Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No Sauce Chicken & Veggie Pizza {plus some personal info about my life}

I know some of you just read that title and several things are going through your mind.

Isn't this a cupcake blog?

If not cupcakes then at least cake or another dessert....

but pizza with NO sauce?

Where am I?!

Maybe none of that went through your head and you're really excited to read this post. Whatever. The point is you're here and that's what counts! So, why this "recipe"? (I use that term loosely here because I'm not really giving you a recipe...just an idea and a few ingredients for you to build on and make your own creation.)

First, let's talk about why mine is what it is....

No sauce Chicken & Veggie Pizza

A few years ago, I experienced my first ever migraine headache and let me tell you...I have never felt such pain in my life. I've had broken bones, chronic ear infections/aches, and low back pain and NOTHING has compared to the unbelievable pain of a true migraine. It affects everything. Light hurts. Noise hurts. Movement hurts. Sometimes just breathing too deeply hurts. Until that moment, I had no idea what real pain was. The worst part - nothing helped. I went to doctor after doctor to figure out the cause...I was in my mid-20s and all of a sudden I started having them at least twice a week with no explanation. Every test came back normal...blood work, MRIs, CT scans...and all the medicine they tried on me failed. It was probably the worst several months of my life. The headaches got so bad and frequent that in the summer of '08, just a few months after my first migraine, I ended up in the hospital. I had had one for about 2 days that just wouldn't go away and my body had had enough. 

That night, I was in class at culinary school and I looked at my friend, Maggie, and told her that something wasn't right. I couldn't really explain it, but I knew something was wrong with my body. My right arm started tingling and going numb. We went outside and I sat down on the curb in the parking lot. After several minutes, the numbness traveled into my right leg and I couldn't move that side of my body at all. Several phone calls to my parents and one 911 call later, I was on my way to the emergency room in an ambulance, thinking that I was having a stroke. Turns out that sometimes migraines can get so bad that they mimic strokes to tell us that something is wrong. You'd think that after all that, with modern medicine being what it is, the doctors and specialists would be able to tell me something. Nope. Nothing. No idea what was causing the problem and no way to help.

Finally, I just learned to live with the headaches. For the next several years, I forgot what it was like to go a moment without a dull ache in my head. It just became part of my every day life. Sometimes it would flair up into a full-blown migraine but mostly it just hung around like a shadow - always there, lingering, ready to make itself known. 

(You're probably wondering what in the world this has to do with pizza but hang on, I'm getting there)....
In February of 2010, I started my current job at Zion's Hope, a small Christian ministry here in central FL. My boss and his wife are fellow foodies and interested in all things nutrition-related. When he first heard about my headaches he told me about MSG. BINGO! A light at the end of the tunnel. Read up on this stuff - it's horrible, in just about everything processed, and wreaks all kinds of havoc in our bodies. I started doing some research and began cutting it out of my diet. Praise the Lord - I'm happy to tell you that I went 6 months without a single headache and that constant companion of mine? Gone. It was amazing. I had to seriously re-vamp my diet, grocery shopping, and eating out habits, but it was totally worth it! 

And this is why, when I make my own pizza at home, it's sauceless - not tasteless - sauceless.

Here's what I do...

I take the pizza dough that you can buy in the bakery section of the grocery store (Publix is my store of choice), roll it out, and brush it with olive oil. Then I add fresh garlic and spread it all over. My veggies of choice are onions, tomatoes (technically a fruit, I know), sometimes mushrooms, and I add chicken (browned in a skillet with salt and pepper). Then I cover it with fresh mozzarella and, voila! My very own Chicken & Veggie Pizza. It's completely "user-friendly" and can easily be adapted to your own personal preference, but I promise you - if you add the right seasonings and veggies (be creative), you won't even miss the sauce! Give it a try. I even order pizza this way when I go to an Italian restaurant or pizza place (not the chain type).

Now, am I as faithful these days to cutting out the MSG like I should be? No. However, I always know when I've had too much. Inevitably my little friend comes back for a visit and I know I need to pay more attention. But, sometimes, I decide that that sushi (soy sauce is a big contributor to my headaches and what's sushi without it?) or Chick-fil-A sandwich (yes, MSG culprit even though I LOVE them) is totally worth the headache I know I'll get later! :)

There you have it. A non-dessert post from a supposedly cupcake blogger and a tip on MSG you may not have known before. Hopefully you got something out of this post. If not, don't worry. Cupcakes are back in  1 post and counting....until then, happy reading and, more importantly, happy cutting-MSG-out-of-your-diet-ing! :)


  1. Wow, incredible that your headaches went away. How scary about what happened to you. Strangely enough my neighbor had that happen to her. She's lived with migraines all her life and one day living in a new place, husband off island, no family around she had the same symptoms you had. Her landlord called me, I'm nextdoor, and asked me to take her to the emergency room, this happened the day before. So scary for her. Dr said it was her migraines. She hadn't had them in 6 months and it hit her hard. I know for my family, any MSG or orange dye found in cheetos or nacho doritos, etc... makes my kids nuts! Your pizza sounds amazing, I want to try it. I'm glad you wrote this, it's always good to find out more about someone. :)

    1. Thanks, lady! It was definitely a scary night but the most frustrating thing was the not knowing what was causing them. I find it ironic that the doctors and specialists who spent years in school studying medicine had no answers, but my boss, who's in the ministry, had the answer! Thanks for the comment!

  2. I think your pizza looks great! I am the opposite of you on my blog. I rarely post a dessert! Thanks for all the info on msg! I love your blog and am your newest follower. I would love it if you followed me back!

    Have a great day!


  3. Glad you worked it out. How horrid! You could always blanch and skin tomatoes and blend them with a little olive oil, garlic, onion and basil and bang - you have your pizza sauce! It would taste even better if you slow roasted the tomatoes rather than blanched them. You could do a large batch and freeze portions.

    Thanks for linking up with Flash Blog Friday!

  4. In saying that, I would totally eat your pizza just like it is :-)

  5. I don't like red sauce or tomatoes but this is great!

    Jill @ Create.Craft.Love.

  6. I hate migraines. Used to suffer every month as a child. Got migraine of the stomach too. Dr said they'd stop when I got my periods - yeh but then I had killer periods!!!!

    Pizza looks delicious btw, thanks for sharing.

  7. Yummy!! I always have a headache, never a full blown migraine, but like you said a dull ache all the time. I'll have to look more into the MSG and cutting it out of your diet. Thanks for sharing with us at Link It Up Thursday.

  8. Heather,
    This looks super delish! WooHoo on finding out what causes your migraines. I am a less fortunate one in that mine are hereditary and when I get them they always last for three days. YUK! I did also cut out the MSG years ago and it helped but I still get them about every couple of months. Not nearly as often as I did when I was younger. And for some strange reason, apples seam to help :) Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe at Creative Thursday.

  9. Wow, what a story! Glad you got to the bottom of it and are migraine free now! The pizza looks tasty too...thanks for sharing it at Shine on Fridays!

  10. Yes wow what a story..I have a friend with horrible migraines but hers were from birth control pills..she stopped them and they are gone for good! I have another friend suffering though with o relief, I will send her this post! Thanks for linkin up! Hope to see you again Thursday!

  11. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing on our “Strut Your Stuff Saturday”. Hope you come back next week. -The Sisters

  12. Are you a pizza lover? Do you love that great pizza that your local pizza joint makes, but you just cannot afford to keep paying restaurant prices for your pizza habit. If this sounds like you then maybe you might want to think about making your own homemade pizza.

    Pizza In Zion


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