Friday, December 26, 2014

{Blogging for Books} The Pizza Bible

I like pizza. My husband loves pizza so when I saw this cookbook listed on Blogging for Books I had to have it! One of the first instructions is to read through all of the instructions before trying any of the recipes. So, I sat down and read through the introduction titled "Respect the Craft" and then I read through the Master Class section which includes "Gearing Up" "Equipment Checklist" "Tools of the Trade" a shopping list, theory, pro tips, ingredients, a "Go-To flour list" etc. 

Tony Gemignanai is an 11-Time World Pizza Champ and had "Respect the Craft" tattooed on his hands. He might be serious about his pizza. 

I have to admit after reading through everything I was a little intimidated by jumping into any of these recipes but as I gather supplies I am getting more excited. No matter what kind of pizza you like you can probably find a recipe for it in this book. Just don't be intimidated and you will have delicious pizza!

If you love to read you can get books too! I received this book from Blogging for Books for review.

{FFWD} Christmas Cards, Recipes, and Hamsters



For the second year in a row French Fridays with Dorie has had a Christmas card exchange. It is so fun getting cards from all over the world! This year if you wanted to you could include a recipe. I included Cracker Candy and Betsy of A Plateful of Happiness made it this week. My mom gave me the recipe 17 years ago. :) I decided to complete the recipe sent to me by Maria of Box of Stolen Socks from Athens Greece. She sent the recipe for Melomakarona - or Cinnamon and Orange Cookies Dipped in Honey Syrup.  Maria has beautiful photography on her site so you should definitely head over there and check out her posts.

I thought this would be a complicated recipe but it was not as difficult as I thought. I figured out that 1 kg of flour is 8 cups so I halved the recipe. I also got to use one of my favorite Christmas gifts (a digital kitchen scale) to measure out 100 grams of sugar! Of course my tween helped me make these so it was all very exciting!

Christmas was really fun this year. Bobby played guitar at a beautiful candlelight Christmas Eve service and then we looked at Christmas lights. Christmas day was a laid back day filled with family, fun, and reflection on what Christmas means to us. The kids got things they needed and wanted and were very happy with everything. They even got a bow and arrows and a Red Rider BB gun. Those will get plenty of use!

You might notice in the photo below that we have no ornaments on our tree. Since we have a kitten in the house we decided not to put anything breakable out. She likes to climb a lot and we were a little worried she would knock the tree over. We did end the night on a somber note though. Munchkin found our hamster, Peppa Sunshine, had decided it was time to go to hamster heaven. We don't really know what happened. The night before she was climbing all over her cage and doing her regular thing and last night she looked like she may have been burrowing and just died mid burrow. :( We had a little funeral for her in the front yard today. Hopefully that will give our kiddos a little closure on the era of the hamster. I hope your Christmas was lovely. If you celebrate another holiday I hope that one has been lovely as well! :) You must make Maria's Melomakarona right now! These will not last long at our house for sure.

Melomakarona - or Cinnamon and Orange Cookies Dipped in Honey Syrup
By Maria from Box of Stolen Socks

Ingredients for 50-60 Cookies
1 kg flour
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
200 gr sugar
1 cup cognac (or any other type brandy)
2 Tbls baking powder
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbls baking soda
zest of 2-3 oranges

For the Syrup
2 cups honey (preferably flower honey)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
1 big piece of orange peel
1 big piece of lemon peel

For decorating
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBls sugar

Instruction
Preheat oven to 160C/320F

In a large bowl mix the sugar with olive oil, cognac, orange juice, and orange zest. Mix well using a whisk until sugar is completely dissolved.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves. Mix well. Gradually add the flour mix to the olive oil mix. Knead softly. The dough has to be soft and oily. If it feels too hard add a little more orange juice or cognac.

Shape the cookies using your hands. The dough should not stick to your hands because of the oil. If it sticks you need to add a little more flour and olive oil. You can make the cookies round, about 5 cm/2 inches in diameter, or give them an oval shape and you can give them a design by pushing the back of a cheese grater onto them.

Lay the cookies on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven. They should be golden but not brown. Leave them to cool on the sheet and start preparing the syrup.

Put a pot on medium heat and add the honey, sugar, and water and let it come to a boil. Add the orange and lemon peel, lower the heat and let it boil for 5-10 minutes. During the boiling foam is going to form on the surface of the syrup. Remove it with a spoon and then add the cinnamon sticks and the cloves.

When the cookie have cooled completely, submerge a handful at a time, into the hot syrup. Leave them in ONLY for a few seconds and remove them. Let the excess syrup drain on a rack and then move them to a plate. Sprinkle with Chopped walnut, sugar and cinnamon mix.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tis the Season...of sickness

We are free!! School is out for Christmas break which means we are able to turn off the alarm and enjoy each others company! You know...once we are all healthy again. Oh, one of those posts you say. Yep, one of those.

I started a cough right before Thanksgiving. I drank peppermint tea and sucked cough drops. It turned productive and then was almost gone. Then, wouldn't you know it! That darn cough came back with a vengeance and brought along its friends fever and chills. I talked to my mom who said "go to the doctor, you probably have bronchitis and while you are at it make sure to schedule that appointment you are supposed to get when you turn 40"! So I made an appointment and in the meantime asked facebook to diagnose me. I had several guesses for flu, bronchitis and pneumonia. Wouldn't you know it my doctor said I probably had the flu that turned into bronchitis. Moms are always right!

When I exited my appointment I decided to head to the big box store to pick up some essentials. However, as I was pulling into the parking lot I got a call from Little Mans school. He had a tummy ache. I have never been called to pick him up from school for being sick so I knew I needed to go get him. My poor little guy was white as a sheet and almost in tears. I took him with me to pick up my prescription for bronchitis and then brought him home. Poor guy threw up as soon as we walked in the door and slept on and off for the rest of the day. By 8 pm he was feeling great but still running a fever.

I had one of those precious moments with him though when he said "Mommy, will you sing to me while I go to sleep?" So sweet!

We are praying that being out of school for the next couple of weeks gives us all the chance to get healthy and stay healthy! Hopefully the school will be completely sanitized and ready for healthy kids in January,

Here is to a healthy Christmas and New year to you!