Homemade Pizza Night & Minimalist Running Shoes

Hello my friends!

Last night was homemade pizza night here in the fANNEtastic food household. Yum!

homemade pizza

As usual, we used the Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough (it’s sold in their refrigerated area with the cheese). So easy and awesome!

pizza stone

We got a pizza stone last fall as a wedding gift, so while we were prepping our toppings, we preheated the stone in the oven.

Then, we spread out the dough on the stone. Next step – the sauce!



Followed by cheese and a ton of veggies – green peppers and mushrooms, plus fresh basil. We also threw on some cracked pepper and dried oregano.


The final step – pepperoni. :)


Ready to go in the oven!


About 10 minutes later, et voila! It was ready. When you make pizza, it’s a good idea to put some cornmeal down on your pan/stone so the pizza doesn’t stick to it – we didn’t have any cornmeal on hand so we used normal flour, which apparently doesn’t work as well. Oops! It was a little hard to get it off the stone. Live and learn! :)


After a team effort involving some creative maneuvering and a spatula, we finally got it onto the pizza peel (another fun wedding gift). Hurrah!


Next time, in addition to using cornmeal instead of regular flour so it doesn’t stick, we’re going to pre-bake the dough a little bit. I think it will make for a crispier crust! Thoughts? What are your homemade pizza making secrets/tips? :)

In other news, I got in a great early run this morning! I met a friend at 7 a.m. and we banged out 4.5 miles in about 38 minutes. My legs were feeling a little tired, but it felt good to get out and about! It was a beautiful morning – cold but sunny. Love that it’s light by 7 a.m. again!


When I returned from the run, I quickly swapped shoes and headed out for another half mile-ish to test out a new pair of shoes that Brooks sent me this month – the PureConnect 2, which are part of the Brooks PureProject line of minimalist shoes.

brooks pureproject

I’ve been dying to try these out but since they are more minimalist than I’m used to running in, I wanted to wait and test them out on a short run (e.g. less than 1 mile) so I didn’t injure myself. I know you’re supposed to build up mileage slowly in minimalist shoes! The shoes are made to engage the natural movement of the foot so that you land more on your midfoot/forefoot vs. the heel.

Obviously I’ve only run less than a mile in them so far, but the initial verdict is that I LOVE them! Brooks shoes fit me like a glove and these are no exception. They are really comfortable, extremely lightweight, and I love how they hug my arches. I also like that the bottoms are springy, so even though they are really lightweight and close to the ground, I don’t feel like I’m just slamming my feet into the pavement.

minimalist running shoes

I’ll share more thoughts as I test them out further; I’ll be sticking with my tried and true Brooks Ravenna 4s for longer runs, but I’m excited to wear the PureConnects a lot this summer for short runs. It will be good to mix it up! Plus, anytime it’s hot out I always want really lightweight shoes (and shorter runs)!

Have you ever tried barefoot/minimalist shoes? Do you wear them 100% of the time or mix it up between more traditional running shoes? Also, did it take you awhile to get used to them? I do a lot of walking in minimalist shoes, but running in them is a whole different ball game!


  1. 1

    I love the TJ’s pizza dough too! It’s delicious and pretty cheap. :) Win win in my book.

  2. 2

    I am obsessed with Trader Joe’s pizza dough. Actually, just TJ’s in general. Pizza at home always tastes better than going out to me. The greasiness of a pizza place usually makes me sick. I have really flat feet so sadly I can’t wear minimalist shoes. I’m a mizuno lover though. They’re so light.

  3. 3
    Charline says:

    For a better outcome and crispier crust… preheat your stone in a 500 degree oven… build your pizza on the pizza peal, slide it on to the stone, in the oven after it’s very hot…

    as for the non-stick, did you season your pizza stone? try cooking something greasy on it or give it a good rub with oil then put it in the oven for an hour at lower temps… this will let the oil into the porous surface and make it nonstick.

  4. 7

    Me and my husband like our pizza crispy, so I cook the crust for 5-10 minutes (depending on the thickness) before adding the toppings. I also use a large round pan that I preheat and lightly spray with cooking spray, too. I don’t know if you can spray a pizza stone, but I think it helps a little with the crispness.

