Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spinach Pizza Dough

First let me just say Happy Leap Day!!!

Now, some lunches are better than others.

Some lunches are personal pizza.

Yesterday was Some Lunch!

Over the weekend I bought a new bag of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.  Yesterday I decided to put it away (yeah, I'm THAT on top of things!).  So I poured the flour into my fridge container but of course, there was about 1.25 Cups left in the bag. :(  Ain't that always the case?

Well I decided to turn that frown upside down and put that extra flour to good use...By making pizza dough.

Actually, my first thought was to make spinach tortillas but then I thought of pizza and all other thinking stopped.

What is it about pizza that makes it so darn good??

So I made up a batch of SPINACH Pizza Dough!!  Brilliant!  Next time I think I'll incorporate some Basil into it also. :)

makes 3 personal sized pizzas

1/2 C Warm Water (hot enough to activate yeast but not kill it)
Small spoonful of Honey (approx. 1/8 t)
1 1/8 t Yeast (1/2 a package)
1 1/4 C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/8 C Ground Flax Seed
1/8 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Chopped Spinach

Mix your warm water, honey and yeast and set aside for about 5 minutes while bubbles form.
Clean & chop your spinach (I simply put it in my Ninja and pulsed it to chop)
In a mixing bowl add all your ingredients and mix.
Switch to a kneeding hook and kneed the dough (or kneed by hand).
Form a ball with the dough and lightly coat with Olive Oil (keeping a crust from forming so that the dough will grow), put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1.5-2 hours.
Divide into 3 smaller/equal-sized balls and then roll each one into a pizza crust.  Top as you'd like and then put in an oven at 500° for about 5-10 minutes...until it reaches your preferred doneness.

Gather & mix your ingredients


Set aside to rise

Gather your toppings

Roll your dough

Top & bake

Our final pizzas....


And what do two girls do with a third crust?  Hummm...

Is that dessert I hear calling?

Why yes it is!!  Coconut Oil, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Frozen Apple, a few White Chocolate chips and some Organic Sprinkles. :)

The pizza was a total success.  Kai told me she "Likes green pizza, but would LOVE pink's her favorite!"  So I guess next time I'll be adding beets to the crust instead of spinach. :)

After our pizza we went for a good long walk. 

Frodo's on the hunt!

Don't worry -
Kai was immediately reprimanded for being in the street
and headed back over to the grass. :)

Grandpa & MacDuff take the lead!
When the Hubs got home from work we headed over to Lens Crafters so he could get his eyes checked & get new glasses.  We tried to do this on Sunday but they didn't have any room for a Walk-In so he made an appointment for yesterday.  When we got there they looked at our new insurance and told us they don't take it.  We headed home and double checked where he could go and decided to try Target.  Turns out they only take Walk-Ins on Monday, Wed, Friday and Saturday.  I couldn't help but laugh!  I believe we're going to try again on Saturday.  At least if we're at Target I'll have plenty to do while he gets his exam. :)

After our complete failure to get his eyes checked we headed to my parent's house to help out with a quick home-owner's fix.  Then we all headed out to Ruby Tuesdays.  :)

I had a salad...

And then another salad...

oooh, lots of raisins!!

And then I had a side of spaghetti squash and grilled zucchini while Kai enjoyed some Mac & Cheese.

AND THEN I had 2 more salads!!

Oh my, I was full.

Full and Happy. :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I want to make my own bread.  I really think I could do it too.  I can make my own yogurt (although I haven't lately because we weren't eating it as much.  Now that Kai's back on a yogurt kick I may start up again.  I wonder if yogurt is a "spring/summer" food?  hmmmm).  I REALLY think I could make our bread.  All I have to do is get it past the Hubs.  He really doesn't eat much bread at home anyway so it shouldn't be a problem...except that I've already messed with the Peanut Butter (he's an Original Jiff guy through-and-through although he's "Trying" the Natural Jiff.)  The only ingredient I want to see in my nutbutter is the nut itself so I tend to buy the Archer's Farm brand (ie. Target Brand) and I've messed with his Jelly (He likes Welches but if I buy Jelly it's got to be 100% added sugar or unpronounceable additives).  [wow, any grammar people out there going nuts right now about that last sentence??) 

So anyway, that's what's on my mind right now.   Well that and my excitement at having cleaned out & rearranged our bedroom closet today.  I pulled out all my old clothes that I haven't worn and any that didn't fit and then literally switched closets with the Hubs.  Our bedroom has 2 small closets in it...1.25 of them are mine and the other 3/4 is the Hubs.  The problem is that when he gets ready in the morning the light from his closet hits me square in the faced so now (hopefully) that shouldn't happen.  And if this new arrangement is too much for him to handle I can switch it back...but for now, I'm loving it. :)

Ok, yesterday's meals were lame.  Lunch was left over yogurt, fruit, roasted cabbage/brussels sprouts/okra, and what ever else we found floating around.  It was not a sit down was a graze.  No pictures were taken.  But hey, that happens.

Dinner was left over soup.  I still didn't take a picture but in case you forgot what it looked like, here you go....

