Heart Shaped Pizza with Homemade Pizza Dough

Valentine’s Day is upon us and you know I love to eat heart-shaped pizza, it’s my yearly tradition. Last year I decided to make my own, as I had everything I needed, and wanted to share it with you all this year.

This recipe comes from Teaspoon of Goodness.

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Ingredients:

Pizza Dough

  • 1 Cup of Warm Water
  • 1 Package of Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2-3 Cups of Flour

Pizza:

  • Olive Oil
  • Pepperoni Slices (Or topping you desire)
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Spaghetti Sauce

Directions:

  1. Combine yeast and warm water. Let sit for one min.
  2. Add salt and flour and mix
  3. Knead until mixed and dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. (If dough is too wet, add flour. If dry add more water until the consistency is perfect).
  4. Let the dough rest 15-30 mins in a warm area about 20 mins.
  5. Seperate the dough into two balls.
  6. Flour a surface, wood cutting boards work best.
  7. Take one dough ball and flour it and the rolling pin.
  8. Roll the dough out to the amount of thickness desired.
  9. Top with sauce, cheese, and toppings.
  10. Cook at 450 degrees F for about 15-20 mins or until crust is brown.
  11. Cut into heart-shape.

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Thoughts After Baking:

This was very good, better than the 15 Minute Pizza Dough.

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Brussels Sprouts, Turkey Sausage, & Pesto Pizza Casserole

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Thoughts Before Baking:

I found this in a Real Simple magazine:

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It looked and sounded delicious, so I thought I would give it a try. I mean you all know how much I love anything pesto and pizza.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1.5 lbs of Pizza Dough
  • 1/3 Cup of Prepared Pesto
  • 1.5 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella or Provolone Cheese
  • 1/2 lb of Uncooked Turkey Sausage, Crumbled
  • 1/2 lb of Brussels Sprouts, thinly sliced

Pesto:

  • 2 cups of basil leaves, packed
  • 3 to 4 Garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Prepare the basil first. Remove basil leaves from stems.
  2. In a blender or food processor; mix 1/3 cup of olive oil, basil leaves, chopped garlic, and blend.
  3. Add nuts and cheese, mix again, adding another 1/3 cup of oil. Sauce should be smooth.
  4. Refrigerate until needed.
  5. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  6. Coat a 9 x 13 inch pan with 1 tbsp of oil.
  7. Press the dough into the pan, covering the bottom and sides of the pan.
  8. Top the dough with pesto, cheese, sausage, and Brussels sprouts.
  9. Cook for 25-30 minutes
  10. Wait 5 minutes and then serve.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I forgot to take the picture or else I would have included one. Well this pizza was delicious.

fantastic

I can’t wait to make it again!

joker-yum

The pesto was a perfect compliment and it was just so easy to make. Took no time at all.

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For more pizza recipes, go to Pizza Siciliana

For more casseroles, go to Breakfast Omelet

For more pesto recipes, go to Cheesy Pesto Pull Apart Bread

For more recipes, go to Caraway Rye Bread

 

Pizza Siciliana

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Thoughts Before Reading:

This recipe comes from an old cookbook from the ’70s, Time Life’s American Cooking: The Melting Pot, and covers all kind of recipes from the different cultures in the USA.

I am Sicilian so when I saw the pizza I had to try it. I decided to not make the pizza dough with the recipe they gave but followed every other facet.

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Unlike the familar round Neopolitan pizza,  Sicilian pizza is a newcomer to the pizza-loving Americans. It’s soft, breadlike crust and rectangular shape actually make it a more practical recipe for the home. The ingredients for the garnish are flexible; you can substitue such items as sliced cooked sausage, black olives or anchovies for the mushrooms and peppers-or add any or all of them to the recipe given here.”

-Time Life, 1971

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough

  • 3 Cups of Lukewarm Water (110 to 115 degrees F)
  • 2 Packages of Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Sugar
  • 8-10 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter, Softened

Directions:

  1. Pour 1/2 cup of lukewarm water into a cup and sprinkle with yeast and sugar.
  2. Let the mixture rest for 2-3 mins, then stir.
  3. Place the cup in a warm, draft-free place (such as an unlighted oven) for about 10 mins, or until the yeast bubbles and the mixture doubles in volume.
  4. Place the 8 cups of flour and the salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
  5. Pour in yeast mixture, the ret of the water, the vegetable oil; and with a large wooden spoon incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet.
  6. Continue to stir until the ingredients are well combined and can be shaped into a ball.
  7. Transfer the ball onto a floured surface and begin to knead; pressing the ball with the heel of your hand, pressing forward and folding back.
  8. Knead until dough is smooth, and an elastic medium-firm; (incorporate the 2 more cups of flour if you need to).
  9. With a pastry brush, coat the bottom and the sides of the dough with butter.
  10. Place dough in a bowl and a warm drat-free place for 1-1.5 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. Punch it down with your fists and replace in the bowl to rise again.
  11. Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce.
  12. When dough has completed its rising, punch it down and then cut it in half.
  13. Roll out each half to fit in a jelly-roll pan.
  14. Place the dough on the pans and then stretch it with your fingers so hat it fills the edges and corners.
  15. Drape with a towel and place in warm, draft-free place until dough has risen double.

