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Homemade Gourmet Pizza


IMG_1873
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Mark makes a fantastic pizza! We use a little shortcut for our dough by buying frozen pre-made dough. It comes in loaf-shape ready to make bread, but it makes a great pizza dough as well.

Ingredients:

Pre-made frozen dough, 1 1/2 loaves per pizza
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella and Fontina cheeses
Orange tomatoes, sliced
Roma tomatoes, sliced
Portabello mushroom, sliced
Marinated artichoke heart
Corn Meal
Optional: cooked pancetta for topping

Thaw bread dough completely, and separate dough into 1 1/2 loaves. Ball dough into 2 balls, flatten slightly and allow to rise according to package.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, using a pizza stone on the top shelf.

Stretch dough into rounds on scattered corn meal, thinning the center a little more than the edges to create a slight crust. Spread pizza sauce thinly over the surface of the center of the dough, and top with combination of cheeses. Lay thinly sliced tomatoes on cheese, then top with mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Sprinkle with a little more cheese.

Sprinkle corn meal onto hot pizza stone, then transfer pizza using a wooden peel. Turn oven down to 400 degrees F and cook pizza for 12-16 minutes, depending on thickness of crust. Pizza is done when bottom is golden brown, center is no longer doughy, and crust is lightly browned and crispy.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting into 6 to 8 wedges.

Megan is Surrounded by Cats!


IMG_1890
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Look, i have alllll my tiny fuzzes. <3

Chocolate Dipped Fruit How-To


Chocolate Dipped Fruit
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

What a delicious treat! Mark came up with this great idea for our Valentine's Day dessert. We had chocolate dipped strawberries at my wedding and they were a big hit! We got a big bar of milk chocolate, and I added the last bit of a bag of 60% cacao chocolate chips, as well as a square of unsweetened baker's chocolate to bitter it all up a little.

We originally decided on just the strawberries, but the blueberries were on sale, so we decided to do those as well. Last minute, I remembered we had marshmallows in our cupboard, so I did 6 of those as a bonus sweet treat. Plus, my cake holder has 3 platforms, so it worked out perfectly!

I lined the cake plates with parchment paper that I cut to fit using scalloped scissors and by folding the paper in quarters, then folding that quarter in thirds. Place the point of the paper in the center of the cake plate, then cut at desired length for plate. Unfold, and place on plate.

To dip the fruit, you're going to need a double boiler (I use a stainless steel mixing bowl that fits hovering over a small pan of water) to heat your chocolate without burning it. You're going to want to keep your chocolate's temperature between 88 and 93 degrees F when it's melted in order to get that snap when you bite into it. This process is called tempering.

Use a candy thermometer without touching the side of the bowl when you take the temperature. If the temperature of the chocolate gets close to 93 degrees, lift the bowl off the pan using a pot holder - the bowl will be hot! If the temperature begins to drop below 88, return the bowl to the pan to warm the chocolate back up.

When the chocolate is at the correct temperature, dip your fruit! I use one hand to put the fruit in the chocolate, and one hand to remove it. This way, my clean fruit tops don't get covered in chocolate residue. I also rinse my chocolate hand often.

Removing the berries from the chocolate can be made easier by tipping the chocolate-covered end straight up and swirling the fruit in the air until the chocolate begins to set up a little. Place fruit in a pretty pattern on your parchment paper. With remaining chocolate and a small spoon, drizzle a little chocolate around the paper for decoration. Scatter any remaining uncovered blueberries between the other plates for color and interest.

Let chocolate cool completely before enjoying. I served my desserts on my small china plates. It turned out beautiful and tasted delicious!

Valentine's Day Crock Pot Roast 2009


Crock Pot Roast
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Mmm, crock pot shoulder roast, with radishes and celery for aromatics, and brussels sprouts, carrots, and potatoes to serve along side the meat. I served the roast sliced with a drippings-based gravy.

Valentine's Day Flowers


Valentine's Day Flowers
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's my Valentine's Day table setting. Mark got me the beautiful lillies yesterday and the candles and hearts are my decorations from our wedding. I love my cake topper! It makes a great decoration so often.

Aww <3

Cheddar's learning to Chinese Brush Paint

I was watching a video on Chinese brush painting and Cheddar was completely intrigued by the process. He loved it! Enthralled I tell you.

Isn't he cute? He paid attention for a long time, and I'm sure that it was the brush strokes that kept him looking.

Freezer Paper Stenciling Tutorial


stenciled jeans
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Today I'm going to show you how to create a stencil with freezer paper in order to place a design anywhere on your clothing, bags, or really anywhere.

Materials:
Clothing item
Freezer Paper
Pencil
Fine tipped craft knife
Iron
Ironing Board
Cardboard
Fabric Paint or Acrylic Paint and Fabric Medium
Paint Brush


Bleach-spot jeans
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

So here they are. The favorite pair of ruined jeans. We all have a pair, don't we?

I personally work in the salon during the day as a color specialist. Needless to say, accidents happen when you don't wear an apron. But in my own defense, I get color on my clothes even when I do wear an apron, and why would i want to cover up my cute outfit?

