November 27, 2012

Herb Infused Pizza Dough

Sunday nights is often pizza night for Matt and me. I've used a traditional homemade crust recipe for a number of years and decided to switch it up a little bit by adding more flavor to the crust itself. I jumbled a bunch of ideas together to come up with this whole wheat herb infused pizza dough and after watching the following video, really feel like I have nailed down how to make a good pizza dough...finally!

Herb-Infused Pizza Dough

2 cups whole wheat flour + 3⁄4 cup flour, divided
3⁄4 tsp salt 
1 tsp white sugar 
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil 
2 tsp yeast
3 tbsp oil 
2/3 cup very warm water 
More flour for surface when kneading

In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1 cup of the flour, salt, sugar, herbs and yeast.Stir well. Quickly add 2/3 cup of very warm water along with 3 tbsp of oil. Stir well. The dough will be very sticky.

Add in 3⁄4-1 cup more flour, gradually, as youstir. Once all of the flour has been added to the dough, place the dough on a floured surface. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, adding more flour if the dough or surface gets sticky, until the dough is not sticky.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a large, oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise for 1-2 hours, punching the dough down half way through.

For best results, make the dough the day beforehand and place in an oiled and sealed plastic bag in the fridge. Allow the dough to come to room temperature on the counter before forming into the pizza crust. Add sauce and toppings. Cook on stone in 500 degree oven for about 15 minutes. 


    November 23, 2012

    Spicy stuffed mushrooms

    We have spent Thanksgiving with the Siemens family for almost every Thanksgiving since Leah and I moved to Anchorage. The first Thanksgiving was spent with our own family, who visited from Iowa (my parents) and Portland (my brother and sister-in-law) for the long weekend. Since then, the Siemens' have welcomed us to join them for the holiday.

    This year I was asked to bring an appetizer for everyone to enjoy. I asked Matt what he wanted and he said stuff stuffed mushrooms is what I brought.

    Since I knew we would be likely experiencing a high dose of carbs for the main course, I went for a low carb version of stuffed mushrooms and added some spice to make the mushrooms more satisfying.

    Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms

    24 large white mushrooms, cleaned
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 lb spicy chicken sausage (any italian sausage would work)
    1/2 c sliced scallions
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp dried oregano
    1/2 tsp dried basil
    1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    1/2 c + 2 tbsp mozzarella cheese, shredded
    2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

    Heat oven to 400F. Remove stems from mushrooms and chop finely to equal 1/2 cup (save or discard leftover stems). Place mushroom caps in bowl and toss with 1 tbsp oil. Arrange caps, gill side up, on baking sheet.

    Heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat in skillet. Add sausage, scallions, garlic, seasonings and mushrooms stems. Stir and break sausage into smallest pieces possible until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 c mozzarella and 2 tbsp parmesan cheese; stir just until cheese melts.

    Stuff mushroom caps with mixture. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp mozzarella.

    Bake until cheese has melted and mushrooms are tender; about 10-12 minutes.

    The mushrooms were a hit and Thanksgiving was a wonderful day. Matt and I are truly blessed to have people that care so much about us in Anchorage...where we are so far away from our own families.

    For the rest of the evening, we relaxed and spent some quality time with Rio. I think she was pretty tired because she dosed off pretty quickly. Such a cutie.

    I hope you all had a great day!

    November 22, 2012

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever...

    Have a wonderful day with family and friends.

    November 16, 2012

    I went to Kinnick!

    On Saturday, Matt and I were treated to a Hawkeye game at Kinnick Stadium. Although the Hawkeyes Purdue (ouch!)...the game was still fun...

    ...we enjoyed one of "Iowa's Largest Brats" from Jerry & Margie's Catering on the way to the stadium. They were delicious.

    The day was perfect for a game...65 degrees and sunny...definitely different than the 8 degree weather we left in Anchorage...

    Iowa is a smoke-free campus!

    Kinnick Stadium was "blacked out" for Family Weekend...

    ...and in celebration of Veteran's Day, the players were wearing throw back jerseys.

    It was so fun to watch the game with Leah and my mom...

    Matt's parents met us at Eric's house after the game to take us to Omaha. The time I spent in Iowa City was great, and I am looking forward to another trip home in December.

    Happy Friday!!

    November 14, 2012

    I went to Iowa.

    Matt and I took a long weekend vacation to visit our families...first my family in Iowa. After flying into Chicago, we headed straight for Iowa City.

    My nieces were there to greet us. I was so happy to see them.

    It was the first time Matt had met them and they bonded well...

    I was super excited when Leah came home from work. It was so good to see her after three months of being apart.

    On Friday, I showed Matt around Iowa City. We walked around downtown and on the University of Iowa campus.

    My mom and Leah fixed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal Friday night. We all enjoyed sitting at the table and talking, but called it an early night because we had an Iowa Hawkeye football game to attend in the morning... 

    More to come...

    November 07, 2012

    Keep Goin.

    One of the most interesting things about living in Alaska is that before voting closes in our state, the U.S. Electoral College has determined the next president. Before I went to bed last night, Mitt Romney congratulated President Obama on his victory and it was determined that Republicans would again control the House and the Senate would be led by Democrats. 

    Mitt Romney defined classy in his election concession speech last night. He stated that "although our country is in a time of great challenges, I pray that Obama will be successful in leading our nation." Romney expressed the importance of bipartisanship among our leaders and how, as citizens, we must rise to the occasion - to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family.  

    Like Mr. Romney, I believe in America and I believe in the people of America. I have faith in the political system.  

    While I was struggling to theorize why the people of our country chose to continue to move "forward" under the same agenda as the last four years, I was reminded of the following bible verse. It reminded me that with the sustaining power of God's hand and love, we will carry through and prosper.  

    "We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9

    In other, much more positive and exciting, news...Matt and I are headed to Iowa and Nebraska tonight. We are more than thrilled to celebrate an early Thanksgiving and watch an Iowa football game in Iowa City with my family, and then head to Nebraska to spend a couple days with Matt's family. 

    Happy Wednesday!

    November 06, 2012

    Happy Election Day!

    Did you vote today?