Home Made Broccoli Rabe Pizza – YUM!

Cutting the Pizza

The above masterpiece is what the Broccoli Rabe Pizza looks like when it’s all done! So let’s back up and explain the steps to get you here 🙂

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough

Olive Oil

Broccoli Rabe (fresh bunch)

Lemon Juice

Garlic

Provolone Cheese ( 6-8 slices)

Fresh Mozzarella ( 4-6 oz. ball)

Step 1- Pizza Dough- When Kevin and I got married over 20 years ago- we were gifted with a bread maker. That bread maker has been a workhorse and has been used at least one a week for the past 15 years. Since my eldest daughter was 2- we have Pizza night every Friday night. It’s a tradition. Most of the time we make our own pizza, but sometimes we do take-out. The point to the recipe however, is that usually we make the pizza dough in the bread maker with the quick rising yeast. If you have a bread maker-its an easy solution and works really well. If you don’t most grocery stores sell frozen dough in the freezer section or if you are really stuck – use a boboli or even french bread works well.

2. Roll out the Pizza dough. We like it about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Then lay out either on a sheet pan (oiled or sprayed) or a pizza stone (put into a cold oven and them warmed up in the oven as the oven pre-heats).

3. Wash off the broccoli rabe and cut off the bottom third- woody stems. Saute the broccoli rabe in a little olive oil (two-three swirls around the pan) garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. When the broccoli starts to wilt- and the stems are a little soft- it’s all done.

Broccolli Rabe

4. Olive oil the pizza dough and layer with Provolone slices.

Provolone on dough

5. Layer with the broccoli rabe and fresh mozzarella.

Broccolli Rabe on dough

Pizza with mozz into oven

6. Into the oven for about 15 or so minutes at 500 degrees. The crust should get crunchy and the cheese will melt and spread.

Pizz oven in

7. When it comes out it’s all golden brown and bubbly and delicious!

Cutting the Pizza

8. Happy Husband! Yum!

Kevin and Pizza

xoxo Shawn – Hull’s Happiest Days Designs

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Handbuilding: Floral Mug- Start to finish

 

Step 1- Roll out the clay, measure and cut out the shapes.

Roll out of flower mug

 

Step 2: Form the cylinder around a tube.

Forming of mug cylinder

Step 3: Cut out a circle base- slightly larger than the cylinder.

Flower Mug Cylinder and Base

Step 4: Attaching the cylinder to the base

Attaching Flower Mug base to cylinder

Step 5: Attaching all the way around. Then smoothing

Process of attaching base to mug cylinder

Step 6: Rolling down the lip.

Rolling down the lip

Step 7: Pulling the handle

pulling the handle

Step 8: Attaching the handle.

Attaching the handle

Step 9: Forming the flowers

Making the flower

Step 10: Attaching the flowers

Attaching the flowers

Step 11: Attaching the dots

Adding the dots

Step 12: Selective drying. The lip and the handle with flowers.

Drying the mug

Step 13: Uncovered & Drying for 3 days

Day two drying

Step 14: Bisque Firing. Firing and cooling at least 12 hours.

Bisque Firing mug

Step 15: Glazing. Then firing to vitrification – at least 12 more hours.

Glazing mug

Step 16: Back to the kiln to fire to vitrification. Another 12-16 hours.

Bisque Firing mug

Step 17: Final mug! Yay! I hope Karen loves it 🙂 Check out the website and let’s collaborate and make something for you!

Finished mug after final glaze firing

xoxo   Shawn – Hull’s Happiest Days Designs

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And the Bride Wore Blue … J&M’s Wedding – October 2017

Church doorway1

J & M got married on a gorgeous Autumn afternoon in October. The weather was warm with just the slightest tinge of the chilly weather to come. A lovely quaint country chapel, set the stage for a lovely traditional wedding. But the pastoral traditional sermon as well as the entire event had a twist. The Bride wore Blue, game boards stood in for floral centerpieces, and mad libs and kissing menus encouraged guests to have fun!

