Tag Archives: basil

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

Oh boy. It’s a wonder I’m always so upbeat when you look at the music I listen to on a daily basis. For instance, tonight was three-in-a-row of Three Days Grace. Actually, it’s a segment of the radio called the “menage a trois,” but we’re still talking about music here, folks!

It definitely made me drive a little bit faster, but don’t quote me on that. It could have just as equally been the dinner I was planning that made me a little bit lead-footed!

Since I had “dinner for lunch” I was dreaming up a pesto-tempeh+hummus+artichoke panini on homemade spelt bread, but I’m not here to talk about that.

I’m here to talk about “dinner for lunch.” AKA last night’s dinner.

If you guessed pizza, you were right! Though I’m not gonna lie…I loved this last night, as did my mom, and we both enjoyed it for lunch today – I definitely felt a little inferior when I went from writing my post last night, to reading Angela’s pizza post.

so lets just call it a flatbread pizza. I’ve never made “real” pizza dough before, and thought you were supposed to roll it out pretty thin. I also had no idea how to form the outer crust…so I just left it, thinking it’d puff up.

I’m not complaining, but it didn’t. I like a thin crust, anyways – and this is just crispy-chewy enough, but next time I’d definitely roll the edges for a bit more “outer crust.”

Well, that or I’d just spread the toppings further to the edge.

Yah, I think that sounds like a better idea…

Ironically, I was thisclose to buying Daiya cheese at the co-op the other day. It was the first time I’d seen it – they must have just stocked it – but I could not justify paying nearly $6 for the bag. Just like I did with the coconut milk kefir, I was standing there in the middle of the cheese section, staring at it, going back and forth as to whether I wanted to try it.

Nah, I finally decided…I don’t use cheese that much anyway. I’d try it once just to try it, and then be satisfied. No sense in spending $6 just to try it.

Last night, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t buy it – wouldn’t it have been fun to try it on a pizza, no less?!

But after I bit into this, disappointment ceased and both myself and my mom fell in love.

Complete, utter adoration, really. You should try it!

Dough (inspired from Moosewood’s Low Fat Favorites)

  • 1/2 T. active dry yeast
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1/2 c. very warm water
  • 1/4 c. quick oats
  • 1/4 c. unbleached bread flour
  • 1 t. basil oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 (generous) t. dried basil
  • 3/4 to 1 c. white whole wheat flour

Proof the yeast: combine with the sugar and warm water in a large bowl. Set aside until bubbles rise to surface and yeast is dissolved – 5-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine your dry ingredients.

When yeast is frothy, add in dry ingredients and oil. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Oil a medium-sized bowl and place the dough in it, turning once to coat. Cover and set in a warm area to rise, about an hour or until about doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare topping:

Humnut cheese (a la Mae)

  • 1/4 c. garlic hummus
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 2 t. yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • water, just a splash, to thin

Combine all, adding just enough water to  make it easily spreadable, but not runny. Set aside.

Eggplant-Basil Tomato Topping

  • 1/2 of a medium eggplant, cubed
  • 1/4 of a large red pepper, diced
  • 1/3 c. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, mashed
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all, set aside.

When the dough has risen, punch down once. Turn out onto floured surface and knead a few times. Roll out into a thin circle, and place on an oiled baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Form a bit of a larger crust around the outside, and cover for ten minutes.

Spread on the cheesy-hummus sauce and then the eggplant-basil-tomato topping.

Bake in a preaheated 450* oven for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the top with some more fresh basil and feast! I wish it wasn’t all gone, it was that good.

And check at how freaking handsome Teddie is in this picture:

What. a. muffin.

Also – thanks to everyone for the input on “nutrition trackers.” I think I’ll give nutrition data a look! Aaand, I might take a “night off” tomorrow – I have a senior portrait to shoot in the afternoon, and still have some I’m working on from this weekend. I gotta boogie!

What’s your favorite pizza topping?


Filed under cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, recipe


Whew – I almost had a meltdown today.

As in “ee gads my computers dying I’m going to lose all the senior portraits I haven’t backed up yet oh my god how am I going to explain that to these people whatamigonnado.”

...but at least there were gingerbread waffles to kickstart the day!

You see, it was right in the middle of a great downward dog that my computer decided it hated itself and wanted to die.

*insert panic*

*insert trying helplessly to eradicate the virus-trojan-whathaveyou before I needed to leave to shoot another senior portrait*

*insert thinking of all of the worst-case-scenarios: I would be left with no computer, no photoshop, and none of the portraits I’ve already done*

But, hey! None of that happened and I’m here now. Safely blogging from my usual computer. With all of my pictures. And photoshop.

