Camping with Kiddos!

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As we prep for our annual family camping trip, I thought I’d share some of the fun things we do with the kids when we camp.

In addition to all of the usual camping stuff: Tent, blankets, pillows, air mattress, clothes, toiletries, Sunscreen, food, camp kitchen stuff…. You need stuff to do!

A friend and I made a huge batch of play dough last week, and we’re taking half of the batch, along with some cookie cutters, small rolling pins and other fun play dough stuff I got on my local Buy Nothing Group.

Games: High Ho Cherry-O, card games (like Uno, and a few regular decks of cards), lawn bowling.

We also have a craft box. It’s a large tote, like this one. I’ve filled it with all sorts of craft odds and ends. Mostly stuff leftover from other projects, as well as stuff I’ve gotten from Craigslist Curb alerts, and my local Buy Nothing group.  There is paper, scissors, glue, beads, pipe cleaners, paint, and so much more! The kids rifle through it and come up with some of the most interesting projects. I really believe that kids need to have free reign over creative play, so as long as I am there to make sure they are safe, they are free to create and play how they wish.

Bubbles. I make about a gallon of bubble solution, and we have all kinds of wands and stuff (Dollar tree and Target’s Dollar spot are great places to find bubble toys). We also make some out of pipe cleaners.

We also cook a lot when we are camping. We use dutch ovens to make all kinds of baked goods, including our favorite: Beer Bread. My dad has a cool clay Pizza oven (it’s this one), and we make pizzas in the late afternoons to snack on. Our favorite pizza recipe is here.

Here are a few pictures of our adventure last year:

We also of course, play at the campground play ground, go on nature hikes (and do some fun nature scavenger hunts- check out Pinterest for a bunch). We spend time with family and friends, and of course, check out all of the events and fun at the big camping event in which we are participating.

Camping is a great family activity, and here in San Diego there are so many places to camp! From the beach, to the mountains, to the desert, there are campgrounds, both private and public for low prices!

If you are a camper, where is your favorite place to camp?

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Earn Free Pizzas at Dominos!

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Woo Hoo! Check out what was in my inbox this morning!

Dominos started a new “Piece of the Pie Rewards” earlier this year. For every purchase of $10 or more you place, you’ll receive 10 points. Once you receive 60 points, you earn a free medium two topping pizza!

To learn more about the program, check out the Dominos website.

I love programs like this! It’s great to be rewarded for buying things that you are already buying

 

DIY Frozen Pizzas!

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A cheese pizza baking away (and a calzone)!

We love Pizza. Probably too much. About 6 months ago, hubs bought How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food,10th Anniversary Edition by Mark Bittman. It’s amazing. We’ve cooked a lot of stuff out of it, but the best is probably the pizza crust recipe.

It’s easy -only three ingredients, but I usually add a few extra!  You can make a few batches, put a ball of dough in the freezer, and save it for when you want pizza, but are feeling lazy. OR- You can make a couple frozen pizzas (which I do once a month), and when you are feeling really lazy, you’ll have no need to call Noid or Cesar (wow, both of those totally date me, right?)

DIY Frozen Pizza

Makes 1 pizza

Crust (recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s):

  • 3 c flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 2 t. yeast
  • 1 c. very warm water (90-100 degrees)
  • 2 T parmesan cheese (it’s ok to use the Kraft in a green canister stuff)-OMIT IF YOU ARE VEGAN!
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • dash salt
  • dash pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together until a soft sticky dough ball forms.
  3. Turn out onto a floured board or counter top and knead briefly.
  4. smooth a round ball of dough into a clean bowl. Cover bowl with a cool, damp cloth and allow to rise someplace undisturbed for 1 hour.
  5. After an hour, punch the dough, and turn out onto a floured board or counter top and knead for 2-3 minutes. At this time, you can roll the dough out and move onto the next step, or you can do a secondary rise (makes the crust extra crispy and chewy). If you elect to do a second rise, repeat step 3 and 4.
  6. After dough is rolled out to your preferred size and shape, lift into well greased cookie sheet or pizza pan. pierce the crust with a fork several times. This keeps the crust from getting weird bumps and lumps during the par-baking.
  7. Par-bake crust for 3-5 minutes. Allow crust to cool completely.

Now that you have cooled par-baked crust, it’s time to get topping! Transfer the pizza to a large piece of aluminum foil.

