Friday, January 30, 2009

My Favorite Pizza Crust Recipe

This is our favorite pizza dough. It's great to work with. It makes 4-12 inch round pizzas or a large cookie sheet. I usually freeze the dough that we don't use, by wrapping it in plastic wrap and putting it into a freezer bag.

Pizza Crust
1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
5 cups all purpose or bread flour, as needed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt Olive Oil

1. In a small bowl, mix the water, yeast and sugar and let stand about 10 minutes, or until foamy.

2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture and egss. Mix in 5 cups of flour and the salt and stir or beat with an electric mixer until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dought out onto a lightly floured surface and need for 5-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

3. Put the dough into a large oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.

4. Punch down the dough and divide into 4 equal pieces. Shape the pieces into balls. Lightly cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let rise about 30 minutes, so it will be easier to handle.

5. For each pizza, brush a 12 inch round pizza pan or a large baking sheet with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. With floured hands, pat into a 6 inch round. Stretch or roll out the dough with a rolling pin into an 11 inch circle. Lift onto the prepare pan and press the dough to the edges of the pizza pan. Add toppings and bake on the lowest oven rack.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

As most of you know, our parish is merging with 4 other parishes this summer. Last year, the parishes requested suggestions for a new parish name. After doing some research, I suggested St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. She is the patron saint of immigrants. The parishes that are being merged were all built by immigrants. I found her to be the "perfect" patron for our new parish. Yesterday, I was thrilled to read that she made it to the top 5 choices and am praying that she is chosen as the patron of the new parish.

Here's some background on St. Frances Xavier Cabrini from Catholic Online:

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin (Feast day November 13) St. Frances was born in Lombardi, Italy in 1850, one of thirteen children. At eighteen, she desired to become a Nun, but poor health stood in her way. She helped her parents until their death, and then worked on a farm with her brothers and sisters.
One day a priest asked her to teach in a girls' school and she stayed for six years. At the request of her Bishop, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for poor children in schools and hospitals. Then at the urging of Pope Leo XIII she came to the United States with six nuns in 1889 to work among the Italian immigrants.
Filled with a deep trust in God and endowed with a wonderful administrative ability, this remarkable woman soon founded schools, hospitals, and orphanages in this strange land and saw them flourish in the aid of Italian immigrants and children. At the time of her death, at Chicago, Illinois on December 22, 1917, her institute numbered houses in England, France, Spain, the United States, and South America. In 1946, she became the first American citizen to be canonized when she was elevated to sainthood by Pope Pius XII. St. Frances is the patroness of immigrants.

Have a day full of blessings,

Monday, January 26, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook, January 26, 2009

FOR TODAY January 26, 2009

Outside my window...the snow is falling softly.

I am much preparation will be awaiting me at school.

I am thankful for...weekends.

From the kitchen...will be Breaded Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf and Steamed Veggies for dinner.

I am bathrobe and slippers.

I am altered composition book for my mom.

I am going...away for a romantic weekend with my husband in 2 weeks!

I am reading...Simple Abundance and A Busy Mom's Guide to Prayers daily.

I am hoping...for a good week at school.

I am hearing...the drip of the coffee maker in the kitchen.

Around the, laundry, scrapbooking and decluttering.

One of my favorite iced tea.

A few plans for the rest of the week: We have hockey one night, and a game on Saturday. I hope to get my mom's journal completed and do an altered clipboard for myself. DH is hosting poker on Thursday night. On Friday, we're having a Super Bowl luncheon at school.

A picture thought:

Read more daybooks at



Menu Plan Monday, January 26, 2009

It's the last week of January! Where has the month gone? This week is my first full week back to school since the holiday. I hope it goes quickly. Last week, we tried the Italian Cream Cheese Chicken over Linguine for dinner. It was good. DH liked it a lot. I didn't like it as much. Next time, I will season the cheese sauce as well. The Slow Cooker Beef Tortellini Soup was delicious. I would highly recommend it.
Here's the simple plan for this week:
Sunday: Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce over Pasta, Homemade Rolls and Salad
Monday: Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf and Steamed Vegetables
Tuesday: Hockey Practice~Hot Dogs with Kraut, Macaroni and Cheese, Veggies and Dip
Wednesday: Zesty Potato Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Fruit
Thursday: Chicken in Cream Sauce over Linguine, Salad for Dinner
Poker Night: Venison Kielbassi and Kraut on Rolls, Cheese and Assorted Venison snack sticks, Buffalo Chicken Dip with Fritos, Assorted Snacks, Hard Boiled Eggs, and Savorings Pastries
Friday: Pizza and Wing Night
Saturday: Dinner Out
Be sure to check out the other menus at
Have a week full of blessings,

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Altered Journal~Remember

My friend asked me to make her an altered journal in which to write her memories. After searching the internet for inspiration, I came up with this design. The papers are from a Best Occasions punch out pack from Wal-Mart in Jewel Tones. I purchased the composition book at the Dollar Tree. This time I secured the paper with Mod Podge. It worked beautifully, although messy. I hope she is pleased!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Creamy Green Bean Bake

Tonight for dinner, we'll be having Country Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes with White Gravy and Creamy Green Bean Bake. I'm going to share my Creamy Green Bean Bake recipe today.

