Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza

So one of the best things in the world is coming home from a long day and having a delicious meal cooked for you.  Earlier this month I did the Porter Flea in Nashville with Love Virginia Ruth and stayed at my aunt’s for the weekend.  (Who is one of the most gracious hosts.  She knows how to spoil a girl!)  We had talked about going out to eat Saturday night (I mean food in Nashville is tempting…) but decided to stay in since she had food she could whip up for dinner.  And that she did!  For dinner, we had Spaghetti Squash Baby Cakes with Crispy Sage from My New Roots along with Sweet Potato, Feta, and 
Shiitake Packets from Vegetarian Times Magazine.  For dessert, Ginger Lemon Trifle, also from Vegetarian Times Magazine.  While eating the Sweet Potato and Shiitake Packet, I couldn’t help but want to make a pizza out of it.  So pizza it became…

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Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza:

  • Thin crust pizza dough from Cooking Light
  • Sweet Potato, Feta, and Shiitake mix – I made a couple of ever so slight alterations.  One being that I substituted kale for Swiss chard.  I used one bunch of kale (a lot more than 2 cups), 6 oz feta, and doubled the garlic.  I did not opt for the mint, and although I did use dried oregano, I would have preferred to use the fresh from my garden.  If you follow the instructions from the recipe as I did, you are going to have a ton left over.  I went ahead and made the packets in addition to using the mixture for the pizza.  It made 5 good-sized portions.  Also, make sure to slice the sweet potato REALLY thin so that it will cook.  I think it could have used a bit more lemon personally.  (Not for the pizza, but in the packets.)

Follow instructions for making pizza dough.  However, I do a couple of things differently.  I do preheat the baking sheet while the oven is preheating, but I never precook the dough.  With this recipe, I found that it makes it tough and chewy.  Just not good.  Also, I use olive oil to coat the bowl instead of cooking spray (which works too).  I do not use the cornmeal.  If you like the taste or have some on hand, feel free to use it.  I just never have.

After the dough has chilled for an hour, remove from the fridge and roll out on floured surface.  Roll to fit the sheet being used, whether round or rectangular.  Remove baking sheet from the oven.  Drizzle olive oil to thinly coat sheet.  Transfer rolled out dough to hot baking sheet – just remember it is hot!  (I cannot tell you how many times I have burnt my hands in the past.)   Begin by drizzling a little bit of olive oil on the dough.  Then cover pizza with the sweet potato mixture from above.  Try to distribute the ingredients evenly.

Bake on middle rack for 10 minutes at 500, until the crust is starting to brown.  Cover the pizza with aluminum foil and bake for another 4 minutes or until the sweet potatoes seem cooked.  Enjoy!

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Eating (almost) raw

So this past month I have been trying to eat mostly raw.  Eating raw  started with wanting to detox for health, but I have been loving it.  With life being so busy, it is hard to always be intentional about what I am eating and making sure it is not only organic, but right for my body.  I have a sweet tooth and love bread, but my down fall is drinking black tea with milk and honey ALL day.  I have been amazed at how the things that had the strongest hold on me have been easier to let go then I thought.  With tea, it was only the first week that I really missed my morning cup.  After that, I did still struggle with a caffeine headache but not the longing.

With eating raw, the first week was definitely the hardest.  I was prepared for it though.  I bought 4 cookbooks and looked up tons of recipes online.  I knew that I needed a plan to follow and go to recipes right there when I needed them.  Plus, I did stock up on some of my favorite raw treats (Sacred Chocolate being one of them).  Now that I have over 3 weeks of eating raw complete, I feel so much more confident in my ability to stick with it.  However, I do have a confession…the first two weeks I allowed myself to cheat…dates with girl friends for coffee, etc.  Plus, I have used some of the wrong ingredients in preparations – I am learning still.  All in all, I would say I have eaten almost raw.  This is not a life change.  I am thoroughly enjoying it, but I know in the end, I would never want to live the rest of my life eating raw.  Originally my plan was to eat raw for a month to detox my body and try to see if I noticed changes in my health.  Now that I am in love, I think I might go a bit longer.

What made me fall in love with eating raw?….My New Roots….Even with 4 cookbooks and tons of recipes, I was not loving the food I was making.  I did not want left overs, let alone a large helping.  (It might have been a good thing because my stomach shrunk a ton the first week and definitely helped lose some weight.)  Even my uncle who is known for eating anything, was good just tasting my food.  I knew that there had to be a way to make raw food that I would enjoy.  I just was not comfortable experimenting on my own yet and knowing what ingredients were truly raw (ex. which vinegars or oils to use).  The first recipe I tried from My New Roots, the Raw Tacos, was delicious!  I was excited.  Thrilled even.  And totally in love.  Finally, I had made something delicious other than a salad or smoothie.   I made my own guacamole instead of using avocado slices.  I also did not have any cashews on hand, so I totally omitted the “sour cream”, but I honestly think it was not needed.  I made it two times in a row it was so good!  The recipe made tons and fed me for days literally.  I used whatever greens I had in the fridge…spinach and kale.  This week I tried the Raw Pad Thai.  It says it makes for 6-8, but it makes TONS.  Maybe my stomach has shrunk but I still have left overs and have been eating it for days.  Good thing it is so good.  Next up from the blog, Ecstatic Raw Chocolate.

So, the benefits I have noticed:

  • lost weight effortlessly (totally am eating whatever I want whenever I am hungry and have not increased my exercise routine until this week)
  • better skin
  • improved digestion
  • need less sleep at night (I wake up naturally 1-2 hours earlier and feel ready to get up but man am I tired by 9pm!)
  • exercise is easier

I have not noticed the health result I was hoping for, but with all the other results I have seen, I am definitely going to keep eating raw for a bit longer (with exceptions – my sister’s birthday is coming up).  We shall see…

*With any diet change, consulting a physician or dietitian is recommended.  This post is chronicling my own experience.