Monday, July 21, 2014

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe

I started making my own pizza dough a few years ago when a friend insisted that it was easy and it was yummy-- I figured, why not give it a try?  I love to bake!  I started out buying those pizza yeast packets and following the instructions on the back.... As our family started to make healthier choices though, I wanted to make a whole wheat pizza dough and I soon discovered that you cannot just sub whole wheat flours for the all purpose flour in any old pizza dough recipe.  It just doesn't turn out right, the end result is flat and dry.  So I set out to find a whole wheat pizza dough that would be family approved, and not flat and dry.  The best I found came from and what I'm sharing with you today is adapted from that-- only a few differences.

- 2 to 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 cup ground flax (optional)

1. Mix together the sugar, active dry yeast and warm water and leave to set for 5 minutes for the yeast to get extra happy. 
Happy yeast
2. In your mixer fitted with a dough hook, add 2 cups of the whole wheat flour, ground flax, olive oil, salt, and your happy yeast.  Mix until incorporated well and knead for 4-5 minutes.  Once you have mixed/kneaded the dough, if it still seems a bit sticky, you can add in a little more flour a tablespoon at a time until it pulls from the sides of the bowl.

3.  Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased glass bowl and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap.  Leave it to rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
You want to leave it to rise in a warm place, for me that's on the stove.  In the winter if it's cold in the house, I'll often turn the oven on to get it warm before setting them there to rise.

After an hour....
4.  Roll it out onto a sheet pan, pizza pan or pizza stone, and top with your favorite sauces, seasonings and toppings.  For us, on a regular cheese pizza night, we top it with regular plain low sodium tomato sauce and then generously sprinkle it with italian seasoning and a smidge of garlic powder followed with mozzarella cheese.  An easy crowd pleaser!

5.  Bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until the crust and cheese meet your desired "doneness." 
6. Enjoy the pizza.

AND as if one night of delicious whole wheat pizza isn't enough, this recipe is totally freezable!  So usually when I make it, I make 4 balls of dough and freeze 2 for the next time.  To freeze the dough, DO NOT let it rise.  Remove the dough ball from your mixer and roll it in a little flour to keep it from sticking to your freezer bag and throw it in the freezer.  I can't tell you how long it will freeze for, we've never left one in the freezer longer than a month.  The night you want to have pizza, you need to remove the dough from the freezer first thing in the morning and place in a lightly greased bowl topped with lightly greased plastic wrap to defrost and rise for around 8 hours.  
And if you get bored with plain old cheese pizza or tomato sauce or any of the more common toppings and want something new and fun to try, we tried this Thai Chicken Pizza tonight and found it to be amazing!!
You can find the thai chicken pizza recipe here, at The Comfort of Cooking, I substituted the alfalfa sprouts for chinese bean sprouts, but followed the rest of the recipe to the "T".  It is SO good! 

Happy pizza eating friends!!  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Turbo Fire: 4 Week Update

Today marks the finish of week 4 of Turbo Fire, meaning that I am 1/3 of the way through! (Yay!)  If you haven't read why I chose to go BACK to Turbo Fire after finishing of the "21 Day Fix", you can read more on that decision here.

No photos and measurements to go along with this post, just the dirt on how it's been going.  The work outs have been fabulous!  I absolutely love Chalene, I love the routines and I love the sweat.  I feel really really good this go round with Turbo Fire-- I know the routines and I am keeping up with her and following along without ever hitting pause.  It's pretty amazing!  So far in 4 weeks, I've only missed 1 day of working out (such is life), and I actually ended up subbing out 2 days of workouts with 4 mile runs, let's just say Mommy needed some alone time those days. I've also added in the "Abs 10" class on pretty much every Low HIIT day.

The eating end of things.... has been tough!  I'm not going to sugar coat it!  (I'm not even supposed to be eating sugar.) I have been trying to continue with the 21 Day Fix container system while doing the Turbo Fire workouts, and long story short, I bumped up my calories a bracket at the beginning and I've had a hard time.  I love love loved the 21 Day Fix-- I loved the clean eating, the balance between food groups, the results.... I learned A LOT about eating from doing the 21 Day Fix.  BUT the calorie bracket I was in doing the 21 Day Fix was very restrictive.  Of course it totally works for the end goal of losing weight, but now that I have entered more of a maintenance phase, I don't want to be quite as restricted.  I want to be healthy, I want to keep the figure that I have quite literally worked my butt off for, but I also don't want to be that girl who has to pack her own food for every party or gathering, and who turns down every single sweet at the occasional birthday party--- finding the balance in between those things, and being strict, but also being flexible... that has been really tough!

