Pizza in the morning, Pizza in the evening, Pizza at supper time

“Pizza in the morning,

pizza in the evening,

pizza at supper time,

when pizza dough’s in the fridge,

you can have pizza anytime.”

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That is how the song goes, right? Pizza dough is a staple in our household. If we are making a batch of dough, we always double the recipe and throw the extra into freezer for later use.  Ever since we discovered the simplicity of making pizza dough, we eat it a lot. In our fridge, you will always find it there.

If you haven’t made your own before, you should definitely give it a try. It is foolproof, I promise.

We have tried a number of combinations from different recipes, recently Jeezy came up with the perfect recipe, let’s call it “Jeezus Crust”.

You only need a few ingredients.

  • 2 and a half to 3 cups of plain white flour (I usually change about a quarter of a cup of the plain flour to wholewheat flour for fun, it is great both ways though)
  • 1 teaspoon of fine sea-salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup of warm water

Step 1: Mix 2 and a half cups of flour and the salt together in a large bowl

Step 2: Mix warm water with oil and yeast in a small bowl

Step 3: Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Step 4: Stir until it becomes too difficult to stir, add a bit more flour if needed

Step 5: Take the dough out of the bowl and continue kneading and adding small amounts of flour if the dough feels sticky.

***note: The amount of flour depends on the humidity in the air***

Step 6: Grease a large bowl with a small amount of olive oil and place the dough inside to rise.

Step 7: Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave it in a warm place to rise. If you are in a hurry, turn a space heater on low and place it on top.

Step 8: Take it out of the bowl when the dough has at least doubled in size

Step 8: Cut it in half or in thirds, depending on the size of your pan.

Step 9: Use your hands to stretch the dough on a lightly greased pan or stone. I find that I don’t need a rolling pin at all.

Step 10: Bake the crust for a few minutes at 350 degrees before adding the sauce and toppings.

Step 11: Add sauce, mozzarella cheese and a few toppings, be creative.

Step 12: Cook at 350 degrees until the bubbles are brown. A few minutes of broiling is sometimes necessary at the end.

Step 13: Let is cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

It takes some time to make the dough but if you have some in your fridge or freezer it takes no time at all.

The World Through My Eyes (updated)

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Canada is home, family and friends.

Sri Lanka is a culture mostly untouched.

United States is Spring Break year after year.

Malaysia is climbing mountains and exploring caves.

Italy is endless walking for pizza and gelato.

Indonesia is sleeping in rice paddies.

Andorra is lemmings jumping off cliffs.

Philipines is beautiful children becoming your friend.

Switzerland is chocolate and mesmerizing mountain views.

South Korea is coffee shops and impeccable manners.

France is ordering chocolatines at a boulangerie.

Thailand is pad thai, curry and ladyboys.

Vatican City is just a confusing place.

Laos is zip-lining and tubing down fast moving rivers.

The Bahamas is perfect beaches ruined by terrible resorts.

Peru is hiking up and down mountains to calm your mind.

Vietnam is massages, second families and amazing food.

Macau is dried meat and egg tarts on the street.

Spain is being squished in a car with your family.

Cambodia is temples and the trickiest children.

Cuba is dancing with Mom on the beach.

Nepal is reaching the top of the world.

Hong Kong is kayaking and getting lost in the trails.

Myanmar is filled with challenges and delicious dinners.

China is love and where I found my happiness.

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Mr. Curiosity

A teacher asked one of my students to leave their room because he was fiddling with the chair he was sitting on and he refused to stop. I asked that student, “why do you think you are always fiddling with things?”  He said, “I am just so curious about the World around me.” And with that response, I won’t ever ask my students to stop fiddling in my class.

A spinning top, a wiggling worm, a jumping jelly bean.

There is this boy who loves to wiggle, he moves about and never freezes

A detective, an explorer, a scientist on the brink of discovery

There is this boy who likes to observe, he touches everything and moves it about

An  inventor, an artist, a construction worker in the midst of creation

There is this boy who loves to chat, he speaks and shouts and refuses to pause

A teacher, a politician, an advocate on ready to convince

There is boy who I like to call Mr. Curiosity.

curiosity’s bad name

Cats unite!

Take a stand

protest

speak out

put an end

to curiosity’s bad name.

Get outside

touch it

squeeze it

explore

everything

that is around you.

