Easy Homemade Pita Bread


I love pita bread. Fresh pita bread that is. I’ll buy it in the grocery store if it is super fresh. Like steaming up the bag fresh. But it seems like it only lasts a day then it’s no good. Maybe I’m just picky, but it just seems to lose its appeal the next day.

I searched my favorite sites and many had recipes for fresh pita, but this recipe was the winner. I could quickly make the dough, then leave it in the refrigerator all week, just taking pieces off one at a time to make a fresh piece.

When I say the dough was quick, I mean it. 15 minutes tops and five of that was just waiting for the yeast to dissolve. 5-7 minutes of easy kneading and it was ready for the fridge.

The next day I took a small piece, rolled it to 1/4 inch thick disk and threw it onto a 450F preheated pizza stone and three minutes later…magic!

It puffed up beautifully then deflated again to create the pocket. It was flavorful, fresh and absolutely delicious. So much better than even the freshest store pita. This has totally solved my fresh pita problem that has been plaguing my mornings. I used the oven method, but I’m sure the pan method works just fine as well. My first batch couple of pieces came out slightly thicker than store-bought, so don’t be afraid to roll it pretty thin. I personally liked it a little thicker as it didn’t rip like it usually does when I stuff it.

If you think pita bread is something you can not do at home, think again. If you are a fan of fresh pita, then this is for you. You’ve got to give it a shot. Really, it is by far the easiest bread I have ever made. And bread making has really never been my thing. If I can do it, you can do it.

Here is the recipe, but go to the original for a wonderful pictorial.

1 cup warm water (not hot or boiling, 112F)
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1-2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)

Form the Pita Dough: Mix the water and yeast together, and let sit for about five minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour (saving the last half cup for kneading), salt, and olive oil (if using). Stir until a shaggy dough is formed.

2. Knead the Dough: Sprinkle a little of the extra flour onto your clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface, but try to be sparing. It’s better to use too little flour than too much. If you get tired, stop and let the dough rest for a few minutes before finishing kneading.

3. Let the Dough Rise: Clean the bowl you used to mix the dough and film it with a little olive oil. Set the dough in the bowl and turn it until it’s coated with oil. Cover with a clean dishcloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it’s doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

At this point, you can refrigerate the pita dough until it is needed. You can also bake one or two pitas at a time, saving the rest of the dough in the fridge. The dough will keep refrigerated for about a week.

4. Divide the Pitas: Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and gently flatten each piece into a thick disk. Sprinkle the pieces with a little more flour and then cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap until you’re ready to bake them.

5. Shape the Pitas: Using a floured rolling-pin, roll one of the pieces into a circle 8-9 inches wide and about a quarter-inch thick. Lift and turn the dough frequently as your roll to make sure the dough isn’t sticking to your counter. Sprinkle with a little extra flour if its starting to stick. If the dough starts to spring back, set it aside to rest for a few minutes, then continue rolling. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.

6. To Bake Pitas in the Oven: While shaping the pitas, heat the oven to 450°. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to heat. If you don’t have a baking stone, place a large baking sheet on the middle rack to heat.

Place the rolled-out pitas directly on the baking stone or baking sheets (as many as will fit), and bake for about 3 minutes. I’ve found it easiest to carry the pita flat on the palm of my hand and then flip it over onto the baking stone. The pita will start to puff up after a minute or two and is done when it has fully ballooned. Cover baked pitas with a clean dishtowel while cooking any remaining pitas.

7. To Bake Pitas on the Stovetop: Warm a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until a few bead of water sizzle immediately on contact. Drizzle a little oil in the pan and wipe off the excess.

Lay a rolled-out pita on the skillet and bake for 30 seconds, until you see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Flip again and cook another 1-2 minutes to toast the other side. The pita should start to puff up during this time; if it doesn’t or if only small pockets form, try pressing the surface of the pita gently with a clean towel. Keep cooked pitas covered with a clean dishtowel while cooking any remaining pitas.

8. Storing the Pitas: Pitas are best when eaten immediately after cooking. Leftover pitas will keep in an airtight bag for several days and can be eaten as they are or warmed in a toaster oven. Baked pitas can also be frozen with wax paper between the layers for up to three months.

