Thursday, May 30, 2013

White Pizza

A couple of weeks ago Corey was sick, which meant either ordering-in or I would have to cook--which never rarely happens.  I am the baker and he is the chef.  After browsing the aisle of Trader Joe's, I decided to make a white pizza.  If I can make this recipe, anyone can!

Pizza Dough (I used Trader Joe's dough but you could make your own or use any brand)
3/12 Tablespoons Oil
1-2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1/2 cup Basil Leaves
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Toppings of choice, I used: Goat cheese and Sun-dried tomatoes

Preheat oven according the Dough directions.

Roll out your pizza dough on a prepared surface.  At first mine looked like a drunken triangle who married a square, then I found this video.  It helped a ton!

We recently invested in a Pizza Stone, so I used the opportunity to try it for an actual pizza.  We've used the stone for cookies & rolls and been very happy so far.  Transfer your dough to your Pizza Stone or baking dish (unless you were smart and started there, which I have since started doing).

Rinse & Chop your basil, toss in Parmesan cheese, Garlic, Oil & Pepper (dash of each).  Let soak in a small bowl and set aside.

Top Pizza Dough with 3.5 Tablespoons of Oil and 1-2 cloves of finely chopped garlic.  Spread so it coats the entire pizza, especially the crust (I also added Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes here).  Top with 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes.

Cook according the dough directions.  At about ten minutes left, pull Basil leaves out of water and dry by pressing between two paper towels.  Add the Basil to the pizza during the last five minutes.  By soaking the leaves in water it prevents them from burning, gives them a great taste and the Parmesan sneaks in that third cheese.  We are a cheese loving family here!

Let cool slightly before slicing.  Enjoy!

Am I the only one who has this much trouble getting my pizza round?

Easter Seafood Boil

This Easter we had the pleasure of being invited to join our friends, Brian & Kirsten, their family and neighbors for an Easter Seafood Boil.  Everyone brought a different kind of seafood so it was delicious and there was a ton of food!

The Seafood Boil gave me an excuse to try out this Banana Cream pie recipe, I didn't have a chance to make it before we left Richmond so I used Pudding Mix & pre-made pie crust.  It was delicious and disappeared quickly!  I will definitely be making it again! 

I highly recommend combining Holidays with another family, it makes it so much easier on everyone!  We also did Thanksgiving with them and it made it so much easier only having to worry about preparing a few dishes and bringing a Turkey to fry.

We hang out with this couple often and they also have two Dachshund so Duck and Goose were very happy to see their friends!  I also won big when we played a game called "steal from you neighbor."  Sadly I did not take many pictures during the weekend but we had a blast hanging out & stuffing ourselves silly.

What Easter Traditions do you have?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Drowning in Jewelry!

Ok I am not really drowning, but everyday when I opened my closet I felt overwhelmed by this mess!  Several Necklaces were tangled, I would constantly find earrings that I had forgotten about and I cannot tell you how many times I just gave up and wore my standard hoop earrings and silver necklace.

I have been holding out for 2 years with this temporary solution but then I was pursing Etsy I stumbled on this and knew it was the perfect solution!  My Birthday was coming up and I have a long standing tradition of buying myself a present I would not normally spend the money on, something to treat myself.  So Happy Birthday to me!

I have been using it for about a month now and I am SO happy with it!  I did purchase a tray from T.J. Maxx for my bracelets.  The jewelry holder has great craftsmanship and is the perfect solution!  The one I purchased holds up to 180 pairs of earrings, but they have a ton of different varieties.

Photo from their etsy store
Obviously the earrings holder did not have enough pegs for my necklaces, so I hung it on my wall instead of the inside of my closet door where the previously holder was.  This freed up lots of space, so I decided to use these 3M hooks for the costume necklaces. I measured out one of my bigger necklaces and decided I wanted them about 3" apart.    My larger/heavier necklaces reside on what I believe was originally a belt organizer.  I hoard organizing supplies and constantly re-purpose them so I am not sure exactly where it came from.

It has been about a month and I am totally in love with this solution!  It is so easy to find everything and I love that I can organize them by color to match how I have my closet organized!

I am trying harder to look more put-together for work and life in general so making accessorizing easier is a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On the Move!

