Shely

Some people may wonder why bother making your own pizza when all you need to do is buy a ready made pizza or pizza dough.

Making your own pizza dough is a snap. And it is sure to be a fun cooking project for you, your friends and family.

Making pizza dough is not difficult at all. And if you own a home bread machine all you need to do is follow the directions and recipe guidelines of your bread maker for pizza dough and voila you can have your first pizza dough ready for any ingredients your imagination dictates.

But if you are making your very own pizza dough from scratch, no sweat. All you need are the following basic ingredients for a basic pizza dough: Beer 1 cup, 1 tablespoon of shortening, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2-3/4 cups of flour, and 1-1/4 teaspoon of yeast. Cornmeal is optional, but if you have cornmeal on hand great, all you will need is 2 tablespoons.

How to put it all together is even easier: You will need a large mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, a fork, rolling pin optional, cellophane or plastic wrap, tea towel, baking pan(s) and an oven.

Measure and pour beer in to a large mixing bowl. Next add 1 tablespoon of shortening and sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2-3/4 cups of flour, and 1-1/4 teaspoon of yeast. Mix all of these six ingredients using a fork. The key is not to over work the dough… just mix enough so that all the liquid and dry ingredients (sugar, salt, flour, and yeast) are blended in.

Let the dough rest in mixing pan covered with cellophane or plastic wrap and cover again with a clean tea towel for about 40 minutes. The dough will have risen.

Remove pizza dough from mixing bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out pizza dough into two 12-inch or one 14-inch size. Or pat the dough into the desired baking pans. Top with your favorite toppings.

Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes or until the top edge of the crust is lightly browned and toppings are browned or bubbling. The bake time will vary with the ingredients used. Keep watch over baking pizza. Check the bottom of the pizza by lifting the edge of the pizza to check the bottom to be sure it is not burning.

Note: If dough is sticky to handle add enough flour (little is best) so that dough is not sticky. If you desire, before you add the pizza dough to the pan sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon of cornmeal in bottom of pan and then place rolled dough on top of the cornmeal.

Pizza toppings are endless. You can use the traditional tomato pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni. But you can also add to these ingredients… red or green peppers, onions, fresh garlic, artichoke, olives black or green, other ingredients include different meats such as chicken, meatballs, hamburger, salami, bacon, ham, and so on.

Consider a meatless pizza. The list is endless for cheeses and other vegetables. Try eggplant, zucchini, minced carrot, celery, celery root, different types of onions. Consider other ingredients, add different seasonings such as basil leafs, parsley, and tarragon. Consider pesto sauce as your base sauce or just use a light drizzle of olive oil.

Home-made pizzas allow your imagination to soar. Be creative.

Why greens were singled out here is slightly immature in a sense. Maybe it is to do with the whole thing about parents or guardians telling there kid that eating their vegetables is very beneficial for them. And the kids not wanting to go there because of taste or some possibly aesthetically inclined reason. The popular known saying by the parent or guardian is Eat all your vegetables else you wont grow big and strong. Not too sure what the word grow stands for in this saying but I could give them the benefit of the doubt and understand it as not being contrary to my side of this debate. I mean for one good point is that they were talking to kids.

Saying this I suspect that I possibly may have taken the word grow in the title the wrong way and it actually means what I presumed the grow in the saying above meant in that case I would be in the Yes column. I apologize if I am no expert at English but I have taken the word grow as it sounds in the title and I am in the No column.

Does eating your greens really make you grow? Does it? I mean what happens when you eat? That is, what happens when you take in food into the body? As whatever it is you are eating (greens) can be classed as a food.

It is an awesome journey.

However this is no science lecture, well it could be, I don’t know. When food is taken in it tastes nice but it also needs to be broken down in order for the body to be able to make use of the nutrients, fibers, vitamins and benefits they contain.

One way of looking at this is that the food has to be small enough to be absorbed into the body. On another level there is four ways where the food can go once it is in the stomach. The pathways to these ways depend on what happens in the stomach.

