Cheese Steak Pizza

Cheesesteak Pizza

Like cheese steak sandwiches? Like Pizza? Why not combine the two? This pizza is the perfect marriage of cheese steak and pizza in one hot, bubbly, heavenly pie. What not to like about that?

What You’ll Need for the Pizza Dough:
1 cup of warm water (Note: You might need a bit more water later to help the dough form depending on humidity and such.)
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon of yeast
3 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
3 teaspoons of pizza dough flavor (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Make dough 1 and 1/2 hours before you need the pizza.

Measure 2 cups of warm water and add sugar and yeast. Stir to mix and let sit for 5 minutes or so until foamy.

In a large bowl (preferable glass) stir together flour, sea salt and pizza dough flavor until well mixed. Add olive oil and water and stir until dough forms. If you need to add a bit more water add it a tablespoon at a time until all the flour is incorporated in the dough.

Dust counter with flour and knead dough for a minute or so until springy. Place back in the bowl you mixed it in and let dough sit for 1 hour.

After the hour the dough is ready to use. You can also freeze this dough for use later and when you’re ready to use it, thaw and let come to room temperature to use then.

What You’ll Need for the Pizza:
Pizza dough (see above)
2 large steaks, cut of your choice, cooked to the level you like (Note: I’m a medium rare sort of girl.)
1 red onion, cut into strips
1 small package of mushrooms, sliced (Note: You can use button or baby bella, or whatever kind you prefer or a mix of different kinds.)
Extra virgin olive oil
Provolone
Mozzarella
Pizza seasoning or dried herbs like oregano and/or basil

Preheat oven to 425 F.

First cook you steaks the way you like. When you bake the pizza the sliced steak will cook through, but it’s fine to start from whatever stage you like. This is also perfect for left over steak. Cut steak into strips and set aside.

Cut onion in to strips in a little extra virgin olive oil and saute until tender. Set aside.

Slice mushrooms and also saute until tender. You can do this in the same pan you used for your onions to keep the level of dirty dishes down. Also set aside.

Spread dough out on to a pizza pan that has been very lightly oiled with olive oil. Top dough with a solid layer of provolone. Next top with steak, then onions, and then mushrooms. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top of the pizza and then sprinkle with pizza seasoning or dried herbs.

Bake pizza in your preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes: You could also add sauteed peppers to the pizza if you liked, as well as Parmesan.

Time Marches On

Time marches on.

No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, time does what time does and that means moving always forward, never backward.

You can’t stop it, you can’t slow it down, you can’t do anything but move with it, and sometimes this is easier said than done.

On Thursday I will turn 39. I’ve always prided myself in embracing my age and gracefully accepting the fact that I am what I am, but I have to admit I’m not too happy to see 39…she’s a little too close to 40 for my taste.

How is it possible I’m on the doorstep of 40? I remember turning 21 and it seems like yesterday that my roommate at the time took me to a liquor store so I could buy my first bottle of rum. Turning 25 seems like mere minutes before. Turning 30 seemed like it was just moments ago and turning 35 was nanoseconds before now. Alexis was born when I was 29…In June she’ll turn 10. Where in the hell did all this time go?

So to be honest all this is just making me snarky. I’ve been snarky all week, and I plan on being snarky right up to the instant I turn 39 and then I’ll gracefully accept the change and move on, because as Alexis told me, “it’s the circle of life” and I just needed “to get on with it already”! She’s a smart one my girl, an old soul trapped in a nine year old body, and she speaks logic on a regular basis. And as straight forward as that all seems it also has me thinking…

Two years ago I finished up my first novel. I’ve got story after story started that I need to finish, but this story hit me and kept at me until I got it all down on paper. I let Darlene read it as I went along and she encouraged me every step of the way; Jamison’s mom read it and enjoyed the story; and my dear friend and tattoo buddy Leann read it and was on board too. I wrote it, but despite that blaring flaw, it’s actually a good story. I promise. It’s called Different Dishes: A Life Undiscovered and here’s the general idea:

Have you ever felt lost?

As Emma Morgan sits on her front porch in the middle of the night on her 39th birthday she knows that something has to change. She doesn’t know what she is looking for, but she knew it wasn’t this. She never expected to still be sitting on the side of the mountain she grew up on so many years later, never having traveled and seen the world as she expected. She wasn’t living life, she was simply existing.

She had left her dreams behind when she married her husband Michael, with whom she was now having a lot of problems. Emma had made his dreams a reality, while she shoved her own to the back burner as women often do. Michael had wanted a staid life without excitement and adventure, while Emma dreamed of traveling and seeing the world. Emma was certain her life would always have a spark. That spark was lacking.

On the doorstep of 40, sparked by her realization that her life was not what she wanted it to be, after years of doing what is expected of her, Emma decides to stage her own little rebellion to find out what she is missing. With the help of her best friend Delia Drake, her substitute grandfather Henry McClellan, her sons Jackson and Christian, her photo blog and friends she makes along the way, she begins a journey that she never thought she would travel. Emma starts doing things she has always wanted to do and one of the first things she does is make an overdue trip to see Delia in California.

With her instant friendship with a very British William Halstrom, who saves her from a delusional stalker in an airport after an unexpected layover in Colorado on her way back from seeing Delia, her life begins to shift. William gives her the opportunity to travel and take pictures as she has always wanted to do. Along the way William not only is her friend, but when her marriage to Michael ends with his admission he has been having an affair with a woman in Portland, the relationship between Emma and William begins to change. They are finally free to explore feelings that are no longer forbidden. But will it last?

