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Archive for July, 2008

Grilled PIZZA!

My husband and I have a ritual every Friday night.  Grilled Pizza.  We make grilled pizza to celebrate the weekend and the end of another long work week.  Now some of you may ask WHY?  Why make grilled pizza when it is just easier to order a pizza from wherever.  Yes, this is true.  But there is just something about coming home from work, pouring a glass of wine, and just the whole concept of cooking that we choose to make grilled pizza.  I really don’t know how we started or where I even got the idea.  I think it may have been a Bobby Flay show that he was grilling pizza.  It really isn’t that hard, and anyone can do it.  You just have to have the time and the patience for it.

I make my own pizza dough.  Any recipe will do, depending on how many grilled pizzas you want to make.  My recipe usually makes about four pizzas.  We eat two for supper and then save the other two for supper during the weekend.  I have tried the Pillsbury Pizza dough before, but the results weren’t as good.  Matter of fact, that pizza sucked.  The dough was just wrong.  So, I highly recommend you make your own dough. 

I use just veggies for toppings, i.e. red onions, mushrooms, black olives, roasted red peppers,

Toppnigs

Toppnigs

tomatoes.  I have done grilled pizza with leftover chicken breast cut into thin strips, cooked turkey sausage, chopped salami and artichoke pizza….really the possibilities are endless.  The chopped salami and artichoke pizza was good, but that was for a special occassion.  One thing that is important is that the onions and mushrooms should be cooked beforehand.  I usually just sautee them on the the stove while the dough is rising.  I also use fresh herbs, such as basil and oregano.  These MAKE the pizza.  Fresh basil is excellent.  For cheese, I usually just use a finely shredded pizza cheese on the bottom, then put shredded asiago cheese on top.  The asiago is a little saltier, but gives it a good bite.

So, after the dough has risen, I divide it into 4 dough balls.  I then stretch it into little pizzas about 5-6 inches big, and then throw it on the grill.  It is imperative that your grill is hot.  I also make sure that I add some olive oil to the dough before I stretch it.  This helps prevent it from sticking to the grill itself.  After a couple of minutes, the dough will puff up and you know it is time to flip.

After you flip the pizza, then you start layering your toppings.  I always like to start with a little layer

Flipped Pizza

Flipped Pizza

of cheese, then my toppings, then more cheese.  Just my preference.  You can do it however you want. Once all your toppings are on there, I do lower the heat, and/or move it to that area of your grill that maybe doesn’t burn as hot.  It does take some time to melt that cheese, so you don’t want to burn the bottom.  I have on occasion used a “tent” of aluminum foil over the pizza to get the cheese to melt, etc.  Just don’t let that bottom crust

Pizza on the grill

Pizza on the grill

burn!

Take it off the grill.  Slice it into wedges.  Eat it.  Sooo good…  Really it is best with either a bottle of beer  or a glass of wine while sitting on the back porch.  We love it.  Try it…after all nothing ventured, nothing gained. 

Yummy Pizza!

Yummy Pizza!

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I have finally finished spinning the superwash Merino that I had orginally dyed back in early May.  Dragged my feet really….just had more knitting to do I guess.  I don’t know, but anyhoo, it is finished.  I call it Spring, even though it is now finished in mid summer.  I plan to make it a scarf for me to wear this winter.  I have posted various stages of the process, so my friends can really see the process.  Not that they might care, but someone might….And besides, I just like to post the pictures. 

Roving

Roving

Here is the roving after the dyeing process.  I use Jacquard dyes, and I use the crockpot to dye my roving.  I just prefer it that way.  It is kind of a no watch process, so I can throw it there and not really worry about it.  Don’t have to worry about turning off the stove, etc.  I actually handpainted some of it before I put it into a green dye bath.  It does have some flecks of yellow and blue in it, but it is difficult to see.

So then I spun it on my Lendrum Double Treadle spinning wheel.  Her name is Zelda. Yes, I named an inanimate object.  I got Zelda last October.  Now, I am by no means an experienced spinner.  I am still learning.  Still have A LOT to learn.  But anyways, these are pics of the roving spun into a single strand of the yarn. 
On the wheel

On the wheel

 After spinning about 4 bobbins full of the singlets, I then plied them, or spun them together to make a thicker strand of yarn. And voila!  We have a skein of yarn!

Yarn!

Yarn!

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Berroco DK

Berroco DK

I have dappled in washclothes.  I have played with scarves.  I have conquered the baby surprise jacket.  Thus, it was time for my first sweater.

My friend Eileen and I signed up together for a Sweater Class at our LYS. Now, Eileen has done sweaters and is quite an accomplished knitter.  Me, on the other hand, was not sure if I was ready.  With Eileen’s encouragement, I decided to do it.  A sweater that is, for my niece Kheli.  At least that was and still is the plan.

Eileen and I decided to knit the same sweater, except with different yarn.  At least we would have each other for support right?  We choose Berroco’s Caisey.  I am doing mine in Berroco’s Comfort DK in a pretty pink. 

