Monthly Archives: March 2013

Passover 2013: Recipe Collection

Not many of you know that Joey and I have celebrated Passover for the past 3 years. No, we aren’t Jewish (or at least we can’t definitively prove it…) but we enjoy any reason to cook a great meal, and more importantly- this was the one holiday that Jesus celebrated, so why shouldn’t we?

Anyways, we’ve had a lot of fun learning all the ‘rules’ of Passover and kosher cooking- as well as the symbolism behind the rituals that are observed. I used to babysit for a family who had ‘around the world meal nights’ with friends, and each time they’d cook a meal from a different country and decorate the table in the style of that place. Sounds SO fun!!



This was Gabs’ first time hearing the Passover story- but it won’t be her last!

I think this was the best year as far as the meal goes- I hunted for delicious-sounding recipes at 4:15 am on Monday morning (I’m starting to think I do my best work in the wee morning hours!), solidified a menu, took Gabs grocery shopping at 9 am, and got cooking at 10:30! Besides a quick shopping trip with Nicole (her pregnancy craving is Old Navy- LOVE it!!) I spent most of the day cooking up a storm.

I went the traditional route this year- here are the recipes!

~Charoset~ I LOVE when there are leftovers of this! I have come up with my own recipe for my favorite charoset-

3 Gala apples, diced

10 dried apricots, diced

1/2 cup golden raisins

small bag of chopped walnuts

1/2 cup Craisins

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup red wine

cinnamon to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, chill and serve!




~Potato Kugel with Sauteed Shallots~



~Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary~





~Matzo Ball Soup~ the idea of matzo ball soup always disgusted me. It looks so gross! However, I wanted to go full steam ahead with a traditional menu this year, and there was no getting around The Soup. I didn’t want to commit hours to make something I didn’t have high hopes for, so box mix it was!

All in all, it wasn’t horrible! Tasted like chicken noodle soup. But instead of noodles, there were dumpling-like matzo balls.





~Flourless Chocolate Cake~




By the end of the day, I smelled like Kugel and Matzo Balls- aside from that, it was a wonderful Passover meal. Joey always prepares a devotion for the end of the meal, and we each attempt to explain the meaning behind the Seder Plate that is in the center of the table.

I forgot to take a picture of ours, but here is a sample!


There are 6 elements to a Seder plate:

1. roasted lamb shank bone-  symbolic of the Pesach offering that was brought to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem

2. A hard boiled egg– a reminder of the festival offering that was brought to the temple on Pesach

3. Bitter roots- symbolize the harsh suffering and bitter times of the Israelite slaves in Egypt

4. Charoset– a mixture of ground up apples, nuts, and wine that resemble the mortar and bricks that the slaves were forced to make when they were in Egypt

5. Karpas-  this can be a slice of onion, boiled potato or parsley that is dipped in salt water- to symbolize the tears the Israelites cried when they were enslaved

6. Romaine lettuce– second portion of the bitter herbs to represent the bitter suffering

We also had Kosher wine during dinner- interesting taste. I definitely prefer regular wine!



Regardless of whether we as Christians ‘need’ to celebrate the Passover or not, we have found that it is a great way to reflect on the atoning work of Christ on the cross for us. So, while it is not required for us to celebrate this holiday-  we have found it totally interesting and beneficial to study it and celebrate it! It is great preparation for Easter Sunday and has definitely led to a greater appreciation and understanding of Christ’s death and resurrection.

So, besides smelling like lamb and Kugel all day, this was definitely a great celebration!





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Quinoa Patties

Things I can eat one-handed have become a prerequisite for me now when looking at different recipes to try out. One hand is usually occupado with Gabs, so eating lunch is sometimes more of an Olympic event than anything else.


When I was reading one of my favorite blogs a while back, I saw this recipe and subconsciously bookmarked it- or I must have, because it popped into my mind yesterday when I was staring at the huge vat of leftover quinoa that I still had in my fridge.

