Mmmm… pizza.

When you first get diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it’s pretty normal to have a bit of a hard time with it. It’s also pretty normal to have a giant meltdown over it. Everything that you’ve ever known is changed in an instant. That soft texas toast – no more. Triscuits and wheat thins? Uh-uh. Chips Ahoy? No way.

Take-out pizza? Don’t even think about it.

There are very few things that I miss after almost 4 years of gluten-free living. Subway and take-out pizza are probably the only 2 things that really give me cause to daydream anymore. Other than the odd french fry or sundae, I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s since I was about 14. Same goes for Wendy’s, BK, Taco Bell and everything in between. I just was never a big fan of fast food because it always made me feel gross (a point I now see as slightly amusing). But Subway was where it was at. I flip flopped between the turkey and the veggie. I always loaded it up with tons of good veg and a touch of light mayo. And it was always divine. I still miss it, and my goal is to make a sandwich bun that I can sink my teeth into a melt a little like Subway buns used to make me do.

But I digress. For this post is about pizza. For a while (and soon to be again), Boston Pizza had Gluten-Free pizza crust so I could eat there (a lot has come up about their cross contamination and I will admit there were a couple of times that I didn’t feel so fabulous after eating it, but I always assumed it was the cheese laden on top of the pizza). There’s just something about getting that pizza in the cardboard box with the sauce and toppings. So, so good.

I miss take-out pizza. But as we move on in our world of gluten-free living in our house, we stop missing the things we used to eat and start embracing our ability to cook and to eat well.

My mom just came to visit for a week for the first week of school. My mother carries the gene for Celiac Disease which she unknowingly passed on to both myself and my brother. I’m the only one of the 3 with active Celiac Disease at this point in time, and I really hope both my mom’s and Matt’s stay dormant so they can continue to eat as they do. But over the years, my mother has become increasingly more knowledgeable about our disease. Let’s face it – her daughter and both of her grandchildren have Celiac, so when we go and visit her, it’s not like she can avoid it.

Both my parents have become amazing with cross contamination. We have our own toaster at their house, and as of this last visit, our own cutting boards. They label things in their fridge as Gluten-Free so that they don’t contaminate our butter, hummus, or anything else that they may typically not think about. We have our own shelf when we go with our food on it. Best of all, they try to cook everything gluten-free when we visit. I think my parents found it somewhat daunting at first to have to be so vigilent, but almost 4 years later, they are doing amazing and I feel very comfortable eating in their house.

When my mom came last week, I had told her about this pizza that I had made. It was loaded with what I would typically think of as “mom-food” – ingredients that my mom would salivate over. I think the only thing missing was black olives. When she arrived, it was 2 hours past her lunch time and right at ours (it’s amazing how a 2 hour time difference can make such an impact!). We split the leftover pizza and she was so impressed that the crust was soft and delicious.

Though my mother did eat sandwiches while she was here from my husband’s mini wheat stash, she at 90% gluten free and I really don’t think she missed gluten for one minute.

I’m not saying that cutting out gluten is easy, but it is sometimes surprising at how much our food is naturally gluten-free if we just take a minute to think about our ingredients.

And now, for the pizza.

For the crust I used Pamela’s Bread Mix. The one difference I do in relation to the instructions is that I bake it for 15 minutes before putting the toppings on. I forgot to do that this time, and the middle of the pizza was very doughy and soggy. The outsides were good, and midway through I remembered the trick of baking it first. We also use the entire crust as opposed to splitting it in 2 because we eat most of the pizza and we like our crust slightly thicker than the very thin-crust pizza.

I make my own pizza sauce:
1 small can tomato paste
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tbsp rosemary

Add all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes at 350. While it’s baking, cut up all of your toppings, grate your cheese and then have a drink while you’re waiting.

Spread the sauce on the crust when it comes out of the oven. Add your cheese, then your toppings, then bake for 15 minutes.

When it comes out of the oven, let it sit for about 4-5 minutes. Slice with a pizza slicer and eat. Yum!

In our house everyone likes different toppings so I divide it up. My kids are still wee so they get 1/3 of the pizza and Chef Husband and I get 2/3 (I should add that we always have leftovers. It’s not like we actually EAT all that pizza in one serving).

Mr Man had chicken and cheese on his.
Miss A is a strict cheese-only girl and next time, I don’t even think I’ll put sauce on hers.
Chef Husband had onions, peppers, chicken and artichokes.
I had onions, peppers, artichokes and cherry tomatoes sliced in half.

Who needs take-out?

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