I decided to waste no time and just brought Mr. Laptop straight to the computer doctor. Which sort of gives me the creeps. I mean – what isn’t on people’s computers these days? It makes you wonder if they get a little nosey, you know? I mean…I told him I was afraid to do anything because I had a ton of really important pictures on there.

As I was leaving, I thought to myself “he’s probably going to think I’m talking about all the food pictures and think I’m really weird.” Especially because I have an “I heart Larabar” sticker right on the top of it. True story – scored it from Katie, actually!

To make a long story short, these gingerbread waffles were really good, and he fixed my computer a lot faster than I thought he would. (He said tomorrow, initially.) Since I shot another portrait this morning, as I mentioned, this means I had no time to go through them this afternoon, so this’ll be aquickie from me! That and, I did a lot of reading for my online classes so now I just need to complete online assignments and stuff.

I was not meant to read very many blogs this week, apparently! I promise the insanity will end soon – I don’t think I have any portraits this weekend!

And to add to that – I think this week is a pretty good example of “healthy does not = time consuming.”

Needless to say – with all that pessimism I was displaying, you can surely imagine my excitement when I saw a package waiting for me when I arrived home. Mo, this so brightened my day!

I am already obsessed with date syrup. So good!! I also got a kick out of the fact that the dates listed the entire pack as the serving size. I just imagined myself plopping down with a fork and a knife and going at them! I think this is definitely a reason as good as any other to make date cinnamon rolls 😉

And I have never heard of this…yellow powder…before, but am so interested to try it! Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what it’s called because when I ripped the tape off, I ripped the label off :X Mo…?!

Side note: my mom was a little sketched out by the random yellow container with no label sitting on the spice counter, and even moreso when I said it was sent to me by one of my foodie friends. Maybe she thinks your poisoning me or something.

This green monster was just like banana soft serve – couldn’t even taste the spinach, and had the same texture as the banana soft serve!

And I did some baking to calm my nerves. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to bake for myself – so I turned to baking for work!

I ended up getting a good arm workout out of the ordeal, too! It was nice making something “normal” (in mom terms – to me normal is the stuff I usually bake!). Normal is always pretty, isn’t it?!

I mean, look at those crackles! You don’t get those pretty cracks with just anything.

As a side note, ss it weird that “normal” is still vegan? Bahah…

I used Veganomicon’s “Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies” recipe – which you can find in the book, or here. I added dark chocolate chips for the choco fiends at work 😉 I really wanted to add walnuts but then decided not to use any of my precious walnuts 😉

These were really fun to make…and hopefully to eat, too! I tried one and think their texture is impeccable, and ironically, that’s what my mom said, too. Well, she didn’t say impeccable, just raved that they had great texture.  Apparently, I just like to use the term impeccable lately.

I put all that basil to work, too – Veganomicon’s Sweet Basil Pesto Tapenade! Clickie here. I used date syrup rather than maple syrup, though – had to! I reduced the oil a bit, too, and didn’t have any lemon.

And last thing I made was cheater baked beans. (Click)

I hadn’t made them in a while, and forgot how much I love them! They were so perfect inside a little roasted sunshine squash.

I really delved into reading for nutrition, too. This week is on fats! Some very interesting reading on saturated fats/trans/cholesterol/total fats. I was really interested on their input that coconut oil is highly saturated, even moreso than butter…which, you would think would make it worse for you, which really questioned by research about coconut oil being good for you. Basically, fats are essential for energy and wellbeing but it’s still important to not overdue it and make sure you’re taking in the right kind, just like everything in your diet! But, don’t think fish oil pills are the cure-all…in fact, you might want to be careful and do a little research into the maker of your fish oil pills if you do take them. If you get enough omega-3s from your diet, you’ll want to be aware of the fact that too much may suppress immune functions. Additionally – since they’re made from fish skin and livers, they’re most likely to have increased levels of pesticides and heavy metals unless they’re refined to eliminate them, as well as high levels of vitamins A and D, which can potentially be toxic. Like all supplements you choose to take – make sure you do your research first!

Oh and, I learned that molasses only has iron in it because of contaminants from the machinery it goes through.I never knew that. I still love molasses, though. As a kid, I’d always say “mole asses.” I was so well-mannered.

How do you deal with panic-mode? Are you calm, cool, and collected – or do you run around like a chicken with its head cut off?!



