Workouts, Strawberries and a Positive Body Image

Another week, another workout!  Yesterday I had the day off for the US Independence Day.  In preparation of a few extra drinks I crafted a high-intensity full-body workout.  I was really happy with this one and felt it was pretty well-balanced.  It was also the first time I tried doing double kettlebell step-ups and I was surprised how much the 50lbs slowed me down.  It was a great exercise for legs, abs and balance; probably my favorite and the hardest of the whole workout.  Want to give it a try?

7/4/13 – Set interval timer to 3 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest.  I used 25lb kettlebells and a 20lb free-weight for the ab twists.

  Buy-In: 1 min high knees
  1. Sumo Jumps
  2. Double KB step-ups
  3. KB Lunge-Row
  4. Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
  5. Pull-Ups
  6. Weighted Seated Ab Twists 
  7. Hanging leg-lifts
  Buy-Out: 1 min high knees
 
After that brutal workout (especially in the 90ºF weather we were having) I was ready for a reward.  I found this amazing recipe for vegan, gluten free, grain free strawberry icebox pie.  I grabbed two pints of local strawberries and gave it a go!  I added some raw chocolate to the crust but other than that I used the recipe as written, it is so delicious!  And so healthy!  You have to try it:
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I was really inspired by this blog post from Marianne at myomytv.com.  As someone who follows both her and Zuzka’s workouts it was interesting to see both in the same forum.  I didn’t agree with all of Marianne’s points but I absolutely loved her sentiments about improving our bodies:
 
What do you LOVE? While achieving your strength goals, focus on what you love, not what you want to fix.”
 
THIS.  Thisthisthis.  I’ve mentioned before that I gained respect for exercise late in life, while attending school for Massage Therapy.  I spent my childhood trying to feign illnesses to get out of gym class, and saying “I only run if someone’s chasing me.”  
 
While I dabbled in sports in school, overall I had a very negative view of them.  When I look at the reason for that it really came down to my values not seeming to fit in with the values being thrown on my in gym and on teams.  For one thing, I never understood why people get so brutally invested in sporting events.  I’m all for having fun and rooting for a team, but I can’t connect with the devastation feel when “my” team doesn’t win and how even when a team does win the reaction can be expressed by rioting.  I also don’t understand the amount of corruption in sports with athletes drugging themselves up, dramatically altering their diets to either gain or lose weight, and the perpetuated idea that if you don’t win you’re worthless.  There seems to be a lot of shaming and negative reinforcement in our athletic fields.  I could write a whole entry on this but this is not what’s really goading me right now.  This is about body image.
 
The other issue that really bothers me in the athletic arena is the idea that people should exercise to lose weight, gain muscle, look like that trainer they’ve been ogling over, and basically that they have to change their body to fit some universal image of what “in shape” looks like.  Now let me say right now, I’m not dissing the idea of exercising to lose weight or gain muscle, but I don’t think it should be the predominant driving factor.  I believe that if we all took a more positive approach to diet and exercise as lifestyle choices that there would be higher success rates.
 
I work out and eat right because I love how it makes me feel.  I love the increase in energy.  I love feeling strong and flexible.  I love seeing my body change in ways I didn’t know it could.  It’s also AWESOME that weight loss and more muscle mass comes along with that but if I looked at those two as the defining factors of what makes me fit then I’d always be disappointed.
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Zuzka is gorgeous.  But, if my goal was to look like Zuzka, I would be fighting an uphill battle that I can’t win. I heard a story on VPR recently that discussed a research study done with about 100 women.  They were asked to record their daily diet in a notebook.  Half were given a notebook with a slender woman on the cover and on each page, the other half were given a notebook with just a tape-measure on the cover and each page.  The women given the notebook with the tape-measure lost weight on average.  The women with the notebook with the slender woman GAINED weight on average.  The group conducting the research study said that the women who gained weight just gave up when they realized they could never look like the slender woman.  It actually caused them to over-eat.  Body-shaming does not work.
 
