For those new to the site Burning Down The Kitchen is a weekly series where I make a recipe that I’ve bookmarked from a fellow blogger. Then I do a fun interview with that blogger so we all get to know them a little better. It was started when I realized I have a ton of bookmarked recipes in my Lunatic Loves These Links series but had not been making them. This seemed like a great way to not only make the recipe but feature the person who originally made it. There are so many talented bloggers out there so it’s nice to showcase their work and delve into their minds a little bit. Find out what makes them tick. Hope you enjoy this weeks edition.
BURNING DOWN THE KITCHEN WITH KRISTEN FROM FRUGAL ANTICS OF A HARRIED HOMEMAKER:
I could not be more thrilled to introduce you all to Kristen. She blogs at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. I met Kristen through Foodbuzz which is quite often how many of us meet. Kristen blogs amazing meals at affordable prices which is so helpful in this economy. She turns everyday ingredients into masterpieces that will please your wallet and your family. Her site just got a wonderful facelift and looks incredible.
I had the pleasure of meeting Kristen at the Food Blog Forum conference in Orlando this year. She is just the nicest lady you could ever meet. She brought me Turtle Buns which she had made for a guest post for me. They were so good I may have eaten a dozen of them all by myself. We got to hang out quite a bit during the conference and I got to know her better. She is amazingly patient when people do stupid things like lose their park hopper pass on the morning of the conference. She will take time out of her day to search your room while meeting your family who are all still in p.j.’s and make everyone feel totally comfortable and normal. She will help track down the person who needs to replace said park hopper pass while you try not to panic and keep doing your hair like nothing is wrong. She will help ensure you get a front seat at the conference that’s already started so you have to walk by a hundred people muttering “oh she’s the one who lost her pass this morning”. She will grin at you and make you feel less like a tool for interrupting Todd and Diane Porter of White on Rice Couple (you must hear them speak, they will change your life!) while they are giving their amazing speech. She will walk with you really slowly to lunch cuz you tore up your feet with bad shoes and your heel spur makes you want to cry. She will watch your Coke (bleck) while you try to muster enough courage to speak to other bloggers. She is a caring person, and from what I experienced that weekend I imagine she must be the most patient mother on the planet. I am like a whirlwind when you meet me, chaos ensues and she never lost her cool once with my crazy antics. I cannot thank her enough for not only her patience but her continued friendship. So to lighten the moment she is the shizzle in my fizzle. How’s that?
Kristen is a seasoned blogger, she has been doing this since 2008. She has some fantastic recipes on her site. Things like Cheese Filled Crumb Coffee Cake, Moroccan Stew, Copycat Costco Chocolate Chip Muffins, Peanut Butter and Jelly Brownie Torte, KFC Eleven Herbs and Spice for Fried Chicken Copycat, Homemade Turtles Candy (OMG!), Chocolate Cherry Pancakes, Butt Ugly Fudge Bars, Adzuki Honey Buns, and Strawberry and Steak Salad. I had actually planned to make her Biscuits which I had bookmarked awhile back but then I remembered I had also bookmarked her Aunt Viola’s Chocolate Cookies. So as I was planning to make those I came across her recipe for Deep Dish Pizza and well, you know me and pizza. So this marks the first time I’ve gotten off the beaten path and done a recipe I had not bookmarked but wish I had. I just couldn’t help myself. I lose all self control when it comes to pizza. Hers looks so ooey and gooey, so thick and perfect. So forgive me folks but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. For me it was a case of I gotta make deep dish pizza. So I did. And life was grand. Thanks Kristen! Also thanks to Chickens in the Road which was the inspiration for Kristen’s creation.
Rapidfire Q & A with Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker:
1. How did you get started blogging?
In 2008 I discovered blogs. I started visiting some of the budget friendly and urban homestead blogs. I began to see blogging as a way of recording some of the recipes and ideas I had to save money. I didn’t know about the blogging community. I just planned a site for family to use as a reference. One thing led to another and before you know it, I had a follower….a complete stranger! Then people started leaving comments. I didn’t know enough to reach out to social media. I didn’t know diddly! It’s been a seriously long learning process.