Food has to be broken down. For instance you take in sugar say when you have a bowl of cereal. Only the individual small sugar molecules called monosaccharide’s can be absorbed directly. Your body must digest the table sugar (sucrose) which is made up of two small sugars to its monosaccharide’s. Any food not broken down does not get absorbed. The food substances that are not used exit the body as waste.

The nutrients in the body are now absorbed into the blood stream and are taken to various parts of the body as required. That is, any nutrients good for the hair will be taken in that direction etc. So far there is no evidence of grow. Only information that nutrients are taken in. But what do they do.

Your body needs food. It uses the food it takes in for a variety of things to help your body heal if you get a cut, helps your bones ,help your body make protein and energy, to build up, maintain and replace tissues in your body. Your body uses protein to make hemoglobin; other proteins are used to build heart muscles. These are the results of taken in food (a good diet) not to mention the greens.

Asparagus very high in flavor, very low in calories is rich in nutrients ideal for young women. Containing two major anti-oxidants which fight such things as free radicals which in turn can help against ageing. By neutralizing damaging particles in our bodies like smog and cigarette smoke, antioxidants are major contenders in the fight against heart disease, cancer and cataracts. So food/greens helps us also battle ailments and diseases.

Beet is important. It contains an important vitamin critical to lifelong help for men, women and children. Long term deficiencies are extremely unhealthy.

Broccoli is important as regards calcium intake for those who do not consume dairy products, just to mention one of its awesome benefits. I myself make sure I finish everything on my plate and after this research am glad I ate the broccoli. Just need to look for some beets. Anyway, Food is needed and never forget or leave out the greens or the fruit either.

So I have described what food does hence greens do when in the body.

And I have mentioned above what happens when we eat and the great benefits that can be obtained when we eat food and also the particular types. They help us and our bodies, whatever activity we are engaging in. Doing important work like moving your legs, moving your lungs and protecting you from ailments and diseases etc.

But does eating your greens really make you grow? The really suggests that this has

Been said or accepted or something, like it has been believed.

My idea is that growth in that question is a different aspect entirely.

Making pizza at home has dual benefits. For one thing, it’s a pretty impressive meal when it comes hot out of the oven directly to the table. It looks like a lot of effort went into its creation despite the fact that it’s fairly easy to prepare. It can also be surprisingly affordable. The first step to making the perfect pizza is is to make your own dough right at home. This delightful dish is sure to make you a hit at super bowl parties, sleep-overs and neighborhood bashes. Basic pizza dough is simplicity itself it consists of only six ingredients.

To make the dough gather together all of the ingredients, a large mixing bowl, a rolling pin, and the pan or pans you plan on using. A cookie sheet makes a nice large party pizza. You can also use traditional 12 inch pizza pans made from metal or if you have one, you can use a pizza stone. If you are using a pizza pan, or cookie sheet, unless it is stick-free, you’ll have to lightly grease it. Preheat over to 425 degrees.

Ingredients for dough (1 large party pizza or two 12 inch);

2 cups of flour (you can substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour for one of white, throw in a cup of flax flour for added nutrition)

1 package of yeast or the equivalent tablespoon of yeast

1 cup of very warm water

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 pinch of salt

1 tablespoon of sugar

*Begin by putting the very warm water in the mixing bowl, add yeast and a tablespoon of sugar (honey can also be used, but sugar seems to help activate the yeast better). Add olive oil and stir the mixture. Slowly add flour to the liquid, mixing as you go. When all of the water has been added use your hands to finish mixing the dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured cutting board or counter. With your hands begin kneading the dough. For those of you who haven’t made bread dough, think of it as massaging the dough until it has a smooth, firm texture and easily forms into a nice ball. Knead for at least 10 minutes by hand.

*Put the dough ball back into the bowl and lightly coat it with a bit of olive oil to keep the dough from drying out while it rises. The temperature should be warm in the kitchen, somewhere between 68-72 degrees. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for 45-50 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.

