“Instead of thinking of food as the enemy, allow yourself to enjoy the process of planning and preparing meals or going out to lunch with a friend. Stay in the present moment and understand that the purpose of food is nourishment.” – Susan Albers
We went into town for pizza to celebrate Valentines Day. The gluten free Greek pizza was not bad, but it wasn’t mine. The one in town had a small commercial crust with toppings that could almost be seen. I make my own crust and load on the toppings — no comparison. Look good? Want to make your own?
Genie’s Greek Pizza
2 3/4 c. all purpose gf flour (my flour blend is 3 parts sorghum flour, 2 parts potato or corn starch and 1 part brown rice flour)
1 T. sugar
1 package quick rise yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees, a few drops on your wrist should feel warm but not hot)
2 T. olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
About ½ bunch of fresh spinach, cleaned and stems removed
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast baked and cut in bite sized pieces
1 small red onion sliced thin
1 can (14 ounce) artichoke hearts, drained
1 small can whole black olives, drained
6 ounces goat cheese crumbles
To Make Crust:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray pizza pan with pan spray.
Combine flour sugar and yeast in a bowl.
Add water and oil and stir to combine ingredients. This will form a dough, it will not be a batter.
Put dough in a 15 inch pizza pan sprayed with pan spray. With damp hands push the dough out to fill the pan. (I did not roll out the dough this time but may try that later.) Smooth the top of the dough.
I take one finger dipped in water and draw a slight indentation around the dough about 1/2 to 1 inch in from the outside of the dough. This will help form your crust.
Let dough rise in a warm place in the pan for 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step, it is important if you want a thicker, deep dish style crust. The dough should double.
Bake crust for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Add Toppings and Bake:
Sprinkle oregano over crust.
Cover crust with a layer of spinach leaves.
Separate red onion rings and scatter over spinach.
Add chicken, artichoke hearts and black olives in that order.
Finally cover pizza with cheese crumbles.
Bake at 425 for 15-20 minute. If you have never used goat cheese before it does not “melt” like other cheeses.” You also do not want it to brown. When done the top will look much the same as when you put it in. Lift up a corner of the crust — it should be lightly browned.
Cut pizza into slices and enjoy.
I know the holidays are over, but there may still be fresh cranberries available in your grocery store. This is a good time to stock up.
The price may be going down. In fact it may already have. If you haven’t already picked up a bag or two or six this is a good time. I have found cranberries priced as low as 2 for $1 after the holidays. Cranberries freeze well. You can just pop the unopened bag in the freezer of put it in a freezer bag. They freeze well so you will have them on hand for later.
They are full of wonderful nutrients. In addition to being fat-free, cholesterol free, gluten free, sodium free and a good source of vitamin C and fiber, they also contain antioxidants and may help prevent urinary tract infections.
There are so many ways to use fresh or frozen cranberries. You can eat them raw, but they are very tart. You can make cranberry sauce, and of course cranberry nut bread, but they may also be used in savory dishes and stews. The great thing about cooking with fresh cranberries is you control the sugar.
“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.” ― Luther Burbank
When I think of spring and summer something that always comes to mind is deviled eggs. They are always a part of my Easter table as well as picnic food throughout the summer.
The other day I was talking to a friend about an upcoming potluck in our little community. I said, “We might end up with six plates of deviled eggs.” She laughed and then I said, “But I think everybody has their own special recipe so that might be okay.” And we continued to talk about how many different ways there are to devil an egg.
At my house the filling is moist (I use an olive oil based mayo), tart (we add vinegar) and bright yellow (lots of mustard). Our garnish of choice is paprika sprinkled over the top. Your preference might be sliced olive, pickle or something else.
Here is my basic recipe, but I go by color and taste rather than exact measurement so feel free to adjust to suit your own tastes.
1 t. vinegar (more or less)
1 t. prepared mustard (more or less)
2 T. mayo or salad dressing (more or less)
1. Hard boil eggs using your preferred method. Cool and peel.
2. Cut eggs in half the long way.
3. Carefully scoop our the yolks using a spoon and put in a small bowl.
4. Arrange whites on your serving plate. If you have a deviled egg plate, use it.
6. Mash yolks and add vinegar, mustard and mayo to taste. Continue mashing and stirring until yolks are very smooth.
7. To put the yolks mixture back in the whites you can use a small spoon. When I worked in a restaurant I learned to use a pastry bag for this and love that method. If you don’t have a pastry bag you can use a plastic sandwich bag with one corner cut off on the diagonal. This is much easier, quicker and less messy than the spoon method.
Makes 12 deviled eggs. I like to use the whole dozen and make 24.
