Friday, March 28, 2014

Our Favorite Relatively Easy Pizza Recipe

Dough

Ingredients:
Pizza Dough by Build, Sew, Reap
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 3/4 cups white flour
Instructions:

1.  In mixing bowl, combine the oil, honey, salt, yeast, seasoning and garlic powder.
2.  Add in warm water and stir thoroughly.
3.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture becomes a bit puffy.
4.  Add in the flour and mix with the kneading hook for 5-10 minutes until it is well combined and a little beyond.
5.  Lightly oil a separate mixing bowl and add the dough to it. Cover with a damp cloth (lint-free) or greased plastic wrap (if you can't grease it, you'll just likely lose a bit of the dough stuck to it later but it isn't a huge problem.
6.  Place in a warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled.
7.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
8.  Remove from bowl and shape on your pizza stone or baking sheet. 
9.  Add desired toppings (see our favorite sauce recipe below)
10. Bake for 18-20 minutes until crust is just starting to turn golden brown and toppings are cooked as you like.

I like to make a double batch then set half of the dough aside to make into breadsticks later in the week. It can sit in the fridge for a few days, molded into breadsticks and tossed straight in the oven, still cold.

Sauce 

Ingredients:
Pizza sauce by Build, Sew, Reap
  • 1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
  • 3 oz water (I just refill the empty can of paste roughly half way)
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • dash of dried red pepper flakes (optional, we often skip this in the sauce and put them on top of our pizza)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1. Mix it all together
2. Put it on your dough
3. Top with your favorite toppings.
4. Cook per dough instructions.
5. Enjoy

I also make a double batch of sauce a lot of times. I put the extra in the fridge and if we want a marinara sauce a few days later (for pasta, polenta, etc), I just add 1 can of organic chopped tomatoes when I heat it up on the stove. Once it is all warmed up, I use my immersion blender to smooth out the sauce as that's how my family prefers it. The taste is fantastic.


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My favorite toppings are mushrooms, olives, sundered tomatoes, 
onions and basil (which I was missing on photo night)

Save yourself some time and chop your toppings up instead of slicing. They cook better and the texture is actually really nice. I use a chopper similar to this one.

Also, this crust can be frozen. Make the dough and let it rise, cook for half the time, cool, wrap well with foil and freeze until you need it. When you need it, just take it out, add the sauce and toppings and bake for another 10 minutes or until toppings are cooked.

Thank you for reading,
Julie



Monday, February 24, 2014

Homemade Chocolates

Today I did a little experiment combining several ideas into one and it was a raging success so I'm here to share it with you.

About 10 months ago, I gave up processed cane and beet sugars. This, in addition to my mostly plant based diet (I do cook with oils), means I make a whole lot of my own food to stay within the parameters I've set for myself. That's just fine with me, I've never felt healthier. Unfortunately, I've also become a bit of a chocolate snob but as long as I have a few minutes to cook it up, I have a wonderful go-to recipe for tasty dark chocolate. Today I'm going to share with you how you can make your own amazing chocolates using just a handful of ingredients that no pantry should be without.

First, let me entice you to read on:

Yummy Chocolates by Build Sew Reap

Yes, that's a peanut butter cup. Yes, I made that myself. Yes, I did it in under 10 minutes including cleanup. Yes, you can too.

Not into peanut butter cups? How about a homemade Almond Joy?

Yummy Chocolates by Build Sew Reap 12

BTW, when was the last time you thanked a blogger for eating 6 decadent chocolates just so she can get a good photo? Just know, I took one for the team today.

Now for those of you who aren't into filled chocolates. Get yourself one of these and crank out a few of these:
Yummy Chocolates by Build Sew Reap 11

This chocolate can also be poured over ice cream and it solidifies just like Magic Shell.

I could go on and on about how versatile this recipe is (banana + peanut butter + chocolate) but I bet you want me to just go ahead and post the recipe so here it is:

Estimated cook time: <10 minutes + 30 minutes in the freezer

Ingredients for the Chocolate:
Yummy Chocolates by Build Sew Reap8
  • 1/4 cup organic unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup organic cocoa powder (please buy fair trade)
  • 1/8 cup organic maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract (optional)
  • pinch of sea salt (optional but I like what this adds quite a bit)
Optional fillers:
  • Natural peanut butter (the stuff with sugar would be too sweet in my opinion plus the natural stuff rolls into a ball easier)
  • Coconut + an almond
  • Banana
  • Peanuts
  • ?!?!? use your imagination!!
Directions (printable recipe here):

Put mini muffin papers into 8 mini muffin tin holes. If you don't have the muffin tin, you can just use two muffin papers together for each candy and put them on a freezer-safe plate or tray.

Yummy Chocolates by Build Sew Reap7

Combine ingredients for the chocolate in a small pan over medium-low heat.

