Category: From The Author

All Things Pizza

Are you a pizza lover?  If you’ve got the “dough”, a pizza oven can be a great addition to any home!  In this post we’ll give you pizza ovens ideas, the history of pizza, and pizza recipes to assist you in All Things Pizza.

Pictures & Resources

First, let’s get your creative juices flowing with pictures of a few of the pizza ovens we’ve installed in some of our custom homes.


2014 Utah Valley Parade of Homes entry “McDaniel Manor”.


This pizza oven made it’s debut in our 2014 Utah Valley Parade of Homes entry “McDaniel Manor” and was a hit from the get go. People loved the idea of a basement kitchenette complete with a pizza oven – conveniently located down the hall from the home theater. Pizza/movie night is a frequent occurrence at this home.


This wood burning pizza oven is nestled in the “castle” house basement kitchenette (as it’s known in the area) of our 2010 Utah Valley Parade of Homes entry.

For additional ideas and resources:


So what’s the cost to add a pizza oven to your home?  Well, there are a few things to consider:

  • What type of oven do you want?  This website explains the different types available.
  • Additional costs for electrical
  • Additional costs for stack installation and added insulation to create a heat barrier
  • Additional costs for materials and labor to beautify the wall/area the oven is installed


The pizza oven above (2014 Parade home pics) cost roughly $18,000.  Keep in mind that the plans included this feature in the new construction.  If you want to install an oven in your existing house, don’t be discouraged.  Just hire a licensed, insured experienced contractor to do the work.  And make sure they are a member of the local Home Builders Association.

The History of Pizza

The history of pizza goes back many years starting with what we know as flatbread.  But the invention of pizza as we know it today (crust with tomato sauce) occurred in the late 18th century.

“The innovation that led to flat bread pizza was the use of tomato as a topping. For some time after the tomato was brought to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century, it was believed by many Europeans to be poisonous (as are some other fruits of the nightshadefamily). However, by the late 18th century, it was common for the poor of the area around Naples to add tomato to their yeast-based flat bread, and so the pizza began.  The dish gained in popularity, and soon pizza became a tourist attraction as visitors to Naples ventured into the poorer areas of the city to try the local specialty.”

Wikipedia, 2015, July 31 published version. History of Pizza.  Retrieved from

Now that we know the history of pizza and have ideas of our very own oven with warm, cheesy pizza swirling in our heads, let’s get to the best part… recipes!

Pizza Dough & Sauce Recipes

Pizza Dough Recipe
¾ c. Sugar
¾ c. Potato Flakes/Pearls
3½ c.  HOT water (not boiling-it will kill the yeast)

Mix sugar, potato flakes/pearls, and hot water together with a whisk in a commercial mixer.  Add:

 3 Tbsp. Yeast

Let all ingredients sit for 10 minutes in the mixing bowl to allow the yeast to bubble and work it’s magic.  Change mixer from whisk to dough hook.  Add:

2 tsp. Salt
¾ c. Melted Butter
2 ½ tsp. Vanilla
3 c. Flour
*Additional flour to create soft dough (6-9 cups roughly)  

Mix for 2 minutes.  Slowly add *additional flour in 1 ½-2 c. increments until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl to form a soft dough.  Remove bowl from mixing base and let dough sit for 15 minutes to let the dough rest. 

Divide into 3 groups (enough for 3 thick crust pizzas).  Roll out dough.  Sprinkle pizza stone with corn meal and place pizza on stone.  Add sauce (recipe below) and desired toppings.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until crust is brown on the bottom.  For the best crust results, let pizza stone heat up in the oven for at least 20 minutes prior to baking pizza’s so that the stone is nice and hot.  You’ll get a nice crust.

Pizza Sauce
8 oz. can Tomato Sauce
6 oz. can Tomato Paste
1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. dried Oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  This recipe will make enough sauce for 3 large pizzas.  If you want a thinner sauce, add water until desired consistency is achieved.

My favorite pizza?  Blue Cheese Buffalo Chicken.  Baked by Rachel Blog. January 26, 2014 post.

From the Kitchen

. . . which happens to be one of my favorite rooms of any house!

Carrie’s Carmelitas

Chewy GOOEY caramel, oats and rich chocolate. They taste great the next day (if you get them to last that long)!

70 caramel squares, unwrapped (buy two bags)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1-1/2 cups butter (3 cubes), melted

1-1/2 cups brown sugar, packed

2 cups flour

2 cups rolled oats

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely smooth; set aside. In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and baking soda. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 pan (lightly spray Pam on the bottom and sides).

