Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tasty Tuesday – Pizza Dough

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I miss New York food!  I have been craving salty Chinese food, a fresh bagel, and real New York pizza like nobody’s business!!!  Alas, I am currently ensconced in Middle America; which means I have to find an alternative solution.  I’m going to make my own version of pizza.  It  won’t be the same, because the water is very different, but I might be able to get close.  I found a recipe on Pinterest.

I was so excited to get started!  I gathered my ingredients: 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of milk, 1 package dry yeast, 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt.

Pizza Dough Ingredients

Once I had everything together, I heated the water and milk as directed.  It took a bit longer than the 40 seconds the recipe suggested.  Then I moved the mixture to a big glass bowl and added the yeast packet and sugar.

Heat the Milk   Add milk and continue heating   Add yeast to warm milk mixture   Add Sugar to Yeasty Milk Mixture

Once the yeast was fully dissolved, I added the olive oil, flour and salt.  Then I mixed the dough and kneaded it on a lightly floured surface.

Add olive oil to the yeast milk   Add flour   Add salt  knead the dough

When the dough was fully combined (smooth and elastic), I brushed a glass bowl with olive oil and put the bowl in the fridge overnight for the dough to rise.

olive oil brushed bowl for dough to rise

24 hours later and I can make my pizza!  But now I have to decide what kind to make – Barbeque Chicken or Chicken Alfredo Pizza…  Any suggestions?

Pizza Dough


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Snapshot Saturday – Hiding in Plain Sight


The most amazing things can sometimes be hiding in plain sight.  I’m making an effort to look for the joy and beauty right in front of me.  I look forward to finding many more pieces of hidden beauty right before my eyes!!

Butterfly 4

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Quest to Read Them All – Sapphire Blue

This week in my Quest to Read Them All I chose an eBook.  I’ve ready many books on my Kindle.  I am not a purist that must feel the pages between my fingers.  I love all books, and am usually in the middle of at least 3 at any given moment (one or more of which is digital).  This week I read the 2nd book in Kerstin Gier’s time travel trilogy, Sapphire Blue.

Sapphire Blue

It was every bit as good as the first book.  It answered some of the questions left from Ruby Red, while leaving enough unanswered to keep the reader interested enough to look forward to Emerald Green.  In the first book, we met Gwyneth Shepherd, her traveling companion and possible love interest Gideon de Villiers, her best friend Lesley, and a host of other interesting people, ghosts, and demons.  The second book finds us again following Gwen on a slightly confusing  journey through time.  Normally, I really don’t enjoy books that are confusing.  I want the plot to be interesting, entertaining, and enjoyable.  However, the reason that I find the confusion in this trilogy acceptable (entertaining even) is because the reader isn’t the only one confused.  Gwen herself is kept in the dark about the reason and purpose of her time travel.  She had not been trained or prepared as the previous travelers had been for the “mission” connected to the journeys.  This seeming treachery is a key part of what keeps the action going.  I, for one, want to know what and why they are keeping the information from Gwen.   Lesley is on a mission to keep Gwen safe, and plans to do that by keeping her informed and helping her try and figure out what the Circle is hiding from her.  I’m really looking forward to finding out what happens next for Gwen and her friends!

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The Liebster Awards!

I have been nominated by a fellow Disney enthusiast and awesome blogger for the Liebster awards!  This is my first time being nominated and I’m really flattered that The Disney Diva chose my blog to honor! The rules and my nominations are as follows…


1.) The nominated blogger must link back to the person who nominated them.
2.) The nominees must answer the 11 questions given to them by the person who nominated them.
3.) Those nominated must choose 11 of their favorite bloggers who have less than 200 followers to answer their own set of questions. When you are nominated. You can not nominate the person who nominated you.

