Friday, December 14, 2012

Weight Loss While Eating Yummy

You may have noticed some additions on my sidebar and bottom bars today.  I have added a weight loss ticker to the bottom of my page and also a weight loss updater on the right side (to keep me honest this holiday season.)  So I've officially lost 40 lbs in one year.  Not bad considering all the stress this year!  I lost the weight eating all the yummy foods listed on this blog- but in moderation.  Portion control seems to be key for my weight loss this year.

For those of you who have read my post about the Bodybugg weight loss management system, I have changed my opinion.  The Bodybugg device is devine.  However, I HATE their software.  The food database has nothing useful in it, the phone app does not sync well, and the software does NOT work well on the Mac at all!  SO frustrating when you are trying to keep yourself motivated to log everything you eat everyday, which is hard enough.

So hubby got the Bodymedia Fit Link which allows you to sync with MyFitnessPal.  Now MyFitnessPal has THE BEST food database EVAR.  I have not yet seen such an inclusive database.  I found the rarest items in their database, such as Costco's weirdly named mini frozen eggrolls and these chocolate covered pomegranate chews that I bought (zomg so nommy).  This makes uploading food intake so simple it's almost sad if you find yourself not uploading daily.  Also, MyFitnessPal will reward you when you do well, and give gentle reminders and suggestions when you are off track.

The fact that the BodyMedia Fit armband syncs with MyFitnessPal makes this so much more worth the money.  Also, the BodyMediaFit tracks your sleep patterns, which is useful for me because I sleep terribly.

So up onto Ebay goes my Bodybugg.  You can "buy it now" for $50 or start your bids at $40.  Now that you have all the info, go put the BodyMedia Fit on your wishlist!

Pin It

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Best Pumpkin Spice Muffins

In honor of Obama's win, here is the best Pumpkin Spice Muffins EVAR!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Makes 24 muffins
237 calories each

1 Tablespoon Olivio
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoon baking powder
4.5 cups pumpkin puree (approx 2.75-15oz cans if using)
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup apple sauce
6 large eggs
6 teaspoons + 3 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice*
1.5 cup sugar
1.5 cup Splenda + 3 Tablespoon Splenda
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1.5 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional garnish)
*equal parts ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove

  1. Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Wipe a thin layer of Olivio all over muffin tray cups.
  3. Whisk together pumpkin, oil, applesauce, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1.5 cups sugar, 1.5 cups Splenda, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla bean paste and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined. (Don't overmix!)
  4. Gently stir in raisins. 
  5. Stir together remaining 3 tsp pumpkin-pie spice and remaining 3 tablespoon Splenda in another bowl.
  6. Divide batter among muffin cups,filling to the top of cups, and then sprinkle tops with  a pinch or two of pumpkin spice-sugar mixture and an optional pinch of chopped walnuts per muffin top. 
  7. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Bake muffins, heat pot of tea, savor with a good book and then sleep well world, for we can rest easy for 4 more years.

Pin It

OBAMA 2012!!

Thank you Americans for saving us from a religious NUTBAG!  Obama 2012!!!  

Pin It

Friday, November 2, 2012

Welcome Home Oreo and Reeses!

Meet two new Guinea Pig additions to the family:



Their spiffy new Mansion from C&C Cages (2' x 4'):

1' x 2' Loft

Piggy Abode:

These adorable fuzzlets are only 1.5 months old and both males.  We think they are brothers but there were two litters so they might be cousins, however they get along great either way.

Welcome home guys!  <3 <3
Pin It

Best Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

So, it's pumpkin pie time folks!  Pumpkin pie, muffins, bread, cake, soup, seeds, etc.  All yummy, delectable treats made especially for the chilly Fall season. 

For those of you who are baking challenged and want a fresh pumpkin pie of your own, you can hire this guy for a quick dessert:

If you'd rather bake your very own pie, check out this awesome pumpkin pie recipe below which makes a 9" pie.

Scrumptious Pumpkin Pie


3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evaporated Milk
1 Graham Cracker Crust (Recipe Below)
Whipped cream (optional)


MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours***. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving. 

