Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza (from the archives)

Saturday, January 30, 2016


I have been trying to go through some of my older posts and breathe new life into them with some new pictures. It's pretty embarrassing looking at some of my old dingy pictures and horrible editing. Not that I have it all together now but I feel like I have learned a lot. Hope you enjoy these new pics of a recipe that we still make every week and never grow tired of...PIZZA!!!

Like many of you I am sure; I grew up on frozen pizza, hot dogs( the ones with the cheese in the middle were my favorite) p.b. and jelly, boxed mac and cheese and frozen fish sticks. All of  which I loved, but I have found that homemade always tastes better and is better for you( if you can cook.)

Since marrying into my husband's family of 8 children, I have discovered homemade pizza which his mother has down to an art! At least once a month we gather together for someone's birthday or an excuse to have pizza, but usually a birthday. There are always birthdays!

I have asked many times for the crust recipe. Because really a good pizza starts with the crust, but Josh's mom never measures, she just feels it...so...if you are like me and have to follow a recipe what do you do? You mix and measure till you figure it out. Which I have done and now I am happy to say I can just  feel it too! But for you who need a recipe I have contrived to confine it to measuring cups and tablespoons though you just might need to feel it for yourself to get the true result.

I use flour that I have bought  from a co-op and milled myself. Now a couple of years ago if you told me you milled your own flour I would have thought you were crazy( sorry all you flour millers) but it is true. I couldn't see what was wrong with the flour in the store.Since becoming a miller I have seen and tasted the difference and though I use bread flour from the store to add to mine, I can not go back. I just love the look of my bread( I will share about bread another time) and crust with the whole grains peeking out making you feel like you are a homesteader from years gone by not to mention the grainy goodness taste and the health benefits.

 I have since learned  on my flour journey that once flour is milled it loses its nutrients after 70 hrs if not stored in the freezer. Now you can get a bit crazy and even soak your bread and crust overnight to really get all the digestive effects ( which I have done) but I leave that to you, either way if you buy the flour or mill it at home it will still be better then buying pizza someone else has made. I confess to still buying many a foreign pizza but I figure I am making enough at home to balance out any bad ones that comes in.

A mill can be very expensive so a few of my friends and I went in on one and just rotate it and it works out great for all of us.

I don't know about your kids, but mine can usually sense if food is good for them and immediately reject it before it even enters their mouths. I have always believed in making them eat whatever is put before them but it's hard to see your children not eat, and I refuse to make 3 different meal choices to please everyone!! So I am so excited when they like something that is good for them without putting up and fuss. I sit and just watch them as the nutritious food is going into their little bodies and savor the moment before it is gone.

Here is the magic recipe: It makes about 2 big pizzas, or 1 big pizza and 3 kid sized ones

-Put 2 cups warm water in a bowl with 1tsp of sugar or honey( whichever you prefer) to get the yeast activated.
- Add 1 Tbs yeast or one package to bowl
- Mix and let dissolve and bubble up for about 10 min
- Add your flour( milled or non) about 3 to 3 1/2. I use 1 cup whole wheat and 2 cups of all purpose.
-Add one cup at a time till the dough starts to remove from the bowl but don't to much , you want it to be a little sticky
- Here' the trick to making it really crispy/yet soft and yummy. Add 2 Tbs. olive oil and just coat the dough in it but don't mix it into the dough.
- Cover and let sit for a half an hour to an hour or doubled in size.
-After it has risen grease your pans and form your pizza.
- Try to get it as thin as you can because it will rise back up in the oven.
- I let the oven preheat to 400.
- A trick that I have found to evenly cooked pizza is first putting it on the bottom rack for about 7 min and then transferring to the top until golden and bubbly and you will find it really makes a big difference.

I am sure there is a debate going on somewhere whether to put your toppings on after or before the cheese. I have come to like putting it on after the cheese because it gets all nice and roasted in the oven. But I think it just depends on your preference.

