Hummingbirds and Pizza II

I wanted to share a short update with you!  We’ve been seeing at least one hummingbird quite consistently.  I think it’s a female.  She is such a sweet little bird.  Often when I’m doing something out in the yard I’ll all of a sudden hear the hum of her wings and her sweet little chirp and look up and there she is flitting to and from the feeder, daintily sipping the sugar water!  I took this picture while sitting on a small stool on our porch waiting for her, so that’s why it’s at a weird angle.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to look for a gluten-free pizza crust recipe so I could make pizza for my husband who eats (mostly) gluten-free.  Well, last night for our Friday Movie and Pizza Night I made a gluten-free pizza for him, and I’m happy to say that he loved it!  I used the recipe from http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gf-pizza-dough/ and changed it just a tad bit. You’ll want to use her recipe rather than what I’ve posted below (her directions are more thorough and complete), but I’ll share below how I made my husband’s pizza.

Gluten-Free Pizza Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour — I used Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour (I bought it in the natural foods section at Fred Meyer).
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum — I used Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan Gum (I also bought it in the natural foods section at Fred Meyer).
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon raw sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt — I’m out of sea salt, so I just used cheap salt I had in the cupboard I had bought to make salt playdough with, but next time I’ll use sea salt.
3/4 cup warm water — you can test the temperature of the water to make sure it’s not too hot by holding your wrist under the faucet; the water should should feel very warm but not hot.
3 tablespoons vegetable (fruit) oil — I used canola oil because it was easy and I had some on hand.  I usually don’t usually buy canola anymore, though, and next time will probably use grapeseed oil or olive oil (both technically fruit oils)

The author of the recipe said you could make the dough in a medium-size bowl or in a food processor.  I decided to try making it in my food processor.  I placed the flour, xanthan gum, yeast, sugar, and salt in my food processor and mixed the ingredients up.

Then I added the 3 tablespoons of oil and the water in a steady stream, pulsing in my food processor to combine. The recipe says a ball will begin to form, and I tried to watch for that.  The dough was pretty sticky, so I added a small amount of more flour a few times until it wasn’t so sticky.  I pressed the dough together into a disk, smoothed some oil all over it, placed it in a bowl, covered the bowl with a cloth, and put it in my cupboard.  I was supposed to let it rise for an hour, but I didn’t have that much time.  I’m guessing it raised for about half an hour, but I’m not sure.

Then I took it out of the cupboard and with my hands (oiled) I pressed it out on an oiled cookie sheet into the shape of a round pizza.

Before putting the toppings on it, I baked it in the oven at 400 degrees F for 6 minutes. Then I put sauce, vegan cheese, chunks of pineapple, chopped up tofu patties (from Trader Joe’s), and chopped onions on the pizza.  After the oven was free again (I was baking my children’s pizzas at the time, I baked it for about 7 more minutes.

I am so happy my husband loved it, and I will be making this again!  :)

Hummingbirds and Pizza

Again, I’m writing about two completely different topics, except this time I found a way to tie them together. :)  I enjoy having family traditions, even simple, basic ones, and I think my mom has helped us start a new family tradition! She has a hummingbird feeder at her house that’s hanging by her fuchsia plant (that I traditionally buy her each year for Mothers’ Day!), and she loves watching the the sweet, little birds come to drink from the feeder.  She wanted to share that experience with us in a special way, so she bought us two hummingbird feeders and mixed the sugar water to put in them, and, together with my younger children, she hung the feeders up on the porch.  This tradition is especially neat because my mother-in-law also loved hummingbirds, so watching for hummingbirds is actually a tradition on both sides of the family!

And the hummingbirds have been coming!  Here are a couple pictures my 7-year-old son took this morning (I apologize for not fixing the flag so that it hangs correctly; I feel bad about that!).  My son took these pictures through the window on our front porch.  Isn’t the hummingbird pretty?

Another simple tradition, in a completely different vein!, that our family has is watching a movie on Friday nights.  We’ve watched a movie together as a family on Fridays for years now.  I’m not sure when we started doing that, but I can’t remember not having Fridays as movie night.

Sometime, I think last year, I started making personal pizzas on Friday night to eat while we watch the movie, and that has become a tradition, too.  Each person puts topping on their own pizza however they want.  I think it’s fun!

Here are two awesome pizza dough recipes: Robbie’s Thin Pizza Crust and Robbie’s Whole Wheat Pizza Crust.  Those are the recipes that got me started.  Now I just kind of throw the dough together by memory, and it turns out pretty well, though maybe I should re-read the recipes to make sure I’m not missing any great hints that I’ve forgotten since the last time I read them.  I usually use all whole wheat flour (the crust turns out softer, though, when I add some white flour to it). Last night I experimented and put some garlic powder, crushed basil, and chia seeds that had been ground in a coffee grinder in with the dough (I added the chia seed meal to increase the nutrition of the dough), and I thought it turned out fine (no one complained, so I took that as a good sign;)).  Here are pictures of our pizzas from last night.

My 13-year-old son's pizza

My 7-year-old son's pizza

My 11-year-old daughter's pizza

My 16-year-old daughter's pizza

My pizza!

They are all vegan pizzas, by the way, and they are so yummy! You might be wondering where my husband’s pizza is. He eats (mostly) gluten-free, and I admit I haven’t been making pizzas for him because of that, but I think I’ll look up a recipe for him this week. I’ll let you know if I make him a gluten-free pizza next time and how it goes. :)

A Deer and Strawberry Jam

Those are two completely different topics, by the way. The deer had nothing to do with the strawberry jam, except that I saw the deer around the time I made the jam this morning. ;)

My 7-year-old son spotted the deer outside in our yard through the front window. It was enjoying eating leaves! I love deer, well, okay, even when they eat my roses, . . . and tulips, though I wish they wouldn’t do that! They are, though, such noble, beautiful, peaceful animals. Just look at these eyes. How can you not love this creature?

Deer eating leaves

Now regarding the jam. . . first of all, I want to say that my mom is one of the sweetest and kindest people in the world! She’s always doing thoughtful things to encourage me and bless our family. Yesterday she brought over some Mrs. Wages No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin for me to try. She also brought over and washed and cut up 2 lbs. of fresh strawberries to use to make the jam.

This morning I smashed the strawberries a bit. In another container I mixed half a package (about 7 1/2 teaspoons) of the pectin with 1/2 cup of xylitol and 1/4 cup of turbinado sugar and stirred them together. Then I poured the mixture into the strawberries and stirred them up. And, voila! There you go. . . as quick as can be we had fresh, uncooked, delicious strawberry jam! Two pounds of strawberries (and half a package of the fruit pectin) made four jars of jam with some leftover to put on our toast this morning. Yum!!