Sunday, October 19, 2014

Margherita pizza


I like this pizza, but I'm never like- oh man yes please! Until tonight.

 I've been working on my pizza skills for five years now, I normally do pizza once a week, so I'm getting better with all my practice and I'm learning a lot. Recently I have been trying high temperatures ( like as high as my oven will go-450) to bake the bread and then toppings and have had great results. I'm also trying cheese blends like mozzarella, Parmesan and Gouda. Gouda was on sale (two for one!) at the store (we have a fabulous grocery store around the corner) and so I have been loving throwing that yummy stuff on sandwiches, white pasta sauces, pizza and soup.

Well tonight I made my pizza dough and preheated it and then I topped it with Classico pasta sauce, Gouda and mozzarella. I put olive oil and crushed garlic in a glass bowl and heated it in the microwave for about a minute so it was fragrant and then I kept the garlic chunks in the bowl and drizzled the oil on the pizza. Once the cheese was melted I took the pizza out of the oven and put on fresh tomato and fresh basil. It may not be revolutionary to someone else, but with all those powers combined I loved it!

I don't think I've shared my pizza dough recipe on my blog. I searched for it but didn't find it, so here it is....

5 tsp yeast
2 cups water
Mix lightly

Add
2 large tsp salt
Nearly 1/4 cup oil
Two small handfuls sugar- about 1/4 cup, maybe less
5 cups flour with humidity be prepared to use more

This will be a loose dough, possibly a bit sticky. As long as it holds a sort of shape you are ok. I do not knead the dough. It will make it tough. Just blend with a spoon and then lightly with your hands until all is incorporated. Let sit for 30-45 minutes.

Use extra flour to roll out. This makes 4 pizzas or 2 thicker or one really thick. I prebake for 2 minutes at  450 degrees before putting on toppings. Then I cook the thin crusts for about 8 minutes with toppings at 450, or until cheese is melted and there are a few golden spots on the crust. I prefer using a bake stone, it makes a nice crust.

Batman

Little boys love super heroes, actually we all love them! I have always liked batman. I have fond memories of watching the old 70's version with grey spandex and blue undies costume on tv and the 90's movies with my brothers. We liked the Val Kilmer and Nicole Kidman one best. Come to think of it, I think my older brother may have liked it best for Nicole Kidman....

Anyway, my boys discovered batman on the Lego movie. He is too cool for cool in that movie. This last week we got our winter clothes shipment in the mail and I made sure to include batman paraphernalia. Ezra has been known for his growling, scowling "ba-man!" Now he has the gear to go with it!

These boys wouldn't pose, so we get album cover style shots
These are fantastic hand me downs from Liam!
Please note the coordinated batman socks :)

I, I mean, Ezra can't wait for this birthday present from Nana in eight weeks!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Chopsticks

Ezra loves his chopsticks. He is determined to use them and asks for his "monkey" or "sticks" several times a day. The cool thing is he is really good at them now. Check it out! He has a good portion of a cinnamon roll in those sticks!
By the way, can you imagine a greater surprise than your wonderful friend bringing a whole pan of warm cinnamon rolls to your door? For me, it doesn't get much better! These are the best cinnamon rolls I've ever had!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gift giving

Ezra likes to give me toys. It isn't just a "here, hold this" but a genuine " I want you to have this". I notice he gives toys and rocks to my friends he likes best too. What a funny guy!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Rice Terraces

We hopped into a van for a three hour drive up north to the famous Rice Terraces. We all took naps and the kids even watched a movie on the iPad. The area grows a lot of citrus and it was pomelo season so the street stalls were lined with them. And only them. I don't know how that made any sales man sense, but that is what they did side by side with the exact same product in the same area.

 Since it was rice harvesting time we got to see the farmers beat the rice off the plants, burn excess and see the terraces in yellow!






Passion fruit was grown in this area and they had them for sale in stalls along the hike up this mountain side. They were yummy!




passionfruit seller




It was a beautiful day! I only wish it were less hazy so we could see even more!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cormorant Fishing Show!

It is needless to say, but I'll say it anyway. Our friend's planned an awesome trip. Ben plans some awesome vacations, so I know good planning. They invited any friend who wanted to come along to and enjoy the vacation with them and I am so glad we did! We did so many fun things! MD had a friend who recommended this Italian restaurant called Luna (it has a lovely view of moon mountain- see the hole in the top peak of the smaller mountain?) and it was really yummy. 

Then we headed out to the quintessential Cormorant Fishing show! This is one of those wonders that the area is known for! BBC did a cool section on it in the Human Planet series. The birds have rings on their necks so they can eat any fish that is small enough to fit down their throats. Any thing too big the fisherman keeps. Clever eh?

the sword fight during our wait for dinner
the mighty Cormorant



I was surprised how heavy that bird was!

all our little guys!

At night we got our boys to bed and then as Ben and I were sitting around we saw this enormous spider!! I kid you not, it was as big as the palm of my hand!!! My brave man killed it by throwing a pillow at it and smashing it with a house slipper.

Village Bike Ride

The day before the men took the boys and went on a shortened version of the bike ride we went on today. (The mamas took a nap!) This bike ride was one of my most favorite things we did in Yong Shuo. We got to see so much of the country side and little villages. It was mostly flat with a few inclines, but so so pretty!


our friends brought their bike trailer with them to be able to do this bike ride!
love that there is a functioning water pump right next to the satellite dish!

a picture from the day before. What handsome men!


spreading out the rice

 
harvesting rice

our caravan

love that goofy face!
our tree top lunch after the bike ride

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A boat ride down the Li River



the fish the scooped up for our lunch!
 We had a nice lunch in the local village and then we went on a boat ride down the Li River! These boats were not made of bamboo like the traditional ones, they were PVC pipe and had a little motor, but they were great!



Our friends the D family!

the same mountain scene on the 20 Yuan bill!