Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pizza Rolls

I am about to release to you all a HUGE family secret...our recipe passed down for a few generations for breadstick dough. I, however, use this dough not only for breadsticks, but for pizza dough and even used it in college to make loaves for Subway like is very versatile.

It was discovered in one of my great grandmother's recipe books, handwritten. We don't know if she or my great-great grandmother wrote it down...

But everyone begs for it...and we usually say no.

However, I couldn't in good conscience share my pizza roll recipe without giving you the recipe...because its so darn easy and it would be a shame to tell you to go buy a bag of Rhodes rolls or a can of Pillsbury pizza dough when I know a cheaper, better, easier way....

So...with that preface...let's get started with the recipe for my homemade pizza rolls. My husband LOVES these. he was bummed last night that I only made a half a batch. I promised him that I would make a full batch and freeze them with the leftover mozzarella and pepperoni at the end of this two weeks so we can have them again and he can eat them until he is sick!

First and foremost...the dough recipe. If you make a full batch, you will end up with 14 rolls

1 1/2 c warm water
2 TBS yeast
2 TBS sugar

Let these ingredients sit together until the yeast bubbles. Then add"

1 tsp salt
3 cups flour (if you mix it with a wooden spoon, one cup at a time, you won't have to knead it. You will only need to bring the dough together so that it forms a uniform ball.)

Let this sit for 20 minutes to rise.

While its rising start THIS pizza sauce recipe (it is literally the BEST pizza sauce recipe I've ever found and the only one my husband likes.) The longer this sauce simmers, the better it tastes, so you want to start it now.

After you've started the sauce, you'll want to cut 14 squares of mozzarella cheese (or the cheese of your choice) they should be 1/2 inch cubes.

Next you want to take a small handful of dough (enough that you would make a 1 1/2-2 inch ball) flatten it in the middle, and then make a "sandwich" of 2 pepperoni pieces with the cheese in the middle. (If you want it to be vegetarian, you can, of course, skip the pepperoni)

 Next, you want to pull the sides of the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, being careful not to make holes in the dough. Pinch all the sides together, and place them in a greased 9 inch pie pan with about a 1/4 inch space between each roll.

 Next, take a knife and some soft butter and butter the tops of the raw dough rolls. (I know that looks like a lot of butter...I used it to top 4 of the rolls...)
 Once all the rolls are in the pan and buttered, lightly sprinkle them with garlic powder, Italian seasoning (you could just use parsley if you don't like the taste of Italian seasoning), and parmesan cheese.
 Bake them at 350 for 20-30 minutes (until they are golden on top) and Voila!
 Serve them with the sauce! Just look at that cheesy deliciousness!

What I love about this recipe: Its a crowd pleaser, its simple, and it tastes like something you would get at a pizza joint, but its MUCH healthier because you can control the ingredients. I always use skim mozzarella and turkey pepperoni. For those of you wondering, you can TOTALLY use wheat flour for the bread dough (I did all through college).  Its also not very messy. I can cut a roll up into pieces and my one year old can eat this without needing a bath afterwards because you can eat them without the sauce and they are still tasty (she devoured hers in minutes...I wish I'd thought and made the full recipe instead of half of it, because I'm sure she would have been happy to eat another one.)

Happy eatings!

Hugs and loves until next time, darlings!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2 weeks of dinners

My life has been a fury of insanity over these last few weeks. The Divine Cupcake has RSV, so I have had many sleep deprived days and sleepless nights...and the Little Diva is into EVERYTHING...she now knows the meaning of the word "no" (she still isn't talking) and throws a proper fit every time that she hears it and knows that we mean it...its so tough to be 1...

Because my days are so hectic, I am awfully glad that I take the time on 2 Saturdays a month to come up with 2 weeks of dinners so that I don't have to think about what to make...I happily can just look in the morning and voila! I am a dinner master!

I had some friends and family ask me if I would start posting my meal plans...I realize now that not everyone plans 2 weeks ahead and saving themselves from the dinner "blahs" can seem like an endless battle between "I'm too tired to cook" and "I have no time to come up with ANYTHING."