*Put the dough back out onto the floured board or counter and punch it down. If you are going to make two pizzas, split the ball in halt and form into two balls, if you’re making one large pizza, reform into one ball. On the floured surface roll the ball(s) out until they are the shape and roughly the size of the pizza pan you’re using. Place the dough on the pizza pan(s). You can use your hands to pull and manipulate the dough to the right dimensions.

*At this point you can pinch the dough crust to make the edges look regular. Cover the pizza pan with a towel again and allow the dough to rise another 30 minutes. Top the dough with pizza sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice. Put in oven for 20 – 25 minutes. C

*Check the dough by gently lifting the edge of the pizza for uniform golden-brown color. Pizza sauce can be homemade or bought commercially. One easy solution is to use a jarred spaghetti sauce. A quick pizza sauce can be made from 1 can of tomato sauce, a clove of garlic, and Italian seasoning to taste. Toppings can be as varied as you want as well. Ham, pineapple, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, olives, bell peppers and onions are all popular choices. For a healthier pizza try using fresh veggies, like broccoli, red bell pepper, and squash. Delicious!

Let’s talk beans. I know you’re probably laughing to yourself as you’re reading this, reminded of grade school rhymes. The truth is that dried beans are good for you too.

A pound of dried beans can generally be bought for less than $1.00, and that yields about 10-12 servings. Most people won’t try dried beans because they think they are too labor-intensive, but that’s just not true. I prefer to use dried beans whenever possible (unless of course, I’m using fresh), because there is no added sodium or other chemical preservatives. I can control exactly what goes into my food and that is a good thing. There are tons of varieties and they’re packed full of cheap nutritional goodness.

Did you know that when you combine dried beans with just about any grain product you create a complete protein that is comparable to any meat protein? It’s also less expensive and less taxing on both our environment and our bodies.

Enough of the sermon. Now for some facts:

a serving of cooked beans is about 1/2 cup.

Dry beans can be stored in unopened packages, or a sealed container, in a cool, dry place indefinitely.

Cooked beans can be stored up to 3-5 days covered in the refrigerator.

Cooked beans can be frozen for several weeks.

While there are several ways to prepare dried beans, I’m going to focus on the only one that I use – soaking. Pre-soaking beans softens them and helps remove tannins and gas-causing sugars. It is the most reliable and consistent method I’ve found and it is simple:

Pour dried beans into a strainer.

Rinse and remove non-bean material (small rocks are common).

Place beans into a large bowl and cover with cool, clean water.

Soak 8-10 hours. Longer soaks may leave them soggy.

HINT: Changing the soak water after about 4 hours will remove even more of the stuff that causes gas.

Now on to cooking dried beans. It really is easy and once you’ve done it a few times you’ll appreciate the improved taste even more than the money you save or the health benefits. Here are the basic instructions for cooking soaked beans:

Rinse soaked beans thoroughly and pour them into a large pot. Cover with water.

NOTE: DO NOT add salt or tomato products to uncooked beans!

Bring to a boil, stir and reduce to a slow simmer.

Simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until beans are tender.

HINT: Adding a small amount of oil to the pot will reduce foaming.

Although Popeye had some really huge muscles, greens were not the source. I think he may have been sneaking some of Wimpy’s hamburgers in from time to time. Greens may not give you massive muscles, but they do have some key components that we really don’t want to live without.

Greens do have essential nutrients for contributing to our overall good health. Greens are chocked full of vitamin A, K, and C. They are also good sources of magnesium, potassium, beta carotene, omega 3 fatty acids, and calcium. http://www.natural-health-girl.com/eating-greens.html All of the nutritional qualities found in greens are paramount in keeping a healthy immune system which fights off various illnesses and diseases.

