Camper Cooking: Individual Cauliflower Crust Pizzas (Vegetarian/Vegan Option)

When you love pizza but need gluten-free and low-carb options, you might think you should give up pizza. But no! I have the perfect recipe to satisfy pizza cravings without comprising a restrictive diet. 🙂

However, our camper oven is too small for a pizza pan. So we hadn’t had homemade pizza in the year we’ve lived in the camper. Not until I bought myself a Christmas present from a kitchen outlet store that had a store-closing sale.

Mini pizza pan!

Cauliflower pizza crust can be a little time consuming. For the cauliflower crust, you obviously need cauliflower. 🙂 You only need half a cauliflower for 2 individual pizzas. The first step is grating the cauliflower, and when you have a tiny camper, you have a tiny food processor! 🙂

Kitchen Aid 3.5 Cup Processor
First batch of grated cauliflower

Fill bowl halfway

After grating about half a bowl, you need to steam the cauliflower. I usually microwave for 8 minutes. No matter how you steam your cauliflower, you need to let it cool because you need to squeeze out the water. I place it in a towel and wring over the sink. Try to eliminate as much of the water as possible. Too moist, and the crust will not stick together well.

Once dry, you should add 1 egg, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. I haven’t experimented with a vegan crust, but you would use your egg substitute (1 tablespoon of flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water, let sit for 30 minutes, then stir in a pinch of baking soda), nutritional yeast, and vegan cheese. Add in dash of Italian spices and garlic powder.

Cauliflower crust mixture

After incorporating ingredients, press into pan and bake at 425 until slightly browned and firm to touch.

Crust is ready for sauce and toppings!

You can top your crust as you wish. We stick with a traditional cheese pizza. 🙂

Cheesy pizza!

I make my own pizza sauce from a can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (or diced, but then I need to puree into a smoother sauce). I add spices such as garlic, Italian seasonings, and crushed red pepper and cook on the stove. You can add a little sugar too, if you don’t need to watch your sugars. Or you can buy a jar of your favorite pizza sauce.

Bake your personal pan pizzas at 425 for at least 10 minutes. We like very browned cheese. 🙂 Bake to your desired doneness.

Perfecto!!!

Ingredients

Head of cauliflower (grated)

Egg

1/4 c parmesan cheese

1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Italian spices to taste

Top with pizza sauce, garlic-infused olive oil, or pesto, and whatever you love on pizza. Since I know the crust turns out perfect in these pans, I may try a spinach pizza next time. Olive oil sauce, thick sauteed spinach and onion, and cheese. It’s like the Spanakopita of pizza. 🙂

But, for now, we were extremely happy to eat homemade pizza again!! It’s delicious and digests easily. Nothing greasy or heavy about it–definitely a healthier choice. Turns “junk food” into good food!!! Nom nom nom!

Firm enough to pick up and eat with your hands! For those who think pizza should never be eaten with fork and knife! 🙂

Camper Cooking: Blueberry Bliss (aka blueberry crisp with a yummy twist)

I ❤ blueberries, Nature’s skittles. 🙂

Luckily I can have berries on my low carb diet. But we had a lot of blueberries leftover after I made Shane a Waldorf salad with a twist (blueberries and blueberry yogurt), and I can’t eat enough before they’ll go bad. So I made a gluten-free crisp with a twist. 🙂

I’d guess I had somewhere between a cup and 2 cups of blueberries left from the 18 ounce carton. I apologize for not measuring! But use enough blueberries to fill an inch at least in a quart Corningware or half a ramekin. You could easily make a dessert to last for days, feed a group, or individually one day at a time. This recipe doesn’t need any science behind it. It’s an art. 😉

Basically this Blueberry Bliss is willy nilly, and oh so numnum!!!! I probably can’t reproduce what I’ve done, but it would turn out roughly the same yummy. I’ll guide you through my willy nilly steps. Pretend you’ve entered Willy Wonka’s factory. Just don’t turn into a blueberry! 😉

A dash of nutmeg sprinkled on the blueberries with a splash of lemon juice. You can add a little sugar, sweetener, or syrup, but ripe blueberries are sweet naturally so try to omit. I did add about a teaspoon of corn starch (organic, non-GMO) so the filling would thicken as it baked. Stir it magically or with a spoon/spatula. 😉

I used the rest of our oats. I think about a cup, maybe more. I didn’t even take them out of the canister. *snicker snort*

To this, I dumped in some cinnamon and finely chopped walnuts. Let’s say I chopped a cup’s worth. 🙂 Yep, I mixed it all up with my butcher knife. Told ya’. Willy nilly.

Then I melted what was left of my stick of butter. Hmmm, 6 tbs I believe. About-ish.