Yummy Chocolates by Build Sew Reap6

Stir constantly until all ingredients are combined and mixture looks smooth then immediately remove from the heat.

Yummy Chocolates by Build Sew Reap5

Pour a little dollop into each muffin cup. I think these were each filled a little less than 1/4 of the way.

Yummy Chocolates by Build Sew Reap4

Add your filling.

Peanut Butter: Roll small balls of peanut butter in your hands. If you're using the natural stuff, this should be no problem at all. Put the PB ball in the center of the chocolate.

Coconut & Almond: Sprinkle some shredded unsweetened coconut across the surface of the chocolate. Gently press in one almond per candy.

Yummy Chocolates by Build Sew Reap3

Now pour the remaining chocolate into the 8 cups.

Yummy Chocolates by Build Sew Reap2

Optional: I like to sprinkle a little coconut on the ones containing coconut since I know not everyone is a fan and don't want any surprises. If I make several different varieties at once, I try to use some system to tell them apart once they're finished.

Pop the tray in the freezer for about 30 minutes. When they're firm, you can eat them right away or store them in the refrigerator.

Yummy Chocolates by Build Sew Reap1

Warning: If you're sensitive to caffeine, these are NOT a good late night snack unless you want to stay up all night crafting. I won't judge.

Thank you for reading,
Julie



Friday, January 3, 2014

A Room of My Own

First of all, Happy New Year!!! 

I hope your holidays were filled with family, friends, love and laughter. Mine certainly were and it was a welcome change of pace from the month of November when I busted out an additional room in our house. Yes, I added a room.

You might recall that I once had a room for my crafts but I was evicted when we found out I was pregnant with little dude number 2. I moved my stuff out to a corner of the garage and landed here.

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I know what you're thinking, it's not too awful ... only it was. You see, it was NEVER that tidy again because it was too cold to work out there during the winter and too hot during the summer. It was dirty because there were no real walls to keep it separate from the rest of the garage and that little desk was never enough space for me. Furthermore, the only time it was well lit was during the day when natural sunlight flooded the space and that's all fine and good except I don't do a whole lot of daytime crafting, I'm a stay at home mom.

So, the hubs and I started talking and we decided that our 2 car garage with a 1 car opening was wasted space. We decided to rip out the room we built him awhile back (that ended up having the same problems mine did ... cold/hot, dark, dirty) and build on two rooms just outside the main part of our house. We used to step out of the living space, down to a stack of cinder blocks and onto the concrete garage floor to get to my craft space, laundry, the hubs' room, etc. but not anymore.

We transformed this:

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Into this:

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We sealed the concrete then built up the floor by 8+ inches, leveled it, added insulation and put down sub flooring. 

Then this:

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I added walls that hadn't been there before, built a closet around the water heater, installed a new window and started drywalling. This was before I finished building the wall but was the last photo I was able to take of the entire room.

A little of this:

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Lots of drywalling and mudding then some fake board and batten which I created using some low budget particle board ripped into appropriate sized strips. 

And finally this:

New Craft Room 13
The counter above the washer and dryer is removable for maintenance and the shelves were recycled from the old laundry space. 

New Craft Room 03
I've had those kid body forms since before I had real kids. I used to use them when I photographed clothing for my easy shop. Well, they are now the same size as my two boys so they hold a special place in my heart ... and on my wall.

And now moving around the room:

New Craft Room 08
My super handy neighbor came over and taught me how to remove an old single pane slider window and install a nice new double pane one. Bonus that this one has a screen and functioning lock.

New Craft Room 09
This is my new work space with custom "L" shaped desk that I cut from a nice piece of plywood. After cutting the pieces, I used the router to round off the top edge then I painted it with the same glossy white I used on the board and batten. I also found a place for some artwork I created many years ago using the pieces from the pattern for the first formal gown I made for myself.

New Craft Room 05
I've used this double layer desk system several times now and love it. These baskets slide in and out nicely and now I have a tidy place to store all my ribbon.

New Craft Room 04
I treated myself to this great hanging system from Ikea so I'd have all my most used supplies organized at an arm's reach. 

New Craft Room 07
A little space to store larger items like cutting mats, a tabletop ironing board and rolls of contact paper and stabilizer. 

New Craft Room 06
I had my eye on this Ikea Expedit shelving system knowing it would provide a good partial wall to separate my space from the passthrough from the house to the garage. I love that all those boxes are accessible from either side of the unit.

New Craft Room 02
The Expedit from the other side.


New Craft Room 01
I hung this curtain rod up behind the door to the living room so we would have a place to store clothing waiting to be ironed. I didn't want them hanging in the doorway.

