Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Banner

I’m just so happy I made it through another Utah winter. Actually, this wasn’t a bad winter—hardly any snow—so I shouldn’t have been so eager for spring, but I was eager, that’s for sure. I just crave the warmth too much.


I wanted some fun spring items for my house. First, I planted some wheat grass. Soak wheat grains over night, then plant. Search it on pinterest and you’ll get 432 tutorials. In one week you have this much wheat grass. Disclaimer, there are a lot of health freaks out there who put the cut wheat grass in their smoothies. Don’t do it. It’s disgusting and worse than the taste is the smell. I had to plug my nose to choke down my morning smoothie.


And then I decided to make something fun to hang for the month of April.  An embroidered banner with bunnies.  I used the following designs from my shop Meringue Designs: Circle Monogram, Bunny applique, and the banner sewing pattern for measurements and directions. In 2-3 hours I had a springy decoration to hang in my home.

My favorite part of the Circle Monogram is the final outline stitch of the letter, looks so polished. In the picture below you can see my machine wizzin’ away on the green outline for the letter S.

photo (2)

All the letters were appliqued in white cotton on pastel fabrics. I used a mix of upper case and lower case letters—all included in the monogram pack.


The lowercase “i” and “g” were so much cuter than their uppercase counterparts.


I didn’t use many pastel threads though—you want the letters to really pop.



Just so glad winter is over.


GIVE AWAY: Leave a comment by Monday April 1st to win all the same fabrics I used in my banner to make your own, along with the sewing pattern, the Circle Monogram, and the Bunny Applique. (Please make sure I have a way to contact you either by clicking on your blogger profile or leaving your email.)

WINNER IS COMMENT #4. Her blogger name is “tdehof”. I have no way of contacting her… if she doesn’t contact me I will pick a new winner tomorrow.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pepperoni Pan Pizza

I used to make homemade pizza a lot. And then life got busy with teenagers and dinner prep time got shorter around 5 o’clock each night. I just didn’t have the time anymore to make my regular thin-crust pizza. The counters get too messy and I have to heat the pizza stones for nearly an hour. Then I discovered this Pepperoni Pan Pizza recipe in my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook last week.D7K_5986-2

Oh blessed day!  I’m back to making pizza on weeknights. Yes, the dough has to be made with yeast so it still has to rise, which takes time, but I made this again last night, got the dough made, drove my daughter to her ukulele lesson, came home and finished it off. So it’s doable on a weeknight as long as you are somewhat around. The kids love it, I love that I usually have all these ingredients on hand, and I love the minimal cleanup compared to regular pizza making.

I do have to double the recipe for my family of five. We eat about 3 of the pizzas and save one for snacks the next day. Pfff, teenagers.

The dough is what makes this recipe killer. It is chewy and crispy at the same time. Yes, it is a little thicker because it is pan pizza, but it’s not bready and dry. It has a great crispy chew. I’ve only found that same chew on deep dish pan pizza in Chicago.


The first time I made it we didn’t have any pepperoni but I did have a package of fresh basil so that’s what we topped them with.




I’m just so happy I found this recipe. Pizza on a weeknight. Yes.

Pepperoni Pan Pizza   Printable Version click here

Makes 2 9-inch pizzas (I double this for my family of 5)


2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for greasing pans)

¾ cup skim milk plus 2 additional tablespoons, warmed to 110 degrees

2 teaspoons sugar

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter

2 teaspoons instant yeast (or 1 package)

¾ teaspoon table salt


Sliced pepperoni

Basic pizza sauce: Cook 1 clove garlic in 1 T. olive oil in a saucepan until fragrant—don’t burn the garlic! Add a 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes until thickened.

3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Turn oven to 200 degrees, then turn off once that temperature is reached. Mix milk, sugar, and oil in measuring cup. Mix flour, yeast, and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn machine to low and slowly add milk mixture. After dough comes together, increase speed to medium-low and mix until dough is shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter, gently shape into ball, and place in greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in warm oven until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Coat two 9-inch cake pans with 1 ½ tablespoons of oil each.

To shape and top the dough: Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, divide in half, and lightly roll each half into ball. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, roll and shape dough into 9 1/2-inch round and press into oiled pan. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on counter about 20 minutes until dough is puffy. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the pepperoni between paper towels on a plate and microwave about 30 seconds. This gets rid of lots of that pepperoni grease that usually just leaves pizza with an oil slick.

Remove plastic wrap from dough. Ladle sauce on each pizza, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges. Sprinkle each with 1 1/2 cups cheese and top with pepperoni. Bake until cheese is melted and pepperoni is browning around edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let pizzas rest in pans for 1 minute. Using spatula, transfer pizzas to cutting board and cut each into 8 wedges. Serve.

 Printable Version click here

Blueberry Cobbler with Frozen Blueberries

It’s March and we’re now in the dog days of winter.  But making this cobbler made me feel like summer would come again and fresh fruit would indeed find it’s way to Utah. You make it with frozen blueberries, or rather, there is an option to use frozen which is exactly what I did. I wouldn’t exactly call this cobbler health food, but as far as dessert goes, it’s about as healthy as you’re going to get. A simple biscuit topping on top of pre-baked blueberries.


The recipe, from the Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book,  says that once thawed, the blueberries should emit about 1 cup of juice. Ummm, mine gave me maybe a tablespoon of juice so I nixed the directions to follow when using frozen berries and instead just doubled the amount of cornstarch the recipe called for. It worked! The blueberry fruitiness was thick and jam-like while the biscuit made it a great weeknight dessert.


Printable recipe for Blueberry Cobbler


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