I don't know about you, but I am too old and cynical to make New Year's resolutions. However, going through last autumn, which was rather rough especially on the job front, I realised I was focusing way too much on the things that were wrong in my life. Particularly when I was laying in bed at night I often felt overwhelmed worrying about the next day at work. I would spend the weekends worrying about the coming Monday. I would even wake up in the middle of the night worrying. This was all before I was offered my new job, things are much better now. But I also decided I can't just wait around for things to get better, I have to work on changing my life. I did a bit of reading about self help for anxiety and although I found most of the stuff out there absolute rubbish (to put it mildly) there were some good ideas as well. I guess it's all about finding what works for you.
One idea I decided to implement was to keep a happiness journal. It's pretty simple, every night when I go to bed I write something in the diary, forcing myself to identify at least one thing from the day that made me happy or that I was thankful for. Some days it has been something rather small, but I have found that most days there are several things I can easily identify. This is a nice routine that makes me think of happy things last thing in the night before I go to sleep. If later my thoughts stray to more unhappier things, I try to think of the things I just wrote about.
Another thing I have read about on several blogs is to choose one word to focus on for the year. Kind of like a mantra for the year. I guess it's about evaluating your life and thinking about what you could change to make life better. I chose the word 'cherish' for 2014. I want to live more in the moment, not worrying too much about what is to come or what has happened, but focus on the moment and cherish the good things. Like the moments in movies where time slows down. I want to find those moments next year and focus on them. Less worrying, more cherishing.
Finally on to the reason we are here for today. I like making home made pizza. There might be a place for the Italian style "really thin and crispy crust with not too much topping" type of pizzas (in my mind the only place for those would be in Italy). At home I love a pizza with loads of topping and a thick dough-y crust. With loads and loads of cheese on top. And the dough has to be just right, I don't like it if it gets too crusty and hard, it should be nice and soft and almost bread-like. I often used to put my own pizza dough together without a recipe, just estimating ingredients. Some times I would get it right, some time I would get it wrong. Then I found Jamie's pizza dough recipe, and I haven't used another one since I first tried this one. It's easy, it's quick and it turns out perfect every time. It's the perfect consistency to knead, it's not too sticky and not too dry. Jamie certainly knows what he is doing. I think the secret to success is to use the tipo '00' flour (although I have also successfully used this recipe with regular white flour) as well as the addition of semolina which adds a nice texture. The only modification I have made from Jamie's original recipe is to half it, as that makes a perfect size dough for my large oven pan for one gigantic pizza (based on the instructions in the original recipe the half serving is enough for 3-4 medium sized thin pizza bases). Also my method for mixing the dough is a bit different (and in my opinion less messy) from Jamie's, check out the original recipe if you want to follow Jamie's method. Oh and sorry again about the less-than-inspiring photos, but after all, it's a blob of dough.
Jamie's pizza dough (enough for one large pan pizza):
400 g tipo '00' flour or strong white bread flour
100 g fine semolina flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 x 7g instant yeast sachet (about 2 tsp)
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
325 ml lukewarm water
2 tbsp olive oil
Measure all dry ingredients in a big bowl. Add the water in small amounts while mixing with a wooden spoon. When dough is well mixed, add the olive oil. Transfer the dough onto the table and knead until smooth. Transfer back into a bowl, cover and let rest in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
After rising, knead the dough lightly and roll to desired size. Top with your favourite topping. Today I used spinach, roast veg and mozzarella on my half, and chorizo, mushrooms and Stilton on his half. If you want to have a look at what I made out of this pizza dough, there is a picture on my Facebook page here. Feel free to like if you want to keep up to date with the blog.
This is a quick and easy pizza dough that always turns out perfect for me. You can turn it into thin based pizzas or use it for deep dish pizzas. You can even use it for bread. It's easy to knead and work, and it turns out nice and soft. I know I won't use another pizza dough recipe ever again because for me, this is the perfect pizza dough.
Card of the day:
I haven't attempted scrapbooking very much, but when I found the Penny Black Life's Messages on the lovely Kath's blog I knew it would be a perfect stamp set for scrapbooking. However, I haven't gotten around to playing with it until I decided I should make myself a nice little scrapbook page to remind me of my word for 2014. I used Baked Brown Sugar cardstock for the background and the squares. The paper is from the Stampin' Up Fan Fair DSP. I used the Gorgeous Grunge stamp set for the background. I printed and fussy cut the year and the "Cherish" expressions. I used one of the stamps from the Penny Black Life's Messages in Baked Brown Sugar. To finish, I inked using Baked Brown sugar around the edges of the background and the edges of the squares. I will attach pictures of things I cherish onto the brown squares. The page is now hanging on the wall next to my crafting table, reminding me to focus more on the good things in life this year.
I also made another scrapbook page using a black and white photo to balance the colourful background. I coloured the stamp using Stampin' Up colours Bermuda Bay, Rich Razzleberry, Melon Mambo, Pumpkin Piea and Old Olive. The stamped image was matted onto Rich Razzleberry cardstock. The background paper is from Stampin' Up DSP International Bazaar. The banners are cut from Rich Razzleberry and Melon Mambo cardstock and DSP from the Sycamore Street set. The date was stamped using the Hobbycraft alphabet typewriter clear stamp set using black Hobbycraft ink. I am quite pleased with how the projects turned out.