Anyway, 4 weeks in, I think that I have discovered that it is more a mental thing-- for the past year, I have been solely focused on losing.  And I never thought it'd be this way, but I'm learning that losing is easier than maintaining.  Losing is all about the calorie deficit-- easy math, burn more than what you put in.  Maintaining is about giving yourself flexibility and trying your darndest not to gain back what you worked so hard to lose-- because it's definitely easier to put it on than it is to take it off!  SO it's probably going to sound weird to some, but I've decided to bump myself back down to that restrictive calorie deficit, and then if I'm hungrier, then it won't be the end of the world to have a little flexibility and add in an extra veggie, fruit or protein.  Take it day by day and be flexible with the occasional addition.  I just feel like in my mind, the larger calorie bracket and larger number of containers was a little overwhelming to me, and all the extra containers screamed "freedom!", and I was being a little too flexible and a little too free.  I think this new method of going back down will reel me back in but still allow that flexibility to add once in a while.  I told you it's all mental, right? ;)

So that's the end of week 4.  Feeling really good about how it's going-- it's a work in progress and I love that a year into this journey, I'm still learning new things about myself every single day.  8 weeks to go friends!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Republic Wireless

So in the last month, we switched my phone line over from AT&T to Republic Wireless.  (And we will soon be switching Daniel's phone line over too.)  You guys....  I feel like Republic Wireless is this little hidden gem of a phone company that no one knows about, and I feel like I just want to scream it from the rooftops and tell everyone I know about it!  (And FYI, they have 99,202 followers on Facebook alone, so people really DO know about them.)

Anyway, they're like no other phone company around because they offer "hybrid" technology in their phones that enables you to make phone calls through wireless internet.  That probably sounds really weird to most of you... BUT please understand that we quite literally live in a black hole.  Our house is in a black hole.  Sprint does not get service here... with AT&T I had to stand by the back door and most times my calls ended in being disconnected against my will.... Verizon doesn't have service out here.  BUT we DO have wi-fi!!!  I am so excited that I finally can text and make phone calls from sitting on my couch, or being out in the front yard with the boys, or in the car headed out. And not only do I have cell reception through my wi-fi at home, but when I'm out and about, I most often have wi-fi options and if not, there is a back up regular cellular network that I receive darn good signal with as well.

AND as if just simply having cell service in our little black hole over here in the boonies wasn't enough.... we also only pay $25 a month for it!!  $25 a month! What!? $25 a month!!!  AND it's a smart phone, so I still have access to maps, email, Facebook, Instagram, internet, camera, video.... I get all that jazz you might want from a phone for only $25 a month!!

You guys, let me break down the math for you. Because I HAVE done the math!  Before switching, we both had iPhone 3gs models, which Daniel most often referred to as the "iPhone zero" because they were such old models.  We were both up for an upgrade, but to get the latest 5C, we'd have to pay $99 each to AT&T with a 2 year contract.  On top of that, our cell service for our 2 iPhones was costing us $173 a month for both phones.  Are you following me??  So here's the total for a year.

$173 x 12 = $2076 + $99 + $99 = $2274

$2,274 for 1 year of service with 2 iPhones through AT&T.  INSANE!

Now... since moving to Republic Wireless (and including Daniel's phone in this because he will be switching very very soon.)  We opted for the $150 phone which is the Moto G.  They do have the option for the newer model which is the Moto X, but we went with the G.  And then our phone plans are $25 a month.

$50 x 12 = $300 + $150 + $150 = $900

$900 for 1 year of service including 2 Moto G phones with Republic Wireless.

- $900
$1374 saved!!

You guys, one thousand three hundred and seventy-four dollars saved!!!  You guys $1,374!!!  As much as I loved my iPhone, and I was disappointed to know that Republic wireless does not have the option for an iPhone, I am definitely not paying $1300 more a year just to have that iPhone.  The iPhone that didn't even give me cell reception in my own house!  

Can you tell I'm excited y'all?  Did I mention that there is a 30 day money back guarantee with Republic Wireless?  Or that there is absolutely NO contract!  Consider us converts!

Here's the phone for those curious-- I opted for a cute little teal flip case to go along with it, and keep greasy kid fingers off of the screen.

And just FYI, if you are fed up with paying high costs for terrible service, you can switch too, AND if you follow THIS LINK, you will save $20!!  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Daddy!

To my Daddy....

-the man who radiates kindness and probably does more for others than he does for himself.
Holding baby Leeland at the hospital waiting for my nephew to be born.
-the man who licked his thumb and used it to wipe the pop-tart off of my face before I headed into daycare each morning as a kid.

-the man who taught me what hard work was all about because he lived it.

-the man who taught me the importance of saving, and all about financial independence.
Before he walked me down the aisle to marry Daniel. 
-the man who fixed my hair in the mornings as a kid.  Only a ponytail on top of the head so tight that you squinted would do.

-the man who taught me how to fish.

-the man who loved and saw me through the grief of losing my Mother.

-the man I've always looked up to most, and yearned to be just like when I was a kid.
At Leeland's 2nd birthday-- train themed.  I believe the hats were made for kids. LOL
Today, we celebrate you Daddy!  I couldn't be more blessed to have the most awesome Dad.  Thank you for always loving me, supporting me, teaching me, and helping to mold and shape me into the woman I am today.  I love you so much, and want to wish you a....

Very Happy Birthday!!!!

And of course we can't celebrate without cake.  And since my Daddy also happens to have a huge sweet tooth and fond love of chocolate and candy, that's the direction I went.

Peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting, surrounded by Kit Kats and topped with Reese Pieces! Delicious!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Called it!

Yup, Ina Garten the chicken was the 1st one to lay an egg.  I so called it! And only 1 day after putting the nesting boxes in! 
Way to go Ina! And thank you so much. Thinking Ree Drummond will follow suit anytime now, she's been in and out of the basket all day.