  5. 9

    I love my Nike Frees but they look amazing! I’m a Brook fan! Wonder will they make they’re way to Ireland any time soon!

  6. 10

    I bought a very nice pair of minimalist shoes and slowly eased into them but it just didn’t work out for me. I’m an over pronator and ended up getting plantar fascitis. NOT fun to recover from. Be careful.

    • 11

      Fair enough. I don’t think they’ll ever be an option for long runs for me, but I do want to see if I can get used to them for short runs!

  7. 12

    I love the TD’s pizza dough as well, however, the directions on the back are not the best. We preheat our oven to 500*F and the crust turns out crispier!

  8. 14

    I’ve been wearing the Pure Cadences from Brooks since about August. I like to mix them into my run rotation, usually for speed work or shorter, easy runs. I still have my regular Adrenalines for long distance. It took me a little while to adjust to the minimalist shoe, but after that I had no problems.

  9. 15

    I’m obsessed with the color of those shoes! I currently have a pair of discontinued Brooks minimalist shoes and I am in the market for a new pair so I may have to pick up a pair!

  10. 16

    i’ve been running in Brooks purecadence for over a year, i love them! and nike frees, they’re in my rotation as well…only minimalist shoes for me!

  11. 17

    I always had a hard time with the TJs WH pizza dough sticking and just being brittle in general. I’ve switched to the Harris Teeter WH dough and it is amazing. And one time it was on sale for 5 cents. Yes, 5 cents.

  12. 19

    I LOVE homemade pizza! My boyfriend and I started having what we call “Pizza Sundays” about 6 months ago and haven’t missed one sunday yet! We started off with store bought crust, switched to a homemade low-fat crust using just flour & beer, and have now graduated to making our crust entirely from scratch! We got a pizza stone and peel for Christmas along with a recipe book and we absolutely love it! We sit down each week and think of a new and exciting recipe to try! So far our favorites are chicken chipotle ranch and buffalo chicken ranch! :)
    I think my biggest tip is to just make sure you pre-heat the stone in the oven until 500 degrees. We then plop our dough right down on the stone and make our pizza right then and there. It gives the bottom of the dough a chance to cook a bit and crisp up before putting it in the oven. We then cook it 8-10 min and it’s done. :)

  13. 22

    I have Asics, but I hear Brooks are amazing! That will be the next brand I buy. I love homemade pizza and I have bought TJ’s whole wheat dough but its frozen- haven’t used it yet. Wildtree has awesome whole wheat dough too!

  14. 23

    Best tip ever: roll out the dough on parchment paper. Thne put that right on the stone, prebake, then remove the parchment paper when you top it. Works like a charm :)

  15. 25

    Looks great! I don’t have a stone, so I use a plain old baking sheet, but I preheat to 500F and then stick the crust in there for 5 mins, then remove, top and bake for another 8- 10.

  16. 27

    Pizza crust – another option if you live by/find yourself near one, is Pete’s Apizza. They sell their dough for a few bucks and I LOVE it. Also, not sure what temp your oven is at, but crank it up!

    Shoes – I run almost exclusively (except when it’s really cold out bc I think traditional shoes keep me warmer bc there is more between my feets and the cold pavement) in minimalist shoes. I took a pretty long time to work up my distances in them bc I’ve seen way to many injuries related to folks trying to go too long too fast, but I love them and it was well worth the effort. For me, they really help keep my form. With traditional running shoes I easily fall into poor form and old bad habits, which used to leave me injured frequently. Since started with minimalist shoes about 3 years ago, I’ve learned to be better about posture and eliminated heel striking, I’ve remained injury free and I can honestly say, stronger and faster (because with better form, my cadence went up). Plus they take up less room in my suit case when I travel:)

    • 28

      Just bc I can’t stop loving on minimalist running, I have one more thing to add…I used to get told all the time that I over pronate, have this and that arches, etc, so I should spend my whole paycheck on fancy shoes that will allow for my deformities. (I know, I’m being extreme) But after some time running minimalist, my feet got stronger and ‘righted’ themselves. My ankles got stronger and required less support from the shoe. I’m convinced all that helped my legs and back feel more aligned as well. Okay, that’s it, I’m done now:)

      • 29
        Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution says:

        Well, that’s great, but I seriously injured myself running in minimalist shoes!! I eased into them and everything, but the first time I ran a race in them I ended up injured and unable to run for months. Properly fitting my feet with shoes for my gait has been my savior! Minimalist isn’t for everyone!!

