Appetizers, Dinner Recipes, Recipes

An Amazing Sicilian Pizza Recipe Shared with Me

During our stay-at-home orders, two things were certain … many people are being very kind and the food market does not have flour and yeast in stock!

Because of this, my friend was extra sweet and prepared Sicilian Pizza Kits for her friends. She prepared small bags of pre-measured flour and yeast, along with fresh pizza toppings and shared an amazing recipe and we picked them up in her driveway.

It was one of the best pizzas I have ever made! Lucky for you, she allowed me to share it with my followers. GRAZIE…THANK YOU!

Sicilian Pizza and Dough Recipe:


For Dough in a 9×13 pan: 2 cups pizza or bread flour, 1 package yeast, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 3/4 cup warm water, 2 Tbsp olive oil

For Pizza: 3 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 8 oz sliced fresh mozzarella, 6 oz. tomato sauce, grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp salt


Check out a How To Video She Created on You Tube:

  1. Mix flour and salt in large bowl.
  2. Mix water, yeast, and sugar together in a separate bowl until dissolved.
  3. Add water mixture to flour mixture and knead for 5 min, or use stand mixer with bead hook.
  4. Lightly oil bowl and turn dough around in oil until coated.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise approx 2 hours.
  6. After 2 hours, spread  in 9 x 13 sheet pan (She recommends using a 9 x 13 glass Pyrex Pan) which has been coated with 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  7. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt on top of dough.
  8. Place fresh mozzarella slices and then tomato sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Drizzle 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil on top of pizza.  Tip: Place sliced mozzarella slices on a paper towel to get some moisture out.
  9. Bake at 475 F for about 20-25 min. Rotate pizza half way through.
  10. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes in pan.
  11. Remove from pan onto cutting board and cut into 12 squares for 9 x 13 recipe. 

Decorating, Organizing

Getting Organized to Move – Packing Up Your House

It has been 1 year since we started packing up to move into a new house in a new town!

Getting ready to move does not have to be stressful. Now that you already listed your house on the market (visit blog Getting Organized Before Selling Your House ) .

With an organized plan, the right supplies and some extra helping hands, moving out of your house can be a  good experience!

  • Decide if you will hire movers, rent a truck or recruit family and friends. To keep moving costs down, consider hiring a moving company for the larger furniture and household items and heavier boxes. Rent a truck to move bins and boxes that are easier to carry, saving money in the long run.
  • Collect the right supplies to starting packing. Helpful moving items include various sized boxes, permanent markers, packing tape, bubble wrap, tissue paper, newspaper, various sizes of Ziploc bags. Suggestion: ask family and friends to save boxes, gather boxes at your workplace, local market, and from your online orders (we had many Target and Amazon shipping boxes during our move!)
  • Label boxes or bins with contents and the room or area to store in your new house. Use different colored markers, colored stickers dots or various colored post-it notes to differentiate locations (living room, kitchen, master bedroom, basement, garage, etc.). This method will make it easier for the movers (those you hired or recruited to help) to know where to put the labeled boxes and bins.
  • Donate, sell, consign items that do not fit or coordinate in your new house. Decide if the style is out of date, or part of an old stage of your family’s life (am example is infant and child gear and toys). As you go through each room in your house, decide what you want to take to your new house and what to get rid of. This will take a little extra time, but in the end,  it will save time as you unpack in your new house – a fresh start!
  • Keep clothes on their hangers and store them in large black trash bags. Cut a hole at the bottom of the garbage bag and slide the hangers through it, gather the clothes at the bottom and tie up the bag using the pull ties. Use your travel suitcases to pack other folded clothes from bureaus, shelves and chests.
  • Pack similar home decor items together. Packing all frames together, vases, books, or wall decor is helpful as you begin to unpack in your new house and you can use various items throughout the house, possibly in different rooms than in your previous house. 
  • Pack similar kitchen items together. Examples include “baking items”, “cooking utensils”, “wine glasses”, etc. Use the food in your freezer and pantry on days leading up to your move, so you have less to pack.
  • Pack items that you rarely use (seasonal/holiday) first, or when you are prepping your house to sell. Many of these items may already be in storage bins or boxes. Confirm that you still need the items or have space for them on your new house. 
  • Sort through and purge toiletries, medicine, and cleaning supplies. As you pack up these items, confirm expiration dates and if the items are still relevant to your health or cleaning needs. Store some cleaning items and tools in labeled boxes and move these items first into your new house so you have cleaning items on hand to clean your new house before you move items and furniture in. Keep some cleaning items behind so you can give your old house a good cleaning before the new owners move in. 
  • Organize your garage, shed and basement with items that you will want to bring with you to the new house. These areas hold the most underused items or hardest to pack items in your house as you begin to pack. Decide what you will need in your new home, what no longer works, what items will need to be transferred to the new house owners, and what can simply be thrown away or donated. Tip: We rented a UHaul for a day and moved most of the items in our garage and shed to our new house. The items were mostly cumbersome, heavy and not the cleanest. 

