Let’s talk about pizza! This is an important post, and even more so for those who eat gluten free!! I just realized this is going to be a blog post where I actively have to control my exclamation points, because I am that excited!! I was just talking to a friend about this the other day…rereading work emails and realizing you need to tone down the excitement.
Anyways, finding a good, airy gluten free crust can be quite the challenge. Generally speaking, I will take anything I can get because having pizza at all is such a treat. There is one local pizza place that blows everyone else out of the water, but other than that, until these homemade crusts, I really haven’t experienced anything to write home about. BUT, here we go - These have amazing texture, hold their shape and the flavor is just like a regular crust!
For the past eight months or so, I have been learning to expand my gluten free baking skills through the guidance of Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I was at first intimidated by the process they propose as the recipes guide you to make roughly four servings of one-pound loaves, etc depending on the recipe. Then, you have dough ready made and you can store it in the refrigerator for about a week. When you’re ready for fresh bread, you pull off the desired size dough ball, shape and bake it! It is a little more work on the front preparing the ‘Master Mix’ as I call it, but it is definitely worth it.
The ‘Master Mix’ contains white rice flour (I sub brown), sorghum flour, tapioca flour/starch, potato starch and psyllium husk. The mixture makes about four and a half pounds of flour mixture, which can be used for many different variations of bread, pizza dough, bagels and SO much more. Here is the recipe:
Brown/White Rice Flour: 2 pounds, 4 ounces (6 cups)
Sorghum Flour: 1 pound (3 ¼ cups)
Tapioca Flour/Starch: 8 ounces (1 ¾ cups)
Potato Starch: 8 ounces: (1 ¾ cups)
Psyllium Husk/Xanthan Gum: 1.4 ounces (1/4 cups)
I measure my ingredients by weight after a super failure on a sugar cookie recipe right around Christmas time. Measuring ingredients by volume leaves a ton of room for error and differences between recipes depending on how compact the flour is, how much you compress it, etc. We use a shabby kitchen scale and it works well. We may invest in a new one soon that isn’t 15 years old. Spencer has had this one for ages since he was selling on eBay when he was just a little runt, so I suppose it’s probably time! I put all the dry ingredients in an airtight food storage container. I became obsessed with these containers a few months back. They are actually airtight and I have all my dry ingredients, protein powder, etc stored in these. The brand I have is Vtopmart. They’re affordable and of course, on Amazon!
Back to the pizza! Now from this ‘Master Mix’ you can get into a bunch of different recipes. The beautiful thing about preparing the mixture is the versatility past that point. Recipe for pizza/flatbread dough:
Master Mix: 1 pound, 11 ounces (5 cups)
Cornmeal: 9 ounces (1 ½ cups)
Potato Starch: 6 ounces (1 cup)
Psyllium husk: 2 t
Yeast: .35 ounces (1 T)
Salt .6 ounces (1 T-1 ½ T)
Lukewarm water (110 degrees): 1 pound, 14 ounces (3 ¾ cups)
Olive oil: 3 ¾ ounces (1/2 cup)
Egg whites: 4 ounces (3-4 eggs)
Mix together all the dry ingredients, then whisk all the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. In either a stand mixer or large bowl, slowly pour in the wet into dry until fully mixed. This is the time when the yeast will really start to evolve into the flour, so if you’re using a stand mixer, give it a solid five minutes of beating. Cover the dough, but not airtight for at least two hours. The longer the better to let the dough develop.
Cue the fast forward through the rise process, and grab a hunk of dough. For a large size pizza about 24 ounces, or for a small personal pan pizza (I had this for lunch today) about 8 ounces! Add any ingredients you would like to top the pizza. We don’t have a pizza stone so I rolled out the dough on parchment paper and then transferred to the Silpat on a baking sheet. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy with the flour while you’re flattening the dough. Dust an ample amount so the dough doesn’t stick either to the rolling pin or parchment.
