Thursday, October 20, 2011

I made dinner from scratch tonight (recipes included)

Of the list of things I feel guilty about as a working mom, the semi-lack of nutritious wholesome food may be at the top of the list.  We try to keep things relatively healthy, but often convenience (frozen pizza, chicken dinos etc) wins out.  Dinner always includes a fruit and/or vegetable and milk, but it's not as balanced and wholesome as I'd like.

I was raised by a stay-at-home mom and money was usually tight, so my mom bought very little prepared or processed food.  Most everything was made at home.  Of course she bought things like cereal and milk, but we didn't eat much candy (lots of homemade cookies) and dinner was always from scratch.

This takes time and preparation.

As a working mom, I don't have much time and the time I do have I usually devote to spending with the kids and I just haven't gotten the whole menu/meal prep thing down.  I've mentioned before, Bean makes a lot of our dinners because the kids usually leave him alone in the kitchen, but they are glued to me.

Yesterday I had to run and do an errand after work and we were on a time crunch to get back to church.  I slipped out without any kids to make the trip quick and when I got home Bean was unusually frazzled because he was dealing with kids as well as making dinner.  Which is why our usual set-up works well.

Normally Gracie has soccer practice on Thursday nights and Bean has class, so I'm solo-parenting and it's a quick dinner after practice before the mad dash for showers and bed.  Tonight's practice was cancelled and Miss Rose thought homemade pizza sounded good.  I had some ingredients, but picked up the rest while out and about today.

I started off about 4:30pm making the pizza dough.  By the time I finished and let it rise a bit then got it rolled out into personal pizzas for everyone and the toppings on, the girls finally ate close to 6pm.  Gracie & Lily were my cooking buddies, fighting over our one stool, wanting to help use the rolling pin and sprinkle the cheese.

Miss Rose had talked me into a chocolate milkshake after dinner.  The little girls preferred just ice cream.  I'd seen a link or blog for easy homemade chocolate sauce recently, so I figured why not.  By the time I ate and then made the chocolate sauce and served the ice cream and made the chocolate shake, it was 7pm.

Maybe I had briefly participated in the #womensrunning twitter party as I was prepping the sauce.  But on solo-parenting nights, a girl's gotta have a little adult interaction! 

And the kitchen looked like this.  A sink and counter full of dishes.

It truly was worth it.  All the time, my aching feet, the managing of children and dinner.  It was worth knowing exactly what I had mixed into the pizza dough.  That the pizza sauce I had bought (not EVERYTHING was from scratch) didn't have any added sugar in it.  That there wasn't any high fructose corn syrup in the chocolate sauce.

Making homemade, wholesome dinners is a lot of work.  But I'm glad I had the reminder tonight that it is worth it.  And the kids ate their pizzas and I even had one (seen below...a little overdone on the top) for Bean when he got home from class (the class in which he ACED his first exam and by aced I mean 100%!)

(Yes, I realize I am no Pioneer Woman with beautiful pictures of perfectly made food.  There can only be one Ree and I'm okay with my not perfectly round, slightly burnt pizza.)

Here's where I channel my friend Heather and share a recipe with you (I ADORE her blogging style and her food projects).

I think I found this recipe in a magazine.  But now I don't remember where or when.  I love it because there is no oil in it, and it's super delicious.  Even Bean, who doesn't always go for my healthier recipes, really likes it.

Honey Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

1 T. Honey
1 package of yeast
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups flour, with 1/4 cup set aside
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Dissolve the honey and yeast into the cup of warm water.
Stir gently to dissolve and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients, mixing until a soft dough forms.
Knead for about 6 minutes, adding the last 1/4 cup flour as needed.

Coat bowl with cooking spray to keep dough from sticking.  Cover bowl with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place (I usually put mine on the stove as I pre-heat the oven) for 20-30 min.  Punch down and then roll out as desired.

Top with desired ingredients, bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Disclaimer: I wrote down the ingredients for this dough without any instructions, so these are just basic dough prep steps that I follow.  Adjust as needed!