    Best of luck in your move and wishing you nothing but the best in your new house! 
Birthday Ideas, Easter, Holiday, Kids, Treats, Valentine's Day

Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day 2020

Mother’s Day is around the corner! If you are having a hard time coming up with gift ideas this year for those special women in your life, check out this list of ideas I have come up with to share with you. Whether it is for your Mom, Mother-in-Law, Godmothers, Step-Mom, Grandmothers or anyone in between, I have included a variety of ideas at different price points. We are all hoping that we can soon celebrate together this year when the stay-at-home orders are lifted, but these gift ideas are all available to purchase and ship online. The ideas came from gifts I have given and/or received over the past year. All of the opinions are my own and I was not compensated for the items or to write this blog by the companies or brands.

Enjoy and Happy Shopping! Happy Mother’s Day!

For The  Reader:

Sisters First By: Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

Becoming By: Michelle Obama

For The Historian: Genealogy Test Memories, Photo and Video Transfers to DVD and USB

Shutterfly Memories Photo Book

For The Wine Lover:

Bottle of Wine or Prosecco

Insulated Wine Tumbler (various brands)

For The “Home” Spa Seeker:

Hooty Snowy Owl Lavender Scented Heating Pillow

e.l.f. Beauty Shield Magnetic Mask Kit

Nailtiques Formula 2+ Nail Protein

Himalayan Glow Himalayan Salt Lamp

Clarisonic Mia Smart Skincare

Finishing Touch Flawless Facial Hair Remover

Cosmetic Bag by Red Staggerwing

For The Traditionalist:

Luca and Danni Birthstone Bracelet

4 Seed Herb Garden Kit by Buzzy Seeds

Bouquet of Tulips

Caramel Chocolate Covered Pretzels or Sea Salt Caramels

Love Perfume by Victoria Secrets

For other Mother’s Day Gift Ideas, visit blog posts from previous Holiday Gift Guides:

2018 Holiday Gift Idea List for Women

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Women

Holiday Gift Guide: For Women


Appetizers, Dinner Recipes, Kids, Recipes

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza Recipe… Hold the Ranch, Please !

My family’s favorite pizza to order is Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza. We ordered it for the first time about 3 years ago at our favorite local pizza restaurant.

When we moved to a different part of the state last year, we struggled to find a local pizza place that could compare.  I decided to attempt to replicate this pizza at home… and the family approved! The pizza is called Chicken Bacon Ranch, but no one on my family likes Ranch dressing, so we omit it (if we have guests over, I offer a ranch drizzle. Hidden Valley Ranch is my go-to brand).

