Pizza Night – Cauliflower or Gluten Free Crust?

Which do you prefer?

Well, tonight was the night. I made three different pizzas with different crust and different toppings. Two were cauliflower crust and the other a gluten free crust. My daughter and I have made the fig and arugula pizza before, so this was easy. It was trying my hand at the others I haven’t made before because of the plant based meats. Here we go!

Prep: sauce, plant based meatballs, chicken, smoked tempeh bacon, shred cashew based mozzarella, packaged plant base3d shredded mozzarella cheese (365 Whole Foods brand), cut half onion, strain can of mushrooms (normally I would use fresh mushrooms, but did have any on hand), prepare roasted red peppers, and sauté onions with garlic. I also precooked plant based chicken tenders (lime chipotle).

Sauce for chicken broccoli pizza: I did this at the last minute because I didn’t want the sauce to solidify: In a sauce pan, melt 1 tablespoon herbed oat butter, sauté garlic and mushrooms, add 1/4 cup almond milk, and 1/4 shredded plant based parmesan cheese.

For the tempeh and the onions: In a saucepan, I heated up 1 tablespoon of coconut oil until it was hot. I transferred the tempeh into the pan and cooked until firm – set it aside on a paper towel while I sautéed the onion with a little garlic (poured a little water in the pan to release the flavors from the tempeh.

For the plant based meatballs: Set a saucepan aside on the back burner with the plant based meatballs, covered and let cook until tender.

Tips: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. I have a convection oven, so 450 would have been too hot. For the gluten free crust, instead of cooking on a stone, I have a stainless steel pizza cooker with holes so the dough can breathe. For the cauliflower pizza’s I cooked them on bake in my Pampered Chef Air Fryer – they come out great!. You can use an oven stone if you have one. I have two, but they both wouldn’t have been able to fit with the other pizza in the oven, so I used the Air Fryer Oven.

Pizza #1 Plant based chicken, broccoli, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and caramelized onion.

Chicken Broccoli with white sauce topping

For the base: Cauliflower crust (the crust is plain – it comes two in a box depending on where you buy it). I bought this brand (CauliPower) from Market Basket. Since they are frozen, they were unthawed by the time I used them. Spoon sauce around the crust, add 1/2 cup shredded plant based mozzarella (365 Whole Foods Brand) with 1/4 cup of Miyokos cashew based mozzarella cheese (I had to grate it). The miyokos mozzarella was very soft to the touch, so I made sure I grated it carefully.

For the topping: plant based chicken tenders (precooked) – cut diagonally. Cooked broccoli – this was left over from a dinner the night before, so already prepped. If you need to prep, steamed would be fine. Then I topped it off with the sauce explained above.

Pizza #2 – Plant based meatball with mushroom and onions

Plant Based Meatball with mushrooms and onions

This was for the hubby, who is just starting to try gluten free and plant based items.

For the base: Gluten free – nut free- soy free- vegan from Ugly’s Bakery at Bar Louie’s. It’s a hand made sourdough pizza crust. The package says to thaw before using. Once thawed, I spread olive oil around the entire rim, then added the red sauce. I covered the pizza with the two types of cheeses, then cut up the meatball and spread them all around the pizza, with the mushroom and the remainder of the onions from Pizza #3.

Pizza #3 – This out favorite!!

Fig with Smoked Tempeh and Caramelized Onions

For the base: A cauliflower base with fig jam spread over the entire pizza – very thin layer of jam. Added the plant based mozzarella, spread 3/4 of small pieces of the smoked tempeh bacon (I used 4 pieces and then cut them up). I cooked that at 400 degrees (on bake) in my air fryer toaster oven, until the crust was just browned.

For the topping: Arugula. Topped with 1/4 of the smoked tempeh bacon and some of the onion reserve, then dolloped a little cashew herbed plant based cheese on the top and then drizzled a fig balsamic over the top, heated just a little bit in the oven.


I say Tabouli – you say Tabbouleh

Either way, it’s a Mediterranean dish made with bulgur wheat. When I don’t have bulgur wheat on hand, I buy the Near East Tabouleh grain mix. It comes with a season packet of dried parsley, onion, salt, garlic, molasses, honey, and black pepper. It very easy to prepare – pour the contents into a saucepan, boil some water (I usually use my hot water pot to boil the water), pour one cup of water into the saucepan, cover, and let sit for about five minutes.

