Sunday, October 19, 2008

Parchment Paper on the cheap!

I love to bake, remember (see up there in the header in case you've forgotten - my favorite line from High School Musical).  So, one day while reading some of the blogs I stalk I found a link to Reynolds' Parchment Paper page and learned they were giving a $1.75 off coupon.  $1.75 off parchment paper?  That makes it just over a buck a roll at Wal-Mart.  I'll take it.

So, if you're looking to save some money on your parchment paper for holiday baking (or just plain old every day baking) look here on Reynolds Parchment Paper page.  Click on the banner on the right side of the page and you'll be able to print a coupon.  Now, you'll have to install a coupon printer application in order to print the coupon.  You can google it for yourself to decide if you want to do this. If you do install the application, then you'll be able to print the coupon twice (and that's twice per computer - so if you have access to more than one computer and install the coupon printer on each your own math)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Surely this is not surprising

I read this on Slashfood and have to say, I'm not surprised in the least.  I mean, if Coke cleans your car battery terminals then this is not surprising...Diet Coke Prevents Pregnancy (by killing sperm on contact)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh, I need these!

I'm planning on making Christmas gifts for friends this year.  Kathie, cover your eyes.   I was thinking about doing homemade s'mores - well, homemade marshmallows and graham crackers not homemade chocolate.  Then, while cruising Food Gawker I came across a blog that featured these cookie cutters...I think I've GOT to have them!  There are a couple of shops in my area that carry them, so I'll be looking for them and if I can't find them, I'm definitely ordering them online.

Now, if you know me, you know why these appeal to me - I have this total goofball sense of humor and these feed right into it (ha! that's funny and I wasn't trying to be..."feed right into it" and they're cookie cutters...get it?).  Plus I have four kids who are always right under foot when I'm in the kitchen.  I can well imagine one of my kids biting the arm, leg or head off any gingerbread men I'm trying to make as gifts.  After saw what happened to my birthday cake, right?  Oh, you didn't?  My two-year-old helped herself to about one-third of one of the layers while it was cooling so my cake ended up looking like this...

Yeah, that 1/3rd of a layer is gone due to the gnoshing of a two-year-old foodie.  :)  So, now do you see the appeal of the gingerbread men cookie cutters - at least their appeal to me?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I won!

I am so excited!  I won a set of these trays (not sure if I won letters or numbers - won't know 'til I get them) from Blake Makes.  Once they come in, I'll play with them and talk about them here.  I'll definitely be using them for homeschool.  If I get the numbers, we'll be able to do some great subtraction work, don't you think?  ;)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

If it's Wednesday, we must be having pizza

Wednesdays are pretty much insane around here and since we have to be out the door by 5:45p.m. at the latest, I try to do simple and kid-friendly. 

This past Wednesday I hit upon the idea of doing a homemade pizza.  I knew I could throw the ingredients for dough into the bread machine and then roll it out.  Don't hate me for using a bread machine, IMO it's not that different from throwing dough ingredients into the KitchenAid and letting it do all the work.  AND, it allowed me to make dough and teach math.  Anyway, I searched through my husband's bread machine cookbooks and found a recipe for Sourdough Pizza Crust.  Oooooh, yummy!  I have a sourdough starter in the fridge from about a month ago (it's really getting ripe and I'm loving it!) so I decided we'd give this a try.  I loved it, so did the kids.  We also made our own pizza sauce.   Recipes for both follow.

Sourdough Pizza Crust
The Bread Machine Cookbook by Donna Rathmell German
This is the Large (2-pound) recipe

1 cup starter (recipe for starter can be found here)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons yeast
water as needed

Put ingredients in bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. My machine has a pizza dough cycle and I used it.  Roll dough into a rectangle or circle, depending on the pan to be used. Place dough on pan and turn excess under, forming a raised edge. Brush very lightly with olive oil. Cover and let rise about 30 minutes. Top with pizza sauce and desired toppings. Place in a preheated 500(F) oven and bake until crust is brown and cheese melted, about 5 to 10 minutes.

I based our pizza sauce on the following recipe; but because my husband had used the spare can of diced tomatoes, I had to use tomato sauce and tomato paste. 

Homemade Pizza Sauce
adapted from
3 garlic cloves, minced  {I used 4 cloves, we are a garlic-loving family}
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil  {I used olive oil}
1 (29 ounce) can tomato puree {I used a 29-ounce can of tomato sauce}
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes {I used two 6-ounce cans of tomato paste}
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning  {I used didn't measure and used oregano and thyme}
1 teaspoon dried basil  {I used more than a teaspoon}
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes {I used a little less than this}

In a large saucepan, saute garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired thickness. Use in Deep-Dish Sausage Pizza, Tomato Artichoke Chicken or any recipe that calls for pizza sauce. Sauce may be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

I cooked our pizza on the Pampered Chef 15-inch round stone dusted with cornmeal.  I easily could've halved the dough and had plenty for a thinner-crust pizza.  But, the thick sourdough crust was good, too.  We made a simple mozzarella cheese pizza and put black olives on half of it (kids, you know - got to make them happy so they'll eat).   This is definitely a "do again" - only next time I'll make two pizzas with the dough.