Graham Cracker Crust


1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

  1. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter or margarine, and cinnamon until well blended . Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 7 minutes. Cool. If recipe calls for unbaked pie shell, just chill for about 1 hour.

***Awesome pie cooling tip- this pie is a pumpkin custard, so this means you need to cool it slowly to prevent the pie top from cracking.  Simple way- turn the oven off when *almost* finished (the edges are cooked but the middle is still shiny and slightly jiggly.)  Prop the oven door slightly open with a wooden spoon and let pie cool for an hour inside the oven which is off.  Then take the pie out and let cool the rest of the way on the counter.  Voila, no cracks!  The center will have cooked in the cooling process.
Pin It

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

BodyBugg Weight Management System

For all of you looking to manage your weight (lose, gain or maintain), the BodyBugg might be for you!  I just got mine yesterday and am LOVING IT!

I haz a coupon code for $20 off if anyone is interested.  There is a sale going on now too, so the price has dropped over $100 to only $99 plus the $20 off and it's only $79!  Totally worth it.

Supposedly the BodyBugg tracks your daily calorie burn to a 90% accuracy.  Much better than my guestimates, that's fersure!

You wear it 23 hours a day on the back of your left arm and it tracks your every move.  There are multiple sensors to determine your muscle movements, your body heat, and a pedometer. You manually enter your food consumption on their spiffy website and it calculates your daily calorie deficit.  The BodyBugg website even creates a weekly menu for you if you so choose to follow their suggestions.  You have to first fill out their 15 minute questionnaire about what your food preferences are and what your eating and sleeping schedule is like, and then it uses all that data to customize a food schedule for you.

I am trying to lose another 60 pounds (already lost 60 lbs) and I'm stuck in a permanent plateau.  Hopefully the data I gain from the BodyBugg will help me lose what I need.

Email me or comment below if you guys have any questions about it.  So far so good!  (Oh, and you don't have to wear the pink armband.  They have blue, black or chrome to choose from.)

Pin It

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Red Panda Network/ Orchard School Fundraiser


The Fundraiser has been moved to next week, Wed Oct 10 - Fri Oct 13 @ 3pm- 5pm and Sat Oct. 14 @ 7am- 3pm.  Order your pies now!

Come one, come all and join me at this week's Fundraiser for both the Orchard School and the Red Panda Network!

The Orchard School
360 Passaic Ave
West Caldwell, NJ 07006 

Wed- Fri @ 3pm- 5pm
Sat @ 7am- 3pm

Homemade goodie baskets on sale for $25, pumpkin pies for $12 and a whole slew of garage sale goodies. 

Free guinea pigs for anyone who wants!

The Red Panda, or “firefox,” is often referred to as the “lesser panda” in deference to the better-known giant panda. Others prefer “first panda” – Western scientists described it 50 years earlier, and gave pandas their name. Few people outside its native habitat have even heard of the red panda, let alone seen one.

THE RED PANDA NETWORK is advocating for the creation of the PIS Red Panda Protected Forest, the world’s first Red Panda Reserve. Our mission is to ensure the survival of the red panda and its habitat for future generations to study, experience, and enjoy, is being put into action.

Why is this area so important?In 1999, a group of Himalayan conservation experts identified this area, called the Panchthar-Ilam-Taplejung corridor, or PIT corridor, as the highest conservation priority for the vanishing Eastern Himalayan Broadleaf Forest–the cloud forest of he Himalayas.
This area is comprised of one continuous ridgeline, with India to its Eastern side and Nepal at its West. On the Indian side is Singhalila National Park, where the forest and its numerous endangered species are protected. The Nepalese side of the ridge is a different story. Rampant, haphazard development has claimed large portions of prime red panda habitat. Red pandas travel from the eastern side to the western side of the ridge unaware of the political lines drawn by humans. They are caught and killed by local herding dogs and their habitat is cut down for grazing and agriculture.
The Red Panda Network is committed to creating the world’s first red panda reserve here, where approximately 25% of Nepal’s Red Panda population is found. With your support, we can preserve this magnificent region, allowing both humans and red pandas to thrive.

