Halfsies on the pizza?

Literally. 

Looks like I’m kicking off this page with an American classic, the cheapest and most delicious American classic available. We are cooking pizza.

It’s a Vegan Zah Party! And you are all invited. 

The essential idea of a pizza party is to try a little bit of everything. The pizzas range in flavor, color, texture, aroma, and most importantly taste. How can you not treat yourself to a slice of each irresistible decadence? You. Must.

Alas since none of you can physically be here it will be more like a party of one. One lonely pizza pie. But don’t worry! This is no ordinary pizza pie. This pizza pie is special. This pizza pie has a split personality disorder. Similar to no one’s favorite villain Harvey Lee, this pizza has two faces.

~ SAVORY VS SWEET ~

halfsies pizza 2

 

I know you might be thinking well why not just make 2 pizzas? Wellll…that would not only take all the fun out of it but it would defeat the whole purpose of cooking on a budget and using your ingredients wisely. 2 pizzas in 1 is the ultimate solution to all those problems. It only makes sense!

There are a million and one different flavors combinations you can choose from to put on your pizza, all sorts of fun, delicious ingredients you can top it with. Should you go to the store and shovel out an arm and a leg just to purchase quality toppings? NO, of course you shouldn’t. A tip for cheap cooking, use what you have. It’s really not necessary to run up to the supermarket every time you want to try something new for dinner. I’m sure that if you take a look inside your fridge, your pantry, your freezer, you could find some pretty good stuff to throw together. And that is exactly what I did for this pizza.

A tip for cheap cooking, use what you have.

I was visiting my amazing, beautiful, talented cook of a mother when this pizza came into my life, so I was not in my own kitchen but in another’s and being in another’s kitchen means you are using their ingredients. Luckily at the beginning of that week she had gone out to my absolute favorite store-Trader Joe’s-and we stocked up on plenty of fresh groceries to enjoy. But once the end of the week approached we seemed to be getting disastrously low on food, barely a vegan thing left to eat.

And who do we usually turn to in these times of need? The pizza man of course!

But no. Not tonight. Tonight we make pizza. No matter how little the ingredients we have left, we can top this pizza. 3 mushrooms in the fridge? Go ahead and slice them. A quarter bag of spinach is all we need. Those tomatoes are going bad any day now if we don’t use them. Look around your kitchen with a fresh pair of eyes, sometimes that is all you need to create a new and outstanding meal (no money spent!).

So let’s get to it.

Vegan Savory Russian Pizza/Sweet Fig & Grape Dessert Pizza

halfsies pizza (1)

Ingredients:

~ Savory Side ~ makes 1/2 pizza

  • Pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s brand garlic basil dough)
  • 3-5 baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 large heirloom tomato – cut in slices
  • 1/2 cup Kabachkovaya Ikra sauce (can make your own or buy it pre-made)
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheese
  • small amount of flour

~ Sweet Side ~ makes 1/2 pizza

  • 1/2 cup fig jam/butter
  • 15-20 grapes (sliced in half)
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheese
  • small amount of flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Start rolling out the dough on a flat surface sprinkled with flour. Try to roll it out to about 14-16 inches in diameter, be sure not to stretch it too thin.
  3. Place dough in oven for 5 minutes (if you are placing on stone make sure to drizzle olive oil over stone so it does not stick).
  4. Take out crust and spread all of the Kabachkovaya Ikra sauce over one half side of the pizza. Top with mushrooms and tomato slices.
  5. Spread all of the fig jam/butter over opposite half side of pizza. Place grape slices on top.
  6. Put pizza back in oven for 5 minutes.
  7. Take out pizza and top savory side with spinach. Sprinkle vegan cheese over entire pizza.
  8. Place pizza in oven for 5 more minutes until all cheese is melted.
  9. Remove pizza from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  10. Enjoy!

 

*The best way to eat this pizza is one slice at a time :)*

 

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Welcome You Poor Hungry Souls…

***SPOILER ALERT*** this is a vegan cooking blog containing many delicious and healthy recipes for the hungry and financially unstable (like myself). And all other poor, unfortunate, and hungry souls of course. Prepare your taste buds.

 

Hello to everyone that wanders onto this page, my name is Morgan, I am the author, editor, and publisher of this little blog. I would like to tell you some things about myself so you know exactly whose mind these recipes are coming from. I am a twenty something vegan college student trying to make a living on little more than minimum wage all the while pursuing a college degree. Anyone that knows the struggle of juggling these two “activities” can tell you that it can be extremely extraneous (say that 5 times fast) and time consuming, but I am committed to cooking these fabulous recipes and keeping up with this here blog.

Starting off with some info about me, I am in school full-time working on a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry, hoping to attend graduate school in Germany and become the next great microbiologist or biochemist, find a cure/prevention method for Alzheimer’s Disease that will make me handsomely wealthy and die happy in my solar paneled mansion surrounded by hundreds of my dearest feline friends (that run-on sentence is sure to give any grammar school teacher heart palpitations). My cat’s name is Luna for future reference, I have a feeling she will be mentioned quite often as she is the love of my life along with my sweet boyfriend of 4 years, Kyle.

I have been vegan for 4 years next month, vegetarian for 1 year before that, and they have been the best of my life. Anyone that is reading this that is not yet vegan I do have to take a moment here to single you out, give you the firm finger and tell you to DO IT!!! please. Best decision you may ever make. Honestly. No pressure or anything though.

