Margherita Time


This time last year Jesse and I were taking the first giant step of this newest journey in our life. We left the Thursday before Memorial Day and made our way across the United States to San Diego. I’m pretty used to long drives but this was in a class of it’s own. Still it was amazing. It was great having a chance to spend 3 days with just the 2 of us. Plus let’s be honest, this is a pretty cool country and we went from lush farm lands in the midwest, to wide open spaces in Texas, to dry flat dessert in Arizona, then green beautiful mountains in Arizona, then the most amazing mountains that looked like giant mounds of over-sized pebbles, and finally we landed in San Diego where the palms trees are plentiful and the air smells of the ocean. Just awesome.

Looking back a year later I don’t think I could have guessed how many incredible changes and wonderful experiences we would have in just one year of our lives. Of course with the good came some bad. The worst of it being that we have been separated for more than half of the last year. That part sucks, no way around it. But we’ve made the best of it and in 3 weeks we’ll be together again! Here is to hoping that this next year is even better (and has us together more than we are apart!)

What’s all that have to do with Margherita pizza? Uh, nothing. I just had some things to get off my chest before sharing the recipe. This pizza tasted great and would be perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. You can double the dough recipe, divided it into 4 and freeze 3 parts individually so you always have homemade pizza dough on hand. You’ll never need a processed, sodium laden frozen pizza again!

Margherita Pizza

1 ball pizza dough (recipe below)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Sprinkle of garlic powder
1-1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup diced (or sliced) tomato
3-4 fresh basil leaves, julienne

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 500 degrees, with rack in the lowest position in oven.

Roll out pizza dough until ~1/4 inch thick and ~10 inches across and transfer to a piece of parchment paper. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder.

Spread the mozzarella cheese over the pizza dough and sprinkle the tomatoes and basil on top.

Remove hot pizza stone from oven and carefully transfer the pizza (parchment paper and all) to the stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes, keeping an eye on it the whole time so the cheese doesn’t burn.

Easy Weeknight Pizza Dough
(Adapted from Amber’s Delectable Delights)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising (instant) yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In a measuring cup, add the sugar to the warm water and stir until dissolved. Add the yeast and let rest while you prepare the dry ingredients.

In the bowl of a food processor add the flour and salt. Pulse a few times to blend the flour and salt.

Turn the food processor on and stream in the water/yeast mixture. Turn the food processor off and stream in the olive oil. Then pulse in 4 second increments until a ball of dough is formed. It should be slightly sticky but not wet. If it is too dry add water a tablespoon at a time. If it is too wet add flour a tablespoon at a time.

At this point you can do one of two things. One, let the dough rest for 15 minutes while you gather your toppings, then roll out. Two, transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour until almost doubled in size. Then divide the dough in half and roll out. I typically let it rise, but the great thing about this recipe is that you don’t have too. I’m just used to letting it rise (for other recipes) and I like my dough to be a bit fluffier. I also feel like I have more dough to work with if I let it rise for longer (able to get 2 balls of dough).

The New Frontier

Recently I’ve been feeling the itch to start blogging again. I always enjoyed keeping up with my food blog and I was bummed when school and life became too busy to continue with my blog. Now that I have finished nursing school and finally made the move to San Diego I’ve seriously been considering picking up where I left off and continuing on as a food blogger. The problem is, I feel like I have so much more to share now! I need a place to share my experiences and keep my family up to date with our life in San Diego. So that’s what I plan to do with this blog. Who knows what it will actually become and I guess there is even a chance that it will just turn right back in to a food blog but for now I’m keeping it open.

To start I’ll give a quick(ish) recap of how we wound up in San Diego

March/April 2010 –

  • Jesse calls and tells me he just had a phone interview with a company in San Diego. I think OK that’s fun but I really had no idea what would happen from there.
  • After several days of phone tag they ask Jesse to fly out for an interview! Even better, I can go with him! Woohoo a free trip to San Diego!
  • We fly out to San Diego and fall in love. It was sunny and gorgeous and right by an ocean.
  • We wait. And wait. And wait. We felt pretty confident that they liked him and would make an offer but it had to go through so many people that we wound up waiting 2 weeks after the trip to get an offer.
  • We accept.

May 2010 –

  • After Jesse accepted the job we suddenly realized what taking a job across the country actually meant. He would have to move and start in just a few weeks. We had a house to sell. I had school to finish. We had a lot of work ahead of us.
  • We had several garage sales and tried our best to get rid of all our excess stuff. We also had an incredible amount of help from our families, especially our dad’s who kicked it in high gear to finish out the basement as much as possible to make the house easier to sell.
  • Memorial day weekend it was time and we packed up Jesse truck. Then the 2 of us drove 2,200 miles from Cincinnati to San Diego. We had exactly 2 1/2 days together to get his studio apartment organized before I had to fly back to Cincinnati.

June 2010 –

  • A rough month for me. I had a very hard time adjusting to life without Jesse. Sure we could talk on the phone but my “buddy” was gone.

July 2010 –

  • Finally after a month and a half apart I was able to fly to San Diego during a school break. We had a great time.
  • We sold our house! With no advertising and just a For Sale By Owner sign in the yard we actually got an offer on our house. We accepted and I, along with awesome family members and really great friends, started the final push to prepare the house

August 2010 –

  • I started my second to last quarter of nursing school.
  • At the end of the month we closed on the house.
  • I had another really great, but short, visit to San Diego.

September 2010 –

  • I, along with my 2 cats, moved back in with my parents.
  • Jesse traveled to China for work.

October 2010-

  • We had hopes that I would be able to have another visit to San Diego during my school break but Jesse’s work needed him in China for another month.
  • We celebrated Jesse’s birthday and our anniversary on opposite sides of the world but we managed to make it through.

November 2010 –

  • Jesse came back to the good ole U S of A and I flew out for another visit. It was an incredible visit.
  • Jesse was called back to China just 2 1/2 weeks after getting home.

December 2010-

  • Jesse made it back to the US about a week before Christmas. We had hoped he would be able to come back to Ohio but the flights were just so expensive I wound up making the trip to San Diego and we spent our Christmas together in San Diego.

January 2011 –

  • I was back in Ohio to finish the last few weeks of school and prepare to move across the country.
  • Jesse flew home for my graduation.
  • We had an awesome going away/graduation party then the next day we set out for San Diego. My wonderful parents drove my car while Jesse, Emilie and I flew.

Now I am working as a nanny for a really great family and Jesse is continuing to love his job and work hard. In the next few weeks we should finally have both of our cats (hopefully Biggie will make it tomorrow!!) We also moved from the tiny studio to a 2 bedroom that we share with Sean who also moved to San Diego (in July). In April Jesse will probably have to travel to China again. I will take my state boards soon and I am really hoping and praying I have an RN job this summer. Life is really feeling pretty good right now and I can’t believe how lucky and blessed we are!

That’s about it. Stop by from time to time to see what we are up to!