Category Archives: Recipes

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

I was right! I said in my previous post that perhaps the reason why my pizza crust was too crunchy for my liking was the fact that I left it in the oven too long. I decided to use some leftover dough for dinner and this time it was only in the oven for about 5-8 minutes. Perfect chew! Many people like thin crust for the crunch. Honestly, I prefer a chewy crust. I go for thin crust because it means fewer calories. So if I can get my chewy crust in thin form, all is good in the world! And that seems to be the case in my kitchen right now.

This recipe is something of a combination of Roni’s Thin Crust Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, Jenna’s Best Pizza Crust, and a little know-how as learned from Mr. Alton Brown. I wanted to create a “’high-protein” whole wheat pizza crust for Weight Watcher Points Plus’ sake, and so I incorporated soy flour. And because I love a great deal of chew, I used bread flour, a higher-gluten wheat flour, in place of all-purpose, and opted for an addition of vital wheat gluten to ensure a nice rise and chewy texture, which can be difficult to achieve when using whole wheat flour and the completely gluten-less soy flour.

Michelle’s Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
makes 2 large pizza crusts (can easily make 24 slices of pizza, total)

2 1/2 tsp (or 1 packet) of active dry or quick-rise yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water (preferably about 120 degrees)
1/2 cup soy flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 tbsp ground flax
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil + more for rubbing

Combine water and yeast together in a small bowl (I used a measuring glass) and allow the yeast to “bloom” for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all the flours, the flax, the gluten, and the salt together thoroughly. Stir in the olive oil. Once the yeast has bloomed (it will look foamy), stir into the dry mix until you get a sloppy ball.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead the ball for about 10 minutes, or until the whole ball is smooth and evenly moistened without being sticky or dry to the touch. Add more flour or water in the kneading process, as needed. Sometimes it’s needed. Sometimes it isn’t. Ball will be done “kneading” when it becomes sort of elastic. It shouldn’t tear easily when you fold it over on itself, and you should be able to poke it gently with your fingertip and have the dough bounce back fairly easily.

Lightly oil the ball on all sides and place in a large bowl and cover tightly. Place in a warm place for several hours at minimum (until the ball doubles in size), or up to a day. I prefer to leave mine out for, at minimum, overnight, since that gives the gluten time to relax and make the dough easy to roll out without pulling back into a smaller round.

Once you’ve allowed the dough to rise for the amount of time you wish, cut the dough in half (for two large pizzas. I wrap up the second and stick it in the freezer for a quick pizza night at a later date) and with one ball, press out into a small round starting with the center of the ball. Use a rolling pin if you wish to roll out the dough, starting the pin from the center of the dough and rolling outward, turning the dough after each roll so you get whatever shape you wish (round, oval, amoeba… whatever).

Top with whatever ingredients you wish (pre-cooked where applicable. Don’t try to “cook” ingredients that require more than a few minutes in the oven, because you don’t want to overcook your crust), and place in a 400 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes, or until the crust firm at the bottom and a bit puffy on top. Or, if you’re using cheese as a topping, when the cheese is sufficiently melted to your liking is a good gauge.

Serving size: 2 slices (1/12th of the recipe or 1/6 of a whole pizza crust)
Calories: 154
Fat: 2.7 grams
Carbohydrates: 24.88 grams
Fiber: 4.32 grams
Sugars: .06 grams
Protein: 8.98 grams
Points Plus: 4

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Don’t forget about my Lea & Perrins Giveaway! Winking smile

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How to Pack a Lunch

Alright folks. I finally broke down and went to the doctor after dealing with an infection for the past few days. Now that I’ve got my antibiotics, I think it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out…..

Started off the day with Edgar’s version of Huevos Rancheros. My version would only have been slightly different. I wouldn’t have fried the tortilla, and I would have added cheese, avocado, and cilantro. But I wasn’t making breakfast, was I? Okay then.

He said he “lightly” fried (I honestly don’t think there’s such thing. There’s “fried” and then there’s “wrong,” but that’s another post…) the tortilla in canola oil, topped it with a fried egg, and put the beans and bacon on the side. He let me add the salsa. I stuffed the beans under the egg before photo time. 😉

With two slices o’ bacon and two glasses of cranberry juice. *sigh*

It was about 10:30 when I got home from my picking up my prescription, so I figured I ought to pack my lunch and eat it at work once I got hungry. It’s not every day that I bring my lunch to work, but I figured I’d take the opportunity to show you how to pack a lunch. Michelle-style.

