{Better Than} Best Pizza Crust Ever + Drawing App

Sometimes accidents are happy ones in the kitchen.  I was trying to make dinner the other night and Greta was in the process of melting down – I simply waited too long to start dinner for her sake.

I tried to make my favorite pizza crust, from memory.  Usually this isn’t so hard, but when your toddler is screaming, it doesn’t work as well.  This crust appears in the previous post, Best.Pizza.Crust.Ever for dinner and knew as soon as I started to mix, that something was wrong.  I decided to roll with it, modified a few things, and hoped for the best.  I guess there was always the option of a sandwich and a can of soup if this failed.

I realized I had doubled the water, so to compensate, I added more flour and some cornmeal.  It ended up being so sticky that I did not knead it, instead stirring thoroughly.  After rising (it filled the bowl!) I punched it down, coated my hands thoroughly in olive oil and spread it out on the cast iron pizza pan (works great on the grill, too!).  When I baked the pizza, I used the convection setting to ensure it was baked thoroughly.  
This crust turned out to be a fantastic deep pan-like crust that had a crispy exterior and a soft chewy interior.  Eric having not been around for the mess-up, didn’t know the entire story.  When he tried the pizza his first comment was, “Wow, did you make this?!”  He said it was by far the best crust ever made in our house, so I quickly grabbed a pencil and paper and wrote down my error.  

Greta wasn’t all grumps that night, she has been enjoying a new art app I got for my classroom – called Drawing with Carl.  There are tons of neat paintbrush shapes to use – including this interesting pixelated one.  There are roller brush patterns that turn into various patterns once drawn.  Stamps create dots, stars, ink splats, and more.  The icon with the red and green circle creates stickers of creatures, dinosaurs, facial features and more.  The free version is very good – the upgrade offers more stickers plus a watercolor brush and oil pastels.  I highly recommend this app for kids and adults alike.  Eric always muses that I seem to like Drawing with Carl more than Greta does.

Add dinosaurs is by far her favorite part of this app.  The dinosaurs and mammoth roar and make noises when added or moved around the screen.  There is a funny little red guy with a big mouth – he has a neat feature too, but I will let you figure that one out for yourself.

{Better than} Best.Pizza.Crust.Ever. – makes one 14 inch deep dish pizza

2 cups tepid water (105 degree water)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons honey
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt 
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornmeal
1 packet active dry yeast
1. Mix flour and yeast in a bowl.
2. Mix warm water, olive oil, honey, and salt in a bowl or glass measuring cup.  
3.  Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Add liquid ingredients and mix well – 5 minutes.  

4.  Let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes.  (Turning the oven on at 350 for one minute creates the perfect dough rising environment.)

6.  Punch down dough and let rest for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, preheat oven to 425 degrees, on convection setting and prepare pizza  pan with oil. 
7.  Coat hands in olive oil, remove dough and stretch into size on pizza pan.  
8.  Add tomato sauce to top of dough and bake on bottom shelf of oven at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes before adding other toppings.  This will ensure you do not get the doughy, uncooked center.  

9.  While your crust is baking, prepare toppings.  (For this pizza I used sliced fresh tomatoes, sliced fresh mushrooms, basil, minced garlic, and sliced spicy meatballs real or fake work fine).  
10. Bake pizza in 425 degree oven for about 12 – 15  more minutes or til done, on the lowest oven rack.

Coffee Filter Flower Card

One of my art teacher roles is often to teach my students that the hand made gifts are truly the best. This is an easy project that is fun for all ages.  You should have seen my seventh grade students working on this yesterday – the enthusiasm made my day. 
If your peonies don’t like mine do right now, then make your own for Mother’s Day!

Start with plain white paper coffee filters.  Draw on them with water-based markers.  Try multiple colors, different designs, and even coloring the entire coffee filter with color.

Spray with water in a spray bottle. I recommend doing this over newspaper to catch any colored water that will inevitably soak your work surface. 

 Your designs will turn into watery, tie-dye like motifs. Allow the filters to dry completely. 

 Once they are dry, you can now begin to cut them up, layer them, and create your flowers.

 Fold the filter in half, then in half again, and then into a pie slice shape. 

Cut designs along the top curved edge – like a paper snowflake.  These cuts will form the petals of your flowers, so experiment with different cuts.  Once the petal designs are cut, open the flower up, pinch in the middle, and twist.  This will create the base of the flower.  Now you can add a stem out of pipe cleaner, or glue them onto a piece of paper for a card. 
Add some leaves, a garden or vase, a background, and a nice note and you have a card.  Wasn’t that better and more fun than buying a card in the store?
This flower was made with two different filters layered within one another.  Go ahead and make a bunch of these filters so you have extras for mistakes or multiple layered flowers.  Just remember that your colors will run into one another so choose your colors based on how they look after they mix! 

Octopus Sculpture

The week before school begins, the art teachers have the joy of coming together and making art.  We are treated to a workshop that allows for our own creative endeavors, a new lesson plan idea, and a chance to remember what it feels like to be a student learning about art.
This year we went to the historic Dudley High School.  This is a beautiful building located with spacious rooms and lovely courtyards.  The art room was big and bright and had direct access to the outdoors – something I have always wanted. 
The full set up detailing ideas for future lesson plans. 
Pizza box plaster sculptures. Front. 

This was an example of the finished product were going to be creating.  The suggestion was to make a house. 

We started with a rectangular piece of cardboard.
We were given access to a wide variety of materials.  I chose to use scissors, glue, a hole puncher, air dry foam clay, dots foam clay (the blue-ish gray lump), bubble wrap, scrap cardboard, foil scraps, and a crimper.

I set to work immediately and began creating an octopus.  The foam dots clay was perfect for making the texture of the octopus suction cups on its tentacles.  I used the air-dry foam clay to sculpt the head of the octopus and used cardboard scraps to cut the tentacles. 
The bubble wrap and metal scraps were nice accents in the background and on the octopus itself. 
It would be best to let the glue to dry before this next step, but since we were pressed for time, we went ahead and painted the entire piece with a layer of black acrylic paint.  After the acrylic paint dried, we painted with Mayco Magic Metallic paints.  These fabulous paints have actual metal ground up in the paint.  It’s a cheaper way to give a metallic look to items.  The 8 oz. bottles run from $10 to $15 each.  
Samples of the Mayco Magic Metallic paints we used.  

Art teachers gone wild. 

The octopus after painting with metallic paints. 
Then we sprayed the entire work with Mayco Magic Metallics patina.   The two patinas created a green patina on the copper and bronze areas and a rust patina on the steel areas.   
Ten to fifteen minutes later my piece was starting to morph.  

Another art teacher’s creation. 
 We also got to use some from metallic Sharpies and metallic paper from Sax.  

The fun freebies that art teachers get at professional development (AKA play day).