For our first rendition, we whipped up a homemade pesto sauce and it was awesome! Rough estimates here because we eyeballed it as a test kitchen moment. I am allergic to specific tree nuts, so we never purchase store brand pesto, as they normally have pine nuts or cashews. We used almonds to get that nutty flavor in addition to parmesan cheese, lemon juice, garlic cloves, Aleppo pepper, fresh dill, basil and parsley. After the pesto came black olives, diced onions and pepperoni. I also may have snuck a little mozzarella on my side!
1/3 c each of fresh parsley, basil & dill
2 garlic cloves
1/3 c almonds
½ c parmesan cheese
Dash of Aleppo pepper
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ c olive oil
Put all ingredients in the food processor, or blender until the herbs are shredded and well-blended.
At 475 degrees, I cooked the pizza (24 ounce) for 20 minutes on the middle rack and then for an additional 3 minutes, put it on the bottom shelf just to further crisp up the crust. YUM! See how airy the crust is?! Fluffy just like a regular crust.
I am telling you this is worth the effort, whether you eat gluten free or not, it is delicious. Spencer doesn’t have to eat gluten free, but we eat gf at home. He had rave reviews and for someone who can eat both, that’s huge! I can’t wait for you to try it. Let me know what you think!! Until next time, eat well!
▫️1 1/2 heads of smoked/roasted garlic
▫️4 T olive oil
▫️2 T red wine or apple cider vinegar
▫️Dash of Dijon mustard
▫️Honey, salt & pepper to taste
Add all ingredients into blender and run until emulsified! Easy Peasy! Also, one dish cleanup - my favorite!
Serve on vegetables, meat or over a fresh salad! We had this tonight over roasted potatoes, zucchini, carrots and beef!
With homemade dressing you’re getting triple the flavor and NONE of the preservatives or extraordinary amounts of sodium. I encourage you to try a homemade mix! You can put together many different combinations. We are looking forward to bringing in fresh herbs once the weather continues to cooperate. Unfortunately, we have another snow dump coming this week. We spent the evening planning out our preparation to keep our freshly germinated seeds protected and even the frost hardy herbs.
These dressing concoctions should last a week or so with the vinegar base. Let me know if you give it a try. PS check out the photo below of the two garlic bulbs after they came out of the smoker. We wrapped them in foil and drizzled a little olive oil, done! So, so delicious. Enjoy, friends!
Have you ever tried pizza with a ground beef or poultry for the crust? If you’re anything like me you LOVE a good pizza. Great toppings, nice balance of flavors and of course, a solid cheese pull. But of course, pizza is not the healthiest option on the menu. I am a firm believer that a traditional homemade pizza is eons less greasy and allows you to control the type of preservatives, or lack thereof, in the crust. You’re also looking at double the protein and half the carbs!
To inch pizza even a little bit closer to achieving the healthy label, I would like to present the meat-za, or in this case Chi-Za! I used ground chicken for the crust. In the past I have experimented with beef and ground turkey could also be used. Something to keep in mind when choosing your protein is the level of fat that will cook out of the meat. The leaner options are not only healthier, but also less messy when it comes to the flip process of the crust. If you use a fattier meat, more grease will cook out. Regardless of your protein choice, you will need to dab excess moisture away with paper towels before flipping the crust. You will see what I mean when I give the run down on how to put this masterpiece together. Once you mix the protein and cook it for ten minutes on parchment paper at 450 degrees, you’ll flip that baby over before you add your toppings!
You can make this chi-za ANYWAY you want! Literally the possibilities are endless! We actually made another variation just a few nights prior with red pepper, olives, mushrooms and smoked gouda. YUM!
But, for the Greek version let’s discuss – so we started with a very thin layer of tzatziki made with Greek yogurt, garlic powder, dill and a little dash of Aleppo pepper! Then, add feta, sliced black olives, cherry tomatoes, romaine lettuce, green onions and dill pickles!
The crust holds together so well you can eat it like a regular slice of pizza!
Recipe & Ingredients
1.5-2lbs ground chicken
1 t minced garlic
1 t salt & pepper
2 T parmigiana
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients and shape on parchment paper over a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and dab excess juices with paper towels. Then, carefully flip crust directly onto the pan. Add thin layer of tzatziki, feta, sliced olives & tomatoes. Put back in oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking. Add your sliced green onions, romaine and a dollop of tzatziki. Time to enjoy!
