My cats are here to show me the way to inner bliss

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Let’s talk about cats.

Mark Twain once said, “Of all God’s creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat” (Notebook, 1894)… and how true this is. Cats are such enlightened little furry beings—we discussed this in my last post because Nosh definitely stares at me with his third eye. Definitely. What cat likes banana bread, lentil-apple sandwiches, and butternut squash pancakes unless he’s a guru?! Right. See?

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My cats share tidbits of enlightened wisdom with me every day. For instance… Obviously, inner peace can be achieved easily by a five hour nap on the heater vent, followed by a massive stretch and a round of kibble hockey… and then the search for a warm human to nap on for the next hour. And… repeat. Ohmmm. Inner peace.

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They also are excellent reminders to live in the moment. Mine always do. Picture this: I am cooking. In the kitchen. There are two pairs of eyes staring at me incessantly. Those eyes are very clearly saying: “In this moment, I want snacks. My kibble is in the laundry room. Why aren’t you walking over there? Snacks are for this moment. And then for the moment a moment from now. And then you will let me outside, and I will eat some bugs in a very enlightened manner to illustrate the interconnectedness of the universe”. You see how wise they are? It’s mind boggling.

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In the next life I’m coming back as a cat. A real cat, not just as a really bendy human with cat friends. Because that way I can achieve inner peace by napping for the majority of the day, eating a few bugs, and then finding a human to sleep on. That sounds like a pretty fabulous proposition, doesn’t it?!

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My cats do yoga and have kitty chakras. It’s okay, you’re allowed to be jealous.

In the short term, feel free to make this pizza and achieve a small measure of enlightened gastronomical wisdom. In a pinch (and in your lack of wise cat friends), it’ll do.

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Vegan Pizza on a Pumpkin Crust

This pizza surprised me! It came together quite fast, with things I had lurking around in the pantry. It was perfect for lunch and leftovers. The crust is gluten free (and can be nut free), made with pumpkin puree. The sauce is veggietastic and delicious—and vibrantly green! Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free (could be nut free with all cornmeal and no almond flour). Both crust and sauce loosely adapted from Wholehearted Eats, here!

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For the crust:

  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed+4 tbsp water
  • 3 c pumpkin puree (2 cans worth)
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 3/4 c garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/8 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • a few good grinds of black pepper
  • 1.25 tsp dried oregano

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 c raw cashews, soaked for at least 10 minutes and drained
  • 2 c raw spinach, packed
  • 1.5 c frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt

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Preheat oven to 425, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In  a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp ground flaxseed and 4 tbsp water. Set aside for the time being. In a large bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, almond flour, cornmeal, garbanzo bean flour, nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp flaxseed, sea salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir in soaked flax. Spread the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, making a roughly oblong-type shape (or not, whatever floats your boat) with edges a bit thicker than the middle. Bake for just about 30 minutes, until the center is set and the edges are just beginning to brown (you should be able to peel it off the parchment paper).

While the crust is baking, make the sauce! In a food processor, whirl together soaked cashews , spinach, peas, nutritional yeast, olive oil, basil, and salt. I highly suggest tasting and adjusting as you go, it’s much more fun that way. Puree until the sauce is chunk-free and smooth.

When the crust is done, spread sauce around evenly, and top with veggies of choice. I used sautéed arugula, bell peppers, and zucchini, but use whatever you have on hand. Bake for another 5 minutes, then let cool for a minute or two before slicing and serving. I found that a sprinkle of salted, roasted cashews added just the right crunch and made a nice garnish.

Leftovers store well and taste equally delicious the next day! I stored mine in a glass continuer in the fridge.

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The ginormous dinner rut, and what to do about it.

easy pizza!

Okay, so I’m on a roll. Now that I’m not thesising, I have to come up with SOME way to entertain myself, right?! Heaven forbid I should be bored between now and graduation. Psssh..

Anyyywayyy. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been in a dinner rut the size of the Grand Canyon. BUT. I’m slowly starting to scale the walls towards more variety! Huzzah! I mean, I do love my steamed veggie-protein-grain combo, but hey, let’s face it… that gets just a wee bit old after awhile. At least, I like to eat this combo in a variety of forms, say like a quinoa bowl, savory oats, or a quesadilla. All delicious, to be sure. But I was… bored. And still (until yesterday) thesising. Which meant that dinner kind of got the short end of the stick. I did, however, stumble upon a fast and tasty quesadilla alternative in my quest for variety… tortilla pizza! Genius idea, you’ll see. It’s like… insta pizza. Especially if you like the super thin crust variety.

That being said, today’s post isn’t really a recipe, per se, but is rather more of a suggestion. This recipe is great since it’s infinitely adaptable… all you really need is protein of some form, veggies, and whatever else you want… cheese is nice, of course. I plan to keep experimenting with topping variations, since this has become my new favorite quickie dinner!

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Tortilla Pizza!

Dreamed up by my hungry thesis-brain. Serves one!

