First off this post is so late. I don't know where the last few days went!
Spencer and I started off the day at the Kearny Mesa farmers market. It was pretty small but we got a delicious fruit cup to snack on before lunch in Pacific Beach.
Cucumber, jicama, mango, and lots of watermelon!
After walking around and enjoying the very hot day we decided it was definitely pizza night- polenta pizza night! I have been wanting to try out polenta pizza for a while (I feel like I always say this) so after the usual stop at Trader Joe's we were ready to go with all of our topping supplies!
As you may be thinking, pizza is absolutely not vegan- so feel free to leave out the cheese (this is what I did) and add extra veggies instead. Also you can use a dairy-free cheese replacement like Daiya Food's Shredded Motzarella Style Cheese, which is actually quite tasty but not the healthiest thing in the world- but I guess "real" cheese isn't the healthiest either. It is something worth trying though, Daiya cheese melts like normal cheese and tastes like it too. We actually use this brand for quesadillas and bean and cheese burritos at the vegan restaurant I work at.
Also as a note this recipe is great for anyone trying to avoid gluten, because polenta is made from corn!
Individual Deep-Dish Polenta Pizza
1 Tube Trader Joes cooked polenta
1 jar organic tomato sauce
1c sun dried tomatoes
2c sliced mushrooms
1 red bell pepper
1/2c Kalamata olives
Dried or fresh basil (fresh is tastier if you have it)
1.5c Feta cheese (omit for vegan, or cheese replacement)
You will need 4-5 oven-safe ceramic ramekins to bake the pizzas in.
Preheat your oven for 400 degrees. Wash and slice your toppings.
To make the polenta crust, you need to get a little messy. The cleanest way to do this would be to make homemade polenta from cornmeal and simply pour it into the bottom of the ramekins, but who has time for that (thank you Trader Joe's). So I decided to be lazy and/or difficult and use cooked polenta, mash it up and press it into the bottom of the ramekins to create a crust. It is a little tough to get it to stick at first but keep going and I promise you it will stay! I got a little frustrated trying to do this (you can ask Spencer) but be patient!
It should look something like this. The little one was mine (and I was still hungry).
Next is the fun part. Basically you pile everything on that your heart desires, starting with the sauce (duh) and ending with the dried herbs. I regret not adding pineapple!
Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese starts to turn golden brown. As you can see we made enough for the whole fam and everyone (especially my grandpa) loved them! It's always fun having individual sized portions too, just make sure you give the pizzas a few minutes to cool because the ramekins are super super hot!
Ended the day with a beautiful sunset!
My dad came to me last night looking very concerned and told me that he just finished all the granola. If you know my dad, I'm sure you are aware of how much he cherishes his nightly bowl of yogurt, fruit, and homemade granola- he rarely skips a day! And if you know me, I'm sure you are aware of how much I enjoy making granola. We work well together. I assured him that I would make a fresh batch this morning.
I am very simple when it comes to my granola. I usually just put it on top of my smoothies or acai bowls, so I am not really concerned so much about the sweetness or fruity add-ins. My dad on the other hand can be a little specific. He likes his granola sweet and full of treats- dried blueberries, nuts, peanut butter- and most importantly it must be very crunchy. So I decided to post both recipes because my dads granola is basically a continuation of mine and definitely much more flavorful! Not to mention it will leave your kitchen reeking of delicious peanut butter.
PB Crunch Granola
4c gluten-free, organic oats
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4c raw organic agave nectar (or maple syrup, honey, etc.)
1.5 tsp pure vanilla
1/4c peanut butter (or any nut butter of your choice)
1c chopped nuts
1/2c dried blueberries
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl mix the oats and cinnamon, then the agave and vanilla. This is where I stop for my granola. I pour the mix onto a silpat baking sheet (or a baking sheet sprayed with coconut oil) and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, rotating the mix with a spatula about halfway through until the oats are slightly golden. If you want to keep this healthy but still want to add in some flavor, try dried blueberries or sliced raw almonds. Also you can try using maple syrup for a more distinct flavor. You really can use anything- I'm interested in adding some cocoa powder next time (cocoa-peanut butter?!)
To continue with my dads beloved recipe, add in the peanut butter and stir. This can be a little tricky but it helps the granola form chunks- just try to incorporate it all together. Throw in the nuts and blueberries. I used a mix of cashews and glazed walnuts this time but pecans and almonds also work great. I let this bake for about 20 minutes, but if you want yours a little less crispy, try for 15-18 minutes. Remember the granola does get more crunchy as it cools so don't over cook them- try for a golden color instead. Again, stir the granola about halfway through or maybe even three times- the oats on the edges cook much faster than the oats in the middle of the tray. You don't want little burnt bites of oats! Once your granola is ready, remove from the oven and let cool. Store in a mason jar (surprise) or any other air-tight container. It tends to stay fresh for quite a while although it usually doesn't last long enough in my house to really know.
This weekend's birthday celebrations were small and simple, yet managed to included quite a bit of yummy food and baking. I figured it was a good way to kick off my blog- not to mention that I was gifted with a shiny new laptop to help me out (woo!).
First off, my boyfriend's mom has been insisting on us making a food blog for months now, ever since we started experimenting with juicing and vegan baking at the end of last year. I am and avid food blog reader and I know how much work must go into it, but I figured I'd give it a shot! Both of us have really enjoyed trying out new recipes and embracing a more (if not entirely) green and animal-friendly way of life, and this is simply a place to share the experience.
So back to my birthday- we started off with a nice little lunch at Sbicca's in Del Mar and then walked through the Farmer's Market in Solana Beach on Cedros.
Spencer with my little bouquet of flowers!
After enjoying fresh coconut water and sampling some delicious fruit, we headed back to my house to start baking macrons and vegan matcha cupcakes for a last minute tea party I decided to throw. Spencer's mom gave me a macron, cupcake and cake-pop cookbook (if you can't tell, she is very supportive of my love for baking) and we chose a recipe with raspberry ganache for our first attempt. I have always wanted to try making macrons because they're so pretty and delicate but I never got around to it, so Sunday was finally my day!
I didn't have one myself because of the egg whites, but everyone said they were great despite the obvious fact that the smooth appearance of the was cookie a little off. I was afraid of over mixing the batter and un-fluffing the egg whites but it needed to be a little runnier and the cookies would have appeared more uniform on the outside. But it ended up not as difficult a process as I expected and hey, at least they tasted good! The recipe I used was "Raspberry Macarons" from Mia Orhn's cookbook Macarons, Cupcakes, and Cakepops
Next were the Vegan Green Tea Cupcakes
from a blog called Je Suies Alimentageuse. I made a few substitutions and left out the cute straws, but in the end they were delicious!! I used chia seeds instead of the flax meal, soy milk for almond (although I prefer almond I was all out), unsalted original Earth Balance for the vegetable shortening in the buttercream frosting, and soymilk again for the coconut milk in the frosting. I probably would stick with the coconut milk next time because I noticed the soy began to separate inside the frosting a little after it sat for a minute in my piping bag. Everything was fine once it was on the cupcake though!
Yum! I could live on matcha. As you can see they didn't last on that plate too long.
Taylor also contributed to our sweets-overload with a pretty chocolate covered berry bouquet.
So that was my birthday! I promise I don't usually eat so many sweets.. so expect some healthier recipes soon! My mom surprised me with the Forks over Knives cookbook which is entirely plant based and I cannot wait to try some recipes out (Portobello mushroom tacos?! Mmmmm). I need some serious plants in me after that tea party!