How to make the easiest Dessert Pizza ever [RECIPE]

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DESSERT PIZZA, you guys!

I have to say that in capitals because, well, OBVIOUSLY dessert pizza is one of the best things that any of us can imagine.

Okay, real talk: it’s been kind of a rough week. Okay, it’s been a really really difficult week for those of us who believe in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I’ve had a not-so-pleasant time trying to keep some optimism alive after all of the tragedy, but it’s been helping to talk about it.

The other thing that has really helped with this rough week is when Adam comes home from work and we give each other a BIG old hug. Holding the person I love really close after an upsetting week just helps. I can feel my anxiety melting away as he wraps his arms around me, and my happiness level shoots straight up.

Of course, we’re not perfect. And so I noticed that we were snapping at each other a bit toward the end of this week, both probably feeling just generally stressed by the events of the world. It happens, and that’s okay. But how do I best deal with stress on a regular day?

Cooking, OF COURSE!

And so that’s what I did. A couple of days ago, just as Adam came home and took the dog on his pre-dinner walk, I decided to make something very special: a dessert pizza.

My logic in coming up with this crazy concoction was basically that a) we both love pizza, b) we need to cheer up, c) dessert is the BEST.

And I was successful!

The first thing I did, though, was figure out how to make the thing. And here’s my BIG secret: I used a tortilla and heated it up in the microwave using a very special and SUPER easy method to make it into a crispy tostada, aka the perfect pizza “dough” for my sweet.

If you can believe it, I’ve actually never done this before. But luckily, I remembered that I wrote an article about how to make a crispy tostada in the microwave a few years ago and I found it, then promptly made it. It takes just a couple of minutes and the tostada comes out perfect.

Of course, typically you’d cover this thing in refried beans, maybe some meat, lettuce, veggies, guacamole even… but instead, I covered it in Greek yogurt, almond butter, bananas and melted chocolate.

Want to try it yourself? Here’s how:

Easy Dessert Pizza with Crispy Tortilla

Ingredients:

  • 1 8″ tortilla, made into a tostada
  • 1 5.3oz non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/4 cup melted chocolate chips

Instructions: 

  1. After you’ve made your tortilla into a tostada (following these instructions, I microwaved it for 1 minute on each side), pat the plate dry and make sure your tostada is nice and crunchy.
  2. In a bowl, mix the honey into the Greek yogurt. Melt the chocolate chips if you haven’t yet (I used 1/2 cup Lindt truffles here).
  3. Finally to assemble! First, put the honey Greek yogurt as your pizza “sauce”, then the sliced bananas, small chunks of almond butter and finally drizzle the melted chocolate on top.
  4. Serve with a knife and fork, because this will likely get messy! Slowly break up the tortilla and eat it as pizza or sweet “chips”. YUM!

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Why I quit Whole30 early (and why it’s probably not for everyone)

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I woke up this morning feeling pretty great about myself.

The sun was shining, my skin looked good and my stomach was feeling pretty happy with me. The only problem? It’s what should have been the start of Day 22 of my Whole30 adventures and I was feeling GREAT – after having officially quit the night before.

The last full day of my Whole30 was technically a few days before, on Day 18. You see, although it was not at all intentional earlier in the week, I realized that I just couldn’t do it anymore.

About halfway through the afternoon on Day 19, I absolutely positively snapped. No amount of encouraging texts from my boyfriend (who I dragged into doing this with me) were helping. I was writing a freelance piece on July 4th desserts and DESPERATE FOR A BROWNIE.

But that’s not what made me give up.

The reason why I quit that day wasn’t because the Sugar Dragon was calling or because I couldn’t take a deep breath and wait out my craving. It was because I had started to realize that the frustrations I felt with being a food writer and doing Whole30 at the same time were no longer worth it. It wasn’t fair to myself, my body or my mental health that I was launching into a full-on rage right around 3 or 4pm every day for the past week. I refused to do that to myself.

That wasn’t the only reason, however.

I also realized that I was starting to enter into some seriously disordered eating habits (NO, THANKS!) and that, at the end of the day, I wasn’t really seeing many benefits from Whole30.

