Category Archives: Craftiness
crafts, ingenius ideas (at least to me), pictures of projects, recipes, tutorials, and more
(Just kidding. I really like Bertucci’s!)
When we moved into our new apartment, Fiance and I realized our tiny little hibachi grill wasn’t going to cut it anymore. So we went out and bought a ginormous charcoal grill, and the little hibachi has been downgraded to a portable fire pit. One day, while deciding what we wanted for dinner, one of us suggested pizza. Suddenly, like the proverbial lightbulb, Fiance realizes: “I bet we could make the pizza on the grill!”
So we tried, and it came out awesome!! It was surprisingly super easy, too. All the ingredients we picked up at the local Trader Joe’s, and the whole process takes maybe half an hour. Want to know how we did it? How about a recipe-in-pictures?
First Things First.
You’re going to need a few things:
- pizza dough – any kind will do. I want to try and make my own from scratch next time!
- pizza sauce – again, any kind is fine. For this tutorial, we ran out of sauce and used marinara instead. It came out fine, but tasted a little different. Also, pizza sauce is thicker, so keep that in mind.
- cheese – we use a mix of mozzarella, asiago, fontina, and parmesan. Fiance is lactose-intolerant, so we use the harder cheeses that will still melt, and toss in some Cabot mozzarella (Cabot cheeses are lactose-free) when we get lucky enough to find it
- toppings – this is the fun part! We’re low on toppings right now, so we only used mushrooms, but some of our favorites include sweet apple chicken sausage, pineapple, chicken, and mushrooms!
- corn meal – this is super important for when you’re stretching and rolling out your dough.
- charcoal – we use 100% natural hardwood lump charcoal. Its literally chunks of charred wood. Briquettes burn longer, but the lump charcoal burns cleaner and hotter, AND it makes the pizza taste much better. If you can find some in your area, get flavored wood chips!! We did this with applewood once, and it was DELICIOUS. (Check Hannaford, if you have one. That’s where we got ours.)
I was getting creative with my camera and Google+ picture editor, so the steps are in picture form. Check below the pictures for tips and tricks that we’ve discovered along the way!
Here we go!
Super easy, right? And like I said, it takes about a half hour total.
And yes, that is my fiance, David. He didn’t want me to post this pic originally; he said he looked unshaven. I said if he was really ashamed of being seen unshaven, he would shave more.
A note about all the bamboo: we have a lot of bamboo products in our kitchen, and I want to eventually have even more. Cutting boards, rolling pins, utensils, even serving trays and dishes. Bamboo is super awesome because it grows so quickly and with such abundance that it’s a great renewable resource, it’s wicked durable (awesome for hardwood floors!), and depending on where you shop and what you buy, it’s affordable. It’s also wicked easy to clean! I’d hate to work in a kitchen without it.
/end public service announcement
What are your favorite pizza toppings? And if you try this at home, send me a pic! I’ll show off your success stories in a future post.
A friend commissioned a cloak to be made, which is great. He needs it by Friday, and he messaged me about a week ago. No worries! I am Wonder Woman; I can do this. The colors he wants are red and black, and when I went to Jo-Anns, I found this really pretty red and black brocade with a just-as-pretty backside so I can do some cool negative work. The friend with me really pushed me to buy it, and I knew it would look gorgeous as a flowing cloak, so I grabbed it.
Super yummy and super healthy – I promised I would show my pita chips when they were done, and here they are! Normally I dip my pita chips in dip or salsa, but these were so good I kept eating them off the cooling rack without anything. And they were so easy! Read the rest of this entry
Today, I am killing two birds with a proverbial stone; my second C post for Pagan Blog Project, and my first recipe post (with an amusing story that I’ll get to). Mostly, I get to talk about chocolate.
I definitely have a love-hate relationship with chocolate. As a kid, I didn’t eat it. As an adult, I eat it only during certain times of the month (yes, those times). I much prefer dark chocolate, as the other shades are much too sugary for my liking. My fiance also doesn’t care for chocolate, so needless to say, we don’t have much of it in the house. (The exception is for dark chocolate Raisinets, possibly the best candy in the world.) I do, however, have cocoa powder in the house for baking. Thank the gods for small favors, apparently.
