Sunday, January 31, 2021

One very full month of running and vlogging.  I already did my run for the day, so I officially have done a 5k run every day for the month of January. I also did a vlog post each of those days as well. February is tomorrow and I’m going to keep it going. I will have a 3 day fast in the 2nd week of the month.  On the other weeks, I’ll continue my 4 days of the 18:6 fasts.

And now . . . I wanted to introduce something else that I want to be held accountable for – a month long alcohol detox. Now, I certainly don’t believe that I have an actual problem. However, I do want to see how my sleep pattern changes, my appetite, my skin – I think I get these rashes now when I drink . . . that’s never a fun thing to discuss.  “I get this rash.”

Anyway – a year ago in February and March, I had begun talking about trying to do this for the month of April 2020. But then . . . COVID. In turn, back to drinking! However, it’s now 2021 and I want to try doing it for real this year for the month of April. I know there is “Dry January” as well as “Sober September” and “Sober October”. I don’t believe there’s a name for April, but I’m rolling with “April Drought”. I’ll be just fine, but I will miss my wine with pasta as well as the IPAs with my pizza on Friday nights. But that’s for April!

Bring on February!!

QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“The reward for good work is more work.” — Tom Sachs

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Little slower this Saturday morning, but I did run. 5k is done. Last night, it was family movie night again but we started with the newest episode of WandaVision again. It’s getting so much better and I am so glad that we hung in there. Marvel fans should be smiling . . . I think. Of course only being a 30 minute show, we then went off and watched Infinity War. We’ve seen them all, but sure let’s do it again! I already know that another viewing of Endgame is coming which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Got my new book: Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho. I want to add it to the rotation, but I’m currently reading these three:

I’m the type of reader who can jump around from book to book. I just don’t enjoy plowing straight through it all. My mood changes. Some nights, I don’t feel like reading about death. Other nights, do I really need more politics? And finally, some nights, instead of reading about it . . . let’s go do it – sleep! I normally have a “fun” book mixed in. I need one of those.’

I am listening to Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Does that count as a “read” book in my Goodreads app when I’m done?

QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Be the person that your dog thinks you are.” — Chris Rudolph via Chase Jarvis book

Friday, January 29, 2021

Paper work Friday, so I get to have a real mug to drink out of . . . not a thermos one. Also, it’s new tube of toothpaste Friday for me.  Sorry, but there’s something about starting on a new tube. No pressure on getting out enough onto the brush.

Sooooooooooooooo, I ran. Now, being at home for a paperwork day, I could have gone out on the trails, but after letting the dogs out this morning.  Well, I knocked it out safely on the treadmill!  Anyway, 5k is done – creeping up on nearly 100 miles for the month!

New Music Friday:

  • Weezer’s full album OK Human is out now.
  • Mighty Mighty Bosstones released The Final Parade – a nearly 8 minute song
  • Miss Taylor Swift put out – the “forever is the sweetest con” chapter of her music. The chapter title is a line taken from her evermore song “Cowboy Like Me.” 6 pack of musical joy – 3 songs from each of her albums that she released last year. Marketing genius she is.
  • The Weeknd is releasing a compilation album on February 5.  Gonna hear a lot about him over the next week since he’s performing during the Superbowl halftime
  • Anderson East posted an InstaGram video of him writing “It’s finished” – stay tuned for that
  • Finally, Black Pistol Fire – two piece rock band out of Austin, Texas, but originally from Canada. You can put them in the same grouping as White Stripes and Black Keys but they still have their own Black Pistol Fire sound via Kevin McKeown (guitar/lead vocals) and Eric Owen (drums). New album – Look Alive – is out now!