The blue wedding dress donned by M is one of the many testaments to how truly unique this couple is! J&M’s wedding was a multi-state coordination, with the ceremony being held in Maryland, the reception in Delaware, and the wedding planner (me!) traveling from Pennsylvania.  However, buses provided by Charm City Connections in Baltimore made sure everyone made it to the Church on time and made it safely back to the hotel after a night of dancing.

The lovely DuPont Country Club served as the reception venue. The Crystal Ballroom was both stately and playful with claret and blue table linens and board game centerpieces for each table. J&M chose particular games for guest at each table to play after dinner and take home afterwards.   Cards Against Humanity and What Do You Meme were huge hits among the guests as well as oldies like Yahtzee. In keeping with the theme, Hull’s Happiest Days Designs also hand-folded small origami dice for the table numbers and huge ones (nine inches tall!) for the escort table. So fun.

Room view

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The fun continued with kissing menus, an adorable twist on the clinking of glasses to make couples kiss.  Instead, a table has to do something to get the couple’s attentions – like loudly singing a song – and the couple will kiss. Also, Advice to Newlyweds, a silly twist on the summer camp favorite Mad Libs were in play. Guests were encouraged to fill out their  marriage mad libs and the couple collected them for a hilarious keepsake of their happy day.

Mad libs

The couple made the most of their wedding and had fun with friends and family dancing the night away.

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We were so honored to be able to be part of this celebration. J&M we wish you years of love and happiness.

JM10072017H-441

xoxo Shawn & Kevin – Hull’s Happiest Days Designs

 

 

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Love and Hygge

It’s snowing outside, the candles are lit, you and your sweetie ( and kiddos optional)  are elbows deep in a mean game of Yahtzee, Candyland, or Cards Against Humanity, a warm fire glows, some snickety snacks – brie and bread, warm bowl of soup, and sipping a mug of hot cocoa – or if you are really lucky a mug of Glogg (mulled wine spiked with brandy). You are living the Hygge life! Hygge is a nordic word that roughly translates to cozy. This time of year cozy is my favorite! I love staying in with family and friends and just hanging out together with comfort food, good movies, a board game, or just chit chatting.

Girls Stranger Things

Valentine’s Day is coming up and a hygge Valentines Day sounds absolutely dreamy! Why not stay in- instead of going out? Cuddle up with your sweetheart in your flannel heart pajamas have an indoor picnic for two in front of the fire, play a game of Truth or Dare, and sip some Glogg. You aren’t driving make that two mugs of glogg. Enjoy time spent together without spending a ton of money or driving around town in the cold. Cozy up and enjoy you are warm and snuggly at home while the wind whips outside. What could possibly be better? Oh yes,…. three mugs of glogg.

Recipe for Glogg

Extract Ingredients:

3 cups of water
4 tablespoons of sugar
Zest of a lemon
2 tsp of cinnamon
7-10 allspice berries
dash of nutmeg
dash of ground cloves

Bottle of Red Wine ( your choice. My favorites: Merlot and Pinot Noir)Handful of RaisinsGinger Brandy

Put all the extract ingredients into a saucepan, simmer for 5-7 minutes and then strain.  Take a nice bottle of red wine of your choice- warm up. Meanwhile, soak raisins in some ginger brandy until puffy-5 minutes or so.  In each mug pour in some warmed red wine, top with an ounce of the extract,  add some soaked raisins to the bottom of the mug, and top off with a shot of ginger brandy. Yum!

Happy Hygge! xoxo

Shawn                                                                                              www.happiestdaysdesigns.com

Glogg with ingredients

 

 

 

 

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My Funny Valentine Truffles (recipe included)

valentine-truffles-2017

I love Valentine’s Day! In my family we are all about the homemade kind of love. We all know that homemade doesn’t always go as you planned. But even a messy dessert can be a delicious dessert. The above pics are homemade Valentine Truffles that turned out delicious and the presentation is pretty good. Below we’ll show you the ones that didn’t turn out so well, but still had a happy ending!

