Seed 99 cents smaller

GRILLED PIZZA WITH VINE-RIPENED TOMATOES!

Seed 99 cents smallerFrom my gardening book From Seed to Table, here’s one of my favorite recipes when the tomatoes are overflowing the kitchen window sills. I miss having our garden this year, but thank goodness for local food markets and farmers markets. And to celebrate the harvest, you can download the book for only $0.99 on Kindle by clicking here???????????????????????????????

Grilled Pizza

This recipe is one I’ve been perfecting over the past several years, and it’s best made with the freshest of tomatoes from the garden. Pizza is personal. I’m sharing my personal recipe, but you may find other toppings you like better.

Just like with pie, it all starts with the crust. You can buy pizza dough, but this recipe is pretty basic and easy to make.

Pizza dough

1 pkg. dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt

2 ½ cups flour (all unbleached white or use half white and half whole wheat)

Olive oil

Beat yeast, sugar, and water until well blended. Let rest for a few minutes. Add salt and flour and mix until dough forms. Knead on floured board until smooth (three-five minutes). Place in a warm bowl coated with olive oil. Cover with damp towel and leave in a warm spot. Allow to rise until dough doubles (approximately an hour). Punch down dough and roll into oblong roll on floured board. (I usually cut dough in half and place one portion in a freezer bag and freeze). Cut into ten to twelve (full dough recipe) or five to six pieces and roll each into a ball.

Roll out each ball into a thin circle, approximately six inches in diameter and place on cookie coated with olive oil. The smaller the individual pizzas, the easier it will be to put them on the grill. Grill at 400 degrees Fahrenheit on side with oil for two minutes or until a crust forms on the one side.

The trickiest part of the whole process is making sure the crusts don’t burn on the grill. You know your grill best. I’ve learned to do this by trial and error and mostly by hovering near the grill and watching.

After one side is grilled, make sure cookie sheet is still coated with olive oil and place crusts back on the cookie sheet with grilled side up. You are now ready to put the ingredients on top of the grilled side.

Pizza toppings

(For six pizzas – double if using full recipe of dough)

3-4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

1 sweet or hot banana pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

8 oz. mozzarella cheese

Parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste

Place sliced tomatoes on the grilled side of crust. Sprinkle minced garlic evenly on top of tomatoes to taste. Salt and pepper the tomatoes to taste. Sprinkle basil and feta over tomatoes. Put on peppers. Finish with the mozzarella cheese. You’re now ready to put back on the hot grill.

You must be very careful at this point so you don’t burn the bottom of the crusts. Again, I’ve had to learn from practice. For my gas grill (which is very old), this method works the best. I put the pizzas on the hot grill and shut the cover leaving burners on high. After 2-3 minutes (without opening the lid), I turn off the grill and let the pizzas sit while the grill cools down. After 20 minutes, the cheese is melted and the crusts are not burned. Sometimes I put the pizzas on the cookie sheet and place under the broiler for one minute to ensure a bubbly cheesy top. Sprinkle the finished product with Parmesan cheese.

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Final task: ENJOY!!!!!

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BOOK REVIEW FRIDAY – THE TRUEST PLEASURE

P. C. Zick:

My review for a lovely book set in the Smoky Mountains.

Originally posted on P.C. Zick:

I wrote about my experience with reading The Truest Pleasure by Robert Morgan on the blog Silver Threading in July. Click here to read my post for Mindful Monday and the personal impact the novel had on my life.

From my professional view as a reader and an author, the book and its creator also impressed me. I met Robert Morgan at a writer’s conference years ago. His novel Gap Creek had recently been released and selected by Oprah for her book club. I remember two things vividly about his presentation, which occurred in 2000 or 2001. First, he hung up on Oprah. He thought a friend had set him up for a prank. Then Oprah, ever persistent called back, and finally convinced him the call was real. That made me laugh and share in his humbleness at being selected for what would turn him into one of the South’s most…

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Lessons on Moving

My life has been one big box of junk for the past three months. I’ve posted enough about that move. If you’re like me and you’re behind on your blog reading, here’s a list of my previous posts. Just click on the title to read.

