Archive for February, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday – Pizza

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Posted by Michael, February 16th, 2011

Pizza.  Yeah, I know, real original.  But hear me out.  Back in the day when I used to visit Rebecca at college, we always ended up making a quick, easy and cheap meal.  The pocketless pita pizza.  Say that a few times fast.  It was your traditional pita pocket (but without the pocket kind) with some pizza sauce, cheese and whatever toppings.  Slip em in the oven for a few minutes and time and time again, we had a great meal.

But it wasn’t that crazy good pizza pie that you sometimes crave.  And as we moved into the condo, we began making pizza more and more.  We would often pick up fresh dough from a local pizzeria, roll it out ourselves, apply toppings and bake as needed.  Even these pies, though, were missing something.  We like our pizza thin, crispy and well done; something that is incredibly hard to get using a traditional oven.  Doing some googling and what not, we came across the ever-popular pizza stone.  The stone did help our pies get a bit more crispy, but not enough. Our residential ovens just do not get hot enough like a pizzeria oven.

That’s when I got the idea to bake the dough by itself for a few minutes on the pizza stone.  This would allow the bottom of the dough to get nice and crispy without soaking in the moisture from the various toppings.

I typically bake the dough just enough so that it’s slightly turning a tannish-brown; as seen below.

I’ll then rub a bit of olive oil around the entire surface.  This allows for the crust to get even more crispy and well done; just the way we like it.

At this point, it’s time to get creative: add whatever sauce you like, whatever cheese and whatever other toppings you can come up with.  We typically go with Don Pepino’s pizza sauce.  I know, I know, I should be making the sauce homemade.  But honestly, Pepino’s sauce is the closest sauce to an actual pizzeria sauce.

Pizza with peppers and onions has long been one of our favorites, so it’s almost always a must when we’re making pizza.  We like to dice our veggies small so they, too, get a bit more crispy.

When we have fresh ingredients, we try to make margherita pizza.  Unfortunately on this day, we only had fresh mozzarella to use.  But otherwise, we would have put on some chopped tomatoes and fresh basil.  Instead, we stuck with the regular sauce and some dried basil.  Still pretty damn good.

And finally, we did get a bit creative.  We decided to do a white pizza with ricotta and mozzarella cheese.  Can’t wait to make this one again!

Now I’m hungry again, but I do have hockey tonight so more pizza making will have to hold off until tomorrow night!

ps- We’re linking up to Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday party over at Peas & Crayons, go check out the other meal ideas!

The Finishing Touches

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Posted by Rebecca, February 15th, 2011

After we had our downstairs floors replaced and we got our spiffy new faucet, there was something in the kitchen sticking out like a sore thumb.

Cue the undersized and overused kitchen rug. I took this picture in the morning before work, see how I strategically did not include the sink? That’s because it was full of crap. A little blogger secret 😉

We wanted something bigger for this area mostly to protect our new floors. We often ‘dribble’ water around the dishwasher area while transferring dishes and we wanted to make sure these floors stay as moisture free as possible.

Another reason why we started thinking about a new rug is because this round of floors is slightly more cherry than our previous ones. I know you guys (or anyone for that matter) would not notice, since they are the exact brand and color of our previous floors. But due to natural variations and different lots of wood, this time we seemed to get less of the dark brown pieces, especially in the kitchen. There are a couple you can spot in this picture…

If I could have hand picked the boards that went down, believe me I would have. I basically had the variations in our previous floors memorized, and my favorite piece of wood was in our dining room. It had this pretty mix of colors and it stood out. When we did our pre-closing inspection, I mentioned how much I loved the variation to the builder representative and he said that most people complain about those pieces. Not me my friend, not me!

So to get a little more brown tones in the room, I started looking for a brown rug, a runner to be exact. Thankfully my friend Robin (Hi Robin!) emailed me a link to a rug sale, with our office in mind. That’s the great thing about having a blog, all of your friends send you things that are your style 🙂 She sent me a link to Garnet Hill’s Bogart Flat-Weave Wool Rug

Loving the cocoa color! It’s a nice way to bring some more pattern into the kitchen (we have our linear backsplash and our leafy Ikea curtains), as well as a little more brown (we currently have brown in our backsplash, pendant lights and window treatment). I measured it out and it will come out a foot further than our current mat, and will be 5 feet longer. It covers a good amount of the “busy zone” of the kitchen.

I decided that this is going to be my Valentine’s Day gift. Mike and I aren’t big holiday gift exchangers, since I kinda wear the same jewelry everyday and the pieces I change up are $2 bracelets. Plus Macky eats flowers so Mike saves money on those! We’re the type of people that say that we’d rather pick out things we really want and not feel guilty buying them than overspend on each other a few days a year. Though we’re all about spontaneous, thoughtful gifts, we’re never aiming to spend x amount on each other because we feel like we have to. Mike once bought me just a mini-muffin pan for Christmas… and I loved it. Then I came home one random day a few years ago to a new MacBook on my desk… and I loved that too 🙂 Such a keeper.

