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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Easy Pizza Sauce

Easy Pizza Sauce
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
4 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups water
Combine tomato paste, garlic, parsley flakes, onion, oregano, basil and water in 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Cool a little and spread on your pizza crust and proceed with remainder of your toppings.
Makes 4 servings
Calories 80 Fat 0.5 Fiber 4.5
This was really good on the pizza. I don't know about the serving size, but I can get at least 2 pizzas out of this one batch of sauce and maybe a third one.
Note: This pizza sauce freezes really well too.

Basic Pizza Dough

I have been trying out new recipes and the thing I really like about Weight Watchers is we still have those extra 35 points to spend as we want. Sometimes, we just need to have a "treat." This is one such treat for me. I found this recipe on Mom Advice.

Basic Pizza Dough (from"How to Cook Everything,")
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea slat, plus extra for sprinkling
1 to 1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
To make this dough in food processor: Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 teaspoons salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube. Process for 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. You can cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry or you can let the dough rise more slowly in the refrigerator for six to eight hours.
To make this dough by hand: Combine half the flour with the salt and yeast and stir to blend. Add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons olive oil; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add remaining flour a bit at a time; when the mixture becomes too stiff to stir with a spoon, begin kneading, adding as little flour as possible- just enough to keep the dough from being a sticky mess. Knead until smooth but still quite moist, about ten minutes. Proceed as above.
To make this dough with a standing mixer: The machine must be fairly powerful or it will stall. Combine half the flour with the salt, yeast, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 cup water; blend with the machines paddle. With the machine on slow speed, add flour a little at a time until the mix has become a sticky ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl (switch to the dough hook if necessary). Knead for a minute by hand, adding as little flour as possible, then proceed as above.
To make this dough with the bread machine: Add ingredients as follows- warm water, olive oil, flour, salt, and then add yeast at the top. Turn machine on and select the dough setting. When the machine beeps, you can roll out the dough onto your pizza stone/pan.
I made this dough in my bread machine. I watched it and it seemed really wet so I added some more flour to it. It was still a little sticky when I took it out of the machine so I added some more flour. This was really good and once I took care of the stickiness, it was easy. I added a sauce, cheese and other toppings and cooked for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Some people like to pre-bake there crust before putting on toppings and you can do that too.

If you cut your crust in 8 pieces this is 4 points per slice, but you also have to add points for sauce, cheese and other toppings. Try to stick with filling food toppings to keep this pizza lower in points.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mom Advise Experiment: Homemade Laundry Detergent

Experiment: Can I make a powder laundry detergent that will clean well, not break out my family, and be cheaper?
Experiment Taken From: Notebook 03.08.2007

Materials Needed: (See Instructables for their directions)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda Powder (not baking soda)
1 bar Fels Naptha soap (you can use other soaps like Zote used by instructables, but I could not find that soap, others also use Ivory, Pure & Natural etc)
Food Processor or cheese grater
Use the cheese grater on your food processor and put your soap in to grate. Then take out the grated soap and put in the chopping blade on your food processor add the grated soap and the rest of the ingredients and process until powdery. I like to put a wet dish towel on top of my processor during the chopping stage. Add to container and use 1 tablespoon for small loads and 2 tablespoons for large loads.
Note: You can use a grater instead of a food processor and mix all the ingredients with your hands, but I find that harder to dissolve in the washer if it is not more of a powder like substance.
I put my washing powder in a 5 gallon bucket that I got at Walmart for about $5. I also tied a long string to the bucket with my tablespoon attached, so I would never lose it. (see above picture)
Results: I was worried about whether this powder form would dissolve as I had read others having this problem. I just turned on the hot water and swished the soap around before putting in my clothes and I have not had any problems with my powder soap dissolving. I made 10 batches of the laundry powder to save more time later and it really did not take that long to finish all of the batches. My clothes seem clean. One big difference is that this soap does not make bubbles and people worry that it will not work, but it does work fine. Nobody seemed to break out from the detergent and several in my family have broken out when I have changed detergents. I figured out that this soap cost about 5 cents a load. I was using Sun detergent and it was about 8-10 cents a load depending on where I got it from. So, while the powder detergent does not save as much as the liquid homemade laundry detergent, which is more like 1 cents a load. I am still saving money. Most tide detergents are about 20 cents a load. Personally, I was really happy with the results. I would like to mention that you really do not want to wash your food processor in the dishwasher after you have made your detergent because it will leave a soapy residue on your dishes. Instead hand wash it. Also, I have read a lot of articles saying that this type of detergent is harder on your washing machine. I read that adding some vinegar to your fabric softener dispenser every now and then will help with this problem, so I plan to do that. I also learned that vinegar works really well as a fabric softener, so I may be switching for fabric softener sheets to a homemade fabric softener soon.
Conclusion: This homemade powder laundry detergent is easy to make, if you have a food processor, and cleans well. It also did not break anyone out in my family. So, I think it is a keeper for my house.
For more experiments go to Mom Advise.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Naturally-Dyed Playdough