Must. Have. Quinoa. Nuggets!!



I had pretty much everything for these on hand, and so it took all of 25 minutes from start to finish. I made a whole big batch of them, ate a few, then popped the rest in a Ziploc to enjoy the rest of the week. We had a few guys over for burgers the other day, and when they all wanted seconds but had no beef patties left, they resorted to trying these on buns. These puppies even got the thumbs-up from the guys!


Hey K- maybe this will quell the fast food cravings? Since I helped with your cravings, maybe you can come up with a recipe to silence the chocolate monster inside me. You owe me one.


~ M


Quinoa Patties (or nuggets)

recipe from Yes, I Want Cake

  • 1 C uncooked quinoa
  • 2 C vegetable broth
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 C chives, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/3 C parmesan cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 C almond meal
  • 1 T olive oil

Rinse your quinoa off (I use a really fine fryer strainer) because I’ve heard you are supposed to do that. Then put it in a small saucepan and cover it with the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and turn the heat down. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, or until liquid is all absorbed. Set aside to cool.

Once cooled, mix all ingredients (except the olive oil) in a large bowl. Form patties using 1/4 C measurer.

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Place the patties down in the oil, and let them cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they are browned, and they hold together when you stick a spatula under there.

Let them cool slightly on a baking rack before eating (helps them solidify a bit). Enjoy!

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Happy Birthday to our ‘not so baby’ sister!

Well, we can’t believe this day is actually here…

Linds is 18 (!!!)- seems like just yesterday we were getting home from preschool and begging mom to let us cuddle with her on the couch!

Lindsey is the baby in the family… which means she has had her two older brothers and two older sisters bossing her around her whole life. While it was is probably annoying, we do it because we love her. Totes justified.


… did you know her favorite candy growing up was those chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil?


… or that her favorite thing to play when she was little was ‘Tea Party” with the little tea sets our parents got us from England?


… she has about a million different funny faces


…and those pink boots of yours totally stole our hearts!


While we loved the ‘little’ Lindsey, we realize you’ve grown up (though technically still ‘little’ at 5 foot 2 inches)- and we just keep on lovin’ you more and more, and always will.

To our goofy and totally awesome little sister…

Happy, Happy Birthday. Praying that God guides those little feet of yours through your whole life- and know that you’ve always got your siblings right there with ya!

Love, K&M

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Roasted Pepper and Garlic Hummus

Spring Break is herrrrrrre!! And I have been looking forward to it since about the 4th week of January. No concrete plans so far…. except younger sister Lindsey’s 18th birthday dinner tomorrow!! I can’t believe she’s 18 already. I’m just not sure I believe it yet. An 18 year old sister and a month old niece!!! Holy ridiculous batman.

I spent most of the morning on my first day of vacation in an interview (in front of a panel of 5 people! Never done that before- nerve racking, let me tell you) for an internship for next year, so by the time that was over I was definitely ready for some relaxing time in the kitchen instead of my current bad habit of fast food. YUCK!! I hate how easy that habit is for me to fall back into. Since I’ve been trying to eat more veggies, I like having a good dip to go with them, and I was so surprised at how easy it is to make hummus!!


And it looks quite pretty 🙂

While I was making this, I also made Tuna & Salmon Salad Sandwiches and a Spicy Chicken Dip that you’ll have to wait for 🙂

See what happens when I decide to use my spring break for fun stuff? 🙂 I made a conscious decision to take a step back from school since I’m caught up on homework and spend some time reading and cooking and crafting.

It’s doing wonders for my stress levels! And eating habits :/


P.S. Anyone else get the giggles over M’s story yesterday? I did. I really shouldn’t laugh too hard, cuz someday I know I’ll find myself in a similar situation.