I will never look like Zuzka.  I frankly don’t have the bone structure for it, let alone the genetics to get my body fat percentage that low without working out 5-6 hours per day.  And you know what?  That’s totally ok!!  I look like ME and the more I work out the more I get to discover how my body feels when it’s strong.  I get to explore what I look like when I’m in shape and I get to push my own limits to see what I can physically do.  
 
The line that I’m sure all of you have heard before is Love Your Body.  That’s really it.  If you love your body then you’re going to want to keep it in shape.  You’re going to want to exercise.  You’re going to want to eat right.  LOVE YOUR BODY.  No one else will ever look just like you.  You have the privilege of exploring what your body can do when it’s well taken care of.
 
We all have an inner critic and I know it can be really hard to see past that.  But remember you have a choice.  It doesn’t have to be hard.  It can be really easy.  And it’s a choice you can continue to make.  Did you decide to have a Philly cheesesteak and now you feel like crap?  That’s ok, you can make a different choice tomorrow.  Did you skip your workout for a day?  A week?  A month?  THAT’S OK, because you can choose to work out RIGHT NOW. 😉  
 
Just do me a favor and don’t let your main motivation to be out of shame.  If you work you for YOU there’s a good chance You WILL lose weight and you WILL gain muscle but the bigger point is feeling good in your own skin and letting the pride that you take in yourself be your motivator.  If you truly want to get out of the cycle of working out for a few months and then giving up for the next six months then you need to get past the “90-Day Challenges” and the quick-fix instant-gratification crash courses and really think about the positive effects eating well and exercising have on your body.  Love your body and you won’t have to think about short-term goals, you will find yourself in a healthy long-lasting fitness routine not because society is telling you that’s what you should want, but because that’s what YOU want.
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Upper Arm Beatings and Post-Workout Pancakes!

One of my friends, Rosie of Rock Bodies, is a personal trainer who often posts delicious healthy recipes to Facebook.  She found a recipe for pancakes that uses just two ingredients: banana and eggs.  Seriously, that’s it.  They are AMAZING.  Before I made them though I had to finish my workout for the day (especially since I was having local sausage with my pancakes).

Today I wanted to focus on arms and abs.  Yesterday I did Zuzka’s ZShred #3 which was a legs-intensive high-intensity workout.  I really prefer full-body workouts and while I felt like a new person after this workout, it ended up being too much for me and I am HURTING today. So I decided to take it easier on my legs.  This workout will definitely get your heart rate up but it’s primarily a strength training workout and while it’s an upper-body focus there’s definitely leg involvement as well.

6/29/13 – Set interval timer to 2 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. KB Swing
  2. KB Snatch R
  3. KB Snatch L
  4. Weighted pilates sit-ups
  5. Plank climbers
  6. Pull-ups (as many as you can do
  7. Dive bombers
  8. Renegade Row
  9. Single-Leg deadlifts
  10. Dragon flags

Once you’ve completed that you deserve some pancakes right?

Paleo Pancakes

Paleo High Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Banana
  • Optional: pinch of cinnamon
  • Optional: ~1tbsp protein powder or tapioca flour

Directions:

  1. Beat the banana and egg together.  You’re done making the batter!  No, seriously, this recipe couldn’t be easier.  I used my Vitamix to mix them but you can easily do it by hand.  I added cinnamon, which turned out great.  I also made the mistake of using jumbo eggs so my batter was a bit too thin so I added some tapioca flour to thicken it.  You can use protein powder as a thickener if you prefer (I recommend using a plant-based powder without GMOs, soy or whey).
  2. Cook on skillet like normal pancakes.  I recommend making them small and thin (the large one in the picture was to finish off my batter).

I found with the sweetness of the banana no syrup was necessary, though I’m sure if you like you can add some maple syrup or agave.  Enjoy!!