Filed under breakfast, dinner, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, recipe

Worse Comes to Worse, It’ll Catch Fire

extreme wedding cake challenge, anybody? haha. “The worse that could happen, is our cake catches fire.” Wellll, I guess that’s a good motto to live by. I’ll do that from now on.

Why not have pumpkin-nanner oats for breakfast? I mean – the worst  that could happen is it catches fire 🙂

Thas’ right – my P.Chop rendezvous last night involved the discovery of two cans of pumpkin puree! I still have those three cans in my cabinet from the used foods store – but have been hoarding them for fear of using them. Last night was meant to be: I wasn’t even looking for pumpkin, but it was like the pumpkin was looking for me…I don’t scour the lower-most shelves for products that I know are out of stock until october 2010, but there they were: two solitary cans of (Price Chopper brand) canned pumpkin puree. Oh, hello. They came home with me.

I was almost nice enough to just take one…but then decided otherwise 🙂

The base today consisted of:

-equal parts oat bran, rolled spelt flakes, and rolled barley flakes

-wheat bran

-drizzle maple syrup, ground cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg

-pumpkin puree, about 1/3 of a sliced ripe banana, and trail power

The toppings:

-chia/acai icing with some pumpkin stirred in

-milled golden flax

-golden raisins, crystallized ginger

-ginger preserves, cinnamon raisin PB

and bananas sauteed with some pumpkin, ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup in a bit of almondmilk.

The cawfee? Stayed traditional with some Green Mountain French Vanilla again.

Yum! Pumpkin was a nice change of pace from my usual fruity-tropical concoctions lately. I missed it! And yes – of course this means there will be an abundance of pumpkin over the next couple of days.

I think I slept the latest I’ve slept in a while this morning! I didn’t roll into the kitchen until almost 8. It was sort of nice, but at the same time I felt a little off-kilter! That and, I had plans to drive into town and clean the office, which is a 2-hour foray alone – so I was a little bummed to be getting a late start. I knew the weather was supposed to be overcast, so I wanted to get everything done and hope there was still sunshine to enjoy afterwards!

I bopped my way into town, willing the dreadfully dark clouds looming in the distance to turn around and head back the other way. I wanted to go for another run/walk when I got home, and would love even more to squeeze in another quick ride! I can’t say for certain it worked, but by the time I got home it actually looked like it was clearing up – but still chilly!!

I waffled between snacks before heading out, and finally decided…

english muffin with honey-apple butter, applesauce mess

…it’s been ages since my warm applesauce messes! Needed to happen. Applesauce, some better n’ pb, dates, and pretzel snaps. And don’t forget about the delish english muffin 😉

Side note: I totally got one stuck in our toaster when I decided to have one at 1 am. I got so frustrated – I was tipping it upside down, shaking it, you name it – but I got it stuck under the little holder thing! haha. only me. Eventually I left it for morning. My mom was curious as to the situation, lol.

But, moving on – I leashed up Kaia and bundled myself up (re: HAT!) and set out. I love having her company, and – she keeps me movin’! The girl walks. Which is good! She’s not bad when it comes to running, either – she used to pull me all over the road, having to stop and sniff every little thing. I actually wasn’t sure if she’d be this way, so I was thinking I’d be mostly walking today, but it actually worked out quite nice. I still did mostly walking due to the roads being really soft and muddy, but got some good stretches of jogging, too.

I didn’t think we’d been out for too long, but by the time we got back it was 12:00, and we had left at 11:15! We definitely enjoyed ourselves. I cannot get enough fresh air lately. Not surprising, even though it was pretty chilly out. Eventually, though – I tried to buckle down on my paper writing. I didn’t get too far before a snack deliberation was in order.


These piqued my interest yesterday (because Price Chopper still doesn’t have popchips – grr!) and figured I’d give them a try. They were good – but I realized I didn’t want salty. I’m sort of a sweet-snacker.

And decided on old faithful: kashi, spoonful of cranberry instant oats, almondmilk, chia seeds, portion of a vita-top corn muffin, raisins. Mmmm – hit the spot! Now I was tided over just enough to pump out that paper before breaking for lunch – which, even though you know about, thought you wanted to see it again. Who doesn’t?!

hello, beautiful.

This beautiful wrap also brought about some beautiful sunshine. Whaa?! It was supposed to be raining! But – this chica won’t complain about excess sunshine, so I soaked it up, naturally. [horse warning! :P]

And played with Jiggy! I debated taking Mel for a quick ride – my mom was gone for the day – but decided I didn’t want to go out alone. It’s not as fun to me! No biggie, though – I was just as content brushing them and giving them some lovin’. (Since, isn’t it obvious they’re sooo neglected?)

