A Life without Pizza Is Not the Life for Me

Pizza, oh Pizza. Is there any other way to start this post than with a Haiku I found via Google? I think not.

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Simple. Moving. Accurate. Delicious.

I have a very hard time choosing ‘favorites’ in nearly every category, but when it comes to food, you really can just forget it. Too many delicious options to pick one. However, let’s just say that if I had to make a Top 8 List, Myspace style, Pizza would definitely have a permanent spot.

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I couldn’t resist this reference.😂

My appreciation for pizza and all the never ending options out there is serious, so you can imagine the internal struggle I faced when I willingly decided to embrace a paleo way of eating. I knew I felt better when I ate this way, but, but pizza. No grains or cheese? No problemo my friend! I’ve GOT this. That doesn’t apply to pizza though, right? RIGHT?! In the timeless words of the Arrested Development cast, I couldn’t help but think to myself “I’ve made a huge mistake.

Slowly, I came around to the idea that this was what I wanted to do for myself and health and if I didn’t do it then, I don’t know if I ever would have. Many of my processed and unhealthy favorites (i.e. junk food) got the boot when I changed my eating habits and I truly did/do feel better, but it was a process getting to where we are today where I very rarely miss them. Vanessa, the mastermind behind Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind , put it perfectly in her new book regarding the “stages of paleo.”

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Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Part of the journey to acceptance and where we are now is an 80/20 approach. We stick to the paleo guidelines 80% of the time, and the other 20% we enjoy foods that fall outside those guidelines and ‘treat’ meals that are SO not paleo. This helps us to keep our balance and feel our best. Another part of the journey was learning how to cook and bake. I am a big fan of spiralized veggies or spaghetti squash in place of noodles, cauliflower rice/mash/crust, etc., and all substitutions that help you enjoy close to your old favorites without feeling deprived. There are plenty of Pinterest recipes out there that can get you close to the real thing, (I’ve pretty much pinned them all!😁) but when I need to recreate something as dear to my heart as pizza, I don’t mess around. I go straight to the genius that is Brittany Angell. This woman knows what’s up. She never ceases to amaze me with her skills of taking healthier ingredients, often grain/dairy/sugar free so that people with allergies and intolerances can enjoy their food too, and turning these ingredients into masterful dishes you would NEVER guess are healthy. I discovered her Grain Free Thick Pizza Crust about a year or so ago and it has been a staple in our household ever since. I thought I’d pay it forward and share that with y’all today.

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 2.39.45 PMNotes:

I didn’t have Psyllium Husk when I first discovered this recipe, so I have always substituted Xantham Gum in its place.

Brush the partially baked crust with a little oil before adding the toppings. Confession: I use Olive oil spray to grease the parchment paper, my hands when spreading the dough, and the partially baked crust. I’ve found it to be easier and less of a mess.

Brittany mentioned that this crust doesn’t absorb much sauce and she was definitely right! (I may or may not have learned the hard way.) I personally use tomato paste cut with a little oil or watered down and seasoned to my liking. If you do use a pre-made pizza sauce be mindful about how much you use, or else you could end up with a mess on your hands.

The great thing about having a tried and true crust like this is that you are free to tailor it to whatever type of pizza you’re feeling that day. Go paleo and do a ‘meatza’ with just sauce, toppings, and meat of your choice! Go Hawaiian and add pineapple and ham! I’m personally a big fan of mushroom, onion, green pepper, garlic, black olives, spinach, and some sausage. YUM! The more veggies, the better in my book. James loves his sausage or pepperoni. If you tolerate it well, go classic and even add your favorite cheese…in moderation of course! 🙂 Another option that we have used from time to time is Daiya, a non-dairy ‘cheese’ that is a close enough substitute when you’re avoiding dairy. What is your favorite kind of pizza? I’m always up for new suggestions for us to try and would love to hear from you!

(Almost) Paleo Lasagna

Just call me Garfield...

Just call me Garfield…

As the weather around here has begun to cool off, I can’t help but find myself craving lots of standard Fall comfort foods. I’ve been on a soup/chili kick most recently, which has been delicious, healthy, and budget friendly. Talk about a win-win-win.

Lately I have had a major craving for lasagna, but in a mostly paleo household that can be hard to do. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of amazing recipes out there for paleo versions of lasagna and the ones I have tried were extremely yummy…but I wasn’t craving those versions. This pregnancy craving wanted full-out, melty cheese-y, real noodle-y, blast from my pre-paleo past, lasagna. Now there was no way I was going to cave completely, but I found an awesome way to compromise that was ALMOST paleo…It. was. AWESOME. Seriously, it turned out better than I even expected.

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Unfortunately, I’m not the professional foodie my husband is, and didn’t document this amazing meal, but I will still share the recipe and hope that you trust me on this one. The secret ingredient for this recipe was none other than Cappelllo’s  Lasagna Sheets. If your local supermarket doesn’t carry Cappello’s you could make your own paleo lasagna noodles following this recipe or this one. There are also plenty of  paleo veggie noodle alternatives pinned on my paleo dinners board if you prefer those! 🙂

 

 

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Cappello’s Lasagna Sheets rock. Plain and simple. They are gluten free and paleo without the work! I usually am able to get a few meals out of 1 package, so totally worth the price in my opinion. Now, onto the recipe:

Almost Paleo Lasagna Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package of Cappello’s Lasagna Sheets

Meat:

  • 1 lb Ground Beef (or whatever ground meat you prefer)
  • 1/4 Onion, chopped
  • 1 TBSP Oregano
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Sauce:

You can make your own sauce or use a pre-made marinara. (Just be aware of the ingredients! Watch out for added sugar and unnecessary extras. )

  • 3/4 can of organic tomato sauce (13-15 oz size)
  • 1/4 cup diced green peppers
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Powder (I typically would use fresh garlic, but forgot this time!)
  • 1 TBSP Oregano
  • 1/2 TBSP Basil
  • 3 TBSP Grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1.5 tsp Pepper
  • Any other veggies you like!

Optional: 1 cup Mozzarella cheese

 

Instructions:

  1. Place ground beef in skillet and cook over medium heat. Once mostly browned, add in onion and remaining meat ingredients. Cook until meat is done, approximately 5-10 minutes more and then remove from heat.
  2. In another skillet, add sauce ingredients over medium-low heat and stir occasionally. If it begins to bubble or boil, turn heat to low and keep warm.
  3. In an 8 x 8 oven safe pan or dish, pour enough sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the dish. (I used an 8 x 8 square pyrex pan because I only have to feed James and myself. If you’re making this recipe for more people you could use a 9 x 13 pan and the entire package of lasagna sheets.)
  4. Next, create a layer of noodles by closely placing your lasagna sheets next to each other.
  5. On top of the noodle layer add a layer of cooked meat and top with more sauce. This can be done to your liking, AKA if you like saucier lasagna use more sauce, if not pour lightly.
  6. Add another row of lasagna sheets, more meat, and sauce. (You can repeat this step again if you want/have room in your dish.)
  7. If using cheese, sprinkle 1 cup (it took a lot of self-control to keep it to 1 cup!) evenly across top layer of meat and sauce.
  8. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 15 more minutes.
  9. ENJOY! 😛

 

If you give this recipe a try and enjoy it, will you be so kind as to give this amateur cook a comment below? I’d love to hear from you!