Monday, March 23, 2020

New Food 2020 - Pizza Dough Garlic Knots


  • 1 pound pizza dough ball* homemade or store-bought
  • 6 tablespoon salted butter
  • 8 large garlic cloves pressed with a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pizza sauce for dipping optional



  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.


  • Place the pizza dough onto a floured surface and roll it into a 12x6-inch rectangle.
  • Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into 12 6-inch strips.
  • Stretch and roll each strip into a 12-inch long piece.
  • Tie a piece of dough into a knot.
  • Tuck one end of the dough into the center of the knot.
  • Pull the other end of the dough up through the center of the knot and tuck in the end.
  • Place the knot on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining strips of dough. Please each knot 2-inches apart on the baking sheet, and cover the knots loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Let the knots rise until doubled in size, about 40-60 minutes.


  • Move oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  • After the knots have risen for 25 minutes, make the garlic butter. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the garlic and water and cook, stirring frequently, until the tiny pieces of garlic are straw-colored, about 2-3 minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat, stir in the parsley and salt and set aside.


  • Once the knots have doubled in size, discard the plastic wrap and bake the knots for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the knots from the oven, brush with half of the garlic butter, rotate the pan, and bake for another 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Brush the garlic knots with the remaining garlic butter. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Finally, serve warm.

We made this because we had all the ingredients.  The kids love to bake and cook, and with the grocery store like  weird, scifi movie, we thawed some pizza dough from the freezer and whipped these up.  It's basically a garlic herb butter over knotted dough with a little salt on top.  These are definitely delicious with a little marinara to dip into.  We thought they should be cooked a little longer, but they were solid and delicious when considering the small amount of effort required.

10 possible points - Taste (possible 5), Was it worth the effort?  (possible 3), Appearance (possible 1), Would we make it again? (possible 1)
Lemon Butter Garlic Shrimp - 9 points
Orange Chicken - 9 points
Crepes - 9 points
Pizza Dough Garlic Knots - 8 points
Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sugar Snap Peas - 8 points
Vanilla Cake - 7 points

Movies We Watched - Onward

The two brothers who go on a quest to recover their father in Pixar's Onward.

We watched Onward yesterday.  We all enjoyed it.  As I expected, it was a little sad mostly at the end.  There wasn't anything questionable though - Captain wasn't scared at any part.  There were some funny moments and some sweet moments.  I think Little Miss liked it the most out of all of us.  I promised the kids I would take them earlier in the year.  Then, Captain got the flu and then the coronavirus kept us home so I didn't feel bad at all buying it and watching it at home.  We popped popcorn and ate some leftover candy.  It was just like being at the theater... but in our pjs!  If you didn't promise to take anybody, I think it'll be fine when it hits Disney+, no need to watch it as soon as possible.

Hanging in There

So, this has been a fun month.  I hope this isn't "going out like a lamb."  We've all kind of adapted ok so far.  

We wake up.  The kids start school work around 10AM.  Little Miss has set their room up with two trays as desks and two chairs.  She guides him through his lessons and does her own work.  They come out for lunch.  Normally, this is when they are done for the day, but the work load has ramped up this week to be more interactive so they went back to work after lunch time.  We've been very consistent with bedtime which has helped at least.  

They've been pretty calm.  There are some questions here and there.  In general, they've been more active with us though.  You'd think close quarters would make them crankier, but it hasn't really.  Maybe it's the extra sleep.  Little Miss has been getting up 2-3 hours later than her usual school schedule.  We've played some board games, watched movies, popped popcorn.  We've had some interesting conversations about guns, politics, passing on germs.  Captain has a lot of interesting perspectives.  For example, he may need a gun to protect himself from bad guys... or just a shield.  So, maybe he just thinks he's actually Captain America.  

Monday, March 9, 2020

Book Opinion - Rafe

After many recommendations, I finally read Rafe. by Rebekah Weatherspoon.  I bought it awhile ago, but I didn't get into it.  I will, in all fairness, mention that I never really read more than a sentence before putting it down or getting distracted.  So, it's not the book's fault.  Anyway, last week, I sat down to read it.  I really liked it.  

Sloan's nanny up and walks out leaving the cutest set of twins home by themselves.  Rafe just finishes a nanny (manny?) position and is trying to find his next steps.  Sloan hires Rafe.  They are super attracted to each other.  They fall in love quite quickly which isn't usually my thing, but I love how honest they were with each other, how great they were with the kids and maneuvering around life's obstacles, how Rafe was with his own family.  It was super steamy, but it had to be because the tension is just tangible.  They were about to combust!  However, if you're not into that type of thing, maybe not read this one.  