Pies and Pushups

It has have been a while since my last entry but I’m still going STRONG on workouts and sticking to my food allergy/healthy diet.  I’m really enjoying seeing my muscle tone improve and I’ve been taking on new challenges.  I’ve fallen in love with kettlebells and have also added some heavier free weights to my collection.  My biggest struggle continues to be learning to do pullups.  So far I can do ONE unassisted and that’s a good start.

To keep my workouts interesting I’ve been varying things a bit.  I’m generally doing two Zuzka workouts per week (I’ve shelled out for her new ZGYM and in full honesty the first two workouts were worth more than the $10/mo price tag; they’re way harder than her free ZWOWs).  I also do two workouts inspired by myomytv.com, which offers awesome free kettlebell and bodyweight workouts.  I say “inspired” because while I sometimes outright do one of their routines, I’ve been experimenting with creating my own routines and so far I’m kicking my own ass. 🙂  I also do 1-2 pilates or yoga workouts per week.  On top of that I’m still running 1.6 miles per day, happily on the Mad River Path with my pup.  This has been a good mix for me and gets me moving at least an hour per day six times a week.  I take a day off to rest.

I’m going to start posting my self-made workouts here.  I’m not comfy recording videos yet, but I think I’d like to in the future.  So here are my three most recent WOD’s.  If you need a better description of the exercise just ask!  I’d consider these intermediate->advanced.  If you want to do them just listen to your body and adjust as needed.  Beginners should use lighter weights, shorter reps and a longer resting period.  If you’re more advanced use heavier weights, longer reps and a shorter resting period.  In general I’m using a 25lb kettlebell (or two for doubles).  My free-weights range from 5lb->20lb.

For an interval timer I’m using Seconds on my iPhone.

6/10/13 – Set interval timer to 3 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. Goblet Squat (20kg)
  2. Alternating KB Swing
  3. Alternating Curtsy Lunge (14kg)
  4. KB Single-Leg Deadlifts
  5. Skater Hops
  6. Renegade Row
  7. Chin-Up
6/11/13 – Set interval timer to 3 rounds 40 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. Glute Bridge Booty Pump
  2. Single-leg deadlift R
  3. Single-leg deadllift L
  4. Eccentric Focused Chin Ups
  5. Push Up Lean/Push Up/Push Back Combo
  6. Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
  7. Dumbbell Hammer Curl
  8. Dragon Flag
6/19/13 – Set interval timer to 2 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. KB Reverse lunge
  2. Snatch R
  3. Snatch L
  4. Around-the-world KB swings
  5. Single-Leg Deadlift R
  6. Single-Leg Deadlift L
  7. Side-crunch R
  8. Side-crunch L
  9. Weighted sit-up
  10. Double KB Swings

And now for recipes!  This past Saturday I hosted a large dinner party for my family.  Along with accommodating my long list of food allergies, I also had to make the meal low-carb/sugar for my father who’s diabetic, low-salt for his wife who has high BP, dairy/gluten free for my sister-in-law (this is in line with my own diet too) and garlic-free for my brother.  Even more importantly, I wanted it to be FREAKING DELICIOUS to help show that you don’t have to eat crappy-tasting food just because you have a dietary restriction.  Also, since my family showered me with a ton of pie-making paraphernalia for Christmas, I made the meal Pie-themed.

Bring In The Pies!!

86aa7b8cd6c011e29c6622000a1f9e4a_7Paleo Shepard’s Pie (adapted from Elana’s Pantry and The Functional Foodie)