First things first- these are super easy (even if not always beautiful) and delicious! You can whip these up TONIGHT- if you wanna surprise your sweetie and are running a little low on time.

Valentine Truffles (the ones that worked)

Ingredients(adapted from Epicurious Food Magazine)

1 3/4 cups of heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups of semi sweet chocolate chopped

Warm heavy cream with vanilla extract in a heavy pan. Just warm/hot (not boil) the milk. Pour the cream and vanilla mixture over the chocolate. The warmed cream will melt the chocolate. Mix to a smooth batter like consistency. Cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator for about an hour. It becomes a stiffened ganache.

While that chills, pour out into small dishes about 1/2 a cup each of toppings. We chose: toffee bits, crushed peppermints, cocoa powder with about 1tsp. of cinnamon, and chopped pecans.

truffle-toppings

After the the mixture cools and stiffens ( over the hour in the refrigerator), take a small melon ball scoop ( or a spoon) and scoop 1 tsp. balls of the ganache and put the scoops on waxed paper lined cookie sheet. After you have scooped all the ganache- stick back in the refrigerator for about  a half hour or 10-15 minutes in the freezer if you are in a hurry.

sheet-of-truffles

After the balls of ganache come out of the refrigerator for the second time- melt chocolate or white chocolate in the microwave. I put in a glass bowl – about 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips and microwaved at 20 second increments until smooth. Then take a fork and and dunk the ball of ganache  and coat- quickly then roll in one or more of the toppings- toffee, nuts, cocoa, or peppermint. Put onto another wax lined tray and put in the refrigerator to harden.

truffle-nut-rolling

* If you are really in a rush- you can skip the coating – to make a hard shell. I took some of the stiffened balls of ganache and rolled them directly into the toffee and nuts. Yummy! It’s a nice alternative if you need your truffles in a hurry. But, if you have the time – the additional layer of the melted chocolate ( white or milk) hardens and makes a nice shell. Its a nice contrast of the crunch snap on the outside and the smooth silky interior. If all goes well- this is what they will look like:

truffle-plate

Now for the ones that didn’t work. I added some Bailey’s Irish Cream and orange liqueur to two separate batches of the melted chocolate. The Bailey’s Irish Cream batch stiffened but not quite as well as the ganache without the alcohol. It was roll-able in the toppings – but too soft to dip into the melted chocolate for the second dip. So I adjusted. But, the orange liqueur… that would not stiffen at all. They came out flat as pancake on the cookie sheet:

truffles-didnt-work-out

Just kind of sad! But it still tasted really good… I mean what’s not to like chocolate, cream, orange liqueur?truffle-ice-cream

So I put it on top of some vanilla ice cream and called it a day!  Just like love, it may not always look pretty- but its still sweet!

Happy Valentines Day!

xoxox Shawn – Hull’s Happiest Days Designs

 

 

 

 

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Birthday Dinner Soiree with Bling!

View More: http://laurawightphotography.pass.us/hull2016

In November, Hull’s Happiest Days Designs planned, designed, and created decor for a lovely Birthday Party held in a private home. We hand built an entire dinnerware service for the event, custom napkin rings, candle holders, and party favors. We set the stage for a close circle of friends and family to celebrate a major milestone in a loved ones life! Such a happy event!

The Birthday girl expressed her desire for the event to reflect the season- Autumn- and to be full of elegance and sparkle.

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We created gorgeous porcelain fall leaves tied with ribbon and edged in gold lustre to act as napkin rings. We also created gold edged porcelain plates to coordinate with the client’s gold flatware to complete the look. We purchased heavy paper with gold dots to be a table runner from Mulberry Paper and More. The table runner was of excellent quality- pulled the multiple tables together in a cohesive look – and had just the right design to compliment the table settings. One of the best compliments the hosts received from a guest, ” Its so beautiful, it looks like a little boutique restaurant!”

