Michele Joan

Wife, Mother, Blogger & Author

Crossover Pizza and Mulberry Sauce

I’ll admit it, I’ve become completely obsessed with my new eating plan Trim Healthy Mama (THM) that I shared with you a few weeks ago (read my original post here).  My favorite website to visit for tips, recipes and advice is Gwen’s-Nest, so I have decided to be part of her Trim Healthy Mama Tuesday Link Up!

I have learned how to make this plan a lifestyle change and not just a diet, but my biggest challenge is that clashes with our other obsession – pizza making.  We have a big, beautiful wood fired pizza oven in our backyard which cooks at 800 degrees and makes amazing pizza.

Pizza oven

Last summer, my husband and I spent all summer testing our crust and sauce recipes to make the perfect pizzas.  Once we found it, we became total pizza snobs, as nothing could compare to the delicious, fresh pizzas that come out of our oven in two minutes flat.  However, As the authors of THM, Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison write “The problem with pizza is not the toppings.  It’s the crust!”  Those eating this lifestyle know that combing the good fats of pizza toppings combined with white flour crust is a “weight disaster.”  While THM has several crust recipes in the book, they require a dough too soft or crumbly to put on a peel and toss into the oven.  Many of them need to be put on parchment paper, which would just start on fire if put on an oven floor that hot.  Putting a pan with pizza in the oven defeats the whole purpose (told you I was a pizza snob).  Since my husband and I are both at goal weight now, we researched (and researched) to find some great crossover crust recipes that would fit on this diet.

We came to the conclusion that we would try the Forno Bravo Sprouted Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe.  Forno Bravo is the designer of “The World’s Finest Pizza Ovens and Pizza Oven Kits” so we trusted their recipe would be good.   We used veganically grown One Degree Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour in the above mentioned recipe link and divided into 6 crusts.


We topped it with our favorite sauce recipe (from Thursday Night Pizza, Fr. Dominic’s Favorite Pizza Recipes by Fr. Dominic Garramone), which was our go-to sauce last year and sugar free!!  We added tons of veggies, reduced fat mozzarella cheese, and popped it in the oven.  It slid off the peel with ease (which does not always happen when we try a new crust) and it baked up perfectly!  Not only was it delicious, I figured the math, and it was only 27 carbs for a whole pizza!  Crossover Success!!

Check out the beautiful brown wheat crust!

Check out the beautiful brown wheat crust!

We had the perfect meal planned, and now just needed a dessert.  This time a year, the old nursery rhyme “He We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” has a special meaning as we literally make circles around our neighbors mulberry trees picking this sweet blackberry looking fruit that grows wildly here in Ohio.  My children especially love these tasty little treats that turn their fingers and mouths purple!  (Please don’t take this as advice to pick and eat random berries you see as they may be poisonous, we know for a fact that the trees we pick from are safe to eat).  In past years we’ve just eaten them by the handful, but with so many this year, I decided to use them in Gwen’s Nest Sugar Free Berry Syrup recipe.  This sauce was already a favorite of ours for pancakes and tasted delicious in this new fresh picked flavor.


Mulberry Sauce

So delicious that for my daughter’s birthday party I drizzled it on the THM cheesecake recipe with sprinkles of chocolate nut slab and topped it off with fat free Reddy Whip!  Absolutely awesome!


THM cheesecake with fresh sugar free mulberry sauce, topped with THM chocolate nut slab sprinkes and a squirt of fat free whip cream. Magic coffee brewing in the background!

Who says diets can’t be delicious?


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Balancing Body, Mind and Soul Part Two with Trim Healthy Mama

THMI shared a few weeks ago about my exercise accountability group and my OB/GYN’s talk on “Can I be as holy as I want but not wholly me?” but there is more to the story.   Dr. Parker cautioned us when making changes to our lives to diet last, as it is the hardest to do.  I took that message to heart as its taken me a whole year to make a serious and radical diet change!   This May I took the plunge.
I was at fellow blogger Emily Jaminet’s home when she showed me her book Trim Healthy Mama by Pearl Barrett & Serene Allison.  I was familiar with Pearl and Serene as they write for Above Rubies Magazine, a Christian magazine I read whose mission is “Strengthening Families Across the World through the encouragement of women in their high calling from God as wives, mothers and homemakers.”

I picked up the huge book and thought “640 pages!!!  You’ve got to be kidding me!  I don’t have time for that!”  Emily promised it was worth the read and she and several other friends were following this lifestyle changing diet and it was making a huge difference in their lives!

After looking at all the sugar cereal and other processed food that filled my cabinets, I decided to make the change.  I have done several different diets in the past, and while I have been successful, I did not like the amount of chemical additives I was adding to my body in search of low calorie, low fat options.  I also knew I needed to feed my husband and children better things to sustain them.

The premise behind the Trim Healthy Mama plan to stabilize blood sugar by establishing a healthy cycle of eating that includes two basic types of meals.  Serene and Pearl share on their facebook page :

“S stands for “satisfying” those are meals with plenty of fat in them and creamy desserts. E meals stand for “Energizing,” those have healthy carbs.

Both meals always are anchored with protein sources to help stabilize blood sugar and repair and mend the body’s daily wear and tear.

Our whole premise is using one chief fuel at a time to run the body on.”

At first I had a hard time getting into this book.  I wanted to know what I could eat and what I couldn’t, not all the science!  However, I plowed through enough to get myself started and went grocery shopping.  Now my cabinets are stocked with all kinds of new and healthy food like quinoa, coconut oil, chia seeds, flax seeds, garbanzo bean flour, almond flour, Joseph’s Pita/Lavash Bread, stevia and glucomannan.  Most of these things I had never heard of before.  Pearl and Serene do a great job  providing practical insight on all these foods even including where to find the pita bread at Walmart!  They also have great grocery lists and more helpful tips on their facebook page.   Now that I have been following this life changing plan, I can’t get enough of this book.  It contains much more than dietary advice and includes chapters on saving money, exercise, sex, balancing hormones, and skin care.  As strong Christian women, Pearl and Serene also tie in Scripture as it relates not only our diet, but our whole lives.  I have not only read the entire 640 pages, but I have re-read many chapters over and over again!

One of the reasons it’s such a large book is that it contains 11 chapters of recipes.  I have been pleasantly surprised at how delicious they are;  my family has licked their plates clean.  Here are some pictures of our dinner last night: Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Zucchini Rounds and Strawberry Banana Pudding.



As a registered nurse I have studied nutrition and found the advice to be very sound as well as up to date with the current trends and studies on diet and exercise.  In fact, my brother came to visit after finishing a college level exercise physiology class that included the latest studies on nutrition and was eating a very similar diet!

The only downside to this lifestyle is it isn’t “low effort.”  It involves me getting up a bit earlier to make healthy breakfast and pack a nutritious lunch instead of tossing in a lunchable or other prepacked  food for my kids and husband.  Its also more expensive as whole, healthy food and fresh produce costs more than canned and packed items.  However, it has been more than worth it!  My husband and I have both lost over 10 pounds each and more importantly are feeling full and energized.  In fact,  I don’t even crave all the junk anymore!  Best of all my kids are loving it and eating healthy, whole food.  Of course I let them have an occasional “treat” that is not on the diet, but I am much more at peace knowing they are getting three solid healthy meals and high protein snacks to help their growing bodies.

Not a mama?  No worries, this plan is for men and singles too. Overall, I would highly recommend this book and lifestyle if you are serious about a change in your life for the better.  It takes discipline and hard work, but the rewards are better health and life!

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