Greens contain detoxifying enzymes that cleanse the blood of toxins which latch on to cell membranes, and also eradicates molecules that contain fat contributing to high cholesterol. When you eat greens you actually signal your body to make these detoxifying agents which also reduce the amount of free radicals floating around inside you. Free radicals are major contributors to various types of cancer. http://www.peertrainer.com/DFcaloriecounterB.aspx?id=2666

Usually when we think of beta carotene we think orange, but greens are actually loaded with beta carotene and vitamin A. These two power house nutrients are fundamental for good vision. They also contain a substance called lutein which has been proven to reduce the risks of cataracts by 50%. Those who eat more greens are less likely to form cataracts later in life.

As we get older our memory tends to suffer and our ability to learn new skills weakens. We do see some people who seem to still be sharp as a tack in their eighties. Diet does seem to have a direct impact on our mental age. Greens also help keep our mental cognition functioning as we age.

Research says that eating just 3 servings of greens a week can possibly slow mental aging by 40%. Our mental age can actually be up to five years younger then our chronological age To help keep your mind alert and active add some greens each week.

Greens are very low in calories which mean you can have them daily in a number of tasty concoctions. Greens are great in salads, as a side dish, or a few leafs on a turkey sandwich. There are many unique tasty ways to incorporate greens into our diets and reap the health benefits they provide.

You may not increase your biceps, but you can surely increase your mental alertness, reduce your risk of certain cancers, keep your eyes healthy, and boost your overall immune system. Keep strong to the finish, eat your spinach!

Pizza Dough is surprisingly easy to make and never fails to impress and delight your family and friends. To make it you need the following

Ingredients

4 oz plain flour (preferably strong bread flour)

1 tablespoonful dry yeast (unless fresh yeast is available!)

1 tablespoonful olive oil

1 egg (optional)

1 pinch salt

Basic Topping ingredients

One small onion

1 clove garlic

2-3 tomatoes (tinned tomatoes are excellent)

1 tablespoonful tomato puree

4 oz (100 fr) Mozzarella cheese

Oregano, basil, herbes de Provence, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Other ingredients according to taste, imagination and what may be available.

Method

Follow the instructions as far as using the yeast is concerned. Some brands require you to leave the yeast to prove for ten minutes before adding to the flour. Other brands require you to add the yeast to the flour before mixing. When ready, add the yeast with the other ingredients to the flour together with a small amount of water (better play it safe, as you can always add more later!) and knead vigorously for five minutes, adding more water as required, until you have a pliant, smooth ball of dough. It is then ready to roll out on a floured board into the desired shape. Most of us think of a pizza as round. There are purpose made round trays with holes at the base for extra crispness, but it’s perfectly acceptable to roll out your dough in a rectangular form if you don’t happen to have a round baking tray, or even turn over the dough with what would otherwise be your topping ingredents and an egg into a pasty shape to make an individual serving. In fact, as you become more adventurous, you may experiment with the various shapes – a heart shape for St Valentine’s day, initial letters of names, flower shapes.

The standard topping is tomato sauce, made by frying an onion with a clove of garlic until soft and then adding tomatoes, tomato puree, with oregano, basil or herbes de Provence and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Spread this sauce thinly on top of the dough, avoiding any bald areas, but also avoiding excessive generosity, which can make the pizza difficult to handle when it comes to serving up. To this basic topping you can add any of a vast range of possible toppings: chopped mushrooms, chopped artichoke hearts, chopped peppers, pine nuts, salami, ham… Complete with pieces of mozzarella over the top, drizzle a little olive oil on the sides of the dough, and bake in a pre-heated oven (450 degrees) for about twenty minutes until the dough is crisp and the mozzarella is slightly brown. Your pizza is then ready to serve.

What comes to mind when you hear someone talking about frozen/refrigerated breads (biscuits, crescent rolls, etc)? Perhaps Thanksgiving dinner or Sunday brunch pops into your head. Well, is there a surprise in store for you in this article! There is more than one way to use these canned delights and some of those are going to be highlighted here. Most of the recipes will be using refrigerated buttermilk biscuits, but as always, you can adapt and use your favorite kind.

