{Baking Challenge} Homemade Pizza Dough

One of my 2015 resolutions includes dealing with yeast again. If you follow my adventures since early 2014, maybe you could remember that I have couple encounters with the yeast beast. All of them were not perfectly successful that I had to say goodbye to the yeast for a while.
thenotsocreativecook-Pizza3I was invited by my colleague to a pizza lunch. I saw her make her pizza using a pizza maker. She told me the recipe except for the yeast. I kept asking her about the ‘smelly thing’ and she said she didn’t use the it. It didn’t come to me that she only meant active dry yeast, so even how many times I asked her, she said ‘No’ multiple times. Her kids were playing and called my name when she was showing me how she made her dough, so my eyes left the dough-making class for a short period. The next thing I know, she already prepared the bowl and the dough to rise. I was really amazed on how the dough has risen despite of the not usage of the ‘smelly thing’.

I emailed Linda to ask for help and she gladly assisted me in the pizza problems I had. After we had exchange of emails, I tried making a dough myself without the yeast. Luckily, it worked. The texture was quite different – very light and airy. Regardless, the pizza was delicious that I ate half in one sitting. 😀 I immediately sent photos to Linda and she was happy for me. Again, she convinced me to try making the dough with yeast and she promised me that no smell will occur again.
The following week, my friend made the dough again and I saw her put instant yeast. She said I did not specify the instant yeast, so when she told me about the ‘smelly thing’, she thought that I was ONLY asking about the active dried yeast. Again, I emailed Linda. (See how many times I bothered her with my problem? 😐 )
This pizza craving did not let me sleep for how many nights. I have two choices – (1) try and accept the fact that it might not be successful or (2) I’ll just go on my life and let the yeast beast scare me again. With Linda’s encouragement + the craving I had for homemade pizza, it made me face the yeast again.

thenotsocreativecook-Pizza4In this, I made an estimate using my colleague’s recipe.

HOMEMADE PIZZA DOUGH Recipe

  • Servings: 2 12-inch round or 3 10-inch round
  • Difficulty: easy, needs practice
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or any flavorless oil)

(You’ll also need additional flour for your work surface and oil for your bowl.)

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients for the dough in a large bowl.
  2. Using a wooden spoon or your clean hands, mix the dough until you get all the flour from the bowl.
  3. Knead the dough until it becomes soft and does not sticks to your hands (about 10 minutes or more).. You can do the window pane test to know if the dough is ready  You can also use your stand mixer to do the kneading for you. (You can do the kneading in a lightly floured surface or in a large plastic bowl. For me, since this is a pizza and doesn’t need that much of ‘bubbles’, I decided to knead using a large plastic bowl with ONLY my right hand working on the dough and it worked perfectly.)
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and put in an oiled bowl, cover using a plastic wrap or lint free towel. Keep it in a warm place and let it rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few seconds.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts if you prefer a thin-crust pizza or 2 parts if you prefer something sort of a deep-pan pizza.
  7. Flatten the dough to 12 inches (or whatever you prefer) to fit your baking sheet.
  8. Preheat your oven at 400 F. While doing so, you can let your pizza dough rise before putting your favorite toppings.
  9. Bake at 15 minutes or until the mozzarella melts beautifully.
  10. Serve and enjoy immediately.

For mess-free eating, I chopped my veggies (green bell peppers, tomatoes, white onions and black olives). I made half Hawaiian and half veggies just the way I love it. For the sauce, I used tomato ketchup. Yep! That’s right – the easiest and a good sub to store-bought pizza sauce or homemade. 😉

thenotsocreativecook-Pizza2The pizza dough has risen to about 1-inch thick (the baking powder’s fault?). Apart from that, I don’t have any comments at all except that… wohoooo!!! I made a pizza dough!!!

I wanted to kiss the pizza as soon as it came out from the oven – it was so soft and so delicious. I better try making it thinner next time and try different toppings. Shawarma, maybe? Now, give me a really good Shawarma pizza topping recipe. Anyone? 😀

So, what do you think of my first pizza? 😀 I hope you like this and happy partying!!

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Tricky Tuesday #21: Uses of Citrus Peels

Ways to Use Citrus Peels

It is not surprising to me that there are many uses of citrus peels. One of the things I know is you can make them as air freshener. For other uses, I didn’t know about it.