The Disney Diva’s Questions:
1. Who or what inspired your blog? – I was looking for a way to channel some of my free time, creative energy and maybe create a source of income to supplement my shopping habit.
2. Most useless sidekick in a movie and why? – Mini Me from Austin Powers, because the entire series of movies was pretty useless.
3. If you had to choose, would you rather have dinner with The Hulk or go to a dance with The Thing? – I’m not sure how to answer this question, because if The Hulk were in his Bruce Banner form, I’d choose dinner, but if he were all Hulked out, I’d have to go dancing with The Thing.
4. Which Pokemon would you want by your side? – I don’t know diddly squat about Pokemon.
5. Who woud win in this fight, Link or Batman? – Who is Link?  The character from Legend of Zelda?  If so, then Batman, hands down.
6. Favorite non-princess Disney movie (animated or live)? – Modern: Lilo and Stitch, Classic: Swiss Family Robinson
7. At the end of Inception, did the totem stop spinning?  – I’ve never seen the movie.
8. What is your biggest pet peeve? – Fake.  Anything fake.  fake people, fake flavors, artificial anything and everything.
9. What is your favorite quote? – It’s a toss up… Either “All dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney or “Yippee-ki-yay Mother F@#$er.” John McClane Die Hard.
10. Name one famous person (dead or alive) that you would want to have a drink with. – Roger Maris
11. Dessert before dinner? Heck yes! What dessert are we having? – Cheesecake or fresh fruit.  Actually both.

My nominees:

Viva la KP!

Little In A Big World

Bake with D

The Cheergerm & Silly Yak

Disney by Design

Keeps Me Out of Mischief

It’s “All in WDW”

Mon Petit Chateau

Disney Genius

Hodgepodge Pilot’s Wife

Home Across The Water

My Questions:

1. What is your favorite book? – Yes, you have to pick just one.
2. What is you dream vacation? (Destination, length of stay, type of travel)
3.  What is your favorite food?
4. Who taught you to cook, craft, love Disney?
5. Yankees or Red Sox?
6. What do you want to be when you grow up?
7. If you could live 1 day as any person (living or dead), who would it be and what day would you choose?
8. Do you believe in Happily Ever After?
9. Sky diving or Scuba diving?
10. Sunrise or Sunset?
11. What was the last concert, play, museum, show or amusement park you visited?


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Climbing the Ladder Toward the Finishing Touches

I was looking through Pinterest earlier this year, and found this idea I loved that worked with my decor and even fit into my budget.  I just had to get the renovations to a place where we were ready to start adding the finishing touches.  Well, we’ve finally made it to that point in the living room, so I decided that this week would be the perfect time to try and recreate the Blanket Ladder I found…

I have several crocheted blankets that I’d love to display in my living room, but I don’t want the dogs to destroy them.  This project seems like the perfect solution to that problem.  I started by gathering the materials I needed: 2 5 foot pieces of 2×4, 4 17 inch pieces of 2×6, 16 2 1/2 inch wood screws, a drill (with a working battery), a rag and stain.  Once I had everything together, I stained all of the wood pieces and let them dry over night.

stain the wood

When the pieces were dry, I grabbed the tape measure and my drill.  I laid out the rungs of the ladder along the rails based on the measurements provided in the pin.  She wanted 4 rungs spaced 12 inches apart starting 3 inches from the to of the rails.  I decided to remove the final rung, because I liked the visual spacing better.  I also didn’t use pocket holes, because I’m too cheap to purchase a $100 Kreg Jig.  The design of the piece is rustic/industrial so face nailing the rails worked within the design.  After I had everything measured out, I used 2 screws for each side of each rung to secure the 2×6 pieces between the 2×4 rails.

laying out the rungs securing the rungs between the rails

After all 3 rungs were secured, I stood the ladder up and placed some of my blankets.  I’m not sure if I like the ladder.  I think that it’s not level, but it stands and the rails show level.  Maybe it’s just my crooked old house…

waiting for balnkets   $10 Blanket Ladder



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Tasty Tuesday – Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Anything but Grits

Gwen is out of town, and I finally get to make something especially for me!  SHRIMP!  I love them, but Gwen won’t even touch them and that makes getting to enjoy them a rarity.  I decided to take advantage of Gwen’s absences and make some, but I wanted to step outside of my regular repertoire a bit.  With that idea in mind, I went trolling through the boards at Pinterest and found a recipe for Lemon Garlic Shrimp and a Grit-like substance.