Additional Notes:

• Storing the Dough: Once it has risen, the pita dough can be kept refrigerated until it is needed. You can also bake one or two pitas at a time, saving the rest of the dough in the fridge. The dough will keep refrigerated for about a week.

• Pitas That Won’t Puff: Sometimes you get pitas that won’t puff. The problem is usually that the oven or the skillet aren’t hot enough. Make sure both are thoroughly pre-heated before cooking. Even pitas that don’t puff are still delicious and can be used wraps or torn into pieces for dipping in hummus.

Photo and recipe courtesy of The Kitchn This site has amazing tutorials. Go check them out!

28 Days To A Healthy Heart: Day 26 Make 1/2 Your Plate Vegetables


So here we are at Day 26! The finish line is in sight. But really, it isn’t. For me, the #MYHEART28 challenge was just a starting point for a healthier me. And hopefully a healthier you too.

Today is about getting in your veggies. They say we need five servings a day, but some now say nine a day. That’s a lot of veggies! For me, this is easy. I love my fruits and veggies. But many don’t. I live with a few, actually.

Here are some helpful ways to squeeze in your daily allowance.

1. Make fruit salad. If it’s all ready to go, you have few excuses.
2. Make a bowl of fruit part of your decor. A bowl of apples on the table is hard to pass by.
3. Toss some fruit into your breakfast. Bananas in your cereal, blueberries in your pancakes, whatever.
4. Throw some veggies in your omelet or frittata
5. Crunch on a green salad. Use a nutrient-rich green like baby spinach or kale
6. Pair fruit with cheese. Apples, pears and grapes are great choices
7. Munch on dried fruit. They are easy to grab on your way out. just watch the calories!
8. Add veggies you like to dishes you love.
9. Spoon up some soup. Satiating and healthy. Just watch the sodium if you are eating canned.
10. Drink your vegetables (and fruits). “I shoulda had a V-8!
11. Vegi-fy your pizza. Skip the pepperoni and sausage and add some veggies
12. Toss some on the grill. Any veggie is good on the grill. Fruits like pineapple are great too.
13. Get them at the drive-through. You can get a salad with low fat dressing instead of a burger
14. Dress up your dinner plate with fruit. Add a little color garnish. YUM!
15. Drizzle on some cheese sauce. My kids will gobble up their broccoli if it has a bit of cheese melted on top.
16. Serve your veggies raw. A little low fat Ranch dip goes a long way with my daughter. She’s a big dipper!
17. Keep fruit in heavy rotation. Keep it handy and they’ll eat it
18. Have prepared fruits and veggies ready to go in the fridge. Again, if it’s handy, they’ll go for it!
19. Try a little salt. Cooking fresh vegetables in a little salt water is a great flavor enhancer
20. Sneak in some fruit into your baking. Applesauce, prunes and zucchini are great for reducing fat and keeping things moist.

What are your favorite tricks for sneaking in some fruits and veggies. Any favorite recipes? I’d love to hear them.

28 Days To A Healthy Heart: Day 23 and Olympic Pasta Salad

Feb_23Today I am so honored to have been chosen as the Ambassador of the Day for the #MYHEART28 challenge.

The Heart Truth is a program dedicated to raising awareness of about heart disease. It encourages women to take action to improve their health everyday and lower their chances of heart disease, which is the #1 killer of women in this country.

I have enlisted the help of my kids to do this challenge with me, as we can all use a little extra physical activity. Today’s challenge is 3 jumping jacks for every USA gold medal at Sochi. As of today, the total gold was 9. The kids and I decided to celebrate all the USA medals (27 total) for a total of 81 jumping jacks!

In sticking to the Olympic theme, I wanted to come up with a recipe using the Olympic colors of blue, green, red, yellow and black. Oh, and yes it needed to be heart healthy too.

Whole wheat pasta, black beans, baby kale, yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes and bleu cheese make up the Olympic colors and the delicious sun-dried tomato vinaigrette bring all the flavors together. Perfect for a light lunch or as a side to a piece of grilled chicken, this salad is a winner.

I hope you enjoy!

