Monday, January 31, 2011

Mama's Pizza Sauce

After mastering the dough, it was time to set out to make a homemade {clean} sauce!  This recipe is very easy to make and is a crowd pleaser every time. 

Even though this is a simple recipe, picking the right ingredients is key to having a {clean} sauce. And if you are not looking at the labels you can set yourself up for a big pot of SODIUM sauce! When shopping for your items look for 100% Natural and check out the amount of sodium in each can.  

Here's some that have low sodium that I have used in the past from Kroger:

This is my favorite brand of crushed tomatoes so far and makes the best quality sauce!
(I found it in the Italian section at my local Kroger)

Mama's Pizza Sauce

  • 1  32oz can of {100% Natural} Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2  6oz cans of {100% Natural} Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbps (or more) Fresh Basil (1 tsp dried will do)
  • 1/3 c Agave Nectar
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced (I usually use 8)
  • 2-3 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher or Sea Salt
1)  In a saucepan, saute garlic in oil until tender (or you start to smell the garlic)
2)  Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. 
3)  Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, give or take. 

 NOTE:  This makes enough for two batches of the wheat pizza dough.  If you have leftovers the sauce may be refrigerated for up to 1 week.  Keep in mind, you can "tweak" your recipe to make it sweeter or spicier by adding more or less agave and crushed red pepper flakes.  I rarely measure when making this. Shocker, I know!

Wheat Pizza Dough

This recipe was given to me by my friend, Matt, and I have used it ever since because I love it so much(and it's super simple).  My family has homemade pizza almost every Friday night. Pizza Friday! It's also a lot of fun to host a Pizza Party and have a toppings bar for your guest to build their own pizza. 

  • ½ cup warm water (about 110°)
  • 1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast
  • 1 ¼ cups water, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cups bread (or all purpose) flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed (or more, if you dare)
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl

1)  Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

2)  Place all dry ingrediants in a bowl and combine. Add the wet ingrediants and lightly mix so everything is wet. Let stand for about thirty minutes covered with a towel. Using wet hands on a clean and surface, knead the dough for about 3-5 minutes or until it feels smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.

3)  Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours on the counter OR place in the refrigerator overnight to rise slowly.

4) To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 450° for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

5)  Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with semolina or cornmeal. Top as desired. Slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8 to 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use.

NOTE:  I make my dough in a 2qt. batter bowl from Pampered Chef.  It works great!

I haven't mastered how to get the uncooked pizza onto the stone so I choose to take the stone out and built it on the stone, then return it to the oven to bake. You must work quickly as the dough starts to cook right away.  Also, I prefer to make smaller personal size pizzas.  You can roll as thick or thin as you like.  Have fun with it! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chicken Nuggets

My kids used to live on frozen processed nuggets.  They are nugget addicts! And sadly, I'll admit, I was to blame for buying them! They will still eat processed nuggets from time to time, just not at home.  
This was one of the very first menu items I wanted to replace at home.  It makes me {overjoyed} to have this dinner item requested in our home by my 6 year old.  I hope you enjoy this super simple {clean} nugget recipe.

Chicken Nuggets


  • 3 Chicken Breasts
  • 3/4 c Wheat Germ
  • 3/4 c Almond Meal
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 c Egg Whites

1.)  Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or coating lightly with olive oil spray.
2.)  Cut chicken breasts into nugget-sized pieces, about 1.5 inch square. Set aside.
3.)  Next, combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.  This is your coating mixture.
4.)  Put egg-white liquid in a medium bowl. Dip each piece in the egg-white mixture. Then dip each piece in the coating mixture. Make sure each piece is well coated.
5.)  Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Try them with this {clean} dipping sauce...

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My family loves spaghetti! Who doesn't? After starting the {eat clean} journey, it was out with the jarred sauce and in with the homemade sauce.

This recipe is special, because it has a secret...SHHHHHH!!! 

Ok, I'll fess up, but it's up to you if you share this info with the others in the family.  It's packed full of carrots!!! Yes, carrots! If you are trying to get your kids (or yourself) to eat more vegetables each day, then give it a try! You might be surprised how fast they gobble it up.


  • 1 c Pureed Carrots
  • 4 Shallots (minced)
  • 8 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 2 cans of {no salt added} 100% Natural Tomato Paste 
  • 2 cans of {no salt added} 100% Natural Tomato Sauce (15oz)
  • 1 c Low Sodium Chicken Stock or water
  • 2-3 tsp Olive Oil

1) Saute minced shallots and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until softened.
2) Add all other ingredients to pan and stir.
3) Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
4) Serve over whole wheat pasta. Top with grated Romano cheese.

NOTE: This will make a good amount of sauce.  I like to have extra on hand in the fridge for quick lunches.

In the past I have always depended on pre-shredded {chemical enriched} cheeses in my family's meals. I'm learning a lot about the different types of cheese on this journey.  The other day, I made my first "true" stop at the cheese counter at the grocery store.  Let's just say it was beyond overwhelming.! However, I didn't feel too defeated since the lady working the counter said she has a book to study the cheeses. She went on to say she learns a lot of her knowledge from shoppers. I will do my best to share my cheese "findings". Maybe you know all there is to know about cheese...and if you do, please share! One of my new faves is Pecorino Romano which is made from Sheep's milk and is a firm and salty cheese. 

