| Feb 2015

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, www.100daysofrealfood.com,  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.


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The Holderness family has been dancing in pajamas and singing during snow days for years — but last year they hit the record button on the camera and published their goofy video on YouTube. Penn, Kim, Lola, and Penn Charles continue to make hilarious videos around tent-pole events and circumstances most families face.