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3 out of 4 people prefer my pizza.

The 1 that doesn’t is a little shit. Stay tuned.

This was almost a Pinterest board. I swear.

I decided to make pizza for the family. Dough and all. I’ve been making pizza for years. It’s a very economical dinner to make yourself. You can have packets of yeast on hand, and if you keep flour and salt stocked in your pantry, then you’re set. My mom made pizza for the family every Saturday for years and years. I have fond childhood memories of my mom’s pizza and watching the Muppet Show!

I don’t make pizza often, but when I do, they usually like it.

I made a starter with luke warm water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar, just like my mama taught me. I let that sit for a minute and get all bubbly and let the yeast do it’s thang. Here’s the how- to in picture form-

So like I said, the one who didn’t eat a bite of it, made himself a peanut butter sandwich. A mother fucking peanut butter sandwich. Never mind the hours involved making dough and all the flour under my fingernails. I’m not naming names but he’s blond, cute and his name starts with ‘O’. Little shit. He says he was, ‘too nervous about school to eat’. Whatever.

The rest of the family, including myself, ate the whole thing. So there!’

The reluctant vegan.

Okay, let me start by saying a few things. (That sounds ridiculous. I’m always saying a few things.)

I am not in any way imposing my choices on anyone. These are my personal choices that work for me. Maybe they will work for you too. Maybe not. But please don’t whine to me how much you love your meat and dairy and that ‘real people’ don’t eat squirrel food. That’s bull shit. Okay, my husband has always said I eat squirrel food, so now I’m just living up to his expectations.

I’ve been a ‘vegan’ for 21 days now. I say vegan with ‘ around it, because I still don’t believe it myself. But I will say this- I lasted Superbowl Sunday, a weekend in LA for the Grammys (with a stop at a steak house on Rodeo drive) and Valentine’s day; and I didn’t cheat!! Yay me!

I love food. I love good food. I love really fancy food. Exotic food. I even love crap food. I admit to a Taco Bell burrito now and then. Or a bag of Doritos. Or yes, a bowl of Cap ‘n’ Crunch. So I have no food prejudices. However, I’m learning more and more that food is the gateway to our well being. OH yeah- let me say that again. “FOOD IS THE GATEWAY TO OUR WELL BEING”. Snap. I’m like Oprah.

My friends started this diet before Christmas called the Engine 2 diet. It’s a book all about plant based whole foods. Meaning- nothing processed, no fats or added salt or sugar, no meat, no dairy. Wow, sounds awful doesn’t it?

But I like a challenge and deep down, I mean deep, deep, deep down, I knew I was lactose intolerant in a really bad way. But to take me away from my tea with milk and all my yummy bread and butter- gasp- was it possible?

There’s a gradual way to this diet. But I just jumped in all balls to the wall. Why not? Baby steps would just make me cheat or make excuses, so I headed in and didn’t look back.

You’re asking- am I doing this to lose weight? Duh! Who wouldn’t? Yes, I can afford to lose a few pounds. I don’t have to. But I like when the muffin doesn’t hang over the jeans. I like thighs that don’t squish together when I walk. So sure, losing weight is great. Have I lost a bunch? Five pounds is all. But five pounds is something.

Also- you’re thinking- but how on earth does she get her protein and proper calcium? Well, easy. There’s proteins in whole foods everywhere. From legumes to mushrooms, spinach to grains- it’s in there.

AND- calcium you ask. Well, think about this- we have the largest dairy and meat industry and the highest case of osteoporosis in this country. Hmm, coinkidink? Asian countries where their diets are primarily vegetable based have almost no osteoporosis. Could it be dairy is evil and full of additives and crap that we have been spoon fed by our FDA to think it’s good for us? Okay… forget I said that.

Now ask me how I feel.

I feel great! A little TMI warning here- I don’t have the stomach and digestion problems I had so much. Translation- gas and bad poops. I always blamed food like coffee or the apple I ate gave me gas, or wow, ‘my system really doesn’t like bananas’. NO. It was that it didn’t like the milk or half and half I was having with other stuff.

