My love affair with Pizza

PizzaIf there was one food I could never give up it would be pizza.   Pizza is a never ending journey of creativity.  This is why I truly love it.  You can make it for breakfast, lunch or dinner and top it with well, anything.  My mouth never stops watering for it!  In fact I could eat it every day.

You might think there is just New York style or Chicago style or some version of a crust, plus a tomato based sauce, and mozzarella.  While this is an essential staple in your pizza repertoire it is only the beginning point.  Open your mind and your stomach to what pizza can be and try a new one every week.

First things first get a pizza stone.  It’s a must for a crispy crust. Size matters if you want a thin crust.  Go big.  Then get a pizza cutter and kitchen aid mixer if you want to save yourself a ton of time.  Its an investment but remember this is just the start of your pizza making days!

Here is my simple crust recipe:

1 package active yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3/4 cup water (might need more)
1 teaspoon oil

Combine the yeast, sugar, flour, salt in your kitchen aid. Slowly combine. Add the water gradually until the dough begins to form a ball.

Coat a bowl with oil. Place dough in bowl, and cover with a warm damp cloth. Put in a warm spot to rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough, scrape it onto a cutting board with olive oil and knead it lightly into a smooth ball. Roll it out and place on a hot pizza stone.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees or your grill.

Now get creative!  My latest love was an olive oil base topped with caramelized onions, gruyere, mozzarella cheese and prosciutto. Then I topped this one with arugula. I don’t exactly time cooking my pizza.  I watch for my crust to bubble, look for the crust to crisp and I just know it’s ready.  I let it cool for a few minutes before cutting.  Then I embrace a little bit of heaven.  I can’t wait for this Saturday’s pizza night!  What should I try this week?  Tell me your favorite in the comments below.


I am a gourmet griller


My sister asked me what I made for dinner the other night.  When I told her she was shocked. She said your bathrooms must be dirty because there is no way you could have time to cook a meal like that.  My bathrooms are far from spotless but they don’t look like a gas station bathroom either.  My secret is the grill.

I have always loved grilling especially in the spring weather.  But winter or summer you will see me standing over my Charbroil gas grill.  I adore the taste of anything and everything with a little char. Plus I love the cleanup.  Next to nothing.  My kind of meal!

This week I made a healthy and scrumptious menu of Grilled Haddock with Grilled Sweet Potato Fries and Artichokes.  Is your mouth watering?  Mine is!  The meal was very simple to make too.  This is what gourmet is all about.

To prepare this meal start by slicing your organic sweet potatoes and artichokes in half and par boil them (15-20 minutes depending on their size).  They should be soft but not mushy. Grab your haddock (with skin) and salt and pepper it. Then go preheat that glorious invention, the Charbroil grill.  Take your sweet potatoes and artichokes out of the boiling water.  Slice the sweet potatoes into large fries. Place them on a tray with your artichokes and drizzle the group with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Shazam your grill is preheated!  Now, if your grill allows for three heat settings the following will be a breeze. Throw the chokes heart side down on high heat and put the sweet potatoes next to them on a medium heat. After about 7 minutes throw on the fish, skin side down on the other side of your Charbroil grill on low heat.  Hopefully you have a Charbroil grill as big as mine so this part is easy:)  No crowding! About 7 more minutes you will have a complete gourmet healthy meal.  Spritz your artichokes and haddock with a lovely lemon wedge and plate it up.

For a little more indulgence melt a few pats of butter in a small dish for dipping those succulent leaves.  Or throw together a little honey, mustard and mayo for a tangy honey mustard dipping sauce for those sweet potato fries.  I wish there were leftovers!  The fish was moist and melted in my mouth.  The artichokes made me feel like I was dining at a fancy restaurant.  And how could I forget those sweet potatoes?  They were so sweet that this girl didn’t need desert.  Grilling food is the perfect way to infuse flavor without the calories or the work!  Hmm… What to grill tonight?

