I mentioned in another post that I planned a tea party for my daughter and her friends. I enjoy entertaining and two of my “spiritual gifts” are being welcoming and connecting people to one another. I wanted to get to know some of my daughters new school friends and parents and showing up at every school event and stalking them hasn’t worked so …I thought “Let’s have a get together.” And because I’m lazy, I decided to recycle an idea I’d used before.
A Tea Party.
Kids have fun with this idea. You tell them to dress up, there will be finger sandwiches and yummy desserts and they come out of the wood work. My first kids tea party a couple of years ago was a huge success. But as I’d relocated from North to South, I had hesitations about whether the expectations might be different. And every “Yankee” I mentioned my idea to asked me if I was gonna make sweet tea. And I agonized. Do I make it? Is this what they think I mean by a tea party? On the other hand, what if I screw it up? (I know it doesn’t sound like it’s too hard to make good sweet tea, but I am not sure if you really understand how seriously southerners take their tea – or how good it is down here). I didn’t make it. I served hot tea and Kool Aid. Everyone took both. And only drank the Kool Aid. Maybe I should have made sweet tea.
But then again these were 8 year olds. When it was all said and done, I cooked great food (I’m not bragging, wait for the punch line) but none of them seemed to care. They just enjoyed getting together and playing. Honestly, for the first hour and a half (of a 2.5 hour party), I was worried no one was going to even eat the food. That’s how much fun they were having playing. And that was the point. So, I must remember to tone it down a bit the next time I plan a party. Because what’s important to me is getting people together. And because my husband threatened me that if I I got this stressed before another party, he was going to ask me not to do it anymore.
Anyway, I used one of my favorite recipes that day. My Make Ahead Freezer Pizza Dough is one of my favorites because I can make up a bunch and freeze it for when I need an easy dinner. And it is versatile: I’ve used it for pizza, cheesy bread, garlic bread, etc. And it’s not that hard. For the tea party, I even dusted off my old Pampered Chef Scalloped Bread Tube (which I am not sure I ever used to make bread in) to make the garlic bread into pretty tea party shapes.
So, at last the recipe.
Make Ahead Freezer Pizza Dough
4 T Yeast
4 cups warm water (If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast and you’ll end up with a heavy lump. I run my wrist under the water and if I can stand it without it being too hot, it is perfect)
4 teaspoons sugar (I am trying to reduce refined grains so I use sugar in the raw)
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup oil (I only use olive oil in my cooking)
10 whopping cups of flour (I usually do about half white and then mix in other flours like spelt, a gluten free bag from the store, or oat – which is sometimes ground in my handy Ninja blender)
The first thing you need to do is get out your biggest bowl. The one I use is HUGE. It needs to fit 10 cups of flour. It might be a good exercise, if you’re not sure, to just put the flour in to be sure you have a bowl big enough. If not, you could probably split the recipe in half.
Dissolve the yeast in water. This is a fun step. You get to watch the yeast “grow” by fizzing around in the bowl. This would be a neat science lesson for kids on “reproduction.” If you remember anything about it from school. I remember only enough to be dangerous.
Add the rest of the ingredients. And stir. (Did you notice my big bowl? This was, believe it or not, my birthday present to myself last year. I wanted one for such a long time. I call it my Mombo Bowl. Because then while I’m making my dough I sing a funny song I only know two words to. The other is Italiano.)
Knead for about five minutes or until it forms a smooth dough. If you’re new to this, I recommend looking at the clock. If you were thinking of going to the gym and lifting weights, you might not need to. This will work your muscles. Oh, and your fingers will be a sticky mess. I should have told you to take off your rings. You won’t forget that again, huh?
I use this time to think about and pray for my family.
Divide the dough into fourths. (I use my pizza wheel, which takes a bit of effort to get through the big blob, but is the easiest way I can think of).
If freezing, cover each with plastic wrap and then freeze in plastic freezer bags and freeze. When ready to use, let thaw for 4-6 hours, press onto greased pizza pan and “assemble” pizza. Either way, bake for 12-15 onto 450 until pizza is golden brown.
I froze a portion of mine (above) and used the rest for garlic bread for the party. Here’s the wee “scallops.” With my daughter’s help, many of them looked more like clouds than flowers. But again, not one 8 year old seemed to notice. 🙂
Speaking of clouds, at one point, my almost four year old told me that we should lay down on the floor and look at the clouds in the sky. Every control freak bone in my body resisted because I had doughy hands and wanted to get this done. But some other part of me convinced me to do it. We saw all kinds of shapes in the sky.
Garlic bread – add some garlic salt or garlic powder to dough on pizza sheet. Slice with a pizza cutter into stick and bake.
Cheesy bread – add garlic salt and garlic powder to dough on pizza sheet. Add mozzarella cheese. Slice and bake.