So.. I’m Pumped.. Plus a Recipe for Calzones!

As promised, here I am again, after having just sat down after a grueling-ly (so not grammatically correct) day… and I mean this in the best way possible, because it was an exciting and successful day all the same. I woke up bright and early, had a DELICIOUS breakfast, which consisted of a Whole Foods pumpkin scone (oh so yummy!), a beautifully juicy pear, and a great big mug of hot tea. Yum! What a great start to the day! After that, I jumped on the treadmill for a quick incline jog and then finished my workout off with some core exercises. It was a really good session – my first official “training” day! I felt energized and alive – during and after! Even though I have been running and doing other types of exercise up until this point, today is the day that I become focused on my goals for the half-marathon.

Next, I had some lunch – a smorgasbord of more Whole Foods prepared goodies (we did a big shop there on the weekend) and one of last night’s whoopie pies. PS: as a side note, if you’ve never tried a whoopie pie, please do yourself a favour and go make/buy/find/steal/beg for one RIGHT now and eat it!!! They are brilliant. Who wouldn’t enjoy a creamy luscious filling engulfed by two cakey, soft cookies? Um, no one is who! I hadn’t tried them until just last night, when my sister and I baked carrot cake whoopie pies with classic cream cheese filling from the cookbook Whoopie Pies. By the way, this book is officially my new favourite thing. I can’t wait to try every single recipe and every single combination. Mmmmm! And they’re so easy and cute!

Anyways, then I was off to meet with a friend of the family who works as a pastry chef. I got to see what she does and tasted some yummy treats, but mostly I just drooled over the stupendous array of mouth-watering cakes, cookies, and pastries galore as they were being prepared and shipped off! It was way too exciting.

I arrived home to a beautifully prepared vegetarian stir-fry (courtesy of my lovely mom) – Sweet and Spicy Cashew Tofu on Brown Rice. I LOVE to cook, and I do it from scratch just about every night for dinner when I’m back home in Victoria. However, right now I’m visiting my family in Toronto, so it’s been nice to get some mom-made dinners in my tummy! Don’t be mistaken though, I’ve still been at it in the kitchen most nights while I’ve been back…

This past weekend, I slaved in the kitchen all day Saturday, making all sorts of goodies for a tapas-style feast with a few of my girlfriends. And last night, my sister and I (along with the aforementioned whoopie pies) made these UHmazing Winter Squash Calzones. We didn’t follow the recipe exactly, though. There was some leftover pumpkin puree in the fridge, so we decided to change it up a bit and make use of what we had on hand! (I think next time we’ll try making the dough with part whole wheat flour and add different veggies to the filling). Anyways, here’s our version of the recipe and what we like to call “Pumpkin-Veg Calzones.” HOLY MOLY they turned out to be SO good!

Pumpkin-Veg Calzones

Serves 6

For the Dough:
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups (plus more as needed) unbleached all-purpose flour
olive oil

For the Filling:
olive oil
1/2 can pumpkin puree
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small head of cauliflower, broccoli, or a combo of the two
1 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Tomato sauce, for serving
Fresh herbs, for garnish

Method:

To make the dough, mix the honey into the water, then sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to foam. Stir in the salt. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, until a shaggy dough ball forms. Knead the dough in the bowl for a few minutes, incorporating extra flour as needed (if the dough is too sticky). Brush the dough with olive oil, cover with a clean cloth and let it rise in a warm place for 2 hours (or in the refrigerator for 8+ hours, letting it sit at room temp for 30 minutes before using).

For the filling, roast cauliflower and broccoli at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes until slightly caramelized. In a food processor, blend the cauliflower to a fine meal (just a quick spin). Meanwhile, heat a medium pan on medium heat, add the oil and onion and cook until just beginning to brown (5-8 minutes). Add the garlic and cook another minute. Then add the pumpkin puree and cook just to heat through (about 2 minutes). Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Combine the cheeses, pumpkin mix and cauliflower mix in one large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Punch down the dough and divide it into 6 equal balls. Roll each out with a rolling pin to about 6 or 7 in wide and 1/8 to 1/4 in thick. Divide filling amongst the 6 rounds. Wetting the edges of each round first, fold the dough over the filling to form crescent shapes. Seal by pressing down and crimping with a fork, or rolling inward to form a rolled edge. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. *Brush with melted butter or egg wash during the last 5 minutes to make them extra pretty! Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Serve with warm tomato sauce and garnish with fresh herbs. Enjoy!

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