Easy Thin Crust Pizza Dough Recipe

thin crust pizza dough1

Have you got a pizza night coming up this week?  Do you need a new pizza dough recipe? You’ve got to try this Thin Crust Pizza dough recipe!  This recipe is our go-to recipe when it’s pizza night around these parts.  It makes enough for four 10″ – 12″ pizzas so that means two dinners and two lunch leftovers.  Mmm, leftover pizza!

This dough can also be made by hand or in a KitchenAid mixer which is a big plus in my books.  I love putting my mixer to work for me!

Thin Crust Pizza Dough
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 9 fl oz Warm Water
Instructions
BY HAND:
  1. Place flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
  2. Add yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and water and stir until combined.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5–10 minutes or until a smooth ball forms.
IN KITCHENAID:
  1. Place flour into a stand mixer bowl and make a well in the center.
  2. Use dough hook.
  3. Add yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil and water and turn on low until combined (about 3 minutes).
  4. Turn to medium and knead for 5–10 minutes or until a smooth ball forms.
BOTH:
  1. Place dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or clean cloth. Set in a warm place for 30 minutes or until dough has doubled.
  2. Turn dough out on a floured surface and punch the dough to remove excess air, knead lightly.
  3. Divide dough into 4.
  4. Makes enough dough for 4 10-12" thin pizzas.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough recipe!

Peeps Sunflower Cake

Are you looking for a super easy, but really cute cake to make for Easter?  Or an upcoming birthday?  You've got to try this Peeps Sunflower Cake!

Are you looking for a super easy, but really cute cake to make for Easter?  Or an upcoming birthday?  You’ve got to try this Peeps Sunflower Cake!

I’ve been seeing Peeps everywhere I shop lately, so I thought a cake made to look like a sunflower using Peeps would be really cute!  To others, this cake may look like you spent a long time creating it, but it’s actually really, really easy!

Here’s how to make a Peeps Sunflower Cake:

Peeps Sunflower Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 1 box Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 3 Eggs
  • ⅓ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup softened Butter
  • 3½ cup Icing Sugar
  • ½ cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3 tsp Milk
  • 2 packages of Yellow Peeps Chicks
  • 1 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Make 2 single layer cakes according to the cake box directions.
  2. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Cream butter, vanilla, cocoa and icing sugar in a mixing bowl.
  4. Slowly add the milk until your desired consistency of icing is reached.
  5. Ice the cakes and stack. The more level the cake, the better the effect.
  6. Place the Peeps chicks around the edge of the cake facing inward (it will take 19 of the chicks). Do not separate them.
  7. Sprinkle the chocolate chips in the middle like seeds on a sunflower.

Are you looking for a super easy, but really cute cake to make for Easter?  Or an upcoming birthday?  You've got to try this Peeps Sunflower Cake!

Quick and Easy Oreo Frogs

Not only are these Oreo Frogs adorable, they're quick to put together too!  Impress your party guests!

We had a birthday party over the weekend for our new two year old which was a blast!  I tried my hand at making another cake from scratch and a batch of gluten-free cupcakes.  Time consuming, but they tasted great!

Along with the cake and cupcakes, I made some little Oreo Frogs.  Aren’t they adorable?  They were such a hit with our guests!  They’re even quite easy to make.  That’s always a win in my book.  End up with something cute with only a little effort? Check.

Here’s what you need to make some Oreo Frogs:

  • Mini pretzels
  • Oreo cookies
  • Candy eyes
  • Red Starburst candy
  • Green chocolate candy melts, melted

Directions:

1.  Dip two pretzels into melted chocolate and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so that they are side by side.

oreo frogs step 1

2.  Coat Oreo cookie with melted chocolate and place centered onto the two pretzels.

oreo frogs step 2

3.  Allow chocolate to set for 5 minutes then place candy eyes on the top of the Oreo so that they are standing on their sides.

oreo frogs step 3

4.  To form the tongue, take a small piece of red Starburst candy and warm it in between fingers. Create a small snake with a slight point at the end and place it where the filling of the cookie would be.

5.  Allow to set for 15 minutes or until candy is hardened.

And now, you should have these cute little guys!

Not only are these Oreo Frogs adorable, they're quick to put together too!  Impress your party guests!

Easy Vegetable Chowder Soup Recipe

This easy and delicious vegetable chowder soup will be a hit with everyone!

This vegetable chowder soup is a hit with all three of us!  Even the little one who has decided lately that she will mainly eat only orange vegetables. (She eats everything in this soup!)  This is also a great soup to make if you have a bunch of vegetables that need to be used up.

It’s really quick to make and is paired wonderfully with a baguette and salad.  I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do!