New Craft Room 12
The flooring I used is a peel-and-stick linoleum from Lowes in 18x18 pieces laid with 1/8 inch space between them and grouted with special grout intended for linoleum tiles. I had no idea this stuff existed but when I saw it, I knew I had to give it a try. It looks stunning, particularly for peel-and-stick tile. I will never lay that stuff without grout again.

In conclusion:
This was a HUGE undertaking and should have taken far more than the few weeks that I gave myself but I'm not a patient woman. I still have some details to clean up in there but the big stuff is clearly finished. I've used the room a few times and love being able to just bounce out to my sewing machine which remains plugged in and ready to be used whenever I need to. In fact, I even made myself a skirt for New Years Eve! I hated having to bring my sewing machine in to the the dining room table as it meant I had to completely clean everything up before dinner each night. What a pain!! It won't be an issue any longer now that I have my own space. It is clean too, no more dust floating from my power tools and workshop into the craft space.

Now, if you don't mind, I've got some crafting to do ...

Thank you for reading,
Julie



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

From my family to you and yours:


V3 Family Photo Card - Online

Or if you prefer a more traditional route:


2013 Nice Card

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Inappropriate Elf - The Christmas Story Sequel

Have you heard of the annual Inappropriate Elf contest over on BabyRabies? It totally cracks me up so this year I had to enter. I took it upon myself to clue you into a little part of the birth of Christ that never made it into the Bible.

We'll pick up just after He was born ...

Mary and Joseph celebrated the birth of their son, Jesus. The three magi came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They even had some animals looking on, seeing as they'd just booted those animals out of the stable so Mary could give birth, they were understandably curious. 

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But wait!! Daer the elf was peering down on the scene. What could he want?

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Daer quickly moved in and took Joseph down in a powerful headlock.

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Then before anyone could figure out what was happening, he stuffed him in the stable.

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He closed the doors and locked them up tight.

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To the shock and horror of those looking on, Daer embraced Mary in a loving hug. Looks like Jesus wasn't much of a miracle after all.

Happy Family - Memories 2

Of course, there was a huge coverup so nobody ever heard what happened that fateful night after Jesus Christ was born.

Merry Christmas!


Thank you for reading,
Julie






Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Burned Out Bulb Holiday Decor

We've put the big size (C9) Christmas lights on our house the past few years but we always have a problem with the filaments disconnecting while in storage because when we pull those strands out each year, many of the bulbs no longer work. This year I couldn't just toss the bulbs, it was just too wasteful. Sooooo, I recruited the big kid and he and I did a little project.

Final 2


Want to know how to make your own glitter bulbs? Here's what you'll need:


  • Burned out christmas light bulbs (the big ones)
  • White glue or Mod Podge
  • Glitter
Optional
  • Glass vase
  • Battery operated lights
  • Ribbon to tie on the vase
Here's what to do:

Gather your bulbs

Burned out bulbs

Coat them in white glue or Mod Podge

Paint on the glue

Roll them in glitter

Rolling in glitter

Watch how when they dry, they change color

Pretty Red
(they don't really change color, the red ones were the ones I did)

Load them into a vase with some white battery operated lights

Close up final


And enjoy!!

Final with advent calendar

Warning: Despite appearances, glitter is not a child friendly craft material if you don't want to find it on everything you own for years to come.

Happy Holidays!!

Thank you for reading,
Julie

I'm sharing here this week:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Almond Joy Hot Chocolate - Vegan Style

I love hot chocolate, as do my kids. I hate buying it when we're out and about though because it is either cow's milk based, full of sugar, expensive or all of the above. When we're at home though, all bets are off and I've become a master at busting out fantastic plant based hot chocolates. Today I got a little extra creative and totally nailed this recipe on the first shot. I was just making it up as I went along and am so glad I documented what I used so I can recreate it.

Almond Joy Hot Chocolate
*Vegan / Plant Based

Ingredients
  • 4 cups of your favorite unsweetened plant based milk - I used organic rice milk
  • 1/4 cup raw cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup liquid sweetener such as organic agave or pure maple syrup (I used maple)
  • 1/4 tsp Almond Extract
  • 2 Tbsp Creamed Coconut such as this one
Optional Topping to be loaded into a whipper
  • 1 Can Full fat coconut milk (you won't use the whole thing)
  • 2 Tbsp Agave
Directions

Heat all ingredients together over warm heat until the creamed coconut has dissolved. There will be some little pieces of coconut floating in there.

Pour into a mug and enjoy.

Optional - I added a bit of coconut whipped cream (full fat coconut milk from a can + agave + vanilla in my whipper) and a sprinkling of toasted coconut on top.

Plant Based Almond Joy Hot Chocolate by Build, Sew, Reap


HOLY MOLY!!!! (I've been saying that all day long, this stuff is so amazingly good)



Thank you for reading,
Julie



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