Date Night Homemade Pizza

We take pizza night seriously in the Frankson house! Homemade pizza is a treat for us, especially because we make it from scratch from start to finish. We save it for date nights and special holidays like Valentine’s Day! Usually, I make my veggie loaded pizza, Andrew makes his meat-and-cheese-and-bacon pizza (I call it man pizza), and we make one bigger one that’s a happy medium for us to freeze for later.

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If the idea of making pizza dough from scratch sounds like a daunting task, don’t worry! It’s so easy, and the taste makes it all worth it. The majority of the time spent on it is actually the time the dough takes to rise, so you don’t have to fuss with a thing. Big tip on the dough: if you have a KitchenAid Mixer, it makes life so much easier! Another life hack: make your pizza dough in advance. I’ll usually make it early in the day since it can sit in the fridge for up to 3 days before it’s used.

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Let’s be real- it’s impossible to make a pizza that we both are 100% happy with. I put every vegetable known to man on it, and Andrew wrinkles his nose. He has progressed to adding mushrooms, tomatoes, and sometimes spinach. Work in progress, y’all. To make everyone happy, we split our pizza dough up and make three pizzas. I love putting pesto on mine, but Andrew loves the classic tomato sauce. If we make bbq chicken pizza, we use Sweet Baby Ray’s as the base. It caramelizes so well in the oven. Mmmm. Next, the add-ons. Some yummy ideas are spinach, kale, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, sundried tomatoes, and olives. Go wild here. Last, da cheeses. I love buying fresh mozzarella, and Andrew loves good ol’ cheddar. I also love finishing off my pizza with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

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my perfectionist husband’s stuffed crust pizza with hatch chiles 

 

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homemade pesto, chicken and veggie pizza

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bbq chicken pizza with cheddar and hatch chiles

Pizza Dough

You’ll need:

  • 3.5-4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 envelope quick rise dry yeast (silver, blue & red package)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups water, microwaved 1 minute 15 sec
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil
  1. Combine bread flour, sugar, yeast and salt in KitchenAid mixer. While mixer is running, add the warm water and 2 tbsp oil and beat until dough forms a ball. If you’re using a KitchenAid, you’ll want to switch to the dough hook at this point. Run the dough hook for about 30 seconds until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  2. Let the dough rest and put water to boil in the microwave to create a warm, moist environment. This helps the dough rise. I use a 2-cup Pyrex and put it to boil for 3 minutes.  Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 tsp olive oil (or spray it with non-stick!), add the dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid. Make sure the plastic wrap or lid is also sprayed with non-stick as you don’t want the dough to stick to it once it’s risen.
  3. Place the covered dough in the microwave that should now be nice and toasty. I just push the hot water to the corner of the microwave so it keeps it the environment warm.

Pizza, Pizza

You’ll need

  • All your toppings
  1. Preheat oven to 475º.
  2. With extra flour nearby, roll out your crust to about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Brush rolled out crust with olive oil so it doesn’t become soggy. Sprinkle italian seasoning, garlic salt, or any seasoning you’d like on the crust.
  4. Add your toppings
  5. Pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes! The crust will be browned and it won’t give any if you flick it.

Notes

  • If you have it, a mandoline makes slicing up all your toppings way easy. Just watch your fingers 😉
  • Andrew makes his a stuffed crust pizza by folding in string mozzarella on the edge of the crust. Yum.
  • I like to take out the pizza dough about 30-45 minutes before we start making pizza. Cold dough doesn’t roll out as easily (it’ll spring back in). I promise, the more you work with it, the warmer it will become and it will keep its shape.

 

Happy pizza making, y’all! Let me know what your favorite toppings are!

Wedding Planning: The Little Things

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The blue hydrangeas tucked in the bottom of my bouquet were my late grandmother’s favorite flower. I loved honoring her and having a piece of her with me on my big day.

I won’t lie to y’all- I was just about as excited to be done with wedding planning as I was to marry Andrew! Ha! It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but you couldn’t pay me to plan a wedding again (props to y’all who do it for a living). Since I have so many friends engaged or getting married soon, I thought I would start a little series on wedding thoughts from someone who’s been through it all!