A couple days ago, during the previously mentioned get-together at my house, my mum (who lives upstairs) came down. When we have people over, she only comes downstairs to do the laundry. This time, she knocked quietly on the wall and poked her head through my kitchen indoor-window. “Can I see you for a minute, please?” she asked in the voice that usually means we need to Talk About Something (and yes, the capitals are necessary and very much heard in her voice). I said sure, got up, and met her in the kitchen.
“Do you have anything chocolate?” she asked.
“What?” I didn’t think I’d heard her right; my mom doesn’t like chocolate either (one of the many traits I inherited from her) and she seemed so secretive in her question, like she was holding back a funny joke. “I think so; let me check.”
As I rummage through my kitchen cabinets, she tells me the story of how my stepfather, who only eats my mom’s brownies and our Auntie’s sweets (which are ridiculously incredibly delicious and would make a diabetic cry), had a random sweet tooth that night and went all the way to the store for some chocolate cake, only to find they were closed. She giggles at me as she describes his pout when he came home. I find some 100 calorie chocolate cookie cakes (from a time when I mistakenly thought eating healthy meant eating processed-and-packaged), and we ran upstairs to provide the offering. Turns out, he didn’t like them, and had decided to ignore his tooth by making a plate of nachos instead. I offered to whip something up downstairs; he declined.
“You realize I’m just going to go downstairs and bake something anyway, and you’ll come home to chocolate cake tomorrow.”
For all the years he’s known me, I hope my stepdad knows I wasn’t kidding. Like a dutiful daughter should, I came straight downstairs and began mixing up some chocolate batter, while still interacting with friends through the aforementioned window. About half an hour later, I had chocolate cupcakes cooling on my racks and was mixing up some raspberry buttercream frosting. (All from scratch, btw; I don’t do anything half-assed.) His cupcake went upstairs on a plate with a note for him to find in the morning. (See picture.)
Why did I do all this? Partly because I try to be a good stepdaughter to a man who came into my life and treated me like blood. Partly because I love to bake, and have been meaning to try a new recipe this week anyway. Mostly, though, because when the chocolate craving calls, you shouldn’t ignore it.
Chocolate, despite my seesaw relationship with it, has some really superhero-ish qualities. Free radicals, which I know sounds completely made up but actually isn’t, are molecules produced during digestion that can actually cause damage to your body. Its a lot of scientific biology talk, but just know that antioxidants help to combat the damage to keep you healthy. We get antioxidants from some fruits and vegetables, from wine (hail Dionysus!) and from chocolate, because chocolate comes from the cocoa plant, which has a lot of the vitamins that double as antioxidants. Did you follow all that? Good. For most of my life, when I or someone I know has been sick, there are three things I deliver: ginger ale (my go-to drink for just about everything), homemade soup (of a healing variety that I developed that my fiance swears by) and chocolate. I firmly believe that when we’re sick, we not only benefit from the vitamins in chocolate, but also in the mood booster, which helps our body combat the illness better. Seriously. Next time you’re sick, eat a candy bar and tell me you don’t feel better.
Chocolate also works with the chemicals in your brain. It’s got theobromine, serotonin, and caffeine: theobromine is an awesome compound that works as a heart stimulant and widens blood vessels; serotonin fights depression; and caffeine, as we all know, is the best stimulant in the world. The chemicals in chocolate help to produce endorphins, which we know make us happy. So, to recap: chocolate keeps our bodies healthy and our minds happy. It sounds pretty miraculous to me.
Chocolate can be used magically too. The Mayans used chocolate as a medicinal herb for so many uses, I could write a whole new post just on that. And because chocolate produces happy thoughts, it can be used in anti-depression spells, health spells dealing with the heart, and in spells to ease tensions and promote positive thoughts and feelings between people. Add chocolate to some kitchen magic to make a wonderful meal, drink, or treat (see below for a recipe!). For centuries, people prescribed chocolate for health benefits. It’s really no wonder that today we have scientific backing to what doctors ages ago were saying.
