Recipe Makeover: Deep Dish Pizza.

So the husband loves pizza.  When we order out pizza, he is always begging to order the deep dish kind but we always end up with my choice-- the thin crust option (half meat lovers-- half veggie lovers).
So when I saw this Healthier Version of a Deep Dish Pizza on Cooking Lights website, I knew I had to give it a try.
It turned out GREAT! 
Click here to watch a quick step by step video on the how to.

I made a few changes because of what I had on hand.
Instead of Chicken sausage I diced some frozen chicken breasts up(which made it even healthier).  I used 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 fresh tomato instead of 2 cans whole tomatoes. I added fresh spinach leaves into my veggie mixture. I didn't use all 2 cups of cheese, probably only 1 1/2 cups.  In place of the fresh oregano and fresh basil I used 1/2 tsp. each of their dried counterparts. With my alterations it still turned out awesome.  Def. a hearty, healthy meal.  One change I would make is to make the crust slightly thinner. Ya I know Deep dish pizza is known for their thick crust.... but for my liking I would make it a tad thinner.  The husband loved it as well....  which really is all that matters, Right?

Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza- from Cooking Light. 
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 piece)
2  teaspoons  sugar
1  package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1  cup  warm water
1  tablespoon  extra-virgin olive oil
about 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4  cup  yellow cornmeal
1/2  teaspoon  salt
2  cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2  precooked mild Italian chicken sausages (about 6 ounces), casings removed, chopped
1  (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained
1 1/2  teaspoons  chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2  teaspoons  chopped fresh basil
2  cups  thinly sliced mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
3/4  cup  chopped green bell pepper
3/4  cup  chopped red bell pepper

1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in olive oil.

2. Spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, and salt in a bowl. Stir flour mixture into yeast mixture until dough forms a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes); add an additional 1 tablespoon of flour at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).

3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Roll dough into an 11 x 15–inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Place dough in a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; press dough up sides of dish. Spread 1 1/2 cups cheese evenly over dough. Arrange chopped sausage evenly over cheese.

4. Preheat oven to 400°.

5. Chop tomatoes; place in a sieve. Stir in oregano and basil; drain tomato mixture 10 minutes.

6. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add mushrooms to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in bell peppers; cook for 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Arrange vegetables over sausage; spoon tomato mixture evenly over vegetables and sausage. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until crust browns and cheese bubbles. Cool 5 minutes before cutting.

So this is a pic of when we went to Chicago and got some authentic Giadorno's Deep Dish Pizza.  We ordered the Stuffed Spinach... thinking that it would be slightly healthier than some of the others.  I think we were wrong. Check out all that ooey gooey goodness of cheese.
So it was a cheesy delicious mess....  but I def. felt a little gross after eating it. It is one of those foods that is delish but that you feel good about eating it only on occasion.

So here is a Nutrition Info Comparison of Cooking Lights Made over Deep Dish Pizza and Giordano's Spinach Stuffed Pizza. I like to think that the one I made has even less calories because I used lean chicken breasts instead of chicken sausage and I used 1/2 cup less cheese.

  • Cooking Light's Deep Dish Pizza (1 slice)                    

9.2 grams                                     
  • (sat 4.6 grams)                                  
17.8 grams                                   
44 grams                                      
3.2 grams                                     
  • Giordano's Spinach Stuffed Pizza (1 slice)
Calories 500 Sodium 910 mg
Total Fat 21 g Potassium 0 mg
Saturated 12 g Total Carbs 54 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 6 g
Monounsaturated 14 g Sugars 0 g
Trans 0 g Protein 24 g
Cholesterol 44 mg

Differences- my pizza had
  • 170 less Calories per slice 
  • 11.8 grams less total fat per slice 
  • 7.4 grams less sat fat per slice 
  • 545 mg less sodium per slice
  • Just think if you are having 2 or 3 or even 4 slices.  What a huge difference mine would make.


Whole Wheat Bread... with Color

I thought this idea from 'Outnumbered' was a fun one on  
It get's your kids involved in your baking and if your kid's aren't the biggest fans of wheat bread, it may even get  them excited about eating it.
When you are making bread... take some of the dough out for your kids.... add just a bit of food coloring and let them knead it....  I think back to being a kid and I am sure that I would love a multi-colored sandwich.

