Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Homemade pizza is back on the menu July 13, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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FOR THE FIRST TIME in seven weeks, I made homemade pizza. But this was not your ordinary pizza. This pizza represented something much more than food to fill the belly on a Saturday evening. The pizza I crafted signifies healing.

I have reached the point in recovery from a broken right shoulder that I no longer feel the need to clamp my arm protectively to my side. I am reaching, pulling, even eating with my right hand. I am free of my arm sling except to sleep and to use in crowded public places.

I figure if moving my arm doesn’t hurt, then I’m OK doing whatever. So far, so good. I’m doing laundry, washing dishes and making pizza, with some assistance from the husband.

This Friday I start physical therapy. I am ready and could have begun 10 days ago had an opening been available. My goal is to lift 21 lbs, 10 oz., the current weight of my 15-month-old granddaughter, ASAP. I miss cuddling Izzy. Realistically, I expect I won’t be holding Isabelle for quite some time without supervision. But I need a goal, right?

My short term goal is to pull a t-shirt over my head, to dress my upper body by myself. I’d also like to use my Canon DSLR camera soon. I am passionate about photography and really miss that creative outlet. Sure I’ve been using my smartphone. But even that is challenging and the results not nearly as good as those of a DSLR.


Up until my fall and resulting broken shoulder, I crafted homemade pizza every Friday evening, always served with mugs of icy beer.


When I consider how much I’ve improved since May 22, the day I missed a step on a hospital stairway and fell while on my way to donate blood, I am amazed. My post injury exhaustion and need for daily naps have vanished. Sore muscles have replaced pain. My once purple, yellow and green arm is now almost free of bruises. I am healing. I can feel it in the handles of a rolling pin as I work dough across a floured board. And I can taste it in a bite of fresh pizza spread with homemade pizza sauce and sprinkled with Italian sausage, mushrooms, mozzarella and slips of fresh basil and oregano clipped from plants potted in my backyard.


SORT OF RELATED, because I fell on my way to donate blood…please consider donating blood to the Red Cross if you are able. The current shortage of blood is termed critical. I’ve been bombarded with emails requesting that I donate. I need to check with my doctor whether I can resume donating. By giving blood, you may save a life. Blood transfusions saved my mom’s life about a decade ago. I am grateful to those many many donors.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


39 Responses to “Homemade pizza is back on the menu”

  1. Woo hoo! Good news about your shoulder! I read your post about falling at the hospital (really?) and noted that you said back then that you were facing an 8-12 week recovery period. So it seems like you were a good patient and you are progressing well. Plus you had a good caregiver! That delicious-looking pizza will also help your healing! I bet your husband was thrilled to take that first luscious bite.

  2. Way to go on the improvement and you will continue to improve as you go through PT!!! That pizza looks delicious – Yum 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy

  3. I’m so glad you are feeling better and that pizza looks awesome! Yumm!

  4. Littlesundog Says:

    I am SO glad you mentioned the need for naps and rest during your early recovery. If people only realized how important rest is for the healing process. I’m so happy that you are to this point… finally. It seem like forever, doesn’t it? Physical therapy will be no walk in the park either, but I know you are ready and you will tough through this. You have great incentive! 🙂

  5. Charles Hess Says:

    just a note to tell you that I really appreciate your blog. I live in Anaheim California and my wife and I ( deceased ) moved out here in 1972. I am from Redwood Falls and we had students from Vesta. Did you go to Redwood schools? I graduated in 1958.

    • Thank you, Charles. It’s always wonderful to “meet” someone from Redwood County. To answer your question, yes, I went to school in Redwood Falls during seventh and eighth grades. Then Vesta consolidated with Wabasso, where I finished out my last four years and graduated in 1974. If you had any students with the last name of Kletscher or Bode, they would be relatives of mine.

      Do you ever get back to Minnesota? Or have family here?

      • Charles Hess Says:

        just a note to tell you that I really appreciate your blog. I live in Anaheim California and my wife and I ( deceased ) moved out here in 1972. I am from Redwood Falls and we had students from Vesta. Did you go to Redwood schools? I graduated in 1958.

        We didn’t have any Kletscher or Bode. My inlaws lived in Vesta, Maasch, Rikke and Warnke. I have one brother living in Redwood Falls and just lost my brother Wally and sister Linda this year, so I came back last October, Feb for my brothers funeral and couldn’t make my sisters funeral.

        I have to go back to Minnesota every year and load up on Nut Goodies and Minnesota summer sausage and Grain Belt Beer. I meet with my child hood buddy for lunch when I get back there. I’ve had a few problems with the TSA and my summer sausage; I had the dogs checking me out. This last time in Feb I went to DeGideo’s for a hot dago. They are really good.

        I’ve always wanted to move back to Minneapolis but I only have one son so that wouldn’t work.

        I really like your blog and sometimes I see something where I have been and it brings back memories.

        So long and the best to you and your husband.

      • Charles, thanks for the additional info about your family connections in Redwood County. I am sorry about the recent loss of your brother and sister. That is a lot of grief to handle in a short time frame.

        One of my classmates and friends was a Maasch. Her dad’s name was Bud (not sure of his real name, but I think Werner) and they lived west of Vesta.

        I appreciate your praise of my blog and delight in being able to take you back to familiar places in Minnesota.

  6. Almost Iowa Says:

    Glad you are on the mend (Ooooooooo, pizza).

  7. Valerie Says:

    That pizza looks soooo good! What a great tradition for Friday nights!

    I’m so glad to hear you have noticed your healing progress and that you continue to get better and better. Our bodies are amazing, aren’t they?

    • We’ve had homemade pizza every Friday evening (almost) for decades. I’ve advanced from making the crust with a package mix to making my own from scratch and from canned pizza sauce to homemade sauce. I make three types: Italian sausage, BBQ chicken and Buffalo chicken, depending on what I have available for toppings.

      I had my first physical therapy session this morning and it went well. The therapist was pleased with how far he could move my arm. I was pleased with his massaging of shoulder/arm muscles that need loosening after months of holding them tight in a reflexive protective mode. I now have several new exercises to do at home. Yes, our bodies are amazing.

  8. You are a trooper and OMG….this pizza looks amazing! Sadly, I can honestly say I never made homemade pizza. This is surely making me want to give it a try very soon!

    • I want to get well and regain my muscle strength. So I am working hard to get there. I just finished my first physical therapy session this morning. It felt so good and lifted my spirits to know that I am now into this phase of my healing.

      Homemade pizza is easy to make, although it takes some time. I will have to post my crust and sauce recipes some time.

  9. Dan Traun Says:

    Glad to hear you are well on your way to a full recovery. The pizza looks delicious. Cyndie & I can hardly wait for the tomato factory to start producing. Love fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden for toppings. What do you do for crust? Pre-made, or mix or homemade?

    • Homemade Pizza Crust:

      1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
      1 teaspoon white sugar
      1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
      1 cup whole wheat flour
      1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
      2 Tablespoons olive oil
      1 teaspoon salt

      In a medium bowl, mix yeast and sugar and dissolve in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

      Mix flours and salt together in a separate bowl and stir, along with the oil, into the yeast mixture. Shape into a ball and let rest for 5 minutes.

      Turn dough onto a lightly-floured surface and pat and roll into a round the size of your pizza pan. I then lightly flour the top surface and fold into fourths to transfer to a greased (with olive oil spray) Air Bake (with holes) pizza pan. I brush off some of the excess flour before transferring to pan.

      Bake for 3 minutes in a 450-degree oven, remove, spread sauce on top and then add toppings (except cheese). Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle on mozzarella cheese. Return to oven and bake for about an additional 3 minutes.


      I bet your pizzas are delicious with all those fresh ingredients. Do you make your crust from scratch?

  10. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    This is great news to hear. It’s nice to be able to function as normal as possible

  11. Susan Ready Says:

    One of the things I enjoy about your blogs is how your postings seem to incite conversations with many threads of opinions/comments. Interesting reading.
    Your pizza looks amazing and a tall glass of your favorite craft beer would be the perfect accompaniment to celebrate your recovery!.

  12. I’m glad to hear your shoulder is doing well, you’re even up to making your own pizza crust. As far as putting a top on. I have a stick, with a hook similar to a old metal coat hangers screwed into the end of it. I put my arms in the sleeve holes first, while sitting in my chair, then raise the neck of the shirt up over my head with the hook on the stick, since my arms don’t go up very high. It should help you get your tops on while your arm is recovering. They have the stick at medical supply stores for about $29.99. Would be good for taking the cloths from the old Maytag too!

    • Leland, thank you for your tip, but since writing about this, I am now able to put tops on and take them off, if the fabric stretches enough. Right arm in sleeve first, then over the neck and then left arm in sleeve. I do the reverse to remove a tee. I felt so good the first time I accomplished this.

      I admire you and your positive attitude and truly appreciate your sense of humor.

  13. Jackie Says:

    I’m wondering if we can do a homemade pizza at the cabin????? Glad you are progressing in your recovery. You are such a compliant patient, which will benefit your healing in the long run.

    • Homemade pizza is pretty easy. I’ll have to send you recipes sometime, in addition to the crust recipe posted in the comments section here.

      I see my ortho doctor tomorrow. Hopefully he will have good news, like I can ditch my sling at night and I can sleep on my side. Lack of sleep remains an issue as does some soreness. I hope I haven’t been doing too much this past week. I’ll find out tomorrow.

  14. YUM.
    Pizza and healing…
    you may be starting a trend, dear!
    So happy to hear you are feeling better))) from Duluth. xx

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