Have a healthy day!

olympic pasta

Olympic Pasta Salad
1 box whole wheat rotini pasta
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 c. chopped baby kale or baby spinach
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 c. black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. finely chopped sweet onion
1/3 c. crumbled bleu cheese
Sun-dried tomato vinaigrette

1. Cook pasta according to instructions, drain and rinse with cool water; set aside
2. Mix pasta, vegetables, beans and blue cheese together and combine with the vinaigrette, chill and serve.

Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil (about 1 oz)
1 c. boiling water
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup no-salt-added tomato juice
1 Tbls. olive oil
1 Tbls. balsamic vinegar
3 tsp. tomato paste
1 small garlic clove peeled
1 c. light mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Combine sun-dried tomatoes and 1 cup boiling water in a bowl; let stand 20 minutes. Drain.
Place sun-dried tomatoes, 3/4 cup water, and remaining ingredients (3/4 cup water through garlic) in a food processor or blender; process

Vinaigrette adapted from Cooking Light

28 Days to a Healthy Heart: Day 20

They say laughter is the best medicine. Today’s challenge is to share a joke or a video that makes you smile or laugh.

This video KILLS me everytime I watch it. You may have all seen it, but watch it again. Then, if you’re like me, you will refer to yourself as this creature anytime somthing (or someone) starts to get on your nerves. Some of my co-workers have honey badger pictures on their desk. It’s our secret society. Well, not anymore.

Anyone have a joke they want to share? I’m always up for a laugh.

*Warning…there are some F-bombs in there, just sayin

28 Days to a Healthy Heart: Day 18 and 19

Day 18: Add a Stretch Break to your calendar
I stretch all the time. I sit at my desk and stretch, I do leg lifts while at the computer and if no one is watching I may do some high knees or touch my toes at the copier.

Today at home, I added some resistance bands. Here is a printable resistance band workout from Women’s Health magazine. Give it a shot!

Day 19: Swap the Sweets for a Piece of Fruit
I have a massive sweet tooth. Is there any other kind of tooth? Not over here! They are my downfall. If I have sweets in the house, I’m doomed. DOOMED I tell ya! Needless to say, since I do the grocery shopping, I have the power to keep the sweeties out.

The past couple of weeks, much to my daughter’s dismay (she also has “the tooth”) I have been buying a lot more fruit. I even made fruit cups for her Valentine’s Day class party. Which is probably the equivalent of passing out toothbrushes and floss for Halloween, mind you.

We are loving Fuji apples and mangoes right now. Well, I am the only one loving mangoes and since they are in season they are always on sale. SCORE! This is a perfect time of year to incorporate fruit into your diet. Processed sweets actually suppress the immune system, and with cold and flu season well underway the addition of fresh fruits and is even more important.

Besides mangoes, here are a few other fruits to enjoy this winter.

Mandarin Oranges
Passion Fruit

I have the kids pick colors at the beginning of the week and we get those fruits and veggies in their color choice. It seems to help by giving us for a variety and also allows us to try new things. Give it a try.

Have a healthy day!

28 Days to a Healthy Heart: Day 17


Hey there!

Wondering where I’ve been? Did you think I gave up? Threw in the towel? I sorta did and sorta didn’t. Let me start from the beginning. Last month I was having weird pains in my chest. So I did the worst thing anyone can do and I hit the internet for some answers. Bad idea! If you want peace of mind, cyberspace is NOT the place to go. You will have yourself diagnosed with pretty much everything after a couple of minutes of searching your symptoms.

What I did find was the Heart Challenge and I realized that even being nervous about the health of my heart was enough for me to take some action. So I have been following the challenge and so far it’s been pretty helpful

Remember Day 4: Schedule a Physical? I scheduled an appointment with a cardiologist due to aforementioned chest pain and saw him last week. It was an eye-opening experience. And since I love you, I’ll share. Because if you haven’t scheduled your appointment, maybe you will.

In a nutshell, my blood pressure was high and my EKG was abnormal. I have white coat syndrome, so the elevated blood pressure wasn’t a shock. He told me he wanted to do a stress test and that until then he didn’t want me to exercise. Instantly the panic set in and if my blood pressure wasn’t high enough at the time, it went up more, I’m sure when they told me the next appointment was in 2 weeks.