I never thought I would pick some one else’s nose

AB b&w

Being a parent changes you.  Once you fall in love with that plump little face you will do anything for your child.  My days of high heels and skinny jeans are not over but they do tend to sit in the back of the closet.  I used to have a wardrobe that couldn’t fit in two closets.  Now my daughter dresses better than me on an average day.

I realized that I do sacrifice a bit of my own grooming and personal comfort for my childs. I eat leftovers off my child’s plate so it doesn’t go to waste.  A hot cup of coffee is a rare delight on most days. Oh and the sleep I have lost to cuddle someone when they just don’t want to sleep alone.  But what I never realized was the crazy things that parents do just because we are parents.

This is my top five list of things I would never do:

  1. Pick my child’s nose- Sometimes a tissue just doesn’t do the job so someone has to clear the way when the bulb suction isn’t available
  2. Entertain an audience in a bathroom- Toddlers are curious about everything and anything and they don’t like closed doors.
  3.  Eat baby food- I am in a rush and I don’t always get to eat a warm breakfast.  On occasion a packet of sweet potato and peaches has slipped in my hand.  Baby food has come along way.  It’s actually tasty and healthy too.
  4. Walk out of the house with stained clothing- Your about to walk out the door, diaper bag in hand, fresh diaper on baby, and boom baby spits up on your shoulder or your toddler had a leftover cookie and smeared it on your shirt
  5. Try my own breast milk- Curiosity overtook me one day and lets just say it may be nutritious but its certainly not delicious.

Being a parent is all about learning, growing and adapting.  During this journey of parenthood I have never laughed harder.  I embrace every moment. Please share in the comments below something you never thought you would do as parent.

The dog days of winter


Living in the South I thought winter would be mild, but not this year.  It seems the hot topic of conversation is the weather.  I  am not a winter fan.   I love the sun on my face and the ability to walk outside without a coat.  It makes me feel alive!

Instead of complaining about the weather I am going to embrace it and take the time now to focus on family fun without electronics and getting things done around the house.  This way once spring hits  we will have time to take walks and enjoy the fresh air!  Here is my list of

10 things to do in the winter:

1. Try a new recipe- The best time to experiment with cooking is when you have time.  Break out that crock pot too.  They are very to use and you can make anything from chili to mac and cheese in them.

2.  Do your spring cleaning- Clean out those closets.  If you didn’t wear the item last spring/summer it’s time to get rid of it.

3. Work on your photo albums and scrapbooks- Get out all those precious photos of your little ones and organize them or start printing the 100’s you have on your smart phone

4. Plan your spring garden- Research flowers and vegetables that you are thinking about growing and put a plan together so when the ground is thawed your ready with shovel and seeds in hand.

5. Take a walk in the snow- Snow makes everything bright.  Even though I am not a fan of cold I love taking a walk when there is fresh snow on the ground at night.

6. Don’t text, call- Catch up with friends and loved ones the “old fashioned way” on the phone where can you hear emotions.

7. Write in a journal to your kids- There is something very special about reading letters that a parent wrote to you when you were a child.  Videos and photos won’t replace this sentiment that you can express in a letter.

8. Clean out your inbox- Just like your closet your email needs cleaning up to.  Organize old emails into folders and delete anything that isn’t needed for future use.

9. Get crafty- Do you sew, paint, or take pictures?  Take the time to nourish that art and plan a project for those cold days you are stuck indoors.

10. Play board games- Put away the electronics and break out the monopoly board or trivial pursuit.  Invite the neighbors over so they get a break from the inside of their own house.  Make popcorn from scratch.  Yumm!  There is nothing like homemade popcorn. Just ask my husband!

Tell me in the comments your favorite things to do  in winter.


Chocolate recycling

Chocolate mousse

I am a self-professed chocolate snob.  I enjoy one piece of heaven every night after dinner.  If I am purchasing chocolate for myself, a high cacao content is very important to me.  Since I am only having one piece I want that one piece to be full of rich flavor. But I always seem to have a supply of extra chocolate around the house from Christmas to Valentines Day because of course you should never look a gift horse in the mouth.

