Family Pizza and Game Night

Monday, October 8, 2018

"Fri-yay" is officially the new "Friday" in the Howard home. I am not sure when it all started, but when the kids told Ty and I about their new name for the "best day of the week", it stuck; and for good reason. Fridays are the end of the long, busy, work & school filled week for all of us. It's the last day of early wake ups. The last afternoon of kid and car switches in the Starbucks parking lot. The last day of the "opposite work schedule" parent life shenanigans. The last day of meetings, workouts & alarm clocks (unless the next day is Cougar Football Saturday). Fri-yay is the beginning of a weekend spent together as a family, making those precious memories. We are very fortunate that our schedules work out this way, with both Ty and I having weekends off. It hasn't always been as such, but I sure am grateful it is now. 
It was Friday afternoon and I decided to ask Kade, if it were up to him, what he would like to do tonight. I wasn't expecting much, his usual answers consist of "I don't know" or something crazy like, "go fly an airplane". His answer was perfect. He said he wanted to have a family game, pizza and movie night. He was especially excited and clapped his hands together joyfully after telling me his epic idea. I was excited about the idea, too and got to planning & making a grocery list. The only thing I had to do was sell Ty on the idea. I was sure he would love everything except the pizza. Ty has recently been following a new diet, the Keto diet. He has been very successful in following it and has lost over 50 pounds. Here I was thinking what a pain it was going to be to cook him a separate "keto friendly" dinner. Not to mention the whole eating one of his favorite foods in front of him part. Then it clicked! One time a while back, when he was really craving some doughy carbs, he made a keto friendly pizza. It only had 4 ingredients (plus the toppings) and was surprisingly tasty. After some recipe research and a trip to the grocery store we were all set to make our own individual pizzas and bring Kade's epic idea to fruition. 
The ingredients for the dough are simple; cream cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, eggs and almond flour. We prefer the texture of the super fine almond flour for pizza crusts. Here is a step by step description of how we made our pizzas. (I will add a link to the full recipe at the end of the post)

After preheating your oven to 425 degrees, combine the mozzarella cheese and the cream cheese in a medium to large microwavable dish. We used our largest Pyrex for this and it worked great. 

Then you will microwave it for 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds. We had the most success after 1:30 of microwave time. Once it is done, use a spatula or spoon to mix well until combined. After a couple of minutes a sticky, thick ball of dough will form. It should look like this:

 Next you will add the 2 eggs. It is very important to make sure the eggs are incorporated well. If you don't get them all the way mixed in it totally changes the look and texture of your pizza, for the worst. Then you will add in the almond flour. It is easiest to add in half at a time. Mix until well combined. If your dough gets a bit crumbly, place it back in the microwave to soften, for about 1 minute. All this mixing took some muscles, good thing Ty has been hitting those weights. We made 3 batches and he did the first two. 
For this next part you want to make sure to get your hands super wet, otherwise the dough will stick to your hands. Place the ball of dough on parchment paper and get to squashing and stretching that stuff til it's just how you like it. We split the dough in half and let the kids make their own mini pizzas. They love helping out in the kitchen and anything resembling play dough is extra fun. We had a tough time getting them to keep their hands wet enough at first. Then Ty came up with the idea to use the water filled pie dish, so they were able to get their hands wet as needed. Brains and muscles, how did I get so lucky?! Well..I know how, but that's a story for another day. 

After getting the dough to the shape and thickness you prefer, place your parchment paper on a pizza pan or a cookie sheet. We used a cookie sheet for the kids' so we could cook them together. Use a fork to poke a few holes in your dough, then let it cook in the oven for about 8 minutes. After 8 minutes is up, take the dough out and it's time to start adding those toppings. For toppings, we decided to use a classic pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, spicy sausage, mushrooms, artichokes and spinach. 
The kids picked their favorite, pepperoni for their topping. Big surprise there. I tried to convince them to be a little more adventurous but it was a hard pass on the veggies, this time around. You have to pick your battles, right? Ty opted for mushrooms, pepperoni and spicy sausage while I went with spinach and artichokes. 

After the toppings are all added place your pizza back in the oven for about 6 minutes. Super quick! We were wondering if the cook time would be different for the mini pizzas versus the regular sized ones, but all came out perfect. I think these faces say it all. 

Family pizza, game and movie night was off to a great start. Now with our tummies full and the kitchen a mess, we moved onto the games. These are the ones we went with; Uno, twister and an assortment of kid friendly card games I found at the very bottom of our ottoman. 

Uno is always a hit with our kids and works great for all ages. Kade, 3 years and Leighton, 6 years old can both play with little to no help from us. It is a great way for kids to familiarize with numbers and colors, too. Yay for an educational bonus! Next, Leighton chose Old Maid. I had never played this but it was another perfect one for both of the kiddos. Kade needed a little bit of help but not much. This game is a good one for matching, reading and colors as well. My favorite was Twister, Ty opted to be the spinner. I did better than I had expected going up against my two super flexible energetic kiddos. I felt super silly, but hearing their little giggles and seeing their eyes light up made it all worth the effort. Overall, I think Uno was the overall family favorite, as usual. But it was fun to try some new games and I was glad to switch it up. 

As the night started winding down, we moved onto the movie portion of our evening. Pj's were on, popcorn was popped, and both our tummies and our hearts were full. Leighton chose Loony Toons, a classic that our whole family enjoyed. Although, I can't lie, I was secretly hoping for Hocus Pocus; my all time fall and halloween favorite. Luckily there is still plenty of time to sneak that one in here before the season is over. Family time with the four of us is truly what makes me happy. It's not always easy to find things to do that the whole family can enjoy, but it sure is worth the effort when it all works out. I would say Kade's idea of a fun night turned out pretty amazing. I hope this post gave some of you new ideas on how to have a fun Fri-yay the entire family can enjoy, or at least a new fun recipe to try.  Here is the full Keto Fathead Pizza Recipe . Thanks for reading! -Kaci


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