Muck, slush, and cheese. An update on our real food adventure.

It’s happening! And it only took three days.

I vowed to give up processed food for Lent. That means nothing store-bought with more than 5 ingredients (that I can pronounce), no crazy refined oils and sugars — just REAL FOOD. And after three days the rest of my family wants to join me in this mission! (This was my super secret goal all along.)

Well, they had no real choice. I’m making most meals and I’m not going to really offer another choice. But I’m going to claim it as a victory!

Friday night is pizza night in our house. Typically, we order from or go to a restaurant in our neighborhood. It’s a great restaurant — but the (delicious) crust is made with overly processed white flour. White flour is stripped of any nutritional value and sometimes contains added “dough conditioners,” unlike its 100% stone ground, organic, whole wheat counterpart. That means, on this first Friday of Lent, we would make our own pizza!

SO here is where I am exposing myself: I can’t cook. I mean, I can heat things in recipe-order, but I am not one of those people who can create a fabulous new dish out of what we have handy in the refrigerator. I’m desperate to learn — and wow, do I have a long way to go.

Here we go:

  • Recipe? Check.
  • Ingredients? Check.
  • Hungry family? Check.
  • A clue about what I’m doing? NOPE.

If I actually knew how to make pizza dough I’d have known it has to rise for a few hours before baking. It was 6 p.m. We didn’t have time for that nonsense.

(Click here for the recipe I used. This website,,  is full of great resources . . . and she’s from North Carolina, too!)

Me: “So wait, we need a food processor? We don’t have a food processor. We DO have a high-speed blender! That’s the same thing, right?”

It’s not. At all.

I put all the ingredients in our VitaMix and managed to make 100% stone ground, organic, whole wheat muck.

Our 100% whole wheat muck

Our 100% whole wheat muck


Our favorite wedding present saves the day!

Our favorite wedding present saves the day!

I tried the mini food processor we used to make the kids baby food. Then, finally, I remembered the awesome wedding present we got 10 years ago. We have a stand mixer!

After transferring the doughy glob three times we had success. Kind of.


Meanwhile, I had Lola cutting tomatoes. We would even make our own sauce (and use the leftover for tonight’s creation). Even I know the dead of winter is not the time to find the tastiest tomatoes. No Roma tomatoes were available (the kind the recipe called for) so I grabbed two pounds of the next best thing (read: the only organic option they had available). Our kids don’t like “chunks” (visible tomatoes) in their sauce so we blended them with the skin on (I’m lazy). AAAAAAAANNNNNDDDDD we got what looked like a pink smoothie.










The kids freaked. I came up with an excuse I didn’t even know was true: “It’s because of all of the air and pulp in the tomatoes. When we cook the sauce for a while it will turn red.” Whew. It did. Eventually. (By the way, I still don’t know if this is true — but it did become more reddish).

I had the kids take turns shredding the mozzarella cheese while I started washing the mountains of dishes we created.

Finally, by 7:30, the time we typically have them in baths and brushing their teeth, we were ready to roll out our healthy, 100% stone ground, organic, whole wheat pizza dough. It was NOT like you see in restaurants, but we needed to eat.

The kids made their own, adding our sauce and a mountain of cheese. I even snuck some basil and goat cheese on my corner.

About 15 minutes later and 4,597 bowls, spoons, and dishes later:  VOILA!  One hundred percent stone ground, organic, whole wheat crust, organic, homemade tomato sauce, organic  mozzarella from grass-fed cows.


Pizza Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food. Please don’t blame the author for our outcome. I’m sure hers tastes better.

Here’s the verdict:

He liked it! Penn Charles liked it!

He liked it! Penn Charles liked it!


Not a fan










Here’s the verdict:

Lola, my girl who will eat anything, was not a fan.

Penn Charles, my picky eater, LOVED it.

I thought the dough was actually very yummy, though thick.

Penn . . . well, my husband will eat anything. But he appeared to like it.

What I learned: 

  • Leave a few hours to make proper pizza dough.
  • Don’t try to make it in a blender.
  • Slushy, pink, blended tomatoes will eventually become darker with cooking.
  • If you put enough cheese on anything, it will be good.
  • What are your favorite, family friendly REAL FOOD recipes? Share! Please. My family thanks you.


