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,
Many people assume that you can’t be paleo-friendly AND enjoy a nice meal out at the same time. That’s not true. Not only are there more paleo-friendly restaurants popping up everywhere, it is also possible to make paleo-friendly decisions when you’re making your meal selection at restaurants as well!
YES, YOU CAN HAVE YOUR CHIPOTLE BOWL AND EAT IT TOO! When going to “design-your-own-burrito-bowl” places such as Chipotle, you simply omit a few menu items to keep your selection paleo-friendly. The four main items you want to avoid are the tortillas, cilantro-lime rice, beans, and the roasted chili-corn salsa (WAAHHHH, I KNOW THE CORN IS MY FAVORITE TOO!). Sour cream and cheese are okay options to include depending on what your paleo-standpoint is when it comes to dairy products.
My paleo-friendly bowl:
- MILD fresh tomato salsa
- Sour cream
Joseph’s paelo-friendly bowl:
- Double chicken (or double whatever meat he wants at the time)
- Fajita vegetables
- MILD fresh tomato salsa
- HOT Tomatilo-red chili salsa
Yes, I am a little sad when I have to skip over the corn, and there are days when I give in (remember, I’m more 40-60 paleo? Heh.). But I think it’s nice that we don’t have to limit ourselves to my cooking at home! And yes, technically, Chipotle probably uses canola oil to cook its food, so that makes it non-paleo (whomp whomp). However, in the grand scheme of things the main ingredients that you select for your burrito bowl make more of an impact than the canola oil. And hey, it’s better than nothing right?
Keep striving to eat clean, my friends.
Until the next meal,
Joseph and Jennifer
Happy New Years, everyone! It’s always crazy to me how quickly time flies. Are we celebrating and heralding in a brand new year already? When I reflect upon the past year, it is overwhelming to realize all of the milestones that have occurred in 2014 alone. Joseph starting a new job as well as teaching a new Insanity class, Joseph completing not only a half marathon but also a 25K and a 30K race, me receiving my school and district’s rookie teacher of the year award, me undergoing foot surgery to restructure my right foot, a couple of our close friends getting engaged, my brother’s wedding to my beautiful sister-in-law, us learning how to ballroom dance, us starting a food blog (that we have sadly not kept up to date in recent months – we know, we know)… so many memorable milestones within a short span of one year. I think that we often forget to reflect on all of the wonderful things that happen in our lives.
I know that many people scoff at New Year’s Resolutions, “People just stop after a month anyways! People should be striving ALL THE TIME to achieve their resolutions!” and so on and so forth. But I think it is refreshing to take the time to sit back and think about what you might want to do achieve. Why should we look down on any person who wishes to make a change in their life, even if it ends up being a temporary change? At least they tried. And who knows, maybe the resolution will stick, and it ends up being a huge part of their lives? I say, go for it. Make your New Year’s Resolutions, and don’t be afraid of what others might think.
Joseph and I sat down today to reflect on our year and discuss what our New Year’s Resolutions might be. For the most part, Joseph and I have very similar goals, with minor tweaks here and there to fit our individual lives.
- Eat better! For Joseph that’s eating healthier and for me, that’s making the decision to eat out only once a month.
- Spend less and save more.
- Rely less on social media so that we can focus on each other and those around us (i.e for me, that means checking social media accounts once a day).
- Be more cognizant and reflective. This includes praying daily, being more open-minded, and being more patient and forgiving with each other and those around us.
- Stay active, no matter how hectic our lives become. Whether that’s training for our upcoming half marathons and/or his full marathon, or even just taking the time to dance with each other again just because.
- And finally, to simply love more.
After going over our New Year’s Resolutions with each other, we realized that not only did we have similar resolutions, but our resolutions were really things that we should be striving for every day for the rest of our lives. So I guess, instead of calling these our New Year’s Resolutions… we should call these our LIFE RESOLUTIONS. What are your New Year’s Resolutions?
I can’t leave this entry without a recipe, especially since we’ve left everyone hanging for at least a month! Shame on us! I’ve really been utilizing the crock pot a lot lately, so I’d like to share with you a recipe I tried a few weeks back. I found this recipe from a blog, Stuff I Make My Husband, and it looked so simple and easy! Crock pot recipes usually are quite simple and easy. You literally take whatever you think might taste good together… and just throw in the crock pot and see what happens! Seriously.
Now, when I made this, it ended up having a very thin and soup-like consistency. Very similar to the korean soup, kimchijigae, but with less kick. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a soup, or if it’s supposed to just be chicken with cabbage that’s mildly sauce-like, but I think you can play around with the ingredient measurements and add/remove whatever you would like. I may add chopped onions next time!
GATHER THE INGREDIENTS!!!
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 scallions sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbs coconut aminos
- 1 Tbs dark sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp high-quality ground ginger
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- About 2 cups cabbage kimchi
- Combine all of your ingredients except for the scallions, chicken, and kimchi in the slow cooker. Leave the scallions and kimchi in the fridge as you won’t be needing them for a few hours!
- Add the chicken thighs into the crock pot, and spoon some of the sauce on top.
- Cover and cook for 4 to 6 hours on low. If in a rush, like I was, blast on high for 2 hours. (This may have been the reason for the soup-y consistency I had)
- When you are almost ready to serve, turn heat to high (or in my case, keep it on high), add the kimchi, and cook for about 20 more minutes. Serve sprinkled with the scallion greens.
Voila! Easy peasy, and plenty of spicy kick to keep you warm on a cold winter’s night. Special thanks to Stuff I Make My Husband for the recipe!
Until the next meal,
Joseph and Jennifer