Happy hump day, everybody! This is going to be a short and sweet post, as will anything else that I manage to write between now and next Wednesday. SXSW 2014 creeped up on me, and I realized on Monday that I’m going to be running all over the city of Austin like a crazy (but excited!) person from Thursday afternoon until next Tuesday night. I’m lucky enough to get to attend SXSW Interactive this year, and I’m planning on taking full advantage of it (even though as a newbie, I’m already a little overwhelmed).
In the spirit of being busy and needing things to be simplified, I bring you what is probably the easiest recipe I’ve ever posted: sandwich thin pizzas! (Or pita bread pizzas! Or Ezekiel English Muffin Pizzas!) There’s a ton of room for creativity in this one.
In reality, you can make pizza out of any type of “bread” (or otherwise) if you’ve got some sauce, cheese, and toppings. The crust of a pizza is interchangeable. I’ve tried cauliflower crust: cool to make if you have a LOT of extra time, patience, and a good food processor. If can’t do any kind of wheat/sprouted grain crust, the cauliflower version works and tastes really good, but you’ll probably have to eat it with a fork. Personally, eating pizza with a fork just feels weird to me, and I usually don’t have an extra 30 minutes to make cauliflower crust. The easier option of using a sandwich thin or Ezekiel pitas/English muffins is what I usually end up doing. To be honest, I like using sandwich thins, pita bread, or English muffins even better than using the packaged crusts that you can buy at the grocery store because you don’t even have to bust out the pizza cutter. They’re individually portioned right out of the box (or bag — whatever).
Toppings are (of course) also interchangeable — you can make this with all veggies, all meat, no cheese, or really however you want it. That’s why I love pizza. It’s so versatile, and when you make it at home, you can build it in whatever way you want. My two favorite varieties: Bacon with Brussels Sprouts and Goat Cheese or Pepperoni and Chicken Sausage. (We’ll go over the second option today because it’s the only one that I have pictures of.) I think this could go without saying, but make your pizza however you damn well please. Get creative!
Nutritional Overview (per 2 “pizzas”):
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 sandwich thin
- 1/2 link Bilinski’s chicken sausage, sliced and cut into small chunks (I used Mild Italian)
- 2 tbsp natural marinara sauce
- 6 pepperoni slices
- 1/4 cup HEB Natural Pizza Blend Shredded Cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Bake your crusts for about 3-5 minutes (just long enough to crisp)
- Remove and top with marinara, cheese, pepperoni, and sausage
- Return to oven and bake for 7-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned
- I’ve made these with Ezekiel pita bread, a variety of English Muffins, and tortillas; they all work. If you’ve had a ton of carbohydrates on any given day but still want pizza for dinner, I’d recommend taking the sandwich thin route. If you prefer thick crust, go with the Ezekiel English muffins. Pita breads tend to get extra crunchy if you’re into that. :o)
- You can easily sub pepperoni for turkey pepperoni or the regular shredded cheese for a fat free blend if you’re looking to cut down on the fat content of this recipe.
- Your nutrition information will vary based on what crust and toppings you use, but virtually whichever way you choose to make this, you’ll be better off than ordering Pizza Hut. (Plus, this takes less time than waiting on the delivery guy!)
- For the Bacon and Brussels version: dice 1 piece of bacon and saute in a pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp minced garlic and 1-2 Brussels, sliced into thin shavings. Cook until Brussels are tender. Replace marinara with goat cheese on top of your crust. (I found some flavored goat cheese spreads at Whole Foods that worked exceptionally well.) Top with bacon and Brussels mixture, then sprinkle with the pizza blend cheese. You can even add chicken to this for extra protein — YUM.
Dealing With a Planned “Off Week” – Queue the Anxiety!
In attempting to plan my upcoming SXSW schedule, I realized something pretty scary yesterday afternoon. With so many things to see and do from Friday-Tuesday, I’m going to be 100% OUT of my routine. I’d need at least 2 clones of myself to be able to attend all of the sessions that I want to see, plus another one to do the grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, and working out that I usually do on my weekends.
My regular day-to-day routine of “wake up/walk dog/eat breakfast/go to work/go to boot camp/lift weights/cook dinner/pass out” clearly isn’t going to hold up starting on Friday. I thrive with a predictable routine, and I haven’t had to be so far out of one for longer than a day or two since Labor Day (which was 6 months ago). The second I started thinking about this yesterday, I’ll admit — I had a minor freak out. I’ve busted my butt to keep up with a solid healthy routine for so long and haven’t had anything disrupt it. The time has finally come, and initially, I got super nervous about it. But after some thinking, I realized that I just need to take a breath and let myself enjoy the conference instead of stressing about it.
Yes, I’ll have to miss Saturday morning boot camp for the first time in MONTHS. (There’s a session on creating eBooks that I really want to see before I create my own.) I’ll probably have to go to different boot camp classes on Monday and Tuesday, and I’ll likely go to a few happy hours/food-related events that are out-of-the-norm for my regular diet.
Here’s the thing: I really shouldn’t worry about it to the point of giving myself anxiety or extra stress. Just like one week of working out won’t undo years of unhealthy habits, one “off” week won’t automatically undo 6 months of solid hard work. What really counts is that I’m planning for it in advance, I know I’ll make healthy choices in regards to food and alcohol, and I know that I’ll jump right back into my routine on Wednesday. I have complete confidence in myself to do that. If I approach the situation with an unstable, fearful mindset, the outcome probably won’t be pretty. So, I’m choosing to mentally prepare myself for an abnormal week and will enjoy myself while maintaining a healthy approach to the whole thing.
We all need a break every once in a while, and nobody is perfect 100% of the time. My wonderful coach, Kristina, has said that the path to success usually isn’t a straight line. Essentially, shit happens. (Pardon my language, but it’s true.) We all get knocked off course on occasion, but what matters is that we keep pushing through and remain focused on the long-term goals. Missing one day of workouts, having an extra happy hour or two, or sampling from the food trucks at SXSW isn’t going to send me spiraling out of control; I know I’m stronger and more disciplined than that.
I’m making a personal goal to fit in a workout on Monday and Tuesday at the minimum, and I’ll be cooking my own dinners throughout. I’ll still track what I eat/drink in MFP, and I’ll choose to walk between sessions instead of taking the shuttle. It’s all about planning a healthy approach ahead of time — that’s how I’m going to make it work. Who knows — I might even find a few new healthy restaurants downtown! I’ll report back next week as soon as my life returns to “normal.” For now, I’m going to enjoy the chaos and creativity of SXSW Week. :o)