Also here is a simple  
Whole Wheat Honey Bread Recipe (makes 3 loaves)


  • 3 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp. per package)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour


  1. In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.
  2. Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
  3. Punch down, and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes; do not overbake. Optional: lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely


Digging Your Own Grave

 "Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork."  
-English Proverb

It really is up to you.  Are you going to help in digging your own grave?  

Top 6 Leading Causes of Death in the U.S. from the CDC.

  • Heart disease: 631,636
  • Cancer: 559,888
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599
  • Diabetes: 72,449
Of the top 6 causes of death, 5 of these killers are a result of your actions--- related to diet, health, and exercise.


Steel Cut Oats. How-To & Nutrition Info.

Anyone that has ever lived with me knows that I
Love. LOVE. love 
Cream of Wheat or Oatmeal
I much prefer the warmth of these hot cereals over a cold cereal anyday.  It is easily my breakfast 5+ of the 7 days of the week... I love the comfort I get from them; especially during these long, cold winters in Iowa.  
Recently I have added another hot cereal to the line-up.
(Image from The Bitten Word on flickr.) 
Steel Cut Oats.
To me they have a bit more of a distinct flavor..... and have more texture than your regular oats and cream of wheat.  If you don't normally like oatmeal because you don't like the mushy texture, give Steel Cut Oats a try. I promise you will heart them...  
(Picture taken from here.)
Steel Cut Oatmeal Recipe: (1-2 servings)
1. Boil 2 cups water. 
2. When water starts boiling add in 1/2 cup steel cut oats and a pinch of salt. Stirring while you add. 
3. Turn heat to medium (medium-low) and cook for 15-25 minutes; stirring occasionally during the time so the cereal doesn't stick to the bottom.  (cooking times vary depending on what consistency you like). 
4. When it gets near the end of the cooking time, watch the cereal and take off heat when you get desired consistency.  
5. Immediately add in a splash of skim milk and 1/4 tsp. vanilla. (you don't have to do this step but I like the creaminess that the milk adds. 
6. Pour oatmeal into bowl and add any toppings you like.
My faves are Raisins and Honey- or Agave Nectar or Maple Syrup).
You can really add anything to this that you want. syrups, jam, fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon.... 

Ratio of water to Oats when cooking. (I like to use just a little less water than the package says when doing larger batches)
1 serving: 1/4 cup oats to 1 cup boiling water
2 servings: 1/2 cup oats to 2 cups boiling water
3 servings: 3/4 cup oats to 2 3/4 cups boiling water
4 servings: 1 cup oats to 3 1/2 cups boiling water
you get the jist..... 

As you have noticed from the cooking time above.... one downside to Steel Cut Oats is that it takes a bit longer to prepare.  I thought this recipe by The Bitten Word was a great idea for all you non early risers.   
Recipe for overnight oatmeal-.  The previous night you boil six cups of water, stir in ~1 1/2 cups oatmeal, let boil for 1-minute, turn off the heat and cover.   The next morning, you turn the heat back on and let it boil for 10 minutes.  In our experience, it doesn't even take that long: after 7 minutes the oatmeal is ready to eat. 
Our favorite way to eat oatmeal is with sliced bananas, chopped walnuts and a bit of maple syrup.  The recipe below recommends almonds, cranberries and maple syrup.

Also if you want to make one large batch.... the leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. That way you can have have it all made up; portion out what you want in the morning, heat it up for about 1 minute in the microwave, and enjoy every day in just a matter of minutes.
Steel cut oats can also be a bit more expensive than your regular oats.....  so if you do like them, buy them in bulk; it'll help save you some cash.

Nutrition Info Comparisons ---- regular oats and steel cut oats are basically the same- it is just the way the oats were cut that make the difference.

Quaker steel cut oats(1/4 cup dry; makes):
Calories – 150
Fat – 2.5g
Carbs – 27g
Fiber – 4g
Sugar – 1g
Protein – 5g 
Iron- 10% DV
Quaker old fashioned oats/quick oats (1/2 cup dry):
Calories – 150
Fat – 3g
Carbs – 27g
Fiber – 4g
Sugar – 1g
Protein – 5g
Iron- 10% DV

Cream of Wheat (1/4 cup dry):
Calories-   120
Fat- 0 g
Carbs- 25 g
Fiber- 1 g
Sugar- 0 g
Protein- 4 g
Iron- 55% of DV


Baked Apples... in the microwave.

