Monday, September 27

Cranberry Acorn Squash Goat Cheese Pizza

Welcome to the season of Fall! I would like to say it's my favorite season, but honestly it's always been a wash between Fall and Spring.  Yet, every time I notice that brisk chill in the air or the changing color of leaves, Fall quickly takes first place in my heart.  For now it has my loyalty and as I start pulling out those cozy scarves and warm jackets my excitement will grow even more.  
Obviously, I believe such a magnificent season must be brought in with style and celebration.  You may laugh, but Thursday was the official first day of Fall and I created a Fall-inspired meal.  I didn't plan to make it feel like Thanksgiving, but my central ingredient is typically on the Turkey day menu.  I had an Acorn Squash that was a little past due and needed to be used, so I decided to try a new twist on an old favorite: a colorful Fall pizza!  My pizza dough continues to rock my family's taste buds, so it works wells as a base for any fun creative dish.  

Here's the outcome of my Fall and Acorn Squash inspirations! I hope you can give this delightful recipe a try! 

{Cranberry Acorn Squash Goat Cheese Pizza}
~makes 12 squares

For the Dough:
1 package of dry, active Yeast
1 tbsp Sucant
1 cup warm Water

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon crushed dry Rosemary
1 teaspoon of Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Cardamon
1/2 teaspoon Curry Powder

1/2 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1/4 cup Sucant (Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar works as well)

2 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour

For the Topping:
1 ripe Acorn Squash
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt 

2 cups fresh or defrosted Cranberries
1 cup sautéed Onions
Goat Cheddar and Brie Cheese

To begin, combine 1 cup warm water (following temp. directions on your yeast package) with the Yeast and Sucant in a small bowl and whisk.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes allowing the yeast to proof and foam.

While the yeast works, combine everything except the flour in a large bowl. Then add the proofed yeast and flour. Mix it all with a spatula and work the dough into a ball for 2-3 minutes. Cover your pizza stone or 10x13 baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle cornmeal all over to keep it from sticking.

Finally, drop the dough with the aid of your spatula onto the stone.  Wet your hands to flatten and spread the dough evenly to the thickness you want your crust to be.  Lightly coat the dough with olive oil.  This will help it brown beautifully.

Place pizza in 
pre-heated oven at 425 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. 

To prepare the Acorn Squash, microwave it whole for 2 minutes to soften it.  Cut in half and scoop it clean.  Then continue to slice into little half moons about 1/2 inch or so thick.  Toss in a large bowl with the Olive Oil, Sea Salt and Maple Syrup until well covered.  Place on parchment lined sheet and pour remaining liquid over the squash. 

Pull your pizza out and turn the oven down to 375 degrees.  When ready place the Acorn Squash in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft.

Meanwhile grate fresh Goat Cheddar and Brie all over the pizza until it's well covered.  Top it with the Cranberries and lightly sautéed Onions.  Once the Squash is ready pull the skins off and place them on top, either moonshaped or diced.  Once the cheese begins to bubble pull it out and let it cool.  

I hope this new twist on pizza brings the fall season home for you! Happy brisk and cozy days to you!

Friday, September 17

Blueberry Peach Vanilla Nut Smoothie

The last couple months have proven difficult for me.  I have always had trouble with digestion, but lately it's been getting worse.  This pushes me forward, giving me motivation to keep seeking for answers.  I have been reading more and more about the vegan and raw food diet.  It makes so much sense! For anyone who is intrigued or needing answers to health problems I would definitely recommend looking into these lifestyles.  My favorite read right now is Raw Food/Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis.  These two do a great job of simplifying the information and explaining the amazing benefits of eating raw.  They have me greatly convinced and now I'm just trying to move towards the raw lifestyle.  As a result I have started eating vegan, so if I must be classified I would call myself a gluten-free vegan, attempting to eat raw whenever possible.

In their book Matthew and Sarma share a wonderful array of delicious recipes.  The easiest to create are of course the smoothies.  A perfect, sweet and filling treat, smoothies are a fun and colorful way to eat well.  I have had fun creating all sorts in the past weeks.  So.... I thought I might share two with you.  Hope these refresh your day as they have mine!

{Blueberry Peach Vanilla Nut Smoothie}


2 Cups Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
2 Frozen Peaches
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Creme Stevia
{Feel free to add more if you like it sweeter}
3 Cups Crushed Ice
{This varies depending on how thick you like your smoothies}
1/4 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt

For protein and lasting energy add one of these two ingredients:

1/4 Raw Cashews

2 tablespoons Raw Almond Butter

For the Almond version, blend all the above ingredients and then add in the two tablespoons.  For the Cashew version, first blend the nuts with the milk and then add the rest.  Feel free to experiment.  Smoothies are flexible, so add or reduce the amount of sweetener and ice to your preference.  Make it YOUR smoothie. Get creative and enjoy!

For other great healthy recipes check out Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Gluten-Free Wednesdays

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