First, grab your ingredients.

Then, measure out 1 tbsp of peanut butter and smear the it on one side of the bread. And a little on the other, ‘just so it doesn’t feel left out.

LICK THE SPOON!

Then, slice up half the banana and place on one peanut-buttered slice of bread.

Eat the other half of the banana as a morning snack!

And now you have a tasty peanut butter and banana sandwich!

Let me just shout out here to Naturally More peanut butter. It’s my favorite ever! That stats are incredible! It’s lower in calories, fat, and sugar than regular peanut butter, but is higher in protein, fiber, and omega-3s! It’s all natural, and it just tastes REALLY GOOD.

Okay, now for the afternoon snack!

Measure out 1/3 cup of greek yogurt (higher in protein!) and put in small container.

LICK THE SPOON!

Measure out and add in berries. I chose blackberries. Apparently I’m going for 3 oz today.


Drizzle with agave.


Voila! A packed lunch!

Of course. I ate lunch right at noon and my snack exactly two hours later. At 4, my tummy was rumbling again, so I ended up paying 65 cents with a check for this at the campus bookstore…

I gotta say. It’s not the most nutritious thing I could have bought, but it sure does taste good.

With dinner, I got …. experimental. I attempted poaching fish. I’m not good at it, apparently. But I fixed what I could and made it look pretty. Nothing tasted terrible, but I’ll be fixing the recipe before attempting either of them again.

So here you have it… “Poached” Salmon with a lemon butter sauce and Asparagus, Red Wine, and Couscous “Risotto.”

And a nightcap (which I forgot to photograph until AFTER they were gone! Oooops!)…

That’s one fruit and yogurt parfait + part of a Mocha Frappe (which I shared with Edgar).
Every Wednesday night my Sunday school class hangs out at McDonalds. Yes, McDonalds. We fellowship in style. 😉

Inching Closer

First things first.

Wendie Plan? Not so much for me. Basically eating up the majority of my weekly points the first part of the week has never worked for me, because I can’t live off the very little of the remainder during the second half of the week. So after a week of eating and counting tons the first half of the week and “intuitively eating” for the second half (because there wasn’t enough points left to really sustain me, so I decided to just listen to my body’s signals and feed it nutritious food when I got hungry), I gave up on that idea. However, the next week (last week) wasn’t much different because I had special events (and an out-of-the-bleu blue, trance-induced frying episode) the first half of the week and practically nothing leftover for Sunday and Monday.

But that’s a-okay, because…

I lost 1.4 lbs this week and now find myself in the 130’s!! I’m just OUNCES away from my Weight Watchers goal!! It’s pretty exciting!

Okay, I have some goals this week. First of all, I am going to experiment with photographing everything I eat and posting them on here every day. A day in the “life of [michelle’s] pi[e-hole]” if you will. I want to get more involved in my blog and share more about my daily eating habits, but I’m not sure how much time it’s going to consume since I’m already a full-time office worker and a full-time wife. But we’ll certainly see!

Starting….. NOW!

Breakfast was fantastic! I always look forward to reaching the bottom scrapings of my nut butter jars so I can do THIS!

Overnight Oats in a Jar!

In this mix…

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use Oikos)
  • 1/3 cup 1% milk
  • 1 average (4 oz) banana, chopped up
  • ~2 tsp of Dark Chocolate Dreams scrapings
  • ~1 tsp of some almond granola stuff I’ve had in my pantry for ages. The stuff expired years ago, but it’s apparently still good!

And with a side glass of no-sugar-added cranberry juice blend. I don’t typically drink juice, and certainly not cranberry juice, but I’ve heard that it helps… well… certain discomforts. And we’ll leave it at that. This a food blog and I’m eating!

I packed some dates for my morning snack.


I knew better. I knew that it’d do nothing for mid-morning hunger. But did I listen? Noooo. By 11:00 I was STARVING.

So I was all about volume come lunchtime.

Ain’t it pretty?!?

  • A bunch of romaine and arugula as a base
  • 1 oz of bell pepper
  • 1 oz of avocado, sliced
  • 1 slice uncured bacon, crumbled
  • 1 medium-boiled egg
  • a grating of parmesan
  • drizzling of lime juice

And the mini-sandwich was a slice of Ezekiel 4:9 Low Sodium bread with some fig preserves and 1/2 oz of Organic Valley Extra Sharp Raw Cheddar. Yum!