Here are some of them:

Infuse in Tea

I love citrus fruits and I sometimes add a thin slice of lemon or lime in my green tea when I am in the mood. But guess what? You can also add some citrus peels to your tea to give your tea a nice citrus flavor.

Citrus Vinegar Cleaner

As we all know, vinegar has so many uses like a natural cleaner. Well, I knew about that long time back, but I don’t use it as one because of the smell. If you don’t like to clean with the smell of the vinegar alone, you can add some citrus peels to it and you will have a good natural cleaner. Here’s a tutorial on how to make Citrus Vinegar Natural Cleaner.

Destink Garbage Bins & Trash Can Freshener

Who loves the smell of garbage bins? No one. Why not throw some citrus peels to it to regularly to keep it smelling fresh and kill the odor?

Ant Deterrent

Along with mint-flavored tea (used tea bag), lemon peels are also good as ant or other pests deterrent. It is suggested to place lemon peels where ants and other pests enter. Also, it also keeps the roaches and fleas away.

Chrome & Stainless Steel Polish

When you sprinkle some sea salt over metal and scrub it using a lemon peel, the shine can be brought back.

Did you also know that citrus peels are good as microwave cleaner, coffee cup stain remover and can be mixed with other dried herbs as potpourri? Find other uses of citrus peels here.

I hope you enjoy this post and please let me know how you use your citrus peels.

Happy Tuesday!

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INTRODUCING ‘NEW’ BLOGGERS #33

How great is this to write your blog earlier? It feels good. From now on, that’s what I’ll do – write my series earlier so I don’t miss a thing. 😀

Today is Monday. And Monday means bringing you some new friends.

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The Verdant Pantry

“I’m all about cooking with whole foods, gardening and DIY. Kale and chocolate are my two favorite foods. I love using olive oil for just about everything, but I’m quite fond of butter at times too.”

Wow! I hope I could plant, too. I love plants, but I don’t they they love me back. Liz is a girl who has many talents – she can cook, bake, plant and she loves DIY as well. I found this article ‘Planting Garlic‘ very informative. And don’t think I forgot to check out recipes because I did not – look at this Rice Noodles with Veggies in Peanut-Coconut Sauce – oh, so yum!!

Halal Food Enthusiast

“We are Sadia and Nadia, sisters who have a passion for halal food. Our culinary hobbies include trying new restaurants, different cuisines, and instagramming pictures of food. Sadia loves to cook and bake, while Nadia enjoys eating only.”

How sweet – two sisters. ❤ While trying new restaurants, the sisters are doing reviews and I believe that is very helpful to those who wants to try the same restaurants. Click here to see their reviews. Not only that, they also have so many delicious recipes like these Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Cooking Delight

Jayeeta is living as an expat in Netherlands and sadly, she has to be away with her loved ones.

“While sitting lonely in house and hoping between vocations, I gradually found my interest in cooking and started experiments on different dishes among which some are very popular and common to us. Sadly, no snack bar or restaurant would make those for me here even if I spend all my money. So the only way to taste them is to prepare by myself.”

Being away from loved ones is one of the painful things that could happen to a person. However, this sometimes makes us into something like learning how to live by ourselves and cook this Chicken Tandoori. 😀

Sweet Salty Thoughts

“Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. I didn’t have much time to do it back in my hometown, but now that I have plenty of time I decided to start a journey in my small kitchen and wanted to share it with you.”

Cooking is one of the best hobbies in the entire universe, yes? Or is it eating? 😀 From reading Adriana’s blog, I also found out that she loves reading and I am so thrilled to read her book reviews. Well, you know that I won’t leave her blog without checking her recipes, and I really love this Pita Bread Pizza. Now I know what to have for weekend. 😉

Melting Ray of Light

“This blog is kind of like a chronicle of those attempts, an honest sharing of what was good and what failed. It’s also about all of life’s in-betweens – reviews of restaurants I’ve been to, random threads of thought… etc.”

