This is how I feel today.

Aiden, Oliver and I went to the mall to get yet another pair of free panties. I love you Victoria’s Secret! And we saw this in the parking lot.

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Aiden was saying “cow and moo” for about 2o minutes. I just thought to myself, I feel like a milk factory-a few more months 🙂 I love my baby Oliver so it’s worth it.

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my newest love. homemade pizza crust.

Henry and I have been searching for a go to recipe for home-made pizza crust. Every recipe has turned up short. The crust is too thick, the gluten doesn’t have a chance to rest and therefore can’t be rolled out without “bouncing” back, and pretty much any other bad crust experience you can think of would happen to our crust. I was beginning to think I was just destined to never make home-made pizza crust. Until I stumbled upon this.

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I actually can’t take credit for this stumble. My gracious neighbor, Zion, who also gets all the credit for my newfound love of baking, let me borrow her book and from there it was love at first sight.

Back to the pizza crust. The secret is to let the dough rest overnight in the fridge. If you find recipe that doesn’t need 24 hours to rest, DO NOT use it.

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Another secret, which they mention in the book, don’t overload toppings on the pizza. We have tried a few with “fancy” toppings and have found that the very classic tomato and basil pizza turns out the best.

Last night I made another batch of dough and can’t wait to eat pizza tonight as our new Friday night tradition!

Here is the recipe:

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Directions:

1. Mix dry ingredients in your kitchenAid mixer bowl.

2.Combine water and oil and add to dry ingredients. Stir together with a metal spoon (or you can use your paddle attachment on your KAM) until all dry and wet ingredients are incorporated together.

3. Once all liquid is absorbed switch to your dough hook attachment and mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes or as long as it takes to create a smooth sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl (I will tell you if you add the optional oil, which I have done every time, I always end up adding a little more flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl. I also don’t like it to be SUPER sticky to the bottom of the bowl, so I keep my flour out until it reaches the appropriate consistency). The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, just not tacky, and should be between 50 to 55 degrees.

2. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with oil (I just use canola spray). Using a dough scraper (I don’t have one so I just use a bread knife) cut into 6 even pieces. If you feel comfortable shaping a larger pizza (they recommend the toss method) you can cut your smaller. I did 5 the first time (from the photos on this post) and then last night I only cut 4.

3. Lightly flour hands and dough pieces. Create balls with each piece of dough.

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4. Place on lined baking sheet and spray with oil. Cover with a plastic food grade bag(I end of using two and place one on each side).

5. Stick in fridge and wait for 24 hour to up to 3 days.

6. Two hours before you are ready to bake your pizza take dough out of the fridge. Dust counter with flour and flatten to disks 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter (thanks mom for the kitchen measuring tape-I’ve used it a TON since you gave it to me). Spray with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest for 2 hours.

7. 45 minutes before you plan to bake your pizza preheat your oven to as hot as it goes up to 800 degrees(if you have an awesome oven-mine only goes to 550, but it does the trick) and place your baking stones in it.

8. After the two hours have passed you are ready to getting pizza making! The cookbook tells you to top your pizza then transfer it to the pizza stone, that is WAY to complicated for me (maybe I don’t have some magical tool) but I get all my ingredients ready to go, get my pizza crust ready…

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Good luck with the pizza toss. I’ve found that my crust turns out just as well just shaping it by very gently  laying the dough across my fists and carefully stretching it by bouncing or rotating the dough in circular motion on my hands and giving it a little stretch with each turn or bounce. (At this point you can do the pizza toss-Maybe I’ll try it tonight and have Henry photograph it). If you dough isn’t relaxing for you, let it rest 15-20 minutes and try again. If you are making your pizza alone take out the stone from the oven before you toss your dough and sprinkle with cornmeal, if not, toss your dough and have someone else take it out and sprinkle with cornmeal while you are doing the great pizza toss (this keeps the stone as hot as possible).

9. The dough for the 6 ounce portion should be 9-12 inches in diameter. Once you have done this, place your dough on the stone, top with sauce, cheese and toppings. I have  seen a lot of great ideas for pizzas at Williams-Sonoma.

10. Stick in the oven for 5-8 minutes (maybe a little longer if your oven only gets to 550) and take out once the bottom and top both look done. Transfer to a cutting board and ENJOY!