It was Sunday night, November 1st, 2015 and my wife and I were going to the Fillmore in Philly to see Gary Clark Jr.  We were there with another couple who are known as G-Dog and Caff to our kids. They are the ones who got us the great seats – thank you. We all had a great dinner prior and were then off to the show to see this new blues guy stud.  Being Gary Clark Jr., you would have thought that we would have known that there would be an opener . . . someone, anyone off the streets – Dog Tooth Violet? At one point, these two guys come out on stage looking like the crew.  One was fiddling with the guitar, while the other was checking over the drums.  The guy checking the guitar then rips out a couple licks that was like – whoa, stage help showing what he can do.  Then, I looked back over the drummer, who was in the process of taking his shirt off.  Hmmm – he’s getting awfully comfy. They then did the 1 – 2 – 3 nod thing and BAM! It was on – the best live band that I have ever seen – hands down.  When this COVID thing is over.  I’m heading to as many of their shows as I can. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” — Benjamin Franklin

Monday, January 25, 2021

Back at it on a Monday, my 5k run is complete.  My outside run yesterday was my best time since the Turkey Trot in November 2019!   So, pushing 2020 out of mind more & more.  Feeling good, but my weigh-in this morning tells me that I had a pretty good weekend, too.  Doing the 18 hr fast / 6 hr eating window for the next 4 days.

Just finished up my journal writing in our house library.  I actually have two journals – one is the Daily Stoic Journal – which has a prompt for the day and, like Marcus Aurelius, you have a morning entry and, like Seneca, an evening entry.  Now, I also have a 2nd journal and this is the one that I wanted to highlight.  It’s the One Line a Day Journal – 5 year diary. Every night I write a couple lines of what happened during my day. I really enjoy looking back and seeing what occurred a year ago, two or even three years ago.  This is my 4th year into the 5 year journal. So, three years ago, I had a lot of excitement written for my Eagles heading to the Super Bowl – I didn’t know yet. Looking back one year, I didn’t do much that day, but one year ago yesterday, I was happy that I had a 5 day week at BJJ – miss those days. And then one year ago tomorrow, it is my brother’s birthday, but we also lost Kobe Bryant that day – crazy. Anyway, the One Line a Day Journal – here’s a link: https://amzn.to/2MgHepY

QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“You suffer more in imagination than in reality.” — Seneca

Friday, January 1, 2021

3 things . . . alright, 4 things: (1) Happy New Year (2) When you have an 11 year old on New Year’s Eve, the goal is midnight. So, we all slept in this morning. (3) My 5k run is coming a little later, but it’s coming!

I have many goals this year. One of them being a 5k run every day. The other one is doing this vlog. Basically, I’m here to help, but to be helped as well. Let’s inspire one another and have some fun along the way.

(4) Still eating cookies for breakfast because it’s the holidays!

“Win the Morning / Win the Day!” – Tim Ferriss

52 Week Challenge – Meal #14

Steak with Blue Cheese and Chive Compound Butter topped with Balsamic Roasted Red Onions & Thyme / Plus a Side of Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Mushrooms

Let’s just start with the meat being pricey. We both just got paid, so we were feeling really good about ourselves . . . maybe a little too good? Anyway, we got some really good meat.

(We can honestly say that this isn’t common)

There were 3 recipes (sorry), so, we definitely needed some beverage!

(Our respective beverages of choice)

It was also Christmas time so we just had the local station on playing non-stop holiday music – 99.5 WJBR. Ho, Ho, Ho! Just like with all the recipes done here, simply click on the above title for the link of what was borrowed (adapted?). As always, I’ll lay out what we followed as well as any of the changes that were made along the way.

