Easy Calzone Recipe

Yesterday my daughter and I had planned to spend a day together cooking. We were going to watch the Food Network in the morning and find something tasty to make, then go to the store and pick up ingredients. The weather, unfortunately, had a different idea. When we woke up we were greeted to freezing rain, so had to change the original plan.

We did watch the Food Network as planned, but more for ideas on things we could create with what we already had in the house. When I saw someone making calzones, I knew those would be easy enough to tweek to our liking. Plus my aunt had given us a whole lot of pepperoni over Christmas (my uncle brought home 25 pounds of sliced pepperoni, so we ALL got some!).

I have no idea what the “real” recipe was on the Food Network, because I wasn’t paying attention. But here’s our version of it, which came out quite nicely.

First I grabbed our pizza crust recipe which is used with the bread machine. This recipe you can also make by hand, but requires you kneed it for 5 minutes then let rise for about 40 mins. I find it much easier to make in the bread machine on the dough setting.

In case you’ve  missed this recipe on the blog before, here’s my tasty pizza crust recipe:

Homemade Pizza Crust
3/4 c warm water
1 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl brown sugar
1 tsp Italian seasoning (no garlic, yet, or it will not rise)
1 Tbl dry milk
2 1/4 c. white flour (we use unbleached)
1 tsp active dry yeast

Now usually this crust is suppose to be rolled out and baked for 5 mins at 425*, but I never do because we have what I call “mountain pizzas” and the crust gets too crispy because it needs to bake longer. When making the calzones, of course you don’t want to roll it out and bake it first. No, you’ll want to roll them out into little ovals instead, add your toppings then fold them up.

There were a few mistakes I made yesterday. First off, I only split the dough into 3 sections. I probably could have gotten 4 or 5 calzones out of that dough because it was pretty thick on the bread.

The second mistake I made was going by the original dough temp and cooking it for 20 mins. It wasn’t burnt by any means, but the crust was a bit crispy. So I would suggest knocking down the temp to 375* or 350* and still baking it for 20 mins. Probably less time if you have thinner crust.

Regardless of the minor mistakes I made, these were still pretty darn good. All we added for toppings was Italian diced tomatoes, pepperoni, cheese, and mushrooms. If you have a bigger family, the crust recipe can be easily duplicated to make more crust OR you can just make slightly smaller calzones. You probably want them good sized though or else it will be slightly difficult fitting in all the toppings, so I would suggest only splitting the dough into 4 pieces.


After Christmas Sales

I may not enjoy shopping for Christmas, but I sure to love it after! There’s sales and discounts galore, and it’s the perfect time to stock up on things like wrapping paper, Christmas printed fabrics, and lots more.

Our sister company, Prairie Soy Candles, has put up the Discount Shelf to clear out stock from holiday craft shows. Here you’ll find the last of the Christmas scents, plus several other favorites ready to ship today.

Fabric.com has some smoking deals as well, plus free shipping over $35. With the price of shipping skyrocketing, this is a deal you’ll want to take advantage of!

Joann.com also has some great deals, with up to 60% off some regular products. Everything from fabric to crafts to sewing machines are currently on sale. Plus you can take 40% off one regular priced item by using the code “EEC001” at check out.

Don’t forget your local stores when hunting for after Christmas deals and happy shopping!

Nintendo Wii Madness

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more I’m dumbfounded with the prices of Nintendo Wii’s. Even on eBay, they are selling for no less than $300. I scanned the internet last night and found no great deals from trusted companies.

But I have to ask – did anyone even LOOK offline? Yesterday I just happened to hit both Walmart and Target, seeing that Target still had quite a few of them in stock at their “normal” price of $250 even though Walmart was sold out (it’s a small town Walmart, I wasn’t surprised). Our local GameStop had them last week as well, from $250 and UNDER.

So why is everyone spending so much on these “toys”? Have we become a nation so driven to give our kids whatever they want that we are willing to spend ungodly amounts of money to please them? To me this is absolutely insane. It’s a TOY, no matter how cool it is.