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Ingredients:

Tomato Sauce:

  • 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup of finely Chopped Onions
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of finely chopped Garlic
  • 3-1lb cans of solid packed Tomatoes and their liquid
  • 1 Tablespoon of Basil
  • 1 Tablespoon of Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Pepper
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 6 oz can of Tomato Paste

Directions:

  1. In a 10-12 inch heavy skillet heat the olive oil, until a lught haze forms.
  2. Add the onions and garlic, stirring frequently until the onion become translucent.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and their liquid, oregano, sugar, black pepper, salt, and tomato paste.
  4. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for an hour.

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Ingredients:

Pizza Garnish:

  • 1 lb of Mozzarella Cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 Cup of finely grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Cup of thinly sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 Large Green Bell Peeper; seeded, deribbed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 Large Red Bell Pepper; seeded, deribbed, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup of thinly chopped Onions
  • Chopped Sausage
  • Sliced Olives
  • 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven tp 500 degrees F.
  2. Divide the sauce in half and coat the top of the dough.
  3. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 mintes, then sprinkle with mozzarella, Parmesan, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, olives,  and sausage.
  4. Dribble the olive oil on top and bake for 10 minutes longer.\Cut pizza into squares and serve at once.

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pizzasciliana

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Thoughts After Baking:

Here is what I thought about this pizza:

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It was amazing! The sauce was the best I have ever had and the only one I will ever make for pizza again. It was just so fantastic!

fantastic

You should definitely try this out for yourself!

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For more Italian recipes, go to Italian Wedding Soup

For more recipes, go to A is for Applesauce Cake

The Dollhouse Murders

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The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright

So unlike most people who have read this book, I didn’t read this as a child but as an adult. This book was recommended to me on goodreads quite a few times. The first time I saw it I thought it was a book I had read as a child of a girl playing with dolls, and in essence whatever she makes the dolls do, happens in real life. In that book she continues to play rough with her dolls, making them cruel to each other, and in doing so turns the people she loves into monsters.

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She eventually realizes this and tries to destroy the dollhouse, being stopped by her mom or aunt (I don’t remember which) who gives it away to her cousin.

This was not that book.

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Yes this is a completely different book, as I discovered once I read the synopsis.

So this book was published in the early ’80s and definitely has that nostalgic feel. The girls are out wherever they want and their parents don’t care as long as they are back before dark. They listen to tapes, watch TV from the cable shows and have a sleepover that involves hanging out, telling fortunes, gossiping, etc. No internet, cellphones, snapchat, instagram, etc.

bringback80s

So our main character is 12-year old Amy. Amy lives in a suburb of Chicago, (and no this is not a John Hughes movie), with her parents and her younger, mentally disabled, sister Louann. Amy is stressed and unhappy about always having to take care of Louann. It has destroyed friendships, as some girls feel uncomfortable around Louann or dislike her differences; either way Amy finds herself losing potential friends and just having to spend more time with Louann.

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She and her new friend Ellen have to take Louann with them to mall, and it doesn’t turn out well. After Louann runs away, destroys a floral arrangement, and gets the girls yelled at; coupled with Amy’s new friend Ellen canceling their plans (presumably because of Louann), Amy’s had it with her sister.

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She needs some freedom from being Louann’s keeper. When she tells her mom this, the two get in a fight and Amy runs away. She runs all the way to the edge of town where her Aunt Clare currently lives.

Aunt Clare is her father’s sister, and was living and working in Chicago. When she was fired from her job, she returned home to clean out her grandparents’ old house to sell it. She listens to Amy’s views and asks her parents if she can stay for a while and keep her company. They agree, but Louann is unhappy to lose Amy.

Amy is estatic to finally have freedom

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But discovers something unsettling about the house. It feels as if it has a dark cloud over it.

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Amy discovers a beautiful dollhouse in the attic. And when she asks Aunt Clare about it, she gets the family backstory.

