Hello, pizza night.

Friday nights in America. Back in the day, we had the telephone number of the local pizza delivery restaurant memorized (these days, I’m sure there’s an app for that. Or, why call? Just order online!) I have fond memories of the Pizza Hut specialty: the Bigfoot (almost 2′ of pizza goodness). Do you recall this brilliant innovation of food gluttony at its best?


Toppings? Not really. Well, just extra-extra-extra cheese. I KID YOU NOT. We did order multiple layers of ooey, gooey cheese. Square pizza + 5lb of cheese per slice = one happy kid.

Since the 90s, pizza night has changed quite dramatically in our lives. Last week, we indulged in a pizza night, which had been hiding from our kitchen for months. Now, I’ve done homemade dough, and I will note that I enjoy Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Mix for a nice chewy texture.

But, when one is not in the mood to make crust, my best bet? Trader Joe’s. The chilled pizza dough (which now comes in THREE flavors: white, wheat, and now a fancy herb blend). But, this would be our first homemade pizza sans cheese. Granted, I still don’t miss cheese. Yet, I wondered: how would I feel about not seeing (or smelling) the bubbling, browning topping, giving me the signal that “the pizza is done!”?

Pizza #1: Trader Joe’s marinara sauce base with roasted butternut squash, spinach, and yellow squash (it was a 100% TJ’s pizza).


Pizza #2: Stubbs BBQ sauce, “real” chicken, portabella mushrooms. sauteed onions/garlic, sauteed Brussel sprouts


The After:



The second photo should reveal that we dug into the pizza ASAP. Personally, I enjoyed the spinach ‘za much more than the second, mainly due to my lack of love toward the fake chicken. The texture was just…too soft. If using again on pizza or other dish, I would grill it first to give it a nice crispy, slightly charred flavor.


This dish also marked the official end to my career with Donate Life North Carolina and the world of organ, eye and tissue donation. I have ventured into the world of environmental advocacy – more, for sure, to come from this transition!

What are your “must have” toppings on your pizzas? Anything off the wall that you would recommend?


  1. I love Sauce’s pizza with potato and kalmata olives. Pesto with pine nuts and tomato was a recent fave, and I always like pizzas with something sweet, like pineapple, dates, sweet potato, etc.


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