From the Kitchen

Homemade Pizza Dough



Our Valentine’s Day Pizza. This dough recipe made 3 of these personal sized pizzas! I’ve been told I can do heart shaped pizzas anytime I want to. Like, say, next week. *wink*


Recently, I tweeted something about making homemade pizza and a friend asked for the recipe. I went searching on the blog for it, since I was certain I had blogged the recipe at some point in the past. Especially considering we have homemade pizza nearly every Friday night; it’s our tradition. (Barring any big national holidays)

However, I was dumbfounded to discover that in all the years of making pizza I’ve never posted the dough recipe. So, let’s remedy that!

Like all bread dough recipes, this does take some effort. Typically, I start around 4 pm and we eat pizza by 6:30. So far, after years of eating it, we still love it — I guess it’s worth the time investment to keep up the tradition! The process is easy, so don’t let the time investment deter you. 

I found a version of this recipe online years ago: however, I have no memory of where. Somewhere along the way I modified the recipe a bit, memorized it, and never looked back. It’s not a thin chewy crust, this is more like a deep dish, bread pizza. My family prefers that, so it works for us. 

The recipe will make one large baking sheet sized pizza. Or (on Valentine’s Day) 3 really large heart-shaped pizzas!

I apologize for the lack of photos. But alas, during the winter, by the time we actually eat dinner the light has long past fled for the next day. So, use your imagination! Recipe under the jump.

Continue reading →

Make My Love Heart Shaped

heart shaped hand pies

Day Thirteen: Shape Your Love (hand pies!!)

My family says they’re not tiring of heart shaped things: but maybe that’s because I’ve been making Pie! These lovely little fruit and chocolate tarts were made using a hand-pie mold I bought on a whim at the grocery store. It’s made by Nordic Ware and was 50% off: I figured, if it didn’t work, it was the price of a mocha. I could afford to risk the price of mocha, right? (And yes, many, many purchase decisions are made by the answer to the question, “How many Starbuck’s Mochas could I buy for that?!) 



The press worked “just ok”.  As you can see from my pies, the edges aren’t that crisp. I’m not sure if that is an error on my part or not, as the directions were pretty skimpy on the packaging. But I did like the bowl of the heart press: it made filling the pie easy. When you’re making hand pies and the bottom crust is on a flat board, it can be difficult to “mound” up the fillings without getting spillage everywhere. So, I guess it’s a trade off.

When I use the press again, I think I’ll also omit the little cut-out heart on top. It’s cute in theory, but in practice it made removing the pies from the mold cumbersome. 

I filled these pies with good chocolate chips and raspberries (Geo had raspberries and Apricot jam, because he’s not a fan of chocolate.) — but your options really are endless. Especially if you don’t use that decorative cut-out! Any bit of fruit and chocolate, or jam and finely diced nuts.  If you’re really brave, you could even use a custard filling of some sort.



Just a note, these pies can handle a lot more filling than I used! I placed about 5 raspberries and a few chocolate chips in mine: wish I had doubled the fruit for a better fruit to crust ratio. It will look like a lot, but in reality: there is a lot of crust in a hand-pie. That’s stating the obvious in retrospect — but at the time, the small amount that I used “looked” like enough. In the future, I will stuff those babies! 

I baked these at 425 for about 10 minutes. Which are the directions for my pie crust recipe. Any pie crust will work, even store-bought. Use your favorite or experiment. If you come up with a chocolate pie crust, let me know. 

Such a hit! And a sweet way to give your love. Of course, you don’t have limit your heart-shaped love to fruit pie. There’s always pizza-pie! (which, for the record, is on the menu tomorrow!) 

Pie Crust Valentine Cookies

Pie Crust Valentine Cookies


Day Seven: Be Sweet — Pie Crust Cookies

Hello friends. We’re still snowed in here and we’ve been joying watching the Olympics and keeping the fire going in the fireplace. So cozy! After stocking up on provisions yesterday (we’re waiting for the 3rd part of this storm to hit later today), I decided to bake some lovely hand pies for us to enjoy during the Opening Ceremony.  I’ll post those later, but I thought I’d share what I did with scrap pie dough.



When IZ was a child, his mother used to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on pie dough scraps when she made pie. He remembers those bits fondly and usually asks, “What are you going to do with the scraps?” (hint hint) so, I love experimenting and making these little cookies for him.  And they’re so versatile! I rarely make them same way twice. This time, I used dried dates and semisweet chocolate, but you can use any dried fruit/nut/or chocolate combination. The trick is to finely chop up your fillings –especially if you’re using smaller cookie cutters. The finer the ingredients, the better they incorporate into the dough and the easier it is to cut your cookies. 

