Homemade Pizza!

Nothing beats pizza. It’s so cheesy and delicious… you can add any toppings of your choice… you can use traditional pasta sauce or pesto sauce…. pizza has always been my favorite food. When we were in Italy, almost five years ago, I thought I had discovered the best pizza in the world. Well, it still is but I have to admit that homemade pizza comes pretty close.

Olive - the kids favorite.

I love making pizza with the kids. They enjoy rolling out the dough, putting their favorite toppings and watching it slide onto the pizza stone. Of course, the kitchen floor ends up covered with flour, as do all of us, but it’s fun and there is nothing better then having some fun in the kitchen with my kids.

Ricotta, Garlic, Tomatoes, Basil... my favorite!

Mike and I got a pizza stone from Williams Sonoma when we got married, nine years ago, and it is the best pizza stone ever!!! When we moved into our new house five years ago, someone must have dropped it and it broke right in half. I was devastated. But, just a few days later, as Lilliana and I were walking around our new neighborhood, enjoying some tag sales (Lilliana and I love going to tag sales), there it was. Still in the box… a brand new pizza stone, exactly the same one that had broken. It’s truly the best pizza stone ever! It makes the best crust with crisp edges and cooks perfectly even throughout the entire pizza.

Pizza Stone from Williams Sonoma. Love it!

We use a paddle, also from Williams Sonoma, to slide the pizza onto the HOT stone. The key to a great crust is to pre-heat the stone on 500. Nice and hot. I throw some cornmeal down on the paddle, put the toppings on the pizza and then slide the pizza right onto the hot stone. The pizza cooks in 10 minutes!

The secret to the thin crust, is to cut the dough in half. I just discovered the multi-grain dough from Whole Foods. It’s so very yummy! I cut each dough in half and then roll each one out. Makes two pizzas from just one dough. It’s very economical and makes a nice thin crust pizza.

Of course, I’m not a professional pizza maker, so they don’t always come out round…. but I think the different shapes gives the pizza character. hehehe….

We love to make pizza on Friday or Sun nights… get a kid friendly movie and make it a Family Pizza and Movie Night. Bon Appetito!

 

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Ugh! This is so difficult.

Sometimes, I just want to scream!! This is too difficult. There is so much anger, sadness and resentment towards family, friends, God, and all that has happened. It is very overwhelming and so very difficult to overcome. How can we make these feelings go away? How can we breathe again?

This entire experience makes me feel so out of place… it just seems so wrong for all of this to have happened and to be feeling so distant from everyone.

I want to be happy again, to be normal. Sometimes, I just want to run away and struggle with feelings of wanting to move far, far away, just to get away from it all and start all over again. Would that make it any easier?  Can that help the pain go away?

What can help? Who can help? I don’t even know myself. All I know is that I need help. We all need help sometimes. We all need love. We need people to listen. We need people to ask how we’re doing. We need people to offer themselves up to help us in all different ways. We need each other. What we don’t need our people’s opinions about how we should be feeling. We don’t need critism. We don’t need awkwardness. We don’t need isolation.

We all deserve and need love and support. We need a warm embrace, some kind words, a thoughtful gesture. When times are tough, we rely on each other to help us get through it. We do it together. The best gift you can give someone is of yourself. Be kind to others. Be sincere. Be gentle. Love.

Trying our best

Some days, you wake up and are grateful for a beautiful, sunny day and your family and friends that surround you. You are ready to move forward and enjoy the day. You look forward to enjoying those beautiful memories you are going to share with the special people in your life. Even, if it’s just sitting around reading a book together with your kids, or going shopping with a friend or talking on the phone with your mother.

You love all of the special people in your life so you do it for them, you wake up and move forward for them and you do it for yourself. Don’t kid yourself, we all want to be happy and we all want a sunny, happy day, so we try our best to give that to ourselves and we try our best to give that to our loved ones. Friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, they make life worth it. They make you enjoy that day. So, we try our best. That’s all we can do.

When life throws you a curve ball and you’re not sure what to do with it, just try your best, to love all those that love you and do what’s right, what makes you feel good and what makes others around you feel good. That’s all we can do sometimes, is try our best. Isn’t that what we were told when we were kids? It still holds true then, doesn’t it?

But sometimes, it takes so much energy to do all of this… sometimes, it is extremely difficult to move forward. You can’t help but remember everything that has gone wrong in your life, things and people you have lost, especially when it is so very cloudy outside. It is so depressing without the sun. No wonder so many suffer from depression on these rainy, cloudy days…. the sun really motivates you to get outside and enjoy the day, to move forward.