  • 1 cup or so of sauce, your choice
  • 1-2 c. cheese
  • Assorted toppings (precooked meats, veggies, fruit, herbs, etc)

Top the pizza as you like,, wrap the foil around the pizza, loosely around the top of the pizza so you don’t squash the toppings. Place in a large freezer zip top bag (don’t forget to label what kind of pizza it is) and freeze. pizzas should freeze at least 24 hours before cooking.

To heat, bake pizzas at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes

IMG_2938Some of our favorite pizzas include:

  • Gyro (Sprouts sells it wit hthe pre-sliced deli meat!), feta, and spinach
  • Caramelized onions and peppers and sliced meatballs with cheese
  • whatever veggies we have in the house (broccoli, spinach, onions, peppers) topped  with cheese
  • chicken, bacon, and pepper jack cheese

 

You can substitute in whatever your fav crust is, whatever sauce, cheese, and toppings you like! And because the pizzas are room temp/cooled when you top them, it’s a great opportunity for kids to help assemble pizzas. These pizzas are a frugal way to have a yummy dinner- Each pizza costs about $3.00 and feeds the three of us!

 

 

Summer Fun with Kids at Oggi’s Liberty Station!

OggisGot littles? Trying a fun way to keep them entertained this summer without breaking the banks? Check out these awesome deals from Oggi’s in Liberty Station.

1: Kids eat free all day Wednesday with the purchase of any adult entree.

2: Kids can make their own personal pizza starting at 11:00am. That’s what we did today, and Lil’ Man had a blast. I wish I had gotten photos of the pizza once it was baked, however, he inhaled it.

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The pizza dough is rolled out in the kitchen and brought out with sauce and cheese for the kids to add as much as they want.  Then there is a table of toppings for the kids to choose from (By the time I got over there to take photos, most of the little bowls were empty because all of the kids were having a blast topping their pizzas!). Lil’ Man is a strictly cheese only pizza guy, so we just asked for a little extra cheese.

I sampled some really tasty grown up noms today too. Here were my top three favorites:Marathon-flatbread-2

Marathon Flatbread
Brushed with garlic olive oil, topped with Mozzarella, zucchini, tomato, red onion, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic and drizzled with sweet balsamic glaze.

Mediterranean-SaladMediterranean Delight Salad

Frugal Recipe: Home Made Pizza!

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Yummy, cheesy pizza!

Who doesn’t love pizza? Ok, I know 1 person, but other than that, everyone loves it! Lil’ Man is no exception. He requests, “Cheesy pizza dinner” at least once a day, but I only acquiesce to his request once a week.

I tend to stock up on the crust mix and cans of salt free tomato sauce, so it’s easy to throw together a pizza on those days when I don’t really feel like cooking, or pizza is requested. With the only limitations being your imagination (and what’s in your fridge and pantry) you never have to have the same pizza twice!

Henry’s Cheese Pizza
Ingredients:

  • 1 Betty Crocker Pizza Crust Mix (All you add is a 1/2 cup of hot water)- available at  99 Cents Only OR most grocery stores for $1.00 or less
  • 1/2 c hot (not boiling) water
  • 1/2 c (more or less) all purpose flour (for rolling out the crust)
  • 1 small can tomato Sauce
  • Spices to taste (I use 2 T. Italian seasoning, 1 t. each granulated garlic and onion)
  • 3/4 c. Mozzarella
  • 3/4 c. cheddar cheese
  • (feel free to add up to 1 cup in additional toppings, such as veggies, meat, or even fruit!)

Directions:

  1. Prepare the crust as per the package directions. I set the dough to rest for about 10-15 minutes on the back of the stove. I do this as the stove pre-heats. The dough relaxes and rises just a little.
  2. While the dough is relaxing, mix the tomato sauce and spices together, set aside.
  3. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, and transfer to a well greased cookie sheet.
  4. Top pizza dough with about 1/2 of the pizza sauce, and the cheese
  5. Bake per the package directions
  6. Slice and serve.  I usually get 3 or 4 servings per pizza. We like thin crust, so I roll the dough out to fill a cookie sheet.

Variations: Use white sauce, bbq sauce, or even Robert Rothschild Farm Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce (I usually buy it at Costco) in lieu of the tomato sauce, you can change up your base flavor.

This pizza costs us about $4.00 and serves 3-4  hungry people.  And since I make it at home, I know exactly what goes into it!