by Michelle Vackar of Hi Mamma
Traditions are events in our lives that others often think are centered around the holidays. The other night my husband and I were talking about traditions, and if you really think about, they don’t have to have anything to do with holidays at all. They can be activities or things that you do together as a family on a consistent basis, no matter how old the children are, something that they will remember and look forward to.
I remember when I was growing up every Sunday night we had our “funny meal”. Why we called it that, I am not sure, but what I do remember that we would make dinner together, making apple salad, roasting hot dogs in the fireplace and watch a movie together in the family room with our folding TV tables. Normally, during the week, we would not eat in the family room and did not watch much TV during the weekdays.
A few years ago my husband started playing hockey with fellow enthusiastic hockey fans on Sunday nights. The goal for these fans/players was to have fun, but to realize there were no NHL scouts watching and that they needed to go to work the next morning. There, a new tradition began. Then, I started thinking, since my husband is playing hockey, let’s have girls’ night and start having funny meals just like when I was growing up. I fondly remember my parents and sister having our weekly funny meal and decided to continue the tradition every Sunday night in our immediate family. One twist that I added was not roasting hot dogs (my oldest daughter is not a huge fan of them) but making homemade pizza. To this day and many pizzas later we still continue our tradition every Sunday night making homemade pizza. Now that my husband has taken a break from playing hockey he has enjoyed the festivities as well.
My family and I thought you might enjoy our homemade pizza dough recipe. You will need a little planning in terms of allowing the dough to rise, but it is such an easy and carefree recipe that you can run errands or work on projects at home, and not have to tend to it until you are ready to start making dinner.
Homemade Pizza Dough
- 2 ¾ cups lukewarm water
- 1 ½ Tablespoons yeast
- 1 Tablespoons salt (I have tried reducing this, but it is important to controlling the yeast growth and affects taste)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cups olive oil
- 6 ¾ cups of flour
Place in your mixing bowl the water, yeast, sugar, salt and olive oil. Measure your dry ingredients and place in your mixing bowl and begin kneading your dough until it is well combined. Next place a clean, light kitchen towel over your bowl (not tight) and allow it to rest at room temperature for roughly two hours. The recipes makes enough dough for two pizzas. If you decide to make one pizza, the dough refrigerates nicely for later use.
When you are ready to start making your pizza, place a light layer of cornmeal on your pizza stone/pan. The cornmeal helps the bottom of the crust get “crispy”, reduces sticking, and makes cutting the pizza and moving the slices from the pan easier.
Thinking of family traditions, it really made me think of the activities that we do in our family, as a mom, and how we have incorporated them in our daily living each year. I wanted to share with you a few of our traditions (including some holiday) because I think it is so much fun to learn and share with each other.
- Making handmade holiday ornaments.
- Baking during the year and then sharing with family, friends, and neighbors (we love to try new recipes).
- Making handmade gifts.
- Celebrating certain “special days” of the year. For example, National Popcorn Day. We popped popcorn in our air popper and played a board game. We also took it one step further and during the day we learned more about popcorn (the history, where crops are grown, etc.)
- We have a cabin that has been in our family some 60+ years. Many members of my family rotate weeks throughout the summer/fall where we each have 1 to 2 weeks at the cabin. What has been fun is that on the kitchen table, there is a family journal where each day the family members that are at the cabin share news or an overview of what took place during the week. For example, “Be on the lookout for moose! We have seen footprints in the sand down on the beach by the marsh.” Or, “As you walk down the lane by the T in the road, there are lots of little blueberries that have been wonderful in the pancakes,” the cooking of which is a cabin tradition all its own. Trying to capture an awesome sunset photograph and hiking in the woods and enjoying nature.
- On New Years Eve, my husband cooks Wiener Schnitzel with our daughters and makes Chlebicky which are traditional Czech – style, open-faced party sandwiches with potato salad as the spread, with a slice of ham or salami with a sliver of roasted red pepper, a pickle wedge, a slice of hard-boiled egg and slice of Swiss cheese.
What type of traditions do you have in your family? We would love to hear.