2. If you had to describe food blogging to someone who was not sure what it was, how would you describe it to them?
Thanks to pinterest, many regular people are discovering what food blogs are.. It is hard to convey the feeling of community to nonbloggers, though. When I mention friends I have met online, I get worried looks. I have too much tact to mention that all of you are a whole lot more real than the veggies grown in Farmville!
3. You make affordable meals that are so delightful, any tips for those on a budget?
Convenience foods are way more expensive than basic ingredients. Buy in bulk during sales, learn how to store things so they don’t go bad. Make weekly menus and STICK TO THEM to save time, headaches and money.
4. How do you balance having 5 kids, a hubby, life stuff and blogging?
I often don’t very well. Mostly I blog early in the morning, during school and after 8pm. I take most weekends off. When the family is home, it’s family time.
5. You were told to go Gluten Free, how has that transition been for you?
I have been GF for a whopping five months now. I think I spent the first month in mourning. Then the cook in me took up the challenge. I have learned so much and have actually not missed much. Corn pasta is fantastic. GF pizza on the other hand is not worth the effort. Thank goodness for Mexican, Indian and Asian food!
6. Do you have a signature dish you make when you have company over?
Tuscan Pork Roast. Apple Pie in season. Other than that, you take your risks coming to visit me….I am a blogger after all. New dishes appear daily.
7. Can you tell us about your memories of your mom and grandmother cooking?
By the time I was born, my grandmother had closed her restaurant and had stopped catering. However, she had moved on to baking for the local school district. I remember visiting her at work and having her take me back to the freezers to get me an ice cream cup with a wooden spoon. Even though Mamie, my grandmother, was a great cook, her repertoire consisted strictly of basic foods. She never made ethnic food of any kind. Because we moved all over the country (and world)due to my father being in the military, my mother made it her mission to cook Everything! She’d go in phases where we ate tons of Italian food, then a few months later, it’d be Asian food. Even today, she always has a stack of 8-10 cookbooks next to her reading chair.
8. Do you involve your kids in the kitchen often?
Not often enough. Sometimes, I will have them chop veggies or make a cake mix…something to keep them on track for feeding themselves once they are on their own, but I don’t turn the kitchen over to them. The four boys are able to make the basics. My eldest has my blog bookmarked on his android and often makes cookies at friends homes. My little girl is still too young to cook, but she loves to measure and pour while I bake.
9. Do you have a kitchen disaster story you would like to share with us?
The most recent disaster is one of the reasons I don’t let the kids cook by themselves. My eldest decided one Sunday afternoon that he would make churros. He started cooking the dough and my phone rang. I went to my bedroom to talk to my brother, not realizing that The Musician (the pseudonym by which he is known on my blog) was going to start frying without me. All of a sudden there are screams coming from the kitchen. He hadn’t cooked the choux paste enough. The moisture in the dough was causing it to explode in the hot oil. I ran to help, he ran away. I ended up with burns on my hand and feet. The walls were covered in oil splatters and those darned churros were awful.
10. If I was coming over for dinner what would you whip up for me?
Turtle salad with a turtle inspired mole washed down with turtle shakes. Turtle rolls for dessert. It is for you, after all. (editor’s note: I’ll be right over!)
11. Pepsi or Coke?
Bleck, neither, gag, choke. I don’t drink pop more than once a year and I HATE cola. Can I have a glass of water, please?
12. Beef, chicken or pork?
Beef with a side of pork and a sprinkling of chicken. I love meat.
13. Milk or dark chocolate?
Dark. 75% or more.
14. Sweet or savory?
Savory. Unless you have gluten free pancakes.
15. Ice cream or popsicles?
16. Do you use an apron when you cook?
30% of the time I grab the apron hanging on my pantry door. Most times, though, I am halfway into the job before I remember it and by then, I am already messy. Luckily man invented stain sticks.
17. If you could be a guest on any cooking show which one would it be and why?
We got rid of cable a few years ago in order to save money. As much as I loved watching cooking shows, I haven’t missed the distraction. I have no idea what shows are even on anymore. How bad is that for a foodie to admit?!
