Pizza Muffins {make ahead meals}

PizzaMuffins

Life can be crazy busy and chaotic and not always leaving much time for NOT eating take-out or heading to the drive-thru.

The past few years, as we’ve been working to simplify things a bit more, I’ve become a BIG FAN of make ahead, freezable meals and decided I’d share one of my family’s most favorite ones!

Pizza Muffins.

Super easy and completely make-ahead and FREEZABLE! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE freezable?

I do.

Makes my life THAT much easier.

You can make these up, freeze them, and when you’re going to be out and about, or sporting events/practice and whatnot, grab some of these and heat them up and GO. Simple as that.

Other than helping to simplify life a little more, this recipe also requires no fancy kitchen equipment and gadgets.

I KNOW. I love that. I don’t have time to take out big mixers and the like and then clean it all. I need quick, easy and SIMPLE.

{After all, I have hot coffee to attempt to finish…}

SO, here they are!

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Simple Pizza Muffin Recipe:

For the dough:

(makes enough for 24 “muffins” or 2  12-14in pizzas)

-2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) of active dry yeast

-1.5 cups warm water

-4.5 cups all-purpose flour

-1tsp salt

What to do:

Place yeast in large bowl, add warm water. Give it a gently stir and let sit about 5-ish minutes. Add in flour and salt. Using a spoon, mix together until combined, but still a little sticky.

Once combined, turn out onto clean, lightly floured surface. Knead for about 5-ish minutes. I don’t usually knead it much longer than that. Shape into a round.

pizzamuffins

pizzamuffin2

To keep things simple, rinse out the large bowl you just used to use again for this next part. Dry it out and add some extra virgin olive oil to the bowl (approx 1-2 Tbs), place pizza dough in bowl and turn it, roll it around, to fully coat it in the olive oil. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and place in on the counter (or way up high on a shelf in the pantry so that, if you have toddlers like me, they can’t get to it). Let it rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.

Once doubled, uncover and PUNCH the dough down.

{that’s kinda fun, right?}

Divide dough in half and now you’re ready to make the pizza muffins!

For the Pizza Muffins:

{Pre-heat oven to 450}

Take half of dough and roll it out until it’s a decent rectangle approx 12″ x 15″, like so

PizzaMuffins

Then, this is the best, add WHATEVER sauce and toppings you want!

I went more traditional with these, since it’s my kiddos fave, and stuck with pizza sauce, pepperoni and some Monterey jack cheese.

pizzamuffins

pizzamuffins

This part is completely up to you. You can go as simple or fancy as you’d like. Homemade sauce? go for it. Freshly grated cheese your preference? Go for it!

{Another favorite, that my husband likes, is roasted garlic and alfredo chicken. Sounds complicated, but totally not. Leftover shredded chicken, some alfredo sauce and some mashed up roasted garlic spread out and then a little shredded cheese on top and VOILA! }

After adding your toppings, roll it up like so, slice it and place in prepared muffin tins.

pizzamuffins

pizzamuffins

pizzamuffins

I’ve started using my silicone muffin cups for these. I used to use baking papers, but they’d stick to them a bit and it got to be a pain to unwrap them for the kids. You could simply use the muffin tins without, but I LOVE the silicone cups, because no prep required, I just pop the sliced up muffins in and pop them in the oven. DONE! Then they simply pop right out, no hassle.

Now just pop in the oven for approx 10-12 minutes. Let cool and serve immediately, or freeze them for later!

How To Freeze:

Place in single layer on foil lined plate. Place another layer of foil if needed, add another single layer of pizza muffins.

Place in freezer for 1-2 hours (or overnight, won’t hurt them), then place in a labeled ziplock freezer bag with instructions how how to reheat.

To Reheat: place a couple muffins in microwave, heat in 20 second intervals until heated through. Eat!

NOTES: another awesome option, take frozen muffins out, place in lunches in fridge the night before, by the time lunch time hits the next day, VOILA! Completely thawed and ready to eat Pizza Muffins! Yay!

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What are some of your favorite time-saving parenting tricks that help make things a little less chaotic?

 

7 Tips to Make Baking With Toddlers Awesome

baking with toddlers

{this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience}

Baking with tiny humans. This either sounds insanely awesome to some or just plain insane to others.

And I am going to go ahead and admit, I’m in both camps.

But if it’s one things my kiddos love to do, is help me in the kitchen with ALL THE THINGS.

And with the holidays coming upon us at lightening speed, I thought I’d share some of my tried and true ways of having your tinies “help” you while you get your holiday baking on….

First things first….those expectations that this is going to be amazingly fun and your baked product is going to come out looking like all those delicious pics in a magazine?

Let those go right now.

I’m not saying your confections are going to be hideous, but letting go of the “perfection” or simply wanting it to look “pinterest picture worthy”, will make a HUGE difference in how you set out to make this whole thing work. And fun will definitely happen along the way, especially when you simply set out to enjoy your time together.

So, without further ado, here are my 7 tips to help baking with your toddlers this season {or anytime, really} more enjoyable for ALL involved:

1. Have a game plan 

Make sure you’ve planned out what it is you’re wanting to make, take inventory to make sure all ingredients are indeed in your pantry/fridge, etc. Trust me on this…theres nothing like being in the middle of batter/dough/whatever you’re making and trying to keep little fingers out and BAM, realize you don’t have the number of eggs needed. Or sprinkles. Or cupcake liners (if you use those)….

2. Have baking supplies/utensils/measuring cups/spoons and the like available that THEY can use.

baking with toddlers

I actually took a trip to our local dollar store and grabbed some measuring cups and spoons and even some pot holders that are theirs to use for pretend play, and for when we bake together as well. And they LOVE that they get to have their very own things to “help” bake or cook with. This year I also added a couple smaller sized rolling pins for them to use.