A tip during these stay-at-home orders, and limited food supplies at markets (we have not been able to find yeast and flour in weeks!), check if your local pizza place offers to sell their own pizza dough. I was able to buy 2 lbs at our “new to us” local pizza restaurant that we have recently discovered and absolutely love!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Recipe

(Inspired by Nino’s Pizza in RI)

Ingredients: pizza dough, olive oil, shredded and  cooked chicken, precooked and chopped bacon (I use Boar’s Head Precooked Bacon), shredded mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, ranch dressing (optional!)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Brush olive oil on pizza pan. Reminder: Bring dough to room temperature. Stretch dough and spread into pan. Brush olive oil on pizza dough. Poke holes in dough with fork.
  3. Prep shredded chicken: In a medium pot, add water. Place raw chicken in pot and make sure it is covered by the water and boil for about 15-20 min. Remove from pot. Using 1 fork, hold the chicken breast in place on a cutting board or plate and begin shredding the chicken using a 2nd fork. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside. 
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and bottom.
  5. Prepare bacon per package and chop. Set aside.
  6. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella, chicken and bacon on pizza. Return to oven for 6-10 minutes.
  7. Once pizza is golden and cooked through, remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Kids, Organizing

Let’s Organize Your Medicine Cabinet

With a little “extra” time on our hands these days, organizing has been a common task in many households.

It’s time to tackle that medicine cabinet or closet and create a simple and safe way to store your family’s medicine.  Keep it organized for you, but more importantly, for babysitters, care takers, and/or grandparents. They can now find the medicine to use in one spot and they will always know where to find it.

  • Use 3 (or more, if needed)bins, buckets or baskets.
  • Separate adult medicine, children’s medicine and first aid medicine and supplies into each. (If you prefer, you can a make bucket for each child).
  • Create a label for each bucket and store on a top shelf, out of reach of children.
  • Consider keeping certain medicine in the bucket at all times, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, allergy medicine (Example:  Benadryl), antibacterial ointment (Example: Neosporin), cold or cough medicine, stomach medicine, anti-itch ointment, antacids, saline drops, alcohol, peroxide, bandages and tape, gauze/cotton balls,  thermometer, tweezers (for splinters), bug spray, and/or  sunscreen.
  • Remember to properly discard of expired medicine (for disposal tips, I refer to this health website:

This post originally appeared on this blog in April 2015. 


Get Your Tax Files (and Other Paperwork) in Order

With last week’s tax deadline postponed, it gives us extra time to get organized for this year’s tax filing, as well as, prepare for next year’s filing. I thought I would share one of my past organizational blogs to help you get a system in place to file your taxes.

Tips originally posted in April 2016 @

Staying Organized in 2016 : Tax Files

How to Get Your Tax Files in Order
It’s tax season… And, like most of you, we have been receiving tax forms and documents in the mail since January. Years ago, I started an organizational system on how we prepare to file our annual taxes. It is a very simple process, that takes some organization and preparation ahead of the tax deadline . Once you set this suggested process in motion, you can continue it year to year (just set up a new tax folder for that calendar year). Here is the process we have been using, while you may still be able to implement it for last year’s taxes…consider using these suggestions to start fresh for your 2020 taxes and years to come!

What you will need: file folder, label and/or marker and blank sheet of lined paper

1. Create a file folder for the new tax year (example, Taxes 2020).

2. Staple a sheet of paper to one side of the folder and title it Donations. This sheet will be used throughout the year to keep track of any monetary donations that you make throughout the year. You may also receive receipts /letters from organizations for donations, which you also store in this file folder throughout the year.

3. When you donate clothes or household items to local organizations throughout the year, create a list of what you donated. Thinking ahead, print a valuation sheet for suggested items and estimate the dollar amount donated and write it on the form/receipt. (Suggested website for valuations )

4. Once January arrives, you will begin receiving W-2’s, 1099’s, and other federal tax forms from employers, financial institutions, etc., add them to this file. 

5. After you have received all of the required forms, schedule an appointment with your tax advisor (or if you file your own taxes),  pull out out this tax file and you will be ready for your appointment!

6. Once you have filed your taxes and have received proof of receipt, file the copies in this tax file for future reference.

