Having high expectations can be tough. When you have high expectations, you want the best. I tend to set my expectations pretty high, and I always want things to turn out the best way that they can. So when things I do, or things that happen to me, or things that I make turn out way better than I ever could have hoped, I get pretty jazzed. These past couple of weeks, however, have managed to exceed a lot of expectations.
On Sunday, March 11th, my mom managed to score tickets to a private Katy Perry concert from my aunt. Two of my best friends, Nicole and Paige, and I all got to go and see the concert with about 150 other people. Uh, how cool is that?! Amazingly incredible. She was such a good performer. Her outfits, her hair, her singing, the atmosphere, everything exceeded any expectations I had. I even danced on stage with her. Let's get this clear: I danced on stage with Katy Perry. Sorry to brag, but it's one of my prouder moments. I went just being like “okay, this is cool. This is chill.” I left screaming “That was the most amazing thing in the whole entire world. OMG.” Because let's be real, doesn't a private Katy Perry concert break most people's Spring Break expectations?
Getting back to school, I expected things to be pretty normal and expected. Nope. You may have heard of a little movie called The Hunger Games. I'll be honest, I was excited beyond belief, but I was a little bit terrified of the original storyline being slaughtered by Hollywood. I was proved wrong. The director, producers, and actors killed it. It wasn't 100% accurate to the book, but they did about as well as they could. And yes, I was one of the girls at the theatre three hours ahead of time to get a good spot (direct middle of the theatre, baby!).
And then there was this past Sunday night, the 25th. UPS, my small liberal arts school, managed to wrangle Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, an amazing rap duo from Seattle, to come and perform at school. My friends Molly, Nicole and I posted up for a few hours to be the first in the doors. We were front row, center for one of the best concerts I've ever seen. This was Molly's 13th (yes, thirteenth!) Macklemore concert, and over the course of those 13 performances, she's managed to get on a first name basis with the performers. Uh, so cool. If Macklemore saying “Hey Molly!” in the middle of one of his songs wasn't cool enough, when we were leaving and they were coming out of backstage, both Ben (Macklemore's real name, I learned) and Ryan went open armed and screamed “Molly!!” I got introduced, talked to them for a while, and I'm still buzzing from meeting such amazing performers. And the performance? Out of this world. These guys know how to put on a show. They truly, truly, broke every expectation of what I had thought
their concert would be like.
And while I know you guys love hearing me brag about my multimedia experiences, I know you want to hear about the incredible, expectation breaking food I've made recently. When it comes to the food I've made, one thing in particular comes to mind as exceeding all my food related expectations: Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread. It was easy to make and yielded results I don't even know how to adequately describe. The bread was chewy and soft, covered in garlicky, cheesy, pepperoni goodness. When dipped in pizza sauce, it was extraordinary. My family literally attacked this thing. When I was taking pictures, they were circling, waiting for their chance to dive in. My adorable 5 year old cousin made the snide, yet slightly accurate remark of “ewww, that looks like a brain!” I gave him the first taste though, and regardless of looks, he definitely had quite a few pieces. So while it may not be the prettiest of snacks, it will exceed expectations and your family will definitely thank you for it. I know I definitely ate much more than planned, and it was worth every stinking bite! It may not be a private Katy Perry concert, but this is the next best thing! Trust me. Just make sure you have people around to share it with, or it may be gone before you realize you've eaten the whole thing.
And ay, sorry for the horrible yellow plate this was photographed on. Guess I'll just have to make this again to get some better pictures! ;)
Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, finely grated
- 1/2 cup pepperoni slices, cut into small pieces
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- Pizza sauce
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt. Set aside.
- Combine the active yeast and water in a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook. Let it sit for a few minutes to let the yeast activate (it should bubble a little bit). Add the sugar and quickly stir in. Add the flour mixture in batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Let the dough hook knead the dough for 5-6 minutes until the dough has come together into a large, smooth mass. Remove the dough to an oiled bowl and let rise for 60 minutes in a warm place, or until doubled in size.
- After an hour, remove the dough from the bowl and separate into 1/2 inch dough balls. Dust with flour to prevent them from sticking together. Set aside. Spray 1 large bundt pan with Pam.
- Melt the butter in a small bowl. Add the garlic, oregano and salt to the butter. Toss the dough in the butter mixture and make sure it all gets a coat of the spices and garlic. Start layering the balls into the Bundt pan. Once one layer of dough balls is down, sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese and 1/4 cup of the pepperoni over the dough. Finish layering the dough and finish with the rest of the cheese and pepperoni. Spoon the rest of the butter mixture evenly over the dough balls.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Let sit for 30 minutes for the dough to rise a little more. At this point, you can wrap the pan tightly in foil and freeze (It lasted 2 days frozen for me, but I'm not sure how long it could last maximum).
- Place Bundt pan into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the bread and cheese is golden brown. If baking from the freezer, place the dough in a COLD oven, and bake for about 35-40 minutes after the oven is turned on. Let cool for 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate. Serve immediately with warmed marinara or pizza sauce.