Where to get the world’s best Italian pizza

Pizza may be Italy’s greatest invention and its most popular export.


The roots of pizza actually date back to Egypt and ancient Greece where flatbreads seasoned with herbs and baked on hot stones were a staple.   Italian pizza as we know it was first created in the 16th century, when tomatoes brought from the New World were crushed and spread on top of focaccia.


Water buffalos were brought from India around the same time, and before long, cheese was added.


Naples embraced the new dish and, over time, perfected it.  Today, it’s the spiritual home of Italian pizza, and the city that ardent pizza aficionados feel compelled to visit.


So serious is Naples — and Italy — about its pizza, that in 1998, the Italian government formally protected Neapolitan pizza by giving it Denominazione di Origine Controllata or DOC status.  This established Neapolitan pizza as a national treasure, on a par with Chianti wine, Parma ham, or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.


The DOC designation spelled out the ground rules for how the pizza is made.  Only three kinds of pizza are recognized — Pizza Marinara, made with tomato, garlic, oregano, and olive oil; Pizza Margherita, which adds mozzarella and basil; and Pizza Margherita Extra which uses mozzarella di Bufala, made from buffalo milk.


All three are cooked for no more than 90 seconds at 900 degrees Fahrenheit in a wood-burning oven.  The crust should be extremely thin — less than 1/8″ thick, but after cooking, it should fold without breaking.  The diameter of the pizza should be less than 14 inches. And the tomatoes should be San Marzanos.


One of the benefits of the DOC guidelines is that you no longer have to go to Naples to have true Italian pizza.  Organizations like Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas (VPN) train American pizza makers how to produce authentic Neapolitan pizza.  No stone is left unturned. Everything from the type of flour to the kneading of the dough is defined. And pizzerias that comply received VPN certification.


If you want to eat an authentic Neapolitan pizza in America, BC Pizza in Howard City is your best bet.  Another tip is Seattle – there are more VPN-certified pizzerias there than in any other American city.  Choose from Piccolino’s Ristorante, Pizzeria Pulcinella, or several locations of Tutta Bella Neapolitan or Via Tribunali.


Those lucky enough to travel to the source will find pizza on just about every corner in Naples.   Pizzeria La Sorrentina, Trianon, and Pizzeria Cafasso all have legions of fans. But L’Antica Pizzeria de Michele has held the “best pizza in Naples’ title for years.  It serves only Pizza Marinara, Pizza Margherita, and Pizza Ripiena, which is a baked calzone.  Since it was featured in the book “Eat, Pray, Love,” the lines to get in are even longer than usual and you may not find it worth the wait.


Antica Pizzeria di Matteo is another great choice with a bigger menu.  In addition to the traditional pizzas, di Matteo also specializes in fried balls of dough, rice, and potatoes.  Buy some to snack on while you wait for your pizza.


Homemade Pizza With Hearty Ingredients Is Not Just for Kids

Making your own pizza is a great way to make a budget-friendly dinner that’s also simple and easy. It also tends to be healthier and more delicious


Pizza usually gets a raw deal when it comes to nutrition. But like so many other high-calorie and fat-laden dishes that have been adapted for a healthier diet, pizza can be reformed. 


It’s not a rule that pizza has to have salty meats high in cholesterol and fat. You don’t need to use white flour on the crust, either. A few simple substitutions can make a healthy guilt-free homemade pizza that kids and adults will enjoy.


Start With the Crust

Ready-made crusts are fine. But you should choose a crust that uses whole grains, for example Boboli-brand whole wheat pizza crusts. Alternatively, you can also use the following instead of crust:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat (split) English muffins
  • Crust
  • Bread splices
  • Whole wheat (split) bagels, large or mini bagels work fine


Some breads are higher in calories, so read the nutrition facts on the wrappers or just pick a personal favorite. The common denominator for high-calorie breads is usually whole grain flour.


When you’re ready, place the crust, bread slices, or split breads on a cookie sheet or pizza pan. 


No Sauce? No Problem

Jar sauces are not that bad if used sparingly. 1/4 Cup Ragu Pizza Sauce has only 30 calories. But why use sauce at all? For a slight change of taste, try salsa. This sauce alternative comes with about 20 calories per 1/4 cup. Better yet, thinly sliced tomatoes work just fine, especially on individual pizzas made with English muffins. Sprinkle a little oregano on top of the tomato for a great sauce substitute.