When I first became vegetarian (because I was that before I was vegan) I was still living at my parent’s house as I was only 17 and finishing high school at the time. Although my parents thought I was only going through a phase they did try, somewhat, to appease to my meatless meal requests. Here’s a salad. Here’s some veggies. Would you like some pasta with cheese? My taste buds were suffering enormously from the abrupt blandness that had been introduced into my life. It was not that my parents did not know how to cook, because trust me my dad could whip up some amazing flavors in the kitchen, it was just that they did not know how to cook what I wanted and quite honestly they didn’t really care. Military families, you know. But instead of giving up on my moral and health goals to maintain a vegetarian lifestyle and one day make the leap to a vegan one (as that was always the goal), I was INSPIRED. Thank you Dad.

Fast forward to the end of my first year at college, a small Virginia state university away from home that unfortunately did not understand the concept of “dietary restrictions”. Ah oh well. Anyway after one of the toughest years of my life I came back home and decided to finish my undergraduate work there, which led me back to (you guessed it) my parent’s house. Here we go again. You can imagine not much had changed in the year that I had been gone except of course for my new little brother and the fact that I had become a full fledged vegan now, oh my dad’s face at that one. So with a new squealing baby, a hormonal teenage boy approaching high school, and an unemployed college sophomore in the house, it was quite an eventful mix. And I was the part of that mix that my parents did not have the time nor the patience for. In all honesty that was fine with me but it meant that I did need to learn some basic survival skills of how to fend for myself and make it on my own (incredible life lessons every young adult should be forced to learn). Aside from money management and securing my personal finances, what this really came down to was learning how to cook.

The next summer I moved out of my parent’s house into a coastal condo located very near the city and my school. It was the perfect setting, brilliant in every way, convenient location, beautiful and secure neighborhood, cozy living arrangements (even a walk-in closet) all for the low, low price of too much money. But I needed a place and it was available, I made it work. There was just one thing that bothered me endlessly and still to this day frustrates me like nothing else. The kitchen was tiny. Minuscule. Abysmal at best. A wee little corridor kitchen tucked in the back of the condo smushed right up next to the laundry room. No more than five cabinets in that kitchen, barely enough space for a toaster oven and microwave. Where would I put my things, my essentials, my crock-pot, my Keurig, my veggie spiral slicer, my tofu press, my Nutri-bullet, etc.?!!? Oh the horror that kitchen was and is. But…the thing that I do love about that kitchen though is that it is mine. It is my kitchen with my utensils, my pots and pans, my ingredients, my appliances, and I am happy there in my kitchen.

Anyway as you can tell I had become quite practiced in the art of cooking over the year I spent at my parent’s fending for myself and I had become obsessed. I will not lie that it was difficult at first to stomach some of the things I attempted to make, I had no idea what flavor combinations to create or how to even create them. There was a nasty incident once with the overuse of a certain chili powder (cayenne pepper yes) in a quinoa chili I was trying to make. My dad almost kicked me to the curb for stinking up the whole house so bad everyone had to evacuate for fear that their eyes would burn out of their sockets…But no matter, what is in the past is in the past. What I mean to say is that I had my ups and downs in the beginnings and still occasionally do when experimenting with new recipes but that is no reason to give up, in fact quite the opposite. I love cooking now, it is my form of self-expression in some ways and for me it is the ultimate stress reliever. Sometimes I don’t even care how the food comes out, I just enjoy the cooking and creating process so much. Of course all the recipes I put on here will be tested and approved by my brilliantly educated taste testers. Cooking is most definitely an art, and the only art I have ever shown to be good at. A significant obstacle can stand in the way when cooking though, especially experimental cooking, and that is the obstacle of money.

Being a poor (essentially broke since I am in a large amount of student loan debt), young, independent college student just trying to make a living in this world I understand and highly sympathize with the struggles of being financially unstable. Although I have a source of income (I work for a veterinary clinic by the way, fun stuff) and so does my significant other, we are not well off by any means but we do make it work. Part of making it work is knowing what to buy, where to buy it, and how to make it last so you don’t have to buy more. This is called being financially savvy (I like that term, better than unstable huh?), knowing how to use your money, no matter how little or how much of it you have. I try to live by those two words and it becomes a key player in this blog when it comes to where you get your ingredients from, how much of them you are using, and how to make them last for  future uses. Don’t worry there will be no resurrecting a rotten banana or stale herbs back from the dead. I mean only to say that there are ways to make the most out of the ingredients you have. Discard the stems? I think not, there is actually a wonderful bitterness they add to certain recipes. Throw out sprouted potatoes? Watch it buster, those are still good to eat even if they aren’t pretty. Food is beautiful and bodied and different and we should treat it that way. It’s delicious, trust me. Also you are not only personally saving on food costs but you are ultimately helping lower your own carbon footprint and by extension making a global impact (which is becoming increasingly important in today’s world).

This blog is dedicated to putting out flavorful, fresh, simple and complex recipes of all kinds that an individual can afford to make and hopefully enjoy themselves in the process. I will put my heart, soul, and the few bucks I can spare into creating these recipes if you will put your palates to the test. Enjoy the food and enjoy the savings!