WARNING: DO NOT WATCH THE FOOD NETWORK WHILE PREGNANT

Consider this a public service announcement. The Food Network is great, in fact I have learned a lot about how to cook from the Food Network years ago. It really helped ignite my love of cooking and understand how to build depths of flavors. Not to toot my own horn but according to my most important critic (my daughter) I am the “best cooker ever” and “never make a gross meal”.

I haven’t watched it in a while, but today decided to turn it on while doing housework and doing the things needed to get ready for this baby. BOY OH BOY was this a bad idea. As I speak I’m listening to this women talk about a caramelized banana milk shake. Crap! I forgot to get bananas the last time I went to the store and I DO NOT have ice cream. The crazy is about to come out. This is why I’m sending out the warning, most of the time you will not have what they are cooking in your pantry or fridge so just do yourself a favor and don’t turn it on. Don’t.

There is nothing like a pregnant women’s food craving. I don’t know how to explain it. But, I will say I haven’t really had any cravings since I was so sick for so long. Food just seemed yucky to me even when I started feeling great. But, I ate to feed my baby. The good thing about that is I have actually lost weight the last 7/8 months. I doubt I will be able to say that tomorrow at my check up because the cravings have peeked around the corner and have attacked me with full force. Doc, I blame it on Food Network. And Firehouse Subs– have you tried their brisket sandwich…. it is. sooo. good.

On a lighter note many of you have seen Hannah’s Halloween costume. Let me tell you our daughter is very creative and comes up with the greatest ideas. This age is great, they really come into their own and all your predictions of how they are going to be when they were babies are being proven right before our eyes.

I want to take it back to tradition. Tradition is very important to me. I had a great childhood – my teenage years well, I was a punk but we aren’t getting into that today. Anyway, I feel like carrying on certain things my mother and father did for us helps me keep those great memories alive and well. My Mom made most of our Halloween costumes, she is so annoyingly talented. I just remember the excitement and build up there was and it made Halloween that much cooler and more fun. I want that for our kids and luckily I have a very talented husband to help me and our daughter put these ideas into reality. So, that’s why we make her costumes.

The one this year was harder to conceptualize than it was actually making it. It took us weeks to figure how we were going to make a tree costume. Sure, we could have gotten brown clothes and slapped on some leaves but, that wasn’t hard enough. So, this is what we came up with.

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She wanted to be a tree. So we made her a tree. The husband spray painted the trunk and I put it all together. So much fun working together as a family and I love the time we get to spend together while doing this. It’s priceless.

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Happy May!

I don’t know about you but for us May is a very busy month.  Friends and family graduate, friends get married, friends having babies, birthdays, recitals, end of the year parties, and let’s not forget Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day this year was special.  We broke away from traditions and went to a wedding of a good friend of mine from college in Dahlonega, Georgia.  What another beautiful mountain town in the south.  I have seem to really fall in love with the south.  I guess it’s about time since I’ve lived here most my life.

My sister and brother-in-law agreed to keep Hannah so this was kind of like a little get away for Dan and I.  We never do anything just the 2 of us it seems so we were happy about it.

We stayed at a wonderful Bed and Breakfast called Long Mountain Lodge: http://www.longmountainlodge.com/index.html.  The breakfast was delicious! Baked pears with toasted almonds, homemade banana muffin, sage sausage, and a yeast dough homemade waffle.  I have never tasted a waffle like that before, it was aaaa-mazing. I wish I got pictures but was so distracted by the yummyness of the food I didn’t even think about it at the time. Thank you Dianne for your hospitality and wonderful cooking!

Here is the fabulous view from our room. I love my friend but it sure was hard to leave here to go to the wedding. I am just happy the wedding venue has a great view also!

Another gorgeous view from our room. A pond is to the left of the picture.  They have trails around the property also.

Pizza Night!!!

My all time favorite thing to do is spend time with family.  Another one of my favorite things to do is cook. So tonight because of a TON of drama and stress that has gone on over the last few weeks I have decided to combine some of my favorite things to do and have a Diehl Family Pizza Kitchen! Yes. This is as exciting as it gets on Friday nights for me. 🙂 6 years ago my Friday nights where a wee bit different but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Just so you know pizza dough is simple to make.  The trick is to have the patience to allow the dough to rise.

Pizza Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Corn Meal
  • Pizza Baking Stone (to make a good pizza you really need one of these!)

Poor your package of yeast in 1 1/3 bowl of warm water. Give it a little stir and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

In your mixing bowl add the flour, salt, sugar, and olive oil to the yeast. If you have a mixer with a dough hook mix on low speed for about 1 minute. Scrape sides and put mixer on knead speed (low) for about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer knead by hand for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. I decided to mix the yeast with a little bit of the flour before putting all the dry ingredients in. It helped with the mixing process.

It’ll look like this at first… that’s OK

And then eventually look like this. P.S. Get a Kitchenaid mixer if you don’t have one. Yes, it’s a lot of money but it will last you forever and it really is amazing. I got one for Christmas and my life has gotten SOOOOOOO much easier since.

Drop a little bit of olive oil and coat bowl.

This is what it should look like. Smooth and elastic.

Make into a ball and dribble a little bit of olive oil. Seriously a little bit. I usually put way too much. Don’t do that.

Put plastic wrap over it and put in warm place (75-85 degrees). Let it rise for AT LEAST 1 hour. I let it rise all day. I did this at about noon and we used it at 6PM. It had risen! Oh, that’s my grass I’m growing for my Spring decor in the house.  We’ll get to that later 🙂

*It is very important at this point to cover your pizza stone with the corn meal, set your oven to 400 degrees and put the stone in the oven.  You want the stone to be as hot as your oven because that is what will cook your pizza dough. If you don’t have one get one, they aren’t much money and worth it.  But, don’t use it for anything else other than pizza because it will ruin your stone. But, if you’re going to be stubborn and not get one then do the same with a cookie sheet that you can fit your pizza on. But, seriously, get one.

After the dough has risen punch your dough lightly in the center. Coat the dough ball really good with flour. By the way that isn’t my hand. Promise. Anyway this recipe is enough for 2 large pizzas.  For this night we did 2 large ones and one small one for the wee one. So, split your dough up to the sizes you’d like.

Now, make a nice round shape.

After you get a nice round shape, lay dough flat on board and push extra air out with your finger tips, starting away and moving towards you. Be sure to maintain that roundness. Next, you will make a crust by pushing down with your index finger on the edge of the dough and pushing a small edge back over your index finger from the outside of the dough.

Make sure you add corn meal and flour to the board you are working on. This will allow movement while working with the dough.

After you have made you pizza dough this is what it should look like! Now, we are ready to have some fun.

Up, Up,

And away!!

It’s a pizza just for her!

Place sauce in center of pizza dough.

Grab a ladle and in a spiral motion spread sauce. Spiral motion allows the sauce to go on evenly.

Saute up your favorite toppings. This is red, green, and yellow peppers with a little bit of onion and garlic.

We did Italian Sausage and Peperoni for the meat. You have to cook the sausage and not the peperoni… I added a little beer to my Italian sausage. It was yummy!

After you have the pizza you want it’s time to put it in the oven.  This part freaked me out a little but my husband assured me that because we have put the corn meal on both the board and the pizza stone it will slide right on. So take a breath, and with confidence gently slide the pizza onto the stone.  Let it cook for about 15minutes depending on where you live and how you want your dough.  Keep an eye on it if you like crispy pizza then obviously put it in for longer.

*sigh* waiting is always the hard part. I think he wants to help? OR maybe it’s he going to sneak a bite…

And here’s our pizza! Enjoy your pizza night!

Mmmm…. It was delicious!