After you get the big things out of the way (think: venue, photographer, florist, etc.), all that’s left are the little things. And I promise you, there will be “little things” left to do until the day of. I  had a dry erase board on my wall with lists broken up into categories (ceremony, reception, etc.) and below it was every.single.thing I needed to do. I’ll be honest- there’s things on that list that never got checked off #ohwell. But you know what? My day was perfect anyway. In fact, all of the programs, decorations, photo frames, table numbers, wedding favors and more were stolen the night before my wedding, and my day was perfect anyway.

Below are five little things you may not have thought of for your wedding day, as well as some ideas I included that I thought were sweet!

Write A Letter

Brides, I’m sure you’ve seen the idea of writing a letter to your groom for him to read before the ceremony. I wrote Andrew a letter and sent him some awesome socks “in case he got cold feet”. Let me tell you something though: men don’t know that this is a thing. If you want to do this with your groom (it’s a sweet thing to keep and read years later, and it’s a cute photo op!), please tell him. Unless you’re certain he knows, then by all means full speed ahead.Wedding. Champion-Frankson for Print-13.jpg

Pray Together

Andrew and I didn’t do a first look, but we did pray together before the ceremony. I was getting nervous, and it was so comforting to hold his hand just for a few minutes before guests started arriving. It’s a sweet photo op, and an intimate moment to share before things get crazy. Wedding. Champion-Frankson for Print-300.jpg

Hug Your Parents

If you’re very close to your parents like I am, this one was a no brainer. At our friend Jacob and Katherine’s wedding, I saw them each hug their parents before they went down the aisle as husband and wife. It was such a sweet moment, and it’s a wonderful way to honor your parents.Wedding. Champion-Frankson for Print-469.jpg

Take A Moment To Yourselves

In between the ceremony and the reception, Andrew and I had five minutes to ourselves in the Bridal Suite where we got to soak in all the just-married happiness. There were snacks and drinks in there, which made it even better. This will likely be the only time you have to yourselves for the rest of the night, so if it’s something you want to do, go for it! I promise you the rest of the wedding party and guests will survive. Wedding. Champion-Frankson for Print-912.jpg

Entertain The Kids

I had some adorable wedding-themed coloring books printed for the little ones at our wedding to keep them entertained during the reception. I included a little pack of crayons with each one, and I’m not proud to say that they were supplied by Chuy’s mexican restaurant (though they don’t know that). These are one of the things that got stolen and never made it to the wedding (I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE COLORING BOOKS, THIEVES) but it’s a great idea to think about! I’m sure their parents would be ever so grateful.

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Remember, the most important part of this day is you marrying the love of your life. Nobody is going to know if the tablecloths were supposed to be cream instead of beige. Nobody is going to know if the flower arrangements are on the wrong tables. What matters is being surrounded by your family and friends as you say “I do.”

Are there any other wedding topics y’all want me to write about? Let me know! All photography is from my amazing wedding photographer, Rebecca Jordan of Giddy and Gold

 

Carrot Cake Smoothie

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Say hello to my little carrot-sweet potato-date-chia friend. As I was making this, I wondered if my Ninja blender could handle whole baby carrots. Answer: it most definitely can.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 banana, frozen
  • Handful of baby carrots
  • 1/2 sweet potato, cooked and cooled
  • 3 dates
  • Sprinkle of walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond milk

Directions

  1. BLEND!

Notes: Add in vanilla protein to refuel post workout, or add a half cup of oats to make it a wholesome breakfast. Carrot cake for breakfast-who doesn’t want that?

Simple Budgeting

Let me preface this post by saying I am in no means a pro at budgeting. In fact, we’re still learning how to navigate this whole thing. But if there’s one thing I have learned, it’s the importance of sitting down and planning out where your money is going each month. It reduces stress, and certainly keeps you from getting into debt (or getting more into debt).

We use a simple system called the 50/30/20 Rule. It divides up your spending into three categories: Fixed Costs, Entertainment, and Savings. 50% of your income should go to fixed costs, 30% to entertainment, and 20% to savings. These are flexible and may change depending on where you live (if you have a higher cost of living, your fixed costs will be a higher percentage), but the key is to adjust accordingly in the other categories so you don’t spend more than you make. I’ll explain more of the three categories below.