Check out this ADORABLE video of the red pandas playing in the snow.  If you don't love them after watching, you must have a heart of stone.

For more about the Red Panda, check out the RPN's website:
Pin It

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kaleidoscope Photography

Over the past, oh five or so years, dear hubby and I have been running literally "to the hills" to escape life and enjoy the wonders of Upstate NY in the Catskill Mountains. For those of you looking for a great place to escape and is only 2 hours from NYC, check out The Emerson Resort and Spa.

Hillary Clinton had the good taste to stay there a week before we went on one of our sojourns!


The Emerson has an adult-only Inn where the rooms are filled with luxurious silks, your own gas fireplace and Asian/Indian inspired decor. There is also a much cheaper Lodge option which is both kid and pet friendly. This is a wonderful jumping off point for either skiing, fishing, boating, rafting, hiking, or just taking in the spa and all amenities. I can't say enough about this place. There is also some amazing eats in this area- email me for info!

Anyway, now that I got my love of the Emerson off of my chest, one really really neat feature at the Emerson (well, almost off my chest) is the world's largest kaleidoscope! They made a silo on the property into a giant kaleidoscope that you can lay on your back in a darkened room and enjoy with 4 different themed kaleidoshows (TM) to music.

When you are done enjoying and are ready to purchase your own spiffy new kaleidoscope, they have the Kaleidostore in the next room over full of hand made kaleidoscopes, anywhere from $10-$10,000, and the best part- you can play with them all! From oil to water to stained glass to feathers, you can play with them all.

I am now a kaleidoscope collector and with my spiffy new camera, I have decided to start filming some of these awesome beauties and sharing with my followers.  Here's my first attempt at taking live video of one of my fav kaleidoscopes- it has beads in oil so there is constant movement.  Enjoy!

Pin It

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Homemade Buffalo Chipotle Popcorn

What did the baby corn say to the mama corn? Where's popcorn? *snicker*

This weekend was the very first time since being an eyeglasses owner that I lost my own glasses.  They just vanished out of nowhere.  I started thinking, well maybe I put them somewhere weird, like the fridge or the dryer.  Nope.  Then the furniture moving began.  Nope.  Checking the car ended in tears. The restaurants all think I'm crazy now.  I started to wonder if since this is the first week I had the windows open in while, maybe some cat burglar came in through the glass door and stole my glasses just to mess with me.  Um, probably not.

Finally, I gave in and bought three (yes THREE) pairs of glasses.  To be fair, one is a pair of sunglasses (which I'm totally stoked about because they are polarized lenses!!) and another pair of regular glasses were given free.  So really I'm not crazy... right?

Now I can watch movies again!  But what's a Summer flick without popcorn?  I can eat a whole bowl of popcorn on my own- however the spicier I make it, the more dear hubby eats which means less calories on my hips.  Here's my secret Buffalo Chipotle popcorn recipe for all those movie and popcorn lovers out there:


1/3 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1 tsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp melted Olivio or butter or margarine or I can't Believe it's Not Butter, etc (30 secs in the micro should do it)
1 Tbsp Tobasco sauce
4-5 shakes of my favorite Chipotle seasoning mix


  1. Heat popcorn popper and put coconut oil in popper.
  2. When fully heated and oil is melted, put in kernels and let fully pop.
  3. While popping the corn, melt the butter.
  4. Mix tobasco into melted butter.
  5. When popcorn is ready, shake the Chipotle seasoning on popcorn and shake the bowl to coat popcorn evenly.
  6. Pour butter tobasco mixture over popcorn and shake to mix.

Pick your favorite movie and sit back with your snuggly buddy and a big bowl of Buffalo Chipotle popcorn!
Pin It

Monday, August 20, 2012

New and Improved Cherry Pie Recipe

I was never happy with my original cherry pie recipe.  The cherries did not cook down enough for me- and you can still see the cherry shaped lumps through the pie crust.  I decided to modify the recipe.  I precooked the cherry filling so they would be more like a compote but with nice pieces of cherry to chew on as well, and I added some vanilla bean paste along with some kirch, instead of using almond extract.  The sugar crusted lattice crust was the key to adding a lightness to the pie that was to die for.

The results were fantastic!

You MUST make this pie before cherry season ends.  It is a sweet Bing cherry pie and it was gone in two nights in my house.

Here is my new and improved cherry pie recipe:

Cherry Pie Filling

2 Tbsp Kirsch
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
4 Tbsp Corn Starch
3 lbs pitted, halved bing cherries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup splenda
1/3 cup granulated sugar

1. mix all ingredients but the cherries and dissolve all of the cornstarch.
2. pour wet ingredients on the cherries.
3. Pour cherry mixture into a saucepan and heat on medium  high until bubbling.  
4. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
5. Cool cherry filling before placing in pie or your top crust will be too soft to lattice.

Pie Crust

1 medium egg, beaten
Course sugar crystals
Shortening or butter to limit sticking

Use your favorite crust recipe, or do what I do and buy Trader Joe's frozen pie crust- people will assume you made it yourself!  If using a frozen crust, remember to leave it on the counter for 1.5 hours to defrost before use.

Pie Assembly

1. Rub shortening or butter all over 9 inch pie plate.
2. Put one layer of pie dough in pie plate and trim edges with kitchen shears, leaving about 1 inch overhanging.
3. Pour cooled cherry pie filling on top of the pie dough.
4. Cut strips of the pie dough and layer to create lattice crust.  
5.  Brush with egg wash (one beaten egg and a Tbsp lukewarm water).
6. Sprinkle generously with course sugar crystals.
7. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 1 hour.
8. 30 minutes into baking, cover crust edges with a pie shield or you can use aluminum foil.  Make sure to brush some butter or shortening on the shield first so it won't stick to the crust while baking.
9. Remove pie after an hour of baking or when the pie crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.
10. Cool and let pie solidify for at least an hour or two before cutting, or the filling will not stay in the pie slice.

Pin It

Monday, August 13, 2012

Orange Julius in the Summertime

My favorite Summertime drink- the Orange Julius, aka creamsicle in a glass.  According to Wikipedia:
The drink grew out of an orange juice stand opened in Los Angeles in 1926 by Julius Freed. Sales were initially modest, about $20 a day (about $245 in 2010 dollars, adjusting for inflation). In 1929, Bill Hamlin, Freed's real estate broker, developed a mixture that made the acidic orange juice less bothersome to his stomach. Freed's stand began serving the drink, which had a frothier, creamier texture. The sales at the stand increased substantially after the introduction of the new drink, going up to $100 a day. People began lining up at the store and shouting, "Give me an Orange, Julius!" Eventually, the new drink would simply be called "the Orange Julius".

Little known fact:  The Orange Julius was named the official drink of the 1964 New York World's Fair.

It's so simple to make your own frothy creamsicle drink at home.

Orange Julius


12 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Splenda
1 cup milk
1 cup vanilla yogurt
16 ice cubes
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


Get your blender ready. All the ingredients are going to go straight in to the blender rather than in to a mixing bowl so get your blender ready first.

Add frozen orange juice concentrate, vanilla bean paste, sugar, splenda, milk, and water to your blender and blend for about 30 seconds.

Add ice to blender and blend for a minute or until ice is fully crushed and drink is smooth.

Pour the orange julius from the blender in to a tall drinking glass. Add an optional straw and whatever embellishments you desire (perhaps a candied orange peel) and serve.

Pin It

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Be the Best Musical Genius with Incredibox

I know this is not food related, but I am addicted to this new site called Incredibox.  You can create all these neat little 30 second clips of songs and share them through social media such as Facebook or Twitter, or email your selection to friends and family.  Good fun if you want to waste hours of your life- perhaps you are waiting for Santa to arrive, or maybe just the plumber with a "I'll be there between 9am and 2pm, so just sit and wait for me all day" type of schedule.  Either reason is valid, so here ya go!

