Food

In prasie of pizza

A few nights ago I found out that one of my relatives knows how to make a mean pizza. If we were in front of each other, I would’ve high-fived her. We’re the same sign, and we enjoy the same snacks. Clearly in another life we were BFFs.


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Hence, I thought I’d share my love of homemade pies. I used to buy frozen pizzas from the grocery store. (If you need a recommendation, these are two of my favorites.) Then a couple of weeks ago a little birdie told me that I could handle making my own.

The birdie was right.

Here’s one I made recently.

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In my opinion, homemade pizza tastes better than any that you could buy. It’s ridiculously easy to make. And it’s cheaper, too–especially if you already own the ingredients. I found my dough-making instructions here.

The main difference between Stefano’s recipe and mine is that I don’t use semolina. Also, the last time I made my crust, I coated the dough with olive oil before I spread it out. It made it crispier.

Random confession: I cook my mushrooms before I put them on my pizza. Is that weird? When I first decided to use the ‘shrooms, all I could think of was how much moisture evaporates from them they’re sautéd.

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Food

Today’s smoothie:

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  • Pineapple juice
  • A little coconut milk. (Not the kind in the short cans. –> This one.)
  • 1 scoop of unflavoured whey isolate powder
  • Frozen mango chunks

Blend. Drink.

This combination has a mild, delicious flavor.  And the fact that there are no berries in there isn’t an accident.  I don’t want to have to deal with dry socket while I’m trying to heal! 🙂

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Food, let's get physical

RUNday: Resolution #1

There are many goals that I’d love to see come into fruition this year. And in this season of surrender and promises to self…Here’s one thing that I’m going to do my best to give up.

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Junk food.

A small thing to some, I know. Still.

Eating trash hasn’t served me well. It’s left me looking a lot like the before pic on this page.

Along with my cousin and her cronies, chickentuna‘s photo is my new fitsperation. I lost a few pounds last year. However, her “before” photo is similar to my present.

I came back into this post to edit the above so I wouldn’t sound that bad. But big or small, a tummy is still a tummy, no?

I almost wish I was the type of person whose mass increased at an even rate. Because at least then, my body type would make sense to me.

But no. If I eat too many bad calories, a dash will show up on my thighs, a wisp on my butt…

And a TON on my tummy.

Which is fine for some people. But I’ll be honest. I don’t like having a one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other physique.

And it’s been funny. I’ve tried not to tweet about my dietary concerns. Because I’m slim everywhere else, I worry that people might look at my profile photo and assume I’m one of those women who whines about what she eats while sporting a perfect figure.

Meanwhile, these new rules that I’m trying to adopt really aren’t all that new. Some today refer to the practice as “eating clean”. I call it common sense.

I was raised by a health nut. I eat well most of the time. And yet…I remember the week last year when I baked at least 3 different times. During that period, I binged on just about everything. (Here, the word “binged” means “sat down and munched half-to-all-of what I made within a few hours”.) I enjoy a salad as much as any other girl. But when it comes to “bad” foods, I have almost no impulse control.

So here we are at the dawn of 2013.

I can’t bring myself to start P90X. Instead, I want to give chickentuna’s method a try. I’ll keep doing normal exercises. I won’t make any special effort, apart from me being at my best. My main changes will be culinary.

They say abs are made in the kitchen. I intend to see if it’s true.

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Food

Freestyle Food: Applesauce

This is, without a doubt, one of the simplest recipes ever.

A few days ago I decided to do some baking. So I went to the store. After I came back, I realized that there was one ingredient that I forgot.

Applesauce.

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“But Claire,” said my Inner Voice. “You have apples.”

And so it began. Here are some instructions:

Peel, core and dice some apples. I can’t give you a set number. Figure out how many it might take to yield the amount of sauce that you want.

I needed 1/4 cup of sauce. I thought about using only 1 apple, but just to be safe, I prepped 2.

Put the apples in a pot with a little water or juice. (We didn’t have apple juice, so I used some white grape…)

Let your ingredients boil.

Be sure to let your mixture simmer for a few minutes. Add liquid depending on how dry the apples are.

Once your apples are soft, take them out of the pot and put them in your food processor.

Process them for a few seconds, et voilà.

Along the way you can add sugar. It’s up to you.

Like almond butter, once you make your own apple sauce you may find yourself thinking, “And I buy this because…?”

Indeed, DIY apple sauce is fun and easy to make.

Eat it up!

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Food

RUNday: Om nom nom

As I continue my journey into the world of fitness, I’m more conscious of what I put in my mouth. I haven’t turned into a complete culinary snob. But I’m trying to strike a balance between food that is both delicious and healthy. There are some things I’ve always known that keep hitting me in the face.

1. Don’t be a hero.

I tried eating my granola with the yogurt on the left. Note that it’s plain.

Several days ago I braced myself as I stood over my breakfast bowl. Heartily, I scooped the yogurt over my cereal, and told myself I was doing the right thing. I told myself I was pursing the healthier option.

I then dipped my spoon into the bowl and brought it to my lips.

Although technically I may have been correct about my objectives, my taste buds were not impressed.

At first I was disappointed. Why couldn’t I rise to the challenge? (Fun fact: This year marks probably the first time in my life where I’ve eaten boiled eggs without trying to devil them.) In spite of my upset, I quickly came to my senses. if something’s not working, there’s no sense in lying to yourself.

I bought the yogurt on the right the next day.

2. If you prefer “yours” over “theirs”, it’s ok.

Fibre1’s brownies* do not taste bad. But I thought they were expensive, and small.

In the end, I couldn’t help but think that I should have saved my money and made black bean brownies**. In my unprofessional opinion they taste nearly the same and are bound to be healthier.

3. Expect the unexpected.

Recently I was checking out Greatist‘s web site when I came upon Katie Morris’ Apple Quinoa Cake recipe.