Vegetable Chowder Soup
Serves: 6 - 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup each of diced potato, celery, cauliflower, carrot and broccoli
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp minced parsley
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Saute the onions in the butter until soft.
  2. Add vegetables, chicken broth, salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat.
  4. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  5. Combine flour and milk until smooth in a medium bowl.
  6. Stir into pan with the vegetables.
  7. Bring to a boil and cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  8. Add parsley.
  9. Just before serving, stir in cheese.

This easy and delicious vegetable chowder soup will be a hit with everyone!

Easy Appetizer: BBQ Bacon Chestnuts

BBQ Bacon Chestnuts

BBQ Bacon Chestnuts

Since we’re talking about hospitality this month, or more specifically, how I want to be a better hostess, I thought an easy appetizer recipe would go over well!  This appetizer recipe for BBQ Bacon Chestnuts is delicious and easy on the budget!  Win win!

So, if you are in need of a quick appetizer, these BBQ Bacon Chestnuts are the perfect solution. Using just three ingredients, this is one easy to make and even easier to enjoy recipe your guests will love. Take a peek below at how to make up an easy and inexpensive batch of your own so the next time the need hits, you will be ready!

BBQ Bacon Chestnuts
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package of bacon
  • 1 can of water chestnuts
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce
  • Toothpicks
Instructions
  1. Begin by cutting the bacon into two inch sections. Set aside.
  2. Place your water chestnuts in a strainer and drain any water.
  3. On a plate, lay a piece of bacon flat. Place one water chestnut in the bacon, right in the center. Fold over one side of the bacon, then the second side. Place a toothpick directly into the center of the wrapped chestnut. This should hold the bacon tightly to the chestnut.
  4. Repeat the process until all of your chestnuts are wrapped. Transfer the wrapped chestnuts into the baking dish.
  5. Use a pastry brush or spoon to apply BBQ sauce to the wrapped chestnuts. Cover each bundle generously.
  6. Place the baking dish into the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. When the bacon is brown and crispy, you may remove. Don’t be alarmed if your toothpicks start turning dark brown or black in the oven, this is normal.
Notes
Allow some time for the BBQ Bacon Chestnuts to cool before serving. You can serve with an additional side of BBQ sauce if you desire.

You have quite a few options when purchasing the ingredients, so buy according to what works for you and your tastes. For example, it doesn’t matter what kind of bacon. I usually get whatever is cheapest. It also doesn’t matter what variety of BBQ sauce you buy, so generic or your personal preference works fine. (We like Diana’s.)

These BBQ Bacon Chestnuts are so tasty and the perfect party food. Whip up a batch to take to your next party or gathering and be the star of the show!

Mini Fruit Pizzas

 Are you looking for a really simple dessert to feed your family or perhaps a crowd?  These Mini Fruit Pizzas might be just the thing!

Mini Fruit Pizzas

Are you looking for a really simple dessert to feed your family or perhaps a crowd?  These Mini Fruit Pizzas might be just the thing! You could assemble everything yourself or you could create a fruit pizza bar so everyone can create their own mini fruit pizza masterpiece!

While this recipe uses pre-made sugar cookie dough, and I usually prefer homemade, I think this is the way to go if you’re hosting a party.  Next month I’ll be making these again to serve at Sienna’s 2nd birthday party! Where does the time go?

Mini Fruit Pizzas
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Package Sugar Cookie Dough (Pillsbury)
  • ½ cup softened Butter
  • 8 oz softened Cream Cheese
  • 4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 1 lb favorite Fruits
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Roll out cookie dough and cut out circles with cookie cutter or drinking glass.
  3. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Place on cooling rack to cool.
  6. Beat butter and cream cheese in large bowl until light and fluffy.
  7. Add in powdered sugar and milk and beat on high until smooth.
  8. Ice cookies with icing and top with fruit.
  9. Serve immediately.

Are you looking for a really simple dessert to feed your family or perhaps a crowd?  These Mini Fruit Pizzas might be just the thing!

Easy Recipe: Salad in a Jar

salad in a jar

One of my favourite ways to ensure we get a decent lunch with veggies and protein is to make up a week’s worth of Salad in a Jar!  When these layered salads are layered correctly, you can enjoy fresh, crisp salad all week long!

Because these are made in a jar with a lid, all you have to do is give the jar a shake to distribute the dressing, then enjoy with a fork!

Salads in a Jar are great for:

  • Picnics
  • Quick at home lunches
  • School lunches
  • Work lunches

These salads are highly customizable, so usually I end up using what I already have on hand. I like to use a combination of fresh vegetables, fruit (I only add fruit if they “go” with the other ingredients I’m using), beans, nuts, seeds cheese and of course, lettuce and dressing.  Cooked chicken, diced ham, grains and even lentils would be a nice addition!  Just add what would make you happiest!  I would probably avoid using ingredients that emit a strong odour such as eggs, stinky cheeses, or raw onions.  (You could bring them along in a separate container if you must have them.)  If you’re looking for a tasty homemade salad dressing, I recommend this DIY Ranch Mix!

