Jill Shell’s Friday Night Vegan/Vegetarian Pizza Recipe: Family Friendly (Mommy) Blog

Jill Shell's Friday Night Vegan/Vegetarian Pizza Recipe: Family Friendly (Mommy) Blog

Let’s talk pizza!  Our family LOVES pizza and our favorite restaurant to dine at currently is Mellow Mushroom.  They are vegan and “family friendly” and we’ve been to several here in the Southeast (in Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida and Alabama, as a matter of fact).  Pizza is often a staple for us on Friday or Saturday nights when we are up for something quick and easy to make.  Now I don’t claim to be Betty Crocker, so I will tell you now that 9 times out of 10 I do buy my pizza dough (as opposed to making it).

Where we live you can buy pre-made pizza dough from Publix, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s.  Whenever possible, I generally buy our pizza dough from Trader Joe’s because it is vegan, the ingredients are simple and pronouncable, it’s really good and you can’t beat the price ($1.19 here in Nashville).  I try to make a trip to TJ’s about once every other month and stock up on essentials like pizza dough (it’s perfectly fine to put it in the freezer and then thaw out the day you will use it).  And I will say that not only can you use the dough for making pizzas and calzones, but they are great to make into breadsticks to go along with soup in the winter.

To make a vegan veggie pizza, here’s what I do:

1- Preheat the oven to 400* and grease a medium sized pizza pan with a bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

2- Pat the dough in your hands and pull from each side to stretch it out, and then spread it out onto your pizza pan.

3- Add the sauce of your choice (we generally buy jarred organic pasta sauce from either Kroger, TJ’s or Whole Foods . . . sometimes you can get it for $2.19 a jar at Kroger and all of the ingredients are ingredients that are real).

4- Cut up veggies of your choice and sprinkle randomly over the sauce . . . our veggie pizza staples are onion (cut into thin, long slices), multi-colored bell peppers (cut into thin, long slices), and tomatoes (cut thin) to layer on top.  Sometimes we add mushrooms, but those are only for nights we feel a little crazy and step outside of the norm.

5- Slice up some Kalamata olives and sprinkle all over.

6- Shake a little salt, a little cracked pepper, and either an Italian herb blend or simple oregano other the entire pizza.  If you have fresh basil, go ahead and cut some of that up and spread it over the pizza.

7- Toss it in the oven for 10-15 minutes (depending how crispy or soft you like your crust).

8- Eat and serve with a side salad.

Jill Shell's Friday Night Vegan/Vegetarian Pizza Recipe: Family Friendly (Mommy) Blog

For Jack’s pizza, we tend to go a much simpler route (because he is 4 and a very picky eater).  I generally break the dough in half and put the other half in the freezer for another night.  I grease the pizza pan, work out the dough in my hands and spread it onto the pan.  I add the sauce (and I try to opt for a sauce that specifically has some kind of extra veggie, like a sauce with bell peppers or mushrooms).  Then I top it with mozzarella cheese . . . or almond cheese which still has casein in it so it’s not vegan, but seems a bit better for him than the mozzarella.  I bake it anywhere from 10-15 minutes and serve his with cut up apples or a side of applesauce.

Here again, if you are not into the whole vegan thing (I get it, I really do) and just want to make a good, meaty or cheesy pizza . . . just follow the first few steps and then add your preferred toppings.  Or if you are a super meat lover and want to try inserting a veggie option in every now and then, try this, you won’t be disappointed (unless you are, then in which case, I can’t help you there; I can just vouch that we like it)!

14 Reasons Why Rebecca Black’s Song “Friday” is So Absurd, Which Therefore Made It Popular (Plus, All the Lyrics to the Song)

New formula for musical success: Over-pronounce your words, over-explain your actions, take time to figure out where to sit, and make a nonsensical video.

Trivia: Despite the speculation that Rebecca Black is part African-American, she is actually Italian, Spanish, Polish, and English.  Rebecca Black is not “black”.

If you haven’t watched 13 year-old Rebecca Black’s music video for “Friday” yet, the bad news is you are simply out of touch.  But the good new is, your quality of life can change right now- the video is posted at the very bottom of this post. However, my purpose for writing this today isn’t to introduce anyone to something they should already know about, but instead, to dissect the oddity of “Friday” in order to discover why the song and video became an overnight viral sensation.

Obviously, for us adults, the appeal of the song has much to do with how nontraditional and off-the-wall it is.  Granted, 13 year-old kids may actually think it’s normal; for all I know.  What makes “Friday” so uber quirky?