When you get bored with those sounds, try Version 1.

Here is my composition called Adrift.  Can you beat it with your own?  Post yours in the comments section below!
Pin It

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's Blueberry Season Again!

A perfect excuse for pie!  I decided to create my very first lattice crust, and added hearts for good measure. If you want to see which fruits and veggies are ripe for picking in your area, go here.  Support your local farms!  If you can't find a farmstand in your area, then support the local businesses who purchase from your local farms.  Trader Joe's is one of many businesses which do so, and their prices are fantastic!

For my blueberry pie recipe, click here.  Stay tuned for my awesome cherry pie recipe on Monday!  The sweet Bing cherries are ripe and ready to bake!

Happy picking!
Pin It

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wen Haircare

I have fallen in love with a new haircare product and I want to share it with the world.

The description from their site about this product: 
"WEN® Cleansing Conditioner is a revolutionary new concept in hair care. A 5-in-1 formula, this one product takes the place of your shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-in conditioner. It cleanses hair thoroughly but without lathering and all the harsh ingredients that may be found in ordinary shampoos—it is designed so it won't strip your hair and scalp of their natural oils. Your hair is left with sheen, moisture, manageability and better color retention."

No longer will you be buying two separate products (shampoo and conditioner) to manage your haircare.  With Wen, you just use one cleansing conditioner to both cleanse and moisturize your hair, without stripping your hair's oils or adding unnecessary soap scum buildup.

I have gotten a new hair treatment to deep condition and straighten my hair called Thermafuse Amino Acid Infusion (which I LOVE btw).  Instead of Keratin, which leaves your hair straight but limp and lifeless, Thermafuse allows your hair to have body and curl if you so desire, and has no Formaldehyde in the process.  You do have to use a Sulfate-free shampoo product, and so I tried the Keratin shampoo and conditioner.  The Keratin shampoo and conditioner basically destroyed my scalp and left it more flaky and itchy than ever.  Enter: Wen.

My salon recommended Wen as a natural product that won't dry out my scalp, is Sulfate-free and also highly conditioning, which my hair needs all the time due to curly frizz.  After trying Wen Sweet Almond Mint cleansing conditioner for 30 days, I have to say, I won't be using any other product for a long, long time.  Highly recommended!

Pin It

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cheesecake Factory's Chicken Madeira at Home

One of my favorite gluttonous meals is the amazing chicken madeira from the Chee$ecake Factory.  The problem with going there is 1) the cheesecake temptation, 2) the 1650 calories for their plate of madeira, and 3) the COST.  I mean really, $17.95 for the meal that is a LOT of money for one person at a not-so-fancy restaurant in the mall.  I get frustrated when restaurants overstuff the portions and then are forced to charge double what they should have to due to the large portions.  Half order for half the cost please!

So it turns out that this recipe is SO easy to do at home, and soooo super heartwarming and light at the same time, which is hard to achieve!

Recipe time:

Chicken Madeira

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 asparagus spears
4 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese

Madeira Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
3 cups Madeira wine
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch


1.  Cover chicken breast with plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thick.
2.  Sprinkle each filet with salt and pepper.
3.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in frying pan over medium-high heat.
4.  Saute fillets 4-6 minutes per side until done and browned just a bit.
5.  Remove from pan and wrap in foil to keep warm while you make the sauce.

6.  In chicken pan add olive oil and sliced mushrooms; saute for about 2 minutes.
7.  Add Madeira wine, beef stock, butter, and pepper.
8.  Mix a tablespoon of madeira wine and the tablespoon of cornstarch until smooth.
9.  Bring to boil then reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes until reduced to about 1/4 original volume. When sauce is done it will be thick, and brown.

10.   While sauce is reducing, steam asparagus spears and when soft, run them under cold water to stop cooking process.

11.  Set oven to broil.
12.  In baking dish arrange chicken, cross 2 asparagus stems over each piece of chicken and top with a slice of cheese.
13.  Broil until cheese melts.


To serve, plate broiled chicken and top with 3-4 tablespoons sauce on each piece of chicken.  Spoon some sauce on a scoop of some of your favorite mashed potato recipe.

