I’ve got a new Facebook page–and I hope you’ll visit me there! I’m perpetually grateful to all of you who’ve “liked” my Diet, Dessert and Dogs page, but it’s time to move on. With a new cookbook on the horizon and lots of other cool sugar-free, anti-candida and allergy-friendly offerings in the works, I wanted a Facebook page that reflected all of that (along with DDD too, of course!). To keep it simple, this one is just called “Ricki Heller,” and I’ll be posting all the same things I now do on the DDD page (which will be shut down on August 31, 2013). So please hop over to the new page and “like” it so you won’t miss out when things switch over this summer!
Hard to believe, but today is the HH‘s and my 16th anniversary! (Wait, how is that possible? I still feel as if I AM sixteen–well, internally, anyway. Externally, it’s more like, “where did those 16 new wrinkles come from?” or “how did I suddenly acquire 16 new aches and pains in my knees?” or “sixteen new gray hairs?! Wahhhh!!!”. Okay, I guess that every kind of “sixteen” tends to creep up on you).
Our friends often tell me that the HH and I perfectly embody the expression, “opposites attract.” (Think “The Odd Couple,” but heterosexual). It’s true, he is all about engineering, science, cars and an omnivore diet, while I am more about pop culture, psychology, kitchens and vegan cuisine (I’ll let you guess which of us is the slob and which is the tidy-freak). But what has kept us both firmly entrenched in our relationship over the past sixteen
unpredictable tumultuous outlandish years is that, at the core, we both share the same basic values. That, and the same puerile sense of humor. (“And don’t forget us, Mum! You share us, too!“). And, of course, we share The Girls.
Another key factor in our relationship, I’d say, is the fact that I retained all my close girlfriends, and regularly schedule time one-on-one with them, sans the HH.
Having separate interests and friendships doesn’t mean a couple must lead separate lives, in my opinion. When I was in grad school, my friend Gemini I was good friends with a woman in a long-distance marriage. She and her husband had been married for 18 years, yet they had only lived in the same city for about 12 months, total. Because of her work, she was often sent to live all over the globe (the most exciting location, as I recall, being Maldive Islands) for perhaps 10 months at a time. Rather than uproot both their lives, she remained the peripatetic one while her husband was rooted in their permanent residence in Canada. I found them a bit of a curiosity, but it seemed to really work for them. Worked, that is, until she finally landed a job that allowed her to stay in the same city as her husband for the first time. Within a few months, the marriage dissolved.
Well, the HH and I still enjoy dinner together every night and take our vacations (such as they are) together. And when it comes to someone I love talking with, whose conversation is always sharp and witty and engaging; someone I would choose to spend time with above anyone else, well, the HH is still my Number One, even after 16 years.
Just don’t ask us to eat the same food, okay?
These His N Hers pizzas came about because of the HH’s continual grumbling about being unable to put cheese on his pizza (I felt bad enough that by sharing my vegan and gluten free crust, he was missing out on his own preferred version. To ease the pain, when I first switched my diet, I agreed to allow him a sprinkling of cheese on his half, but quickly realized that wouldn’t work for me because it was too difficult to keep the two halves separate. Cutting the pizza first and sprinkling his cheese on it later didn’t work for him because the cheese didn’t melt enough before he was ready to eat it. Ergo, grumbling.).
Why not just make two smaller pizzas, I reasoned, and allow him all the variance in toppings his little heart (and stomach) desired? I’ve been playing with various forms of grain-free pizza crust over the years, and finally hit on this recipe that is now my all-time favorite. It’s firm, crispy on the edges and soft in the center, and holds its shape no matter how much you pile on top of it (his case: pepperoni and cheese with onions, olives, peppers, garlic, jalapeno, artichoke hearts and whatever else is on hand. Her case: onions, garlic, red pepper, jalapeno, black olives, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, whatever else is on hand and some kind of green pesto as a base, usually with a sprinkling of nut-based parmesan).
Now that we can create our own individualized pizzas, the HH is a happy camper once again. We experience true couples’ togetherness while we chow down on custom pizzas that we’ve each dressed ourselves. Then, if the fancy strikes us, we can go off to our separate forms of entertainment (he: listening to classical music on the stereo with Elsie at his feet; she: gabbing on the phone with the The Nurse or CBC with Chaser sprawled under the desk) and meet up again at bedtime.
Sounds to me like the perfect arrangement for at least another 16 years, don’t you think?
[For those keen-eyed readers examining these photos, you will notice that our two pizzas look virtually identical. Yep, that’s correct: that particular evening, the HH had no pepperoni left in his stash, we were out of artichokes and he miraculously didn’t feel like adding cheese. In other words, there was actually no need for two separate pizzas that night!].
Five Years Ago: How I Spent My Spring Vacation
Grain-Free, Bean-Free, Vegan Pizza Crust
It’s easy to make free-form crusts of any size with this base by simply spreading the dough out on parchment-lined cookie sheets. If you prefer one larger pizza, however, simply pat the crust into a large (14 inch or 35.5 cm) pie pan and bake an additional 10 minutes before adding your toppings.
1-1/2 cups (240 g) natural raw almonds
2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut flour
1/3 cup (60 g) potato starch
1/4 cup (60 ml) psyllium husks
2 Tbsp (30 ml) finely ground chia seeds (or chia meal, from about 1 Tbsp/15 ml whole chia seeds)
1/2 tsp (2. 5 ml) garlic salt
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
2 tsp (10 ml) dried basil, optional
1 Tbsp (15 ml) baking powder
1 cup (240 ml) vegetable broth or water
1 Tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 400F (200 C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
In a food processor, process the almonds, coconut flour, potato starch, psyllium, chia, garlic salt, salt, basil and baking powder until it attains the texture of very fine cornmeal (or sand). Pour the broth and vinegar over the mixture in the processor and process again until you have a moist dough.
Using wet hands, pat the dough on the cookie sheet to about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thickness. You can pat it in a large circle or rectangle, or make two smaller round or square pizzas, as you like.
Bake tthe pizza(s) for 20-25 minutes (or bake a larger single pizza for 25-30 minutes), until the edges are beginning to brown and the top is dry. Add desired toppings and bake another 20-30 minutes until edges are deep brown and the bottom is golden (you can lift a little corner of the pizza to check). Be sure not to underbake, though, or the center of the crust will still be wet. Makes 4 large or 6 smaller servings. May be frozen.
In the photos above, our pizzas are topped with a greens-pesto base; chopped red and green pepper; sundried tomatoes; jalapeno slices; chopped onion; sliced garlic; sliced black olives; and thinly sliced redskin potatoes.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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This recipe is being shared with Slight Indulgent Tuesday.