When I want a quick, simple, healthy, and delicious snack in the middle of the winter.....  I turn to Microwaved Baked Apples. 
Baked Apple Recipe
1 medium apple
1 tablespoon raisins
sprinkles of cinnamon

Pecans (or other nut optional)
2 teaspoons Agave Nectar (or other sweetener like honey, maple syrup).

Place raisins in a small bowl and pour hot water over them. Allow them to soak until plump. (just a few minutes will work.) Wash an apple and remove most of the core, leaving about 1/4-inch at the bottom.  Place the apple into a microwave-safe baking dish. Sprinkle the inside of the apple with a little cinnamon and fill with drained raisins and nuts. Pour a teaspoon of the soaking water over the raisins and drizzle the syrup over the raisins/nuts and top of the apple. Microwave, uncovered, on high until apple is tender, 3-4 minutes, testing with a fork after 3 minutes. Allow to cool  before serving. 
*I like to use honeycrisp apples the best because they are not only my favorite flavor but they keep their shape the best.  I didn't have honeycrisp; so instead I used these... and they didn't hold their shape as well. Still tasty.....  Just doesn't look as pretty.  
*Also if you have more time the oven works great as well...... It takes about 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 


Happy Valentines!

Hope your day is filled with Love, Good Food, and Happiness.  


Oh. It. Is. Love. Dinner.

Here's a sample of our Valentines Dinner.  

Heart Shaped Chicken Pot Pie
I used this recipe....  but when it came to roll out the dough, instead of putting it in baking dishes I cut thedough into 4 large heart shaped pieces (5x7 inches?)- I cut a heart out on a white piece of paper to use as a pattern so my pieces were uniform. Place two of the heart pieces of dough onto a baking sheet.  Place filling onto dough leaving 1/2 - 1 inch of dough showing on the edges.  Place the remaining heart pieces on top of filling.  Pinch edges together.  Wisk egg and brush wash on top.  Cut 2-3 small slits on top.  Bake for 1 hour in a 350 degree oven.  Let cool and Enjoy.

Layered Valentines Jello

3-(3 ounce) packages any flavor Sugar-Free Jell-O
Boiling water (divided)
Cold water (divided)
1/2 cups evaporated milk (divided)
8 ounces Fat Free Cool Whip

1st Layer- Boil 3/4 cup hot water. Add 1 package jello and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and add 3/4 cup cold water. Stir. Pour into 9x13 baking dish (or if you have individual heart shaped dishes that would work even better) and chill for 40-60 minutes. Make sure it is set up really well.
2nd Layer- Boil 1/2 cup water. Add 1 package jello and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup cold water and 1/2 cup evaporated milk. Stir and gently pour over top of 1st layer. Chill for 45 minutes.
3rd Layer- Boil 3/4 cup hot water. Add 1 package jello and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and add 3/4 cup cold water. Stir and gently pour over 2nd layer. Chill for 45 minutes.
4th Layer- Spread Cool Whip on top.

I shaved some dark chocolate on top.

Spinach, Apple, & Berry Salad
Combine in medium bowl:

1 small bag Baby Spinach
1-2 Apples diced
Strawberries (I used blackberries instead because they were on sale)
Carmelized almonds (I used pecans because that's what I had on hand)
       *to carmelize the nuts.  Put about 1/4 sugar  and 1 cup nuts in a saute pan.  Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar melts and carmelizes on the nuts.  Remove from heat and spread on a piece of wax paper to cool.

Mix together in blender (or mix well with wisk)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
4 T. lemon juice
2 T. lemon rind
Pour desired amount of dressing on salad right before serving.


Food Spotlight. Miracle Noodle®

A noodle with ZERO calories, ZERO fat and less than one gram of carbs per serving? Just rinse and eat? 
Am I being Serious?
images taken from here 
Yep.... It really is true..... so what are these
Shirataki Noodles? 
Turns out that the “miracle noodle”, aka Shirataki, has been around in Asia for quite awhile.  These noodles are thinner than your regular wheat noodle. They are made from the tubers of an Asian plant called a konjac plant. The tubers are dried and ground to make flour which is then used to make noodles. In addition to having almost no calories or carbohydrates, shirataki noodles contain a type of soluble fiber called glucomannan. This fiber swells up and is believed to promote a sense of fullness and keep food in the stomach longer (good for keeping blood sugars down... thus great for diabetics.)