In a mixing bowl combine the ground beef, salt, pepper and bread crumbs. Divide the ground beef into even proportion sized balls. Cut the onion into paper thin slices. If you have a mandolin, you can also use this tool to create very fine cuttings. Just from first hand experience, if you decide to use the mandolin PLEASE use the safety or you may end up an urgent care getting a hand wound cauterized. LOL, I’m allowed to laugh now, three years later…
Okay, so here we go. Heat up the cast iron skillet, place the beef on, flatten with the metal spatula and add another dash of s & p. Immediately, load up the onions on top of the burger and let the meat brown for ~2 minutes. You’re looking for the burger to develop a crust, which will be loaded with flavor when you bite in! Flip the burger using the spatula to help keep the onions in place. Now your onions will be frying in the beef fat under the burger. Add your cheese and cook about 2-3 minutes until your burger reaches desired consistency. Immediately top with pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and enjoy!
Depending on the size of your cast iron, you may be able to do 2 at a time, but don’t crowd the pan because it will be difficult to flip the burger. We had two pounds of beef to make six burgers, but you can use what you have! These were so good and a great bite with the crunchy onions and gooey cheese. I used a gluten free burger bun and Spencer used romaine lettuce wraps, so whatever suits your fancy!
2 lbs ground beef
¼ c gluten free bread crumbs
1 t salt & pepper
2 white onions – Vidalia or Spanish
6 slices of cheese (smoked hot pepper)
Dill pickles, sliced tomatoes, romaine & gluten free hamburger buns
Send me a note if you try it or make a variation! I'd love to continue evolving this recipe!
These waffles are so, so good and very easy to make. Whether you’re looking to prep them ahead of time or double the recipe, it’s easy as can be. The macros are great. The sweetness in this recipe is going to come from the banana, vanilla and the natural flavors in your peanut butter protein powder or substitute.
I realize peanut butter protein powder isn’t extraordinarily common, unless you love Bowmar protein as much as I do. A nice substitute would be ½ scoop of vanilla protein and ½ scoop peanut butter powder for the collagen. You’ll still get a ton of peanut butter flavor with the same consistency! Yum!
You can preheat the waffle maker while you’re putting the batter together. After the first time making them, it will only take 15 minutes start to finish. One serving is about 3 waffles. I use our Ninja single serve blender to put together the ingredients. The recipe fits if you double it, as well. I usually add a tsp of butter or peanut butter to the waffles for topping. For dessert one evening, I topped with fresh vanilla whipped cream.
Preheat waffle maker and spray with nonstick spray
1/2 scoop pb protein powder (or whatever you have)
1/2 scoop collagen (can be omitted, but seriously helping my recovery so sticking with it)
1 egg & 1 egg white
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt, baking p & s, cinnamon
Blend ingredients until smooth and put ¼ c on waffle maker
Topped with fresh vanilla whipped cream, butter or favorite topping 😋
We had leftover grilled sirloin from last night so we decided to whip up an Asian inspired meal with Teriyaki sauce and what we like to call dirty rice.
The rice consists of whatever veggies you have on hand, sautéed and reduced down in broth. Then, mix the veg and rice together. I used Forbidden black rice and for veg I had a red pepper, white onion and four carrots.
Traditional teriyaki sauce is equal parts reduced sodium soy sauce (San-j), mirin (sweet & savory cooking wine -Eden) and sake. But, as per usual we made some adjustments including using reduced sodium soy sauce so it is easier to control the salt. We also made our own sake substitute using just shy of 1 cup extra dry vermouth and 1 T rice wine vinegar (Marukan).
For equal parts we used a 1 cup measurement. We also added a corn starch slurry 2:1 water (2 T water: 1 T corn starch) to thicken. Who said you didn’t need to learn tratios? Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat in a sauce pan, reduce by 1/3 until it reaches your desired consistency.
NOW, this is where is get exciting!