The hosts wanted to create a simple, extravagant, and elegant meal that they could serve at the event and could be prepared at home with ease. We helped them decide on the menu:

Baked Brie en Croute with apples, honey, and walnuts

Spring Salad with Goat Cheese, dried cranberries, and apple

Baguette

Whole Filet Mignon

Baked Potato

Mushrooms Stuffed with Crab Imperial

Chocolate Naked Cake with light buttercream

Red Wine and Bay Breeze Cocktails

Hull’s Happiest Days Designs provided recipes and preparation timetables to make preparing the meal easy breezy. Our hosts did not miss time to mingle with their guests and be part of the celebration because they were slaving away in the kitchen! Most preparation was done prior to guests arriving and a quick pop in the oven just before time to serve!

View More: http://laurawightphotography.pass.us/hull2016

 

The evening was full of lots of lively conversation and picture taking to commemorate the event! Laura Wight Photography took both candid and staged photos so the celebration could be remembered for years to come! All photos in this post are credited to Laura and her expert eye. If you are in the Southern Chester County, Northern Delaware, Northern MD region I highly recommend Laura for your event.

View More: http://laurawightphotography.pass.us/hull2016

View More: http://laurawightphotography.pass.us/hull2016

Finally the evening ended with a round of Happy Birthday and some cake. The guests were sent home with little gift bags that held sweet little glass votive holders decorated with gold dots. A super easy craft. We purchased a gold paint pen and hand decorated each glass votive with the polka dots to coordinate with the gold elements in the tableware, flatware, and on the leaves. The dots echoed the polka dots on the table runner.

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What a splendid celebration! The birthday girl seemed thrilled, the hosts happy, and the guests full of cheer! Thank you for allowing us to create such a special ambiance for such a special day. Birthdays are happiest days! xo Shawn – Hull’s Happiest Days Designs!

 

 

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French lessons and Friends

lisa-with-the-coq-au-vin

Well a couple of weekends ago, I got to make one of my most favorite Fall meals: Coq au Vin- fancy french chicken stew cooked in wine with bacon, pearl onions, and mushrooms. Now, this stew is not something you just throw together- the cooking itself is an event – so to get more mileage out of it I invited a friend over for dinner, and since my eldest daughter is taking French –  she’d get extra credit for her class if we documented the recipe and her cooking. Win, win, win!

Okay, to make this little family and friend event a success it all starts with the recipe. I like   Ina Garten’s- here’s the link :

Ina Garten’s Coq au Vin

Now her instructions say the recipe takes 1 1/2 hours from start to finish. I however have never completed the meal in under 2 1/2 hours. So perhaps, Ina knows something I don’t, actually I’m sure Ina knows many things I don’t – but nonetheless, I’d say it will take somewhere between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 hours to get this to your table. It is also helpful if you have and assistant. The recipe is not particularly hard, but it seems many things have to happen at the same time or right after one another. Another set of hands makes for a happier cook! Also, if you are over 21 – I’d recommend drinking the left over wine while you cook the chicken in wine. Again a happier cook!

It was a cold rainy Autumn day, the perfect day for hanging inside with the family. I really enjoyed cooking with my daughter and chit chatting as we worked. Any chance I get to spend some alone time with my daughter is a happy day, and if she gets extra credit in French for doing it, we are both happy!

siobhan-cooking-coq-au-vin

So toiling and chatting and drinking away ( me not her!) we had a lovely time as the Coq au Vin simmered first in the oven and then on the stove top.

pot-of-coq-au-vin

To complete the meal, we added some crusty bread to dip in the sauce and a Pinot Noir. Since my best friend since high school was coming over for dinner, we set out the fancy china, the gold flatware, the linen napkins, and our very best acrylic stemless wineglasses – in case the wine went to our heads!

coq-au-vin-setting

The meal was delicious, the company was fantastic, and the little girl got an A+. Not bad for a regular rainy Saturday. Life is full of happy moments big and small, it only takes a moment to notice.

xoxoxo Shawn

www.happiestdaysdesigns.com

 

 

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