Monday, July 15, 2013

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe

In celebration of my Italian heritage "let us eat pizza!"

Oh, the sweet smell of memories ~smile~ The inviting aroma of homemade pizza instantly transports me back to memory lane. Food & Nostalgia, I find myself conjuring fond memories and happily reminiscing. I truly believe that my mom, Felicetta "joyful one" considers kneading dough a joyful exercise, not a chore. An abundant amount of Italian love goes into everything she makes. 

There is a real sense of pride, satisfaction and love when you cook for family, friends, neighbours, co-workers - people. Especially if you're Italiano.

Food is so much more than something we need to sustain life and nourish our bodies. Food has a remarkable way of drawing people together. Don't you agree? 

Italians take great pride in social interactions. Whether it's northern or southern Italy, the family or famiglia is very important.

Italian Proverb: "A tavola non si invecchia" Translation: "At the table (with good friends and family) you do not become old"

Take a look at this adorable short 1 minute movie clip - The Princess and the Frog - Good Food Brings People Togethter

Viviamo Senza Glutine! Living Without Gluten!

Following a gluten-free diet is not a decision based on fad but one of necessity for many individuals. The reality is that 1 in 133 Canadians are affected by celiac disease and experts estimate that 6 to 15 percent may suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity or intolerance.

  Gluten-Free Italiano: "When the moon hits your eye like a big-a pizza pie that's amore!" - Dean Martin

Mama Mia! "This is too good to be true." is exactly what came to mind after reading the directions on the package. I'm not a frozen pizza kinda gal so this was a great option. Who would have thought that making a pizza crust could be so easy. I honestly wasn't sure I was going to get positive results from the Namaste pizza crust mix. This just wasn't the traditional method of making an Italian pizza crust. It was easier than making an authentic batch of pizza dough! I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

Preheat the oven to 450 F

Combine 1 1/2 cups pizza crust mix with 1 tsp. oil and 1 1/4 cups water. Beat with electric mixer for 3 minutes. Batter will be the consistency of cake batter. Scrape batter onto pizza pan and spread with spatula. It is very important to spread batter to at least 14 inches. 

Baking directions:

Bake for approximately 20 minutes on lowest rack.  Pull the crust out and add sauce and toppings, then bake an additional 10-15 minutes.

I lightly brushed the pizza crust with extra virgin olive oil and added some of my favourite fresh vegetables and herbs. 

Some of my favourite pizza toppings include:

Tomato pesto sauce (I made homemade tomato sauce & pesto)
Fresh Basil
Sundried tomatoes
Black olives
Mozzarella Cheese (optional) or Daiya deliciously dairy free

Pesto Sauce:


3 cups of packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup pine nuts (option: you may roast them in the oven as well)
1 cup fresh Italian parsley
3-4 garlic cloves (option: may add more)
1/2 tsp of salt
1 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Grana-Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


In a food processor or blender add basil, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, salt and start blending. Add extra virgin olive oil in a slow steady stream. Blend till smooth.

Tip: Make extra and freeze

Add Cheese (optional)

The crust had a slightly golden crisp edge, flexible center and a lovely taste. The pizza crust mix is also yeast and sugar free!

I give Namaste two thumbs up for its simplicity, taste, texture and cooking time.  

But..Mama's is always best :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Boosting Metabolism Naturally

Reset Your Appetite & Kick Your Metabolism Into High Gear

The body thrives and your metabolism sparks when you shift gears and make significant changes to your diet. Get satisfied with natural nutrition!

Don't Skip Meals: When you skip meals your metabolism actually slows down. If your body isn't getting enough nourishment, it begins storing FAT.  Give your metabolism a boost first thing in the morning, eat breakfast! The word "breakfast" literally means breaking the fast. The first meal of the day is the most important because it supplies the body and brain with the necessary nutrients after a night's sleep. Start your day with an easily digestible meal that nourishes the body.

Don't Starve Yourself: Avoid starvation mode - Eat balanced meals for superior energy, stamina and for mental and emotional balance. Try not to go more than four to five hours without fuel (eat something) Get Stoked! Staying within your recommended calorie intake will keep your internal furnace burning brightly. 

Stay Hydrated: Prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water, which allows your metabolism to keep running efficiently and effectively. Drinking water flushes toxins and keeps your body functioning optimally. Tip: Coconut Water has tremendous health benefits and effective in relieving dehydration. Coconut water is the best hydrating and energizing beverage with the highest source of electrolytes.

Fire Up The Engine: "Fill'er Up!" One of the biggest mistakes individuals make is rush out the door without fuel (food/eating). Imagine trying to drive your car to work with no gas. You won't get very far, right? Your body is like a machine, so fill it with premium octane-fuel and fire up your metabolism for the day!

Go Green: Green tea is a thermogenic agent, which means you burn more calories. The powerful antioxidants found in green tea also aids in energy production and the chemical in green tea or green tea extract, known as EGCG is known to speed up your metabolism.