I added the crisp topping and blended into the melted butter. Then I had a BRIGHT IDEA!!! Why not add protein powder???

And there you have a nutritious protein-boost twist that lends a sweet vanilla flavor. 🙂 This I did measure because it comes with a scoop. I put in 2 scoops. 😀

All filled and topped, the blueberry bliss is ready for a 375* preheated oven!

I baked it for 40 minutes, and let it cool. Not too long though. I wanted my blueberry bliss warm!!!

Ingredients (about-ish measurements)

Filling

  • 1-2 pints of blueberries
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp cornstarch

Topping

  • 1 c oats
  • 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 scoops pea protein vanilla powder (contains monk fruit as a sweetener)

If you don’t want sugar free, add a tbs of sugar to the filling and 1 tbs brown sugar to topping.

Add whipped cream or ice cream to your crisp. Go willy nilly!! I have to eat mine naked. But….oh so sweet and yummilicious!!!!

Camper Cooking: Zoodles with Lemon Cream Sauce (low carb, gluten free, vegetarian/vegan option)

Oh how I ❤ zoodles. I want oodles and oodles of zoodles because they’re so goodles for me. 😛

When the supermarket puts zoodles on sale, you buy two! They’re not cheap otherwise. I couldn’t bring my spiralizer, so I’m stuck buying premade zucchini and squash noodles.

My preferred way to cook zoodles is to saute them with onion and spices in oil. I like them to carmelize a little for extra flavor. For this dish, cook your zoodles as you please: sauteed, boiled, microwaved, baked, or raw & uncooked. Simply cook until desired tenderness. I included Italian spices and garlic to my zoodles.

Since this would be a cream sauce, I sauteed my finely chopped onion in butter (from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows). Again I added Italian spices. Then the cream (from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows).

The vegan option is to make cashew cream. Soak and cover a cup of cashews in water for 4-12 hours in cold water, or 15 minutes in boiling water. Drain the water. In a blender, puree the soft cashews in 2/3 cup water, lemon juice, and sea salt. Cashews are high in carbs though, so this won’t be as low carb.

Most recipes call for a couple tablespoons of flour before adding the cream to make a white sauce roux, but I omitted to keep it low carb and gluten free. Add your zoodles to the pot too.

Now I know some of you are wondering how it thickens as a sauce to stick to the ladles of zoodles. Trust me, it will thicken naturally as you stir over heat. You must stir continuously or you risk burning the cream to the sauce pan. If you find the cream sauce isn’t thickening as quickly or to your liking, you can incorporate some parmesan cheese or textured vegetarian protein (TVP). Once thickened, dump in lemon juice. A lot. Make the zoodles turn into lemonoodles! (I should quit this, but it’s too fun for me. My apologies to you.) 🙂

It’s yummy lemonicious!! I could eat this every day I think. But I’m still waiting for another sale. They should stop their canoodling and put my zoodles on sale!!! 😛

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pkgs zoodles
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 onion chopped finely, halved
  • Italian spices 2-4 tsp
  • 1 c cream
  • 1/4-1/2 c lemon juice or juice from 2-3 lemons

Serve with a salad!

Camper Cooking: Sweet & Spicy Citrus Salad

Ever since I went low-carb, I crave salads. I’ve always been a fan of salads with fruit though. I’m also a fan of sweet and spicy. Today I paired the two for an amazing lunch salad to enjoy outside on this beautiful spring day!

The planters hold future salads: Spinach and romaine lettuce. 🙂 Also have sugar snap peas, marigolds, chamomile, red peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Still need to plant squash.

The air trilled with the song of a Baltimore oriole. An overly friendly spider joined me for a romantic lunch. ❤

The salad was as vibrant as the day. Plump blueberries. Succulent pineapple chunks. Fresh local greens.

I sauted Quorn chik’in tenders with the pineapple and sprinkled generously with red pepper.

I ❤ Quorn chik’in tenders and meatless crumbles. They’re staples for us. High in protein, low in carbs, no gluten, soy, or maltodextrin or dextrose that other vegetarian proteins contain. Maltodextrin is like crack in foods, raising your insulin, making you addicted, harming your health. I avoid it like the plague. It’s amazing how many prepared foods and snacks contain it. Actually it’s not, considering how most food is prepared in a lab to “improve” taste, shelf life, irresistability, and craving.

Don’t mind me. My brain’s on my class on food security and the future of farming I’ll teach in the fall. 😛 Part of food security involves access to nutritious, healthful food, and many popular and accessible items in the supermarket really aren’t good for health, only for supplying calories and reducing hunger.

