Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Pizza

…with caramelized onions and fresh basil. Such a nuanced combination of sweet and savory flavors! Not that a “normal” veggie pizza ever gets boring, but this one is a pizza worth trying.

Note: this pizza serves about 4. You can easily double it if you’re cooking for a larger group, or want leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • Pizza crust of your choice (storebought, or you favorite recipe. I used a 1/2 recipe of my No-Rise Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, below)
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or honey
  • a pinch of salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. First, roast the butternut squash. Or use your favorite way to cook a butternut squash. I cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and pierce it all over with a knife. Then I put it a baking dish with 1/2 inch of water in the bottom (to prevent the skin from burning), brush the top with oil, and bake it for 35-45 minutes or until tender. When they are done, skin them and chop into bite-sized peices.

Meanwhile, caramelize the onions. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium high heat and add the onions. Cook until they are soft, and then add the agave nectar and salt to help them caramelize. Turn the heat down a little and let them cook until brown and, well, caramel-ly looking.

Then roll out the pizza dough to to the desired thickness.

Bake it (just plain, with no toppings) until almost, but not quite, golden around the edges. Pull it out and sprinkle with the butternut squash, goat/feta cheese, and caramelized onions. Put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the crust is perfect. But keep a hawk-eye on it, because the onions burn easily. When it’s done, pull it out and add the fresh basil.

Serve as is, or, if it’s a little dry to your taste, drizzle with a little olive oil or balsamic vinaigrette!

Here’s that No-Rise Whole Wheat Pizza Crust, as promised! Yep, it’s just that awesome. 10 minutes of hands-on time.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1 cup very warm water

Directions

Mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, and yeast). Mix in oil and water. Knead until it is doughy and no longer dry. With a floured surface and floured rolling pin, roll into desired shape and thickness.

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Crispy Tofu Strips

Hands-down my favorite way to eat tofu. A much more healthful and delicious (I think!) version of those chicken strips we all loved as kids, at the very least they’re an effective ketchup-delivery mechanism. 🙂

Ingredients

1 block extra-firm tofu
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
Batter (note: don’t be afraid to increase the seasonings…tofu doesn’t have much of a flavor on its own…)

  • 1/2 cup your choice of milk
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp onion powder (optional)
  • 2 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbs dijon mustard (fine ground)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice the tofu into strips and press it. I wrap the cut tofu in clean kitchen towels and set it under a few heavy books, for about 20 minutes, to remove as much water as possible.

Put the breadcrumbs into a wide shallow bowl. Combine the batter ingredients in another wide shallow bowl and whisk until smooth.

Dip each tofu stick into the batter first, so it’s completely covered, and then roll in the breadcrumbs so its completely covered. It will be messy!

Place them on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. Serve with kethcup, BBQ sauce, ranch, etc.

Tips for getting them crispy:

Try to remove as MUCH water as you can! Don’t underestimate how much water tofu can hide! I typically saturate several paper towels before pressing them, and let them press for anywhere from 20-45 minutes. Also, its important that you let them COMPLETELY cool before putting them into a container to store. They’ll “sweat” if put into a sealed container when warm and they’ll get soggy. I also let them bake for as long as I can without burning them to let them get crispy. Tofu can be a little tricky to deal with…good luck!

 

 

5 minute Blackberry Thyme Tartines

These are as delicious and healthful as they are simple. A great way to celebrate summer’s berries, or to reminisce using frozen berries in the winter. I usually serve it as a dessert or alongside a veggie omelet for breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1 6-oz package fresh blackberries (or frozen and thawed blackberries)
  • 1 6-oz package fresh blueberries (optional. Increase the thyme, lemon, and sweetener if you do use blueberries)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp agave nectar (or honey, or white/brown sugar)
  • 1 or 2 peices of your favorite bread (great with whole wheat baguette, oat bran loaf, sourdough, gluten free bread…whatever you like)

Directions

Toss everything in a bowl, except blueberries if you are using them.

Mash the black berries with a fork, so there are clumps of berries, but the mixture is a little more smooth and juicy (probably not necessary if you are using frozen berries).

Then top your bread of choice. Because the berry-thyme mixture is kind of saucy, I usually toast the bread. Enjoy!

The Amazing Green Smoothie

Have you tried one? Apparently they’re all the rage right now — smoothies and juices bursting with fresh veggie nutrition (usually spinach or kale). While I can’t bring myself to pay $8 for one at these cute little bistros, I loved the idea of packing as much superfood nutrition into one cup as possible! So I tried it. And got addicted. They’re delicious, I promise. I usually make one for an afternoon snack or after a long run or tough workout.

Here is my basic go-to recipe…but you can pretty much toss in any smoothie-type ingredients you have around. Stay tuned for more variations on this smoothie!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach, kale, or a mixture of both
  • 1 ripe banana (fresh or frozen)
  • ~1 cup milk (I usually use un-/sweetened vanilla almond or soy milk)
  • 1 tbs flaxseed, chia seeds, or a mixture of both
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein (optional, but this makes it really creamy)
  • Ice cubes

Directions

Toss everything in the blender, spinach first. Blend until it reaches desired texture, and enjoy. See? You can’t even taste the spinach! No extra sweetener necessary. Feel the health!

Maple Almond Cookies

The first time I made these, my husband took one bite and promptly announced that they were his favorite cookies ever. I love how simple and easy they are. And of course, they’re super good for you, especially for a cookie! They are full of soluble fiber (thanks to the oat flour), as well as healthy monounsaturated fats and Vitamin E from the almonds. Maple syrup is my favorite sweetener, because of its low-glycemic impact and mineral content (love that manganese!), not to mention its flavor. I actually found a version of this recipe on back of the Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour package, and here is my own adaptation.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 2 tbs oat bran (optional)
  • 6 tbs maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix almond meal and oat flour. If you’re not using oat bran, make the almond meal and oat flour amounts heaping cupfuls, to make the batter thicker.

Make a well in the middle. Add the applesauce, sweetener, and vanilla, and stir until the wet ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Mix everything together.

Place on a greased baking sheet by heaping tablespoonfuls. They do not spread or change shape while baking, so feel free to make them whatever shape you like. Bake until brown at the edges, about 15 minutes.

Try serving them with almond milk for a fun vegan milk and cookies snack!

Kale and Avocado Superfood Salad

I’m loving all things kale right now. In terms of micronutrients per calorie, kale is more nutrition-packed than any other food! All the other ingredients are wonderfully healthy too. A snapshot of this salad’s contents:

  • Vitamin A (Retinol or Retinoic Acid) — important in properly functioning vision, required for eyes to adjust to changes in light and sustaining color vision. Also, important for bone and immune strength, fertility, and cell differentiation and growth
  • Vitamin K (phylloquinone) — involves in the coagulation cascade that occurs in blood (assists with blood clotting
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol) — an antioxidant, protecting primarily cell membrane from oxidative damage. Also enhances immune strength and absorption of Vit A
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) — also an antioxidant protecting tissues, enhances immune strength, and also assists in synthesis of crucial protein structures such as hormones and DNA
  • Insoluble fiber — strengthens the colon walls, lowers the glycemic load of a meal, and keeps the digestive tract functioning regularly

And much, much more. Now, see how delicious all that health can be! And I do mean delicious. The first time I made this, I actually turned away dessert so I could eat more of this stuff. True story. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 small head of fresh kale, washed (about 8 cups chopped)
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Chop almonds and toast them until browned, about 10-12 min.

Meanwhile, chop the kale into ribbons, like so:

Toss everything together until even mixed! Mmm, enjoy! 🙂