Sunday, December 22, 2013

Deep Dish Pizza

Do you know how to make a food blogger very happy? Buy her a new stove!!!!

As you can see from the rust ring, the old
stove hadn't been moved in over 60 years.
As I mentioned before, we moved into Michael's grandparent's old house and inherited all the old stuff that came with it. Including the original stove from the the 50s. It's a nice stove and still works, but as Michael put it, "People have landed on the moon since this stove was made." There was a good sale on end of the year clearance stuff at a local appliance store so we checked it out.

We got a GE 30" Free-Standing Gas Convection Range, for around 45% off. It was delivered Friday and I was so excited! Finally burners that don't need a lighter to light! A stove with a digital display and a working timer!

So for our inaugural meal, I decided to make a vegan deep dish pizza. I used a lot Daiya mozzarella, Tofurky Italian sausage, and lot of veggies. I made it in a 9x9 casserole pan since I don't have a deep dish pan (and couldn't find my cake pan). I like the square shape, the corner pieces had a crunchier crust.

Deep Dish Pizza
1 red onion, diced
1 cup white mushrooms, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 meatless Italian sausage, diced (I used Tofurky)
1 ball of pizza dough (try my recipe)
1 cup of pizza sauce
1/4 cup cilantro leafs optional
1 cup fresh Spinach
1 cup dairy-free mozzarella cheese ( I used Daiya)
Red pepper flakes, optional

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degree.

Saute the red onions in a little olive oil until they soften.

Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to release their water.

Add the bell peppers. Cook until all the veggies are soft and slightly golden. Set the veggies aside.

Lightly brown the diced Italian sausage, set aside when done.

Lightly oil your baking pan.

Roll the pizza dough the shape of our pan (big enough to have it go at least half way up the sides too) and about 1/8 inch thick.

Place the dough in the pan and work it in gentle so it covers the bottom and the sides.

Spoon half the pizza sauce on to the dough.

Sprinkle on the cilantro, if using (it's Michael loves it on everything).

Place the spinach in an even layer on top.

Now evenly spread the veggie mixture.

Then the diced sausage.

Pour on the rest of the sauce.

Lastly, sprinkle on the cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes until the sauce starts to bubble.

Turn the oven to broil and bake for 5 more minutes or so, until the cheese starts to get slightly golden (remember that vegan cheese does not get all bubbly, it will just burn).

Let this cool for a few minutes before you cut, it will be so much easier and stay in one piece.

Sprinkle with a little more cilantro and red peppers flakes if desired.

It's not quite like an authentic Chicago deep dish, but that is probably for the best. As good as they are, they are insanely unhealthy. Michael pretty much inhaled this pizza, didn't care that it was vegan at all. He was sad when I told him we finished the whole pan!

This was a great inaugural dish for my new stove. Can't wait to make more delicious vegan food with it!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Haluski: Polish Noodles And Cabbage

Today would have been my Grandmother's 83rd birthday. She passed away in February (see my Polish Barley Soup post) and I miss her everyday.  I am sad that my baby will never get to know what beautiful and loving person his Great Grandma was, but I am happy her bloodline gets to live on through him. I promise to make him (healthier versions of) Pierogi and kapusta while telling him the stories about her life on the farm in upstate New York and how our family came over from Poland. That is the best way I can honor her memory. I will make sure he is proud little Polish boy, just like she taught me be a proud little Polish girl.

I decided to make a healthier version of a traditional Polish dish, Haluski. It is a simple pan-fried noodle and cabbage dish common in most Slavic countries. I do remember my grandma making this for me once, but she never mentioned it was Polish. The dish varies a bit between the Slavic countries, but most call for a lot of butter and a giant glob of sour cream. Not vegan or healthy. So I cut out the sour cream, and used far less vegan butter. Also, I used a cabbage/kale mix and added some carrots for extra nutrition.  To be very traditional, you should make your own noodles, called Kulski. I have tried a few times to make them, but have yet to master a vegan version yet, so look out for that recipe at a later date. If you aren't making your own noodles, normally you use egg noodles, which are not vegan. So I used normal pasta (well actually broken up lasagna noodles because that is what I had on hand).