I was sleeping fine, but I always slept fine. My skin was clear, but my skin was always clear. My stomach didn’t hurt or feel awkward, but that never happened anyway.

I realized that my reasons for trying Whole30 were kind of flimsy in the first place. I wasn’t someone who suffered from unhealthy eating habits or was a subscriber to the SAD diet (that’s Standard American Diet for those not in the know). I ate pretty well and I felt pretty good and I was very happy with my body and my weight.

So what exactly was my reason for doing Whole30 in the first place?

Well, I was snacking a bit too much before. And I was most definitely drinking too much soda and eating too much candy.

But like… that’s it? These things could have been easily fixed by a low sugar diet for a couple of weeks. Instead, I opted to push through for a Whole30 to figure out if I had any sensitivities to foods that the plan asks you to give up – namely, legumes, grains and dairy.

I already knew I was consuming too much sugar, so no problem there. And I no longer drink alcohol, so not really something I had to give up in the first place. But part of me wanted to say I DID IT just to say I did it and the other part of me was genuinely curious.

Yet as me and boyfriend got into the third week of our mostly pescatarian Whole30 (he’s a vegetarian who I convinced to eat fish just for this experiment, and MAYBE later if he wanted to), neither of us were really feeling any benefits because the truth was we didn’t really NEED them.

Neither of us had ever suffered from the kind of stomach ailments that often hurt those who are lactose intolerant or suffer from gluten sensitivities. The truth is neither of us really suffered from any real side effects, diseases or ailments to speak of – just your basic sugar crash when we knew we had too much.

We both knew how to eat healthy, and almost always did. He had been consuming a bit too much soy and definitely too many processed foods since becoming a vegetarian a year ago, but didn’t really need to go to the extreme of a Paleo-like diet to do away with that.

Did we learn? ABSOLUTELY.

I learned that making frittatas is the BEST THING EVER. It’s an easy brunch dish on lazy Saturday mornings, a quick lunch when the boyfriend comes home during the week and a simple dinner for when I’m too tired or lazy to make anything else.

I learned that snacking is still essential for me, someone who lost weight through a gastric bypass and therefore I can’t eat normal people portions ANYWAY. If I stuck to a “three meals a day” rule, I’d starve. And the boyfriend had to snack too due to needing extra fat and calories from non-animal proteins (namely, guacamole and nuts) to not lose all of the muscle mass he’d been building the past couple of years.

I learned that knowing how to make a baked fish with roasted veggies was my favorite weeknight dinner that takes almost no effort. I would splash some olive or coconut oil on my sheet tray, lay salmon or sea bass or mahi mahi in the middle and then spread chopped veggies all around. Sometimes it was green beans, sometimes it was broccoli, sometimes it was potatoes or (my favorite) a mix of different veggies. I’d top it all with salt and pepper, as well as whatever other spice I was in the mood for that day. And then I would stick it all in a 350F-heated oven for roughly 20 minutes. Voila! Easy peasy yummy dinner.

I learned that there’s sugar in EVERYTHING you can buy in a store, ever. Well, let me rephrase that: I reminded myself of that and also taught the boyfriend that. Yes, it was difficult to buy spices, condiments, dressings, sauces, etc, because almost everything has added sugar. But, at the same time, it’s also easy to avoid. You just read the label and put the jar/can/bottle back if it mentions any kind of sugar or other not-natural sounding ingredient. So, really, we ate hella healthy the whole time.

And ultimately, I learned that Whole30 just isn’t for me.

I know that some devotees (many of whom I am friends with) will argue that I just didn’t do it right. That by doing a pescatarian version, I was dooming myself from the start. That by quitting early, I never got to the point at the end when I’d feel that Tiger Blood or whatever. That I cheated myself by not finishing. That I don’t really GET IT anyway.

But I feel good about my decision. I know what my body was telling me, and it was telling me that none of this was really all that necessary. And luckily, the boyfriend’s body was saying the same.

Do you know how I know? Because last night, after already testing to see if we had any sensitivities to legumes, we had pizza.

We had a full-gluten pizza with tons of dairy cheese after not having either for three weeks. And we felt TOTALLY FINE.

Neither of us got sick or overly tired. Neither of us is exhausted or has pain this morning. Neither of us is irritable or suffering from any of the other emotional or physical side-effects we could be.