The Line-up (Ingredients)

STEAK WITH BLUE CHEESE & CHIVE COMPOUND BUTTER

  • For the Steaks:
  • 2 (1½ inch thick) steaks (New York strip, rib eye, flatiron or hanger steaks)
  • Course kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Grapeseed or other neutral oil for grill (yeah, I didn’t do this)
  • For the Blue Cheese and Chive Compound Butter:
  • ½ lb (8 oz) unsalted butter, (2 sticks) room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons chives, fresh, chopped fine
  • ⅛ teaspoon course sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 oz Blue Cheese

BALSAMIC ROATED RED ONIONS WITH THYME

  • 3 large red onions (about 2 lbs / .9 kilos)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (60 mL plus 30 mL)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (60 mL)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (about 8 sprigs or ½ tsp dried)
  • ½ teaspoon course kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

SHEET PAN GARLIC BUTTER MUSHROOMS

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 pounds cremini mushrooms
(We mixed in a little of this, too – Penzeys)

Game Plan (Instructions)

STEAK WITH BLUE CHEESE & CHIVE COMPOUND BUTTER
1) Make the compound butter: Place the softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (if using a hand-held mixer, place butter into a mixing bowl) and beat until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add chives, mustard, salt and pepper. Beat on medium speed until everything is well mixed, 1-2 minutes.

(Cutting board from Goodmude)

2) Crumble in the blue cheese and gently mix until it’s incorporated. It shouldn’t be perfectly smooth, there should be a few small flecks of cheese here or there. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if desired.

3) Place the butter in the center of a sheet of parchment paper, wax paper or plastic wrap. Form a log by rolling the bottom half of the paper over the butter (roll it back and forth a few times until it’s the thickness you want), then roll it all the way closed. Twist the ends to seal and tighten the log (you can tie them with twine if you like) and refrigerate until hardened, about two hours.

4) Note: This recipe makes about 12 servings of the butter. The sealed roll will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months frozen.

5) Make the steaks: Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. If gas, preheat on high for at least 15 minutes ahead of time. Remove steaks from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking so they come to room temperature. Season them liberally with course salt and pepper on both sides.

6) Rub grill grates well with oil. Grill steaks until medium rare, about 3-4 minutes per side (or however you like them done).

7) Remove steaks and immediately top each with a slice of Blue Cheese butter. Let it melt for 5 -7 minutes as the steaks rest. Serve with Balsamic Roasted Red Onions with Thyme.

(Oooooooo – it’s done!)

BALSAMIC ROASTED RED ONIONS WITH THYME
1) Preheat the oven to 375ºF / 190ºC

2) Cut the onions in half vertically and then into ¼ inch thick slices (not paper thin or they’ll get mushy). Place on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper and ¼ cup balsamic vinegar.

3) Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes, turning once or twice, until the onions are soft and lightly caramelized. Remove from the oven, and while they’re still hot, pour over 2 more tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

SHEET PAN GARLIC BUTTER MUSHROOMS
1) Preheat the oven to 375ºF / Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.

2) In a small bowl, whisk together butter, garlic, lemon juice, thyme and rosemary; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

(cleaning the mushrooms – cool shot, too)

3) Place mushrooms in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Stir in butter mixture and gently toss to combine.

4) Place into oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until browned and tender, tossing occasionally. Serve immediately.

(Steak close-up)
(Winner, winner, steak dinner!)

So, in conclusion, the meal was delicious. All of it. BUT – the price paid on that meat? Well, we don’t believe it had anything really to do with it. We’ll game plan a little wiser next time and yes . . . there will be a next time for this meal!

52 Week Challenge – Meal #13

Best Damn Instant Pot Ribs

My beloved Philadelphia Eagles just lost on this day when I came up from our downstairs of an entertainment area. Always bleeding green, I was obviously miserable. In turn, my wife made an attempt at helping me from my bird driven madness. She asked me if I was interested in helping with the ribs for dinner. And just like that – Game on!

Now, she picked the music of Anderson East via Spotify for our meal making sound. She loves this guy. At a concert in Baltimore, here’s a picture of her meeting Mr. East:

(Me – holding the camera on this overexuberant shot)

Anyway, the man can truly sing and thankfully there was a really long line of other people that followed for pictures with him. Otherwise, I don’t know how I would have gotten her out of that place that night.