Easy peach cobbler

1 can of cling peaches in light syrup

Cinnamon to taste

1 can of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

In a medium sauce pan, bring peaches (with the syrup) and cinnamon to a boil. Pour peaches into an 8×8 baking dish and top with biscuits. Spread melted butter over the biscuits if you wish and then bake at 325, for 18 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown. You may want to put aluminum foil on the oven rack to catch any possible dribbles during baking. This recipe is from the personal collection of this article’s author.

Bread crumbs

The idea here is to use any leftover baked biscuits in other recipes. For example you could crumble them up in your favorite meatloaf recipe in place of crackers or regular bread crumbs. 

Bread pudding This is such a good idea for leftover biscuits or fresh baked ones. You can either follow the given recipe or place the biscuits in a medium sized baking dish and then pour the pudding ingredients over them and bake it that way! Bread pudding is so versatile and not to mention yummy dessert.

Chicken and dumplings Use your favorite recipe or the one provided, omit the dumpling ingredients and use unbaked biscuits instead. This works best in a crock pot recipe as the biscuits will have plenty of time to “cook” nicely. You can cut the biscuit dough into smaller pieces or use whole ones, it is up to you and the size of your crock pot! Hint: this is a fabulous meal to make early on a Sunday morning and then enjoy for lunch or dinner with the family.

Doughnuts Yep, you read that correctly; doughnuts! Who doesn’t love an occasional sweet treat? What could be easier than making your doughnuts out of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits? All you need to do is separate the biscuits, cut holes in the middle of each one and then fry them up! You can also fry up the doughnuts holes too. When the biscuits turn light brown and start puffing, they are done. Place the cooked doughnuts on a paper towel to allow the oil to drain off. You can then decorate them with frosting, sprinkles, powdered sugar and/or cinnamon sugar. 

These are just some of the many things you can do with canned biscuits. Who knew that those little bitty bundles of goodness had so many uses! 

What would a recipe be like if we did not have onions? The distinctively pungent smell and taste of onions rounds out the flavours of almost any type of cuisine. For centuries, onions have added value to our cuisine and have also been thought of as having therapeutic properties.

The word onion comes from the Latin word unio for “single” or “one” because the onion produces a single bulb. The name also suggests the union of the many separate concentrically arranged layers of the onion. Onions are native to Asia and the Middle East and have thought to be cultivated for over five thousand years-they were highly regarded by the ancient Egyptians. Often the ancient Egyptians used them as currency to pay the workers who built the pyramids, and also placed them in the tombs of kings (Tutankhamen) so that the kings could carry them as gifts in the afterlife. In India in the 6th century onions were used as a medicine. The ancient Greeks and Romans often dressed up onions with extra seasonings in their cooking because they did not find them spicy enough. Many European countries during the Middle Ages served onions as a classic healthy breakfast food. It should be noted that Christopher Columbus brought onions with him to the West Indies and spread their cultivation from there throughout the Western Hemisphere. Today the leading producers of onions are China, the United States, Russia and Spain, among others.

Onions are available in fresh, frozen, canned and dehydrated forms. They can be used in almost any type of food, cooked, in fresh salads or as a garnish, and are usually chopped or sliced. Onions are mainly used as an accompaniment to a main course and are rarely eaten on their own. There are many different types of onions ranging from sharp and pungent to mild and sweet.

Depending on the variety, onions range in size, colour and taste. There are generally two types of large, globe-shaped onions, classified as spring/summer or storage onions. The spring/summer class includes onions that are grown in warm weather climates and have characteristic mild or sweet tastes. This group includes the Maui Sweet Onion (in season April through June), Vidalia (in season May through June) and Walla Walla (in season July and August). Storage onions are grown in colder weather climates and, after harvesting, can be dried out for a period of several months. They generally have a more pungent flavour and are named by their color: white, yellow or red. Spanish onions are classified as storage onions. There are also smaller varieties of onions, such as the green onion (also called scallions) and the pearl onion.