Don't worry darlings, I am here to help.

I am also doing Weight Watchers with a friend, so many of this set are Weight Watchers recipes, and if not, I have ways that I am planning to lighten them up.  Here is the list of meals that my family will be using between yesterday and 2 weeks from yesterday with links to the recipes. If the recipe doesn't have a link, its my recipe and I will be loading the recipe (hopefully, with pictures) after I cook it...think of me as Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, but not (I will never be as wicked awesome in the kitchen as she is...but I can pretend!)

Meal Plan
1.   1. Cola Chicken: LINK *Note, I will be making this in the crock pot instead of the oven 

2. Prosciutto and Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells

3. Vegetarian Pitas

4. Slow Cooker Tikka Masala:  LINK * I have some changes in mind to this recipe. I will write about them after I've done it. :)

5. Chili Lime Chicken LINK 

6. Korean BBQ LINK

7. Pizza Rolls

8. Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce LINK

9. Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas  LINK                                                                              

10. Alice Springs Chicken LINK

11.Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken

12. Da Vinci Pasta LINK

13. Cowboy Beans

14. Scooter’s Spaghetti LINK

I will post reviews of recipes, changes, and my recipes for this group as the 2 weeks go on. 

Last night we had Scooter's Spaghetti. Its a favorite of my family. Not necessarily the most healthy of meals, but you could easily make it with ground turkey or chicken and cut the fat and I used the 1/3 less fat cream cheese instead of regular (its creamier and easier to mix anyway). Its fairly quick and easy, and most people will have all the ingredients on hand. If you have any type of pasta (I used egg noodles because we were out of spaghetti last night), cream cheese, and pasta sauce, you can make this dish...and EVERYONE will lick their plates clean. SO SO yummy...and super nice when you're in a pinch and need something fairly fast. We'd had a long day in Logan yesterday taking Cupcake to the doc and running errands, and we were BEAT when we got home. This recipe on my meal plan list was a total and complete GODSEND.

Bon Appetit, my darlings!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Writer's Block

I haven't written yet this week because, to be honest, life is pretty boring around here. I've been struggling trying to get my voice studio and photography studio up and running here...I did that one shoot and had a TON of likes to my Facebook page, but, alas, some chick here saw my prices and after I post a discount or ad in a public forum (like the yard sale and classified ads on Facebook) she immediately undercuts my price by $5-10, posting her ad minutes after seeing mine....still trying to figure out what to do...I've decided that I will wait until its warmer and do a call for portfolio models and do free shoots with 5-7 images on a disc in mini sessions and have them be all on one or two Saturdays at a pretty location here in Cache Valley. Hopefully, that can drum up some the meantime, I will have 2 weddings to photograph (which I'm super excited about) and I have 1 count her ONE voice student...hopefully, my numbers will improve. I've thought about lowering my prices, but I will wait until summer. I think I may offer a summer voice lessons package or something...*sigh* the life of a stay at home mom who must do artsy things to feed her soul...LOL

Since I can't really think about much else to write about than the things that are irritating/inspiring me right now...I will give you a picture that will describe my life right now (since its worth a thousand words...)

Faith has decided that she likes being a girlie girl, she is happiest in a tutu and a necklace and Phillie has decided that teething sucks...and that's how I've been spending most of my days over the last week or two...

Oh...and the Little Diva even sits still for me to do her hair now...aren't I a lucky mommy?

Hugs and loves until next time, darlings!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Making Adjustments

Often times, it feels like life moves like you're on a high wire- 2 steps forward, one step back...carefully keeping balance as you go.

My life as of late has been this same way.

Moving back to Idaho was a rapid change, like riding a unicycle across a high wire (a unicycle that had been rigged for complete safe passage, but it still looks dangerous to the spectators.)

We're here, we're adjusting to life in my in-laws' house, and living out of boxes for an undefined amount of time.

Our original plan was that we would stay until April when a family member was going to have a house open up and we could rent it from them until we either decided to buy it from them or find something else, but that changed when my mother in law told us that she wanted us to stay longer. In fact, she said she wants us to stay as long as we want to.