New Food 2020 - Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sugar Snap Peas

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sugar Snap Peas

  • 3 cups sugar snap peas , trimmed, rinsed, dried
  • 3 tablespoons STAR Roasted Garlic Olive Oil (see notes if using regular olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and fresh ground pepper , to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Combine sugar snap peas and olive oil in a mixing bowl and toss to coat.
  4. In a separate bowl mix together panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
  5. Add the panko mixture to the sugar snap peas and toss to combine.
  6. Arrange in previously prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  7. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crispy, turning once during cooking.
  8. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Recipe Notes
If you do not have "garlic olive oil", use 2 tablespoons minced garlic for the peas mixed with regular olive oil.

We really liked this.  It was easy, and the crunch made it worth it.  We made our own garlic oil.  We just put smashed cloves and heated them in the oil on low for awhile and let it all hang out.  We probably should have let it rest longer, but we didn't.  It didn't make much difference.  I don't know why I've never roasted sugar snap peas before.  I probably would rank this higher than crepes, but we take an average and that's how the numbers played out.

10 possible points - Taste (possible 5), Was it worth the effort?  (possible 3), Appearance (possible 1), Would we make it again? (possible 1)
Lemon Butter Garlic Shrimp - 9 points
Orange Chicken - 9 points
Crepes - 9 points
Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sugar Snap Peas - 8 pointsVanilla Cake - 7 points

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

New Food 2020 - Lemon Butter Garlic Shrimp

Lemon Butter Garlic Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta 

8 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions (half of a 1-pound box) 
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) 
1 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste 
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and cleaned with tails off (I prefer 12-15 count shrimp) 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper 
1/4 cup lemon juice 
1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional 

DIRECTIONS: Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside. To a large skillet, add the butter and heat over medium-high heat to melt. Stir in the garlic powder. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes total, or until just pink and cooked through. Flip shrimp halfway through cooking. Cooking time will vary based on size of shrimp and pan used; don’t overcook or shrimp will become rubbery and tough. Add the lemon juice, optional lemon zest, and stir briefly to combine. Turn the heat to low, add the pasta to skillet with the shrimp, and toss to combine and coat. Taste, check for seasoning balance, and make any desired tweaks (add more salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon juice, etc.). Serve immediately. Dish is best warm and fresh, but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat gently prior to serving.

Link and recipe from website above.  Here's how we changed it.  We doubled the recipe.  We used linguine.  We used large shrimp, but we cut them in half.  We had leftovers so, when we reheated, we splashed some chicken stock on it, squeezed a lemon wedge and sprinkled some more garlic poweder (and mixed).  In the future, I would use real garlic instead of garlic powder.  That said, when you do that, it sometimes turns green from the lemon OR I would season the shrimp with garlic salt and pepper.  I think it would up the flavor a little, but that depends on your taste.  I would maybe sprinkle some red pepper flakes in there, too.  Anyway, solid recipe, easy, and it was a hit in the house.   It does taste best right after you make it, but with the tweaks, it was a decent leftover meal, too.

10 possible points - Taste (possible 5), Was it worth the effort?  (possible 3), Appearance (possible 1), Would we make it again? (possible 1)
Lemon Butter Garlic Shrimp - 9 points
Orange Chicken - 9 points
Crepes - 9 points
Vanilla Cake - 7 points

February 2020

February was a long month.  The first weekend, Little Miss and I went to Williams Sonona to make and decorate Valentine's Day cookies.  It was a private class!  We got the cute little conversation heart cookie cutter set.

The second weekend, we went back to Williams Sonoma to make some orange chicken which was just a jar of sauce and chicken in the air fryer.  It was so good (see other post).  The next day, we went back to make salted caramel pretzel cheesecake and chocolate molten cake.  They were so delicious and so easy to make!   It's in the Instant Pot, takes no time at all, and we got to take the cookbook home.=

The third weekend,  we went to the Parents' winter vacation house and met up with family.   We celebrated Mom's birthday a little early.   I played beer pong for charity.   Poorly.  Sister and Brother-in-Law won the tournament,  Cousin won pint glasses,  and I won the 50/50 cash raffle and a shirt.  Great time all around!  We also think Captain has his first crush on my youngest Cousin's girlfriend (above). 

The last weekend was relatively quiet.  We ran a lot of errands.  Little Miss scored her third goal in four weeks at hockey and is in the playoffs.  Captain got new sneakers.  It was not earth-shattering.