Summer’s Dessert – Fruit Pizza

You might be surprised if I tell you that we aren’t big into Birthday cakes around here. Yes, we make them every now and then, but most of us choose something besides cake for our birthday dessert. Desserts like Rootbeer Floats, Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, Strawberry Shortcake, or Fruit Pizza. The options are boundless, why confine it to cake???

The last person to celebrate a birthday here just didn’t care, but I knew what he wanted – something healthy, free of processed sugar, and loaded with fruit.

Because it’s summer.

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Sorry about the terrible photos. The lighting was bad and I was too lazy to take more pictures. Besides, who’s going to wait around this thing for someone to take appropriate blog post photos?

This colorful and delightful dessert sports a paleo and gluten-free crust, cream cheese hinting of orange, and your favorite seasonal (or not so seasonal) fruits. You should try it. Today.

Here’s how…

Fruit Pizza

  • 2 c. oats
  • 2 c. walnuts
  • 2 c. dates, pitted
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 4 T. butter
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2. c. Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 c. honey (or more to taste)
  • 4 drops Young Living Orange Essential Oil (or 1/2 t. orange extract)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • fruit of your choice – I like the textural combination and colors of strawberries, mandarin oranges, kiwis and blueberries.

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Combine oats, walnuts, dates, and sea salt in a food processor and pulse until fine. Add butter and blend until combined. Form into a ball and pat out on to a pizza pan. (You may want to use parchment if you’re using a metal cookie sheet or pizza pan.)

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Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Beat together cream cheese, yogurt, honey, orange oil, and vanilla. Spread over cooled crust.

Decorate with fruit. (Be sure to dry your fruit out on a paper towel to prevent sogginess.) Chill and serve.

IMG_0947The leftovers make a perfect breakfast. Just an idea…

Greek Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium berlandieri) Pesto

So as to not disappoint you, my readers, let me say right up front – this post is not about juicy roasted lamb legs drizzled with earthy pesto sauce, though that sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?

This post is about a weed.

That’s right, a common plant found all over the world, that many people pull out of their gardens and dump in the trash.

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If they only knew what they were missing out on! Lamb’s Quarters (scientifically known as Chenopodium berlandieri and also called goosefoot, fat-hen, bacon weed, pigweed and many other unappetizing names) is from the same genus as quinoa and beats spinach as a source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C and vitamin A. It also contains B1, B2 and oxalic acid (Source: Lambsquarters: Prince of Wild Greens The leaves are tender, like spinach, and mild, but it doesn’t leave that chalky feeling in your mouth like spinach does. However, underneath the leaves it looks rather like it’s dusted with vitamin C powder.

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Mom has a lot of this green growing in and around her garden and gathered a bunch of it for me. It’s easy to use because you can replace it with spinach in anything from smoothies and salads to creamed dishes and sauces.

I decided on a pesto to go with last night’s Mediterranean Couscous Salad.

Greek Lamb’s Quarters Pesto

  • 6 c. loosely packed lamb’s quarters
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 oz. Parmesan, grated or sliced
  • 1 oz. feta cheese (My favorite? Double Cream Mykono’s Feta made by Central Valley Creamery)
  • 1/4 -1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 fresh sprigs Greek oregano and 2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from stems

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Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Lamb’s quarters is drier than basil so you may need more olive oil if you like a finer consistency.

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There’s some great information to glean from the internet about Lamb’s Quarters. I found this video by Eat The Weeds that would be helpful if you want to find your own greens. I had to bookmark his site as it looks like it will be a very helpful reference on gathering wild edibles.

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Enjoy your pesto on pita bread (or Sourdough) with cream cheese, or toss it into warm, buttery pasta. Oh, and it’d also be amazing as a sauce to drizzle over a roasted leg of lamb! ;)

Orange, Saffron, and Olive Oil Shortbread Cookies {Gluten and Grain free}

I’m afraid my Instagram account isn’t so good for my blog.

It’s way too easy to take one pic, hashtag the life out of it, and post it…all on one little gadget.

Life has been busy, too, but I really have no legitimate excuse for not posting for…well, however long it’s been. Too long.

We were invited to a friend’s house last night for pizza and sundaes and a movie. It wasn’t just any pizza and sundaes though – it was cheese pizza with a delicious gluten free crust and sundaes with homemade berry ice cream, bananas, and homemade honey salted caramel sauce! Jealous yet?

I experimented with some shortbread cookies to go along with the sundaes. The challenge was that they had to be nut, wheat, and refined sugars free. Bring it on!

If you’ve read my blog for long, you know I gravitate toward orange and almond, or orange and ginger, or orange and cardamom flavor combinations. Those are all SO good, but I had to do something else this time. I decided to pull out the saffron my sis-in-law gave me years ago. (Does saffron go bad??? Don’t tell me if it does.)

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I kept with the orange, though half way through I wished I had gone with grapefruit instead. And, of course, I went with my favorite natural sweetener – dates!

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Orange, Saffron, and Olive Oil Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 c. dates, pitted
  • 1 c. coconut flour
  • 2 t. organic orange peel
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • juice of one orange
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 to 1/4 t. saffron (I used 1/4 but my saffron might be a little weak. :)

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine dates, coconut flour, orange peel, butter and salt and pulse until mixture is well combined and fine textured. Add remaining ingredients and pulse again. My dough never formed a ball, but looked like this…

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However, it pinches together readily. Make one inch round balls and roll or press flat onto parchment paper.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges.

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They soften as they sit and, if you’re like me, you like them a bit crunchy, so place them in a warm oven just before serving.

And the movie? Well, it was Frozen, ’cause my little friends keep telling me about it and I had to see it for myself.  Aren’t you glad it’s summer? :)