Homemade pizza dough – I’m hooked!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUponTumblrPinterestKindle ItShare

Today I’m sitting here in my robe enjoying the quiet of the house contemplating what I can get done at home in the next few days, and there is a lot I could do, let me tell you!  I have a few days off from work, my daughter is still sleeping, and so is my husband who is on shift work, and doesn’t get home until very late.  Which is the reason I’m still in my robe.  I don’t want to go into the bedroom in case I wake him up while I get dressed.  With both of us being shift workers now, it can be quite the challenge to get going for the day without waking the other person up.

Toast with almond butter and pickles

I’ve already had one of my quick, favourite, breakfasts which is toast with almond butter, and pickles with coffee… yes, it’s very good!  I think peanut butter is slightly better, but, since we can’t have that in the house, the almond butter will do.  I love starting my mornings watching YouTube.  It’s taken over watching morning TV for sure.  I’m finding lots of great YouTubers to watch.  Which brings me to my latest endeavor… making pizza at home.  I miss my cooking shows on TV!  I’m so sick of all the stupid cooking contests!  I used to love to cook watching these shows.  Or I’d watch the cooking shows to get inspiration on what to make for dinner.  I can’t really find any of these shows on TV anymore or they are so far and few between that I always miss them.  So, since I’ve been watching YouTube for all my makeup inspiration I’ve started looking for great cooking shows now on there also.  I found one that I really like (besides Jamie Oliver’s Foodtube) and that is Laura Vitale.  I watched this episode where she made homemade frozen pizza’s.






It looked so easy!

Homemade pizza dough

Here is how mine turned out. 

Homemade pizza dough - cheeseless

I made mine a little differently (of course).  I added whole-wheat flour to the dough.  I made cheeseless pizza for Trevor. 

Homemade pizza dough

Homemade pizza dough is on the agenda for today… again, and I’m going to use all-purpose flour only to see how it turns out.  I think it turned out great yesterday, but, I may have not made my crust thin enough, because, I couldn’t get the crust crispy until I baked it for quite a bit longer than Laura suggested.  Also, I had to turn my oven up to 475 degrees, and, I gave up on the pizza stone.  Today, I’ll try the stone again for the second bake and if the crust is still not crispy and light golden on the underneath, I’ll just put the pizza right on the oven rack again like I ended up doing last yesterday. 

Homemade pizza dough - yeast packets

I bought some more yeast!  I plan on making a lot of pizza dough :)  Well that and the other reason is my pizza dough really didn’t rise that much.  My yeast packets had a best before date of next year too.  So, I bought a few different brands and I’ll see how they work.

Homemade pizza dough - pizza

As the pizza turned out pretty darn good with how I made it last night, I know I’ll be making this pizza dough recipe over and over again.  My son with all his food intolerances orders from Panago, because they don’t have soy in the particular crust he chooses and they make his pizza to order.  Now we can just make our own!  This dough was so easy to make and once I freeze a few crusts the way she did in the above episode, we can have pizza that is relatively easy to make,  healthy, and free of all the things we want to avoid. 

Homemade pizza dough - yummy slice

I’ll let you know how today’s version turns out once I tweak the baking a bit. 

Do you have a favourite, fool-proof pizza dough you make? 

Talk to you soon,


Cilantro Lime Dressing recipe – easy with some heat

What a dreary morning today!  It’s very grey and rainy.  I have some days off right now which is great, but, when I scheduled my vacation I ended up just booking some random time off and one of the times is right now.  Well I guess it’s a great time to organize for the rest of the year and get started on the many projects that I want to get done.  I want to use up my Annie Sloan chalk paint on a few pieces.

