Simple Focaccia Recipe

focaccia bread | cameraLinz

I was craving a focaccia bread. The grocery store ones just aren't cutting it, ya know. Something easy and tender that I could rip apart with my fingers was necessary. So I checked out Joy the Baker's site in hopes of finding just the thing. I found this recipe. It uses strawberries, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar. Not the flavor combo I was seeking. So I just borrowed the base dough recipe. Focaccia’s flexible right?

Jalapeno cheddar is such a classic flavor combo, I love it. And when you bake those peppers they tend to lose just a little bit of their heat. But I was taking this loaf to my mother-in-law’s house so I didn’t want to make the whole thing jalapeno. Not everyone there is a fan of the spice like I am. So I did halfsies with an herb topping on the other half.

[jalapeno cheddar]
Focaccia Bread Recipe


5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (+/- 115°)
3 cups of flour
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
12 slices of jalapeno (I used the jarred kind), cut in half
2 tsp herb mix (parsley, basil, garlic pwd, etc – whatever blend you love)


Pour the warm water into a large bowl & add the yeast. Stir it up until it dissolves fully. Add 1 cup of the flour and blend it together until it becomes a smooth dough. Cover and let it rest for 1 hour to rise.

After the hour has passed and the dough has risen, stir in 3 Tbsp olive oil and sugar.

Add 1 cup flour and stir.

Add the last cup of flour + salt. Stir it up and form a dough.

Take the dough to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky, but if its unmanageable its ok to add a little more flour until you can work with it.

Using a clean bowl, coat the sides with 1 tsp of olive oil. Put the dough ball in the bowl and flip it around until its coated all around.

Cover the bowl with a clean hand towel and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour (until its doubled in size).

After the hour, punch the dough down and knead it for a minute.

Then shape into a long, wide rectangle. Approx 16 x 9 inches.

Place the rectangular dough onto a greased baking sheet and let it rise for a half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Before placing the dough in the oven use your fingers to press indentations all over the surface. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with cheddar cheese & jalapeno slices (or herb mixture).

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. The bread should be golden and crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

Meanwhile… this was happening in the front yard.

box turtle | cameraLinz

boys and daddy with box turtle | cameraLinz

The turtle gets away -

box turtle - getaway | cameraLinz

I love having boys.

34 things


In honor of my 34th year on this planet I’d like to make a list of 34 things to accomplish before I’m 35.


So in no particular order:

  1. Read 10 books
  2. Publish 12 blog posts (hey, once a month would be huge!) ;)
  3. Make a photo book of my family
  4. Keep in touch with my girlfriends and hang out at least 4 times (not counting our kids’ bdays)
  5. Advertise my portrait business
  6. Paint a piece of art for our bathroom
  7. Donate a lot of old clothes & shoes
  8. Date night with the hubs once a month
  9. First Fridays in KC + a hotel room that night
  10. Go to 2 concerts
  11. Make Halloween costumes by hand
  12. Make a few homemade gifts instead of buying them (like paint this for my mom)
  13. Go to 2 new states
  14. Discover a favorite new band (or 2 or 3) (Rilo Kiley is already starting out strong!)
  15. Yoga, at least every-other day
  16. More veggies/ less starch at every meal
  17. Oil pulling
  18. Paint my bike
  19. Bake bread
  20. Make homemade jam
  21. Make a water barrel to catch rain & water my garden
  22. Plant 2 – 3 more apple trees
  23. Build a big sand castle
  24. Can salsa — made from veggies in my garden
  25. Can marinara — also from home grown veggies (or maybe farmers market)
  26. Taste some new veggies (Mustard greens? Fennel? Beets?)
  27. Carry my sketch book with me and USE IT
  28. Visit a vineyard — and taste!
  29. Orchard — pick apples (that is so fun)
  30. Family photos
  31. Dining room — find new (to me) chairs and paint/ stain them
  32. Do Family Game Night, like once a month
  33. Go Camping!
  34. Build a chicken coop (for Spring 2015)

Sounds like a good project to follow up on here. With photos and all! Cheers to birthdays and changes and goals and growing.

Update: Since posting this I’ve thought of a couple more things I want to do over the summer

  1. Figure out grilling, so I can get some consistent results! (I think this will help.)
  2. Experiment with making cocktails. Because those shaky drink maker cups look like fun! And cocktails are yummy.


“Action is the foundational key to all success” ~ Pablo Picasso



Taking action feels good. Your to-do list gets checked off, your body moves, you have something to show for your time.

There’s been a lot of action at our house the past few weeks both inside and outside. We’ve been painting, decorating, building, and planning for more. I look forward to sharing more here!

Plus lots of cooking, I have some good recipes to share! -Bout damn time!! Ha. I’ve missed being here and writing.


ya dig?

tools & flowers | cameraLinz
Q Boy planting poppies | cameraLinz
Q Boy planting poppies | cameraLinz
Spring is poking its little head up and we have a lot of planting to do! We’ve doubled the size of our garden beds for this year and I have big plans for that whole space. Berry bushes, grape vines, corn… and that’s just the things that won’t even fit in the beds. We bought colorful flowers for the front of the house. I’ve never grown poppies before, hope they’re hardy! Good thing I have these strong little hands to help me out. :)

Mammy’s Sweet Potatoes

just in time for thanksgiving

Sweet Sweet Potato Recipe

My Mammy’s Sweet Potatoes. These are the things legends are made of. She would make these for every holiday. And she picked the apples and pineapples out for my plate because I did not like the sweet potatoes! I would try them every year and have finally grown to really really like them in the past couple of years. Unfortunately she isn’t here for me to tell her how much I like them now. But baking these each Thanksgiving has made our family feel her presence and love. I just love the way food can do that for people. My aunt remembered the way she made them so I wrote it down and now I’m handing it out to the entire virtual world. I want you to know how special this dish is to my family and I before you try them for yourself. I feel a little awkward about giving this away. Its like a piece of my family’s history. I hope you and your family can try them out for the next holiday and you enjoy them as much as we do!

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5 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 can pineapple chunks
2 apples, diced (ok to toss in lemon juice)
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp cinnamon
mini marshmallows

side dish, holiday, thanksgiving, christmas, easter, family, meal, dinner, sweet potato, yam, cinnamon, marshmallow, sweet, pineapple, apple, brown sugar

Boil the sweet potatoes until they are just beginning to be fork tender. Drain.
Meanwhile, mix the juice from the pineapple, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Add a few chunks of pineapple and puree the mixture with a food processor or immersion blender.
Dump the cooked sweet potatoes into a large casserole dish.
Pour the pineapple juice mixture over the top and gently stir it around, coating the potatoes entirely.
Arrange the remaining pineapple chunks and the apple chunks into the sweet potatoes.
Pour the marshmallows on top.
Bake at 350° until the marshmallows are golden all over and the apples and sweet potatoes are nice and tender. You may have to place an aluminum tent over the dish.
This takes about 30 – 40 minutes, depending on the size of your apples.

side dish, holiday, thanksgiving, christmas, easter, family, meal, dinner, sweet potato, yam, cinnamon, marshmallow, sweet, pineapple, apple, brown sugar

What kinds of fun traditions do you and your family like to share? Do you have any recipes that’ve been passed down from generation to generation?


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