I remember being perplexed and excited all at once.

I have apples! And quinoa.

And just think about it! Quinoa…In a cake? How does that work?

Yesterday morning I found out.

I only made one change to their recipe. I used chopped dates instead of raisins.

What did it taste like? Like chewy, crunchy, glorious…Awesomeness.

I was impressed and I definitely intend to make it again.

*The link goes to the product’s American site. I don’t know what–if any–differences you’ll find between theirs and the Canadian one.

**As I said in an earlier post, bean-based desserts tend to taste better the day after they’re made.

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Food, let's get physical

RUNday: Smooth Moves

Lately I’ve been making smoothies featuring my staple ingredients.

A Banana – I’ve tried to make smoothies without a banana before. I can’t help feeling as though something’s missing. Maybe I have a potassium deficiency?

Fruit – It doesn’t matter to me if it’s fresh or frozen. I enjoy adding strawberries and other goodies.

Pineapple Juice – I’ve had smoothies that use almond milk as a base. I’ve tried other juices. Pineapple juice is my favorite. I know some people will read this and gripe about the sugar that most juices contain. However because it’s natural sugar, I’m willing to look the other way. Plus, pineapple juice has other benefits.

Extras:

Hemp Powder – This time around I picked up a jug containing maca and ground flax. And I’ll admit it. Hemp powder makes my mixes taste a bit…Sandy Healthy. But it’s a great source of protein. These days, I like to sneak in my nutrition any way I can.

Avocado – Avocados do a body good. Every now and then I’ll stick a chunk in the blender.

What do you like in your smoothies?

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No sugar tonight.

What did I do after I came home tonight?

Well. I made this.

Banana bread. The recipe is right here.

At first I was worried. Although crusty on the outside, whenever I stuck a knife in a loaf, it came out goopy. A Little Birdie told me that my grandma used to refer to this as the “balling” stage.

*crickets*

I haven’t Googled the official definition. But if that stage is also known as the “mucky, gummy, bake-me-for-another-half-hour” stage, then yeah. That’s it.

In the end, my elders’ advice won. I didn’t want to burn my babies to cinders, so I gave up and left them alone.

And I tell ya. Magic ensued.

Once cooled*, my loaves firmed up. My bread tastes lovely–chewy, but cooked. Just like regular banana bread.

And all without a pinch of the sweet stuff.

*I just noticed that the recipe says to let the bread to cool “lest you run the risk of an extra-crumbly bread.” In my experience, “crumbly” was the least of my worries. 😉

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And another thing.

Tonight as I was using the food processor, it occurred to me that I left out yet another detail from my recipe tips.

(If you don’t know which recipe I’m referring to, just read my last 2 posts. 😉 )

In addition to watching the amount of beans that you use, you may find that you’ll want to reduce the amount of sugar as well.

Really.

I read Katie’s comments. Folks mentioned using less sugar than what she suggested.

Over the weekend I used about a cup. I have a huge sweet tooth and it was beyond adequate.

Honestly, if you’re worried about the dish being sweet enough, the chocolate chips more than make up for any lack of sugar.

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Freestyle Food: Super Salad + An Important Tip

I don’t plan on becomming a food blogger. But until I get back to love, life, and the pursuit of Jesus, I figure it can’t hurt to share a meal I made a few minutes ago, along with a vital note regarding yesterday’s recipe.

First, the salad:

The dressing was made of
balsalmic vinegar
sea salt
and olive oil.
 
As always, I mixed everything to taste.

The salad itself contains

1 can of tuna
1 bunch of romaine lettuce
2 tomatoes
Finely chopped red onion – about 1/4 cup
1/2 a cucumber
and white kidney beans left over from the Deep-Dish Cookie Pie that I made over the weekend.

Which brings me to my helpful hint. For some cooks, I’ll be stating the obvious. But bear with me…

When you read a recipe, pay careful attention to the measurements for the ingredients. Especially when a cook speaks in generalities concerning numbers of cans, bottles, etc.

For instance, the first item listed under the pie recipe was

2 cans white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed) (500g total, once drained)

(emphasis added)

When I went to the store, I grabbed two cans of beans from the shelf. However what I really should’ve watched was the more precise measurement of 500 grams.

Due to the size of my cans, I wound up Googling a gram-to-ounce/cups converter. Although Katie mentioned “2 cans” of beans, 500 grams in my universe amounted to just under ONE full can of beans.

That sort of thing is easy to overlook. But I think it’s important to save yourself from a ton of culinary heartache.

Measure carefully my friends! 😉

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My Latest Semi-Healthy Treat

I know that recently I wrote about wanting to keep off of sugar. Well…I finally gave in to temptation.

Last night I made this:

If it looks like a giant cookie, that’s pretty much what it is. But it’s vegan.  And made with beans.

Except for not adding salt, I followed this recipe to the letter.

(Note: Chocolate-Covered Katie is the blog I turn to when I feel like lusting after healthy-but-sinful sweets. Her Deep-Dish Cookie Pie did not disappoint.)

I made mine with white kidney beans.  Now…If you’re afraid of baking with beans, please don’t be. Just be sure to have realistic expectations. I’ve made black bean brownies exactly two times. Hence, when I blended the ingredients for this pie, I remembered a saying I came up with during my brownie adventures:

“This’ll taste better in the morning.”

I don’t know what it is. But in my opinion bean-based desserts taste 1000 times better the day after they’re made.

Otherwise, if you try to eat them a few minutes out of the oven, they tend to taste…BlehHealthy.

As I write this, it’s been nearly 24 hours, and there’s only one piece of my dessert left. Maybe it was the chocolate chips that pulled everything together. But I swear on everything I own, it tastes exactly like a large chocolate chip cookie.

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