Shirataki noodles are packaged "wet", that is, you purchase them pre-packaged in liquid, and they are ready-to-eat out of the package. You can prepare them by boiling them briefly or running them under hot water.  Combine the noodles with other flavors...... Veggies, Sauces, in soups etc.  Really the possibilities are endless. 
Wondering where you can buy these "miracle noodles." They can be purchased online. (just google Miracle Noodles) or they can be purchased at several Asian food stores and natural food stores. They are becoming more popular and are starting to pop up at your regular grocers.
Some of these are Ralphs, Safeway, Trader Joe's, Sunset Foods and New Seasons Market.
Click here for more info on Miracle Noodles. 
Info taken from here.


Emotional Eating Part 2

I thought I would follow up yesterday's post with a bit more information on 
Emotional Eating.  
Click here to take a test to see where you stand on the Emotional Eating Scale. 
There are lots of websites that have some great information.Click here, here, and here to read all about it.

The Eight Traits of Emotional Hunger
 Emotional Hunger
Physical Hunger
1. Is sudden. One minute you're not even thinking about food, the next minute you're starving. You hunger goes from 0-60 within a short period of time.
Is gradual. Your stomach rumbles. One hour later, it growls. Physical hunger gives you steadily progressive clues that it's time to eat.
2. Is for a specific food. Your cravings are for one certain type of food, such as pasta, chocolate, or a cheeseburger. With emotional eating, you feel that you need to eat that particular food. No substitute will do!
Is open to different foods. With physical hunger, you may have food preferences, but they are flexible. You are open to alternate choices.
3. Is "above the neck." An emotionally based craving begins in the mouth and the mind. Your mouth wants to taste the pizza, chocolate, or doughnut. Your mind whirls with thoughts about your desired food.
Is based in the stomach. Physical hunger is recognizable by stomach sensations. You feel gnawing, rumbling, emptiness, and even pain in your stomach with physical hunger.
4. Is urgent. Emotional hunger urges you to eat NOW! There is a desire to instantly ease emotional pain with food.
Is patient. Physical hunger would prefer that you ate soon, but doesn't command you to eat right at that very instant.
5. Is paired with an upsetting emotion. Your boss yelled at you. Your child is in trouble at school. Your spouse is in a bad mood. Emotional hunger occurs in conjunction with an upsetting situation.
Happens out of physical need. Physical hunger occurs because it has been four or five hours since your last meal. You may experience light-headedness or low energy if overly hungry.
6. Involves automatic or absent-minded eating. Emotional eating can feel as if someone else's hand is scooping up the ice cream and putting it into your mouth ("automatic eating"). You may not notice that you've just eaten a whole bag of cookies ("absent-minded eating").
Involves deliberate choices and awareness of the eating. With physical hunger, you're aware of the food on your fork, in your mouth, and in your stomach. You consciously choose whether to eat half of your sandwich or the whole thing.
7. Does not stop eating in response to fullness. Emotional overeating stems from a desire to cover up painful feelings. The person stuffs herself to deaden her troubling emotions, and she will eat second and third helpings even though her stomach may hurt from being overly full.
Stops when full. Physical hunger stems from a desire to fuel and nourish the body. As soon as that intention is fulfilled, the person stops eating.
8. Feels guilty about eating. The paradox of emotional overeating is that the person eats to feel better, and then ends up berating herself for eating cookies, cakes, or cheeseburgers. She promises to atone ("I'll exercise, diet, skip meals, etc., tomorrow").
Realizes eating is necessary. When the intent behind eating is based in physical hunger, there's no guilt or shame. The person realizes that eating, like breathing oxygen, is a necessary behavior.
(Chart from Constant Craving : What Your Food Cravings Mean and How to Overcome Them, by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D., published by Hay House, Inc., 1995)

If you are an emotional eater.... remember to keep the 15-minute rule in mind at all times: The minute your mind veers toward thoughts of food and eating, note what time it is. For the next 15 minutes, don't go anywhere near food.
Keep believing in yourself. You have so much power to make your dreams come true. You can do it!


Emotional Eating. (guest blogger)

Today we have a thought from a Guest Blogger, my good friend, and fellow Dietitian Erica Pehrson Hart RD, CD. She currently works for Intermountain Health Care as an outpatient dietitian (teaching classes, one-on-one counseling etc.) She has a great way of relating things to real-life events.  I love her thoughts about Emotional Eating.  