Do I want to cheat? Sometimes. Like I said, I managed to stick it out through Valentine’s day and a steak house without cheating. Sometimes a hot fudge sundae sounds really good. And maybe one day I will have one. But I also think how awful I will feel the next day. What will I do at Christmas when my mom makes goose and Yorkshire pudding? I’ll probably have some. There’s no diet police. Just my lower intestine talking to me.

I have a new love for almond milk and quinoa granola. It’s amazing how satisfying lentils can be. Who would have thought roasted cauliflower could taste so good? Plus, it’s organic, non GMO and good for you.

I feel so much better. Add the new thyroid medication, exercising a little more, and I might just shun PMS right out of my life.

Well, slow down there pardner- haven’t been through that roller coaster yet. We’ll see what a couple more weeks brings. But my energy is better, and I think I have a few less wrinkles. I’m aging backwards!

Again, just sharing- not preaching. Think about what ails you. Think about what you eat. Maybe there’s a connection.

I will not look down my nose at any meat eaters. I’m not going to throw paint on someone’s fur coat. I might even stray once in awhile to a croissant. STEP AWAY FROM THE FRO YO! Almost forgot myself there.

Oh- and gin and tonics are totally vegan. Just a little is fine.

If you are interested in the book- here’s the link:

The Engine 2 Diet

Doesn't that look fresh and delicious? courtesy of greenwaycafe.co.uk

German cooking is more than Schnitzel.

What is it with food reaching into our souls?

I’m not a food blogger, and I don’t have beautiful pictures of food to go with my words that compare to a Bon Appetit spread.

But I wanted to share my mom’s talent for bringing us around the table in gastronimic harmony. My brother flies in from Chicago to have roast goose and Yorkshire pudding. My kids want to stay the night at her house just so they can eat ‘Oma’s food’. She’s the pied piper of her kin.

Mom was taught the old fashioned way. Put in the kitchen as a young girl in post World War 2 Germany with her Tante and her Oma. She watched, stirred, sliced and learned. She watched her Oma snap a chicken’s head off for Sunday’s dinner. This chicken was her pet at some point. But hey- this is post war, you’ve got to eat.

My early memories of food also consist of porridge. Porridge is what we called it growing up and what my parents call it. My dad is English, maybe this is why. I always felt like Goldilocks, but I never thought it was ‘just right’. I didn’t like porridge as a kid. But that’s what we had Monday through Friday and you ate it. No question. I couldn’t wait for the weekend when we could have cold cereal. But now I realize as an adult. My parents make really good porridge. It’s funny what you think is gross as a kid. But get used to. Then go off to eat it somewhere else and then realize, ‘hey, this is really gross, they don’t know what they’re doing.” So now I appreciate my parent’s porridge. A pinch of salt. That’s their trick. Not everyone knows this.

The majority of my memories of my mom’s cooking are good (minus the zucchini or cream of mushroom crepes she made when I was 5). Her cooking is the kind of cooking you come home for. The kind of cooking holidays center around. My German mother would make a pizza every Saturday night. She would start with making the dough. There would always be sausage on it and sometimes mushrooms, which I would only appreciate when I was about 15. I picked them off when I was 6. We would eat pizza and watch the Muppet Show every Saturday night. It didn’t need to be Italian, it was just damn good crust made by a German. She’s mastered pie crust, tart crust and bread crust. We like crusts.

Christmas was roast goose that she would flame with a splash of brandy before my dad would carve it. Oh, and my dad can carve better than Chuck Norris. I’m certain. If there was an Iron Chef carving contest- my dad would win.

Red cabbage simmered with apples and vinegar. So German. So good with goose gravy. Goose gravy that she would make for days before with all the giblets and whatnot that comes inside the carcass in that little paper baggy that 80% of Americans throw away, I’m sure. Mashed potatoes mashed only to the brink of fluffy. Not too much so they get gluey. Another mistake of most cooks. Cream, butter, onions. The trifecta of all good things made in the kitchen. Julia Child style.

What’s strange is my mom can cook really good Thai food too. How funny is that? She rarely makes (make that never) speatzle, she says it’s too much work to make. She doesn’t do schnitzle much either. But everything she does has her signature. The signature of decades in the kitchen and knowing what the heck you’re doing. She can make gravy that is rich and dark and poultry that is tender and not cooked a minute passed to the point of dryness. White meat that doesn’t need the gravy. But to not pour it over everything would be a crime because the gravy is so good.