Today I am deviating away from the normal recipe and organization stuff to bring you a special announcement!  We are moving!

We currently rent a very old, not-well-taken-care-of (by the landlord, not us) rental-home with a landlord who does not care that the walls are literally coming down.  This coming Friday was the deadline to give notice if we were going to stay for another lease term (12-months).  As much as I hated the idea, we are trying hard to pay off some long-standing debt and save a down-payment for the house.  Keeping that in mind, Corey convinced me to stay for one more year, with the idea that we would be buying a house and only move one more time.

It tricks you by bring cute on the outside!  And yes this is Corey from Google Street view.  he's famous, kinda.
About a week ago our washing machine drainage pipe overflowed/clogged for the second time in the two years we have lived there, the first being our very first night in the house.  We called the landlord and a long three days later he gave us 30-minutes notice that he would be there with a plumber.  I left work early to meet him, the plumber was very efficient and friendly.  I made small talk with the landlord and he started asking how we liked it here.  I took the opportunity to gently remind him of all the repairs Corey has made to the house that he hasn't refunded us for yet (as agreed upon) and the wall that is falling down in the bedroom. I also mentioned how much we love the backyard and the area, so as not to be too complainy (yes that's a new word).  He pretended he forgot about the wall and promised to have it fixed soon, I have mentioned it to him at least 3 times in the last several months.

Apparently he does not realize that if we move out he will have to repair all these things before anyone else moves in because on Thursday we received a letter stating that if we renew our lease our rent would go up and it will be a two-year lease.  I found it funny because the end of the letter said "the only other change is that the lease would be for two years" all nonchalant like, expecting us not to notice?  Enter angry Joanna on a rampage to find a new rental house.  Keep in mind, Corey barely had me agreed to one more year.  With my luck, it was a Holiday weekend so we had a hard time getting anyone to respond to us and had several spam responses (who falls for these?).  After two full days of driving all around Richmond and almost giving up on staying in our beloved West End, we found a house!

New house!
The house was built in 2012, 3 bedrooms and an open floor plan. Our new landlord lives next-door (she bought the lot to avoid cookie-cutter houses being built and surrounding her like they do on the other side of her lot). She is a CPA, super easy to get in-touch with, an animal lover (big plus for our family of 3 pets), and just very nice and easy going.  Right now the backyard is not very big but she is working on clearing out more of the 2.5 acres the house sits on.  Once she gets some of the small trees cleared out it opens up to great old trees, which will be fun for walks and the dogs.

We are very excited but stressed at the same time.  I spent all day Monday purging an entire SUV load of stuff to Goodwill, trashing several bags worth of stuff, listing items for sale on craigslist and starting to pack.  My normal packing routine (including numbered and very organized boxes) takes awhile, so it may be a little below Joanna-moving-standard this time, but it will get done!  I cannot wait to decorate this new place, did I mention it has real closets including two in the master?  One has a shoe shelf!

Thank you to all our family and friends who helped look for listings and my mother-in-law for helping us find a wireless dog fence!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

2 boneless skinless chicken breast
3/4 cup butter
4 Tablespoons cream cheese
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
olive oil

Cook pasta.  We used Penne pasta but any type should work well.

Sauce :
In a medium sauce pan melt butter and add garlic. Let the garlic cook in butter for about 3 minutes on medium heat. Add heavy cream and cream cheese. Cook and stir until cream cheese is well blended.  Add a dash of Cajun seasoning, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1 cup Parmesan cheese and salt/pepper to taste. Once Your Parmesan cheese is melted in toss your pasta in sauce, cover and set stove to "warm."

Chicken :
Place chicken in a large zip lock bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound chicken until it about 1/4 of a Inch thin. I have found that its works best if you work from the center out to the edges. Coat both sides of chicken with Cajun seasoning and cumin. (don't go too crazy with a Cajun you want a good coat but too much will make it too salty). Place a small amount of butter and olive oil in your frying pan, enough to coat bottom of pan. Once Oil and butter are heated up (sizzling) place your chicken in the pan.  Brown both sides, about 5 min your chicken should be about done.  Check with a kitchen thermometer.  Take your chicken out of the pan and slice long ways against the grain.

Place pasta on plate and top with a few strips of chicken.

BAM its dinner time.