GF pizza crust mix review and super fast pizza sauce

I used to make pizza at home about once a week.   Little Sis’ family has homemade pizza once a week as well – I know you’re stunned that we do something alike .  However, Mr. Little Sis is a gluten genius and makes heavenly crust from scratch.  My husband is funny and plays a mean guitar lick but does not make pizza crust and for some reason I don’t either.  I used to use whole grain flat breads from the store and add my quick sauce, lots of fresh veggies and cheese and bake.  Still a great fast option if you do gluten!

Since we can’t do gluten or dairy anymore we do not eat pizza.  This makes it much harder to deny my son crappy restaurant or school pizza.  I mean the kid LOVES pizza, he ought to be able to eat it sometimes, don’t you think?

I have tried a few GF crusts including using soccacia (garbanzo based crepe type thing), but although a nice meal, it doesn’t feel like pizza.  I should say the crust doesn’t feel like pizza.  It’s too flat – no spring.  I am SO spoiled.  Some people don’t have enough calories and I’m worried about spring in my dough, but there you have it.  If one CAN have spring in one’s dough – and yes I feel a song coming on – then why not?

Enter Namaste Foods GF pizza crust mix.  While it does include tapioca flour and arrowroot flour (pretty starchy, no fiber), the first ingredient is brown rice flour – and I’m sure it’s still better than what one gets in the school cafeteria pizza crust!

P1000676This was very easy to prepare – add water and oil, beat up for a few minutes and spread out on an oiled pizza pan (or cookie sheet in my case).  The crusts baked for 20 minutes and came out looking crispy on the edges and still a bit doughy in the middle:

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I topped them with my super fast tomato sauce:
1 28 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes (by all means use fresh if you have them)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 large clove garlic
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp of basil, thyme and/or rosemary if you like.  I was using flavorful toppings so I just did oregano
Whiz it up in your blender.
If you don’t have a power blender like a Vita Mix, you could mince your garlic and then mix it by hand.

Spread the tomato sauce out on your crust….

P1000677  Let everyone have a little input on what goes on top (making sure that the reluctant vegetable eaters are only given choices you approve of 😉 )  and put back in the oven until the ‘cheese’ melts.  I used cashew cheese on half of the pizza for me and my husband and cheddar (my son’s fave – even on pizza) on the other half.  Olives  and bell peppers for everyone – zucchini on the other pie.

P1000678I have to say that the crust was crispy in spots and chewy in spots.  It was strong enough to pick up and eat the pizza with my hands, yet there was some chew.  Now the chew did not rival wheat crust, but it was at least chewy.

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We ALL enjoyed it, so I’m thinking if the gluten-eating pizza lover enjoyed it, that’s a good endorsement!  I may experiment to come up with my own mix from scratch, but until then, a bag of this in the pantry means I can get GF pizza on the table in about 35 minutes.   That makes me feel springy all over!

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Nofredo Orzo with Chickpeas, Peas, and Kale

It’s funny but even though Bigg Sis and I live 700 miles apart, we seem to crave and cook the same things at the same time. Last week she dazzled with her Vegan Bechamel.  While she was eating that, we were chowing down on some Vegan Alfredo Orzo.  No phone calls, no “tomorrow is vegan cream sauce day,” no matching outfits, just nature or nurture, or both.  Weird.

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Momma’s working poolside.

So what’s great about an easy vegan alfredo sauce? Really?  Do I have to answer that? For me last week, easy vegan alfredo sauce was a total lifesaver.  The kids are out of school and the first week of that adjustment was really fun.. some of the time.  Some of the rest of the time it was challenging and fitting in my paid gig was tricky.  Fast dinners needed. Continue reading

Healthy bechamel sauce with mushrooms and kale

Bechamel is a French word for yummy, creamy sauce.

Not really.  I made that up.

I don’t know what the literal translation is, but bechamel, according to Wikipedia, is a butter and flour based white sauce and is the ‘Mother Sauce’ of French cuisine.  Oooh la la!  We have lots of mothers of things and now we have the mother sauce.  Well!

Too bad we don’t eat butter (dairy) or flour (gluten) over here at this house due to medical advice for hubby and honestly we all feel pretty swell since we stopped.

So what to do when one needs a yummy, creamy sauce? Continue reading

Recall on Chicken with Plastic and Beef with E.Coli – Yummy!

