The Best Low-carb Pizza Crust

After much searching, here is a great, low-carb pizza crust recipe!

In a previous post on Tuesday, I shared a photo of our very first “keeper” recipe for a low-carb pizza crust.  This crust is made from riced cauliflower and grated cheese with a variety of spices that makes the flavor of the crust complimentary to the other ingredients added on top.

Prior to trying this recipe, I made a couple of recipes that used almond flour as the primary ingredient in the crust.  Neither of us cared for these crusts, as the almond flavor didn’t seem to work with the savory pizza toppings that we like so much, and we also did not care for the consistency.  We actually just scraped off the toppings and left the crust on our plates.

Over the past few weeks, I have been searching for a low-carb crust recipe that might actually work for us.  I knew that a cauliflower crust would most likely work with our personal tastes, as long as the consistency and flavor worked with our pizza toppings, too.  On Monday, after narrowing down the search to two basic recipes that were almost identical, I decided to give it a try.

I bought a large head of cauliflower with the intention of making two pizza crusts, rather than just one.  While I was giving this a try, it made sense to make one crust, then make a second one with some adjustments if I felt that the first one wasn’t quite up to our expectations.  If both turned out well, we would have a spare crust to freeze and use for another meal later on.  This was a good strategy, and thankfully, the first one came out very well.  I simply repeated the process for the second crust, and it turned out nicely, too.

One of the most important things to do in this recipe is to drain as much liquid from the cooked cauliflower as possible before adding the other ingredients.  This takes a few minutes, but it is an essential step.

I followed the directions and used a kitchen tea towel.  I measured out the cooked, riced cauliflower and used three cups in each crust, and I highly recommend measuring it out, rather than eyeballing it.  I didn’t pack it down, just spooned it into the measuring cup.  I also did not add the optional tablespoon of almond flour, since my goal was to keep the almond flavor out of the crust completely.

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The first crust s ready to go in the oven. I pressed it out to about 10″ in diameter, and that is as thin as I would recommend for one recipe. I actually dried out the cauliflower a little more for the second crust. Practice makes perfect! 😉

 

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The first crust s ready to go in the oven. I pressed it out to about 10″ in diameter, and that is as thin as I would recommend for one recipe. I actually dried out the cauliflower a little more for the second crust. Practice makes perfect! 😉

The crust turned out pretty much perfect, and even though I didn’t give it a try, I think this recipe might even make a nice faux flatbread to cut and eat with another entrée, especially one with Italian flavors.

We topped our lovely pizza with a quick sauce that I made by mixing a regular can of tomato sauce and a tiny can of tomato paste, since I never buy pre-made pizza or spaghetti sauce anymore.  I did not have sugar-free tomato sauce, so I just used the sauce a little sparingly.  Also, not listed in the original recipe, I sprinkled some Italian seasoning over the sauce before adding the other pizza toppings, then added a layer of grated mozzarella cheese.  We then added sliced pepperoni, a little crumbled sausage, black olives and a sliced fresh jalapeno, seeded.  Finally, we topped off our pizza with some fresh grated parmesan.  I love to have both mozzarella and parmesan cheeses on a pizza.

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Our tasty pizza is ready to go back in the oven for about five minutes at 450 degrees.

Since the crust was already baked, the pizza with toppings only needed to bake about five more minutes in the 450 degree oven.  I added the fresh basil leaves to the top after removing it from the oven.

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Lastly, we topped our delicious and healthy pizza with some fresh chopped basil.

It was pretty funny as we sat at our dinner table and tasted our new pizza at the same time.  I wanted to wait to share my own reaction and thoughts until I saw what Hubby thought of it.  Bless his heart, sometimes he will compliment my cooking even when he probably shouldn’t, so I wanted to try to get an honest reaction from him.  It didn’t take long, maybe two bites, before he shared that he really liked it!  I agreed, and we proceeded to eat the whole thing, along with our side salads.  If I had made the second pizza, we might have eaten it, too!  It was that good, and we have definitely missed eating good pizza.  I honestly believe that we would not have known this was a low-carb option if we judged it only by the taste, especially since we like the thinner crust anyway.