Onions are members of the Allium family and are rich in powerful sulphur-containing compounds which are responsible for their pungent odours and for their many health-promoting effects. When an onion is sliced the cells are broken, which allows enzymes called alliinases to break down sulphides and generate sulphenic acids (amino acid sulfoxides). The Sulphenic acids are unstable and decompose to produce a gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide. Then this gas reaches the eye it reacts with the water in the eye to form a diluted solution of sulphuric acid which irritated the nerve endings in the eye. Your eye then produces tears to dilute and flush out the irritating substance. This is what makes your eyes sting and water when slicing onions.

Eye irritation can be reduced by supplying an ample amount of water to the reaction, which prevents the gas from reaching your eye. This is why it is thought to be helpful to cut onions under running water or submerged in a bowl of water. Rinsing the onion and leaving it wet while slicing may also be helpful. Other tips to help reduce eye irritation are by freezing onions, which prevents the enzymes from activating, limiting the amount of gas generated. Also, using a very sharp knife while chopping will limit the cell damage thereby reducing the amount of enzymes released. Lemon will help to remove the characteristic odour of the onion.

As mentioned, onions are thought to produce many health benefits. Onions are a good source of chromium, the mineral component in glucose tolerance factor, a molecule that helps cells respond to insulin. Diabetic clinical studies have shown that the chromium produced by onions can decrease fasting blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance, lower insulin levels and decrease total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as increase good HDL-cholesterol levels.

One cup of raw onion contains over 20% of the daily value for chromium. Since chromium levels are depleted by the consumption of refined sugars, white flour products and the lack of exercise, marginal chromium deficiency is common in the United States.

A case-control study from Southern European populations suggests that making onions and garlic a staple in your diet may greatly lower your risk of several common cancers. Eating onions two or more times per week is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing colon cancer. As well, the regular consumption of onions has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, both of which help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Onions may also help maintain healthy bones. A newly identified compound in onions, gamma-L-glutamyl-trans-S-1-propenyl-cysteine sulphoxide (GPCS) inhibits the activity of osteoclasts (the cells that break down bones). This may be especially beneficial for women who are at increased risk for osteoporosis as they go through menopause.

Other potential health benefits of onions include several anti-inflammatory agents that reduce the severity of symptoms associated with the pain and swelling of osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, the allergic inflammatory response of asthma, and the respiratory congestion associated with the common cold. Also, quercitin and other flavonoids found in onions work with vitamin C to help kill harmful bacteria and are helpful when added to soups and stews during cold and flu season.

In many parts of the undeveloped world, onions are also helpful in healing blisters and boils. Onion extract (Mederma) is used in the United States in the treatment of topical scars.

When choosing onions, choose onions that are clean, have no opening at the neck and have crisp, dry outer skins. Avoid onions that have sprouted, have signs of mold, or once that have soft spots, moisture at the neck, and dark patches which may indicate signs of decay. When choosing scallions, choose those that have green, fresh-looking tops which are crisp and tender. They should be white in colour for 2-3″ along the base. Avoid scallions that look wilted or have yellowed tops.

Store onions are room temperature, away from bright light and in a well-ventilated area. Hanging them in a wire basket or perforated bowl for ventilation is ideal. Onions that are more pungent in flavour, such as yellow onions, can be stored for longer periods that the sweeter variety of onions, such as white onions. Scallions should be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and will keep well for about a week. Store all onions away from potatoes as the onions will absorb the moisture from the potatoes and cause them to spoil more easily. Cut onions should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or sealed in a container, and should be used within a couple of days since they tend to oxidize and lose their nutrient value quickly. To maintain the best taste of cooked onions, they should be stored in an airtight container and used within a few days. Never place cooked onions in a metal container since this will cause discoloration. Peeled and chopped onions may be frozen raw, but this can cause them to lose some of their flavour.