Ingredients – Makes ~1 large deep dish pie

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 lb ground grass fed beef
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/4 lb ground pork (I used a mild chorizo sausage from my local butcher which gave it a nice kick)
  • 1/2 lb uncured bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms of your choosing
  • 1/2 cup low sodium beef or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine (I used a merlot)
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos (can use Worcester Sauce if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp chopped mixed herbs (I used basil, oregano, thyme and parsley from my garden)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft (I used one white and one yellow)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance or Virgin Coconut Oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft.  Add shallots and cook for another few minutes.
  3. Add bacon and sauté until cooked, ~10 minutes (note: the bacon will not crisp, that’s ok).
  4. Add the carrots, celery and mushrooms and sauté until soft (it’s ok of the carrots stay a bit firm), ~10 mins.
  5. Add the meats, herbs, salt and pepper and sauté until browned.
  6. Add the stock, wine, coconut aminos and a paprika.  Stir and cook down broth until it’s ~60% evaporated.
  7. Meanwhile, add the cauliflower, coconut milk, Earth Balance/VCO, and a pinch of salt and pepper to your food processor and blend until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes; this will not take long.  Taste-test and see if you need to add more salt and pepper.
  8. Pour the filling into a pie plate and top with the cauliflower mash.  Add a pinch of smoked paprika to the top for decoration if you like.
  9. Cook at 375ºF for 30 minutes, or until the inside is bubbly and the top is slightly firm.  Let cool for ~10 mins before serving.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (Gluten and Dairy free, no sugar added to filling)

Ingredients

Crust (and trust me, it’s GOOD, the non-gluten free folks loved it!):

  • 1 cup Almond or Pecan flour (I was out of almond so I ground pecans in my Vitamix which worked out beautifully!)
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (my sister-in-law says next time I should try Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Mix)
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar (you can use cane sugar if you’d like, I’m just allergic to it)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ cup Virgin Coconut Oil (room temperature)
  • 5-8 tbsp Cool Water

Filling (adapted from here):

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
  • 2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
  • 2 tbsp minute tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance cut into small slices
  • 1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Directions

Crust:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a mixer.
  2. Add the coconut oil and beat until dough forms small balls.
  3. Add the water one tbsp at a time while mixing until the dough reaches the proper consistency (it should hold together well but not be sticky).
  4. Separate into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap or parchment and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out dough and add bottom crust to a greased and floured pie plate.

Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla.
  3. Mix well in a large bowl and pour out into bottom crust.
  4. Dot with butter.
  5. Roll out top crust and top the pie (if you want to do the lattice design I did use a pizza-cutter to cut strips of the rolled-dough and a long spatula to carefully lift the crust from the counter to the pie).
  6. Brush top of crust with beaten egg yolk.
  7. Wrap aluminum foil loosely around the outside edge of the crust to protect the crust from burning.
  8. Cook at 425ºF for 15 minutes, then drop the temperature to 375ºF and cook for another 40 minutes.  The crust should be golden brown and the filling should be bubbling.  I found the gluten free crust cooks faster than when using traditional flour so keep an eye on the pie so it doesn’t get over-cooked.  Cool before serving.

I’d love to know if you try my recipes or workouts.  Please pass along your feedback!  Now it’s time for a run!

 

Day 75, 6750 Burpees, 49 Miles, and Chicken Pot Pie!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 75 days already!  The burpees have basically just become a part of my life at this point, even though they still manage to leave me gasping for air but my endurance for them has greatly increased.  My biggest focus these days is on food.  I’ve been experimenting with more recipes and more flours and there’s one recipe I’m just dying to share with you!

Chicken Pot Pie Two Ways (Paleo *or* gluten/dairy/corn free)

Having these new food allergies along with a rigorous workout routine occasionally really burns me out and I get cravings for comfort food.  It would be easy to head to the local diner or grab some takeout from the pizza shop down the street, but there has to be ways for me to satisfy my cravings without going off my diet.  This recipe helps solve that problem.

The Paleo recipe is heavily based off of Fed & Fit’s Paleo Chicken Pot Pie.  I really only added in some fresh herbs and garlic.  It was great, but in full disclosure I found the almond crust to be a bit too heavy at times and it was also very crumbly, especially in the center of the pie (since I made a full pie, not individual pies).  It did crisp nicely on top, but then fell apart when taking it out of the pan or eating it.  The high compliment I will give is that both my boyfriend and I thought it tasted like chicken skin…seriously.  It’s very rich.  So the second time I made this I altered the crust recipe since I’m not personally on a Paleo diet.  The crust I ended up making that time was awesome and would make a perfect fruit pie crust if you add sugar to it and nix the herbs.  I’m really happy it was easy to alter.  I’ll give you both recipes and definitely check out the Fed & Fit blog for some amazing pictures of the recipe.