Now ladies, I’m all for women’s lib and all that jazz, but sometimes you just have to pull out all the stops a girl has. For me, that’s tears. Tears works wonders! Needless to say, I had an appointment the very next morning for labs and a nuclear stress test, which should show exactly what was going on.

8:00 a.m. the next day I arrived, my blood pressure was good (nurses were wearing bright colors…no white lab coats!) and I took my test, which showed that I did indeed need blood pressure medication but my stress test looked good. The pain in my chest was believed to be muscular, probably from lugging my daughter and her gigantic cast around for weeks and apparently an abnormal EKG is pretty normal for me. Go figure.

*Sigh of relief*

My question to the doctor immediately was, “How do I get off the medicine?”

“Take off some significant weight and relax”.

Duh. I’m working on it, but now with a much more sense of urgency than before.

So there! If you haven’t made that appointment. Please go do it! Not only is it important to your physical health, but important for you mentally. I was emotionally being held back when I exercised for fear I would push my heart too far. Now I am free to physically exert myself and break through the walls that was stuck behind. The fear and anxiety are gone and I feel a great relief.

Here is a bit of a catch up for the days I missed. Well, I didn’t miss them, I just didn’t post them.

Day 11: Calculate your BMI…Check (but I’m not telling)
Day 12: Share you favorite inspirational quote…”A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” or pretty much anything that came out of Eleanor Roosevelt’s mouth
Day 13: Give the elevator a day off and take the stairs…Always!
Day 14: Protect your sweetheart’s heart. Plan a healthy date…does napping count? I think so.
Day 15: Saturday Night Fever! Dance to your favorite song…Pul-leaze! I am a dancing fool!
Day 16: Stress less! Practice mindful mediation for 10 minutes…10 minutes workouts on On Demand has some great relaxation sessions. I try to do one every day.
Day 17: Give meatless Monday a try! Sorry meatloaf is on the menu tonight, no pre-planning. How about Steak-free Saturday or Squash Sunday? We’ll see.

So there it is. Not much more to go. Stay tuned for tomorrow, Add a stretch break to your calendar. I’m going to have to elaborate on that. I stretch daily. How about stretching with bands? Ooooooh yeah, that’s a bit different.

See you tomorrow!

28 Days to a Healthy Heart: Day 7


Today is National Wear Red Day!

Did you wear red today?

Post a pic to my Facebook page of you wearing red today and send me your mailing address (privately of course) and I’ll send you a little gift! Feel free to post all weekend.

Let me say, I hate my picture taken and I hate selfies even more, but here I am, sporting my red in support of women’s heart health.


*Oh, and according to my food journal, I need to eat more. Who knew! But my sodium was ok.

28 Days to a Healthy Heart: Day 6

Today is a NO SALT day! Good thing for me, I am not a big fan of salt. I rarely use it on my food. Gordon Ramsey would call me some sort of “muppet” and tell me to “season”. But I can go without or at the least very little. But sodium is hidden everywhere. Some of the biggest culprits are canned soups, canned tomatoes, baking soda, baking powder, deli meats, cheese, salad dressings, pickled foods, and of course processed snack foods.

The current percent daily value for sodium is 2400mg, however, the American Heart Association recommends that people with high blood pressure eat less that 1500mg per day, or less than 3/4 of a table spoon of salt. That really isn’t a whole lot, if you think about it.

Today I am making a point to log in my food journal. I love the food journal on at Myfitnesspal.com.It is easy and has pretty much every name brand and type of food available, which makes it really quick to log in your daily food intake. I have used this in the past, but then put it aside. Today I’m logging back in. I am curious as to how much sodium I’m actually getting. As I said, I typically don’t use a lot of salt. So, I am interested to see if whatever food choices I am making during the day are still too high. Anyone with me?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here are some articles for some tips on reducing your sodium intake.

How to Reduce Salt and Retain Flavor
High Sodium Foods and Ways to Reduce Sodium

And if you have a sweet tooth like me, I wanted to share this recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies and fantastic post from an amazing blogger. Dorothy at Crazy for Crust can relate first hand to women and heart disease. Go check her out.