      • 32

        I’m glad they’ve been such a success for you! :)

    • 33

      Ooo I didn’t know Pete’s sold their dough! Totally checking that out! And love the less space in the suitcase comment – so true. :)

  17. 34

    I always pre-baked my pizza crust when I make homemade pizzas. It really helps with the crispiness!

  18. 35

    I’ve been wanting a pair of Pure Connect shoes!! Did you notice any aching in your legs or feet after running? I know you’re doing it the right way by going shorter distances first, but was curious if you noticed any soreness from new muscles that you may not have been engaging before wearing minimalist shoes? Just curious! :) So excited to see how they work for you!
    PS – I’m running the Tar Heel 10 Miler in a few weeks…you should come back for old times sake! :)

    • 36

      I didn’t, but I think if I’d gone farther I would have felt it in my calves. I do wear minimal shoes all the time for walking and CrossFit, and when I first started that I felt it in my calves – so maybe I’m more used to it by now? Jealous you’re doing the Tarheel 10 Miler! Have fun and tell campus I miss it :)

      • 37

        That’s awesome to hear! Well I can’t wait to hear how they go for you! I’ve been wanting a pair :) Will give campus your love!

  19. 38

    We prebake the crust for about 5-10 minutes first, tends to work out well. The cornmeal is a good tip – ours ALWAYS gets stuck to our baking tray!

    I exclusively use minimalist shoes. I traded over about 4 years ago to the Vibram Five Fingers and wore them for two years. I absolutely loved them, but I got horrible blisters so I switched through a few other brands (Merrel Gloves, New Balance Minimus) before finally giving up and discovering the Brooke Pure series by complete accident. That was about two years ago and I have never looked back since!! I use the PureFlows for my regular everyday runs on pavement and the PureGrit2’s for my trail runs.

    You definitely have to ease into them. I think I had an easier time transitioning because I naturally run on my toes (I got called “Prancer” all through high school soccer…), but it was definitely a gradual process. The biggest thing that got sore on me was my calves, so I would hit up your compression socks/sleeves to help with that.

    • 39

      Yeah, I’ve heard that about toe runners! I’m a full on heel runner so I think I’ll definitely just use them every once in awhile for short runs – but I think it will be good to mix it up!

  20. 40

    Mmm, that pizza looks fantastic. We do the same, but preheat the stone and transfer the pizza from the peel to the hot stone in the oven, then cook it at 500 for 7-8 minute which keeps it nice and crisp.
    Love the new shoes, too! The Virratas are my first successful zero drop shoe. I eased in carefully and raced a 5k in them last weekend with success. I don’t see them becoming an every day shoe, but I like alternating and having them in the mix.

    • 41

      Part of the problem is our oven won’t go above like 420 without flipping out and giving us error messages. Fail! Glad you had success with the new shoes yourself!

  21. 42

    My husband loves their dough! Is your stone that you cooked it on glazed? We have an unglazed stone and we never need to add cornmeal/flour, just bake the pan a little before and add the pizza!

  22. 45
    Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution says:

    Once your stone is seasoned you won’t even need to use cornmeal. Just lightly oil it before you use it and never use soap to wash it – only hot water and kosher salt to scrub. Your pizza will never stick again!

  23. 47

    Love the TJs dough. I have the whole wheat dough in my freezer right now. Pizza night on tap for this weekend! I always pre-cook for about 5-8 minutes, especially when I make a smaller, but thicker base. I don’t preheat my stone, but may have to try that out.
    If you like pesto, try the pesto sauce instead of red sauce! Delish!

  24. 49

    Pizza looks awesome.

    I had some of the original versions of the Connects but liked the Pure Flow MUCH better. Favorite shoes ever. So far.