I did, however, transform myself into a walking, talking hairy monster. Lesson: Never wear fleece around horses, especially in the springtime. Every single hair they are shedding, will cling to you.


Okay, so this is only a small portion of the raking that took place – but you get the idea! Yucky spring, makes everything look so bland.


Being the nommer that I am, eventually it was time for another snack. Uhm, holy cow. Has anyone else had these Yogi Granola Crisps? I found them and jumped for joy last I was in Hannafords, but am just getting to try them. *DANGER*: consume one, and you may feel the urge to consume the whole bag.

What's not to like? Oh, that the bag's too small? Touche.

Seriously, though – these are amazing. Do the ingredients get any better than that?! And the flavor? The flavor!! Holy cow – I’m one heck of a cinnamon-raisin fan, and these do not disappoint. I was in crunchy-crispy cinamon-y raisin-y granola heaven! They are perfectly sweet – not too much so that the oat-y, whole grainy taste was disguised, which is one peeve I have with many other companies.I enjoyed a few right from the bag before catching myself before the granola affair started.

…and fixed a proper snack! Okay, more like small meal, but who’s keeping track? (uh, okay – obviously my camera is, but I digress.)

The last of my flax tempeh in a repeat lavash whoop-de-do from yesterday – though I laid off on the cinnamon raisin PB and used a little more Better N’ PB this time. Gotta watch myself somewhere. And I keep forgetting about that Better N’ PB. It’s actually not that bad – lately I’ve been melting it into my night time mini bowls of oats – but it’s certainly got nothing on a real nut butter.

And, of course – pumpkin-chia greek yogurt. Ohhh, this was a little bit of heaven in a bowl right here.

I tinkered around online a bit more before my Mom came home and we went for a long walk out back. I haven’t been back there lately (we have about 35 acres – and there’s a trail leading from the back of our house to the other side of the “mountain”) and she wanted to show me all the water. So fun! I should have brought my camera along – it brings you to a creepy-cool old marsh at one point.

When we got back, the ribs Henry was making were just about ready, so I hustled up to make my dinner. Naturally – I had a gameplan, so the decision wasn’t the hard part 🙂

This is the dinner I intended to make yesterday, but just wasn’t hungry enough. I wasn’t really tonight (granted, it was “dinner time” at 5:15) but I wanted some cranberry-orange polenta, dang it! So I did the durn thang.

Not only that, but – I tried cottage cheese, and I didn’t hate it. I wouldn’t call it love, but it could grow to be that way. AND! It doesn’t stop there – I know this polenta is a winner because my mom loved it, too! She liked polenta to begin with, but she said she was weary of the cranberries “and jazz.” I was too, mom – I was too. I mean, I was throwing everything in there. But, it all resolved itself into one beautifully delicious mess.

For the polenta, I brought to a boil 1 cup water and 1/2 cup almond milk, frozen cranberries and orange zest.

Once boiling, I slowly whisked in 1/2 c. cornmeal. Once it was smooth, you can switch over to a wooden spoon, and season with salt, black pepper, lemon pepper, rosemary, and a dash of cumin. I also ended up adding some dried cranberries since I didn’t have a whole lot of frozen cranberries (tear.) as well as juice of half of the orange.

Slice up three or so biigggg leaves of fresh basil, and stir in as well, in addition to approx. 1/3 c. plain cottage cheese. Keep stirring over low heat until most of the cottage cheese curd-things (ew…haha) are all gone.

Wine and dine! I was thinking of adding some chicken sausage, but lately I’ve just not been that into meat…I dunno. I’m still all about fish and seafood, as well as some turkey stuff I eat (turkey bacon, and those applegate farms turkey hot dogs are actually amazingly delicious and have been my Tuesday night lifesavers) but for some reason just haven’t felt the desire for the chicken and ground turkey I used to have a lot more of. Oh, well.

Not to self: buy the right cornmeal next time you’re in the store! The only thing holding this polenta back from being 100% spectacular? The fact that I had medium grind cornmeal. I’m not the brightest crayon in the box, I guess. For some reason, this didn’t phase my mom at all. It didn’t make me hate it by any  means, but it did make me think about what could have been.

Dessert for two? Oh, let me process that right up!

Crystallized ginger, have I told you lately that I love you?

