Author Archives: Jaime

Blue Spruce Ice Cream

**Ice cream maker needed for this recipe**

Spruce tips prime for picking!

Have you ever looked at a spruce tree and thought, “yummy, those needles look delicious!”?  If you haven’t, you might have that thought after trying this recipe.  Spruce tips give ice cream a very unique and elegant flavor, something unlike any other food I’ve ever had before.

Foraging for spruce tips is easy, but like all foraging, it needs to be timed just right.  The tips in these pictures were found in the middle of May in Minnesota.  Depending on weather, it will fluctuate slightly every year.  It’s easy to see when the tips are forming and ripe for picking.  From a distance, you will see an off-color at the tip of each branch compared to the rest of the tree .  As you get a closer look, you will look for a brown, papery film that is falling off some of the tips.  The tips should not be opened up very much and will feel much softer and pliable than the other needles, which are hard and spiky.  If it is not the right time of year for harvest, start noticing where the nearest spruce trees are located and store that in the back of your brain until spring.

Spruce trees are not native everywhere in this area, but they are often planted in yards for privacy, protection from the elements, and year-round greenery, which can make harvesting very convenient… especially if you have one in your own yard, like I do!  It’s not harmful for the tree to pick the tips, but you shouldn’t harvest all of them… which would be pretty difficult anyway unless you are 20 feet tall.  Any spruce tree can be used for this recipe, but according to those that have tried different types of spruce tips, they recommend Blue Spruce.  I’ve only tried Blue Spruce, but feel free to experiment with others and let me know what you think.

From a distance you will notice discolored tips at the end of each branch

1 can coconut cream
1/2 cup honey
6 egg yolks
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup Blue Spruce tips


  1. Add everything except the Blue Spruce tips to a pan and heat until steaming, but not boiling. Whisk the entire time.
  2. Pour everything from the pan into a blender and add the spruce tips.
  3. Wait for everything to cool to room temperature before blending.
  4. After blending, pour the mixture through a fine strainer and into your ice cream maker and operate your ice cream maker and blend until desired consistency.  (The last time I made this recipe, I kept the spruce tips in.  It just gave a fluffier texture than regular ice cream, but still very delicious and I’ll do it again unless the tips aren’t extremely tender)
  5. Eat immediately or spoon the ice cream into single-serve size cups and put into freezer.
  6. When you want to eat the ice cream that has been frozen, remove and let sit out for 15 minutes before enjoying so the ice cream can soften to a more ice cream like consistency.  These 15 minutes seem like forever!

Spoon the ice cream into freezable container and freeze for later enjoyment

Buffalo Chicken (of the Woods) Strips

Those who know me would not be surprised to learn that I have resorted to mushroom hunting while boating!  I found this beautiful Chicken of the Woods (COW) mushroom while I was on Lake… oh… HAHA!  you thought I was going to tell you where???  🙂  I was on “a lake” and took a quick stroll on “an island” (yes, in my swimsuit) when I found this beast!  I imagine the nearby boats were a little confused when they saw me carrying this thing over my head, through the water, and back to the boat.

Often when you find COW, you find it in abundance.  It is less often, however, that you find it in abundance AND fresh!  This mushroom was about 12 pounds and amazingly fresh and juicy!  When you find a mushroom like this, find a party to attend and tell them you will bring an appetizer!  Otherwise, I freeze it raw in vacuum sealed bags and it keeps very well.  Some people prefer sauteing the mushroom slightly (about 30-40% cooked) before freezing.  I don’t think it’s worth the extra effort because I think it’s just fine when frozen raw.

COW is a super versatile mushroom and I normally tell people you can use it as a substitute for almost any chicken of the farm recipe.  One of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook COW is by turning it into buffalo strips.

Shred the COW into strips

Important! Use only extremely fresh COW that is so juicy that it drips when you cut it from the tree or ground.  Dry or old COW is gross and can have unwanted creatures inhabiting it.