Bizarre Elements of “Friday” by Rebecca Black:

1. Rebecca takes the time to tell us that she will eat cereal for breakfast.  No one has ever done that before in a hit song before.  Ever.

2. She goes to the bus stop to catch the bus for school, yet her (older) friends come to pick her up in a convertible.

3. She has to decide whether to sit in the front seat or the back seat, though there is clearly already another girl sitting in the front seat who would have to move to the back seat to make room for Rebecca.  Also, the boy in the back seat with bangs is clearly motioning for her to sit next to him.  So, there’s ready nothing to decide: Just sit in the back seat and be glad you didn’t have to take the bus.

4. Once the chorus kicks in, it’s pretty hard to deny that the melody to the beginning of the chorus, “Friday, Friday…”, sounds a lot like “baby, baby…” of Justin Bieber’s “Baby”.

5. The tone to her voice when she sings the chorus sounds like she’s a villain on a Muppet musical.

6. It’s interesting that there are so many parties for 13 year-old suburban girls to go to every single weekend.

7. If you have to sing “fun, fun, fun…”, is it really that much fun or is it kinda like when people just scream and cheer when the lead singer of a rock band asks the audience if they’re having a good time?

8. The video was pretty decently produced for a song referencing cereal.

9. The bridge of the song explains that Saturday and Sunday come after Friday and that Friday comes after Thursday.

10. She sings, “we, we, we so excited”.  To make better use of her syllables and grammar, she could have sang “we are just so excited”, but chose not to.

11. There is a 40 year-old rapper (named Patrice Wilson) who evidently knows Rebecca and shows up at her parties.  Is he a clown hired to entertain the 13 year-old kids at the party? Like a “balloon artist”?

12. The same 40 year-old rapper explains that he drives in the fast lane, then immediately complains that he is passed by a school bus which slows him down. How in the world does that happen on a road with two lanes going in the same direction?!

13. Rebecca ponders a 2nd time whether she should sit in the front or back seat, but this time, she is already sitting in the back seat and the car is already moving, fast.

14. The camera pans again to the lonesome 40 year-old rapper who is unexplainably happy to be driving.  That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a rapper smile in a music video.  Is he going to the party?  Is that why he’s happy?

Lyrics to “Friday” by Rebecca Black:

(Yeah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ark)
Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

[Rebecca Black – Verse 1]

7am, waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
Seein’ everything, the time is goin’
Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)

Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

[Rebecca Black – Verse 2]

7:45, we’re drivin’ on the highway
Cruisin’ so fast, I want time to fly
Fun, fun, think about fun
You know what it is
I got this, you got this
My friend is by my right
I got this, you got this
Now you know it

Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?


It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday

Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend


Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today

Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes after…wards
I don’t want this weekend to end

[Rap Verse]

R-B, Rebecca Black
So chillin’ in the front seat (In the front seat)
In the back seat (In the back seat)
I’m drivin’, cruisin’ (Yeah, yeah)
Fast lanes, switchin’ lanes
Wit’ a car up on my side (Woo!)
(C’mon) Passin’ by is a school bus in front of me
Makes tick tock, tick tock, wanna scream
Check my time, it’s Friday, it’s a weekend
We gonna have fun, c’mon, c’mon, y’all

Currently Uber Popular Status Update Phrases: “Dear [Inanimate Object, Abstract Idea, or Business]”, Followed by a Hypothetical Question

Dear facebook status, how did I survive before you came along?

Dear Organic Baby Carrier, when will you stop making me feel like a man who has been castrated?


Nobody likes a whiner, right?  Well, now thanks to this uber popular status update method, you can complain while sounding “cute” and funny.  This formula can also be used to say you like something- but in a more creative way.  Just address a subject that will never actually see your status update or even have the ability to respond, then ask a question that either has no real answer or an implied answer. Here are a few examples:

“Dear Starbucks, what would I ever do with you?”

“Dear teenager in the car in front of me who is texting, when will you realize what you are doing is going to get you in an accident? Ugh!”

“Dear Friday, why were you late this week?”

It’s really that simple.  In fact, this format of a status update is so popular that there’s a good chance that at any given moment of the day, you will not be able to read your entire status update page without seeing it used at least once, in some form.  Now, get to work.  Use the formula and you too can appear to be creative, funny, and “cute”.  (Also works well on Twitter.)