I let the bulgur wheat cool off for a while before I put all the other ingredients in. While the bulgur wheat is cooling, you can dice cucumber, tomato, red onion, and red bell pepper. For the servings, I dice 1/2 cucumber, 1 tomato or 10 cherry tomatoes, 1/2 red onion, and 1/4 red bell pepper. Prep the juice from 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 lime, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Week 1 – Lifestyle Change 3/10/2021

We all have to start somewhere!

Most of us already have a routine, but how many of you have already tried many different life style changes only to be disappointed at what it really offers you in the long run? Where has it gotten you? What has it done for you? Life Style changes can be a really big hassle at times, they can also lead to other issues.

Welcome to my journey. I am finally going to follow a routine, catalog it weekly, and share it with you. What do I hope to get out of this? Peace of mind, comfort, knowing I still have the ability to make good choices and stick with the things I am so passionate about. I am also hoping you will be able to get some ideas and use these to your advantage in living a heartier lifestyle.

When I was younger, I didn’t have to worry much about losing weight. I was tall and slim with long legs and a fit body that allowed me to do just about anything my heart desired (ski, basketball, softball, field hockey, cross country, cross country ski, downhill ski, run, swim, bike, roller skate, roller blade, ice skate, mountain climb). You name it, I did it. Now, I would be surprised if I could even run around the block without losing my breath.

California

First things first. You have to be all on board.

Every weekly post will have something about the previous week so you can follow along if you’d like or just read about some of the things that might help you start your own plan and/or help you through your existing plan.

Are you ready!

#1 – Commitment

Whose on board with you – family, friends, supporters. Get them if you need them. I thought I was ready for this. I had vegan brownies in a container from days before I decided to start. What do I do with the brownies? Do I use them in part of my plan? Oh, no!!! I have to commit to starting this thing with the right mindset. What is the right mindset? Well, let’s see again, commitment! I’ve committed to one year of a paid program to help me lose weight. Then, I’ll have to use what I’ve learned and either do it on my own or look for a less expensive gym to continue to work out in. I’m just going to have to see what it brings me a year from. now. I always say, “It’s taken me 25 years to put on the weight, what is one year of commitment to taking it off!”

#2 – Organization:

What’s in your pantry? Make sure you have the right tools. Check out my Pampered Chef site for some ideas of what you want to use to cook with. What’s going to make you happy and also be helpful to allow you to succeed through this endeavor. My favorites are spatulas, scrapers, bar pans, bamboo utensils, shears, and mixing bowls. We’ll talk about flavor, flavor, and more flavor in the next few weeks. I’ve got some great things in my mind to share with you and I am so exciting!! Also, check out my e-book on Cabinet Organization (you can find it at the bottom of the website).

#3 – Food Shopping. Oh my!!

What’s on your grocery list?

I was given a meal plan to follow. The hardest part is figuring out what to substitute for everything that is dairy and grains. I haven’t eaten pasteurized milk products for about two years now. We switched over from cow’s milk to Almond milk for a healthy alternative. I also just started looking for plant based cheeses in order to give up cow and goat milk cheeses. Again, for a healthier alternative. I’ve actually really surprised myself with my great cheese finds. Last week I tried my taste at a plant based Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella. I haven’t tried the mozzarella yet, but intend to this weekend. Jackpot! I found a plant-based French-style cheese made by Treeline. Whoop, there it is! It has a cashew base, no sugar and 3g of carbohydrates to every 1 oz serving. Best thing of all is, I can shop for these products through my online shopping annuity, directly from Walmart.

Week One (March 10, 2021)

I went to the gym last Thursday to try a new approach. It’s a smaller gym than I am used to. I have been a supporter of the YMCA for many years, but I’m just not ready to work in an open environment with so many other people around. I found a small gym. There are four of us working out in a separated COVID safe section of the facility, while two to four others are working out in another part of the facility. Yes, only up to eight people in the studio at a time. It is a COVID safe environment and I feel most comfortable working out there.

On Saturday I went back. I was pleasantly surprise that my body didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. I’m not going to give you a step by step replay of what I actually did for exercising. However, I will give you some ideas of what I did so you can get an idea of some of the things you might be able to do to help you throughout your week. Once I signed on, I knew I was committed. Let me just say this, it’s two days a week, with a rotation of different exercises for 30 minutes (more to come). I will have to commit to at least two days of home exercise and may share this part of my routine with you through Facebook live. If you haven’t already, please connect to my Facebook page Chef LisaG’s Food4Thought and Health.

So, what are you going to do first?

Join a gym? Work out on your own? Walk a mile? Start small, then go big?

Start a grocery list. Think about Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks and Dinner.

I use and APP called ShopList. If you have something different that works for you, please share it by making a comment.