50% fixed costs30% entertainment20% savings

Fixed Costs

This category is straightforward and includes anything that is a fixed, repeated cost each month. This includes things like car insurance, auto or loan payments, groceries, rent or mortgage payments, gas, cable and utilities, tithe, and the like. These categories should add up to roughly 50% of your monthly income.

Savings

Though savings is the smallest percentage of the three, it’s arguably the most important, which is why I’m listing it second. I used to wait until the end of the month to put money in savings- it was just kind of what was “leftover”.  A close friend, Nick, told me to do the opposite. Always pay yourself first. We have two savings accounts- an emergency fund and a travel fund. It’s recommended to have at least six months of expenses saved up in case of an emergency, so we’re working on that. We established the travel fund because seeing the world is important to us before we have little ones. Tip: set up your account so that the money you’re putting into your savings is transferred at the beginning of each month.

Entertainment

The most fun of the categories! This includes going out to eat, shopping, alcohol, concert tickets, home decor and more. If it’s not a necessity, it gets put in here. It should be about 30% of your monthly income, or whatever is left after your fixed costs and savings.

We use a free budgeting app called Mint where you can create budgets, set short and long term goals, and it even gives you alerts when you’re approaching your budget or when you have payments due. It’s a safe and easy way for us to manage our finances. I’m a big visual person, so I love all the charts and pie graphs it provides. Here’s an example of what it looks like:

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If you’re married or sharing finances with your significant other, it’s important to sit down and go over these things together. At the beginning of each month, Andrew and I sit down and look at how we did the previous month, make adjustments if needed, and talk about our goals for the upcoming month. Fighting about money is one of the #1 issues couples face (if not the biggest issue), and being upfront and honest about budgeting and our spending means it’s not an uncomfortable topic of conversation, and we don’t fight about it.

This system may not work for everybody, but it’s a great place to start if you’re new to budgeting. Hope it helps!

If you’re in the Houston area, our close friend Nick is a financial advisor for IMG Financial Group and he’s a great guy to talk to. He’s honest and trustworthy, and genuinely cares about helping you figure things out. If you’re interested, you can reach out to him at nicholas.baker@imgfinancialgroup.com. And no, he didn’t ask me to write this 😉

Links I’m Loving

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Hey hey hey. It’s almost September. Know what that means? FALL DECORATIONS. And pumpkin and plaid and muffins and warm and cozy. My husband would like to add that it also means football season. He said it’s too early to put up fall decor, so I settled for waiting until September 1st at 12:01 AM. Y’all better be ready for all the pumpkin related recipes that are headed this way. I have a wonderfully delicious pumpkin pancake recipe that I can’t wait to share!

Here’s what I’m loving this week:

THIS CHICKEN ENCHILADA CASSEROLE that Andrew and I made Monday night. Holy moly, y’all. Also used Pinch Of Yum’s enchilada sauce. Post coming on that, because Andrew made some changes and it was out of this world.

This book by Shauna Niequist that’s teaching me more about how to slow down and be present rather than having my mind glued to my to-do list. I’m learning that on a Sunday night, it’s more important to sit and spend quality time with my husband than tornado-ing through the house doing laundry, dishes, and cleaning. The world won’t end if I push those tasks to tomorrow. Everything by this author is good! I love this one, too.

Bluebell’s newest ice cream flavor, Cookie Two Step. I’m not kidding when I say I could eat a whole pint of this in one sitting. Cookies and cream is Andrew’s favorite, and chocolate chip cookie dough is one of my favorites, and bluebell COMBINED THEM AND PUT BOTH OUR FAVORITES IN ONE TUB. And I finally snagged it at our HEB last week. If you don’t live in Texas, I’m sorry you can’t enjoy this deliciousness. If you do live in Texas and haven’t tried it, WHO ARE YOU? It’s fine, more for me.