3. Plan for a time of day that works with them, as well as you.

Starting something right before nap time might not be the best option. My twinnies still take a nap after lunch, so we typically bake mid morning. But, do what you know works best for you and try to work around your littles schedule. Nothing like cranky toddlers and flying batter to make a mama want to run screaming from the kitchen! Uh….not that I’d know anything about that….

4. Along with making sure to plan for a time of day that works best for your kiddos, also make sure to allot enough time for the “helping”.

baking with toddlers

Recognize that what might take you 10-15 minutes to mix up and toss in the oven, is going to take easily 20 minutes plus with “helpers”. It’s okay. Embrace it and breathe.

5. Let them help. For real.

baking with toddlers

I am a total type A-ish person and I’ve learned to let go of a LOT since having children number 3 and 4. My twins have helped me see the joys in the “oopses” and the learning that can happen. So, let them help measure out, or dump the flour into the bowl. A little flour on the counter won’t hurt. I promise.

6. Have kid friendly items they can use.

If your kiddos are anything like mine, they love to use the real thing. So, sometimes having a less breakable bowl for them to “mix” their own ingredients in is super helpful and makes the process fun for both of you. This little tip has helped me be able to get my bowl mixed up faster, while still allowing them to help mix up all the ingredients and them continue to work on their bowls while I then transfer the batter (or dough or whatever I’m making), to the pan/cupcake tins or whatever you happen to be using for baking.

7. Be positive and offer up encouraging words to your littles.

And if you are making something that requires decorating, don’t try and “fix” how they’ve done it. Leave it however they put the sprinkles on…they will be PROUD of their work and will look to see if you like it too. It’s okay if it looks like the green sprinkles vomited all over the sugar cookie snowman and he looks more like the hulk than a snowman. Or if the gingerbread ninja got a happy helping of pink sparkly and flower sprinkles and looks more like its from Whoville, verses the stealth ninja that it seemingly is supposed to resemble. It’s perfectly and awesomely OKAY. Promise.

Now, turn on the light in the oven and sit down on the floor with your littles and watch the awesome and amazing goodness bake, while you attempt to drink your sorta hot coffee. There’s just something about watching those cookies or cupcakes (or whatever you decided to bake) rise in the oven and turn into deliciousness.

Once those baked confections are ready to come out and cool off, go outside or play an activity while they cool down, to help distract the anxious toddlers that want to EAT ALL THE THINGS RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

Once it’s ready, grab a cookie, sit at the table and enjoy the sparkly ninja and green monster snowman. Or pumpkin bread.

Do you love to bake with your kiddos? What other tips would you share that help make the process awesome?

The Traveling Sister Mugs {DIY fun}

I sat down and cried the other day. Like boo hoo couldn’t stop the tears from flowing cry.

And it was all sparked by a picture my sister had posted on Facebook. A perfectly wonderful picture about fall starting to trickle in where she lives. Not something that would typically cause someone to cry…but it caused the stinging in my eyes of the tears that were soon to flow from them.

You see, my sister moved over 900 miles away last year. For the previous 12 years, we’d lived max 10minutes from each other. And now it takes a 4-ish hour plane ride to get to each other. My littlest littles think their Auntie lives in mommy’s phone.

{For real}

travelingsistermugs

Last month was my her birthday, and I had decided loooong ago I was going to get my craft on and make something with our respective states we now live in on it.

I had originally planned on making something like the nail and string art coolness that’s been super popular and all over pinterest of late, but I decided my sanity and trying to make it with twinadoes (aka twin toddlers) circling about my feet and wanting to “help” with ALL THE THINGS lately, well, no. I love my sister, but I’m not sure it would’ve ever gotten finished.

Then I thought about something I KNEW she’d love and appreciate and actually use and not stress about a place to hang….a coffee mug!

I’ve seen the sharpie mugs all over pinterest for a while now, so I decided to try it out myself to make my sisters mug.

{I actually ended up making two, in case I totally screwed one up….}

Wanna make one too?

It’s a pretty fun and simple enough project. Just plan a couple days or a weekend to complete it…it’s not a make the same day as giving kinda handmade gift!

What you’ll need:

-Plain coffee mug (I got mine at Tuesday Morning, but The Dollar Store or Target would be good too)

DecoArt Glass Paint Markers  {aff link}

-pencil

-printer (optional depending on design)

-tape

Instead of trying to freehand the outline of the two states I was drawing, I decided to print them out. Then I cut out around it, turned them over and colored over the back with a pencil.

statesilhouette

Then I taped it to the coffee mug and traced the outline onto the mug. I didn’t press super hard, but firm is good to make sure it transfers well to the mug.

statesilhouettemg

coffeemugpens

I then, following the instructions that came with the pens, traced over the pencil lines and added a little heart on our respective cities. Or at least close-ish to them.

And Voila! I let them dry overnight and then baked them according to what the manufacturers instructions were.

And, in an effort to be absolutely thorough…..I tested the durability out by hand washing AND putting them in the dishwasher, and both ways they came out looking great. I’ve used and washed mine several times in the dishwasher and still looking great, no chipping, peeling or fading.

{I’ll come back and post in few months and update how they are still holding up…}

So, now my sister and I can enjoy some coffee long distance in our sister mugs. It’s not quite the same as meeting at our favorite local coffee place in person, but FaceTime coffee chats are pretty good too.

How fun would this be for a long distance friendship {or sibling or relationship} gift? Be it the upcoming holidays or a going away gift, I think this is a super fun and personalized way to say you care and are thinking about that special person.

Have you made one of these? What design or state would you put on yours?