I had left over apricot jam glaze, so I used it on these cookies. But you can also glaze them with an egg white and sprinkle sugar on top. Or, leave them plain. 

Use heart cookie cutters or, if you’re in a rush, you can block the pie dough and cut little squares or rectangles. These make cute dunking cookies for tea!

Continue reading →

Chocolate For Breakfast: Chocolate Granola


Sometimes, a girl just needs chocolate for breakfast.


That’s truth, right? Sometimes, you just need a bit of chocolate in the morning. I’ve had this recipe for Chocolate Granola open in a tab on my computer for a week now. The photography is crave worthy! (and I’m not even pretending to recreate that magic!) But I was missing a couple of ingredients. So, I just kept looking at it. Wishing and then forgetting to buy the items I needed on the inevitable milk runs. 

Yesterday, I finally decided to just “fake” it. And while I’ll probably get the ingredients to make this proper in the near future, I have to say, my version came out just fine. 

For the record, I was missing Coconut Oil. In part, because this is a new ingredient for me and I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with what KIND of coconut oil to buy. Costco has a great deal on it (don’t ask me what kind it is, tho!) and I’ve been tempted. But then I start reading labels and it’s so confusing! Organic or not-organic? That part is probably obvious! But cold- pressed or expeller pressed? Virgin or ex-virgin? I have no clue.  I know I don’t want to buy a huge tub of something that we won’t use — or can’t use. 

So, when you don’t know something — it’s google to the rescue, right? A little searching led me to this amazing blog post on decoding coconut oil labels that really cleared up the labeling confusion on coconut oil for me. I now feel like I can go check labels and make an educated buying decision. 

That being said, it still didn’t put coconut oil in my pantry. So, I made this granola with Saffola. And honestly, it’s amazing! I’m sure the coconut oil will give it a better flavor, but this is worth the effort even if you don’t happen to have coconut oil on hand. 



With milk: though, I’m going to confess here — eating this dry by the handful is a lot of fun!


Chocolate Granola 


  • 4 Cups of rolled oats
  • 1 Cup coconut flakes (I used sweetened coconut because that’s what I had!)
  • 1 Cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 t of salt (I used Black Hawaiian Salt –it’s divine!)
  • 1/2 Cup of cocoa
  • 1/3 cup of Safflower Oil
  • 1 Tb of Vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of Agave
  • 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 oz of dark chocolate finely chopped


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Mix oats, coconut, pecans, and salt in a large bowl
  • Mix oil, vanilla, cocoa, agave, and dark brown sugar in another large bowl
  • Combine your wet and dry ingredients. Mixing slowly until the oat mixture is completely coated.
  • Spread the yummy goo (dare you not to try it!) onto your baking sheet. As evenly as you can. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the granola and bake for another 10 mins. Keep an eye on it, it can scorch. 
  • When done, sprinkle the chopped chocolate on top of your granola. It will melt — so you’ll need to let it cool before placing in an air-tight container. 

A few notes: this granola is more like coated oatmeal — without all the chunks you might expect with granola. This is an upside when eating it with milk… munching it, not so much.

The next time I make this, I think I’ll add 1/2 cup of chopped dried cherries. But I think chopped dates would be lovely too! 

And yes, I had a bowl for dessert last night. I just couldn’t wait until the morning to have chocolate for breakfast. 

Rose Tea: A Winter’s Cup

rosetea5A lovely cup for a mid-winter day. 

Rose tea is traditionally an iced beverage. It’s perfect in the summer time, and it makes sense to make it then–as roses are readily available. 

But I love hot, hot, (can you see the steam?) on a winter day. It’s so evocative of summer, earthy and sweet and romantic. 




It’s so easy to make. Usually made with green tea, I prefer mine with Harney and Son’s Vanilla Comoro.  I use just a pinch of cardamom and let my tea steep until it caramel colored. 






Usually, I use a Rose Water from Cortas, but our local store was out so I gave this a try. It’s a French brand and is really very pretty. So fragrant. I think it’s stronger than the usual Rose Water, so you don’t need to use quite as much. If you’re looking to buy some, this is made by Noirot.




Once your tea has steeped, add 1 TB of Rose Water. Then shut your eyes and dream of warmer weather.