So with this plethora of chocolate taking space up in my cabinet I came up with this deliciously simple 5 ingredient chocolate mousse recipe.  You don’t need the most expensive wine to cook with and the same principle applies to chocolate.  Grab your leftover chocolate from Valentine’s Day and get ready to make some amazing chocolate mousse.


  • 1/8 cup organic butter
  • 1 1/4 cups organic heavy cream
  • 140 grams of any chocolate
  • A few drops of vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 cup sugar  or less (depends on the type of chocolate and sweet tooth)
  1.  While the chocolate mixture is melting whip the cream with sugar to taste and vanilla to very soft peaks on the highest setting with a hand mixer or a kitchenaid. 
  2. Let chocolate cool until it’s about room temperature and fold into whipped cream.  Spoon into 4 martini glasses and chill in fridge for about 30 minutes.  Top with a sprig of mint for color, rasberries or some sea salt.

Enjoy your recycled chocolate as it takes on a whole new flavor! Do you recycle chocolate in your house?  What is your favorite chocolate recipe?

Toddler life lessons

Toddler image

I am sure you have heard that wisdom comes with age.  It makes sense.  More life experience equals more wisdom. I am a more seasoned and experienced person in my 30’s than I was in my 20’s.  However, I recently discovered that some of the best life lessons can be learned from a toddler.

Life Lesson number 1: Brushing your teeth is fun

Tasks that are part of a monotonous routine as adults can be fun.  It’s all about perspective. Perspective shapes the experience.  We have to believe it is going to be fun and it will.

Life Lesson number 2: A smile can really make someones day

Adults don’t smile enough.  We definitely don’t smile at strangers in the grocery store or at the post office, yet kids do it all the time.  When my daughter smiles I see hearts melt and frowns that are turned upside down.  Why is that?  It’s because they are not preoccupied, they are not stressed and they enjoy watching other people smile.  Try smiling at 3 people in one day and I promise you will see results.  Sometimes that is all it takes for a bad day to turn good.

Life Lesson number 3: Walking out the door of your house is the beginning of an adventure

When I put my little girls jacket on and I open the door she squeals with delight. The view through her eyes is she is going to go see new places, try different things and make new friends.  Simply going a different route to work or the store can be a new adventure for adults.  Maybe you will stumble upon a new coffee shop or drive by your dream house.

These are just a few of the lessons I have learned from my toddler.  I still have a lot to learn. What have you learned from your children? I would love to know! Please share in the comments below.

Do you measure up?

Baby Ava photo

As soon as you have a baby, that child is thrust into a world where measurements tell his or her future.  The pediatrician takes measurements of weight, height and head size and your baby is put into a percentile.  When that measurement falls below 50% I think sometimes we as parents believe we fell short or did something wrong.  Thus begins the quest to becoming the perfect parent.

When we set our sites on becoming the best mom or dad our lives start to revolve around our children and there’s where everything goes wrong.  We forget that we were wives and husbands before we became parents.  Before you became a husband or wife you had to become satisfied with yourself.  Think about going back to that beginning.  Start living healthy, taking care of yourself and finding happiness in your own personal accomplishments.  If you do this you will be the best partner to your spouse.  Happiness is contagious.  If you are taking care of your spouse your bound to be a better parent.  Kids see everything,  don’t be fooled.  So if you want to become the best parent become the best you first and everything else will fall into place. Remember as well that in that moment when you first met your baby,  he or she was perfect and so were you.

I would love to hear about your challenges in the struggle for becoming the best parent.  Comment below and tell me about them.