Scenario: You wake up after only 4 hours of sleep and have a million things to do. Things are stressful and nothing seems to be going right.  After putting the kids to bed you walk into the kitchen searching for the closest thing you can find to make you feel better.  You dig into a bag of chocolate and feel great for about 10 minutes until you realize that half of the bag has been eaten.  About 10 minutes later you might feel guilty and you realize that the chocolate did not solve your problems.

We have in our bodies what I like to call Tank "A" and Tank "B".  
Tank "A" is our stomach. 
Tank "B" is our heart.  

These two organs in our bodies have COMPLETELY different functions.  One is used for food and energy. The other is used for our emotions (love, stress, boredom, loneliness, happiness).

*No matter how much we try to fill Tank "A", we can't fill Tank "B".  So next time you think about using food to cope with your emotions, think TWICE!*
Image taken from here


Eating Healthy at a Superbowl Party.

The Superbowl is tomorrow...... so if you are going to a party (whether to actually watch the game or just the commercials) be aware of your food choices. These parties aren't really known for their healthy eating and are usually one of the biggest calorie fests of the year. 
So here are a few tips on how you can make healthful choices. 
1. Don't go to the party famished... eat just a little something healthy before you head out. A fruit, a salad... just something so you don't go and grab everything that is in site. 
2. If you are in charge of bring something, be sure to bring something healthy. That way you will know there will be at least 1 item that you can indulge in without indulging in too many calories. Click here for some great recipes from Eating Well magazine. (or just do a google search for Healthy Superbowl recipes. There are so many out there). 
3. Control your portions.....  Don't sit right by the food table and don't keep the food out the whole time. Clear some of it away so it isn't within arm reach.  This will prevent you from mindless eating.  
It is okay to indulge (a little). If you have healthy eating habits most of the time, one day if you have a few indulgent items.... this won't compromise your health. The problem is when you eat like that every day.  Remember my 90-10 Rule?
4. If you do decide to sample some of the goodies--- don't go out of control!  Have a couple unhealthy options, enjoy them, and then move onto the more healthy choices. By balancing your unhealthy foods with healthy options you won't completely destroy your diet. 
5. Don't drink away your calories!  Have water be your beverage of choice. Soda, Alcohol, and Juices are packed with empty calories.  Rethink your Drink.

Foods to Avoid:  fried wings, cheesy-fatty dips, chips, pizza, sweets, anything slathered with sauces.

Foods to Indulge In(that are nutrient dense): salsa, raw veggies, shrimp, lean meats, fruits, nuts, hummus.

Enjoy the game and let's all walk away from the event without feeling like you blew your diet plan.


Trick to Peeling Kiwis

I don't know about you but before I learned this cool little trick on how to cut and peel kiwis....... half the kiwi would go to waste as I tried to peel the thing.
If you have the same problem, try this little trick out.
It makes it so easy.... and you end up with a whole kiwi.... Absolutely no waste at all.
1. Cut the two ends off the kiwi.
2.  Take a spoon and slide under the skin so the curve of the spoon matches the curve of the kiwi.
3. Slide the spoon around the kiwi to separate the fruit away from the skin.
(you have to be careful to not dig into the flesh of the kiwi.)
4. Go all the way around the fruit, and the kiwi should easily slip right out....
SKIN FREE and all in ONE PIECE. 


Dress for Success....

On mornings where you don't feel like going to the gym or exercising at home......  
Change into your Exercise Clothes.
Odds are that once you are dressed for working out, you may change your mind and more likely get out there exercising.  

There was a not-so-scientific survey done by Zobha Yoga and Fitness Apparel regarding this topic. (I agree with it... so I thought it was worth mentioning).
Zobha looked at women's views on exercise regimes and fitness fashion.Their survey found that wearing exercise gear can actually inspire and motivate women to achieve their goal: exercise.
*They found that 75% of women are more likely to workout if they're wearing exercise clothes.
So what I like to do is get my workout clothes ready the night before and I put them where I will be sure to see them first thing when I wake up the next morning.  When I see them it reminds me to change into them then and there..... and on most days it gets me to the gym. 

Study info taken from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/general-business-latest-news/spring-shape-up-no-more-excuses-65655292.html