Roasted Pepper and Garlic Hummus

**Adapted from What Katie Ate’s Recipe for white bean, chickpea and roasted garlic dip.**


5 Large garlic gloves, unpeeled

1/3 cup EVOO

1 can 14 oz chickpeas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained

1 can 14 oz cannellini beans (white beans) rinsed and drained

juice of 1 1/2 lemons

pinch crushed red pepper flakes, plus extra to serve

S & P to taste

1 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 of one roasted red pepper- (I used some from a jar, you don’t have to go crazy and fire roast your own 🙂 )

Preheat the oven to 400. Place the garlic on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes until soft. Remove and allow to cool, then squeeze out the soft flesh and discard the papery skin.

Place the garlic in a blender with the chickpeas, cannellini beans, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, olive oil, parmesan cheese and red peppers. Blend it all together to combine, then season to taste with S & P (I used quite a bit). The texture should be thick and slightly grainy. If you like it smoother, add small amounts of EVOO until it reaches the texture you prefer.

Let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving, then garnish with more sliced roasted red pepper and S & P.


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Win some, learn some.

My little sweetheart is ONE MONTH OLD today.



I was up with her at 2:30 this morning and thinking, ‘Almost exactly 4 weeks ago, I was just about to meet you!’ And then of course I had a couple ‘mom tears’ and made her stay awake until 2:38 so I could give her a kiss the exact minute that I heard her cry for the first time. This little girl has completely stolen my heart.

It’s been fun to think back on the past few weeks and see how much has already changed since then! We’ve gone from being (quite honestly) terrified of being home alone with her for the first time, to feeling like we are finally getting the hang of the parenting thing and LOVING it. Even the moments where I just want to cry because I’m so tired, because I know it’s the best reason I’ve ever had for being so tired!

That being said, Gabs is an excellent sleeper- in fact, she gave me a little present last night! We only woke up once (at 2:30) during the night! This momma is feeling very rested and ready to celebrate Gabby’s ‘one month’ day!



I know I’ve spent most of my time on the blog now talking about how much I love motherhood and what a wonderful experience it’s been- and it HAS. My life has never felt more purposeful. On the flip side, here’s a story just to show ya that I’m keepin’ it real.


Our church has a wonderful system set up where they will bring meals to parents with newborns. We had someone volunteer to bring us a meal the week we got home from the hospital, and she said she’d be here around 5:30. I was determined to be ready to receive the meal with a happy baby at that time, so I timed out that I’d feed Gabs around 5 and have her changed and sweet-smelling beforehand. 5:15 rolled around, Gabs had eaten and I was burping her- when all of the sudden… the blowout of the century occurred. I’m talkin’ this poop went through two layers of onesies and onto MY clothes. So I quickly knelt on the floor to change her, stripped her poopy clothes off and then the doorbell rang. There I was with a naked and poopy little baby, and the doorbell kept ringing! I quickly wiped her clean, had no clean clothes on hand to change her into, so I ran with her naked little body to the door to receive our guests. And there they were, a sweet lady from our church and her grandson with a beautiful tray of food, complete with a vase of flowers! I was about to invite them in, when our biggest dog Samson BARGED between them INTO the house. (He is NOT an indoor dog). He started running around the house, getting the furniture dirty and the sweet little boy was chasing him around trying to help get him out of the house, but it only made Samson more excited! I grabbed a blanket to wrap around my still naked darling, and tried to help get the dog out, but finally just surrendered and let him stay inside while I tried to make conversation with Gail and act like I was still somewhat in control. She was so sweet, and while her grandson played with Samson, she held Gabs for a bit and we talked. It wasn’t until after they left that I looked down and realized… my shirt was still rolled up (chest covered, thank the Lord) from feeding Gabs, and there was a GIANT poop stain on my abdominal binder that I was wearing to splint my incision. 

Hoooly balls. Thank you, Lord, for teaching me humility. Needless to say, I threw Samson out the door maybe a little too forcefully, changed Gabby into some clean clothes, and called that wonderful woman immediately to have a good laugh with her and thank her for the beautiful meal she brought us.




Here’s to motherhood- the good, the bad, and the ugly, and lovin’ every minute of it.


