Cauliflower Pizza Crust- REALLY?!!

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The finished cauliflower crust pizza. Read on to see my opinions on it!

The finished cauliflower crust pizza. Read on to see my opinions on it!

Ok, so I’ve been reading a few different recipes for a pizza crust made from CAULIFLOWER instead of flour. What, what? It seemed strange, but I’ll admit I was intrigued. After all, not only do my children both have gluten allergies which necessitates substituting for flour/wheat, but I try not to eat gluten or most carbs either because carbs are what cause weight gain and lead to many diseases/illnesses. In addition, cauliflower is a very, very good for you vegetable which also interested me in the idea of a cauliflower crust. In fact, I love cauliflower and appreciate it’s advantages so much that I’m going to spend a paragraph talking to you about how super duper it is!

Crunchy, delicious, healthy cauliflower!

Crunchy, delicious, healthy cauliflower!

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that contains many vitamins and minerals that help us lead a healthy life. It contains sulforaphane, which is a sulfur compound that slows tumor growth in cancer stem cells. Also, that same sulforaphane helps improve blood pressure and kidney function. Cauliflower contains anti-inflammatory nutrients like indole-3-carbinol or I3C, which helps prevent inflammatory responses on a cellular level. In addition, one serving of cauliflower contains 77% of your RDA for vitamin C, which I wrote about in my past post, “Beyond the Orange, Better Sources of C”. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. It’s an important source of fiber, which aids in digestion, and it’s full of antioxidants and phytonutrients which protect cells against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Cauliflower is truly a super food!

So, with all that in mind and after looking at multiple recipes I decided to try one to see whether a cauliflower pizza crust could: 1. Taste delicious,  2. taste similar to a regular pizza crust, and 3. Be easily prepared with few ingredients. I chose Katie Lee’s recipe from http://www.foodnetwork.com because it seemed the most straight forward in terms of preparation and ingredients.

I have to say that I really liked it! It met my three criteria above and my family also liked it a lot. They said that you can taste the cauliflower in the crust, however the flavor is not totally in your face but more subtle, especially with the pizza toppings added.  I think even non-cauliflower fans would like it, and you can eat your pizza mostly guilt free because you are taking away bad carbs and adding in vitamins and fiber- that’s a win-win! I’ll share the recipe and my tips now. Try it and I’m sure you’ll like it!

Ingredients for cauliflower pizza crust!

Ingredients for cauliflower pizza crust!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

  • One head cauliflower, stalk removed
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Break the cauliflower into florets and either chop them finely, pulse in food processor, or grind them up in your blender, a few at a time (that’s what I did).

Cauliflower in steamer basket on stove.

Cauliflower in steamer basket on stove.

Then, steam them in a steamer basket until they’re tender and drain WELL. I suggest preparing the cauliflower a good hour before serving it so it really has time to drain. If it’s well drained the crust will get crispy like a thin pizza crust. Or wring the cauliflower in a towel if you don’t have that much time; anything to get out all the water.

All ingredients combined and ready for the baking pan!

All ingredients combined and ready for the baking pan!

In a bowl, add the mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, salt, garlic powder and eggs to the cauliflower.

Next, the oven!

Next, the oven!

Now, transfer the mixture to your baking pan and spread it into a circle, resembling a pizza crust. Make sure to spread it evenly so it will cook evenly.

Done and out of the oven it goes- ready for toppings!

Done and out of the oven it goes- ready for toppings!

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until it’s browned on the edges, and the center is firm. Last, add your toppings and bake for an additional 10 minutes. And voila, it’s done!

My mouth is watering just thinking about this pizza!

My mouth is watering just thinking about this pizza!

The toppings I added were mushrooms, pepperoni, Italian sausage, crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup mozzarella, oregano and a little more garlic powder, but you can add whatever toppings you like. The best part is that this pizza crust weighs in at about 60 calories per slice (not including toppings) instead of 285 calories per slice of a 14 inch regular crust. That’s pretty incredible! And then when you add in the nutrient value, it’s a homerun, my friends! I guarantee you will like it, and best of all you won’t feel like you’re eating a “diet” food. I’m definitely not into deprivation, and you won’t feel deprived with this pizza. Let me know if you try it, and how you like it. Eating foods like this will help you live a life of vitality- with Valerie!

