Stuffed Pita Pizzas

I am, admittedly, a huge fan of pizza. Huge. If somebody said to me “Amy, I’m terribly sorry but the only food left on the planet is vegan pizza“, I would most likely do flips and awesome stunts to show my approval. During the early days of my vegan journey a co-worker gently scoffed at me when I told her that I ate pizza without cheese. She assumed that was impossible and nonsensical. Well guess what? She was wrong. Pizza doesn’t need cheese to taste amazing! Usually I pile my pizzas high with fresh veggies and on rare occasions I will sneak some vegan cheese on top. Apparently it’s “old school” to prefer Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet cheeses over the monopolizing Daiya. Since I don’t care for Daiya, I must be old school. Good enough for me, I an ager anyways!

My intense pizza craving struck yesterday afternoon. I was way too lazy to make homemade dough so I came up with a plan: why not use the stash of pitas Tim and I recently made for the pizza crust? And then, I took it a step further: I stuffed the inside of the pita with cheese and topped the outside with a quick homemade sauce and some veggies. It was so fast and easy!! The cheese was hidden inside the pizza like a carefully wrapped present. It melted wonderfully and tasted so good! I don’t have much of a recipe since it’s such a simple process:

1. Make or buy some pitas.
2. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
3. Cut a vertical slit across the top of a pita (or several pitas depending on how many you want to eat) with scissors like so:

4. Carefully fill the inside of the pita with your choice of vegan cheese (I used Follow Your Heart mozzarella).
5. Spread pizza sauce on top of filled pita.
6. Add toppings to pizza (I used mushrooms, peppers, olives, and fresh parsley).
7. Bake your pizza(s) in the oven for about 18-22 minutes. Check often to make sure it doesn’t get over-baked or burn. My oven is a demon and therefore very unreliable.
8. Cut into slices and eat! You could sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top if you fancy that (I do).

Easy as heck, right? One pita made a decent-sized serving for me but it wouldn’t be out of the question to eat two stuffed pita pizzas if you so desired. I made two last night and had the second one for lunch today.

Tell me, what are your favorite pizza toppings? I always put the same stuff on mine and it might be fun to switch it up a bit!

Attack of the Crazy Pantry

Hello, hello!

I was recently gifted an entire pantry’s worth (or more) of food from a friend who moved out of state. After several hours of reorganizing my cupboards to make the bounty fit, I sat down and concocted my weekly meal plan based on my new stock of food. I’ve been on a much-needed break from the brownie book but hope to get back into the act since I now have plenty of cocoa powder, sweeteners, flours, and even raw cacao nibs! Hooray!

Anyways, one of my favorite meals is the Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions from The Kind Diet. The recipe calls for pecans which I never seem to have since nuts cost a fortune these days. Part of my pantry stash included hazelnuts, which are a perfectly acceptable substitute in my opinion. It also, obviously, calls for brown rice which I now have mountains of in my cupboard.

This recipe is incredibly versatile. You can switch up the ingredients and be completely satisfied with the results. For example, I am one of those crazy people who has trouble eating a meal without one of the components being green. I usually add kale or broccoli to this dish. Tonight I chose peas for the green ingredient. Everything combined (parsnips, carrots, onions, peas, pumpkin seeds, rice, and hazelnuts) made for a delicious, relatively quick dinner.

If you own The Kind Life and haven’t made this recipe yet, you should! And then have a ginger cookie (or three) for dessert!!

Giveaway Winner and 4-Season Cookies

Hello! It’s time to announce the winner of my giveaway! I used random number generator and the lucky recipient is… Kelly, who was commenter #4. Kelly’s answer to “What is your favorite vegan food item?” was: “Hmm. I’m glad veganism has introduced me to Larabars & homemade variations of Larabars. They’re such a perfect snack, nutritious and so yummy!” Congratulations Kelly!!! And, guess what? There might just be some Larabar samples in your prize packet!!! I will contact you via e-mail to arrange the shipping.

On to other exciting things: it’s finally, officially fall! Today the weather is cloudy, rainy, and cool in Portland. Do you know what that means? It’s time to bake cookies! One of my favorite cookies that can be baked and eaten no matter what season it is are plain and simple ginger cookies. I’ve posted about these treats before and always turn to them when I want a sweet fix. You can find the recipe for my favorite ginger cookies by visiting the aforementioned post. The recipe is pretty versatile. Lately I have been using a flax mixture instead of Ener’G Egg Replacer and it works wonderfully. You can add all forms of ginger to these cookies: powdered, freshly grated, crystalized, whatever pleases you most. I have been making mine huge, at least 5″ in diameter!!! Try them and embrace the season(s)!

Properly Full

Today marked the opening of yet another all-vegan food cart in Portland! I am forever lost in the numbers of vegan-friendly dining options here since Tim and I rarely go out to eat. But, we were lured by the opening of this new cart, Kitchen Dances, because the owner used to be a partner at Proper Eats, one of our most favorite places to dine in Portland. We impulsively decided to take a quick bike ride over to the new cart for lunch:

The cart is located in the Good Food Here cart pod on SE Belmont and 42nd Avenue (surprisingly, Tim and I had no idea this cart pod even existed! See? We don’t eat out much!). It’s tucked away in the back, but you can’t miss the bright red exterior or lovely aromas wafting from the inside. For their first day of business, Kitchen Dances had a non-stop flow of customers, which makes me insanely happy because I want this cart to stay firmly planted right where it is! The menu boasts super-fresh cooked and raw items:

After a few moments of pondering the menu, the woman working there offered us a free sample of their homemade basil-hazelnut pesto spread on some awesome chewy bread:

I was seconds away from darting off with the entire plate of samples because (1) I love bread; (2) I love pesto; and (3) I love free samples. While we were waiting in line to order, the gentleman behind us asked if we had ordered yet. I told him that we had not and when it was our turn to order, he cut in front of us and placed his order first! What? If ever there were a time for me to exercise my desire to punch someone in the face, this would have come close. Don’t fret, I’m not violent and I pretended not to notice.