Since I don't have much to talk about meal-wise I thought I'd go over some of my most often asked questions.

1.  What is Nutritional Yeast?  What does it taste like?  Where do you buy it? etc...

It's a deactivated yeast (doesn't rise/not for baking) that's full of protein and B Vitamins (which are found in meats but not veggies).   It's a GREAT additive for more nutrition, taste and texture.

Most Vegans say it tastes like cheese, but I think that's only if you don't eat cheese, lol! It does have a nutty like taste...hard to describe. It looks flakey (like fish food) and the first time I smelled it I thought it had gone bad...It's a very distinctive smell but sprinkle it on your foods a few time and I bet you'll be completely hooked. I can't get enough of the is probably obvious. :)

I buy mine at Georgetown Market which is a local store that sells "heath foods".  I spend $6.29/lb and find that lasts me a good long while...especially considering how much I add it to my foods.

2.  How exactly do you make up your oatmeal and decide what to put on it?

My basic bowl of oatmeal starts out with 1/3C Rolled/Old-Fashion Oats, 1/3 C Almond Milk and 1/3 C Water mixed in a bowl and nuked for 2 minutes (our microwave is low wattage/old so it takes longer than most).

My toppings almost always include Cinnamon, Chia Seeds and Ground Flax Seeds.

Then I add the "Fancy" stuff based entirely on what I have in my fridge.  

Raisins, Frozen Apples/Peaches/Pears, Frozen Cranberries, Pomegranate, Berries, Pumpkin Seeds, etc...
And of course whipped coconut milk when I have some on hand...I LOVE that stuff. :)

3.  What are Chia Seeds????

Chia Seeds are a Super Food (in fact if you look close enough you'll see they each wear a little red cape).  The chia seed is an excellent source of fiber, packed with antioxidants, full of protein, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and the richest known plant source of omega-3.  And what makes them so much fun is the gel-like consistency they form when soaked in water.  They've become quite popular lately and I've been told that even Walgreen's carries them (although I haven't seen it).


4.  Does your Husband eat like you?  Do you have to make 2 dinners?

The Hubs definitely does not eat like me.  He is a meat and potatoes guy and thinks that "organic" is a gimmick that makes food cost more.  While we don't see eye to eye on what we eat we do agree to (for the most part) let the other eat what they like.  Kai falls in the middle.  She eats what I make for her for breakfast and lunch and then dinner is usually a combo of our meals.  The rub is that I make dinner so it's always going to have a "healthy" twist to it. :)

What works for us is that the Hubs will make up a dinner "menu" every two weeks of what he'd like.  It's in no way set in stone but it really helps when we do our grocery shopping and insures he gets something he likes for dinner.  Especially since most of the meats need to defrost in the fridge, having a menu to look at lets me know, with plenty of time, what needs to come out of the freezer.

As for our meals.  For the most part I make 1 meal and then "accessorize" it differently.  We eat a lot of nachos or pizzas with personalized toppings.  Or I'll make a soup and divide it into a Meaty version & a Veggie version.  There are times when I'll make two meals but if that happens then one of them is a throw-together...Like a quick salad, or pulled chicken (from the freezer) with bbq sauce as a sandwich.

5.  Do you work out?
I really want to say yes.  I want to be one of those bloggers who goes for "an easy/refreshing 5 mile run" but I'm not.  I have to push myself to do 30 minutes!  I used to take a Step Class once a week with my BBF's sister but I haven't done that in months.  Now, I'm by no means a couch potato.  I feel like I'm constantly up and moving (thanks in large part to Kai) but I don't do a lot of structured exercising any more.  That's why I'm doing at least 30 minutes of something a day for lent.  The weather has been BEAUTIFUL so taking Kai and Frodo for walks has been my go-to, along with 30 minutes of Yoga when I can't get outside.  I used to be a Pilate's girl (and still love it) but Yoga is my new love.  I just feel fancy when I'm doing I'm a movie star or something. lol!

Those are the questions I get most often.  Let me know if you have any others and I'll see what I can do to get you answers.  :)

** Oh, and just so no one looks the fool...I was only kidding about Chia Seeds wearing capes.  Don't go looking at them with microscopes!  You start telling people you're looking for capes on your food and you'll lose all credibility. :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pizza Balls & Dinner for 2-ish

Quinoa Pizza Balls.  How can you not find that intriguing??

When I saw it on Happy Healthy Mama I tagged it as a recipe to try and yesterday was the day.

I cut the recipe in half, added sweet peppers, white beans instead of kidney, and used my own spices that I had on hand (ie basil, majoram, oregano).  Then I put the pizza balls on a bed of spinach topped with some red onion, more sweet peppers and a drizzle of olive reinforce the pizza flavor.  The results?  I don't know if the pizza flavor it strong but they were very tasty. :)

And then for dessert, a little parfait. :)

Frozen Banana, Chopped Pecans, almond milk - blended until smooth and soft-serve-ish.
Topped with some warmed mix berries from the freezer.
Topped again with some Coconut Whip (can of coconut milk + whipper = coconut whip for days!).
And a final topping of Pumpkin Seeds.