  • Tortilla of choice
  • veggie variety
  • protein? If you want it… chicken is good, and so is sausage.
  • grated cheese of some form, however much depending on personal preference.
up close and personal

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly de-stickify a cookie sheet (I used a light smear of coconut oil). Place your tortilla of choice on the prepped cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. While the oven is heating/tortilla is baking, prep your toppings. For mine, I tend to steam a variety of veggies: usually mushrooms, bell peppers, and spinach, and use some form of animal protein, either chicken or chicken sausage. Cheese is up to you—I’ve used both cheddar and toscano, and both have been delicious.Top the pre-baked tortilla with toppings of choice, and bake for another 2 minutes, ish, until the cheese is melty and delicious. Slice and eat immediately while it’s gooey and warm. Mmmm.

The pizza in the photos was a combo of steamed veggies, Trader Joe’s chicken-apple sausage, and Syrah-soaked Toscano cheese. It was unbelievably delicious, which is what prompted me to share this. Before eating, I tossed on some cucumber for extra crunch.

Another fabby combo was steamed mushrooms, bell peppers, and spinach, Tillamook sharp cheddar, and chicken tossed with cinnamon and curry powder. That one was uglier though, so it didn’t get to star in the pictures… I fully intend on making a black bean version of this at some point in the very near future.

Yum yum yum :) Easy and delicious. And quick. Added bonus!

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I could easily have an affair with goat cheese.

goat cheese=food of the gods.

So yesterday, after doing MEGA brain pushups (thanks, thesis), I. Was. STARVING. Because researching and finding sources takes a lot of brain power, despite being assisted by the wonderful goddess of research, our research librarian Doreen (LOVE  HER!). But. All this came to fruition, and I now have a much beefier works cited. Hooray! Moving right along…

Besides, it had been a long day, due to a computer virus (who invents these, anyway?!) that derailed my initial thesis plans… and it was Wednesday… and this week needs to be OVER! But thankfully it almost is because tomorrow is FRIDAY, wheee! Anyway. Suffice it say that I was so in need of some delicious dinner with my roomie.

Which is why this happened.

YUM.

And I am SO GLAD it did.

I mean, really. How can you go wrong with goat cheese?! Answer: you can’t. Like I’ve said before, if I could marry a food, goat cheese would totally be it. But I can’t say I would be entirely faithful in that relationship… I do have an ongoing (and very committed fling) with peanut butter. And chia seeds. See? Picking one would be waaay too hard. There would have to be significant bribery involved, if I was to stay with just one food.

But this. This is a match made in gastronomical heaven: goat cheese and sweet potato! Just trust me: it’s aaaa-mazing. And on pizza?! Send me! Besides, I was even able to sneak some chia seeds into my pizza crust, which meant that three of my favorite foods were all being pally together. Gastrowin! Besides, like I said, I was bloody starving, which meant that something along the lines of a sock would have tasted good, had I cared to try it (I didn’t. For the record).  But this pizza… mmmm. So good. So good that Kira and I had no trouble polishing off the entire thing in one sitting. Because we’re awesome like that. Like bosses!

mmm, beta carotene, antioxidants, and goat cheeseee

Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese and Kale Pizza (With or without sausage)

Makes 1 pizza! Served 2 massively hungry girlies in their 20s. Adapted from here.

The dough Kira and I used is the same as the last time I posted pizza on here. I had kind of a failed rise, since our apartment was probably a bit chilly for the yeasties… next time, I’ll let it rise in a warm oven. But I liked the way this one turned out, very much like a flat bread pizza.

For the dough:

The same recipe as before, here! Except this time, I added about a tablespoon and a half of chia seeds. Excellent choice, I will definitely be doing this again.

For the pizza!

  • 1 monster-sized sweet potato
  • 3 tbsp soymilk (or regular)
  • 1 tbsp dried sage (fresh if you have it! I didn’t)
  • 1 c chopped kale
  • 1/2 a large onion
  • 1 chicken sausage, browned and cut up*
  • one small log of goat cheese (5 oz), to your cheese-y preference.
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  • one pizza crust (no… really?!)

*Vegetarian without the sausage! It would be good either way.

waiting to be eaten

Preheat the oven to 400. While the oven is heating, roll out the pizza dough super thin, and place it on the cornmeal dusted baking sheet (or whatever you’re using). Brush a light bit of olive oil over the crust.

Cook the sweet potato. I like to do mine for 4-5 minutes, depending on size, in the microwave. Roasting is fine too. When cool, scoop the lovely orange insides into a small bowl. Mash! Add in soymilk and sage, and a bit of salt. Keep mashing, until smoothyish and combined. Spread this evenly all over the pizza crust, and then lick the bowl clean. You know you want to…I might have…

In a saute pan over medium, heat olive oil. When oil is hot, toss in onions, and saute until they begin to caramelize. Mine was about 15 minutes. When the onions are mostly done, dump in kale, and saute until soft and wilted.Brown a sausage, or two, in a small skillet. Chop. Add to kale/onion pan.

Spread onions/kale/sausage, and goat cheese over the sweet potato goodness. We used probably about 4 ounces of cheese, somewhere close to 3/4 of the log. Up to you, depending on your cheese preferences! We like cheese, and this was perfect. Insert pizza into oven, and bake for about 12 minutes, until kale is looking crisp and the crust is nicely browned on the edges. Devour, preferably while hot. Which means you should just eat the whole thing, clearly… what good is such a small piece for leftovers?!