  • Chicken of the Woods Mushroom
  • Buffalo Sauce
  • Ranch and/or Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Celery Sticks


  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Tear the chicken into preferred size strips.  COW has a similar texture of chicken and tears nicely into strips.
  3. Put the COW into a glass baking dish and pour your preferred buffalo sauce onto the COW and stir so it is fully coated.  I have used Franks Red Hot Sauce and it works great.  There is also a Buffalo Sauce version, which is delicious, but has more ingredients than the original Franks (which is only aged Cayenne Red Peppers, Distilled Vinegar, Water, Salt And Garlic Powder).
  4. Cook the COW uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the mushroom is cooked fully (depends on thickness of strips).  Stir occasionally.  Feel free to add more sauce if you like it saucy!
    NOTE:  It is important to cook COW thoroughly as some people can get an upset stomach if undercooked (but don’t overcook it, either!). It’s not as easy as sticking a thermometer in it to tell if it is done.  Raw COW is firm, flakey, and solid in color.  I consider a COW cooked when the “meat” becomes softer and more flexible and has a slight translucent-ness to it.  If you can imagine cooking a regular white button mushroom, and how it changes in color and texture, I’d say it’s the same thing.  You just get a feel for it after a while.  It’s slightly more complicated with COW because it is picked at different stages, and there are different varieties, but that’s the best I can explain it.  As with any wild mushroom, if you have never had it before, restrain yourself and only eat a small amount the first time to see if you have any negative reactions.  Also, do not eat COW that grew on a coniferous tree… only deciduous trees.
  5. Serve the mushroom as you would normal buffalo strips, with a side of blue cheese or ranch dressing and sticks of celery.  This is where you have control of how healthy you want this dish to be.  I have found healthier versions online, like this one.

Nuts for Cabbage

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Nuts for Cabbage being transported on the Echo Trail and into the Boundary Waters!

This was a new hit with the Goldies on our trek up to the Boundary Waters this year.  A German pediatrician gave me the idea and I modified a little bit.

I’m all about simple, healthy recipes… and this really fits the bill!


1/2 head of raw Cabbage (red or white)
1 cup raw nuts (any mixture of almonds, cashews, walnuts and pecans)
1 cup Coconut flakes (optional)
Sea Salt to taste

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There’s a great store called “Mike’s Discount Foods” in Fridley, MN that carries a lot of organic and natural items (sometimes past expiration) for really cheap! (The one in Columbia Heights is much smaller and not near the variety of items.)

1)  Cut cabbage into bite-size chunks and put in bag or container.
2)  Add nuts.  I’ve tried this with both raw and roasted & salted nuts.  Try pecans, almonds, walnuts, and/or cashews.  Raw is preferred for optimal health benefits.
3)  Optional – Mix in coconut flakes.  Either Tiffany’s Power-full Coconut Chips or Dang Coconut Chips (experiment with different flavors)
4)  If you added raw nuts, you might want to sprinkle some sea salt on the mixture, but it’s surprisingly good even without.  If you added roasted and salted nuts, there is no need for salt.

The nuts can get soggy after about a day so it is best to wait to add the nuts till before you are ready to eat.

Fiery Salmon Fillets

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It tastes MUCH better than it looks!

Hands down my all time favorite salmon recipe.  It has a little kick and so much flavor!


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A Ziploc bag makes a great home for marinating your salmon.

Salmon Fillets (Alaskan Wild Caught)
1/2 cup olive or coconut oil
4 T Tamari (or soy sauce)
4 T Balsamic Vinegar
4 T Green Onions
3 t honey
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 T pre-minced garlic)
1.5 t ground ginger
2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 t sesame oil
1 t salt


Put all ingredients (except salmon) in a Ziploc bag.  I like to put the bag in a large cup so it stays upright and the bag does not spill the ingredients.  Squish the bag to mix the ingredients.  Add the salmon and marinate for at least 5 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Put the salmon into a pan along with all the marinade.  Cook until salmon flakes easily, about 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.

The salmon is fantastic on a salad - hot or cold!

The salmon is fantastic on a salad – hot or cold!