For dinner we had Tortilla Soup.

One of the questions I get the most is how do I make dinner for the whole family when I eat plant based and the hubs eats like T-Rex.  Well this soup is a perfect example of how I do what I do. :)

1.  Chop 1 onion (I'd discovered that just dropping it in the food processor and pulsing is so much easier than chopping by hand!)

2.  Saute the onion and a bit of minced garlic.

3. Add all the "shared" ingredients... 1 Can Diced Tomatoes, 1 Can Diced Tomatoes with Chili, Veggie Broth, Frozen Corn, Spices (Chili Powder & Paprika).  Let simmer.

4.  Divide the soup.  I simply ladled half of it into another pot. :)

5.  Add your individual proteins & let simmer some more.

The hubs had shredded chicken from the freezer....

I added black beans and chopped zucchini....

6. Serve with your favorite toppings.

I had the Veggie soup with a dollop of Greek Yogurt, Avocado, and Nutritional Yeast.

Kai had the Chicken soup (she's decided she doesn't like black beans this week) with zucchini added to it, plus more-than-a-dollop of yogurt, avocado and nutritional yeast...and eventually some shredded cheddar.

The Hubs topped his with shredded Cheddar.

Oh, and we all had some Green Onion.  It's still thriving on my window sill. :D

Then we all had some Tortilla Chips with the soup.  I noticed that I've been eating tortilla chips like they're going out of style so I'm trying to watch myself around them.  I could eat an entire bag in one sitting if allowed.  :)

And then for dessert I opened a can of pumpkin and pureed it with ice, a LOT of cinnamon, nutmeg and a drizzle of Maple Syrup.  Then I topped it with some coconut whip and a SMALL drizzle of Agave Nectar. :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Missing Photos

Hi all!  Once again I disappeared on you over the weekend.  It's just so hard to sit down for any real length of time.  :)

I SHOULD have a bunch of photos for you but on Friday my camera died and then my phone (aka camera backup) died too.  Now, all I have to do is plug my camera in and 30 minutes later it will be all charged up again...but it's still sitting on my counter, dead.  Yup, for some mysterious reason I've not plugged it in.  If I were really smart I'd stop typing right now and go do that.  It's not like you'd even know.  But I'm not going to.  I refuse to be a slave to my electronics!  Yeah, that sounds like a good excuse. :)

So on to the pictures I do have....

Breakfast...Oatmeal with Strawberries, Pomegranate, Frozen Apple, Pumpkin Seeds and my standard Cinnamon, Chia Seeds and Ground Flax Seeds.

Lunch...Tuna Salad (1 can Tuna, 1/2 an Avocado, large squirt of Dijon Mustard & BIG spoonful of Greek Yogurt + chopped spinach)

Kai ate hers on Wheat Thins.  We also had some Microwaved Sweet Potato Chips and sliced Mushrooms. :)

Snack... Orange Soft Serve (1.5 Frozen Bananas, 1 Blood Orange, splash of Almond Milk - Blended until smooth)

And put into some "cake cones".

Second Snack.... Popcorn + Kale Chips + Sunflower Seeds + Raisins + Nutritional Yeast.  MY FAVORITE!!!

Dinner was at a friends house (Hi Claire!!)...we're planning our High School Reunion (15 Years!).  She knows I don't eat meat so made a potato soup with veggies, Hawaiian bread and dips.  YUM!!

Breakfast... Kai had a bowl of no-sugar-added Apple Sauce (she's on an apple sauce kick right now) topped with chia seeds, flax seeds, cinnamon, raisins and Multi-Grain Cheerios.

I had an egg mixed with chopped spinach, nuked for about a minute.

And topped with Nutritional Yeast and Salsa.

Lunch was AMAZING!!!  I made Cheesy Chickpea Quinoa (1/2 batch).

Everything mixed and ready to cook....
 Seriously, it was SO GOOD!!  I will be making this again.

Quinoa's absorbed all that liquid.
 MMMM, My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Everything Mixed.
 Only instead of putting it on top of Spinach I made Kale Chips.

Before Cooing at 425 deg.

10 minutes later...All "chippy"
 And then the whole thing was topped with some sweet peppers. :)

The Rest of the weekend was un-photographed.  There was a visit to Aunt Beth & Uncle Dougie's where Kai got to play with her cousins Landon & Logan.  And we took a couple walks when the weather was nice.  When it wasn't so nice (ie cold & wet) I did Yoga at home.  A while back I downloaded a free app called Pocket Yoga.  There are 3 options (Ocean, Mountain, Desert) which you can choose from, then you choose the length (30, 45 or 60 minutes) and the difficulty level (Beg., Intermediate, or Advanced) and then you hit start.  I've tried 2 Intermediate workouts now and I admit I had to take a Child's Pose break in the middle...but I'm getting stronger. :)

Oh, and of course we finished up Kai's Poster.  She's the Personality of the Week at school this week, which means she gets to make a poster about herself, take in special show-and-tells, pick the books to read, etc.  She's more than a little excited!!