And two glasses of cranberry juice….

I finally got something right with my afternoon snack.

I’ve been on the search for a good all-natural pudding cup. This one is all-natural and has a bunch of good stats, but the texture is more gelatinous than creamy. And frankly, Jello Sugar Free Dark Chocolate scores much better in the “chocolate-y decadence” flavor category. So the search continues…

(Oh, and insert 6 oz of Dr Pepper in here, because I poured myself a small cup at work, but obviously didn’t photograph it. Oops!)

After Zumba I wasn’t all that hungry, but when I finally did eat, it was leftover Chicken Tortilla Soup from several nights ago. Topped it with some sliced up asadero cheese and a few tortilla strips I fried up last Wednesday.

I’m not going to share the recipe for it yet because, while it was good, it could really be improved upon. I’ll share the recipe when I tweak it a bit. 🙂

So there you have it! Day one of my one-week food-journal-blogging challenge. Stay tuned for more interesting eats!

An Acquired Taste

In our house, Edgar is the coffee drinker and I drink tea. I say that loosely because I typically don’t drink much hot tea, and never at breakfast. To me, drinking something hot in the morning takes too much effort to brew and even more time to drink. Plus it doesn’t make my tummy all that happy. I like my morning drinks to go down quick and refreshing. I generally reserve hot drinks for the evening.

I’ve never really liked coffee. I tried numerous times when I was younger to drink the muddy liquid that dripped out of the Mr Coffee, and attempted to disguise the bitterness with excessive servings of creamer to no avail.

But as they say, it’s an acquired taste. Until recently (and still largely still currently), my taste for coffee was limited to super-sweetened, dessert-like cold, creamy applications. Like tiramisu. Or a Mocha Java Shake from the Broadway Brew, which, to be quite frank, is a tiramisu milk shake. Occasionally I’d find the seasonally flavored brews of cappuccino (which were undeniably a powdered mixture blended with hot tap water) found at convenience stores significantly more pleasant than their Starbucks counterparts.

But recently I’ve found a friend in an iced mocha.

In an effort to increase my liking of coffee without adding mountains of sugar an cream to the tiniest shot of espresso, I’ve resolved to this blended recipe. I can’t say that it’s as quick as pouring a glass of milk, and it still requires the brewing and chilling of coffee before I can even begin to throw anything in the blender, but perhaps in time Edgar and I can work out some system…

  • Handful of ice cubes, pre-crushed a bit in the blender
  • ~ 1 cup of good quality brewed coffee, room temp or chilled
  • ~2/3 cup of milk (I use 1%)
  • ~3 tbsp of chocolate syrup. (Yes, I still use sugar free Hershey’s)

This recipe approximates 100 calories. A cup of milk brings in about that much, but with this I can get twice the volume of beverage. And I’m all about value!

Processed Food

Several weeks ago we finally used some of our wedding gift cards to purchase a food processor. It’s a middle-of-the-road Wolfgang Puck model that was inexpensive enough for our gift cards to cover, but cool enough to have a slicing and shredding disk! Since then, I’ve used it 987938479324 times. Okay, maybe about 5 or 6. That’s still roughly once per week.

First up!

Banana soft serve.

I don’t have a picture for this, but just imagine it in your head.

Blend frozen banana chunks into the processor until it forms the consistency of soft serve. It first begins to look like a crumbled mess. Keep going. Trust me. It will get there.

The taste? Like banana soft serve. I’ve heard that peanut butter mixed in is divine!

Second!

Homemade hummus!

Now, I’ve had hummus a grand total of 4 times in my life. The first time was store-bought Sabra. It was good, but didn’t necessarily thrill me. The second time was homemade. I didn’t like it. The third time was at Market Street at the salad bar. I liked it. The fourth time was this time. I made up the recipe on my own terms and used dried garbanzo beans instead of canned. I LOVE IT.

Lemon Garlic Hummus

  • 1/2 lb of dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight, left to simmer for 45 minutes (or until cooked) in the morning, and drained.
  • 4-6 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • ~5 tbsp of lemon juice. Fresh squeezed would be ideal!
  • ~5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (this is the time to pull out the good stuff!)
  • ~1/2 cup of clean drinking water (because our tap water tastes like stale pool water)

Place chickpeas/garbanzo beans, garlic, salt, peanut butter, and lemon juice in the food processor and pulse until it looks nice and crumbly. Slowly add the oi while pulsing. Then slowly add the water, while pulsing, until the mixture comes out smooth.