Sun rising over the ocean

So, I’m sending all of you some sun…. some warmth… and some love. Go out and enjoy the day, just one day at a time.  Give your loved ones a phone call, a hug and/or a kiss and watch the sun shine inside all of you. For that’s all we can do, is to try our best.

Sunny, quiet and peaceful beach

“Berry” Good Price

(Hahaha, sometimes I can be very corny with my headlines but I thought it was cute, so it is, what it is.)

We have been buying the most delicious organic strawberries at Trader Joe’s lately and they are a bargain! You get 1 lb. of big, gorgeous, delicious strawberries for only $2.99. That price even beats the conventional (and full of pesticides) strawberries you buy at your local grocery store.

Trader Joes Organic Strawberries

I mean, just look at these. They are BEAUTIFUL and sooooo very SWEET!

Delicious, Sweet, Organic Strawberries

You can get some very good deals on organic foods if you just shop around…. sometimes the prices are EXACTLY the same or slightly higher as their conventional partners. Trust me. I’ve done the price comparisons. Yes, of course, sometimes the prices are higher then the pesticide-hormone injected foods, but sometimes, it really is about the same. Overall, I found that Trader Joe’s has the best prices but many of the Whole Foods, 365 brand products are about the same price as the ones from Trader Joe’s.

When it comes to your children’s health and your entire family’s health, don’t you want to do the best you can possibly do? Well, start small and replace those Dirty Dozen. You’ll see if you shop smart, you’ll get some great deals for organic foods and I don’t know about you, but I love a great deal! Think about it this way. If you could buy a Mercedes Benz for the same price (or just a little more) as a Toyota, wouldn’t you buy the Mercedes? I know I would.

The lucky penny

Well, it seems that Lucas and I have had quite the luck finding those lucky pennies. In the last few days, we have found about 15 pennies and even a couple of dimes. I have no idea why this keeps happening, but it does.

So, yesterday, when we visited Julian, we left him one of our lucky pennies. Even though he isn’t here with us, it is our way of sharing with him. We also brought him a little gift from our recent trip to Baltimore. This was Lucas’ idea and it was a wonderful idea. He has been talking about Julian a lot over the past couple of weeks. He cries for him often and talks about him. He really does miss him. The other day there was a tiny carrot and he said “Mommy, this is a perfect size for Julian” and when I made the mini-muffins, he said again, “Mommy, these are so small. They are good for Julian”.

So, to all those people who think three year old’s don’t really “understand” what has happened, our little Lucas does and he thinks about him often.

Just a few days after Julian was born...

Yesterday marked four months that Julian left us. Just four months ago he was here with us for the very last time. We are all thinking about you Julian, more and more each day.

Oh my Gosh!

Tonight, Lilliana will be in her first play! We are all so very excited for her. She used to be so shy around people and now she is going to perform on a stage in front of over one hundred people. That is quite an accomplishment and I am so proud of her.

We will be serving refreshments for the children and families that attend tonight’s performance and I have baked quite a little spread….. all wholesome, good for you, little treats and peanut free.

Mini Corn Muffins

Mini Apple Pie Muffins

Mini Blueberry Muffins

Oh my gosh, these are sooooo beautiful and so very yummy. I can guarantee they are delicious since I ate one of each kind. It is my duty as the baker to ensure my goodies taste just right!

I’m also going to bring some of my Food Jules Organic Jams so everyone can spread on their crackers, bagels or muffins. YUM!

Organic Cranberry, Organic Apple Pie and Organic Strawberry-Blackberry Jams

I hope everyone enjoys the show and the treats tonight!

What’s cooking tonight?

There’s nothing better then some warm, smooth Potato Leek soup on a rainy, cold day…. or how about a delicious, cheesy lasagna… or if you are in the mood for some Asian food, how about some homemade Drunken Noodles with Shrimp? There are so many options, how can one decide?

Asian Noodles with Shrimp

I made these noodles a couple weeks ago and just looking at them is making me want to make them again this very instant! Asian food is one of my favorite ethnic foods and this dish is so easy to make. Plus, it’s easy to cook vegetarian with the onions, red and green peppers, mushrooms and some fresh broccoli instead of the shrimp. That’s what I love about this dish, it’s so versatile. Oh, and the noodles are rice noodles so it’s a perfect dish for those on a gluten free diet!

Well, until I decide what’s cooking for dinner tonight, I think I’ll sit back and eat a yummy, warm, Chocolate Chip Muffin that I baked last night and brew a latte in my Espresso Love Mug. It’s a perfect afternoon pick me up after spending the morning cleaning the house! Oh and yes, I baked these muffins at 10pm last night. What can I say, it’s my quiet time when I can bake as much as my little heart desires without any interruptions!

Organic Chocolate Chip Muffins

So… what are you cooking for dinner tonight?