June 13, 2014

Grilled Beer Crust Pizzas

Friday the 13th is a special day in our lives. It's the day we got engaged (7/13/07)! Now, we always celebrate when it comes along.  One of our favorite celebration meals is grilled pizzas. Since we discovered them, W asks for them just about every year on his birthday. We have them way more often than that, although not as often as either of us would like!
It seemed fitting to share them today, since it's Friday the 13th. We won't be having them for dinner because W has to work, but I'm hoping to make them again soon!
I've shared pizza ideas with you before here & here, as well as our go-to crust, but recently I discovered a new crust. An Easy Beer Crust, to be exact. I've started making a combination of that & our go-to crust that uses whole grain flour. It's perfect on the grill!
When we do pizza, I like to top it with as many veggies as possible. On the long tray above, from top to bottom, we had red bell pepper, roasted Brussels sprouts, mushroom slices, onions, grilled ramps, & chopped ramp greens. Not shown was grilled eggplant. For sauces, we used homemade pesto, homemade tomato sauce, & Trader Joe's BBQ sauce. Cheeses included vegan parmesan, raw milk cheddar (we have a local farm that makes it & it's awesome!), & a syrah soaked romano. I like to grate our own cheese because then we don't go overboard with it & because freshly grated cheese doesn't have additives like the bagged variety from the stores.
About the controlling of the cheese...you can tell W grated it this time. He made the 2 on the cookie sheet that have a blizzard of cheese on them. :-)

The hardest part of grilled pizzas is getting the dough thin enough while still being able to pick it up to transfer it to the grill. Once it's on there, the rest is easy!

Grilled Beer Crust Pizzas
Serves 4 generously
Crust adapted from BevCooks & this crust

1 packet active yeast
1/4 c lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar (I use coconut sugar)
3-4 c spelt flour (or use white whole wheat flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1 c beer (I usually use Yuengling Lager, but most kinds will do!)

Topping Ideas:
tomato sauce
bbq sauce
bell pepper
greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc.)
Brussels sprouts
vegan parmesan cheese
freshly shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, asiago, provolone, etc.)

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the water, sugar, and yeast. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, or until you see the yeast start to bubble.

Meanwhile, combine 3 cups of flour & the salt together in a large bowl. Once yeast mixture is bubbly, add it to the flour. Stir, then slowly pour in the beer. Mix until a dough comes together, adding more flour if it looks too runny. Dough should form a ball. Turn dough out onto a floured counter top & knead until smooth. If dough is still super wet, add more flour as needed. Lightly coat the empty bowl with cooking spray, then return the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to rise in a warm, draft free spot. (I usually use our oven, keeping it turned off.) Let dough rise for 1 hour, then divide it into 4 balls. Cover and allow dough to rest for 30-40 minutes longer.

Preheat the grill to 425 (high). Here's the tricky part! Spray two large cookie sheets (make sure whatever you use doesn't have edges!) with cooking spray. Spread two balls per sheet into pizza crusts. Make sure you don't spread the dough too thin or you will not be able to move them from the sheets to the grill. Gently pick up/slide the dough from the cookie sheets onto the grill. Don't worry if it doesn't come off perfectly - you can gently pull any holes together once it's on the grill (just don't touch the grates). Close the lid & let bake for 10 minutes. Check frequently after that - you're aiming for a crisp bottom but not burnt. The top will look slightly underdone, but no longer be shiny.

Remove crusts from the grill, flipping them so that you are topping the side that was already grilled. Add desired sauces, toppings, & cheese. (See the third picture above.) Return the pizzas to the grill for another 10 minutes, checking frequently after that to ensure the cheese is melted but the bottom doesn't burn. Remove from the grill & enjoy!

June 12, 2014

Catching Up

It's been awhile! Here's a little catch-up from my life lately.

Last weekend we went to a friend's b-day celebration on Friday & to another friend's baby shower on Saturday. It was W's weekend off, so we filled it with fun. I am so thankful for the friends that I have! The 3 with me in the picture above are from high school. It's super rare that we're all together at the same time! I'm happy for these moments. 
On Sunday, we met up with another set of friends for a hike & then dinner at Sly Fox Brewing Co. On the way to dinner, we passed a craft distillery, so after we ate we walked over & tried it out. We were impressed by Manatawny Still Works. They distill vodka, rum, & whiskey. Between the 4 of us, we tried all 3 & we were impressed. Plus, aren't the drinks so pretty?? 
I saw this little thought-provoking list on Jessica's blog & thought it would be a fun thing to share:

Eating / lots of Mexican - enchiladas, guacamole, & salsa! also, grilled pizzas.
Drinking / kombucha!  it's also on my summer fun list to try a few new cocktails. i've been pinning some ideas here
Practicing / patience. yikes.
Mastering / headstands & a 30-day ab challenge. i'm aiming to learn an arm balance & mastering these two things should help.
Learning / to really listen when other people talk. i'm good at interrupting & i'm trying to stop that.
Trying / not to freak out that 2014 is basically half over. life is speeding by.
Playing / with new hairstyles. i'm trying lots of braids & some no-heat curling techniques.
Finishing / all the food i have stored in the freezer, to make room for preserving this summer's goodies
Reading / Inferno by Dan Brown
Remembering / last weekend & all the fun with friends.
Wearing / shorts, at last!
Cooking / lots & lots of veggies. tis the season!
Working / in our garden. things are flourishing & there is a lot to pick & weed! plus, i still have some planting to do & i'm trying not to let my tomato plants get out of control this summer.
Traveling / nowhere for awhile, but looking forward to future plans
Wanting / a simpler life

May 17, 2014

Tasty Tidbits

Our rhubarb is growing like crazy & I've been taking advantage of that. Newest rhubarb food to love: vegan ice cream!  Made with coconut milk, it's pretty healthy as far as ice cream goes, & it even has minimal sugar (1/2 cup, all of which is maple syrup). One of the main issues with using rhubarb in desserts is the high sugar content used to combat the tartness of the fruit. We don't mind things a bit tart, but the coconut milk also helped to counter the tartness in this treat. It's hard to describe the final flavor, but I think the closest thing I can relate it to is a strawberry-lime flavor. Anyway, it was delicious!
The farm market in town opens today & I can't wait to see what goodies they have this year. After that, we're heading on a bike ride. I'm so happy for warm weekends again because that means we get to start our summer biking days!
Happy May! Enjoy your weekend!


Here's what we've been eating in the last week:

  • Cinnamon chia spinach smoothies
  • Blueberry muffins with grapefruit halves
  • Baked blueberry rhubarb oatmeal
  • Rhubarb spelt muffins with almond butter
  • Bananas + pb
  • Brussels sprout grilled cheese on homemade 7-grain bread
  • Out to eat for Mother's Day: bean burgers w/ fries & salads
  • Katie's Melty Pizza Hummus with crackers, carrots, & celery
  • Sandwiches
  • Leftovers
  • Canteloupe, apples, & watermelon

Out to eat with friends
  • Summer salad (me)
  • Caesar salad (W)
  • Cajun fries (we split a side order)
  • Broccoli fried brown rice
  • Green salad
  • Grilled zucchini, ramps, & asparagus with perogies
  • Green salad

  • BBQ tempeh on sweet potato slices
  • Green salad


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