Pamelia loves messy meals and that makes one of the things we have in common. Messy meal like this Hot and Sour Prawn Soup (Tom Yum Goong) is the best messy meal I have even seen. 😀

I hope you take time to visit these blogs. Happy Monday! 😉

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{Versions & Verdicts} Angie’s Tangerine Sesame Chicken

Like many other cooks and food bloggers, my cooking and baking bucket list is never ending. 😀

The recipes I want to try were once in a printed paper and kept in one file/folder. I was close to being an organized cook – my files were categorized according to desserts, main dishes, snacks, etc. When I started blogging and started to explore more about food, I started bookmarking using the web browser and iPad. I also have list on my mobile, planner and post-its. But all the lists I have don’t end there – I have also a mental list. Imagine LOTS of recipes bubbling up in your head. You don’t know what to cross off first. Even if you made some of them, you’ll just end up adding more. Relate? 😀

thenotsocreativecook-TangerineSesameChickenSince I saw Angie’s Tangerine Sesame Dippin’ Chicken, I knew that I had to make it sooner than later. But you know what happens when some of your ingredients want to end their lives – they get in the way, resulting to the delay of making Angie’s delicious dish. 😦

But as they say – everything happens for a reason. And for this delay, I think it has something to do with Chinese New Year. Being a Muslim, of course, we don’t celebrate this holiday or do anything during this day… not anymore. My Mum used to do something like giving cash in a red envelope with Chinese writings on it. My Mum used to asked ‘What year are we in now? Year of the Horse? What’s with Year of the Horse?’ and things of that sort. It happened many times when she was still alive; I cannot remember when was the last time she did that.

Though I don’t celebrate the Chinese New Year, it doesn’t mean that I cannot bring this super delicious dish here at the party. Besides, it’s something Chinese, isn’t it? When I come to a Chinese restaurant/fastfood, I mostly get Orange Chicken or Sweet and Sour Chicken. ❤

thenotsocreativecook-TangerineSesameChicken2In my version, I used all tangerine. In the sauce, I chose water over chicken stock. I also garnished mine with additional tangerine zest when I served it and that made that dish more tangy just the way I loved it. Of course, spring onions. Uh, I don’t know why the color of my version is lighter than Angie’s. The tangerines I used, maybe? 😐 What do you think?

Verdict: I am guilty of squeezing of about eight tangerines and finished all the ones I needed for my fresh juice and supposed to be snack. I am guilty of eating countless chicken bites before I’ve taken the photos. Lastly, I am so much guilty of eating more than a cup of rice. 😀 I just can’t help myself, dear juries – this is just so delicious!!

Click here to get Angie’s recipe. You can find more delicious recipes and drool-worthy photos at The Novice Gardener. 😉

I hope you drool and enjoy. 😛 Happy partying and happy weekend.

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I am sharing these with my friends at Fiesta Friday, hosted by Angie,

I also sharing this at

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Tasty Tuesdays

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Tricky Tuesday #20: Reusing Teabags

If you are following me for quite some time, maybe you would remember that I drink tea more than coffee. I know that used teabags can be reused for the dark circles around your eyes and for home. Aside from it can be used as fridge deodorizer, you will be amazed how you can reuse your teabags… especially when you’re a tea drinker. 😉

Reusing Teabags:

If you have a sink full of  dirty dishes due to the earlier party you’ve had and are very tired too finish the job and want to do it the next morning, you can drop a tea bag or two into the water and let everything soak. This will limit the scrubbing job as the teabag removes grease and food stains.

Aside from fridge deodorizer, it can also be used as a cupboard deodorizer.

Reusing teabags is not only limited in your kitchen. In fact, there are more other uses as well:

Homemade Glass Cleaner – Re-brew used tea bags and spray the weak tea onto windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces to loosen up dirt, grime, fingerprints, and other gunk. Be sure to wipe away with a clean, lint-free cloth to minimize streaks and dust particles.

Renew Wood Surfaces – Use weak tea made from pre-brewed bags to clean and shine hardwood floors and polish wood furniture.

Deodorizing Hand Scrub – After handling foods like garlic, onions, and fish, use pre-brewed tea bags to scrub your hands and remove those lingering scents. For more tips to save time and effort around the kitchen.

Neutralize Household Odors -Used tea is also great for removing lingering odors from your home. Mix dried used tea leaves into cat litter.  Drop a few dry used tea bags into the bottom of your trash bins to neutralize bad smells before they can escape into your kitchen.

