Monday, December 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: French Yule Log

I believe I have met my match. Never before have I heard myself utter the words after savoring a bite of dessert, "That's too much chocolate..." but this month's holiday Daring Bakers challenge has proven that such a thing exists. Since I served the yule log for our holiday dinner, I added some festive vintage decorations. The mushrooms and silver trees were my favorite.
This French Yule log has, count 'em, six different elements with a grand total of nine layers. Starting from the bottom up:
1. hazelnut genoise
2. dark chocolate ganache
3. chocolate hazelnut mousse
4. hazelnut praline insert
5. more mousse
6. vegan pastry cream (a stand in for creme brulee)
7. more mousse
8. more genoise
9. chocolate icing
Even the tiniest of pieces felt like a brick of chocolate had just settled in my stomach.
If I ever do dare to make another yule log, I think I will break it up with a bit less chocolate. Maybe a vanilla mousse? I can hardly believe I am typing this out, I feel like I'm cheating on chocolate!

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.
They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dance of the Sugar Plum Vegan

There is something magical about the Nutcracker ballet... the music, the story, the thought of a land filled with endless sweets. Many years growing up, I looked forward to wearing my holiday dress and using those little glasses to magnify the dancers up on their toes. I would leave the theatre feeling like I too had been transported to the land of the sugar plum fairy with a nutcracker prince at my side. Since I didn't make it to the ballet this year, I put together my own little video to whisk me away to that magical place filled with holiday sweets...
(music from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker)

This year's holiday baking included veganizing some of my childhood favorites. They turned out so well that I'm going to share the recipes...

Mounds Bars - a graham cracker crust with a gooey coconut filling and topped with a layer of chocolate

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, melted

1 cup coconut (sweetened, not dessicated)
3/4 cup sweetened condensed soy milk (recipe here)
1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 T chunky peanut butter

1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix crumbs, sugar, and melted earth balance and press into an 8x8 pyrex dish.
2. Combine coconut, sweetened condensed soymilk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Spread carefully on top of crumbs in an even layer.
3. Bake for 15 minutes in 350 oven. Remove from oven and cool.
4. Melt chocolate chips on a double broiler. Add in peanut butter. Spread on top of baked bars.
5. Refrigerate until chocolate has set and ready to serve. Store in refrigerator.

Pecan Tassies - a creamy dough with a sugary sweet pecan filling


1/3 cup vegan cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
1 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp EnerG egg replacer + 2 T water
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 T Earth Balance vegan butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup pecans, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a mini muffin pan with liners and lightly oil. Set aside.
2. In a stand mixer, cream together softened cream cheese and butter. Mix in flour until well incorporated. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
3. Shape dough into 24 - 1 inch balls. Place balls into greased muffin cups. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of the cups.
4. Beat together the EnerG, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt until well combined. Add the chopped pecans.
5. Fill the dough lined muffin cups with the pecan mixture. Top with extra pecans if desired.
6. Bake for 25 minutes at 325, or until filling is set. Remove from oven and cool until able to remove the tassies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Crispy Peanut Butter Balls

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup chunky natural peanut butter
2 cups crisped brown rice cereal
1/2 cup sweetened coconut

1. In a large bowl, combin rice cereal and coconut, set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil.
3. Add peanut butter and return to a boil. Continue to boil for approximately one minute.
4. Pour sugar and corn syrup mixture over cereal mixture and quickly coat the cereal.
5. Drop 1 T sized balls onto waxed paper and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday full of friends, family, and of course, lots of vegan sweets.

W.I.P. Wednesday: PJs and Pizzelles

I have graduated to sewing curves! And the zigzag stitch! And elastic! These Eiffel Tower pajama pants were made with the Sew Easy Pajama Pants pattern and with the help of the lovely Sarah. They are an xmas gift for my sis (who loves Paris, hence the pattern).

In addition to my normal holiday baking, I also attempted vegan pizzelles for the first time (and subsequently learned that I've been pronouncing "pizzelle" incorrectly my whole life). The whole process was a bit finicky, but with a little more work, I think I'll have it mastered! I used a variation of Emilie's recipe, with both anise and ground almonds.

