Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Pizza Night Almost Burned Down the House

Down in Austin, there's a restaurant called Mangia Chicago Stuffed Pizza. When Kara and I lived there, we just loved their pizza, and ever since we started our Friday night homemade pizza tradition, I've wanted to try my hand at one of these things.

I started by making the regular recipe of dough and dividing it nearly in half. I took the ball that was slightly larger and rolled it out to about 13 inches. I then laid the dough into a 9 inch pie plate.

I then put a layer of sliced ham on the crust.

Then a layer of sausage - I didn't have quite as much as I wanted, but it worked. (Funny side story: I made Anna brown the sausage. She was totally squeamish about the slimy, squishy stuff. I was so tempted to say "It's just a bunch of ground-up pig," but decided that would be counter productive.)

Next came the cheese. From a logistical standpoint, perhaps I used a little too much cheese, as it ran out the sides after the pizza was cut. However, from a flavor standpoint, can there ever really be such a thing as too much cheese?

Then came the top crust, rolled slightly smaller and laid on top. The edges were rolled together. There was too much overlap - the crust looks okay here, but really grew to be a bit too large by the time baking was done.

And finally, the pizza sauce with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and into the oven it went.

This is the part where I almost burned the house down - and it didn't have anything to do with the oven.

We don't use our microwave to cook things. If there's a controversy involving food preparation and electromagnetic energy pulses, we're right in the middle of it. So instead, we use it to store our oven mitts. It also functions as a range hood, a clock, and a second kitchen timer.

It was while attempting to make use of this last feature that the trouble began. I punched in the buttons for 25 minutes, but instead of beginning the timer, I hit the start button.

A minute or so later, there was smoke.

The oven mitts got hot - they really were hot pads now. Once we discovered what was going on, I took the whole stack out to the garage, where I noticed one set had melted together and continued to smoke rather heavily.

This is where unlucky could have turned to tragedy, but fortunately I had the presence of mind to take the smoldering mitts out and set them in the middle of the wet grass. The next morning, this is what I found:

Yikes - that could have happened in our garage filled with boxes. Not a good thing.

Still, we managed to get the smoke cleared from the house, and soon we were smelling the delicious Italian dinner instead of burnt polyester.

As for the pizza, it turned out very well. The leftovers aren't as easy to deal with as the traditional pizza, but still an overall success.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Weekly Roundup 1/24/10

Here we go - the first in hopefully a long line of weekly round-up posts.
  • Alyssa has signed up for the school's Running Club. The group meets together after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays to run. The goal of club members is to participate in the Cowtown Marathon's Kids 5K on February 27th. We did this race two years ago, and I ended up carrying Alyssa the last half of the course. I let her know that I would NOT be carrying her this year.
  • In preparation for the race, Alyssa got new shoes yesterday. These are the first tennis shoes in forever that don't have a cartoon character on them. (Okay, technically her last shoes had Hannah Montana on them, but I'm lumping her in with Dora and Tinkerbell.)
  • Anna's latest thing is on-line role playing, where she and a group of friends take turns writing a story, with each person writing a different character.
  • Kara has been a baking fiend, making a ton of different kinds of cookies. Mmm - yum.
  • My job is going well. I enjoy it, and they seem to appreciate the work I do. I guess that's what it's all about.
  • I've lost five pounds so far this month, thanks to (mostly) sticking to my diet and exercising three times a week with EA Sports Active for the Wii. Woo-hoo!
  • I expect to have some news concerning my book in the next week or two. Stay tuned!
So there it is - the first Weekly Roundup. Maybe I'll end these posts with a funny picture from somewhere around the internet . Something like this:

A New Blogging Strategy

When I first started this blog back in the day, it was very much a tenuous link to sanity and reality. My life and situation have changed drastically since then, and the desperate need I felt to have some connection to the real world is now met in a number of other ways.

As a result, this blog has sadly diminished in its importance.

Yet I enjoy blogging, connecting with you, and sharing a little bit of our world. So to that end, I'm going to try a new blogging strategy.

I hereby institute the Weekly Roundup - a quick bullet-point rundown of the events of the previous week, scheduled to run each Sunday.

Major breaking events will still warrant their own post.

Feel free to let me know how this is working for you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dinner With Dad and Candy

It's a good thing regular blogging wasn't one of my New Years resolutions, because, well, I've been a bit of a slacker.

But as with all of the resolutions that I am trying to keep (you know - diet, exercise, blah, blah, blah) I can't dwell on failures, but must keep moving forward!

Last month, my dad and step-mom drove through town and we got to spend a few hours with them. We met at Macaroni Grill, and had a great dinner with great conversation.

Alyssa and Candy had a great time coloring on the paper tablecloth.

Not exactly sure what's going on here.

This is by far my least flattering angle (please see diet and exercise listed above), but it's a good shot of Dad.

Even Kara was able to come - yay!

Then we all came back to the house for a quick tour and photo op.

There - that's the way to do it. I guess I just need to add Regular Blogging to my list of resolutions. I hope everyone is having a great 2010!