This is why chocolate and I are frenemies. I don’t care for the overly-sweet treat, but I do respect it’s intent, and there are some days when I feel it’s call. Apparently, my stepdad feels it too.
Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
These are the cupcakes I made for my stepdad the other night; it’s a simple recipe and it took only a whole half an hour from start to finish! They turn out super moist and even my fiance, the avid chocolate-hater, said they were good. His exact words were “They taste like brownies” and he likes brownies, so I’ll take it as a compliment.
- white sugar – 2 cups
- flour – 1.75 cups
- cocoa powder – .75 cups
- baking powder – 1.5 tsp
- baking soda – 1.5 tsp
- salt – 1 tsp
- eggs – 2
- milk – 1 cup
- vanilla extract – 2 tsp
- boiling water – 1 cup
No hassle for me, thanks; toss all the ingredients together into a bowl and mix until the batter is smooth. Make sure to add the water only after everything else is mixed together. Something about chemical reactions, I think. While you’re mixing, you should be preheating your oven to 350. The original recipe I adapted this from said to cook for 35 minutes. That one was using cake pans, so if you’re making cake with this batter instead, keep it in for a little longer. Since I was making cupcakes, I set my timer for 20 minutes.
A note about timers: I set my timer every time I’m baking, since I walk away and do something else while I’m waiting and don’t want to forget about the oven. I never let the timer run it’s course, however; an old trick my mom taught me is to check on the oven the moment you smell what you’re baking. If your confection isn’t done at this point, regardless of how much time is left on the timer, it’s almost done. When you can stick a toothpick in and not get anything stuck when you pull it out, they’re done. Ignore your timer. In fact, rename it to Reminder instead of Timer, since that’s all it does in my house anyway.
After the cupcakes were finished baking, I let them cool for a minute in the pan until I could touch them, then removed them to my wire cookie rack to cool completely. While they were cooling, I mixed up my frosting (my favorite part). Now, I make just enough frosting to cover what I’m making, since I hate to waste. I don’t like my cupcakes collapsing under all the frosting, so I usually halve the amount of each ingredient. If you really like frosting, feel free to raise the amount of each ingredient; just make sure you do it by percentage, so you keep the ratio the same.
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- about two thirds a stick of butter
- a teaspoon of raspberry extract
- one third cup of milk
Make sure the butter is room temp; squishy but not melted. (The first time I made frosting, I used cold butter right out of the fridge. Oh, I wish I had pictures of that disaster.) Cream the butter, which means to flatten it a bit in the bowl and mix it up; add the sugar and raspberry and mix together. Add the milk last, because you’re going to gauge the amount of milk by the consistency that you want. That means if you want a thick frosting, don’t use so much milk; if you want a thinner frosting, use a little more. One third cup is average, and it’s what I used, but go little by little and stop when you’re satisfied.
I added a little food coloring to give it a lavender color. I was going for more reddish purple, but I didn’t want it too dark, so I stopped. You can color it or just leave it white. You also don’t need to use raspberry extract, I just wanted that flavor. Use whatever extract you have in your house – vanilla is the most common. I also added slightly more raspberry than my recipe calls for, since I wanted a stronger flavor. I like to continue after adding the teaspoon with adding a few drops, mixing, tasting, and repeating until I like the flavor. (Also, it means I get to eat while I’m baking. Yum.)
For my magickally inclined friends, you can easily make this a magickal recipe by focusing on your intent while you’re baking! Think of some of the things chocolate does for us, both physically and mentally, and tailor your spell around that. I love making magic in the kitchen, so this sort of spell comes naturally to me. For these cupcakes, I tried to infuse them with positive energy, since my stepdad has been having a rough week.
There you go! Reply in the comments if you know of any other awesome benefits of chocolate, have used chocolate in spellwork before, or if you try my recipe!! (Don’t forget pictures!)