We wanted to spruce it up a little, so went with some aromatics by the way of minced sushi ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, Aleppo chili flakes and a dash of maple syrup for a HINT of sweetness. Mirin is naturally sweet so depending on your brand you may not even need to add it.
After the sauce was complete, we added the grilled sirloin to the sauce to simmer for a couple minutes and then served it over the dirty rice. Enjoy!!
One of our goals with recipe development is to cut down on added sugars, preservatives, etc. In this recipe, we cut WAY down on the traditional amount of sugar. We also added maple syrup instead of a typical white sugar. It is important to start with a small amount of sugar in recipes, then test to see if it is needed. We added the small amount for balance. Keep sugar low!!! Health goals 😊
This ratio made plenty for leftovers so tomorrow we’re planning to try baked chicken drumsticks and broccoli with a nice drizzle of teriyaki! Yum, I’m already excited!
1 c soy sauce
1 c Mirin
1 c Sake - substitute (just under 1 c dry vermouth & 1 T rice wine vinegar)
2 T water
1 T corn starch
2 T minced sushi ginger
1 T minced garlic
2 t sesame seeds
2 t aleppo chili flakes
Dash of maple syrup
1 cup rice
Vegetables of your choosing!
Comment below if you’ve tried this or something similar. I would love to try a new variation!
This recipe really is the definition of easy! Whether your breakfast (or even snack) needs are on-the-go or WFH life, these oats are perfect for 3-4 servings. You also will not get sick of the sweet and savory flavors packed with protein if you want to double it for an entire week of prep! Leave a comment if you try this recipe, excited for y'all!
Easy PB&J Overnight Oats - save this one!
▫️1 1/2 c oats
▫️2 T Chia Seeds
▫️2 c milk (any kind, I’ve tried whole & almond - both warranted the same results)
▫️1/2 c Greek yogurt
▫️1/2 t cinnamon
▫️1 banana, mashed 🍌
▫️1 t vanilla
▫️1/2 t salt
▫️1 scoop pb protein powder
▫️1/3 c berries 🫐
▫️ 1 T peanut better 🥜
Mix all ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Serve with a fresh scoop of PB and berries, if desired! So good!
In sequence with “The Tale of an Efficient Resume”, up next is “The Tale of an Efficient Job Search” which will post as several different blog articles to fully encompass the process. In this article you can expect to refresh or learn about commonly used interview questions and the best ways to answer them. Anxiety is often running high in the interview setting, therefore preparation is a no brainer! Take the accountability and set yourself up for success.
If you have been following along with my social media posts, there have been daily questions, but for your ease, each one will be listed in this article, so here we go! First things first is how to answer questions most effectively. One commonly used approach is the STAR format. While on the surface this format seems to encompass a lot of information for the interviewee to spit out, it ensures touching on all aspects of the answer the interviewer wants to hear.
S-Situation: Explain the layout of the situation. It may be fresh in your head, but the interviewer needs some background in order to understand exactly what message you are trying to leave.
T-Task: What were you trying to accomplish in this situation? Lay clear ground work as to the overall goal and this will help close R with a bang!
A-Action: What action did you take in order to conquer and complete this task?
R-Result: You had X task as a responsibility, you took Y action in order to make it happen, which lead to Z result!
You can see how it all comes together using this structure. Let’s discuss some questions to expect and how they will fit.
The most common opener is “Tell me about yourself”. Not only will it get you to do the talking, it is a simple way for the interviewer to ease into their groove also. Ask about the expectations for the question. Inquire if they’re looking for something specific or if you should summarize your resume. Assuming they indicate the latter, pick important details and avoid reading line by line. Include education, work experience with major influential moments and any other miscellaneous activities with relevance to the role.
Describe a time when you faced adversity. Break out the STAR format here as you will be able to easily loop in the outcome during the “result” phase. An example is a deadline quickly approaching, but there were still objections for the project and what you did to expedite progress to finish promptly. Each industry and role is accompanied by its own set of adverse situations, so the potential here is sky high.
