New Year resolutions – 

I use the first of the year to evaluate my past year and plan for the future.

Personal resolution #1 –   Better meals!

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I need to put more energy into meals. I’ve been so busy with moving and everything for the past four months that I’ve gotten lazy with cooking. I feel like an important part of my home life is sitting down and enjoying meals with my family. No tv, no phones, no distractions….everyone enjoys the meal more and the time spent visiting with each other uninterrupted is priceless.  For me preparing a special meal is an act of love.  To me cooking is creative, it’s something I enjoy (minus the cleanup 😉). Now if only I loved to do dishes 😀…….

It’s Summer…. Enjoy the simple things

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in so many activities during summer time that we forget to slow down and enjoy it. There’s a reason they call it “the lazy days of summer”, but you wouldn’t know it by most parent’s summer schedules. This summer as a break for mom (me), we have been taking turns making meals. To make things interesting we’ve been trying at least one new recipe a week. It’s so easy to be stuck in a rut when it comes to meals, especially when you are on a budget. This has become one of our new family favorites: BBQ Grilled Pizza!

  

It may not be pretty…but it’s delicious!

It’s so easy! All you have to do is plan ahead. These pizzas are very inexpensive if you make your own dough. About one and a half hours before you’d like to eat, mix up a batch of pizza dough and leave it to rise. (Recipe follows.) When you are about ready to eat…punch down the dough and heat up the grill. Separate dough into 4 equal pieces and have each person roll out their own. 

The key to making it great it how you cook it. When you heat up your grill, half of the grill will need to be set on medium to high heat and the other half set to low. Oil the hotter side of the grill with a little bit of olive oil. Then put your pizza dough on that side. Watch it carefully and just when the bottom is starting to turn golden turn it over and put it on the cooler side of the grill. Now is when you put on the toppings. Next you close the grill for a couple of minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese without burning the bottom of the pizza. Finally, remove pizza and enjoy while it’s still hot.

 You can use whatever you want for toppings. My favorite is a simple garlic marinara sauce with fresh basil leaves and fresh mozzarella pieces. My daughter, Summer likes one with BBQ sauce, leftover grilled chicken, fresh basil and shredded jack & cheddar cheese. The combinations are endless. You can just use whatever leftovers you have on hand; pre cooked meats, lunchmeats, sliced veggies, etc. We’ve even tried dessert pizzas… Sliced fresh peaches with cinnamon & sugar. Or caramel sauce with apples, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with sea salt. I think they are great sweet or savory. Let everyone get creative and make their own masterpieces.  Please share what you come up with! We’d love to hear your ideas!

 

iPhone pic of my daughter’s masterpiece 
Grilled pizza dough recipe: 

Ingredients

  1 teaspoon sugar 

  1 packet active dry yeast 

  2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing 

  1 teaspoon salt

  2 1/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface 

  1 cup warm water 

Directions

1. Pour 1 cup warm water into a medium bowl; add sugar and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.

2. Stir oil into yeast mixture. 

3. In a standing mixer with dough hook attachment, add flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and mix on low until liquid is incorporated (dough will appear dry). Knead on low setting, until dough comes together in an elastic ball, 2 minutes. Transfer to an oiled medium bowl; brush lightly with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, 30-45 minutes. Punch down dough and cover; let rise another 20 minutes.

Roll out using extra flour. Lightly oil dough and take it to the grill 🙂

  

  

Mules ears at Coral Pink Sand Dunes

The mules ears ( bright yellow, sunflower like flower) are in full bloom at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. If you want to see them get out there now! With temperatures in the 100’s they are fading fast!

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My son taking photos 6/28/14

Salt Lake trip continued

After I was done  with the Vincent Laforet – Directing Motion Workshop,  we spent the evening walking around in the downtown area including Temple Square.  It was nice to have a mini-vacation with my girls.

Mormon Temple
Mormon Temple
Downtown
Downtown
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My two youngest girls.
Salt Palace
Salt Palace

The next day, on our way home, we went to the gardens at Thanksgiving Point.  It was pretty.  I imagine they will actually be nicer in a month or so after they get filled in a little more. They were doing a lot of planting when we were there.  If you go to that area don’t forget to hit the outlet mall by Cabela’s 🙂  (There were some great deals.)

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Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah

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Family adventure – left my camera home

 

My crew went rappelling yesterday! Most people wouldn’t think it was a big deal, but it is for me! I have been terrified of heights for 40+ years! We descended a 25-30 ft cliff near where I live.
My 7, 10 and 16 yr olds have already done a huge drop (120-130 ft) a couple of weeks ago. Cellphone vid of my 7 yr old daughter’s first time rappelling But for me this was a milestone. I just about chickened out, but after my 5 year old little girl did it all by herself twice… I didn’t have a choice! It wasn’t as bad as I thought … It did scare me but I made it through. Now I’m looking forward to conquering a 40 ft one next 🙂

Coral Pink Sand Dunes – Photo Safari

My son and I got up early and went to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park today. It’s supposed to get up in to the mid 90’s today, but you wouldn’t have thought that this morning. It was surprisingly cold! We both wished we had taken jackets with us. It was worth it though, the dunes and wild flowers were BEAUTIFUL! We spent a couple of hours just wandering and taking pictures. I am so proud of my son. He has quite an eye for a 9 year old! Here’s a photo he took today :

copyright Craig Jeffs 2013
copyright Craig Jeffs 2013