Next time, I may try to put the baked crust under the broiler for a minute or so, just to crisp it up a bit more, since that is how we tend to like our crusts, thin and just slightly crisp but not overcooked.  I may also try adding a little more grated parmesan cheese to the crust batter.  The other recipe that I found was pretty much identical to this one but had 1.5 cups of this cheese, not just 1/4 cup.  I don’t think it needs that much cheese, but a little more might just make it even tastier!  (Grated parmesan cheese baked in the oven makes tasty snack crackers that are perfect on a low-carb diet.  I buy them at our local deli.)

One more nice thing about this crust is its low cost.  I calculated the cost of each crust right at $1.  I’m all about saving a little money where I can, for sure.

Here is the link to the original site where this recipe was posted on The Lucky Penny Blog.

The BEST Cauliflower Pizza Crust

This recipe has also turned up on Pioneer Woman’s “Tasty Kitchen” site, with a reference back to the original post. This crust, or a variation of it, honestly seems to be one of the more widely used low-carb pizza crusts now, for good reason.  While it took me a little more time to make it on this first attempt, it will definitely go faster next time.

Going forward, I will make several crusts at once and freeze the other baked crusts for future use.  If I had to make a crust from scratch like this every time we want a pizza, I probably wouldn’t go to the effort, but making several at once makes perfect sense.  I can’t wait to actually have pizza on one of our future RV trips, too!  What a treat that will be for us.  I also plan to experiment with this recipe as a standalone flatbread, too.

Where there is a will, there is usually a way, and I’m glad that I kept searching for such a great pizza crust option that works for us.

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“Healthy” is the Word

A few goals for healthy living in 2016

A few days ago, I had a brief discussion with another blogging friend about how some people select a word as inspiration for their lives in the new year.  I have never done this per se, but after giving some thought to what I would like to see for myself in the coming year, “Healthy” would actually be a good word for me personally right now.  Of course, “Healthy” doesn’t mean only physical health, as I want to apply it to just about every area of my life… spiritual health, emotional health, etc.  But for this post, I want to focus on physical health, since this is something on many of our minds in the month of January, especially concerning healthy eating and exercise.  For me, physical health also helps me to be healthy in all other aspects of my life, too.

I’ve had much success over the past two years in staying on a healthier, low-carb eating plan.  During the holidays this year, I did not gain as many pounds as I did last year as I endured a stressful few months while dealing with Mom’s illness and death and did not focus as much on my diet.  This year, I didn’t give myself a pass from the eating plan, with the exception of Thanksgiving week and the two weeks at Christmas and New Year’s.  While we haven’t resumed our low-carb diet 100% yet, I’m looking forward to resuming it consistently because I know how much better I will feel once I do that and how much better my clothes will fit long-term.  February 1 is our target date to be 100% back on our diet, and we are both good with that target date as we are already easing into it anyway once again and are largely there already.

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A good Chef’s Salad is a great, filling option for a low-carb lunch or dinner!

For more information on a low-carb lifestyle, see my page
My Low-carb Lifestyle

I also plan to explore more new low-carb recipes for us this year.  Sometimes keeping it simple with some tried and true meals is a good, safe option, but hopefully I will have more time this year to explore new recipes and expand our favorites list.  I hope to find more good, easy low(er) carb recipes that can be prepared in under an hour from start to table, and if we can eat two or three meals from one preparation, so much the better.  I hope to find one new, awesome low-carb recipe per week, and I plan to share some of the best ones here for others to enjoy, too.

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I finally made a low-carb pizza crust that we actually like. It is made with cauliflower and cheese and tastes quite good.  We no longer have to just eat the toppings off of a pizza!

Daily walking is thankfully one healthy practice that I have done consistently since June when I purchased my Fitbit Charge HR.  Honestly, this has been such a great thing for me, and it is a daily habit now.  I cannot recommend Fitbit tracking enough, as it has been a great accountability tool for me, not only in tracking steps, but tracking my heart rate and calories burned each day.  I believe that Fitbit walking and tracking is one reason that I did not gain as much weight during the holidays this year, too.  My exercise goal for the coming year is to just continue my daily walking, while getting back to the gym a little more regularly for additional workouts.

