Roasted Fall Vegetable Pizza | Day 29

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Fall Vegetable Pizza

So I’m having a hard time finding a few of my favorite things around here. (Real) grits being one of those. I found some great ones online from good ol’ South Carolina. They worked out perfectly.  Now that we have to special order them, we don’t have them quite as often as we used to. But they are making an appearance with some good shrimp in our menu next week.

There are some good things up here though. One being the pumpkins. The sweet potatoes.  And the butternut squash.

Under the building Chris works in is a giant two block wide train terminal full of shops, restaurants, sprinkled with five. Five Dunkin’ Doughnuts. These people are a little obsessed about their Eagles. And their doughnuts. Also – a fresh produce storefront where local farmers deliver their wares each week. I asked him to keep a look out for a butternut squash on his way to the train one night last week, and he came home with a gorgous one for $3.29!

See, I was craving fresh, local, and pizza. After using good ol’ Martha for inspiration, I came up with this.

Fall Vegetable Pizza

 

First, I start with my favorite way to roast vegetables. I didn’t like vegetables much when I was a kid. Probably because I grew up in the age of boiling-everything-to-mush. My favorite way of cooking veggies now is to roast them! And lots of different ones together! If you cut them the same size, they’ll basically cook at about the same time.

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So start with a pan or stone. Lay out your diced vegetables in a single layer. I used red bell peppers, zucchinni, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Add some crushed fresh garlic and salt and pepper. Then roast at 400 degrees for about 17-20 minutes. Until they are as dark and roasted and caramelized as you like. Note: The vegetables don’t taste like Caramel. Or, then I’d really have landed on something miraculous.

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Check out this awesome olive oil my friend got me from a little oil and vinegar shop downtown on Greenville’s Main Street. Sigh. Love that Main Street.

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Once the olive oil and garlic is on those veggies, let them sit. And look out your window. I think it makes your food taste better.

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Then get those in the oven. Four hundred degrees. 17-20 Minutes.

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While those were cooking, I rolled out my pizza dough. I like to buy fresh pizza dough from Publix, or from the downtown Saturday Market in Greenville. Haven’t found those sorts of things here quite yet, so I made my own. I like to put a little yellow cornmeal under the crust and on top of it – this is the guaranteed crispy method of baking your own pizza dough.

Look at that a cooking secret. :)

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Once you have it rolled out, put down a layer of ricotta cheese.

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I like to add a little more crushed garlic and salt and pepper to the ricotta at this point.

Then spread your roasted veggies over the top of the pizza crust. If you haven’t eaten them all by this point. Add some fresh mozarella. Doesn’t that look Ahhhhh-mazing? I had a little extra bacon in the fridge…so I cooked that up too and crumbled it on top. Not necessary at all, unless you have to use up some bacon. My husband is always asking me to use up some bacon. I also added some fresh rosemary for a little more fresh kick.

Bake this pretty thing in the oven for another 17 minutes or so at 400 degrees. And you’ll end up with something delicious.

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Eat up ya’ll! Enjoy your pizza! (For exact measurements and the recipe I used for inspiration, check out this recipe.)

Fall Vegetable Pizza

 

 

Homeschool Co-op Day | Day 27

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So there’s this one memory I have of our home before our last one – in West Virginia.

Chris and I had been married a few weeks; Election Day was around the corner. And the President was coming to town!

So we decided to head down to the local highschool (one of two total in the town) and pile into the football stadium with everyone else.

Some country music was playing; most everyone was in good spirits. And camo.

Right before the President walked out in the center of the field, the crowd broke out into song – the loudest, yet reverent, most passionate I’ve ever heard a football stadium full of people sing.

It was as if John Denver was singing about the country roads in person right along with everyone else.

We didn’t know the song, but felt this sense of due diligence to learn it quickly so we could fit in.

A similar moment happened to Kami and I today.

In our homeschool Co Op, I get to teach the 5 and 6 year olds. Today we talked a bit about birds.

So here I was feeling all super teacher-ish setting up the best bird scene I could. Complete with some bird soundtracks playing from the trees. Like the sounds were coming from the trees! I mean, really.

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Then the kids came in and colored some pictures. And hung them in the trees. All under the sounds of exotic rain forest birds. And the swaying branches (from the AC vents) of fake church trees.

My word they were all practically growing feathers and wings right there in all this authentic-ness.

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Then I pulled out a Waldorf style tray of bird beak-ish tools. To demonstrate my knowledge of all things bird beak-ish of course. (Trust me, this is going somewhere….)

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The kids got to see how different beaks make eating different kinds of foods possible. And they got to eat a few sunflower seeds and goldfish crackers.

For each type of beak, I had a photo on the iPad for the kids to see the real life illustrations of each of the beak types.

Even Woody Woodpecker made an appearance.

See. What a lesson!

Then, we get to the birds with tearing beaks.

“Here’s the example, kids! It’s an eagle! This is America’s nation….”

And the kids all broke out into song. Passionate. Reverent. Harmonious. Five year olds. Without prompting or cuing. Straight up.

“FLY EAGLES FLY…..”

I stared.

Then tried three times to regain control. So I gave up.

And grabbed my camera for the last few seconds.

Didn’t even know they had a song. <— said in my best southern accent

Even teachers learn new things.

I guess you don’t mess with the Eagles.

