Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grilled Pizza

This has become one of our favorite meals and we've slowly perfected it to where we can at least get a square pizza now. This takes a little more skill then just popping it in the oven but the grilled taste is so worth it. I've heard other bloggers say this before, but this is the only way I prefer homemade pizza to a restaurant. I took pictures of the steps tonight while we were cooking so that I could relay back our experience in case anyone is interested in trying this out.

I usually make veggie pizzas so while I'm stretching out the dough I get Casey to carmelize onions and peppers in a grill pan on the grill. I use a few turns of olive oil and grill whatever veggies we're using on high until they have good marks and have softened up a little bit.

Brush olive oil on the pizza before placing it on the grill. I like to add a little flavor so I make a spicy garlic oil. This is super simple. Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic and throw it in a saucepan with about 1/3 c. of extra virgin olive oil. Add a few shakes of crushed red pepper if you like it and turn the heat up to medium. Once the garlic starts sizzling, cook for about 1 minute and then remove from the heat.

Use enough dough for one pizza. I use Annie's recipe over at Annie's Eats which makes two pizzas. You can make this recipe and freeze half of the dough for later which is what we had done. If you're freezing the other half just wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in a freezer bag. Place it in the refrigerator the morning you plan to use it and it will be ready by dinner time. Divide your dough (half of Annie's recipe) into two balls. It's much easier to work with small circles on the grill.

Stretch out the dough to form a circle (use a little bit of flour to keep the dough from sticking) and brush the top with the olive oil/garlic mixture. It's definitely easier if you make your individual circles smaller but I got a little carried away with a big circle and it might be why I end up with square pizzas.

Now you'll want to grill the side of the pizza with your oil on it so that it won't stick to the grates. We keep the grill on medium high to high during this process. How you want to get the dough from the counter top to the grill is a personal choice. I've figured out that I like to make my dough on a pizza peel and carry it out to the grill and flip it over with my hands stretching the dough across the grates. You can use tongs, spatulas, etc. Whatever makes things easier. It probably won't look pretty, but that's ok!

Now brush the top with the garlic oil while it's on the grill.

This cooks really quickly (within a few minutes) so keep an eye on the bottom of your pizza. Once it starts to cook on the bottom it's easier to shift it around so that you can keep spots from burning. Once the bottom is cooked, use your tongs and place the pizza on a pizza peel or cutting board with the oil side down and the cooked side up.

Use whatever toppings make you happy and load up your pizza. I use marinara (I love Muir Glen's Cabernet Marinara), grilled veggies, and grated mozzarella.

Once your pizza is ready to go, take it back out to the grill and slide it on so that we can cook the bottom. The pizza is much easier to work with once you've grilled one side.

Grill on high for a few minutes to get the bottom crispy and then move the pizza to the other side of the grill which I put on medium low. Shut the lid for around 4-5 minutes to melt the cheese. You can start the process for the second pizza whenever you have the time. I start stretching out the second one while I'm waiting on the cheese to melt on the first one.


It sounds complicated but after you've done it once it seems much easier. The transfer of the dough to the grill is the hardest part b/c the dough is so soft but once you have that part down you're good to go. My biggest advice is to work with small circles and keep an eye on your crust! Enjoy!

**I'm also aware I haven't blogged in 3 months. I figure by now that if you people still read my blog you know I'm kind of like that friend that you see every now and then and you don't really expect to contact you every week. I'm glad we understand our relationship with each other.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Completed Bathroom!

Just in case you forgot what we were working with here. This honestly all started b/c the toilet needed replacing. I casually mentioned that while we had the toilet up maybe we should replace the lovely blue linoleum. Well, and while we had to rip everything out maybe we should just replace the vanity and so on. You know, when you give a mouse a cookie.

Here's the picture of the other wall again. I was a little too excited to pull the medicine cabinet out of the wall so I don't have any before pictures of it.

Here's the after!

Here is a close up of the pictures of Tuck above the toilet. I got inspired by these shih tzu bath pictures and gave Casey the job of photographer during one of Tuck's baths.

Here's a better look at the sink area. No hole in the wall anymore!

This is one of my favorite parts of the bathroom. We had a faucet like this at our hotel in Maui on our honeymoon and I think of that every time I see it. We ended up purchasing the sink and vanity set separate b/c there were no combos that looked that great in this room. It's kind of hard to see but our tile has reddish tones to it and there's a little bit of that reddish tone in the granite.

New working toilet! This toilet has actual given us trouble from the get go as far as the installation but I think it's finally ok now. I think we'll definitely be replacing the toilet downstairs in the powder room with the one we have in our master bath b/c we've been really happy with that one so far and the installation went much smoother.

There were fixtures that matched the bamboo faucet but they were really more than I wanted to pay. I just could not fathom paying $50 for a toilet paper holder. I found these at Home Depot and the edges actually resemble the bamboo fixtures that we originally wanted but the price was much better.

We're lucky to have linen closets in the guest bath and in our master. I keep all of the towels in here and we have cleaning supplies and medicine cabinet items in our linen closet.

Here's a close up of the floor and our new floor register.

One last shot just because!

