Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Honest Truth

UPDATED: I honestly thought today was Friday when I wrote this post, so just go with it… okay?

I would love to tell you I’ve been away for two weeks to an exotic local or that I’ve been so busy building/crafting/making cheese that I just haven’t sat down at the computer. That would be an outright lie. 

The truth is I’ve done nothing but drag my computer around for the last two weeks. I’m getting precariously close to finishing my master’s thesis and it’s beginning to occupy every spare brain cell, every minute of my day and every spare inch of floor and table space at our house. I have an entire shelf of books in my living room that I have purchased (because the library didn’t have them) in addition to the library ones that were returned last semester (oh happy day!).  Most of what has taken over every flat surface in my house is stack upon stack of printed research articles from tier 1, peer reviewed journals (the creme de la creme of research articles…. the good stuff). 

The most domestic thing I’ve done in two weeks is make pizza and sweep my floors (it’s been done more than once… promise). Since its Friday, and at our house the Friday night tradition is pizza, I’ve decided to share my super simple pizza crust recipe with you! Make pizza for your family tonight and remember how great it feels to be in the kitchen. 

The Red Homestead Official Pizza Crust Recipe
This produces a very soft dough that is pushed out on a seasoned baking stone (or cookie sheet) that yields a crisp outside and soft , delicate inside.
1 c hot tap water
2 ½ tsp dry active yeast ( I like Red Star)
2 tsp sugar
2 tbl olive oil +more for hands
2 ½ - 3 c all purpose flour
Combine the first 3 ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and let set until it produces a foam (5-10 minutes depending on your yeast). Attach the dough hook to your mixer. Add 2 ½ c flour and olive oil. Mix on medium until combined. Reduce to kneading speed (that’s  speed setting 2 on my machine) and slowly add flour until dough no longer sticks to the bowl (you want to add as little as possible). Kneed for 2 minutes. Place towel over bowl and let rest 45min – 1 hour, until doubled. Punch down and scoop out onto a lightly greased baking sheet or seasoned baking stone. Cover your hands in olive oil and push dough into desired shape and size. Pre-bake at 500 degrees until edges just begin to brown, 5-7 minutes. Top any way you choose, put a little butter along edge of crust, sprinkle with a little salt and garlic and put it back into the oven until the cheese is bubbly. Yum!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Reading Rundown

First of all, I’m in love with the website GoodReads. Not only does it allow me to pass suggestions and reviews back and forth with my friends I don’t often get to see in person, it has an amazing encyclopedia of books to build lists of future reading.  Last year, I joined the 2012 Challenge and read 50 books. I jointed the same challenge for 2013 and also a group that is reading cozy mysteries (my goal is to hit “super sluth” level by reading 13 cozies). 

Most days you will find me reading, with my morning coffee or tea, reading during lunch and reading before bed at night. You will never see me leave the house without a book or my Kindle in my purse. You could say I'm "A Reader." I'm hoping some of you are too and that we can talk about books here. So, I’ve decided to do a monthly rundown of what I’ve been reading and tell you about my favorite book for the past month (bold titles denote cozy mysteries).

In January I read:

A Deadly Snowfall by Cynthia Gallant-Simpson

A Deadly Chocolate Pi by Cynthia Gallant-Simpson

A Deadly Fish Tale by Cynthia Gallant-Simpson

Autobiography of a Fat Bride by Laurie Notaro

Death of a Gossip by M.C. Beaton

My Favorite:

It’s month one of the rundown and I’m already breaking the rules! This month is a tie between Notaro and Beaton, two very different books that I couldn’t put down. Notaro writes humor essays that are so funny Future Hubby hates when I read them in bed, because my laughing is not conducive to his sleeping. I always keep one of her books around, because 25 pages are the perfect way to turn around a bad day.  Beaton’s book is the first in her series featuring Constable Hamish Macbeth in the highlands of Scotland. It’s a cozy mystery, no blood, guts or gore. Just a lot of tea, a minor romance undertone and lots of talk of the greatness of the highlands mixed with a bit of clever detective work by Macbeth. BBC Scotland picked up these stories and created a television series loosely based around them which are a great watch for a blustery weekend.  

Total Count:   5 (4)

Note: I won't provide links to purchase these books, as I would like to encourage you to do it from your local bookseller (if you have one). Buy LOCAL!
This month, the books by Gallant-Simpson are self-published as Kindle books and are only available from Amazon currently.