My next project? Baby bibs and an animal friends fabric book for my good friend who is expecting a little one on Feb 14th! And maybe a pair of pajama pants for myself :-)

Holiday baking post is up next....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Ghosts of Christmas Meme

Since I have now been tagged four times for the "7 random facts meme" by Liz, Stacey, Al, and Sarah; I figured it is about time I got around to posting it! And since I recently saw The Christmas Carol at the theatre, I'm going take a stroll with a few Christmas spirits. And I'll throw in a recent dinner as well. As the clock strikes 1 am, I am visited by...

The Ghost of Christmas Past

1. When I was in grade school, I won a poetry writing contest and the prize was getting to go see Queen Elizabeth when she came to Houston (an aside: I was first accused of plagiarizing but then they realized I was merely using another author's style, but it was pretty traumatic to be accused of such a thing as a fourth grader). I still remember the very royal feeling dress that I wore to the event.

2. My first marathon attempt was when I was 17 years old on the coldest day I can remember in Houston. I dropped out of the race around mile 13 with a mild case of hypothermia. After that we had two days off from school because of icy roads. (I later completed my first marathon while living in Colorado)

3. I used to have a serious love for the frozen Stouffer's corn souffle when I was growing up. Now that my taste buds have matured a bit ( i.e. I need more spice), the kicked up southwestern corn pudding was just the thing to send me down memory lane last night. (from veganomicon, served with chile cornmeal crusted tofu and mango salsa)

The Ghost of Christmas Present

4. Now my current obsession is Maine Root Ginger Brew. I just had to say something about this because Stacey predicted I would. I am trying to be good though and limiting myself to just four per week. Beware though, this is not your standard ginger ale. If you take a big gulp, it will come back to bite you in your throat!

5. Not sure why, but I got all into the holiday spirit this year and decided to get my first tree as an adult (and after much research on the environmental consequences, I went for a real tree). I even carried on the tradition from my childhood of making fudge to have during the decorating process. And it finally made me appreciate that my mom got us an ornament every single year, because now I can look back and remember picking them out. And funny, my ornaments seem to mimic my obsessions at the time (I got a cupcake this year).
6. I have itchy legs. Seriously, even though I live in a pretty humid climate, I have terribly dry, itchy legs. The moisturizer I'm using right now just isn't cutting it (Alba). Any suggestions?

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

7. I've been in somewhat of a blogging slump, but that will hopefully change soon with the new year. I do have a major holiday sweets post coming your way next week. As my brother would say, "wait for it". There's much more where this came from...

For the two of you out there that haven't been tagged yet.... you are now tagged if:

1. you're looking out your office window (or at your cubicle wall) right now wishing you were anywhere but there
2. you like having nuts stuck in your teeth

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Craftiness and Cupcakes on W.I.P. Wednesday

Lately I have been trying to overcome my left-brained tendencies and get a little crafty. So when Shellyfish introduced her Work-In-Progress (W.I.P) Wednesdays last week, I thought I would join in on the fun occcasionally (maybe once a month I'll post my crafty endeavors)!

Now I know I'm supposed to post works-in-progress, but I couldn't help but showing off a few completed crafty things. Starting with cupcakes of course! But these are no ordinary cupcakes.... they are crafty cupcakes. I made these to bring to an amigurumi class at Sew Crafty Houston, my first attempt at crocheting (and definitely not my first attempt at cupcakes)!

