Family Night: “P” is for Pizza, Pool, Proverbs, and Prayer
So at my church’s young moms group, we had a speaker last year named Samantha Morey. She spoke about family night, and the importance of having family rituals. One point that she made that stuck with me was that she wanted her two girls to enjoy Family Night so much, that after they went away to college and moved out on their own that they would WANT to come home for family night. I realized that I wanted that too. I did not want to rely on motherly guilt to get my kids to come home, but I want them to feel a longing and a desire to be with our family that stays with them even after they are eventually out on their own. Please note Alton and Lottie that you may not go to college across the country, and you certainly may not marry someone who lives on the East Coast.
We had recently started having a regular family night before Samantha spoke, but her talk gave me some ideas that I wanted to incorporate. We were doing a lot of dinners at home followed by a family friendly movie, with the occasional Bible story thrown in. I wanted to make the Bible lesson more central for us, and to expand our repertoire of activities. Here is a general outline of what we do now:
Activity: A trip to our gym’s Pool (Our gym has a TERRIFIC kids pool that is large enough for adults to enjoy as well.)
Meal: Home Made Pizza for dinner (Everyone gets to top their own…)
Dessert/Snack: Popcorn for after dinner snack
Bible Point & Prayer: We read a few Proverbs as well, but the one we started with was
24 The father of a righteous child has great joy;
a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.
We always end Family Night with prayers and we go around and ask if anyone has any prayer requests, or something that they are thankful for that they want to thank God for. Lottie doesn’t talk yet, and Alton doesn’t quite yet grasp the concept of asking God for help, but he DOES understand thankfulness, and he is quick to thank God for his friends, his family, and the fun things we do at Family Night.
I don’t have a picture, but if you want a good pizza crust recipe, here is the one I use, from The Williams Sonoma Essentials in Baking Cook Book… it’s for Pizza Margherita, but you can add any toppings you would like.
For the pizza dough:
- 1 Tbs. (1 package) active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. lukewarm water (105°F)
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup for
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
For the topping:
- 7 oz. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 8 fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped,
or canned plum tomatoes, drained and
- 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
To make the pizza dough, in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and let stand until slightly foamy on top, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir together the 2 3/4 cups flour and the salt and form into a mound. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture to the well. Using a fork and stirring in a circular motion, gradually pull the flour into the yeast mixture. Continue stirring until a dough forms.
Lightly flour a work surface with some of the 1/2 cup flour and transfer the dough to it. Using the heel of your hand, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.
Brush a large bowl with the olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat an oven to 450°F. If using a baking stone or tiles, place in the oven now.
Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with the remaining flour. Punch the dough down and, using your hand, begin to press it out gently into the desired shape. (If you want to make individual pizzas, divide the dough into four equal-size pieces and shape each one.) Place one hand in the center of the dough and, with the other hand, pull, lift and stretch the dough, gradually working your way all around the edge, until it is the desired thickness, about 1/4 inch thick for a crusty pizza base and 1/2 inch thick for a softer one. Flip the dough over from time to time as you work with it. (Or roll out the dough with a rolling pin.) The dough should be slightly thinner in the middle than at the edge. Lift the edge of the pizza to form a slight rim.
Transfer the dough to a pizza peel or baking sheet, cover with a cotton towel and let rise again until almost doubled in size, about 20 minutes.
Cover the dough with the cheese and then the tomatoes. Scatter the basil over the top. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle 3 Tbs. of the olive oil over the top. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F and bake until the crust is golden, about 10 minutes more. Drizzle the remaining 1 Tbs. oil over the top and serve immediately.