I ordered the Raw Hummus Wrap for $5.00 and Tim ordered the Roasted Eggplant Sandwich for $7.50. The prices are fair considering the amount of food you get and the quality of ingredients. The food is so clean and so good for you – there’s no guilt! Kitchen Dances also offers desserts, primarily from Black Sheep Bakery. We didn’t get any desserts because I overdosed on chocolate yesterday… Maybe next time though!

Our food:

Tim’s Roasted Eggplant Sandwich consisted of: roasted eggplant, caramelized onion, and tomato with a garlic-herb aioli and a side salad. He said it was really good. I was proud of Tim because when we go to Proper Eats, he ALWAYS gets the Tempeh Reuben (which is on the menu at Kitchen Dances too) and he tried something new today!

My Raw Hummus Wrap: this was a chard leaf filled with raw hummus, carrots, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, and quinoa tabouli. I was a bit disappointed because there were no carrots or beets (two of my favorite veggies) and the tabouli was loaded with lots of onions (which I’m not a fan of, sadly). The hummus was delicious and so was the chard leaf, but I couldn’t finish my wrap due to all the onions. Tim devoured it though, even after cleaning his own plate.

I will definitely be riding my bike back to Kitchen Dances because there were other items on the menu that looked incredibly yummy. I should have known better about the onions, but I was too excited and didn’t think before I ordered.

Yay for even more vegan food options in Portland!!!

And hey, if you haven’t entered my giveaway yet, you should! I keep adding more fun items to the prize!! I hope everybody’s week is off to a good start.

Portland VegFest 2010 and a Giveaway!!!!!!!

Hey everybody! I hope you’re all enjoying the last weekend of summer. It’s raining in Portland and I couldn’t be happier! Tim and I spent a decent chunk of our day at Portland’s 2010 VegFest, which seems to grow bigger each year. There were heaps of vendors, exhibitors, and some amazing speakers. The event lasts two days but I am pretty sure I got more than my fill in one day! We sampled treats ranging from Equal Exchange Chocolates, Wild Wood Smoked Tofu, Dave’s Killer Breads, Doctor Kracker, Coconut Bliss, Numi Teas, Amy’s Mac-n-Cheese, Genesis Juices, Galaxy Rice Cheeses, Earnest Bars, Blossoming Lotus’ Live Fudge, Tempt Hemp Milk, Chicago Soy Dairy’s Nacho Cheese and Dandies, Heidi Ho Organics Cheeses (a new local Portland company!!!), and a medley of other yummy delights. It’s quite possible that I revisited some of the tables more than once (or twice).

The growing crowd wandering tables at VegFest

Flapping my arms with glee over my love for broccoli (note the circular tile by my feet)

With tummies full, we headed across the hall to watch Tal Ronnen do a live chef demo. This may have been my favorite part of the day. It’s always fun watching a professional chef prepare delicious foods (some of which we were able to sample!). Chef Ronnen was extremely personable, entertaining, and mesmerizing to watch. He prepared two recipes from his book, The Conscious Cook, Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples (so gooooood!) and Quinoa, Avocado, and Sweet Potato Timbale with Roasted Tomatillo Dressing. Tim and I weren’t able to get a seat in the crowded room, but we did get to stand in the back with an unobstructed view of Chef Ronnen. Here are some photos I took:

Chopping celery root

Tossing celery root into pot over imaginary flame

Making rich cashew cream for the soup

A nice bowl of sweet potatoes for the fancy salad

Dicing avocado

Molding the salad

Dotting the soup with Chive Oil (yeah, that’s right, Chive Oil!)

The finished salad (I was too far away to get a nice, focused shot, but you get the idea, right?)

Overall Tim and I had a lot of fun. I came home with a bag full of samples and treats. And guess what? I collected enough to share with one lucky reader!!!! Yeah!! Here’s what you could win:

* The October 2010 issue of VegNews magazine
* Steel Cut Oats and Muesli from Bob’s Red Mill
* Coconut Cream and Cherry Pie mini Lara Bars
* Earnest Eats mini Almond Trail Mix Bar
* A bread bag clip and measuring scoop from Bob’s Red Mill
* Tons of coupons for super vegan food items (Manitoba Harvest, Coconut Bliss, Wildwood Organics, Amy’s Organics, Emerald Valley, Lotus Foods, Galaxy Nutritional Foods, etc)
* Pins from Chicago Soy Dairy
* Stickers!
* Bragg Nutritional Yeast sample
* A nifty little pen from Amy’s Organics
* A packet of shelled hemp seeds from Manitoba Harvest

And, I’ll even throw in one of my handmade cards! Woohoo!!  To enter your name in the giveaway, leave a comment telling me about one of your favorite vegan food items. Easy as heck! I will choose a winner on Sunday, September 26th. Please note: due to shipping costs, this giveaway is only open to folks in the US, I’m sorry :(