Name those Chores You Love (?) and Hate!

Okay, I’m behind this week—probably a bit lazy too, what with recuperating from all that Super Bowl excitement and all. (If, like me, you’re still thinking about it click here for a post on MHO of what it took for the current champions to get to the place where they fought for that ring. And I’m seriously kind of missing having something that much fun to look forward to this week. The French Open Tennis Championships are a long haul away: last two weeks of May. :()

Anyway, typed up a recipe post earlier today but not in the mood to run it. (Must be that lazy part again, which kicked in when I was doing my hair and looking at the dust and lint that seems to collect in both bathrooms daily. (Forced hot air doesn’t help, and yep, I try to wipe down the surfaces in some shape or form minimum every other day. My Italy-based aunts and cousins would be horrified to think a dual full bathroom scrub-down doesn’t take place daily, lol.)

Got me thinking about tossing this one out just for fun: list the Number One chores that top your DON’T MIND and DESPISE lists and a sentence or two why.

DON’T MIND: Handwashing dishes and glasses. (Y’all can keep the silverware, pots and pans, thank you very much.) I like the running water and these items are easy enough to organize on a dish rack. And I rarely dry these items by hand.

DESPISE:  Dusting. And laundry. No matter how often I do either each is right back in my face, taunting me I have to do it again. Soon. Very soon.

Sorry. Slipped to a dark place for a second. Your turn!

Have a great weekend,

Veggie Pizza: Fresh and Homemade!

Happy Friday, everyone. Haven’t shared a recipe in a while so why not today?

Had some friends over for pizza the other day. Since I’m spoiled by the thin delicious crust I get whenever I buy dough at my neighborhood’s bakery, I always make it fresh. Given the oversized, granite-topped peninsula I now have—courtesy, in part, to an angel; topic for another blog—rolling out a plain pie and getting it into the oven is ten-minute-or-less deal. And inhaling the aroma of fresh pizza in a cozy-warm kitchen with friends perched on stools on the opposite side of the counter chatting while I assemble the pie has its place too.

Those of you who’ve been to my recipe pages (here and at my website) know cooking is not necessarily my favorite pastime. BUT: if I must or choose to I like to get a little creative and have some fun! So here is something I threw together when my friends were over—just because (and just because I remembered that years ago I used to fancy up pre-made crusts this way to change things up at the family dinner table).

Equipment you’ll need:

Round or square or rectangular pizza pan/cookie sheet (~16-inch)

Rolling pin

Cooking spray or extra oil to coat bottom of pan

Latex or food-prep gloves—optional. I use those with a snug fit b/c I wash my hands a gazillion times while I cook. (I wash as if the gloves were my skin; keeps my skin from falling off, lol.) Also handy is one of those long-handled pizza sheets the pizzeria guys use. A friend got me one. Comes in handy when you transfer the pie to or from the oven rack.)

Ingredients, depending on your tastes, of course. Add or delete at will! 

One whole wheat or white flour pizza dough (*See below.)

Olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pie once you’ve rolled it out—sorry folks, I only measure when I have to)

White or whole wheat flour (either is fine)

Oregano/Salt/pepper/garlic powder/red pepper flakes (to taste)

Fresh tomato slices

One large fresh bell pepper, cut into strips or chopped into pieces roughly half-inch square (depends on how soft you like them on your pie—smaller pieces cook faster)

One onion, thinly sliced

Fresh mushrooms (rinsed, dried, buttons and stems)

Pitted black olives (or any kind you like)

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Grated parmesan

Thinly-cut pepperoni slices (available pre-cut at market or by the pound at your nearest deli)

Fresh basil leaves cut into strips or small jar of green pesto

Preheat oven to 425˚F. (If you have a speed-bake or convection feature, your cooking times will be at least five minutes less.)

Spray pizza pan with cooking spray or coat with oil. (This step is particularly important if you plan on transferring pie to oven rack.)

Make sure dough is at least room temperature before you roll it out. I usually buy it in the morning and let it sit out all day. It will expand a bit in the plastic bag. You can also place it in a bowl, rub olive oil over it and cover it with a cloth before letting it sit. (Little flavor boost from the oil with that move.)