If you’re in the mood to laugh so hard you cry, you have to read this post. It’s about a roomba that meets a puppy “deposit” during the night. And the dad discovering it. If you’ve raised a puppy yourself, you’ll laugh even harder.

Oh hey! Last Friday night I tried my hand at zucchini crust pizza. I’d always wanted to try it, and I had just enough ingredients to make a pizza for one, since I’m not sure how Andrew would feel about vegetable crust pizza. I mostly followed the recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen, and it turned out good! Definitely pre-cook the crust, and make sure you pre-heat your pizza stone as it will allow the bottom of the crust to get that good crispy finish.

To all my teacher friends who started this week, you are so awesome! My week consists of job hunting, and adjusting to waking up at 5:30 AM to work out with my guy. Monday, I heard the alarm go off, heard him shut it off, and didn’t say a word. Tee hee. Halfway through the week, y’all! Thanks so much for reading!

No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Balls

Anybody who knows me knows that I am almost always eating. Ok, I eat about every 3-4 hours. Or I get hangry (my husband can attest to that). We joke that I’m a completely different person before and after I eat if I’ve entered that hangry stage. In between meals, I love quick and easy snacks that are good for me and will actually keep me full. These chocolate chip cookie dough protein balls are right up my alley! Especially because they taste like dessert. You can actually eat them for dessert, or for a snack, or at any hour of the day really. They’re that good.

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You’ll need:

  • 1/2c almond butter
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/3c coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 scoops of vanilla protein
  • a few twists of sea salt
  • 1/4c dark chocolate (or any kind of chocolate)
  • any other mix-ins of choice (nuts, dried fruit, chia seeds, etc.)
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except chocolate. Add more milk if necessary to make it all stick together to be able to roll it into balls. If it’s too sticky, add more flour.
  2. Fold in chocolate (or anything else you want to add! Walnuts would be yummy.)
  3. Roll into balls and place in a sealed container in the fridge. Let me know what y’all think!

Wedding Registry Must-Haves

With so many friends getting engaged and married, I thought it might be helpful to look back at our registry and talk about what we use, what we don’t, and what I wish we would have put on there! We had registries at Macy’s, Target and Pottery Barn. Macy’s and Target were definitely the most popular among guests. Macy’s and Pottery Barn do discounts a LOT, so signing up for emails to receive those coupons is definitely helpful.

What We Use (and love!)

Kitchen-Aid Mixer

If you love to bake, do yourself a favor and add a KitchenAid Mixer to your registry. Yes, it’s expensive but it’s so handy and will last YEARS. You can make 8 loaves of banana bread at once, and like 5 pounds of mashed potatoes. If that doesn’t make you click “add to registry”, I don’t know what will. My mother-in-law got us the five quart mixer and I know it will be used for many birthdays, bake sales and holidays in the years to come.

Cozy Blankets

In my opinion, you can never have enough blankets. They go on couches, on chairs, on the bed, and most importantly around me when I’m cold. My family in Flowermound got us this one and we LOVE it. It’s unique because it’s thinner than your normal heavy blankets, which is so useful in the summer in Texas. Plus, it’s monogrammed so you know I’m a happy camper.

Quality Knives

Andrew and I love to cook together, so good quality knives are essential. A good, sharp knife is actually safer than a dull knife! Growing up, my dad stressed the importance of good knives, and keeping those knives sharp. They’re a must for anyone who’s serious about cooking. We registered for this set and have loved them!

What We Don’t Use So Much

Fine China

I went back and forth a BILLION times about adding china to our registry. We love to host, and I hope to one day be the place where family comes for Thanksgiving or Christmas, so we decided to go for it. Though we don’t use it at all right now, I know one day I will be grateful we have it. This is totally a personal call- don’t feel you have to register for china just because it’s “what people do”. A side note- Once we had all these boxes of china, I realized we had nowhere to store them safely. I ordered this storage set to keep them in and was really pleased. Also, I registered our china with Lenox, and it gives you a lifetime guarantee of 50% off any of your items that break. Pretty neat!

Margarita Set

Don’t get me wrong- Andrew and I love margaritas as much as the next Texan. However, I find we really don’t bring out the big pitcher and glasses very often. I think this is another one of those things where once we have friends (really) and start to have people over, we may use it more. For now, with our tiny kitchen, it just takes up a lot of room.