Yep – got my mom hooked, too 🙂 I kept it simple so as not to overwhelm her – so I did the same as last night. Banana, mango, dollop of greek yog, some acai powder, chai spice blend, and a tiiiiny sprinkling of sun crystals. Naturally, I topped my portion with granola and crystallized ginger.

What’s one “health food” you’ve introduced to your family that they ended up loving? I love sneaking it in there! For instance – my mom and sister and Kale chips. I think that was the most fun, because my sister hates to admit when she’s wrong – but she was all about those kale chips after finally being persuaded to just give them a taste!

Have a great night, everyone! Back to the bump n’ grind tomorrow…

p.s. anyone else watch Hoarders? My mom’s remarks – “I watch this show to make me realize your whole grains, nut butter, and jam collection is really pretty normal after all.”


Filed under all natural, almond milk, applegate, banana, breakfast, chia seeds, college, cooking, cornmeal, food, food blog, foodblog, health, health blog, health food, healthy cooking, healthy eating, healthy food, healthy living, horseback riding, lunch, oatmeal, oats, organic, panini, polenta, pumpkin, recipe, review, salad, sweet potato, vegetable, vegetarian, vermont, walk, whole grains, wrap

Tomato-Basil TVP Roll-Ups

I thought about calling these enchiladas. Then I thought about it, and wasn’t sure if, by definition, enchiladas are spicy. So me being the geek I am, found this:

enchilada: Mexican; tortilla fried in oil, filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables and served with chilli sauce.

Hmm, no. No, definitely not enchiladas. Roll-ups will have to suffice.

These “TVP Roll-Ups” are actually almost vegan. I think. It wasn’t intended, but as I was eating, I realized that with the exception of Greek Yogurt and a sprinkling of parmesan (even the mozzarella used is almond mozzarella) they just might be. Now, I am no expert on vegan eating: so if you are, please correct me if I am wrong!

Tomato-Basil TVP Roll-Ups

To serve one person, you will need:

– between 1/8 and 1/4 cup each of: diced red onion and diced red pepper

-1 Roma tomato, diced

-2-3 basil leaves, chopped

-1 T. fresh parsley, chopped

-2 cloves garlic, smashed

-1 T. olive oil

-2-3 T Nutritional yeast

-2 T. Greek Yogurt, Plain

-salt and pepper, to taste

-2-3 T. all-natural marinara/tomato sauce

-1/4 c. TVP

-2 Whole Wheat wraps

-non-stick cooking spray

-optional: shredded mozzarella, parmesan to top.


Preheat your oven to 400*.

Prepare all of your veggies while heating your olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat.

Add in all your veggies, season with salt and pepper, and saute until onions and peppers are soft.

Once this occurs, add in your greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon of the nutritional yeast.

Stir to combine, and separate the mixture: reserve half, and leave half in the pan. To this, add 1/4c. water and your TVP. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired, and allow to simmer until the TVP has absorbed all of the water. Add 1/2 T. nutritional yeast.

While TVP is simmering, prepare your wraps: cut off  two sides so that only the top and bottom are left round, and cut each in half for a total of four small-medium squares.

Once ready, spoon the TVP mixture into the wraps, and roll. Place seam-side down in a sprayed casserole dish, and bake at 400* for about ten minutes – until lightly toasted on top.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce for the top: Place the reserved tomato and veggie mixture back into the pan over low heat, adding additional olive oil if necessary. Add 2-3 T. tomato sauce and a splash of water if necessary: allow to simmer.

When roll-ups are lightly toasted, remove from oven and spoon the sauce mixture over the roll-ups.

Sprinkle with shredded almond mozzarella (as shown) or parmesan, or just additional nutritional yeast.

Place back into oven and bake until cheese is melted – approximately 5 minutes.

you could also try broiling it, but don’t do what I did and assume your broiler worked while you waited for the cheese to get toasty for ten minutes.

Serve with some kale chips seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little nutritional yeast…

Tuck in your bib…

and devour!


So! What’s so great about it?

-TVP is a great source of protein – it is high in protein, low in fat, and low in carbohydrates.

Nutritional Yeast Flakes are also an excellent source of protein, but also provides you with many B-Complex vitamins (think: folic acid and reproduction of red blood cells), and is naturally low in salt and fat.

Greek Yogurt is, once again, a great protein source, lower in carbs, and lower in sodium.

Olive oil helps to control bad cholesterol levels while raising good cholesterol levels, in turn offering protection against heart disease.

-And don’t forget about all the veggies, of course!

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Filed under cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, recipe