In the interim, if you are a paper person, use this form:

Next post…. we will share and compare shopping lists and talk about the LoseIt App.

Credits: Vertex42.com (shopping list)


Why an UnFrachise?

I started my Unfranchise business in November of last year, right in the midst of COVID-19.  I was introduced to the product a second time around through a dear family of mine.  I don’t often refer to people as dear families (more like dear friends), but yes, this came about through a dear family of mine.  Their twenty-something daughter started her Unfranchise over thirteen years ago.  They had introduced it to me once before, but I wasn’t in the right mindset, nor did I think I was financial fit to take on such an endeavor at the time.  Well, boy/girl was I wrong.  I look back at it now and say, “Why did I wait so long.”  Well, I don’t always like to look back, so I said, “I’m going to do my due diligence, see what it’s all about again, and give it a try – take a risk.”  I am so glad I did.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were looking for a business and/or a business partner?  When I contacted this dear family of mine, they didn’t say right away, “Absolutely, come right on in and join, we really need someone like you!”  It was more along the lines of, “Here, try some of the products, take a look at the business plan, evaluate it on your own terms and then get back to us when you have time in your schedule.”  That’s exactly what I did – for about three months.  

Yes, it took me three months to evaluate the business plan. I wanted to make sure it was the real deal, the cream of the crop, the gung hoe I was looking for, and it had to be a right fit for me and my family. For any company that I’ve ever worked for, I had to believe in the product(s). Some products sell themselves. Just like when I worked at Apple. I didn’t say, “Hey, come on in and buy this product.” Most consumers already know what they wanted to buy. I was the person who needed to ensure they were getting the best product for what they needed it for, not just sell them anything I wanted them to have just to make a buck. This isn’t like that either. The products do sell themselves. They are geared toward nutrition and wellness. They also sell through partner sites (keep reading…).

For three months I did my due diligence – tried the products, had my kids try some of the products, read about the products, ordered some of the products, tested the products, read more about the products, and low and behold, I was hooked!  At the time I was a preferred customer at no cost.  I used the time to purchase whatever products I wanted, when I wanted, on my own terms.  I used the shop.com portal.  I was shopping, and my shopping consultant was making money at the same time I was earning cash back. I was also surprised to see that I could shop on every other partners store they were affiliated with (Walmart, Home Depot, BedBathBeyond, Norstrom Rack, Macy’s, etc). 

You name it, they had it.  I was purchasing things through Walmart (produced I normally purchase on a weekly basis, and getting cash back)! I also bought merchandise at Macy’s and BedBathBeyond.  What was great about these purchases?  I could go onto the partner site, log right into my account, put items in my cart, use my store credit card to earn points, choose deliver to store or ship for free (especially since I was a preferred customer at the partner site), and earn cash back.  No brainer!!!!!  It was easy!

When I joined in November, this was my opportunity to test the waters. I was getting ready for Christmas shopping. I literally did all my Christmas shopping on the site. I was able to shop at my partner shops, have the products delivered right to my door and earn money at the same time. Now it is March, and I am doing the same thing still – shopping on line!! Just the other day, my husband said he needed a set of tires for his car.  I went on to the portal (shop.com/lisagentileMEd), went to the partner site (Walmart), logged into my Walmart account, searched the item, clicked on the item, purchased the item, used my credit card to earn 5% off, and received Business Volume for my business. Just like that! In a matter of months I was a preferred customer getting cash back to becoming an Unfranchise Owner.

If I were still a preferred customer I would have received cash back. My daughter does that because she is one of my preferred customers. Just like Walmart, Macy’s and BBB have preferred customers, I have several preferred customers since I own the Unfranchise business. Now that I am an Unfranchise Owner, I earn Business Volume and Internet Business Volume. This is supplemental income I earn on the things other people purchase and also on what I purchase. Isn’t that what the big companies do. They earn money on what people purchase?

This has been especially helpful during COVID. Online marketplaces are making billions of dollars. I asked, “Why can’t I be part of this multi billion dollar industry?” I took my chance to hop on board this train, and I am glad I did.  There is no going back from there.  The business plan offered me the information I needed to know that this was a no brainer.  First and foremost – people helping people.  The parent company does and has everything you need to succeed. I asked myself too, “Why set yourself up for failure by opening a Franchise and/or a business during these unexpected times. Don’t get me wrong, I love walking into a store, especially and local store and supporting those business owners too, but this business gives me the flexibility of working my 9-5 teaching job, at the same time, getting the nutrition I need, helping my family and staying healthy while earning a supplemental income.

