Easy pizza (or whatever you like) sauce

We love pizza night in our home. It's a comfort food that is easy and fast! And because I make it from scratch, I can add in the most nutrient dense ingredients! I have a recipe for crust I love and I use all whole wheat flour in it. It's light and fluffy and yummy! But I wanted to share my recipe for pizza sauce. I love Aldi. If you haven't visited your local Aldi it's worth the trip to check out what they have. I get a lot for our small budget and this includes fresh produce and organic items. One is their organic canned tomatoes. I use them to make sauce. For this recipe I decided to add in some peppers (I don't always do this). 

But this is my recipe (roughly).

Carrie's Pizza Sauce

A can of plain unseasoned diced tomatoes, drained
a few small colored peppers, chopped
1/4 oninon, chopped
a few cloves of garlic ,chopped
1-2 tblsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
a little honey for sweetness (although I left it out this time)
some oil to coat the bottom of your pan

To make: 
I put some oil in the pan, added in the peppers and onions. Cooked til the onions were translucent, added in garlic. Cooked another couple minutes, then added in the rest of the ingredients. Mix and cover, letting it cook on low-medium heat for about 20 minutes. If it starts bubbling it's too hot and turn the heat down to simmer. I let it all simmer then I take it off the heat, and blend it all with my immersion blender (I love my immersion blender it's one of my favorite tools!). It makes enough for several pizzas. I use what I need for the night and pour the rest into containers I can freeze (once they are cooled down). You have plenty on hand for a quick meal in the future! Another great thing about this sauce is that you can add in what you like to change up the flavor, you can thicken it with tomato paste if you want it thicker, or dilute it by adding in some of the tomato juice you drained when you opened the can, add heat to it with red pepper flakes, or add different herbs to change the flavor. Why do all that? Because you can add it to a pasta dish later in the week! I love that this is versatile, not just a one dish only sauce. 

For our toppings on our pizzas, I decided to  add a few peppers, some mushrooms, cheese, spinach ( I love putting greens on our pizzas, it's an easy way to boost the nutrition) and pepperoni (I buy a nitrate free, hormel brand at Kroger). 

I rolled out the dough (if you'd like my dough recipe let me know) added, sauce, cheese, and my cooked peppers and mushrooms, spinach and pepperoni, and cooked in a preheated oven (500 degrees) for about 8 minutes. I've found that it's best to not overload your pizzas with toppings and to spread them out so they all cook evenly. I've erred on the side of too many ingredients on the dough and it just comes out heavy, and soggy. 
These are yummy, good for you without any weird ingredients added in. What's great about pizzas is that you can put anything you have on hand on them! I have put whatever we have for leftovers at the end of the week. A favorite- grilled chicken, pineapple and peppers with some spinach. 

Also, you don't have to soak your dough, I chose to this time because I remembered the night before to do so. Mixing it fresh with good flour (wheat, or unbleached white by Bob's Red Mill) will taste just as good. 

Now go make some sauce and enjoy a yummy meal! 

For my crust this time, I actually let it soak overnight first (this breaks down the phytic acid that is anti-nutrient) then I mixed in the remaining ingredients (honey, yeast, oil, salt) and let it rise in a bowl on the counter. It gets nice and fluffly like this. But once I pulled it out and kneaded it, it turned soft and pliable, perfect for rolling out. 

For my crust this time, I actually let it soak overnight first (this breaks down the phytic acid that is anti-nutrient) then I mixed in the remaining ingredients (honey, yeast, oil, salt) and let it rise in a bowl on the counter. It gets nice and fluffly like this. But once I pulled it out and kneaded it, it turned soft and pliable, perfect for rolling out. 

a photograph

I once read a quote by a well-known professional photographer that stuck with me. He said, "A picture is not a photograph until it's printed." In the world of digital-downloading-immediate-satisfaction kind of shooting, it's easy to take a picture, or 100, download them and forget about them.

What happens? How do we manage to take so many photos but never really do anything with them? 

I can raise my hand and say guilty! I hate it, but I tend to do this very thing. 

I take a lot of photos. And by a lot, I mean hundreds. Thousands. We have large hard drives, needless to say. And it saddens me. It pains me that I can't print, print, print away. Why not? What is the culprit behind this last step to send the files to print?

Welp, there is time to do this. And there is money that needs to go towards printing. Two hurdles that seem to stand in my way.  

However, once you set up a system to be sure you get prints from those amazing shots, there is nothing like seeing those photographs on the wall. 

I admit I am still in the process of creating a system for printing, but I have started sorting through my photos a little differently. By this, I mean I set up a folder labeled "favorites" and, whenever I see an image that I absolutely love, I drop it in there. Having this favorites folder eliminates some time for me later, when I am ready to print some photos from our massive collection. I still have a ways to go with organizing and labeling, but this simple step is a start. 

This month I carved out an evening, sat down and sent some of our images out to be printed. After months of thinking about this, I can't tell you how good it felt to follow through and check this off my list. And also when they arrived in the mail it was like those days when I was eagerly waiting for my prints to be developed! Oh joy!

Our photos are wonderful, beautiful memories that I can see daily now, and I. LOVE. THAT.

Perhaps you suffer from the same thing I do? Procrastination from printing? Just sit down and do it! You will not regret getting prints. Unless you use a crappy photo lab. (Please don't. We can recommend a professional lab!)


The other day I was catching up with a long time friend of mine and she said something about archiving that I thought was so thoughtful I felt I had to share. She said that she created email accounts for her two children and sends emails to them regularly. Sometimes she emails them articles she's found online that she would love to discuss with them when they're older, sometimes videos of their everyday, sometimes sound clips of them, or her and sometimes just letters. And her husband also emails to them regularly. 

Isn't that a thoughtful idea? 

I am forever trying to slow down these little years, because they are so fast!  They are so full, funny, and so memorable. 

And my short term memory is well, yup. It's sad how quickly I forget what happened yesterday, let alone a month ago.

While I was thinking about email accounts, it occurred to me that I could take this idea to print. Literally, by actually buying journals to write in. Writing seems to be a thing of the past these days, and that's sad. I enjoy writing and there is something serene about sitting quietly with your thoughts and a pen and paper. So I picked up two journals for the boys the other day, and I started their journals. 

I may still create emails for them, because I love having a place for digital files, but for now I am excited to keep a record in a tangible way.