Tag: Mushrooms

All I Wanted Was Pizza

Ah, Pizza. Filled with gluten, cheese and meat. So lucious… So NOT a part of my healthy eating plan.

Last week I was craving pizza something fierce, but actual pizza smells gross to me now. The greasy cheese smell actually turns my stomach a bit. Such a sad state of affairs. I went to my trusted standby, Pinterest, and pulled a couple of different recipes to come up with something that fit the bill. The result was actually very tasty!


I combined several recipes to come up with the finished product. The first recipe was for the crust. Vie de La Vegan’s Lentil Pizza Crust.  It was actually very simple and delicious.

I placed 2 cups of dry red lentils in my VitaMix and blended to form a fine flour. I sifted the final results to keep the bigger, unground pieces out of the crust.

I seasoned the flour with 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp Italian seasoning…

… although my lovely glass bottle of Organic Italian Seasoning shattered on the floor, because I am awesome like that. *sigh* I had to use a leftover plastic bottle of Walmart brand I had left in the back of my cupboard. Not ideal, but whatever!
I mixed up the dry ingredients with 2 cups of water.I placed the batter on a hot griddle and swirled it flat with the back of a spoon.

3 minutes on one side and another 2 on the other until they were done.I set them aside and made some Pumpkin Seed Pesto. Pulse 1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) with 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves, 2 cloves garlic, 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast, and salt and pepper to taste, in the blender. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup olive oil, but I only used about one Tablespoon and the rest water. Blend but don’t liquefy.

Be sure to use fresh basil. You won’t get the same flavor using dried. I had to strip my little kitchen garden plant bare. Poor little thing!

Once it is blended you will have a nice creamy pesto. It is actually much more delicious than I had hoped!  Spoon directly onto the pre-cooked lentil pizza dough. I topped mine with fresh, thinly sliced tomatoes and sliced olives. I wasn’t sure how everyone would feel about the pesto, and since I had some leftover marinara sauce with sautéed mushrooms from the night before, I got a little creative and made a second batch with Cashew Cheese and olives.

The cashew cheese does require a bit of forethought, since the cashews need to be soaked overnight (or at least two hours) before you blend them, but I usually have cashews presoaked in my fridge since I use them so often.  The recipe says you can also boil them for 10 minutes to soften them, but it seems like that might kill some of the nutrients and I am all about the nutrients! To each his own.

Blend 1/2 cup soaked cashews (drained), 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (I prefer the vinegar and in fact used 1 Tbsp.), 1 1/2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. garlic and 1/2 tsp pepper in a high speed blender until smooth. You can add a bit of water if needed to get it to blend properly. Pour the mixture into a pan and place over medium heat. Stir until mixture becomes a sticky, cheese-like texture. It doesn’t take long. 

Assemble the pizzas.


Place the pizzas in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until heated through.

We actually found the best way to eat them was a combination of the red sauce and the pesto with the cheese and toppings. It was really tasty!

A small side note that really isn’t so small for me; the end of this month marks 5 months of healthy eating. I am down 43 pounds and feeling great.

I know how much this has helped me and I sincerely hope it has been some encouragement to you, too.

Here’s to health!

The Learning Curve

What a strange journey this has been so far…. I have learned quite a bit about myself in the these last three months. The highlights?

  1. Soy hates me
  2. I hate nutritional yeast
  3. I can do this

I am bummed about the soy. It removes more than half of the recipes that are labeled “vegan.” It also makes eating out super hard, but whatever. I would rather ditch soy than feel like a homicidal maniac for the week it takes to clear my system.

I am also a little bummed about nutritional yeast, which is another staple of the vegan diet. Looking for cheesy flavor? Add nutritional yeast. I don’t have anything specific against it, other than it reminds me of my first desperate weeks trying to find things that worked. I made myself a Dijon dressing about 3 days in that was heavy on that particular ingredient and I used it for salad dressing and for veggie dip. Now, whenever I get a whiff of it, I get a knot in my stomach. Brains are weird.

The most important thing I have learned, though, is that I can do this! I have become more resourceful as I go and food choices are becoming easier and less stressful.

Take this evening, for example. Today is my day off, so I usually try to make something a bit more time and labor intensive than on the nights I work. Those nights are the nights I save for meals that take half hour or less, because traffic sucks and I get home later than I would like.

I was planning dinner when my daughter came downstairs and asked if we could dye her hair. She leaves for camp next week and it has become something of a tradition to kick of the beginning of summer by heading to camp with crazy hair. This year she chose a nice shade of raspberry. It takes about 2 hours for the whole process.  Dinner be hanged, I have a colorful quest to fulfill!

So now, her hair is done and off she goes to piano lessons and I am stuck wondering what I should make for dinner. I have a bit more than an hour. I hit up Pinterest. I find Creamy French Lentils with Mushrooms and Kale.  Perfect. I have Trader Joe’s Lentils in the fridge so I can skip the 20 minute lentil cooking step.


I sauté 2 medium shallots in water, then add a Tablespoon or so of fresh garlic.


Then I add 2 lbs. chopped mushrooms and cooked until tender.

A splash (2 tsp or so) of white wine vinegar and just a pinch (1 tsp.) of Tamari (soy hates me, remember?) Then about 3 cups of vegetable broth along with the whole package of pre-cooked lentils. 

I added some pink Himalayan salt, pepper and a bunch of spices. I didn’t measure but here is an approximation:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp crushed fennel
  • 1/2 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


I simmered about 15 minutes, then took 1/2 the mixture and put it in my VitaMix and blended until smooth. I poured it back into the pot. 

I added 2/3 cup of unsweetened rice milk and a small container of baby kale. 

I simmered until the kale was wilted and served it  up. YUM! For next time, the family asked me to please leave the kale out, it was a bit too bitter for them but the lentils were good and everyone agreed it could go into the regular dinner rotation.

Ah, it’s good to feel a bit of confidence in the kitchen, again.

Oh, and just for the record, I am down 34 pounds. Yay, me!