I wanted to share a dressing that I’m loving right now.  For meatless Monday, which was yesterday, I roasted some vegetable, steamed some cauliflower, and threw together some greens for a salad.  This all would’ve been pretty bland except for this recipe that I recreated from a salad that my sister and I got at Trader Joe’s a few months ago.  I’ve made it several times now and I usually vary it up a bit, but, I thought I’d share the basic ingredients in the dressing in case you wanted to give it a try.  You should!  It’s very good! I try to eat like this daily, but, my husband and kids still like to have meat daily.  So, to spice it up a bit I try to make tasty dressings to drizzle over the veggies. 

This Cilantro Lime Dressing is really easy to make.  If you don’t have some of the ingredients, for example chipotle chili powder, use regular chili powder.  If you don’t have fresh garlic and you have garlic powder… use that instead.  Here is a link to some chili powder information on the FOOD52 site, because, I had to check into this myself!

My meatlessmonday meal

Cilantro Lime Dressing
  1. 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  3. 1 lime, juiced
  4. 1 tablespoon freeze dried cilantro *
  5. 1 teaspoon honey
  6. 1 garlic clove, minced *
  7. dash chipotle chili powder *
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  1. Add all ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake well. Store in fridge for up to three days.
  1. If you don't have freeze dried cilantro you can use fresh cilantro. Chop the cilantro roughly and add to dressing prior to shaking
  2. You can use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic to taste. I add 1/8 teaspoon
  3. Chipotle chili powder will add the kick to the dressing. Start with a small dash and add more gradually to taste
Refreshed and Fit http://refreshedandfit.com/
 Making Cilantro Lime Dressing

Cilantro Lime Dressing

Excited to eat my salad

I look a bit excited to eat my salad and my son the photobomber!  Do you try to have a “meatless” day at least once a week?

Have a great and healthy week.





Sugar is toxic – no more candy bags!

It’s been a busy week!  I worked four twelve-hour shifts… three days and one night this time.  I missed putting up a post last week and I feel guilty about it!  Especially when I have so many things on my mind that I want to talk about.  I always have great intentions to workout after my day shift, have a healthy meal, and then relax and put some of my thoughts down in writing.  But, when I get home it’s all I can do to get cleaned up, eat, and get a few household things done, never mind working-out or writing :(  I have to let go of the guilt when I don’t get these things done and I should really just plan on not doing much on my work days… that may solve the problem!

Something that has been on my mind for a while now and that I have wanted to talk about is sugar and how sugar is toxic!  I’m at triage on many of my shifts, which means I’m the first health care professional a patient meets when they come to emergency.  I have to ask all kinds of questions to determine how urgently care is needed and to which area of the emergency department I send them.  So, I learn a lot about them right away and I’m seeing a major increase in certain conditions that is alarming.  I’m going to make a list of the top five diseases that I’m seeing, but, today I’m going to mention one of them… diabetes!  I’m positively flabbergasted at how many people are diabetics.  I’m not talking about juvenile diabetes or type 1 diabetes, which is something you don’t have much control over.  It’s basically something that you are born with, but, type 2 or non-insulin dependent diabetes, or adult onset diabetes or whatever you want to call it, is the diabetes that develops in your adulthood and can be in your power to prevent or at least keep under control with diet.  The Canadian Diabetes Association is a great site for learning more about diabetes.  I have a cousin with type 1 diabetes.  My cousin, was diagnosed with diabetes when he was very young.  This could not be prevented.  My cousins pancreas stopped producing insulin, so, he is insulin dependent.  This page is a great resource in describing the difference between the types of diabetes.  Have a look at it.  Even if you never thought of diabetes as something you’re at risk of developing… it’s still an eye opener, because,  in reality everyone is at risk and your lifestyle may increase the risk.

Sugar is toxic - streudel

My unhealthy indulgence!


What is your lifestyle like?  Do you eat a lot of strudel?  I have to admit, eating healthy is a choice, but, one that takes some practice and doing.  It doesn’t come as easy for everyone.  I love my sweets sometimes and unfortunately once I’ve added sweets to my diet I tend to crave even more.  You’ve heard that sugar is addictive?  Yes!  It’s like a toxic drug that your body craves more of once it’s in your system. 