Making Christmas dinner at my house this year, I was searing the prime rib to put in the oven; and I felt confident in my abilities. I thought, everything I do in the kitchen is because I watched my mom, ate her food, asked her questions and now I can do the same for my family. It’s really a bonus when I teach her something she didn’t know. Maybe she just pretends she doesn’t know to make me feel good. I stepped aside though for her to make the Yorkshire pudding and the gravy. Why try to paint Monet when Monet is standing there with a paint brush?

I think people who can cook well,  have an intuition, an instinct that can’t be learned from books or classes. I think they are people in day to day life that listen, care and are compassionate to humanity (except Gordon Ramsey, he blows this theory wide). How else would they know to fluff a meringue to perfection, slice plums for a cake, season green beans like summer in a bowl? There’s a nuance that is captured between the food, the cook and who they cook for. It might be love. Yes, it’s love for sure when it comes from mom.

Yep, that's mom and me slaving over the dinner. WIth Champagne.

Ahh, the sublime Yorkshire pudding. An English staple perfected by a German. It's not really a pudding, more like a pancake. Leftovers taste good in the morning with syrup. Who am I kidding? What leftovers?

We’re all just crazy, fat Americans…that need bibles.

Oh, just pipe down! I’m not calling you fat. And not all Americans are fat. Yet.

But by judging the display at Barnes & Noble, the commercials on TV and the headlines on the health magazines for women AND men; we are all fat and in need of ‘sexy, slim thighs’, or ‘detoxing’, or getting the ‘skinny girl’s bible’. And don’t even get me started with all those damn resolutions people are making out there to lose weight or the ads that tell us we should. Yes, I posted about exercising my ass off recently. But I also explained the personal benefits to this besides fitting into my jeans. Snap.

Well if this is THE break up bible, forget the other books on the subject!

oh looky here- ANOTHER Bible

Let’s slow down. Okay, for starters there’s only one Bible.  Does everyone from Suzanne Somers to Christina Ferrera have to have their diet book with “bible” in the title?

Also, those ‘5 moves to sexier, skinnier thighs’ never work. Why? Because I only do them twice that week. And then I lose the magazine under a pile of laundry and start PMSing and don’t feel like working out.

And, while I’m on the subject- does Marie Osmond get Botox all over her face and IN her mouth as well? She does the ads for Nutrisystem and she looks weird. Her mouth doesn’t move. Well, it does. But like Guy Smiley on Sesame Street. Only the bottom half moves like a muppet. I like Marie. I don’t like her dolls though. I’m glad she’s skinny. I just wish her mouth moved like a human’s.

Guy Smiley from Sesame Street. Maybe he's had botox.

That looks TOTALLY natural.

Marie Osmond Doll. Probably has had botox.

Now Janet Jackson is doing Nutrisystem too. I thought with all her dancing she was skinny. Emma sees the commercial and says. “Mom, that’s creepy. Isn’t she Michael Jackson’s wife, but she looks just like him.”

Apparently, I need to teach Emma some Janet, (Miss Jackson to her) songs and stuff.

When I put a search in on the Barnes & Noble site for ‘celebrity diet books’, for some reason the Masturbate-athons and Wanks Weeks book came up. I’ll have to check that out later for my next blog post….

Back to Suzanne Somers. Only in America can Chrissy from Three’s Company publish a dozen books on how to stay sexy, cancer free, menopause free, and skinny after 40. If based on the number of books she’s published, she is the world’s most renowned expert on being sexy, fabulous, sugar free and thin forever. For sure.

Stop the presses- this is the end all of sexy recipe Bibles!

I can understand all the variety of diet books, cook books and self help books. We are the land of opportunity. To each his own. I mean, why not? There’s a million freakin’ bloggers out there. That’s great. Anyone can write a book. Maybe I will. I’ll call it, “The Blogging Bible”…

I admit, I am guilty of subscribing to half a dozen women’s health and beauty magazines. I think I have amnesia every time I open one. I get all excited for my new body in 30 days. The only time they work is if I’m reading them while on the elliptical.

It’s amusing to me and sometimes inspiring. I take them with a grain of salt. On the rim of my margarita glass.