Creamy Green Bean Bake

1-16 oz. can of green beans (any cut) or 9 ounces frozen beans, cooked

1 can of low fat cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup low fat dairy sour cream or plain yogurt

1 or 2 dashes of hot pepper sauce

1/3 cup of french-fried onions (optional)

Drain green beans. In a 1 quart casserole, combine soup, sour cream and hot sauce. Stir in beans. Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes or till bubbly. Sprinkle with onions and bake 5 minutes more. Serves 4. Enjoy!

I usually leave out the french fried onions. I have topped it with shredded cheese. It's yummy!

Have a day full of blessings!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Getting Photos Organized

I'm always trying to organize things to make life a bit simpler for me. I bought the Cropper Hopper Photo Storage Box sometime last year from QVC. Today while cleaning up my scrapbooking/card making supplies, I decided that I should finally organize the photos that were in piles all over the table into the plastic envelopes and put them inside the storage box. What a freeing activity! I feel so much better that my photos are arranged by topic and/or date and will be easy to pull out when I'm ready to scrapbook them. Here it is with the filled cases:

I'm so tickled that I accomplished this activity. I'm also working on organizing my scrapbook paper, stickers and embellishments by theme. It's starting to come together.
Have a day full of blessings,

The Simple Woman's Daybook~January 19th, 2009

FOR TODAY January 19, 2009

Outside my window...the snow is falling softly.

I am beautiful the new fallen snow looks on the ground.

I am thankful husband and all he does for the kids and me.

From the kitchen...Beef Tortellini Soup is in the slow cooker for dinner tonight. Rolls are rising on the counter.

I am athletic pants with a red hooded top and my slippers

I am creating...another layout for my family scrapbook and handmade birthday cards for my friends.

I am visit my parents for their 38th wedding anniversary.

I am reading...Seattle Wedding by Debbie Macomber and Simple Abundance daily.

I am hoping...and praying for healing of my friends' spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.

I am daughter sing "We're off to see the wizard..." from the Wizard of OZ.

Around the house...I need to declutter and get clothes and things ready for the rest of the week.

One of my favorite cooking and serving a meal to my family each night.

A few plans for the rest of the week: School resumes tomorrow for me with a day of training. The kids return Wednesday. We'll be running to hockey practice with ds a few evenings. On Friday we're going to an ECHL game with my brother and his gf. I'm looking forward to spending time with them.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

If you are interested in reading more daybooks, visit

Have a week full of blessings,


Menu Plan Monday, January 19, 2009

Good morning! This week is filled with several nights of hockey practice, so most of my recipes will be quick and simple or make ahead.

Sunday~ Baked Ziti and Garlic Bread

Monday~Slow Cooker Beef Tortellini Soup, Homemade Bread

Tuesday~Italian Cream Cheese Chicken over Linguine, Tossed Salad

Wednesday~Sub Sandwiches and Fresh Veggies and Dip

Thursday~Philly Cheesesteaks, Homemade Fries, Fresh Fruit

Friday~Hockey Game~eat at the arena

Saturday~Pizza and Wings~ Family Movie Night

Have a week full of blessings,

Friday, January 16, 2009

Show and Tell Friday, January 16, 2009

This is my first Show and Tell Friday, hosted by Kelli at Today I'm sharing pictures of my Boyd's Bearstones. I've been collecting Bearstones and Boyd's Bears for about 10 years now. Here are some of my favorites:

To commemorate our beginning family

DS learning to ride his bike

My first teaching job

Anniversary gift from DH

The Birth of our baby girl
Thank you for checking out my show and tell!

Winter Grass Garden

It's a very frigid day here in western PA. The temperature is -3 degrees and the windchill is at -22. I took the above photo when I came home from school on Wednesday. I love the way the snow has settled on the grass.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Homemade Card

I've been inspired by Kelli at There's No Place Like Home to create a homemade card. Last night I made a thank you card, and tonight I made this birthday card for another teacher at school. I used this tutorial to make the birthday card. I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Menu Plan Monday, January 12, 2009

Good morning!