In addition, I was also able to do comparative shopping right on the site, get price alerts through another APP called Shop Buddy, and  shop for brand name products right from the comfort of my home

What’s great about this too is, there is a plan. It’s not the normal 45 year plan that I was told I needed to follow. Work a good job that pays insurance and benefits. This plan is a 3-year plan. A plan anyone can do if they are willing to commit 18 hours a week. If you are out there and you are interested you should check it out. No pressures, just be a preferred customer and do your own due diligence first. If you like what you see and hear, GIVE IT A TRY!!

I shop, you shop, we all shop!

You save money, I save money, we all make money!

PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


2021 World Conference has come and gone!

This was first Market America Conference! Even though we couldn’t physically be there, I was stoked to be part of this amazing family of business owners. I was so excited! When I unboxed my conference package, I was so pleased to see all the great goodies.

I tried the Isotonix Immune and the Isotonix Vitamins D with K2 (check out the links below to learn more about these products). You can also go to shop.com/lisagentileMEd.


Plant based BLT

One of my fondest memories working Downtown Boston was going to Dewey Square to get a sandwich from Clover. It was when the food truck first started in Boston. I fell in love with their BLT, while my friend would get this sandwich that had picked cabbage and pimento cheese. The sandwich I was addicted to came in a small pita pouch with tempeh smokey bacon, sliced tomatoes and green leaf lettuce. It had been a long time after that when I had run into a Clover in Cambridge. Back when my daughter was taking classes to become a DJ. I happened upon it one night while I was driving to pick her up. Same sandwich, hadn’t changed. I was so excited. Now that I don’t travel so much I figured I would make my own.

I toasted two slices of Iggy’s Slice Francese, sautés bacon tempeh in a little coconut oil, and sliced some radicchio and romaine lettuce. I threw a little sauerkraut in with the shredded lettuce. I just had this taste I was going for and knew all the flavors would meld together once it was all together.

Building the sandwich:

One slice of toasted Francese bread, slather with vegan caesar dressing, place sauerkraut, shredded radicchio and romaine lettuce next. Then, top that off with 3 slices of tempeh smokey bacon, a little more vegan caesar dressing, some tomato, and another slice of toasted Francese. I threw it on the grill for a few minutes to heat everything up inside, plate it, slice it. Once I took a bite of it, I was amazed at the blend of flavors. With the bitterness of the radicchio, sour of the sauerkraut, the tang of the vegan caesar dressing, and the right blend of smoke from the tempeh bacon! Bang! In addition, the Francese bread has a little sour dough taste to it, so that made the flavors meld even more. Boom!

Tempeh smokey bacon BLT – Plant based!

My son came into the room just as I was finishing my last bite. He asked me if he could try it. Of course I said yes! I took one last small bite and then gave him the rest. Minus the tomato slice, he was satisfied too!

NOTE: I did find that I needed to toast the bread a lot so it was stiff, otherwise with the dressing and sauerkraut mixture, it would get soggy right away.



Sweetheart Sugar Cookies – for any occasion or anyone on your list

Who says sugar heart cookies have to be for Valentine’s Day. Isn’t everyone in love with someone. It doesn’t have to be just a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. You can love anyone you want. If you love someone, why not show it with sweetheart sugar cookies.

Ready to Bake!

First step – supplies and ingredients: baking sheets, parchment paper, rolling pin, extra flour for rolling, cooling rack, measure cups and spoons, flour sifter and/or colander for sifting (I’ll show you how), heart cookie cutter (the amount of cookies you yield will depend on the size of the cookie cutter. This cutter was about 1 1/2 inches.

This made 48 really thin and crunchy sugar cookies.

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

1 cup sugar

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (meaning, you have to sift it and then measure)

1/4 teaspoons of sale (if you happen to only have salted butter, you don’t need this)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I prefer to use aluminum free)

1 large egg, lightly beaten (meaning, just wish it with a fork two or three times)

2 tablespoons orange juice or lemon juice, depending on what taste you want. If you don’t want the citrus flavor, use water)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I prefer to use the real stuff, not imitation)

1/4 confectioners sugar.

Instructions: cream the butter and the sugar. sift together the dry ingredients; add to the butter mixture and beat well. Add the egg, orange juice, and vanilla. Beat again until well mixed. Shape the dough into three flattened round, wrap with clear plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Preheat over to 350 degrees F, 325 if you have a convection oven. Line baking sheets.

On a well floured board, or countertop (I like to use my granite island since it’s nice and cold, and as long as it is cleaned off thoroughly, its fine to work on) roll out the dough until it is 1/3 inch thick. Cut into shapes and set on cookie sheet – well enough apart so that they don’t cook together (I usually give it about an inch, but then risk it if I want to back in less intervals).