Dust your working surface and rolling pin with flour. Place the dough on the surface, using your hands to coat it with more flour. Roll it out to fit your pan. (One pound of dough makes a perfectly thin 16-inch pie.) Carefully lift dough from the surface and place on pan, tweaking it to fit. If you rolled it bigger than the pan just fold the edge over. If it’s way too big, cut it to size with utility shears. (**See note below.)

Pour at least 2 tbsp of oil onto crust and spread to coat the entire surface. Add more as needed. (If you’re using pesto, you can coat the entire crust in place of the oil and seasonings. Serious flavor-yum when you do that.)

Season the crust with any/all of the seasonings listed above. (You can mix them together up front or add them to the oil before you spread it on the crust).

Arrange cut-up vegetables and pepperoni. Sprinkle with grated cheese and/or mozzarella (you won’t need as much cheese as if you were making a plain pie).

Garnish with basil leaves. (If using pesto, you can eliminate this step.)

Bake in oven for 10-13 minutes. If you want an extra crisp crust, transfer pie onto the oven rack for at about 5 minutes more, or until done to your taste. (If you have a perforated pie pan—i.e., the one dotted with holes—skip this step.) Using a pot holder, carefully slide the pizza pan under the pie—assuming you don’t have the long-handled pizza tool—and remove from oven.

Allow to set a minute or two then cut into slices. Since my pizza cutter isn’t the best, I’ll score it with the rotary cutter then cut all the way through with scissors.

So there you have it! (The one on the right represents the recipe I just posted. :))

Seems like a lot of steps but once you have them down, making your own pizza is easy, more filling and so much tastier than those from the pizzeria. (Much cheaper too, as in about half the price of take-out. (I’ll put up my plain-pie recipe next week.)

*Most bread bakeries sell dough in one-pound bags; the white flour variety—possibly the wheat too—is available frozen at the supermarket. (I’m too lazy to make my own. Two more options: pre-made pizza crust from the bread aisle at the supermarket; making your own from Bisquick or a similar baking mix. Haven’t tried the Bisquick way yet. Will be sure to let you know if I do.)

**Rolling pizza dough does take some practice. Don’t get discouraged. If you need to, you can flip it once and continue rolling. Too much flipping results in a tough crust. Also, each piece of dough handles differently. Some rebound while others hold their shape better. (Next week we’ll go a little simpler with a plain pie!)

Have a great weekend. Let me know how you make out!


Two Quick Things (Including a winner!)

Happy Saturday everyone! Tired of clouds outside and hoping the sun makes its way through and has its way for more than a few hours.

1. Yesterday, I posted in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge and let all of you know I’m hoping to do so on a regular basis. FORGOT to ask you all to give me a hand at getting my blog more visibility by taking a minute to show some love and comment on any photos I post!

2. Winner! Winner! Winner! Christine Warner left a comment and gets her choice of a critique or a digital copy of No Matter Why! (Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to comment.)

I’ll be posting Monday and Wednesday (and photo) Friday of next week!

Thanks so much and see y’all then,


I’m Joining the WP Weekly Photo Challenge!

Hi Friends!

If you don’t have a WordPress blog, you might want to consider one–the staff and happiness engineers work really hard at keeping us bloggers motivated, happy and up to date on all the latest at WordPress!

Among the challenges are Post-A-Day, Post-A-Week and the Weekly Photo Challenge. (I’m already doing the Post-A-Week so I’m going to work on getting a photo up once a week!)

Here’s mine: A Jersey shore classic and one of my favorites!

Looking for a Weekend Read?

Here are two books you may want to consider adding to your beach bag!

Happy Friday, friends! Despite my house being interruption-city, I’ve been dragging my heels getting posts written—or posted, sad to say. (Maybe if I move slowly enough summer won’t go away? One can hope…)

Anyway, here are my thoughts on two of my most recent  reads:

  Amanda Hocking’s Switched. (LOVE this cover art!)  Pretty much anyone who follows today’s publishing trends (traditional, indie/self) is familiar with this young author’s name. She writes well and hooked me immediately with the story of a teen who suddenly learns she is not the simple human she was raised to believe she was. Written in first person (not necessarily my favorite choice) and despite a slightly lagging middle and maybe a rather abrupt wrap-up of the story Ms. Hocking held my interest. I’ve already downloaded Torn, part two of her Trylle Trilogy and look forward to getting that and Ascend—part three—read sometime in the near future

   Christopher WillsCall Me Aphrodite was quite the read. The subject matter seemed a bit strong for categorizing the novel as a YA but shows a harrowing picture of a runaway’s experience behind closed doors onLondon’s back streets. At times, Mr. Wills’ word-pictures were so difficult to take, I had to incorporate a reading break in order to handle the situation in which Aphrodite found herself.  Definitely kept me turning the virtual pages. Again, the ending came a bit abruptly but I definitely look forward to the next phase of Aphrodite’s journey.

