Loaded pizza

Hello friends! We’re back after a crazy spring and summer! Hopefully you all are enjoying this beautiful weather we’ve been graced with… for 2 months ūüôā

I’ve started a new nursing job involving shift work and with that comes a bit more freedom with days off during the week. Today, I’ve decided to make a well rounded meal for me and my hubster… (not a word, you say? I’ll add it to Wikipedia.)

This pizza is inspired by one of my great friends and her love of vegetables on anything and everything! I think it would’ve been even better if I cooked it on the BBQ to give it a bit of a smokey flavor (and to avoid making the house hotter than it already is). Ah well, next time.

To make the crust:

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp quick-rising yeast
6 cups flour (I used 5 cups whole wheat and 1 cup white flour)

Mix sugar, salt, dry yeast and flour. Add water and oil. Knead well, adding more flour if needed. Cover with a wet tea towel and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Divide the dough into two and roll out onto a large cookie sheet or pizza pan. Let rise 5 minutes. Prick entire crust. Bake crust at 425 F (or on the BBQ) for 7 minutes. Remove from oven to cool. You can use immediately or freeze for later use.

Once your dough is ready…

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Throw on your pizza sauce of choice. I like to make my own using tomato sauce and tomato paste, and add my own spices like garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, pepper, and a dash of salt.

Next, slice up the veggies you are craving for the pizza!
I used mushrooms, leftover asparagus from our supper the night before, spinach, and red onion. I also added sliced pork tenderloin from the night before. We occasionally struggle with using up our leftovers so this was a great way to make sure nothing went to waste!

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Voila!

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A beautiful pizza! I just added a bit of cheese and baked it at 425 F for about 10 minutes. I always like to broil it for a couple minutes at the very end to crisp up the cheese a bit. Yumm!

I feel like pizza has created a bad rap for itself because of all of the (delicious) processed junk that often gets added. But you can make it (deliciously) healthy, too!

What are your favorite things to add to a pizza?

Until next time,

Bree

Making the change

Recently I have had many discussions with different people about weight, dieting, how to eat healthy, and exercise. It was truly amazing to see how many people want to look good and feel good, but don’t want to put in the work. In my own personal experience, eating healthy and not exercising did nothing for my body, my health, or my confidence. Exercise releases endorphins in your body that help you feel better about yourself, giving you the motivation to continue to work hard, and the confidence in yourself to think positively. Eating healthy gives you energy to exercise. It provides you with a clear mind to focus your energy on the workouts and in the end boosts your confidence.

Here are a few ideas to keep in mind if you’re planning on making a change in your lifestyle to feel good and be proud of your body:

#1. If you are dieting for the sole purpose of having a ‚Äúgreat‚ÄĚ body, you need to change your mindset. The only way any “diet” is going to work is to accept the body you have and to understand that in order to have a truly healthy body you must change your entire lifestyle. Everyone’s body type is so different. You cannot change your body type, so embrace it now! I promise you, it will only help you feel more motivated. Remind yourself every day that you are beautiful just the way you are! No diet will ever change what’s beneath.

#2. Being and staying healthy takes work. It includes both healthy eating AND exercise. Not one or the other. Find something active you enjoy doing (i.e. going for a walk, hiking, or get involved in something new like a sport you’ve always wanted to try) and really give it an honest go!¬†

#3. Partner up with a friend or schedule it in your calendar.  This way you have someone or something to hold you accountable to your goals. I have started writing in my calendar exactly what I want to do each day so that I can hold myself accountable. At the end of the day I can check it off. I love checking things off my to-do lists.

#4. Absolutely do not get down on yourself. Of course some days I happen to “forget” to do my exercises or eat my vegetables, but I don’t think negatively. I have to stay positive and continue to be kind to myself. Cutting myself down is only going to make me want to delay exercising further. Trust me… it’ll do the same to you, too! It’s like your inner teenager comes out and slams the door in your face. Stay positive and be kind to your mind and your body.¬†

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(thegreatist.com– check out this website for some fitness and health motivation and tips!)

Have you tried any diets or fitness programs in the past? What have been your experiences and what did you do in the end that helped you feel most confident and healthy?

My cousin recently went through a great deal to change his lifestyle, eating habits, and exercise routines. He is allowing the world to see what he did to make these changes on his blog. Check it out and be inspired!

Be strong and know you’re worth it!¬†

Bree

 

Follow Up to Weekly Dinner Menu… WHAT?

Well it has been a few weeks since I wrote Weekly Dinner Menu… What? and¬†needless to say it has not gone exactly as planned. I have all the excuses to prove why it hasn‚Äôt gone according to plan, but I won‚Äôt bore you with the excuses; I will just update you on my discoveries!

