My eternal quest to make a non-pizza that tastes like pizza.

I’ve actually got a couple of things to share.  Some recipes for non-pizza pizza and pictures of poop.  I’ll save the latter for the end so you don’t leave before you finish reading the post.

First, pizza.  I really like pizza, but find that the stuff that tastes the best is typically pretty unhealthy.  Believe it or not, there was once a time that I would sit down with a medium or large Papa John’s pizza and eat almost all of it.  And then I dipped the crusts in that delicious garlic butter.  And if dared, I’d eat the banana pepper (which I call “pepperoncinis,” but apparently that’s not what Subway calls them).   Those days are long gone, but I still really like pizza. Thus my quest to find some sort of satisfying substitute for pizza.  Because quite frankly, I just can’t eat this, like, ever. (I know, I always tell people “Everything in moderation” but I often can’t bring myself to eat even this kind of stuff).

First up, the most pizza-like non-pizza pizza.  Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Pizza Dough with Trader Joe’s Marinara Sauce (which is absolutely amazing if you’ve never had it) and part skim mozzarella OR 2% milk cheese.  If I have veggies around or already cut up, I’ll throw them on, otherwise, that’s it.  Since I only use about half the package of cheese ($3.99 at TJs) I figure the whole thing is less than $5.  Be sure to bring your Pam and Patience though because the dough can be tricky and really likes to stick to the bottom of the pan (if anyone has suggestions as to how to prevent this, I’m open to any and all suggestions).

(I can’t believe I don’t have a picture of this, I guess I will have to make this for dinner again soon).

Second up, if I’m really desparate, I will make what I call “Bread Pizza.”  This is simply a slice or two of bread (either OrowheatDouble Fiber or Light 100% Wheat), put some TJs marinara on it and sprinkle a little cheese over the top.  Put it under the broiler for 3 minutes (approximately) and viola! Pizza.

(again, no picture.)

Third, I’ve found this stuff called “socca”.  This site has a lot of socca variations, but I like to keep it simple.  Equal parts garbanzo flour and water (sometimes I’ll use a little more water, like 1 1/2 or 2 times the amount of flour), salt and a little seasoning (I love rosemary).  Let the batter sit while your oven/pan heat up. Pre-heat your oven and stick an 8″ round pan (metal only) that is sprayed with cooking spray in a 450 degree oven.  Once the oven is pre-heated (or about 10 minutes), pull the pan out and pour your batter into it.  It will sizzle a little.  Put it back into the oven.  Bake for about 10-20 minutes (it depends on how thick your batter is) and viola, a round piece of dough-ish stuff.  I usually invert the pan onto a cookie sheet (like you would do for an upside-down cake) and then put toppings on it (TJs marinara, veggies, cheese, etc.) and put it back in the oven for a few minutes.  Viola! Pizza.   I love the texture of socca and the flavor is really versitile.  I also love the fiber and protein that are packed in garbanzo flour.  I found Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo flour at PCC for like $2.50.   There is also Certified Gluten Free G-bean flour, but it’s at least twice as expensive.

Last but not least, my latest non-pizza pizza discovery, from Foods of April.  I modified a couple of things, but was really excited about the result.

  • 2 c diced, peeled eggplant,
  • 2 scoops of TJs Soy Protein (plain),
  • 3 egg whites,
  • 1 Tbsp flax meal,
  • fresh basil leaves,
  • one clove of garlic,
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt

Put it all in the food processor and turn it on.  It processed for a couple of minutes (I wanted to make sure it was all combined) and spread it out (kinda thin) onto a cooking-spray greased cookie sheet.  I put it in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes, and then removed it, added some TJs marinara sauce, a little ham, some leftover roasted veggies and a Laughing Cow wedge (good idea, April!) and viola! Pizza!!!!

After I ate half of the pizza, Brian and me decided to take Lil’ G for a walk around the hood.

(By the way, she is more of a breadstick/crust girl)

Guess what we found?

If you can’t tell what that is, it’s a giant BEAR turd.  Yep, I can’t think of any other animal whose poop would look like that.  Plus, we saw the paw prints in the grass (we think it walked through the construction dust of one of the new houses being built).  Crazy!!

Gertie kept trying to sniff/eat the poop.  It was gross.  Almost as gross as me posting a picture of bear poop on my website.


Christmas Marathon Part I

So, I’ve spent a lot of time with my lovely family  over the past couple of weeks.  The events were well documented, and I’m sure all involved are anxious to see the resulting photos (seriously, you’ve all been waiting not so patiently, right?).

(Brian’s mom’s “Funky Santa”. I call it “Creepy”.)

Christmas eve started at Brian’s aunt’s house.  We had Chinese food.

My plate:

Because it looked so awesomely awesome, I had to photograph Brian’s cousin Ben’s plate:

And while I’m not entirely sure what this means, I can tell you that Fortune Cookies might be one of my favorite foods.  Crazy? Maybe.  Ashamed?  Nope.