Can be eaten with a side veggie, like asparagus, or as a salad over a bed of spinach with marinated artichoke hearts and avocado. The marinade makes a great dressing and the spinach wilts nicely when you put the hot salmon on the spinach.

Tiffany and I had this meal when she and her husband rode the motorcycle down on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately we cooked it on the grill and accidentally “blackened” our salmon, which is one of the reasons I prefer baking this dish. We also all wore our Wicked Pizza shirts that we got while visiting a friend in Cabo san Lucas!

A beautiful April afternoon for a BBQ!

A beautiful April afternoon for a BBQ!

This recipe is modified from the Firecracker Grilled Alaska Salman recipe.

PB n’ SP

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Peanut Butter and Sweet Potato – PB n’ SP

Scrumptious, Satiating, and Super Simple!

  • Bake Sweet Potatoes (refrigerate until breakfast if you are pre-baking.  I pre-bake two sweet potatoes per week and divvy them up for weekday breakfasts)
    • Preheat oven to 400
    • Stab sweet potatoes with forks
    • Place on rack with tin foil below the potatoes
    • Cook until the sweet potatoes are very soft when you squeeze them (~30 min)
  • Cut into 1/2″ Slices when you are ready to eat- however many you want.  I usually do about 3 slices and keep the rest of the potato for the next day.
  • Heat if desired (I have eaten these cold, microwaved, and sauteed.  It’s best when sauteed in butter and browned on each side, but I love it any old way.)
  • Top with a dollop of Peanut Butter, dash of Cinnamon, and douse with salt (kidding about dousing, but I do love salt)

No need for silverware.  Just eat like you would a really gooey cookie.

Experiment on the tater toppings.  Of course, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and salt are another great combination!

Sweet Breakfast Wraps


A Sweet Breakfast Wrap with hard-boiled eggs, sweet potatoes, bacon (from pasture raised hog), avocado, and a collard green.

Breakfast is one of the hardest meal to incorporate veggies into.  But it’s not because veggies don’t taste good in the morning.  Personally, I just wasn’t raised with the idea.  I was raised eating cereal and occasionally on Sunday, pancakes.   There is nothing easier than cereal, and let’s face it… that sugary stuff is oh so sweet and yummy!

Why would anyone eat anything else?  Cereal like “Smart Start” must be a brilliant way to start the day, right?  Sure there can be some good things in cereal… just like eating a donut with fruit filling!  Cereals are loaded with a long list of ingredients, often including artificial ingredients, sugars, food colorings, and other mysterious ingredients… things you wouldn’t classify as “food” if you saw it on your kitchen counter.  Wondering about the ingredients in your food?  Check out the ingredients, like this example with Smart Start, here to see an analysis of ingredients in foods you are interested in:–oz/1575.  Not only are most cereals not as nutritious as we once thought, what about the milk and sugar you pour on top?

SIDE RANT:  There are many reasons to consider removing milk from your diet:
-Traditional milk (milk that is pasteurized and homogenized) removes most of the potential health benefits from raw milk.
-Traditional milk (as opposed to organic, pasture raised, raw milk) often comes from cows that are given anti-biotics and hormones, such as rBST.  rBST has been linked to many side effects, such as increased occurrences of mastitis, lameness, and infertility in cows. There are humans side effects including, but not limited to, girls reaching puberty earlier, men and boys growing “man boobs”, and of course, cancer.  Besides… rBST is prohibited in numerous countries.
-Why do no other animals on earth drink milk after the infancy stage?  Especially milk from a different specie.  (except in those super adorable cases, like where a momma dog nurses piglets when momma pig is not able to nurse)  How many animals do you know with weak bones??
-There are numerous cultures that don’t drink milk, or eat any dairy, and have less cases of osteoporosis than milk-drinking cultures.  (think Asians)
-Some studies claim calcium in milk is not as absorbable as calcium from vegetables, so the calcium in milk just passes through.
-Dairy cows from large farms often get little to no exercise and are confined to their stall for most, if not all, of the day.