The weekly menu, although it sounds simple and straight forward, is so much more time consuming and takes so much more focus than I thought it would. I just seem to lose focus on Sundays when I should be preparing my list and shopping for the groceries needed. I also save the laundry, vacuuming, cleaning beds, etc.…until Sunday and I don’t believe it helps that I feel like my house is in constant disarray! Ahhh, there I go with my excuses!! Back to the reason I am here… Weekly Menu!

So one thing is for sure, preparing as much as possible before the week starts is the best way to make the weekly dinner menu a success. Prepare the veggies, the meat, and have everything ready to go, so the day of the meal or the day before it is much easier to throw together. Now I just have to figure out the best days to prepare this stuff, Sundays just aren’t cutting it for me.

An item I will be investing in is a chalkboard for in my kitchen… how handy this will be. My vision is to use it for the weekly menu so that everyone is aware of the meals planned. Another use will be for groceries. If we run out of an item, this will be a place to quickly jot down what the item is and then it can be added to the grocery list when it is being written up. Hmmm, am I making this too complicated? I feel like I need to organize it as best I can, but maybe it’s too much? Whether it is or not, I need to try. This has to work in order for us to get a full, happy meal on the table each night. What I am doing now, is just not working.

The most successful meal this week was the famous Pull A Part Chicken, made with Cauliflower Mashed and we snuck in some spinach, and it was amazing. Again my son gobbled it down. This meal is so quick and easy to make, and lasts a few meals for three people. Just one of those menu items that will stick with us for a long time.

Chicken Pull-A-Part

Chicken Pull-A-Part

Cauliflower Mashed

Cauliflower Mashed

The Final Product: Chicken, Cauliflower and Spinach

The Final Product: Chicken, Cauliflower and Spinach

So what do you do to make your weekly menu successful? Do you have any tips you can provide to help us all be successful in getting a healthy meal on the table?

Until next time,

Elisa

CrossFit: a change in perspective

CrossFit has been under some scrutiny these days for creating hand ripped, Paleo obsessed, injury prone athletes. This may be true for some, but it’s definitely NOT the focus of all CrossFit gyms. CrossFit can build people up in so many different ways- specifically mentally. I attended Reebok CrossFit 306 here in Saskatoon for over a year and it was such a rewarding experience. Check out their success stories¬†here to read up on some of the member’s amazing testimonies!

I want to provide you with some insight into what CrossFit has done for me but first let me provide you with a bit of my background. When I was young, I was not into sports, or really being that active. I tried a bunch of different sports but never stuck it out with one sport. Seriously, my resume extends from softball, volleyball, basketball, soccer, swimming, gymnastics, to even fencing and musical theatre (not much of a sport but hey). In the end, I never became really good at one thing. I had developed the mindset that if I wasn’t really good within a certain time frame (which was usually about 3 months or however long the season for that sport was), I would never be good at it and so it was not worth my time. This attitude developed into how much effort I put into a lot of things. If it didn’t come easy, I wasn’t interested. If I didn’t connect with someone fairly quickly, we weren’t meant to be friends. I didn’t want to put the time in to get past that awkward “how’s the weather” phase. I didn’t want to put much effort into writing that 20 page essay, because what would it really matter in the grand scheme of things? If I didn’t see results quickly after putting in a little bit of time and minimal effort, it wasn’t for me.

February of 2012 I decided to join crossfit after one of my good friends had joined and I was tired of hearing her brag about all the hardcore things she was doing there. I wanted in. My first day although intimidating, was awesome. I couldn’t do a wall ball (YouTube it if you don’t know what it is) but my coach was right there, scaling it down for me as I needed, and eventually he was right in there doing the wall balls with me. I was hooked. It’s not easy to say “this is too hard” when you have your coach right beside you encouraging you, and the rest of the gym behind you and cheering you on. And that’s how it was for the next year and a half. It definitely was not easy to get my butt there. I usually had a personal pep talk before each work out. “One step at a time Breanne, you’ll be able to do this workout. It’s not going to be easy, but trust me, you will NOT regret it afterwards.” I would complete each workout no matter what. Even if I had to lay there for 5 minutes to catch my breath in the middle of it, I still DID feel great after it was all over! Over time, I started to notice my mindset change from “I don’t think I can do this” to “I know I can do this- it’s not going to be easy but I can do it”. I started doing things that I never thought my body could do because I had never pushed myself that hard before. I started believing things that I didn’t think possible in the past. I remember one time at home I was making supper for my then fianc√© (now husband) and I had purchased meat that I was supposed to ask the butcher to slice very thinly but I had forgot. I got home with a big slab of meat and I thought “there is no way I can cut this myself- it’ll take way too long” but then I thought about the workout I had done that day… probably something like a kajillion kettle bell swings, pull ups, and rope climbs… and realized if I could do that, I can cut this puny roast into thin slices to make the meal I had planned on making in the first place. So off I went- one 5mm slice of meat at a time (yes- I measured!). This might not seem like an accomplishment to some, but trust me it was not easy!