“Dear [Inanimate Object, Abstract Idea, or Business]”, Followed by a Hypothetical Question

How to Wear Dress Pants, If You’re a Guy: Don’t Wear Them With Sneakers and Avoid Khakis

Despite what you heard, don’t wear khakis.  Just because these men’s pants are classic, it doesn’t mean they’re timeless.  In fact, they’re starting to represent a dull and generic image for men’s attire.

Some articles of clothing go with anything, like Chuck Taylor’s.  Then there are specimens like Hawaiian shirts, that arguably go with anything simply because they clash with everything, technically meaning they go with everything.  And then there are khaki pants, which truly look good with anything they’re paired with, in theory.

But not for me.  I’m very particular when it comes to wearing khakis:

1)     They’re the same color as my legs, so I kinda feel like I’m not wearing pants at all.

2)     Because of their good reputation (“you can’t go wrong with khaki’s”) and popularity, they are a bit boring by now.  It’s assumed that a man automatically looks better because he’s wearing tan pants.  I say, not creative enough.  Deduct one point unless worn in moderation.

3)     Despite popular belief, they don’t truly look good with anything.

What has put these thoughts in my head?  Surely just random observances over the last twelve years:

1)     In high school, every Friday the football coach had all the football players wear khaki pants, a white dress shirt, and preferably a tie.  But  many of them wore running shoes.  It came across as predictable and forced to me (which it indeed was).  You want to look nice?  At least change the shoes.

2)     In the movie 40 Year-Old Virgin, Andy (the lead character played by Steve Carell) wears khaki pants in almost every seen.  His attire is most noticeably awful when he first goes to the night club wearing a yellow polo and khakis.  Nerdy, man.  Nerdy.  Same thing in Sideways with Miles (played by Paul Giamatti).

3)     In the past 15 years, khakis and polo shirts have become the official uniform for employees of places like Best Buy.  So now khakis are starting to represent a dull, generic work uniform.

Instead of khakis, try this. Note: Black shoes with black pants. Not brown shoes.

Khakis have become part of a stereotyped outfit of an outdated man from the year 2000: Khaki pants, faded polo shirt, cell phone holder on belt.

Noted, there is a difference between what a man wears to work and what he wears to every other public events.  I know for myself, I don’t care that much what my coworkers see my wearing as long as I don’t look like a slouch.  So yes, I do resort to polo shirts and once every week or two, I’ll wear khakis.

But for many, work isn’t as a professional environment as we often pretend for it to be.  I don’t take as good of care on the clothes I wear day in and day out to work.  Who cares if they’re faded or a little wrinkled?

Bottom line: For a man to truly dress nicely, and appear to be modern yet not trying too hard, he should simply try doing so sans khaki pants.

How?  Charcoal colored pants.  Dark brown pants.  Slate (very dark blue/gray) pants.  But not tan.  Heck, even dark jeans can look better than khakis when done right.

P.S.  If you must resort to wearing khaki pants in an attempt to look nice, do not be temped to wear a navy blazer or jacket with it.  That’s for CEO’s who are 61 years old and don’t realize that it’s no longer cool.  Wearing a navy jacket with khaki pants is for guys still wearing Levi’s jeans similar to Jerry Seinfeld in 1994.

And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on pants, why not read my perspective on being a dad?  That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view.  I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant.  I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog” by clicking on the link below:

dad from day one

Facebook is a Middle School Talent Show

I put together the top five reasons why facebook seems dull, come lately.

I have been on facebook since April 2005, going on five years now. Back then, in a simpler time, the site was only for college students. No quizzes. No lists. Just the facts. An Atari version of what we now know facebook to be.

And it was fine except for one thing: I could only be friends with people from college. No family. No friends that weren’t currently enrolled in a college. I wanted more “friends”. I wanted to catch up with the cast of characters that made up my entire life. I wanted to collect them.

So as facebook grew from a dorm room project into a million dollar operation and then to a billion dollar business, I got my wish. Plenty of “friends”. Not restricted to colleges.

Since 2005, I have watched facebook defeat Myspace in a tortoise versus the hare race, turning Myspace into nothing more than a creepy old house that no one wants to go inside of anymore. Facebook has for all practical purposes become the new e-mail, the new photo album, and the new substitute to actually calling people on the phone.

Facebook is the undisputed champion. Yet a few nights ago one of my actual real life friends asked in a status update on facebook if he was the only person that thought the site seems like it’s getting dull.