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Note on ratios: The recipe ratio was originally made for 8 personal pies.  I ended up with enough pie filling for two full large pies, and enough crust for one.  This was great since I just froze the second pie filling and used it a couple weeks later.  If you only want enough filling for one pie cut the filling ingredients in half.

Ingredients

Paleo Crust:

  • 3 cups Almond Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1.5 tsp Salt (I used Himalayan, the original recipe calls for Kosher)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ cup Virgin Coconut Oil (room temperature)
  • 1 tbsp Cool Water
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Marjoram, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Thyme, minced

Gluten Free Crust:

  • 1 cup Almond Four  (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Salt (I used Himalayan, the original recipe calls for Kosher)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ cup Virgin Coconut Oil (room temperature)
  • 3-5 tbsp Cool Water
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Marjoram, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Thyme, minced

Filling:

  • 3 Chicken Breast Halves Roasted and Cubed
  • 2 cups Sweet Onions Chopped
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 cups Frozen Green Peas
  • 2 cups Frozen Carrots
  • ¼ cup Canned Coconut Milk (full fat)
  • ¾ cup Almond Flour  (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Egg (for egg wash)
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Marjoram, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Thyme, minced

Directions

Chicken:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Wash chicken breast and pat dry.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Drizzle and rub 1 Tbl oil on the chicken breast.
  5. Sprinkle with generous amount of  salt and cracked black pepper.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven when finished and let cool.
  8. Cut into about ½” cubes when cool enough to handle.

Crust:

  1. In a food processor or mixer (I used my KitchenAid), mix the dry ingredients together (flours, salt, and baking powder).
  2. Add the coconut oil and slowly pulse or mix until it’s evenly mixed. It should have the consistence of peas.
  3. Slowly add the water and pulse until it forms a dough-like texture.  Note that in the GF version you have to use more water than in the Paleo version.
  4. Remove from food processor/mixer, roll into a ball and wrap in cling wrap.
  5. Put the dough into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  6. Dust a pastry board (or cutting board) with almond meal.  Or if you’re like me dust your (cleaned) countertop.  I also recently received these as a gift and can vouch that they did an AWESOME job with the dough in this recipe, getting rid of having flour all over the kichen.
  7. Roll out pie crust.  Keep dusting the top and bottom of dough and the rolling pin with dry almond meal so that it doesn’t stick.

Filling:

  1. Heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot.
  2. Add the yellow onions and cook on medium/high until they’re translucent.  Add the garlic and cook both until slightly brown.
  3. Slowly add the almond meal and reduce the heat.
  4. Slowly add the chicken stock and stir.
  5. Add the coconut milk, 1 tsp salt, and black pepper.
  6. Add the peas, carrots, and chicken.
  7. Carefully pour into pie plate.
  8. Place the crust on top of the filling.
  9. Scramble one egg and paint the crust of each pie generously.
  10. Sprinkle with salt and cut 3-4 slits in the top.
  11. I recommend setting the pie plate on a cookie sheet and putting it in the oven like that to catch any drippings.
  12. Bake at 375ºF for one hour, or until inside is bubbly and crust is browned.
  13. Let cool 10-15 minutes before eating.

While this isn’t a fast recipe to make, taking about 1-1.5 hours of prep and another hour to cook, it is really worthwhile and since you can freeze the extra filling it made a very quick meal the second time I made it.  You can even do what the original recipe called for and make individual pies.  In that case I would freeze filling in individual freezer bags and thaw one on the day you want to make it.  I do think making the crust same-day is worthwhile and it really is an easy crust recipe.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!!

Day 55, 4950 Burpees, 31 Miles, PIZZA TIME!!

