Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza with Balsamic Drizzle

If you are a pizza traditionalist you probably won’t like this – actually you probably wouldn’t try it anyway.  We eat pizza, but we enjoy trying different variations and toppings.  I know, it sounds weird but surprisingly this combo worked really well together.  The mozzarella is great, but I think next time I’ll replace it with goat cheese.   Usually we use naan for our homemade pizzas, but for this one I wanted a thinner crust so I used a gluten-free whole wheat crust.
Ingredients:
  • 1 pizza crust
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 cups kale, washed, dried and stems removed
  • ½ medium onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the sweet potato. Allow to boil for 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is fork soft. Remove from heat and mash with almond milk, salt and pepper until spreadable.  Spread onto the pizza and top with the kale, onions and cheese.

Bake pizza for 10 minutes or until kale begins to crisp.  While the pizza is baking, prepare balsamic drizzle. Heat the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a pot over high heat. When it becomes to bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring. The vinegar should get thicker. Remove from heat and watch carefully so it doesn’t get hardened.

Remove pizza from oven and drizzle with balsamic drizzle.

Source:  Jessica in the Kitchen

Dancing on Broken Glass

I cannot begin to describe the emotions I felt while reading this book…

dancingMeet Lucy – her father, a police officer died in the line of duty when she was only five.  At 16, her mother passed away of cancer.  On her 21st birthday she met Mickey.  Both Lucy & Mickey have struggles and both have to be strong to overcome them.  In the years they’ve been together Lucy has battled and beat cancer and Mickey continues to battle with his bipolar disorder.  No matter how difficult it is, they are determined they can fight it together.  However, they decide with their issues that having a child would not be in their best interest so Lucy gets her tubes tied.  When Lucy becomes pregnant their plan goes haywire.  Just as they become comfortable with the idea of having a baby, Lucy is diagnosed with lung cancer.  The doctors tell her that she may not survive and encourage her to have an abortion, including Mickey.  Lucy can’t fathom losing her miracle baby but her sisters and all those close to her can’t stand the thought of losing her, especially Mickey.

Characters are onions. The most interesting ones reveal themselves layer by layer right down to their naked core.

While reading this book I was in awe of Lucy’s strength and determination.  I empathized with Mickey and the doubt in his ability to raise a daughter with his condition and without Lucy.   I could feel the love Lucy & Mickey have for each other and the love and support of those around them.  By the time I finished reading this book I was a mess, tears streaming down my face.  Even after it was done, I found myself crying a little for myself and the tough decisions that life has thrown at us.

Things on Tuesday

Loathing:

  • Not getting to spend much time with my love
  • My dog’s breath – she needs a teeth brushing!
  • Anxiety & anticipation…

Loving:

  • Staying busy but not overwhelmed
  • Getting some time to read again
  • Cooler fall weather
  • Thinking about wonderful possibilities…

Hope Anchor

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Salad

We are not new to the kale bandwagon, but most of the time I cook it and it’s mixed into a dish or we blend it in a smoothie.  This is the first kale salad that we’ve tried that I really liked.  Luckily, my local Harris Teeter’s produce department has already done the work and offers peeled, seeded & cubed butternut squash all ready to go.  I took the shortcut and grabbed some pre-washed kale too.  Don’t judge – it was a long day!  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this salad.  Since I didn’t have a lot of time I didn’t really let the squash cool so the goat cheese kinda melted a bit.  Next time, I think I might try to let it cool a little more first.  This is a great fall salad!

Ingredients:IMG_0910

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (1/2-inch pieces)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp adobo sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 large bunch kale, stemmed and cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Preparation:

Heat oven to 400. In a large bowl, toss together the butternut squash, 1 tbsp olive oil, and salt and black pepper to taste. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 tsp salt, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, adobo sauce, garlic cloves, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.  When the squash is done roasting, toss it with the kale, black beans, and dressing. Serve topped with crumbled goat cheese.

Source:  Eats Well with Others

Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole

It’s no secret that we love Mexican food, especially when it’s easy to make and tastes this good!  To keep it quick and simple I used a rotisserie chicken I picked up from the grocery store deli.  I usually keep jasmine rice on hand so I used that instead of the Basmati.  I already a bunch of cheddar jack cheese so I used that instead of the white cheddar (any cheese will work) and I was surprised to find that Harris Teeter had refried black beans which we like better than pinto beans.  I’m fan of cilantro so instead of using it as a garnish I added it to the mix before baking and I used some green onions as the garnish.  Oh and it’s just wrong to serve any kind of Mexican dish without a dollop of sour cream (or substitute with greek yogurt).
IMG_0896Ingredients
  • 3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 2 cups dry Basmati rice
  • 2 cans (10 oz each) Enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (16 oz) refried beans
  • 1 cup white cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 can (11 oz) corn kernel
  • cilantro for garnish
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
Preparation:IMG_0898

Cook the rice. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Mix the 2 cheeses together.

In a large bowl mix the shredded chicken with the enchilada sauce, refried beans and half of the cheese. Add rice, season with salt and pepper if needed, and mix well. Pour rice mixture into a large casserole dish. Top with corn then with remainder of cheese.

Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese melts and is bubbly.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm.

Adapted from:  Jo Cooks

Pumpkin Cream Pie

It’s that time of year when all the white girls want pumpkin everything!  Now, I like pumpkin but I’m not all crazy about it.  Even when Starbucks brings out the pumpkin lattes I still stick with my normal Chai tea latte or spiced apple cider.  I’m crazier about spiced apple cider than pumpkin – especially when it’s spiked with some spiced rum… ok, sorry back to the pie.  So, it’s fall and National Dessert Day, I just had to whip up this super duper easy dessert.  To make it even easier, rather than make my own crust I just bought one – I actually like the shortbread crust better than graham cracker anyway.  Oh, and I didn’t have any pumpkin pie spice so I just used cinnamon and nutmeg.  Done!

Filling:

  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whipped topping

Preparation:

Beat cream cheese and pumpkin puree in a medium bowl until smooth.  Add sugars, pumpkin pie spice and salt.  Beat until combined.  Gently fold in whipped topping.  Spread into crust.  Refrigerate overnight or until firm.  Spread extra whipped topping over top of firm pie and serve.

Shrimp Superfood Salad

We’ve been on a health kick, eating a lot more salads and now I buy quinoa by the pound.  This is an excellent salad, you can do anything with it.  I prefer it with some shrimp but you can add grilled chicken or just eat it alone.  For the sweetener I used agave nectar just because I happened to have some.  I forgot the orange but I did substitute some mandarin oranges from the can.  Nice, simple weeknight dinner or great for lunch.

Ingredients:459644

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled and segments chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • grilled shrimp (optional)

Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • dash of sweetener
  • salt & pepper

Preparation:

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.

For the Lemon Vinaigrette: combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake to combine. Or, add lemon juice, garlic, sweetener, salt and pepper into a small bowl and whisk in oil.

Combine cooled quinoa with red onion, orange segments, avocado, beans, corn, cilantro, salt and pepper. Pour Lemon Vinaigrette over the salad and stir to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.  Top with grilled shrimp.

Adapted from:  Iowa Girl Eats