When Clare was 15 and Amy’s father was 2, their parents died in a car crash. The two were sent to live with their grandparents, as they had money and lots of room. Amy’s father did all right, but Clare was constantly clashing with the grandparents. She wanted to be treated as an adult, but they wanted her to stay a child. Hence, they gave a fifteen year old a dollhouse. An exquisitely carved dollhouse that is a replica of the house, has miniature everything you could ever hope for, and has four dolls that are beautiful copies of the family members. Even still, it is a dollhouse and for Clare it was uncool. Three years later, the grandparents also died in a car accident, and the two kids were sent to live with an uncle. As soon as Clare graduated, she left for Chicago and hasn’t returned to the house since.

Amy is intrigued and wants to know more, but Clare does not want to discuss the house at all, becoming very upset over the whole thing.

That'sOdd

Ellen is soon invited over and loves the dollhouse as much as Amy does. The two play with it for a while, interrupted by Clare’s baking of fudge. They run down to the kitchen, with Amy realizing that she left the house open. Not wanting it to get dusty on the inside, she runs upstairs. When she gets there, she sees something shocking.

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The grandma doll isn’t where she left it, but in a entirely different room!

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She is called by Ellen and Clare, and shakes off that idea. Dolls moving? Must have been seeing things.

The three of them end up planning a pizza-birthday party for the two girls, as they turn 13 within a week of each other.

After Ellen leaves, Amy asks Clare more questions about the grandparents’ death. Clare however, becomes angry and defensive not answering anything.

That'sOdd

This causes Amy to decide to do some digging of her own. She and Ellen head to the library and start looking through old papers to discover what happened to her grandparents. When they are searching they find an article about them being murdered!

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Yes Clare lied! They were murdered!

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

One night, Clare returned home from the movies and discovered the dead bodies of her grandfather and grandmother. Both were shot, the grandfather upstairs in his bedroom, and the grandmother in the parlor. Amy’s father was initially not found, and many believed him to have been kidnapped, until they discovered the five-year-old asleep in the closet. Valuables were stolen, so the cops believed it was a burglary gone wrong. They never caught the killer.

Another interesting tidbit Amy finds, is that Clare’s boyfriend of the time, Tom, was killed that night as well in a car accident.

Whoa

That night Amy calls Ellen and fills her in. Unfortunately, Clare hears her and becomes very angry, yelling at Amy for her insensitivity. Later Clare yells at Amy again, as she has discovered the dolls in the exact way her family members were on the night of the murder.

Amy is flabbergasted.

What?

She knows she and Ellen put the dolls in the dining room around the table. Besides, she just learned about the murders, there would have been no way she could have made it into the attic and do that. That means…

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THE DOLLS ARE MOVING BY THEMSELVES!

Crap

The only question? Why.

Amy and Clare make up, but Amy is now frightened of the attic and does all she can to stay out.

Amy goes home to get a few things for the party, when it is accidentally is slipped and now Louanne wants to come too. Amy doesn’t want her to come as she wants a day focused on her, and she doesn’t want to worry about anyone. She gets into another fight with her mom.

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At Aunt Clare’s, they start getting things ready for the party. Clare sends Amy upstairs to the attic to get some bedding so Ellen can stay over. The light went out so Clare gives Amy a flashlight.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

Upstairs, Amy goes to get a blanket when she sees a light coming from the attic and hears something!

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And runs downstairs.

The next day is the day of the party. Evey thing seems to be going smoothly, until Amy finds out that her mother had to go out of town and couldn’t find a sitter, so she left Louann at Aunt Clare’s. Amy is furious, as she knows Louann will ruin the party. To her surprise everything turns out perfect. All the girls have fun, they treat Louann like any other normal person; with the party going on for hours. That night the girls go to bed, with Louann and Amy sharing a room.

Amy wakes up at 3 in the morning and discovers Louann missing!

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She runs up the attic, as she knows Louann loves the dollhouse. When she gets there she finds Louann, a weird light coming from the dollhouse, and hears someone crying. So does Louann. Amy gets scared and the two go back to their room.

The next day, all three girls go for a hike with Amy telling Ellen everything that happened. She resolves to go up to the attic this very night and watching the whole event, in the hopes that she might discover why this is happening.

KeepCalmSleuthOn

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Thoughts after reading:

This was a very cute and interesting mystery. At first I wasn’t sure as young adult fiction can really be hit or miss.

I loved the character of Amy as I think the author not only accurately portrayed a preteen girl, but a preteen girl having to take care of her disabled sister. It didn’t make Amy seem evil, rude; but just a regular girl trying to figure out her identity and who she is.

The mystery was actually pretty thrilling as the author keeps you guessing until the end. When the true story was revealed about the death of the grandparents, it made me wonder…was Aunt Clare involved with the murder? Was that the real reason she hated the dollhouse? You have to read it to find out.

I highly recommend this book for preteens and even for adults if you are feeling nostalgic.

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For more reviews of mystery novels, go to Lane Changes