An EGGceptional protein!

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Eggs are good for you!

Eggs are good for you!

I think eggs are one of the most vilified foods we eat- or don’t eat. The media has blasted eggs saying that they are bad for us, that they give us high cholesterol which leads to heart disease, that they are high in calories, and that they have no nutritional value. In short, experts say that eggs are a quick route to a heart attack and should be avoided at all costs. More and more research, however, is coming to light that says eggs are good for us and a healthy addition to our diets. Yay!

Here’s another true confession moment from Vital Val, I absolutely love eggs and have eaten them my entire life! I love them! I think they are a delicious and versatile food, and they keep me very satisfied. Just like with bacon I became a closet egg eater, and definitely did not sing the praises of eggs. Now though, I think it’s time for eggs to take their rightful place as a nutritional powerhouse and I’m here to bring them out of the darkness and into the light for you today. Following are the most popular myths about eggs that I will dispel.

My favorite way to eat eggs, simple, put a little butter in the pan and fry them up. YUM!

My favorite way to eat eggs, simple, put a little butter in the pan and fry them up. YUM!

Eggs are high in cholesterol and that’s bad, right? Wrong, though eggs are high in cholesterol, one large egg contains 185 mg of cholesterol, the cholesterol you ingest in the foods you eat does not raise cholesterol. In fact, when you eat foods high in cholesterol it actually lowers your body’s cholesterol. Yep, I know, but it’s true. And here’s the thing, cholesterol is not bad for your body anyway. Cholesterol is an important nutrient that aids in growth and hormone production.

My second favorite egg preparation- deviled eggs! Mayo, mustard, salt and pepper is all it takes!

My second favorite egg preparation- deviled eggs! Mayo, mustard, salt and pepper is all it takes!

Eating eggs can make you fat? Also wrong! In a research study quoted in the Huffington Post participants ate 3 eggs a day (I want to participate in that study!) while on a weight loss diet and they lost weight, either maintained or improved their cholesterol levels, and decreased inflammation. How bout that?!!

My third favorite way to eat eggs- Egg Drop Soup! Eggs and chicken broth, a very tasty combination!

My third favorite way to eat eggs- Egg Drop Soup! Eggs and chicken broth, a very tasty combination!

Another egg myth is that the yolk of the egg is unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs. 90 percent of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid and B12 of the egg is in the yolk. In addition the yolk contains all of the fat-soluble components, such as vitamins A, D and E, not to mention the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Egg yolks are also a great source of some other nutrients such as choline, lutein and zeaxanthin. Really, the egg white only contains protein and water so if the yolk is skipped you’re missing out on the majority of the nutrients in the egg.

My fourth favorite- egg salad! I make it with mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and serve it over a lettuce salad with vinaigrette. Fabulous!

My fourth favorite- egg salad! I make it with mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and serve it over a lettuce salad with vinaigrette. Fabulous!

A couple of caveats on all of this pro-egg euphoria, first there have been studies that have shown people who have diabetes should have no more than 3 eggs per week because the cholesterol in eggs can be problematic to diabetics if they eat an excessive amount of them. Second, 0.2 percent of the population has a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, and if you have this you shouldn’t eat eggs. Third, if you’re eating a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates, which in my opinion NO ONE should be eating, you should limit your egg consumption because of the danger of getting many different illnesses from a diet of that kind.

My favorite sandwich and my fourth fave egg preparation, a egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich on gluten free bread. Can be eaten for any meal!

My favorite sandwich and my fifth fave egg preparation, an egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich on gluten free bread. Can be eaten for any meal!

In addition, the kind of eggs that you eat are important because not all eggs are created equal. The eggs that I buy are from free range chickens and are fed a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You can get these at a health foods grocery store and sometimes at the farmer’s market. So is this post making anyone hungry? It’s definitely making me hungry so I’m going to go make myself a meal with eggs right now. Let me know how you like to eat your eggs and thank you for reading this post!  Just remember that eggs are good for you and eating them can help you to live a life of vitality-like Valerie!