Just like with all the recipes done here, simply click on the above title for the link of what was borrowed (adapted?). As always, I’ll lay out what we followed as well as any of the changes that were made along the way.

The Line-up (Ingredients)

  • 1 slab of pork baby back ribs (1.5 – 2.5lbs)
  • 2 tbs brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 tbs kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • BBQ sauce (about ⅓ cup of your favorite brand)

Game Plan (Instructions):

1. Remove membrane from the underside of the ribs by sliding a butter knife under the membrane and gently lifting it off. Use a paper towel for the best grip.

2. Mix all dry ingredients well.

(Before we mixed them up really well)

3. Then, rub the dry ingredients liberally on top and bottom of ribs. Get the sides too.

(Both top and bottom – rub it in good!)

4. Place trivet in Instant Pot and pour in the chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke.

5. Place ribs on their side on the trivet, curled around the inside of the Instant Pot with the top of the top facing outward. Secure lid, close vent, and pressure cook (manual on some models) for 28 minutes.

(Perfect curling of the slab of rib meat)

6. When cook time is complete, let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, the go ahead and release the remaining pressure.

7. Remove lid and carefully remove the ribs with tongs. Place ribs on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

(We soaked ’em with some spicy BBQ sauce)

8. Liberally rub your favorite BBQ sauce all over the ribs and place under the broiler of the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce had nicely caramelized.

(Final shot with Celebration beer peeking in from the left – delicious!)

This was delicious and a clear cut winner for us. Another favorite part of mine was the leftovers – it wasn’t because it wasn’t enjoyed – we were just plain stuffed that night. In turn, I got to devour these meaty joys again later for an upcoming lunch – always a bonus. This is definitely a quicker and easier way to do some juicy, fall off the bone ribs in a much faster manner than cooking them up on the grill for hours.

52 Week Challenge – Meal #12

Proscuitto Wrapped Cranberry, Arugula, & Brie Stuffed Chicken

Being a paperwork Monday, I was already home and it was one of those long, tedious days. Just when one fire is put out here, another one pops up over there. I simply wasn’t in the mood, but dinnertime didn’t care – it comes every evening whether you want it to or not. My wife is always the one that rallies the troops and gets the meal done for us, but not tonight because tonight was a Meal Challenge night, so I was all in. FYI – I do help on other nights – honest. It’s just that during the Meal Challenge dinners – I’m super helper! 🙂

The weekend prior I had made a run to the grocery store for us and initially couldn’t find the Arugula for this upcoming meal. However, we needed something else at some point for our Sunday night dinner and since I messed that one up too with missing something from the store, I ran out again in order to get this meal complete. This time, I found the arugula!

(Unfortunately, I bought the one pound container of Arugula, while all that was needed was simply a 1/2 cup. As you can see between the before and after shots, no real difference, once the required 1/2 cup was removed. We’ll be having a lot of Arugula salad this week . . . that’s a given.)

The Line-up (Ingredients)

3 chicken breasts
3-6 pieces of prosciutto
1/2 pound brie cut into thin slices
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup arugula

Game Plan (Instructions)

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2) Using a very sharp knife, cut a pocket in the middle of the side of each chicken breast from tip to tip. Cut just to the back of the breast, but not through the flesh. Make sure this is just a pocket, not cutting the breast in half.

3) Stuff a slice of brie, a handful of dried cranberries, and a third of the arugula into the pocket of each chicken breast. Wrap 1-2 slices of prosciutto around each chicken breast, “sealing” the prosciutto on the opposite side of the pocket.

(Step 1 with adding all the insides)
(Step 2 with wrapping it up snug & tight)

4) Add the stuffed, wrapped chicken to a large baking sheet with plenty of space in between each one. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast the chicken for 12-14 minutes.

5) Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with potatoes and salad and enjoy!