Not too long after dinner, we headed home because I was sleepy.

I always have to plan to run on Christmas, as it is the one day out of the entire year that 24 Hour Fitness is closed entirely. Unfortunately, it is also a day that I desperately need a good workout.  I managed to go about 10 miles this time, which was really nice.

After my run, Brian was anxious to get going (presents, presents, presents!!!!) so we headed out. Gertie joined us for the affair.

(This picture cracks me up.  I’m not sure why her ears stick up like that sometimes, but I think she looks like Gizmo)

Brian’s mom gives really awesome stockings.  She fills it with “essentials” like toothpaste and deoderant and gum, but this year, there was another theme: Trader Joe’s!

And if you haven’t tried these almonds, I highly recommend them.

After we opened our stockings and presents, we headed to the other side of the mountains to see my dad.  What did we have for dinner?  Pizza.

What happened to ham/turkey/prime rib on Christmas? He selected this vegetarian thin crust pizza for me.  I brought a salad along to eat with it.  Of course, I was the only one eating it.  When I questioned why no one else partook in the salad, my dad said “I thought the vegetables were on the pizza?”

Clearly, my dad doesn’t know me.   Except he does, because he knew to buy a vegetable pizza.  My only complaint is that Papa Murphy’s uses a cream based sauce, and it’s way healthier to select a tomato sauce.  I didn’t want to complain to my dad, but if I had known I would have requested a red sauce.   Side note: you can always order your pizza with half the amount of cheese.  You’ll save yourself quite a few calories.

Speaking of calories, every year I make my dad a batch of these cookies:

We always call them Russian Tea Cakes, but I think they are also Mexican Wedding Cookies, or some other variation.  My dad loves these and basically eats the whole plate on his own.

Gertie was really happy too.

I also saw my best friend this weekend (she lives 5 hours away from me).  She has twins who will be 2 at the end of April (I guess that makes them something like 20 months, but I start to get confused when counting things in months.  Why do we do that?)

Regardless, they are rediculously cute. (especially when they eat chili and stick it in their nose and get it all over their face and stuff).

So, as if we hadn’t had enough Christmas already, we headed BACK to Ellensburg on NYE to celebrate Christmas/New Years wtih my mom, stepdad, my sister, and my brother and his family.

The details of that adventure will be featured in the next post.  I have too many pictures in this one and my computer is going slow and I have limited patience.

a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

I have been too busy with other activities this weekend to do any actual cooking.   Hanging out with friends and dating my husband and taking pictures of stuff besides food and getting pretty and running errands have taken the front seat. Oh, and I’ve been getting ready to start my new job.

Something else that I’m involved in that isn’t job related is volunteering for two organizations: Kiwanis Camp Casey and The Crew.  Camp Casey is a week-long camp for children ages 6-17 with physical disabilities.  The Crew is a social group (founded by my husband) for teens and young adults with physical disabilities to hang out and plan parties and stuff. We get together once a month and right now the group is planning a party.  Yesterday we had a Crew meeting. I took some good shots, so I thought I would share.

After Crew, we went wine tasting in Seattle, specifically at a place called the Fremont Wine Warehouse.  We tasted 7-8 different wines and guess what? It was FREE!  They have tastings every Friday and Saturday night.

We bought a bottle of red and picked a Thai restaurant nearby.  We had to pay to have them open the bottle, but overall it was less than if we had each ordered a glass or two.  The food was also delish, but I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture.  Oops.

When we got home we were zonked.  But this morning, Brian asked me a beautiful question, one I’ve never heard before:

“Can you teach me how to make waffles?”

Um, yes!

I used this recipe, scaled to make two waffles, and told him step by step what to do (I didn’t have him separate the egg and whip the whites to soft peaks though, the egg went in all together). Here is what the ready to eat product looked like just before he dove into them (he was anxious and a little annoyed that I stole his masterpiece to take pictures).

…And then Gertie peed on the couch. So I don’t have any cute pictures of her today.  But I do have a couple randoms that are kinda fun:

I’m off to bed. Wish me luck on my first day, I’m sure I’ll have lots to report tomorrow!

Pumpkin and Peanut Butter

These two ingredients made appearances in my kitchen today.  Not together – separate appearances.

This morning, I tried pumpkin oatmeal for the first time.  I saw it here and here and decided it was time to give pumpkin + oatmeal a try.