- I usually make a big veggie and meat pizza for Josh and I and let the kids make their own little pizzas which they love to do.

Another thing I learned from my mother-in-law is that scissors make awesome pizza cutters! Try it!

When I don't know what to make for dinner or have a lot of food on hand this is what I make. Once you start making it, it really is so easy. Sometimes I make it once a week. It's become a staple in our home. Try it for yourself and you will see for yourself why it's so good and how all frozen pizzas will be dead to you from now on!



Meeting My Goals: Meal Planning

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


At the beginning of the year I set some reasonable goals for myself. Nothing crazy, just realistic goals that will hopefully help me to be more organized, step out of my comfort zone and make the most of my time.

One of the biggies is meal planning. I often get excited pouring over recipes, compiling lists and filling up my meal schedule for the week, but let me tell you; actually putting it into practice is hard work. It takes a lot of discipline to go shopping (bi-monthly), make and clean up after all the meals that I have planned e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. d.a.y.! But I know all my hard work will pay off and leave me less frustrated, my family less cranky and hungry, and our bank account fuller.

I have been finding my groove and have finally found a routine that I am gradually implementing better and better. I can't really take credit for my meal planning fix though. I have some amazing sister-in-laws that I often emulate. I steal as many of their good ideas as I possibly can. They always inspire me.  I love sharing our ideas, failures and accomplishments together. I am so thankful to have them, other great friends and the blogging community to learn from.

I am happy to say that since the beginning of the year I have kept up with my meal planning schedule. Here is what it looks like:

1. Planning the meals

When I first start planning my meals I go through my recipes that I have compiled in my recipe book and on my pinterest board. I also have a list of meals that are our favorites that I add in. I try to make at least one new recipe during the week. I write down a list of all the things that we will need and write the meals on this bi-monthly planner from the money saving mom. She has a ton of other planners that you can customize to your families needs.  I like that this planner has space for breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner. I recently bought a dry erase calendar board from Target(don't you just love Target?) that I have on the fridge, so I can more easily write our meals on and change them as needed.

We don't really have themed days for meals but Fridays I try to make homemade pizza, Saturdays are usually already made foods, or fast food if we are out and about. If we are home I try to make a crockpot meal for dinner and have left over for Sunday dinner. On Sundays we have doughnuts and Panda express for lunch. It's our tradition.

2. Go food shopping every 2 weeks

I tried shopping only once a month but found out very quickly that it does not work. Food goes bad, there simply isn't enough room in our fridge and cupboards, and it is exhausting. So far every two weeks seems to be working the best.

My first stop is Sam's Club.(we have a membership from my husband's work) I don't have a lot of room to store many bulk items but I have found certain items that have worked great for us and are staples in our home. It's been great having some bulk items that last us much longer than if they were normal size. After all we are not a normal sized family and we tend to devour things very quickly.

I also go to Aldi's. They have some amazing prices and have many products that I can't get at Sam's club or that I don't need in bulk. ( They also have a great, inexpensive organic brand.)

When I have forgotten an item or we run out of something; I make a quick run to Publix ( a grocery store only in GA and FL). We have one literally right around the corner from us. It is really too convenient sometimes. I always end up buying things that I did not come in for so I try to stick to my 2 week schedule. We mostly frequent there for subs and donuts;)

I usually go shopping early Saturday morning and take only one of my children while my husband watches the others. We make it into a date. They actually fight over who can go with me. I remember grocery shopping with my dad and loved it. When my husband can't watch them, I take all of them because I just have to and am thankful that they have all learned to behave very well(most times.)

After shopping and putting everything away I am burnt out and purposely buy a frozen pizza or cooked chicken so I don't have to cook dinner;)

3. Making the meals

Now that I have all the food in my home it's time to get down to the nitty gritty and actually make them. This is where I have had to ask God to help me to keep to my plan. Many days I just want to throw in the towel and go get something out. But I know that I need to stick with it and do what needs to be done. Most days I look at what I have planned for dinner and make sure to start at a time when everything will be done by 5:00 or 6:00. On days that I am making a crockpot meal I usually put it in the crockpot the night before or in the morning. On school days I try to start cooking at 4:00.