And that’s why I eat as healthily as possible. Hence, a salad loaded with fruit and protein. 🙂

And taste. Yum! The extra boost of flavor comes from drizzling a little of this Cuban-style citrus vinaigrette. Sweet & spicy!

You could add grilled tofu, wild-caught salmon, or pasture raised chicken if you eat other proteins. Blacken them with red pepper/cajun spice or marinade in a Caribbean jerk sauce.

You could experiment with the fruit too. Mandarin oranges, red grapes, mango.

But I enjoyed the unique pairing of pineapple and blueberries.

I say try it. Even with the Quorn chik’in tenders, vegetarian or not. Vegans will have to use tofu or another meat alternative. This Quorn product has egg whites in it; other Quorn products are vegan though.

Grab whatever greens you like. Add as many blueberries and pineapple chunks as you want. I have to limit my fruit intake unfortunately. But this salad satisfied my craving for fresh, fruity, and zing!!!

Camper Cooking: Flourless Mini Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Muffin Cups (low carb, high protein)

That’s a mouthful. To say and to eat if you pop one or two mini cups into your mouth. Except me. I have to take small bites because I can’t open my mouth very far. I have TMJ dysfunction with a closed lock, courtesy of EDS. My oral surgeon and my former PT don’t even know where the disc is. It’s dislocated mysteriously.

Eating is challenging when your food falls off forks and spoons due to narrow passage. But, my other issues create even more eating limitations and difficulties. One, I’m a vegetarian. Two, I have to eat a very low carb diet because I have an insulin problem. My pancreas overproduces insulin (assuming it’s related to EDS like everything else!). All of my life I’ve suffered hypoglycemia, otherwise known as low sugar. However, over time, my cells stopped uptaking insulin. This led to high insulin in my blood, and lots of water weight gain (16 pounds to be exact). Water retention and high insulin can cause organ failure. My doctor told me to “eat like a diabetic”. Except I already did.

So I did a bit of research. I found literature on high insulin diets, and one diabetic expert who had diabetes stated the ADA recommendation for 120 g of carbs daily was too high. He suggested 50-60 g/day. And like any good scientist, I did an experiment for 6 weeks, eating only 50-60 g/day. Oh, it was very hard as a vegetarian. But I adjusted AND my next blood test revealed optimal insulin levels. Best of all, I lost all the water weight. 🙂

While on this low carb diet, I learned I had a gluten sensitivity. It would trigger the worst headaches. I thought I would cheat with French toast. Nope. Thus, I also can’t eat foods with gluten.

But I’m a hobbit and always hungry. It’s super easy to blow my carb limit if I don’t count or “budget”. Then I end up peeing like a bladder-bloated racehorse. Copious and frequent. Annoying to say the least.

What’s a hungry hobbit to do? A hobbit with a sweet tooth, mind you. Experiment with almond butter, clearly. 🙂

Almond butter has 3 g of carbs per 2 tbs. As well as 7 g of protein and 8 g of fat. Fat and protein help vegetarian hobbits feel full.I decided to see what would happen if I mixed almond butter, cream cheese (the secret to baking with almond flour), eggs, Swerve, and mini chocolate chips and baked in a mini muffin pan.

The result:

They turned out like muffins. Flourless muffins. 🙂

They’re dense and not very sweet. But the little bits of chocolate chips touch my sweet tooth. 🙂 These will not appeal to people who eat sugar or soft white flour. Lol Though I have made gluten-free pumpkin scones that pleased those lucky can eat anything in a bakery types.

The recipe is quite simple. Soften half a brick of cream cheese and a cup of almond butter in the microwave for a minute or two, then blend. Remember to store your natural nut butters upside down so you don’t have to stir the oils. You’re welcome. 🙂

Add 1/4 cup of Swerve. The erythritol doesn’t affect my insulin at all, so I use it in baking. However, if you can have sugar and don’t count carbs, by all means, sweeten it your way! Blend.

Next beat in 2 eggs. Stir in 1/4 cup of chocolate mini chips (or more if you don’t have to watch your sugar). They do make chocolate chips with Swerve or sugar substitute, but they’re too expensive for me. Therefore, I can’t use a lot.

Line the mini muffin pan and fill the cups. Bake at 375* for 10-15 minutes, or until puffy and firm. Or soft. I’m not sure yet how done I want them yet. 🙂

Ingredients

4 oz. Cream cheese (from grass fed, pasture raised cows)

1 c almond butter

1/4 c Swerve (or your favorite sugar substitute or sugar)

2 eggs (from pasture raised hens)

1/4 c mini chocolate chips

If you’re low carb like me, enjoy 2 a day as a snack. Should be about 10 (15 at most) carbs total. Maybe enjoy with a cup of unsweetened almond milk. 🙂