KID APPROVED??? YES! (and even a "this is the best sauce in the whole world!")

Monday, January 17, 2011


I have to admit, I used to ONLY eat canned green beans and the thought of using fresh was out of the question. I remember my grandma and mom "snapping" green beans when I was little, so I know they were readily available.  I'm not sure why I didn't care for them. Good news is, I guess time changes people (and their tastes) because I haven't had canned green beans in years.  They just don't sound appealing to me at all!

These green beans are super simple to make and they taste great too! A double win in my book.

Garlic Green Beans


  • 4-5 cups of green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil

1)  In a sauce pan heat oil and garlic.
2)  Add green beans, toss in oil and cover until beans are slightly tender. (approx 3-5 min)
3)  Salt to taste.

NOTE:  I purchase a huge bag of Organic Petite Green Beans from Costco.  It's nice to have some "go to" items in the freezer that are easy and healthy.  For those of you that hate mincing fresh garlic by hand, I suggest you invest in a garlic press-BEST THING EVER!!!



I rarely make fish at our house. Probably because I didn't grow up eating it. Fish is an excellent source of protein and contains the very best fats, omega-3 fatty acids.  I don't care for seafood much at all, but one thing I have found I do like is Tilapia. 

There is evidence suggesting that eating seafood helps prevent or alleviate high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, depression, asthma, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease. It's actually pretty amazing! Sadly, Tilapia doesn't have high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids, but it's a start in the right direction.  

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

  • 5-6 Tilapia fillets (I use frozen from Costco)
  • 1 c Parmesan cheese 
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 3/4 c Almond Meal
  • 1-2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Sea or Kosher Salt

    1)  Thaw fillets and Preheat over to 400°.
    2)  In a shallow dish, mix cheese, almond meal, paprika and salt together.
    3)  Dredge fish in cheese mixture. Make sure to evenly coat all fillets.
    4)  Place fish on foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with Olive Oil.
    5)  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until fish is opaque at the thickest part. 
         (mine takes a little longer b/c I don't completely thaw the fish)

    NOTE: Cooking time will vary depending on if you are using frozen or fresh fillets. 
              I found my almond meal at Trader Joe's.

    Side dish suggestions: Garlic Green Beans and Baked Potato.


    Thursday, January 13, 2011


    Being a parent and trying to {eat clean} can be a challenge, atleast in the beginning.  Kids still have their "go to" foods they love.  One of them being the beloved french fry.

    Here's the ingredients in one frozen bag of french fries :

    In the {eat clean} way of life, if you can't pronounce shouldn't be eating it.

    I used to always have frozen french fries on hand in our house.  Not anymore. I have given up on frozen fries and made it my mission to make fries that my family loves and craves. The sweet potato fries were a huge hit, but I wanted more of a traditional fry as well.  That's how I ended up making Garlic Herb Fries.  I just can't get over how super simple they are to make, they taste better, and are better for you! 

    Garlic Herb Fries

    • 2 lbs of Idaho Potatos
    • 1/2 tsp Thyme
    • 1/2 tsp Rosemary
    • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
    • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
    • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
    • 2-3 tsp Olive Oil
    1)  Cut potatoes in 1/2 inch thick strips(do not remove skin) and toss with olive oil.
    2)  In a small bowl mix all dry ingredients. Then sprinkle evenly over fries and toss.
        (make sure to chop herbs, fresh or dried)
    3)  Arrange fries on a single layer on a baking sheet (you may need two baking sheets)
    4)  Bake at 450 degrees for 30-35 min. Flipping fries half way thru.

    This roughly serves 4.


    Tuesday, January 11, 2011


    One principle in the {Eat Clean} way of life is...Avoid artificial sugars.

    I knew they were not {that} good for you, but did I want to face the fact that I was consuming something on a daily basis that was linked to cancers, dental problems, and other health issues? Also, there are studies stating it can hinder weight loss efforts and play tricks on our body. 

    I started using Sweet 'N Low to sweeten my coffee years ago because it was calorie free. After reading more about artificial sweeteners, I had to face the facts I was actually pouring chemicals into my coffee. Why? I suppose because I wasn't educated on the fact there were other alternatives out there, not to mention I was quite lazy in the interest to make a change to a healthier me.

    So, did I make a change?  Yes
    What do I use now to sweeten my coffee? 
    100% Pure Stevia Extract.  

    Before starting the {eat clean} plan I had already started using Truvia (made of rebiana, erythritol, and natural flavors)which is made with Stevia, but I wanted to get to the pure source. I found Pure Stevia Extract at Trader Joe's for $9.99 a bottle.  That may seem pricey to you, it sure was to me at first.  I will tell you that it last a long time.  The container states "622 Servings".  As you can see from the image above, it comes with a very little scoop! (that's because it's 300 times sweeter than sugar)  I like my coffee super sweet so I use two tiny scoops per cup.  

    With all this being said, I want to make sure to convey the point that even things from nature should be consumed in moderation.  Too much of a {good} thing is still too much sometimes.

