So, let's jump right in. Today's quote comes from Rumi ...
This sounds deep, and you might be thinking that I am about to launch into a diatribe about following your heart. I'm not. Okay, I kind of am, but not in the way you think! What I want to talk about is vodka and pizza (stick with me, I promise I am going to pull all of this together). When we drastically change our eating habits, it is pretty normal to still have cravings for some of the old things we used to love every now and then. For me, that has been pizza and a cocktail here and there (or a "proper drink" as my favorite Brits call it!). Now, I have been able to reconcile the whole cocktail thing already. I never signed on to give it up completely, but merely to limit it to when I really want it and not just because it's there. This has been pretty easy for me to do. I made this decision because I know that alcohol is not really healthy for my body on a regular basis, but it is also not the worst thing in the world, especially in moderation.
The pizza thing is a whole other story. I guess I did not realize it before making this change, but I think I might have a slight addiction to pizza. I really haven't missed many things since going mostly vegan and unprocessed ... but man, I do miss my pizza. I am not even talking about in the normal way of missing something. I am talking about having dreams about its ooey gooiness and fantasizing about greasy cheese slipping off of the crust and into my mouth. Papa John even makes it into my dreams from time to time. Yeah ... it's that bad.
Many of us tend to think in black in white. What I mean by this is that we that we are either "eating healthy" or "splurging", we love someone or hate them, we think we have either succeeded or failed ... you get the point. We often struggle to think about the gray area in the middle.
When I saw this quote today, I thought it was perfect. I mean, I highly doubt that Rumi thought his words would be applied to pizza one day, but guess what? I'm gonna do it. I have been silently drawn by the strange pull of my pizza addiction for the past two months. I have tried to avoid it and not look it in the eye for fear that even going there would lead me down a dark path of unhealthy eating and utter destruction ... or in Rumi's less dramatic words, lead me astray. It occurred to me that I have been thinking about this in such black and white terms ... all or nothing terms ... and that just doesn't work.
For example, try this. Right now, do not think about a giant purple elephant......... you are thinking about a giant purple elephant, aren't' you! We automatically think about and want to do that which we tell ourselves (or are told) that we can't. So, why not find something in the gray area? In the middle? Without all that pesky restriction?
A big fat cheesy pizza pie is out of the question for me right now, but no one said I couldn't eat pizza at all, right? I let myself begin to entertain the idea ... following that strange pizza pull in my heart. And you know what? Rumi was right. It did not lead me astray. Nope. In fact, it led me to a delicious alternative pizza recipe that fits with the dietary changes I am trying to make right now. It turns out I don't have to avoid pizza all together or beat myself up for wanting it. When I took a little time to examine that pull I was feeling, I was able to come up with a good solution. It reiterated for me that eating healthy does not mean you have to eat boring. You can eat all the things that you love, just in a new way.
So, trust yourself. Follow what pulls you, and make it work with your goals and beliefs. I am sure that it how good veggie burgers, sweet potato fries, and those amazing vegan black bean brownies all came to be.
I tell you all of this so that I can share with you what I ate and drank tonight!
After a long work week and an even longer day, a proper drink was in order. I used to love a good Jack Daniels and Diet Coke (not your typical girl's drink, but I learned to like it from my dad). Since I have given up my beloved Diet Coke, this drink it no longer an option. Because I don't indulge as much as I used to, I let myself have the good stuff when I do drink now. I got home and made myself an ice cold dirty martini with Kettle One vodka and jalapeño stuffed olives. It hit the spot.
Devilishly Dirty Martini
- 4 ounces Kettle One vodka (or whatever kind you prefer)
- 1 ounce brine from jalapeño stuffed olive jar, or to taste
- three jalapeño stuffed olives
- Fill martini glass with ice and set in freezer to chill.
- Fill shaker with ice and add vodka and brine.
- Shake well.
- Pull glass out of the freezer and dump the ice.
- Pour martini into glass.
- Garnish with three jalapeño stuffed olives on a tooth pick.
- Serve and enjoy!!!
Now, for the pizza. I did a little searching and found a yummy looking vegan pizza recipe on the Little House of Veggies website. I made some variations. Now, I am not going to lie to you and tell you that this pizza tasted like the pizza you would get on the corner in NYC or even from your local pizza delivery store. That may be possible using the vegan cheese, Diaya, but I haven't tried that yet. This pizza was delicious though in a whole different way. It was like gourmet pizza ... the kind you get at a fancy pizza joint. It was hearty, rich, and bursting with flavor. I have to tell you, another reason I have avoided making pizza until now was my fear that I would eat the entire thing. This pizza was so delicious and satisfying that I was stuffed after two pieces. It still amazes me how my body regulates my intake when I am putting in good food. Will I be making this pizza again? Abso-freaking-lutely.
The original recipe on the Little House of Veggies website included instructions for making your own dough for crust. I didn't feel like doing all of that, so I bought a pre-made, organic, whole grain crust from Whole Foods. If you want to make your own, you can get the recipe from Little House of Veggies. Okay ... enough yapping! Let's get cooking!
Vegan Cheezy Pizza Topped with Jalapeño Stuffed Olives, Red Peppers, and Tangy Salade Vinaigrette
- 2 pizza crusts
- 4 cups organic spring mix greens
- 2 red peppers, diced or chopped
- 2 small jars jalapeño stuffed olives, sliced
- 3 cups sunflower & cashew cheese (see below)
- salad vinaigrette (see below)
*This recipe requires two mini recipes, so I will go through each of them and then talk about how to build your pizza! It also yields enough to make two pizzas ...
Sunflower & Cashew Cheese
- 1 cup raw cashew pieces
- 1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/3 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons mellow white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 3 teaspoons ume vinegar or red wine vinegar
- juice of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- sea salt to taste
- cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/2 - 1 cup water (plus additional water to soak seeds and nuts)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 large tablespoon reduced fat Vegenaise
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, or to taste
- 1/3 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil