If there’s one thing that you may need to know about my relationship with Joseph, it’s the fact that we really enjoy creating and maintaining traditions. His annual anniversary cake/dessert that he makes for me is one thing. Our annual holiday schedule (Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas day with his family) is another thing. Our annual puppy-themed greeting cards for every occasion that requires a greeting card. Our weekly Sunday schedule: church, lunch, nap, meal prep for the week. You get the gist. Another such tradition is my annual Valentine’s Day pizza making extravaganza for our Valentine’s Day date shenanigans.
Joseph loves pizza. That is his food kryptonite/achilles heel/weakness, and I really think that if he could, he would eat pizza every day for the rest of his life. True story. That is why for our first (or second?) Valentine’s Day when our relationship was just blossoming, I baked my first ever pizza for Joseph. I baked a Hawaiian pizza because I assumed that as a Filipino, he loved pineapples so his favorite pizza must have been Hawaiian pizza. Now, I don’t really know if that’s the case, and Joseph has never really clarified this because I think he loves me and doesn’t want to burst my bubble, so the tradition stuck.
As the years have gone by, my pizza-making skills have morphed and improved. The first few years I bought canned pizza dough, canned pineapples, and everything was just clearly pre-made/processed. I think around the third year is when I decided to make it somewhat healthier by purchasing canned WHEAT pizza dough and using fresh pineapples instead. Last year is when I attempted my first paleo pizza. It was… okay. And this year I have continued the tradition with another Hawaiian pizza, and yes, I made it paleo once again. And wow. I’m not going to lie, but it was absolutely fantastic. Delicious. I am quite proud of myself.
A BIG THANK YOU TO Paleo Spirit for the paleo pizza dough recipe. It really brought my pizza together. People might assume that making dough from scratch is difficult and time-consuming, and time-consuming it may be; however, it’s definitely NOT difficult, and it’s definitely worth it. So let’s begin, shall we?
Paleo Pizza Dough:
- 1 cup tapioca flour (starch) (plus more for rolling out dough)
- 1/3 cup + 2-3 tablespoons coconut flour, separated
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 large egg, whisked
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the tapioca flour, coconut flour (minus the 2-3 tablespoons), and sea salt in a large bowl.
Add the oil and warm water and mix with the dry ingredients. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look dough-y yet. This will happen soon! Add the whisked egg and mix.
Finally, take your 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flour and add to the mixture until it begins to form into a soft but sticky dough.
On PARCHMENT paper (not wax paper – I made that mistake last year. And the parchment paper really changed things), add a bit of tapioca flour to your roller pin and the parchment and roll out your dough. Be carefully of adding TOO much tapioca flour or else your dough will be too dense. I think I made that mistake last year as well. I always make my pizza dough into a heart shape, but you can roll it out into a regular pizza shape.
The dough is really break-able at this point, so be careful! Transfer the parchment paper onto a baking sheet/pizza baking sheet/etc. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on how “done” you would like your pizza to be. I baked mine for 12 minutes!
- Paleo Pizza Dough slightly pre-cooked
- Organic Pizza Sauce with NO SUGAR ADDED (purchased at Whole Foods – checked the ingredients to ensure everything was paleo-friendly)
- Almond “mozzarella” cheese substitute
- Pre-cut pineapple chunks
- Applegate Uncured Black Forest Ham diced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut your toppings (pineapple and ham) to the desired pizza-topping size. I purchase pre-cut pineapple chunks and cut them into even smaller pieces. I once tried to cut an entire pineapple… that didn’t work out so well. Pineapple cutting is not my thing. Place toppings to the side.
After letting the pizza crust cool for a bit, I took a spoon and carefully ladled the pizza sauce over my pizza. Add as much or as little sauce as you would like. It is YOUR pizza!
You can layer the cheese and toppings however you would like (cheese first, toppings first, what have you), but after 5+ years of this, I think I figured out a way that really makes the pizza delectable. I lightly sprinkled the almond cheese over the pizza to where there was still a lot of sauce showing through the cheese. I added half the pineapples and ham to the pizza. The pizza should still look SPARSE. I then added the full amount of cheese to the pizza, and I topped it off with the rest of my pineapple chunks and ham pieces. It’s almost like a double layer of cheese and toppings. Yums.
Place the pizza in the oven. Cook until toppings are thoroughly heated. I put my timer for 5 minutes at a time, and I simply checked my pizza after each time was up to ensure the crust was not burning. It took about 10-15 minutes. I do want to mention that the almond cheese substitute does not melt as well as regular cheese. I assume because it is a substitute. However, it tastes fine! And voila! You have yourself a paleo-friendly pizza! You can switch out whatever toppings you would like to meet your taste buds.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend! Joseph and I enjoyed a casual weekend together. Honestly, it was just like any other Saturday we had… running in the morning, me making brunch for lunch, running errands, and then dinner. The only thing different was that he surprised me with flowers in the morning before the run (d’awww <3).
Then we had a small gift exchange after lunch – I gave him The Paleo Performance cookbook and a 26.2 mile car decal, and he surprised me with tickets to the Zac Brown Band concert! And finally after dinner, we went to go watch Kingsman (good movie, I recommend. But a little on the gory side, wow).
I also tried to be cutesy and romantic by using an idea I found off of Pinterest (wow, have I ever mentioned how much I love Pinterest?). While making Joseph do the dishes after lunch (hehehe *evil laugh*), I went into his bathroom and decorated his mirror with sticky notes I had written on previously. I think the original Pinterest idea had you write down things you loved about your significant other, but I just wrote down everything possible. Memories, things I love about him, inside jokes, positive comments, etc. I made them into a heart. I was feeling quite sneaky and proud of myself when I walked out of his bathroom. And then…
- Joseph: Were you doing something shady in there?
- Me: What?
- Joseph: You were in the restroom for a long time. And I know you didn’t poop. Or did you? You don’t poop that long.
- Me: ….I wasn’t doing anything shady! I was pooping!
- Joseph: … you look shady. I need to go to the restroom now anyways.
- Me: WAIT NO! WHY! ….I JUST POOPED. IT SMELLS!
- Joseph: …Why are you on the floor?
- Me: *crying/laughing* I don’t know! GO TO THE BATHROOM LATER, IT’S TOO SOON!
I honestly don’t know why I was on the floor. Sometimes, I get so embarrassed when I’m caught trying to be sneaky that I cry. Or I laugh so hard that I cry. Either way, I end up crying and on the floor. Don’t worry, Joseph accepts this. He eventually goes into the restroom, and he has that “I knew it, I know you” face, but he still appreciates the romantic gesture. Except for the fact that it’s covering his mirror and now he can’t see himself lol. Oops.
All in all, it was a perfect day with my Valentine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Until the next meal,
To quote the great Barney Stinson,
“Here’s how you run a marathon: Step 1: You start running. There is no step 2.”
If you have no idea what I’m referring to, watch the video above. All jokes aside, I completed my first full marathon yesterday. 26.2 miles. Yes, that 0.2 miles is important. If you’ve run 26 miles, you didn’t run a marathon.
I finished the Houston marathon warm-up series a few months ago and figured, “I might as well run a marathon.” I had already trained and ran up to 18.6 miles so the full marathon was my next step. I decided to sign up for the USA Fit marathon in Sugar Land. The race seemed to offer quite a bit when I had signed up. A finisher’s shirt, jacket, and medal would all be provided, as well as access to all the race photos for free.
Before the race even began, the weather prediction for the entire weekend was rain and cold weather. Now I’ve run in the rain, and I’ve run in the cold, but put those two together for 4 hours… my nerves were going crazy all of last week. A few days before the marathon, I received an email saying that the medals would not be there in time. Although I realize a marathon is about your journey and not some medal, I was pretty bummed.
At last, race day was here and I checked my phone. The odds were ever in my favor for the weather. The weather was in the 60s and no rain! As soon as I got to the race, Jennifer hears the sound of medals clanging. She says, “Maybe those are the medals!” Of course I didn’t believe her because of the email, but I later hear a volunteer say “WE GOT THEM!” Happy me.
For my first marathon, I had pretty high expectations. I wanted to finish sub 4. I decided long before race day that I would follow a 4 hour pacer and speed up at the end to get my sub 4. This wasn’t a bad idea. I kept up with the pacer, who was very nice, for about 19 miles and then the clear skies got to me. Now if you’ve ever ran down University Boulevard in Sugar Land, you should know that there is NOTHING to shade you from the heat. By the time mile 19 got around, it was hot. There was a lack of water stations, and I had completely exhausted not only my own water supply but my Honeystinger waffles as well.
My IT band started to flare up and so I started to walk thinking, “I have 7.2 more miles…” If you’ve raced long distances before, you know that it sucks to run by yourself, so I befriend a female runner who was pacing with the 4 hour group and was also struck by the “wall.” We start running again and have a friendly chat. Her shirt says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and I use that as my mantra to push me. All is Gucci until she has to use the restroom. I lose my buddy and trot along, a loner once more. I’ve slowed down so much that the 4:15 pace group is on my heels. Eventually I tag along with them. I get to mile 22 before the pacer has to use the restroom and all hell breaks loose on earth. I am alone once more. The 4:15 pacer was a crazy inspiration. He’d run a marathon in every state. Talk about dedication and a slight case of OCD. I will never be that crazy. Insane maybe, but not crazy.
It’s mile 23 and I start to walk again. Another guy passes by me and starts to walk asking, “How many miles do we have left?” I tell him after looking at my GPS watch and my new friend and I decide to start running again. This guy tells me he’s about to turn 39 and wants to complete a marathon before 40. I say, “Let’s do it. Let’s get you there.” We chat it up as we’re running and we get to a point where I just start speeding up. I’ve found my second wind and runner’s high once again. My new-found friend quickly realizes and by about mile 24.5 he tells me “go for it.” After hearing that, I decide to just do it.
I’m running a bit under a 9-minute mile the rest of the way (gotta make up for that walking). I’ve run down this path plenty of times and know what to expect. I see mile 25 and I’m all smiles. The marathoners and half-marathoners walking see me and start to cheer me on. I honestly start to tear up a bit behind my sunglasses. Maybe something caught my eye in the wind.
The finish line is in sight and I see my beautiful girlfriend waiting and cheering for me. I see the gun time at 4:24: and climbing. I speed up and finish in 4:24:26. I received my glorious medal and all is right in the world. I take some pics with bae and wait to see all my new friends finish shortly behind me. The 4:00 pacer had waited for everyone that initially was with her to finish and congratulate them. My pace ends up being 10:06 min/mile. I can live with that and will use it as a stepping stone for next year’s Houston marathon. I get my finisher shirt and all the food I can get.
And so began the road to recovery… just kidding. I taught Insanity yesterday, teaching twice today, and one more time tomorrow LOL. This is why I said I was insane earlier. The motivation to push people past their limits and all that adrenaline really pushes me… even through some soreness. Some tips:
- Guise, this is all you need: http://www.amazon.com/Rubys-Lube-Natural-Anti-Chafe-Balm/dp/B00MH7G8GO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422926390&sr=8-1&keywords=ruby%27s+lube. I will leave it at that because you know why.
- Prepare and follow a program. It will help you no doubt. Stick to it. I would say to maybe even over train and go past the usual 19-22 miles suggested in training programs. A marathon is no joke and you need to have adequate training.
- Hydrate early. Even though I drank a ton of water before and during, you really need to hydrate earlier than you think.
- Have fun while you’re training. Preparing for a marathon is a learning experience. You will have ups and downs. Roll with the punches and don’t stay down.
I’ll end this post with another funny marathon video:
Some of these stages are on fleek. Yeah, I said fleek.