Happily partying with healthy food


“Happy” cupcakes, vegan pizza, white chocolate raisin cookies and pita chips and hummus.

Janice Daniels

Last Friday I threw a “Happy Healthy Potluck Party” for my friends and me.

My goal with this event was to get everyone to make a dish, preferably vegan or vegetarian, and bring it to share. I provided the main dishes – homemade vegan and vegetarian pizzas – topped with bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, jalapenos, pineapple and even mozzarella cheese for the vegetarian pizza (I am not so evil that I would make my guests go without cheese!). 

Square vegan pizza!

I have to say, it was pretty awesome to watch my carnivorous friends and boyfriend take part in these vegan and vegetarian festivities. You know they love you when they are willing to try the mysterious-looking, plant-based dishes you place in front of them.

Potluck dishes included “Skinny Dippers,” which were spiced lentils wrapped in lettuce, bell pepper and okra rice, white chocolate raisin cookies, happy cupcakes – specially made by my good friend Courtney who works at a bakery in town – and pita chips with hummus (obviously some got away without having to break a sweat).

Of course the cupcakes and cookies were not the healthiest things in the world, but being healthy is not only about eating “health foods,” but also about teaching ourselves how to eat “sinful” treats in moderation.

White chocolate raisin cookies

“Happy” cupcakes

I am thoroughly satisfied with how this healthy gathering turned out and am pleased with the efforts my wonderful friends put into the dishes they brought to share.

The most complicated part about making the vegetarian and vegan pizzas was, and is always, the dough. Although the ingredients are simple, the dough-rising wait can be a wee bit frustrating. It is worth it, though. 

My family has been using this easy and delicious pizza dough recipe for a long time. It is also vegan!

Half Wheat Pizza Dough

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon sugar

¾ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

1 packet (2 and ½ teaspoons) dry active yeast

1 cup hot water

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Add yeast to hot water and stir until it dissolves. Mix in the olive oil and set aside.

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl and then add the yeast water. Mix and knead the dough for five minutes.

After done kneading, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and let it sit for an hour until it has risen.

After the dough has risen, use a rolling pin, or your hands, to spread it out on baking sheet in the form of your choice (I guess most pizzas are round? Mine was square.)

Add the sauce and toppings of your choice and bake for 15-20 minutes or until it is the way you like it.