Thoughts on Moving

Saying Good-bye

Mountain Living

Mindful Monday – Discovering the Truest Pleasures

We’re still in transition with a part of us in North Carolina, some sections in Pittsburgh, and a whole lot in a storage unit waiting to move to Florida (sorry, furniture, but you’ll have to spend the winter in Freedom, PA).

Leaving Pittsburgh

Leaving Pittsburgh

But at least the packing is done, and we are grateful to the family member who is allowing us to stay in an empty condo while my husband continues his job, and we’re grateful for that little piece of heaven down in Murphy, North Carolina. Along the way, I learned some important lessons about one of life’s most stressful events – THE MOVE.

Minions1. Minions – Every night when I went to bed, minions entered the house and added more stuff. I would clean a closet, a cupboard, a shelf, it didn’t matter. Yet, when I returned in the morning more items appeared on the shelves I’d emptied the day before.

hangers2. Hangers – Hangers are the rabbits of inanimate objects. I figured out that for every hanger left on the rack, ten more reproduced in the course of a day. This phenomenon is real and not imagined by me. Ask the minions – they come in at night to watch. Creepy little dudes.

3. Windex® – Windex is a miracle cure for everything. I learned this from watching the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. One day, while in a frantic state to finish all the tasks for the buyers of our house, I was stung by a wasp. I had to mow the lawn before the rain came, yet all medical supplies had been boxed and moved, except for the few things the minions left on the kitchen counter the night before. I ran in the house and saw the bottle of Windex, sprayed my chest and the bite, and ran back out to the mower. The bite disappeared without redness or swelling. I guess the minions can be helpful after all.

4. Scientists – My husband with his brilliant engineering/scientific mind surprised me when it came time to get those boxes packed. He finally went down to the basement and garage area of our home and began sorting and putting things in the boxes I provided. I presented him with his own large Sharpie® and packing tape. “Why do I need these?” he asked. I explained about taping boxes shut, which he thought silly when he could just fold down the four sides. “But movers are putting these in the storage unit, so they need to be taped.” He understood, but he stared at the Sharpie as if I’d brought him a cockroach. “Why do I need a marker?” Again, I explained that we were moving things to three different locations and the destination needed to be designated on every box. Plus, I wanted him to indicate what might be in the box. “We’ll just move everything to the storage unit and open them up to see what’s inside,” he said in his very logical scientific mind. No, we won’t is the paraphrased version of my response. He did mark his boxes, but still questioned the necessity of such a thing. He didn’t understand that we had more than one hundred boxes going to different locations. His mind was on getting all of his junk treasures off the shelves. I love that man, but his mind works at angles so very different from my own.

Somehow we pulled it off, and now we spend a few months in transition between Pennsylvania and North Carolina. It’s a suspended sort of time until he retires and our home in Florida becomes available. At first, not really being settled for months bothered me and my A-type personality. But when I came to the mountains, I gazed out over the Smokies and something changed. I don’t know if it’s the mountain air or the realization that hit me as I sat with my husband amid the boxes and chaos of our current life. With him, no matter the location or situation, I am home. Forget the minions, hangers, Windex, and Sharpies–home resides somewhere beyond the physical. Perhaps that’s the sole reason our timing was so screwed up this year. I needed this time to realize my real home is right where I am at any given time.

My daughter visited our new home recently. A day after her arrival, she looked around the cabin with boxes strewn here and there. “You’re different here, Mom.” How so? “You aren’t worried about making everything perfect,” she said.

No, I’m not, and that’s because it already is.

Mindful Monday – “Discovering the Truest Pleasures,” by P.C. Zick

P. C. Zick:

Here’s something to start your week on a positive note.

Originally posted on Silver Threading:

It’s a great honor to be a part of Mindful Monday. I’ve enjoyed reading this feature on Silver Threading as it always provides inspiration for moving forward. When I was asked to participate, I leapt at the chance to put forth my own experience with finding the “silver threading” in my life, particularly right now when my husband and I are going through major changes.

I finished reading The Truest Pleasure by Robert Morgan this past weekend. This book sat on my shelf—a literal shelf, not on my Kindle—filled with books I’ve been meaning to read. The Truest Pleasure probably sat there the longest and has made five moves with me.