Enjoy your family's OOOH's and AAAHH's as you sit back and smile.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, my latest and greatest Bucky Ball creation:

Pin It

Monday, July 16, 2012

Peanut Butter Granola Apples

I have a new addiction, and it is called Peanut Butter Granola Apples.  

I found the recipe from a wonderful blog called Eat Yourself Skinny which you should all check out for nommy healthy recipes of all shapes and flavors.  Of course I had to play with the recipe just a bit, but mostly it's the same.  I lowered the calorie count on it by using the Splenda Brown Sugar Blend instead of plain brown sugar, added a bit of vanilla by using Nielsen-Massey's Vanilla Bean Paste, and after tasting, discovered I MUST use a Fuji apple instead of her suggested Granny Smith apple.  It's got to be my perpetual sweet tooth causing me to crave more sugar.  I also decided it's much easier to cut 8 apple wedges using my apple slicer instead of rings which would leave me with bloody stumps for fingers.

Peanut Butter Granola Apples

1 Fuji apple (for sweetness)
1/4 cup Pecan Vanilla Granola (recipe below)
1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
1/2 Tbsp. Clover Honey

  1. Slice the apple into 8 wedges.
  2. Mix the peanut butter and honey until well combined.
  3. Spread peanut butter honey blend on both sides of each apple wedge.
  4. Dip both sides in the granola mix.

Pecan Vanilla Granola

2 Tbsp. Splenda brown sugar blend
1 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. canola oil
1/2 heaping tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/8 tsp. vanilla bean paste
Cooking spray 

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  
  2. Combine Spenda and 1 Tbsp of water in a medium microwave-safe bowl.  
  3. Microwave on high for 30 seconds or until Splenda is dissolved.  
  4. Stir in oil, cinnamon and vanilla paste.  
  5. Add oats and pecans, stirring until coated and you see little bunches of granola sticking together.
  6. Spread oat mixture on a rimmed baking tray coated with cooking spray. 
  7. Bake at 300 degrees F for 30 minutes or until browned, stirring twice.  
  8. Spread mixture in a single layer on wax paper to cool completely.  
  9. Store in an airtight container. 

Pin It

Monday, July 9, 2012

NYC Pizza In Your Own Home!

NYC Pizza

Life has been a bit hectic of late, so I apologize profusely for the huge length of time between posts.  Here is the ever promised NYC pizza in your own home- You'll never go back to your local pizza joint because this is just too easy and yummy not to make yourself.

First we should discuss tools:

1.  Pizza stone
2.  Oven hot enough to go to 500 degrees F
3.  Pizza peel
4.  Pizza cutter
5.  Food Processor

Here are my suggestions if you don't know which of the seemingly endless options of the above listed tools:

2. No suggestions here- my apartment came with one and that's all I know

I got all of the above on Amazon and if you have Amazon Prime you get free 2 day shipping!  

OK, now that we got the tools list out of the way, here are some of the important things you need to know about making pizza:

Pizza Dough
You need to have a dough that is stretchy enough not to rip when stretching thin.  It should pass the "Windowpane Test" where you stretch it so thin that you can see through it, and the dough still doesn't tear.  Here is the recipe that I found that works great- it's unique in that it uses a food processor instead of a Kitchen-aid mixer to blend the dough  (**note- you must make this one day in advance so it can rise overnight).

Mozzarella Cheese
Funny enough, using the block of Polly-o that you can find in your local supermarket is the mozzarella of choice.  You should use the block and shred it yourself, as the pre-shredded packages of cheese are laced with desiccant which makes the cheese not melt as nicely.  Using fresh wet mozzarella is yummy, but not in the NYC tradition.  You should use the dry mozzarella instead.  If you prefer your mozzarella a bit more salty, you can use the Trader Joe's brand instead of Polly-o.

