Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pizza's Easy to Make, Right?

I've been meaning to try the Trader Joe's Whole Wheat pizza dough they have prepared for some time now. Finally, I broke down and bought it along with their pizza sauce (it was right next to it.) The challenge when making your own pizza is getting all the ingredients; Chad and I seem to love loading pizza's up like the kitchen sink! 

We ended up agreeing on pepperoni, sausage, black olives, green olives, mushrooms and red onion. We also used cheddar cheese and mozzarella (but definitely more mozzarella since cheddar doesn't melt all that well.) Here you see how loaded the pizza is! The dough doesn't actually stretch all that easily nor well. I don't have a rolling pin, so I used a plastic cup to try and roll out the dough. I managed to get it pretty round by rolling at about a 45 degree angle to the edge. I could't roll at 90 degrees because our round pan has a lip that kept me from rolling any closer to the side.

I do have a pizza secret that I came up with in college. Being the self-proclaimed Papa Murphy's pizza cooking master that I am, I can let you know that the best way to cook any pizza (even frozen) is to broil it at the end. What it does is magically puffs up the cheese while leaving it that golden-brown and cooked to perfection. Do not walk away when you broil because it cooks really fast so you need to stand there with the oven open watching it get to your perfect shade of done.

The Pizza cooked fairly easily. We had so many ingredient on it that it probably had to cook about 18-20 minutes once all was said and done. One issue I had was that it stuck to our pan. Not sure if this pan isn't the greatest, or that I didn't spray it with enough non-stick spray? But the crust also was a bit too thin to really hold up to our toppings. Next time I think the secret would be 'less is more'.

 Also, for the sausage - we jumped right in and started throwing raw sausage on the pizza. Then, we second-guessed ourselves and pulled it all off to pre-cook in a pan. That worked out really well AND we could drain the sausage of it's grease a bit before putting it on the pizza.

It's really tough not to make a decent pizza in my opinion; More-so, the tough part is making a pizza that makes people want to stand up and say, "wow"! We didn't succeed - the green olives really overtook the flavor of the pizza and this crust/dough probably would have been much happier with only 2-3 toppings instead of our multitude. Until next time... I think over-all this pizza extravaganza was good; now what flavor should we try next time?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cheers to New Opportunities in our Lives!

Yes, posts have been lacking with this blog - thanks so much for hanging in there and being patient! This blog started with my personal challenge of carrying out a goal each year; this year is no different. My goal was to find a new career opportunity for the year of 2014, a decision that did not come lightly. I have been fortunate to not only work for the University of Wisconsin - Madison, an institution I've always felt a personal connection to given Madison is my home. But, more specifically I work with the Wisconsin Union - technically classified as the "Division of Social Education" within the University.

My time with the Wisconsin Union has been one that, when looking back on it, brings me a lot of pride and joy. It is a place that I have visited since an early age. There really is no other place like the Memorial Union Terrace - a Wisconsin landmark and 'must-see' location for anyone coming to Madison. The Union prides itself on creating 'experiences for a lifetime' and my personal story is mapped right inline with that statement.

The challenge of selling joy and experiences is not a tough sell; the opportunity to have this as a job focus is really an incredible opportunity. I'm pleasantly surprised with the relationships that I have shared and now hold very dear from my time with the Union. The people really are remarkable and hardworking, and passion is abundant. Many have come and gone in my time working there, but real longevity comes from the personal connection that is held to this unique organization. Every single role holds many hats; the consistent challenge is to be extremely flexible and ever-changing due to the commitment to student involvement and the constantly changing roles they carry with limited-term employment.

There was never a dull moment with the Union - between the Memorial Union and Union South we have been under construction the entire time I've worked there. It was within my first month that they began dozing Union South, which has since rebuilt and opened. The Memorial Union is currently under rehabilitation and will gear up for two major phases of re-openings in the coming years.

It was not an easy decision to continue on with the next opportunity/chapter in my life. This was the place I have worked for the past five years, the place where my wedding reception was held, the place I have many memories with friends and family at many phases of my life. I will greatly miss working closely with a staff that has become my daytime family. Fortunately, I'm not going far away and can continue to visit often. The summer is the opportune time to visit the Terrace and you can bet I will continue to stopover as much as I can. I'm so grateful to be able to say "I worked for the Wisconsin Union." It is a time in my life I will always hold very dear. Thanks to all the people who work there who have become such an important part of my life!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas Card CDs :: 2008



Making up for a simple layout last year, I focused on a more elaborate design this year. I printed a bi-fold brochure, double-sided, because I found a new vendor to print with that was very reasonable for pricing. White House Custom Colour (WHCC) is a great place to get prints for photos and cards.

I played around with some translucent paper that I had on hand, but soon realized it was very problematic to print on. This year is near-and-dear to my heart because the photos are from previous travels that I had done to New York and Colorado previous winters. It is so much more special when you can personalize your designs with your own photography.

The front is a photo in Central Park with one of our best family friends; it was right after we attended Regis and Kelly show and had lunch at Tavern on the Green. Words cannot do justice to the amazement of that day. It started out damp and rainy, and as we were leaving the restaurant after finishing lunch, we entered Central Park into a freshly covered snowfall.

Equally as special are the Colorado picts; the inside are of Denver, Colorado at their Zoo where they decorate the whole place in twinkle lights and decorations. Finally, the trees were shot on the way to the most amazing natural Strawberry hot springs in Steamboat Springs.

Finally, the ornament was right off my tree. I took a hand-full of different ones and loved how the red and green looked. So I printed both and family received the luck of the draw. Hope you are enjoying my cds!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas Card CDs :: 2007



This year was more of a rush that I needed to get out quick. It was printed at home and I used the typical clear CD case. I wanted to go a totally different direction than the previous years, so I went with a more a-typical Christmas blue look.

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