It might be dirty

but

it won’t make you sick

if anything

it will only make you think

Go

Explore

Come back

and share

then

please

explore some more!

Inspired Poetry

I really love William Carlos Williams poem, The Red Wheelbarrow. If you haven't had a chance to enjoy it, have a read.
The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

Here are a few poems I wrote inspired by The Red Wheelbarrow.

The Worm Box
So much depends
upon

a wooden worm
box

filled with moist
soil

and the hands of
young children

The Dusty Duvet

So little depends
upon

the winter down
duvet

infested with dusty
allergens

tickling the nose 
of Jeezy.

The Sharpened Pencil
So much depends 
upon

a sharpened 
pencil

manipulated by ideas
of children 

moving across
the page 




My Food Journey

Part I

The Picky Eater

When I think about my eating habits as a child, I feel a lot of sympathy towards my Mom.

I was a ‘meat and potata’ girl through and through. I was happy to eat chicken, beef, ham or turkey  (un-marinated) with a side of potatoes every day of the week. When the vegetable area of the food pyramid was approached, I was only interested in raw ‘baby’ carrots. If they were cooked, you could not get them anywhere near my mouth. My sister on the other hand was the exact opposite. She would eat absolutely any vegetable but if you tried to get her to eat any form of meat, she would not touch it.

My poor Mom tried everything to get me to eat what she cooked. She tried making me sit at the table until I ate the food in front of me. I was patient. She tried bribing with desserts and treats. I wasn’t interested. She tried sending me to my room without any supper. I was never very hungry. In fact, I was an underweight child so she was concerned to leave with without food for long.  In the end she made a variety of dishes to satisfy everyone’s dinner wishes. I don’t know how she did it, but I certainly never gave her enough credit.

Part II

Broadening horizons

When I went away to university, my eating habits remained unchanged. My parents decided to purchase a food plan for my first year of university. It was very kind of them, however, my small university had limited choices.  After a month or two of Subway sandwiches, pizza and the odd chicken dinner (if I made it in time), I was forced to experiment a little bit. I started with salads mixed with pasta and the odd stir-fry, without onions and peppers. I discovered that cooked vegetables weren’t so terrible after all. When I decided to cook at home, I even tried making my own stir-fry with vegetables. I was changing. For the remaining 4 years of University I opted not to get a food plan, I truly missed cooking my own meals and was tired of my minimal menu at Nipissing University. Salads became a popular meal choice, and not always mixed with pasta. Cooked vegetables were sometimes beside my meat and potatoes. Something was happening, slowly.

Part III

International Experiences

In my last year of university, I was given the opportunity to fly to China to complete a teaching practicum with 19 other students. I was unsure if this was something I should consider, as I had never been much of a traveler. My Dad encouraged me to apply and when I was accepted he shared my excitement in the adventure I had ahead of myself. I think my Mom just shared my anxieties. I am so appreciative of my Dad’s encouragement because that trip changed who I am today and it changed the plan I had created for myself and my future. While in China, I was forced to eat some interesting things or go hungry. I couldn’t starve myself for one month, so I forced myself to experiment and stomach things I wish I hadn’t. I surprised myself. Mushrooms were tasty. Ginger was delicious. Pork hooves were disgusting. Maybe that wasn’t a surprise. Red bean buns were amazing and I discovered that there were more fruits than just apples, bananas and berries. I tried seafood for the first time and loved it. I was approached with deep-fried crickets and beetles but I thought that I had stretched my palette enough for one trip.

I came home with first tea ever purchased and a new appreciation for food, as long as it had meat in every dish, it could have as many different vegetables as the chef wanted. Well, with a few limitations of course.

After my China adventure, I was hooked. After only three and a half months of being home, I accepted a job and flew to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I could not resist array of culinary delights that were hidden within the maze of alleyways. Despite a few bouts of food poisoning, I fell in love with the freshness of Vietnamese cuisine. I cooked at home no more than 5 times during my entire year in Vietnam.

Part IV

The Road Block

As one would expect eating at the not-so-clean ‘restaurants’ in Ho Chi Minh city, I did have some lovely worm friends decide to join in the digesting party happening in my stomach. Thanks to the flooding of contaminated water, I also had some parasites join in on the party too. Clearly this caused some problems in my eating habits. After a series of insanely strong antibiotics, we managed to kill most of the little creatures in me, leaving some serious damage to my intestinal tract and stomach.  There were so many foods that caused extreme pain. Meat, being the worst culprit. For almost a year I gave up eating meat and started taking some natural healing supplements. After over a year my stomach started to accept most foods so I began to reintroduce meat. Chicken was really the farthest I could push it until I had discomfort.

