Happpy 4th! Independence Day tips and a summer break from blogging…

Hello everyone!

Happy Wednesday! AND happy 4th of July to my American readers!

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the 4th of July. In fact, I’m gonna venture to say it’s my favorite of all the holidays. Not because I’m intensely patriotic. I just appreciate that Independence Day is more low-key than, say, New Year’s or Thanksgiving, and not as tinged by consumerism and materialism as Christmas and Valentine’s Day. I also love that celebrations revolve around spending time with family, friends, neighbors…generally focusing on community that ties this Melting Pot of a country together. I also appreciate that 4th of July traditions typically involve spending lots of time in the great outdoors — hiking, picnics and frisbee in the park, and of course, watching the fireworks.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it was at a 4th of July fireworks party that I once met a handsome boy who is now my amazing husband. 🙂

So that’s my holiday soapbox. I’m sure you have a plethora of fun red-white-and-blue desserts lined up, but I’m planning on making strawberries dipped in white chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate + blue food coloring (maybe I’ll try to do an all-natural blue color by mashing up blueberries?). Just melt the white chocolate chips at 20 second intervals in the microwave until smooth, dip a (DRY!) strawberry, top as you like, and place on a wax paper.

Also, what’s a veg girl to do when going to a 4th of July BBQ? I’m bringing asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, and tofu. 🙂

Oh, and…I regret to say I’m gonna take a (little) break from blogging. A summer vacation, if you will. Really, it’s because I’ve been a procastinator: do you remember how during your college finals you’d opt for cleaning your room rather than study? Because cleaning felt mildly productive and let you avoid the more stressful task. Well, I’m ashamed to say I’ve been using blogging as my mildly productive but not as urgent activity — ie. “I think I’d rather blog than write grad school application essays and cover letters and study for the GRE…”

So, alas…good bye for now! I’ll reply to comments and such, try to keep you with your wonderful blog posts, and perhaps I’ll only be gone a week. But keep checking back! Here’s what’s coming up next.

  • Lemon Chili Tempeh
  • Dark Chocolate Hemp & Flax Fudge
  • Lemon, Blueberry, and Coconut Granola
  • Higher Protein White Bean Artichoke Dip/Spread (with lots of fun dipper ideas!)
  • Basil Lemonade Slushee
  • Easy Grapefruit Lime Sorbet
  • Tofu Fries
  • …And more. 🙂

Have an amazing Independence Day!!

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White Bean, Artichoke, and Roasted Tomato Pizza

This is the perfect clean-out-your-fridge pizza. Or at least it was for me. 🙂

Right before I went out of town for a couple weeks, I realized my fridge was hiding a bag of mini artichokes, half a can of beans, a handful of random tomatoes that weren’t getting younger, and a few mostly-used up cheeses. Hm. So this is what I can up with.

And it was good! My husband said it might be his favorite pizza I’ve made. 🙂

Ingredients

  • Your favorite pizza crust (10 minute whole wheat pizza crust recipe here)
  • 6 mini artichokes (or 2-3 large)
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes (any type)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tbs basil or artichoke pesto
  • 2 tbs green olives, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbs feta cheese
  • 1/2 can white beans (about 2/3 cup cooked)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • black pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 F.

To steam the artichokes: Snip off the spikey leaf tips with scissors. Slice each artichoke in half, lengthwise. Brush with lemon juice or vinegar to keep from browning. With a spoon or your fingers, pull out the fuzzy purple thing in the center.

Fill a pot ~1/3 full of water (I tossed in a lemon slice, some chopped bay leaves, and a few garlic cloves to slightly flavor the ‘chokes! It worked well).

Bring the water to a boil and place the artichokes in a steamer basket or colander above the boiling water. They’ll take 30-40 minutes to steam before they are tender.

Meanwhile, make your crust (if you are using a no-rise recipe). In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, pesto, olives, garlic, cheeses, olive oil, beans, and black pepper. (Note that I actually roasted the topping separate from the crust…I hadn’t decided pizza at first, and was just cooking aimlessly. Ha!)

Spread this topping on the pizza crust and bake at 400 F about 20 minutes, until the crust is done and the toppings look, well, roasted.

The artichokes should be done steaming by the time the pizza is done.

Pull off the outer leaves of the artichokes, saving the hearts and inner leaves. Top the pizza with the artichoke hearts and save the outer leaves for the side.

You can scrape off the inside with your teeth, and they are delicious dipped in mayo+lemon juice+garlic powder!

Yum, roasted tomatoes and artichokes make such a killer combination. 🙂