Happy First Valentine’s Day house, I got you a runner! Please don’t return it for booze. I’m not giving you a gift receipt….

Pausing For My Loves

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Posted by Rebecca, February 14th, 2011

I had a post planned for tonight (in my head), but about eh, 5 minutes ago I decided to can it.

It’s 9:15, and I just finished my second round of homework. I had the most awful stiff neck in the history of the world this weekend, more than likely from stress and the fact that I spend at least 12 hours a day on a computer. So when I looked up and saw this guy staring at me….

MoMMmMa! Hewwo? Get off computer and listen to meeeee!

…I knew it was time to call a time-out. I mean, Valentine’s Day is about being with the people you love right? And I don’t get nearly enough time with them these days. So I’m about to close the laptop and sit on the couch with Mike. We go all out for these holidays 🙂

Oh and I’m also about to eat one of these…

Mmmm! I think I’m going to go with the Cookies n’ Cream one!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, hope you had some cupcakes on the couch time 🙂

Spreading the Love- Sawdust and Paper Scraps

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Posted by Rebecca, February 10th, 2011

If you browse my archives over there on the right, you’ll see that today marks one year since my first post (or posts, I was anxious!) First was the obligatory introduction post and the second was about my love for a Walmart tissue box. I don’t really consider it to be my ‘blogiversary’ or anything, since I really just started for myself and told not a soul in the beginning. When I started, I didn’t even know who Young House Love was and I thought I had an original idea going. Yes, I am naive, I thought for a minute that I invented the house blog. Once I was finally confident enough to spread the word, I decided to join Twitter where I discovered so so many wonderful bloggers that I have learned from and have been inspired by. One of those people is Sandra from Sawdust and Paper Scraps.

I discovered Sandra just a few weeks ago, at 2 am, while I was wide awake and browsing Twitter on my iPhone. Once I clicked the link for her blog I was in awe. First I spotted these built-in bookcases

I’ve mentioned my love of built-ins before but the amazing thing about these? Sandra built them herself. Talk about motivation to learn how to use a saw!!

Little did I know at that point that Sandra also built the entertainment center in her basement…

As well as a playhouse for her daughter (which started as a closet!)…

Holy talent.

She also created our dream office

We wanted an office layout like this, but buying cabinets was too pricey for us and we are not talented enough to make our own like Sandra does. How awesome are those countertops??

Instead we went with a much less attractive Ikea version…

My poor little office looks sad! Hopefully someday we can have beautiful cabinetry too!

Finally, my absolute favorite part of Sandra’s house is her picture frame collage

I’ve been dying to do something like this, but we don’t have much of a staircase wall. Luckily Sandra did her hallway too! 🙂

We’ve been planning to extend our living/dining room moldings up our stairs and into the hallway, so this picture frame arrangment would be wonderful. I love how Sandra mixed frame colors and sizes, but unified everything with the black and white pictures. I have had this image in my head for 2 weeks!

Finding a blog I have never seen before is like Christmas morning for me. One that keeps me up at 2 am is like a trip to Disney World, so I just had to spread the love. I am so happy that I’ve found Sandra, as well as so many other ridiculously talented bloggers in this past year. Maybe someday I can be as good…or I can at least attempt to use a saw by my next fake blogiversary. But until then? Blogs are more inspiring than HGTV. Yeah I said it 🙂

Visit Sawdust and Paper Scraps for many more impressive projects and special thanks to Sandra for letting me use her images!

What We Ate Wednesday- Beans & Macaroni

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Posted by Rebecca, February 9th, 2011

Yay another post for Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday link party over at Peas and Crayons!

Last night (I guess this series should really be called “What we ate for dinner Tuesday”?), Mike made a variation of his grandfather’s pasta e fagioli recipe. Mike’s isn’t soupy at all, so we normally refer to it as beans and macaroni. In fact, today I had the leftovers for lunch and I ate it with a fork.

Okay so! The ingredients:

Half of a medium sized onion

2 cloves of garlic

1-2 stalks of celery

3 cans of cannellini beans (white kidney beans)

1/2 lb smallish pasta

1/2 can tomato sauce (15 ounce or so can)

Directions:

Put some olive oil in a pot, adding the onion and garlic. Cook until onions are clear and add 2 and a half cans of beans (with juice). As this cooks, stir and smash beans, add half of a can of tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste. In a separate pot, boil water and add chopped celery until soft. Cook pasta and set aside. Once beans have condensed and are creamy, add remaining beans and juice into the pot, along with the chopped celery. Cook for an additional ten minutes or so. Add pasta to mixture, stir and done!

If you prefer the more traditional soupy route, when you add the celery to the bean mixture, add the water that it was cooked in as well.  Cook the pasta in the same mixture until soft.

We sort of forgot that we had What We Ate Wednesday in the middle of cooking this, so we didn’t take pictures along the way. Sorry about that, but it’s the end result that counts, right? 🙂

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