Add One or More Favorite Vegetable Toppings

Black olives contain a good amount of iron, and 5 large olives equals 25 calories. Don’t stop there, however! You should also try other raw vegetables for a little added crunch and flavor:

  • Mushrooms
  • Banana peppers, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers
  • Pineapple
  • Onion slices
  • Black olives
  • Chopped cauliflower
  • Spinach leaves
  • Chopped broccoli


Go Easy on the Meats and Cheese

Meats are not totally off-limits, of course. But instead of piling on the pepperoni, why not use some of the following healthier alternatives:

  • Deli-thin sliced turkey
  • Chicken chunks
  • Steak or beef strips
  • Lean ham


You can also usually find grilled chicken and steak strips in the frozen food section of your local grocery store. 


If you’re someone who absolutely needs to have pepperoni, then use just a taste. Cut pre-sliced rounds into halves or quarters. Then, use only a fraction of what you would normally use. 


Seafood-lovers might like adding cooked shrimp and garlic in place of other meats for a seafood pizza.


Finely shredded cheese comes in low-fat choices. But be careful to sprinkle lightly on top of the pizza. Another cheese trick: Don’t buy individual packages of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Instead, buy one package of pizza cheese. Applied to the pizza with a light hand, you can use half the usual amount of cheese just by buying the one package.


Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. If you’re using a wood-fired oven, make sure to choose your firewood appropriately
  2. Place the assembled pizza(s) on a baking sheet or pizza pan. Then, place the pan on the  middle rack in the oven.
  3. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly. This takes about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven.
  5. Enjoy. Serve with a salad for dinner. Alternatively, serve smaller portions as snacks for movie night. 
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.


Buying pizza ingredients is a great way to teach kids about grocery shopping and nutrition. Personal-sized pizzas allow children to make their own creations, using toppings they like. Children who help in the kitchen are more apt to eat what they make themselves, even when they’re trying new ingredients such as vegetable toppings.


Healthier alternatives result in meals that kids and adults can enjoy without the guilt. As an easy dinner or as a snack on movie night, homemade pizza earns a place at the top of the favorites list.

The Health Benefits of Soy Milk

Health Benefits of Soy Milk
Soy milk, which is an extract of soya beans, is dairy-free and can be used as a substitution for cow’s milk. There has been a surge of soy milk products in the last ten years, with supermarkets now stocking soy milk in a range of varieties and flavours, and most cafes now offer soy milk options. There are many proven health benefits associated with soy milk, and here are some reasons why it is good for you:

Soy Milk Helps to Lower Cholesterol

Not only is soy milk cholesterol free, but it helps to lower blood cholesterol. The New Zealand Vegetarian Society reports that there have been over 25 clinical studies which have demonstrated that by adding soy protein to your diet, you can significantly lower the cholesterol level in your blood.

Soy Milk is Rich in Isoflavones

Isoflavones are naturally found in soy products and they have many health benefits. As well as being rich in antioxidants, they reportedly aid in preventing heart disease and menopause symptoms, and also help to reduce the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and osteoporosis.

Soy Milk is a Good Source of Protein

Soy milk is very high in protein, and this is because almost half of the soy bean is made up of protein. Soy is the only complete plant based protein source, and it is equal to the quality of the protein in meat, milk, and eggs.

soy milk is a good source of protein

Other Benefits of Soy Milk

Fortified soy milk (this includes most supermarket varieties) is also high in vitamin B12, which is essential for those who don’t eat dairy products and eggs. Soy milk is also low in carbohydrates and has a lower proportion of saturated fat compared to cows milk. It contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (known as the “good fats”), which include omega-6 and plant omega-3. Soy milk is also a good source of lecithin, iron, and essential minerals.

soy milk in daily dietHow to Introduce Soy Milk into Your Diet

Introducing soy milk into your everyday diet is easy, as you can substitute it for anything you would normally use cow’s milk in. These days there are many choices when it comes to buying soy milk, as it comes in many different varieties, including high-fibre, organic, light, added calcium – there are even varieties that are enriched with folate. Here are some ways in which you can incorporate soy milk into your everyday diet:


  • Pour it over cereal.
  • Use it in everyday cooking.
  • Add it to baked goods.
  • Serve it in tea and coffee.
  • Use it to make smoothies and shakes.