The hardest part of this whole project was all of the patch work on the walls. Getting rid of the sexy vanity bulb strip and smoothing the wall to move down to a smaller vanity and mirror was very tedious. Patching the medicine cabinet hole was also tedious b/c there was a lot of applying joint compound, sanding, waiting, and repeating. I purchased a little DeWalt electric sander halfway through this project and I wish I would've had it from the get go. We've already used it again to sand down the doors to accommodate the new floor level. I was worried about going from a 47" vanity to a 30" but I think it gives the room more space and it's just not as overwhelming.

The tile was the easiest part ironically enough b/c that's what we were the most nervous about. Measuring to make sure the tiles were even and cutting was the hardest part of tiling but it was a relatively quick process once we got started.

This was our first big DIY renovating project and it went pretty well. We learned a lot and we got our hands wet in a little bit of plumbing, a lot of tiling, and a little bit of drywall work. Everything always seems much more daunting when you're trying something new but I'm glad we've attempted some of the things we have since we've lived here. It's allowed us to save money and it's given us confidence when it comes to doing other projects.

This has also become a hobby that we really enjoy doing together. Sometimes there are some tense "..but HONEY, I don't think you have the clamp down hard enough", "Well, HONEY if you think you can fit your hand in this space then maybe you should do it" hahaha, but we worked in a tiny space together for weeks and we worked well together.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oh Dear

First we had this which was a little out of date. Nice blue flowered linoleum, old sink, broken toilet, 90's bulbs and builder grade mirror.

There was also a medicine cabinet randomly in the side of the wall. They are in both full baths and both of the full baths have vanities and linen closets so the medicine cabinet seemed a little overkill so we jerked it out of the wall. In case you were wondering, Sookie definitely inhabited this room before we started on this project. We want to move her stuff to the basement when it gets warmer.

Then this happened and we noticed there was no junction box where our light was. That sounded safe! But look, the medicine cabinet hole is gone!

I remedied the junction box issue and we put up a new light.

Oh hey, this is what I look like when I'm working on the bathroom or when I'm going out the door to my niece's birthday party when Casey is taking pictures.

Tuck appreciates the sink hole in the wall.

Now the toilet is gone, the linoleum is ripped up, the tiling is done, the painting is done, and the grouting is finished. We need to caulk and put up baseboards and of course the new toilet and vanity. This is a guest bath that we don't use so we're really taking our time and working on it when we can so that we don't get burnt out from the project. I'll show plenty of pics when we're done, don't worry :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lil's Birthday

We helped Lillian celebrate her 2nd birthday a few weeks ago and it's so amazing to see how much she has grown since last year.

I love this little girl.

My sister and Lil
I made her cake this year and I'm not a skilled decorator so don't judge me :) She had a farm animal theme so I decorated farm animal sugar cookies w/ royal icing and stacked them around the cake with coconut grass. The cake was a three layer Hershey's perfectly chocolate cake and the middle layers were white chocolate buttercream and the outer layer was just plain ol' vanilla buttercream. It turned out really well and I got a couple of requests for cakes with those particular flavors again so, yay!

Before Casey wrote on the cookies.

Duck sugar cookie favors.

Waiting so patiently for her cake.

Present time!

One of the outfits we got for her. I might kind of want it in my size.

Her baby Stella doll and carrier. This is such a cuuuuute doll if you need a gift for a little girl. She has a little magnetic pacifer and she's so soft.

This picture cracks me up b/c I feel like Tuck is plotting how to take her down in the background. He wants to be a princess for the day too.

We also got to babysit her for the first time this past week. My sister left her here while she was sleeping so she kind of freaked out when she woke up but we made up for it and played with jewelry, jumped on the bed, and made sugar cookies.

Casey and Lil playing with sugar cookie dough (and eating some of it).

Telling Tuck Tuck that it was all gone. She has always been able to say Tuck Tuck really easily but she has trouble with Sookie. She was "Cookie" or "Wookie", but close enough.

We topped off the night with some Wall-E snuggled up on the couch. We're so lucky to have her in our lives :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Out with the old...

... and in with the new!

We got our door hardware that we ordered for all 17 of our doors today and we installed all of the ones on the first floor and it's a huge improvement and the handles are really smooth. I'm pricing hinges but that will be our next project.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quick Healthy Chicken Noodle Soup

This was from my most recent Cooking Light magazine and it really took no time to put together. This is a great weeknight meal that I'm going to add to our rotation.

Servings: 6
(Source: Cooking Light)

2 cups of water
1 (32 oz) carton fat-free, less sodium chicken broth (I used a little more than called for)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 medium carrot, chopped
6 oz. fusilli pasta (I used mini fusilli)
2 1/2 c. shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Combine 2 cups of water and chicken broth and heat on medium until hot. While broth mixture heats, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, celery, salt, pepper, and carrot, saute 3 minutes or until almost tender, stirring frequently.

Add vegetables and pasta to hot broth mixture and bring to a boil. Cook 7 minutes or until pasta is almost al dente. Stir in chicken; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Stir in parsley.

Calories: 237
Fat: 4.8g
Protein: 22.9g
Carb: 23.9g
Fiber: 1.7g
Chol: 50mg
Iron 1.8mg
Sodium: 589mg
Calc: 28mg