Instead, we enjoyed our pizza. And we lay on the couch watching a movie, seeing if anything would happen. If either of us had a sensitivity to dairy OR to gluten, we’d have known it. TRUST ME.

I know I’m right there, because I remember the tales I’ve heard from friends who DO have a sensitivity to either of these. And even giving them up for three weeks should have put us over the edge when reintroducing them. But there was no edge to be had. Instead, our stomachs were fine and our brains did a big YIPPEE.

Sure, sugar can still be a major craving but we avoided ordering soda last night too, something that I have NEVER been able to do before when ordering pizza. That’s about it, though.

We don’t plan to go back to eating sugar all the time. In fact, we agreed to only allow ourselves soda when we go to the movies (and a small one at that!). I’m not sure when I’ll want to try eating candy again, but I do know that I’d like a real and really nice so-totally-worth-it decadent dessert. Perhaps a creme brûlée. Because if you’re going to do dessert post-Whole30, then you better do it right.

Overall, Whole30 did EXACTLY what I wanted it to: it kicked my butt back into eating even healthier than I already have been. But it wasn’t and never would have been sustainable for me.

Instead, I am going to focus on what I already know: my body feels best with a Greek yogurt for breakfast (hold the honey, though), a high-protein lunch, fruit and baby carrots and guacamole and hummus and nuts for snacks… and a healthy dinner. I know that I really enjoy a cup of black tea with a little bit of sugar at the end of the day, or sometimes at the start of the day too. And I know that I also enjoy the mental clarity of NOT STRESSING over having a few indulgent meals throughout the week.

And if those indulgent meals include pizza or French Toast once a week… Well, so be it! After all, as I always remind even myself, eating 80% as healthy as possible is what works for me. And the other 20%? Well, I just don’t worry about it – and that’s good for my body AND my mental health.

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The 6 healthy food trends you NEED this year

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This was probably one of the most fun stories I’ve written in a while. Partially because it’s a topic that I am very passionate about (healthy eating FTW!) but also because I got to talk to some of the top food bloggers, writers and editors about what their thoughts were on the healthy trends we all need to conquer in 2016.

I admit: there were many other trends we all talked about, but these six are a great first start. So what are you waiting for?!

Check out my story on the 6 healthy food trends you should be trying right now on Brit+Co!

And please do me a favor and follow their sites:

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My 6 food resolutions for 2016

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When it comes to starting the year off right, we all make New Year’s Resolutions that are often pretty much dropped by the time February rolls around. I’m certainly guilty of it, year after year after year.

That’s why this year I’m doing things a little differently. Instead of setting broad goals like “lose weight” or “save money,” I’m making food resolutions that are going to help me feel a little better, eat a little better and do a little better in general.

They involve things like eating healthy fats (whoa!) and cooking new foods. So far, I’ve been pretty successful with my goals – and I can’t wait to tackle all of them throughout the year.

Ready to take your own cooking and eating habits to new heights? Check out the 6 easy-to-make food resolutions for 2016 on Brit+Co!

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How to make a Holiday Survival Smoothie [RECIPE]

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About two years ago, I became a little obsessed with smoothies. I had just gotten my very first high-powered blender (Thank you, Ninja Kitchen!) to test for work, and I fell in love.

Shortly after, I went home for Christmas and came back with a ton of fruit from my mom’s garden. I started blending, blending, blending and a smoothie breakfast became pretty standard in my house.

After many smoothie experiments, most of which I have truly enjoyed, I came up with what I think is by far my favorite smoothie ever: a blend of banana, avocado, apples and kale. Time and again, I go back to this one because of how creamy and filling it is.

Although I typically make it with Greek yogurt as a base, last year I developed this “survival” smoothie recipe using coconut water and almond milk. It’s completely vegan, gluten-free and great for when you’re feeling sluggish thanks to all of the holiday eating. In fact, I now can’t get through the busy holiday season (or the new year) without relying on this smoothie to power me through.

Irina-Smoothie-watermark063

Check out my Holiday Survival Smoothie recipe on SheKnows!

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Image via Tiffany Hagler-Geard/SheKnows

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