P. C. Zick and the book, “The Truest Pleasure,” by Robert Morgan

The book sat, waiting for the perfect moment when I needed it most, in the place where it would speak to me the loudest.

That moment came…

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Hummingbird Magic

P. C. Zick:

I thought this a lovely way to begin a summer weekend. Some good news in a world often gone mad. Happy days to you.

Originally posted on disappearinginplainsight:

Hummingbird in action - Guenette photo

“Some of my old memories feel trapped in amber in my brain, lucid and burning, while others are like the wing beat of a hummingbird, an intangible, ephemeral blur.”
(Mira Bartok from The Memory Place)

I’ve wandered my garden for weeks with my camera at the ready in the hope that I might capture a hummingbird in the wild photo. This morning I was in the right place at the right time. I hope you take as much pleasure from these two photos as I have.

Hummingbird - Guenette photo

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My recipe for the perfect Gemista

P. C. Zick:

I have to share this recipe from my Greek friend Fros. I have to do this very soon!

Originally posted on Effrosyni's Blog:

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Summer’s here at last! The tomatoes are ripe and sweet, and there are ample quantities of fresh spearmint in my garden. For the Greeks, these are the perfect excuses to make Gemista (stuffed vegetables with rice) more often than any other time of year. The below recipe will show you step-by-step with my pictures, how to make this delicious traditional Greek meal.

INGREDIENTS  (serves 4-6)

6 beef tomatoes

6 green peppers

4-5 potatoes

2 medium onions

2 medium cloves of garlic

Fresh spearmint and parsley

1 cup of rice for risotto (In Greece, we use the ‘Carolina’ variety for Gemista)

Extra virgin olive oil

PREPARATION

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Wash the vegetables. Cut off their tops with a knife and keep each top near each vegetable as you place them one by one in your roasting pan. Using the special utensil (see photo), remove the flesh of the tomatoes and place it in a…

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CHRISTMAS IN JULY!

P. C. Zick:

Here’s a way to cool down those hot July days!

Originally posted on P.C. Zick:

ChristmasPetsandKisses3D_425by200That’s right. I’m talking about Christmas, but that’s because I’m very excited to be a part of this new box set, Christmas Pets and Kisses, available for pre-order right now for only $0.99.

On Tuesday, July 14 we’re celebrating with a Christmas in July Facebook party where all sixteen authors will be hanging out giving away lots of prizes. Click here to join the fun.

Overview of Christmas Pets and Kisses

SIXTEEN ALL-NEW, NEVER-BEFORE-PUBLISHED SWEET (PG-rated) CHRISTMAS ROMANCES

Ring in the Christmas cheer with sixteen all-new sweet and heart-warming romances from New York Times, USA Today bestselling, and award-winning authors. Don’t miss out on this romantic collection of Christmas tails…uh, tales as adorable pets with fins, paws, feathers, and hooves bring holiday magic with the gift of true love

Golden Christmas – Helen Scott Taylor

Two wounded hearts are brought together at Christmas by two golden dogs: a lab…

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A BASEBALL LOVE STORY – THIRD BASE

Hello – a Happy July to you all. We moved into the new digs this past week, but head back to Pittsburgh in a few days. I hate to leave but I still love the Steel City and plan on enjoying my last few weeks living there to the fullest.

Third Base_low resolution for webIn between all the moves, I still managed to finish my new romance, Third Base. It’s set in Pittsburgh, where I’ve created a winning Pittsburgh Pirates team with ace third baseman Tomas Vegas who hails from Puerto Rico. He falls in love with Adriana Moretti, a young, beautiful, and successful widow whose Italian family keeps a close watch on all of her romantic entanglements. Tomas must also deal with his super model ex-girlfriend whose not taken kindly to being dumped by the rising All Star. Lots of fun times in the Steel City this summer!

Third Base will be a part of the Score One For Love box set, which comes out later this summer and is filled with sports love stories by nine other authors.

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Nook

Kobo

Apple

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Mountain Living

Smokies1Our entry into living atop a mountain didn’t begin with any auspicious drum rolls. In fact, if I took those first few hours after arrival at our cabin with two vehicles and a U-haul trailer as a sign, it would send me right back to Pittsburgh. But life throws us those little curves so we know how wonderful it feels when things go from bad to good.

