Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grilled Pizza

Last evening, we grilled pizzas. A couple of weeks ago, for our first attempt at grilling pizzas, we had used pre-made pita flat breads, which worked well. This time, I didn't want to run to the store just for the crust, so I found a recipe on Wayne thought these were a step up, so I thought I'd share it. If you decide to try it, it is easy, but just know that you'll want to start the dough several hours before dinner time. (It took mine about 1 1/2 hours to rise, then an additional hour to chill). And, if you have a favorite recipe for grilled pizza dough, or favorite toppings, I would love to hear about it!

Grilled Pizza Dough
- Adapted from a recipe on

Makes 4 10-inch pizzas

2/3 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons oil
1 3/4 - 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons kosher salt

To make pizza dough:
In a large bowl, mix together the warm water, yeast and sugar and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in oil, 1 3/4 cups flour, cornmeal and salt and blend until the mixture forms a dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. You may need to add the remaining 1/4 cup flour. I did not add additional flour, and ended up adding about another teaspoon of water instead. Spray cooking spray in a large bowl, put dough in the bowl and spray it with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise, about an hour, until doubled in size. Punch down and divide into four balls.

To roll out dough for pizzas:
Spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray.
Roll out one ball of dough into a 10-inch circle. Transfer to the baking sheet and cover completely with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough balls and stack the rolled out pieces on top of each other with plastic wrap between. (I sprayed each layer with cooking spray so that they wouldn't stick - I'm not sure whether this is essential or not). Be sure that the entire stack is well covered with plastic wrap. Chill in the freezer for at least 1 hour, up to 4 hours.

To make pizzas:
Take one rolled out pizza crust. (Keep the crusts you are not working with in the freezer - they are much easier to work with when they are firm). Spray one side with cooking spray. Carefully transfer it, oiled side down, onto your pre-heated grill. Grill until it is golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Take the crust off the grill, flip it over and placed the toppings on the grilled side. Then, carefully place it back on the grill until the under side is golden brown, and the cheese is bubbly.

It really is less intimidating than it may sound.
And, I must include a couple of pictures of Aubrey. Because she is a little more stable when it comes to sitting...

She ate in her high chair for the first time last night. Doesn't she look impressed? ;) I don't blame her. I don't think oatmeal is as tasty as pizza either.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Red Potato Salad With Bacon

In general, I'm not a fan of potato salad. This one, however, I really like. It's simple, isn't so creamy, and it has bacon. Which, of course, is always a good thing. :) We're enjoying this tonight with brats and a coleslaw. Mmmm, I love summer food!

Red Potato Salad With Bacon
- Paula Deen
4-6 servings

6 cups cubed red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled
2 ounces bacon (2-3 strips)
1 cup chopped bell pepper (any color or a combination)
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup sliced scallions (about 2) *
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Freshly ground pepper

*I have been substituting chives only because they are growing like crazy in my garden right now and they go well with potatoes.

Put the potatoes in a large pot; add water to cover and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon, drain, and finely chop. (Instead, I microwave bacon between layers of paper towels, which is quick and eliminates the splatters on my stove top).

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, bacon, bell pepper, onion and scallions (or chives).

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour over the potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate, or serve at room temperature. (Room temperature is my favorite).


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Baby Food

With Tyler, I bought all of his baby food. This time around, I thought it would be fun to try making baby food. For anyone else out there who is interested, I've been using this website that has lots of instructions, recipes, and nutritional information. So far it's been pretty easy. I have put up applesauce (from a Sara Moulton recipe), sweet potatoes, pears, carrots, and green beans. (Well, and a few slices of avocados if that counts - but there isn't anything to it, and Aubrey doesn't like them least not yet). Though she can't eat everything I've made, what she can eat (other than avocados), she likes. I don't know whether I'll make all of her baby food, but that's my goal and so far, I'm enjoying it. If any of you have tips, recipes or favorite websites to share, I'd love to hear about them!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Teeth and more teeth

Tyler lost his second baby tooth early this week. I think it practically fell out, he waited so long. As you can tell, his new tooth had been poking through behind that baby tooth for some time. We don't do Santa or the Easter Bunny, but the Tooth Fairy, yes. As we prepared to put his tooth under his pillow that night, he was giving his tooth a heartfelt goodbye. I think he even told his tooth that he loved it. I wondered if he would like me to ask the tooth fairy if she could leave his tooth this time. He thought that was a great idea. In fact, he started giving me "tips" for how to catch her if she tries to fly away. It had something to do with sneaking up behind her, and catching her by her legs so she couldn't fly away. :)

Later in the week, he had a dentist appointment. I learned that his difficulty with chewing these days is not only due to his four (now three) loose teeth. Tyler is teething. His top two six-year molars have come in and the 2 bottom molars are close.

I know he's not a baby. But, this whole thing with losing his baby teeth is a reminder that he is quickly growing up. Makes me a little sad.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And a few more...