If I am not feeling what we I had planned for the night I simply switch it around. I always try to make enough at dinner so that we will have leftovers for lunch the next day and to send off with Josh. This has become a life saver, especially during school. It's so great to be able to just heat something up on our lunch break instead of spending a lot of time cooking.

All this being said there are those days when things don't  go as I planned or we spontaneously go out on field trip or to the park and I haven't prepared lunch. Those are the days when I find it very necessary to save myself some stress, give myself grace and go to Chik Fil A or some fast food place.

I hope to share in my next post a week's worth of meals and what some of our go to meals are so stay tuned!

Have you been implementing your goals or resolutions for the year?

Do you have trouble sticking to meal planning also?

Do you have any tips for staying on schedule?

Linking up here!

Homemade mac and cheese

Sunday, January 24, 2016

I grew up on hot dogs, frozen pizzas and boxed macaroni and cheese. Not to say that my parents never made anything homemade... because they did, but I don't think I ever knew there was such a thing as homemade macaroni and cheese. I am not sure when I discovered it, but since I have started making it for my family there is no going back. Boxed mac and cheese is not allowed in our home. Once you have tasted mac and cheese made from real cheese, milk and butter your taste buds will be forever ruined for anything processed or boxed. It just does not taste good. Now that doesn't mean that junk food never enters our home or mouths; we have just found a happy balance, but there is no compromise with mac and cheese.

Making food from scratch can often require a lot of time and effort, but I am happy to say that making homemade mac and cheese is really so simple.

If you have never made homemade mac and cheese I am now going to open your eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. Mac and cheese is the one meal I can count on my kids devouring. I probably make it at least 3x a month. It's just the best!
I had bought a couple of boxes of macaroni and was planning on taking pictures one of the times I made it to share with you. But when I went to make it we had used all the macaroni. ( I know I bought at least 3 boxes) Which proves my point on how much I make it. Luckily I had some penne noodles which work just as good. I know that there is a big no carb/ gluten free hype out there, but I am not on that bandwagon and can not live without carbs. ( my apologies to those who are gluten intolerant)

Of course there are a million recipes out there to make homemade mac and cheese. I think my first recipe was from the back of a macaroni noodle box. Since I have made it for so long I don't really need the recipe anymore and I have changed it over the years and mixed and measured until I have developed my own recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!


Ingredients:
1/2 a box of macaroni/or  1 box of penne noodles. ( I usually double the recipe and freeze it for another time in a disposable aluminum dish)
2.Cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3.Cups of milk
5. Tbs. Butter
5. Tbs. whole wheat/ or all purpose flour
1. tsp. wet or dry mustard
1. tsp salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Directions:
makes 8 servings/ preheat oven to 350

Cook half box of macaroni according to directions on box. While noodles are cooking heat a large sauce pan and melt butter in it. Once butter has melted add 1 Tbs. of flour at a time until it thickens. Once it has thickened into a roux( flour and fat used to thicken sauces) start adding milk 1 cup at a time- constantly stirring until thickened. Now add mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cheese, stirring until incorporated.

Drain noodles and add to sauce. Mix until well combined. Butter a 9x11 casserole dish and spread into dish evenly. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Enjoy and savor some buttery, cheesy, comforty goodness!! ( I realize comforty is not a real word) And of course serve with some greens like broccoli, green beans or salad!

Linking up here!

Free Printable

Sunday, January 17, 2016



Entering the world of blogging and technology has been a whole new world for me. I have slowly been taking baby steps in learning things I never even knew the meaning of; or need for. I have been wanting to learn how to make my own printables to share with you and I am proud to announce that I have finally figured out how to do so! I am super excited and I hope you will be too!!

To celebrate this huge step for this little baby blogger ;) I am giving this free printable to all my subscribers! If you are not a subscriber you can ---->ENTER HERE and get all my posts sent straight to your email!