    Monday, January 10, 2011


    Diet coke. Wow. I still feel the loss of a "friendship" when I speak those words. I will be the first to admit, I WAS addicted to Diet Coke.  Yes, you read that correctly, past tense.  I know there were days that went by that the only liquids I consumed were from Diet Coke alone(ok, and maybe coffee). I, mean, come on...they are calorie free, they can't be that bad, right??? Hmmmm....Let's take a looksy.

    Diet coke: Carbonated Water, Caramel Color, Aspartame, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Benzoate, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, and Caffeine. Contains: Phenylalanine. 

    When you actually read the ingredients it doesn't sound appeal to me at all.

    Some may argue (like my husband that still consumes DC regularly) that there is nothing wrong with drinking Diet Coke in moderation.  That may be true. But, in my case, I was substituting water intake for DC intake.  That's not good. Our body needs a lot of water daily to remain healthy. Eat Clean Principle is {2-3 Liters of water a day}.  Plus, there are many studies out there linking Aspartame to all sorts of health issues. Not to mention, articles about artificial sweeteners and lack of weight loss.  Do I really want to take that risk anymore???  I need all the help I can get. Period.

    It's been over 5 months since I gave up Diet Coke. I can say, I really don't miss it. I feel a lot better, health wise, because I am drinking more water! So, you may ask, what do I drink instead?  I drink a lot more water,  green tea, coffee in the mornings, and I even make my own lemon water with fresh lemons and pure stevia. It's refreshing!


    One thing I crave from time to time are buffalo wings.  But, let's face it, they are not on the healthy food list. This recipe is a healthy alternative to greasy deep fried wings.  This calls for ingredients you might not recognize or have on hand. Trust me, before starting this {eat clean} journey I had no clue what wheat germ was or where the hell to find it at the grocery store. The almond meal is something I stumbled upon during a visit to Trader Joe's. Man, I am glad I found this because it makes any recipe that calls for chopped almonds a breeze.  And I use it most all of my breaded dishes. (Update 2012: I now can make my own almond meal at home in the Vitamix)

     TIP: You should be able to find wheat germ in the cereal aisle of most grocery stores. If not, ask all your friends and a jar of wheat germ might magically show up on your doorstep. It did for me

    Guilt-Free Buffalo Chicken Strips

    • 3 large chicken breast
    • 1/2 c Wheat Germ (or I have used Oat Bran before)
    • 1/2 c Almond Meal (or grind your own almonds)
    • 1/4 c Wheat Flour
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
    • 1/8 tsp white pepper (black would do)
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 c Chicken Stock
    • 2-3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I use Barlean's Coconut Oil too)
    • {clean} Buffalo Wing Sauce

    1)  Cut chicken breast into long strips and set aside.
    2)  In a bowl add wheat germ, almond meal,flour and spices. Stir.
    3)  In an additional bowl pour chicken stock to use to "predunk" the chicken strips. (this step could be omitted)
    4)  In a sauce pan(grill pan) add olive oil to coat bottom of pan and heat to medium heat.
    5)  Dunk chicken in stock, then dry mix(make sure to even coat the chicken), then add to pan. Note: Do not turn chicken for the first 3-5 minutes. Once it starts to cook through, turn and cook remainder of time.
    6)  Remove from heat and coat with Wing Sauce

    This goes great with my Sweet Potato fries! Enjoy.

    NOTE: I bet you could try baking these in the oven too. I suggest trying 375 degrees. Turning once. Note sure on the length of time. I might also try grinding the almond meal and wheat germ in the Vitamix and omitting the wheat flour next time. I'll update if I do. 

    KID APPROVED??? yes, without the wing sauce.

    Sunday, January 9, 2011


    I'll admit I was skeptical when I decided to attempt to make my own baked fries(and ditch the bagged processed fries)... Even more so to make them using sweet potatoes, which I have always hated.  They were SO good.  I'm a {hater} no more! Even my 6 year old LOVES them. For you parents out there, that's a huge win.

    Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

    • 2-3 Sweet Potatoes 
    • 1 tsp Paprika
    • 1 tsp Cumin
    • 1 tsp Chili Powder
    • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
    • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
    • pinch of black pepper
    • 2 Tbsp of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (approx)
    1. Remove skin from potatoes and place in microwave oven for 2-3 minutes.  (This will make it easier for cutting thru tough potatoes)  
    2. In a large bowl, mix all other ingredients in a bowl.
    3. Cut off ends of potatoes and discard. Cut each potatoes lengthwise first, then into strips(longer potatoes will need to be cut into half also).  Make sure to make all strips about the same size for even baking.
    4. Once all strips are cut, mix in the large bowl with other ingredients. I find using your hands works best!
    5. After all strips are evening coated, lay strips out on a baking sheet (single layer).
    6. Bake at 400 degrees for approx. 30 min or until tender. (Flip fries half way thru)
    UPDATE: I find it works best if you bake at a lower temp, say 300-350 for a longer period of time. Also, use a cookie cooling type rack ( I can't think of the true name of the racks) in the oven allows for the air to flow all around the french fries and eliminates the need to flip.