For those of you that have been following #theneverendingporchproject on Instagram, this post is a long time coming. Almost a year ago, I started working with Jeff at Great Falls Landscapes on the concept.
We worked for weeks on the plan.. And finally came up with perfection.
There were a lot of changes along the way. And while it took what seems like forever to build, I couldn’t be happier with the end results. It’s funny, before finding GFL, I had initially hired someone else, and ultimately fired him two weeks in due to his lack of creativity. So glad that I found them! Jeff and Lance were amazing to work with and really “went” with my crazy ideas..
(This was right before E’s Party.. pics to come on that later..)
Summer is winding down. We actually have our end of summer neighborhood ice cream social tomorrow night. In my dream of being a perfect mother, I would be making these. Reality?… I will race home from the office 30 minutes late schlepping a melted carton of ice cream and whatever toppings are in our pantry. The good news is that I am starting to realize that it doesn’t matter. I need to CTFD.
What to serve, what to serve…. That is the question. Here are some delicious ideas that will make your guests think you put in some serious hours in the kitchen. To cut corners (I am all about that during the holidays, by the way) think Trader Joes (pre-made soups, spreads and cooked beets. I really LOVE their frozen d’oeuvres and flatbreads.)
I think it’s safe to say that we are all tightening our belts this holiday season. One of my favorite things to do with my girls during the holidays is to make Peppermint Bark. It’s so easy and fun, and a great gift for hostesses or co-workers. It has three simple ingredients 1.) Milk Chocolate (I use Ghiradelli, they sell big chunks of it at Trader Joe’s.) 2.) White Chocolate 3.) Crushed Candy Canes.
Last week Mike was out of town, and the girls and I decided to have a pizza party. Despite the mess that was made, we had a ball, and the pizzas were delish! It was such a fun activity, and I find that when the girls have an active part in the preparation of dinner, they do a much better job of eating it.
E’s hair looks a lot closer to the mixer than it actually is… in retrospect, a ponytail would have been a good idea.
They had so much fun with the dough.
My little chef. Coincidentally, she has been saying for years that she wants to own a pizza restaurant when she grows up.
I gave Lou the leftover dough to play with when she was done making her masterpiece.
Pineapple, jalapenos and prosciutto for Mom, turkey pepperoni for the girls.
The finished product.
The girls were uber grossed-out by my toppings, but I have to say… it was scrumptious.
I think we may have to make this a weekly ritual.
Make-your own pizza parties are also a great option for entertaining on a budget. I am not a baker, so I followed this pizza dough recipe online. If you don’t want to make your own dough, I highly suggest Trader Joe’s pre-made dough. It’s $0.99 and it’s delicious! As most of you know (being Italian) I am a sauce snob, so I make my own pizza sauce. What makes pizza sauce different from marinara is the sweet factor. I add sugar to my marinara, but not to my pizza sauce. I am also not typically a fan of oregano in sauce, but pizza sauce calls for it. Here is my recipe. Pretty simple, pretty good.
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 large yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
sprinkle of ground red pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1. Cover bottom of pot with olive oil and saute onions on medium heat until golden.
2. Add minced garlic.
3. Saute garlic and onions for 1-2 minutes then add tomato paste. Stir.
4. Once tomato paste is stirred into mixture, add tomato sauce. Stir.
5. Add salt, pepper, red pepper and oregano. Stir.
6.) Let cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.