Biggest Disappointment or Failure
Give me an example of the biggest disappointment or failure you have had to deal with. This question may be uncomfortable, but be prepared to answer it. The key is to conclude with adjustments made to never experience that failure again. What skills have you gained to overcome this challenge in the future and what have you learned? Turn the surface level negative into a positive.
Tell me about your adaptability. Can you roll with the punches? Can you change direction at the drop of a coin? Be ready to discuss your skill to be versatile. One major trait an employer is looking to hire is the dynamic ability to rapidly accept change and apply it to the work.
Describe in detail a day in your current role. Discuss from start to finish what your daily operations look like. It is important to remember an activity seemingly mundane to you (because you have been doing it for years) is new to the interviewer so be detailed. Talk about responsibilities, different challenges that arise and ultimately what the goal of your workday is.
Tell me about an accomplishment due to your consistency. Regardless of industry, consistency is another top trait an employer is looking for in their workforce. Have an example prepared that led to a successful endpoint or how consistency has always been a factor in your success and why. Consistency is hands down a factor to increasing a candidate’s hireability.
What is your greatest weakness? Another question posing some uncomfortable feelings, but don’t evade preparing for it. Choose a topic you’re actively working to improve and admit you are not perfect. Avoid speaking about something that is a primary function of the role you’re applying for. An interview is one of the primary sources for leaving an impression on how you can make a difference in their organization, therefore strategize effectively with this question.
Tell me about an initiative for improvement you created. Time to shine! End goal of this question is to learn if you have displayed out of the box thinking and had the courage to spearhead the project. If you’re not sure how to answer this question, start thumbing through old emails and recover a lead you took to change the outcome of a project.
These eight questions are just a small tester of questions that could be fired off during a phone or face to face interview. As mentioned earlier, applying the STAR format to answer thoroughly will take you down the path to success. For more interview strategies and tips, follow my IG @buildyourbest_withbec and check back for the next blog article!
This past week I went to town on resume basics with my posts on social media. Seeing that January is a time when hiring increases, it seems appropriate. In addition, a trend I have been hearing among my clients and professional network is the added value of an efficient job search. About three years ago I was looking to move back home and I remember the struggle of working my full-time job and then coming home at night to start the applying process. Many employers have their own interface to apply through and specific documents to fill out, on top of attaching your resume and cover letter. It can be simple to take your foot off the gas pedal when the process begins to feel monotonous. So, the question is how do you create an efficient job search?
First things first, create the most readable and prime detailed resume. Let’s pound through a few easy tips to get started. The first thing listed on your resume should be demographic information; Name, telephone, city and state. An older resume may list an entire address, but that is not necessary (preference). Two necessities are an accurate, professional email address and also LinkedIn URL. To keep the demographic section, clean login to LinkedIn, edit profile and edit the URL. It is extremely simple, small detail, but impactful.
The next section is work history, AKA experience. This is going to be the meat of your resume, so making it effective is crucial. Utilize action verbs to begin each statement and stay away from standards statements like those found in your role’s job description. A formal job description can help organize thoughts about influence of those duties, but these bullet points should be more specific. A few examples are manage, oversee, develop, strategize…you get the idea! As far as format goes an example is “Managed ‘X’ task resulting in % growth of ‘Y’ over ‘Z’ time period. A million different forms can be listed, but be specific to your industry and list YOUR influence on those tasks.
Internships should be listed in certain scenarios. Time and effort were put into these roles so don’t overlook the experience thinking it is outdated or irrelevant. If you’re a few years out of college, the experience is relevant or complimentary to the role you’re applying for, brings added value to your overall knowledge base or it’s the only work history you have, LEVERAGE IT!
Next, is technology and trust me, we are moving right along. By this point, your resume is really beginning to take shape. This section will include computer skills, database knowledge and all over IT. It is no surprise these skills are a hot point, and most industries have specific databases or technical skills that reign over others. If you possess this knowledge coming into a new role, you’re a more well-versed candidate, can hit the ground running and will require less training ($$). Now, what about Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc? These can be listed as Microsoft Office to include, but not waste space on what may be expected as a standard (depending on role).