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This post is part of a 31 day series called Fall in Philadelphia. If this is your first stop along the way, I am so glad you’re here and I hope today’s post brought you a little warmth and coziness. This journey is best taken from the very beginning as each day’s posts are pretty much *live* as I’m living a journey of leaving the deep South (my entire life!) and jumping into the big city. All of the blog posts in this series will be linked together on the Fall in Philadelphia landing page. Click here to be taken there.  Thanks for stopping by!

Fall in Philadelphia

Day of Rest | Day 25

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Whether your space is clean or cluttered,

Happy or haphazard,

Simple or sophisticated,

Disheveled or distinguished,

Remember the “state of your space doesn’t have to reflect the state of your soul.” -Ann Voskamp

May your day of rest be just that.

Rest.

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Free Fun Friday | Day 24

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For today’s edition of Free Fun Friday, I present to you the Kimmel Center. First off, it’s an incredible facility – the architecture itself inspires creativity.  In a city full of tall, tall, tall, crazy high tall buildings, the arched ceiling made of window tiles stands out to the budding artist.

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If you keep your ears out, you can find some free concerts to attend. This concert happened to have a special little performer involved.

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Chloe was invited to play with 90 other little violinists who were joining up with members of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. We couldn’t say no to such an exciting opportunity. She was thrilled and super excited. (Although, she wants me to make it clear, she was also a teeeeeeeensy bit nervous at the beginning.)

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She’s always super intense about her tuning. And usually everyone else’s.

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These two are her biggest cheerleaders. Neither one has missed a concert. :)

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Ninety violinists. Plus some professionals from the Philadelphia Symphony. It was quite the beautiful sound.

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Because Chloe is so tiny, she’s always on the front row. I don’t mind. ;)

Enjoy a few videos from the concert!

 Chloe learned this song in 2 days to be able to perform it!

At the end of this one, I finally stopped shaking the phone and zoomed in so you can find the star of our show. 

And – in case you’re interested in more free concerts at the Kimmel Center, check out one of these dates. They are fantastic for young children as they are never more than an hour; they are free, and there are already lots of (noisy, dancing) children in the audience. Yours will blend right in. Promise. :)

SingIN for Strings, Brass Quintet, and Choir……………December 17,2014

PlayIN for Flute at the Kimmel Center…………………….January 14, 2015

PlayIN for Viola at the Kimmel Center…………………….February 21, 2015

PlayIN for Cello at the Kimmel Center…………………….March 5, 2015

PlayIN for Brass……………………………………………………April 22, 2015

Visit the Philadelphia Orchestra website to see past playINs through video and for more info about participating or attending the free events.

Lunch with Dad Day | Day 23

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So, we were invited to have lunch with Chris today at his office. That was pretty cool. Because his office is in the tallest building of the Philly skyline.

So when we visit dad at lunch, it looks like this.

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Fall Cold Remedy | Day 22

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So as much as we tried to fight it off, it came. The first Philadelphia fall cold. Not bad…just a few little coughs and sniffles here and there.

So, I’m still in my pj’s. And the girls are asleep before 9 PM. And I almost cooked chicken soup for dinner.

However! My favorite cold remedies have worked well for us and I thought I’d share.

First is the apple cider vinegar sniffing.

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Well, I heat up a quarter cup or so in a small pot, let it simmer, then breathe in the potent fumes. Breathe slowly. That’s key. Or you might kill more than just the germs. HAHA! Well, not really, but it is pretty powerful stuff – anti inflammatory, anti viral, anti bacterial, anti-everything-cold-virus…It works. Relieves those swollen sinuses and gets you back on your feet in no time. If I’m having a rough stuffed up day, breathing these fumes a few times a day will have me back to 90% by the next day. You could go for all the essential oils people love buying this time of year, or you could get the cheap, ages old remedy. I go for this one. Oh, it also is great for killing ants! And a ton of other things.

My second remedy is a great cough one. And it tastes super yummy. And doesn’t smell as crazy strong as the Apple Cider Vinegar does.

Raw pineapple juice and honey. Who wouldn’t want that?

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This worked great on my little Kami who had a pretty nasty cough come up. She had a small glass of this twice in one day and once the next day – and her cough has been completely gone since! She went from super croupy to totally normal. And no tears over this one.

Best of luck to you staying away from the cold this season! But for us, with my husband being on the train every day, it’s pretty inevitable that we’d catch something up here! I’m just happy to have a few natural remedies that work well for us. Maybe they’ll help you too!

What about you? Do you have a favorite natural cold remedy? I’d love to hear it!

When a little sunshine left Philadelphia | Day 21

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Sometimes I forget I live in the middle of the fifth largest US city. We took one last trip with my mom this morning before she headed off to the airport back home to the deep (hot!) South. This morning took us to the Morris Arboretum about a half hour from our house. The wildflowers in this part of the country – even in fall – are just breathtaking.

I’m so thankful for my mom. She came up here with her little Southern self and went exploring with us. In fact, it was quite exhausting for us to keep up with her! She helped me organize a few last rooms and closets while she was here. (Which, for those who know me well know that is the biggest gift of all – organizing something for me!) And we ended up getting a couple date nights and lots of fun chats in my native tongue. Southern. 

We’ll miss her alot. A little bit of the sunny in Philadelphia flew away today. Surely, Georgia is a tad brighter with her back home. But hopefully, we’ll catch her again up here soon.

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Pennsylvania Treehouse

The people in Pennsylvania know how to build treehouses!!

 

 

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Morris Arboretum

The giant birdhouse was the biggest hit. I think both girls would have stayed here all day if it hadn’t been for our needing to catch a plane for my mom!

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Can I live in this house?

 

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We’ll miss you Mom!