Friday, February 28, 2014

Best Homemade Pizza Dough // BBQ Chicken Pizza Recipe

I'm obsessed with this pizza dough recipe. I can't even tell you how many times we've used it and how fantastic it turns out every time. It's really not too difficult of a recipe and can be a fun group/family activity. It makes enough dough for 2 pizzas and is a freezer friendly recipe so you can make one and throw the other one in the freezer for a quick backup dinner plan. Bonus: it only takes 10 minutes to bake. I got the recipe from Money Saving Mom

For the dough:

  • 2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola or olive oil)
  • 5 cups flour (can use all whole wheat, half white/half whole wheat, or all white)
  • a bit of olive oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper and a blend of Italian seasonings
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Pour the warm water into a large bowl and sprinkle yeast in. Stir to dissolve.

Add remaining ingredients and mix.

Dump onto a floured surface and knead dough for 2-5 minutes until smooth and no longer sticky (you could also use your electric mixer at this point if you want!)

Divide pizza dough into two equal sections and roll out one half (if only making one pizza) with a rolling pin into a circle that's a little bit larger than the pizza baking pan. Place dough on pan and roll up the sides to make a nice thick crust and spread some of the olive oil/garlic & Italian seasoning mix on the crust. 

*If you wanted stuffed crust you could roll up some cheese into the crust at this point. Strips of string cheese seem like they would work well. Disclaimer: I haven't actually tried this, just an idea.*

Add sauce/toppings and bake at 500 degrees F for 10 minutes (until crust looks crispy and lightly browned).

To freeze:

Place dough (your other half) in an airtight freezer bag and freeze for up to 4-6 weeks. To thaw place frozen dough in the fridge overnight or at room temp for 3-4 hours. Roll out and follow directions above.

Easy BBQ Chicken Pizza

  • Frozen chicken breasts
  • BBQ sauce of choice
  • cheddar cheese
  • tomatoes
  • red onion (not pictured)
  • pizza dough from recipe above

Throw some frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot with a good amount of BBQ sauce (I'm so detailed with my measurements, I know) and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8. Shred the chicken with forks (or with your mixer!) and stir to blend the BBQ sauce in.

Roll out your dough and spread some BBQ sauce across the surface. Layer shredded chicken, cheddar cheese, sliced tomato and sliced red onion. Follow baking directions for pizza dough (above).

Other easy homemade pizza ideas:

Buffalo ranch chicken pizza: Same concept as the BBQ chicken pizza. Throw some chicken breasts in the crock pot with buffalo sauce and a dry ranch mix (I use my homemade one).

Caprese chicken pizza: Grilled chicken breasts with fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil. Get extra fancy and trickle a Balsamic reduction on top of that! 

Classic pizza: Make a yummy homemade pizza sauce  and top with the favorites: cheese, pepperoni/sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, olives.. really whatever floats your boat! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Easy Dinner Idea: Egg Bistro Sandwiches

These things are AMAZING. They make the perfect Sunday brunch or quick dinner when you don't want to put too much effort into it. I've made them a few times now and every time I'm in awe of how delicious and simple they are.


  • french bread
  • eggs
  • deli ham (I like the Hormel Natural Choice Ham)
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • mayo
  • tomato
  • blend of Italian seasonings (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme)
  • salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.

Slice french bread in half to make open face sandwiches and cut into sections approximately the length of a fried egg.

Spread on some mayo and layer the sliced tomato on top of that.

Add a couple pieces of deli ham and some cheddar cheese on top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook your eggs over-easy in a frying pan with salt and pepper and some of your Italian seasonings sprinkled on top. I like the yolk nice and runny.

Once the bread part of the sandwich is done slap that egg right on top and enjoy!

PS: You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Frozen Waterfalls

     We had a really lovely, fantastic weekend this weekend. Valentine's Day we spent at home making homemade pizza and cuddling up on the couch watching Netflix and eating Ben & Jerry's. Saturday was spent adventuring at Vertical Endeavors rock climbing (although of course it happened to be the day that I wasn't feeling well so I spectated instead of actually climbing) and eating fantastic Greek food in Minneapolis. On Sunday I felt the itch to explore and the need for an adventure. Then I thought of the frozen Minnehaha Falls that I had never seen. I often say things that I want to do and then never put them into action. Well, I decided to just go for it and do what I say I want to do! It was about a 20 minute drive from our place in St. Paul and well worth it.
    Technically you're not really supposed to go back behind the water fall, it's quite icy and can be very dangerous if you're not careful and have at least a little bit of athleticism. You have to hold on to ropes and pretty much slide along a steep ice covered hill to get back there. But it's oh so worth it. A beautiful and unique experience for sure.  

(Remember to click the photos to view a larger version!)

Behind the falls:

    Driving home I felt so good about going out and exploring the amazing world we live in. So often I feel like I'm wanting a beautiful adventure some place far, far away and forgetting about the amazing cities I live in and all the interesting things we can do here. Advice for myself and for others who feel stuck- especially in these chilly winter months- be a tourist. Be an adventurer. For free. There's a million things you can do if you just look around. Feel young and naive and wide-eyed and let your heart be open. Sometimes it's as simple as that.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thinking about Interior Decor

     I can slowly see my interior decor preferences changing. I love a lot of styles but I often try to incorporate too many in one room. Since I've moved into our current beige carpeted off-white wall apartment I've begun to pay much more attention to color. I was trying to force a style and color scheme upon this dwelling that simply just didn't work. And then I was like, hm, maybe I should try to work WITH the apartment and the colors instead of fighting against them. I am getting more and more excited to move to our new place. It's so gorgeous inside and I will have much more freedom with colors and styles. If you follow me on Pinterest you might already know some of my inspiration photos. I think if I had to put a label on what images inspire me, it would be mid-century modern and modern (whites, woods, and greens) mix with touches of rustic cottage here and there. So here are some images and styles that have been stuck in my head as of late.

I know for sure our new kitchen is all painted white which I LOVE. I can't wait to incorporate the organic components into the stark white. Our bedroom might not go all white but I do have ideas for just simplifying the decor and becoming a little more minimalist with it. I still love gallery walls and have a couple ideas for those in the living and dining room, but lately I've been all about stripping things down to the bare bones and decluttering, which is really quite a difference from what my style used to be.

Before, if I saw something I liked, I got it no matter what. Now I ask myself if do I love it? Do I need it? Is it useful? This is a great mantra to go by for decluttering your home and ridding your life of excess objects and therefor stress. I think the generation before ours was very possessive and that's kind of how I was raised, waste not want not. I certainly don't like to waste but saving every twisty tie and cardboard box etc seems to cause more stress than not saving things like that. I like to have certain things well stocked, but at the same time holding onto objects that you haven't used in years because you "might need it sometime" isn't really a healthy thing in my opinion. 

Ideas have been floating around in my head and getting them down on paper seems to really help me a lot. Once this has all actually taken place, photos will most certainly be posted. Until then, thanks for sharing inspiration with me. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Longing for Summer

     I love winter but I'm at the point that I just want summer back again. I want the warmth and the freedom of walking outside in a tank top and shorts and exploring the parks and jumping in lakes and grilling and barbecuing and bonfiring and sunbathing and water sports and camping and night games and stargazing and condensation-covered iced chai tea lattes. So here are some pictures of my grandparent's cabin which is actually a trailer that has not been touched since the 1970's. I have so many memories growing up here with my family. It might be on my list of favorite places ever.

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