Part V

The Solution

I started to think about why I ate meat. I liked the taste but I hated the feeling that I had afterwards. I loved to barbeque but I hated handling raw meat. I was surrounded by a lot of vegetarians at my school in Shanghai and I thought back to how well I felt when I was not eating meat. I wanted that feeling to return. I went back to removing meat from my diet and I was astonished by how quickly my discomfort disappeared. I was shocked by the energy I had found. I couldn’t believe how my body had changed. I felt healthy. I felt happy. After taking meat out of my diet, I was given a book called, “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer. I was horrified by my ignorance towards the journey meat went through to get to my table.  I knew meat came from animals but I had never made the emotional connection. I didn’t take time to think how the animals were treated before they became my dinner. I didn’t understand the environmental impact my choices were making. This book was a slap in the face. I needed more information. I continued to read various pieces of literature and watch documentaries describing food’s journey. It has made me change other aspects of my diet as well but most of all it has convinced me that there is no reason for me to have meat in my diet.

Part VI

Passing on Knowledge

I find it disheartening that it wasn’t until I was 25 years old, did I begin to understand where my food comes from. It infuriated me that I was not given the opportunity to learn about this in school. As a teacher, I make a point to have opportunities for children to inquire  and discuss the journey their food takes to get to their lunch boxes and tables. I talk openly about my decision to be a vegetarian. This year I have other students and parents who are vegetarians and vegans as well. I am not looking to convince children to make the same choice I did, but I want them to have the knowledge to make their own  informed food choices.

Bicycle Etiquette 

Adult training wheels? Did you know those were in existence? There are a lot of surprsies on the bicycle path near our apartment. In fact some days I think, I should sit on a bench and video the sights that pass me by. Typically I avoid biking there on the weekends because it is full of first time cyclists who are unaware of bike path etiquette. Today I was forced to break my rule. Nearly, an hour by public transportation or a quick  bike ride  across the river to a friends house. I chose biking. I prepared myself for the frustrations ahead and set out. To my surprise it was a quiet on this particular Saturday morning. I pedaled along the Tolo Harbour and made excellent time. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky on my return trip. The path had become crowded and many cyclist decided, as they often do, to ride side by side with their friends. This social style of bike riding leaves me no room in my lane and it is not acceptable according to my long list of cycling etiiquette. As five bikes were coming at me, I shouted, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I often find myself shouting on this path. However, today’s shouting episode was different than usual. I tend to receive no response or a timid “sorry.” This particular afternoon’s retort was slightly more tense. It came in a high-pitched tone with a slight chinese accent and there was nothing timid about it. “I DON’T KNOW, F*@! YOUUUUUUUUU!” Although abstaining from the use of profanity is on my etiquette list, I found myself giggling. It was not the reaction, I had anticipated.

Bicycle Etiquette

Adult training wheels? Did you know those were in existence?
There are a lot of surprsies on the bicycle path near our apartment. In fact some days I think, I should sit on a bench and video the sights that pass me by. Typically I avoid biking there on the weekends because it is full of first time cyclists who are unaware of bike path etiquette.

Today I was forced to break my rule. Nearly, an hour by public transportation or a quick  bike ride  across the river to a friends house. I chose biking. I prepared myself for the frustrations ahead and set out. To my surprise it was a quiet on this particular Saturday morning. I pedaled along the Tolo Harbour and made excellent time.

Unfortunately, I was not so lucky on my return trip. The path had become crowded and many cyclist decided, as they often do, to ride side by side with their friends. This social style of bike riding leaves me no room in my lane and it is not acceptable according to my long list of cycling etiiquette. As five bikes were coming at me, I shouted, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I often find myself shouting on this path. However, today’s shouting episode was different than usual. I tend to receive no response or a timid “sorry.” This particular afternoon’s retort was slightly more tense. It came in a high-pitched tone with a slight chinese accent and there was nothing timid about it.

“I DON’T KNOW, F*@! YOUUUUUUUUU!”

Although abstaining from the use of profanity is on my etiquette list, I found myself giggling. It was not the reaction, I had anticipated.