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel. Return to oven and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven. Let cool for about five minutes, then take a knife or small spatula and separate the bar from the sides of the pan to make removal easier later on. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Store at room temperature.

Carmelitas (Download to print or save)


Shades of Gray

I’ve had many inquires the past few months on the best grays for the home. If you’re planning on repainting this year consider looking through the newest Benjamin Moore color line – COLOR STORIES, Shades of Gray. Be careful in choosing the right gray. Just a bit of brown in the formula will make it warm and inviting vs. cold and dreary. You may want to also check out Ralph Lauren, Tudric Pewter TH02 – it’s BEAUTIFUL! Jones Paint and Glass carries both lines.

The Fall 2011 Restoration Hardware Source Book came in the mail today. It feels like Christmas morning. I am in awe as I take each page in {I know I sound a bit dramatic}. The handcrafted solid reclaimed pine furniture pieces, french style chairs and monochromatic fabrics combined have created the perfect combination of old-world style + modern-day influence. There are countless ideas on new ways to furnish your home from very talented designers – not afraid to push forward new ideas and mix decorating styles to create the perfect room. The fresh linen textures and metal industrial pieces used in each room pull you in the minute turn the cover. Explore the source book online and GET INSPIRED!


WORK |wərk| activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result

There isn’t a better word in the english vocabulary to accurately define what the MCH Team has been doing for the past two weeks. We’ve worked day and night preparing our 2011 Parade of Homes entry in Highland. It has taken a team effort to make all of the finishing touches and prepare the home for viewing. We received five of seven JUDGES’ CHOICE AWARDS the night before the Parade opened, one of which was BEST OVERALL in our category. This is just another example of how hard work always pays off in the end! So, without further ado…


2011 Parade of Homes Paint Colors and Finishes

2011 MCH Family Recipes

2011 MCH Family Recipes

Click to download an updated file of our favorite family recipes. Feel free to print them off and store in plastic sheet protectors in a three ring binder. There are 360 pages, so you may want to just browse and copy those your family might enjoy into a document of your own.

Hardware 101

I love choices. Can you imagine how boring life would be without the ability to choose? However, there are times when certain choices can lead to stress and confusion. Today my post pertains to a choice {although small, it’s very important} each of us have when designing or redecorating our home. The choice I’m referring to is regarding cabinet hardware. With so many different styles of cabinet hardware to choose from, it’s a wonder any of us can come to a final decision! From selecting a style, choosing a finish, to deciding on a pattern, there are so many steps in the decision-making process. However, much like the clothing or jewelry we choose to wear, it also reflects our own personality. Choosing the right decorative cabinet hardware is a great way to show your flair and individuality, and should be viewed as an integral part of the design or redecorating process. One question I hear often from Matt’s clients is if ALL hardware (including door knobs, light fixtures) in the home need to match. For example, is it okay to use chrome or satin nickel in one room and oil-rubbed bronze in the next?

My answer to this question is YES…and NO. To keep the overall look of your home consistent you should stay with the same style (modern, traditional, country). Having said that, you do not need to use the same hardware/metals in exactly the same finish throughout. My advice? Find the happy medium. Remember, your home is uniquely yours. Put careful thought into each room, creating spaces that are individual, but keep to the overall theme and cohesion of the home. When faced with a choice, ask yourself, “Does this finish blend and enhance the style of my home?” I always encourage our clients to think outside the box. If you’re feeling uncomfortable with all of the decisions, start by only choosing different hardware styles and light fixtures in the kitchen and master suite. For example, in my kitchen I have four different cabinet knob styles, three of which are bronze and the other is a neutral black. In my master bath the hardware is much more elegant than the hardware in my son’s bathroom. I always try to match the light fixture with the cabinet hardware, unless my plumbing fixtures look best with another finish. When you are mixing it up, always try and have at least two metals match in each room. Maybe your light and sink fixture look best in black, but your cabinet calls for a satin nickel finish to pop off of the dark brown finish. Go for it! This is when building a custom home is enjoyable ~ do what YOU want to make each room appealing and comfortable to be in. In the end it will all come together with the help of paint, granite countertops and floor coverings. Now go and have FUN with each and every choice that lies ahead!

Click to ENTER my favorite hardware company.

McEwan Family Recipes 2010



One of my favorite things to do is cook ~ especially this time of year! Over the past several years I have collected treasured recipes from both family members and friends. Feel free to download a sampling of some of our favorite family recipes. They’re yours for the baking!

~ Carrie

McEwan Recipes 2010