Finding balance with food, movement, and community for my (dairy-free) family.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fruit Pizza: Dairy-Free and Whole Grain with a Cheesecake Vibe

Whole-Grain, Dairy-Free Fruit Pizza
I recently set out to make a whole-grain dairy-free fruit pizza, but ended up with something that tasted surprisingly like cheesecake.  Happy mistake!

It's always been a dream of mine to make a soy-free, dairy-free cheesecake-ish sort of thing, so I foresee experimenting further with this recipe to produce something even more like cheesecake.

Fruit pizza sounds healthy, but when I started looking at recipes, it turns out that the crust is usually made with sugar cookie dough.  Healthy?  Not so much.

For my version, I started with the crust recipe from the blueberry oatmeal bars in Jessica Seinfeld's  Deceptively Delicious and this cashew sour cream recipe and then modified liberally.

The crust is a bit more crumbly than I'd like, but chilling it in the refrigerator helps reduce the crumbs.  Bonus:  topped with blueberries and strawberries it makes a nice patriotic dessert for July 4th (which somehow seems to happening next week.  How did that sneak up on me?)

Fruit Pizza

Step 1:  Start soaking your cashews the night (or at least several hours) before you want to make your pizza.
Step 2:  Make and bake the whole grain fruit pizza crust.
Step 3:  Use the soaked cashews to make the creamy topping.
Step 4:  Top generously stawberries and blueberries (fresh or frozen*) or other seasonal fruits.

Whole Grain Fruit Pizza Crust

1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 cup coconut oil

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Combine the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and mix well.   
3.  Stir in vanilla and honey.  
4.  Add the coconut oil and use two knives or a pastry blender to combine.  
5.  Press the crust into a greased pie pan.  
6.  Bake 17-20 minutes.  

Creamy Topping

1 cup raw cashews 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon granulated sweetener (sucanat, evaporated cane juice, sugar, etc.)

1.  Cover cashews in warm water and leave to soak overnight (or at least for several hours)
2.  Strain the water off of the cashews and rinse.  
3.   Using a food processor or immersion blender, combine cashews, salt, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  This will take a bit.  I couldn't achieve the texture I wanted in my food processor, but the immersion blender did the trick.  

*Frozen blueberries taste great as a topping and look fine at first, but as they defrost they send blueberry juice veining across the creamy topping giving it a bit of a murder-scene effect--tasty, but slightly creepy.

Shared at Friday Food Flicks Finale (so sad it's ending!) and at Allergy Free Wednesday.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

State of the Plate, June 2012

A Moment to Reflect

I've taken a break from blogging the last two months for a couple of reasons.

Being Busy

I've been so busy that I just couldn't justify making time to write blog posts.  Gardening is lovely and the ideal way to get produce for my family--but, good grief, it take a lot of time.

Couple that with obsessively reading books (organic gardening techniques, finding and cooking grass fed meat, edible landscaping, root cellaring, home orchards, home meat curing, and some phonics thrown in for good measure) and I just haven't had much time.

Motivation Check

I also found myself question why I was blogging.  It takes time, but there's no return.  And as I mentioned, time is in short supply these days.   I'm not in a position either time-wise or knowledge-wise to launch a profitable blogging empire (although I'm so impressed by mothers who manage to do so).  So much of what I want to blog about is just my experience with some one else's ideas, not something truly original.

Of course, there's nothing new under the sun, is there?  And a quick Google will reveal that for almost any idea there are more than a handful of bloggers who have addressed it.  So, really--what's the point?  Why add to the virtual clutter when there are so many things tugging at my time?

As I've reflected, I realize that I started this blog not with lofty goals about making money or building a massive following, but as a journal--a way to hold myself accountable and to nudge myself to encourage healthy eating habits in my kids.

Journal writing is a powerful tool for self-reflection and self-discovery and, frankly, I have a history of being lousy at it.  I just don't take time to write unless I have an audience--or at least a potential audience.

So I've decided to try to make time for myself to blog--embracing that this is really a journal about developing a healthy food culture within my family.  If it helps some one else--bonus.  The act of writing (and even just thinking about writing when I don't have time to get words on the page) helps me.  

What's Coming

I have so many could-be-posts swimming around in my head right  now.  I have a bunch of food goals for my family this summer and I'm hoping to write about them.

French Kids Eat Everything:  Based on this book, I'm working on giving my family a French-food-attitude makeover.

Cool Breakfasts for Hot Days:   Our usual warm breakfasts, like French toast, are heating up the kitchen too much in this warm weather, so I'm hoping to mix up our menus with some nourishing food that won't overheat the house.

Not PBJ for Lunch:  We've fallen into a bad rut of eating peanut butter sandwiches way too much.  With first grade looming, I'm eager to create a lunch rotation featuring more diverse and nourishing options that will also be lunch-box friendly.  I have no idea what that's going to look like!

Book Reviews:  I've been using and abusing the library like a crazy lady this spring.  I've read so many wonderful books and cookbooks; I'm hoping to review some of them so that I will be able to remember why I loved them and refer to them again in the future.