Lynette took these pictures too. (And lots of other good ones - it was hard to narrow down).
I think I need to hire her!

More pictures from our trip to Indiana

Lynette kindly sent me more pictures from our time in Indiana.

Here we are enjoying dinner our last evening there.

Mom holding Aubrey

Mom holding Aubrey in her makeshift sling.

Dad with his new (to me) beard.

Dreamy Chocolate Mousse

A coworker shared this recipe. I made half a batch last night, and now that I know how simple it is to might be dangerous.

It's decadent, smooth, creamy and delicious. I'm dreaming up ways to tweak it a little. Like drizzling in a little amaretto liquor, slathering it between layers of chocolate cake, topping the cake with chocolate ganache sprinkled with almond slivers. Or dolloping onto angel food cake with strawberries. Or mixing in a little strong, cold coffee for mocha mousse.

Or, most likely, I'll enjoy it just as it is. A spoonful or two is really all you need for a chocolate fix. (Or maybe just a few more spoonfuls). To balance things out, I'm glad to have picked my first zucchini and squash from the garden this afternoon! :)

Dreamy Chocolate Mousse
Makes 4 1/2 cups

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups heavy whipping cream

1. In a small bowl, soften gelatin in 3 tablespoons cold water. Let stand for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup boiling water, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder.

3. In a medium bowl, beat cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add sugar mixture, beating until stiff peaks form. Stir (or beat) in gelatin mixture. Cover and chill 4 hours. (The waiting was the hardest part)!

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Monday, June 14, 2010

5 Months

The little squirt will be five months-old tomorrow.
Here she is on June 10.

Poor baby. I was playing dress up with her yesterday. Doesn't she look like a little milk maid with that silly hat? :)
She has started pulling things to her mouth like her spoon, toys, and bottle.

Little sweetums in the laundry basket last night.

Tonight, she sat briefly unassisted. She seems so little, but is interacting more and more. I love her babbles, when she flaps her "wings," and her sweet smile.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Life has been busy lately...thus the time between posts. From May 30-June 8, we headed to Indiana for a visit.

We decided to try the train. I had not taken the train since I was probably 7 years-old and still have good memories of that trip. We traveled in coach seats on the way out. Suffice it to say that we will not do that least not with small children. We took a sleeper car on the way back...and it was worlds better! Here is Aubrey, happily playing in our sleeper car.

We are thankful that Lynette and Rusty were able to pick us up (and later drop us off) at the train station in Chicago. We scheduled our visit to see them again before they return to Thailand. We spent the beginning and end of our trip in Middlebury at Mom and Dad's. I failed to bring my camera, we only brought our video camera, so I'm borrowing pictures for this post. I'll try to post some video another time.

Aubrey enjoyed baths in the kitchen sink...

...and Tyler enjoyed Mom and Dad's tub, especially when accompanied by a snack and a DVD to watch. What more can he ask for? Not much, in fact, as each time this was allowed, he stayed in the tub for a couple of hours. :)

We spent part of a day in Decatur visiting Wayne's grandparents. Aubrey had not met them yet, so we were happy to see them again. Then we spent a couple of days with Hollins and Rachel in Indianapolis.

We got to babysit for Jillian the first night we were there. She has recently learned to crawl, and was getting around just great. She was a lot of fun, and was easy to take care of. She was interested in checking out her little cousin.

We got to visit the zoo while we were there. I was impressed, especially by the Oceans exhibit.

We headed back to Middlebury for a few more days before heading home. Mom and Dad babysat one evening so that the cousins could spend an evening together. We had another gathering of Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.

Tyler and his second cousin, Brennan, play very well together. Brennan came over on Sunday afternoon and the boys kept each other occupied.

They took a break in the afternoon to go fly a kite.

Sitting on the deck.

Playing in the backyard.

Dad caught their looks of "oh no!" after Tyler had fallen in the little koi pond.
(No, this was not staged). We wish we knew what they talked about all afternoon. :)

Acting shy.

Tyler enjoyed exploring at Mom and Dad's house. He just loved eating mulberries off the tree, exploring in the pasture and woods, and peering into the swamp with promises of Mommy bringing better clothing for exploring the swamp at our next visit. I am so happy that Tyler loves our visits to Indiana. I love that he feels so comfortable there despite how infrequent our visits can be. I'm glad that even though he doesn't see Brennan too often, they can pick up where they left off. He cried when I reminded him we were coming back home to Kansas. But, once we were home, he was also happy to be in his house again.

I also feel torn. I love visiting home, in Indiana, and reconnecting with family and friends. I feel completely comfortable. It's an oasis from the demands of everyday life.

But, I'm also thankful for family here in Kansas, and friends and coworkers that feel like family. I'm thankful for their big hearts, and often sarcastic quick wit. I'm thankful that I feel at home here too.