Well, made it through the first 10 inches of the back panel.  Now I am in the pattern stitch.  It is giving me fits!  I have frogged, and reknit, only to have to frog again.  I have thrown in on the floor, called it a bunch of colorful names.  Does this help..No.  But it makes me feel better in my frustration.  My husband knows that when the pink blob comes out not to speak to me, much less ask me for anything.  It takes that much concentration on my part. 

Back Panel

Back Panel

Will I finish it?  Will I keep my sanity?  Will I ever make it past the back panel?  Stay tuned….

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I have always admired the lace shawls that I have seen in my Spin-Off magazine and on display at my LYS.  I never thought that I would even be able to knit anything like that, much less read the pattern.  I would gaze upon those patterns and think..”I will never be able to do that.:”

Well, times have changed.  My LYS offered the summer class Introduction to Lace Knitting.  I figured this was the perfect time.  I knew the instructor, who is totally awesome and an extremely patient teacher, and signed up. 

Lace Scarf

Lace Scarf

The project for the class is a very simple pattern for a lace scarf.  I was AMAZED at how easy the pattern reads.  It was easy..it was fun.  I am still working on it, as to be honest…as much as I want to complete the lace scarf, my time has been spent frogging and reknitting another WIP.  Keep on knitting, keep on knitting…

Lace Scarf

Lace Scarf

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At the beginning of last week, while getting ready for conference, working, doing everything else that needs to be done….guess what…the blackberries were ready!  Unfortunately, the patch directly behind our house didn’t do as well this year, leading me to venture down in the valley as I call it.  The bushes were LOADED, COVERED, overwhelmingly too many berries for me to pick in the short couple days before we left for conference.  I picked Sunday am, then never got back out there until both Wednesday and Thursday evening.   I ended up getting 11 quarts, putting them into the freezer for an eventual pie in the winter, when we long for summer again.

Blackberries

Blackberries

Now, this is no ordinary little patch of berries, where there are paths, they are easy to get to, etc.  OH NO.  This is put on brush cutter pants, boots, long sleeve shirt, douse self with bug spray, and prepare to be pricked and poked.  Not for the faint of heart.  Not for a girlie-girl who likes to have painted nails and can’t stand bugs.  Only for us country bumpkins that remember being handed the bucket by our mothers and getting enough berries to make a pie. 

Have to say, as much as I get scratched, poked, end up with thorns in my hands…I love to get out there and pick.  It is the closest to PA as I can get down here in suburbia NC.  The deer snort and shush as they hear me tramping through the brush.  I can still smell honeysuckle.  Big fat bees buzz to gather nectar from the shumac that is blooming.  I hear cardinals singing their “Seer, Seer, wood, wood, wood” song.  The bluebirds song is beautiful, warbling on as they perch from the electric lines high above my head.  As it gets closer to dusk, I hear the “Who, whoo, whoo cooks for you” from the bart owl.  My mind is calmed  and I feel as if I am as close to heaven as I can get in that one moment.

Did I get tick bites…Yes, five of them.  Did I get poison ivy…of course, despite long pants.  Was it worth it….Absolutely.

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So, last weekend I attended the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Conference in Washington DC.  It was held at the enormous, upscale, largest resort on the east coast, Gaylord Hotel in National Harbor Maryland.  It was HUGE.  Not only the hotel, but the conference itself.  3500 Nurse Practitioners from all over the United States.  In addition, families came with those NPs, to enjoy the

Gaylord Hotel

Gaylord Hotel

sites and sounds of DC while we all listened and learned on topics of our choice.  The conference was held from June26-July 1.

One view from the Gaylord

One view from the Gaylord

The SO and I ventured North on Friday, June 27.  I was a conference attendee from 6/29-7/1.  It was interesting…the lectures I attended were informative.  My personal favs were the 2D echo one, as well as the two lectures by Margaret Fitzgerald.   While I gained knowledge, my hubby lounged by the pool, took naps and basically lived the high life.  Sunday afternoon though, we had to escape to Old Town Alexandria.   See, it is like this…although the Gaylord is a very nice hotel, with a beautiful view of the Potomac River, the places to eat were VERY EXPENSIVE.  Meaning, the only places to eat at the hotel were those in the hotel.  Unfortunately, the area where the Gaylord is at is an up and coming area, and eateries are few, esp. for those of us on a budget.  Thus, we made the 5 minute trek across the Woodrow Wilson bridge, easily found a parking space, and walked King Street.  It was cool. We settled for wood fired pizza on Sunday, then went back Monday evening to this AWESOME restaurant, the Warehouse Bar and Grill.  If we had found it Sunday night, we would have ate there that night as well.  Unfortunately, we never made it to any of the monuments in DC. 😦  BUT, since we know it only takes us four hours to get there, we will be making a return trip…probably for a LONG weekend.  And a Washington Nationals game.

 

MJ at the Gaylord

MJ at the Gaylord

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Here we go…..

So, I took the plunge.  I figure why not, everyone else, has a blog, talks about their blog, talks about other peoples’ blogs, actually maintain two blogs, etc.  Thus, Blackberry Pie is now up and running!  Disclosure:  This blog is about everything in my life, including my animals, knitting, spinning, my SO,  and the happenings at our house among other things.  Enjoy!

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