Thursday, March 18, 2010

Let Them Eat Pizza!

So when I am "watching what I eat", one of the hardest things for me is pizza. I love it; I crave it; I can't stop at just one piece. It is great for lunch the next day and makes even a mundane day seem a little more fun. But when I am counting calories, it usually doesn't make the cut. Until now!

Two years ago my dad was diagnosed with a serious case of liver disease- he had complete liver failure. As we still wait for a transplant, not only do we live by a crazy prescription schedule but he isn't supposed to consume at all. A few miligrams here or there doesn't hurt too much, but his liver can't process all of the fluid that accompanies sodium and so it just builds up around his organs and he gets liters of it pumped out of his stomach every once and awhile. Not pleasant. So my family has gone through a serious life adjustment of trying to cut out all forms of sodium. While most of the results are pretty bland, this recipe has made the cut. Not only is it salt-free and fairly easy, it is delicious! (So much so that it is the pizza crust I make even when my dad isn't joining us!)

Here it goes:

2 packages (or 4 1/2 tsp.) dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
4-plus cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the water and allow to stand for a few minutes until it begins to foam. Add the oil, honey, and the rest of the water and stir to blend.
Add 1 cup of flour and stir. Add the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the dough becomes too stiff to stir with a spoon. Remove it to a floured board and knead for about 5 minutes, until it feels soft and elastic and the texture is uniform.

(If you have a mixer with a dough hook, you can use it to knead the dough. After stirring in the first cup of flour by hand, put the mixture in the mixer's bowl, add 2 more cups of flour and run the mixer on slow speed. Add more flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough holds together in a ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. After removing the dough from the bowl, knead by hand a few times to make sure the texture is uniform. Even though I have a great mixer, I still do it by hand.)

Wipe the inside of a clean bowl with olive oil; place the dough in it to rise and cover loosely with plastic wrap. For a faster rise, put the bowl in a sink partly filled with hot water or in a warm dryer (don't turn the dryer on!) The dough is ready to use for pizza crusts when it has doubled in bulk. There should be enough for four medium-sized pies.

Now I usually half the recipe when it is just my hubby and still makes one good sized pizza. And I have started using half whole wheat flour and half white, kneading it with white flour. It doesn't seem to work as well when I use all whole wheat flour. I load it up with some sauce, lots of veggies (zucchini, squash, bell pepper, etc.), and just enough cheese to make the toppings stick together...but not a ton. Cheese is a major part of pizza that will get you in trouble! :) Then bake it in a hot oven (400* - 450*) until the edges are brown and the cheese has melted...sorry, I am not usually a timer kind of girl! SIDE NOTE: This is an really easy dish to customize for those that aren't as supportive of the healthy eating- not that my Nicholas isn't supportive, but his side usually has more cheese and pepperoni and such...please notice in the picture that one side has more cheese :)

Try it out! (Hey and if anyone out there finds great sodium-free recipes, send them my way!)

One last thing- while we are all taking matters into our own hands to get and remain healthy, please remember that not everyone is so fortunate. One thing that you can do to help those who aren't able to help themselves is to donate blood. Now I know everyone has a reason not to and believe me when I say that I don't love needles either! But it is important for those who are healthy and able to donate to give to others...chances are that sometime in your lifetime someone you know will need blood. And in just one donation you can help save up to three lives! Plus it is a great way to get your blood pressure, iron, cholesterol, etc. checked without having to go to your doctor. To find a location near you, go to

Triathlon Update: This week I have added some biking to my regular routine (which mostly just consists of running). I have also created a training schedule of my own after looking over and borrowing from a few different online training includes biking, swimming, running, and weight training. I begin that on Monday- wish me luck in the pool! (It is going to be freezing! At least that is motivation to warm myself up, right?)


Kathy Haynie said...

Homemade pizza crust is the BEST, Alex! What a great idea to add 1/2 whole wheat flour. So sorry to hear about your dad, but it sounds like your family is making the best of a tough situation.

It will be interesting to hear more about your triathlon training plans...will you do several of these activities in the same day, or will you rotate through different days?

Polly said...

We LOVE pizza homemade with lots of veggies too, and we always use half whole wheat flour. Yum!

Katie said...

Your pizza looks really yummy. We've been making our homemade pizza crust with wheat flour lately too. I honestly can't tell a difference in taste, but it sure makes me feel less guilty! :)

Marae Lindsey said...

yum pizza...but i'm surprised to see your side with any cheese at all! i'm just remembering when you ordered canadian bacon and pinapple, no cheese. this looks much better.

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