Wow, I’m already 10 days past the half-way point of my 90 day challenge!  That is awesome!!  I’m definitely feeling stronger and am seeing more definition in my muscles.  I have a lot more energy.  I can also admit that even though burpees still shoot my heart rate way up and cause me to lose my breath, I can do them faster and I’m recovering quicker between sets.  It definitely helps that I’m doing the ZCUT workouts on top of burpees and running because Zuzka really pushes me both in cardio and strength.  I basically had to learn to recover quickly or I couldn’t make it through her workouts.

Today’s entry is primarily about FOOD.  I’m continuing to find new recipes, along with surprising myself with safe finds from the grocery store.  I’ve even managed to go out to eat a couple times and haven’t had a problem finding foods I can eat (as long as I go to a decent place).  For example, the other night I had a tuna steak with sides of kale and broccoli, no dairy, gluten or any of the other allergens I’m avoiding.  I’ve also done well ordering spinach salads with salmon or grilled chicken and sushi has been pretty safe as long as I’m careful (speaking of which, if you like sushi check out Food Babe’s article on Sushi Secrets).  I just have to ask a few more questions before ordering but most places can accommodate my diet with only minimal substitutions.

The one junk food I really love is pizza.  I’ve struggled to make a really delicious gluten free, dairy free pizza.  Well, I think I finally found a winner and I’m excited to share it with you!  First, I have to talk about Socca (or Farinata).  An old friend recently posted a recipe for this grain-free chickpea unleavened bread.  I tried it that night and found it was an AWESOME side-dish to my dinner:

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Gluten/Corn free breaded chicken, steamed baby spinach and socca

 

I did have to tweak the recipe because that day my local grocer was out of garbanzo bean flour.  So the picture above is NOT grain free.  Here’s what I did instead:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour (top ingredient is chickpea flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil 
  • ½ large onion, minced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh marjoram, minced
  • 1 cup lukewarm filtered water

The directions are identical to the original recipe, but I’ll post them here for convenience:

1. Heat oven to 450ºF. Put a well-seasoned or nonstick 12-inch pizza pan or cast-iron skillet in oven. Sift flour into a bowl; add salt and pepper; then slowly add 1 cup lukewarm water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover, and let sit while oven heats, or as long as 12 hours (I tried leaving it both 30 mins and 6 hours, negligible difference). Batter should be about the consistency of heavy cream.

2. Stir all herbs, onion and garlic into batter. Pour 2 tablespoons oil into heated pan, and swirl to cover pan evenly. Pour in batter, and bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until pancake is firm and edges set. Heat broiler, and brush top of socca with 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil if it looks dry.

3. Set socca a few inches away from broiler for a few minutes, just long enough to brown it spottily. Cut it into wedges, and serve hot, or at least warm.

It was SO FREAKING GOOD that a few days later I found actual garbanzo bean flour and, following the same recipe above I used it to make this gluten free, dairy free, grain free (Paleo friendly) pizza:

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Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Paleo-friendly pizza!

This was amazing.  The one thing I’ll say is that using the garbanzo bean flour, while healthier, it definitely tasted more like falafel and less like pizza crust.  Next time I may switch back to the Gluten Free Flour since I’m not outright avoiding grains (just gluten, corn and oats).  However, BOTH bread recipes held up beautifully and the chickpea flour had no trouble holding the heaping pile of toppings I piled on it.

Speaking of toppings, here’s what I used:

  • Sugar-free pasta sauce (I need to learn to make my own pizza sauce)
  • 1.5 cups baby spinach
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Crumbled local bacon
  • Small amounts of Daiya mozzarella and pepperjack*

*A note on using Daiya “cheeses”, be very careful not to use too much.  It’s a great cheese substitute because it melts well and gives a cheesy flavor, BUT if you use the same amount of Daiya that you’d use with traditional cheese you might find that it melts together and has the consistency and taste of mayonnaise.  I find the mozzarella particularly has this issue, and as a result it’s not my favorite Daiya cheese.

So go wild and have some healthy pizza!  I’d love to hear your variations on this recipe and other ideas!