This recipe makes 4 servings.

3 cups dry noodles or pasta (used a smaller, ribbon pasta)
2 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups cabbage/kale mix (I used Costco's Sweet Kale Mix)
1/2 large carrots, shredded or peeled into ribbons with a peeler
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the noodles according the directions.  Drain and set aside

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent.

Add the cabbage/kale mix and the carrots ribbons. Cook until slightly softened.

Reduce the heat to low.

Add the cooked noodles and caraway seeds.

Stir everything together well. Cook until it is all heated through.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

You can enjoy this a light main dish, or pair it with some Tofurky Kielbasa to make it complete Polish meal.

I couldn't help but smile as I ate this, makes me happy to honor my grandma.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chai Chaos Smoothie

Chai pumpkin, vanilla, and strawberry? I know that sounds weird, but that is what I wanted this morning (hey, I'm pregnant, give me a break). It was actually really good! I am in love with smoothies right now. Michael found a NutriBullet on a special sale at Target (they were out of some toaster so they restocked it with a NutriBullet for that price, making it around 40% off). I am in love! It's so much easier to use than blender and cleans way easier than my food processor.

Even if you don't have a NutriBullet, try this smoothie, no one flavor over powers the other.

This make one of the tall NutriBullet cups, could be a meal for one or a snack for two (Michael and I shared one on the way to work).

Chai Chaos Smoothie
4 tbs of Tazo Chai Tea Pumpkin Pie Concentrate 
1/2 frozen strawberries
2 scoop vanilla soy protein powder (I used Trader Joe's brand and any type of plant-based powder is fine)
2 cups soy milk (any non-dairy milk is fine)

Add all ingredients into the your blender or NutriBullet, and blend until smooth.

Pour into a glass or twist on your lip rings.

Now enjoy the spicy sweet, and creamy treat! Makes a great wake-me-up on your way to work.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gender Reveal: Blueberry Cake

I actually meant to post this like two weeks ago, but life happens (sorry). Anyways, we had the anatomy ultrasound at 19 weeks (I am 21 week now). The baby is looked all healthy, developing correctly, and heartbeat was great. We also found out the gender....we are having a boy! We were hoping for a boy too!

Everyone was betting it was girl, but I had a feeling all along it was my sweet little prince. We decided on the name Jack pretty early on. It is male version of my mom's name and the name of my father-in-law's best friend who passed away.  Both our families are very excited too. He is gonna be one very well-loved baby.

So I decided to make a blueberry cake as my gender reveal announcement. I see the ones where people dye cakes half pink and half blue then cut the corresponding color, but I did not want to eat all the artificial dye. Same with the putting blue or pink candy on the inside of a white cake, but again, I didn't want to eat a bunch of junk.

I did use a both cake mix for this,  I just looked for a one that was vegan and no high fructose corn syrup. I don't mind using box mixes on occasion and using healthier ingredients to prepare them.

If you were having a girl, you could make this was strawberries or raspberries instead to make it pink. For a gender reveal party, you could frost the cake with white icing then cut into it reveal the berry color. Or if you could just invite people over for dinner and serve the cake without saying anything, and wait till someone asks why a blueberry cake.

Blueberry Cake
2 ripe bananas
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 melted coconut oil
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 box yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 cup frozen blueberries
Optional glaze:
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tbs lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Grease desired baking pan with a small amount coconut oil. I used a 13x9 dark metal pan.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas.

Add the cinnamon, coconut oil, and milk. Mix together well.

Add the oatmeal and cake mix. Mix together until it all the flour is incorporated.

Stir in the blueberries.

Pour into your baking pan and smooth out evenly.

I baked for 28 minutes, but you may need to adjust the time for different pan sizes. It is done when the center is firm to touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let it cool completely. If you want frost or decorate it differently, then go right ahead. If you want to make the glaze I did...

Add the blueberries, sugar, water and lemon juice into a small pot and bring to boil.

Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until some of the liquid has evaporated and the berries are soft.

Let it cool to room temperature.

Pour evenly over the top of the cooled cake.

Now you a healthier blue cake to celebrate your baby boy (or girl if you do strawberries)!