Raw family dinner: “Rawvioli”

Cooking for a big family must be tough but cooking for one is not easy either. It’s not uncommon for me to way overestimate the amount of groceries I need and I can only eat leftovers from the same dish for so long. Our significant others are off chasing dreams in distant locations (aka working real jobs or also in graduate school not at Purdue) so we decided to have a “family dinner” in their stead.

The fare: raw and vegan. Neither of us have much experience prepping raw food and I recently purchased Gena Hamshaw’s cookbook, Choosing Raw and I’ve been itching to try out a few recipes. We decided on Root “Rawvioli” with Nut Cheese and Pesto.

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Begin with the beet slicing. A mandoline is a must for this dish. There’s just no way to safely slice the beets thin enough without it. Mandolines are not crazy expensive and they are so darn useful. I got mine this summer at H-E-B for like fifteen bucks–you can’t beet beat that. If you need some additional encouragement, you can find one here. Random and shameless mandoline plug concluded.

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Apron required. Beets are bursting with color and are likely to stain your hands and everything else.

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Monique was master chef of the nut cheese.

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The recipe requires the cashews to soak overnight. We’re grad students in business school…that did not happen. However, someone told me to boil water and do a quick 20-30 minute soak. It did the trick! The consistency of the final product was bit thicker than what is described in the recipe but whatever.

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Pistachio pesto. Raw pistachios were no where to be found in our midwestern college town so we settled with roasted and salted. If you ever find yourself in a similar predicament, just hold off on the salt called for in the recipe and you should be good. A few whirls around the food processor and boom! chopped nuts:

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The micro grater is super handy when mincing garlic. It’s quick and easy too.

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With the beets sliced and the nut cheese and pesto prepared, we were ready to assemble the RAWviolis!

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The final review: it. was. so. delicious. Our raw family dinner was a huge success! This dish is bursting with flavor: from the mild and possibly sweet cashew cheese with playful hints of oregano, to the bold and zesty flavors of garlic and basil in the pistachio pesto. Mmm! Beets were a perfect vehicle to these two rockstars. In truth, there was a lot of nut cheese and pesto leftover but be sure, we were not complaining. They will pair perfectly with crackers, chips, or even veggies. Gena nailed this one out of the park and we highly recommend it. Find her cookbook here.

Kitchen bloopers:

1. We had a side dish planned. It was a salad of sorts, where the homemade dressing was to be the featured item. It was a total bust and we ended up eating a bowl of romaine with whatever dressing I had in the fridge.

2. Looking glamorous and cooking doesn’t always work out… 😉 And food photography/quality food making action shots are not easy.

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3. I know I’ve had a successful cooking adventure when the kitchen is destroyed (see countertop in an earlier photo). It’s all in the HappiMess 🙂

4. Let’s not forget about failing to soak the cashews overnight. Lesson learned: read the recipe all the way before committing.

Purely fun:

Kitchen Gadgets MVP awards: the food processor and the mandoline.
Likelihood of making this dish again: pretty darn high.
Would I recommend this recipe to a friend: yes, I already did multiple times.
Currently craving: brownies and sleep

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Summer Veggie Pizza

Summer Veggie Pizza

I recently acquired a free subscription to Better Homes and Gardens. As a 25-year-old woman this is not my normal magazine of choice but it came with a comforter I purchased this past spring and if it’s free it’s me!

In the August edition of BHG I found an article of ideas to use zucchini and yellow squash in ways that would be more exciting for your family such as a full veggie pizza. The article didn’t have a recipe but rather a short list of ingredients, including Alfred sauce, mozzarella cheese, sliced zucchinis and squash and basil. This recipe seemed easy and quick allowing for room for creativity and that’s just up my alley so I invited some friends over for dinner and ran off to the grocery store with my meager list. I grabbed two pizza crusts with Sherree, two jars of Alfredo sauce, 3 zucchinis and 3 yellow squashes and shredded mozzarella cheese.

First I used my mandolin to slice the zucchini’s and yellow squash, as it turns out I needed about one of each veggie for the two pizzas. Next I spread the Alfredo sauce over the pizza crust and layered the zucchini as the first level, the squash as the second layer. I added a generous layer of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

What I failed to do was add any seasoning and thus my friends and I enjoyed a rather bland pizza. My friends decided to add crushed red pepper or hot sauce to add flavor post-cooking. These items may be good to have on hand even if you do add seasoning because they are beloved condiments and hot sauce is a crowd pleaser any day.

Ingredient List:

  • 1 store bought pizza crust
  • 1 jar of Alfredo sauce
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 Yellow Squash
  • Mozzarella cheese (one store bought bag)
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Spread a layer of Alfredo Sauce on top of the pizza crust (expect to use 1/3 to ½ of the jar)
  • Sprinkle Italian Seasoning over the Alfredo sauce
  • Spread zucchini directly over the Alfredo sauce with little separation between the zucchini slices
  • Spread yellow squash over the layer of zucchini with little separation between the squash slices
  • Liberally sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of the veggies, sprinkle parmesan cheese as a second layer of cheese on top of the mozzarella
  • Place in oven and allow to cook for 20 minutes

Prepping the Veggies

Step 1 Veggie Pizza Step 1.5 Veggie Pizza

Step 2 Veggie Pizza

Last Step, Veggie Pizza

I hope this summer veggie pizza provides you a delicious meal to share with your family or friends and that you submit comments on how to improve this recipe as you experiment.

– Enjoy! –  

PB Energy Balls

Today in preparation for a friend’s cookout, I spent the afternoon cooking. Now what I should have been doing all afternoon was studying for an upcoming Midterm. It’s my last semester of grad school and my motivation is low, low, lowwwwwwww. But hey, at least I’m well fed!

 

My first recipe was from Edible Sound Bites’ blog for Peanut Butter Energy Bites, I had my eye on these energy balls because they are sunflower seed based and I have a bunch of sunflower seeds with no recipes’ planned and thus a great curiosity to use them.

PB Energy Ball - cover 

I utilized my Blendtec blender for this recipe but you can use a food processor if that’s your kitchen tool of choice.

PB Energy Ball Ingredients

 

The ingredients are as follows:

1/2c Sunflower Seeds

1/4c Rolled Oats

1/2c Dried Apricots

1/2c Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)

1oz Honey

1/4c Vanilla Protein Powder

2 tbsp Ground Flaxseeds

*Optional:

Coconut flakes, cocoa powder or chia seeds to roll and coat energy balls in.

 

What I like about this recipe is that I am able to get 16-19 balls and each bite is less than 100 calories. I can take a zip lock of 2 or 3 balls to school and have a quick snack before each class that I know is healthy and tasty. I ran my recipe through Spark People to generate a Nutrition Label to show you just how great these snacks are!

PB Energy Nutrition

First up you’ll add the sunflower seeds and oats to the blender and pulse until you have a flour like mixture.

PB Energy Ball - Step 1

Second, add in the apricots to the existing mixture. You’ll pulse until you have a crumbly mixture.

PG Energy Ball - Step 2

Add in the remaining ingredients to the blender and pulse until the components are well mixed.

PB Energy Balls - Step 3

Lastly, remove spoonful’s of the mixture and form into 1” diameter balls.

(At this time you may roll the balls into one of the optional ingredients to coat the energy balls with a topping.)

PB Energy Balls - Step 4

Store energy balls in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks and voilà!