I agree with him. But here’s the thing. It’s not really facebook’s fault. Part of it is us and part of it is our “friends”. Sort of like a middle school talent show. I can’t blame the school if the entertainment itself isn’t good. Sometimes there are more baton twirlers than garage rock bands.

I have compiled the top five reasons why facebook seems dull, come lately:

1) Random friends we barely remember from grade school aren’t quite as interesting as we gave them credit for in our nostalgic minds. They grew up. They have families. And we’ve got nothing to say to them. Because everything we would want to know is there on the info tab on their profile.

2) Those same random people tend to be the ones who constantly do those annoying quizzes and games. Yes, I do hide the quizzes and games on my Live Feed. And yes, I could just delete those people altogether. But I don’t. Somehow I would feel guilty. Their only crime was making me look at the new pig they got for their farm.

3) The Status Update option causes many people to think that the rest of the world sees them as a celebrity. There are enough reality shows that we are ashamedly addicted to. We don’t need another one that tells us when our lab partner from our 9th grade science class is making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Or that it made him thirsty. And we definitely don’t need him doing the most cliché thing on facebook status updates: On Monday, saying, “Ugh, I hate Mondays. On Wednesday, “Hey ya’ll, it’s Hump Day!” And Friday, “TGIF”. Sunday night, “Ugh, it’s almost Monday again.” Thanks Sir Idiot, that really added a lot of value to my life.

4) Just like Wikipedia and YouTube, we eventually milk facebook for all its worth. There’s nothing like those first three fascinating months of using facebook. But after reading the profiles and seeing the pictures of everyone we actually care about, the only thing really left to do is come back in a few weeks when they all have new pictures and info.

5) The friends we regularly communicate with on facebook are coincidently our real life friends anyway. Sometimes it’s actually easier just to send a facebook message than to send a text or find a convenient time to call. We get distracted by all our facebook friends and their shenanigans but ultimately it comes down to the true core of why we like facebook in the first places. Our actual friends and family.

Like boy bands, social networking websites have an average lifespan of five years. But I see facebook as the exception. After all, facebook gives us the creative control to hide, delete, and regulate the content we see in front of us. For us all to abandon facebook the way we did Myspace, it would take a social networking website that is substantially better than everything facebook currently is and offers.

And I know for me, it took almost five years to get nearly 700 “friends”. I’d hate to start that process all over again.

What kind of praying mantis are you?

Comfortable Friday


Of all people, I should appreciate the quirky American tradition so many offices participate in once a week called Casual Friday.  After four hard days of working while dressed in a restricting long sleeve shirt, tie, and pants (or at least a polo shirt and khakis), the dress code nearly disappears on the 5th day.  Jeans, t-shirt, and flip flops are completely acceptable.  Goofy.  Just plain goofy.


The whole idea behind dressing professionally for work is to establish a mentality for the workers to act the way they dress. It also helps draw lines between superiors and those who answer to them, as managers and bosses tend to dress a little nicer, accordingly. But then that all goes away on Friday.  The playing field is leveled out, according to appearance.


If the way a person dresses does indeed reflect their initiative and performance at work, why play around with that once a week?  The answer:  It must not really make a difference.  Often, Friday is my most productive day of the week.  And I’m dressed like it’s Saturday morning.


Last week’s rerun of The Office addressed some of the tackiness that often accompanies Casual Friday.  Meredith’s lack of clothes, Oscar’s nasty feet, and Toby’s clashing colors.  It just makes me laugh: the double standard of dressing professionally for 80% of the work week and dressing like a slouch for the other 20% of it.


Typically on Fridays I wear my comfortable, worn-in/worn-out jeans (circa 2002 so they’re that light shade of blue that used to be the standard), along with a comfortable t-shirt (usually something I got for free from an event I participated in during 2002 and should now only be wearing to wash a car or do yard work in) and my 2002 Etnie skate shoes I wear not because I skate, but because they’re so comfortable- I refer to them as my Marshmallow Shoes because they’re so soft and cushioned.  The obvious recurring theme: clothing from the year 2002.  The other obvious recurring theme: comfortable.


Casual Friday is really Comfortable Friday.  If I dressed casually on Fridays, I would wear slimmer fitting darker jeans, an untucked collared shirt, and sneakers.  But I don’t.  And while I call it Comfortable Friday, “comfortable” can easily become a synonym for “sloppy”.  Sloppy is in the same word family as “slob”.  Slob Friday.  But I’m not complaining.  Some people like to play dress up to look and feel important at work.  For the rest of us, there’s Friday.

casual Friday