Fitbit stats
My weekly report from Fitbit during the blizzard. I walked over 29,000 steps on the day we shoveled all that snow, which definitely helped to achieve my step goal for the week while we were snowbound.

If you don’t own a Fitbit or desire to purchase one, let me just make a simple recommendation that works for me on days when I’m not very motivated to walk.  Let’s call it my “3/30 Rule.”  My “3/30 Rule” for daily walking is simply walking briskly for three minutes in every thirty-minute time period during the day from the time I get up to one hour after dinner.  I typically walk about 330 steps in a three-minute period when walking briskly, and it also allows me to elevate my heart rate throughout the day, not just once or twice a day.  I actually set a thirty-minute timer as a reminder at home to walk on the days that I’m mostly at home for the day.  Like I said, this is not how I typically walk on most days, as I prefer to have at least one longer walk outside, at the gym or other locations around town, but it is a simple way to add lots of steps in a single day.

Wonder how many steps this “3/30 Rule” will get you in a typical day?  Here is how it works for me.  In twelve hours, walking for three minutes every thirty minutes, I usually walk just under 8000 steps!  When trying to meet a goal of 10,000 steps each day, this gets me 80% of the way to my goal.  When I add in all of my other steps, I’m at or well past the 10,000 step goal.  In fact, I hope to even up my weekly step goal this year, too.  As a side note, as you can see in the photo above, I walked over 29,000 steps on the first day we shoveled snow here and burned over 3000 calories!  I knew this information, thanks to my handy Fitbit, and it was a little “reward” of sorts for all that hard work and all the aching muscles I had afterward.

One more way to add steps each day is simply parking far away from the front door of the store you are visiting.  We made this change last year, even before I purchased my Fitbit, and it is something we just do by habit now.  Not only is it easier to not “fight” for a closer parking space, we both get those extra steps in, and it’s also easier to leave the parking lot most of the time, too.  We both wonder why we always tried to park closer now, and perhaps this is just a little wisdom with age?

Finally, we hope to resume a more regular RV travel schedule this year, getting back to a monthly outing to help with our exercise goals.  We may even make more Saturday day trips by car with the dogs, just to do some hiking.  These trips may not happen until March 1 or later this year, but we will do our best to get back out in nature more and back to our hiking and bicycle riding which does us so much good from a health standpoint.  We are definitely missing our RV weekends and RV vacation weeks right now, especially after missing our traditional full week away after Christmas due to the blizzard.  Hubby’s nephew and his family also purchased a really nice, big pop-up camper late last year, and we are looking forward to camping with them on occasion going forward.  We love showing family and friends the beautiful state parks that we love to visit regularly.

I have other ideas and goals for this year, including ideas for working on the house, progressing in my photography and visiting some new destinations, but once again, taking care of my physical health is right up there toward the top of my list.

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Changing for the Better

While I am very, very glad to see this long, cold, difficult and dusty winter season finally come to an end, I am even happier to see some good things finally happening in my life now, too.

Back in January, I committed to making a real effort to get healthy, specifically by changing my diet and my level of exercise, but not just limited to those items either.  I actually made this decision while on our last camping trip, right before we got Little Red and right before my mother fell and fractured her pelvis.  Despite the difficulty of seeing after Mom’s care and also taking care of a frequently sick puppy for the past few weeks, I managed to stay right on track with my new eating plan and even made it a priority, despite my often irregular daily schedule.  I also walked each week as I could do so, despite the fact that it was not to the level that I really wanted to do at that time.  But given the other things on my plate, it was better than nothing and did help to jump-start my weight loss a bit.

As of today, I am now down 21 pounds over the past twelve weeks, and I am quite thrilled!  It is amazing how much better I feel, and I hope to continue along this same path for several more months to lose weight and also for the rest of my life to keep it off.  I bought a smaller size in jeans last week, and my goal right now is to just continue losing about one pound per week, if possible, for a few more months.  As the weather finally begins to warm up, I am also looking forward to some nice, long walks with the dogs once again, too.

My yearly physical was two weeks ago, and my blood work was great, except for just a couple of things that need some attention.

