What I’m Into September 2013

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So, September’s coming to an end, and that means it’s time for another What I’m Into Link-Up contributions. Crazy busy month notwithstanding, I seem to have managed to make a lot of time for reading and TV-watching. Priorities, right?

IRL:

It’s been a really busy month for me. I started coursework for my PhD, which is requiring a lot of reading and whatnot. I’ve got 100+ books to read before Christmas (don’t worry, they won’t make this link-up). It’s busy, but I do like being paid to study what I love.

I also made my life a little busier yet by getting myself a Pinterest account, after holding out for years. It’s just an easier way to keep track of the recipes I find online. You can follow me here.

And finally, I had the privilege of preaching at our church on the 29th, as part of our sermon series on Luke. It was my first time preaching, and I was just blown away by how supportive everyone in church was. I’ve got a good church family in Lamplight church, that’s for sure. You can find the sermon online here. Also, apparently my laugh sounds like a wheezy cough. Who knew?

Movies:

  • Mulan—because seriously, the soundtrack is sooo good.
  • Baby Mama—found this on Netflix, and it was pretty good. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are always good for a laugh.
  • Elysium—I saw this in theatres and, while I respected what they were trying to say, the execution was only so-so.
  • The Princess and the Frog—it’s been a bit of a Disney binge month
  • Miss Representation—so good!

TV:

  • Amazing Race Canada—How much did Tim Sr. rock that final challenge?  Good for him!
  • Clone High—I went through this with Aaron, and I now get 25% more pop culture references. The humour did veer into uncomfortable territory, though.
  • Commander in Chief—starring Geena Davis as President Mac Allen. This was so good! I’m really bummed that it got cancelled after one season.
  • Privileged—another show that got cancelled after a season, but this wasn’t nearly as much of a loss as Commander in Chief. Although I have to say I’m not a fan of ending seasons on a cliffhanger.
  • I’ve also caught the first episodes of a few current shows (Parks and Rec, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, and How I Met Your Mother).  What is this business of airing two episodes for the season premiere?

Books:

  • Matched/Crossed/Reached by Ally Condie—Matched was the best of the three, and the others didn’t quite measure up. The Society was interesting, though. Reminiscent of the world in The Giver.
  • The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher—I feel bad for saying this was only okay when it’s his tribute to his sister who died of cancer, but I didn’t love it. I felt it idolized rural areas a bit much.
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters—Again, okay, not phenomenal
  • I Am Number Four/The Power of Six/The Rise of Nine—I could not put these down. Although the conceit that it’s a true story and the author is involved bugs me.
  • Carry On Warrior by Glennon Melton—Gosh, Glennon writes beautifully. And I completely empathize with her dislike of the dentist.
  • Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen—You can’t love medieval history and women’s history and not be fascinated by Hildegard von Bingen. The description of her time as an anchorite (so completely walled in) with Jutta of Sponheim was something else.
  • The Passage by Justin Cronin—I guess this is the first part of a trilogy, but I don’t think I’ll read the rest.  They’re really long, and the payoff isn’t great.
  • Birthmarked/Prized/Promised by Caragh O’Brien—Again, I could not put these down. They were recommended to me by one of the commenters on last month’s What I’m Into Post, and I’m glad I took them up on their suggestion.
  • Storm by Evan Angler—Another one of those “false conceit of a true story” books.  Only ok.
  • The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson—This was the last book in a trilogy I began last month. I can’t resist fantasy or dystopian YA with a strong female heroine.

Food:

Due to my adventures on Pinterest, I’ve been making way more new recipes than usual, so I’ve created a What I’m Into September 2013 Pinterest board to showcase some of my favourites

My very favourite new recipe of the month was the chai-spiced sugar cookies. I’m noticing a definite preponderance of all things chai-spiced, coarse sea salt, and nutella in my repins.

I’ve also been experimenting with some fair trade chocolate bars, and I am huge fan of Cocoa Camino’s milk chocolate with coarse sea salt.

Also, I love love love St. Croix Olive’s vanilla balsamic. Thicken it and drizzle it over fruit, and yumm.

Online must-reads:

  • This brave post by Grace Biskie about her sex demons
  • This cartoon about why we need feminism
  • This post by Diana Trautwein on lament
  • This handy list of nine questions you should ask before you destroy a city in your movie
  • This excerpt of a First Nations paraphrase of the Bible
  • This interview with Greg Boyd about Faith, Doubt, and the Idol of Certainty

That’s been most of my life for the last month. Be sure to head on over to the link-up and check out some of the other posts as well!

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Great Pizza Crust (And Some Topping Ideas)

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Pizza is one of my favourite go-to recipes when I have company, because it’s so versatile. You can keep it simple, dress it up a bit (which can be as easy as adding a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano, some coarse salt, and freshly ground pepper), or even experiment with entirely new flavours (I once had a slice of butter chicken pizza, which was absolutely amazing). The key with pizza is not to let the crust (or the mozzarella, if you’re using it) overwhelm the toppings. My favourite pizza crust recipe for the past two years came. believe it or not, from a book by Teresa Giudice of Real Housewives of New Jersey fame. She may not be great at staying on the good side of the law, but it turns out she makes a really great pizza crust. The following recipe makes 6 10-inch pizzas. I’ve modified it slightly, because I never have instant yeast on hand.  I tend to halve it for the two of us, and it makes a great dinner plus a few days of leftovers for lunch.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast.
  • 1 3/4 cups tepid water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1.2 teaspoons salt
  • ~4 1/2 coups flour

Soften the yeast in water, then add olive oil, salt, and two cups of flour. Stir in the rest of the flour until the dough is sufficiently stiff, and knead until it’s elastic. Put in a bowl greased with some olive oil, cover it with a towel, and let it rise until it’s doubled. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Line a pizza stone or pizza pans with cornmeal, stretch out 1/6 of the dough into a 10-inch circle, cover with your favourite toppings, and bake for 8 minutes.  Let it cool on the pan or on a cookie rack, and you’re good to go.

If you’re looking for topping ideas, margherita is always a good pick (mozza, tomatoes, and some fresh basil after it comes out of the oven). I also like to cover the crust with some grated mozza, add some sliced nectarines or peaches, sprinkle them with some parmigiano reggiano, salt, and pepper, and add some fresh basil and reduced balsamic when it comes out of the oven). I also tried this roasted garlic, chicken, and herb white pizza yesterday and it was phenomenal.