Okay . . . now a side-note. We really did not think that this was a enough time for the chicken to cook, so we went ahead and put the chicken in the oven for the full 14 minutes. We honestly felt good that the 14 minute mark should do the job. Unfortunately, we were quickly proven wrong once we cut our wrapped delights in half. Back into the oven they went for another 10 minutes! Afterwards, the bottom was dry and everything was a little crispy on the outside, but we still dug in and enjoyed what resulted. To help this dish next time, both extra cheese and cranberries would have been good changes to administer.

Final shot . . . see – even a couple cranberries spilling out would have made this a better looking meal, too.

52 Week Challenge – Meal #11

Korean Chicken Bao

We went from one of the easiest meals that we’ve done during this challenge (Ranch and Dill Pickle Pizza) to definitely the most time consuming one. But – it was so worth it! There were plenty of time gaps with this recipe. During a couple of those moments, my wife and I went outside to watch the kids as they biked and skateboarded the streets of our neighborhood. However, when back inside, the meal prep music of choice was suggested by my wife. Through Spotify, we “enjoyed” K-pop to go along with the food that we were making. I’m fine with it. I get it. I can hear the hooks. In the end though, I very much needed my Rock music.

Just like with all the recipes done here, simply click on the above title for the link of what was borrowed (adapted?). As always, I’ll lay out what we followed as well as any of the changes that were made along the way.

The Line-up (Ingredients)

BAO BUNS

  • 3 ¾ cups (450g) plain (all purpose) flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp (equivalent to one packet or 7g) instant dried yeast
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (210ml altogether) warm water
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

CHICKEN AND MARINADE

  • 4 chicken breasts sliced into bite-size chunks
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt

CRISPY COATING

  • 1 ½ cups (180g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • vegetable oil for deep frying – at least 1 litre/four cups

KOREAN SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp gochuajang paste
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Game Plan (Instructions)

  • Start by making the bao buns.
  • Place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl and mix together.
  • Add the milk, warm water (activates the yeast) and butter to a jug and stir together until the butter melts. Stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture at first with a spoon, and then with your hands. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can do this in a mixer fitted with a dough hook.
(Me – hard at work)
  • Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover (with clingfilm or a damp tea towel and leave until doubled in size – about 90 minutes – 2 hours).
(My wife enjoys her spices from Penzeys –
that’s where the towel came from too)
  • Meanwhile, start on the Korean Chicken. Place the chicken in a bowl. Add the buttermilk, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Mix together, cover and place in the fridge to marinade for at least 1 hour.
  • After the dough has proved (been aroused), tip it out of the bowl onto a floured surface. Knead the dough again and split into 20 balls. Place a piece of baking parchment on your work surface and roll each ball into an oval on top of the parchment, using a rolling pin – approx. 6cm x 9cm.
  • Brush the ovals with the olive oil and fold each oval over, using a chopstick in the middle to fold over to leave a little space in the fold (so the oil is on the inside of the fold). Remove the chopstick and place each bun onto a small piece of baking parchment.
(Some were done better than others)
  • Place the buns on the trays – still on the the baking parchment – as this will help you to move them later. Cover each tray with clingfilm or a carrier bag (ensuring the clingfilm doesn’t touch the dough – or it will stick) and leave to prove for a further hour, until puffed up.
(So much waiting!)
  • Preheat the oven to a low heat (to keep cooked chicken warm). Heat a large pan of vegetable oil (or preheat your deep fat fryer) until hot (you can test by dropping a small cube of bread in there, if it rises immediately to the top and starts to bubble rapidly, it’s hot enough). You’ll need at least 1 litre (4 cups) of oil.
  • Mix together the crispy coating ingredients in a small bowl. Take the chicken out of the fridge. Lift a piece from the buttermilk and allow the excess to drip off. Dredge the chicken in the crispy coating mixture – ensuring it’s fully covered. Place on a tray and repeat until all of the chicken is coated.
  • Once the oil is hot enough, add in 10-12 of the chicken pieces. You can add more or less depending on the size of your pan, just be sure not to overcrowd the chicken. Cook for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and cooked in the middle. You can check this by cutting open a piece of chicken, if it’s no longer pink in the middle, it’s cooked.
  • Place on a tray in the oven to keep warm whilst you cook the rest of the chicken.
  • Meanwhile, put a large steamer pan on to boil. Working in batches, place the buns in the steamer (you can keep them on the baking parchment and steam for 10 minutes. I use a double layer steam pan – placing four buns in each layer. Once steamed, place on a warm plate.
(Didn’t have a double steamer pan, so we did this)
  • While the chicken and bao buns are cooking, make the sauce. Place the gochujang, honey, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vegetable oil and sesame oil in a saucepan and stir together.
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.
  • Place all of the cooked chicken in a bowl and pour the sauce over the chicken. Toss together to coat. You can leave the chicken chunks whole, or slice up if you prefer.
(The wait is almost over!)
  • Carefully open the steamed bao buns and stuff with the Korean chicken. Top with slices of red onion, cucumber, fresh coriander (cilantro) and sesame seeds before serving.
(This is the pretty shot)
(Yikes – that’s me. But, man, am I enjoying it!)