(Last night we celebrated Passover with some of our family- it was Gabs’ first Passover and we’re pretty sure she loved it. Stay tuned for the deets!)


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Lemon Butter Shrimp with Teriyaki Quinoa Cabbage Stir-fry

Here’s the new ‘do! It’s startlingly short and taken me some time to get used to, but I’m loving the ease of having less hair!


The past few weeks have been a blur of feedings, laundry, and trying to read this book Katie suggested. Quite honestly, I’m pretty thrilled about it! I love being a momma.

The only thing I’ve been missing a lot is exercise. I have had a lot of time to plan some pretty intense workouts, so I can’t WAIT to try some of them out! I still have about 2.5 weeks before I can start exercising vigorously again, but until then, these jogging stroller walks should hold me over.


After our walk (dang it was WINDY!) I had some leftovers from our dinner the other night to hold me over until dinnertime- one of my new favorite go-to recipes. Stir fry’s have been a hit for us lately, because they are quick, flavorful and filling- and this one tops em all!


I’ve been dying to try quinoa for the past few months, so I ventured out and bought a box and then was too nervous to try to cook it for the longest time. Remember, fear of weird ingredients? The box sat in my pantry forever until I finally decided to try it a couple days ago. I (for some reason) made the whole box and therefore have quinoa coming out of my ears, but I don’t mind because I’ve been eating it non-stop ever since!  SO good!


I’ve made a version of this stir fry before, but this time added spicy shrimp and a couple other things to bulk it up for a hearty meal fit for a hard-working man. Gotta keep Gabby’s daddy well fed!

Hope you guys try it, I know it seems like a funky combination of things to eat. It’s probably one of the healthiest meals you could make though, and Joey was pleasantly surprised with how good it tasted for how healthy it was.




P.S. one of the fun things about this blog is that K and I sometimes don’t tell each other what we are going to post about- here’s proof! Two similar recipes back-to-back 🙂 They are both delicious, I’m sure- and just goes to show that stir fry’s are awesome because you can just throw whatever veggies you have on hand in, toss with a little sauce, and you’ve got a meal. Great minds think alike, right?

Spicy Lemon Butter Shrimp with Teriyaki Quinoa Cabbage Stir-fry


pre-cooked shrimp, peeled & deveined

one head of green cabbage

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

1 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 can black beans

2-3 eggs

juice of one lemon

teriyaki sauce

salt & pepper

cayenne, red pepper flakes



Cook 1/2 cup quinoa according to package directions. Instead of boiling in water, use chicken broth for added flavor. Once cooked, set aside.

Rinse shrimp, season with cayenne, red pepper and S &P- cook in 1 TBSP butter until done, set aside. Squeeze juice of one lemon over cooked shrimp.

Rinse the head of cabbage and chop into thick shreds. Saute in olive oil until tender. Drain can of beans and rinse- add to the sauteed cabbage. Crack eggs directly into pan with the beans and cabbage- make room for the raw eggs so they cook quickly. Scramble the eggs and incorporate evenly into the cabbage mixture. Season generously with S&P.

Add quinoa to stir-fry, as well as shrimp. Drizzle mixture with teriyaki sauce (just a little!) and enjoy immediately!

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BBQ time is here!

While I am a self-proclaimed ‘winter’ girl, there is definitely something about those beautiful nights out on the patio that do make me excited for summer.



We had a few friends over last weekend and they came over for some tri tip, grilled veggies, and of course wine 🙂



It was a lovely preview of what my spring break will hopefully be like! I totally stole a recipe from M, too….hope she doesn’t mind. But it was a huge hit, suuuper easy to make, and we’ve had it probably 4 times this last week! When I find something I like, I have a habit of cooking it over and over again til we are both sick of it and I have to move on….this one’s still on the menu!