18. When you think of comfort food what comes to mind?
It used to be homemade bread right out of the oven dripping with butter. Since going gluten free, rice has moved up the list. I am a carb girl at heart.
19. Do you have any weird food quirks you’d like to share?
No. I asked the family if they thought I ate anything weird. Their answers matched: “You eat too healthy, Mom.” I am taking the stand that that isn’t odd. Because I am gluten free in a gluten full family, I do eat differently than everyone else.
20. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Is blogging still a large part of the picture?In five years, my third son will be about to graduate from high school, my older two should be killing me with college tuition, I will have one son ready to be a senior and a girl about to enter the emotional veil of puberty. I think blogging will still be party of my sanity routine. However, you never know.
Dare Portion of Burning Down The Kitchen:
Each week I ask the featured blogger to participate in dares. This is completely optional and they can do 1 or none. I love when people do more than one. It’s just fun to peek into people’s lives a bit, and their kitchens. Kristen did two of them for me. I wish I had asked to see the inside of her oven because apparently she has a fancy shmancy mat that lines her oven. I had no idea you could even get something like that but it’s definitely getting added to my next Amazon order. Who knew?!
Dare option #1: Show us your kitchen mid cooking/baking mess!
Dare option #2: Show us your grocery haul!
Thank you to Kristen for having some fun with not only the interview but your dares. I love getting a glimpse into the lives of fellow bloggers. Mini-me would totally dig those froot loops, those are her fave.
I chose to make Kristen’s Deep Dish Pizza. It just looked so good. I’ve actually made it two times now. It’s that good. Once I made it in a 9 x 13 pan like hers, and once I did it in a cast iron pan. Both delicious! A gazillion thumbs up. Thumbs up to infinity! I tend to like my cheese a little dark so if you don’t (flipping weirdos!) feel free to shave a couple of minutes off the cook time.
- ½ Pizza Dough (store bought or homemade, link to mine below)
- Olive Oil or Non Stick Spray
- Sauce- I used a half a (680 ml) can of Hunts Roasted Garlic and Herb Sauce and added 2 tablespoons of sugar to it
- 250 g Mozzarellissima Cheese, grated
- ¾ cup Parmesan Cheese, divided
- 1 package (65 g) of Honey Ham, cut into big pieces
- ½ stick of Pepperoni (250g size, use half), cut up
- Canadian Bacon (454 g size, use half), cooked
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Roll out or hand stretch your dough so it's a big bigger than the size of your cast iron pan. You'll want it to come up the sides.
- Spray you cast iron pan with non stick spray.
- Lay the dough inside and press it up the sides. You can fold it and make it pretty if you like. Poke the bottom a couple of times with a fork.
- Place in preheated oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven.
- Carefully (do not burn yourself!) line the bottom with half of your mozzarellissima cheese.
- Now add a layer of ham.
- Now add a layer of parmesan.
- Now add a layer of pepperoni.
- Now add another layer of parmesan.
- Now add a layer of Canadian bacon.
- Now add another layer of parmesan.
- Now pour your sauce over top.
- Now add the rest of your mozzarellissima cheese.
- Place in oven again and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes depending on how you like your cheese.
- Remove and let stand for a few minutes.
- Cut into slices.
- Serve with a big old ooey gooey cheesey smile!
Thank you to Kristen for allowing me the pleasure of interviewing her and making one of her recipes. I am ever grateful for your friendship. You rock my world girl!
You can visit Kristen at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. Kristen also runs a group called the Improv Cooking Challenge where people are given the challenge of coming up with a recipe given two ingredients to use each month. This is a group I’ve been dying to join myself. Next month is cherries and almonds, so I am totally in. July is corn and butter, hello, now you’re talking the Lunatic’s language. I must get my lazy butt signed up asap. You can also find Kristen on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. I vote you stalk her everywhere. She is an amazing cook who dreams up such cool recipes. There’s not a lot of people who can taste something and go home and replicate it. Kristen can and I find that so impressive. I am trying that Costco muffin recipe for mini-me as she loves those things. Thanks again Kristen, for your sense of fun and kind heart. I adore you sistah!
Toodles and smoochies! xx