So, breaking it down into simple terms your pancreas produces the hormone insulin and everything you eat breaks down into glucose.  Insulin is the key that gets the glucose into your cells to nourish your body.  Without the insulin key the glucose builds up in your bloodstream and makes you very, very sick and your body basically is starving without the ability to utilize the nourishment that you are taking in.  That’s why there is talk about the glycemic index and how eating low glycemic index foods is better for you.  Low glycemic  foods breakdown more gradually into glucose allowing insulin to be released slower, so, you don’t have these huge spikes in your bloodstream of glucose and then the deep lows when you’ve released large amounts of insulin.  Just imagine what happens when you eat that chocolate bar, or strudel :)  or drink that sugary drink… a huge spike in your blood sugar, because, it doesn’t take long for that kind of junk food to break down into its simplest form.  Then all that glucose rushes into your blood stream and your pancreas leaps into action producing insulin to match all the glucose in your system to help get it into your cells.  Then once the insulin gets the glucose into your cells your blood sugar is low and you feel like crap!  Keep doing that in large quantities over years and years or worse yet start doing that at a really young age and eventually your pancreas just can’t keep up.  It’s worn out.  Welcome to adult onset diabetes or type 2 diabetes.  Doesn’t it make more sense to keep your blood sugar at an even keel instead of all over the place and doesn’t it make sense to eat foods that aren’t an immediate burst of sugar in your blood stream, but, are a slow release so your pancreas can keep up with the insulin production?  Of course it does.  So, why do we still fill ourselves up with food that is so harmful to our health? 

Sugar is toxic - Lindt chocolate

Healthier treats!


We fill ourselves up with unhealthy food because it’s all around us.  We’ve learned to eat a certain way, and cook, and bake a certain way.  I for one feel so guilty now when I buy treats for my kids or my nieces and nephews.  I feel like I’m bringing them toxins!  I cringe when I think about the movie nights my daughter and I used to have.  We used to get ourselves bags of candy and snuggle down for some fun movies.  Yikes!

Learning to eat a more health conscious diet is a learning curve.  My husband’s idea of a treat is the Lindt chocolate that is 90% cacao!  To me it still tastes bitter, but, he never was much of a sweet tooth.  I can manage the 70% cacao!

Sugar is toxic - panukakku



I made this panukakku last week.  This is a something my grandmother and my mom made for us at home.  It’s basically an oven pancake.  Its flour, milk, eggs, and a bit of sugar.  I felt guilty about making it and eating it.  But, when I think back to our home-style traditional cooking and baking it was very simple.  Yes, it may have included sugar and some jams which are high on the glycemic index, but, that was all we had.  We didn’t eat chips, chocolate bars, and fast food growing up.  All those things were truly a treat.  So, in context our exposure to the really “junk” type foods was limited.  It wasn’t a daily or even a weekly occurence. 

Sugar is toxic - whole grain, oat, and flax pancake

Keith’s special pancakes


My husbands wholesome pancakes are stick-to-your ribs good.  They’re full of oats, flax, and whole-wheat flour.  No sugar.  The only sweetness is from fresh berries or some maple syrup.

Sugar is toxic - sipping my smoothie

Green smoothie with lots of kale and spinach!

It can sometimes be overwhelming to think about everything you are supposed to be doing to stay healthy and not to freak out about the days that don’t go so well.  I know that I’m promising myself to limit the strudel’s :) that come into our house and I promise myself to continue to cook healthy meals the majority of the time (which my husband and I already do).  So, if I bake a panukakku once in a while I’m not going to stress out.  I want my pancreas to stay healthy my whole life time.  I don’t want to over work any one part of my body to the point of wearing it out!  If I think about it like that I really pay more attention to what I eat.  Also, if I’ve been really on a bad unhealthy streak for a while, I do a quick cleanse to detox.  I’ll talk about that another time.  One thing is for sure though, definitely, no more candy bags for my nieces and nephews, because, sugar is toxic!