Tomato Sauce
The key to good sauce is getting the acidity and sweet balance you prefer.  Everyone has their preferred pizza sauce of choice, and usually it is dependent on these two features of the tomato sauce.  Here is one that is delicious with a hint of spice- Try to get REAL San Marzano canned tomatoes as opposed to "Italian Style" or "San Marzano" tomatoes made in California and not Italy. 

Pizza Assembly
First pre-heat your pizza stone and oven for one hour at 500 degrees F.

To put the pizza together, lightly flour your countertop, and stretch the dough by pushing down on the round disc with your fingertips and gently turning it repeatedly until it is about 6 - 8 inches wide.  You can also hold the disc by the "crust" and let it stretch in the air instead.  Grab the crust, hold it and let the dough hang perpendicular to the counter.  Keep turning the dough and let it hang and stretch for a second or two in the thicker areas.  Also, you can lay the dough disc on your fists and gently stretch and turn.  Once the dough reaches about 12 inches in diameter, it is ready to be sauced and cheesed!

Spoon about 1/2 cup of sauce on the disc, trying to put more to the sides and less in the middle of the pie, as the middle is where the sauce and cheese tend to pool while cooking.

Sprinkle about a cup of shredded dry mozzarella on the pie, again trying to concentrate the cheese on the sides and not so much in the middle.

Put any toppings on you desire.

When the pizza stone is ready after one hour, turn the oven down to 450 degrees F.  

Use the pizza peel to scoop your raw pizza off the counter and put it on the stone.  If you are using the pizza peel I recommended above, this will be a breeze once you get the hang of it.  The trick is to push the peel under the pizza with a forward motion as you pull the cloth towards you.  Here is a great video from their site on how to do it:

Cook the pizza for 12 minutes at 450 degrees F.  

When the crust is golden brown, remove the pizza using the same pizza peel but WITHOUT the cloth!

Cut and enjoy!  Notice the crust is super thin, and the crust bends in half without cracking in the middle like a true NYC pizza slice should.  

If you like white pizza (no red sauce and lots of garlic and ricotta), continue on!  I have a GREAT white pizza recipe below.

White Pizza

1/3 of a dough recipe from above
6 teaspoons of seasoned ricotta (recipe below)
8 oz fresh wet mozzarella
4 cloves minced garlic
1/8 cup olive oil
1.5 teaspoons chopped basil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

You will need to make the dough the exactly same way as above, but you don't need any tomato sauce.  You should preheat the oven for an hour at 500 degrees F just like the regular NYC pizza.

Brush about 1/8 cup of olive oil on the stretched dough disc.  Put two minced garlic cloves on the pie.  Then spoon a teaspoon of fresh diced basil (I use the jarred kind that is in liquid for ease and it works great).  Then place FRESH WET mozzarella discs on the pie.  Spoon about 5 teaspoons of some seasoned ricotta (recipe below) in a circle and then one in the middle of the pie for a total of 6 teaspoons.  Put another teaspoon of minced garlic (another 1-2 minced cloves), some more basil (about 1/2 tsp) and some freshly ground black pepper (about 1/8 tsp).  Sprinkle about a teaspoon of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on the top and then in the oven it goes at 450 degrees F for about 12 minutes.

Cut and enjoy!

Seasoned Ricotta:

Mix 8 oz of fresh ricotta with 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper, a 1/4 tsp salt,  a teaspoon of minced garlic (2 cloves) and a 1/2 teaspoon chopped basil.  Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Pin It

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm Back!

Hi all!  Stay tuned for my latest and greatest recipe:  Homemade pizza made on my spiffy new pizza stone!  I'll be updating sometime this week, so keep a lookout!  I will tweet when my post is up too, so follow me any which way is easiest for y'all.

Happy cooking!
Pin It

Sunday, January 8, 2012

On Hiatus

For those of you who read my blog, I apologize but I need to go on indefinite hiatus.  I have some personal issues in my life that requires all of me.  I don't know if I will return, or if I do, if it will be a food blog or some other form of blog.  Either way, thank you for reading thus far, and I do hope you enjoy the recipes I have shared.  The blogs listed on the right side of the screen are some really wonderful places to get food ideas from and companionship.  Good luck to you all.
Pin It