Okay, the sarcasm is probably obnoxious, but SERIOUSLY?! 22,737 pounds of ground beef recalled for E. Coli details here, plastic in chicken parts details here. If you eat these bits, please check your freezers as well as your fridge.  If you don’t, but know people who do, be sure they check theirs.  Nobody wants E. Coli, and I’m pretty sure nobody wants pieces of a poultry processing machine in their bodies either. Ugh. Eat well, be well.

Celebration Krispies

So what I didn’t tell you when we discussed Bigg Sis’ birthday bash is that summer is high holla time for birthdays for this family. While my kids are winter babies, a huge portion of my extended family has summer birthdays. Between May and June we have a whole lotta celebrating going on – and it picks up again late in July and stretches all the way through August. Heck, we’re just celebrating all the time. Truth is, as I’ve revealed before, sometimes I get a little celebration overload. I am NOT super great at saying no to yummy stuff, so when celebrations start piling up, I usually start piling on. And more importantly I just feel weighed down and kind of oogie.

The last two months went a bit like this: a few weeks after my husband’s birthday, we had the start of summer vacation including Bigg Sis’ birthday celebration. The weekend after we got back we celebrated our 14th anniversary. This was followed in no time by about 15 end of school year events, celebrations, weird meals because of special events, the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL blowout, Father’s Day and then… my birthday. I was kind of done. Not done celebrating, just kind of done eating for a while. So instead of a traditional cake I decided I wanted something a little lighter, a little more just like a treat, and a little more no-bake on a hot summer day. I turned to my friend Dreena Burton and she had answers for me (she must really love me). Continue reading

Twisted Ratatouille

Vegetables are indeed the sure bet for health…. have you ever heard anyone say that vegetables are bad for you?  No, vegetables are definitely good for you.  A belly full of vegetables is a belly full of….. drum roll please…
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Vitamins, Vigor and Vitality!  

Indeed.  This is the wonderful pitcher that my Little Sis gave me for my birthday.  Isn’t she awesome?  She had fun negotiating with the man at the flea market who was the former owner of this wonderful thing.   I’m so glad she won!  And so I say to you dear friends… bring on the vegetables and their inherent vitamins, vigor and vitality.  We could all use a little V cubed couldn’t we?

On nights when I haven’t planned well, the extra and assorted vegetables on the counter or in the frig call out to me like a siren song and invite me to make them into dinner.  There is always the stir fry or curry approach to a variety of unclaimed / unplanned for vegetables, but this time, with an eggplant, a sweet onion, and a can of tomatoes on hand I decided to go in a different direction.   Continue reading

Free Tea – And Great Slaw

Isn’t summer grand?

After my strawberry post (the doe has not yet returned, by the way), I got to thinking about how amazing it is that you can plant something in the ground, give it some water, and then you can eat it. I mean, if you really think about that it’s pretty astonishing. I’ve picked about 20 pounds of strawberries at this point and the equivalent of about 20 store bought bunches of kale and chard. I’ve also plucked 6 or 7 beautiful heads of lettuce and a couple of heads worth of broccoli stalks. Just amazing. And I get to eat it; not only that, but it’s good for me. Now, lest you think I’m just showing off, I wanted to focus today on a gardening delight that many have found to be a little less than delightful, mint. Continue reading

Baby Step 11: Finding and Doling out the Food Dollars

Where are you spending money on food other than the grocery store? BabyStep11

Really.

Since we tackled the problem of time spent preparing healthier foods in Baby Step # 7, we Sis sisters thought we should address the cost of eating healthier food.

Food is available in many places, almost every place these days, and prices do vary.  I’m sure you’ve noticed.  It always hurts me to pay twice or three times as much for a granola bar in a convenience store than it would have had I bought a box (or made something and packed it in a little Tupperware cup).

And it also hurts to pay for food at work that costs much more than it would have cost me to pack leftovers because I ran out of time, or left my lunch at home.  We all do it, but we can’t honestly assess what we are spending on food each week or each month if we don’t include our expenditures outside of the grocery store.  I confess that my grocery bills are higher since we have begun eating more real food (un-prepared, un-processed fresh and some frozen foods).  However, I also spend less in restaurants, convenience stores, at work or on outings than previous to the change in diet.

While Little Sis and I have created some cheap healthy recipes (try the Cheap Eats category on the sidebar for a starting place), and can make many things ourselves more cheaply than we can buy them (almond milk, almond butter, high quality baked goods, macaroni & cheese, salad dressing, etc.), there is no denying that fresh fruits and vegetables, especially organic ones, cost more than a cart full of hamburger helper and canned green beans.  However, and again, the comparison is not fair unless you consider the entire picture of food costs. Continue reading