Everything You Need To Make Good Pizza At Home

Sorry, your homemade pizza sucks. It's best that we acknowledge it and just move forward. For what it's worth, my pizza used to suck, too. But I made it better and now you can too!

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Cooking Tip: Sneak Fiber-Rich Flaxseed Into Your Food

When I first heard about flaxseed I thought the same thing I normally do about healthy food -- "yeah, yeah, it's good for you. But does it taste good?" And so, I shied away from it for some time before finally trying it out. As it turns out, this seedy super food can either be tasty... or can go virtually unnoticed in your dishes. If you're wary about flax seeds, try sneaking them into some of your already-existing recipes. I like to blend it smooth in my daily breakfast green smoothie, and I like adding it to baked recipes, like banana bread and dark chocolate biscotti. But first, you may wonder, what's so healthy about flaxseed? WebMD breaks it down:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These "good fats" are good for your heart. 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
  • Fiber: It offers both the soluble and insoluble types, so it's good for digestive health.
  • Antioxidants: The seeds contain lignans, which have estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Lignans help fight free radicals, which can damage tissue.

Aside from the obvious health benefits, adding flaxseed to your food gives it an added texture. So what else can you add it to? Try these:

  • Breakfast: Add a tablespoon of ground (or whole) flaxseed to your morning cereal or to yogurt.
  • Lunch: Add a teaspoon of it to your sandwich spread, like mayonnaise or mustard.
  • Baked goods: Add two tablespoons to any bread or muffin recipe. Aside form texture, the flaxseeds add an extra richness or thickness to your finished treat.

Flaxseed photo by Flickr user Alisha Vargas.

How To Make Homemade Syrup In 5 Minutes

"Why go out of your way to make syrup when you can just buy it at the store?" I asked my roommate when she insisted we make syrup from scratch. But seeing as how she agreed to make the pancakes, I deemed it reasonable that we do the syrup her way.  

After sifting through a few Google search results, I came across an easy vanilla syrup recipe from Food.com; all you need is water, sugar, vanilla extract, and about five minutes. Although it's high in sugar, the result is purer than the store-bought alternative. Here, you don't have to worry about preservatives and high fructose corn syrup.

Serves: Enough syrup for 4-6 servings of pancakes/waffles

Cook time: About 5 minutes


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract OR 2 teaspoons maple extract

1. Heat the water and sugar in a small, uncovered saucepan at medium-high heat, until it boils, about 4-5 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally. Once the mixture is smooth and the sugar is melted, turn off the heat.

2. When the mixture starts to cool, stir in either the vanilla or maple extract.

My Notes: 

Vanilla or maple extract? While I appreciate the earthy, molasses-like flavor of maple extract, I prefer the lighter, more floral sweetness of vanilla extract in my syrup.

What I did differently from Food.com: Because I wanted to ensure a thick-enough syrup, I used more sugar.