7. Set up new Tax File for the following  year…

Organization Tip: Tax time (and especially now with stay-at-home orders!)  is a great time to organize other documents in your home. Check out a blog post I shared on in January 2016 on organizing paperwork:

About, Breakfast Recipes, Desserts, Easter, Holiday, Inspired by Mom, Kids, Recipes, Snacks, Treats, Valentine's Day

Leftover Easter Bread French Toast Recipe – I am in heaven!

This recipe may be the best thing I have ever eaten!

I have been eating my way through this quarantine, but, now, I am in heaven!

Leftover Easter Bread French Toast is quite simple to make. All you need is the (Sweet) Easter Bread your Mom, Nonna, Aunt, Nana, Grandma, or maybe even you, baked yesterday on Easter. This bread is a sweet bread that is usually baked on Easter as an Italian tradition. It is baked with eggs, yeast, sugar, flour and butter. 

We were lucky enough to have my parents stop by for a “driveway delivery” of my Mom’s infamous annual Easter Bread this year with a face mask and all!

 We enjoyed the Easter bread fresh after it was baked and then, as most of you know, the next day, it is not as moist, somewhat dry. I had this idea and I loved it. My kids and husband loved it just as much as I did!

So, I may have been late to the table with discovering this new way to enjoy leftover Easter bread, but I just had to share it with all of my followers who got their hands on a sweet Easter bread this year! Enjoy and Buona Pasquetta! 

Leftover Easter Bread French Toast

Ingredients: “leftover” Easter sweet bread, eggs, milk, cinnamon and sugar blend, butter


  1. Slice leftover Easter bread into thick slices.
  2. Whisk eggs, milk, and cinnamon/sugar mix together.
  3. On a griddle pan, melt butter.
  4. Dip the bread into the egg mixture (just as you would regular French Toast).
  5. Place on buttered griddle, and flip when browned.
  6. Serve hot with powdered sugar or maple syrup.

Pasquetta “Little Easter”
Today is Easter Monday. In Italy, it is called Pasquetta and it is actual a national Italian holiday. The celebration of Pasquetta typically involves a picnic of dishes made with Easter dinner leftovers. Families usually gather on the countryside. Now, unfortunately, we cannot gather with our families this year, but this leftover recipe seemed to bring back memories of celebrating Pasquetta with my Mom’s leftover creations, with both my own family growing up, as well as, the traditions my Mom shared with my own children growing up. 

Appetizers, Dinner Recipes, Kids, Made by Kids for Kids, Recipes, Snacks

Tex Mex Night … A Beef Street Tacos Recipe

It’s Tex Mex Night…Build Your Own Beef Street Tacos!

This past summer, we visited our family in St. Louis and had a great time. Our girls are getting older and they decided to plan a dinner and a few treats for us during our stay. The dinner they planned was a “Build Your Own Beef Taco Night”.

We all enjoyed the meal so much that we incorporated it into our own family’s dinner rotation when we got back home (practically once a week!) We have had chicken taco nights before,  never with beef.

I love this dinner because it is very easy for the kids to prepare and they also have fun building their own taco! Many of the ingredients are store-bought or prepared, which makes for an easy and fun family dinner night when family life gets busy again.

Beef Street Tacos (Recipe courtesy of our family in St. Louis, thank you for sharing!) 

: 1 lb ground beef, 1/2 packet of taco mix  (we use Old El Paso Brand Mild Mix), shredded lettuce, store-bought pico de gallo, choice of shredded cheese (we use mozzarella or Mexican blend), homemade or store-bought guacamole, 10-minute or instant brown rice, street taco flour tortillas (we use Mission Street Tacos Flour Tortillas)


  1. Cook and brown ground beef in pan, separating  the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. 
  2. Once beef is fully cooked, add taco mix packet to pan and mix.
  3. Prepare rice according to package.
  4. Prepare street taco station with bowls full of lettuce, cheese, pico de Gallo, guacamole, flour tortillas and rice. 

