Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Weekend Filled with Relaxation and Friends

As the weekend comes to a close I start realizing this is one of the first weekends in a long time that Joe and I stayed in Atlanta all weekend and there wasn't a holiday or something to celebrate.  That being said, it was a VERY fun filled weekend!!!  The weekend started on Friday with a call from Joe that a house that we had loved was back on the market so we were going to go look at it once he got off of work.  Although it is at the top end of what we wanted to spend, it is very large and would provide a lot of room for us to grow into it.  The big plus is that it is move in ready so we would not have to put much work into it and it is very charming!  It has the charm of an older house but newly renovated :)  Before we headed downtown we had dinner, and man was it good.  Dinner on Friday was homemade Chicago deep dish pizza (One of the meals I miss the most from my short move to Chicago)!!!  I didn't know how it would turn out and if the dough would cook all the way through after just 25 minutes of baking.  Deep dish pizza also has a very distinct taste with the crust so I was excited to see if it would actually taste like Chicago Pizza!  I was surprised that the recipe from Seeded at the Table was spot on!!!

***disclaimer: this is not a quick meal***

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

For the dough:
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all
purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons grated onion
Pinch of dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 (14.5 oz) can petite
diced tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
For assembling and topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces Mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)
1/4 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 tablespoons)

To make the dough:
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer, until well blended. Attach the dough hook and mix in the water and melted butter on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium low and knead until the dough is glossy and smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes. Coat a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Transfer the dough to the
bowl, turning once to coat with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Once dough is risen, turn it out onto a dry work surface and roll into an 8 x 6 inch rectangle. To laminate the dough, spread the softened butter over the surface, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Starting at the short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. With the seam side down, flatten the cylinder into a 9 x 2 inch rectangle, then fold into thirds like a business letter. Pinch the seams to form a ball, and return to the oiled bowl. Cover tightly again with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator for 40 to 50 minutes. (Mine did not double in size, but it rose to abouet size and a half.) 
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: 
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onion, oregano and salt. Saute until the liquid has nearly evaporated and the onion is golden brown, stirring often, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar, then increase the heat to medium high. Bring the mixture just to a boil, then lower the heat to medium low and continue to simmer until reduced to about 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basi l and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble and top the pizza:
Preheat oven to 425 ̊F. Coat a 9 inch round cake pan with olive oil. Move the dough to a dry work surface and roll out into a 13 inch disk about 1/4 inch thick. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan and lightly press to line the bottom of the pan and 1 inch up the sides. If the dough resists stretching, wait 5 minutes before trying again.  Sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella over the surface of the dough, then layer the sauce over the cheese. Top with Parmesan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Hope you enjoy dinner because we sure did and the leftovers were great as well!  We drove downtown after dinner and looked at the house and it was just as cute as it was in pictures!  We both loved it, but since Joe works in the housing market, it was up to him to decide of we wanted to offer on the house and what we would offer.  After the house tour we went to see one of our friend's new apartments then met up with others for drinks/dinner at Taco Mac for a couple hours.  It is always a pleasure seeing Reza and Kellie Ann and Joe's roommate and girlfriend.

The next morning, after sleeping on it and doing a lot of research, Joe decided it was time to put our first offer on a house!!! I figured I would document the moment, just for fun :)  We still don't know if we got the house or not but hey either way we made a move on a home!

After that it was time to get ready and go dress shopping :) :) :) I was beyond lucky to have one of my best friends come in town all the way from Virginia Tech for the experience (LOVE YOU BETH!!!).  Bethany, Rialda, and my future mother in law were ready to go at 11 AM!

Backtrack to Thursday, during my lunch break I had gone to a beautiful bridal store, Carrie's Bridal located in Chamblee.  I didn't know what to expect but Carrie is the designer, owner, and bridal consultant at the store. It is one of the best bridal experiences you can have, and every dress is under $1000!!!! If you have every gone wedding gown shopping you know that is a steal of a deal!  She makes sure that you are the only appointment for the hour and a half block and you have her undivided attention!  She is such a pleasure to talk to and really listens to what you have to say about each dress.  After trying on quite a few dresses and loving 3 of them, Carrie suggested I try them on back to back. After I tried on the first one again, I knew it was the one!  The other two just didn't look nearly as good as the first one.  That being said, I still couldn't commit after I had thought the dress in Greenville was the dress just a couple days earlier! So, I set an appointment for the same store Saturday afternoon, after I went to one more bridal shop.

So, with that, at 11 AM on Saturday, the four of us hit the road and headed to Bride Beautiful.  There, we picked out a couple dresses to try on and the process started all over again.  After a couple dresses I was enlightened!!! Although all of the dresses were beautiful, they simply could not add up to the dress from Carrie's and I could not get that dress off my mind.  With that, I called Carrie's and asked if I could come in before 4:30 because I knew that was the dress I wanted!  Although she was booked for the day, she managed to squeeze me in!  I tried on the dress for everyone and they instantly said it was "very Vida" so with that confirmation, I bough the dress!!! I don't want to go into too many details about the dress but the most amazing part was that not only did I get to take the dress home with me that day, it fits like a glove!  It literally looks like it was made for me and no alterations are needed (also saving a lot of money)!!!! I cannot wait until the day comes that I get to wear it to walk down the aisle, and I was incredibly sad to give it up to Joe's mom so that Joe had no chance to accidentally find it somewhere.  With that one more decision was made for the wedding!!!

Love these girls!
After dress shopping we headed home for a late lunch then went to hang out by the pool since it was such a beautiful day!  After relaxation Beth and I came home and took Rox on a walk then awaited the arrival for Reza, Kellie Ann, and Tareq so that we could go grocery shopping for our dinner/game night!  It was decided that we would make fajitas so the girls headed out to the grocery store to buy food!  Not only did we make steak and chicken fajitas, but there was chocolate peanut butter rice crispies, baked beans, guacamole, quesso, apricot and bree wrapped croissant, chips and salsa, and Mexican rice!  It was a lovely evening filled with games and way too much food, but it's always a great time hanging out with friends! 

Photo Bomb!!!
The Girls :)
Sunday morning Beth and I were the first ones up so we took Rox for another walk then made Chocolate Chip Pancakes for everyone!!  Now we are laying out by the pool enjoying the day before heading up to my apartment for a girls evening :) To say the least, it was a lovely weekend and much needed before the craziness of next week begins!  Wish us luck on the housing offer we placed and until next week (post National Sales Meeting)  have a lovely day/week!

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