Thursday, January 6, 2011

Butternut Squash Pizza!!!

Last night we were trying to decide what to eat and we got stuck. The problem is that our pantry is running kind of low right now and ingredients are a little limited. I noticed that we still had that entire butternut squash just dying to be used and got on the faithful internet to look for butternut squash main dish recipes. I looked through a couple different ideas that weren't sparking any ideas and then I found it...Butternut Squash Pizzas with Rosemary! It sounded like a fantastic idea so I adapted my version from this recipe found on

First thing to do was to make the crust. I make my own pizza crust and won't ever go back to store bought crust!

Pizza Crust:

1 1/4 cups warm water (just needs to be luke warm)
1 envelope (.25 oz.) active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute in some whole wheat if you'd like)

2 tsp. cornmeal


1. Place 1/4 cup warm water in a medium bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water; stir in sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. Add remaining water, oil and salt. Stir.

2. In a food processor, add in liquid ingredients and add flour. Run for 15 to 30 seconds with dough blade then pulse 8 - 15 times until dough forms a ball and is smooth.

3. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray; place dough in the bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until almost double in size, about 45 min.

4. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Punch down dough. Coat two 12-inch pizza pans with cooking spray; sprinkle the pans with cornmeal. Divide dough in half. Roll dough to fit prepared pans.
**I use a very large 16-inch pizza pan and this dough recipe covers it perfectly.**
Press dough against edge to form rim. Bake crust for 10 minutes.

5. Remove crust from oven and add your favorite toppings! Bake 15-20 minutes longer.

This next part is my favorite part...deciding what to top the pizza with! We already decided on Butternut Squash so that part is done :)

Butternut Squash Pizza Topping:

1/2 butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 tsp. balsamic vinaigrette

2-4 tablespoons grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place sliced squash in a roasting/baking pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; toss to coat. 

2. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.

3. Meanwhile, saute sliced onions in balsamic vinaigrette, set aside.

4. Increase oven temperature to 450ºF. Distribute squash mixture evenly over crust and top with sliced onions. Continue baking for 10 minutes, checking occasionally, or until the crust is firm. Sprinkle with cheese and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Cut into eighths, and serve.

This pizza turned out fantastic and I'll be making it again! While we were eating it we thought it might be better served to guests with some sort of sauce base. I think I'll make it for a couple friends and try using a cream cheese, veggie stock and garlic sauce base. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Today I was in the mood for toast so I decided to butter it with coconut butter and strawberry jelly. The result: Delicious!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Homemade Christmas Food Gifts

I would have posted this earlier but just in case anyone seen the blog before we actually gave them the gifts, I thought we should wait until after Christmas...

We made homemade gifts for a lot of our family members this year because we had so many to give to. We started by making some homemade caramel popcorn for our 7 nieces out of this Jell-O Brand Recipe for Jell-O® Rainbow Popcorn. You can use any flavor but we chose lime and wild strawberry since they resemble Christmas. The recipe uses much less corn syrup compared to other caramel corn recipes and would probably do just fine without it even thanks to the jello! Plus, colored caramel popcorn is much more fun for kids.

Next, we made some homemade pepper oil for the family members who like to cook. We like to grow peppers during the summer so we have a lot of them already on hand.

We started with a bottle of peanut oil and 10 dried chili pods in a large saucepan (olive oil or canola would work too). We heated the oil to approximately 150º and then let it sit for about half an hour. Now the chili pods can be strained out of the oil (be careful as it may still be hot). In your glass bottles of choice equally distribute 3 tsp. of black or white peppercorns, 3 tsp. cumin seeds, 3 tsp. red pepper flakes and 1 1/2 tsp. salt (we had some old Patron bottles and another that had corks). Now you can use funnels to pour in the liquid and they're pretty much done. We threw in a couple more dried chili pods for decorative purposes. See below:

We also made a couple other cool gifts. We made a cool trail mix based on this Asian Party Mix Recipe by Instead of using rice crackers and wasabi peas, we used a combination of cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, soy nuts and sunflower seeds. We also found a great Hot Cocoa Mix on The plus is that it's sugar free and fat free so it's a great gift for anyone diabetic or dieting. We also made some pepper jelly (secret recipe), a hot and sweet spice rub and a hot pepper spice blend. The Hot and Sweet Spice Rub was found on Whole Foods website. The hot pepper spice blend was just our own mixture of dried peppers ground up with a mortar and pestle. The packaging was just some labels I designed and printed out on my computer (glued on with a glue stick). I also had some cool yarn, stickers and ribbon so that pretty much did it.

I hope this inspires some of you to create some homemade gifts for Christmas next year. Everyone likes them and it's more meaningful. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!