Spice It Up: Studies have shown that spicy food actually has many health benefits including increasing your metabolism. Here's a little spice and a kick of flavour ~wink~ ginger, cayenne, mint and cinnamon, tumeric, capsicum(cayenne pepper). Burning more fuel, means more energy in your tank. 

Foods To Eat For A Leaner Body:

Lighten your load so you can feel fresh and clean during the summer's long days.

Festive Canada Day Popsicles

Sending you warm greetings and fun-filled wishes for Canada Day!

I SCREAM FOR ... FROZEN POPSICLES? These homemade frozen Greek yogurt popsicles are a great alternative to ice cream! Since they require just a handful of simple ingredients and very few tools, making popsicles is practically effortless. 

In honor and celebration of Canada Day, I made these delicious popsicles using fresh  organic strawberries and organic plain greek yogurt. I selected this combination to represent the colors of the National Flag of Canada. You can use any combination of fruit with other healthy ingredients for various holidays or birthday celebration. 

The possibilities for healthy, delicious, homemade pops are endless and I enjoy experimenting. During the hot summer season my produce-rich smoothie gets poured into popsicle molds ready for a healthy summer snack. 

To make Festive Canada Day Popsicles


Oh, Canada! Strawberry Yogurt Pops
  • 2 cups fresh organic strawberries
  • 2 cups organic plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. pure unpasteurized honey (try a flavoured honey infused with natural complimentary ingredients like lavender, lemon or cinnamon) OR
  • 2 tbsp. of maple syrup (perfect for this Holiday frozen treat
  • 6 popsicle molds


Makes 6 popsicles:

  • Add strawberries and 1 tbsp. of maple syrup or honey in Vitamix or blender. Pulse mixture on low for a few seconds allowing contents to blend until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, mix yogurt and 1 tbsp. of honey 
  • Let the fun begin! Spoon strawberry and yogurt mixture alternately into popsicle molds. 
  • Place popsicle sticks inside each mold and allow popsicles to freeze for approximately 3 hours or overnight.
  • Gently tap the popsicle mold on the counter a few times to release or avoid any air bubbles.
To remove popsicles, run popsicle molds under hot water for a couple of seconds while gently wiggling on the popsicles sticks to unmold.

I  hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we did!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mother's Day Sweet Treats

I made these scrumptious truffles, a melange of dates, nuts and cacao for one of my educational workshops. They were a HIT! They are packed with flavour and nutrition.

Raw Vegan - Raw Cacao Hemp Truffles

  • 1/2 cup almonds or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • optional unsweetened unsulphured coconut flakes
  • 6 - 8 Medjool dates, pitted


1. Soak dates in warm water for 15 minutes to soften (optional step)

2. While dates are soaking, place nuts, oats, hemp hearts, chia seeds, raw 
cacao, and sea salt in a food processor. Blend until finely ground. Lastly, add a sprinkle of coconut flakes (optional) and blend well.

3. Add dates one at a time and process.

4. Mixture will resemble a crumbly texture. If mixture does not stick together    add a few drops of water.

5. Gently roll into bite size balls. Approximately one tablespoon.

6. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Facts About Raw Cacao:
  • Cacao contains flavonoids, a of chemical found in naturally in plants. These phytochemicals are known to fight  a wide array of diseases.
  • Cacao can increase the levels of serotonin your brain produces
  • Cacao is packed with vitamins and antioxidants
  • One of the main health benefits of cacao is high concentration of antioxidants.
Facts About Hemp Hearts:
  • Contain the optimum ration of the polyunsaturated Omega 3 & 6
  • One of nature's perfect super food
  • Provides a broad spectrum of health benefits: increases  & sustains energy, reduces inflammation, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, reduces effects of chronic digestive problems.
Facts About Dates:
  • Dates are high in iron
  • Rich source of vitamins and minerals
  • A rich source of protein, dietary fiber and rich in B1, B2, B3 & B5 along with vitamin A & C.
  • Improves digestive system as they as it contains soluble and insoluble fibers.
Facts About Almonds:
  • Almonds have long been revered as the epitome of health and wellness
  • Rich in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals
  • Packed with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals
  • A complete source of energy
  • Excellent source of vitamin E
  • Packed with important B-complex

Big Boom'in Spring Giveaway!



Celiac disease (see-lee-ak) is also called celiac sprue non-tropical sprue and gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Celiac disease is an inherited condition triggered by a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. 

Currently the only treatment for celiac disease is to continually maintain a strict gluten-free diet.  It is estimated that 1 in 133 persons in Canada are affected by Celiac disease.


The following Symptoms may be present in varied combinations
  • Anemia (iron and/or folic acid)
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Depression
  • Nausea and or vomiting
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Weight loss
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Easy bruising
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Amenorrhea (absence of menstrual bleeding)
  • Vitamin Deficiency (A,B,D,E,K,B12)
  • Bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain


  • Failure to grow
  • Irritability
  • Dental abnormalities
  • Delayed puberty

  • Dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Infertility & miscarriages
  • Osteoporosis
For more information on Celiac Disease.

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