I love putting up scripture around my home to remind of God's truths throughout the day. This print is obviously the theme and heart behind this blog. It's the verse that inspired me to start this blog and I pray it inspires you also, as you seek to remain faithful with all God has given you!



 Click on this link to download---->  Faithful with the little print

Let me know what you think!

Do you like putting scripture around your house also?

Linking up here!

How to take time to plan your time

Thursday, January 14, 2016


I don't know if it's the same for you but my days fly by. I am learning that if I am not intentional with my time I will not get much of anything done. I have a tendency to get lost in thought and mosey about my day, only realizing later that I didn't really accomplish anything. Since starting to blog I feel that it has helped me to be more conscious and disciplined with my time. I am finding there is really a lot more time in the day then I thought possible and it's all because I am taking the time, to plan my time.

When I don't have a plan in place I feel like a chicken with it's head cut off; with the rest of my body running around trying to do everything but not really knowing what I am doing or where I am going. With a husband and children that need me, food that needs to be cooked, a house that needs to be cleaned, school that needs to be planned and taught, laundry that needs to be cleaned and put away, dishes that need to be washed and million other things calling my name, you better believe that I need to  have a plan in place!

With the start of the new year I shared my goals that I am working on. Here are some ways that I am making them happen with planning out my days and daily tasks better.

Buy a Planner

I used to only think planners were for people who have a lot of places to go and cool things to do. I didn't feel I should write anything down in a planner or calendar unless it was really important. I have since realized that I have a lot of important things to do...like keeping my family alive and keeping my sanity in tact! A planner goes a long way in helping me keep track of all that I have to do.

I do write down important dates coming up but mostly I write down my goals for the day and what I need to get done.

I don't think you have to have an expensive planner to organize your life better. I bought my planner for 2015 at the Dollar Store and it worked just fine! I think I picked up the one for this year at Marshalls for $5. As long as it has a calendar and a space dedicated to each day it should do just fine. Of course there are some amazing and beautiful planners out there that I am sure would help motivate me even more! I have my eye on this rifle paper co. planner. I am just not sure if I am ready to hand over the big bucks for it, but it is drool worthy.

You might want to figure out what your criteria is for planning before looking for a planner? I actually have 3 planners. One for Lesson planning, one for meal planning and one for daily planning. I probably should have a blog planner but haven't gotten that far yet. You might want to find one that consolidates all of those. I like having them separate, at least for now.

Lesson Planner
1. School schedule
2. Attendance
3. Daily school record
4. Lesson plans
5.Calendar
6. Library books
7. Reading list
8.Goals/ Ideas
9. Unit Studies
10. Field Trips/ Projects
11. Supplies

Meal Planner
1.Grocery list
2. Meal ideas/favorite meals
3. Categories- Breakfast- snacks- lunch- dinner- desert
4. Bi-weekly meal plans

Daily Planner
1. Devotional time
2. Exercise
3. Chores that need to be done
4. Errands/ shopping- library
5. Fellowship- time scheduled with friends- date night with husband-
6. Appointments- dentist-
7. Important dates- birthdays/parties- get togethers-
8. blog posts- ideas/ times/deadlines

Set aside time to plan

It may sound redundant but in order to get anything done, I have to set a time to plan out my time. Not only do I jot down what I need to do everyday but I also need to stay on top of meal planning, lesson planning, my devotional time, household chores and exercising. If I don't set a time to do these things, chances are they will not happen.

 At the end of the day I want to know that I used the time God gave me to the best of my ability. One of my worst fears and pet peeves is wasting time. I don't want to stand before the Lord and him ask me why I wasted all that time he gave me to do his will! Of course I know God has so much grace for me and he doesn't want me to try to jam as much as possible into my days just for the sake of crossing them off my list. I just want to make sure that I am making the most with the time he has given me!