A mystery sends William back to London and Emma is crushed. She decides to travel to Ireland where she immediately feels at peace. She meets people during her journey that help to shape her new views on life. While part of her heart is breaking, another part is awakened. She decides that sitting around waiting for William to explain his absence is not in her best interest. As she meets new people, and loses some of those close to her along the way, she learns that in order to enjoy life you have to simply go out and take chances.

How does William’s seeming betrayal turn Emma’s journey upside down? When William comes back and explains why he left will she forgive him? Should she listen to her heart or should she run away?

So what’s that got to do with me?

First off Different Dishes will be coming to a Kindle/E-reader near you in the near future. This story is supposed to be out there, I feel it in the marrow of my bones, so I’m releasing it myself. I’ll tell you more about that as it comes along, including specifics and my new writing webpage and such, but it should be in the next few weeks and it would be a fun Christmas present for that woman in your life who is looking for her own path. (Hint. Hint. Wink. Wink. Nudge.)

Anyways….

There’s a lot of me in Emma, or maybe a lot Emma in me, like the parts about not being where I thought I’d be and being disappointed in some of the turns in my life and I myself am hitting 39 in a few days so here’s what’s going to change…

There’s going to be a lot more doing, and a lot less thinking about doing in my life. You only live once…I’m tired of sitting around waiting for things to happen, so I’m going to make them happen!

I’m putting out my novel. I’m traveling to Ireland before I turn 40 and I’m taking Darlene and Alexis with me (and maybe Leann too if I can convince her!) I’m going to finish up my Master’s degree and then I’m going to go wild and get a PHd just because I can. I’m going to get Botox on my forehead because I want to. I’m going to bury my toes in the sand more often and have a few more mai tais while I’m there. There will be more manicures and pedicures, more girl’s nights out, more everyday adventures and less everyday doldrums. I’m going to kick depression’s ass, start swimming more, worrying less, living life. I’m going to enjoy the world and stop watching it pass me by. They say art imitates life, well in this case, life is going to imitate art! Emma has nothing on me!

So all of that to say…

Watch out world…I’m coming…and you’ll never know what hit you!

Originally posted on Daffodil Lane.

Hot Caramel Apple Cider

Hot Apple Cider

Fall, fall, fall! Have I mentioned how much I love fall? This morning we woke up to crisp fall air, leaves changing color and a lovely, eery fog that just made me want to snuggle up in my big squishy chair, with my sweater throw, a good book and a hot cup of apple cider!

This is the perfect time of year to find local apple ciders everywhere you go. You can’t go wrong with a fresh apple cider and the better the cider, the better the finish product of this drink. Hot Caramel Cinnamon Apple Cider is very similar to Starbuck’s Caramel Apple Spice, but I think it takes it to a whole other level. These are obviously sometimes drinks because they’re sinful, but once you’ve had a taste you’ll want sometimes to come around much faster the next time around!

Hot Apple Cider

What You’ll Need to Make the Hot Caramel Cinnamon Apple Cider:
1/2 gallon of apple cider
Cinnamon syrup (see recipe below)
Caramel syrup
Whipped Cream
Caramel sauce
Cinnamon sugar

First you want to make your cinnamon syrup (or if you want you can buy cinnamon syrup instead, but I really like the flavor of the one I make myself. You can store the syrup in the fridge for up to six weeks.

Hot Apple Cider: Cinnamon Syrup

What You’ll Need to Make the Cinnamon Syrup:
2 cups of water
2 cups of organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons of Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon

In a large pot whisk together water, sugar and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts. Set aside.

Now let’s start the base of the drinks!

Add apple cider to a large stockpot over medium heat and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and then add mulling spices.

Now let’s talk a minute about mulling spices. You can usually find them easily this time of year and my favorite are the ones that come packaged like tea bags:

Hot Apple Cider: Mulling Bags

You’ll love this type of bag type deal because it means you don’t have to strain out the spices later! Best. Invention. Ever. Or well maybe not ever, but best thing I’ve come across in a while…you get the picture!

Anyway…

I use 3 mulling spice bags per half gallon of cider. I like to wrap the strings from the bag around the handle so they stay in one place and the paper end doesn’t get in the cider itself or on the hot stove eye:

Steep while simmering for 20-30 minutes.

Now it’s time to put the drinks together!

I like to have everything in one place to make the drinks:

Hot Apple Cider: Ingredients

It means you aren’t rushing around grabbing this and that, when everything is simply right there at your fingertips.

Fill each cup 3/4ths of the way full. Add a generous splash of cinnamon and caramel syrups. I like to use a large mouth funnel for adding the cider and syrups…it keeps things from splashing around. Give it a quick stir to mix the cider and syrups

Next you want to to top the cider with a big dollop of whipped cream. You can make your own whipped cream. (I recommend this. I usually use 1/4 cup of sugar to 1 cup of heavy cream.) Or you can use the stuff in the can if you just must.

Drizzle the top of the whipped cream with melted caramel sauce and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. (I make my own using 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to 1 cup of sugar.) Serve immediately:

Hot Apple Cider

A perfect bight of autumn right in your cup!

Notes: If you wanted to make an ‘Adults Only’ cider you could add in some rum, mead or whiskey to give it a little kick.