Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Easy Chicken & Ranch Pizza

There's something very comforting about making and baking dough. It always seems intimidating but is surprisingly a very simple process.  Because of that this recipe is great for kids; my nephew loves to get his hands dirty and kneads the dough.  I also love making pizza at home because the possibilities are endless! In addition to this white pizza, we made a red sauce pizza with traditional toppings. Next up on my list: replicating Gasoline Alley's ground beef pizza.

What you need

1 packet of fast rising yeast. You can find these at most grocery stores
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbls. olive oil
3 1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp salt

1 bag shredded mozzarella 
1 -2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Ranch dressing

Dried Oregano 
Italian Seasoning
Dried Rosemary

What you need to do:

1. Mix water, yeast and sugar in a bowl

2. Cover with a towel and let it rise for 10 minutes

3. Once the yeast rises, mix it with the flour, oil, and salt. 

If you have a Kitchen Aid, use the hook to mix everything together, it will also knead your dough. Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until it forms into a ball. Make sure it's not sticky.

 If you don't have a Kitchen Aid, knead with your knuckles and form into a ball. Add flour gradually if it's still sticky. Place ball of dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise for 1/2 hour. 

4. While your dough is rising, prepare the chicken in a non-stick skillet.

5. Once your dough rises, punch it to get the air out. Roll out your dough into a square with a rolling pin. 

6. I used a round pizza crisper, but you can use a regular baking sheet. Spread dough evenly, while folding over the edges to form a crust. 

7. Drizzle ranch over dough (this is your pizza sauce) add chicken, toppings, cheese, and dried herbs. 

8. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Do All Great Thrift Stores Have in Common?

I try to visit as many thrift stores as I can and have an ongoing list of local favorites, but what makes a thrift store a 'good' one? As a long-time thrifter who actually enjoys a bit of chaos and loves to dig to find a good deal, there are some stores that really don't do it for me.  I realized that not everyone, especially non-thrifters and beginners,  understand what I mean when I refer to a thrift store as a good one. If you have ever heard me say 'this thrift store is amazing!' here's what those stores usually have in common:

A mix of new, designer brands, and vintage items
This is by far the most important feature for me. I love thrift stores that cater to all shoppers. There are certain thrift stores in the area that are more vintage heavy and some that carry newer designer brands. This is all fine and dandy because if I'm in the mood to shop vintage I'll just head to the Salvation Army knowing I'll be able to find what I'm looking for. However, stores that carry a variety of styles and housewares really get my adrenaline going and make the thrifting experience very enjoyable because I'm able to shop for everything on my list.

A well-lit bright store
Proper lighting in a thrift store is one of those things that most people overlook but it's extremely important. A bright store is more cheery and makes the second-hand experience feel more like a mainstream retail one.

Wide aisles
Nothing is worse than a thrift store with tight aisles. If two people can't go down the aisle at the same time, there's something wrong with that picture. I don't mind tightly packed racks but tight aisles bother me and will deter a non-seasoned, impatient thrifter from coming back again.

Fitting Rooms
Sounds like a no brainer but many thrift stores don't have fitting rooms.

Extra discounts and rewards
Thrift store prices are already incredible but it's even more exhilarating when they offer additional discounts at check-out, including student and senior discounts, as well as coupons.

What do you look for in a thrift store? 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Plaid Poncho

This poncho has made several appearances on Instagram so forgive me if you're tired of seeing it, but I thought it deserved an exclusive post on the blog. I specifically remember a time about seven years ago when I strongly disliked ponchos so I'm not sure what quite changed over the years. Maybe it's the fact that I'm really digging plaid this season and have never really seen a blanket turned poncho before. I'm totally convinced the person who previously owned this gem took a blanket, cut an opening and sewed in a zipper to turn into a poncho because when I picked this up I thought it was a blanket. I have already worn this to the apple orchard and to an outdoor movie, not to mention I've traveled in it and wear it to lounge around the house.

I think the key to wearing a poncho, cape or shawl is keeping everything else slim so try wearing your skinniest jeans or bottoms. A satchel bag works best considering you can't really use your shoulders.

Poncho | Thrifted | $3
Jeans | Old Navy, Thrifted | $4
Boots | Kohl's | $15
Bag | Vintage, Hartville Flea Market | $1 
Chambray | Gap, Thrifted | $5

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Five Great Cardio Songs

So I've been doing these crazy things called sprints on the treadmill lately.  I guess it means run  until you feel like you're going to die?  I started seeing an insanely fit trainer who recommended I sprint as fast as I possibly can for one minute on and off for a total of 20 minutes to increase my metabolism and burn stupid amounts of calories. It's brutal and I truly dislike running but I've found with the right playlist it's possible. I keep telling myself it's only 60 seconds of my life 10 times and somehow this reasoning works. The songs I select when I'm voluntarily giving myself an early heart attack have to be intense with serious build up and a beat I can run to. Here's what's been in the headphones lately:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Thrift Challenge No.10: Halloween

Last month, Katie and I challenged one other to recreate a look which featured a fall staple. I thrifted a plaid shirt while Katie wore an adorable striped shirt with distressed jeans. It's about time we got our readers involved again and October wouldn't be complete without a Halloween thrift challenge.

This month, we're inviting YOU to submit your DIY and thrift store inspired Halloween costumes to win a prize! Here's how it's going down:
  • Leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail (dinasdays at gmail dot com) to let me know you'd like to participate. 
  • If you are thrifting and making all or at least half of an adult costume, send 1 -2 pictures to dinasdays at gmail dot com by October 27, 2014. Please include your name, where you are from, your blog or website if you have one, and the details about your costume. 
  • If you are thrifting or making all or at least most of a child's costume, send 1-2 pictures to Katie
  • We will reveal all of the costumes on our blogs on October 29
  • A winner will be chosen on each blog and will be announced on October 31
  • You do not have to have a blog or website to participate. 
  • The Dina's Days winner will get a cozy fall prize pack complete with a buffalo plaid scarf, Sinful Colors nail polish in 'Under 18' ( a burnt orange shade), and a scented peony candle. Head over to Something to be Found to see her prize! 

I will be thrifting my Carmen Miranda costume (lady with the tutti frutti hat) and will reveal my costume along with everyone else on the 29th.

We can't wait to see all of your creative ideas! Head over to Something to be Found to read more about her Halloween thrift challenge.