Of course there are cereals that are better than others, but in general, processed foods can’t compare to eating whole foods.  If you must drink milk, try raw milk or a milk substitute like unsweetened almond or rice milk. If drinking raw milk, consider the welfare of the animal… do they have access to pasture, sunlight, and exercise? The healthier the animal is, the healthier the milk it produces.  If you’re going to eat cereal, try single ingredient cereals like oatmeal in Annie’s “High Octane Oatmeal” recipe.

But this post is not about cereal at all… I just got off on a side tangent.  🙂  My point is to eat whole foods whenever possible and make it easy so you can sustain this lifestyle of eating healthy.

As I was saying… it can be hard to incorporate veggies into breakfast.  Scrambled eggs and quiches are excellent ways of getting veggies into your morning routine.  But if you don’t have time to cut up veggies and cook in the morning, you need an easy way to get some more veggies and nutrition in your breakfast.  As I posted in my perfect peel hardboiled eggs “recipe“, I eat hard boiled eggs every morning during the week at work.  This post expands on that idea, but keeping it simple and adding some more nutrition (including, ah hem… lots of calcium!) to your breakfast routine, without adding a lot of time.

If you don’t have an egg cooker yet, you should seriously consider buying one!  Hot hard boiled eggs are soooooo much tastier than cold hard boiled eggs.  But if you insist on the old fashioned way, you can cook your eggs ahead of time and eat your eggs cold.  Otherwise, this recipe is great with eggs cooked in any fashion.


Large-leaved kale from my garden that works awesome for wraps!

Ingredients for the bare essentials of a Sweet Breakfast Wrap:
1 large leafy green (Kale, Swiss Chard, or Collard Green)
2 eggs (any method is ok – hard boiled, over easy, poached, scrambled)
Sweet potatoes (or Yams)
Nutritional Yeast
Sea Salt

Optional (get creative here, but here are some ideas):
Raw Pepper slices
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Grass fed, pasture raised meat – ham, bacon, sausage

Preparation ahead of time:

  1. Bake your sweet potatoes.  Turn your oven to 400.  No need to preheat the oven.  Just prick the potatoes with a fork, stick them on the rack and put a sheet of tin foil below them to catch the drippings.   Bake for about 45 minutes or until they are soft.  I use an Ove Glove and squeeze them to make sure they soft.  (Gina would just squeeze them with her bare fingers! Please don’t do this.  She is super-human.)  I bake enough sweet potatoes to make it through the work week.  Sweet potatoes can vary immensely in size, so it’s hard to say how many sweet potatoes you need to cook at one time.  I’ve had sweet potatoes so big that one would probably get me through the week!  Store the sweet potatoes in a container and pull out as you need throughout the week.
  2. If you are going to pre-cook your hard boiled eggs, I honestly have no idea how to hard boil an egg in a pot, so you’ll have to google that if you need a refresher on that.  Hard boil enough eggs to make it through the work week.  Put your eggs in a carton and mark them with an “x”, using a pencil, so you remember which are hard boiled.
  3. Purchase some greens at the local farmers market or grocery store, or if you’re lucky, pick some from your garden.

When you’re ready for breakfast:

  1. Grab a leafy green.
  2. Cut some pre-baked sweet potatoes lengthwise so they fit nicely in your wrap
  3. Cut your hard boiled eggs in half, or cook eggs of your choice
  4. Put eggs and sweet potatoes in wrap (I think the sweet potatoes are good cold, so I don’t bother heating them up – but you could if you like.  When I do heat up the baked sweet potatoes, I like to heat them up by cutting lengthwise and then placing in a cast-iron pan on the stove top with a little butter.  Flip after a couple minutes to warm them thoroughly.)
  5. Add any other ingredients you have on hand
  6. Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice – I am in love with the combination of turmeric, nutritional yeast, and sea salt
  7. Wrap and enjoy

One of the keys to eating healthy is to have healthy foods on hand.  Seems like a no-brainer, but if you have fresh food on hand, you will not be as tempted to go to the cupboard where your processed foods live.  Make it a habit to have these green wraps on hand at all times and start wrapping your other meals in leafy greens too!

