That's Amore!

The day started as every day should.  I was the only one awake, complete silence other than my coffee peculating, the smell of bread dough rising and blueberry coffee cake baking in the oven.  The day had arrived, my Driven presentation!  It was probably a good thing I had so many things to prep, it kept my mind off having to speak in front of 30 people!  Honestly, I had no idea what to expect, but once I started talking I was surprised at how comfortable it felt.  Imagine being mic’d up, bright lights, camera, multiple feeds now speak for an hour and a half.  I knew it went well when our camera guy came up to me at the end and said “Well honestly, that went a lot better than I expected.”  I almost choked on my pizza, I couldn’t stop laughing.  I wanted it to come across very honest and unrehearsed….I think that was accomplished. 


Of course, I did injure myself, but it was not my fault!  When your husband and his best friend tell you to watch out this light might not stay up on the ceiling (with Command Strips) I now take them very seriously.  Here I am, yelling at them for the light that did swing down and hit me right in the forehead and all they care about is “Did anybody get video?!”.   Well, so sorry to disappoint, but no nothing was recording yet.  Thank goodness!  And no, there is also no video proof of myself and the homeowner dancing in the kitchen to “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin before all of our guests arrived. 


The main topics discussed were gardening, food processing, cast iron cooking (baking, care and cleaning), and making homemade breads.  I went to the library about twice a week for the last month checking out dozens of books each time.  The research involved leading up to the presentation was so interesting.  Odd things you can learn from books, such as the U.S. consumes 90 football fields of pizza every day!  That’s just crazy!  I’ve gotten so interested in the most random topics.  I went to bed one night excited because I remembered the part of my book I was reading next, was on the history of different techniques to making butter. 


My favorite part of doing events like this are the people we meet and friendships that are formed.  We never know who we are going to meet and what kind of impact we will have on people’s lives.  I actually inspired multiple people to start home gardening!  People were saying they are going out and buying cast iron the next day.  My favorite one is inspiring a family to cook together regularly at least one meal a week.  I could not believe the amount of interest in what we consider daily life.  I don’t even think twice about the fact that we only eat homemade bread and yogurt.  It has become the norm around our house and no longer seen as an inconvenience. 


Our lives are all busy, we all have a millions things going on at once pulling us in different directions.  Believe me, I know trying to keep up with it all is exhausting.  But try and set aside one evening when you can make a meal together as a family, it doesn’t need to be anything complicated.  All our boys ask for is to eat as a family and help make dinner.  Picky eaters??  Well you’ll be amazed what kids are willing to try when they have helped prepare it themselves.  So, due to multiple requests I have included down below the recipe to our favorite pizza to make. I am so excited for where Driven is taking us and cannot wait to meet all of the wonderful people out there who share our interest in learning and educating. 


Family Pizza Night

8 oz. water (99 degrees)

1 Tablespoon quick rising yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

Combine water, yeast and sugar.  Set aside 10-15 minutes.

1 ¾-2 cups bread flour – start with less, you can always add more

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Combine flour, salt and olive oil.  Create a hole in the center of your flour and pour in the yeast mixture.  Work the flour into the water until it starts to come together. 

Flip out onto your counter and knead for 8-10 minutes.  (If you have a kitchen aid with a dough attachment knead on medium speed for 5-7 minutes).  You want a very smooth, soft dough. 

Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 10 minutes.  Roll the dough, using flour to prevent sticking, very thin without tearing. Place on a greased pizza pan and top with:

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

28 oz. tomatoes or 3-4 fresh deseeded and cut into chunks

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3-4 Tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Combine in a cast iron pan and place in oven at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, you want the excess liquid to all cooked off and all the natural sugars to start to caramelize.

Spread the roasted tomatoes on the pizza dough, top with 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, 4-5 slices prosciutto and full fresh basil leaves.  Bake at 550 (yes 550) until the crust is baked through and your cheese is fully melted, timing can vary on the size of pizza and thickness of the crust.  I like to finish mine with a drizzle of good olive oil and fresh back pepper. 












Natalie Kohlhagen