I had this perfect project picked out this week, but it has rained every single day and we needed to go outside for this project, so we made play dough! I had never made it before and it was fun. Go here to see the first play dough recipe we made. This was the second one we tried.
Experiment: Can I make a play dough that the kids will love that is still pretty cheap?
Experiment Taken From: Notebook Entry 04.29.09
Materials Needed: See One Golden Apple for the original recipe
Naturally-Dyed Playdough
1 cup flour
1 cup brightly colored juice (blueberry, cherry, pomengranate, grape, etc.)
1/4 cup salt
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Put all ingredients in a pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the dough comes together. This only takes a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, squish and knead until smooth. Voila. Store in a container in the fridge.
Note: A lovely yellow can be made by using the recipe above, replacing the juice with water, and adding a teaspoon of ground turmeric.
Results: The play dough was super easy to make, smelled good, and was pretty cheap to make. But best of all, it gave my kids hours of fun! I do however like the ease of the first recipe because I do not have to actually cook the play dough and the colors were so much brighter.
Conclusion: I like both recipes and will definitely use both of them again. Both are cheap and my kids love them!
For more experiments go to Mom Advise.

Monday, May 4, 2009

My Brother-In Laws Wedding

We went to my brother-in-laws wedding this past weekend and I am pretty tired. 3 of my kids were in the wedding and my dh was the Best Man. My twins were the ring bearer and flower girl and my older son was an usher. It was hard getting them all ready and taking care of a 2 year old, but we got it done. My dh and I danced for the first time at the reception after being married for 10 years! lol!

Nathan and Katie Sue were so tired while waiting to take pictures. Katie Sue feel asleep and I love that picture of her! I can not wait to see the professional photographers picture.

Fruity Playdough

This week is suppose to be rainy, that's right for the entire week! So, I planned to do this little activity with my kids when they got home today. They are hot to the touch after you make them, so I am putting them in the refrigerator and tomorrow we will get out the cookie cutters and play with the playdough. It really does smell fruity! The colors are so vibrant compared to the playdough you buy at the store too. I first saw this recipe on MomAdvise and then at Day By Day. I used the suggestion from Day By Day to use 1 tbs. flour instead of the 1 tbs cream of tarter because cream of tarter is expensive and guess what it works just fine without the cream of tarter. We will definitely be using this recipe again!

Here's the recipe!
Fruity Play Dough (courtesy of
1 cup flour
1 package Kool-Aid (any flavor)
1 tablespoon cream of tartar or 1 Tbs flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup salt
3/4 cup boiling water (the original recipe called for one cup of boiling water, but I found it made the dough too loose- aim for 3/4 cup and add more if needed)
Mix all dry ingredients in bowl then oil, then pour boiling water in and mix thoroughly. Wrap in cellophane or air tight container and store in fridge. The play dough should last a few months.

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