Yield about two cups worth of hummus at around 45 calories per tbsp.

I personally look forward to tomorrow’s lunch, which will feature this hummus in a veggie wrap alongside pepperjack, avocado, carrots, alfalfa sprouts, arugula, and bell peppers!

And third! A homemade Larabar, Almond Joy-style!

“Almond Joy” “Larabar”

  • 8 dried dates
  • 8 almonds, crushed/chopped
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp dark cocoa powder

Pulse almonds and dates together until well-mixed and crumbly. Add coconut and cocoa powder and pulse until well mixed, again. It won’t look like it will form together well, but pull it out onto some wax paper and form into a bar shape. Wrap with the wax paper and place in the fridge to firm up for a while.

Enjoy! It tastes JUST like an almond joy!

1 bar is equal to about 287 calories. The picture above shows one HALF of a Larabar.

Mexican Black Bean Lasagna

I conjured this up last night and oooooohhh myyyyy gossssh. It’s good. High in sodium for a single dish, but like anything else, everything in moderation, right?

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • ~4 cups spinach leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 cup black beans, DRAINED AND RINSED
  • 1 tbsp dried (Mexican!) oregano
  • 6 oz whole wheat ready-to-use lasagna noodles (or tortillas. I had both, but chose to use the last of my lasagna noodles, which definitely made it lean more toward lasagna in flavor. I’m sure the tortillas would make it taste more like enchiladas)
  • 2 cups prepared enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups reduced fat Mexican-style cheese blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-large nonstick pan set over medium heat, sweat onions and garlic until mostly translucent. Sprinkle with salt if needed to draw out moisture. Then add corn, bell peppers, black beans, spinach leaves, and oregano. Saute until everything is heated through.

In a medium casserole dish, spoon a few tablespoons of the enchilada sauce into the bottom just to cover the bottom. Layer like so:

1. 1/3 of noodles
2. 1/3 of remaining sauce
3. 1/3 of veggies mixture
4. 1/3 of cheese
5. 1/3 of noodles
6. 1/3 of sauce
7. 1/3 of veggies
8. 1/3 of cheese
9. 1/3 of noodles
10. 1/3 of sauce
11. 1/3 of veggies
12. 1/3 of cheese

Cover and place in oven for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until pasta is cooked through and cheese and sauce are bubbly.

Serves 4-6

(Nutrition based on recipe divided four ways)

10 WW points/463 calories, 15 grams fat, 1077 mg sodium, 56 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 23 grams protein

Kitchen Discoveries

This morning I woke up (at 11:30) really wanting fried eggs. I pull out the electric griddle and made a variation on a Weight Watchers recipes for eggs florentine:

The whole meal was only 4 points! Amazing! It was:

*1/2 cup fresh spinach and a minced 1/4 of a clove of  shallot sauteed with a dash of nutmeg until wilted
*1 whole egg fried with a little non-stick cooking spray. I fried it a la Alton Brown by having the griddle on medium to med-high and placing a pot lid over the egg to “steam” the yolk. I left it there for about 5-7 minutes since I like my eggs over hard. It came out perfect! Golden, crispy bottom with a yolk that was stiff enough to not run, but undercooked enough to taste buttery and custard-y.
* I topped 1/2 of a Thomas’ Light Whole Grain English muffin with the spinach mix, 1/4 cup of fat free mozzarella, and the fried egg. Served with a side of 2 slices of Oscar Mayer Center Cut bacon (cooked on the griddle for perfect flavor!). SO AMAZING.

Since I had breakfast around lunchtime, I decided to skip a formal lunch since I knew we were planning for an early dinner. I ate an undocumented gala apple at some point in the afternoon, as well as a peppermint ice cream sandwich since Edgar was trying to clean out the freezer.

For dinner I planned a meal consisting of four different Weight Watchers recipes:

Chili Caribbean Shrimp Skewers
Grilled Corn and Avocado Salsa
Tropical Couscous Salad
Grilled Pineapple with Basil and Ginger Cream Sauce

All of it was a relative success, save for a bit too much lime juice and cilantro overall. Did learn that I LOVE couscous.