Friday, February 20, 2009

the $50 pizza extravaganza

Since I'm always cooking, we thought it would be a treat to have someone else do the dirty work for a change. I decided to hit up a pizza place called Amici's in Berkley, MI known for it's green mindset and vegan pizza options.

Now this usually would not be such a big deal, but the city where we dwell has next to NO vegan options. Granted there are a few places I can dine, but not very many. So anything vegan friendly is a scarcity to find.

Trying out this new gluten free lifestyle I have literally been thrown into is really not fun. Actually, I hate it. I LOVE gluten filled products! I anxiously ordered the gluten free pizza option they had, and was very disappointed. Not disappointed because it was bad for being gluten free, but it was bad compared to the regular pizza dough they serve (which of course I had to try out too).

I understand this will take some self growth and tolerance, but I have yet to find it yet. I still find myself eating things with gluten in them, but then paying for it in pain the next day. Ugh, whats a gluten loving girl to do?

It looks great, but it wasn't really all that in my book. The other issue I am coming to terms with is the absence of dairy cheese in my diet, I used to eat it on everything!

Vegan whole wheat pizza with mushrooms & pineapple with tofu sticks & asparagus

The tofu sticks were awesome, but a pain in the ass to pan fry. I had to flip all these bad boys by hand, making sure all sides were fried. I will say that this was worth all the time and effort tho. YUM!

The total of both pizza's, one 12' and the other 14' came to $40- with water to drink, and only paper plates to eat off of. So the whole night came to $50 after tip. Stunned that we just payed $50 bucks for bread, we vowed to never go there again.

 I'm excited about all the cool stuff I will learn and love about being vegan in the coming years, cooking vegan has changed everything about my life.

A couple months ago I tried to sprout raw almonds, and failed miserably. For some reason that discouraged me, and I haven't tried sprouting since. But alas, we now own a nice sprouting jar- so I am no longer afraid. This year I also plan on growing my own mushrooms on mushroom logs, so there is a lot to look forward to.

A quick sprouting lesson for ya'll;

Seeds are packed full with nutrients, but sprouted seeds are even better! As each grows, proteins, enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients increase. At the exact same time toxins and enzyme inhibitors are reduced, increasing digestibility.

c o n d i t i o n s f o r g r o w t h

Air - as any small plant, sprouts need air to breathe, without it they will succumb to mold and rot more easily. Don’t put them in sealed containers and make sure that they get enough.

Water - after a good soaking, sprouts need water every 12 hours at least and more if its hot. Regularity is key, if they are even slightly deprived in their first few days of life they will be permanently setback. In your efforts to keep them watered don’t drown them, they must be allowed to freely drain, else they will soon rot. If you let them dry they’ll die. If you let them soak they’ll choke.

Warmth - sprouts need to be kept warm to germinate and grow. Optimum temperatures vary but 70 to 75 f is a good start. Don’t let them get too hot or they’ll wilt, lose vitality and die. Colder temperatures will slow growth and are good for storage, but don’t freeze them.

Space - for best results, give your sprouts some room. Some sprouts can increase up to 30 times their size. Cramming them in a jar or overfilling a tray or bag will force them to compete for light and air, with inevitable casualties. Spread only a thin layer of seeds in trays, keep them mobile in bags and jars and remember they get bigger!

Light - most sprouts can’t use light in the first few days of growth, and many never need it. However, any that produce leaves will eventually need light to ‘green up’. Direct sunlight should be avoided unless it’s cold, as it can overheat your crop. Most sprouts will be fine if they get indirect natural light, there is no need to keep them dark.

Nutrients - adding liquid plant nutrients to the soak water will give the sprouts an extra boost that you will later enjoy. It is not necessary, but will increase their health, longevity and nutritional value. You can also mist the sprouts with a dilute solution after rinsing. Use a few drops of liquid kelp in water, or another organic plant feed.

w h a t t o d o

Soak organic seeds for 8 hours or overnight in lots of water, some larger seeds may need longer. Add a liquid feed to the water for extra nutrition.

Rinse sprouts well at least every 12 hours. Trays need careful spraying in the beginning as it washes away mold causing fungi, but try not to move sprouts around as they root. Once they’re fixed immerse them in water for at least half a minute. Swishing them about, (and especially inverting them,) helps to remove seed hulls.

Drain your sprouts well, standing water is a good way to encourage rot. Leave trays on an angle for a minute or so, or briefly put them on some tissue to wick the water away (don’t leave them on it or they may dry out.)

Harvest sprouts carefully by gently pulling ripe ones out from the rest. This allows less developed ones to continue growing so you get several harvests of perfect sprouts.

Store them in a plastic bag in a cool dark place, such as a fridge, and rinse them every 3 days or so. Most sprouts will keep at least a week like this and often longer.



Jacqueline Meldrum said...

It is just so disappointing when you go out for a meal and it is not all it is cracked up to be! Your pizza did look delcious.

I will look forward to your adventures with a mushroom log! I have always fancied one of those. I absolutely adore mushrooms and consume quite a lot :)

Sea said...

You know, there is gluten-free beer: Redbridge by Anheuser-Busch (however it is spelled) is GF and relatively widely available. You can probably find hard cider even easier.

I know how you feel about Amicis because I felt the same way the first time I went there and my DH also hates how $$$ it is. Try getting the meyer lemon olive oil base on the GF crust- it is a huge improvement. Or, make your own. Search for Carol Fenster's gluten-free pizza ... the recipe is also on my blog at It is awesome.
(It's also cheaper if your DH will share the GF crust w/ you instead of having to order 2... that's what we usually do unless we go with gluten-eating friends)

PS Heheh ok, i'm done buggin ya at yer blog. just was interested to find you from Foodbuzz and see that you are trying a GF diet. Depending on the reason, though, it is more or less important that you follow it strictly... For those w/ Celiac Disease there are very serious long-term health risks associated w/ eating even small amounts of gluten, even if it is not immediately important. On the other hand, if it is just for a suspicion of allergy or for dieting purposes, no worries. ;)
I'm trying to remember- and THINK my favorite Amy's GF frozen pizza is vegan- it is the spinach one on a rice crust, better than the real cheese on, IMO. You might check for it in the store as it is nice to have in the freezer.

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