1. Schedule in when you are going to make your plans- lesson/ meal/daily
2. Set aside a time weekly and/or monthly to get away or if possible have hubby take kids out
3. Stick to a time every week/month that you are going to use for planning
4. Plan a weekend or day away with friends to plan

Make your plans a reality

I get easily distracted from doing what I really need to be doing. I often go to do a chore and find myself on instagram, referring a sibling fight or totally forgetting what I went to do in the first place. I would much rather be doing all the fun things then what I really need to be doing sometimes. I have found that I need to do first things first, and then if I have time do all the things that are really just extras. Here are some ways I am making my plans a reality when distractions are all around me.

1. Do what needs to be done first before doing what you want to do(dying to self)
2. Check your planner or list throughout the day to remind you of what you should be doing
3. Set a certain amount of time for you to get your chore or project done
4. Move things that you didn't get done to the next day
5. Have people in your life hold you accountable if you are having a hard time getting things done
6. Turn off your phone if it distracts you
7. Schedule each day to a different chore or project
8. Give yourself an incentive to get things done


I do not in any way have my whole life organized or am by any means a planner expert. I am just a ordinary mama and wife who is trying to the best of my ability to stay sane and make my life run a little smoother. I am finding that by planning to plan; I am not only saving time and money, but my sanity.

As I am trying to organize my time better, I am finding more enjoyment in what I have to do; instead of rushing to get through it. I don't always have the best attitude, but I am so thankful for all that God has given me to do; for the people he has given me.

Are you a planner?

Do you find it hard to stay on top of all that you have to do?

How have you streamlined your time?

Linking up here!





My goals for 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016



I honestly love setting goals and making plans. I feel like if I write my goals, hopes and dreams down, I will be more likely to accomplish them and be intentional with my time. Really, I set goals for myself everyday, not just on New Year's.  I love making lists and planning ahead. My mind often gets overwhelmed when I think of all that I have to do; which often results in me forgetting important events and deadlines. Not good. When I empty my brain onto paper or computer; I all at once feel like a burden has been lifted and I can accomplish all (or at least some) of the things that I have and want to do. Of course some of the goals I have set for myself in the past have not seen the light of day, but that's okay. I don't feel like I am a failure if I have not crossed them off my list. I have been learning to do what I am able. If God wants me to do more than I can he will open the doors and give me the grace and strength.

I have laid out my goals in different categories and I wasn't even planning on them starting with the same letter. I might have stretched the last one though.

I hope to elaborate on these posts in the future and let you know how I am meeting or not meeting my goals. Sharing them with you will be a great accountability booster!

Faith

My prayer and goal every day is to seek God first in all I do. Without spending time in his word; pouring out my heart to him and listening to his voice; I know I will not be able to do anything.

Somedays I find myself putting everything else before God but I know that he has so much grace for me. He sees my heart and still hears me and speaks to me throughout the day as I care for my family. My #1 goal/ heart's cry is to know him more and make him known. I really want to focus on him as I go about my day; being sensitive to his spirit so that I can be obedient to him.

One of my goals for the year is to get back into Woman's Bible study group. I have attended and hosted many but I had to stop last year as I entered a busy season. I feel the Lord leading me to join or start one soon and am excited to go deeper in the word and deeper fellowship with Godly women.

Family

I love my family so much, but boy do they keep me going from sun up to sun down. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by all that is required of me and lose my joy in caring for them. I want to be more intentional about giving them the attention they need without getting frustrated at the same time. This of course is only going to come about by much prayer and diligence.

Fitness

I am kind of a workout nut. I am one of those rare people that love to workout.(which has only come about because of lot of hard work and perseverance.) I still go through times though when I need a little extra motivation and push. During the holiday season I kind of got out of my routine and I am ready to get back to business. I have really enjoyed being a part of a boot camp. I love that it has regular times every week that I know I can hop in on when I can. When you have little ones that do not stick to a regular sleep schedule it can be hard to commit to meet up with others sometimes. The boot camp meets 3 mornings a week at 5:30 am. I have kind of been hit or miss, so I really want to start showing up regularly. On the off days I sleep in or go running.