After a long afternoon of Jasper waiting and waiting for our guests to arrive (they are the owners of his sister, Stella) he conked out around 11 and barely moved til 7:30 the next morning! What a hard life he leads…:)



Yes, he sleeps at the foot of our bed. I caved. And I once claimed to not be a dog person?!?!

Yes, he sleeps at the foot of our bed. I caved. And I once claimed to not be a dog person?!?!

Happy BBQing!


P.S. Jasper really is such a little munchkin…

Look at him huggin that pillow :)

Look at him huggin that pillow 🙂

Veggie Stir-Fry

This amount serves 4 with some leftovers

*aside from the cabbage, feel free to toss in what veggies sound good to you!*


3 cups chopped cabbage (1 whole head will last a week or so)

3 zucchini squash

1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 onion sliced

2 green bell peppers sliced


1 egg (trust me, M knows what she’s talking about here)

3 TBSP Spicy Szechuan Sauce (or sauce of your choice. M used a sesame ginger dressing)

S&P to taste


Add the olive oil to a hot frying pan. Add cabbage

In a large frying pan, add all the veggies one at a time, about a minute in between each, giving them time to cook a bit. Once all the veggies are in the pan and are cooking, scoot them to the side a bit. There will not be much room, and that’s okay- you just want a little free space to drop that egg in there. Crack the egg in, let it cook for 30 seconds or so, then chop it up and stir it in with everything else. Add the sauce and salt and pepper to taste, let the veggies cook all the way through, and enjoy!!

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How is it that I have time to feed a newborn 8-10 times a day but hardly manage to fit meals in for myself?


11:15 First meal of the day- toasted muesli, frozen bluebs/Raspberries/blackberries, plain Greek yogurt


snack: Dried Strawberries ( I deem this recipe a Pinterest fail. After 3 1/2 hours in the oven, these were still not chewy and dried like the recipe made it sound! These would probably need 8-12 hours at 210 degrees, with the door cracked open to let the steam out.) Still kinda tasty though!

My hair appointment went pretty well yesterday- got my hair chopped!! Leaving Gabs was hard, but I left her in the care of my mom (who happens to be a pediatric nurse, and conveniently studying Pediatric Advanced Life Support with me ) and I figured babysitters don’t get much more qualified than that. Gabby slept the entire time I was gone, making me feel like I didn’t miss too much of her sweet little life while I was gone- whew 🙂

As if leaving her once wasn’t enough, we ended up making some last minute plans with some close friends to go out for dinner to one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate a late birthday/end of grad school classes/brother being home- meaning we utilized my mom as a babysitter AGAIN… twice in one day. We were only gone 2.5 hours, but this time I cried when we left her. We had a great time going out (I enjoyed my first glass of wine in almost 11 months AND we got free dessert because our waiter threw away my *two bites* of leftovers I had asked them to box up- SCORE!) but I had a hard time getting my mind off of getting back to Gabriella. Again, she slept the whole time we were gone- seems like she didn’t miss us too much! Afterwards, we picked her up and then continued on to game night at our house!


Apparently everyone is thinking real hard about their next move…


Back to today.. More studying, naptime, then a walk! Gabs loves the jogging stroller, which makes me a happy momma!

All the girls out on a walk! Gabs, me and Jaz

All the girls out on a walk! Gabs, me and Jaz


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Brown Sugar Chocolate & Butterscotch Chip Cookies


Well, I was already back at my pre-pregnancy weight. Until I made these. Dangit.


It is currently 3:18 am and I’m wishing I had another one of these cookies to munch on right now. Problem is, I’ve already had 5 today (not kidding) and I’m slightly scared of the dark and not willing to risk a hike all the way to the kitchen to get another one.


As I’m writing this, I’m rocking my darlin’ little daughter in her little hammock bed- lately her most ‘awake’ time is in the early afternoon and then again at around 2 a.m.- which means I’ve become a big fan of midnight snacks. Mostly I rely on apples and granola bars, but sometimes ya just need a cookie. Or five… don’t judge.