And how perfect is it that we crocheted cupcake ornaments? I still need to work on my crocheting technique....
I've also been learning to sew. I haven't moved beyond straight lines and 90 degree turns yet, but maybe someday soon. This weekend I made up a bunch of reusable bags to use for Christmas gifts. These are so easy to make! Just four straight lines of sewing, a few more if you want to add a handle. And the more you give them away, the less everyone will use wasteful wrapping paper.
And now for the real "works-in-progress", all knitting projects for Christmas! These projects are all at a beginner's level, and most involve just knitting and purling. I'm knitting as fast as I can to finish these up before the 25th. There is a boy hat, fetching fingerless gloves (okay this one is for me, but I've put them on hold till after the holiday), a pair of yoga socks using bamboo and soy yarn, and a one-row scarf. Not to mention I need to cast on three more dishrags!
There is something very magical and rewarding about a handmade gift. With each stitch that is sewn, every row that is purled or every cookie that is baked, there is also a lot of love that goes into that fabric, yarn, or dough. As I'm working on a particular gift, I often think of times I've spent with that person or how they might use what I'm making them. It has helped me understand the true spirit of giving. What handmade projects are you working on for the holidays?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Get It While It's Ripe

I must admit to a serious addiction... I can't stop filling my bookshelves with vegan cookbooks. So for all of you out there that are working on one (Hannah, Ricki, Urban Vegan, Celine & Joni, Bianca, others?), you can count on me purchasing a copy! One of my more recent cookbook acquisitions is "Get It Ripe" by Jae Steele. The first half of the book is a great reference tool on how to cook the basics, stocking your pantry, even some details about the wonders of our digestive system! But of course, the best part is the recipes. Her dishes rely on fresh, seasonal produce, which is something we could all use more of.

The first recipe I made from the book was the Sesame Kale Soba. Such a simple meal, but very flavorful and beautiful color with the olive green soba noodles (these had some kind of sea vegetable in them) and the emerald green kale. The sesame seeds added some textural crunch.

And since my first home-cooked spaghetti squash turned out so well, I decided to try something a bit fancier, spaghetti squash with pinenut parm. I think I may have found a vegan parmesan that I love! Next time I make this dish, I'll remember to invite friends over because we had tons of leftovers (luckily not a bad thing).
Even though the day's of fresh basil are waning with the entrance of cold weather to the Houston area, we have plenty of frozen pesto to remind us of the summer months. In this dish, pesto pairs perfectly with white beans, quinoa, and fresh spinach.
And I couldn't leave out the ultimate in fall seasonal produce... the pumpkin. I used Jae's recipe for pumpkin pie to make a "deconstructed pumpkin pie" for our recent Society of PEACE Thanksgiving dinner. Constructed of a base of pumpkin mousse, a pumpkin and chocolate chip biscotti, and a dallop of vegan whipped cream with a dusting of cinnamon, these were devoured (and hopefully enjoyed) by the 75 dinner guests.
Even if you aren't addicted to cookbooks like me, I think this one is certainly worth checking out!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Caramel Cake

I am not completely sure what happened to the month of November. Between post-MoFo blog abandonment, making enough "decontructed pumpkin pie" for 80 people, and preparing for our own Thanksgiving dinner, Daring Bakers kind of crept up on me.

Luckily for me, this month's challenge for Caramel Cake with Caramelized Buttercream frosting (written by Shuna and presented by Dolores and her cohosts Alex and Jenny, with GF help from Natalie) allowed for some freedom and was easily veganizable. The first step to making caramel cake? Well, that would be making the caramel.

I got a stern warning from the main dishwasher in the family NOT to let the caramel burn lest I spend hours scrubbing out the saucepan. It was extremely tempting to remove the pan from the flame before the syrup turned a golden amber color, but I resisted even in the face of the potential consequences.
Knowing that I've done several cakes for Daring Bakers already, I decided to mix it up a bit and make cupcakes. I only slightly modified the recipe for agave nectar cupcakes from VCTOTW, subbing half of the agave nectar with the caramel. And to make for an even sweeter surprise when one bites into the vanilla and caramel-scented cupcake, I filled the center of each with caramel before baking.
See that caramel bubble on the wrapper below? That's the caramel trying to bust out. Just a swirl of fluffy buttercream and a drizzle of caramel completes these simple cupcakes.
And I didn't even have to scrub the pot for hours on end....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gifts in Kind

I have been lucky enough to receive several gifts in kind the last few weeks...

Amey from Vegan Eats & Treats was kind enough to send me some of her homemade quince jelly. She also included some chocolates which disappeared not long after I opened the package. I have been using this jelly on my morning English muffin and it is delightful!
Two weekends ago while we were in Austin for the chili cook-off, we made a quick pitstop at Sugar Mama's Bakeshop to try out their new vegan cupcakes! After sending an email to the owner thanking her for adding cruelty-free cupcakes to the menu, she offered me a free cupcake! We got there just in time to swipe the last vegan cupcake of the day... peppermint patty. So perfect and so pretty.
And Stacey thought of me when she saw this cupcake notepad while she was out shopping!

With all this kindness that has been gifted to me, I have been wanting to "pay it forward" and send kindness to others. As luck would have it, I opened up Sarah's blog from Sew Crafty Houston (an awesome little craft studio and sewing lounge!) to find a pay it forward challenge. Here it is...

The rules are simple: I will send the first three five people to leave a comment on this post a handmade gift within the next 365 days (that’s my kind of time frame!)

I am willing to post anywhere in the world, so don’t let that stop you from commenting.

The catch is that you have to have a blog and be willing to do the same thing....

And since I can't send everyone who comments a handmade gift (if I only had the time!), my gift to the rest of you are two recipes!

Baked Acorn Squash with Hazelnut Pearl Couscous

1 acorn squash
2 T olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups Israeli/pearl couscous
2 shallots, finely diced
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 T hazelnut oil
fresh black pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds (clean off the guck and toast them with salt and pepper, they're delicious!). Lightly oil the inside of the squash (approximately 1 T). Place the squash cut side up in a baking dish and fill with 1/2 inch of water. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until squash is tender.
3. While the squash is baking, in a large saucepan saute the shallots in olive oil until slightly caramelized, approximately 10 minutes. Add the couscous and cinnamon and stir to lightly toast the couscous for 5 minutes.
4. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.
5. Add toasted hazelnuts, dried cranberries, and parsley. Drizzle with hazelnut oil to finish.
6. Once squash is done baking, fill it with the couscous mixture.

And here's a link to the recipe for Society of PEACE's award winning chili!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sugar Cookies with Cairo

On Friday night, we took a break from our regular weekend routine and hosted Cairo, a 3-year old vegan toddler that is full of energy! This gave his parents a chance to have a night off on their own. Cairo requested that we make vegan sugar cookies earlier in the week, and who am I to say no to baking?

First step... dough smashing! And of course getting flour all over the counter and on our faces (on Cairo's cheek and my nose). I pre-made the dough using the recipe from Katie at Troubled Tofu, which I highly recommend if you like soft sugar cookies! Scroll to the end to see the crossposted recipe.

After dough "smashing" we rolled out the dough... Check out the cute "Junior Baker" apron he has on!
Next, we cut out the cookies into different shapes. Cairo was especially excited about the dinosaur cookie cutters (triceratops, stegosaurus, and tyrannosaurus rex), he loves dinosaurs.
While the cookies were baking in the oven, we built a skyscraper made out of Linkin Logs. I remember playing with these as a kid, but don't think I was ever able to build anything that tall!
Once the cookies were cooled and the icing was made, Cairo got right to icing the cookies (like the stegosaurus shown below).
Then there was the question of sprinkles. Too many choices. But once Cairo made a decision on what color to use, he was committed. John tried to coax him into adding more sprinkles, but Cairo clearly had a vision. A vegan master baker in the making!
Check out the care he used in applying the sprinkles! He decorated a cookie for his mom, a cookies for his dad, a cookie for John, a cookie for me, and a few cookies for himself (smart kid!).
The finished plate of iced vanilla sugar cookies... my favorite (besides the blue T-rex that Cairo decorated for me) was Cairo's rainbow snowflake on the bottom left. He kept dipping the spatula into the different color icings saying "a little of this and a little of this and a little of this...." So cute!

Whew! Three hours with a three year old really wore us out, but Cairo was such a happy, fun, loving kid that it was worth it. As we were sitting on the couch watching a video, there was a dragon eating spaghetti and meatballs. John asked Cairo if he ever ate meatballs. His reply? "We eat spaghetti with veggie meatballs".

NoWhey's Sugar Cookies

2/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
egg replacer = to 1 egg (use ener-g, not flax)
4 teaspoons soymilk (might need to add more in later)
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar and vanilla in a mixer until a bit fluffy, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl every once in a while. Add egg replacer; beat until even more light and fluffy. Stir in soymilk until well combined. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients and then blend into creamed mixture. It will seem a little dry at first, but keep blending and it should be moist enough to hold together well. If it is extremely crumbly, add about a teaspoon more of milk. Divide dough in half, wrapping each half in wax paper. Chill at least 1 hour.
On lightly floured surface, roll to 1/8 inch thickness (one half at a time, while still chilling other half). The thicker it is, the softer the cookie though. Cut in desired shapes. Bake on greased cookie sheet about half an inch apart at 375 for 5-7 minutes. Cool slightly, remove from pan. Cool all the way before frosting. Makes 2 dozen (depending on cookie cutters).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Vegan Chili Cook-Off Deep in the Heart of Texas

This past weekend, Society of PEACE took a roadtrip to Austin, Texas to compete in the 20th annual Lone Star Vegetarian Chili Cook-Off. Don't let the sign below fool you, this was an all vegan event held at the Austin Farmers Market :-)

17 teams from around our beautiful state competed in the competition. Each team was charged with making 5 gallons of vegan chili. In case you've never had to make 5 gallons of chili yourself, here is what all the ingredients look like.... thank goodness all those cans are recyclable!
After the vegan police inspected all of our ingredients, we got started bright and early (around 8am) chopping vegetables, draining beans, measuring spices, and getting everything prepped to start our first batch of chili.
At high noon, the doors were opened to the public for chili tasting. Before we knew it, there people were lined up at our booth! From then on, it was an almost constant stream of filling up chili bowls, serving up cornbread, selling baked goods, and handing out vegan literature. With all the running around trying to make additional batches of chili, I barely had time to say hello to Diann from Eat'n Veg'n who stopped by for a sample. It was nice to see a familiar face!
So did I manage to actually eat any chili during the cook-off? The answer is, of course, yes. We did several tastings of our own chili to get the seasoning right, and John was nice enough to run out into the crowd for brief breaks from kitchen duty and bring me back almost all of the other chili entries.
Chili wasn't the only vegan food being served up at the Society of PEACE booth. We made several batches of cornbread (one with jalapeno and one without) that were complimentary with chili samples while supplies lasted (it went fast!). To soothe the taster's taste buds, we offered grapes as a palette cleanser. And to finish with something sweet, as a fundraiser we offered Stacey's pumpkin oatmeal cookies and my pumpkin pie brownies as well as chocolate and vanilla cupcakes (Happy National Vanilla Cupcakes Day by the way) swirled with Society of PEACE colors.
As the competition came to a close, we gathered around to hear the results of the judges voting as well as the crowd favorite. Imagine our surprise when we heard Society of PEACE called out... the judges awarded our chili 2nd prize!! It was a rewarding finish to a crazy day. I had such a great time making chili with our awesome team: Sergio, Stacey, John, Kristen, Tosh, and Cairo (he's hiding between Stacey and I). Be sure to check out Stacey's post about the day on her blog Te Amo Vegano! And Tara posted about her experience as a chili tester on her blog My So-Called Vegan Life!
Congratulations to everyone who competed!! And the next time someone asks you how a vegan could ever survive deep in the heart of Texas... send them to the Lone Star Chili Cook-Off!

Friday, October 31, 2008

VeganMofo: Dia de los Muertos Means No More MoFo

Happy Halloween!! The vegan month of food has come to an end. What better way than to celebrate with Dia de los Muertos cupcakes?

Oh no! The holiday season is now upon us. Time to start making christmas presents (my goal this year is to make at least part of every present I give).
So this may be a lame way to finish mofo, but it's 3 minutes to midnight and I'm out of time!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

VeganMoFo: Better than Sex in Mamaw's Kitchen

I know the title has you all excited, but I'll address that a bit later. As a kid, trips to grandma's house were a guarantee of something mouthwatering on the dinner table. Both of my grandmothers are whizzes in the kitchen, but today I'll focus on my maternal grandmother's cooking. This post is dedicated to my mamaw; even though she isn't able to cook in her own kitchen anymore, her recipes are still bringing smiles to the faces of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren!