I had a very busy weekend. It flew by and I can't believe it's Monday again! On Saturday, I made Quick Chicken Soup, which was warm and delcious on a cold and snowy day. On Sunday, I made Pigs in the Blanket in the slow cooker. Pigs are one of our favorite comfort foods. I have finally mastered them after almost 14 years of marriage. They were my best yet!

Here are our plans for this week:

Sunday~Pigs in the Blanket (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls) and Hard Rolls

Monday~Ham Steaks with Easy Green Beans and Red Potatoes

Tuesday~Chicken Soft Tacos, Mexican Rice and Corn (Carry over from last menu)

Wednesday~Kielbassi and Kraut Sandwiches, Macaroni Salad

Thursday~Pork Chops and Scalloped Potatoes, Glazed Carrots

Friday~Pizza and Wings (Order in night)

Saturday~ T-Bone Steaks, Twice Baked Potatoes, Tossed Salad

Check out the other menus at

Have a week full of blessings,

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Quick Chicken Soup

It's a cold day here with freezing rain and snow showers, so I decided to make chicken soup for dinner. It was warm and filling. I found the recipe at Betty, but of course adjusted it to our taste. The white flecks in the photo above are pieces of melting parmesan cheese.
Quick Chicken Soup

1/4 pound cooked chicken, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
1 cup frozen green peas
2 medium celery stalks, sliced (1 cup)
2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
1 small onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
7 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (from two 32-ounce cartons)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 dried bay leaf
1 cup uncooked gemelli or rotini pasta (4 ounces)

1. Heat all ingredients except pasta in 4-quart Dutch oven. Stir in pasta. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat.

2. Simmer uncovered 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf.

Altered Gratitude Journal

Above is a photo of my altered notebook. I'm pleased with how it came out. I used a black and white composition book from the Dollar Tree and scrapbook paper and ribbon that I purchased at Michael's. I had the letters in my supplies.
As part of my reading of Simple Abundance, I've begun to write a list of what I am thankful for on a daily basis. I wanted to create a journal that was more than just a notebook for this very important task. I would highly recommend Simple Abundance to any woman who wants to explore her inner-self and focus on what is abundant in her life, instead of what is lacking.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday, January 5, 2008

Good morning! It's the first Menu Plan Monday of 2009. Today it's back to the busy days and tired nights after a very long vacation. I'm heading back to school after my bout with walking pneumonia, thankful that I didn't have to take off school for the five days of rest. I haven't done anything too demanding for over a week, so today will be a challenge. Please keep me in your prayers for an easy transition.
Here's the plan:
Sunday~ Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken Breasts in Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce, Salad with Ranch Dressing and Rolls
Monday~Country Fried Steak, Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Gravy and Green Beans
Tuesday~Hockey Night Take Out--Sub Sandwich and Chips
Wednesday~Stuffed Pepper Casserole, French Bread
Thursday~Saucy Baked Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf, Steamed Carrots
Friday~I'm attending a party and dh and the kids will have pizza for dinner.
Saturday~Dinner Out after ds's hockey game
Find other menus at
Have a day full of blessings,

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Banana Crumb Muffins

This is one of our favorite muffins. It's loved by young and old alike. The topping is a nice contrast to the moist muffin. I used my new cookie scoop while making these muffins and it put just the right amount of batter into each cup. I'll be using it for cookies, muffins and cupcakes, too.

Banana Crumb Muffins

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cold butter or margarine
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Combine bananas, sugar, egg and butter; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Combine the first three topping ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 375° for 18-20 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Yield: about 1 dozen.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Tonight's Dinner

Friday's dinner menu has been changed because I won't be attending a party tonight as planned. I am feeling better each day and should be in good shape soon. Tonight we will be having Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce over spaghetti, with veal parmesan and Basil Garlic Cheese Bread. I've been using the slow cooker sauce recipe for a few years from a past issue of Taste of Home. The Basil Garlic Cheese Bread is from Simple and Delicious.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 can(28 oz.) crushed tomatoes (I use Furman's)

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon brown sugar

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

In a skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a slow-cooker. Add the next 10 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until heated through. Discard bay leaf. Serve over your favorite pasta.This sauce also freezes well.

Basil-Garlic Cheese Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoon basil, dried (I use 1/2 tsp)
1 loaf French bread, halved lengthwise (unsliced)

In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients; spread over cut sides of bread. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil 4-6 inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut into 2-in. slices.