  25. 50

    This is completely random but… how many pairs of sneakers are in your current collection? It seems like you’re sent new shoes to test our frequently and I was curious what happens to them after the review phase? Huge closet of shoes that threaten to bury you when you open the door? ;)

    • 51

      Lol good question! I do have quite an exploding closet at the moment, but so far, I’ve been keeping my favorites, and then either donating the others to Goodwill, giving them to friends, or in the case of last fall auctioning them off for charity (I had some shoes in my Hurricane Sandy fundraiser auction). It might be time to go through them again!

  26. 52

    I love my brooks cadence!!First time I used them, I felt like I was running on eggs ;-) I usually switch between regular (I use brooks ghost 5) and the pure ones (the cadence aren’t “extreme” as minimalist shoes). I am an injury prone runner, so I don’t want to push my luck running all my weakly miles on the pure!
    That pizza looks really yummy!!I received an advice from a “pizzaiolo” (the guy that makes pizza at a pizza place in Italy), he told me to only put tomatoe sauce and dried herbs (oregano ie) and bake it half time, then add the toppings and finish cooking. This will make the crust cook evenly. (this is for homemade ovens, not for commercial places clearly!!)
    I usually don’t like the parchment paper, something about it just make the crust cook differently !But maybe we have different parchment paper here (most likely that’s the reason!!)

  27. 54

    I found a great pair of NB minimalist shoes at TJ Maxx but while waiting in the checkout line I was reading the tag and it was full of warnings about how they could hurt your feet, so I passed!

  28. 55

    I love making my own pizzas! In fact, I’d probably say I’m obsessed with it. Homemade pizzas and quesadillas are always my fall-back food items. I love the Trader Joe’s pizza dough too, but I’m not patient enough to get mine as thin as you do. I actually don’t have a problem with my pizza sticking to my pizza stone. Maybe it depends on the stone? And I do prebake my dough for about 10 minutes. This is also to stop it from getting super soggy. I love trying to see how many veggies I can fit onto my pizzas!

  29. 56

    I have had the same problem with the TJ’s pizza dough. I just bake it in a regular pan (don’t have a pizza stone) and no matter how much oil/cooking spray/whatever I use, it still sticks really badly.

  30. 57

    Friday nights= homemade pizza night in our house. Trader Joe’s has good dough, but Portland Pie Company is the absolute best!! I don’t have a problem with sticking… I don’t heat the stone up first, but once the oven is pre-heated and the dough is rolled out, i place it in the oven for about 5-8 minutes to pre-cook the dough a little. It helps to make sur eyou don’t have a doughy crust that can happen when your sauce is too watery and you have too many toppings on it. I wonder if pre-cooking the dough helps to make it not stick, too?

  31. 59

    I made pizza last night using that same dough! We always have the issue of it taking WAY longer to bake, though. We literally baked it for nearly 40 minutes last night! Maybe it was too thick. SO strange!

  32. 61

    I really love my Connects for my non-running workouts. They really don’t let you slack when you’re doing squats!! I can’t wear them when running long distances though – my calves HATE me. I’d love to find a similar shoe (that has such an awesome fit) with a little more support.

  33. 62

    I run in my Vibram 5 fingers for up to five miles, but after that the balls of my feet start to get tender. For longer runs I wear my Nike Frees. You definitely must start really slow and you cannot heal strike in them at all. I find with my Vibrams I enjoy my run a lot more and I have better form when I wear them, but it took me at least 6 months to really work up my milage in them. I made the mistake of going too far too fast when I first got them and I made a mess of my claves. Slowly working your way into them is definitely the way to go. Now I’m training for my first half marathon and I wear them when I’m building milage without any problems. I don’t think I could ever go back to my old, bulky running shoes.

  34. 63

    I actually took a pizza making cooking class – it was fun! I think the two tips that I learned was the cornmeal trick (which you’ve already picked up) and the second is to have a hot, hot, oven to make the crust crispy in a quick amount of time. This might change with the TJ’s dough you’re using but I remember the oven we used was set to nearly 500! But we only had to have the pizzas in the oven for literally 5-6 minutes. Maybe that might help :)

  35. 64

    I love homemade pizza and make it at least once a week if not more most weeks! I’m not sure if this is a no-no w/ the pizza stone b/c I’ve had mine so long I don’t remember the instructions, but I’ve always just sprayed some non-stick cooking spray on it and the pizza slides right off.

    I run mostly in lighter-weight/minimalist style shoes. I’m a huge fan of Newtons and also wore Nike Frees for awhile. They took me a little getting used to but I was able to start out with 3-5 miles no problem. I tried that with Vibrams (not the smartest move) and was in so much pain I never really wore them again. I’d love to try out the PureConnect 2s…I have the originals, but they’re just a half size too small to wear for running so I mostly wear them for cross-training. It’s definitely not for everyone, but the minimalist shoes have been great for me!

  36. 65

    I love brooks shoes but I’m not sure about minimal shoes. My physio said he treats so many people as a result of them so it makes me a little bit wary of using them. In saying that I do trust brooks and those shoes look great.

  37. 66

    I agree both with making sure your stone is well seasoned and the parchment paper. I found a recipe for pizza dough on Pinterest and have been making my own dough. I mix it in the bread machine, then put it in a bowl to rise, then split dough in 2. It freezes well and I just take it out in the am and by night it’s perfect. I preheat my stone and make the pizza on parchment paper. I find if the stone is really o it browns beautifully!

    PS I had NEVER made pizza dough before and was afraid of yeast products! But it is really easy.

  38. 67

    Took me a minute to find it, but here’s the link if you are interested!

  39. 70

    I just bought the Brooks pure connect about 3 months ago and I looooooooove them! Feels like I’m running on air!

  40. 71

    I still don’t have a pizza stone despite making our own pizza all the time. Def at the top of our to get list!

  41. 72

    Hi Anne,

    I love your homemade pizza. I like mine to be full of mozzarella cheese because I am a cheese lover. :)


  42. 73
    Healthy Eater says:

    Looks terrific! But don’t know about minimalist shoes; they were an invitation to plantar fascia issues for me… Look forward to your experience with them…

  43. 74

    We used to do the pizza stone, as hot as our oven would go. But a few months ago, my husband wanted to try a skillet method that has been so, so awesome for us – it’s the closest we’ve come to wood-fired oven style pizza indoors at home. Here’s the link, but basically, you make your pizza (split your dough so you get small, individual sizes) in a preheated oven-safe skillet, cook it close to a preheated broiler for 3-4 min, then finish it on the stove top for another 2ish min.

    I’ve always found the TJ’s dough to be too “wet”, which may be why it’s sticking or not getting crispy enough for ya, but you also need your oven as hot as it will go, and let it preheat longer after it reaches temp. (Can you tell we love experimenting with pizza making at home? :))

  44. 76

    Well, I have to preface this by saying I’ve only been running for about a year now, and I currently do shorter distances only (less than 5 miles) – though I’d like to work up to longer runs this year. Anyway, when I started C25k last spring, I was running in an old cushioned pair of Saucony Jazz shoes. I found a pair of FiveFingers on clearance one day and thought I’d try them out – and I haven’t gone back to the old clunky shoes since! I defied convention (since I was new to running anyway, I didn’t have anything to “work into”… haha) and just started wearing them one day for runs – the only pain I had was a couple of little blisters on toes at first, and some posterior tibial tendonitis from the different footstrike – I used taping for that for a few weeks until it resolved. I’ve had no problems since. I now run in Saucony Grid Type A4 shoes, which are minimalist lace-up shoes, and I LOVE them. I’ll never go back to traditional shoes! (P.S. Everyone’s feet are different, so the best way to tell which shoe will work for you – traditional OR minimalist – is to go to a running store and be fitted.)

    Oh, and TJ’s whole wheat pizza crust is the BEST. I prebake ours for 5-10 min before topping to make sure it bakes all the way through and gets crispy. Yum!

  45. 78

    Those running shoes look great! I’m in the market for a new pair and have been researching different brands and styles and those look super low profile and look like they’d be pretty darn comfortable! I’ll have to look into Brooks!

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