Rustic Italian Pizza with Pomi Strained Tomatoes

I spent two weeks last month in Italy celebrating my sister for the marriage to the love of her life. They got married in Volterra, a gorgeous little hillside town in Tuscany, it was what all my daydreams are made of.  That and pizza. The night before the wedding we hosted a rehearsal dinner pizza party in the ballroom at the Villa where our closest family and friends were staying and my sister was to be married the following day. The pizza was brought in from a little Bed and Breakfast just down the hill, the same place we had went for numerous espressos, wine, pasta and of course, pizza! My Grandma Josephine, who was born and raised in the south of Italy became fast friends with the lovely couple that ran the B&B and also the husband and wife team that cook everyday for them. We asked what the secret to that perfect pizza was, and he told us everything, it was a special kind of flour and of course the SAUCE!

I've teamed up with Pomi to share this little secret of how to make the best authentic rustic Italian Neopolitan style pizza! The crust is thin, crispy and extra delicious!

       Ingredients for the pizza dough:
·   5 cups all purpose or 0 flour + some for dusting (This was the biggest thing that set apart the dough that my grandma has always used. You can also use 00 flour if you can't find 0)
·   1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
·   1 1/2 tsp sea salt
·   2 1/4 cups COLD water
·   1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

·   1 box Pomi Strained Tomatoes 
·   pizza mozzarella ball
·   1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
·   one large clove of garlic, smashed (this is just for flavour)
·   1/2 tsp salt
·   1/2 tsp fine black pepper
·   pecorino romano or parmigiano reggianno 
·   fresh basil leaves 

Secrets to the best pizza ever!:

  • bake on a pizza stone, this made such a huge difference on how the curst bakes!
  • you can use a kitchen aid (or other) mixer, but we did it the old fashioned way, with your grandma laughed at me when I suggested using the mixer with the dough attachement
  • you can make this dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for tomorrow or freeze for later
I made this recipe with my grandma, we did it her way and it could not have been more perfect!

To make the sauce:

1. Place one box of Pomi Strained Tomatoes into a sauce pan. 

2. Add the smashed garlic clove, salt, extra virgin olive oil and fine black pepper and let simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. 

To make the dough:

1. Mix the dry yeast with the water.

2. In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sea salt and mix. Then add the yeast and water mixture and knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes. You can also use the dough hook attachment on an electric mixer for about 8 minutes. If the dough is too dry, add some water, if it is too wet, add flour. 

3. Once you have a nice soft dough, cut it into 6 strips and form into round balls. Drizzle with olive oil. Now it's time to let them rise. You can do it the old fashioned way that I have always seen my grandma do whenever she is making pizza or bread dough and that is fold a soft table cloth in half and then half again, put the dough rounds on one side of the tablecloth and then fold the other half over. This is to ensure that no draft gets to the dough while keeping the moisture in to help the balls rise. You can also place them on an oiled cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in a draft free area at room temperature. Let rise for 2+ hours.

4. Be sure to heat up your oven to as high as it can go with the pizza stone in it at least 45 minutes prior to baking it. My grandmas goes up to 550F. 

5. Flour your work surface lightly, take one of your balls and start to flatten it out with your hands and knuckles. We used a rolling pin to flatten it out, very lightly. Be sure not to rip or get any holes in the dough. 

6. Dust your pizza peel with flour, or if you don't have one, you can use a piece of card board. Gently slide your dough onto the pizza peel. Top with sauce, making sure not to go right to the edge, leave a little room for the crust, and sliced mozzarella. Carefully slide the pizza onto the preheated stone in the oven. Bake for 7 minutes, and then turn the oven to broil for 1 minute to get that lovely golden brown edge.

7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese and fresh basil leaves. 





Luna Josephine's Nursery

Before this room was Luna's nursery it was our guest room. We had a few friends come to live with us when they were going through difficult times. Over the duration of their stay, they began to rehabilitate. It was coined the "healing room."  
TJ's theory is that time is not linear, that everything happens at once and so Lu's energy was in the room before she arrived. She has healed and helped us in so many ways since coming into our lives. He may be onto something.
Everything about Luna's room is personal. Each book and piece of decor was created or bought for her from someone who loves her.  It's 80 square feet jam-packed with love and prettiness.

Her book collection has been gifted by many special people in our lives. I can't wait for bedtime stories. I hope she loves books as much as I do.
This beautiful macrame garland was made by auntie Tatts. She makes the beautiful pieces.
Our rocker from JYSK is super comfortable and affordable, considering how expensive they are.
This is the paint palette I used to paint all the pieces I created with Luna while she was growing in my tummy. 
This is Jasper. When TJ asked me to marry him in Jasper Alberta, we were on a road trip and his parents found this beauty in a gift shop. I love him. I also love this story of Ella Fitzgerald, one of my favorite artists. Auntie Natty buys the best books. 
TJ built this fabulous little closet. It's tiny but perfect.
This shelf is where everything wonderful lives. I won't bore you with every detail but I will say that my dad painted that seascape when he was 8, and my grandpa gave it to me. Insert tears here. 
So grateful my very talented sister is willing to always take pictures of this wonderful baby.  
Her turban is from Turbans for Tots and I love it so much.
Thanks for stopping by! 
Love Luna and Mercedes

My Lily Jade Diaper Bag

If you are following our journey on Instagram, you already know that Luna is quite the little adventure baby. She came into the world 14 days past her due date (a wild story for another day), and less than two weeks later TJ, Toby, Luna and I flew to BC to introduce her to TJ's family. After a few restful weeks in BC we flew home and drove straight to Ottawa to share her with my family. Luna is now 2 months old and has been on 2 flights, a train, 2 long road trips, 2 dance recitals, a long hike, and to multiple acting classes and parties. She's clearly a traveler like her dad.

Our Lily Jade diaper bag has been with me through everything from our emergency trip to the hospital, to our daily morning walks, and all the crazy in between. I can honestly say I have never loved a bag so much. I notoriously don't carry a purse because I'm too disorganize and can never find anything. Also, I don't like the unbalanced feeling of holding something on my shoulder. 
This bag is a game changer for me. 
I choose the Madeline Camel and Gold because it's neutral and has the option to wear as a backpack. It really is a beautiful bag. You can catch me at any given time nerding-out about how much I love it to pretty much anyone who will listen (or at least pretend to). 
Her beauty is not just skin deep. The insert is what makes it so great for traveling. I am a terrible packer. I generally just toss things in a bag and hope for the best. With Lily, I take the time to put all Luna's essentials in the pockets. There is tons of space and I rarely lose things. 
That's a serious win for me.
It's also machine washable which is pretty much the greatest things because sometimes my brain isn't functioning at full capacity and I dump a bottle of formula in it.
It feels as if this bag was created with such specificity and attention to detail. Everything about it suits me perfectly. If you're looking for a great diaper bag or just a well-organized purse I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Use the promo code LJPACKHAPPY and you'll receive free packing cases only while supplies last. I may just have to get a few of them for myself. 



*This is a sponsored post. 
All of the opinions stated are my own.

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