The secret to happiness is……… a furry family member

Seamus copyright

I wrote this title and I thought I must be crazy.  I have two dogs and a cat currently.  I can’t count how many leather shoes that have been chewed, Victorias Secret panties that have been eaten, furniture that has been scratched up, how many rugs were ruined from pee pee and I could still go on and on.  My pets have caused our family  thousands of dollars in ruined clothing and furniture.  That doesn’t even touch upon the money spent on their all natural, human grade,  organic whatever food that’s probably better then what I eat for lunch on most days! Plus how could I forget the mountain of vet bills.

Have I convinced you to run and adopt a sweet ball of fur yet?

What I haven’t told you is about the way my dogs jump five feet in the air when I walk in the house (even though I only left for an hour).  I wish my husband would do that! Or the way my lab licks my face clean if only one tear falls.  Not to mention how my cat lays on my back when its so sore. No heating pad could relax me the way he does.  A vitamin, a special diet, or surgery won’t keep you feeling young the way having a pet does, at least that’s what a lot of experts say.  Frankly I believe it.  I have grown up with pets all my life and they have taught me a ton. Dogs forgive in minutes.  They can have fun with just a ball. They think a car ride is the best thing since sliced bread and all they want to do is please you.  Wouldn’t that be great if people were that easy?  Check out your local shelter.  There are always wonderful cats and dogs that would love to bring you joy and become a part of your family.

Please share how your furry family member has brought you joy I would love to hear about it.

Grandma knows best!

Thrive Market

My grandma knew how to cook.  I think its something we forget at times.  How have we gotten so busy? Our grandparents never thought about looking at labels when they grocery shopped either.  They bought from farmers markets or grew their own vegetables and product packaging was simple, easy to read and natural. Now we live in a world where we have to use pesticides in bulk and chemicals to makes the biggest and best products.  I choose to follow my grandmas idea of health and purchase only natural or organic products with simple easy to read ingredients. The only issue is the price!  Going organic has become a trendy concept.  Sadly trends are expensive to follow.

But I have found a solution.  It’s an online market place called Thrive Market.  Thrive Market is a members only website where you can purchase organic, natural and chemical free food and personal care products at wholesale prices.  Think Costco meets Whole Foods online.  You will find over 400 of my favorite products like Earths Best, Nature’s Path, Jasons Naturals, Eden Foods and lots more on their website.  The cost is less than $5 a month but the best part is you can sign up for a free 30 day trial membership to test it out.  But there is even more!  My followers can use the link below and save 15% on your first order and get free shipping for orders of $49 and above.  So what are you waiting for?  Eat and cook like grandma taught you!

How I snagged my husband

The key to my husband’s heart is food.  Not any food mind you.  He is a bit of a foodie so he seeks amazing taste and fresh ingredients!  Granted, I didn’t know this when we were dating but my mom passed down a recipe that I loved as a kid and well I never met a man who didn’t love it either (unless he was a vegetarian:)  This recipe was actually from a children’s cookbook so it’s simple too!

I debated sharing this secret but then I thought why not?  It worked for me and my mother! Single or married this will wow your significant other and is guaranteed to warm you up on a cold day and at least get you a foot massage!  Ready?  Here you go!  Enjoy and I hope it brings many foot massages, engagement rings or makes happy children in your life!

Victoria’s Meatballs:
1 tbsp. organic butter
1 organic green pepper, chopped
1 organic onion, chopped
1 can organic chicken with rice soup
 1 can organic tomato soup 
1 can water
1 lb. grass fed ground beef
1 organic egg
2 slices bread, torn into pieces
1/4 milk
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. dried onion or 1 sm. onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. dried garlic
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
SAUCE: Melt butter in skillet. Add green pepper and onion. Cook until tender. Stir in chicken with rice soup, tomato soup and water. Heat to boiling. Then turn down heat and simmer sauce, stirring occasionally. While the sauce cooks, make the meatballs.MEATBALLS: Beat egg in bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Shape meat into balls about the size of ping-pong balls. Drop balls into simmering sauce and cook slowly about 1 hour, or until sauce has thickened. 

Comment and let me know if it worked for you!