Golden Roasted Veggie Niblets

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One of the staples of Goldie get-togethers are roasted veggies.  Breakfast, lunch, or dinner… they are always such a tasty treat!  This recipe makes a great snacky-snack that you can nibble on at a party, and they are not going to get ignored like the party platter of veggies with ranch dip.  These little buggars are so addicting! The nutritional yeast gives a cheesy flavor and when browned, a delectable little crunch.  Load up on the nutritional yeast!  If you want to pre-make these for a party, they are good served luke-warm too, so don’t worry about serving them hot.

Of course, they also are great served as a side dish.

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Coat veggies generously with seasonings!


1 head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
1/4 cup Olive oil
Salt or garlic salt
Nutritional Yeast


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut Cauliflower and broccoli into small trees
  3. Put veggies in bowl that has a tight lid
  4. Coat veggies with olive oil, salt, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and tandoori in bowl and cover (enough seasonings to coat veggies generously)

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    Make sure the veggies are coated evenly after shaking.

  5. Shake bowl to coat veggies evenly
  6. Add more seasoning if necessary and re-shake
  7. Line pan with parchment paper
  8. Pour contents of bowl on parchment paper and spread veggies evenly
  9. Bake until veggies become browned and soft (about 30 minutes)
  10. Add more salt if desired

Experiment with adding more veggies… brussel spouts, asparagus, and onions would be a great addition!

Carrot Salad with Almond Butter Dressing

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In the beginning…

I made this recipe for the first Goldie get-together… but before the Goldies were “The Goldies”… before I knew Gina existed… before we knew all of the things we had in common… before we knew we would become lifelong friends… before we dreamed we would ever have a food blog documenting all the fun times and great food we enjoy together…before we knew we would create a bond that would be inseparable.

A little history on how it all started (from Jaime’s eyes)….  Jaime, Annie, and Tiffany were all at the same conference in 2009.  It was a MN Waters conference in Rochester and we were all staying overnight.  Jaime and Tiffany had been in some of the same meetings prior to this conference, so we knew who we were, but never really talked to each other (mostly because I was totally intimidated by Tiffany!).  Tiffany and Annie knew each other well because they worked in the same county, so they were hanging out in the hall together between sessions.  The details are fuzzy, but somehow we all ended up talking and realized we all had horses!  That’s were it all started… at least for me… an instant bond!  We spent the rest of the night together, along with a few other friends we made at that conference, enjoying drinks and giving ourselves a tour of some Rochester bars, including some behind the scenes adventures.

Romeo, Sunny, and Mischief feasting on some organic greens.

Romeo, Sunny, and Mischief feasting on some organic greens

We didn’t want the fun to end, so we decided we should rent a farm and go horse camping.  Honestly, I didn’t really have high hopes that it would actually happen

since I barely knew these girls, but that’s one of the things I’ve learned about the Goldies… they make things happen!

Nevertheless, we rented a farm near Wild River State Park and stayed for the weekend.  Our horses had stalls and a luscious pasture to forage in, and we had a beautiful home in the woods on the picturesque Sunrise River!

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The Sunrise River viewed from our temporary home

We had so much fun getting to know each other!  We quickly realized we had a lot of things in common, but we were probably most excited to find out that we all enjoyed eating and learning about healthy food.  It was during this discovery that I learned about some girl named Gina that was also a health nut and decided that we should do ANOTHER trip including this other girl too.  Gina doesn’t have horses, but she does have a cabin up north and the three of them had been up to her cabin the previous year to go cross country skiing at Sugar Hills.  They invited me to join them that winter and meet the infamous Gina and complete the circle that is now known as The Goldies!  But that’s another adventure with more great recipes that will certainly be covered in other blog posts.

