I joined a gym last week. I’ve been walking the dog and doing some yoga but I felt like I needed a bit more in terms of weight lifting (I hate cardio and only do it in limited spurts.) The membership came with a free consultation with a personal trainer and I happily accepted in hopes of getting some detailed information about what I could do to tone up a bit (and drop the few pounds that have snuck up on me in the past couple of years). Overall, I wanted to feel active again.
So I met with the trainer and within 10 minutes, I wanted to walk out. I understand they go to school and learn what needs to be done but I’m not a big fan of hearing that their way is the only way. You eat vegetarian? That must mean you eat too many carbs and don’t get a lot of protein (I ate a spinach and quinoa salad for lunch, so I was feeling pretty smug).
Overall, I felt like because I’m bordering on being overweight, the trainer couldn’t believe I had my eating well under control. The thing is, I sometimes do not eat mindfully. I eat too fast, I snack too much, I love ice cream and beer a little more than I should. (Oh, and carbs? They’re a small problem right now, but I’m also writing a cookbook on flour so I’m letting this slide for a bit.) This site gets classified as a “healthy cooking” blog but my question, even to myself: “what is healthy?” Healthy means something different to everyone, and that’s okay. For this trainer, healthy meant me chugging protein shakes (two if I’m a vegetarian) every day in order to help me loose weight.
To me, healthy means eating real foods. This pizza is healthy to me. I made the crust from scratch using whole wheat flour I had just ground. I made the ranch from herbs in my garden and greek yogurt. And yes, it does have a lot of cheese and occasionally, that’s okay. I put heavy cream in my coffee and occasionally make things with refined (organic cane) sugar (not often, but sometimes I just want a damn good chocolate chip cookie). I just want to enjoy food (real food).
I think healthy for me has taken on a new meaning in the past two years: healthy means get in the kitchen and cook (pizza, steak, quinoa salad), then enjoy what you just made by mindfully eating it (possibly with a beer or glass of wine).
- ¾ cup warm water
- 2½ teaspoon yeast
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoons salt
- 1½- 2 cups whole wheat flour (bread or pastry works well)
- ¾ cup whole milk greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced chives
- 1 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
- ½ tablespoon fresh minced dill
- 1 small clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2-4 tablespoons buttermilk*
- 1 small red onion
- 3-4 handfuls baby spinach
- 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, and honey- stir with a wooden spoon until yeast is dissolved. Let sit until yeast begins to activate, 5-10 minutes. Once yeast is ready, add in oil, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Turn your mixer on low with the dough hook on and let mix, scrapping down the sides as needed. From here on out, add 2-4 tablespoons of flour at a time, letting the dough mix for a bit until adding more flour. When the dough starts to come together, continue to let the mixer run for 1-2 minutes and adding more flour until your dough has pulled away from the sides of the mixer. Remove from the mixer and place in a warm spot. Brush with oil and let rise for 1 hour.
- In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients for the ranch dressing except for the buttermilk. Taste and adjust the ranch flavors if need be. Stir in buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed to thin out the ranch if desired.
- Once your dough has double in size, preheat your oven to 500˚. Return to your dough and punch it down. Let rise for 20 more minutes.
- Roll the dough out onto a surface covered in cornmeal (I used a large wood cutting board put some of you may have a pizza peel.) Roll it out to the size of your pizza stone.
- Spread enough ranch over pizza to cover (you may not use all). Cut onion into thin slices and layer over ranch, followed by the spinach. Top pizza with enough cheese to cover most of the spinach.
- Slide pizza onto stone and let bake until crust and mozzarella is golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before slicing.
(PS- Occasionally I’ll make this pizza with half chicken/bacon for M. It makes a lovely addition.)