Artichoke Pesto Flatbread

I've recently discovered the joy of no-cheese pizzas. And I realize how crazy this sounds from someone who has previously rattled on and ON about the joys of all things cheese. I mean, cheese defines me.  Well, it DID at least. I haven't purchased cheese in 2 months. (Read: this is huge). I've had some sprinklings here and there, but nothing like I used to... and nothing like my childhood, when my parents would find string cheese wrappers like breadcrumbs in the wake of my dairy destruction...

Making pizza at home means topping it with whatever. I had a beet pizza a few weeks ago. But this one was the best, so here I am to share. Because sharing is caring!

Artichoke Flatbread Pizza
8 servings

1 can artichoke hearts packed in water
2 tbsp basil pesto
1 package whole wheat pizza dough
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced in rings
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c. pitted kalamata olives, chopped

Preheat oven according to dough instructions (450F is usually on the money). Let pizza dough hang out on the counter to come to room temp and relax.

Pop open artichokes and drain. Quickly chop up with a food processor to a fine dice.

Saute over med-high heat for 5 minutes. This will help to evaporate extra water and soften up artichokes.

Remove from heat and stir in pesto. 

yeah, this pesto has parm in it. sneaky sneaky. but it was already in my fridge when i started this "no dairy" thing, so give me cred for not being wasteful, plz.
Roll out pizza dough on a floured pan using your fancy rolling pin (ikea glass).

Bake for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly brown. Sometimes it gets a giant bubble, just poke a hole in that to steam vent.

Spread artichoke pesto mixture evenly on crust.

Top with onion, mushroom, parsley, and olives.

And bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until onions are soft, crust is crispy, and mushrooms are shrivel-y.

Slice er up and serve with a big salad!

What cheese?


Totally Tubular Terrarium Tutorial

Today we are going to learn together.

About nature.

And the ecosystem.

Let's make a terrarium.

Shopping List

  • From the thrift store or dollar store:
    • Glass fish bowls, vases, bowls, glasses, etc
  • From the pet store:
    • Aquarium gravel (many style to chose from! Even awesome tacky bright pink.)
    • Activated filter carbon (also in the aquarium section)
  • From the garden store:
    • Potting soil for cacti/succulents
    • 1-2 feature succulents (~$2 ea) per terrarium
  • From your neighbors' yards
    • cuttings of succulents! I get them from my mom, but if she wasn't my mom, I would totally steal some from her yard. For a quick tip on taking succulent cuttings, see here. It takes about a 3 days for the cuttings to be planting-ready, so plan ahead.

In your glass of choice, add about 1" of gravel.

Top that gravel off with a sprinkling of carbon. Sprinkle in evenly until you only see a little peak of gravel (~1/4").

Add 2" of potting soil.

Remove succulents from garden store packaging and tickle the roots. Make a spot in the terrarium for the succulent and bury in the soil. Make your arrangement.

Add a wee bit of soil to fill in and make sure roots are covered.

Water moderately and evenly.

Place in a partially sunny spot (a window that gets light for only a few hours of the day) to give time to take root.

After 2 weeks, you may move to a bright spot in your home that is not necessarily by a window.

Some tips:
  • Try variety inside the terrarium for balance. Something tall, something leafy, something with tiny leaves, something big, something colorful for contrast (like a red or purple variety).
  • Try one large statement succulent and 1-2 complimentary mini succulents.
  • Try a micro terrarium (in a small glass or even stemware)
  • Top with sand (colored!) or gravel on top of the soil if you want to commit to the arrangement.
  • Spray paint miniatures a contrasting color (i.e. turquoise dinosaurs, pink kittens) and place inside for whimsy. 


  • Succulents like to stay dry. Sprinkle with a small bit of water once/week.
  • Do not leave in direct sunlight for long periods of time. The glass makes a microclimate and it can get too hot quickly.
  • Name them names like Sally, Spike, or Rhonda. Plants like to have names.


Biscuits and Country Gravy (Vegan)

I'm finding it very easy to veganize recipes.

Dangerously easy.

I bring you vegan biscuits and country gravy.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Whole Wheat Vegan Biscuits
16 biscuits

1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp whipped earth balance buttery spread
4 tbsp soy cream cheese spread (I use TJ's brand)
1 c. original unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used soy)

Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and salt.

Drop in earth balance and vegan cream cheese.

Using the tines of a fork, blend in the earth balance and cream cheeze. You could pulse in a large food processor if you have one big enough. But the fork method just takes a minute or so. Work on it until you get the following looking consistency:

Add in milk and mix just until combined.

Turn out onto a floured surface and need briefly - 2-4 times.

Roll out to about 1/2" using your finest kitchen equipment (a cup from ikea= rolling pin, right?)

Cut out even shapes (using more glassware, apparently). 

Place on a lightly sprayed baking sheet.


Bake 12-14 minutes, or until brown and puffed up:

Now, about that gravy.

Country Gravy

about  1 1/2 c. gravy

4 soy breakfast sausage links or 2 patties, or the precrumbled stuff, whatever you like
2 tbsp earth balance whipped buttery spread
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/4 c. original, unsweetened soy milk (warmed)
black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
cayenne and tabasco to taste

Crumble up sausage, set aside.

In a sauce pan over med-high heat, melt earth balance. Whisk in flour and create a vegan roux! This takes about 1 minute.  Whisk continuously, let it slightly toast.

Pour in warmed milk, whisking continuously.

Once thickened (about a minute), reduce heat to med-low and stir in sausage, salt, pepper, hot sauce, cayenne, whatevs.

To serve, split biscuits and top with a pouring of gravy.

Serve with copious amounts of tabasco and fruit because this, my friends, is health food.


Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

I don't mean to be dramatic, but really I don't think I could live without sweet potatoes.

They get a terrible reputation as a thanksgiving side dish, covered in corn syrup and butter, or even marshmallows (so happy my family doesn't do the marshmallow thing). 

A few years ago, sweet potatoes started popping up on menus as an alternative to french fries. You can even get sweet potatoes as tots at TJ's these days. That seems like a slippery slope I don't want to start down though...

But have you ever just eaten a sweet potato without sugar or deep frying? Just a baked sweet potato? Maybe a touch of earth balance, or greek yogurt, or just a sprinkle of salt. It's all they need. 

Unless you want to make chili:

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili
serves 4 at least

1 tbsp EVOO
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 small sweet potatoes, cubed
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. water
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added
juice of 1 lime
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can water
tabasco to taste
brown sugar to taste

Toppings: avocado, soy cheeze, green onion

In a large pot, heat EVOO. Saute onion and garlic 3 minutes, or until softened.

Toss in sweet potatoes.

And bell peppers.

Add about 1/8 c. of water (i just fill the lid) and then cover for 2-4 minutes. The steam helps cook the sweet potato.

Uncover and add in garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, pepper, and salt.  Toss everything around and let the spices get toasty.

Add in tomatoes, black beans (drained and rinsed!!), water, and lime juice.

And add heat to your liking. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Then taste and add sugar for balance and additional salt if needed. The sugar balances out the acidity from the tomatoes, lime, and tabasco. You could use agave or maple syrup if you prefer.

Top with topping of choice, I recommend avocado!

Eat more sweet potatoes!