A special section titled ‘Relevant Experience’ or ‘Additional Information’ can be utilized to include details that just did not seem effective in other locations. Don’t let it fall off the page if it’s truly important. As an example, I recently worked on a pharmaceutical sales industry resume for a client who also carried EMS industry, so it was added to his ‘Relevant Experience’ to highlight a well-rounded medical background.
Have you recently completed any volunteer and philanthropic work? Listing it is important and this is the final piece! Don’t hold back displaying how seasoned you are. Also, this is another building block to show the recruiter or employer your expansive knowledge base and humanity.
Last, but certainly not least, is the length conversation. Resume length is highly debated, but most companies expect one to two pages for a couple reasons. The first is simply the reader’s attention will span. Second, it is believed the experience and impacts you’ve had over the years should be compact and concise enough for this length. Some specific trades and skilled positions require much longer descriptions of the role and your background. The easy answer is to do research regarding expectations for your industry. Be prepared with the proper resources to make the most impressive impact!
Utilize this inclusive resume guide to break down each section of your resume to allow for a seamless build. Try not to get lost in the confusion of how to put it all together. Approach is step by step and keep it simple. Please reach out to me with questions or for assistance!
As I recently spent some time exploring the writing of Charles Dickens, I have new thoughts flowing. In the mid-1850s when Dickens was forming a Christmas story, “The Chimes”, he spoke about the New Year being a time to close out any debts, matters or projects to start the next year fresh. Although the term ‘New Year’s Resolution’ and ‘New Year, New You’ are commonplace now, do you actually find yourself finishing projects and making yourself available to begin 2019 with a clean slate?
I do not personally believe in substantial, abrupt changes when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. In order to properly change behaviors and engage in new activities, a specific mindset change in necessary. It is proven incremental adjustments versus a larger one will produce longer term results ultimately leading to a lifetime of change and not just the short term. How can you beat the question of “oh, how long did you stick with it?”.
All the suggestions listed happen with your initiative. They are not reliant upon the actions of others, nor will they benefit others. This strictly falls into your boathouse of responsibilities. As always, I am realistic. I understand there is not always enough time in the day to add on extras, so what is the benefit of laying out changes and executing? As all the effort falls on your plate, so does the benefit. The list of three suggestions above is so small relatively speaking to what you may have in mind to fit your current situation and where you would like to go, but regardless, all these initiatives have one thing in common. They better YOU. It may contribute to your organization, health, time management, professional development and the list goes on.
To relate to my concentration of your professional development journey, I would like to spend a few minutes honing in on your LinkedIn profile, personal portfolio and resume. Many employers require employees to participate in an annual review, including feedback from management and self-assessment. If you are a part of an organization requiring this, great! They have provided a guide in order to get started! If not, it is not a problem, as you will have free reign to decide exactly which categories of your development to highlight. Take the opportunity to review the projects you have led or played a role in and what the results were. You can identify quantitative results tied directly back to your efforts. Another avenue to pursue is featuring educational or learning efforts pursued to further your range of expertise.
The skills or tasks you choose to highlight, will dictate which interfaces to focus on. The end result will remain consistent though in focusing on your development. Little changes to your resume, personal portfolio or LinkedIn profile produce a larger influence in the end
Close out 2018
As we close out the year, my biggest tip is to hold yourself accountable. Don’t waste time saying you will make these changes at the end of 2019. Roll into the year ready to rumble and make a difference for you. Time is and always will be our most valuable asset, so treat it right and focus on your priorities.
The writing of Dickens's presents in an old style, but his thoughts about time are relatable to where we currently stand. “The voice of time cries to man, Advance! Time is for his advancement and improvement; for his greater worth, his greater happiness, his better life; his progress onward to that goal within its knowledge and its view, and set there, in the period when Time and He began.” Let these words linger on your mind and soul until they resonate. Happy New Year, everyone!
Becca Wagner-Sharing our love for food, nature, gardening and all the career coaching resources! Explore the blog to get a closer look at recipe development and process with our lifelong commitment to sustaining our land.