 Talk to you soon,



More technology or simpler times?

I’ve thought about this for a while now, but, recently it’s been on my mind even more.  It’s that we are all so into our technology, yet, at the same time we are embracing the past with such gusto.  We are embracing everything from our vintage home decor interspersed with our modern styles, to pin-up girl looks,  to re-useable bags at the grocery store, to our love of home style, back to the earth, eating clean diets!  We are acting as if we just invented all of these things.

If you have a  grandmother around or have been lucky enough to have one live with you, you will know that we are just all reminiscing and wishing the past was with us now. 

I know I do!  My mummo (or grandmother to you) was born at the turn of the century and I’m talking 1900.  She lived a very simple life and she was the eldest in a home of 12 kids in Helsinki, Finland.  She taught me so much.  She taught me how to cook, to bake, to crochet, to knit, to sew, how to do cross stitch, to mend, to clean, and to enjoy the simple things in life.  She grew up and lived in an era without so-called technology.  Life was about work, looking after your family, and home keeping.  She wasn’t wealthy, but, she lived a wealthy life.  She was always impeccably dressed, meaning everything was always clean, ironed, and in excellent condition.  Her home was always kept in order and was so welcoming with simple home cooking and baking scents to entice you.

What she had is what I am now striving for…  and in this crazy pursuit I actually watch YouTuber’s explain to me about this way of life.  They explain how to live a simple, but, fulfilling life.  Do I really need this?

Sometimes I just have to shake my head and remember that I already learned everything I need to know about living a simple  and healthy life from my mummo. 

More technoloy or simpler times - Refreshed and fit

Sweetpea helping me put away Christmas decorations

I certainly am not against anyone for making video’s or for watching them, because, I do watch them!  For some reason we are all in this same quest for simplifying our lives.  The more communication devices we have the more we seem to want to disconnect.  I appreciate the people who are realizing this and putting this information out there, because, I for one needed a reminder! 

I feel a bit crazed sometimes.  On the one hand I’m reading and hearing about all the newest and greatest gadgets available right now and then I’m hearing the message… stop…. you don’t need anymore stuff… stop and enjoy what you have! 

I think that’s why daily planners and journaling are making such a comeback and thank goodness for that.  Wouldn’t it be awful if we all forgot how to handwrite?  With all the apps and devices available to us, we now want to hold some nice paper, and to hold a nice pen, and to be able to write down our thoughts.

More technology or simpler times - Refreshed and fit

My notebook for lists

I for one still love my lists and I love to keep a notebook which shows my accomplishments.  I love to cross items off as I complete them.  It’s such a great feeling!! 

Here is another YouTube personality that I enjoy watching.  Her name is Jennifer L Scott and she is also an author of a couple of books Lessons from Madame Chic and At Home with Madame Chic.  Her channel is all about simplifying your life.  Very interesting. 







I’m looking forward to getting my new planner that I’ve mentioned before, but, until then I’m continuing to use my trusty notebook for my lists.  The other day I was so impressed with myself.  I had fourteen things that I wanted to accomplish (a very ambitious task for me) and I crossed off ten of them!  That was amazing!  I would not have gotten around to half of the tasks if I hadn’t written them down.  The day was all about getting my home in order and this is actually one of my goals for the year.  I want to do all the things around my home that I’ve been putting off for years.  I want my home to be comfortable and as complete as I can make it, so, that I’m comfortable with what I’ve done

More technology or simpler times - Refreshed and fit

Enjoying some candle light after tidying up

My last item on the list for the day was to enjoy some candlelight and a cup of tea, so,  I could fully appreciate all that I had done that day.  As you can see I did just that :)

Do you find yourself wishing for simpler times without all this wonderful technology?  Are you torn between vintage items and brand spanking new things sometimes?