I used to hang out online with people who were trying to be live frugally. I always thought I could pinch a penny till it squealed, but some of these people were extreme in their methods as well as the beliefs that were driving them to save as much and spend as little as possible. Those groups and I eventually parted ways and the general attitude toward food was a major reason. Many believed it doesn’t matter what you eat and food was an area where you could really cut your spending.
If you know me at all you know I am all about health and wellness. I do have a budget. I do make a shopping list while checking the grocery ads. I’m the person who stands in the grocery aisles actually doing the math trying to figure out the best deal. But our budget is built realistically to purchase fresh fruits and veggies, minimally processed meats and other healthy, naturally gluten free foods. This comes from our belief that you can spend money on healthy food or you can spend money on doctors. We prefer to spend on food.
In addition to my other responsibilities I am essentially a homemaker, making a safe and healthy home for Bob and I. Grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking are part of my “job.” And, strange as this may sound in todays world, I actually like to cook. So taking the time needed to cook from scratch instead of grabbing convenience foods is something I don’t mind doing. At least most of the time. When my other responsibilities are piling up and I barely have time to breathe I do mind and the crock pot gets called into service.
So why am I talking about all this now? Well it’s January, and the beginning of a new year is a time when people seem to be talking, thinking and planning about food. Many resolutions will be food or weight related. Others will be looking at ways to save money and cut the budget.
While all this is going on there are a few things I would like you to consider:
- Food is fuel. If the body does not have adequate, quality fuel it will not function properly.
- Staying healthy saves not only on doctor bills, lost time from work but also on pain and suffering.
- If you really do want to lose weight ask your healthcare professional to help you come up with healthy, reasonable plan. Don’t be taken in by all the fad diets and cleanses being promoted this time of year.
- Don’t forget to move. Get up out of your chair, walk, climb stairs, play with the kids, dance, whatever strikes your fancy, just move.
- Remember the phrase “all things in moderation.” You will pay for that starvation diet and obsessive physical training later — with your health. Those things are not sustainable and never last anyway.
- Remember being healthy is a way of life. Find a balanced lifestyle plan that works for you and live it.
Don’t get too excited. I’m not going to tell you to go out and indulge in every high fat sweet treat you can find but there are healthier ways to enjoy dessert.
One of my favorite treats is fresh or frozen berries. Strawberries are natures candy. Fruit can help satisfy cravings for sugar.
Chocolate has been proven to have health benefits. We’re talking dark chocolate here — high is cacao and low in sugar. Buy the good stuff and enjoy in moderation.
I do bake, but make sweets healthier by cutting as much fat and refined sugar as possible. Be sure substitutions are healthy ones.
You might need to change what you consider a “treat.” When I was young my sugar consumption was limited because my older brother had bad teeth. For years I thought cheese was candy.
Why am I talking about dessert in a series on healthy living? I know throwing out all foods we love and enjoy attempting to get healthy is setting ourselves up for failure. Indulge in a little treat now and then. Make your desserts as healthy as possible and practice moderation.
Need ideas for a healthier Valentine’s Day Dessert?
Do you have a healthier dessert recipe? Feel free to link to it in the comments section.
When we think of cauliflower it’s often raw florets with dip or cooked swimming in cheese sauce, right? There is so much more you can do with this wonderful vegetable.
First a few Nutrition Facts. Cauliflower is a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese.
Cauliflower is a great addition to a raw vegetable salad.
Mashed cauliflower is a great replacement for mashed potatoes. Don’t negate the health benefits by adding lots of butter and heavy cream.
Cauliflower fried rice be made with grated fresh cauliflower replacing the rice.
Ever had a cauliflower steak? Cut thick slices from the center. Season and pan fry in a little oil or lightly coat with cooking spray and bake in a 450 degree oven.
I use cauliflower to make soups, sauces, even dips. If not overcooked it has a neutral flavor. Puree in a blender or food processor with seasonings to make a ranch style dressing or dip no one will guess is dairy free.
In many churches Sunday morning fellowship hour means coffee, some sort of sweet drink and doughnuts with nothing for those with special needs. Stewardship includes keeping our bodies healthy and including people rather than excluding or inadvertently leaving them out. Keeping this in mind let’s consider these points.
1. It isn’t about food. The purpose of the fellowship hour is to encourage people to talk, get to know each other and welcome visitors. No one should feel left out. Food and drink are used to encourage interaction. If food is driving people apart we need to think of other ways to accomplish this.
2. Add healthier foods instead of taking away the doughnuts. Steer away from having nothing but sweets. Take known special needs into account. Given choices, fewer people may eat doughnuts.
3. Add pitchers of fresh water.
4. Change may not happen quickly — we are talking about church. Don’t be demanding, just casually bring it up. Take a fruit or veggie plate on your turn to provide food. Remember we are talking about adding healthy options, not taking away the doughnuts.