What I Wish We Would Have Added

Games

Like I said earlier, we love to host, but also, we love in-home date nights! We have the basics- monopoly (DISNEY MONOPOLY, thanks Alexis), jenga, apples to apples, etc., but I wish I had added some more to give us options. Especially two player games. That would have been fun. A few weekends ago in Weatherford, we played Mad Gab, and we were all in tears laughing so hard. Add games if you’re into it!

The Little Things

I already had most of the basics as far as cooking goes, but we skipped out on things like an ice cream scoop, cookie scoop, and a mandoline slicer. If you’re not into cooking, then don’t add this kind of stuff, but think about the little specifics of things you love to do. Love camping? Add camping chairs, marshmallow roasting sticks or lanterns.


Registries have evolved so much- you can make registries on Amazon, REI, and more! My biggest piece of advice is to add things you’ll actually use, and go outside of the box. Think about what you and your significant other love to do together, and add those types of things in addition to your basic home necessities. We added disc golf gear, an awesome picnic blanket, and gardening tools. One of our friends had an amazon registry with wines, movies, and an indoor garden system! And if all else fails, you can always get store credit for returning it 😉

Austin Weekend

For the past few months, my mom, cousin and I have been planning a surprise (70th!) birthday party for my dad. My dad is the kind of man who does anything and everything he can for his family, and never asks for anything in return. He’s an incredible dad to me and husband to my mom. We were so excited to throw this fiesta for him and show him how much he is loved.

Friday night, Andrew and I drove in and met my parents, Amalia and Brent for dinner at one of my dad’s favorites, Suzi’s. It’s family style, or you can eat your entire dish if you believe in yourself. I had a guilty pleasure of mine- orange chicken 🙂

Saturday morning we headed to Barton Springs Pool as my dad hadn’t been there in years. It’s about 68 degrees year round, which feels great when you’re hot and sweaty, but when it’s rainy and overcast like it was Saturday when we got there…not so much. We waited out the rain right when we arrived, and I finally decided to go jump in. Andrew and I headed down to the water, I dipped my toes in and promptly decided I wasn’t mentally ready to make the jump. We stood there for about 5 minutes, and the lifeguards blew the whistles to get everyone out of the pool due to thunder. Saved by the (whistle). 30 minutes later, the sun was out, skies were blue, and I gladly jumped in. We grabbed lunch at Toasties Sub Shop and all had killer sandwiches, and then headed back up to the hotel.

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Soaking up the sun at Barton Springs

We told my dad that we were going over to Amalia’s for happy hour before going out to dinner, so that was the official story to get him there. He walked in, rounded the corner into the living room and there stood our family and friends, yelling “SURPRISE!”

We all had a blast catching up with family and friends, eating incredible bbq from PoK-E-Jos and way too much bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. If you’ve never eaten their bundt cakes, you are seriously missing out. Andrew and I could sit down and devour an entire red velvet one.

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I can’t thank everyone enough who came to celebrate my dad, and those who sent their wishes from afar. I especially want to thank Amalia and Brent for opening up their home for the party, and for everyone who kept the secret for so long. Family truly is everything.

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Blueberry Zucchini Oats

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Out of all the recipes I’ve posted on @franksonkitchen, this one is most popular! If you’re hesitant about zucchini in oats, let me just assure you that you can’t taste it at all! It only adds extra good for you vitamins and minerals, including a good amount of vitamin C. It’s the perfect warm breakfast for this rainy week we’ve been having in Houston! I love to make a big batch of this at the beginning of the week to have on hand for a quick and easy breakfast.

You’ll need:

  1. Bring milk and oats to boil on the stove. Stir occasionally until thickened.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients! Feel free to add extras, like golden raisins, cranberries, pecans, etc!

Notes: If you don’t add the protein powder, I recommend adding 1 tbsp pure maple syrup or some brown sugar to to give it some sweetness. Also, I’ve cooked it once with milk and once with water, and milk is definitely the way to go for creamier oats. Let me know what y’all think!