Tag: Tomatoes

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!

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A New Cookbook

A New Cookbook

My family should be afraid, very afraid…I got an new cookbook. In years past, a new cookbook for me meant fun new recipes to try and delicious meals for everyone for days on end. Now, it is different. My new cookbook embraces my new eating style. My son is ready to stay with friends, permanently.

img_3435.jpgTonight I made my first recipe.

Better Burgers

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They actually came out really well. Not as good as a big, juicy, charbroiled beef burger, but if that’s what you want, well, this blog is NOT for you. They did have a slightly meaty texture from the mushrooms and the walnuts added a little crunch.

Here is the recipe.  If you look closely you can see that I have already wrinkled the page by getting it wet. All my cookbooks are like that. I consider it a testament to the fact that they are used. *sigh*

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To begin, I used the food processor to chop 24 oz of mushrooms, which came out to roughly 6 cups when done.

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Then I mixed the oats, chopped walnuts and the seasoned tomato paste mixture in a separate bowl.

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It smelled a bit like traditional meatloaf while I was mixing it up.

I used fresh spinach (about 1/2 a bag) instead of frozen, then rough chopped it and added in at the end of cooking the mushrooms.

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Then, I combined everything.

IMG_3428One thing that still trips me out, when cooking vegan, you can sample as you go and adjust as needed. Not something you can do when cooking with raw eggs and meat! I found the mixture to be a bit bland so I added an additional teaspoon of garlic powder, onion powder, Himilayan Pink salt and black pepper in addition to the spices called for.

When forming the patties, I followed the directions exactly, and using 1/3 cup mix to form the patties I actually came out with 12, not 8.

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Haha, the little guy in the top left corner got a little short changed, but I digress.  They held together nicely, although I have to say the initial flip (half way through baking) was a little precarious. I almost ruined the first one trying to flip carefully. The second one I jabbed the spatula under it like a short order cook at the dinner rush and it behaved perfectly.

While I would not say it was the best thing ever, it WAS good. I served mine as a lettuce wrap, smothered in guacamole, with fresh tomato, red onion, a liberal sprinkle of Mrs. Dash Table Blend, and some spicy mustard.

A very acceptable dinner and I will be making it again.

Now I’m tempted to try one of the desserts…

 

 

Winning at Losing

Winning at Losing

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This evening, I hosted an appetizer party at my house. I served Potstickers with Hoisin Sauce, Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara and Ranch, a Sushi platter, Mini Quiche and Virgin Mojitos. I didn’t eat any of it. I wasn’t even tempted!

 

In a nod to my newfound veganism, I also made cucumber, hummus and tomato hors d’oeuvres and a fresh fruit tray. Those I enjoyed heartily!

What a change for me! Usually, I would have nibbled and snacked my way through the preparations, fueled by coffee and little else. Then, I would have had a plate with my guests and then snacked on the leftovers during clean up. Especially because I am an emotional eater and this week has been busy and a little overwhelming. I would have eaten my feelings into oblivion.

Instead, I had plenty of energy all day, even though I never went near a cup of coffee. I cooked for others and, for the first time, didn’t feel sad that I wasn’t going to be eating any of it. I did not feel deprived. I am starting to rock this vegan thing.

My palate has completely changed. What I used to find slightly bland and tasteless, I now find bursting with fresh, clean flavors. Fruit tastes sweeter, savory items have more depth of flavor.  I have to say, I am surprised at how completely delicious simple things can be.

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I enjoyed these simple little hors d’oeuvres so much I will be making them for quick, cool dinners this summer. They are so easy! All you need is:

1 package grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1 small tub hummus

1 large cucumber

Using a potato peeler, shave long strips of skin off the cucumber, leaving it striped. Slice cucumber into 1/4″ thick rounds. Place on serving plate or tray.

Spoon hummus into a pastry bag fitted with a decorating tip of your choice or spoon into a sandwich bag and cut one corner off.  Squeeze about a quarter size amount of hummus onto cucumber rounds.

Top with halved grape tomatoes.

Boom. Done. Amazing.

PS – 24.5 pounds gone and my pain continues to diminish. I can get used to this winning at losing.