Yes, I want one, but I’m not about to pay twice as much for it just so it’s sitting perfectly under our tree come Christmas morning. But that seems to be what half of America is doing, when I’m sure it’s not sold out EVERYWHERE like many stores and eBay sellers are saying. No, that’s completely untrue, since I saw no less than 5 of them at Target just yesterday, and at least three or four at Gamestop last week.

Instead of falling pray to the price gouging on the internet or even paying full price offline, I’ve decided to wait until Christmas is over. I’ll be looking around offline and online after Christmas, possibly scoring a Christmas present someone didn’t want for relatively cheap. If the prices are still horrible, I’ll just wait until my son’s birthday come May.

Really, is a game console THAT important? Not to me it’s not. Instead of buying a Wii, we’ll just concentrate on the GameCube games. Why not? They work with the Wii, and my son is perfectly happy playing his GameCube.

Last Minute Quilt Sewing

Yesterday I was out shopping and came across the Garfield Chia Pet, so quickly snagged it since I’ve had a heck of a time locating it up until now. My son absolutely LOVES Garfield, but unfortunately there isn’t as much stuff as there use to be. He also loves messing with plants, so this was perfect for him (it’s so hard to buy or make things for an 8 yr old boy!).

Well, now I’ve realized I’m behind two gifts for my daughter. They are at that age that yes, they will count. They will also notice size if one of them happens to have the biggest gift. Luckily I took care of that with two jumbo coloring books that are about as tall as they are.

So anyway, I have to come up with two more gifts for my daughter that are a reasonable size. I have no choice but to finish the quilt that I started. With only a one full week left, I’m really cutting it short. Not to mention I’ve still got to finish a dress for her that’s already on her list. Even with the dress and quilt, I’m still short one gift. *SIGH*

I’ve done a little poking around on the internet for quick quilting tips, but haven’t come up with many. I think I’ll be doing this the same way I did my son’s quilt, simply by putting together all the blocks and then putting the back on. This seems to be the easiest way to sew it and also the fastest. At least the back of the quilt will be easy – my friend gave me a tip years ago to use a twin sheet for the back. Which I do believe I’ll do, but I haven’t decided just yet.

If anyone has any short cuts for a quilt, I’m all ears. Time is running out and FAST!

Last Minute Candle Gifts

It took a few days, but I finally have all the candles in stock up on the store at Prairie Soy Candles. This new section is called “Ready to Ship“, and it’s just as the name suggests – they are candles already made and ready to send out as soon as they are order. Current there are over 130 different candles to chose from, so you are sure to find the perfect one.

This new section will be available until December 17th. After that date, we can’t guarantee delivery by Christmas. As of right now, any orders placed outside the “Ready to Ship” section we can’t guarantee will get there in time for Christmas (it makes me far too nervous not to allow at least a week for shipping).

So if you see any candles on the Ready to Ship shelf you think would make perfect gifts for your family and friends, be sure to grab them by December 17th!

Chocolated Covered Everything for Christmas

I was at the store yesterday, trying to decide if I wanted to bake anything this year for Christmas. I really hadn’t planned on it, since my best friend is pregnant and not in the mood to bake. Last year we did the “big plates of assorted goodies”, which was fun with two of us, but I wasn’t about to do it alone.

Then I saw the chocolate almond bark.

Last year I made cookies & cream truffles, my ABSOLUTE favorite. They were somewhat of a pain, but ohhhhh so worth it. Basically you just take Oreos, crush them up, then mix with cream cheese. Roll them into little balls and freeze them, then heat up the chocolate almond bark and dip.

Actually they aren’t that hard to make, it’s just a matter of dealing with the almond bark which can be quite messy.

Now since I had this huge package of chocolate almond bark, I decided I might as well make some more chocolate covered stuff. This would include raisins, pretzels, and whatever else I can get my hands on that might taste good covered in chocolate (I tried dried fruit last year – not my best idea).

If you have any suggestions for what else might be good to dip, I’m all ears!