I mentioned before that I do not do crossfit anymore. For my own health reasons I decided that it was not a good fit for me at this time. BUT I am now doing other things that I am passionate about but never thought I would be any good at. I’ve started doing yoga and I love it! I attend a bootcamp once a week through Sweat Performance and let me tell you- I did NOT think I would be one that could keep up with this group. The coach and the others that attend are always encouraging and pushing each other beyond their limits. I’ve also started running and am working towards doing a half marathon which I have always wanted to do but never put any effort into making that goal a reality. Blogging is another to add to my list- it’s something I’ve always been interested in but never thought I could actually do.

I’m not saying you have to do CrossFit to know that you are capable of doing things you never thought possible. Know that any accomplishment takes work, commitment, peer support and the belief in yourself that you are capable of anything! It just so happens that CrossFit and it’s amazingly supportive community has taught me just that and I am forever grateful. I encourage you all to find a community where you feel supported to be the best YOU, a community where you feel encouraged to push yourself beyond your limits and achieve things you never thought you could.

What do you do to push your limits? What challenges you in a positive way and lets you accomplish things you never thought possible? What are those accomplishments? Let’s hear some stories better than slicing meat!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Bree

Weekly Dinner Menu… WHAT?

My newest challenge is trying to get a healthy, happy meal on the dinner table, preferably before 9:00 pm. Yes, I find it a lot easier to run to the local fast food restaurant, or grab a quick meal out of the cupboard, but is it really all that healthy? Now with a 1 1/2 year old, I find I¬†want to put more focus around healthy eating so that I can teach my little guy how to eat right from the start¬†and why eating healthy is important. My husband and I have never really put a lot of focus on this.¬†Except for those special times¬†each year, you know what I mean, just before summer when¬†you¬†want to loose some weight for bikini season, or just after Christmas when¬†you managed to eat all of Grandma’s cookies! I feel I need to make this¬†idea of healthy eating a priority in our home, so one day it will be the norm in our home.¬†Now… wouldn’t that be nice.

So last week was my first, planned and successful Weekly Dinner Menu. The key to my success: making sure I gathered all the ingredients on the weekend so that I did not have to frantically run out the day of and grab what I¬†was missing. This made for a successful meal plan. This week, to add to the success, I have implemented meal planners/cooks. I take on two dinners a week and my husband makes two dinners a week. I am also¬†trying to make Pizza Fridays a staple in my home so that I know exactly what we’re having at the end of a busy week. I also have high hopes that my little boy, one day, will be one of the cooks!
This extra help takes the stress off of me to plan and make every meal. Its hard to be creative everyday, especially at the beginning when I am just trying to get a system in place.

Useful tools:

1. I love my slow cooker! I can make the majority of the meal the night before. The next day when I get home from work, the meal is ready and waiting.

2. I have also found prewashing the fruits and vegetables is very helpful. By that I mean, when I get home from the grocery store or market, I wash all perishable items (as required). That way when I need them I just grab and go. So much easier!

So to get started,¬†make sure to have a weekly plan, listing the day, the item and the person in charge… This is my first weeks attempt, which is¬†obviously a working progress but none the less a list. That’s gotta be better than nothing at all!

Screenshot_2013-09-23-11-40-02                        food
(My first attempt at a Weekly Menu)              (My son eating one of the homemade dishes)

With a list,¬†me and¬†my fellow¬†cooks have something to follow. It also comes in handy if a dinner doesn’t work out on the day I had planned… I can¬†swap it for a different day.
I am really¬†looking forward to continuing this with my family, and being more descriptive in my menu planning.¬†I’m working on including¬†exactly what the item will be instead of just “pasta dish”¬†and getting the whole family involved. It’s all part of learning and training¬†myself to do things differently. But I know in the end it will be good for all of us.

Let’s see how the next few weeks go…!!

Any suggestions for me and my family on how to make the Weekly Dinner Menu more successful? How does your family get through the weekly dinners? Are you a ‘meal planner’ or ‘cook as you go’ type?

Until next time,

Elisa