Feed Your Garden -Rebrew used bags in a bucket of water and use the resulting weak tea to water your plants and protect them from fungal infections. Alternately, open up used tea bags and sprinkle the damp leaves around the base of your plants to fertilize the soil and deter garden pests like mice. You can also add previously-brewed tea bags to your compost pile for a boost of nutrients. Just remember to remove the metal staple if your tea bags are the kind that have them.

See? There are lots of uses. Amazing, yes?

Have you tired one of these? I have tried it as fridge deodorizer and it worked. In fact, I have 4 used teabags inside the fridge as I write this. 😉

Any ideas on how to reuse teabags? I’d love to know. Leave them down in the comment box below.

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Source: SFG, Natural Living Ideas

INTRODUCING ‘NEW’ BLOGGERS #32

sayhello

Brunch and Stuff

“…this blog is a little, light hearted look  and some fabulous recipes for the (rightful) most important meal of the day. Give Brunch some lovin’ people.”

I love how this blogger loves brunch as much as I do. For some people, breakfast should only include pancakes, coffee + bread, French toast… For me, I would eat whatever I want. I might reconsider that my breakfasts are not really breakfast, but a BRUNCH. 😀 Whatever time is it, I don’t mind munching these Brownies. ❤

Me Baking Blog

“Baking as been the perfect outlet for me in University life, and is one of the best stress relievers! To just put on a feel-good playlist and start mixing something up is the best part of my day.”

Baking is one of the best part of my days, too. 🙂 I love how baking releases our stress or maybe help us forget bad days. Seeing these beautiful Lavender Brownies will cheer you up and will really relieve your stress. Plus, they are paleo and they can be made dairy and grain free.

The Crispy Cupboard

“There’s something sustainable, nourishing, and delicious for everyone here, whatever your camp: Primal, Paleo, Nourishing Traditions, Keto, Vegan, THM, Gluten-free, or none-of-the-above.”

Ha! I think I am none-of-the-above. 😀 Even that, I will surely enjoy these gluten-free, primal & low-carb Brownies.

Sugarness

“initially dedicated to everything sweet – fudge, candies, cakes, cookies. Since then I have branched out into posting non-sweet things too. I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, but I’m certainly no expert. I share both my successes and my failures on here, feel free to share hours too in the comments!”

Even the blog name is so full of sweetness. I love sweets! 😀 But I must say that this Easy Mediterranean Style Fish in Foil made my mouth water the moment I saw it. Yum!

Teacups and Pearls

“Whether physical or spiritual, food is nourishing not only to our bodies, but to our souls as well. It brings families together, encourages conversations, is an expression of love and gives us the energy we need to face life with renewed vigour.”

I totally agree with ever word you said, Hanna. 🙂 And I am sure these Decadent Chocolate Caramel Brownies will give me the power to go on my day. 😀

****

Can you sense that I am on a Brownies kick today? 😀 Oh my, I might go insane if I don’t whip up one. I gotta go… I hope you take time to visit these blogs. Happy Monday! 😉

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Chocolate Bundlette Cakes

I’ve read somewhere from the web that there are signs that you are having your migraine. One of them is when you start craving for something chocolate. What do you think about that? I am a migraine girl and I don’t know if that’s true. Besides, I always crave for chocolate. 😀

thenotsocreativecook-MiniBundtCakesIt’s been quite long since I started craving for something chocolate – and that something is a chocolate frosting. I know that I am capable of making it, but I don’t know why I haven’t kept my hands on making. Instead, I bought chocolate custard, ate Nutella or bought chocolate cake from bakeshop. All the things I’ve eaten did not satisfy my craving. I don’t think I had any plans on baking chocolate cake until I got my bundlette pans.

thenotsocreativecook-MiniBundtCakes2Before January ended, I listed what to bake and cook and a flourless and eggless chocolate bundlette cake is one of them. Having my friend with me while deciding on what to bake for the weekend, she pointed out one recipe from Martha Stewart. The thing is she used bundt pan for the recipe. On the other hand, I don’t want to disappoint my friend. Well, not that she’ll be disappointed if I don’t do what she asked for, but it’s not all the time the she’s a sweet tooth. She loves her rice and main dishes so much that she doesn’t have that much of space for sweets. I was planning to bake both chocolate cakes – my choice and my friend’s. However, the cake requested by my friend was quite enough for my sweet tooth and her little sweet tooth. So I set aside my first choice.