Onions can be eaten raw or cooked in almost any way imaginable-broiled, boiled, baked, creamed, fried, deep-fried, or pickled. They are great in soups, stews and combined with meats and vegetables. They add a versatility to your dishes that is hard to beat.

Pizza may possibly be the perfect food. Children and adults both love it, and it can be served in a variety of ways that cover most food groups: bread, dairy, vegetables, meats, and even fruit.

The Italians believe that good pizza is all about the crust. There should not be an overabundance of toppings, because that would detract from the bread, which is the star. It’s up to you if you want to follow this philosophy, but either way, you can take your pizza to the next level by making it from scratch. It’s more affordable than delivery and tastes infinitely better than a frozen pizza and most delivery options. Making a pizza crust from scratch is easier than it sounds, and it really doesn’t take much more time than waiting for the delivery driver.

 For the dough, you’ll need:

3/4 c warm water (110 degrees)
1 package dry yeast
2 tsp honey
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp salt

First, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in a large mixer bowl. Allow it to sit for five minutes so the yeast can proof.

Add 1 cup of flour and the salt, and mix with a dough hook on a low speed. Gradually add the remaining flour as the dough will absorb it (you may not need it all).

Knead for about 7 minutes. Turn the dough out on a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times.

Put the dough into a large, oiled bowl and roll the dough around until it’s well-coated. Cover it with a kitchen towel and allow it to sit for 30 minutes while you prepare the toppings. After 30 minutes, divide the dough into two balls and roll out each on a floured board into 8 inch rounds.

Brush the dough with olive oil, and top with your favorite cheese and toppings. Bake on a sheet pan coated with cornmeal at 475 F for 8-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown around the edges and the cheese is bubbling.

 Always allow the pizza to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it; this allows the juices to go back into any vegetables on the pizza, preventing a soggy crust after cutting, and allows the flavors to further develop.

You can turn making pizzas into a family event, or even a pizza party with your friends. Have about eight different precut toppings available, such as sliced red onions, caramelized onions, sliced red and yellow bell peppers, olives, pepperoni, sausage, pineapple, figs, and sauteed mushrooms. Offer a mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, feta, and even goat cheeses. The possibilities are endless.

While a good pizza crust is delicious when simply brushed with olive oil and topped with mozzarella, salt, and pepper, you can offer even more different combinations by offering sauces. Go beyond the traditional tomato sauce with an alfredo, garlic oil, or pesto.

Play around with the basic dough recipe to make it your own. Add some chopped herbs, garlic, or grated Parmesan when mixing the dough. Enjoy the process of making your own dough, of making the crust the star of the pizza, just as the Italians do.

Making biscuits from scratch can be quick and easy. It gives you the freedom to choose between making a savory or a sweet bread. In one of my more experimental moods in the kitchen I came up with this simple recipe for drop biscuits that allows for variations to be made with little to no trouble. This recipe is ready in less than half an hour and makes approximately 6 large biscuits, or more if you prefer them to be smaller; the recipe can easily be doubled or halved to suit your needs.

Garlic Drop Biscuits

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tblsp cold butter, cut into small pieces (I use BestLife as it’s dairy-free)
1/3 cup milk (I prefer to use rice milk)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, parsley, and garlic in a medium sized bowl. Add butter and shake the bowl gently to distribute the butter. Add milk and stir just until all ingredients are combined and the butter is distributed. Be careful not to overmix the batter or your biscuits might turn out a little tough. This batter should be fairly thick.

Lightly butter a cookie sheet and drop the batter in heaping spoonfuls. You could also spread the batter in a buttered 8-inch round cake pan to make a small round loaf of garlic bread.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits are just turning golden brown.

For variations, follow the instructions as above, but make one of the following changes:

For a sweeter biscuit, replace the parsley and garlic with a teaspoon of sugar.

For a dessert-like biscuit, replace the parsley and garlic with half a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla or cinnamon or ginger.

For a chocolate biscuit, replace the parsley and garlic with a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder and half a tablespoon of sugar.