restaurant the served pizza). Bake at 450 (or higher) for about 15 mins (or less, if you baked it higher). Let pizza cool for a couple minutes before cutting and serving.

Exquisite Pizza Sauce - adapted from
one 6oz can tomato paste
6 fluid oz warm water
1 tsp minced garlic (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1 tbsp honey
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes
salt to taste (optional)

Basically, combine all ingredients and allow to sit for about 30 minutes to blend flavours.

You can substitute one tin of tomato sauce (no salt added) instead of the paste/water if that's what you have onhand.

The original recipe called for 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, and though I do like it that way as well, I didn't taste a noticeable difference when I tried it again without it and it's healthier without it, so I just leave it out.

I didn't have cayenne pepper, so I doubled the red pepper flakes instead. I also increased the Italian spices just a bit. I also blended everything with a hand blender because I like it smooth, and to crush up the dried pepper flakes more.

If you love it as much as we do, you can multiply all the dry ingredients by 8 and put in a jar labelled "Pizza Spice" and simply add 2 tsp to the sauce and honey when every time you make it. Easy as pie - pizza pie that is! ;)


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

One Drummer Boy's Passion

I've never really been a huge fan of the Christmas song Little Drummer Boy (I liked the lyrics, but not the tune so much), but that all changed recently when I saw a video one of my friends linked to on Facebook. The song went viral all over the internet and today, almost 2 weeks after originally posting it, it's almost reached one million hits. Amazing! I'm sure most of you have already seen/heard it, but I absolutely love it and had to post it here too.

His name is Sean Quigley and he's a 16 yr old from Winnipeg filled with a passion for Jesus. God has gifted Sean with many amazing abilities - he arranged, composed, mixed and mastered the song, played all the instruments (including bass, guitar, piano and obviously drums!), sang and then also directed and edited the video.

And he did it for Jesus. Because he has a passion for Jesus.
“I guess it comes back to the story of the song – just a drummer boy who goes to find Jesus and has absolutely nothing to give him,” Quigley told the Winnipeg Sun. “He plays the drum for Jesus and that makes him so happy ... That’s me. That’s why I’m doing it.”

“It’s not about me getting recognition,” he affirmed. “This song is about Jesus.”
He's been interviewed or simply written about in numerous articles including the Winnipeg Sun (another Winnipeg Sun article), CTV, Christian Post, CBC and Yahoo. You can hear his radio interview with Larry Updike (CBC) here and see the CTV interview here. With refreshing humility, he always points back to Jesus.

Apparently the song is going to be available on iTunes soon, but you can already get it from CDBaby - I bought and downloaded it yesterday and am loving it!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Truth in the Tinsel discount code - today only!

You can receive 20% off your purchase of Truth in the Tinsel using promo code 12DAYS today only - until midnight ET tonight! When you download it, you'll get a 12 day alternate schedule since there's 12 days left till Christmas. She also has shorter versions - some only 6 days - so there's still time!

So, if you were wanting to do it and never got around to it, don't put it off till next year. There's still time! Originally $4.99, you get $1 off with promo code 12DAYS today only. Check it out - Truth in the Tinsel.

You can see my review here or, if that just doesn't seem your style, check out a bonanza of other Jesse Tree options here.

Friday, 9 December 2011

forgotten foto friday

Forgotten Foto Friday hosted by Laughing at the Future
Forgotten Foto Friday was created by my cousin Tammi. It's where you dig through your memory cards and hard drives to find pictures you liked or were significant but somehow got forgotten, and you finally share them with the world in a delightfully random post!

If you'd like to participate, click on the button on the left or this link.

These photos go WAY back, (to the beginning of my digital camera era) almost 8 yrs ago, when there were only two kids in our family - Emma would be 2 (almost 3) and Sophia about 9 months.

Here they are in their cute Christmas dresses that year.

Gazing into each other's eyes! These two have always played well together. Olivia is right in there too nowadays, but these two do have a special bond.

At one of our hotel stays just south of the border.

"Help me, I'm falling!"

They loved playing together in the crib. (Sophia was our only soother baby.)

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Book Review: The Mirror of N'De by L.K. Malone

About the Book: In the mythical city of N’de lives thirteen-year-old Hadlay and her people, the Ramash. Scorned and abused by the unloving and absent Emperor, the Ramash are poor people, placed second to the ruling class of the Oresed. Young but bold, Hadlay rages against the injustice in her city. When she is chosen for the honor of serving the Prince in the Tower, she hopes to find a way to right the wrong... but soon discovers that things are worse than she believed.

While Hadlay works to better her people’s condition, she struggles to abide with the abusive Oresed and understand the meaning of her dreams in which a fantastical white horse appears to her and speaks in riddles. When Hadlay stumbles into one of the Tower’s secret rooms, she discovers a hidden mirror that doesn’t just show her reflection, but reveals much more: the horse’s name is Sirach and he has a plan to save the children of N’de, if only Hadlay can bring them to the mirror. Hiding her knowledge of Sirach from the Prince, Hadlay sets out to do Sirach’s bidding. But when Sirach’s presence is revealed, Hadley’s life is in danger and the only way to save her is for Sirach to give up his own.

Crafting powerful narrative and creative characters, author L. K. Malone spins a compelling tale that combines exciting entertainment and the Christian story. In The Mirror of N’de, readers will empathize with the desires of an oppressed people, will anger at the affliction of a cruel adversary, and ultimately rejoice with the revelation of a Savior.

My Thoughts: I admit to somewhat surprising myself when I signed up for this blog tour as fantasy is not my usual genre of choice. In fact, my exposure to it has been limited to the Chronicles of Narnia and a few books by Ted Dekker. However, I did like what I read in those books and thought this book sounded interesting enough to give it a go.

I'm glad I did! An allegory of the Christian story, it was completely different to any others I had read previously and it was definitely not as predictable as I first thought it would be - in fact, things were often not what they seemed.

Hadlay, though far from perfect, is a very likeable character and her desire to do her part to help rescue her people reminded me a bit of Queen Esther, one of my favourite Bible stories. Hadlay battles her desire for revenge on the Oreseds throughout the book, very realistic for her circumstances.

Anyone interested in the fantasy genre would like this book! It definitely swept me into a whole new world.

Thank you to Stephanie and Amy from Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.


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