Eggplant Pizza

It's about that time of the month where I try to be a little less extravagant and a bit more frugal with my money. In the kitchen this means things get extremely creative! Around mid-day yesterday, I decided I wanted something savory and went to the fridge only to find some cheese, one eggplant, one tomato, half an onion, and one remaining naan bread from a dinner I made earlier this week. My thoughts - Naan bread pizza of course!

But how was I going to incorporate eggplant?? I searched around some food blogs for a minute and came up with a quick, delicious recipe for a vegetable pizza.

Garden Eggplant Pizza
(Recipe yields: 2 Naan bread pizzas or 1 large pizza)
* 1 large eggplant, peeled
* 1 medium tomato
* 1 red bell pepper
* 1 onion
* 1 small zucchini (optional)
* 1 large garlic clove, minced
* 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
* 2 fresh Naan breads (or pizza dough to make 1 large pizza)
* 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
* Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or fresh basil chiffonaded)
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Chop eggplant and next 4 ingredients coarsely; saute garlic in 1 tablespoon oil (just long enough to infuse the oil); sauté vegetables in garlic oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until tender.
Layer pizza crust evenly with cheese and eggplant mixture; sprinkle with basil and next 4 ingredients. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Bake at 425° for 10 minutes or until golden.

Second Batch: Pumpkin Granola

WOW! This batch came out perfect! If you are craving a delicious, clumpy, fall-inspired granola please try this recipe ;)

Nutty Pumpkin Granola (inspired by Ellie Krieger's recipe)
1.5 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped raw or slivered almonds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (cashews)
1/4 cup pepitas
2 tbsp wheat germ (optional)
2 tbsp flax seeds (optional)
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup dried cranberries (I added golden raisins, chopped dried figs, apricots)

Preheat the oven to 300 and spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Mix together the oats, nuts, salt, and spices. Then, stir in the pumpkin puree, vanilla, maple syrup and cranberries. Be sure everything is well combined.

Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp. The granola will crisp up a bit more after it’s out of the oven, too. And when I am craving a healthy snack/dessert, I combine all my favorite things with Greek yogurt. It's the simple things in life...

Pumpkin Madness

Pumpkin Spiced Granola
I used my original recipe, left out the orange zest, added pumpkin spices, and a touch of Godiva's Pumpkin Spiced Coffee grains :)

One of my favorite ways to enjoy homemade granola is over a bowl of Greek yogurt with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey!

Almost two weeks ago, Milena and I went on a pumpkin puree baking binge! We got very excited about the Fall weather, holidays, and foliage and decided to celebrate with cans and cans of pumpkin puree. Ok I am kidding, only sort of, but we did decide to bake everything pumpkin on the Friday before Halloween. Most of the baked goods were sent to a Halloween party for a club Milena is involved with at the College, but the rest were for our enjoyment!

*The next two recipes were adapted and made Gluten-free due to Milena's allergy, however I have posted the recipes using the original ingredients
Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from here)
Yields: about 16 large cookies
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper, set aside. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color. Next, mix in the oil,
pumpkin and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the flour to incorporate. Mix in the chocolate chips.
Using an ice cream scoop (1/4 cup size), scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2 inches apart. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds. Bake until tops feel firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Drizzle
(adapted from here)

Dry ingredients:
1/2 cup blanched almond flour (also called almond meal)
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
Wet ingredients:
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric, optional
For the chocolate drizzle:
6 tbs. dark chocolate chips
1 tsp. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 12 cups of a mini-muffin tin with coconut or olive oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry with a wooden spoon until smooth. Divide batter evenly among greased muffin cups, filling each all the way to the top.
Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 24-26 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan. (Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake to help release it from the pan.)
For the chocolate drizzle: melt together the chocolate chips and coconut oil over very low heat in a small saucepan, stirring often to avoid burning the chocolate. When chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from heat. Drizzle chocolate over top of the cooled cupcakes using a teaspoon. Transfer cupcakes to refrigerator to set up the chocolate.
Store cupcakes in the refrigerator until ready to serve, or up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

These were so cute and delicious!

Berry Stella Cookies

These cookies didn't last long in my kitchen! They were the perfect crunchy and sweet accompaniment to a bowl of yogurt or ice cream. If you can't already tell by the pictures, I made three variations of the cookies using the original batter: 1)topped with fresh raspberries and a cranberry/blueberry compote 2) dark chocolate chunks topped with drizzled honey 3) dark chocolate chunks topped with drizzled peanut butter

Berry Stella Cookies (recipe adapted from Eden Kitchen):
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or zentrofan fine wheat flour or all-purpose flour)
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup chopped mixed nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamias)
¼ cup flax seeds, ground
½ teaspoon fine ground sea salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup virgin coconut oil (I used a canola olive oil blend)
½ cup desired add-ins: dark chocolate chunks, raspberries (fresh or frozen), peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350°F/ 180°C. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Finely chop the nuts until they resemble small bread crumbs. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, desiccated coconut, oats, nuts, flaxseed, salt and baking soda.

Add the vanilla extract, oil, and maple syrup and mix until well combined. If using cookie cutters scoop 2 tablespoons of the dough into each cutter following the instructions above. Otherwise simply roll the scooped dough into balls and flatten them a little.

Lightly press and small handful of frozen berries onto each cookie and bake in the upper third of oven for 13-15 minutes, or until golden on top and bottom.

Makes about 20-25 cookies.