Would love to hear your weekend read recommendations and won’t you please click a share button below before you go?

A wonderful weekend to all and thanks for the visit!


Character Impact…On Us!

Happy Friday, folks! Let’s get right to the fun! (Makes for wellness, right?):

Is there a character who has influenced your sense of fashion and style? Maybe even you as a person?

Those who know me know who I love: Fran Drescher’s Fran Fine. (I can get past the voice—she has to live with it, right?)

So ever since Nick at Nite picked up this show shopping hasn’t been the same. Women’s apparel is boring and finding those quirky—but almost always classy—pieces Fran wore is a challenge. Those of you who are shaking your heads, take a close look. Form-fitting or not, she rarely looked trashy. Her outfits were offbeat but tasteful and she didn’t show much more than her arms and legs. Cuts, colors and patterns are timeless—ten years later, she does not look dated.

I’ve had some luck, but always at a TJ Maxx or similar store, where a variety of styles are kind of lumped together. Let’s remember I don’t have the phenomenal figure Fran had back in her Nanny days. (What is encouraging though, is that she and I seem to be built similarly and maybe even about the same size these days, if you’re watching Happily Divorced. Oh all right: chances are she’s a size or two smaller, when I allow for the “ten pounds” TV puts on. Of course I have way more backside than she does, but can’t I hope Fran is a mere mortal like myself?) I can, however, have fun with bold patterns, strong colors and of course, ruffles, especially on long sleeves.

Then there was her wisdom with her TV charges. Can’t tell you how much it’s helped me at home and at school. My all-time favorite line came from the pilot episode. (I use this one with my boys all the time. Click the image but be warned: I figured out where to start a clip but have yet to get how to create a cut-off point. That’s up to you. 😀)

Guess her influence is pretty much part of me now. This past school year, I had comments that came from kids—who have no business being up that late on a school night—to confirm it. One boy said, “You sound like her!” (I’d rather look like her, thank you very much.) And when two of my special-ed girls couldn’t come up with a plan for standing far enough apart to play catch, guess I went into Fran mode. Can’t remember what I said, but I can just see one little girl’s hands going onto her hips. With her cute southern accent-vernacular she asked: “Is you watchin’ The Nanny again?”

My day was made.

Your turn: name a character who has become a part of your makeup. What appeals to you about said character, and how does that influence show? And anyone know where can I find fun clothes like Fran’s?

Please remember to click a share button or two before you go–thanks so much! A great weekend to all!


FAFF: This Is Pretty Wild–Check It Out!

Happy Friday, friends!
This came to me in my inbox as a chain, which Joanna don’t do 🙂
It caught my interest enough to try the 111 part (sure enough, it worked!), so rather than forward it to my email list I thought it would be fun to post here.  The date lineup seemed pretty wild too; look at them closely–took me a few minutes to make sense of all those ones!
Calendar for July 2011
Money bags: This year, July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens once every 823 years. This is called money bags. So, forward this to
your friends and money will arrive within 4 days. Based on Chinese
Feng Shui. The one who does not forward…..will be without money. Kinda interesting – read on!!!This year we’re going to experience four unusual dates.

1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, 11/11/11 and that’s not all…

Take the last two digits of the year in which you were born – now add  the age you will be this year; the results will be 111 for everyone in whole world. This is the year of  the Money!!!

The proverb goes that if you send this to eight good friends money will  appear in next four days as it is explained in Chinese FENG SHUI.

Those who don’t continue the chain won’t receive…….

It’s a mystery, but it’s worth a try (and fun to share, right?). Good luck.

Have fun (and a great weekend, too); let me know how you made out by commenting or posting at Twitter and/or Facebook!