We left Pittsburgh on a Friday morning around 6 a.m. in our little caravan of loaded vehicles and trailer. Mostly a smooth drive, but long because we both needed to stop often. Probably our tiredness and exhaustion from preparing to move was the key to our lack of stamina for what should have been a nine-hour drive. Within an hour of the new place, dark clouds came rolling over the mountains. Around 6:30 p.m. we pulled down our road. Unfortunately, the rain had started, and we forgot which of the turn offs led to our cabin. A newly installed steep driveway at our neighbors confused me, and I led our caravan up the wrong drive. I backed up my little Hyundai–right into a ditch. My husband had headed up a very steep drive that was not ours with the truck and trailer. ditchWhen he tried to back down, he ended up jack-knifing the trailer, blocking the road up to our driveway. jackknifedTwo hours and one wonderful tow truck driver later, we arrived with everything intact, albeit wet, at our cabin. We wondered if we’d made a hasty decision in moving here, but daylight and views of the smoke on the Smokies changed our minds.

 

meSo did the beautiful cabin that we’ve spent this week making our own. I brought my office desks and a dining room table. The rest of the furniture we purchased here, but it won’t arrive until our next visit later this month. As our ten-day stay nears an end, I yearn to stay. This place has grabbed me despite the incessant rain for the past five days. I feel at home here already. I can tell because I’ve been able to work on my next novel every day this week. The words come easily in my new office, and it feels like the place where I’ll write plenty more novels.Smokies

 

Yesterday, my husband planted two tomato plants and two pepper plants. tomato plantThat’s always a sure sign that we’re home.

 

 

 

 

 

WORD OF CAUTION: “Someone” in our crew threw in a large bottle of anti-bacterial hand soap at the last minute. It came open on the trip and dumped all over a table my great aunt made more than one hundred years ago. The table had been draped in a quilt made by my grandmother seventy-five years ago. Over that I wrapped an old tablecloth and put bungie cords around the whole thing. To our surprise, that soap acted as a harsh chemical and ate through the tablecloth, quilt, and damaged parts of the table. I don’t use this stuff and it wasn’t supposed to come on this trip, but “someone” saw it on the floor of the garage where we’re staying in Pittsburgh and decided it would fill a hole nicely. I’m even more convinced that I’d rather not use this stuff on my hands.

Soap damage.

Soap damage.

Soap ate the quilt.

Soap ate the quilt.

Saying Good-bye

MaplehurstIt took me by surprise when I shut the garage door and prepared to leave the house for the last time. I sat in the driveway, crying. I called my husband, but he was in a meeting. So I sat and cried. We loved this home where we’d lived for the past five years. With our wedding in the backyard less than a month after we moved in, we began our marriage in the large house with a flat yard for my husband’s garden.ceremony

Love and produce blossomed and bloomed in this house. We didn’t sell the house because we hated living there; we sold it because the time had come for it to be used by a family big enough to fill its spaces.

And so this week after months of preparation and packing, the place stood empty, but not vacant. The walls echoed with the sound of our laughter and waited to embrace the young couple who bought it.

I cried again at the closing. Not tears of sadness, but of happiness for the family about to make it theirs. Two young folks with a five- and two-year old and another baby on the way in September, excitedly signed the papers turning it over to them. Their young sons played on the floor behind us, unaware of the momentous event occurring for their parents who were buying their first home.

“You know why we bought this house that was far too big for us?” I asked the couple as we signed papers. “It had a flat yard for the garden.”

“That’s my favorite part, too,” the woman said.

June 8, 2013

I wish them abundance, laughter, and love in this home that embraced us in its loving arms.

We left green tomatoes on the vine, peas bursting from pods, and onions peeking up from the earth. It feels good to walk away knowing we nurtured the land and left it better than we found it.

We move forward in a cabin that is much, much smaller and with no flat land. We’ve packed the pick-ax and boards for terracing a mountainside garden. Wish us luck!

 

I gave the couple an autographed copy of From Seed to Table and two of my novels written in this house. This home proved fruitful for both vegetables and words.

Click on cover for Amazon page

Click on cover for Amazon page