Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Holy Grail

I wrote previously about our quest to find a low carb pizza crust. {http://chrissysdullmoments.blogspot.com/2013/04/2-crust-bake-off.html}
 I had not been able to make any real progress here. In a moment of complete determination  I read through several recipes, blog posts, reader comments, etc. to find the "key" to making a really good low carb pizza crust.

Friends, I have found our Holy Grail of pizza crusts. My main qualifications were...
-low carb
-soy free
-not more complicated to make then what I was currently doing
-not full of hard-to-find, expensive ingredients
-not require equipment I don't have

As a bonus? THIS CRUST IS VEGGIE BASED!

It's a tiny bit complicated to make, but if you follow this girl's blog post (read it all the way through first), it isn't too bad at all. She does a great job of explaining it. Per reader's comments and my own preferences, here is the recipe I used...

1 small to medium sized head of cauliflower - should yield 2 to 3 cups once processed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crust it even more between you fingers)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Few shakes of Penzey's pizza seasoning
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese + mozzarella cheese (we don't love parmesan cheese, so I put half of the 1/4 cup of parmesan and filled up the rest with mozzarella)
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon almond meal or gluten-free pizza mix (she says this is option, I recommend it to soak up moisture)

The blog: 

I followed her instructions very carefully. I heated my pizza pan in the oven, since I don't have a pizza stone. I generously greased the parchment paper. I had 3 cups of processed cauliflower "snow" and I recommend going this route. I don't know how little pizza she eats, but 3 cups made a crust just barely big enough for Robert and I to share. I plan on making a bigger one the next time. Maybe we just eat a lot, who knows? But I could have had another slice, since there is a lot less to this pizza then a traditional pizza.

Other tips...
Once my crust was ready on my pan, before the first baking, I patted it down with paper towels. I gently pressed them over and over on the crust to soak up extra liquid.

I baked it the first time until it was good and brown. My middle could have stood a little longer. I was worried about burning it, but upon seeing the rest of the crust while eating, it would have been fine.

I used the convection function on my oven for about 6-7 minutes when I baked the crust the first time. I think this helped to crisp it up evenly.

Robert said this was the best low carb crust I have made yet! This made me extremely happy, since 1) soy flour isn't cheap 2) we can both eat this crust 3) it is cauliflower based. WIN!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Let's shove it

My sweet friend wrote about body image today. It really made me stop and listen. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I'm a health coach - I talk to people all day about weight loss. I go home - my husband is knocking it out of the park with his own goals, with me researching and cooking every step of the way to help him.

I currently have 3 work out DVDs I am rotating, along with the AFAA's posture exercises, along with my running/ellpitcal. I just finished reading "Wheat Belly" and "Why We Get Fat".

I had a moment last night when I was hungry, and between the workouts and the books and the everything, I felt paralyzed about trying to think of what to eat.

Yes. Paralyzed. Not so much in "this is going to make me fat" as it was, "everything is going to kill me - there is nothing I can eat right now." I think ate some chocolate.

It's easy to get worked up. It is good to be reminded that God designed us, and that what matters the most isn't how high I can rock star jump, how many carbs I didn't eat today, or why I cannot for the life of me get my minutes per mile any lower.

What matters is that He has chosen me.

When Rick was living with us, I was making us late one time when we were trying to leave for a family event. I think I had 20 outfits spread across the bedroom. Rick asked Robert what the hold up was, to which the answer was, "Chrissy cannot find anything to wear." I corrected him with, "No, everything I try to wear makes me look fat." Rick asked me a very simple question,
"Doesn't everyone coming to this thing love you?"
I became paralyzed again, and I answered, "Um, yeah sure."
"Then why does it matter?"
I left with whatever outfit I had on.

Rick was and is actually very active about reversing women's poor body images. In the most non-creepy-way ever, he would cut right through whatever it was that day and get me to just let it go. He will tell any of his female friends to shove it when they tear themselves down. Robert is a great husband and really tries to get me to stop picking at myself, but some times, I feel like he has to, you know? Like your mom has to say your piano solo was the best at the recital. Between Rick's positive attitude and his cooking, I gained 8 lbs when he lived us for - for real. He told me all the time to gain about 10 more, ha! He moved out and I lost it and then some more, but now I'm stuck at this point - the paralyzed point - and I think, "Maybe we need to take it down a notch."

I need to remember that what really matters is that everyone who is showing up in my life loves me, especially the One who made me, who loves me more than I could ever imagine.

And guys, let's shove it. Let's stop tearing ourselves down.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I love being an aunt more than anything - no really.