For homemade simple guacamole recipe, check out my recipe at Easy Avocado Dips for your next Summer BBQ!


Appetizers, Breakfast Recipes, Dinner Recipes, Kids, Recipes, Storage

It’s Pizza Night… A Pizza Dough Recipe (with Yeast)

It’s official… we now have yeast! On my husband’s last market run… he found a 3-pack of yeast! Yay!

Last night was pizza night in our house! I used an old pizza dough recipe my friend shared with me about 4 years ago. I prepped it in the late morning and it was risen and ready for us to make our pizzas for dinnertime. We kept it classic- Cheese, Pepperoni and Olive Pizzas.

Pizza Dough Recipe (with Yeast)

Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup of warm water, 1 packet of dry yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp olive oil, pizza toppings 


  1. In a small bowl, combine warm water and yeast packet, mix together.
  2. Add salt, oil and sugar to the yeast/water mixture.
  3. In mixer bowl, combine  flour and salt. Using dough hook, begin to mix and slowly add in the water mixture.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise for 2-3 hours.
  5. Separate the dough into two equal balls and wrap in plastic wrap until ready to use.
  6. Brush olive oil or crisco onto pizza pan.
  7. Stretch out dough onto pan.
  8. Brush olive oil onto pizza dough. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until bottom of dough is golden brown.
  9. Top pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and olives (or toppings of your choice.)
  10. Continue to bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden in color. 

If you do not have dry yeast, check out this recipe my daughter tried last week for Instant Rising Pizza Dough *New* No Yeast Required Pizza Dough Recipe

Also, check out some Pizza recipes from the past,

Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza Recipe

California Club Pizza Recipe

Breakfast Favorites: Breakfast Pizza Recipe

Zucchini Recipes: Zucchini Pizza

Family Recipes: Inspired by Mom – Pizza Balls (Spinach and Pepperoni and Cheese Varieties)



Breakfast Recipes, Desserts, gluten free, Kids, Recipes, Snacks, Treats

*NEW* Simple Fruit Smoothie Recipes…my new fruit alternative!

Like most of us, our food stock and market runs are limited, and, now, most online options are depleted and have sold out delivery times.

Trying to get creative last week, I decided to venture into something new for me…Fruit Smoothies! A great way to keep adding fruits and vegetables in my diet, even when I do not have fresh fruit in my refrigerator!

Fortunately for me, my daughter got on a smoothie kick about 1-2 months before our stay-at-home orders went into effect. She treated herself to a new blender and asked me to buy a large variety of frozen fruits and vegetables to try new smoothie recipes.

Unfortunately, she only fell in love with a smoothie that had Nutella as it’s main ingredient, so needless to say, the new blender and frozen fruits and vegetables stayed behind.

Fast forward to our limited options in our refrigerator and freezer, I decided to explore smoothie recipes for myself using all of the frozen fruits and vegetables we already had! Honestly, I was striking out!

I happen to mention it to my friend while on a virtual walk phone call. She mentioned that she bought her kids mini-smoothie blenders for Christmas and they love the recipes they use. Her daughter so kindly shared the simple recipes with me (Thanks Jules!).

So, here are the new “single serving” smoothie recipes that we have been indulging in… (Blog confession: I did not like any of the veggie option recipes, so these recipes only have fruit! I promise I will keep trying.)

Berry Smoothie

Ingredients: 1/2 cup frozen berry variety, 1/2  frozen banana, water (she offered Apple Juice and Milk as other liquid options), crushed ice

Sunshine Smoothie

Ingredients: approximately 4-5 chunks each of frozen mango and frozen pineapple, 1/2  frozen banana, OJ, 1 tbsp vanilla or plain yogurt, crushed ice


Banana Berry Smoothie

Ingredients: 4-5 frozen strawberries, frozen banana, 1 tbsp vanilla or plain yogurt (optional), water, crushed ice 

Tip: freezing bananas: once banana is ripe, peel it and cut it in half and store in a freezer bag until ready to add to smoothie.