Monday, September 28, 2015

New Life...

I've been at my daughter and son-in-law's home just over a week now as they had their third child at the end of last week. This is my daughter's second home and water birth. Everything went well and Momma and baby are healthy and doing fine, but the now middle child is having some difficultly adjusting to not being the baby anymore. Pool little Tabitha just needs a little time to adjust.

Here is little Emma with Andrea's midwife, Mary Helen. I just love this photo. Mary Helen was taking her vitals, weight and such. She is one very special lady who is loved by many in Bloomington and the surrounding areas of southern Indiana. She and her helper, Ann, just provide an amazing service to so many families.

I'll be staying with the kids till the end of this week helping out as needed. I so enjoy spending time with my children and grand children. Precious.

1st family photo:


Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza Recipe

I came across this recipe that replicates the Pizza Hut Pan Pizza about three years ago and it is a family fav! Since that time, I just use my regular Allrecipes pizza dough recipe (cut in half) as it works best for serving my husband and I...don't need two pizzas for two people. It's the oil added to the pan that makes the pizza that glorious, golden crunchy crust that is like the Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas. It truly is delicious!

I make mine in my 10" cast iron pan in our RV oven and works well in a 12" regular pizza pan too. When I make it in my cast iron pan, it is a deep dish and on the pizza pan it is a thin crust...just a matter of what you want. We like to have one variety on Sunday night and the other on Wednesday evening for supper. 

*My directions call for two bakes of the dough...I don't know how others can only bake once and get a nice crunchy crust bottom as many recipes state, but I do two and always have. It just makes the best tasting pizza!

1/2 recipe of Pizza Dough 1 
(highly rated 4-1/2 stars out of 5 with over 2k reviews)
makes 1-10" cast iron deep dish or 1-12" thin crust

1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1 tblsp. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tblsp. sugar
1/2 cup warm water (110°F)

Preheat oven to 450°. Combine flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Mix in oil and warm water. Stir with a fork till it pulls together and kneed in bowl till nice and smooth and shape into a ball, cover dough lightly with oil; cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out dough with roller to fit bottom of your deep dish pan then add 2-3 tblsp. of canola oil (I use coconut oil) or more as the recipe states 3oz. to your deep dish pan and make sure it covers the sides and evenly fills the pan; then lay your dough on top and let it sit in a warm spot and allow it to rise. 

The Pizza Hut recipe states rising time as 1-1/2 hours, but mine don't take that long...maybe about 30 minutes as my kitchen is pretty warm. When it has risen to my liking, I bake it till the bottom is nice and golden...maybe 7-10 minutes for my gas oven. 

Once the dough has firmed up a bit, I gently lift it out of the pan to check to see if it has that golden color on the sides/bottom before I take it out of the oven. If my oven isn't quite hot enough, I take the crust out of the pan (once firm) and place it directly on the oven rack to brown up a bit. 

Once it is the way I want it, take out and add sauce seasonings and toppings. Put it back in the oven (in pan) long enough for the cheeses to melt and top is golden. For me it takes about 5-7 minutes. Ovens can vary on temp/cook times so watch your dough carefully to see how your oven performs with this recipe.

**For the 12" thin crust pizza pan, I add about a tablespoon of oil to the pan to get a nice golden crunch or if you don't want to use that much oil, just oil the pan well and roll dough out onto the pan and bake till dough is firm and golden on bottom. If you want to get it browner quicker, just slide it (once dough is firm) directly onto the oven rack till it is to your liking, but watch closely so it doesn't get too brown or burn. Take out and add toppings; put back into oven and bake till cheese is melted and top is golden.

This pizza was baked in a round aluminum pan:

Cast Iron Pan

The Pizza Hut Pan Pizza recipe is really good and if you haven't made pizza dough before follow those directions. I just like to adjust recipes to my personal tastes and needs. I've been making pizza dough for over ten years and always prefer home cooked pizza to eating out as it is healthier, you know exactly what is in it, less fat/oil than store bought and eating out, it's more economical and best of tastes BETTER! Give it a try and if you fail...keep trying. Mistakes are what happen in the learning process. The Allrecipe recipe has never failed me is super easy and if you have any questions, I'll do my best to help.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Crockpot Crayons

A few weeks back, while shopping at Joanns, I found some jumbo straws on clearance and decided I'd gather up all the broken crayons at my daughters to sort and remelt into new crayons for the grand kids. There are many tutorials with many varieties of ways to melt down crayons on Pinterest. I just chose to go this route once I found the right straws that make a larger multi-colored crayon. 


It took over two hours on a Saturday afternoon just to sort and tear off crayon paper...a good way to spend a cloudy, rainy day. I think I had about twenty bags of crayons. Once sorted, use a tin or metal container to melt your colors into. I used tuna cans for mine. Also, it will be messy no matter how hard you try not to make a will happen so line your crock pot with aluminum foil unless you have a crock that is just for crafting and don't care what happens to it. Mine is for food and I didn't want any wax in a container used for food. 

I turned my small crockpot on high and covered it with a lid till it melted the crayons down. It didn't take long to melt, pour and load another batch. Of course, the more tins you have and the larger your crock...the quicker it will all  go.


Gather your straws, cover the bottom of each one with masking tape or foil and wrap them with a large twist tie or rubber band so they stand up for pouring wax into each one. I kept color families together and randomly poured into the straws till they filled up. It took them overnight to harden and most of them popped/pushed out, but some just broke and wouldn't come out whole. The grands love them and they are great for little hands! 


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Roll

After seeing a post on Facebook, I believe, of a cast iron skillet cinnamon roll I figured the next time I made rolls I'd give that a try. This is my version of a skillet cinnamon roll. I used my trusty cinnamon roll bread machine recipe from Allrecipes that I've used for years as I thought it was a good place to start. I had no idea if the dough would fit in my 10" skillet, but I figured I'd give it a try. 

I must state that the recipe above is a really good recipe and I've used it for years, but I wanted to try using raw honey this time as I wanted a less sweet roll...not as much sugar as I'd always used as I just don't like all the sweetness anymore. I used 2-1/4 cup of unbleached flour and 3/4 cup of whole wheat white flour that equals the 3 cups as stated in the recipe. After adding all the ingredients to my bread machine and processing on the "dough" cycle, I spread the dough out to about a 10" x 16" (just eyed it) rectangle. I rolled it out till it was all about the same thickness then I spread about 3 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup honey or so and about 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon. I really just sprinkled enough cinnamon till I though I had enough. My cinnamon is organic and it is really strong so I don't always follow recipe amounts when it is called for as this one called for almost two tablespoons. 

With a pizza cutter or knife, cut strips of about 1-1/2" on the long side not the short ends. You want to roll your first strip up like a cinnamon roll and then take the next strip of dough and add it to the first roll and keep adding the strips till you can't handle it easily was about four strips in for me and I had to place my large rolled up strip of a roll in my well greased (I use coconut oil) cast iron 10" the middle. Now take each subsequent strip and keep adding to your roll until all dough is used. It will be a little messy, but it's so worth it! Don't stress if it isn't perfect or if it is just shy of the edge of your skillet in filling it up because as it sits in a warm area the dough will rise and fill up any left over space in the pan.

Once all strips are rolled around your bun, cover loosely with a towel or plastic wrap till it rises a bit. Mine took about 30 minutes on a warm 180 degree stove. Once risen to fill the pan, bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 25- 30 minutes. I lightly cover mine with foil about ten minutes in or when it is golden brown as I don't like a really dark roll on top and it will get dark on top if you don't pay attention. Ovens vary so just watch carefully.

Oh, I sprinkled a little brown sugar on top before baking too. For icing, I followed the recipe. This made for a nice, tender and not too sweet of a roll for me and it was really good. The skillet didn't overly brown the bottom or sides either.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rustic Pumpkin Idea....

My daughter send me this link today for a rustic pumpkin display and I had to share it! This would be super cute and simple to make with some basic tools. For a recycle idea, I'd think pallet wood would work also. 

Click on the link and scroll down to the bottom for ideas from other bloggers for decorating in the home, outdoor, bedroom and kitchen using the same pumpkin idea.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Another Sock Monkey hat!

Our daughter's third baby and second girl is due next week. Andrea decided on a sock monkey theme for her first baby photos so I went looking for ideas on what patterns to use and color scheme. I like to see what has available as I can always trust Sarah's crochet patterns for cuteness and pattern accuracy. Her site was one of the first ones I came across when I ventured out into teaching myself to crochet over a year and a half ago. She has a wealth of FREE patterns and crocheting info plus she has a board on Facebook also so you can share your work and meet other crocheters. The cute ruffle pants below were a pattern I purchased from Crochet by Jennifer. She is located on Ravelry and has a Facebook page also. These ruffle pants have a matching hat available also. When you "like" her page and get notifications of new posts, you can see when she has her patterns for sale. I got the pants and another free pattern on her last Labor Day glad I checked her page and saw her sale listed before I purchased!

A few months back I made one for a newborn nephew along with a matching ripple blanket. It turned out so pretty in an blue mint, white & grey combo. I used Caron Simply Soft yarn for these two projects.