And don’t forget, tomorrow is National Wear Red Day started by the American Heart Association to bring awareness of the severity of heart diesase in women. More often than not, a heart attack doesn't present itself like it does in the movies. You know the dramatic clutching of the chest, falling to the floor. Especially in women.
Some of the signs include:
■Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
■Back pain
■Jaw pain
■Nausea, breaking out in a cold sweat, or lightheadedness
■Pain or discomfort in one or both arms
■Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

Read more at http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2014/02/heart-healthier-chocolate-oatmeal-cookies/#tJpXfoVEH8i8Vs3Y.99

For a little comic relief on a serious subject, check out Just a little heart attack starring Elizabeth Banks. It just may save your life!

Have a healthy day!

28 Days to a Health Heart: Day 5


Ok, so today speaks directly to those who smoke. Hop on over and visit Smokefree.gov to take the first step in quitting smoking. I don’t smoke, although I am sad to say that I did way back when. So, I am one of those hyper-sensitive, judgy ex-smokers. Sorry, I try not to be, but it just happens. I’ve been there and I totally understand how difficult it is to quit. But you can do it!

Check out this post on smoking and heart disease . The information may surprise you.

Since today doesn’t apply to me, I plan on just being extra nice to me today and also try something new. So tonight I’ll be giving a yoga video a shot. I could use some stress relief and lately I have increased my activitity level, so I think some stretching and de-stressing is just what I need.

What are you doing for you today?

Fact: Smoking increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by 2 to 4 times. Also, women who smoke have a 25 percent higher risk of developing heart disease as compared to men who smoke.

28 Days to a Healthy Heart: Day 4

It is Heart Health Month. And being so, I am going to pour mine out for you. I hope maybe it will touch someone. Because to tell you the truth, it’s kind of sensitive and not something I would typically share.

January was a bad month for me. I struggled with eating right and exercising. I didn’t sleep well and I felt intense stress. I suffered with panic attacks throughout the month. I felt helpless and robbed of precious time. I’m not sure if it is because I am getting older and my body is changing, but I have a tendency to worry to a point that causes these anxiety attacks. If you have never suffered an anxiety attack, which I had not until last year, they can be debilitating, terrifying and all-consuming.

For me, every twinge, ache or pain means that I am having a heart attack. I can’t sleep because I am afraid I won’t wake up. I hesitate taking medication because it is an admission of defeat. That is my mindset. I know it is wrong. But I have a hard time convincing my mind otherwise.

My fears of having a heart attack stem from the lack of exercise, poor eating habits, lack of sleep and stress. It is a vicious cycle. I know this because when I do the right things for my body, the panic attacks disappear. I know this, yet I continue to do the wrong things. It is time to break the cycle.

So I decided to join The Heart Truth 28 Day Challenge and the Go Red for Women initiative and take control. To be honest, control, or lack of, is ultimately the root cause for my panic attacks in the first place. On a negative day I tell myself I don’t have any control over my body or my anxiety. On a positive day, I tell myself I am taking control by eating right and making healthy choices. That I do have control over.

The challenge works by making little changes to your everyday routines therefore making a big difference in your overall health.

So for all my sistas out there (and brothers too), I hope you will join me. Remember, it doesn’t have to be running a marathon. It can simply be to take the first step and get off the couch for a walk. The first step is always the hardest, you know?

So come back each day and check out what’s going on. It’ll do your heart good. I promise.

Today I scheduled an annual physical for next week. I know this will help calm my fears about having a heart attack and relieve much of my anxiety. And, if there are underlying problems, I am aware and can take proper steps to make them better.

Fact: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer.


1.What is my risk for heart disease?

2.What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me, and what do I need to do about it?

3.What are my cholesterol numbers? (These include total cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, HDL or “good” cholesterol, and triglycerides.) What do they mean for me, and what do I need to do about them?

4.What is my “body mass index” and waist measurement? Do they indicate that I need to lose weight for my health?

5.What is my blood sugar level, and does it mean I’m at risk for diabetes?

6.What other screening tests for heart disease do I need? How often should I return for checkups for my heart health?

7.What can you do to help me quit smoking?

8.How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?

9.What is a heart-healthy eating plan for me? Should I see a registered dietitian or qualified nutritionist to learn more about healthy eating?

10.How can I tell if I’m having a heart attack?