I was really happy that I did what my friend asked for – the cake was so moist and soft… the frosting was something that satisfied my craving. The most important thing is she really loved the little cakes. 🙂

And to make the cakes more beautiful, I added some chocolate-covered strawberries.

thenotsocreativecook-MiniBundtCakes3

Chocolate Bundlette Cakes

  • Servings: 20-24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 oz butter, unsalted and softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Instructions:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter a 2 12-hole bundlette pans.
  2. In a bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Mix milk and sour cream in a small bowl.
  4. In another bowl, add butter and sugar. Beta until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add in eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Then add vanilla.
  5. Reduce the mixer to low, add flour and mix mixture alternately, ending with flour.
  6. Transfer the batter into the greased bundlette pans.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the pan and cool completely before inverting and frosting.

For the glaze:

  1. In a bowl, add in chocolate.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, add in heavy cream and simmer. Pour the heavy cream to the chocolate, let stand for 2 minutes. Add in butter and mix until smooth and glossy.
  3. Pour this mixture over the cooled bundlette cakes.
  4. Serve with strawberries and/or cream.

Note: Martha Stewart used Bundt pan for this recipe. Click here to see the source recipe.

I hope you like these little cakes. Have a wonderful day!!

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{Book Review} To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

You are in-love. And then you’ve moved on.

Later, you decide to write letters to those boys you have loved before and keep them in a box. You think it’s secure and kept carefully, but it’s not.

Your letters have been sent to those boys and your secrets are over.

Before Lara Jean’s mom passed away, she gave her daughter a hat box where she planned to make it her secret box. She keeps her letters in that box. Not just letters, but her letters to the boys she loved. Those letters were supposed to be kept in that box forever until one day, they were sent away by someone.

thenotsocreativecook-TATBILBFake contracts. Fake boyfriends. Those are some of the stuffs you should expect in this book.

For me, this is a light read and you’ll giggle from time to time. 😀 I chose to read the book because I thought it’s a stand-alone book and I wanted to take a rest from all those series… only to find out in the end that the book has a sequel entitled “P.S. I Love You”.

“My letters are for when I don’t want to be in love anymore. They’re for good-bye. Because after I write in my letter, I’m not longer consumed by my all-consuming love…My letters set me free. Or at least they’re supposed to.”  – Lara Jean 

Have you read this book yet? If yes, let me know your thoughts on the comments below. 😉

Thanks for spending time with me. Happy reading!

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Mini Tortilla-Crust Pizzas

I am not really good with appetizers or things of that sort. In restaurant menus, I don’t pay that much of attention to appetizers/sides. I always spend time with main dishes, pastas, desserts and drinks. 😀 (Oh, when did the last time I came into a restaurant?)

When I posted this for First FF Anniversary, I thought nobody would ask for the recipe, so I didn’t bother to include the recipe. 😀 You know, it’s pretty easy and so obvious with the photos what I did… but as I said to one of the bloggers I recently met, ‘Anything delicious is worth blogging’ so here I am with the recipe.

thenotsocreativecook-MiniTortillaCrustPizza

Mini Tortilla-Crust Pizza

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 3 flour tortillas
  • Pizza sauce (home-made or store-bought)
  • Choice of toppings
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400. If using store-bought pizza sauce, open the can and transfer the sauce to a separate container. Wash the can or rinse out the remaining sauce inside.
  2. Using the pizza sauce can or using a cookie cutter, cut four rounds from each tortilla. Gently press into a muffin pan.
  3. Place about a tablespoon of pizza sauce on the top center of the tortillas.
  4. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese. Top each pizza with your choice of toppings.
  5. Sprinkle again with little mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
  7. Let the pizzas cool for a bit before removing them from the pan to serve.

Note: I used chopped green bellpeppers, olives, tomatoes and white onions for the toppings. For other pizzas, I used sliced pineapples.

These little pizzas are very easy to make that I think even your toddlers could help you… Uh, could help you messing up in your kitchen, I mean. 😛

I hope you enjoy this very easy recipe of Mini Tortilla-Crust Pizza. 😉

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