Welcome to a brand new week! I hope your weekend was good to you! Here in Missouri we were under an excessive heat warning until Sunday evening, which definitely played a role in our weekend plans. I was so excited to finally be able to get my house cleaning done early on Saturday, and then we made a bee-line for the beach around 9:30 so we could get our lake time in before it got hot enough to roast us on the sand.
We left the beach a little before noon, and after that it was indoor activities only. We had a quick lunch and cleaned up, then headed out for some back to school shopping — seriously, can you believe that time is here again already?! After Hunter got his Dragon Ball Z shirt, Logan got his Vans sneakers and Gabriel got some new tennis shoes, we did a quick mini-clothing haul at Target and went home to get ready for 5:00 mass.
Mass ended at 6, and then we got to the fun part – pizza and movie night! I love making pizza at home because you can experiment with toppings and throw together whatever you want, without spending the crazy prices for carryout or delivery. I make a whole wheat crust, which is the most work that goes into the pizza, but aside from mustering up the patience for dough kneading, it is super simple.
I made the dough first thing in the morning in between house cleaning to let it rise. Then I shaped it into two crusts and baked them for 10 minutes so they’d be ready for that night. After church all I had to do was preheat the oven, smear on sauce, cheese and toppings, then pop it in the oven to bake. Easy peasy!
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 packet yeast
- 1 TBS sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2-3 TBS olive oil
- garlic powder and dried rosemary
- 2-3 cups marinara (depending on how saucy you like your pizza)
- 1 whole ball of mozzarella, sliced into thin circles
- Fresh oregano and basil, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Any and all toppings your heart desires!
- Put 1 cup warm water in a glass measuring cup with salt and sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Pour into a bowl with olive oil, then add flour, and garlic powder and dried rosemary to your taste, then stir until fully combined and dough forms.
- Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Place into a new bowl sprayed or brushed lightly with olive oil, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying or brushing with olive oil, then dusting with a sprinkle of corn meal to help prevent sticking. Divide dough into two balls, then stretch/shape each into a crust. Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- From here you can store the crust for later, or go ahead and assemble your pizza. Smear on the marinara, then layer on the mozzarella (there will be lots of space between the slices, but it will melt and spread as it bakes. Then top with whatever ingredients you wish…and for a final little kick of flavor, sprinkle on some fresh chopped oregano and basil leaves!
- Place assembled pizzas in 400 degree oven for 15-25 minutes, depending on how many toppings you have layered on.
My boys love their meats, so we had to make them happy. Hunter especially loves ham and bacon, so we did one pizza with ham, bacon and prosciutto. As for Michael and me? Well, we aren’t picky! And I love veggies. We definitely did some bacon and prosciutto, but we also added mushrooms, spinach, bell pepper, tomatoes, red onion and banana pepper rings. And don’t forget the fresh basil and oregano on top from the garden!
The best part, though, is the mozzarella. There is such a massive difference between the pre-shredded mozzarella in the bag with additives to keep it from clumping, and a fresh ball of soft, silky mozzarella that you slice thin and lay in whole circles right on top of the sauce — OMG! On top of the mozzarella, I also grated some white cheddar, and topped the pizza off with some grated Asiago.
We didn’t even feel a little guilty eating this pizza! We gathered around How to Train Your Dragon 3 and ate to our hearts’ content, then chased it with some popcorn and ice cream that Michael picked up from the grocery store near my house to spoil everyone a little on our Saturday family night.
Next up on my agenda is preparing for the school year. The boys will be home in three weeks, and school starts in three and a half weeks. This summer has flown by! Gabriel also starts kindergarten this year (it’s been a hot minute since I had a kindergartner around!), so Michael and I have been organizing our new blended schedules for the upcoming school year. We have a new relationship and both of us have kids, so I have to un-structure myself from the ways I’ve adopted over the last several years and do some rearranging — both to fit Michael and his kids into our routine, and also to accommodate my boys’ new love of BMX because they need time to go to the skate park and practice.
We have a pretty solid weekly plan worked out so we can do dinners together, work in the kids’ activities, as well as each of us to have time free to spend alone with our own kids. All of us get along really well and the kids all do great together, but it’s important for the kids and the parents to still have exclusive time for each other too. In addition to this, we also worked in a date night each weekend because that is important for the health of our relationship.
Now that we have that all worked out, I’m switching gears to my favorite domain — dinner! It’s been a very long time since I had a little one to think about when planning meals, so now I’m getting creative to come up with healthy meals that are also kid-friendly. I was never a chicken nuggets and fish sticks kind of person with my boys. I was always adamant about making them real food that is also simple, because little kids are often not open to things that “look weird”. So every other week I need to come up with fun things for Gabriel — which will also probably please Hunter because he’s my picky child whose tastes are not much more sophisticated than a kindergartner’s!
With that being said — stay tuned for some new recipes, and maybe even a new series on the blog. Depending on what I find and come up with, I’m considering starting a Mediterranean Diet for Kids category in my food menu!
Coming later this week — a new gardening post. I hope this finds you well, and I will be writing to you again soon!