Veggie Pizza with Easy Whole-wheat Crust
Veggie Pizza with Easy Whole-wheat Crust
A favorite at our house is homemade pizza. During the summer, my pizzas incorporate a variety of summer fresh veggies. During the winter, one simply uses store bought produce instead, sometimes adding frozen veggies or home canned corn or cabbage relish.

Usually, I buy a prepared crust, but I've been searching for a whole wheat crust that's quick and easy to make. Last night when I tried a crust that didn't require yeast, I discovered one that seems to work. You be the judge - after you try it.

With cold and more cold outdoors, I keep wondering if there will ever be produce in my backyard again. I am glad for our herbs growing under lights that help me keep the dream alive.

Many years ago, when my kids were still quite young, the youngest only 3, I decided to embrace winter by learning to cross-country ski. After taking a college credit class to learn on my newly purchased skis and thoughtfully acquired appropriate outerwear, I purchased skis for my four kids at Christmas time.

Then I took them skiing and taught them to ski. Well, truthfully they didn't need much instruction. They were young and learned quickly.

One of the real reasons I chose an outdoor winter activity was trying to convince myself that living up north in snow country could be fun. After the early years, followed by my sons discovering the greater joys of downhill skiing, the skis became outgrown.

Then it seemed we had many winters where a snow cover was sketchy and limited to only a short time period. The skis were nearly forgotten, except for a couple of encore performances. Once I took Dale skiing on a date before we got married and later I went skiing with my sister and her friend, Suzie.

The last time, I realized my shoes had deteriorated and the plastic skin on the skis started to exfoliate from the tip of one ski. It was discouraging, but this was before we purchased a cabin in northern Wisconsin. At the back of my mind, I keep thinking we might try skiing up there.

Cross-country skiing is quite a normal and natural activity up north where they have school ski teams. I even started laying out a course out in the woods behind our cabin. However, I will need new generation boots and bindings before I can use my skis again.

Enter the idea of snowshoeing. Last winter I talked myself into the idea of this being a better choice for us. So I shopped online and found inexpensive snowshoes that came complete with poles and zippered bags for storing the shoes and poles.

I ordered two pairs, one for myself and one for my husband. I figured they might be more versatile because any boots would work with the adjustable bindings. And other guests might use the same snowshoes.

They arrived boxed and by our front door just in time for an up north winter visit. Each of us strapped on the snowshoes and headed out of doors, tracking around the house and down toward our frozen lake.

But, and it is a big but...it was very cold and the wind about took our breath away before we reached the edge of the lake. We quickly turned around and headed back to the house. Later, I strapped them on again and went out to the woods by myself.

I found getting over the huge hump caused by the snowplow along the road between the cabin and our five-acre woods to be difficult. It created such a barrier that I needed to remove the snowshoes to clamor over the top. I snow-shoed down to where my new pathway began and realized I was tired already.

So back to the nice warm house I went after stumbling over the plow barrier a second time and walking back to the house along the roadway.

This year, my sister had been given new snowshoes for Christmas so she and Suzie thought a trip to the north woods was the ticket for them over the long Martin Luther King holiday weekend. We agreed. I had checked the weather and thought Sunday promised to be the warmest day to be outdoors.

The four of us practiced putting on our snowshoes in the living room, then headed to the garage to put them on outside. Because snowshoes have jagged metal clips to grip the snow, one would not attach them and then walk outdoors with them on. All four of us had the lightweight, modern metal-framed snowshoes, not the traditional basket-type ones.

After donning the shoes, we wound our big-footed way around the back of the house and then gingerly marched our way to the lake, sinking deeply with each step. There was so much snow that I swear I walked right over the top of the rock-rimmed fire ring and didn't notice any bumps.

We "walked on water" and started trekking along the edge of the lake, where the snow was not as deep as on land. In a couple of spots, we found some slush where it appeared there were springs near the shore. We were better off moving farther into the lake. We walked and walked and found we weren't chilled, due to our exertions.

We could see a line of snowmobiles heading across the lake in the distance, where a winter "trail" crosses. We walked around so our starting point was across the bay. Then we started crossing back, heading home. We found a snowmobile trail our neighbor had created on the ice and discovered walking on snowshoes was much, much easier along the compacted snow.

After we got back to the house, my husband, who has bitterly complained about our recent frigid spells, admitted snowshoeing might be a way he could enjoy being up north during the winter.

We left the snowshoes up there and it will be a few more weekends before we will get back up there again. I have a hunch that once a snowmobile becomes part of our lives, the snowshoes could lose their allure the way the cross-country skis lost theirs once the kids learned to downhill ski.

However, we transported all those skis, shoes and poles up north last weekend, just in case guests might want to give them a second life.

For today's recipe, as usual, one can vary ingredient choices and amounts, depending on what can be found at the store or is already in your fridge.