The two highest health risk factors for me are diabetes and heart disease, based on my family history and my yearly lab work, and the doctor feels that my risk of diabetes is actually much higher than a more immediate risk of heart disease, but she was also very pleased with my weight loss, too.

High cholesterol runs in my father’s side of the family, and while I have kept it at bay longer than most, the doctor thought that it was finally time to get started on Crestor, at least for a while.  It is quite possible that making these healthy changes now will allow me to get off of that med next year, but she was still realistic that the heredity component may not ever go down too much without medication.  I also had a mysterious drop in Vitamin D3 and now have to take a big dose of it each day (10,000 IU) for a month, followed by half of that dose for the next two months.  At that time, I will go back to have the blood test done again, too.

The doctor also recommended a change in my multivitamin and daily supplements.  She asked me to look for a “50 +” women’s formula that had at least 30 ingredients in it to get more supplementation overall, and she also recommended taking some heart-health supplements, along with the temporary mega dose of the D3 over the next three months.

After checking options on multivitamins at several stores, I finally ended up at GNC and decided to try their GNC Women’s Ultra Mega® 50 Plus Vitapaks, at least for the next two months.

GNC Women's Ultra Mega 50 Plus Vitapak

We already have a membership card with GNC, and these were on sale as well, making the total cost only about $1 per day right now and through the end of April.  While I am still checking labels to make sure what else I still need to take each day, it should be minimal.

These convenient vitapaks consist of six different pills and two of them comprise the daily multivitamin.  It also has a much larger amount of D3 than my previous multivitamin.  I suspect that I will also enjoy the convenience of these pre-packaged daily supplements, especially for RV trips and for airplane travel, too.

Overall, I am happy with how I feel right now, and I think it’s only going to get better.  I’ve been over the carb cravings for weeks, and that is also a great feeling.  I still get hungry, but the hunger is nowhere near the level it once was before I started my new eating plan.

Unfortunately, my hubby is a carb-o-holic, and I finally had to make this decision to change my diet for myself and try to work with it the best I could for him.  He is at risk for both heart disease and diabetes, just as I am, so I don’t feel bad about going ahead and making these changes with a few additions for him on occasion to try to keep him happy.  So far, he has been good to go along with the new eating plan and seems content to eat what I fix at mealtimes.  The food is quite tasty most of the time, so that certainly helps.  We also have a few restaurants where we can still dine out and let him indulge in his carb-heavy foods while allowing me to eat on the plan.  Simple carbs and a diet high in carbs overall are just not going to work for me going forward, although I’m sure I will be able to eat them from time to time, if I really want to do so.  For now, our eating arrangement is working just fine, too.

My brother died from Type 2 Diabetes.  I do not want to follow him on that path either, as I have seen all too well the physical devastation it brings.  He endured two amputations and two open heart surgeries before diabetes and congestive heart failure finally took him from us a few years ago at age 63, and I can honestly say that the last ten years of his life were completely horrible.  He never made the necessary life style and diet changes either, all the way to the end of his life, and I still wonder today what kind of life he might have enjoyed if he had made those changes.

My new eating plan will mean preparing some creative camping meals going forward when we travel in the RV, but I’m actually looking forward to that challenge.  I see more fish on the menu, which is great because we both love fish.  For example, I can prepare a quick Tilapia Veracruz using canned Rotel tomatoes and green chiles, a few sliced green olives in a skillet with some seasonings in about fifteen minutes, start to finish, that is very flavorful and very healthy, too.  Add some pre-cooked brown rice in a package that heats in a flash in the microwave for hubby (and for me in the future in later stages of my eating plan), a side salad that I throw together while the fish cooks, and we have a great dinner on the table in no time.  We can each have our own dessert, and I really like several pre-packaged options that are “legal” on my diet now.

Everyone must eventually find their own proper eating plan at this stage of life after 50, I think, in order to stay healthy.  For now, I know what mine needs to be, after consulting with my doctor and some trial and error over the last few years, and I am grateful for that knowledge.  It can be down right frustrating to figure it out at times, too.  Simply counting calories did not work for me, as hard as I tried to do so on some previous occasions.  Staying within a more specific range of good carbs, along with keeping an eye on the calories, has definitely worked well for me.  😉

D
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