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Oh! And buy this book, every recipe I have made has been awesome!

cherry chocolate chip biscotti.

There is nothing better than homemade cherry chocolate biscotti with a warm cup of coffee to start the day off.

I had never made biscotti, but found myself staring at the delicious recipes posted all over Pintrest. Then, as if some sort of sign from the coffee gods, a friend offered me some at our recent coffee/finger-painting playdate. And so that began my quest to find an amazing recipe for a first time biscotti connoisseur.

My oven is slightly special-pretty sure its prehistoric and dates back to the early 1980s (not meant to offend anyone born earlier than the early 80s, but just merely to point out that I have a 30+ year old oven) and its small. It holds two very small cookie sheets at a time, but due the size of the oven its only advantageous to bake one sheet at a time or the bottom rack is burnt to a crisp and the top rack is gooey. So it took two twenty-minute baking sessions in my little oven to get these done, plus 8 minutes for each loaf once I sliced them into the well-known biscotti shape.

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I digress from the amazingness of my biscotti.  If you’re interested in making some for yourself you can find the recipe here. Enjoy.

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almost fingerless fingerpainting.

On my way home from an absolutely dreadful spin class, Katie texted me to come over for finger painting fun.

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Believe it or not, it actually took some serious convincing to get Aiden to actually put his fingers in the paint and rub it around on the paper. I figured this would be the perfect choice of afternoon activities, considering Aiden’s favorite pastime involves “painting” all sorts of mediums around our house- milk from his bottle, ketchup, water, smushed grapes, and really anything that he sees that might be fun to smear around on the floor.

He was very apprehensive when I instructed him to stick his hands in the paint and finger paint. I even had to demonstrate 🙂 After some convincing here is handiwork:

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Clean-up is necessary.

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There was a reason I took his clothes off before we got started 🙂

I think they enjoyed clean up time just as much (if not more) than the actual planned activity.

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Sodus Point (okay, not really).

This past Saturday, Henry and I packed up the boys and the car with beach supplies, snacks, lunches, and anything else you could possibly think you might need on an outing to the beach with an almost 2 year old and a 2 month old. We even stopped on our way out of town to get sand toys.

On our way up to Sodus Point we discovered the most magical place: Burnap Fruit Farms.

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We almost drove right past it, as it was not our actual destination. But then we spotted this train.

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And then this truck.

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It was like all of Aiden’s things built out of wood and made just for him to play on. Did I mention they also had a chicken coop? As you can see Aiden was just having an amazing time chasing the rooster around the coop.

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He WAS a handsome fella, and I’ll admit I found myself chasing him around the coop 3 times in order to capture his glory.

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We had actually only planned to stop for a few minutes, and ending up staying for at least an hour and a half. Henry and I ordered the most amazing lunch ever at the most adorable Garden Cafe. Freshly made bread with veggies and chicken for me, and a homemade hoagie with turkey and pesto for Henry. Simply amazing. If you ever make it to upstate NY, you have to try this place. A hidden gem for sure.

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Many thanks to Tina, our navigation system, for taking us this way to Sodus Point. Next time maybe we wont just “stop by” this secret treasure and we’ll actually make it to the destination we didn’t even get out of the car to see 🙂

happy flowers. happy birthday.

Tyra and Kathleen got me the cutest gift. ever. I call them my happy flowers. I have them in the window in the kitchen. They move in the sun. My flowers are called ‘happy’ for a few reasons. The first reason-they make me happy. The second reason-they look happy. The third reason-they move when the sun isn’t even out, therefore, they must be happy.

Elise, I’m sharing my happy flowers with you today, because I want to wish you a ‘Happy’ Birthday!

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Airplanes.

“beh pey”. It’s the latest word Aiden hasn’t quite figured out how to pronounce, but oh my does he love what it means. Every time an “air plane” flies over our house he runs around the living room, arms extended saying “beh pey” and making airplane noises.

Sometimes (quite often), he takes his little people airplane and flies that around the house too! Dancing to its “high and low” melody that is actually one of the least annoying songs his toys play.

Today was a special treat for him! I had a coupon to redeem at the mall today. Free panties in tow (oh how I love VS on free panty day), we headed to the indoor playground. It was the least I could after making him stroller through the store with oh so much pink surrounding him.

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Still getting his Airlegs.

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