While this offer is so humbling because there is so much love behind it, I know me. I know I will get tired of having to dig through boxes to find something I'm missing, and I know that I need my own space. Its hard to live in someone else's house and not know if something you're doing is going to upset them because its not the way that they would do it.

So, we went house hunting...however, we made the mistake of going house hunting before we'd been pre-approved for financing, so we really didn't know what we'd qualify for. We are fortunate because Idaho does have a home loan program that allows the buyer to pay 0 down and, if they make arrangements with the seller, include closing costs in the cost of the loan.

We thought we'd found "the house".  It wasn't EVERYTHING we were looking for, but it was perfect for what we absolutely needed and for the price it was better than anything we'd been looking at so far. We were so sure that we would be approved for enough to buy this house because we'd talked to people that have this same loan and because we'd talked to a real estate agent who frequently deals with them...well, we didn't account for the fact that our student loan debts would put us $100 a month in bills OVER the amount that we would be allowed to have in bills to qualify for enough to purchase the house.

Dejected, we left the loan office finding that we would be qualified for $20,000 LESS than we would need to get the house. We didn't even take the application because we needed to regroup and figure out what we were doing.

Bless my husband's heart. He called the family member with the house immediately because he felt it was our next best option.

I had been hesitant to purchase this family member's house. Not because I think it is a lemon or that it is unkempt  The outside is actually beautiful...the big problem is that its only 2 bedroom, and as we would need to be in the house for a while, I worry about having room to expand our family.

There were tears. Tears because I was sad to miss out on the house that we'd found, and tears because I thought it was all my fault. Most of the debt we are in is because of my student loans.

Of course, even though I was trying to hide my tears, Jeff is astute. When I mentioned this thought to him he, in essence, told me to shut my mouth. My education is a huge blessing, even if I'm not using it to contribute much to our family income right now (still trying to get my studio up and running again, its slow, but I have made some progress and have a few confirmed students. I'm also having some luck with my photography business. See my latest shoot HERE. I think it turned out SUPER CUTE!) He reminded me of the fact that if anything bad ever happened to him, we would need it and he's glad I have it. Also, because of the education I have, I am blessed with the opportunity to stay home with my babies and make money doing things like my voice studio and photography.

I've spent the week focusing on blessings that we have in our lives right now. We are so blessed to be back in Idaho, close to family and in the area that we love. We are blessed to have a roof over our heads and wonderful family members who have been willing to help us out in so many ways, and most of all, we are blessed to have one another.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.

Maybe "the house" wasn't "the house"....perhaps we are being spared from some major financial hardships? Maybe, if it had worked, a week or so after the sale was final the plumbing could have gone out, or there could have been a flood, or something horrible would have happened that wouldn't have been covered by our insurance and we wouldn't have been able to afford the repairs without going deeper into debt...maybe one of our kids could have gotten hurt in the never know why things happen, but if my life has taught me anything its this:

We can have all the plans in the world for ourselves, but they will NEVER be as good as Heavenly Father's plans for us.

So...we adapt...its a heck of a lot easier than letting Him drag us kicking and screaming from one blessing to the next. I'd rather walk along side Him and trust His judgement.

So...we are adapting. Making plans and waiting to see how they pan out. We are going house hunting again this weekend and looking in the price point that we were given at the loan office and we are working on filling out the application since it could take a while to get full approval for the loan...and we're making decisions. If we don't find anything we like, then we are planning on moving forward with the purchase of our family member's house. We have been told that renovations may be possible using the loan money if we can make it fall under the category of "repairs". The loan officer seems very willing to help make that, we add on a room or two onto the back of the house (since the family member is willing to cut us a deal on it and we would have enough money leftover to do something like that.), and have room to expand and grow into the house and add equity to the house in the process. That way, when we are ready to find our "dream house" we can have some actual money for that dream house...

Everything is still up in the air...and that is okay. Since God is the one in charge, that is probably for the best. Sometimes having no plans is the best plan that you can make. It leaves you open to possibilities, and the opportunity to see what He has in store for you if you're willing to work with Him.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!