How is a standard dish a step away from the norm, you may ask…  I hate grits.  The texture is just not my cup of tea, so the idea of finding a recipe that willingly substitutes them and still lets me enjoy the lemony garlic flavor of the shrimp was quite a find.

To get the great flavor I wanted out of the shrimp, I needed to marinate them.  The recipe called for a 1-4 hour soak, but I left them in overnight.  I gathered the needed ingredients and got to work peeling the little buggers.

Shrimp Marinade Ingredients  Peel and Devein Shrimp

I placed the peeled and de-veined in a glass bowl with a cover.  I added the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the equivalent of 2 cloves of garlic minced, the zest of a lemon and 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano to the bowl with the shrimp.  I covered the bowl and shook it to mix and coat everything.  You can use a ziploc bag instead of a bowl.

Olive Oil  Dried Oregano  Minced Garlic  Lemon Zest  Ready to Cook

Now that the shrimp was well flavored, it was time to cook.  The recipe gives directions on making mashed cauliflower, but I decided to use mashed potatoes instead (they are easier to make and super yummy).  After my potatoes were ready to go, I set about cooking the shrimp.  I gathered my ingredients:  2 strips of bacon, 6 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of white wine, 1/2 sweet onion thinly sliced, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, a pinch of dried oregano, the juice of my previously zested lemon, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Shrimp Sauce Ingredients

Now that I had everything together, I cooked the bacon and set it aside.  Then I added the butter to the rendered bacon grease and melted it over medium high heat.  Next, I added the sliced onion and cooked them until they were soft.

cook the bacon  melt the butter  cook the onions

Next in the process of building the sauce comes the spices.  I added the minced garlic, crushed red pepper, and dried oregano.

crushed red pepper  a pinch of oregano  minced garlic

After the spices sauteed for a minute or two, I added the white wine and let it reduce by about half.

reduce the white wine

Next I added the shrimp and stirred them frequently to turn the shrimp.  Be careful not to let them over cook, they turn rubbery.  As the shrimp are almost finished cooking, juice in the lemon.

add the lemon juice

I took the bacon that I had rendered earlier, and chopped it up.  Then it was time to eat!

Shrimp and Not Grits

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Sunday Sweets – Carrot Cake

Hoppy Bunny Day!  It’s Easter Sunday in my neck of the woods, and this year I got to make dessert!  I tried out a great recipe for Cream Cheese Icing last week and am using it on an interesting Carrot Cake recipe to serve today!  I found the recipe on Pinterest, of all places, right?

I gathered all of the ingredients: 4 eggs, 3/4 cup of canola oil, 1/2 cup of applesauce, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, 8 ounces crushed pineapple, 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda. 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 3 cups grated carrots.

carrot cake ingredients

That’s a lot of stuff for one cake!  Once I had all of the components, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and lined my cupcake pans.  You can use any shape cake pan, just make sure to line it or grease and flour it before putting in the batter.  Next I combined the eggs, applesauce, oil, both kinds of sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.

start with eggs add applesauce oil add white sugar add brown sugar add vanilla extract

Next I drained the pineapple and added that to the bowl.

Mix in crushed pineapple

Once everything was nicely combined, I added the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

photo 5 (2) add baking soda then baking powder add salt Next Cinnamon grate in some nutmeg

Mix it all together and then add the carrots.  The recipe said to grate the carrots, but my fingers and the grater don’t get along, so I bought shredded carrots from the store.

That's a lot of carrots

I mixed everything together and filled my cupcake pans.  Then I put them in the oven to bake for 45 minutes.

oven ready batter filled cupcake pans Carrot Cupcakes!

When they were done baking, I let them cool on a wire rack and then frosted them with the Cream Cheese Icing I had made earlier.  Let’s just hope they are a hit!

Cream Cheese Frosted Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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