This weekend we will celebrate our nephew's fifth birthday. {Don't ask me how it's possible. Just don't}

Five years ago, I became an aunt for the very first time.

Honestly, I love being an aunt more than anything. I love my job. I love being a health coach. I have awesome friends, and I love being with them. I love our church, I love being part of the body of Christ. My sister, my best friend, I could spend days with her on end and love it. I love cooking for people. I love making people laugh.

But I love being an aunt. The only thing I may love more is being married to my husband. But as I told him when we met, I was an aunt first, and it's hard to let go of your first love. {This is a joke - how my nephew had my heart and Robert had to be second. Anyone who knows us knows that my husband is always my first priority, I'm the luckiest to have him, and I love him more than anything}

Everything about my nephew and niece just... just... fills my heart. Even when they drive me crazy. Even when they scream so loud that I think it caused hearing damage. Even when my nephew threw up in my house, or my niece screamed at the sight of me because she wants Robert, not me. I could not love it more.

I gave up trying to rotate this adorable photo
Becoming an aunt changed everything for me -- it was the first real thing in my life that made me think, "I've got to get my act together and be responsible." It was the first thing that took away my need to be selfish {don't worry, I'm still selfish}, that turned my priorities upside down, that bonded me closer to those around me in a way I could never imagine.

 Becoming an aunt was a huge act of sanctification in my life.

And so as I go to celebrate our nephew's fifth birthday, I am thankful. I am thankful God chose to use Abram's being knit together to knit together some redemption in me. I am thankful that I was inspired to be a better person. I am thankful our God uses the everyday things - your sister having a baby - to change our hearts and to make us reflect Him all the better.

I am thankful for the way my niece looks up at me when I grab my keys and says, "But I want to stay with you!" I am thankful for the way my nephew crawls into my lap and puts his face very close to mine to tell me what he's most excited about.

Happy birthday to our laser-loving, scheming, negotiating, light bulb-breaking, joke-telling, convinced-he-needs-a-gold-platted-grappling-hook-more-than-anything-for-his-birthday nephew.




Monday, April 8, 2013

Pizza dough

Pizza night is a ritual in our house, and every Friday I make homemade pizza. If you are a guest in our home, I make you pizza, too! Homemade pizza is my favorite thing to eat, so when we got married, we decided to make it a weekly occurrence.

Now that we are eating low-carb and grain free, it's been challenging. In order to support my husband's commitment I have faithfully made him a low-carb pizza every week starting in February. The easiest way I found was a soy-flour crust. Since soy and I do NOT get along, I've also been making a normal crust for me and calling it my "one big cheat" a week. However, it's a lot of work to make 2 whole crusts. This week, I tried making an almond flour crust. I really should have taken a photo!

My sister let me buy some her almond flour so pizza crust was the first thing I was excited to try! It was pretty good. It doesn't quite taste the same as that yeasty-goodness of normal pizza crust, but it didn't taste "like a vegetable" and I could hold it with my hands, which is an accomplishment if you've ever baked anything grain-free.

I've found a couple more recipes that I'm excited to try -- and I may need some judges to help me determine the best one!

So why grain-free? We are both eating low-carb for weight loss and health. Whatever you probably know about "low carb" or "Atkins", throw it out the window. We eat plenty of vegetables and I eat fruit, though in moderation. We have both lost quite a bit of weight without having to count calories or increase exercise. The most challenging part of this is the first 2-3 weeks. Once you get into a routine and find what works for you, I don't find it any harder than eating "healthy". My biggest change was givnig up all those easy, processed goods and candy I bring for snacks and lunches. Now I bring nuts and half a Larabar for a morning snack, and I have a string cheese and some raw veggies for an afternoon snack. This is much, much better than some sugar-filled yogurt, granola bar, etc. I cannot believe how many veggies I eat now and how lazy I was before with my eating!

The best parts of eating low-carb and grain-free? I am not hungry, and when I am, I am usually filled easily with a simple protein shake or snack. No more counting down until the next time to eat! I have way more energy. My middle and belly, the place it's hardest for me to lose weight, has shrunk quite a bit! I've gotten to my current weight before when I've lost weight, but this is the only time I've gotten my core this small. Surprisingly, it's also pretty easy to stick to, unlike some other very restrictive diets. It's not without it's challenges (like the vegetarian wedding we went to this weekend), but I'm also not going to freak out if 10-20% of the time I let it go so I can have a fun time somewhere.

I never, ever thought we'd be "those people" who do things like "not eat processed goods" or avoid gluten or wheat. I also never thought we'd be able to lose this much and feel this good and be able to sustain it. So... success!

For the almond flour pizza crust I tried, go to...
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/863932-almond-meal-pizza-crust