I am hoping to sign up for a few races this year and maybe even a triathlon. There is nothing like having a committed date and money invested, to get you motivated.

Finances

We are desperately trying to save up for a much needed big project and I know there are a lot of areas that I need to cut back spending. I know the best way for me to save money is not to spend money. Easier said than done. I tend to make sporadic buys just because I see something I like. That means I need to stay away from Target, Marshalls and TJ Maxx. My spending nemesis'. If I don't see it, I won't need it!

Food

I have been very inconsistent in the meal planning department this year. One way that I know will help save us a lot of money is to be more consistent in meal planning. There is nothing worse that to hear, "I am hungry" coming from 5 mouths; only to find you have nothing to feed them and you don't feel like cooking. My goal this year is to stay on track with meal planning. I meal planned this last week and stuck to it and it was one of the best weeks ever! I planned out our meals, shopped for all the food we needed and actually made the meals. It was AMAZING! I need to keep this up!

Focus

As we start a new semester of school this year, I really want to be focused on giving my kids the best education that I can. Homeschooling is not easy, but I have found that when I turn my eyes off of myself and on to Jesus; he gives me everything I need to do this well. I may not feel qualified or know exactly what I am doing but as I invest myself fully in teaching my children, I find that God's grace is enough.

What are your goals for the year?

Do you like making lists and goals?

Linking up here!


A Mother's work is never done

Friday, January 8, 2016


Just wait one second...Mommy has to do one more thing...I am almost done...I still need to do the dishes...

This is what comes out of my mouth on a daily and hourly basis. I hate that I can't always respond to my children when they want me to. I am desperately asking God to give me wisdom and grace in my time management department. When my children need me to give them my attention I always try to put them first and stop what I am doing; hear them out and then tell them that I need to finish what I am doing before I can play with them or help them in whatever their area of need.

It seems that no matter how hard I try to stay on top of things; new things keep piling up... Read more at Arrows and Warriors!

Linking up here!

Recharging you and your homeschool for the New Year

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


At the beginning of the school year I started off with a bang. I organized our school room,lesson planned, prayed and gathered up all of the curriculum we needed. After a lot of birthdays, Thanksgiving. Christmas, and some hard life circumstances; I am just not feeling as gung-ho as I was at the start of the school year. I need a vacation from our vacation. Are you with me? But because the pros outweigh the cons for our family’s choice to homeschool, I know I need to press in and persevere. I also know I need to give myself a lot of grace, take a step back and look at what I need to do to get my head back in the game. 

We are slowly easing our way back into school this week. I set aside a few days last week in preparation for this new year of schooling. Here is what I did and am doing to make it as smooth a transition as possible. Read the rest at My Joy Filled Life!

New Blog Design

Sunday, January 3, 2016


I have been wanting to update my blog design for a while and I thought, what better time than New Years?!

I honestly love the header that I made with the half of a picture of my children, but I felt it was time to freshen up the blog with a clean new look. I searched high and low for a template that fit my criteria. It took me way longer to pick one than I would have liked, but I am happy with the results. I wish it didn't take me forever to decide. I am horrible at making decisions when there are so many choices. You would think this was the most important decision I ever made considering how long I deliberated over it. But in the end I am happy that I waited till I found one that fit the closest to what I was looking for. You might notice a few small changes and glitches as I continue to tweak things and figure out exactly how I want things to look.

I was going to try to switch from blogger to wordpress but after doing some research, felt that it was going to take more time than I can spare and more stress then I need. The last thing I want is for this blog to become a burden. I have loved sharing in this little space and once I don't, I know it will be time to stop. For now I am looking forward to seeing what the year holds and excited to share it in this beautiful new spot with you.

What do you think of the new design? I would love to hear your thoughts! 

Have you changed your blog design or switched over to wordpress( if you have a blog)? What was your experience.

Does it take you forever to make up your mind when you have a lot of choices??

Linking up here!

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