Here are a some tips for creating a week’s worth of salads that will last:

  • Be sure to use a clean wide-mouth jar that is 100% dry.
  • Always put the dressing at the very bottom of the jar.
  • Keep the lettuce wilt-free by adding it at the very end to avoid coming in contact with the dressing.

Here’s how you make Salad in a Jar:

Salad in a Jar
 
Ingredients
  • Salad dressing, use your favorite!
  • Fresh Vegetables (radishes, carrots, peas, cucumber, red/green pepper, celery...)
  • Fresh fruit (blueberries, mango, grapes, raspberries...)
  • Beans, legumes
  • Grains (quinoa, rice, barley)
  • Cheese
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Lettuce
Instructions
  1. Start with your dressing of choice and put about 2 tablespoons in the bottom of your jar.
  2. Next, throw in any cheeses you may want.
  3. Now it's time to add whatever combination of vegetables and/or fruit you like.
  4. If you're wanting to add beans, grains or nuts/seeds, now is the time to do that.
  5. Top off your salad by filling the rest of the jar up with your greens.
  6. Put on the lids and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat!
  7. When ready, shake your salad up and enjoy!
Notes
Lasts up to 5 days in the fridge!

How do you enjoy a quick lunch?  What are your favourite portable meals?

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

These Hot Cocoa Cupcakes make the most perfect winter treat!  Delicious chocolate cupcakes topped with a delicious marshmallow frosting...yum!

These Hot Cocoa Cupcakes make the most perfect winter treat!  Delicious chocolate flavoured cupcakes topped with a delicious marshmallow frosting…what could be any better?  Whip up a batch and snuggle up to a movie and your favourite hot beverage.  You won’t regret it!

Since Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, I also think these would be a perfect treat for the family, your date, or for a school treat!  Minus the candy cane, of course. :)

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes:

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 8 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ⅓ cup water
  • An additional 2 tbsp cocoa for dusting
  • Mini Chocolate chips (optional
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Butter, Softened
  • 1 Jar Marshmallow cream
  • 3 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
Optional:
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Mini Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder together until well combined.
  3. With a mixer, beat together sugar and butter and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, making sure each is combined well before adding the next.
  4. Slowly add in your dry ingredients until mixed well. Add in water a tbsp at a time until batter becomes smooth.
  5. Fill cupcake liners ¼ full and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Frosting:
  1. With a mixer beat butter until light and creamy.
  2. Slowly add in marshmallow cream until combined.
  3. Continue beating and add in vanilla. Add powdered sugar ½ cup at time, making sure it is well incorporated before each addition.
  4. Beat on medium until light and fluffy.
  5. Using a piping bag, pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Embellish with mini marshmallows and mini chocolate chips.

Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Kale Chips

You've got to try these deliciously crunchy Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Kale Chips!

Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Kale Chips

Sienna and I have been enjoying kale chips on a regular basis for the past month or so.  She loves them so much, she puts my kale chip eating to shame!  But really, it’s the crunch.  The crunchiness of the chips is so addicting.  The flavour is just as good!

The thought of making salt and vinegar kale chips had my mouth watering, so when I decided to try Balsamic vinegar, oh man…that was a good decision.  They are so good!

Also, did you know that kale is:

  • High in Iron
  • Full of Antioxidants
  • Low in Calories
  • High in Fiber
  • High in Calcium
  • High in Vitamins A, C and K
  • Helps keep your liver healthy

Because kale is so good for you, I’m perfectly okay with Sienna indulging in so many!  It also doesn’t hurt that I’m benefiting from the nutrients!

Here’s how to make Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Kale Chips:

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:61]

Here’s a step by step in picture form:

kale bunch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Take a bunch of kale and tear it into bite size pieces.

kale cleanWash and dry the kale in a salad spinner.

kale drizzleDrizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over top.  Toss well.

kale coated

Place the coated kale pieces in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet.

kale sheet
Bake for 10 minutes, then remove to stir and turn the kale.  Bake for 8 – 10 minutes longer, making sure to remove crisp pieces as they get done to avoid burning.

Here are the kale pieces when they are half way done: kale half done

kale chips

January Menu Plan Inspiration from Canadian Living

january menu inspiration

I thought you all would enjoy this menu planning inspiration I found over at Canadian Living!

Canadian Living has created  5 weekly menus to help carry you through dinner time in January called 31 Quick and Easy Budget Meals!  Each weekly plan even includes a grocery list!

How easy will this make your menu planning?  I’m going to be using this as a guide, but I’ll have to swap out a couple of meals that won’t appeal to the majority of this household.