Have a great rest of the week and I’ll talk to you soon. 


fresh start means new planner

Well it’s been a while, but, it’s a new year and I’m excited about a fresh start and a fresh start means new, beautiful… paper!  Paper in all it’s forms such as notebooks, journals,  and planners.  Plus nice new pens with fine tips and pencils!

Kate Spade notebook

My daughter and I stopped in at Chapter’s because I was looking for a particular book (which I didn’t find by the way, will have to check online).  Both of us got mesmerized at the Kate Spade display that was there.  My daughter is an organizational freak… and I say that in a very loving, positive way.  Her notebooks have always been pristine with beautiful handwriting inside.  I worried at one point she was a little obsessive compulsive.  But, I digress.  Needless to say we loved all the notebooks and organizational accessories that were being displayed.  She bought a few beautiful gifts for her friend who’s turning nineteen and starting college.  Plus, we bought just a few little things for ourselves.  I’d just  finished looking around online at planners and I had looked at the Kate Spade planners.  I didn’t realize Chapters sold Kate Spade!  I didn’t see any of the Kate Spade planners available at Chapters though.  Kelsi got herself the Kate Spade spiral bound notebook pictured above, which appears more red than it really is, it’s really a hot pink colour. 

Kate Spade stickers

We  bought some cute little Kate Spade stickers.  I don’t really know what I’ll be doing with these, but, I’m sure Kelsi will find some use for them.  They were on sale and were just so pretty!

Kate Spade magnetic page markers

These Kate Spade magnetic page markers I will definitely use!  I love this idea!  Perfect for my current notebook that I write all of  my lists in.  Sometimes I want to be able to get back to a particular page that I wrote something important down on or something similar.  Love the colour too. 

Speaking of planners… I just ordered myself a liveWELL planner from Inkwell Press and I’m waiting for it to be delivered to Pic-It-Up the parcel receiving experts in Sumas for me, on the other side of the border.  Inkwell Press doesn’t ship internationally, yet, which is the one downside to the company… it’s funny because I don’t feel like we are that “international” here in Canada :)

This was my first glimpse at the liveWELL planner from makeup TIA





I can’t wait to get my hands on this planner.  Kelsi and I are so similar in this way.  We both love getting new notebooks, nice pens and pencils, and in general a fresh start.  When it arrives I’ll show it to you with all the accessories that I will use with it. 

I hope you’re all having a great fresh start to 2015!  I’m looking forward to spending more time doing things I love to do, and, one of the things I love to do is putting my thoughts down, here, on my blog.

Talk to you soon,




Natural deodorants that work

Do you put much thought into the type of antiperspirants or deodorant you use?  Maybe not as much during the cooler weather as in the summer months, but, it’s still something most of us use on a daily basis.  Unless you have a serious issues with sweating or your skin is sensitive, you may not give deodorants a second thought.  I’ve been wanting to tell you about my favourite deodorant for a while… because it’s so exiting :) 

I didn’t think much about them either until many years ago when my underarm area became really itchy and irritated.  I know… yuck!  At the time I was using Secret antiperspirant.   Coincidentally when this happened I had been at the lake and I’d been swimming and laying on the beach tanning :)  I thought at first I had some kind of a rash from the sand or I had been bitten by some little critters.  The itchiness persisted and because it was under both arms I decided to stop using the Secret antiperspirant I had been using for years thinking it was more likely the cause of the irritation. 

I decided to try one of the  mineral salt rocks.  I remember it took a bit of getting used to, but, my skin under my arms over time cleared right up.  The mineral salt rock was easy to use.  I don’t know if you’ve seen them, but, they look like large crystals and sometimes are sold in a little satchel for storing purposes or inside a plastic holder like a standard deodorant stick.  Basically you wet the rock and then rub the rock under your arms.  That was it.  After a time my body became accustomed to it and I didn’t notice any odour… and no one mentioned to me that I stunk :)  The only thing with the mineral salt is that it didn’t help with perspiration.  You would still sweat, but, you wouldn’t stink!

