Sunday Running Round-up and Grilled Pizzas

My husband was away for much of this week, and it is too wickedly hot for me to run with the girls in the double stroller, so I’ve had to depend upon the kindness of others to come sit in my house while the girls sleep and I run. Thus, I did not get a long run in, and I did not run every day. Now that I have my snazzy new Garmin watch, I am trying to run an hour every day (longer on long run days). I think this is a goal I can attain – I love data, and I love watching the time and miles go by on the Garmin.

Monday: 0 Tuesday: 5.5 Wednesday: 6 Thursday: 5.5 Friday: 4 Saturday: 3 Sunday: 0 Total: 24. Ipod listening: Stenhammer and RadioLab, both awesome. Mileage: Oh well, better luck this week!

I succumbed to the grilled pizza trend, and made grilled pizza twice in a week. It really is tasty, and it is much more energy-efficient to make than baked pizza. When it’s hot, turning on the oven seems like  a crime; this is a nice way to enjoy pizza without heating up your entire kitchen. I don’t have an outdoor grill, but I do have a stove-top grill that worked really well. I made my standard (yeast-based) pizza dough recipe, let it rise once, then tore off pieces/handfuls of dough, stretched ’em out, smeared each side with olive oil, and threw ’em on the grill. After 5 or so minutes, the dough was ready to flip; after flipping, I put sauce and toppings (olives artichoke hearts, spinach, mushrooms, sauted onions) on the hot side, let it cook a few more minutes, and then enjoyed! It really was quicker and cooler than making regular pizza. I don’t expect to make oven pizza again in the summer! Plus, we had guests both times we made this; each person got to make their own personal-size pizza, which was an added bonus. Everyone got the toppings they wanted, and got to be involved in the process. I think it’s fun for guests to pull their own dough, smear on their own sauce, choose their own toppings. Working alongside friends in the kitchen is a treat.

The only criticism I have of grilled pizza is the problem of getting the toppings hot. It would be hard to get vegan cheese to melt, for sure. Maybe on a real grill, this would not be a problem, but on a stove top grill, the heat is too concentrated on the bottom to reach the toppings.

Today I wanted some cookies but did not want to make a whole batch, partially out of laziness and self-control, and partially again because of the whole turning-on-the-oven-in-the-sweltering-heat thing. So I made a mini-batch (half of a dozen) of cranberry-chocolate chip cookies and baked them in our toaster oven. This worked beautifully. It was great for portion control, it was quick, it didn’t heat up the whole kitchen, and I did not feel wasteful by using energy for making just a few cookies.

I’ve seen some recipes on the blogworld for single-serving muffins/cookies/cake/whatever; these recipes are great for portion control, but they all require you to turn on your oven and bake ONE muffin/cookie/cupcake/whatever. To me that just seems extremely wasteful – that is a LOT of heat and energy to generate for one treat. When I use the oven, I try to be mindful of the energy I’m using; I try to bake two things at once, if possible (for example, I’ll throw in some sweet potatoes while I’m baking cookies).

However, if I had a real problem with portion control, I could see the benefit of a single-serving recipe. Lord knows it’s hard to find vegan treats, so we vegans usually have to make our own, and some of us don’t want 4 dozen cookies in the house. Understandable. With a family and a  freezer, it’s not hard for me to handle the extra cookies, but I can totally see the benefit of built-in portion control.

Question: Do you like/use single-serving recipes that require oven use? Is the instant portion control worth the trade-off of using a good bit of energy for a cookie? I can completely understand NOT microwaving single-serving treats…..most baked goods are quite inferior when made in the microwave. I have to say I am really, really liking the toaster oven for smaller batches of baked goods…..

Do you

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