This meal was definitely a winner and we were both so proud of ourselves for having done it. Basically, it was one of those meals where you can’t believe what you are enjoying in your own house AND then to top matters off – you made it! Time was an issue though. It took all afternoon. However, as long as you have good company to share . . . you should just go ahead with making this meal sometime. Enjoy!!

52 Week Challenge – Meal #10

Ranch and Dill Pickle Pizza

For this meal, we were discussing what to go with when I had a distant happy memory of pickles on pizza. Now, it certainly wasn’t an original idea or anything. Again, it was memory, since I had actually seen one of my former clients, Bill McCarty, on television explaining this delicious thought of Philly Dilly Pickle Pizza. Click here for that.

If you want to go and try it out for yourself, just go hit up the restaurant – Barra Rossa in Philadelphia, PA. Otherwise, my wife and I dug around on the web and found this recipe to play out for my meal challenge. Just like with all the recipes done, simply click on the above title for the link of what was borrowed (adapted?). As always, I’ll lay out what we followed as well as any of the changes that were made along the way.

Meal prep music was provided by Spotify with Vampire Weekend – yeah, a repeat offender. We really like them.

And, of course, there was beverage to warm things up.

(See them pickle chips peeking out from behind)

The Line-up (Ingredients)

1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
2/3 to 3/4 cup ranch dressing
2 small garlic cloves very thinly sliced
1 cup freshly shredded low-moisture mozzarella (about 4 ounces)
1 cup very thinly sliced dill pickles
dried dill for finishing
hot sauce for finishing (optional, but duh! – We added it!)

Game Plan (Instructions)

1) Preheat the oven to 500°F (if using a baking sheet) or as high as it will go (if using a baking stone/steel; place the stone/steel in the oven before you start preheating).

2) Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12-inch circle, then transfer it to an oiled baking sheet or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).

3) Spread the ranch dressing evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Scatter on the sliced garlic and mozzarella, then arrange the pickles on top in an even layer.

(So many pickles!)

4) Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has browned in spots—8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.

(Pre hot sauce)

5) Remove the pizza from the oven, then sprinkle with some dried dill. Slice and serve. We used Frank’s RedHot – Original Hot Sauce, too!

(Post hot sauce)
(My wife took a pix with her beverage of choice)
(My turn with camera, uh phone –
my beer saying “hi” in the back there)
(Close up aka delicious shot)

We were definitely happy with the outcome of this meal. I was also fortunate enough to have a couple slices for the road the following day – it’s good cold, too! If we were to make it again, I’m not sure if there would be any real future changes to make. There could certainly be some other options: different pickles, try with pizza sauce, or even mix in some banana hot peppers. Bottom line though, pickles and pizza together are a win!