Anyway, let's get to it, shall we?


design stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Begin by either designing a suitable stencil for your project in a graphics design program, or by finding a suitable clip art. Keep in mind that this is a stencil, so any details on the inside must either be connected to the outside edges with a bridge, or must be ironed down separately after the main piece is attached. The second method tends to be my favorite when using a simple design such as these stars. You'll see what I mean later.


trace stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Next, lay your freezer paper plastic-side-down onto your computer monitor and trace the outside edges of your design. If your design is already on paper, put both pieces of paper against a window to use the daylight as a light box and trace the design from there.


cutting stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Using a sharp craft knife with a fine tip, carefully cut out the design elements of your stencil. Any open areas will be painted, while the paper will act as a resist for the rest of the fabric. If you're using a star pattern like I am, save a few of the medium-sized star cut outs.


pre-iron fabric
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Place your fabric flat over an ironing board, and pre-iron the area to which you are planning to attach your stencil on medium heat.


attach stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Place your stencil where you desire your pattern, plastic side of the paper down. I am positioning my largest star over my bleached spot on my jeans.

Lightly place the iron straight down onto the stencil. The plastic will slightly fuse to the fabric, attaching the stencil down. Be cautious to not wrinkle or tear any edges of the stencil, but make sure the entire paper is ironed down.


Insert cardboard
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Place cardboard sheet between layers of fabric, below stencil. Remove from ironing board and wrap tightly around cardboard, exposing area to be painted.

You can also see in this photo how I've added a few of the smaller star cut outs to the medium sized stars to create a hollow star shape. This is totally optional, but I think it looks great, especially with geometric shapes and simple designs, like these stars.


paint stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Using a paint brush and either a fabric paint or an acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium, paint one even coat on stenciled area. Allow paint to dry completely between coats, then apply 1 to 3 more, depending on your desired level of coverage.


Remove stencil
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Carefully peel the paper away from the fabric, exposing a nice crisply painted design. Any small fused papers can be removed with either a fingernail or a pair of tweezers.


finished design
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's the finished product! Stencils are a great way to rescue ruined clothing, dress up boring t shirts, or express your personal style. What a great way to create one of a kind items!

An Empty Glass - Writing prompt 12/20/2008

Writing prompt #27

The air is thick and heavy with dampness.
Evidence is shown by wide paths of clear glass
amidst the foggy layer of condensation,
as another droplet succumbs to gravity
and makes its way to join the others
in a ring-shaped puddle on the table.

Once there was content.
Once, the clear-pink-and-ice offer
of temporary contentment, with a twist of lime.
Now, the contents all drank up, nothing left
but a hint of a glossy rose red kiss at the edge,
and the fog that reminds the difference between
the ice on the tongue and the heat in the room.

Once, the precursor to sweaty conversation
in too-loud a location, too close to breathe.
Too close to step away.
Once, sweet on the lips with a bit of that bite,
the bite that lets you know something else,
something different, is on its way.

Once.

Now, just an empty glass.

Cookietacular December 2008

My girlfriends Lilli, Zan, Cassie, and I all got together at Zan's house to make cookies this weekend. We were super productive today!

Last night Lilli, Zan and I all decided on our recipes, went shopping for ingredients and cookie cutters, gathered our supplies, had some drinks and made dinner. Today, we headed over in the afternoon to continue our cookie saga.

We made a total of five different kinds of cookies! Pictured here are two plates of peanut butter cookies, a plate of chocolate chip, a plate of tiny gingerbread and a plate of tiny and large gingerbread cookies.

Nick, you may NOT breathe on my cookies. Also, as a valid point, you may not drool. Kthx.

Here, by special request of Jeff, are three racks of his favorite cookie.

Snickernoodles? Snickers and doodles? Nickersnipples? What was it again? Oh that's right, Snickerdoodles.

I can honestly say that I've never made snickerdoodles before. I can also honestly say that this won't be the last time.

Sugar cookie central!

Cassie is working along the back of the photo with her custom made teal icing. Zan is working with the awesomeness that is glitter gel icing and colored sugar crystals.

Lilli and I, as you can see, were working on some beers. :)

The reject pile.

One, two of these cookies hit the floor. The rest were just crispy.

We seriously considered handing the stack to Jeff to eat. But we couldn't bring ourselves to do so. Not because we were being nice, but more because none of us could have kept a straight face!

Really though, he made off with a much better bag of loot, as did we all.

Merry Cookietacular OMG yum. :)

*crumbs*

Papier Mache Wreath - White, Silver, and Black


IMG_0942
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

I had a fun project about a week ago that I thought you might like to see. It was great because I used up two catalogs in the process that would have otherwise just been tossed.

I have a little video timelapse project that will be going with this shortly, but I've got a little editing to do to clean it up. Drying takes a long time!


IMG_0944
Originally uploaded by theartofmegan

Here's an up-close view of the leaves, the beaded wire, and the ribbon on the wreath. It took about 4 thick coats of craft acrylic paint to cover the newspaper sufficiently so that I didn't have magazine images showing through.

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