Thursday, May 30, 2013

Light House Pizzeria

Pizza and college go hand in hand. And if you are anything like our son, you like a smorgasbord of variety. Look no further.

Beyond turning the oven to 450 degrees, you just need to get the fixins on the counter and start assembling! These are easy and scrumptious any which way you like them.

Below are two personal favorites, but traditional combos are good too. Branch out. Let your taste buds live a little.

Light House Pizza

Baking Sheet

Ingredients-The Basics:
1 bag Gyro Bread / 'no pocket' Pita Bread
Pizza Sauce (I suggest San Marzano)
Olive oil 
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Fresh herbs if possible (oregano, basil)

Tomatoes, sliced and/or roasted
Mushrooms, Sautéed
Sausage, cooked & drained
Fresh Mozzarella

Canadian Bacon
Jalapeño, thinly sliced

1. Wash Your Hands
2. Pre-heat oven 450F degrees.
3. Place 3-4 gyro bread rounds on a baking sheet and heat for 4-5 min until just beginning to crisp

4. Remove from oven.

5. Drizzle or brush olive oil onto to rounds.
6. Spread 1-1 1/2 Tablespoons of your favorite pizza sauce.
7. Sprinkle a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese.

8. Begin the journey with your favorite combos:
-Pineapple, Canadian Ham, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh Jalapeño
-Sauteed Mushrooms & Caramelized Onions (see previous blogs)
-Artichoke Hearts, Canadian Ham, Fresh Mozzarella
-Tomato Slices, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil
-Mushroom & Sausage / Pepperoni

9. Once pizzas are assembled, drizzle with olive oil.  Salt & Pepper. Red Pepper Flakes.

10. Put in the oven for 8-10 minutes until cheese melts and golden brown.

11. Enjoy the flavors, friends, and fun!  They will be back for Light House Pizza!

Visit the Windy City for it's deep dish pizza!
Or Visit* for cool Chicago gear!

Like the design, but want a different product?  Just buy the image file at:

Chicago Retro Mousepad

Chicago Retro Water Bottle

Monday, May 27, 2013

Real Food Is Better For You

Thought I would share this link since many folks are probably wondering how on earth and why on earth any college kid should make their own meals when the cafeteria and pre-fab food is easy, cheap and quick.

There's a place for ramen noodles every now and then, but think about what you eat, where it came from, enjoy it, savor it and the time you spent making it.  I promise home-made goes a long way!  Conversation. Health. Flavor. Friends. Interaction. Energy.

Check out The Empowered Dollar Blog The Ramen Paradox: Can you really save money and eat healthy?

Grilled PB and J

Remember summer camp? Bag lunches with luke warm drinks and soggy or wilted sandwiches? Did you ever get tired of the PB & J? Or PB & Wonder Bread?

Well, it might just be time to renew that old classic for quick snacking after life-guarding, mowing lawns, or a long day of fighting off zombies over summer break. 

This simple twist  might just surprise you, and become a favorite when you head back to class in the fall!

Grilled sandwiches rarely get burnt if you have everything prepped and ready to go.  
Make sure the butter is soft to spread a thin layer on outer side of bread without tearing--this produces that consistent color of golden brown without too much fat added. 

Knife, to spread butter, jam, & PB
10-12" Non-Stick Skillet
Spatula, to flip sandwich 

2 slices of your favorite bread
Softened butter, easily spreadable
Peanut Butter, chunky or creamy
Jam, with real chunks of fruit

1. Wash your hands. 
2. Have butter softened and spreadable.
3. Heat skillet with 1/2-1 tsp of butter over MEDIUM flame/heat. 

4. Spread one side of each bread slice with butter and the other with peanut butter. 

5. Place butter-side down into skillet.

6. Spread the other buttered slice with jam and place facedown on top of PB.  

7. Once the bottom slice is golden brown, (you can check by simply lifting it up with spatula) turn sandwich over until 2nd side golden brown. 

Banana & Honey Option
Use sliced bananas (instead of jam)
Drizzle honey over bananas

1. Follow Steps 1-5 as above. 

2. Instead of jam, however, layer banana slices into PB and drizzle honey over top and on plain side of 2nd slice of bread.

3. Place honey-side onto banana-PB layer. Spread a little butter on the outside.
4. Complete as above until both sides are golden brown.

Grilled sandwiches rarely get burnt if you have everything prepped and ready to go.  
Make sure the butter is soft to spread a thin layer on outer side of bread without tearing--this produces that consistent color of golden brown without too much fat added. 

Your done. Snack complete!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Live Every Day To Your Fullest

We often get sidetracked with minutia and petty issues and people in our lives. It's important to remember what's important. Avoid negativity. Embrace kindness. Hand it out relentlessly.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Cast Iron Skillet Pancake

 I promised earlier this week to keep it simple so that warm sunny days, like Memorial Day, could be enjoyed instead of missed while slaving away in the kitchen.

Growing up this was one of my favorite breakfast meals my mom threw in the oven on Sunday mornings as she'd try to get everyone dressed for church--I now know why--it takes seconds to preheat the oven, make the batter, and pour it all into a cast-iron skillet. 3 simple steps!

You now can step away, shower, get dressed and return in 15 minutes to a delicious slice of goodness akin to a swedish pancake married to a French crepe.

-Mixing bowl
-Fork or whisk or handheld mixer
-12" Cast-Iron Skillet

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
2 Eggs
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted

Powdered sugar
Cinnamon Sugar
Lemon juice

1. Wash your hands. 
2. Preheat oven to 425F degrees
3. Combine the first 4 ingredients: milk, flour, eggs, and nutmeg 
4. Mix into a lumpy batter with a fork or whisk.

5. Melt the butter in the cast-iron skillet.
6. Pour the semi-lumpy batter into the skillet.

7. Bake for 13-18 minutes.
Note:  It will come out puffed up, airy, and billowing.  As you sprinkle lemon juice over the top, it will retract and deflate.

8. Sprinkle with lemon juice & powdered sugar. 
9. Add jam or cinnamon sugar or syrup or fresh fruit. 

10. Up to you now! It's summertime--play hard and eat well! And that's all there is to it...really! 
(Except in Chicago with 40degree weather in May)

Take time to appreciate the freedoms and life we enjoy because of those who have served in the US Armed Forces!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
Vietnam Vet Nostalgic Coasters!

USMC Memorial Coasters!

Never Forget Fridge Magnets / Arlington Cemetery

USMC Fridge Magnets

Silence & Respect / Fridge magnets.

Vietnam Vet Memorial