Mamaw's bread was a treat that all of the grandkids looked forward to each and every visit. It is especially good straight out of the oven and slathered in Earth Balance. My mom veganized and healthified mamaw's recipe by substituting Earth Balance and soymilk, replacing part of the flour with whole wheat, and adding ground flax. Last night was the first time I actually made the bread myself!
As much as I loved mamaw's bread, I equally loathed another one of her dishes that frequently ended up on our table at home; chicken spaghetti. My youthful palette was not one that could handle onions and green pepper, and I could never understand why one would eat spaghetti that way. In hopes that my palette has matured, I decided to give a veganized version of this a shot. This dish is a casserole consisting of sauteed green pepper and onions, lightlife chikn strips, homemade mushroom sauce, and stewed tomatoes; baked with whole wheat spaghetti noodles.
One thing you could always count on was that mamaw would have a mouthwatering dessert for us. From strawberry kisses to mounds bars and fudge to bunny cakes, it was always enough to send all the grandkids squealing to the table for dessert. A few years ago, my mom put together a book of recipes for mamaw to send us all as Christmas presents. And I'm not lyin', 80% of the recipes were dessert! I was a bit surprised when flipping through the pages and I came across a familiar dessert with an unfamiliar name... that's right, "better than sex". Now I know I've never heard my southern Baptist mamaw use that name for this dessert. Oh, how sheltered we were back in the 80's and early 90's. Well, I am sheltering you no more from this fabulous, easy to whip up treat.
Better than Sex - veganized from Mamaw's Kitchen

1/2 cup pecans, ground
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup Earth Balance, melted
1 recipe of your favorite chocolate pudding (I used Julie's from the Everyday Dish DVD), chilled
4 oz. Tofutti cream cheese, softened
2 T Earth Balance, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 - 4 T soymilk
1 tsp vanilla
whipped cream (optional, I used soyatoo)
dark chocolate shavings (optional)

To make the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the melted Earth Balance, ground pecans, and flour in an 8x8 pyrex dish. Mix well and press down into the pan.
3. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before filling.

To make the filling:
1. Combine cream cheese and Earth Balance in a bowl and cream together with a hand mixer until well combined.
2. Add the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.
3. Add the vanilla and enough soymilk (start with 2 T) to reach a thick pudding consistency.

To put it all together:
1. Spread the cream cheese filling on top of the cooled crust. Smooth top.
2. Carefully spread the chocolate pudding on top. I like to drop dallops of pudding all around before spreading so there is minimal mixing between layers.
3. Since soyatoo is pretty unstable, wait until you are ready to serve the dessert to top it with whipped cream.
4. Finish with grated dark chocolate on top.

I'll leave the decision as to whether or not this dessert actually is "better than sex" up to you...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

VeganMoFo: Daring Bakers Challenge - Pizza Dough

With all the time I've been spending mofoing and traveling lately, this month's Daring Bakers challenge really snuck up on me! Before I knew it, I had to crank up my oven and get to baking (as in last night). Luckily, this month's challenge was vegan as written and allowed for plenty of variation: pizza!
But there was one twist... we had to photograph ourselves tossing the dough. Even though I knew my lack of hand-eye coordination would make this quite a challenge, I gave it a whirl. Surprisingly enough, I managed to get the dough maybe 8 inches or so away from my hands and only dropped it once. I convinced John to give it a try and he was a natural... must be all that Italian heritage in his blood! But we both found that the dough was thinning on the inside and still thick on the outside no matter how hard we tried, so I eventually resorted to the rolling pin.
I kept the toppings quite simple; a light tomato sauce, homemade basil pesto, mushrooms, green bell peppers, green onions, and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast. It was the perfect thin crust pizza.
And I still have two more pizza crusts in the freezer so I can continue to perfect my pizza tossing skills !