All natural deodorants that work

There is a huge market now for products that claim to be “natural” and among skin care products, deodorants and antiperspirants are one of them.  I don’t buy something because of the “natural” claim.  That really means nothing.  Everything when broken down to its most basic form is a chemical either man-made or organic.  What I look for is the ingredients that I want to avoid not being on the ingredient listing. 

I had obviously become sensitized to the antiperspirant and was having a reaction.  I’m sure years ago when I had this reaction there was already talk about avoiding aluminum in your skin care products, because of a link to dementia.   So, that was also a bonus of using the mineral salt rock, it didn’t have any aluminum in it.   Eventually, after several years, for whatever reason I did go back to traditional deodorants.  Over the past few years I’ve become more concerned again with what I put on my skin.  I think it really hit me when I watched my daughter in her early teens lather her body with all the fruity smelling lotions and potions.  She’d come out of her room in a wafting, cloud of perfume and the boys would all be choking.  I became worried about all the ingredients that were being absorbed into her young body through her skin and all the toxins she was inhaling in the form of those synthetic scents. 

I wanted her and I to stay away from products that contain phthalates, parabens, avobenzone, triclosan, aluminum to name a few.  If you go to the MindBodyGreen website you can check out this great chart they have that lists 12 Toxic Ingredients to Avoid and why. 

By the way, the mineral salt rock I had years ago would still probably be around if I hadn’t dropped it… it splintered into a gazillion pieces!  Which is another bonus, they do last for years as long as you don’t drop them!

 All natural deodorants that work - Green Beaver Company Natural Deodorant

When I decided to get away from aluminum in antiperspirant, again, I went to my local health food store and bought a few different stick deodorants that are aluminum free.  Actually you can now buy many of these brands at your local grocery store.  I’ve used Tom’s,  the Green Beaver Company, and a few others.  My favourite so far is Hugo Naturals

Hugo Naturals

  • Made from 100% natural ingredients
  • Vegan
  • Soy free
  • Gluten free
  • Cruelty free

Never any: parabens, phenoxyethanol, sulfates, PEGs, propylene glycol, petroleum products, silicones, phthalates, synthetic surfactants, artificial colors or synthetic fragrances.

The one thing about these deodorants is that that’s exactly what they are… deodorants.  They have very limited ability to stop perspiration.  That is what the aluminum does in the traditional deodorants.  I haven’t found this to be a problem though.  The only situations I would kill for a true antiperspirant would be times of stress.  Do you know that your sweat makeup is different in times of duress?  It has a different odour and the perspiration is more difficult to control.  There are still times when I use my trusty Secret deodorant (no further reactions under my arms).  I learned my lesson just over a year ago when my sister got married on a hot, sunny day in August.  What was I thinking not to wear a good, strong, old stand by at a time like that!  Yes!  I do use products with the ingredients I try to avoid sometimes.  That’s what I mean about everything in moderation. 

All natural deodorants that work - Hugo Naturals Dual Action Deodorant

A natural deodorant that works and my favourite deodorant is the Hugo Naturals deodorant in the  Mexican Lime and Bergamot scent.  It has a slight citrus scent which isn’t overpowering at all.  Also the formulation is drier, so, when you rub it on it doesn’t leave your underarms feeling moist right off the bat (which I can’t stand).  Hugo Naturals calls itself a dual action deodorant, because, as they claim in their website the  “Pure Rice silk powder effectively and gently absorbs moisture”.  I do find that this brand starts off feeling drier and seems to keep me drier throughout the day and  might I add, for me, this includes working twelve-hour shifts in emergency.

What ingredients do you try to avoid?  Do you have a favourite deodorant that doesn’t contain aluminum?

Talk to you soon,