…and I’m glad I did!  I modified the recipe a bit, I used:

1/2 c-3/4 c water

1/4 c old fashioned oats

1/4 c wheat bran

1/2 c canned pumpkin

pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, splenda, sugar free maple syrup, or anything else you like in your oatmeal!

a few chopped almonds sprinkled on top

Bring water to a boil.  Add oats, lower heat, and cook until oats have absorbed the water, but not quite sticking to the pan yet.  Add wheat bran and stir.  Add pumpkin, spices, splenda, syrup,  and stir. Top with almonds. I also like to top mine with a little milk, but don’t cook my oats with milk. It rocked my world and I’m officially into pumpkin oatmeal. Actually, I’m into pumpkin. period.  I even ate the same thing for lunch as I had for dinner last night. Pumpkin + Marinara = love.

Ok, back to this morning. Since I already had my pot out, I decided to cook some hot cereal samples I got forever ago. In separate batches, of course.

I cooked them and put them in the fridge for later.

This afternoon, I attempted a recipe I had seen here for flourless peanut butter cookies.  (PS, if you haven’t read this blog, it rocks.  Joy is really funny/creative/talented.)

I used TJ’s peanut flour + water + splenda + 1 egg.

These were supposed to look like peanut butter cookies.  Mine looked like runny peanut butter, thus had to make them into bars.

Unfortunately, they still didn’t turn out as I had hoped.  I am admitting defeat, but might still try to make a “healthy” version of this recipe later on. Nonetheless, I snapped a pretty shot, but these aren’t quite ready to eat in this form.

Not every recipe can turn out perfect, right?  Well…

I opened my cupboards and refrigerator to come up with an alternative.  I found chocolate chips and cream cheese, and remembered this recipe and decided to make my own version.

I stuck the bars + 2 oz fat free cream cheese in the food processor and mixed them up.  I then melted 2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips in the microwave (1 minute) and put them in a baggie.  I cut the tip off of the baggie and piped the chocolate over the top.

Viola! I got 15 balls out of it and they turned out WAYYYY better than the bars… Victory!

I think Gertie is frustrated because she can’t itch her eye OR update her facebook!  However, the cone didn’t stop her from dancing with me earlier!

Last but not least, I found a really cool app for my iPhone called Instagram.  It’s free and lets me add fun filters to pictures taken with my phone.  I’m having a lot of fun playing with this, so be patient with me if there are some funky looking pictures – I’m exploring my creative side!

I really do love Trader Joe’s

I have a love-love relationship with Trader Joe’s.  Since moving to western Washington, I’ve never lived more than a few miles from one. They have the best products for the price, and in some cases, they have the ONLY products (I can never get enough Cat’s Cookies!).  But, like most great guys, he’s still not perfect.

Here’s what the nutrition facts label for their Whole Wheat and Corn Tortillas reads:

Here’s what two of them looked like next to each other (they were pretty different in size):

Here’s what my scale reads:

And despite a variation in size of each tortilla, they actually weighed almost the exact same amount- as did every other tortilla in the entire package.

The consistency in weights of each tortilla tells me something: that the tortillas are purposely measured larger than what is reported on the package.  People eat these thinking they are consuming 57 grams of tortilla (120 calories) but in reality, they are consuming between 75-77 g (158-162 calories).   In my food law class, I remember there being a percentage that manufacturers were allowed to “differ” from actual values, but can’t remember exactly how much.  I’ll look it up (even if it means digging through hundreds of pages of codes/regulations).

I’ll admit, my scale could be off, but 20 grams seems to be a pretty significant difference, no?

I found the same to be true when I measured the Bran Flakes.

The amount listed was for a 1.1 oz serving, but when I measured 3/4 cup, it was 1 1/2 oz.  1.1 oz (or 30 g) came out to look more like 1/2 cup.

1.1 oz (or 30 g) came out to look more like 1/2 cup (note: I don’t usually use a liquid measuring cup for dry ingredients, but I wanted to be able to illustrate the measurement).

I’m not going to stop buying/using these items, but it’s really good to know what I’m actually consuming! Also, if you like this kind of thing, here is a really fun site.

Last night I had to take a CPR class so I didn’t get home until 10:30.  So, regardless of what the label said, I made a tortilla topped with pumpkin-pizza sauce, some black forest ham, leftover roasted veggies and mozzarella for dinner.  I stuck it under the broiler for a few minutes to heat it up, and it was yummy!

Pumpkin Pizza Sauce

Equal parts:

Traditional Marinara Sauce from Trader Joe’s (my FAVORITE marinara sauce!!)

Solid pack canned pumpkin

Mix together and spread on to “pizza”! Use as much or as little as you like.  It’s definitely thicker, but it adds a little bit of oomph to your regular pizza sauce.

Finally, an image of my pathetic dog:

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the first thing I did when we got Gertie was look into what to feed her.  I keep going to the pet stores with the intention of purchasing the “good” dog food, but can’t bring myself to spend $22 on a 3 lb bag.  That would be more expensive than just making my food.  Gertie and I have been talked to a few times about a “raw” diet, but it still kinda freaks me out.  I was really happy to get validation from this video.

Has anyone tried raw food with their dog? What has been your experience?