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Homemade Pizza Sticks and Marinara Sauce

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These pizza sticks are delicious, and so beautifully simple to make! The crispy crust and cheesy insides, paired with steamy marinara sauce are the perfect way to start the weekend.

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We were inspired by these amazing-looking pizza bread sticks from Cookies and Cups. We made a few changes to their recipe, like making our own dough and adding spinach. Overall they were a huge hit at our house!

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Basil Marinara Sauce

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce*
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves

 

Heat olive oil in a small pot; add onion, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning, and sauté until onion is tender, about 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, salt, and pepper, and allow the sauce to simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When sauce is desired thickness, remove from heat and stir in grated parmesan and basil. Serve warm, or cool and refrigerate until serving.

*We often double this recipe using 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce and 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes to add amazing texture.

Pizza Sticks

Dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water (approx. 110-115 degrees F.)
Toppings:
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 ounces pepperoni, about 30 slices
1 cup baby spinach, lightly chopped, optional

 

For dough, stir together flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add honey, olive oil, and enough water to form a soft, but sturdy dough. Mix until well-combined. Turn on to a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Divide dough in half. Let dough rest for 5-10 minutes to allow gluten to relax.

Set one half of dough on a greased baking sheet. Roll into a large rectangle to fit baking sheet. Top with 2 cups mozzarella cheese; cover with pepperoni slices. Add spinach, if desired. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese evenly over the top.

On floured surface, roll remaining half of dough into rectangle of the same size as the first. Transfer to cover pizza.

Bake on lowest rack in the oven at 375 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes, or until pizza is golden brown. Use pizza cutter to slice into desired size sticks or triangles, and serve warm with marinara sauce. Leftovers can be reheated in the oven by broiling them on low for a few minutes to make them crisp and toasty.

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

 

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February Sunset

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A few weeks ago we enjoyed this beautiful sunset.The clouds were a deep purple, and the last rays of sunshine peeked out just a bit. You can see a hint of rich pink at the very bottom of the sunset.

 

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

 

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Pink Cinnamon Rolls

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In our craving for sweet pink food this Valentine’s Day, we did not neglect our all-time favorite breakfast treat– cinnamon rolls! These would be so lovely for a brunch or afternoon tea. Or you might make them just for an extra-special breakfast. Although Dad and Nate didn’t love the color, they definitely enjoyed having homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast the other morning!

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Because we divide the dough in half and roll each half out separately, we decided to make two different flavors. One was the classic brown sugar and cinnamon, because that just can’t be beat. And the other was an experiment… but a good one! We are calling the new flavor Caramel Cappuccino Cinnamon Rolls, and we will have more on those later!

 

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Meanwhile, here is our recipe for classic cinnamon rolls, with a pink twist. ❤

Frosted Cinnamon Rolls

Dough:
1 package (2  1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
Pink gel food coloring, optional (to desired shade of pink)
4 to 4  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Filling:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1  1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the sugar, butter, eggs, salt, pink food coloring (if desired) and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky). Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide in half. Roll each portion into an 11-in. x 8-in. rectangle; brush with butter. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough to within 1/2 inch of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting from a long side; pinch seam to seal. Cut each into eight slices. Place cut side down in a greased or parchment paper-lined 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F. (see note below) for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. (Note: Pink rolls won’t be as obviously brown, so be careful to not over-bake them.) Cool in pan on wire rack. In a small bowl, combine frosting ingredients until smooth. Frost rolls. Yield: 16 rolls.

*Note: If you are using a glass or non-stick baking pan, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. to prevent the rolls from burning on the bottom and sides.

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Pink White Chocolate Cookies

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What’s better than freshly baked chocolate chip cookies? Freshly baked pink white chocolate cookies, that’s what! We started with our classic cookie dough recipe, and gave it a fun Valentine’s Day twist.

 

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First we chopped a few ounces of white candy chocolate into small chunks, about right for cookies.

 

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Then we mixed up a batch of our favorite chocolate chip cookie dough, minus the chocolate chips. We used pink gel food coloring (we like the Wilton brand that you can find at most craft stores) to give the dough this lovely hue.

 

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To give it another pink/red touch and a bit of a crunch, we added a tablespoon of tiny red sprinkles. They were leftover from decorating Christmas cookies.

 

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Now for that gorgeous white chocolate!

 

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We used a tablespoon to measure the cookie dough, and then rolled each one in powdered sugar. We baked them according to the directions for our favorite recipe, and voila!

 

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Pink cookies! We loved them! They were a big hit with the rest of the family, too, although our brother wasn’t too excited about the color. 😉

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

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How To: DIY Rose Hair Clip Tutorial

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There are few things more romantic than roses, especially when they are adorning a chic up-do on Valentine’s Day! After many experiments (and a few failures to begin with), we finally discovered the best method for making flower hair clips. If you are just looking for lovely hair flowers to purchase, you can find some beautiful ones here.

You will need:

• An artificial flower (see next paragraph)

• Cream or other coordinating craft felt

• Alligator-style hair clip

• High-temperature hot glue gun and glue sticks

• Hair 😉

 

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First, when you are choosing your flower, find one that has a mostly flat base. You don’t want a hard chunk of plastic, because it will stick out from your head instead of nestling into your tresses. After a few trials, you will become an expert in judging artificial flowers.

 

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Pull the rose off the stem and dissect it. Be sure to keep the layers in the order that you remove them. Oh, and it is handy to have the plastic support pieces between the right layers, too. Some flowers hold their shape without them; others need a boost to keep them looking like they are in full bloom.

 

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Usually I take the center-most piece out first, and I wait to put it in at the end to keep from squashing it unnecessarily. I might glue these petals together a little bit, just to keep them looking pristine.

 

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Cut the stem quite close to the base. It’s important to keep the plastic to a minimum.

 

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I also glued the next layer around the plastic piece, just to keep the green all together.

 

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Now it’s simply a matter of gluing the rest of the petal layers together in the right order. Don’t overuse the glue, but do make sure each layer is secure. If you feel like the flower needs the support pieces, glue them in.

 

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I sometimes glue the petals together a little closer to the edge, so the plastic support won’t show.

 

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That’s the last layer! Now for the clip, which you can see in the background.

 

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Cut two pieces of felt: one needs to be about 2″ x 3″. This is the felt base.

 

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The other should be about 1.5″ wide, and just slightly longer than your alligator hair clip, maybe 2″ long or so.

 

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Spread glue across the back of the larger piece of felt.

 

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Center it on the back of the flower and press it down until it’s cooled.

 

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Spread glue down the clip and on the felt sides.

 

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Place it neatly in the center of the large felt piece. Hold it until it’s completely hardened.

 

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We haven’t forgotten about the innermost piece that we started with! Glue the bottom of it and set it right in the center on the top of the flower.

 

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Wiggle it around until it’s perfect. Finally, glue any petals that look like they need held in place to give the rose more shape. Tuck your hair into your favorite chignon, clip this lovely rose into it, and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! ❤

 

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle