The Pinnacle

November 20, 2013

Ya’ll,  I have reach the pinnacle of vegan cooking.

pizza 2

Homemade Vegan Pizza.  Worth eating.  I know.

pizza 1

Forgive the awful cell phone pictures, but this was just too good not to share.  Honest to goodness Mom & Pop pizza  feel and taste to it.  I’ve made this pizza twice now.  I followed the recipe for this pizza dough both times.  The first I did a nice over night dough rise (and made my own sauce, per her instructions).  The second time, I threw it together on a Sunday afternoon and used up the last of some store bought pizza sauce we had in the fridge.   I added some slices of Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheese and kept my fingers crossed that the cheese would melt a bit (a common Vegan cheese problem).

The words “wait…which one is mine” and “aw man, yours looks better” were heard in my kitchen that night.  Glorious glorious words.    I think the secret was putting the cheese in the oven when it was 500 degrees 🙂  But seriously, that dough?  Magical.  I’ve already turned a few people onto it, while becoming a total addict myself.   There is literally nothing I have made and/or adapted from Smitten Kitchen that has not tasted amazing.  I forsee many.many.MANY nights of pizza in my future.

xo

Good moods all around!

October 12, 2012

Warning: I am in a ridiculously awesome mood.  From a good workout last night, ruining dinner, then saving dinner by improvising (SUCH a great feeling), the O’s coming through and making this a 5 game series against the Yankees (lets go Os!) all the way through to this morning, an early morning feel good workout (Bodypump!), a bright and chipper outfit and a cup of decaf sitting in front of me. Oh.  And its FRIDAY.  No big.

That’s a lot of chipper so lets take it a few at a time shall we?

Last night:

Since I’m not actively training for a race (does the Color run count?), I’m trying to focus on workouts that I want to do rather than the workouts on my training schedule (such freedom!).  It took a few weeks to break out of the routine and the mental bashing if I didn’t get in a sweaty hard and fast run 3X a week, but now I’m in a much better place when it comes to workouts and I’m looking forward to them again.  Earlier this week I hopped on the treadmill for a hilly 30′ walk and hit up my yoga class on Wednesday night. Yesterday, coming home from work I wanted a workout, but my knee has been a little sore lately, so I started off with 20 minutes of hills and resistance on the bike before switching over to the treadmill for 10 minutes of incline walking, 5 minutes of running and a 5 minute cool down.  Was it a full 40 minutes of solid running? Nope.  Did I feel great at the end? Yup.

So.  Lets talk what else happened last night.  Dinner happened.  My original plan was to make some stuffed poblano peppers.  In theory it worked, but I left them sit in the oven a little too long (oops) and since my husband had a rough day at work, I opted to admit defeat on this one and offer to run out and pick him up a frozen pizza.  The tough thing about eating Vegan is that you’re a little limited on frozen pizza options at the smaller grocery shops.  Womp Womp.  So instead of grabbing a frozen vegan burrito loaded with salt, I opted for an improvisation of my semi-failed dinner.  What I ended up with was a delicious version of a personal pizza (vegan) and used up some of dinner (the rest for lunch today!).  Not only did I have a meal that even B said looked pretty good, I felt pretty awesome about not wasting food.

Has anyone seen or tried the foldit breads from Flatouts?  I grabbed the 5 grain flax variety which are 99 calories, deliciously soft and vegan! Perfect for sandwiches or you know…failed dinner fixes.  I just spread some tomato paste on one, chopped up one of the stuffed poblanos and threw it on top.  Into the oven to crisp up (which it did perfectly, I might add) and boom!  DIY impromptu vegan pizza. 

I finished off the night with one of these puppies.   I can and have made my own, but these are like a slightly richer version of a reeses.  And sometimes convenience just wins out.  So good. 

This morning:

I had my usual 5:45 Bodypump + CRX workout class.  It wasn’t as crowded as usual this morning, which made it nice for some more interaction with the other girls. 

Afterwards I felt so great that I thought about it long and hard and opted to indulge in a cup of decaf coffee for the morning. 

You may think this is no big deal, but here’s the thing.  Since last Tuesday, I’ve been trying to filter out the coffee and caffeine consumption, trying to learn to make the distinction between wanting the coffee and being addicted to caffeine.  Surprisingly ( to me) the detox hasn’t actually been that difficult.  I went for green tea last Tuesday and switched to herbal teas for the rest of the week.  I haven’t really missed the coffee OR caffeine (and mint tea is so envigorating anyhow!).  I indulged in a small cup on the weekend and it definitely made me a bit more jittery than usual.  So this morning, after not craving coffee at all, the weather was crisp, I was in a great mood and just felt the need for something alittle richer and cozier.  But I wasn’t tired, I was wide awake and I in no way wanted the caffeine.  So with all of that in mind, I felt great in indulging in a steamy cup of decaf (who AM I?!) with some creamy hemp milk.  Its the perfect way to jump start my weekend!  Well, that and a bright pink scarf

bright colors make me smile!

and this adorable face:

Seriously.  Kills me every time. 

Speaking of weekends, I’ve got a semi-busy one planned with an evening of kitchen goodies, baseball games and a day trip up to Lancaster on the books.  How about you??  Anyone else trying to cut back the caffeine and coffee?

xo

Beginning and an End

September 4, 2012

Does it feel like Fall yet?

No?

Me either (but I hope everyone had a great Holiday weekend!)

Regardless, Labor day has come and gone with a glorious 3 day weekend in between.   We spent an enjoyable weekend with friends, but the weekend started and ended in one of my favorite places – the kitchen.

As promised, we started the weekend with these beauties (you can find the recipe here).   These are the first vegan muffins I have ever made that actually LOOKED like muffins and had a consistency that my husband didn’t wrinkle his nose at.  It was my first foray into making my own oat flour and the result was 100% worth it, I think.  It was also the first time I made a carrot puree to use as part of the base.  I really enjoyed the result and think its a great way to replace an expensive can of pumpkin, especially if you’re in a pinch.

We snacked on these before (ok and during) the drive up to Philly and for breakfast the rest of the weekend.  I recommend eating them with a swipe of earth balance.  Yummmm.

And of course, as all things, our holiday weekend had to come to an end.  I had a productive Monday, working on a deadline, some chores, preparing for the work week and getting in an at home weight lifting session (bonus!).   The night had a perfect ending of college football and some homemade pizza.

 

One of the things I want to focus on for the month of September is less processed foods and more whole foods.  There’s nothing wrong with snagging a veggie burger from the freezer on those nights you just don’t feel like cooking – but I’ve been reaching for that door a little more often than I’d like to admit lately.  Enter this pizza recipe from Let them Eat Vegan (click

here for the recipe).  Pizza was on the menu for tonight and I wanted to try another go at a Thai “chicken” pizza.  Normally I would’ve just thrown on a veggie chick’n breast or tofu.  But I came across this recipe using chick peas and even though my love for tofu will never die, I thought I’d give it a try.

I modified the recipe a bit for the things I had and included some spinach.   I wish I would’ve made more sauce, but the flavors were  all there.  I think these would be fun as mini pizzas on English muffins, using pineapple rings instead of chunks.  You could even slice the peppers in rings instead of trips or chopped like I did here.

I’ve got a fun week of recipes coming up that try to avoid using overly processed meat substitutes.

Anyone else have any new goals (healthy or otherwise) for September?

xo

 

 

Ugh.  Despite starting out right with a great body pump class, yesterday was a frustrating Monday.   I spent the day being easily annoyed and riding through a roller coaster of emotions that are pretty par for the course these days, given a tough situation at work.

I’m hoping Tuesday has some better things in store.  Its a rainy morning here in Baltimore, which I’m typically ok with – gets me more in the mood to keep my head down and work.  I’m still feeling the twinges of yesterday’s annoyances, so I’m planning to keep quiet and make my way through the day.  An easy 3 miler after work may be just what the doctor ordered…

But enough about that, lets talk about love.

B and I are undeniably in love….with pizza.    Usually when we have nothing to make pizza with.

The other night we had a serious craving for pizza and were without pizza dough, sauce AND cheese (vegan or otherwise) Although the mister nobly offered to run to the grocery store to get said ingredients or even just a frozen one, I was determined not to spend more money than we already had on groceries for the week.    So I did the next best thing…

 I improvised.

The result was a hearty and satisfying , Rustic deep dish style pizza.  Saving money has never tasted so good!

Rustic deep dish Pizza (Vegan)

Crust: Vegan drop biscuit recipe (I got mine from The Joy of Vegan Baking cookbook), spread out on a greased pie plate.

Sauce: 

1 can petite diced tomatoes, with liquid

2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional)

1 can rinsed small white beans

1/4 cup dry Quinoa, cooked per instructions (I used red quinoa for this)

Directions:    

Cook quinoa according to package instructions.

While the Quinoa is cooking, simmer together the remaining filling ingredients and spice to taste with Oregano, salt, pepper and a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar.

Once the Quinoa is cooked (al dente is best!), add it to the rest of the simmering sauce until heated through.

Assemble the “pizza”  by topping the biscuit batter with the sauce and baking per the biscuit instructions.  Baking quinoa is one of my new-found favorite things to do, because the quinoa gets a little crunch and crispy on the top.

Eat it with a fork (or your hands!). There’s something so satisfying about fulfilling a craving by being creative.    Like I said, this pizza is filling and hearty and I can just imagine farmers out on the country side eating a slice or two of this to keep themselves warm and full after a hard day of work in the fall.

Enjoy!

xo

Its true…

Vegans  can eat pizza…

Really. Good. pizza.  Hellooooo Soya Cheese.

 Vegans can also eat some pretty dang tasty Chocolate Chip cookies

Man.  Who knew Wednesday nights could be so delicious??

xo