Well floured surface

Bake for 10 minutes. I found that with my 350 degree temp on my convection oven they took about 7 minutes to bake. So, without the convention, I would say 9 – 10 minutes. If they start to smell, they are done (also, don’t let them brown on the sides. if slightly browned, they will just be crunchier. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about 1 minute before transferring them onto a cookie cooling tray. I use my mini spatula for this. Let cool.

I bought these little boxes at Michael’s; they come flat, you have to fold them (really easy). Perfect fit for the size cookie (1/2 dozen in each box).

Mix some confectioners sugar with a little orange juice or lemon, depending on what flavor you like. Spread over cookies and add decorations. You can also make up different colors of confectioners sugar to decorate your cookies with.

I used the leftover dough for cookie press cookies. You can use the any leftover dough once more before it starts to get sticky and/or too soft. to work with. If you refrigerate it again, you can roll it out and cut more cookies. This only takes more of your time. If you don’t have the time, you can refrigerate it and come back to it the next day – just roll out and cut from it again. I just like to cookie press it so I don’t have to roll it again. When using the cookie press, you can’t press on parchment. I transferred the cookies onto the parchment after pressing, using my small serving spatula.


Post Valentine’s Day – Lamb chops, Asparagus, Salmon, and chocolate covered strawberries.

I know I had reposted my chocolate covered strawberries from a few years back. I told you I would repost – this time the same idea, but with different chocolate. I used dark chocolate sugar free chocolate morsels this time. I wanted to see how the chocolate would melt and look with the strawberries. Well, to my surprise, they came out really well.

After washing the strawberries, I dried them off really well. Took a small prep cup with chocolate morsels and placed it in the microwave. Normally, I would have used my double boiler for melting the chocolates, however I was just dipping enough for me and my daughter. My son loves strawberries, but not dipped in chocolate, and my husband doesn’t like strawberries at all. WOH!!

What I found was, melting in the microwave, you really have to keep an eye on how much time. It took about 30 – 40 seconds to melt 1/2 cup morsels. After I took them out, the chocolate felt like it was about to seize, so I quickly added what was on hand (butter). I put about 1/2 tablespoon of butter and quickly stirred until it was nice and creamy. Normally I add a little oil to the chocolate (especially in a double boiler). This is what helps it keep it’s shine without blooming.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Desserts always first, right!!!

Next came a couple of different meals. Just pleasing to the smell and the eye. There were so many different things I could make, but these were the favorites: I don’t like lamb chops, but the hubby and the son certainly do. My daughter and I had the salmon. The same was cooked in the air fryer with some herbs and spices, along with the asparagus – just crunchy enough to savor all the flavor of the asparagus. I made homemade tabouli with fresh parsley (thanks to my Misfits order), red pepper, and red onion. It was delightful!


Stone Ground Oatmeal!

I did it! I ate oatmeal. When I was little I was a huge fan of cold cereal. I was quick, inexpensive, and easy to make. My father would buy Shredded Wheat, Cheerios, or Corn Flakes. He didn’t buy much cereal that had all the sugar in it. I remember trying oatmeal once and didn’t like it. I didn’t like the texture or the color – everything about it turned me off.

As an adult, I still don’t like it. Well, up until now. A friend of mine makes it all the time. It’s a staple in their home. They add blueberries, chia seeds, hemp hearts, cocoa nibs, goji berries, peanut butter, and anything they have on hand that is a non-milk product. They pop it in the microwave for a minute, and eat it. It looks delicious watching them make it, but the thought of mushy oatmeal just doesn’t appease me.

Then I thought, why not take all those ingredients and blend them together into a bar. Eliminating the blueberries and the peanut butter, I added a little maple syrup and ground everything with almonds instead of peanut butter. The only other difference was the oats. I used stone ground oatmeal instead. I had to cook it first and then added it to the blend. The bars came out really well.

I saw another video with their daughter making this same concoction – oatmeal bowl again!! This time, I said, “I’m gonna do it!” It looks so tasty, but I knew I won’t like the mushy oatmeal. I grabbed my stone ground oatmeal, cooked a half a cup stone ground oatmeal with one cup of water. I let is sit inside the fridge until it was cold. I added fresh blueberries and slices of mandarin oranges to it, a little maple syrup, some chia seeds, and hemp hearts, goji berries, and a tablespoon of crunch almond butter. I didn’t put any almond milk in it, but could have. Best oatmeal I’ve ever had. It was crunchy, nutty, hearty, flavorful and just the right blend of everything. Try it!!