Spring House Manor Farm Visit

A couple weekends ago my husband and I were invited to visit Spring House Manor Farm, about 10 minutes away from our old house in Frederick. The owners of the farm are Abby and Tony Brusco, ALSO known as the owners of Hometown Harvest (blog sponsor and organic+local grocery delivery service extraordinaire!).

Spring House Manor Farm

The Brusco family moved out to Spring House Manor Farm a little over a year ago, and they wanted to share the experience with me and fellow blogger Rachel. The farm’s property is stunning, backing up to the watershed and full of lush, green pastures.

It was quiet, serene and only a stone’s throw from downtown Frederick. Perfect, right?

A group of 12 of us (including the Brusco kids) gathered to tour the small farm, complete with chickens, a family garden and big plans for moving the Hometown Harvest offices and warehouse to a chunk of their acreage in the next couple of years.

We ate a large farm-style dinner outside under a tent, adjacent to the beautifully restored farmhouse and the small orchard. Two of the recipes (lasagna rolls and summer couscous salad) were inspired by recipes on my blog – a terrific surprise!

Hometown Harvest Farm Lunch

Rachel, who grew up in the city, wrote a really great recap of our visit here (complete with lots of photos), and since I’m still getting our house in order after the move to my parents’ farm and don’t have time to write a longer post (yes…it has happened!! More to come….), I’d suggest you visit hers for all the details. We had a tremendous time!

Hometown Harvest is a blog sponsor, which means I’m being compensated for things like spreading the word about what they do. Interested in learning more about their delivery service in Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia? Click here for all the details!

Easy Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

I started making all of my own pizza dough last year after watching my sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law make theirs the past few years during our family vacations at Smith Mountain Lake.

Lemme tell ya, homemade pizza dough is crazy simple to make. EASY-PEASY. (Even though I know lots of people think otherwise.)

While my usual recipe calls for all-purpose flour, this month I’m following the #HH30Days Real Food Challenge, so I made an easy homemade whole wheat pizza dough (with only 5 ingredients!) instead.

whole wheat flour

After mixing the yeast with warm water (140°F to be precise, but I prefer to just use my wrist – not hot, but very warm), I just let it sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture starts to look kind of foamy.

whole wheat pizza dough yeast

Then, I let my KitchenAid + dough hook do all the kneading work for the next 10 minutes. This is followed by 30 minutes of rising (mixing bowl is covered with a towel and set in a warm oven that I’ve let preheat to 170°F and then turned off), one punch-down, re-kneading by hand for a minute, and then more rising for about 15 minutes.

whole wheat dough rising

I always roll our pizza dough out to a thin crust, and this works especially well with whole wheat pizza dough which can get too chewy if it’s really thick. (My personal opinion, anyway.)

whole wheat pizza dough rounds

When it’s about 1/8″ thick, and baked in a super hot oven, this whole wheat pizza dough turns into a deliciously crispy chewy crust that keeps me fuller longer than its traditional all-purpose counterpart and can also withstand lots of fabulous toppings.

whole wheat dough rolled

This recipe makes 8 personal-sized pizzas, so I’ll use 4 immediately, and then freeze the remaining 4 for the next time we’re having pizza. The frozen dough thaws out nicely overnight in the fridge, but I’ve also thawed them in the microwave when I’ve been in a pinch!

Easy Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Here’s the finished pizza, baked at 500°F for 4 minutes and smothered with fresh mozzarella. I’ve also topped mine with local organic crimini mushrooms and organic scallions from our last Hometown Harvest small fixed bag – YUM!

And, there you have it: easy homemade whole wheat pizza dough (with only 5 ingredients)!

Easy Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Easy homemade whole wheat pizza dough recipe made with only 5 ingredients!
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1-1/3 cups very warm water (about 140°F)
  • 3-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 170°F. As soon as it's done preheating, turn it off.
  2. Combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a KitchenAid (or similar) mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or until you notice it starts to look foamy.
  3. After mixing the flour and salt together in a separate mixing bowl, add it to the water and yeast, turn the mixer on low for 30 seconds, and then increase the speed to medium-low for another minute longer. When the ingredients have come together, increase the speed to medium and drizzle in ¼ cup of olive oil. Let the mixer continue kneading the dough for 10 minutes; the dough should look smooth.
  4. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and shape it into a ball. Coat the dough ball with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, place it back in the mixing bowl and cover the top of the bowl with a towel. Set the covered mixing bowl in the warm oven for 30 minutes. Remove the dough (it should have almost doubled in size), use your fist to punch it down, knead it by hand for a minute, reform the dough ball and then set it back in the warm oven (covered) for another 15-20 minutes.
  5. Cut the dough into 8 equal sized pieces for individual pizzas (if you're going to freeze some, just place them in a freezer-safe zip top bag and throw them in the freezer at this point). Roll each pizza to ⅛" thick, top with sauce, cheese and other toppings, and then place it atop a pizza stone that's been preheated to 500°F. NOTE: I leave the pizza stone in the oven and use a pizza peel coated with cornmeal to slide my prepped pizza dough onto the stone.
  6. Cook the pizza for 4 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the edges are golden. Let the pizza cool for a minute before slicing and devouring!

Disclosure: Hometown Harvest is a blog sponsor, which means I’m compensated for spreading the word about what they do, my experiences and the deliveries I get. Interested in signing up? Click here and make sure to tell them I sent you! All opinions are my own, and I only work with brands whose missions I support!

Quick, Easy and Healthy Family Meals {VIDEO}

Last night I joined Mamavation TV as a guest on the Monday night show, and spent an hour with Leah, Jasmine and Lydia (and via chat with the others) talking about recipes for quick, easy and healthy family meals (a few I mentioned are linked at the bottom). Fun!

Takeaways:

  • I feel very, very lucky to not have to worry about food allergies in our house. But if you do, Jasmine and Leah share some great tips in the video!
  • What’s up with my yellow video?
  • I should have shared more recipes – next time!
  • Seriously, the YELLOW.
  • So much food smarts knowledge in the Mamavation group!
  • Yes, Leah did say she was hopped up on MSG at one point in her life – but you’ll have to watch to find out why! Ha!
  • There’s a lot of my head on the big screen…even when I’m not saying a lot. Or anything. (This doesn’t help with the yellow.)
  • I use my hands a lot…A LOT…when I talk. Case in point:

Mamavation TV Quick, Easy and Healthy Recipes for the Family

The show is open to the public every Monday night, but in case you missed this week’s show, here it is:

Here are some of the recipe links:

Zucchini Bread – I’ll often make this or banana bread, and then serve it up in my daughter’s lunch with cream cheese. A slice or two also makes a great quick breakfast on a busy morning!

Pizza Dough – We love homemade pizza in our house, and whenever I make dough I always make a double batch. The extra dough gets frozen, and makes for an easy dinner another night!

Overnight Slow Cooker Chicken Stock – It’s so easy to make your own chicken stock, why bother buying it? Plus your house will smell amazing in the the morning when you let the slow cooker do the work overnight.

Homemade Applesauce in the Slow Cooker – If you haven’t already tried this simple recipe, do it! You’ll never get store-bought again.

Easy Oven Fried Chicken Thighs with Perfectly Crispy Skin – This recipe is a staple in our house. Throw it in the oven after a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and after 50 minutes you have juice chicken with crispy fried-chicken-like skin. Beautiful!

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