Now that I think of it… I had er, 3 of the 5 cookies today technically at 1 a.m. and the other 2 were at lunch yesterday – so I should probably have 2 more now because I already typed that I had 5 today so I may as well make that true. Just let it happen.

Cookie party in the nursery, ya’ll.


p.s. Tomorrow I have a haircut at 2- my mom is coming over to do some nursing classes with me, and she’s going to watch Gabs for an hour while I go to my appointment. I have been going back and forth with whether or not to cancel my appt all day- it will be my first time leaving Gabs for longer than 20 minutes! I hope this haircut is worth it!

Brown Sugar Chocolate& Butterscotch Chip Cookies


  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled until warm
  • 1 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in chips.
  4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join halves back together into one ball so that the top surface is jagged. Place onto prepared cookie sheet, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart.
  5. Bake until cookies are light golden brown, outer edges start to harden, and  centers are still soft and puffy, about 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets. Remove cookies using a wide metal spatula. Store in an airtight container at room temperature

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Homemade Pizza Dough {Whole Wheat or White}


Mmmm…. Pizza. I love pizza.


I love pizza even more than Gabriella loves bathtime. That’s saying something, guys.
I love pizza even more when it’s homemade… And cheap. And delicious. And easy to make while entertaining a beautiful little baby girl in your kitchen. Get where I’m going with this? Homemade pizza is the bomb.


I’m so glad this is an easy recipe too, because halfway through kneading the dough, Gabby decided it wasn’t fun anymore to watch Mom make pizza dough and demanded to be held. This recipe is so easy, in fact, you can hold a baby and knead with one hand! I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that, though 🙂



You can make two big pizzas with one batch, or 4 smallish pizzas, or a bunch of super-mini pizzas. We’ve done all of the above sizes- depending on if it’s just Joey and I eating, or if we are having friends over for a pizza bar (which is totally fun by the way, highly recommend it). This dough is chewy and delicious- so much better than anything prepackaged!!


use fresh mozzarella for best taste possible!




I am trying to get organized and come up with a somewhat weekly menu plan to rely on- basically a list of go-to recipes for those days when you have no room left in your brain to come up with an idea of what to make for dinner. This easy dough is a basically a blank canvas- you can put any toppings you want on it, and therefore it’s great to work in for a weekly dinner because you can make all sorts of different kinds of pizza.

IMG_4332For example, Joey and I usually do just cheese/ pepperoni. When we had our friends over for a pizza bar a while back though, we got creative! Us girls made a gourmet pizza- goat cheese, apples, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach with pesto. SO dang. The guys mostly just took every meat option available and loaded up their pizzas.

Possible toppings: bell peppers, mushrooms, beef, apples, sun dried tomatoes, apples, pesto, EVOO, tomatoes, sausage, pepperoni, goat cheese, red grapes (seriously! so good!) spinach, garlic, squash, chickpeas, steak, the list is endless! Just grab whatever is in your fridge and try it out- you’ll be surprised what tastes good.

I imagine this would be a hit with young kids too!



Easiest Pizza Dough

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (original recipe had 1 3/4 cups white flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (original recipe had 2 tbsp oil)
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 packet yeast (1/4th oz)
  • 2 tsp sea salt

In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water and yeast.

Stir in the salt and flour and mix on medium high speed on your KitchenAid for 5 minutes. While the mixer is going, drizzle in the olive oil.

When the dough is soft and elastic, take out of the bowl, rub with olive oil and then place back in the bowl, cover with a dish towel and let rise for one hour.

After the dough has doubled in size, cut in half to make two large pizza doughs or make mini doughs. You could also do what I like to do and freeze the dough in a plastic baggie for another time! When you are ready for your pizza, roll out the dough, poke holes in the dough with a fork all over, cover with your toppings and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.

**You could also make this dough without an electric mixer…..just knead by hand for about 8 minutes and then follow above steps! I’ve made it by hand many, many times and it always comes out right.

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