Forty Days

I will admit. I mostly went to church as a pre-teen/teen because there was a really cute boy in my youth group. There. I said it. I mostly drew hearts and our initials during sermons. I vaguely remember this time before Easter being super depressing. Then, finally, on Easter I got to wear a special dress (only to be ignored by aforementioned cute boy).

I grew up the daughter of a Methodist and a Catholic. We went to the Methodist church every Sunday and went cafeteria style with the Catholic traditions — just taking the stuff we liked.

During my boy-crazed teen years I was fascinated when my Catholic Nana “gave up” things for Lent. No meat? FORTY DAYS. Then, Nana told me why. “We make a sacrifice to be closer to God,” she said.

I probably said something while spraying my bangs with AquaNet like, “So . . . like . . . ummm . . . I’ll totally give up Jujy fruits.” So for forty days I would buy Lemon Heads instead. And I’m sure God was all like, “Kim, people don’t know suffering until they give up Jujy Fruits.”

Some Lenten seasons were more successful than others. In 2003, I vowed to give up “booze and boys.” Meaning — I wouldn’t drink and I wouldn’t date. Yeeeaaahhh . . . about 10 days in I met Penn. That year, Lent didn’t stick.

Apparently, I am not alone in my downright lame attempts at sacrifice. This is the hilarious (and possibly accurate) urban dictionary definition of Lent:

That 40 day long period where Christians attempt to emulate Christ-like suffering and minimalism through only the lamest and most half-assed undertakings.

Jesus: I toiled in the desert for 40 days and nights. Then I was beaten until I lost 17.8 litres of blood. Self-Righteous Christian Tool: I switched to low-carb beer.
by Andrew Thrillson March 04, 2004


While I can’t make a large sacrifice like taking a vow of silence (Penn wishes) or entering a convent, I can give of my time toward something that honors the life I’ve been given.

Through the years I have always made my tiny sacrifice. This year I’m going to give up all processed foods. No super refined sugary treats (my kryptonite) and no fatty fried foods soaked in chemically processed oils. I will eat REAL FOOD for 40 days.

This is not about losing weight; this is about feeling better. This is not about driving my family crazy; this is about teaching my kids to make good choices. This is not about giving up pizza; this is about learning how to make it in a way that doesn’t have 145 ingredients.

I’ve read all of Micael Pollan’s books and already made some important shifts in how our family eats.

I’m inspired to make the whole shift by my friend Vani Hari, AKA The Food Babe.  That girl is changing the food industry and I’m so proud to know her.

Subscribe to this blog if you’d like to follow this journey. Now I’m off to figure out what to eat for breakfast.

And now for something completely different…

from Penn

I am an insanely gigantic fan of Monty Python (thus the title of this blog).  Part of their legacy, and a huge reason for their success, was their staying power.  Their comic genius has spanned six decades so far.  And it all started with their sketch show Flying Circus.  At the core of that show was a feeling, shared by all of its founding members, that comedy should never end.  Instead of ending each sketch with a forced punchline and canned applause, they found a way to seamlessly go from the end of one skit to the next, even into the closing credits.  It created momentum.  It created a culture of continuity that many have imitated but none have duplicated.  It also created a need for the group to constantly search for something fresh, so that their comedy would never end.  And it hasn’t.

Kim and I are not Monty Python.  We are so far from Monty Python we can’t see them with the Hubble.  But we’ve somehow stumbled onto this wonderful thing: We get to be on your computers, in your offices, even in your homes.  We love hearing that parents like watching our videos along with their kids.  We even love that kids sometimes watch our videos on their own, and that you trust our content with those you love the most.

So, having said that, like Monty Python, we are trying something completely different. The next video you’ll see you’ll want to watch before deciding if your kids should. We will be addressing, in our own special way — some of our best – worst – comments over the past year. (It’s pretty hilarious).

Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t making porn. We will never use audible foul language, though there may be some bleeps.  But there are also so many things about family life that we want to talk about that are, how you say, PG-13?

So, on our YouTube channel, we will continue that Holderness Family playlist.  Those videos are, and always have been, PG.  The PG-13 stuff, that will be on a new Playlist called “Grownup Grooves.”  Keep in mind – some of these, your kids may love! But please, watch them first and make that decision for yourselves.

The first Grownup Groove comes out tomorrow – and we had a ton of fun with it.  Here’s hoping you are still making us part of your family. Here’s hoping we are doing this 50 years from now just like Monty Python has done. And here’s to a great 2015!