Oh yeah… food… and back to the Sunrise River horse camping trip… this is one of the recipes I made and it went over quite well!  It’s been made several times since then.  It has a fun kick and a creamy comfort-ness that will surely please everyone!


  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup creamy almond butter
  • 1 T. fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 T. tamari
  • 1 t. agave nectar (try substituting honey or maple syrup)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Using a box grater, shred carrots and place in a large bowl. Add bell pepper, cilantro, and raisins. In a small bowl whisk together almond butter, lime juice, tamari, agave and pepper flakes. Add dressing to carrot mixture and mix thoroughly. Allow to marinate for ½ hour and serve cold or at room temperature.

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I added broccoli to this version and it turned out very well.

Nutritional info per serving (106 grams): 190 calories (90 from fat), 10g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 4g protein, 25g total carbohydrate (2 gram dietary fiber, 14 g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium

I found this recipe from the Whole Foods Website.

Zing Zang Apples

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Fall is generally accepted as the best season of the year.  Weather is fresh and crisp, leaves are colorful and crunchy, gardens are bountiful… and apples are all of the above!  Apple orchards are everywhere in Minnesota… but apples are on the dirty dozen list, so if you want to pick your own, try looking up an organic apple orchard.  This link gives you a list of farmers that sell organic apples and this link will help you find farmers markets that may have some organic apples for sale.  Or maybe you are lucky enough to know someone with too many apples on their tree. has lots of people selling or giving away apples, too.  However you get your apples, you’ll probably get more than you really need and may be struggling to use them before they go bad.

If you are looking for a new, fun zing-zangy way of enjoying your apples, I recommend adding one more seasoning to your cupboard: Tajin.  This will certainly perk up your taste buds!  You can find it at some grocery stores, and of course, Amazon has it too and usually delivers within a couple days.

My mom introduced this idea to me when she made this as an appetizer for one of our traditional birthday dinners – I loved all of the intense flavors!  It can be challenging getting out the rut of making the usual greasy apps, but this is a refreshing substitute! The lime prevents it from turning brown.

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  1. Tajin Seasoning
  2. Apples
  3. Lime


  1. Slice apples
  2. Slice limes
  3. Squeeze lime on apples
  4. Sprinkle apples with Tajin seasoning

That’s it!

Anther idea… add the apples to your popcorn (try them with Cockcorn)!  My mom did this growing up.  It may sound weird, but it is such a fun, flavorful addition to popcorn (with or without the Tajin).  Try it!!


Puffball Pizza Crust


The Giant Puffball is an edible mushroom that is often the size of a soccer ball or even bigger!  It is easy to identify and when you find one, you have a lot of mushroom to consume and it is all of a sudden pizza time!  Puffballs make great pizza crusts that are 100% natural, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, fat-free… and if you found it on your own, it was totally free!

Puffballs need to be perfectly white inside, comparable to a marshmallow, in order to be safe to eat.  If it has started to yellow, please discard.  As with all wild mushrooms, make sure you are 1000% positive it is what you think it is.


  1. Puffball Mushroom
  2. Olive Oil

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Directions for crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Cut puffball into 1″ thick slabs
  3. Remove outer skin
  4. Squish the mushroom down if you want to have a denser crust – optional since this sometimes causes the mushroom to break apart depending on freshness.
  5. Spray or rub both sides with olive oil
  6. Put crust on pizza pan and bake in oven for about 20 minutes (flip after 10 minutes), or until crust becomes golden brown.  You can also put directly on rack but that sometimes makes it hard to flip.  You can also try this on the grill.

Golden Brown Puffball Crust

Once the crust is done, place on pan with parchment paper so it doesn’t stick or drip into your oven as it cooks.  Go ahead and cover with your favorite healthy pizza toppings.  Go easy on the pizza sauce (or use pesto if you like) as it can soak into the crust making it a little soggy.  Cook until the toppings are cooked to your liking.  Sprinkle with your choice of seasoning, such as:  salt, pepper, red pepper, and/or garlic salt.

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Puffball Pizza with pesto, green olives, cherry tomatoes, and manchego cheese.